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Old Havana encompasses the downtown area of Havana, Cuba. It is one of the 15 municipalities in Havana, and contains the core of the original city of Havana. It is known for its bright colors and rich cultural heritage. Old Havana became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.
See the fact file below for more information on the Old Havana or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Old Havana worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Old Havana was founded by the Spanish in 1519, and is now the capital city, largest city, and the leading commercial centre in Cuba.
- The Spanish established settlements along the north coast between 1514 and 1519.
- Havana was given its name by a Spanish conquistador by the name of Panfilo de Narvaez.
- Havana originally began as a trading port, but due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, it was prone to looting and raiding by pirates, buccaneers, and French corsairs (a term synonymous with pirate).
- French corsair Jacques de Sores burned Havana down in 1555, which prompted the Spanish Crown to pour money into building a fortress to counteract them and exert more control over trade with the West Indies.
- Havana’s trade and agriculture sectors thrived in the 16th century due to its prominence as a trading port; ships from all over the New World brought imports to Havana which boosted their manufacturing and agriculture sectors.
- Havana was given the title of “City” by the Spanish King Philip II.
- From 1592 onward, Havana was referred to as the “Key to the New World and Rampart of the West Indies”.
- By the 17th century, Old Havana had expanded rapidly with lots of new buildings made of wood. Unfortunately ¼ of the European population in Havana felt the effects of the Yellow fever epidemic in 1649.
- By the 17th century, Havana had become one of the main shipbuilding centres.
- By the middle of the 18th century, Havana was the third largest city in the Americas (even more populous than New York).
- Havana was captured by the British during the Seven Years’ War, beginning in 1762 and causing a rapid change in Cuban society.
- To get Havana back from the British, Spain gave Florida to Britain.
- After the Seven Years’ War ordeal, the Spanish worked hard to make Havana a heavily fortified city.
- The 19th century saw many changes to Havana: the city walls were knocked down in 1863 so that the metropolis could grow, and Spanish colonialism in the Americas began to fade.
- By the 20th century, Havana was occupied by the United States; this ended on May 20, 1902.
- In the 1930s, luxury homes, casinos, nightclubs, and hotels were constructed to benefit tourism; Havana truly flourished.
- After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Havana’s communist regime continued, and looked to tourism to recover.
GEOGRAPHY AND LANDMARKS
- Old Havana is located on the north coast of Cuba and has a tropical climate.
- The architecture of Old Havana closely mirrors all the Western architectural styles in the New World.
- At present, the original city walls of Havana serve as Old Havana’s boundaries.
- The rich old culture and folk music, combined with its interesting history make it a popular tourist destination.
- The fortress by the entrance to Havana Bay is called Castillo del Moro while the fortress on the east of the bay is called La Cabaña.
- Old Havana looks similar to places like Cadiz and Tenerife, both of which are located in Spain.
- Old Havana’s National Capitol looks like the Capitol found in the US.
- Cuba has tried relentlessly to preserve and restore Old Havana.
- The Malecon is the street that runs along the seawall.
- Every night at 9 p.m, soldiers shoot a gunshot to signal the closing of the doors of the La Cabana that surround the city.
- The main tourist square in Old Havana is the Plaza de Armas.
- The Great Theatre of Havana is where the National Ballet of Cuba practice and perform.
- In order to replace African slaves that did work in the mid-19th century in Havana, thousands of Chinese workers were brought in, which resulted in many Chinese workers choosing to stay in Cuba once their work had been completed.
- This resulted in pop-ups of Chinese restaurants, banks, newspapers, and a surge of Chinese culture; a street is even named after Chinese culture.
- Many structures in Old Havana were destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008; this undid several years of rebuilding and conservation.
- Today, around 2 million people live in Old Havana.
- Its original layout, unity of character, and expressive manner has earned it its spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
Old Havana Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Old Havana across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Old Havana worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Old Havana which encompasses the downtown area of Havana, Cuba. It is one of the 15 municipalities in Havana, and contains the core of the original city of Havana. It is known for its bright colors and rich cultural heritage. Old Havana became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Old Havana Facts
- Ports and Pirates
- History of Old Havana
- History Fill In The Blanks
- Web of Influences
- Travel Guide
- Streets and Buildings
- New World Architecture
- Old Havana Chronicles
- Quick Questions
- Cuba Road Trip
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Link will appear as Old Havana Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 12, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.