Cuba, formally the Republic of Cuba, is a nation that includes the island of Cuba, Isla de la Juventud, and many other archipelagos. Cuba is situated at the confluence of the northern Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean. Cuba is positioned east of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, south of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic), and north of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. The biggest and capital city is Havana; other notable cities are Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The Republic of Cuba has an official land area of 109,884 km2 (42,426 sq mi) (without the territorial waters). With an area of 104,556 km2, Cuba's main island is the biggest in both Cuba and the Caribbean (40,369 sq mi). With approximately 11 million people, Cuba is the Caribbean's second-most populated nation after Haiti.
The Ciboney Tano people occupied what is now Cuba from the 4th millennium BC until the Spanish arrival in the 15th century. It was a Spanish colony from the 15th century until the Spanish–American War of 1898 when it was seized by the United States and obtained nominal independence as a de facto United States protectorate in 1902. Cuba sought to improve its democratic system as a shaky republic in 1940, but rising political radicalism and socioeconomic turmoil resulted in a coup and subsequent dictatorship under Fulgencio Batista in 1952. Under Batista's tenure, open corruption and persecution culminated to his ouster in January 1959 by the 26th of July Movement, which later established communist power under Fidel Castro's leadership. The Communist Party of Cuba has ruled the country since 1965. During the Cold War, the nation was a source of disagreement between the Soviet Union and the United States, and a nuclear war almost broke out during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Cuba is one of the few remaining Marxist–Leninist socialist republics, with the vanguard Communist Party's position codified in the Constitution. Cuba was engaged in a wide variety of military and humanitarian initiatives across Africa and Asia under Castro.
Cuba is culturally associated with Latin America. It is a multiethnic nation whose people, culture, and traditions are influenced by a variety of factors, including the Tano Ciboney peoples, a lengthy era of Spanish colonization, the arrival of enslaved Africans, and a strong Cold War ties with the Soviet Union.
Cuba is a founding member of the United Nations, the Group of 77, the Non-Aligned Movement, ALBA, and the Organization of American States. It now boasts one of the world's few planned economies, with the tourist sector and exports of skilled labor, sugar, tobacco, and coffee dominating the economy. Cuba has long outperformed other nations in the area on numerous socioeconomic measures, including literacy, infant mortality, and life expectancy, both before and after the Communist administration.
Cuba has a single-party authoritarian state that forbids political opposition. Elections are held in Cuba, however, they are not considered democratic. Censorship of information (including internet access restrictions) is widespread in Cuba, and independent media is suppressed; Reporters Without Borders ranks Cuba as one of the world's worst nations for press freedom.