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Main street in front of post office
Main street in front of post office
Guantánamo municipality (red) within  Guantánamo Province (yellow) and Cuba
Guantánamo municipality (red) within
Guantánamo Province (yellow) and Cuba
Guantánamo is located in Cuba
Location of Guantánamo in Cuba
Country  Cuba
Province Guantánamo
Established 1797[1]
 • City 741.4 km2 (286.3 sq mi)
Elevation 46 m (151 ft)
Population (2011)[3]
 • City 210,407
 • Density 280/km2 (740/sq mi)
 • Metro 216,734
Demonym(s) Guantanamero/ra
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
Postal code 95100
Area code(s) +53 21

Guantánamo is a municipality and city in southeast Cuba and capital of Guantánamo Province.

Guantánamo is served by the Caimanera port near the site of a U.S. naval base. The area produces sugarcane and cotton wool. These are traditional parts of the economy.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Overview 2.1
    • United States Naval Base 2.2
  • Demographics 3
    • Famous Guantanameros 3.1
  • Transport 4
  • The song "Guantanamera" 5
  • Gallery 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


The city was founded in 1797[1] in the area of a farm named Santa Catalina. The toponym "Guantánamo" means, in Taíno language, "land between the rivers".[4]



The municipality is mountainous in the north, at Humboldt National Park, where it overlays the Sierra Maestra (mountains), and borders the Windward Passage of the Caribbean Sea in the south. It is crossed by the Bano, Guantánamo, Yateras, Guaso, San Andrés and Sabanalamar rivers. The city is spread with a square plan and is crossed in the middle by the Carretera Central highway. Guantánamo Bay is a natural harbour south of it.

The municipality borders with El Salvador, Niceto Pérez, Caimanera, Yateras, Manuel Tames and Sagua de Tánamo; this one in Holguín Province. It counts the villages of Argeo Martínez, Arroyo Hondo, Glorieta, Las Lajas and Paraguay.

Prior to 1976 it was divided into the barrios and villages Arroyo Hondo, Baitiquirí, Bano, Bayate, Caimanera, Camarones, Caridad, Corralillo, Cuatro Caminos, Filipinas, Glorieta, Gobierno, Guaso, Hospital, Indios, Isleta, Jaibo Abajo, Las Lajas, Macurijes, Mercado, Ocujal, Parroquia, Palma de San Juan, Rastro, Tiguabos and Vínculo.[1] After 1976 reform part of municipal territory was split in the municipalities of El Salvador, Niceto Pérez, Caimanera and San Antonio del Sur.[4]

United States Naval Base

About 15 km away from the city lies the Guantánamo Bay, a superior natural harbor which has been utilized by the United States since 1898, when it was captured from Spain in the Battle of Guantánamo Bay. It was subsequently leased under duress from Cuba in 1903 by the US in the Cuban–American Treaty, and remains the site of a US Navy base, as well as the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.


In 2004, the municipality of Guantánamo had a population of 244,603.[3] With a total area of 741 km2 (286 sq mi),[2] it has a population density of 330.1/km2 (855/sq mi).

Famous Guantanameros

Notable natives of Guantánamo include athletes Joel Casamayor, Erislandy Lara, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Yumileidi Cumbá, Jaime Jefferson, Yargelis Savigne, Dayron Robles, Luis Delís, Cuban-American gymnast Annia Hatch, and cosmonaut Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez.


The city is served by the Carretera Central highway, and is the western terminus of the A1 motorway, that is mainly under construction and will link Guantánamo with Havana. The city airport "Mariana Grajales" is located near the villages of Las Lajas and Paraguay.

The song "Guantanamera"

"Guantanamera" (Spanish: "from Guantánamo [feminine]", thus "woman from Guantánamo") is perhaps the best known Cuban song and that country's most noted patriotic song. In 1966, a version by American vocal group The Sandpipers, based on an arrangement by Pete Seeger, became an international hit.


See also


  1. ^ a b c "Guantánamo" (in Español). Retrieved 2007-10-05. 
  2. ^ a b Statoids. "Municipios of Cuba". Retrieved 2007-10-05. 
  3. ^ a b (2004). "2004 Population trends, by Province and Municipality" (in Español). Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-10-05. 
  4. ^ a b (Spanish) Guantánamo on EcuRed

Further reading

  • Jonathan M. Hansen, Guantánamo: An American History. New York: Hill and Wang, 2011.

External links

  • Complete guide to Guantánamo City
  • Detailed information about Zoologico de Piedra (Stone Zoo)
  • Article about the prison history
  • (Spanish) City webpage
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