Cuba counts some 12 million inhabitants, of which 2 million live in Havana. Cuba’s original inhabitants are descendants of the Arawak Indians. At the time of Columbus' arrival in 1492, Cuba had just a couple of hundred thousand inhabitants. Around a century after the arrival of the Spaniards, only a few hundred of Cuba's original inhabitants remained. The rest either had either been killed or had succumbed to the foreign illnesses imported by the conquistadores. From the beginning of the 16th century until the 19th century more than half a million slaves were imported from Africa due to the Spaniards’ belief that strong black people could better withstand the heavy work than the soft and docile Caribbean Indians.
According to the latest census, 66 percent of the population is white (of Spanish descent), 12 percent black, 21.9 percent mulatto (of black and white ancestry) or mestizo (of white and Indian ancestry) and 0.1 percent Asian. Travelling around Cuba, however, and according to other estimates, you will notice that the mulatto and mestizo population seems to constitute at least 50 percent.