Cárdenas: bicentennial Flag City

Cárdenas: bicentennial Flag City

Heritage & Traditions

Alejandro Rodriguez Ruiz

A small, quiet and hospitable city, Cárdenas has among its names those of Ciudad Bandera (Flag City) and Ciudad de las Primicias (Scoop City), evidence of the rich history that this town on the northwestern coast of Cuba treasures.

On May 19, 1850, troops under the command of General Narciso López landed on its margins and, for the first time on the island, they waved the tricolor flag that became the national emblem at the Government Tenure, later the Hotel La Dominica.

Belonging to the province of Matanzas, Cárdenas was established in front of the bay of the same name, which had been recognized since 1516 in the first visit to the island of Cuba by Spanish colonizers.

With a notable economic evolution in the eighteenth century, at the beginning of the next century the need of landowners in the territory for a dock to transfer their products became evident. And on March 8, 1828, public surveyor Andrés del Portillo presented the Map of Cárdenas in the space that became the Foundation Square official act, and the first four streets and avenues were traced, according to the historian María Teresa Clark Betanc.

The development of the town continued, receiving in 1853 the title of town, gaining in the so-called firsts. On December 26, 1862, in the Foundation Square, the first statue in America of Admiral Christopher Columbus was solemnly inaugurated, the work of Valencian José Piquer, a sculptor from the King’s Chamber, today one of the many places to visit in the city.

Among other various events that occurred in Cárdenas before the rest of the country, include the founding of a Museum of Natural History, by German naturalist Juan Cristóbal Gundlach (1847), the institution of the Medical-Pharmaceutical College (1882), the inauguration of the public electric lighting service (1889), the establishment of a gynecological clinic (1894) ...

Located about 20 kilometers from the famous resort of Varadero, in the city of Cardenas, buildings and monuments from the colonial era survive, and it exhibits customs such as the use of horse-drawn carriages as a means of transport, along with the most modern bicycles.