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Sierra Maestra


Sierra Maestra

Sierra Maestra
Sierra Maestra near the border of Granma and Santiago de Cuba provinces.
Highest point
Peak Pico Turquino
Elevation 1,974 m (6,476 ft)
Length 240 km (150 mi)
Width 30 km (19 mi)
Sierra Maestra is located in Cuba
Location of Sierra Maestra in Cuba
Country Cuba
Provinces Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo
Range coordinates
Pico Torquino in the Sierra Maestra, Cuba's highest mountain, 1974 meters

Sierra Maestra is a mountain range that runs westward across the south of the old Oriente Province from what is now Guantánamo Province to Niquero[1] in southeast Cuba, rising abruptly from the coast. Some view it as a series of connecting ranges (Vela, Santa Catalina, Quemado Grande, Daña Mariana),[2] which joins with others extending to the west.[1][3][4][5][6] The Sierra Maestra is the highest system of Cuba. It is rich in minerals, especially copper, manganese, chromium, and iron. At 1,974 m (6,476 ft), Pico Turquino is the range's highest point.


  • Orography 1
  • History 2
  • Ornithology 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Cuba rides on a separate tectonic plate, which originally was in the Pacific Ocean but (after crossing between the then separated Americas) crashed into Florida. This along with several other violent events (including volcanic activity, the crash of the comet Chicxulub, and earthquakes the Sierra Maestra is immediately north of the Bartlett Deep, or Cayman Trench on the main Caribbean Plate) fractured huge slabs of rocks. Enormous tsunamis presumably from the volcanoes on the Canary Islands carved great steps on the coast. All this caused emergence of these mountains in a complex process that included lifting up of now cave-ridden calcareous deposits, and the development of the Bartlett Deep or Cayman Trough. Originally heavily forested and divided by deep river valleys, volcanic dykes, and impassable karst areas, its steep valleys and abrupt fault lines make it an ideal terrain for rebellion.


The Sierra Maestra has a long history of guerrilla warfare, starting with the resistance of the Taínos under Guamá (died 1532), the Cimarrón Neo-Taíno nations escaped slave cultures, the Ten Years' War (1868-1878) and the Cuban War of Independence (1895-1898), and various minor conflicts such as the Race War of 1912, and the uprisings of Antonio Guiteras (died 1935) against Gerardo Machado (President of Cuba from 1925 to 1933) and Fulgencio Batista (President 1940-1944 and 1952-1959). After Fidel Castro returned to Cuba in 1956 from exile in Mexico, he and the few other survivors from the failed 1953 attack on Moncada Barracks hid out in Sierra Maestra. There they succeeded in expanding their 26th of July Movement, starting a revolution throughout the region. They built up guerrilla columns, and in collaboration with other groups in the central provinces, Escopeteros on the foot-hills and plains, and the urban resistance, eventually overthrew Fulgencio Batista on 1 January 1959.


The ivory-billed woodpecker, now possibly extinct, was last seen (according to an unconfirmed report) in the Sierra Maestra in 1998.

