Havana, or Havannah, capital of the Spanish island of Cuba, and the principal centre of commerce in the West Indies, is situated on the north side of the island. Access is obtained to its magnificent well-sheltered harbour by a channel 350 yards wide, the entrance to which is defended by forts. The streets of the older part of the town, which until 1863 was walled, are narrow and dirty, and the harbour has been for generations polluted by the town sewage. With this older part the more modern portion lying to the west is connected by broad tree-shaded avenues and gardens. The cathedral, built in the old Spanish style in 1724, claims to contain the bones of Columbus. The public institutions include an arsenal, great hospital, a botanical garden, university, technical school, and some fine theatres. Yellow fever, almost endemic, was stamped out by American sanitation in 1898-1904. The staple industry is the manufacture of cigars; sugar, tobacco, and molasses are the main exports (mostly to the United States). The chief imports are food-stuffs and cotton. San Christobal de la Habana, founded on the south coast by Diego Velasquez in 1515, was four years later transferred to its present site. It was burned to the ground by the French in 1538, plundered by another band in 1554, captured by a third in 1563, and by the English in 1762. In the 17th century it was made the chief Spanish emporium in the West Indies - a position it held till 1898, when, in the Spanish-American war. Cuba was occupied by the United States, becoming an independent state in 1902 (see Cuba). Pop. (1902) 275,000.