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Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba
Official seal of Santiago de Cuba
Santiago municipality (red) within  Santiago Province (yellow) and Cuba
Santiago municipality (red) within
Santiago Province (yellow) and Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is located in Cuba
Santiago de Cuba
Location of Santiago de Cuba in Cuba
Country Cuba
Province Santiago de Cuba
Established 1515
Founded by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar
 • City 1,023.8 km2 (395.3 sq mi)
Elevation 82 m (269 ft)
Population (2004)[1]
 • City 509,143
 • Density 461.3/km2 (1,195/sq mi)
 • Metro 1,049,084
Demonym(s) Santiaguero/a
Area code(s) +53 22

Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city of Cuba and capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province in the south-eastern area of the island, some 540 miles (870 km) south-east of the Cuban capital of Havana.

The municipality extends over 1,023.8 square kilometers (395.3 sq mi),[2] and contains the communities of Antonio Maceo, Bravo, Castillo Duany, Daiquirí, El Caney, El Cobre, El Cristo,[3] Guilera, Leyte Vidal, Moncada and Siboney.[4]

Historically Santiago de Cuba has long been the second most important city on the island after Havana, and still remains the second largest. It is on a bay connected to the Caribbean Sea and is an important sea port. In 2004 the city of Santiago de Cuba had a population of about 509,143 people.[5]


  • History 1
    • Role in the Cuban Revolution 1.1
  • Culture 2
    • World Heritage Site 2.1
    • World Heritage Biosphere Reserve 2.2
  • Geography 3
    • Climate 3.1
  • Demographics 4
  • Transportation 5
  • Schools 6
  • Natives and residents 7
  • International relations 8
    • Twin towns – Sister cities 8.1
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Street life

Santiago de Cuba was the fifth village founded by Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar on July 25, 1515. In 1516 the settlement was destroyed by fire, and was immediately rebuilt. This was the starting point of the expeditions led by Juan de Grijalba and Hernán Cortés to the coasts of Mexico in 1518, and in 1538 by Hernando de Soto's expedition to Florida. The first cathedral was built in the city in 1528. From 1522 until 1589 Santiago was the capital of the Spanish colony of Cuba.

The city was plundered by French forces in 1553, and by British forces under Christopher Myngs in 1662.

The city experienced an influx of French and British immigrants in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, many coming from Haiti after the Haitian slave revolt of 1791. This added to the city's eclectic cultural mix, already rich with Spanish and African culture.

It was also the location where Spanish troops faced their main defeat at San Juan Hill on July 1, 1898, during the Spanish–American War. After capturing the surrounding hills, General William Rufus Shafter laid siege to the city.[6] Spain later surrendered to the United States after Admiral William T. Sampson destroyed the Spanish Atlantic fleet just outside Santiago's harbor on July 3, 1898.[6][7]

Cuban poet, writer, and national hero, José Martí, is buried in Cementerio Santa Efigenia.

Before Pope Francis' visit to the United States, he will visit Cuba, including Santiago de Cuba.

Role in the Cuban Revolution

Santiago was also the home of the revolutionary hero,

  • Tourist info and news about Santiago de Cuba
  • Homepage
  • Municipality webpage (Spanish)
  • Map of Santiago Bay from 1639 (Dutch)

External links

  1. ^ a b (2006). "2004 Population trends, by Province and Municipality" (in Español). Retrieved October 5, 2007. 
  2. ^ (2006). "Municipalities of Santiago de Cuba" (in Español). Retrieved October 5, 2007. 
  3. ^ (Spanish) El Cristo on EcuRed
  4. ^ "Palma Soriano" (in Español). Retrieved October 5, 2007. 
  5. ^ Cuba demographics
  6. ^ a b Nugent. Walter. Habits of Empire, A History of American Expansion. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2008. p 301
  7. ^
  8. ^ Cannon, Terrance (1981). "Frank País and the Underground Movement in the cities". Retrieved May 21, 2006. 
  9. ^ "Who was Frank Pais?". 1981. Retrieved May 21, 2006. 
  10. ^ World Heritage Site
  11. ^ Heritage Biosphere Reserve Site
  12. ^ "Average Weather for Santiago de Cuba, --Temperature and Precipitation". Retrieved June 22, 2008. 
  13. ^ a b c National Stadistics Office - Transportation
  14. ^ (Spanish) Santiago de Cuba railway station on EcuRed
  15. ^ Vacca, Maria Luisa. "Comune di Napoli -Gemellaggi" [Naples - Twin Towns]. Comune di Napoli (in Italian). Archived from the original on 2013-06-22. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  16. ^ "Town Twinning Agreements". Municipalidad de Rosario - Buenos Aires 711. Retrieved 2014-10-14. 


