Belize is a country located on the eastern coast of Central America. Belize is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, on the south and west by Guatemala, it has an area of 22,970 square kilometres and a population of 387,879. Its mainland is 68 mi wide, it has the lowest population density in Central America. The country's population growth rate of 1.87% per year is the second highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere. The Mayan civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500 B. C. and 300 A. D. and flourished until about 1200. European exploration campaigns began in 1502 when Christopher Columbus sailed along the Gulf of Honduras. European settlement was begun by English settlers in 1638; this period was marked by Spain and Britain both laying claim to the land until Britain defeated the Spanish in the Battle of St. George's Caye, it became a British colony in 1840, known as British Honduras, a Crown colony in 1862. Independence was achieved from the United Kingdom on 21 September 1981.
Belize has a diverse society, composed of many cultures and languages that reflect its rich history. English is the official language of Belize. Over half the population is multilingual, with Spanish being the second most common spoken language, it is known for its extensive barrier reef coral reefs and punta music. Belize's abundance of terrestrial and marine species and its diversity of ecosystems give it a key place in the globally significant Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, it is considered a Central American and Caribbean nation with strong ties to both the American and Caribbean regions. It is a member of the Caribbean Community, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Central American Integration System, the only country to hold full membership in all three regional organisations. Belize is a Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state; the earliest known record of the name "Belize" appears in the journal of the Dominican priest Fray José Delgado, dating to 1677.
Delgado recorded the names of three major rivers that he crossed while travelling north along the Caribbean coast: Rio Soyte, Rio Xibum and Rio Balis. The names of these waterways, which correspond to the Sittee River, Sibun River and Belize River, were provided to Delgado by his translator, it is that Delgado's "Balis" was the Mayan word belix, meaning "muddy-watered". Some have suggested that the name derives from a Spanish pronunciation of the name of the Scottish buccaneer Peter Wallace, who established a settlement at the mouth of the Belize River in 1638. There is no proof that Wallace settled in this area and some scholars have characterized this claim as a myth. Writers and historians have suggested several other possible etymologies, including postulated French and African origins; the Maya civilization emerged at least three millennia ago in the lowland area of the Yucatán Peninsula and the highlands to the south, in the area of present-day southeastern Mexico, Belize and western Honduras.
Many aspects of this culture persist in the area despite nearly 500 years of European domination. Prior to about 2500 BC, some hunting and foraging bands settled in small farming villages. A profusion of languages and subcultures developed within the Maya core culture. Between about 2500 BC and 250 AD, the basic institutions of Maya civilization emerged; the peak of this civilization occurred during the classic period, which began about 250 AD. The Maya civilization spread across what is now Belize around 1500 BC, flourished there until about AD 900; the recorded history of the middle and southern regions is dominated by Caracol, an urban political centre that may have supported over 140,000 people. North of the Maya Mountains, the most important political centre was Lamanai. In the late Classic Era of Maya civilisation, as many as one million people may have lived in the area, now Belize; when Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th century, the area, now Belize included three distinct Maya territories: Chetumal province, which encompassed the area around Corozal Bay.
Spanish conquistadors explored the land and declared it a Spanish colony but chose not to settle and develop because of its lack of resources and the hostile Indian tribes of the Yucatán. English and Scottish settlers and pirates known as the Baymen entered the area from the 17th century, with Baymen first settling on the coast of what is now Belize in 1638, seeking a sheltered region from which they could attack Spanish ships; the settlers established a trade colony and port in what became the Belize District, during the 18th century, established a system using black slaves to cut logwood trees. This yielded a valuable fixing agent for clothing dyes, was one of the first ways to achieve a fast black before the advent of artificial dyes; the Spanish granted the British settlers the right to occupy the area and cut logwood in exchange for their help suppressing piracy. The British first appointed a superintendent over the Belize area in 1786. Before the British government had not recognized the settlement as a colony for fear of provoking a Spanish attack.
