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Facts about Cuba for Kids


The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. To the north of Cuba lies the United States and the Bahamas, Mexico is to the west, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica are to the south, and Haiti and the Dominican Republic are to the southeast. Cuba remained a territory of Spain until the Spanish–American War ended in 1898, and gained formal independence from the U.S. in 1902.

  • Batista was ousted in January 1959 by the July 26 movement, and a new administration under Fidel Castro established, which had by 1965 evolved into a single-party state under the revived Communist Party of Cuba, which holds power to date.
  • Cuba is home to over 11 million people and is the most populous island nation in the Caribbean, as well as the largest by area.
  • Its people, culture, and customs draw from diverse sources, such as the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves and its proximity to the United States.
  • Cuba has a 99.8% literacy rate, an infant death rate lower than some developed countries, and an average life expectancy of 77.64.
  • Authors who believe that Christopher Columbus was Portuguese state that Cuba was named by Columbus for the ancient town of Cuba in the district of Beja in Portugal.
  • He became Cuba’s first permanent governor who resided in Havana instead of Santiago, and he built Havana’s first church made of masonry.
  • Although there was agitation for independence, the Spanish Crown gave Cuba the motto La Siempre Fidelísima Isla (“The Always Most Faithful Island”).
  • This loyalty was due partly to Cuban settlers’ dependence on Spain for trade, their desire for protection from pirates and against a slave rebellion, and partly because they feared the rising power of the United States more than they disliked Spanish rule.
  • The U.S. Congress passed a resolution calling for intervention, and President William McKinley complied.
  • Under Cuba’s new constitution, the US retained the right to intervene in Cuban affairs and to supervise its finances and foreign relations.
  • Following disputed elections in 1906, the first president, Tomás Estrada Palma, faced an armed revolt by independence war veterans who defeated the meager government forces.
  • Cuban armed forces were not greatly involved in combat during World War II, although president Batista suggested a joint U.S.-Latin American assault on Francoist Spain in order to overthrow its authoritarian regime.
  • In 1958, Cuba was a relatively well-advanced country by Latin American standards, and in some cases by world standards.
  • Cuba attracted more immigrants, primarily from Europe, as a percentage of population than the U.S. The United Nations noted Cuba for its large middle class.
  • On the other hand, Cuba was affected by perhaps the largest labor union privileges in Latin America, including bans on dismissals and mechanization.
  • Barquín negotiated the symbolic change of command between Camilo Cienfuegos, Che Guevara, Raúl Castro, and his brother Fidel Castro after the Supreme Court decided that the Revolution was the source of law and its representatives should assume command.
  • Cuba became a privileged client-state of the Soviet Union.
  • The Cuban government has been accused of numerous human rights abuses including torture, arbitrary imprisonment, unfair trials, and extrajudicial executions.
  • Cuba is the principal island, surrounded by four smaller groups of islands: the Colorados Archipelago on the northwestern coast, the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago on the north-central Atlantic coast, the Jardines de la Reina on the south-central coast and the Canarreos Archipelago on the southwestern coast.
  • School attendance is compulsory from ages six to the end of basic secondary education, and all students, regardless of age or gender, wear school uniforms with the color denoting grade level.
  • Cuba has provided state subsidized education to a limited number of foreign nationals at the Latin American School of Medicine.