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An Intro to Cuba's History | Travel Series S1:E1

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

FE Active is more than just a camping gear company. We're proud to be a company run by travelers, adventurers and people living the lifestyle we promote through our products. One such employee had the opportunity to backpack across Cuba in early 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic, and in this Cuban blog series, will recount the adventures experienced along this amazing journey.

"We wanted to begin our journey by connecting with the country - and what better way to do that than learn a bit of it's history".

If you're more of a visual learner, you can follow our journey on our private YouTube channel "Destination Earth" by watching the video below.

Sitting 70 miles from Miami is the Caribbean island of Cuba. It's a country full of vibrant culture, crystal clear waters, and beautiful people. Perhaps a bit mysterious to many (as they still don't allow many American's to enter), Cuba is a country which appears to be "stuck" in the past.

Some may see the old classic cars, the horse and buggy "taxi's", and the basic homes and think "the area needs to evolve", but in fact, it's just one thing that makes this country so lovely. Unlike many Caribbean nations, it hasn't seen its land shaped by other cultures (well, besides the Spanish). As you walk the streets, you'll never come across a chain store. No McDonalds, no Walmart, no Walgreens. It's an experience you can't get in many places.

A Brief History Lesson

Beginning about 6,000 years ago, the island was solely inhabited by the Taino people - a group of Indigenous peoples found throughout the Caribbean. They lived peacefully in the area until the Spanish arrived in the 15th century. As was custom in the day, when the Spanish arrived, they attempted to convert the locals to Christianity, killed those who rebelled and claimed the land in the name of Spain.

Jose Marti, the first Cuban's to attempt a revolution, failed in his attempts to separate Cuba from Spain, but ultimately helped forge the way for other people (like Fidel Castro) down the road to be successful in this cause.

The land remained in Spain's control until 1898, falling during the Spanish-American War. With the signing of the Treaty of Paris, Spain and America ended the war, with the United States taking partial control of the island.

A Change in the Tides

Despite the overseeing eye of the US, the leaders of Cuba (General Batista) were unable to convince the nation and other interested countries that Cuba could actually self-govern, and out of this, tensions within the country began to grow. Emerging from the shadows, one charismatic, passionate and dedicated leader began to emerge - someone who "had enough" of the heavy-handed control of the US over Cuba and its citizens - Fidel Castro.

By 1956, Castro had went across the island recruiting Cubans to stage a revolt. He had great success appealing to the population and had acquired an army of followers who were ready to fight for their freedom, and the freedom of their country.

As Castro continued to gain power and authority, the US began pulling their troops from the country, leaving Batista short-handed and politically weakened by 1958.

One year later in 1959, Castro lead his army of over 9000 soldiers into the capital city of Havana, forcing Batista to leave, and taking over political control of the island. Castro became Prime Minister, his brother Raul his Deputy, and Guevara his third in command.

Today the liberation of Cuba is still very much at the forefront of the the country. Signs and posters and tributes to Fidel Castro and Jose Marti can be seen in all corners of the country. Although some don't believe the Communist way of life is best-suited for the country, others are still very happy with the outcome.

Where Next?

Our next post takes us across the island to eastern Cuba. We'll be exploring Holguin, the countries 4th largest city. Learn more about these adventures by following along for future blog posts. FE Active is all about supporting your travel and camping goals, and equipping you for #thejourneyforward!

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