Havana (La Habana), Cuba

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Situated on the northwest coast of Cuba and traversed by the Almendares River, Havana is the capital of Cuba and the largest city in the Caribbean. A deep natural bay brought the city wealth and status. The city is the commercial, economic and industrial centre of Cuba. Since 1982 the old town has been a UNESCO world heritage site.


From the seventh century BC, the Siboney farmers and ceramic makers inhabited the area that is now Havana. They were followed by the Taíno. This small indigenous population was soon wiped out by colonists. The city was originally founded on the south coast of the island in 1514 by the Spanish colonist Diego Velásquez as San Cristóbal de la Habana, but the swampy location was soon abandoned for its present site in 1519. The natural harbour quickly became an important port and Havana developed into a base for the colonists on route between Spain and the New World. The strategic and commercial importance of the harbour soon brought Dutch,...

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