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Baracoa People and Heritage

Taino Indian Cuba

Like many places in the Greater Antilles, the inhabitants of Baracoa are predominantly of Aboriginal origin, displaying the traits of a sharp nose, straight hair, dark skin and small stature. It is claimed an impossibility to really know the ancient inhabitants of Cuba without first traversing the first settlement of Cuba called Baracoa. Today the city has a population of about 86,000 inhabitants, most of which have long lineage to the initial settlers.

Baracoa is also famous for hosting French immigrants, brought to its fertile soil cultivate coffee, which gave birth to the entirely French coffee plantations of the era.

In Cuba and in some parts of the world, the city has become famous for the so-called “Three Lies of Baracoa”: There is a river that is not sweet Honey, an anvil-shaped mountain that is not iron, and the so called “Sleeping Beauty” because of her contours that resemble the body of a woman lying on top of the mountain.

There are 56 archaeological sites in Baracoa which have so far been discovered which offer rich evidence of the Aboriginal communities that once lived here. The diversity of flora and fauna offers 67 types of ferns which are endemic to the Baracoa region. The anvil palm-tree and about 130 species of precious woods grow wild in the area. It also has areas devoted exclusively to livestock.

“Water for Existence” is the Taino Indian language meaning for the word Baracoa, because in the surrounding mountains there are abundant springs and rivers among which the Macaguanica, Yumuri Duaba, Jauco, Miel and Toa, the latter the largest river in Cuba.