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About a third of the island is mountainous, consisting of the Guaniguanco chain in the western province of Pinar del Rio, the Escambrey in the south-central province of Las Villas, and the largest system, the Sierra Maestra, in the western province of Oriente.Between these mountain systems is a large plain in the western province of Matanzas and another in the eastern province of Camaguëy.
Since the European conquest, the western third of the island has exercised military, political, economic, and cultural dominance.
The capital is Havana on the northern coast of the western third of the island.
The indigenous past was largely abandoned and forgotten, save only a few cultural survivals in language and architecture.
The only people left on the island were peninsulares (those born in Spain), creoles (colonists of European decent who were born on the island), and African slaves.
The second largest city is Santiago de Cuba in the province of Oriente, where the Roman Catholic archbishopric was established in the colonial era.
Although Santiago sometimes is called the "second capital," the economic importance of the port of Havana has given it a hugely disproportionate role in the definition of the national culture. Recent population estimates range from 11.06 million to 11.17 million.The struggle between these three groups determined the character of the colony and the meaning of Cuban-ness ( cubanidad ).Peninsulares came to earn their fortunes and return to Spain.The Pre-Columbian population was about 112,000, consisting mostly of Arawak (Taino and Sub-Taino) in the central and eastern region and a few Ciboneys (also called Guanahacabibes) who had fled the advance of the Arawak and moved west to Pinar del Rio.Indigenous lands were quickly distributed to European conquistadors and gold prospectors, and indigenous persons were enslaved and given to Europeans for use in mining and agricultural projects (a system called the encomienda ). Malnutrition, overwork, suicide, and brutality made the indigenous population virtually extinct within fifty years of the conquest.The peninsulares' privileges and wealth evoked the resentment of the creoles, who outnumbered them.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating