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Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba, the second city of Cuba from colonial through modern times and capital of Oriente Province. With a 2004 population of 490,849, it is located on the southeastern side of the island. Founded in 1514 by Diego de Velázquez, it quickly became an ecclesiastical and administrative center as well as an active international port. Following the British seizure of nearby Jamaica in 1655 and an influx of refugees and contraband, Santiago's economy flourished—a situation similar to that of the French planters during the Haitian Revolution in the 1790s. The harbor and region around Santiago were sites of numerous military engagements between Spain and its rivals in the eighteenth century, of considerable anticolonial activities during the Ten Years' War (1868–1878), of a decisive naval battle between the United States and Spain in 1898, and of early revolutionary operations involving Fidel Castro. The city has long been an industrial and commercial center; the original home of Bacardi rum, it boasts the oldest chamber of commerce in Cuba (1885).

See alsoTen Years' War; Velásquez, Diego de.


Emilio Bacardí Moreau, Crónicas de Santiago de Cuba, 10 vols. (1972–1973).

Vicente Báez, ed., La Enciclopedia de Cuba: Municipios, Oriente, vol. 12 (1974).

Leví Marrero, Cuba: Economía y sociedad, 15 vols. (1974–1992).

Additional Bibliography

Duharte Jiménez, Rafael. El negro en la sociedad colonial. Santiago de Cuba: Editorial Oriente, 1988.

Duharte Jiménez, Rafael and Elizabet Recio Lobaina, Eds. Santiago de Cuba siglo XX: Cronistas y viajeros miran la ciudad. Santiago de Cuba: Editorial Oriente, 2005.

Gott, Richard. Cuba: A New History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.

                         Linda K. Salvucci

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