By Alfredo Jose Estrada
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Extra info for Havana: Autobiography of a City
North of Bermuda, at a latitude of forty degrees, he veered east and made landfall in the Azores. In his haste to reach Spain, Alaminos changed history. The Gulf Stream provided a safe, predictable passage across the Atlantic for all the ships that were to follow year after year, like clockwork. 40 Havana Even today, it is difficult to comprehend the torrent of wealth that ﬂooded Europe after the fall of the Aztec empire and the subsequent conquest of Peru a decade later by Francisco Pizarro. 8 Within a few scant years, this multiplied exponentially.
Perhaps the possibility of a lucrative trade route to the Indies was an easier sell to the Spanish throne than rumors of a New World. Historians have debated this prickly point for generations, and will doubtless continue to do so. 24 Havana Of course, Columbus no more “discovered” Cuba than he did China. 2 Archaeologists know little of the ﬁrst Cubans for the simple reason that their departure from the world stage was so abrupt—within a generation after the arrival of Columbus, they would be extinct.
Heartbroken, she expired a few days later, her fallen husband’s name on her lips. This paean to the fortitude and ﬁdelity of Cuban women has inspired generations of Habaneros since La Giraldilla took her place above the Real Fuerza. But as in the case of Hatuey, something is not quite right here. La Giraldilla is anything but mournful. Her pose is deﬁant, almost jaunty. Her ﬁnely chiseled head is thrown back, with the barest trace of a smile on her lips, and her left arm (which catches the wind on the Cross of Calatrava) is ﬂung back nonchalantly.