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INFORMATION ABOUT CUBA

INFORMATION ABOUT CUBA

Cuba lies at the western end of the Greater Antilles group of the Caribbean islands, which began to heave from the sea about 150 million years ago. Curling east and south like a shepherd's crook are the much younger and smaller Lesser Antilles, a cluster of mostly volcanic islands that bear little resemblance to their larger neighbor.

Cuba is by far the largest of the Caribbean islands at 110,860 square kilometers. It is only slightly smaller than the state of Louisiana, half size of the United Kingdom, and three times the size of the Netherlands. It sits just south of the Tropic of Cancer at the eastern perimeter of the Gulf of Mexico, 150 kilometers south of Key West, Florida, 140 kilometers north of Jamaica, and 210 kilometers east of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

It is separated from Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic) to the east by the narrow, 77-kilometer-wide Wind-ward Passage, or Old Bahamas Channel.

Cuba is actually an archipelago with some 4,000-plus islands, islets, and cays dominated by the main island, which is 1,200 kilometers long - from Cabo de San Antonio in the west to Descripción: Geography4Punta Maisí in the east - and between 32 and 210 kilometers wide. Shaped like an alligator, Cuba is a crescent, convex to the north.

Slung beneath the mainland's underbelly is the Isla de la Juventud {2200 square km} the westernmost of a chain of smaller islands  the Archipelago de los Canarreos  which extends eastward for 110 kilometers across the Golfo de Batabano. Farther east beneath east central Cuba is a shoal group of tiny coral cays sprinkled with beaches like powdered diamonds poking up a mere four or five meters from the sapphire sea  the Archipiélago de los Jardines de la Reina. The central north coast too is  rimmed by a necklace of coral jewels dark green limned by  sand like crushed sugar shelving into bright turquoise  shallows with surf pounding on the reef edge. It's enough to bring out the Robinson Crusoe in anyone with the trail of a tiny lizard leading up toward the scrubby pines as perhaps the only sign that any living creature has been here before.

Cuban landscapes are soft and calming epitomized by sensual waves of lime green sugarcane undulating like a great swelling sea – landscapes that Kenneth Tynan described in Holiday magazine in 1961 as “of soft Pissarro and Cezanne color and the tropical intensity of Gauguin”. Emerald greens flow into burning golds soft faded pastels and warm ochers are relieved by brilliant tropical colors flower petals as red as lipstick and pavonine waters shading through dazzling jade. And yet the landscape is rarely dramatic extended flatlands and rolling plains cover almost two thirds of the island. Indeed Cuba is the least mountainous of the Greater Antilles with median elevation of less than 100 meters above the Descripción: Geography2sea level.                                                                                                     

 Its topography is dominated by  llanos ”the flatlands that at times seem to stretch     foreverlevel as football fields and just as green       smothered in swampland inhabited by crocodiles or parceled into a checkerboard quilt of banana groves               pineapple farms         citrus orchards rice paddies        and ubiquitous fields of sugarcane rippling in the breeze like folds of green silk. In contrast the upland plains of east central Cuba are relatively infertile and the habitat of Cuban cowboys  vaqueros who tend cattle.

CLIMATE

Subtropical. Hot and moist. The Cuban territory touches the Tropic of Cancer and due to its long and narrow configuration, oriented from East to West, it receives the refreshing action of the trade winds and the sea breezes. During the short winter, there is the influence of masses of cold air coming from the North, with cold fronts which don't last much.

There are only two seasons, wet (May - November) and dry (December - April), with regional Descripción: Playa en Cuba de arenas blancasvariations.

TEMPERATURES

Annual average: 25.2 Celsius Degrees.

Annual average daily sunshine hours:   8

In summer the temperature may rise to 32 Celsius Degrees or more.

