Cuba is endowed with a number of such harbours, but Havana’s on the north coast was prized above the others by the early Spanish colonizers.With land on both sides of the harbour, the port was easily defended.The early colonists erected a number of fortifications in the area that withstood most invaders.In colonial times Havana was the first landfall for Spanish fleets coming to the New World, and it became a staging area, first, for the conquest of the Americas by Spanish conquistadores and, later, for the economic and political domination of the hemisphere by Spain.
Havana’s location along a magnificent deep-sea bay with a sheltered harbour made the city a prime location for economic development from Spanish colonial times in the early 16th century.
Havana’s rich cultural milieu included not only Spaniards from diverse regions of the Iberian Peninsula but other European peoples as well.
The small native Indian population of Cuba was not a significant factor in the Havana area and, in any case, was largely decimated in its early contact with the Spanish.
Average temperatures range from 72 °F (22 °C) in January and February to 82 °F (28 °C) in August. Rainfall is heaviest in October and lightest from February through April, averaging 46 inches (1,167 mm) annually.
Hurricanes occasionally strike the island, but they ordinarily hit the south coast, and damage in Havana is normally less than elsewhere in the country.