Cuba is the most populous insular nation in the Caribbean. Its people, culture and customs draw from several sources including the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves, and its proximity to the United States. The name "Cuba" comes from the Taíno language the exact meaning of which is unclear, but may be translated either "where fertile land is abundant" (cubao) or "great place" (coabana). The island has a tropical climate that is moderated by the surrounding waters; however, the warm temperatures of the Caribbean Sea and the fact that the island of Cuba sits across the access to the Gulf of Mexico combine to make Cuba prone to frequent hurricanes. Cuba's main island, at 766 miles (1,233 km) long, is the world's 17th largest.
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Last updated June 7th 2009