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Cuba

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coat

Motto: Patria o Muerte  “Fatherland or Death”
Anthem: La Bayamesa  (“The Bayamo Song”)

Capital Havana
Official languages Spanish
Demonym Cuban
Government Socialist Republic
Independence from Spain October 10, 1868  / Republic declared May 20, 1902 / from US Jan. 1, 1959
Area 110,861 km² (105th) / 42,803 sq mi
Population 2007 estimate / 11,394,043[1] (73rd)
Currency Cuban peso / Convertible peso

[show-map id=’7′] Geography
The largest island of the West Indies group (equal in area to Pennsylvania), Cuba is also the westernmost—just west of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and 90 mi (145 km) south of Key West, Fla., at the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico. The island is mountainous in the southeast and south-central area (Sierra Maestra). It is flat or rolling elsewhere. Cuba also includes numerous smaller islands, islets, and cays.

Culture
Cuban culture is much influenced by the fact that it is a melting pot of cultures, primarily those of Spain and Africa.  Sport is Cuba’s national passion. Due to historical associations with the United States, many Cubans participate in sports which share popularity in North America, rather than sports traditionally promoted in other Latin American nations. Baseball is by far the most popular.  Cuba is also a dominant force in amateur boxing.  Cuban music is very rich and is the most commonly known expression of culture. Which has been the basis of many other musical styles like salsa, rumba and mambo and an upbeat derivation of the rumba, the cha-cha-cha.   Cuban literature began to find its voice in the early 19th century. Dominant themes of independence and freedom were exemplified by José Martí, who led the Modernist movement in Cuban literature. Writers such as Nicolás Guillén and Jose Z. Tallet focused on literature as social protest. Cuban cuisine is a fusion of Spanish and Caribbean cuisines. Cuban recipes share spices and techniques with Spanish cooking, with some Caribbean influence in spice and flavor. Now food rationing, which has been the norm in Cuba for the last four decades, restricts the common availability of these dishes.  Black beans and rice, referred to as Platillo Moros y Cristianos (or moros for short), and plantains are staples of the Cuban diet. Many of the meat dishes are cooked slowly with light sauces. Garlic, cumin, oregano and bay leaves are the dominant spices.

*Content gathered from Wikipedia