10 Interesting Facts About Cuba: History
Cuban history is riddled with wars, rebellions, revolutions, and governmental disputes. Here are 10 interesting facts about Cuba’s history.
1. The US attempted to invade Cuba several times. In 1848, they decided to give up and offered Spain $100 million dollars for Cuba, but the offer was rejected.
2. The US ship “Maine” was blown up in the Havana Harbor in 1898. The cause of the explosion is still unknown, but the event, which killed over 250 men, sparked the beginning of the Spanish-American War.
3. The 1990s in Cuba are known as the “Special Period” due to the extreme economic struggles. There were several major shortages, such as fuel, paper, and even food. Electricity used was limited to 4 hours per day.
4. Up until 1993, Cubans were not allowed to own or use US dollars.
5. Cuba’s first war of independence was led by Carlos Manuel de Déspedes in 1868. The war lasted for 10 years, giving it the appropriate name of “The 10 Years War.”
6. The slave uprising of 1791 in Haiti greatly impacted Cuba. More than 300,000 French settlers fled Haiti and many of them ended up in Cuba. The French brought their sugarcane production expertise to the island, and to this day, Cuba is one of the largest producers of sugarcane in the world.
7. Jose Martí planned a revolution for a Free Cuba while in exile in the US during the 1890s. Although he was very focused on not repeating the mistakes of the recent 10 Years War, Martí was one of the first to die in the battles of 1896. Many blame this on his use of an easy-to-spot white horse. Martí is still recognized as a beloved martyr throughout Cuba today.
8. Between 1899 and 1902, Cuba was controlled by an American military government. During this time, the US forced a constitutional amendment, called the Platt Amendment onto Cuba. The amendment granted the US power to intervene in Cuban affairs whenever they believed it necessary. It also granted the US permission to use Guatanamo Bay as a naval base.
9. After the Tomás Estrada Palma and his entire government resigned due to an armed rebellion, the US briefly regained control of Cuba between 1906 and 1909. This period, known as the Second Intervention, was rather embarassing for Cuban citizens, as they had only been freed of the US a mere 4 years earlier.
10. In 2008, Fidel Castro, resigned as president due to health issues, after 49 years in power. He passed the presidency onto his brother, Raúl Castro.
Of course, the history of Cuba is far too complex to break down into a simple list. This is just a sample of the historical events. Can you add any other interesting or surprising facts?