In the years before the breakup of the Soviet Union, Cuba maintained a close political and economic relationship with that nation.Cuba has had a distant and antagonistic relationship with the United States.The United States, which has limited diplomatic relations with Cuba, nonetheless maintains, against the Cuban government's wishes, a significant military presence in Cuba at the Guantanamo Bay base on the southeastern coast of the island. Before colonization, the island was inhabited by Ciboney and Arawak Indians.Shortly after colonization, the native population was ravaged by disease, warfare, and enslavement, causing their eventual extinction.Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Cuba, like most of Spain's Caribbean possessions, received little attention from the imperial government.
Two-fifths of the Cuban population is Roman Catholic. Many of those who call themselves Catholics are also adherents of an Afro-Cuban religious tradition known as santeria.The official language of Cuba and the language spoken by nearly all Cubans is Spanish.The capital of Cuba is Havana, located on the northwestern coast of the island.Nearly 20 percent of Cubans are city dwellers; most live in the capital city.Cuba is an island nation located on the northern rim of the Caribbean Sea. To Cuba's east is the island of Hispaniola, shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Off the southeastern coast of Cuba lies Jamaica, and to the north is the state of Florida.