The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
University of Havana
The University of Havana or UH is a university located in the Vedado district of Havana, the capital of the Republic of Cuba. Founded on January 5, 1728, the university is the oldest in Cuba, one of the first to be founded in the Americas. A religious institution, today the University of Havana has 15 faculties at its Havana campus and distance learning centers throughout Cuba, it was first called Real y Pontificia Universidad de San Gerónimo de la Habana. During those times, universities needed a royal or papal authorization in order to be created and thus the names Real y Pontificia; the two men who gave that authorization to the university were Pope Innocent XIII and King Philip V of Spain. In 1842, the university changed its status to become a secular and literary institution, its name became Real y Literaria Universidad de La Habana and when Cuba was a free republic, the name was changed to Universidad Nacional. The university had first been established in San Juan de Letrán before it was transferred on May 1, 1902, to a hill in the Vedado area of Havana.
The interiors of the building were decorated by Armando Menocal y Menocal. The seven frescos represent Medicine, Art, Liberal Arts and Law. At the main university entrance there is a bronze statue of Alma Mater, created in 1919 by artist Mario Korbel; the model for the statue's face was lovely 16-year-old Feliciana "Chana" Villalón, the daughter of José Ramón Villalón y Sánchez, a professor of analytical mathematics at the University. Chana married Juan Manuel Menocal, who went on to become the Dean of the Business School. Juan Manuel Menocal was a professor at the law school when Fidel Castro was a student there in the 1940s. Maria Rosa Menocal, former Director of the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale, was the granddaughter of Chana and Juan Manuel Menocal.. The main library "Rubén Martínez Villena" was established in 1936. After the government was taken over by Fulgencio Batista in 1952, the University became a center of anti-government protests. Batista closed the University in 1956. From January 1, 1959, the date on which Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, until January 1, 1962, the University went through a period of reformation to eliminate "anti-revolutionary ideas".
In 2002, Rutgers University–Camden and the University of Havana signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize research and exchange opportunities for students and faculty. The MOU was re-signed in October 2016 with the addition of encompassing all of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; the University of Havana is made up of 16 faculties and 14 research centers in a variety of fields, including economics, social science and humanities. In total, up to 25 specialties are taught at the university. Now, it has about 60,000 degree students in regular classes. There are 16 faculties into which the university is divided: Natural Sciences Faculty of Biology Faculty of Pharmacy and Foods Faculty of Physics Faculty of Geography Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science Faculty of Psychology Faculty of Chemistry Social Sciences and Humanities Faculty of Arts and Letters Faculty of Communication Faculty of Law Faculty of Philosophy and History Faculty of Foreign Languages Economic Sciences Faculty of Accounting and Finance Faculty of Economics Faculty of Tourism Distance Education Before the Cuban Revolution of 1959, students joined different organizations, aligning themselves directly or indirectly with some political party.
The strongest of all these organisations was the FEU created by Julio Antonio Mella, a co-founder of the Cuban Communist Party in the 1920s. The European revolutionary tradition of college-based political activism, practiced in Cuba and in many other Latin American countries and the alleged corruption of Cuban political parties at the time turned the FEU, a stronghold of communist ideology, into the most influential of Cuban political organizations before 1959, it was a major participant in the overthrowing of Cuban President Gerardo Machado. The FEU initiated the national general strike of 1933, resulting in the imprisonment of many of its members. Founder Julio Antonio Mella, himself had been killed at the hands of two assassins sent by Machado while exiled in Mexico in 1929 After the coup d'état by Fulgencio Batista in 1952, when free and democratic elections were suspended, the violent clashes between university students and Cuban police reached its extremes. Students known to be members of the FEU were violently tortured and killed in the streets of Havana, the organization reacted with an irregular war in the city, aiming to assassinate police officers of high rank, like the chief of the police in Havana, Blanco Rico, killed by 4 FEU members.
