Since the European conquest, the western third of the island has exercised military, political, economic, and cultural dominance.
The capital is Havana on the northern coast of the western third of the island.
The second largest city is Santiago de Cuba in the province of Oriente, where the Roman Catholic archbishopric was established in the colonial era.
Although Santiago sometimes is called the "second capital," the economic importance of the port of Havana has given it a hugely disproportionate role in the definition of the national culture. Recent population estimates range from 11.06 million to 11.17 million.
Christopher Columbus landed on the island in 1492 and named it Juana after Prince Juan, the heir apparent to the throne of Castille.
The name "Cuba," an abbreviation of the indigenous word Cubanacán, held sway. The island lies about ninety miles south of the Florida Keys.
The area of the country is 48,800 square miles (110,860 square kilometers).Thus, it is there that Afrocuban art, religion, and music were most strongly expressed and the cultural movement "afrocubanismo" began. Languages spoken by the indigenous population are extinct.