Cuban patriot Miguel Teurbe Tolon also created Cuba’s coat of arms in 1849. General Narciso Lopez, chief of the Provincial Government, used it to seal dispatches and bonuses issued between 1850 and 1851. Initially, the coat of arms was made up of elements that were later removed as they were considered unfit for the independent ideals of the time. On April 21, 1906, Tomas Estrada Palma –Cuba’s first Constitutional President- inked a decree determining the coat of arms would be the island’s second emblem duly ratified by the 1940 Constitution. The coat of arms is shaped like an oval shield. The upper echelon depicts a sea caught between two portions of land: Saber Cape in Florida and Catoche Cape in Mexico, followed by a centerpiece key. These elements symbolize Cuba’s geographical importance that has given the moniker of The Key to the Gulf. In the background, the sun’s half disc in the horizon implies the island nation’s tropical heat. The right side shows a valley where a royal palm –Cuba’s national tree- stands tall between two mountains that recreate the country’s typical landscape. A bundle of sticks crowned by a freedom cap and featuring a five-point star carved into it serves as a backdrop. The bundle represents the unity of all Cubans, while the star stands for the highest expression of liberty. In the same breath, the coat of arms is surrounded by a twig of laurel (victory) and a branch of oak (peace).

National Anthem

In 1867, Pedro Figueredo, a freedom fighter from the first independence war, was entrusted with the task of writing the lyrics of an anthem that would mirror the struggling spirit of the Cuban people. Thus, he authored La Bayamesa –the anthem’s original title- quite similar to the lyrics and encore to Le Marseilles of the French Revolution. The anthem was sung during the independence wars and it sustained a few changes due to oral tradition. The pitches that resembled the French anthem were crossed out and the original name was replaced by the National Anthem. The lyrics were clipped to only a couple of stanzas. (Free Translation) Let’s run to fight, people pf Bayamo As the homelands proudly beholds us Do not fear a glorious death For dying for the homeland brings life. Living in shackles Is living plunged in ignominy and dishonor Listen to the sound of the bugle To your arms, brave men, run.

National Symbols

The Flag with the solitary star, the Hymn of Bayamo and the Coat of arms with the royal palm tree.

National Dance

Son is the traditional dance of the rural areas in eastern Cuba. It blends elements from Hispanic and African cultures that make it a heterogeneous manifestation. The instruments for playing son are guitars, three-stringers, maracas and Cuban drums. Today, Cuban son is one of the most developed and highly coveted musical genres worldwide. Its structure is similar to a huge river, just like jazz and samba. Like these two other genres, son has inherited different musical nutrients and is penciled in as one of today’s most genuine expressions of the Cuban identity.

National Flora

Mariposa is also known as the Cuban lily. Its scientific denomination is Hedychium Coronarium Koenig. It’s not an endemic plant for it hails from Asia, yet it adapted itself to the Cuban soil and it now grows in the rich banks of rivers and springs, as well as in other moist areas. The Cuban lily was officially declared Cuba’s national flower n October 13, 1936. Its white color stands for the pure and peaceful ideals of the 19th-century freedom fighters. It equally represents the graciousness and tallness of Cuban women –as oral tradition has it- during the independence wars. Women used to conceal messages inside the flowers that were later on relayed to the Liberation Army.

National Tree

The royal palm, whose scientific denomination is Roystonea Regia O.F. Cook, is acknowledged by the Cubans as the queen of the countryside because of its tallness, shape and usefulness, let alone the many species found on the island. This is tall, straight-up tree crowned by a gorgeous set of thatches. The royal palm is only one of the over 70 species of indigenous palms that spruce up Cuba’s rural areas. In addition to other 20 subspecies, it’s worth saying that Cuba boasts over a hundred native palms and roughly 90 percent of them are endemic. They bloom and bear fruits all year round. The latter is widely used to feed breeding animals.

National Animal

The tocororo is an endemic bird species of Cuba sporting motley colors. Its scientific denomination is Priotelus Temnurus, from the Trogodinae family. It’s the only one of its kind on the island nation. Also known as guatini by the former Cuban aboriginal –a moniker is still bears in some eastern provinces- it dwells all across the country, especially in forest and mountainous areas. It doesn’t flutter so much so it usually perches on trees for long periods of time. It only flaps around in search of food and only then its moves are accurate and brisk, even at a short range. Its denomination as the national bird comes from two reasons: its gaudy feathery and its resistance to captivity. The green feathers resemble the Cuban landscape. Its white chest, red abdomen and blue-capped feathers complete a clear-cut symbolism with the Cuban flag.

National Poet

Nicolas Guillen was born in Camaguey on July 10, 1902. He worked as a journalist since he was a youngster and then tried his hand at literature. He took part actively in the country’s political and cultural life. He joined the Communist Party and fought alongside the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. On the heels of the triumph of the Revolution, he served stints as a diplomat in several countries and headed Cuba’s National Writers and Artists Association (UNEAC). His literary works are traced in an earlier incursion in both postmodernism and avant-gardism of the 1920s. His poems entitled Motivos de Son (1930) won immediate recognition and were followed up by Songoro cosongo a year later. His works are marked by three trends: the mulatto poetry (in which he recreates African rhythms, lexicon and chanting traditions); the social and political poetry, and his folksy poems. He put out several poems in which he lays bares his commitment to the Latin America’s social reality, racial problems and world tribulations. His metaphysical inquiries and such topics as love and death also take up a period of his works. Guillen is considered as one of Latin America’s major poets of the 20th century and enshrined as Cuba’s national poet because his works unravels the nuts and bolts of the Cuban identity. Mr. Guillen passed away in 1989.

National Sports

Baseball has been played in Cuba since the second half of the 19th century. One of its top harbingers was Nemesio Guillo, for many the founding father of Cuban baseball, plus Jose Dolores Amieva and his two brothers. They put together the Matanzas team and started playing in sandlot fields. Shortly after that, the historic Palmar del Junco Ballpark was built in Matanzas’ Pueblo Nuevo. This was Cuba’s first-ever baseball stadium that witnessed the deeds of the best players in the game at the time. Since 1878, similar ballparks were built all around the country and the National Professional League was founded. Nowadays, a National Series is held every year with 16 teams representing all the 14 provinces and the Isle of Youth Special Municipality. When the championship is over, the best players join the national team that takes place in all international competitions.


Jose Julian Marti Perez, the son of Spanish parents, was born in Havana on January 28, 1853. He’s one of the most outstanding figures not only in Cuba, but also in all of the Americas. Marti was the forerunner of Cuba’s identity and an advocate of Americanism. He took part in political activities in Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Honduras, Costa Rica and Santo Domingo. At the same time, he was also a privileged writer. He tried his hand at all literary genres where he expressed the generous emotions of human beings with a view to improve society and, above all, his won homeland. Critics of all stripes point to Marti as a harbinger of Hispanic-American modernism and one of the finest literary pens of the Spanish-speaking world. His life was tragically cut off as he was fighting for the independence of his homeland on May 19, 1895 in Dos Rios. However, his legacy includes a set of solid ideas for all of the Americas in which he reveals the need to fight for all the nations’ freedom and integrity.