identities

Here’s A Brief Look At The History Of The Cuban People And The Island They Call Home

Pedro Szekely / Flickr

Most of us might think of white-sand beaches, tropical dances, colorful cars, and big cigars when Cuba is mentioned, but there’s so much more to this Caribbean island than meets the eye. The result of nearly fifty years of embargo and isolation might have put the country through some financial hardships in the past but also meant that it developed its very own, distinctively unique character and culture. Indeed, Cuba’s history is filled with fascinating facts. Here’s a list to prove it.

It was once called Isla Juan.

@Brian Godfrey / Flickr

Shortly after Christopher Columbus arrived at the Caribbean, his famous ships -La Nina, La Pinta and the Santa Maria- reached the northern shores of Cuba. Columbus claimed the territory for the Kingdom of Spain and named the island Isla Juan, after the prince of Asturias.

The origin of the name.

@Patrick Annable / Flickr

Cuba’s name is widely believed to derive from the Taino language and it may translate either to ‘’great place’’ (coabana) or “the place where fertile land is plenty’’ (cubao). There are also some who believe that the island got its name from the homonymous Portuguese town.

It was inhabited long before Columbus.

@Sami Keinänen / Flickr

During the pre-Columbian era, the island was inhabited by three different indigenous tribes: the Taino people that migrated from Hispaniola, the Ciboney people that came from South America and the Guanahatabey people.

Havana is much older than you’d think.

Cuba Old timer Havana old. Digital Image. Pixabay. 2018.

Initially named San Cristobal de la Habana, the city was one of the first Spanish settlements on the island, founded in 1515. Today, Havana is the capital and most populated city in Cuba.

European diseases brought the downfall of indigenous peoples.

@Theodor Hensolt / Flickr

Forcing the natives to work in harsh conditions under a tough regime was not the only reason behind their undoing. In fact, their population saw a dramatic decline due to contagious European diseases -primarily measles and smallpox- for which they had developed no immune mechanisms.

The 10 Years’ War.

Cuban volunteers in the barracks. Digital Image. Wikimedia Commons. 2009

Cuba’s first war of independence began in 1868, led by Carlos Manuel de Déspedes, a sugar plantation owner who proclaimed independence and called all natives, regardless of race, to unite and fight for freedom. The conflicts between Cuba and Spain went on for a whole decade and war also became known as the “Guerra Grande” or Great War.

An offer to buy Cuba was denied.

Digital Image. Wikimedia Commons. 2010

The United States has attempted to invade independent Cuba several times throughout their history – without much success. After it became clear that conquering the Caribbean island was probably an unattainable goal, the American government offered to buy it from Spain in 1848 for $100 million, but the offer was quickly declined.

The mysterious explosion that started a war.

@Tim Evanson/Flickr

In 1898, the explosion of a United States naval ship called Maine shook Havana harbor. Almost three hundred men were killed in this calamity. Numerous investigations were conducted but revealed no culprits, causing outrage in the States with the press proclaiming ‘’Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!” The explosion led to the Spanish-American war that started the same year.

Ernest Hemingway lived in Havana, Cuba for twenty years.

Ernest Hemingway at the Finca Vigia, Cuba 1946. Digital Image. Wikimedia Commons

Even though Hemingway was an American, he is one of the most prominent literary figures in Cuban history. The famous author moved to Havana in 1940 and went on to write some of his most famous works there, including ‘’The Old Man and the Sea” and “To Have and Have Not.”

Cuba’s nickname comes from its physical shape from an aerial view.

Map of Cuba. Digital Image. Wikimedia Commons. 1994

You might have heard Cubans refer to their country as “El Caiman” or “El cocodrilo”, meaning crocodile in Spanish. Have you ever wondered why? The answer is simple. Just look at any map and you’ll find that Cuba looks like an alligator from an aerial view.

¡Revolución! Cuba is the first communist country in the western hemisphere.

@Pignews.com / Flickr

Led by Fidel Castro, a rebel army of communist revolutionaries came to power in 1959. Castro went on to rule Cuba for almost 50 years until he stepped down due to health issues in 2008, with his younger brother Raúl taking his place.

It has one of the highest literacy rates in the world.

@Javier Guillot Jiménez / Flickr

This is mainly due to the ‘’year of education’’, a campaign launched by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara that aimed to combat illiteracy by sending ‘’literacy brigades’’ to remote, rural areas to build schools and train teachers.

The government controls all the media.

@Pedro Szekely / Flickr

Four national television networks, six national radio channels, several newspapers, and the internet are all tightly controlled and monitored by the Cuban government, the same way they have been for the past 50 years.

Cuba’s “Special Period” was a difficult time.

