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First settlers


La Habana



San Cristobal de la Habana (Saint Christopher of Habana) was the last of the 7 towns founded by the conqueror of Cuba, Adelantado D. Diego Velazquez, who was born in Cuellar, province of Segovia.

Initially the town was founded on the South coast of Cuba, near the mouth of the Güines (Mayabeque) river, where today is the town of Batabanó, on the day of Saint Christopher (25 of July) of 1515. It is presumed that the name San Cristobal was given, not only because of the date, but to also honor the memory of Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus), discoverer and also father of Diego Colon, then Governor of Española (Hispañola). The name Habana derives from the indian province of the same name and is believed to derive from the word "sabana" (large plain). The reason the town was originally founded on the southern coast is that many of the expeditions and discoveries of the time headed towards the mainland to the south and this location was expected to facilitate commerce with the newly discovered parts.

Dut to unhealthy climate and multitude of insects at the southern location, the town was soon moved to the north coast, to a location near the mouth of the Casiguaguas river (today Chorrera or Almendares). In 1519 the town was moved, once again, to its present location. Until this last move, the town had been known as San Cristobal (Saint Christopher), but from this point onwards was known as Habana.

Columbus never visited the port of Habana. The first visitor was Captain Sebastian de Ocampo in 1508, who was tasked with circumnavigating ths island by Nicolas de Ovando, Governor of Española. Ocampo gave the name Puerto Carenas to the port, since that is where he sealed two ships using natual asphalt (chapapote) that he found in the area.


First Settlers

The first settlers of the town totaled 38 vecinos (permanent residents) and 13 (or 18, depending on the reference) moradores (transients) which are not listed. The designation "vecinos" did not include children, wives (almost all of them native indians), assigned indians or black slaves. The permanent settlers, listed in alphabetical order, were (from Ref 1):

given name
Aguilera (de) Francisco  
Alonso Domingo  
Alonso (de) Anton  
Andres Pero listed as Pedro in Ref 2
Avila (de) Baltasar  
Bazago Bartolomé  
Blasco Pedro  
Bravo Sebastian  
Calderon Calisto  
Cepero Bartolomé  
Cordoba (de) Domingo  
Daza Tomas  
Diaz Juan  
Galindo Cristobal  
Genoves Francisco  
Genoves Juan  
Gutierrez Juan  
Hernandez Ambrosio  
Inestrosa (de) Juan  
Juan Manuel carpenter
Lobera Juan later became Mayor of La Fuerza
Lopez Antonio  
Martin Francisco  
Martin Rodrigo listed as Revecindo in Ref 2
Nieto Bernardo  
Nuñez Juan  
Perez Borroto Francisco  
Recio Anton  
Reina (de) Antonio  
Rodriguez Geronimo  
Rojas Francisco listed as de Roxas in Ref 2
Rojas (de) Antonio listed as de Roxas in Ref 2
Rojas (de) Juan listed as de Roxas in Ref 2
Ruiz Martin  
Soto (de) Bernardino listed as de Sotolongo in Ref 2
Talavera (de) Domingo tailor
Torre (de la) Antonio  



  1. Lo que Fuimos y lo que Somos, o la Habana Antigua y Moderna (What we Were and What we Are or the Old and Modern Habana) - Jose Maria de la Torre, 1857 (Imprenta de Spencer y Cia.) - Google digitized book.
  2. La Sacarocracia: Historia de la Aristocracia Azucarera (The Sacarocracy: History of the Cuban Sugar Aristocracy), Dr. Ruben Arango, 2006, Ego Group, Inc., Miami, Florida.


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La Habana - Updated 20-Aug-2007

Copyright © 2007-2010 - Ed Elizondo
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