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Cuba. The most populous of the Caribbean islands and the most politically inspiring.
Christopher Columbus is reputed to have sighted Cuba on his 1492 expedition and claimed it for Spain, so starting the island's long Hispanic history - it was a Spanish possession for nearly 400 years and Spanish is of course the island's language. Its colonial economy was based on agriculture and the production of sugar, coffee and tobacco. Like many sugar-producing colonies it depended on slave labour and this mix of African, Spanish and indigenous people contributes to Cuba's unique and lively reputation. The capital city of Havana was founded in 1515.
Its proximity to the United States of America has proven a significant influence on Cuba since the nineteenth century and remains so to this day. The island finally achieved independence from Spain after the Spanish-American war of 1898. Later under the Batista regime it became the playground of the wealthy American. For a gripping depiction of the end of this era see the award-winning movie The Godfather Part II. The revolution led by Fidel Castro brought that to an end and established a communist state on America's doorstep. In consequence we got the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.
Although plagued by economic troubles, especially since the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba has one of best educated populations in the world and a comprehensive health care system with high proportionate numbers of doctors and other medical staff.
Our pictures of Cuba reflect this colourful history with its Latin and African influences. The best known Cuban exports are music and cigars, so Havana cigar advertisements share the page with song sheet covers. And of course no Cuban poster selection would be complete without political propaganda posters representing Fidel Castro and the popular revolution.
Perhaps the most unusual Cuban poster is that for the Motor Racing's 1958 Formula One Cuba Grand Prix. It shows the Maserati of reigning World Champion, Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio but he didn't compete - he was kidnapped by the rebels two days before the race and released unharmed afterwards!