TheRepublic of Cuba (pronounced /ˈkjuːbə/ ( listen); Spanish: República de Cuba, pronounced [reˈpuβlika ðe ˈkuβa] ( listen)) is a socialist state in the Caribbean. The nation of Cubaconsists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largestcity. To the north of Cuba lies the United States and the Bahamas, Mexico is to the west, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica are to the south, and Haiti and the Dominican Republicare to the southeast.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus found and claimed the island now occupied by Cuba, for the Kingdom of Spain. Cuba remained territory of Spain until theSpanish–American War ended in 1898, and gained formal independence from the U.S. in 1902. Between 1953 and 1959 the Cuban Revolution occurred, removing the dictatorship of FulgencioBatista.
Cuba is home to over 11 million people and is the most populous island nation in the Caribbean, as well as the largest by area. Its people, culture, and customs draw from diversesources, such as the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves and its proximity to the United States.
Cuba has a99.8% literacy rate, an infant death rate lower than some developed countries, and an average life expectancy of 77.64. In 2006, Cuba was the only nation in the worldwhich met the WWF's definition of sustainable development; having an ecological footprint of less than 1.8 hectares per capita and a Human Development Index of over 0.8 for 2007