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Early Cuban History

             Cuba is a very interesting country with a very dramatic history behind it. Cuba was first discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus. Columbus names the island "San Salvador-, although the natives call it "Guanahani."" Columbus sailed around the shores of Cuba, which he called "Juana,"" thinking that he had found Asia's mainland. On October 9th, 1492 Columbus landed in Cuba and claimed the island for Spain. .
             Three months later, Columbus set sail back to Spain to bring word of his discovery to the King, leaving a number of his men behind. He did not wait long to depart back to the new world again, leaving in September, but this time he brought 17 ships and 1500 men with him including missionaries, soldiers and laborers, as well as cattle and seeds. Even with all these ships, the Spaniards did not realize that Cuba was an island until 1508 when Sebastian de Ocampo circumnavigated Cuba, proving that it was an island. .
             Before the Spanish had arrived there were 3 different native cultures: the Ciboneyes, the Guanahatabeyes and the Taínos. The Guanahatabeyes had been there the longest and it is thought that they probably came from Florida. The Ciboneyes and Taínos are though to have sailed over from the West Indies. These tribes were nomadic societies that hunted using natural materials, such as unpolished stones, seashells and fish bones, for tools.
             It is speculated that Taíno tribes were forced westward about 200 years before the Spaniards arrived, by a bloodthirsty tribe known as Canibs (this is where the word cannibal came from). They would raid a village, kill all of the adult men and consume their flesh. The women were spared for slavery, as were the young men, who were castrated.
             The Taínos found Cuba to be a paradise that was very suitable for their peaceful lifestyle. The Ciboneyes eventually became servants to the Taínos, who were more evolved and technologically advanced.

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