A Short History of Cuba
In pre-Columbian times, 3 groups of aborigines populated in Cuba as well in all The New World. The groups are Guanahatabetes, Ciboneys and Tainos. The Taino are well-renowned besides being a hunter and a fisherman, they also were farmers. They lived in villages and were experienced ocean travelers.
On October 28, 1492, Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba and named it “Juana,” in honor of Prince Don Juan, son of Queen Isabella. Cubanacan was the Indian name of Cuba. King Ferdinand ordered Diego Columbus (son of Christopher), governor-general of Hispaniola, to commissioned Diego Velasquez to conquer and settle Cuba. Velasquez accompanied Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to Cuba. The Indians are hospitable to the conquerors but they were treated terribly by Velasquez. Hatuey, the head chieftain of Taino, spread the word about the cruel white men to the Cuban natives. Unfortunately that move and a bunch of raided attacks on the conquerors put the life of chieftain on to the death. He was set on fire while hanging on a cross.
The island’s name was changed to Fernandina in honor of the monarch Ferdinand. It was changed again to Santiago in honor of the Spain’s patron saint, and then changed to Ave Maria in honor of Blessed Virgin Mary. During all these changes, the country was still known Cuba up until now. In the early 1800s, Cuba’s sugarcane industry boomed resulting to massive recruitment of black slaves. Slavery was abolished in 1886. When Jose Marti led the struggle to put out the Spanish regime in 1886, the United States intervenes in 1898. In 1899, a treaty made Cuba an independent republic under U.S. protection.