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The homonym capital city of the Santiago de Cuba province was founded by Diego Velázquez in 1515, by the mouth of river Paradas, but shortly after was moved to its actual location. In 1520, its cathedral was built and six years after that it was destroyed by a fire. During the first half of the 16th century, Santiago de Cuba was the capital of the country and official residence of the Spanish governors; from 1553 on, Havana took its place. The first economical activity was gold ore mining, but it soon was over. The discovery of copper ore made possible the exploitation of the first mine in Cuba: El Cobre, located near the city of Santiago. It was soon a target for greedy pirates and privateers that constantly raided it. The most famous of its attackers was the French Jacques de Sores. To protect themselves from such sacks, the authorities of the city started the construction of a defensive system around the city. The Socapa battery, the Castillo de la Estrella, and that of San Pedro de la Roca (frequently addressed as Morro) have survived until these days. The latter was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.
Santiago de Cuba proudly bears the title of Hero City of the Republic of Cuba. Several relevant events took place in that scenario, and the most important on July 26, 1953. That day, a group of young fighters led by Fidel Castro took the arms and attacked the Moncada garrison. This action marked the beginning of a decisive stage in the struggle for national liberation.
There is a great deal of places where the visitor can know about our history and the people who has made it. Undoubtedly, one of the most important is the funerary monument of the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, where the mortal remains of National Hero, José Martí lie.
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