As one of the first lands in North America found by the European explorers, Cuba became the first contact from the great explorer Christopher Columbus. It was said that North America was discovered in 1492 when Christopher Columbus and his crew stepped in the new world. Cuba’s native people and the new Spanish explorers developed settlements within Cuba to make a destination for trade and travel between North America and Europe. Cuba was controlled by Spain for much of modern history, until the United States and Spain went to war, where the US defeated Spain and took control of Cuba. In 1902, Cuba became an independent nation, no longer a territory of The United States. Cuba has an interesting history through the changes in leadership and government that influenced the people and culture of the country. Though Cuba is just a small island, many countries are influenced greatly by Cuban products and culture.
1. Baseball is Cuba’s Sport of Choice
When baseball was first invented in The United States, it quickly gained popularity in Cuba. Baseball is a relatively easy sport to play because many people can be involved and it requires very little equipment. Cubans have been playing baseball ever since its foundation. Many generations have played baseball for fun or competitively. An interesting fact about Cuba is that takes baseball so seriously, that many young people train every day until they can become some of the best in the sport.
Many of the United States’ Major League Baseball stars have come from Cuba, becoming names recognized in many households. Cuban culture is spread through baseball in the United States. The Cuban national baseball team is one of the best in the world, proving to be one of the hardest opponents for their international competition.
2. Cuban Music Influences the World
Cubans have created a form of classical guitar music known as “son.” This style brings classical music styling with Spanish infused beats and rhythms to make upbeat songs to listen to when relaxing or when you want to dance. It is common to find performers all over the Cuban cities who have practiced this style of guitar playing for years. Cuban guitar music has influenced music styles in Mexico as well as South America. The United States also developed a love for Cuban music, with many modern songs and musicians including some styling of Cuban son music. Along with the beautiful music from Cuba, many styles of dance have originated in this country, a fun Cuba fact.
3. Sugar is This Country’s Main Product
Throughout Cuba’s long history, people have been farming sugarcane for sugar production. Sugar is used heavily in many Cuban dishes, making their food very sweet. Cuban sugar became one of the most profitable crops during the colonization period in North American history. The sugar from Cuba was traded between the United States, Europe, and Africa. Cuban sugar then became a commodity used across the globe. Many sugary products today may use the famous Cuban sugar.
4. Cuban is Home to Exotic Wildlife
An interesting fact about Cuba is that the rainy and warm climate of this country is home to some of the most beautiful rainforests. Cuba’s rainforests are not as large as those found in Central and South America, but this does not mean that a large number of plants and animals are not present in Cuba. The smallest frog and hummingbirds in the world are found in Cuba, both of these animals just a few centimeters large. The wide variety of plants and animals has proven to be a leading location for scientific research and discovery. The discovery of plant and animal life has made Cuba a leading location for natural science research that influences the entire world. Cuba’s plants and animals are a leading reason for international tourists to visit the country.
5. Find The Old World in Cuba
Due to changes in government in Cuba that was not agreeable to the United States, Cuba became an enemy of the US for some time. In the 1940s, Cuba’s government shifted and the US cut off trade with Cuba. Because of this, Cuba was restricted to the products that were traded between the two before 1940. Food and clothing is still easy to come by in Cuba, but modern inventions are few and far between.
In Cuba, visitors will see cars from the 1930s and 40s and very old style kitchen appliances. It is examples like this that show how Cuba’s access to modern technology was far behind the rest of the world. Now, it is common to find more modern products, but they mix with many of the machines from over 70 years ago. These old technologies are a defining part of Cuban culture and many international travelers find Cuba’s link to the old world a pleasant escape from modern technology.
6. There are Two Types of Money
In Cuba, the types of money that native people use is different than the money given to visitors. While the money has the same value, they utilize this system to maintain a record of money spent inside the country versus money coming outside of Cuba. As a visitor coming from outside of Cuba, it is only possible to get one type of money, a fun fact about Cuba. The Cuban Peso is a similar currency to Mexican Peso, but the value of the Cuban Peso is much closer to the US Dollar. The currency in Cuba is as strong as US currency, meaning prices are very similar between the two countries.
Cuba has influenced the world through music, dance, and food. The proximity to The United States means that culture flows between the two countries. Cuba’s political history caused some tension between the two countries, but it does not stop the flow of culture. Cuban cuisine and art can be found in many places within the United States and in countries in Central and South America. The small island has had a very large impact on the entire world. A blend of native, Spanish, and American cultures has developed Cuba into a unique country with individual culture.
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