The delay in governm
The Cayman Islands is an autonomous British Overseas Territory in the western Caribbean Sea. The 264-square-kilometre territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, which are located to the south of Cuba and northeast of Honduras, between Jamaica and the Yucatán Peninsula; as of spring 2018, the total population of the Cayman Islands is estimated to be 64,420 making it the second-most populated British overseas territory after Bermuda. The capital city is George Town, situated on Grand Cayman, by far the most populous of the three islands; the Cayman Islands is considered to be part of the geographic Western Caribbean Zone as well as the Greater Antilles. The territory is considered a major world offshore financial haven for international businesses and many wealthy individuals; the Cayman Islands remained uninhabited until the 17th century. While there is no archaeological evidence for an indigenous people on the islands, a variety of settlers from various backgrounds made their home on the islands, including pirates, shipwrecked sailors, deserters from Oliver Cromwell's army in Jamaica.
The first recorded permanent inhabitant of the Cayman Islands, Isaac Bodden, was born on Grand Cayman around 1661. He was the grandson of the original settler named Bodden, one of Oliver Cromwell's soldiers at the taking of Jamaica in 1655. England took formal control of the Cayman Islands, along with Jamaica, as a result of the Treaty of Madrid of 1670. Following several unsuccessful attempts at settlement, a permanent English-speaking population in the islands dates from the 1730s. With settlement, after the first royal land grant by the Governor of Jamaica in 1734, came the perceived need for slaves. Many were brought to the islands from Africa; the results of the first census taken in the islands in 1802 showed the population on Grand Cayman to be 933 with 545 of those inhabitants being enslaved. Slavery was abolished in the Cayman Islands in 1833. At the time of abolition, there were over 950 Blacks of African ancestry enslaved by 116 white families of English ancestry; the islands continued to be governed as part of the Colony of Jamaica until 1962, when they became a separate Crown colony while Jamaica became an independent Commonwealth realm.
On 8 February 1794, the Caymanians rescued the crews of a group of ten merchant ships, including HMS Convert, an incident that has since become known as the Wreck of the Ten Sail. The ships had struck a run aground during rough seas. Legend has it that King George III rewarded the island with a promise never to introduce taxes as compensation for their generosity, as one of the ships carried a member of the King's own family. While this remains a popular legend, the story is not true; the Cayman Islands has been a tax-exempt destination. The government of the Cayman Islands has always relied on not direct taxes; the territory has never levied income tax, capital gains tax, or any wealth tax, making them a popular tax haven. On 11 September 2004 the island of Grand Cayman, which lies unprotected at sea level, was hit by Hurricane Ivan, creating an 8-ft storm surge which flooded many areas of Grand Cayman. An estimated 83% of the dwellings on the island were damaged including 4% requiring complete reconstruction.
A reported 70 % of all dwellings suffered severe damage from wind. Another 26% sustained minor damage from partial roof removal, low levels of flooding, or impact with floating or wind driven hurricane debris. Power and communications were disrupted for months in some areas as Ivan was the worst hurricane to hit the islands in 86 years. Grand Cayman began a major rebuilding process and within two years its infrastructure was nearly returned to pre-hurricane status. Due to the tropical location of the islands, more hurricanes or tropical systems have affected the Cayman Islands than any other region in the Atlantic basin; the islands are in the western Caribbean Sea and are the peaks of a massive underwater ridge, known as the Cayman Ridge. This ridge flanks the Cayman Trough, 6,000 m deep; the islands lie in the northwest of the Caribbean Sea, east of Quintana Roo and Yucatán State, northeast of Costa Rica, north of Panama, south of Cuba and west of Jamaica. They are situated about 700 km south of Miami, 750 km east of Mexico, 366 km south of Cuba, about 500 km northwest of Jamaica.
Grand Cayman is by far the largest, with an area of 197 km2. Grand Cayman's two "sister islands", Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, are about 120 km east north-east of Grand Cayman and have areas of 38 and 28.5 km2 respectively. The nearest land mass from Grand Cayman is the Canarreos Archipelago, whereas the nearest from the eastermost island Cayman Brac is the Jardines de la Reina archipelago - both of which are part of Cuba. All three islands were formed by large coral heads covering submerged ice age peaks of western extensions of the Cuban Sierra Maestra range and are flat. One notable exception to this is The Bluff on Cayman Brac's eastern part, which rises to 43 m above sea level, the highest point on the islands. Terrain is a low-lying limestone base surrounded by coral reefs; the mammalian species in the Cayman Islands include the introduced Central American agouti and eight species of bats. At least three now extinct native rodent species were present up until the discovery of the islands by Europeans.
Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands
Charlotte Amalie, located on the island of St. Thomas, is the capital and the largest city of the United States Virgin Islands, founded in 1666 as Taphus. In 1691, the town was renamed to Amalienborg after Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Kassel, queen consort to King Christian V of Denmark-Norway, it has a deep-water harbor, once a haven for pirates and is now one of the busiest ports of call for cruise ships in the Caribbean, with about 1.5 million cruise ship passengers landing there in 2004. Protected by Hassel Island, the harbor has docking and fueling facilities, machine shops, shipyards and was a U. S. submarine base until 1966. The town has been inhabited for centuries; when Christopher Columbus arrived in 1493, the area was inhabited by Island Taíno. It is on the southern shore at the head of Saint Thomas Harbor. In 2010 the city had a population of 18,481, which makes it the largest city in the Virgin Islands Archipelago. Hundreds of ferries and yachts pass through town each week, at times the population more than doubles.
The city is known for its Danish colonial architecture, building structure and history, a dozen streets and places throughout the city have Danish names. Charlotte Amalie has buildings of historical importance including St. Thomas Synagogue, the second-oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere, Frederick Lutheran Church; the town has a long history of pirates stories of Bluebeard and Blackbeard. In the 17th century, the Danes built both Blackbeard's Castle and Bluebeard's Castle attributed to the pirates. Blackbeard's Castle is a U. S. National Historic Landmark. Another tourist attraction is Fort Christian, the oldest standing structure in the Virgin Islands Archipelago. A copy of the Liberty Bell is in Emancipation Park, a tourist attraction. Before the time of the Danish West Indies, the city was known as Taphus for its many beer halls. Taphus is Danish and directly translates to "beer houses", "beer halls", or "taphouse". In 1691 the town received a more respectable name by being named Amalienborg in honor of Danish king Christian V’s wife, Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Kassel.
Between 1921 and 1936, the city was named St. Thomas. In 1936 it was renamed Charlotte Amalie. On his second voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus encountered Native Americans living in the present-day archipelago of the United States Virgin Islands. Archaeological records indicate that the islands have been home to Indian tribes, including the Taíno people, Arawak people, Kalinago people, the Ciboney people. Several of them lived in present-day Charlotte Amalie in small fishing communities; as was the case in most of the Americas, the native population died quickly from disease when the Europeans settled. As the Spanish early focused their energy on Puerto Rico and other Caribbean Islands, Saint Thomas remained unprotected for a long time, leaving Charlotte Amalie’s sheltered coves to be frequented by pirates, including Bluebeard and Blackbeard, as well as mariners and European settlers; the Danish West India Company chartered Charlotte Amalie in 1671 after King Christian V decided to secure them for plantations.
As early as in 1672, the Danish government began the construction of Fort Christian on Saint Thomas Harbor in Charlotte Amalie. In 1675, the Danes constructed four pubs near the water’s edge on the western side of the fort; the Danish government supplied convicts to work the plantations but soon allowed colonists from neighboring islands to settle there, as well to permit the importation of slaves from Africa. In 1680, there were more black African slaves than white European settlers. Adjacent Water and Buck Islands served as pasture lands for the city, Taphus was renamed Charlotte Amalie in 1691 after King Christian V's wife, it was the main port of the Virgin Islands Archipelago and was connected to about 50 plantations by one road, which remains the main highway today. In the early 18th century, more than 3000 white settlers lived in town, sugar production and slave trading were the economic mainstay. After the Danish government wanted direct administration of the archipelago in 1754, the capital was moved from Charlotte Amalie to Christiansted on the island of Saint Croix.
That made the economy in town to transition from slave trading and agriculture to general commerce. The slight couldn’t hamper the city’s growth, as merchants profiteered in arms and rum trades to belligerent countries. In 1764, Charlotte Amalie was declared a free port by king Frederick V, the town became the busiest harbor in the Caribbean; the American Revolution in the 1770s was good news for the city, as it was thriving times for the local businessfolk and the town begun to be filled by immigrants from Europe and the Caribbean, most of them from other islands of the Lesser Antilles. By 1778, the Danish government had strengthened their military position by building Bluebeard’s Castle and Blackbeard's Castle, lookout towers on the crests of the two hills by the city; the city prospered as a free port and American, Sephardic, French, British and Spanish importing houses operated here. In the end of the 18th century, American founding father and future architect of the American Constitution, Alexander Hamilton, decided the town was so wealthy that “gold moved through the streets in wheel-barrows”.
