Sierra Maestra

For the Cuban band, see Sierra Maestra (band).
Sierra Maestra

Sierra Maestra near the border of Granma and Santiago de Cuba provinces.
Highest point
Peak Pico Turquino
Elevation 1,974 m (6,476 ft)
Coordinates 19°59′22″N 76°50′09″W / 19.98944°N 76.83583°W / 19.98944; -76.83583
Length 240 km (150 mi)
Width 30 km (19 mi)

Location of Sierra Maestra in Cuba

Country Cuba
Provinces Granma and Santiago de Cuba
Range coordinates 20°00′N 76°45′W / 20°N 76.75°W / 20; -76.75Coordinates: 20°00′N 76°45′W / 20°N 76.75°W / 20; -76.75
Pico Torquino in the Sierra Maestra, Cuba's highest mountain, 1974 meters

Sierra Maestra is a mountain range that runs westward across the south of the old Oriente Province in southeast Cuba, rising abruptly from the coast. The Sierra Maestra itself is located mainly in Santiago de Cuba Province, a small part in Granma Province. Some view it as a series of connecting ranges (Vela, Santa Catalina, Quemado Grande, Daña Mariana),[1] which joins with others extending to the west.[2][3][4][5][6] The Sierra Maestra is the highest area of Cuba. It is rich in minerals, especially copper, manganese, chromium, and iron. At 1,974 m (6,476 ft), Pico Turquino is the range's highest point.


The Sierra Maestra has a long history of guerrilla warfare, starting with the resistance of the Taínos under Guamá (died 1532), the Cimarrón Neo-Taíno nations escaped slave cultures, the Ten Years' War (1868-1878) and the Cuban War of Independence (1895-1898), and various minor conflicts such as the Race War of 1912, and the uprisings of Antonio Guiteras (died 1935) against Gerardo Machado (President of Cuba from 1925 to 1933) and Fulgencio Batista (President 1940-1944 and 1952-1959). After Fidel Castro returned to Cuba in 1956 from exile in Mexico, he and the few other survivors from the failed 1953 attack on Moncada Barracks hid out in Sierra Maestra. There they succeeded in expanding their 26th of July Movement, starting a revolution throughout the region. They built up guerrilla columns, and in collaboration with other groups in the central provinces, Escopeteros on the foot-hills and plains, and the urban resistance, eventually overthrew Fulgencio Batista on 1 January 1959.


The ivory-billed woodpecker, now possibly extinct, was last seen (according to an unconfirmed report) in the Sierra Maestra in 1998.

See also


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