Taino smallpox epidemic The Spaniards, who first arrived in the Bahamas, Cuba, and Hispaniola in 1492, and later in Puerto Rico, did not bring women in the first expeditions. They took Taino women for their common-law wives, resulting in mestizo children. Sexual violence in Haiti with the Taino women by the Spanish was also common. Scholars suggest there was substantial mestizaje or racial and cultural mixing in Cuba, as well, and several Indian pueblos that survived into the 19th century. The Taino became extinct as a culture following settlement by Spanish colonists, primarily due to infectious diseases to which they had no immunity. The first recorded smallpox outbreak in Hispaniola occurred in December 1518 or January 1519. The 1518 smallpox epidemic killed 90% of the natives who had not already perished. Warfare and harsh enslavement by the colonists had also caused many deaths. By 1548, the native population had declined to fewer than 500.
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Holding the record as Cuba's highest bridge the Puente de Bacunayagua was inaugurated in September 1959 and sits impressively at 110 meters above the valley below. The bridge marks the spot of the division between the provinces of Mayabeque and Matanzas. Considered by Cubans and visitors alike as one of the seven wonders of Cuban civil engineering, the bridge has its own restaurant with a panoramic observation deck on the Havana side of the bridge, looking towards the Matanzas coastline. [...]
In 2009 the city of Matanzas inaugurated a national museum on the Slave Route in the Castle of San Severino. The Museum of the Slave Trade in Cuba was opened by UNESCO and tells the riveting story about how the Atlantic slave trade forms an essential part of the shared history of Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and Americas. Designed to bridge generations, the museum is an interesting place to learn about African history, traditions and languages and how they transcended [...]
The Pharmacy Museum La Botica Triolet in Matanzas is a rare find indeed. Located in the city center next to the Libertad Park and a few steps from the Sauto Theater, the pharmacy dates back to 1882 and still maintains its original decor. The woodwork, architecture and all the old 19th century equipment and ceramic bottles are all from the period. The tour is just 3CUC per person and well worth the cost. You'll learn how medicine was made in [...]
The 2.5KM (1.5 miles) of underground caves called the Cuevas Bellamar are by far Cuba’s oldest tourist attraction. Located just 5km southeast of Matanzas the caves have been carbon dated to be 300,000 years old. The cave system was originally discovered in 1861 and now provides terrific spectacle of stalactites and stalagmites and impressive crystallized domes. Tour of the Bellamar caves take 45-minutes and tours are every hour starting at 9:30am. There is no need to book in advance and [...]
Address: Peninsula de Zapata, Playa Larga, Matanzas Hotel Playa Larga is located in a privileged part of the Zapata Peninsula Biosphere reserve right next to the Bay of Pigs. Blessed with one of the most beautiful beaches on the south coast of Cuba with pure white sand and lush tropical vegetation, the Hotel Playa Larga is a true naturist paradise. The cabins are right on the seafront, making this hotel a true beach oasis. Hotel Playa Larga is visited by [...]