See also


  1. ^ a b (Spanish) Niquero on
  2. ^ (Spanish) Guantánamo on
  3. ^ (Spanish) Caney on
  4. ^ (Spanish) Bayamo on
  5. ^ (Spanish) Cobre on
  6. ^ (Spanish) Manzanillo on
  • Achenbach, Joel and Peter Essic (photographer) 2006 The next big one and special supplement (map): Earthquake risk Zones. Nation Geographic 209(4, April), 120-147 and map.
  • Anderson, Jon Lee 1997. Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life. Bantam Press, ISBN 0-553-40664-7 or Grove Press, ISBN 0-8021-1600-0
  • AP Latin America January 22, 2005 Ship Begins Sound Wave Research Off Yucatan
  • Braddock, Daniel M. 1958 Revolutionary Activity in Western Oriente Province. Despatch From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State. No. 656 Havana, February 18, 1958
  • Carney, Bob revised July 11, 2005 Explorations: Gulf of Mexico: Background Geological Setting. Louisiana State University National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Castellanos Garcia, Gerardo 1927. "Tierras y Glorias de Oriente (Calixto Garcia Iñiguez)" Editorial Hermes Havana p. 155.
  • Castro Medel, Osviel and Aldo Daniel Naranjo 2003 (accessed 3-21-06) 490 aniversario Ciudad India y Rebelde (Bayamo). La Demajagua
  • Cazanas X. ; Barrabi H. ; Melgarejo J.C. ; Luna J.A. 1998. El deposito volcanogenico de Cu-Zn-Pb-Au El Cobre, Cuba Oriental: Estructura y mineralogía The Cu-Zn-Pb-Au volcanogenic deposit El Cobre, Western Cuba (sic): Structure and mineralogy Source: Acta Geologica Hispanica 33 (1-4). 277-333.
  • Cazanas X.; Escusa A.; Cuba S.; Melgarejo J.C.; Alfonso P.1998 Un modelo de deposito vulcanogenico de manganeso del arco volcanico Paleogeno de Cuba: El ejemplo de la region Cristo-Ponupo-Los Chivos A model of manganese volcanogenic deposit from the Paleogene volcanic island arc of Cuba: The case of the Cristo-Ponupo-Los Chivos region ,Acta Geologica Hispanica 33 (1-4) 239-276
  • Cazanas X.; Lewis J.; Melgarejo J.C.; Proenza J.A.; Mattietti Kysar G. 1998 Rocas volcanicas de las series Inferior y Media del Grupo El Cobre en la Sierra Maestra (Cuba Oriental): Volcanismo generado en un arco de islas tholeiitico Volcanic rocks from the lower and intermediate series of the El Cobre Group, Sierra Maestra, Eastern Cuba: A case of island arc tholeiites Source: Acta Geologica Hispanica 33 (1-4) 57-74
  • Chiappy-Jhones C., Rico-Gray V.; Gama L.; and Giddings L. 2001 Floristic affinities between the Yucatán peninsula and some karstic areas of Cuba. Journal of Biogeography 28 (4) 535-542
  • Duarte Oropesa, José 1989 Historiología Cubana. Ediciones Universal Miami Vol 1. ISBN 0-89729-490-4, All volumes ISBN 84-399-2580-8
  • Enamorado, Calixto 1917 Tiempos. Heroicos Persecucion. Rambla, Bauza and Company, Havana.
  • Guevara, Ernesto Che 1958 (re-accessed 22 March 2006) Pino del Agua, II. Che Guevara
  • James, Daniel 2001 Che Guevara. Cooper Square Press. New York ISBN 0-8154-1144-8
  • Kueny, J.A. 1998 An assessment of protected karst landscapes in the Caribbean Caribbean Geography 9 (.2). 87-100.
  • Lescaille Durand, Lisván 2003 (accessed 3-22-06) Puede ser el cacique Guamá. Cuba Una identità in movimento
  • Marrero, Levi 1981 5th edition "Geografia de Cuba" La Moderna Poesia, Coral Gables Florida.
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  • McGuire, Bill 2005 Global disaster paves way for global thinking. Geographical,. 77 (3) 14-18.
  • Mora, Pedro 2003 (re accessed 22 March 2006) Aniversario 45 de Pino del Agua II. Importante golpe de la guerrilla. Verde Olivo
  • Morán Arce, Lucas 1980 La revolución cubana, 1953–1959: Una versión rebelde. Imprenta Universitaria, Universidad Católica de Puerto Rico. Ponce, Puerto Rico. ISBN B0000EDAW9
  • MVC 2005 Investiga Cuba restos de meteorite Notimex. El Universal Viernes 11 de noviembre de 2005 El Universal Online, México.
  • Naranjo Tamayo, Aldo Daniel and Luis Carlos Palacios Leyva 2004 (Accessed 3-21-06) San Salvador de Bayamo: Proceso fundacional de la segunda villa cubana San Salvador de Bayamo. La Demajagua 3 de noviembre de 2004
  • Goreau, P. D. E. 1983 Tectonic Evolution of the North Central Caribbean Plate Margin. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts.; Massachusetts Inst. of Tech., Cambridge. Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C.. September 1983. 248p. Report: WHOI-83-34
  • Rojas-Consuegra, R. 2005 Paleobiogeografía de los Rudistas (Moluscos Cretácicos) reportados en el territorio cubano. I Convención Cubana de Ciencias de la Tierra. GEOCIENCIAS’ 2005. Memorias, Trabajos y Resúmenes. Centro Nacional de Información Geológica. IGP. La Habana. CD ROM. 2005. GEO08-P6: 1-15. ISBN 959-7117-03-7.
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  • Rojas-Consuegra, R., M. A. Iturralde-Vinent, C. Díaz-Otero y D. García-Delgado 2005 Significación paleogeográfica de la brecha basal del Límite K/T en Loma Dos Hermanas (Loma Capiro), en Santa Clara, provincia de Villa Clara. I Convención Cubana de Ciencias de la Tierra. GEOCIENCIAS’ 2005. Memorias, Trabajos y Resúmenes. Centro Nacional de Información Geológica. IGP. La Habana. CD ROM. 2005. GEO08-P7: 1-9. ISBN 959-7117-03-7
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  • Takayama H.; Iturralde-Vinent M.A.; Oji T.; Tajika E.; Kiyokawa S.; Garcia D.; Okada H.; Hasegawa T.; Toyoda K.; Tada R.; Matsui T. 2000 Origin of the Penalver Formation in northwestern Cuba and its relation to K/T boundary impact event Sedimentary Geology 135 (1-4) 295-320.
  • Whitmarsh, Isabel. 1969. Bayatiquirí Tierra de Alegría, Paz y Amor. Leyenda de la Familia Ciargos de Luna. Libro Primero. Guarenas, Venezuela.

External links

  • Cuba's Revolutionary Mountains by Zoë Barnes, The Sunday Times, March 15, 2009
  • Music in the Sierra Maestra
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