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The treaty gave Britain Florida in exchange for the return of the city of Havana on to Spain.After regaining the city, the Spanish transformed Havana into the most heavily fortified city in the Americas.They rested here until 1898, when they were transferred to Seville's Cathedral, after Spain's loss of Cuba.As trade between Caribbean and North American states increased in the early 19th century, Havana became a flourishing and fashionable city.In the meantime, efforts to build or improve the defensive infrastructures of the city continued. New buildings were constructed from the most abundant materials of the island, mainly wood, combining various Iberian architectural styles, as well as borrowing profusely from Canarian characteristics.
The thousands of ships gathered in the city's bay also fueled Havana's agriculture and manufacture, since they had to be supplied with food, water, and other products needed to traverse the ocean.Contemporary Havana can essentially be described as three cities in one: Old Havana, Vedado and the newer suburban districts.The city is the center of the Cuban government, and home to various ministries, headquarters of businesses and over 90 diplomatic offices.The city extends mostly westward and southward from the bay, which is entered through a narrow inlet and which divides into three main harbors: Marimelena, Guanabacoa and Atarés.
The sluggish Almendares River traverses the city from south to north, entering the Straits of Florida a few miles west of the bay.
Conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar founded Havana on August 25, 1515, on the southern coast of the island, near the present town of Surgidero de Batabanó, or more likely on the banks of the Mayabeque River close to Playa Mayabeque.