• Havana was occupied by French pirates for 24 hours in 1537. Two centuries later the city was occupied again, but this time by English troops, who took the city during 11 months between 1792 and 1793.
  • Cuba did not have its own currency until 1915. Its creation was approved in 1914, but the first coinage occurred in 1915 during the government of President Mario GarcíaMenocal.
  • The law of divorce was passed in Cuba in 1918.
  • The female vote was officially approved in 1933.


  • The first Cuban printed paper was made in 1723. It was the General Tariff of Medicines Price and was printed on February 11 of that year.
    The first Cuban newspaper was published in 1764 and was called La Gaceta de La Habana. It had a page “rose” on the nobility of the Island.
    The one that is considered the first Cuban literary work was not written by a Cuban, but by a Canary writer living in Havana, Silvestre de Balboa and it is the poem “Mirror of Patience”.
    The first danzón, national dance, was composed in 1878 and performed for the first time in Matanzas on the 1st. January 1879. Its author was Miguel Failde and it is called “Simpson´s Hills”.
  • The first Cuban radio broadcast was in English and not in Spanish. It happened the 10 of October of 1922 when the PWX was inaugurated by the president Alfredo Zayas; The first voice that was heard was that of Raúl Falcón who presented the presidential message in English as well as that of the president when he inaugurated it.
  • Cuba was one of the first countries to have TV broadcasts. Union Radio Channel 4 was inaugurated on October 24, 1950 from the private house of Gaspar Pumarejo, one of the Cuban TV leaders, in Havana and the first images transmitted were advertising of the cigars CompetidoraGaditana and Cerveza Cristal, as well as a show with Pedro Armendariz and Carmen Montejo, famous Mexican artists at that time.
  • Cuba was the second country in the world after the USA, to broadcast color TV. It happened in 1958 and allowed Cuba to have the third color TV channel in the history of the world.


  • The first Latin American cemetery established outside a church is Espada Cemetery (now Columbus Cemetery), founded in 1806.
  • The walls of Havana, a fundamental part of the city’s defensive system against pirates, were built between 1671 and 1740. Its demolition began in 1863.
  • The first electrical lighting system in Cuba is more than 120 years old. It was inaugurated in Havana in March 1889 and illuminated some streets, the Parque de Isabel II (now Central Park) and the Paseo de Isabel la Catolica (today Paseo del Prado).


  • Cuba had the first railroad in Latin America and before its colonial metropolis, Spain. It was inaugurated on November 19, 1837 with the section Habana – Güines, eleven years earlier than in Spain. The second section linked Havana and Bejucal and continued to Surgidero de Batabanó.
  • The first tram was in Cuba more than a century ago. It was in March 1900 and linked Regla and Guanabacoa with a distance of 4 km. The trams stopped working in 1952.
  • The first automobile circulated in the streets of Havana in 1900. This date is accepted by all authors, although some have considered their arrival in Cuba in December 1898.
  • The first international flight of Latin American aviation was carried out by Cubans. It took place on May 17, 1913 from Cuba to Key West, lasted 2 hours 40 minutes and were the Cuban pilots AgustínParlá and Domingo Rosillo, who set a world record.


  • The first Cuban Blood Bank was established in 1845.
  • A Cuban doctor used the first anesthesia with ether on March 10, 1847. In that year, ether anesthesia surgeries were performed in several Latin American countries, the first one took place in Cuba only few days earlier by Dr. Vicente Antonio de Castro.
  • The first Ministry of Health of the world was created in Cuba with the inauguration of the Secretariat of Health and Welfare on January 28, 1909, a fact that granted the Greater Antilles the status of a precursor country in achieving a national health system with ministerial category.


  • A Cuban, Alfredo de Oro, was the world champion of billiards in 18 consecutive occasions since 1891.
  • The first Latin American Olympic champion was the Cuban Ramon Fonst in sword, in the Paris Olympics of 1900.
  • Cuban Jose Raul Capablanca was the first world chess champion born in an undeveloped country.
  • Cuba was the first country in Latin America with live broadcasts of major league games. Creation of the brothers Mestre, (one of them father of the present Princess of Luxembourg). For this purpose, two DC-3 aircraft that operated as antennas were maintained in the air, one between New York and Miami and another between Miami and Havana.


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