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name Cuba comes from the Taino language, but what word exactly is questionable.
It seems to be rooted in either the word cubao, meaning "fertile land
is abundant" or coabana, which means "great place."
WARNING: International disputes
with Cuba are ongoing, please read this
travel warning before going!
Island life affects the culture dramatically as the country of Cuba is, quite literally,
isolated by the water and hence, the culture can move in its own direction without
much resistance. This particular direction has been most pronounced in recent decades
under communist rule, but in many ways the people have lived much as they have for
centuries, reliant on the lands and seas for food and lifestyle.
Cuba has fertile lands, which have allowed the growth of numerous foods, hence sustaining
life on the island for centuries. Additionally, the mountains and waters around
the island have created a somewhat isolated culture that survived for years. However,
with the arrival of the Spanish and other Europeans most of the indigenous people
on the island died as they were replaced with Europeans and the former culture gave
way to an European-inspired one.
The three blue stripes on Cuba's flag
represent the three old divisions: central, occidental, and oriental. The two white
stripes symbolize the purity of independence, and the red triangle symbolizes liberty,
equality, and fraternity, as well as the blood shed during the struggle for independence.
The star lights the way to freedom and is called La Estrella Solitaria
or "The Lone Star," which was adopted from Texas's flag.
Name: Republic of Cuba
Independence: May 20, 1902,
Triumph of the Revolution Day: January 1, 1959
Currency: Cuban Peso
Population: 11,061,886 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: European, mestizo, & others
Religion: Roman Catholic
With the arrival of the Europeans and other people, particularly those from Africa,
the culture slowly changed. Through much of the island's modern history the
cultural changes have been fairly similar to those of the greater Caribbean with
African influences in the way of music, dance, and food, but the Spanish continued
the cultural dominance in the forms of language, religion (Catholicism), clothing,
foods, and lifestyle. However, with shipping lanes passing by the country and international
trade, the culture also gained aspects from numerous other cultures and peoples.
Although the true core of the culture in Cuba is based the people who settled the
island, it is the recent history, under communist rule, that is perhaps more visible
today. The communists have discouraged religion, isolated the country from numerous
foreign governments, and have even prevented their own people from traveling abroad.
This isolation and strong governmental rule has created a culture that is developing
on a fairly unique path as communist ideologies have changed the mindsets of the
people and much of life and the economic is domestically-focused.
Due to this isolation in Cuba, technology and social progress arrived slowly, although
in some social realms the country has progressed very rapidly as education and healthcare
has vastly expanded. Today the country is attempting to imitate the world in some
ways, but in many ways the people don't desire foreign influences. This isolation
has maintained a traditional culture in many ways as it has kept a balance between
people and nature that is rarely seen in the world today. However, this isolation
has also dramatically changed the culture in many ways, such as through the destruction
Today the wildlife in Cuba and in the seas around Cuba still exist in substantial
numbers and today the people can typically survive off the plant life and animals
on or around the island. In this way the people continue to live a fairly simple
life rooted in their past and the nature around them. Even in the present day the
people live off the land more than most people do as fishing and farming are substantial
industries. However, many other changes are underway as a stagnant economy has forced
the government to open its doors as tourism is rapidly expanding and foreign influences
are changing the people regularly. In what direction these internal and external
forces will move the people and their culture is still uncertain.
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