Havana

  • The city of Havana was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and due to its strategic location, it served as a springboard for the Spanish conquest of the continent, becoming a stopping point for treasure-laden Spanish galleons returning to Spain. 
  • King Philip II of Spain granted Havana the title of City in 1592. 
  • Walls, as well as forts, were built to protect the old city. The sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana's harbor in 1898 was the immediate cause of the Spanish–American War. 
  • In the 1980s many parts of Old Havana, including the Plaza de Armas, became part of a projected 35-year multimillion-dollar restoration project, for Cubans to appreciate their past and boost tourism. 
  • In the past ten years, with the assistance of foreign aid and under the support of local city historian Eusebio Leal Spengler, large parts of Habana Vieja have been renovated. 
  • The city is moving forward with their renovations, with most of the major plazas (Plaza Vieja, Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza de San Francisco, and Plaza de Armas) and major tourist streets (Obispo and Mercaderes) near completion.

 

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