Learn a little about Cuba and then print out our collection of printable activities, based around the Cuban flag, to reinforce what you have learned.
Old Havana, capital of Cuba
A Little Geography:
- Cuba is the largest of the Caribbean Islands, and lies only 90 miles south of the Key West on the tip of Florida, where the Carribean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean meet.
- It has a population of just over 11 million.
- Cuba is long (1,250 km, or 780 miles long) and narrow (less than 100 km wide for most of the length).
- Two thirds of the island is agricultural land.
- Cuba has a tropical climate, and many different habitats ranging from mountains to deserts, jungles to grassland.
- The capital city is Havana.
- The official language is Spanish.
A Little History:
Cuba was originally inhabited by three Amerindian tribes who were farmers, fisherman and hunter-gatherers. Christopher Columbus claimed Cuba for Spain in 1492 and Spanish colonists moved to the island to plant sugar cane and tobacco and other agricultural products. The indigenous people were soon wiped out - many by the diseases the Spaniards brought with them. Slaves from Africa were brought in to work the fields in increasing numbers. By the late 18th Century and 19th Century, Cuba was the world's largest sugar producer with huge numbers of slaves working on the plantations. Slavery wasn't abolished in Cuba until 1886.
Cubans began to fight for independence from Spain in 1850 but it was a long, hard struggle, The United States entered the battle and helped Cuba win independence from Spain in 1989 and then full independence in 1902, The US acted as its "protector" and maintained a strong, not always popular, influence.
In 1959, communist revolutionaries - led by Fidel Castro - took control of the island. Fidel Castro remained in charge until he died in 2008, when his brother, Raul Castro, took over. Since 2008, Cuba has opened up and is encouraging tourism.
Some Interesting Facts:
- The smallest bee in the world - the bee hummingbird - comes from Cuba. It grows to only 5 cm (2 inches) long!
- Cuba's favourite sport is baseball.
- Gloria Estefan and Andy Garcia are famous celebrities who come from Cuba.
- Traditional Cuban music is called "son" and combines the Spanish guitar with African drum beats.
- Salsa dance originated in Cuba.