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THe History of el Oriente de Cuba

The Oriente of Cuba, region of history and traditions that it has marked rules in the socio-economic process of the Island of Cuba, and that it has suffered diverse changes in its politic administrative region.

The Discovery of the island of Cuba, momentous event, took place after the admiral Cristóbal Colón’s landed in the Oriente of Cuba, the one that when he saw with his own eyes the beautiful landscape, with his words he described it as "The most beautiful earth that human eyes have ever seen".

The discovery of the island brought with it the process of Colonization by part of the Spanish Colony. In Oriente of Cuba Diego Velázquez disembarked with his men in 1510 and there the prevailed city of Baracoa was founded. In the Oriente of Cuba, the first capital of the island, Santiago de Cuba, was located until the half of the XVI century.

In 1827 Colonial Spanish Government divided the Island of Cuba at three Administrative Regions and one of them was the Oriente of Cuba.

Among 1868 and 1898 the most important Independence Wars took place in Cuba during the stage of Spanish domain - beginning in the genius «Demajagua» sugar mill -in the Oriente of Cuba -. During this time, in 1878, the Colonial Spanish Government divided Cuba at six administrative Provinces. This division was made “to adapt the territorial division of the Island to the existent one at the Hispanic Peninsula to make easy Deputies election to the courts of Spanish Government”.

Of course this new division caused that the Oriente of Cuba decreased in extension, and at the same time it changed its name for that of Santiago de Cuba.

General Maceo, General Máximo Gómez and the founder of the revolutionary party of Cuba, José Martí, disembarked in the coasts of the Oriente of Cuba in 1895, giving beginning to the new and absolute rebellion against Spain.

During the New Republic stage, in 1905 the Provincial Council of Santiago de Cuba changed the name of the County of Santiago de Cuba for that of Oriente of Cuba.

The municipalities that integrated the old county of Oriente of Cuba are:

  • Las Tunas: Amancio, Colombia, Jesús Menéndez, Jobabo, Majibacoa, Manatí, Puerto Padre, Victoria de Las Tunas.
  • Holguin: Antilla, Báguanos, Banes, Cacocum, Calixto García, Cueto, Frank País, Gibara, Holguín, Mayarí, Moa, Rafael Freyre, Sagua de Tánamo, Urbano Noris.
  • Granma: Bartolomé Masó, Bayamo, Buey Arriba, Campechuela, Cauto Cristo, Guisa, Jiguaní, Manzanillo, Media Luna, Niquero, Pilón, Río Cauto, Yara.
  • Santiago de Cuba: Contramaestre, Guamá, Mella, Palma Soriano, San Luis, Santiago de Cuba, Segundo Frente, Songo - La Maya, Tercer Frente.
  • Guantanamo: Baracoa, Caimanera, El Salvador, Guantánamo, Imías, Maisí, Manuel Tames, Niceto Pérez, San Antonio del Sur, Yateras.

In the waters of the Oriente of Cuba, to Santiago's south, the squadrons of Sampson and Cervera fought between themselves and there the Spanish power collapsed in Antilles. The people of the Oriente fo Cuba followed also the first rebellious steps of Fidel Castro, when in 1953 he assaulted the Moncada Barracks and, lastly, in the Oriente of Cuba it’s located Sierra Maestra, locus were the yatch Granma disembarked in the year 1957.

The present communist government - after the victory of the Cuban Revolution - in June of 1978, one century after the creation of the six traditional counties, it passed a law subdividing the County of Oriente of Cuba in the Counties of Las Tunas, Granma, Holguín, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo.

The region of the Oriente of Cuba is remarkable for numerous aspects. It is about an area that was practically isolated of the central area of Havana until the end of the colonial period; however, most of the historical events that have marked, in a moment or in other, the evolution of the Cuban nation took place in this region.

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