The official name of Cuba is the Republic of Cuba.
Cuba is the largest of all islands in the Caribbean. The country also includes more than 4000 other much smaller islands and cays.
From the air, the island of Cuba resembles a crocodile or alligator and so Cuba is often referred to in Spanish as "El Cocodrilo" or "El Caimá".
The capital and largest city of Cuba is Havana or "La Habana" in Spanish.
Cuba has a population of 11.3 million people as of 2023.
Original indigenous inhabitants of Cuba were the Guanajatabey people followed by the Ciboney and Taíno tribes. In 1492, Christopher Columbus arrived on the island and claimed it as a Spanish territory.
Cuba remained a Spanish colony until the Spanish-American War of 1898 when the country became part of the United States. This was only brief though, the country was given independence in 1902.
The United States had a strong influence over the island until 1959, when communist revolutionaries, led by Fidel Castro, took over. The country remains one of the world's four self-declared communist states today, although Castro himself stepped aside in 2008 due to health complications.
Cuba is renown for its music, bands play everywhere in the capital Havana. The main musical form is called son, which is a combination of upbeat rhythms with classical guitar.
Sugar from sugar cane is the main crop grown in Cuba, followed by tobacco which is used in the making of hand-crafted cigars that are famous for being the finest cigars in the world.
Nickel is Cuba's most important mineral resource at 21% of total exports in 2011 nearly 4% of the world's production.
In a traditional Cuban meal the food is not served in courses, instead all the food is served at the same time.
Cubans drive on the right-hand side of the road.
Cuban culture features a variety of influences from Africa, Spain and the Taino, indigenous people of the Caribbean.
Baseball is the most popular sport in Cuba. The country is also dominant in boxing and has produced a number of Olympic boxing champions. Other sports of interest include basketball, volleyball, cricket, football (soccer) and athletics.
The game of dominoes is extremely popular in Cuba.
As of 2013 Cuba has 9 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list, 7 of these cultural sites and 2 of them natural.
For more information, check out maps of Cuba or take a closer look at the Cuban flag.