At one point, the city of Charlotte Amalie in the Danish West Indies was the second-largest city in the Danish Realm, only smaller than the capital of Copenhagen. A growing share of the West Indian trade passed through the port in the beginning of the 1800s, the rise of steamships made Charlotte Amalie an ideal coalin
George Town, Cayman Islands
George Town is a city situated on Grand Cayman island of the Cayman Islands. It serves in the British West Indies; as of 2007, the city had a population of 28,836, making it the second largest city of all the British Overseas Territories. George Town is the heart of the Cayman Islands financial services industry; the Caymanian government offices are located in the city. According to the Globalization and World Cities Research Network in 2016, George Town is classed as a'gamma + city'; the Caymanian government offices are located in George Town. These offices include the Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands, the Court Houses and the Government Administration Building; the Government Administration Building houses the offices of the Premier and other members of Cabinet, the Deputy Governor and his staff as well as other elected officials and civil servants. The former Old Courts Building located at the corner of Shedden Road and Harbour Drive is now the National Museum of Grand Cayman; the building was built more than 150 years ago and has served the Caymanian government not only as a court building but as a jail and the island's first official Post Office.
George Town's city limits extend from the east at the edge of the South Shore District, north just beyond Owen Roberts International Airport, south to Hog Sty Bay and west to Seven Mile Beach and the West Bay District. George Town's famous Seven Mile Beach is a long crescent of coral-sand beach extending up to the West Bay region of Grand Cayman and is the most popular and populated area for tourists on the island. Georgetown has a tropical monsoon climate, with a hot and wet season from May through November, a warm and dry season from December through April; as with most tropical climates, there is only a slight variation in monthly mean temperatures during the course of the year. | The financial services generated CI$1.2 billion of GDP in 2007, 36% of all employment and 40% of all government revenue. The Cayman Islands ranks fifth internationally in terms of value of liabilities booked and sixth in terms of assets booked, it has branches of 40 of the world's 50 largest banks. The Cayman Islands are the second largest captive domicile in the world with more than 700 captives, writing more than US$7.7 billion of premiums and with US$36.8 billion of assets under management.
There are more than 9,500 funds under licence with globally recognised legal, audit/accounting and fund administration services. Major law firms such as Maples and Calder have established themselves in the Cayman Islands. Large accounting firms such as KPMG, Ernst & Young and Deloitte are present; as a result, the Cayman Islands are a leader in captive domiciles, hedge fund registrations and is considered a major international banking centre. George Town is a popular port of call for the Caribbean with cruise ships anchoring in George Town Harbour Tuesday through Friday. Cruise ships calling at George Town anchor offshore and ferry their passengers ashore by tenders known as shuttle boats. Passengers disembark in George Town, in the centre of the Grand Cayman shopping district and remain anchored from early morning until mid-afternoon. Activities available to tourists in George Town include submarine tours of George Town Harbour, glass-bottom boat tours, scuba-diving, charter boat tours, rum distillery tours, art galleries, a historical museum, of course and eating.
For nightlife, Seven Mile Beach is host to numerous bars. George Town's waterfront is home to a Harley-Davidson shop, a Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville franchise, a Guy Harvey art studio and restaurant. Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman is the grandest hotel on the island. George Town, as well as the rest of Grand Cayman, is served by nearby Owen Roberts International Airport, it is one of the only two entrance points to the Cayman Islands by air, the other being Charles Kirkconnell Airport on Cayman Brac. There are over 55 weekly flights into the Cayman Islands. Cayman Airways is the National Flag Carrier of the Cayman Islands and features five Boeing 737 jets and two Twin Otters. Non-stop service to Grand Cayman are available from Atlanta, Tampa, London, New York, Montego Bay, Washington D. C. Havana, Panama City, La Ceiba and more; the following highways serve the city: East/West Arterial Linford Pierson Highway Esterly Tibbetts Highway A fleet of Share taxi minibuses serve the city. The Cayman Islands Education Department operates George Town Primary School, Red Bay Primary School, Prospect Primary School, John Gray High School and the University College of the Cayman Islands.
