The Coat of Arms of the Royal Palm Tree.
The National Seal
The Cuban Coat of Arms was designed in 1849 by Miguel Teurbe Tolón at the request of Narcizo López. It is shaped like a pointed leather shield and crowned by a Phrygian cap with a sole star symbolizing liberty and independence, all supported by an oak branch symbolizing the strength of the nation on one side, and a laurel wreath symbolizing honor and glory on the other. The shield is divided into three parts. In its upper horizontal division there is a golden key set between two mountains which symbolizes Cuba’s geographical position in the Gulf of Mexico between the two Americas. The bright rising sun in the background stands for the emergence of a new republic. In the division located to the viewer's left are three dark blue stripes, divided by two white ones, representing the three departments which divided the island during the colonial period: Oriental, Central y Occidental (the Eastern, Central and Western). In the division toward the viewer's right, a Cuban landscape consisting of mountains, green vegetation and a Royal Palm tree, the national tree of Cuba symbolizing the unbreakable character of the Cuban people.
The Cuban Flag
The Flag of Cuba was designed in 1849 by Narciso López, as suggested by poet Miguel Teurbe Tolón, for a group of anti-Spanish Cuban freedom fighters seeking independence from Spain. The three blue stripes represent the three departments which divided the island during the colonial period and the color of the sea surrounding Cuba, while the two white stripes represent the purity of the patriotic cause for independence. The equilateral triangle stands for freedom, equality and brotherhood. The red color represents the blood shed necessary to achieve independence. The star represents absolute freedom for the people.The flag was first raised in May 19, 1850 when it was carried into battle by Narciso López at Cárdenas in Matanzas Province when the group of rebels he lead took up arms against the Spanish colonial power.
The Cespedes Flag
On October 10, 1868 at the famous uprising known as the "Grito de Yara," Carlos Manuel de Céspedes first carried the Céspedes flag into battle against the Spaniards and started the ten year war of independence with Spain. During this war the Céspedes flag served as the flag of the Cuban "Independentistas" or pro-independence freedom fighters. On May 20, 1902 when Cuba became independent from Spain, the Céspedes flag was officially designated the flag of Bayamo in Oriente Province, in honor of Céspedes and Bayamo his birth place. At the same time, the flag which Narciso López first flew at Cárdenas in Matanzas Province on May 19, 1850, was officially designated the Cuban national flag. Since the time that Cuba gained independence from Spain, the flag of Bayamo is displayed alongside the Cuban national flag at official ceremonies and events.This flag now stands next to the national seal in the Hall of Sessions at the Cuban Parliament.
The National Flower
The White Mariposa or White Butterfly Jasmine (Hedychium Coronarium Koenig) is the official Flower of Cuba. This flower became a symbol of the Cuban fight for independence as Cuban women during the wars for independence with Spain used it to pass messages to the battelefields. It represents purity, rebelliousness and independence. It flourishes in humidity. It can be found in the wild along river banks and lagoons but is also a favorite garden flower.
The National Bird
The Tocororo or the Cuban Trogon (Priotelus Temnurus) is the national Bird of Cuba. The colorful climbing bird's red white and blue plumage matches the colors of the Cuban flag.
The National Tree
The National tree of Cuba is the Royal Palm (Roystonea regia). The Cuban Royal Palm is not native to Cuba but it is a strong tropical tree prevalent throughout the country's landscape which can endure the most furious storms and hurricanes while not succombing to them and symbolizes the unbreakable character of the Cuban people. Generally, the tree varies in height between 40 and 50 feet and it is crowned with a beautiful crest. Its majestic structure and height, as well as its strength and its many uses have have caused it to be known as ‘queen of our fields.’
The National Anthem
El Himno de Bayamo (The Bayamo Anthem) or "La Bayamesa" is the national anthem of Cuba. The stanzas of the anthem were composed by Pedro "Perucho" Figueredo at dawn on August 14, 1867 at Bayamo in the Province of Oriente. On May 8, 1868, Manuel Muñoz Cedeño an orchestra conductor composed the music for it. A few days later, several freedom fighters heard it for the fist time and enjoyed it so much that, Perucho decided to make the anthem known to everybody at religious festivities. The melody was first heard in a Te Deum (an ancient hymn of praise and thanksgiving sung in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches at morning prayers or on special occasions) at Bayamo. Once the war for independence had begun and after the defeat at Yara, the freedom fighters decided to attack the Spanish forces and seize Bayamo. The anthem was first performed during the battle of Bayamo on October 18, 1868. Three days later, on October 20th when the Cuban freedom fighters took the city of Bayamo from the Spaniards, the jubilant people surrounded Perucho and asked him for the lyrics to the anthem. Right on the saddle of his horse, Perucho took out a pencil and paper from his pocket and copied the lyrics to the anthem. The copies went from hand to hand and the enthusiastic crowd sang the anthem for the first time. Since its official adoption in 1902, "La Bayamesa" has served as the National Anthem of the Republic of Cuba. The National Anthem consists of six verses, of which only the first two are sung, as follows:
|Al combate corred, Bayameses.
que la Patria os contempla orgullosa
no temáis una muerte gloriosa
que morir por la Patria es vivir.
En cadenas vivir, es vivir
en oprobio y afrenta sumido.
Del clarín escuchad el sonido
a las armas, valientes, corred.
||Bayamese, rush to arms!
Your country looks on in pride
Fear not a glorious death
Who dies for his country lives.
To live in chains is to live
beneath disgrace and shame.
Listen to the sound of the trumpet!
To arms, valiant ones, run.
Cuba National Anthem (MP3)
Cuba National Anthem (WAV)
The Character of Liborio
Liborio is a national fictional character of Cuba. Liborio is a popular Cuban figure that serves as a symbol for the Cuban people like Uncle Sam does for the United States. The character was created by Victor P. de Landaluce at the end of the 19th century through his writings and typifies a rural Cuban or peasant (el guajiro cubano) wearing a straw hat. Liborio is characterized by the following features:
His cheerful and generous nature (Figura campechana)
Wearing a heavy mustache (Bigotes)
Wearing a Guano (palm tree leaf) hat (Sombrero de Yarey)
Linen shirt (Guayabera de hilo)
White thick linen pants known as Dril 100 (Pantalon de dril 100)
A Machete at his side hanging from his belt (Machete colgando del cinto a un lado de la cintura)
Leather boots or shoes (Botas o zapatos de Vaqueta)