This port has a Natural Harbor
Fertile Soil (Sugar)
Santiago, known better today as Santiago de Cuba to avoid confusion with Santiago of Chile, is the second largest colony in Cuba following Havana. Santiago de Cuba was founded by Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar on June 28, 1514. In 1516 the settlement was destroyed by fire, and was immediately rebuilt. This was the starting point of the expeditions led by Juan de Grijalba and Hernán Cortés to the coasts of Mexico in 1518, and 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, and by British forces under Christopher Myngs in 1662.
On June 12, 1766, the city was almost destroyed by an earthquake.
The city experienced an influx of French immigrants in the late 18th century and early 19th century, many coming from Haiti after the Haitian slave revolt of 1791. This added to the city's eclectic cultural mix, already rich with Spanish and African culture.
It was also the location where Spanish troops faced their main defeat at San Juan Hill on July 1, 1898, during the Spanish-American War. Spain later surrendered to the United States after the destruction of its Atlantic fleet just outside Santiago's harbor.
Cuban poet, writer, and national hero, José Martí, is buried in Cementerio Santa Efigenia.