Santiago de Cuba was the first capital of Cuba; founded by Diego de Velázquez in 1514 and remained the capital until 1553. Its first Capitan general was Hernán Cortés, who later conquered Mexico, Santiago was also home to Francisco Pizarro (conqueror of Peru), among other leading Spanish political figures. The prosperity and strength of the city lay in the nearby copper mines, the splendidly protected harbor, and to massive importation of slaves from West Africa. Additionally, Santiago is also the birthplace of the Revolution. After the failed attempt in 1953, in 1959 that Fidel and the Rebel Army arrived in Santiago to accept the resignation of Batista’s general and begin the victory parade towards Havana. In 2015 Santiago celebrated the cities 500 year Anniversary. Fresh from the post Hurricane Sandy repair and the recent visit of Pope Francis in 2015, Santiago is in fine form. Today will be dedicated to visiting the important sites of the City; the home of Don Diego Velázquez (reputedly the oldest building in Cuba), Cuartel Moncada (the barracks that saw the martyrdom of the Cuban Revolutionary heroes in 1953), the Spanish fortress El Morro (an amazingly well preserved 17th Century fort that gives chilling insight to the Spanish era, and the Spanish American War), the Cemetery of Saint Ifigenia (final resting place of important Cuban figures, not least José Martí), and finally the awesome Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Cobre (dedicated to Cuban’s Patron Saint, the black virgin, the Virgin of the Copper, this is an important site for faithful Cubans from all over the Island).