History and facts

Origin of the name and date of foundation of Holguin

The province owes its name to the Spanish captain’s surname Francisco García de Holguín who in 1518 and very young formed part of the crew within the expedition organized by the Conquistador Hernán Cortés for the occupation of the Aztec great empire. Courageousness and boldness of Captain Holguin were acknowledged by Diego Velázquez who donated him these lands in 1523. Thus, he would found in 1545 together with his wife Doña Isabel Fernández de Sandoval an entourage of 50 to 80 persons and under the religious advocacy of San Isidro what was called the San Isidro de Holguin Hato, (farm ranch).

First foreigners

In 1820, the first foreigners presumably arrived due to mercantile issues, three were from Providence Island and one was a Scottish, or say they were of English origin. Like the Spaniards at the time, they were not regarded as foreigners; the arrival of those outsiders with a weird talking was a novelty for old Holguin.

Struggle between Holguin dwellers and English men

During the first months of the year 1745, a horde of English seamen landed at the mouths of River Cacayuguín, in Gibara, they formed part of what had been left from Admiral Vernon’s expedition, coming from Guantanamo to supply themselves with fresh meat, fruits and citrus in order to fight Scorbutic illness.  Since Spain and England were at war at the time, when Holguin  inhabitants learned about the landing news, they readied to fight with 200 men armed with harquebus and knives. On May 19, 1745, at the lands between Auras and Gibara, the armed confrontation took place, causing 70 losses to the enemy who was forced to withdraw itself.

The first church founded at Holguin’s Hato

During the first century of the colonization of these lands, the religious services were held under the royal palm trees or under the cosy shadows of other trees until October the 5th, 1692, when the first church was inaugurated in Managuaco and the first mass was prayed by the clergyman Don Gonzalo de Lagos.

Titles given to Holguin

In 1902, Holguin won the first place at the contest “The Nicest town of the Eastern Region” organized by the national newspaper “La Lucha.” On February, 1940, the municipality was declared First Class and in this same decade was regarded as the “The Barn of the Antilles” because of its prosperous agriculture.

Official naming of Holguin town

On February the first, 1751 the Spanish monarch Fernando the 6th sent a communication to Santiago de Cuba, where he declared the formal creation of the SAN ISIDORO DE HOLGUIN town in a royal decree, since it counted with all conditions and requirements foreseen within the Title V’s Laws and  Book IV of the Indies’ compilation.


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