Santiago de Cuba was founded by Spanish Conquistador Diego Velasquez de Cuellar on June 28, 1514. From 1522 until 1589 Santiago was the capital of the Spanish colony of Cuba.
The city was plundered by French forces in 1553, and by British forces in 1662.
The city experienced an influx of French immigrants in the late 18th century and early 19th century, some coming via Haiti. This added to the city's ecclectic cultural mix, already rich with Spanish and African culture.
See also the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, 1898