Santiago de Cuba,the capital of Oriente province. It lies in a mountainous area on Cuba's southeastern coast, about 470 miles (756 km) southeast of Havana. Santiago is the commercial, industrial, and shipping center for a farming and mining region and has an excellent natural harbor. Prominent landmarks are Morro Castle, at the harbor's entrance, and the cathedral. The tomb of José Martí, a national hero, is here.
Santiago was founded by Diego Velásquez in 1514 and was the capital of Cuba from 1523 until 1558. After the government was moved to Havana, the city's importance declined. During the colonial period it was frequently harassed by privateers and was a base for smugglers. Several decisive battles of the Spanish-American War were fought nearby, including the Battle of San Juan Hill and the Battle of Santiago Bay.