After the assault on the Moncada barracks by Fidel Castro, an attorney who graduated from Havana University School of Law, who had contacts in the FEU, the FEU became an ally of Castro's new July 26th Movement, though there were discrepancies between the leaders in the form that the forthcoming revolution should be carried out. While Fidel Castro was hiding in the Sierra Maestra mountains, the FEU, led by Jose Antonio Echeverria, attempted to kill Fulgencio Batista in an armed assault at the Cuban Presidential Palace on March 13, 1957. Batista managed to escape, man
José Santos Guardiola
General José Santos Guardiola Bustillo was a two-term President of Honduras from 17 February 1856 to 7 February 1860 and from 7 February 1860 to his death on 11 January 1862, when he became the only President of Honduras to be assassinated while in office in a crime committed by his personal guard. His parents were Bibiana Bustillo, he married Ana de Arzibu and one of their many daughters, Genoveva Guardiola Arbizú, married the first President of the Republic of Cuba, Tomás Estrada Palma. For his first term, he was elected president by Congress after the overthrow of Trinidad Cabañas, his second term came through the way of free elections. His administration was one of the most liberal in Honduran history, in spite of him belonging to the Conservative Party, his government granted freedom of press and movement. He opposed Francisco Morazán in the conflict over, his good relations with the British helped facilitate the return of governance of the Bay Islands and the La Mosquitia region into Honduras.
He struck a deal with Queen Victoria on which Great Britain recognized the Honduran sovereignty of the aforementioned territories as long as the inhabitants of the islands were granted freedom of worship. For this the Vicar of Comayagua, Miguel del Cid, enemy of General Guardiola, excommunicated him, but Pope Pius IX overturned it and named Juan de Jesus Zepeda Zepeda as Bishop of Honduras, he fought against William Walker, who aspired to conquering Central America in the name of Democracy. Composer Guadalupe Haertling was among Guardiola's descendants
The term Afro-Cuban refers to Cubans who have Native West African ancestry and to historical or cultural elements in Cuba thought to emanate from this community. The term can refer to the combining of native African and other cultural elements found in Cuban society such as race, music, the arts and class culture. According to a 2002 national census which surveyed 11.2 million Cubans, 1.1 million Cubans described themselves as Afro-Cuban or Black, while 5.8 million considered themselves to be "mulatto" or "mestizo". Thus a significant proportion of those living on the island affirm some African ancestry; the matter is further complicated by the fact that a fair number of people still locate their origins in specific native African ethnic groups or regions the Yoruba, Arará and Congo, but Igbo, Carabalí, Kissi, Fula and others. A study from 2014 estimated the genetic admixture of the population of Cuba to be 70% European, 22% African and 8% Native American. Although Afro-Cubans can be found throughout Cuba, Eastern Cuba has a higher concentration of Afro-Cubans than other parts of the island and Havana has the largest population of Afro-Cubans of any city in Cuba.
Many native African immigrants have been coming to Cuba from Angola. Immigrants from Jamaica and Haiti have been settling in Cuba, most of whom settle in the eastern part of the island, due to its proximity to their home countries, further contributing to the high percentage of blacks on that side of the island; the percentage of Afro-Cubans on the island increased after the 1959 Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro due to mass migration from the island of the white Cuban professional class. A small percentage of Afro-Cubans left Cuba for the United States, where they and their U. S.-born children are called Hispanic Americans and African Americans. Only a few of them resided in nearby Spanish-speaking country of Dominican Republic and the U. S. territory of Puerto Rico. The now-defunct Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami put the percentage of Cuba's black population at 62%; the Minority Rights Group International says that "An objective assessment of the situation of Afro-Cubans remains problematic due to scant records and a paucity of systematic studies both pre- and post-revolution".
