National Geographic : 1947 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine © National Geographic Society Kodachrome by Melville Bell Grosvenor Havana Was Born and Grew Up Around Plaza de Armas Diego de Velasquez careened his ships in the harbor in 1519 and established a settlement. On the second floor of Casa de Gobierno (City Hall), formerly the Spanish Governors' palace, Gen. Leonard Wood handed the reins of government to Cuba's first President, Don Tomas Estrada Palma. The date, May 20 (1902), is a national holiday. Statue of King Ferdinand VII of Spain, disliked by Cubans for his bad treatment, has a broken nose. American Embassy faces this square. Beyond the City Hall archway (center) a Columbus statue welcomes visitors.