|Santiago de Cuba , city
(1994 est. pop. 385,800), capital of Santiago de Cuba prov.,
SE Cuba. Cuba's second largest city, Santiago is situated
on a cliff overlooking a bay. Minerals, agricultural produce,
and woods are exported. The city is also the terminus of a
major highway and railway. Founded in 1514 by Diego de Velázquez
and moved to its present site in 1588, Santiago served for
some time as Cuba's capital. In its early days, it was captured
by French and English buccaneers and was a center of the smuggling
trade with the British West Indies. Frenchmen fleeing the
slave revolt in Haiti in the early 19th cent. settled in Santiago
and heavily influenced the city's development.
During the Spanish-American War of 1898, U.S. ships established
a blockade in Santiago's harbor; when the Spanish admiral
Pascual Cervera y Topete, bottled up in the harbor, made
a desperate attempt to escape, his fleet was destroyed.
Heavy fighting preceded the city's surrender. Fidel Castro
began his revolutionary struggle against Fulgencio Batista
y Zaldívar by attacking the Moncada army garrison
in Santiago on July 26, 1953. The city retains many colonial
landmarks, notably its cathedral (the largest in Cuba) and
the crumbling forts that stand on high cliffs above the
harbor. It also has a university.