African Countries such as Nigeria, the home of the Yoruba and Igbo cultures, Equatorial Guinea experienced an influx of ex-slaves from Cuba brought there as indentured servants during the 17th century, again during the 19th century. In Equatorial Guinea, they became part of the Emancipados. Despite being free to return to Cuba when their tenure was over, they remained in these countries marrying into the local indigenous population; the former slaves were brought to Africa by the Royal Orders of September 13, 1845 and a June 20, 1861, deportation from Cuba, due to the lack of volunteers. Similar circumstances occurred during the 17th century where ex-slaves from both Cuba and Brazil were offered the same opportunity. Angola has communities of Afro-Cubans, Amparos, they are descendants of Afro-Cuban soldiers brought to the country in 1975 as a result of the Cuban involvement in the Cold War. Fidel Castro deployed thousands of troops to the country during the Angolan Civil War; as a result of this era, there exists a small Spanish-speaking community in Angola of Afro-Cubans numbering about 100,000.
Haitian Creole and culture first entered Cuba with the arrival of Haitian immigrants at the start of the 19th century. Haiti was a French colony, the final years of the 1791–1804 Haitian Revolution brought a wave of French settlers fleeing with their Haitian slaves to Cuba, they came to the east, Guantánamo, where the French introduced sugar cultivation, constructed sugar refineries and developed coffee plantations. By 1804, some 30,000 French were living in Baracoa and Maisí, the furthest eastern municipalities of the province. Haitians continued to come to Cuba to work as braceros in the fields cutting cane, their living and working conditions were not much better than slavery. Although they planned to return to Haiti, most stayed on in Cuba. For years, many Haitians and their descendants in Cuba did not identify themselves as such or speak Creole. In the eastern part of the island, many Haitians suffered discrimination. After Spanish, Creole is the second most-spoken language in Cuba. In addition to the eastern provinces, there are communities in Ciego de Ávila and Camagüey provinces where the population still maintains Creole, their mother tongue.
Classes in Creole are offered in Guantanamo and the City of Havana. There is a Creole-language radio program. Afro-Cuban religion can be broken down into three main currents: Santería, Palo Monte and Abakuá and include individuals of all origins. Santería is syncretized with Roman Catholicism; the Abakuá religion is a secret society for similar to the freemason orders of Europe. It has not been syncretized with Roman Catholicism and remains close to its origins in southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon, from the Ekpe society of the Efik people of Cross River State and nearby areas. Afro-Cuban music involves two main categories of music and profane. Religious music includes the chants and instruments used in rituals of the above-mentioned religious currents, while profane music focuses on rumba, guaguancó and comparsa as well as several lesser styles such as the tumba francesa. All Cuban music has been influenced by African rhythm
Guantánamo Bay is a bay located in Guantánamo Province at the southeastern end of Cuba. It is the largest harbor on the south side of the island and it is surrounded by steep hills which create an enclave, cut off from its immediate hinterland; the United States assumed territorial control over the southern portion of Guantánamo Bay under the 1903 Lease agreement. The United States exercises complete jurisdiction and control over this territory, while recognizing that Cuba retains ultimate sovereignty; the current government of Cuba regards the U. S. presence in Guantánamo Bay as "illegal" and insists the Cuban–American Treaty "was obtained by threat of force and is in violation of international law." Some legal scholars judge. It is the home of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and the Guantanamo Bay detention camp located within the base, which are both governed by the United States. Since the 1959 revolution, Cuba has only cashed a single lease payment from the United States government. Guantánamo Bay has a hot semi-arid climate according to the Köppen climate classification, with high temperatures throughout the year.
Rainfall is rather low, it is one of the driest regions in Cuba. The United States first seized Guantánamo Bay and established a naval base there in 1898 during the Spanish–American War in the Battle of Guantánamo Bay. In 1903, the United States and Cuba signed a lease granting the United States permission to use the land as a coaling and naval station; the lease satisfied the Platt Amendment. The bay was called Guantánamo by the Taínos. Christopher Columbus landed in 1494. On landing, Columbus' crew found Taíno fishermen preparing a feast for the local chieftain; when Spanish settlers took control of Cuba, the bay became a vital harbor on the south side of the island. The bay was known as Cumberland Bay when the British seized it in 1741, during the War of Jenkins' Ear. British Adm. Edward Vernon arrived with a force of eight warships and 4,000 soldiers with plans to march on Santiago de Cuba. However, he was defeated by local guerrilla forces of creole and Spaniards and forced to withdraw or face becoming a prisoner.