Sea temperature rises from 26 Celsius Degrees in winter to 28 Celsius Degrees in summer

POPULATION

11,180,000 inhabitants, composed by a mixture of Spaniards, Africans, Chinese, and also some migratory groups of French, Haitians, Jamaicans, Italians, Japanese, Koreans, British and North Americans

 

FLAG

It was waved for the first time in Cardenas City {Province of Matanzas} in 1850, when a group of patriots raised in arms against the Spanish colonial power. It is conformed by a lone white star inside a red triangle, three blue stripes and two white stripes.

 

Descripción: Bandera Cuba

Descripción: Escudo Arms

 

 

 

COAT OF ARMS

An ogival and heart-shaped coat, whose upper section shows a golden key that symbolizes the important geographical position of the island, located between the two Americas. The raising sun symbolizes the emergence of a new nation. The five stripes {three blue and two white} represent the way the Island was divided in the colonial period. The royal Palm is a symbol of nobility and stability, characteristic of the Cuban people.

NATIONAL ANTHEM

It was patriot Perucho Figueredo who composed, in 1867, the music of the Anthem. Later, in 1868, when the mambises {Cuban troops} took Bayamo City {Province of Granma}, Figueredo himself wrote the lyrics.

In its first stanza the bayameses {people from Bayamo} are encouraged to join battle because motherland comtemplates them proudly. They are told not to fear a glorious death, because to die for the homeland means to live.

In the second one it is stated that to live in chains is to live in insult and disgrace subjected. The end is a strong call (to the sound of the clarion) to raise the weapons and join fight.

NATIONAL BIRD

The Tocororo {Priotelus temnuirus},autochthonous bird belonging to the Quetzal family. Its plumage represents the colors of the Cuban flag: red, blue and white.

NATIONAL FLOWER

The Butterfly, an endemic jasmine variety, that grows in the banks of the rivers and lagoons, Cubans also cultivate it in patios and gardens. During the wars of independence, the Cuban women used it to carry messages.

It symbolizes purity, rebelliousness and independence.

Descripción: Flor national

Descripción: Palma

 

NATIONAL TREE

The Royal Palm, with its magnanimity, strength and stability, that has become a symbol of the undeniable personality of the Cuban people.

 

FAUNA

No one is quite sure how many species Cuba's fauna possesses. The vast majority are invertebrates {mostly insects}, with many species endemic to specific regions, plus dozens of unique species and subspecies, including the world's smallest frog {Sminthillus Limbatus} and smallest bird {the bee hummingbird, also called the pájaro mosca -fly bird- for its diminutive size, or Zunzuncito for the swish of its wings}, an endemic crocodile species, and unique, beautifully colored snails of the genus Polymita, most commonly found in northeast Oriente, around Baracoa

FLORA

Cuba touts the most impressive species diversity of any Caribbean island.

Coastal mangrove and wet land preserves, dry forest, scrubby pine forest, pockets of rain forest and even montane cloud forest, almost desert-dry terrain supporting cacti, and other wild places are strewn like isles within an isle.

It boasts more than 6,700 higher-plants species, of which some 3,180 are endemic and about 950 are endangered.

 

The indisputable symbol of Cuba is the Rostonea regia, the majestic royal palm (Palma Real in Spanish), which grows singly or in great elegant clumps and graces the Cuban capital at every turn. Its smooth gray trunk, which can tower 25 meters, resembles a great marble column with a curious bulge near the top. Long leaves droop sinuously from the explosive top, blossoming afresh with each new moon.

Cuban National Flower is the brilliant white, heady-scented mariposa, a native species of jasmine that became a symbol of rebellion and purity at the time of the independence wars.

Both, forests and grasslands, flare with color, some flamboyantly. Begonias, anthuriums, "Indian laburnum," oleander, and poinsettia are common, as are the sensitive mimosa, hibiscus, blossoming hydrangea, bright pink morning glory, and bougainvillea in its rainbow assortment of riotous colors.

Impossible not to mention fruit trees, indigenous and exotic woody species, orchids and other epiphyte species, water hyacinths with the white and purple blooms crowding the freshwater lakes, the brilliant scarlet Cupid's tears, among others.

                                                      

 

 

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