@Pedro Szekely / Flickr

The harsh conditions and severe shortages in paper, fuel, and even food during the island’s economic depression in the 1990s led to this era becoming known as Cuba’s “Special Period in time of Peace” or ‘’Período especial.” The financial struggles were caused by the downfall of the Soviet Union and the following dissolution of the Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance).

It has nine sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

@Gabriel González / Flickr

These include the colonial fortifications of Havana, San Pedro de la Roca Castle, the historic centers of Cienfuegos and Camagüey, the landscapes of the first coffee plantations, the Viñales Valley and Trinidad and the Valley de los Ingenios as cultural sites. Additionally, Alejandro de Humboldt National Park and Desembarco del Granma National Park as natural sites.

An import ban made the people adapt and work to make sure their things still work decades later.

Cuba Havana Oldtimer. Digital Image. Pixabay. 2016

It’s hard to imagine Cuba without the presence of colorful old-school cars strolling by the oceanfront. But, have you ever pondered the reason why there are so many classic 1950’s cars in the country? It’s because Cuban authorities had implemented an import ban on cars up until recently. The ban was lifted in 2011. So those charming photos are just examples of Cuban ingenuity living under an oppressive regime.

The highest number of doctors worldwide are from Cuba.

Estudiaelam. Digital Image. Wikimedia Commons. 2015

Cuba has an impressive medical system and the highest number of doctors per capita in the world. In fact, Cuba has so many doctors that it has sent medical staff on international missions to over 40 countries. Cuban doctors played a significant role in fighting the Ebola epidemic in Africa.

Fidel Castro was a huge John Lennon fan.

@Gerry Zambonini / Flickr

Castro believed that Lennon was a real revolutionary in his own right. In 2000 he commissioned the construction of a statue of the famous singer of the Beatles in the famous John Lennon Park in Havana.

There were a record number of assassination attempts on Fidel’s life.

@Simone Ramella / Flickr

Fidel Castro probably did more to deserve the epithet ‘’cheater of death’’ than any other person ever has. Cuban officials claim the former leader survived more than 600 attempts – and that definitely wasn’t due to the plotters’ lack of imagination. Explosives, seductive women, cyanide pills, mob hits, a toxic dive suit, and even a poisoned milkshake were not enough to take down the hardcore politician, who proved to be a legendary survivor.

Cubans have very limited access to the Internet.

@Pedro Szekely / Flickr

Only a very small percentage of the country’s population enjoys open Internet access. Most people who do are doctors, engineers, academics or journalists.

Bacardi rum was originally from Cuba

@Graeme Maclean / Flickr

That’s right. The world-renowned brand of rum was made in Cuba, until it moved its facilities to Puerto Rico when Fidel Castro came to power, leaving Havana Club to claim the title of the most popular Cuban rum.


READ: Cuban Youths Are Skateboarding In Record Numbers And Don’t Want To Be Nationally Recognized As A Sport

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Don't Be That Guy. Here Are 21 Beauty Tips That Will Make The Women Fall In Love

identities

Don’t Be That Guy. Here Are 21 Beauty Tips That Will Make The Women Fall In Love

Info. Digital Image. Scorpio Creative. Published on November 2, 2018.

Beauty in men is all about making a favorable and memorable first impression. It’s also about your brand. You can craft your style to one that defines you at any age. Youth, after all, comes from within and it’s easier than you think. Here’s how you can make yourself stand out from other men in the crowd.

1. Your Clothes Set The Tone

Credit: Cause I’m Mr. Brightside. Digital Image. A L L E F . V I N I C I U S. June 13, 2018.

The X-factor is setting. A suit at a backyard barbecue sets the wrong tone. The place is the canvas; you are the painting. Color makes a huge impression too. Think of a red background versus a dark blue one. It says something about your personality. Use it to your advantage.

2. Keep It Neat

Credit: Suited Up. Digital Image. John Volante. July 1, 2018.

No matter if you’re wearing an Armani jacquard shirt or a pair of Levis, make sure it’s clean. Nothing says lazy louder than stains from last night’s dinner. Look for clothes you can take care of quickly and easily. When it a little too worn, toss it out, or better yet, donate it.

3. Smooth Is the Way

Credit: Info. Digital Image. Danijela Froki. November 16, 2018.

The iron is your friend if you want others to think you care about how you look. If you don’t own one, opt for fabrics that don’t wrinkle like wool or cotton blends for trustworthy standbys.

4. Show Me Your Smile

Credit: Coffee With my Love. Digital Image. Ben White. September 19, 2016.

While whether or not it takes fewer muscles to smile than frown, it feels better than scowling. You’ll make the people around you share those emotions too. Think of that one person you know can liven up a room just by entering it. Be that guy.

