Jacobson Cuba Essay

3134 words - 13 pages

Cuba Cultural Awareness

Culture defines the very fabric of society. It depicts where we as an ethnicity came from, our accomplishments, as well as our path to where we currently stand on this rapidly modernizing world. As Americans, it is apparent to all that others revere our diversified culture for its distinctiveness in acceptance of different racial, religious and ethical differences amongst our population. American culture has graciously adapted many traditions, beliefs, and ethnicities guaranteeing a freedom to form opposing interests and viewpoints of our own, while still expressing unity and solidarity. While Cuba seeks conformity, and grants far less freedom to form ...view middle of the document...

Despite adversity, and many conflicts marked with suffering, Cuba has managed to develop into a relatively thriving country flourishing with a richness of culture and history.
Christopher Columbus named Cuba, originally known as Jauna. The name Cuba is an abbreviation of the local word Cubanacan. Cuba is approximately 48, 800 square miles in area and is home to 11.17 million people. Cuba begins approximately 125 miles from Cancun Mexico at its southern tip, extending 750 miles east-southeast. Roughly, one third of Cuba consists of mountain ranges, with a large plain between the mountain ranges. Cuba is rich with historical cultural significances, endeavors of war and peace, economic tragedies and triumphs, and relatively recent revolutions unknown to American culture. The western third of the island of Cuba contains the capital city, Havana, and exerts its dominance over all military, political, economic, and cultural aspects of the nation. The significance of the port city of Havana has a profound impact on defining Cuban culture.
Since Cuba lies within the region also known as Latin America, the primary means of communication is the Spanish language. In fact, nearly all citizens of Cuba speak Spanish exclusively. Nearly fifty percent, about one-half of the present population of Cuba is classified as mixed African and European descent. Approximately thirty-seven percent of the population claims exclusive white heritage, with eleven percent classified as Negro. Only one percent of the population is comprised of Chinese heritage. This minority stems from the importation of indentured servants from China to offset labor losses from an end to African slavery. Similar to the American culture, Cuba blends several differing ethnicities to create a culture all its own.
Cuba portrays the undeniable proof of a progressive movement of diverse cultures. The history of Cuba and its struggle for independence is a long and storied tale beginning in the 1500’s, with Spanish settlement. Cuba spent time in the late 1800’s as a colony of the United States, only achieving its true independence in 1959. It was not until the final revolution under Fidel Castro’s forces took place that the modern day nation of Cuba took shape. The pre Columbus population of what is now Cuba was approximately 112,000. During the Spanish conquest, the native populations were enslaved to work in mining and farming projects. Due to overwork and malnutrition, within fifty years of Spanish conquest, the indigenous population was nearly extinct. This extinction virtually erased all traces of indigenous culture from the island of Cuba. The blood sweat and tears of the indigenous population led to a rebuilding and restructuring of caste systems. This effort gave birth to the modification of culture and ways of life that currently define an enriched, vastly more modern Cuba.
Three social/economic groups became clearly defined in Cuban society after the...

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