History of Matanzas
Divided by the mouth of the San Juan and Yumurí rivers, into three sections commonly called Matanzas, Pueblo Nuevo and Versalles, Matanzas City was founded on October 12, 1693 under the name of "San Carlos and San Severino de Matanzas". It is recognized by various nicknames: "Sleeping Beauty", by the proximity of the "Pan de Matanzas", elevation that resembles a sleeping woman; "The Cuban Venice" for its many bridges and rivers; or “the Athens of Cuba”, for its cultural and economic splendor since the end of the 18th century.
The city jurisdiction has varied a lot, as well as its limits (1847, 1851, 1878) and the stability in the construction of the bridges that connect the different points as well as many other buildings.
The city of Matanzas received the benefits of the introduction of the printing press on the occasion of the first newspaper of the city: Diario de Matanzas, in the 1930s, initiating what is considered the Golden Age of Matanzas. It is the time of the verses and theatrical essays of Heredia, of the promotion of local culture by Domingo del Monte, Plácido, José Jacinto Milanés, Juan Francisco Manzano and Félix Tanco, among others.
The Hicacos Peninsula was discovered in 1508 during an exploration voyage led by the Spaniard Sebastián de Ocampo. In the 16th century, the place became a dry dock and a salt flat, clearing its forests in a short time. The first constructions for recreational purposes date from the end of the 19th century.
In 1915 the first hotel on the peninsula was built, called “Varadero” and later “Club Náutico”. The triumph of the Revolution in 1959 not only marks the nationalization of the tourist industry but also completely changes the conception of tourism in Varadero for all the people.
The Zapata Peninsula won its place in Cuban History, because the mercenary invasion of the Bay of Pigs took place there in 1961, repelled and annihilated in less than 72 hours by Cuban militias (Victoria de Playa Girón).