John Gray High is in the former George Hicks High School building since 2012. Caymanian children are entitled to free secondary education. Various churches and private foundations operate several private schools that offer American and British based studies starting from nursery up to A Levels and College. Private schools include: Cayman International School Cayman Prep & High School St. Ignatius Catholic SchoolMontessori operates 3 schools in George Town; the schools are located on Hind's Way and Prospect Point Road in Red Bay. St. Matthew's University, a Medical and Veterinary school is located on the outskirts of George Town. Photos of George Town Webcam in George Town
Hamilton is the capital of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. It is a major port and tourist destination, its population of 1,010 is one of the smallest of any capital cities. The history of Hamilton as a British city began in 1790 when the government of Bermuda set aside 145 acres for its future seat incorporated in 1793 by an Act of Parliament, named for Governor Henry Hamilton; the colony's capital relocated to Hamilton from St George's in 1815. The city has been at the political and military heart of Bermuda since. Government buildings include the parliament building, the Government House to the north, the former Admiralty House of the Royal Navy to the west, the British Army garrison headquarters at Prospect Camp to its east; the Town of Hamilton became a city in 1897, ahead of the consecration in 1911 of the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, under construction at the time. A Catholic cathedral, St. Theresa's, was constructed. Today, the city overlooking Hamilton Harbour is a business district, with few structures other than office buildings and shops.
The City of Hamilton has long maintained a building height and view limit, which states that no buildings may obscure the Cathedral. In the 21st century, buildings have been planned and some are under construction that are as high as ten storeys in the area. Bermuda's local newspaper, The Royal Gazette, reports, "If you don't recognise the city, from 15 years ago, we don't blame you as it has changed so much". Hamilton is located on the north side of Hamilton Harbour, is Bermuda's main port. Although there is a parish of the same name, the city of Hamilton is in the parish of Pembroke; the city is named after Sir Henry Hamilton, governor of the territory from 1786 to 1793. Hamilton Parish antedates the city; the administrative capital of Bermuda, has a limited permanent population around 1,010. The only incorporated city in Bermuda, Hamilton is smaller than the historic town of St. George's. A more representative measure of Bermuda's local residential populations tends to be by parish; as the offshore domicile of many foreign companies, Bermuda has a developed international business economy.
Finance and international business constitute the largest sector of Bermuda's economy, all of this business takes place within the borders of Hamilton. Numerous leading international insurance companies are based in Hamilton, as it is a global reinsurance centre. Around 400 internationally owned and operated businesses are physically based in Bermuda, many are represented by the Association of Bermuda International Companies. In total, over 1,500 exempted or international companies are registered with the Registrar of Companies in Bermuda; the city is the registered headquarters of the spirits manufacturer Bacardi, semiconductor manufacturer Marvell Technology, outsourcing company Genpact, telecommunications company Global Crossing, reinsurance company Tokio Millennium Re Ltd. Hamilton is known as the headquarters of international shipping companies, such as DryShips Inc, Frontline Ltd. and Dockwise. Its low corporate tax rate makes it attractive to US companies. In addition, the corporate headquarters of the Bermuda grocery store chain The MarketPlace is located within the chain's Hamilton MarketPlace location, the largest grocery store in Bermuda.
Hamilton was named the city with the highest cost of living index in the world. The coat of arms of the city of Hamilton incorporate a shield featuring a golden sailing ship, representing the Resolution, surrounded by three cinquefoils, two above the ship and one below in gold, all on a plain blue background; this shield is supported by a mermaid and heraldic sea horse, is placed on a mount in front of, a scroll containing the motto "Sparsa Collegit". The shield is topped by a crest featuring a closed helm topped with a torque above which an heraldic seahorse is emerging from the sea holding a flower; the city's full motto is Hamilton sparsa collegit. The city's flag is a banner of arms, featuring the same details as on the shield of the city's coat of arms, but with the flowers in white rather than gold; the city of Hamilton has many parks for its size. The most notable park in the city is Victoria Park; this park was named after Queen Victoria. Other parks in the city are Par La Ville Park, Barr's Park, All Buoy's Point Park, the hidden Cedar Park.
