Cienfuegos is a city on the southern coast of Cuba, capital of the province of Cienfuegos. It is located about 250 km (155 miles) from Havana, and has a population of 150,000. The city is dubbed "La Perla del Sur" (Pearl of the South). Cienfuegos literally translates to "Hundred fires".
Near the entrance to Bahia de Cienfuegos (bahia meaning "bay") is Castillo de Jagua (full name Castillo de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de Jagua), a fortress erected in 1745 for protection against Caribbean pirates.
Cienfuegos, one of the chief seaports of Cuba, is a center of the sugar trade, as well as coffee and tobacco. While sugarcane is the chief crop, local farmers grow coffee.
The downtown contains 6 buildings from 1819–50, 327 buildings from 1851–1900, and 1188 buildings from the 20th century. There is no other place in the Caribbean which contains such a remarkable cluster of Neoclassical structures.
In 2004, the municipality of Cienfuegos had a population of 163,824. With a total area of 333 km2 (129 sq mi), it has a population density of 492.0 /km2 (1,274 /sq mi).
The area was called the Cacicazgo de Jagua by the early Spaniards, and was settled by indigenous people.
The city was settled by French immigrants from Bordeaux and Louisiana, led by Don Louis D'Clouet, on April 22, 1819. Its original name was Fernardina de Jagua, in honor of Ferdinand VII of Spain. The settlement became a town (Spanish: Villa) in 1829, and a city in 1880. The city was subsequently named Cienfuegos, sharing the name with Cienfuegos, a Captain General in this time, in the island.
Near Cienfuegos was the scene of a battle on May 11, 1898, between American marines who attempted to sever underwater Spanish communication lines and the Spanish defenders.
During the Cuban Revolution the city saw an uprising against Fulgencio Batista and was bombed, on September 5, 1957.
World Heritage Site
In 2005, UNESCO inscribed the Urban Historic Centre of Cienfuegos on the World Heritage List, citing Cienfuegos as the best extant example of the 19th-century early Spanish Enlightenment implementation in urban planning.
Hurricane Dennis 2005
In 2005, Hurricane Dennis made its second landfall near Cienfuegos at about 1:00PM AST (17:00 UTC) with winds of 232km/h (144 MPH), and gusts reaching 285 km/h (177 MPH).