Some Cuban Firsts

Cuba was the first nation of Ibero-America, including Spain and Portugal, to use STEAM SHIPS. It was in 1829.

Cuba was the first nation of Ibero-America, including Spain and Portugal, and third in the world (after England and the US) that had a RAILROAD. It was in 1837.

The first person in Ibero-America to use ANESTHESIA in medical operations was a Cuban. It was ether and the year was 1847.

The first Latin American to play professional baseball in the US was the Cuban, Stevan Bellan, in 1871.

The first demonstration of an industry powered entirely by electricity was in Havana in 1877.

In 1881, the Cuban doctor, Carlos J. Finlay, was the first to discover the transmitting agent of Yellow Fever.

The first system of electric lighting in all of Ibero-America (including Spain and Portugal) settled in Cuba in 1889.

In all of Ibero-America it was Cuba that first abolished bullfights.

The first streetcar in Latin America began operation in Havana in 1900.

Also in 1900, before at any other country of Latin America, the FIRST AUTOMOBILE arrived at Havana. The first LATIN AMERICAN WOMAN to drive an automobile was the Cuban writer Renée Méndez Cape.

The FIRST LATIN AMERICAN OLYMPIC CHAMPION was a Cuban. He was the FENCER, Ramon Fonts, in 1900.


In 1907 the FIRST X-RAY DEPARTMENT of Ibero-America was established in Havana.

On the 19th of May of 1913 the FIRST AERIAL FLIGHT in LATIN AMERICA was achieved by the Cubans, Agustín Parlá and Domingo Rosillo. It was between Cuba and Cayo Bone and lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Cuba, in 1918, was The FIRST COUNTRY OF LATIN AMERICA to grant DIVORCES to married couples.

The first Latin American to win the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP OF CHESS was the Cuban, Jose Raul Capablanca. He won OF ALL THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS between 1921 and 1927.

In 1922 Cuba was the SECOND NATION OF the WORLD to inaugurate a RADIO TRANSMITTER, and the FIRST NATION OF the WORLD to broadcast a MUSIC CONCERT. In 1928 Cuba had 61 RADIO TRANSMITTERS, 43 of them in Havana, occupying the FOURTH PLACE OF the WORLD, only surpassed by the US, Canada and the Soviet Union.

1935 Cuba one became the major exporting country of Ibero-America of radio RECORDINGS. The concept of the RADIO NOVEL AND SERIES was created by the Cuban Felix B. Caignet.

In 1937 Cuba was the first nation in Ibero-America to establish the legal work day of 8 hours. It also established a MINIMUM WAGE and UNIVERSITY AUTONOMY.

In 1940, Cuba became the first country of Ibero-America to elect, by universal suffrage and absolute majority when the great majority of its population was of the white race, a PRESIDENT OF the BLACK RACE.

In 1940, Cuba was FIRST NATION IN IBERO-AMERICA in recognizing the right to VOTE for WOMEN, the equality of rights between sexes and races, and the right of the woman to the work. The first movement feminist of Ibero-America appeared by the end of the thirty in Cuba.

1942, a Cuban becomes the first Latin American MUSICAL DIRECTOR to receive a NOMINATION for the PRIZE OSCAR. His name was Ernesto Lecuona.

The SECOND COUNTRY OF the WORLD that formally transmitted TELEVISION was Cuba from 1950. Major stars of countries of the Americas that did not have this advanced technology went to Havana to act before the Cuban cameras.

In 1950 a Cuban musician achieved WORLD-WIDE RECOGNITION for a RECORD. He was Dámaso Perez Prado with his mambo piece Patricia that was for 15 consecutive weeks in the Hit Parade of the US.

1951 a Cuban becomes the MOST IMPORTANT PRODUCER OF the NORTH AMERICAN TELEVISION. He was Desi Arnaz. He was also first in the world in the use of a third camera in televising programming.

The FIRST HOTEL OF the WORLD WITH CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING was constructed in Havana. It was the Hotel Riviera, in 1951.

The FIRST APARTMENT BUILDINGS of the world CONSTRUCTED WITH CONCRETE were built in Havana in 1952.

In 1954, Cuba owned one cow for each inhabitant. Its MEAT CONSUMPTION per capita occupied the third place in Ibero-America (after Argentina and Uruguay).

In 1955, Cuba was the country of Ibero-America with second smallest infantile mortality rate, 33.4 per thousand born.

In 1956 the UN recognized Cuba as the COUNTRY OF IBERO-AMERICA with the second lowest level of ILLITERACY (only the 23.6%). Haiti had 90%, Spain, El Salvador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Guatemala and Dominican Republic had 50%.

In 1957 the UN recognized Cuba as the COUNTRY OF IBERO-AMERICA with the greatest number of doctors per capita (One for each 957 inhabitants). The UN also recognized Cuba as having the greater percentage of HOUSES ELECTRIFIED OF IBERO-AMERICA and second, after Uruguay, in per capita daily CALORIC CONSUMPTION, (2870).

1957 Havana became the SECOND CITY OF the WORLD having cinema in 3D and a multiscreen theater (the Cinema Radio center).

In 1958 Cuba was the SECOND COUNTRY OF the WORLD to broadcast TELEVISION IN COLOR.

In 1958, Cuba was country of Ibero-America WITH THE MOST AUTOMOBILES PERCAPITA (160 thousands, one by every 38 inhabitants). Cuba was also the country of Ibero-America with the most electric home appliances per capita. It was also the country of Ibero-America with most kilometers of railway lines per square kilometer and the SECOND in the total number of radio receivers.

During every year of the 1950's, Cuba had the SECOND AND THIRD PLACE IN THE NUMBER of IMMIGRANTS PERCAPITA of Ibero-America, surpassing Italy and more of the double of those of Spain. In spite of its small size and that it only had 6.5 million inhabitants Cuba occupied in 1958 the position 29 among the major economies of the world.

In 1959, Havana was the city of the world with the GREATER NUMBER OF ROOMS OF CINEMA: (358) surpassing New York and Paris, which occupied the second and third place, respectively.

And then came 1959.

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."

Sir Winston Churchill