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Introduction: The native Amerindian population of Cuba began to decline after the European discovery of the island by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1492 and following its development as a Spanish colony during the next several centuries. Large numbers of African slaves were imported to work the coffee and sugar plantations, and Havana became the launching point for the annual treasure fleets bound for Spain from Mexico and Peru. Spanish rule eventually provoked an independence movement and occasional rebellions that were harshly suppressed. US intervention during the Spanish-American War in 1898 assisted the Cubans in overthrowing Spanish rule. The Treaty of...

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Economic Overview: Economic outlook

Having averaged 10.2 per cent GDP growth for several years, growth decelerated to 1.4 per cent in 2009 following the global financial crisis and three damaging hurricanes. A renewed upward trend began in 2010, with GDP growth of 2.1 per cent, forecast to reach 3.5 per cent in 2011.

Growth sectors of the economy are tourism mining, energy, telecommunications and manufacturing sectors. Offshore oil exploration is underway in association with Chinese and Norwegian investors. A new oil refinery and a tanker port are being built in anticipation of significant deposits, which if found should ...

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History: Spanish settlers established the raising of cattle, sugarcane, and tobacco as Cuba's primary economic pursuits. As the native Indian population died out, African slaves were imported to work the ranches and plantations. Slavery was abolished in 1886.

Cuba was the last major Spanish colony to gain independence, following a lengthy struggle begun in 1868. Jose Marti, Cuba's ...

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International Relations: Relations with the UK

The UK and Cuba have full diplomatic relations, unbroken since they were established in 1902 following Cuba's independence. Bilateral ties stretch even further.

This long history of ties has allowed tourism, cultural links and educational exchanges between the two countries to flourish. The UK works closely with Cuba on areas such as climate change, child protection and counternarcotics, cooperating bilaterally and in multilateral organisations. The British Hydrographic Office and its Cuban counterpart collaborate on updating maritime information to keep international shipping ...

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The world's seventh largest island, with a total land surface of 110,860 square kilometers (about the size of Pennsylvania), the independent republic of Cuba is the largest and westernmost island in the West Indies, lying less than 150 kilometers south of Key West, Florida. Despite being an island country, it is, in terms of population (more than 11.1 million in 2001), the ninth largest country ...

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Area Handbook Series
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