Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba (Spanish: República de Cuba), is an island country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located where the northern Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic Ocean meet. Cuba is located east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the American state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic), and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The official area of the Republic of Cuba is 109,884 km2 (42,426 sq mi) (without the territorial waters) but a total of 350,730 km² (135,418 sq mi) including the exclusive economic zone. Cuba is the second-most populous country in the Caribbean after Haiti, with over 11 million inhabitants.
After first landing on an island then called Guanahani, Bahamas, on 12 October 1492, Christopher Columbus commanded his three ships: La Pinta, La Niña and the Santa María, discovering Cuba on 27 October 1492, and landing in the northeastern coast on 28 October. (This was near what is now Bariay, Holguín Province.) Columbus claimed the island for the new Kingdom of Spain and named it Isla Juana after John, Prince of Asturias.
In 1511, the first Spanish settlement was founded by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar at Baracoa. Other settlements soon followed, including San Cristobal de la Habana, founded in 1515, which later became the capital. The indigenous Taíno were forced to work under the encomienda system, which resembled the feudal system in medieval Europe.en.wikipedia.org