Short History:

The island of Cuba was inhabited by various Mesoamerican cultures prior to its discovery by the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus in 1492. After Columbus' arrival, Cuba became a Spanish colony, ruled by a Spanish governor in Havana. In 1762, Havana was briefly occupied by Great Britain, before being returned to Spain in exchange for Florida. A series of rebellions during the 19th century failed to end Spanish rule. However, the Spanish–American War resulted in a Spanish withdrawal from the island in 1898, and Cuba gained formal independence in 1902.

In the years following its independence, the Cuban republic saw significant economic development, but also political corruption and a succession of despotic leaders, culminating in the overthrow of the dictator Fulgencio Batista by the 26th of July Movement, led by Fidel and Raúl Castro Ruz, during the 1953–9 Cuban Revolution. Cuba has since been governed as a socialist state by the Communist Party under the leadership of the Castro brothers. The country has been politically and economically isolated by the United States since the Revolution, but has gradually gained access to foreign commerce and travel as efforts to normalise diplomatic relations have progressed. Domestic economic reforms are also beginning to modernize Cuba's socialist economy.

In 2016 President Obama opened negotiations with Cuba to open it's borders and by the fall of 2016, allow airline flights to commence between the two countries.

This might be a good chance to visit Cuba before it loses it's old charms and the vintage cars that still are used for tranportation.


The official currency is the Cuban Peso (CUP), divided into 100 centavos (cents). Notes can be of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos. Coins can be of 1, 5 and 20 centavos, and there are others of 1 and 3 pesos.

The Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) was introduced by the Cuban financial authorities to take out all foreign currencies from circulation, and offer an alternative that is in almost all senses equal to US dollars. It replaces the dollar as currency where previously dollars were quoted in places such as hotels, restaurants and so called 'dollar shops', and is the new 'tourist' currency. Some places only accept Cuban pesos and others only Pesos Convertible (usually tourist related establishments).

Return to the Home Page of Cuba

  Charles Walter Buntjer

San Francisco California
Created on: 2016.04.01  

Updated on: 2016.05.16