Map of Colonial Cuba

Map of Cuba and surrounding Spanish Colonies, 1736

     Cuba, a large island in the Carribean, was one of the first American lands discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and subsequently colonized by the Spaniards.1

Columbus Discovers Cuba

A Depiction of Columbus’ Discovery of Cuba, 1492

As was the case with most New World colonies, the conquistadors arrived on the island with the belief that God’s will was for them to convert the colony’s indigenous population to Christianity. However, the power that came with this responsibility was often abused by the Spaniards, and it served as justification for the seizure of the riches of the colony and the execution of many violent acts against the Indians, which included forced labor, abuse, and murder.2 While Cuba began with a small role in the New World economy, during the 19th century, it became one of the region’s principal sugar producers. The demands of agricultural production necessitated the importation of millions of African slaves as the indigenous population was devastated by disease and labor demands.3 Colonization also had dramatic effects on the country’s culture, religion, gender relations, and demography that continued to develop up to, and even beyond, Cuba’s declaration of independence from Spain in 1898.4 This site contains an in-depth examination of each of these aspects of Cuban history, providing a comprehensive study of the changes and challenges that Cuba faced during the colonial period. For more information on each topic, please visit the “For Further Information” page.

Link to Main Page: Cities of Empire



1Central Intelligence Agency. “The World Factbook: Central America and Carribean: Cuba.” Last modified June 20, 2014. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cu.html.
2HISTORY. “Exploration of North America.” http://www.history.com/topics/exploration/exploration-of-north-america.
3Library of Congress- Federal Research Division. “Country Profile-Cuba.” Last modified September 2006. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles/Cuba.pdf.
4U.S. Department of State- Office of the Historian. “A Guide to the United States’ History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, Since 1776: Cuba.” https://history.state.gov/countries/cuba.


  1. mfcresposantac says:

    The site is very organized and the layout looks really nice. Each page contains descriptive summaries on the topic. It was also easy to move from page to page. Overall, I think the site and information look great!

  2. This page has an excellent layout and perfect background image! Your work is well-written. The only suggestion I would make would be to add content for further reading that applies to all of the topics you guys wrote about. Right now you only have links for demographics and the church. Other than that, this is a great page!

  3. Your whole website looks really nice and is super informative. Good job Cuba!

  4. kibroccofrench says:

    The website looks amazing!! I really like that your footnotes have links to pages where you got information or where we can get more information, also the websites they link to are pretty awesome! The website looks very organized and is easy to read and navigate, good job!

  5. I really like this page! The design and layout of it is really cool, and you provide a great general overview that nicely transitions into each additional page. Great job!

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