Capital city La Habana
Surface 109,886 km²
Population 11,167,000
Road network length 29,830 km
Length of highway network 670 km
First highway Circa 1959
Motorway name autopista
Traffic drives Right
License plate code C

Cuba (Spanish: República de Cuba) is an island nation in the Caribbean, with over 11 million inhabitants. The capital is La Habana (Havana).


According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Cuba is a large island in the western Atlantic Ocean, in the transition zone of the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the rest of the ocean. The island is not far from landmasses, with mainland Florida 200 kilometers to the north and the Yucatán Peninsula 200 kilometers to the west. The Bahamas is to the northeast, Haiti to the east and Jamaica to the south. Cuba measures a maximum of 1,100 kilometers from west to east and is between 50 and 150 kilometers wide.

Most of Cuba consists of lowlands and low hills, only the south is more mountainous, along the south coast are mountains with peaks between 1,000 and 1,500 meters, but the highest point is the 1,974 meter high Pico Turquino. Lagoons, coves, coves and small islands line the north coast, as well as parts of the south coast. The Isla de la Juventud is located south of the main island of Cuba, making it the largest other island in Cuba.

Cuba has a tropical climate, which is tempered by sea breezes. The relatively northern location ensures that it is less warm in winter than in summer, the average maximum temperature in Havana varies from 26°C in winter to 32°C in summer. Cuba is prone to hurricanes, which regularly pass through the island between June and November. However, the country is well prepared for this.


Cuba has more than 11 million inhabitants. The capital La Habana (Havana) is by far the largest city in Cuba with 2.2 million inhabitants. See Cuba population density. There are 10 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, 5 of which have between 200,000 and 400,000 inhabitants. Cuba therefore has a relatively urbanized population. Population growth slowed significantly in the late 20th century and is today one of the lowest in the Western Hemisphere.

Cuba’s population is largely of white European descent, with whites making up 64% of the population, far more than most other countries in the Caribbean region. 28% of the population consists of Mestizos, a mix of Europeans and Indo-Americans. Africans make up 9% of the population.


Cuba is a socialist state with a centrally planned economy, one of the few countries in the world that still has a traditionally planned economy. Most of the population is employed by the government or public companies. However, private companies are on the rise. The country has two currencies, the regular peso and the convertible peso used in the tourism industry. Salaries in Cuba are extremely low, an average Cuban earns less than €20 a month. On the other hand, healthcare and housing are free.

Cuba’s economy has been heavily dependent on the Soviet Union since the revolution. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba went into crisis with severe food shortages. The planned economy is inefficient and the country is in constant economic stagnation. The best-known export product of Cuba is probably the cigars. Agricultural products, mining products and medicines are also important exports of Cuba.


In 1492 Columbus landed on the north coast of Cuba. The first Spanish settlement was founded in 1511, followed by La Habana in 1515, which would later become the capital. Diseases to which the indigenous people were not immune were almost completely wiped out the original population. The island was gradually developed, the economy in the 17th and 18th centuries did not depend as much on plantations as other islands in the Caribbean. There were also fewer slaves. In the mid-18th century, La Habana was one of the largest cities in the Western Hemisphere. After slavery was abolished in the French colonies, many slaves were imported to Cuba in the early 19th century. In the 1820s, Spain lost almost all of its colonies in Latin America, but Cuba remained loyal to Spain. Independence came later in Cuba, although several American presidents attempted to buy Cuba from Spain in the 19th century. In 1895, the Cuban War of Independence began, culminating in a Spanish-American War, resulting in Cuba’s independence in 1898 and the end of the Spanish colonial period in the Americas.

Cuba was an American protectorate between 1898 and 1902, after which it became independent from the United States. Since then, the United States has leased the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in southeastern Cuba. In the 1920s, Cuba modernized significantly and became a tourist destination for wealthy Americans. In the 1950s, Cuba was one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America and was seen as a success story and scored high on many indicators. In 1956, Fidel Castro started an uprising against the government, which culminated in the Cuban Revolution of 1959, after which a Soviet-style socialist state was established.

In 1961, the CIA supported a failed invasion to overthrow Castro’s regime. Sanctions were imposed on Cuba both by the United States and the Organization of American States (OAS). In 1962 followed the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which the Soviet Union installed nuclear weapons in Cuba. In the 1970s, Cuba supported various military operations in Africa conducted by the Soviet Union. In 1975, the OAS lifted sanctions against Cuba, but US sanctions remained in effect. Cuba was hit hard by the collapse of the Soviet Union from 1989, which is called the “período especial”, during which there were severe shortages of food and fuel due to the cessation of Soviet subsidies. Left-wing governments in Latin America such as those of Venezuela and Bolivia began to support Cuba from then on.

Cuba Location Map