Cuba: Landscape as it relates to geography, climate and habbitational history
Just east of the Gulf of Mexico, the long island of Cuba occupies 42,426 sq miles of rolling hills and leveled plains. The luscious island has a unique coast line with one coast on the North Atlantic ocean and the other on the Caribbean Sea. From about November to April, Cuba is in its dry season with the average temperature somewhere in the high 60’s to low 70’s. The rainy season is from May to October, with an average temperature somewhere in the high 80’s.
Since the island is so close to the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico, hurricanes frequent the country, especially in september and October. As of 2016, over 76% of the Cuban population lived in urban centers, like Havana, leaving the rest of the county to larger, less populated rural landscapes. These less populated areas generally have a harder time rebuilding after hurricanes due to the late of attention directed towards them.
As the largest landmass in the caribbean, Cuba is home to several different species of plants and animals including over 384 species of birds, and 136 species of reptile. Shadowing the uniqueness of Cuba, the rare freshwater Cuban Crocodile also inhabits the island, dwelling in two very distinct locations. Known for its love for turtles, this endangered species shares a very little space with the islanders, sticking to its primary Habitats, The island of Youth and the Zapata Swamp. Cuba’s Zapata Swamp lies about 93 miles from Havana, the nation’s capital, in addition to being home to several amazing plants and animals, the swamp is known for being the most well preserved Wetlands of the Antilles.
The island of youth however, is quite different, with a huge pine forest and well populated agricultural industry. Its black sand beaches a stark contrast to the swamp.
Along with the amazing animals that live throughout Cuba’s varying habitats, the plant life of cuba holds both the familiar and the unexpected. Palm trees dance along the coastline and litter its core, alongside them, 25,000 species of Orchid grace the island with their beauty and popularity. The nations famed “White Mariposa” holds deep cultural significance as it is said women would use these flowers to send messages to their loved ones on the front lines during time of war.
With a population of about 11 million people, Cuba’s natural landscape has changed drastically over the years. In 1492, Christopher Columbus claimed Cuba and used its land primarily for harvesting sugar. During this time the first documented, man-made change occurred, causing a Eurocentric view on civilization to mold the land. Later, as a result of the Spanish American war in 1898, the United States took over, only for Cuba to gain its legal independence in 1902. During this time, the island changed once again, with the government’s attention turning to bettering their country economically.