In the year 1796 was founded the town of Santa Catalina de Guantánamo.
When the Spaniards arrived, the region was inhabited by the Taino Amerindians. The Tainos, characterized by devoting themselves to ceramics and agriculture, were also one of the most rebellious groups who rejected the Spanish conquerors. Therefore, this region is considered the one that triggered the struggle against colonial domain.
The aboriginals of the territory were led first by cacique Hatuey, who had come from the neighbor island of Quisquella (aboriginal name for today’s Dominican Republic and Haiti) to alert Cuban natives about the cruelty of the Spaniards. Hatuey was burned alive by the conquerors in a site near Yara. However, he was not the only one. In that same region, the cacique Guamá managed to maintain an effective guerrilla warfare along the period going from 1522 to 1533, when he was murdered.
Baracoa is a municipality of the Guantanamo province. It stands out owing to the fact that it has been the only town, out of the six founded by the Spaniards, that has remained in its original site.
The historical value of this region becomes even more notable because 400 years after those first struggles, took place in the beach of Duaba, east from Baracoa, the disembark of 27 expeditionaries led by General Antonio Maceo, his brother José Maceo, and General Flor Crombet. Less than 11 days after that, at Playitas de Cajobabo in Baracoa southern coast, took place the disembark of another group led by José Martí, mastermind and leader of the second stage of the independence wars of the 19th century, and General Maximo Gómez, commander of the Liberation Army.
During that war, the inhospitable mountains of this region were the scenario of numberless revolutionary actions. During the period 1953-1958 this was the zone of operation of Columns 18 and 20 of the Rebel Army. Towards the northwest of this zone, operated column 19, José Tey, also belonging to the second eastern front, Frank País.