In late 1760, boats from HMS Trent and HMS Boreas cut out the French privateers Vainquer and Mackau, which were hiding in the bay. The French were forced to burn the Guespe, another privateer, to prevent her capture. During the Spanish–American War, the U. S. Navy fleet attacking Santiago needed shelter from the summer hurricane season, they chose Guantánamo because of its excellent harbor. U. S. Marines landed with naval support in the 1898 invasion of Guantánamo Bay; as they moved inland, Spanish resistance increased and the marines required support from Cuban scouts. Guantanamo Bay was used as a processing center for asylum seekers and a camp for HIV positive refugees in the 1990s. Within six months the USA had interned over 30,000 Haitian refugees in Guantanamo, while another 30,000 fled to the Dominican Republic; the USA admitted 10,747 of the Haitians to refugee status in the United States. Most of the refugees were housed in a tent city on the re-purposed airstrip that would be used to house the complex used for the Guantanamo military commissions.
The refugees who represented discipline or security problems were held on the site that became Camp XRay, the initial site of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. In August 1994 rioting broke out in the detention camps in which 20 U. S. military police and 45 Haitians were injured. The Guantanamo Bay Naval Base surrounds the southern portion of the bay. Since 2002, the base has included the detainment camp for individuals deemed of risk to United States national security. In 2009, U. S. President Barack Obama gave orders for the detention camp to be closed by January 22, 2010; as of 2015, the detention camp remains open due to a congressional refusal of funds for its closure. The naval base, nicknamed "GTMO" or "Gitmo," covers 116 square kilometres on the western and eastern banks of the bay, it was established in 1898, when the United States took control of Cuba from Spain following the Spanish–American War. The newly formed American protectorate incorporated the Platt Amendment in the 1901 Cuban Constitution.
A perpetual lease for the area around Guantánamo Bay was offered February 23, 1903, from Tomás Estrada Palma, the first President of Cuba. The 1903 Cuban–American Treaty of Relations held, among other things, that the United States, for the purposes of operating coaling and naval stations, has "complete jurisdiction and control" of the Guantánamo Bay, while the Republic of Cuba is recognized to retain ultimate sovereignty. In 1934 a new Cuban-American Treaty of Relations reaffirming the lease granted Cuba and its trading partners free access through the bay, modified the lease payment from $2,000 in U. S. gold coins per year to the 1934 equivalent value of $4,085 in U. S. dollars, made the lease permanent unless both governments agreed to break it or until the U. S. abandoned the base property. After the Cuban Revolution, Dwight D. Eisenhower insisted the status of the base remain unchanged, despite Fidel Castro's objections. Since the Cuban government has cashed only one of the rent checks from the U.
S. government, then only because of "confusion" in the early days of the leftist revolution, according to Castro. The remaining un-cashed checks made out to "Treasurer General of the Republic" are kept in Castro's office stuffed into a desk drawer. Alfred-Maurice de Zayas has
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the second-largest city in Cuba and the capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province. It lies in the southeastern area of the island, some 870 km southeast of the Cuban capital of Havana; the municipality extends over 1,023.8 square kilometers, contains the communities of Antonio Maceo, Castillo Duany, Daiquirí, El Caney, El Cobre, El Cristo, Leyte Vidal and Siboney. Santiago de Cuba has long been the second-most important city on the island after Havana, still remains the second-largest, it is on a bay is an important sea port. In the 2012 population census the city of Santiago de Cuba recorded a population of 431,272 people. Santiago de Cuba was the fifth village founded by Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar on July 25, 1515; the settlement was destroyed by fire in 1516, was rebuilt. This was the starting point of the expeditions led by Juan de Grijalba and Hernán Cortés to the coasts of Mexico in 1518, in 1538 by Hernando de Soto's expedition to Florida; the first cathedral was built in the city in 1528.
