One of the most cited reasons for traveling to Cuba is its tumultuous history; people want to see where world-changing events happened and how they affected a people, culture and economy that has had such an impact on the world today.
Thousands of years before Columbus sailed from Spain to find the Indies there were settlers on Cuba, immigrants from other islands in the Caribbean. By the end of the 15th century the population numbered about 350,000, cultivating crops like tobacco and cotton, maize and sweet potatoes. Cuba was a paradise that provided everything its people needed until Christopher Columbus arrived in the late 1400's and Spain for the Cubans to submit to Spanish rule, installing a governor in Havana.
While struggling to keep up with global competition during their rule of Cuba, the British imported slaves from Africa in the 17th and 18th centuries. During the Haitian Revolution around 1800 Cuba was the destination of thousands of French refugees that fled the slave rebellion in Saint Domingue, refugees that bought slaves with them along with skills in refining coffee and sugar. Slavery was abolished in Cuba by the end of the 19th century; the Cubans were morally repulsed by the practice of slavery but the ruling class had compromised because of the profits in the sugar industry.
Many different cultures have made their way to Cuba-French, Creole, African, Spanish, British and many others. Religions have clashed, customs have been battled over but Cuba today is a fascinating blend of dozens of races, religions, customs, creeds and beliefs. You will be able to see this when you attend festivals and events throughout Cuba when you visit using the services of authentic Cuba tours
Cuba has been under the thumb of many governments and it boasts a long and proud history of resistance. When you travel to Cuba you will see many ancient prisons and sites of executions of martyrs fighting for their country. Not only did the inmates have to fight political reigns, they had to battle racism, religious persecution and economic oppression by the upper classes that inevitably concentrated power.
After the Spanish-American War in 1898 Cuba at last gained its independence in 1902. The country prospered economically but suffered politically through a succession of dictators. In the 20th century, Fulgencio Batista was overthrown in a bloody six year revolution that ended in the reign dictator Fidel Castro and his Communist Party of Cuba. Today Fidel's brother Raul is in charge of the island.
This continued until 2009 when travel restrictions were somewhat relaxed to allow educators, religious groups and others to visit Cuba.