1512, after two previous settlements, the
town of San Cristóbal de La Habana was finally established
by Carenas port and thus, in 1519, was officially founded in a place
where, according to testimonies of the time, a great silk-cotton
tree stood and where the first Cabildo (chapter) of the City of
Havana was celebrated. Nowadays, the Templete and a monument, built
in 1827 to recall the historical day, and a new silk-cotton tree
are part of the celebration that takes place there every year on
Forty years later the city was declared capital of Cuba. Continuous
raids to the coasts of Cuba by pirates and privateers obliged Spain
a fleet system by which the ships coming from other ports in the
Americas gathered at Havana to sail safely escorted to Spain with
their precious gold and silver cargo. Havana's port benefited from
the arrival of the fleet and commerce increasingly flourished.
During the 18th century, an important event took place. In 1762,
despite the fortified defense system that protected the city, Havana
was taken over by the English, who exchanged it for Florida 11 months
At the beginning of the 19th century, an attempt for independence,
know as Bolivar´s Suns and Rays Conspiracy, took
place. Along the war of independence numerous revolts and other
acts showed the people's reject to the Spanish crown. Havana, geographically
distant from the scenarios of the Ten-Year War, paid a high price,
like the rest of the country, along the national liberation fight.
The execution of 8 innocent medicine students in 1781 clearly exposes
the violence of colonial repression. That would be a constant feature
from the days of the Small War to the rising on February 24th, 1895.
During the first decades of the neocolonial republic, the development
of communist and labor forces would crystallize in Havana, where
the First Marxist-Leninist Party was founded in 1925. The development
of the labor forces was paralleled by a vigorous democratic and
anti-imperialist movement that grouped the revolutionary intellectuals.
A few decades of struggle against corrupt governments were necessary
for the people to find the way towards a real independence. Guerrilla
war in the mountains and covert actions in the cities led to the
triumph of the revolution in January 1st, 1959.
Being the capital of the Republic of Cuba, Havana City concentrates
the top functions of the state apparatus.