Baptised by Admiral Christopher Columbus as the Evangelist (La Evangelista), after its discovery on June 13th of 1494, it is located some 100 kilometres from the fishing port of Batabanó. This is the largest isle of the 600 that are part of the Archipelago of the Canarreos and this island of a thousand names, as many have called it, was the target of pirates and buccaneers for four long centuries. Starting from 1975 it received its present name. Its forest wealth covers some 56 per cent of its territory and although it lands are scarcely fertile, there are notable grapefruit crops. Also abundant are deposits of marble and kaolin, whose industries show an acceptable level of development. In the museum of "El Abra", a national monument, reflects aspects of Cuba’s National Hero, José Martí, while he was imprisoned here.

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The Cuban President of the period (1925) wanted to establish in the Isle of Pines (the present day Isle of Youth) a prison similar to the one in Illinois, United States of America, and that is how it came into being. Soon the prison became a place where the most unheard of forced labour was carried out among the penal population, victims of many murders for decades. In 1933 there were over 578 detainees for common crimes that had been murdered, while their families were told that the deaths were suicides. In October of 1953, a group of attackers of the Moncada Garrison (Cuartel Moncada, Santiago de Cuba, July 26th of that year), led by Dr. Fidel Castro and his young brother Raúl, were imprisoned there, until May 15th of 1955, when President Batista was forced to pardon them due to the strong public protest. The wealth of history within its walls that have been hailed as a National Museum attracts many visitors.

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