Cuba fact file
Cuba lies at the gateway to the Americas, in the Caribbean. It is made up of nearly 4000 different islands. First discovered by Columbus in 1492, it has been hotly contested over the centuries by the Spanish, British and Americans, until it declared independence from Spain in 1868 and then from the USA in 1902. It became a communist state officially in 1961.
Capital: Havana (population 2,189,000).
Area: 42,803 square miles.
Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jehovah’s Witness, Jewish, Santeria (a syncretistic mix of Yoruba, Catholicism and native religions).
Currency: Cuban peso.
Life expectancy: 76 years.
GDP per Capita: US$9,500.
Literacy: 97 per cent.