Although located some distance north of the geographic tropics, Hamilton has a warm trade-wind tropical rainforest climate. It is warm enough for coconut palms and other tropical palms to grow, although they may not fruit properly due to the lack of heat or sunshine during the winter months because of latitude. Hamilton has uncharacteristically warm temperatures for its latitude because of the moderating influence of the North Atlantic and nearby Gulf Stream. Hamilton features warm and humid summers and semi-warm "winters"; as temperatures are moderated by the Atlantic Ocean, it gets hot or cold in the city. Precipitation is plentiful throughout the year and Hamilton does not have a dry season month, a month where on average less than 60 mm of precipitation falls. Summer precipitation is from showers and tropical disturbances or tropical cyclones. Meanwhile, winter precipitation is derived from westerly moving extra-tropical cyclones and their associated fronts
Saint Barthélemy the Territorial collectivity of Saint-Barthélemy, called Ouanalao by the indigenous people, is an overseas collectivity of France in the West Indies. Abbreviated to St-Barth in French, St. Barths or St. Barts in English, the island lies about 35 kilometres southeast of St. Martin and north of St. Kitts. Puerto Rico is 240 kilometres to the west in the Greater Antilles. Saint Barthélemy was for many years a French commune forming part of Guadeloupe, an overseas region and department of France. In 2003, the island voted in favour of secession from Guadeloupe in order to form a separate overseas collectivity of France; the collectivity is one of four territories among the Leeward Islands in the northeastern Caribbean that comprise the French West Indies, along with Saint Martin and Martinique. Saint Barthélemy, a volcanic island encircled by shallow reefs, has an area of 25 square kilometres and a population of 9,625, its capital is Gustavia, which contains the main harbour to the island.
It is the only Caribbean island, a Swedish colony for any significant length of time. Symbolism from the Swedish national arms, the Three Crowns, still appears in the island's coat of arms; the language and culture, are distinctly French. The island is a popular tourist destination during the winter holiday season for the rich and famous during the Christmas and New Year period. Before European contact the island was frequented by Eastern Caribbean Taíno people. Christopher Columbus was the first European to encounter the island in 1493, he named it after his brother Bartolomeo. Sporadic visits continued for the next hundred years. By 1648, the island was settled from St. Christopher, but the settlement was attacked and destroyed by Caribs six years later; these first French settlers had been encouraged by Phillippe de Longvilliers de Poincy, the lieutenant-governor of the French West India Company and comprised about 50 to 60 settlers. Led by Jacques Gentes, the new arrivals began cultivating cacao, until the Carib attack forced them to retreat.
De Poincy was a member of the Order of Saint John. He facilitated the transfer of ownership from the Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique to the Order, he continued to rule the island until his death in 1660. Five years it was bought by the French West India Company along with the Order's other possessions in the Caribbean. By 1674, the company was dissolved and the islands became part of the French Kingdom. There was a brief takeover by the British in 1758; the island was given to Sweden in 1784 in exchange for trade rights in Gothenburg. It was only after 1784, when King Louis XVI traded the island to Sweden, that the island's fortunes changed for the better; this change of control saw progress and prosperity as the Swedes declared Gustavia a free port, convenient for trading by the Europeans for goods, including contraband material. Slavery was practiced in St. Barthélemy under the "Ordinance concerning the Police of Slaves and free Coloured People" of 1787; the last legally-owned slaves in the Swedish colony of St. Barthélemy were granted their freedom by the state on 9 October 1847.
Since the island was not a plantation area, the freed slaves suffered economic hardships due to lack of opportunities for employment. In 1852, a devastating hurricane hit this was followed by a fire. Following a referendum in 1877, Sweden gave the island back to France in 1878, after which it was administered as part of Guadeloupe. On 19 March 1946, the people of the island became French citizens with full rights. Many men from St. Barthélemy took jobs on Saint Thomas to support their families; the island received electricity circa 1961. Organised tourism and hotels began in earnest the 1960s and developed in the 1970s onwards after the building of the island's landing strip that can accommodate mid-sized aircraft; the coves and beach-side hotels attract catered and self-catered honeymooners. The capital attracts cruise liners. Saint Barthélemy was for many years a French commune forming part of Guadeloupe, an overseas region and department of France. Through a referendum in 2003, island residents sought separation from the administrative jurisdiction of Guadeloupe, it was accomplished in 2007.
