Some historical places • Cuba

Embark on an eight-minute journey through the vibrant history of Cuba. Journey back to Ernest Hemingway's Havana home, walk the significant sites of the Cuban Revolution, and traverse the hallowed grounds of Spanish colonization. This video takes you on a deep dive into the heart of Cuba's history, from the days of Christopher Columbus to the heat of the revolution. Get an intimate look at Hemingway's Cuban lifestyle and the pivotal locations of the revolution that forever altered the trajectory of Cuba's history. Experience the rich culture and tradition through a comprehensive exploration of Cuba’s past. This is not just a trip through time, but a journey through the essence of Cuba. Don't miss this unprecedented opportunity to experience Cuba like never before.

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Cuba (EN)

vimeo chapterA click on this icon above displays the list of chapters of this film about Cuba. A click on a dot goes directly to a chapter.

Reading the text below will help you better understand the historical context of the sites shown in this video.

00:30 • Christopher Columbus arrives in Baracoa

02:00 • Piet Hein and the Spanish Galleons

03:23 • the Spanish-American war

04:32 • Ernest Hemmingway

05:50 • the cuban revolution

06:50 • the Bay of Pigs 


Spoken comments in the film: 

Christopher Columbus and the Taino Indians

Christopher Columbus was not the first to discover the Caribbean islands. More than 1000 years before the landing of the Europeans, Cuba and the other islands of the Greater Caribbean were already inhabited by the Taino Indians. The Taïnos were a peaceful and prosperous people practicing intensive agriculture.

The first contacts were warm, but the situation was soon to deteriorate for the Tainos. Ill-treatment on the part of the colonists, exactions and massacres as well as diseases imported from Europe contributed to make their civilization disappear in a few years.


Hatuey was one of the first Indian chiefs to oppose the invaders by force. He perished at the stake in 1512. He was the first hero of the fight against colonization. Cuba has several statues dedicated to this resistance fighter. Among others in Baracoa.


Wars between European powers in Cuba

The colonizers sought above all profit without worrying about the consequences on the indigenous populations. The search for gold was their greatest motivation. They first dispossessed the local populations before putting the inhabitants to work to extract the gold from the mines. Some realized that it was easier to attack ships belonging to competing colonial powers. Thus, the Dutch Piet Heijn became a very popular hero after having plundered the Spanish fleet in the bay of Matanzas in 1628. The booty made it possible to pay all the expenses of the army of the Netherlands for 8 months.


The Spanish-American War

The Spanish-American war in 1898 ended with the independence of Cuba in 1901. Obviously, the independence of Cuba vis-à-vis Spain has its price. The whole region came under the control of the United States. Cuba was of mainly strategic interest to Americans, who saw Cuba as an excellent location for military bases.

Cuba, geographically close to the United States, gradually turned into a paradise for rich Americans. The living conditions of the locals did not improve and the political situation in Cuba gradually led to the dictatorship led by Fulgencio Batista.


And the streets filled with gleaming Chevrolets and other Auldsmobiles.


Ernest Hemmingway

The Americans settled on the Island were not all great capitalists. Among them the writer Ernest Hemingway occupies a prominent place.

Hemingway was a big fan of fishing and hunting. Here are some images of his boat, the Pilar, as well as of the interior of his villa in Havana, bought in 1939 thanks to the adaptation rights for the cinema of his novel "For whom the knell sounds".

Rare are those who have their statue in their usual place in their favorite bar ...


the cuban revolution

Batista's regime was based on corruption and enjoyed the support of the American mafia which held a monopoly on gambling, prostitution and drugs. A very juicy business. Anger had been raging since 1951 and an attack by a hundred guerrillas on the Moncada barracks in Santiago on July 26, 1953 marked the start of the Cuban revolution.

The attack on the barracks ended in failure and the death of dozens of guerrillas. The leaders of the rebellion, including the brothers Fidel and Raoul Castro, among others, had to go into exile, but returned to Cuba a few years later. Under the pressure of the revolution led by Fidel Castro, seconded by Ernesto "Che" Guevara, President Batista resigned on January 1, 1959.


the bay of pigs

Relations with the United States would soon deteriorate and the failed landing in the Bay of Pigs in 1961 followed by the Soviet missile affair the following year marked the start of a severe embargo that was to last. 60 years. With all the economic and political consequences due to forced isolation ...


Among other consequences, the non-renewal of the vehicle fleet, which makes tourists happy.


An attempt at reconciliation with the turbulent history of this country? In the 1960s, a huge fresco representing the evolution of the land from its origins to the present day was painted on a cliff in Vinalès ..

About the places in this film

Baracoa probably where Christopher Columbus landed when he discovered Cuba in 1492. It is also one of the few places in Cuba where the conquistadors did not slaughter the original inhabitants of the island. There are still descendants of the Taino Indians. Hatuey, local hero raised an army of Tainos to drive the Spaniards from the island but this attempt failed.

Baracoa is the oldest Spanish colony on Cuba and was its first capital.

The city is located at the eastern end of the island. The city has only been easily accessible since the 1960s, which explains why it has kept its colonial charm.

Santiago de Cuba is Cuba's second largest city with a population of just over half a million. This city is located in the South-East of Cuba. 

Santiago is an important fishing port but also for the export of raw materials such as copper or agricultural products. 

The city was founded in 1514 by Diego Velazquez de Cuellar and was very quickly the most important city of Cuba and then of the Caribbean thanks to its sheltered port at the bottom of a deep bay commanded by a narrow pass, therefore relatively easy to defend against attacks by pirates or European powers in competition with Spain.



 - YouTube video library - A Fallen Cowboy

 - YouTube video library - Achilles, (© Alchemists Tower - Strings by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.



 - YouTube video library - At Odds

Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of cuban traditional music in "Some historical places • Cuba", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

Some places steeped in history in Cuba, Bay of Pigs
Statue of Hatuey, Baracoa, Bay of Pigs • Cuba

Statue of Hatuey, Baracoa

Hemmingway's boat, Havana, Bay of Pigs • Cuba

Hemmingway's boat, Havana

Statue of Piet Hein, Matanzas, Bay of Pigs • Cuba

Statue of Piet Hein, Matanzas

Moncada barracks, Santiago de Cuba, Bay of Pigs • Cuba

Moncada barracks, Santiago de Cuba

Historical places Cuba

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