From 1522 until 1589, Santiago was the capital of the Spanish colony of Cuba. The city was plundered by French forces in 1553, by British forces in 1603 and again in 1662 under Christopher Myngs; the city experienced an influx of French and British immigrants in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, many coming from Haiti after the Haitian slave revolt of 1791. This added to the city's eclectic cultural mix rich with Spanish and African culture, it was the location where Spanish troops faced their main defeat at San Juan Hill on July 1, 1898, during the Spanish–American War. After capturing the surrounding hills, General William Rufus Shafter laid siege to the city. Spain surrendered to the United States after Admiral William T. Sampson destroyed the Spanish Atlantic fleet just outside Santiago's harbor on July 3, 1898. José Martí, a Cuban poet and national hero, is buried in Santa Ifigenia Cemetery. Santiago was the home of the revolutionary hero Frank País. On July 26, 1953, the Cuban Revolution began with an ill-prepared armed attack on the Moncada Barracks by a small contingent of rebels led by Fidel Castro.
Shortly after this disastrous incident, País began talking with students and young working people informally, drawing around him what became an effective urban revolutionary alliance. This developed into organized cells, coordinating a large-scale urban resistance that became instrumental in the success of the Cuban Revolution. País' group prepared accruing weapons, collecting money, collecting medical supplies, they published a cheap newsletter that reported news that criticized the government, attempting to counter Batista's censorship. In the summer of 1955, País' organization merged with Castro's July 26 Movement. País became the leader of the new organization in Oriente province, though two years he was betrayed to the police and was shot after his capture. On January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro proclaimed the victory of the Cuban Revolution from a balcony on Santiago de Cuba's city hall, his ashes were interred in the same cemetery as Marti's. Santiago de Cuba was the hometown of poet José María Heredia.
The Teatro Heredia, which hosts theater and cultural events, is named in his honor although the mural relief portrait on the building façade depicts Juan Almeida Bosque, a commander of insurgent forces in the Cuban Revolution. It is the birthplace of the world-famous Bacardi brand, started by Facundo Bacardi Masso in 1862, it now houses a museum. Santiago de Cuba is well known for its cultural life; some of Cuba's most famous musicians, including Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer and Eliades Ochoa and trova composer Ñico Saquito were born in the city or in one of the villages surrounding it. They have contributed to the country-like music of the city. Furthermore, Santiago de Cuba is well known for its traditional dances, most notably son, from which salsa has been derived; the city is well known for its Carnival, always celebrated in July, the reason Castro chose July 26 to enter undetected into the city to assault the Moncada Barracks. During Carnival, traditional conga music is played in the streets on a traditional pentatonic trumpet, called the trompeta china.
A high number of residents of the city adhere to Afro-Cuban religions, most notably santería. The city hosts an important community of descendants of Haitian immigrants from the 19th century; some aspects of the religious "vodún" heritage of the city can be traced back to this community. In the city there are multiple architectural styles, from Baroque to neoclassical. Of special interest are the wooded parks, the steep streets, colonial buildings with huge windows and crowded balconies. Preserved historical treasures include the first home in the Americas, the first cathedral in Cuba, Cobre mine, the first copper mine opened in the Americas, the first Cuban museum; the local citadel of San Pedro de la Roca is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "the most complete, best-preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture, based on Italian and Renaissance design principles". The Baconao Park was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserve List in 1987. Santiago de Cuba is located in the southeast of the island at coordinates 20° 01' 17.42" N 75° 49' 45.75" W, some 870 km of the capital, Havana.
Santiago de Cuba has been the second-largest city in Cuba, behind Havana. It is a major port; the municipalit
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was a Cuban communist revolutionary and politician who governed the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and as President from 1976 to 2008. A Marxist–Leninist and Cuban nationalist, Castro served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011. Under his administration, Cuba became a one-party communist state, while industry and business were nationalized and state socialist reforms were implemented throughout society. Born in Birán, Oriente as the son of a wealthy Spanish farmer, Castro adopted leftist anti-imperialist politics while studying law at the University of Havana. After participating in rebellions against right-wing governments in the Dominican Republic and Colombia, he planned the overthrow of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista, launching a failed attack on the Moncada Barracks in 1953. After a year's imprisonment, Castro traveled to Mexico where he formed a revolutionary group, the 26th of July Movement, with his brother Raúl Castro and Che Guevara.
