People watching in Cuba is intoxicating and kaleidoscopic. With such an integrated and diverse population, the country’s indelible physical landscapes are made even more beautiful by the swirl of humanity which so seamlessly blends in a natural, harmonious way. To say Cuba and her people are photogenic is an understatement.This wonderful human mix and the unique culture it has generated are deeply-rooted in history.
In the 15th century, Columbus, in search of gold for the Spanish Crown, navigated his way into the Caribbean. This was an unforeseen accident. Acting on erroneous calculations and misleading information from Marco Polo, Columbus thought he had arrived in the East Indies. For this reason, he dubbed the original indigenous population he encountered “Indians” when scouring their land, which they called Cubanacán, for its gold. It was an unfortunate meeting for the peaceful people of Cubanacán. A short time after Columbus landed, they died, enmasse, of imported diseases and abuse at the hands of the Spaniards.
The first African slaves landed in Cuba in the 16th century. They hailed primarily from Nigeria, Cameroon and Angola. After slavery was abolished in 1886, Chinese workers were imported to supplement the workforce. They were subjected to the same bad treatment as that of the African slaves. Next, arrived waves of Haitians and Jamaicans who came to work on plantations, mostly in Cuban’s eastern region.