The Republic of Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, with over 11 million inhabitants. It is a multi-ethnic country whose people, culture and customs derive from diverse origins, including the aboriginal Taino and Ciboney people, the long period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves, and a close relationship with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Cuba remained a colony of Spain until the Spanish-American War of 1898, after which it gained nominal independence as a de facto U.S. protectorate in 1902.
The United States embargo against Cuba is a commercial economic, and financial embargo. The pro-embargo position is that the U.S. embargo is, in part, an appropriate response to criticisms of human rights in Cuba; it is the most enduring trade embargo in modern history.