See also

Santiago de Cuba is twinned with:

Twin towns – Sister cities

International relations

Natives and residents

The main tertiary education institution is the University of Santiago de Cuba (Universidad de Oriente - Santiago de Cuba, UO).


The city of Santiago is also crossed by the Carretera Central highway and by the southern section of the A1 motorway, largely unbuilt, that will link it with Havana as for the final project.

Ferrocarriles de Cuba railways and ASTRO inter-city buses connect the city with Havana's Central Railway Station and with most other main cities of Cuba. The main railway station, also known as "General Senén Casas", is an important hub of the national railways. Located in city centre, near the harbour, was completely rebuilt in 1997.[14]

The public transit in the city, like Havana, is carried out by two divisions, Omnibus Metropolitanos (OM) and Metrobus.[13] The Metrobus serves the inner-city urban area, with a maximum distance of 20 km (12 mi).[13] Omnibus Metropolitanos (OM) connects the adjacent towns and municipalities in the metropolitan area with the city center, with a maximum distance of 40 km (25 mi).[13]

Santiago is served by Antonio Maceo Airport. Cubana de Aviación connects the city with Havana, Montréal, Madrid and Paris-Orly, other airlines connect the city with the rest of the Caribbean and North America.


Historical population of Santiago de Cuba
1861 1899 1907 1919 1931 1943 1953
36,752 43,090 45,470 62,083 101,508 118,266 163,237
1970 1981 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
277,600 347,279 423,392 424,031 424,905 425,780 426,199
2007 2008 2009
426,618 426,679 446,233
Census until 2002; between 2003 and 2009 are estimates

In 2004, the municipality of Santiago de Cuba had a population of 494,337.[1] With a total area of 1,024 km2 (395 sq mi), it has a population density of 482.8/km2 (1,250/sq mi).

Street Vendor with Barbecued Pig - Santiago de Cuba - Cuba


Climate data for Santiago de Cuba
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 82
Average low °F (°C) 70
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.90

Under the Köppen climate classification, Santiago de Cuba has a tropical savanna climate with no significant wet and dry periods through the year.


The city has been growing at the bottom of the bay and is surrounded on land by the Sierra Maestra. This determines the hot and humid climate of the place, the landscapes features rich composition of urban elements, natural and marine at the same time. It has an irregular offset, which contributed to the development of an urban setting where the avenues and streets are steep or descend.

Santiago de Cuba is located in the southeast of the island at coordinates 20 ° 01'17 .42 "N 75 ° 49'45 .75" O, some 540 miles (870 km) of the capital, Havana. Historically Santiago de Cuba has been the second largest city in Cuba, behind Havana. It features a bay connected to the Caribbean Sea and is a major port. The municipality of Santiago de Cuba, where is its capital city, is the most populated of Cuba.


The Baconao Park was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserve List in 1987.[11]

World Heritage Biosphere Reserve

The local citadel of San Pedro de la Roca is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "the most complete, best-preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture, based on Italian and Renaissance design principles"[10]

World Heritage Site

In the city there are multiple architectural styles, from Baroque to neoclassical. Of special interest are the wooded parks, the steep streets, colonial buildings with huge windows and crowded balconies. Preserved historical treasures include the first home in the Americas, the first cathedral in Cuba, the first copper mine opened in the Americas and the first Cuban museum.

A relatively high number of residents of the city adhere to Afro-Cuban religions, most notably santería. The city hosts an important community of descendants from Haitian immigrants from the 19th century. Some aspects of the religious "vodún" heritage of the city can be traced back to this community.

Children Playing Chess on the Street - Santiago de Cuba

Furthermore, Santiago de Cuba is well known for its traditional dances, most notably son, from which salsa has been derived, and guaguancó, which is accompanied by percussion music only. The city is also well known for its Carnival, which is strangely enough celebrated in July. During Carnival, traditional conga music is played in the streets on a traditional pentatonic trumpet, called the trompeta china.

Santiago de Cuba is well known for its cultural life. Some of Cuba's most famous musicians, including Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer and Eliades Ochoa (all of whom participated in the Buena Vista Social Club) and trova composer Ñico Saquito (Benito Antonio Fernández Ortiz) were born in the city or in one of the villages surrounding it. They have contributed to the typical, country-like music of the city.

Santiago de Cuba was the hometown of poet José María Heredia. It houses a museum that displays the extensive art collection of the Bacardí family.

The tomb of Compay Segundo
Barbershop in Santiago de Cuba


On January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro proclaimed the victory of the Cuban Revolution from a balcony on Santiago de Cuba's city hall.

In the summer of 1955, País' organization merged with Castro's July 26 Movement. País became the leader of the new organization in Oriente province, though two years later he was betrayed to the police and was shot after his capture.

País' group prepared carefully, accruing weapons, collecting money, collecting medical supplies. They published a cheap newsletter that reported news that criticized the government, attempting to counter Batista's censorship.[9]


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