The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







This article is about the Cuban city. For other places named Havana, please see Havana (disambiguation)
1888 German map of Havana
1888 German map of Havana
Old Havana, 2002
Old Havana, 2002

Havana (Spanish: San Cristóbal de La Habana) is the capital of Cuba and, with a population of 2.1 million, the largest city in the Caribbean.



Conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar founded Havana in 1515 on the southern coast of the island, near the current town Surgidero de Batabanó. Havana moved to its current location by the then called Carenas bay in 1519.

Havana was originally as a trading port, and became the capital of the Spanish colony of Cuba in 1607, and the main port of the Spanish colonies in the New World.

Havana suffered from being burnt by buccaneers in 1538, and looted in 1555 and 1553. Great Britain seized the city in 1762, when they opened the port to free trade, then exchanged it for Florida the following year. After regaining the city, the Spanish made it the most heavily fortified city in the Americas.

In the 1920s during Prohibition in the United States, Havana became a popular vacation destination for Americans; the nightclubs and gambling survived Repeal, but most were closed in 1959 after the Cuban Revolution.

Old Havana preserves a wealth of Spanish Colonial architecture, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Havana was a candidate to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, but was not shortlisted.

Havana's international airport is Jose Marti International Airport.

The city is also twinned with Glasgow, Scotland.

Places in Havana

  • Malecón is the avenue that runs along the seawall at the northern shore of Havana.
  • La Punta is the statarting point of Prado Ave., or Paseo del Prado. It is the intersection of Prado with Malecón Ave.
  • Jacomino is a stretch along the San Miguel road (west-east), between Vírgen del Camino and Ciudad Mar, and between Guardiola and La Fernanda (north-south). Its three major streets are Santa Emilia, Calzada and Beltrán.

See also

Dusk on Havana's waterfront
Dusk on Havana's waterfront

Further reading

  • Barclay, Juliet (1993). Havana: Portrait of a City. London: Cassell. ISBN 1844031276 (2003 paperback edition). — A comprehensive account on the history of Havana from the early 16th century to the end of the 19th century.

External links

Last updated: 06-01-2005 22:39:15
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13