Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of Jamaica. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The island of Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, with an area of 109,884 square kilometres, and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.
The territory that is now Cuba was inhabited by the Ciboney Taíno people from the 4th millennium BC until Spanish colonisation in the 15th century. From the 15th century, it was a colony of Spain until the Spanish–American War of 1898, when Cuba was occupied by the United States and gained nominal independence as a de facto United States protectorate in 1902. As a fragile republic, in 1940 Cuba attempted to strengthen its democratic system, but mounting political radicalization and social strife culminated in the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1952.