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Isla de la Juventud

Trip Planner Caribbean  /  Cuba  /  Isla de la Juventud
Isla de la Juventud is the second-largest Cuban island and the seventh-largest island in the West Indies (after Cuba itself, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and Andros Island). The island was called the Isle of Pines (Isla de Pinos) until 1978. It has an area 2200km2 and is 50 km south of the island of Cuba, across the Gulf of Batabanó. The island lies almost directly south of Havana and Pinar del Río and is a Special Municipality (2,419 km2), not part of any province and is therefore administered directly by the central government of Cuba. The island has only one municipality, also named Isla de la Juventud.The largest of the 350 islands in the Canarreos Archipelago (Archipiélago de los Canarreos), the island has an estimated population of 100,000. The capital and largest city is Nueva Gerona in the north, and the second-largest and oldest city is Santa Fe in the interior. Other communities include Columbia, La Demajagua (formerly Santa Bárbara), Mac Kinley, Cuchilla Alta, Punta del Este, Sierra de Caballos and Sierra de Casas.HistoryLittle is known of the pre-Columbian history of the island, though a cave complex near the Punta del Este beach preserves 235 ancient drawings made by the native population. The island first became known to Europeans in 1494 during Christopher Columbus's second voyage to the New World. Columbus named the island La Evangelista and claimed it for Spain. The island was also known as Isla de Cotorras (Isle of Parrots) and Isla de Tesoros (Treasure Island) at various points in its history.
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