5. Care For Your Teeth

Credit: Info. Digital Image. Malik Mccotter-Jordan. March 16, 2018.

With so many products out there, there’s no excuse not to have a white set of tusks. It tells people you care about yourself. That speaks volumes to everyone you meet.

6. Make Your Lips Kissable

Credit: Warm and Cozy. Digital Image. Giorgio Encinas. August 16, 2018.

Winter takes a toll on our skin, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with chapped lips. Make your lips softer with a balm that will keep them smooth. Don’t forget to get a product with an SPF of at least 15 to prevent sunburn.

7. Managing Your Mane

Credit: Men can also wear pink. Digital Image. Giorgio Encinas. August 16, 2018.

The scruffy look doesn’t always work for guys, especially when it comes to their hair. Take a comb through it every day to keep it looking healthier and less like you’ve just come out of a wind tunnel.

8. Wash It Regularly

Credit: Waterfall Brothers. Digital Image. Derek Owens. June 14, 2017.

By all means, keep it clean. Use products that will keep it soft and tame the tangles. It’s time to stop using that bar soap on your locks. It’s far too harsh and will dry out your hair.

9. Mind Your Shoulders

Credit: Man in a sweater adjusting tie. Digital Image. freestocks.org. February 5, 2016.

Dandruff happens. It’s often more of a problem in people with dry or sensitive skin. Nothing ranks as a bigger turnoff than greasy strands sticking to your face. But don’t overdo it. You can wash your hair less often in the winter when you’re not as likely to be sweating.

10. Keep It Trim

Credit: @Wild West Beards / Pinterest

There is nothing worse than an unruly beard. A beard can be a good thing if it is properly maintained. However, when it is let alone to act as it wants, it can become a really mess.

11. And Always Keep It Clean

Credit: @Erol Gunduz / Pinterest

If you’re going to grow a beard, don’t make it easy for anyone to guess what you had for breakfast that morning. Like your face, it needs a rinse every day.

12 Nix the Unibrow

Credit: @Amy MacDonald / Pinterest

You can get away with the five o’clock shadow, but the unibrow has to go. It never works, just saying.

13. Take Care of It

Credit: @Sharp Magazine / Pinterest

You’ll find a plethora of beard oils, soaps, and balms along with brushes, combs, and trimmers, so there’s no excuse. Represent, man.

14. Keep Those Paws Soft

Credit: healing hands. Digital Image. Christin Hume. January 8, 2018.

The strength of your grip says a lot about your confidence, but it also is a telltale sign about what you do and how you take care of yourself. The middle of the road is acceptable if you don’t want to give the impression you don’t lift a finger or you’re knee deep in it.

15. Clean Nails Rule

Credit: All Hands On Deck. Digital Image. Perry Grone. July 10, 2018.

Along with your skin, your fingernails need some love too. Keep them trim and clean. Get acquainted with a nail file. It’s not just for the ladies.

16. Play Nice with Your Toes

Credit: Info. Digital Image. Brooke Cagle. Published on April 17, 2017.

The same advice applies to your toenails too. It’s probably one of the biggest buzzkills when the socks come off as the temperature is rising. Your bed companion will appreciate not waking up with claw marks down their legs too.

17. Don’t Forget Down There

Credit: Info. Digital Image. Scorpio Creative. Published on November 2, 2018.

Whether you decide to go bare or keep some around, treat it like your beard. Keep it trim. Enough said.

18. Get Your Zzzz

Credit: The lion sleeps. Digital Image. Nastasia. Published on July 30, 2017.

Sleep is so underrated when it comes to its impact on your appearance, health, and demeanor. It’s the time your body needs to heal from the challenges of the day and regroup. It also gives your body a chance to relax and let the immune, digestive, and circulatory systems do their stuff.

19. Manage Your Stress

Credit: Info. Digital Image. Victor Freitas. Published on February 22, 2018.

Like the previous tip, this one is just as essential for its far-reaching effects. It’s just too hard on your body to stay “On” all the time. Chilling out in whatever way works for you is vital. And it is in no way selfish. Make it a number one priority every day.

20. Easy On The Cologne

Credit: Elegant man loosening tie. Digital Image. Ben Rosett. Published on March 3, 2015.

You can make cologne a part of your brand, but don’t marinate in it. The ladies have an excellent tip to share on this front. If you can smell it, it’s too much.

21. Be Yourself

Credit: Info. Digital Image. Luis Quintero. Published on December 25, 2018.

The most handsome man is the one who is comfortable in his skin. There’s only one you. Embrace what makes you, you.


READ: Hey Gentlemen, Let’s Up Your Fashion Game This Year With These Easy Style Tips

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