The island of Saint Barthélemy became an Overseas Collectivity. A governing territorial council was elected for its administration, which has provided the island with a certain degree of autonomy; the Hotel de Ville, the town hall, is now the Hotel de la Collectivité. A senator represents the island in Paris. St. Barthélemy has retained its free port status. Saint Barthélemy ceased being an outermost region and left the EU, to become an OCT, on 1 January 2012; the island sustained damage from Hurricane Irma in September 2017 but by March 2018, the airport was handling daily flights and the ferry between St. Martin and St. Barts was operating. Electricity and water had been restored; some hotels were not yet open but most were expected to be operating by the fall of the year. The cruise ship port in Gustavia was operational. Located 250 kilometres east of Puerto Rico and the nearer Virgin Islands, St. Barthélemy lies sou
Cuba the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet, it is east of the Yucatán Peninsula, south of both the U. S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is capital; the area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometres. The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometres, the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants; the territory, now Cuba was inhabited by the Ciboney Taíno people from the 4th millennium BC until Spanish colonisation in the 15th century. From the 15th century, it was a colony of Spain until the Spanish–American War of 1898, when Cuba was occupied by the United States and gained nominal independence as a de facto United States protectorate in 1902.
As a fragile republic, in 1940 Cuba attempted to strengthen its democratic system, but mounting political radicalization and social strife culminated in a coup and subsequent dictatorship under Fulgencio Batista in 1952. Open corruption and oppression under Batista's rule led to his ousting in January 1959 by the 26th of July Movement, which afterwards established communist rule under the leadership of Fidel Castro. Since 1965, the state has been governed by the Communist Party of Cuba; the country was a point of contention during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, a nuclear war nearly broke out during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Cuba is one of few Marxist–Leninist socialist states, where the role of the vanguard Communist Party is enshrined in the Constitution. Independent observers have accused the Cuban government of numerous human rights abuses, including arbitrary imprisonment. Culturally, Cuba is considered part of Latin America, it is a multiethnic country whose people and customs derive from diverse origins, including the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the long period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves and a close relationship with the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
Cuba is a sovereign state and a founding member of the United Nations, the G77, the Non-Aligned Movement, the African and Pacific Group of States, ALBA and Organization of American States. The country is a middle power in world affairs, it has one of the world's only planned economies, its economy is dominated by the exports of sugar, tobacco and skilled labor. According to the Human Development Index, Cuba has high human development and is ranked the eighth highest in North America, though 67th in the world, it ranks in some metrics of national performance, including health care and education. It is the only country in the world to meet the conditions of sustainable development put forth by the WWF. Historians believe the name Cuba comes from the Taíno language, however "its exact derivation unknown"; the exact meaning of the name is unclear but it may be translated either as'where fertile land is abundant', or'great place'. Fringe theory writers who believe that Christopher Columbus was Portuguese state that Cuba was named by Columbus for the town of Cuba in the district of Beja in Portugal.
Before the arrival of the Spanish, Cuba was inhabited by three distinct tribes of indigenous peoples of the Americas. The Taíno, the Guanahatabey and the Ciboney people; the ancestors of the Ciboney migrated from the mainland of South America, with the earliest sites dated to 5,000 BP. The Taíno arrived from Hispanola sometime in the 3rd century A. D; when Columbus arrived they were the dominant culture in Cuba, having an estimated population of 150,000. The Taíno were farmers, while the Ciboney were farmers as well as hunter-gatherers. After first landing on an island called Guanahani, Bahamas, on 12 October 1492, Christopher Columbus commanded his three ships: La Pinta, La Niña and the Santa María, to land on Cuba's northeastern coast on 28 October 1492. Columbus claimed the island for the new Kingdom of Spain and named it Isla Juana after Juan, Prince of Asturias. In 1511, the first Spanish settlement was founded by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar at Baracoa. Other towns soon followed, including San Cristobal de la Habana, founded in 1515, which became the capital.
The native Taíno were forced to work under the encomienda system, which resembled a feudal system in Medieval Europe. Within a century the indigenous people were wiped out due to multiple factors Eurasian infectious diseases, to which they had no natural resistance, aggravated by harsh conditions of the repressive colonial subjugation. In 1529, a measles outbreak in Cuba killed two-thirds of those few natives who had survived smallpox. On 18 May 1539, Conquistador Hernando de Soto departed from Havana at the head of some 600 followers into a vast expedition through the Southeastern United States, starting at La Florida, in search of gold, treasure and power. On 1 September 1548, Dr. Gonzalo Perez de Angulo was appointed governor of Cuba, he arrived in Santiago, Cuba on 4 November 1549 and declared the liberty of all natives. He became Cuba's first permanent governor to reside in Havana instead of Santiago, he built Havana's first church made of maso