Returning to Cuba, Castro took a key role in the Cuban Revolution by leading the Movement in a guerrilla war against Batista's forces from the Sierra Maestra. After Batista's overthrow in 1959, Castro assumed military and political power as Cuba's Prime Minister; the United States came to oppose Castro's government and unsuccessfully attempted to remove him by assassination, economic blockade and counter-revolution, including the Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961. Countering these threats, Castro aligned with the Soviet Union and allowed the Soviets to place nuclear weapons in Cuba, sparking the Cuban Missile Crisis – a defining incident of the Cold War – in 1962. Adopting a Marxist–Leninist model of development, Castro converted Cuba into a one-party, socialist state under Communist Party rule, the first in the Western Hemisphere. Policies introducing central economic planning and expanding healthcare and education were accompanied by state control of the press and the suppression of internal dissent.
Abroad, Castro supported anti-imperialist revolutionary groups, backing the establishment of Marxist governments in Chile and Grenada, as well as sending troops to aid allies in the Yom Kippur and Angolan Civil War. These actions, coupled with Castro's leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1979 to 1983 and Cuba's medical internationalism, increased Cuba's profile on the world stage. Following the Soviet Union's dissolution in 1991, Castro led Cuba through the economic downturn of the "Special Period", embracing environmentalist and anti-globalization ideas. In the 2000s, Castro forged alliances in the Latin American "pink tide" – namely with Hugo Chávez's Venezuela – and signed Cuba up to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas. In 2006, Castro transferred his responsibilities to Vice President Raúl Castro, elected to the presidency by the National Assembly in 2008; the longest-serving non-royal head of state in the 20th and 21st centuries, Castro polarized world opinion. His supporters view him as a champion of socialism and anti-imperialism whose revolutionary regime advanced economic and social justice while securing Cuba's independence from American imperialism.
Critics view him as a dictator whose administration oversaw human-rights abuses, the exodus of a large number of Cubans and the impoverishment of the country's economy. Castro was decorated with various international awards and influenced different individuals and groups across the world. Castro was born out of wedlock at his father's farm on 13 August 1926, his father, Ángel Castro y Argiz, a veteran of the Spanish–American War, was a migrant to Cuba from Galicia, Northwest Spain. He had become financially successful by growing sugar cane at Las Manacas farm in Birán, Oriente Province. After the collapse of his first marriage he took his household servant, Lina Ruz González – of Canarian origin – as his mistress and second wife. At age six, Castro was sent to live with his teacher in Santiago de Cuba, before being baptized into the Roman Catholic Church at the age of eight. Being baptized enabled Castro to attend the La Salle boarding school in Santiago, where he misbehaved. In 1945, Castro transferred to the more prestigious Jesuit-run El Colegio de Belén in Havana.
Although Castro took an interest in history and debating at Belén, he did not excel academically, instead devoting much of his time to playing sports. In 1945, Castro began studying law at the University of Havana. Admitting he was "politically illiterate", Castro became embroiled in student activism and the violent gangsterismo culture within the university. Passionate about anti-imperialism and opposing U. S. intervention in the Caribbean, he unsuccessfully campaigned for the presidency of the Federation of University Students on a platform of "honesty and justice". Castro became critical of the corruption and violence of President Ramón Grau's government, delivering a public speech on the subject in November 1946 that received coverage on the front page of several newspapers. In 1947, Castro joined the Party of the Cuban People, founded by veteran politician Eduardo Chibás. A charismatic figure, Chibás advocated social justice, honest government and political freedom, while his party exposed corruption and demanded reform.
Though Chibás came third in the 1948 general election, Castro remained committed to working on his behalf. Student violence escalated after Grau employed gang leaders as police officers, Castro soon received a death threat urging him to leave the university. However, he refused to do so an