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Cuba - History



Cuba - History
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.1

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    encomienda, launched, suffering, riches, better, shores, warship, economic, producer, unrest, nuclear, political, communist, settlement, refused, outcome
     content words:    South America, Christopher Columbus, But Columbus, Diego Velazquez, In June, First War, United States, Spanish-American War, Guantanamo Bay, Great Depression


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Cuba - History
By Ekaterina Zhdanova-Redman
  

1     Cuba's known history stretches back a few thousand years. Scientists believe that humans first came to the island of Cuba around 3500 BC from South America. These travelers were hunters and fishers. They settled in Cuba and were joined later by a more agricultural group of people. Many years later, the Europeans arrived.
 
2     The story goes that Christopher Columbus. sailed from Spain and discovered America in 1492. But Columbus actually sailed to the islands of the Caribbean. Columbus spotted Cuba on October 27, 1492. Word got back to Spain about this island, and Spanish conquerors were soon on their way. Just a few years later, in 1514, Diego Velazquez de Cuellar conquered the island of Cuba for Spain. The Spanish goals in Cuba were the same as they were all over the Caribbean and North and South America: To convert the natives to Christianity and to discover riches they could send home.
 
3     Initially, the Spanish had a very difficult time converting the natives to Christianity. One native ruler named Hatuey refused to be converted, even when faced with execution. He said that he never again wanted to see another Spaniard, not even in heaven.
 
4     Hatuey's opposition to the Spanish forces foretold bad times ahead for Cuba's natives. The Spanish brutalized the natives. The Spaniards forced the natives into slavery under the "encomienda" system. This system gave large farms to Spaniards and forced the natives to work on them. In the early days of Spanish settlement, cattle farming was Cuba's major industry. Within 100 years, the Spanish had reduced the native population from 100,000 to 5,000.

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