GUANTANAMO, gwan-tani-mo, Cuba, town in the province of Oriente, situated near the head of the most important harbor east of the city of Santiago on the southern coast. Its surroundings were favorably known before 1898, for the beauty of the groves of lime-trees and lemon-trees, the coffee plantations and the residences of wealthy planters, who made the heights overlooking the bay a favorite place of resort. Since the Spanish-American War, Guantanamo Bay has been famous as the scene of certain military operations. On 19 May 1898 an unsuccessful attempt to cut the cable in the bay was made by the Saint Louis and the Wompatuck. On 10 June a force of 600 ma rines landed from the transport Panther on the eastern shore of Guantanamo Bay and undertook to make the outer harbor a secure place for the use of American vessels when coaling or as a rendezvous and a refuge in stormy weather. The marines established their camp ("Camp on a small hill, where they sustained the attacks of the Spanish troops for several days; and the courage and endur ance displayed at this time must be regarded as memorable features of the war The Marble head and Texas lent assistance, the latter on 12 June sending 40 marines with two automatic guns. In the course of that week the camp
was protected by earthworks; other warships arrived and shelled the thickets in which the Spaniards were concealed, the forts and the town; the garrison was strengthened by ac cessions of bluejackets and Cuban insurgents familiar with the country; and thus, when ten days had passed, the outer harbor was prac tically in the possession of the American forces. In July 1901 the American government chose a site on this bay for one of the naval stations in Cuba. In 1903 land on both sides of the entrance was leased from the Cuban govern ment, and the chief naval base of the United States in the West Indies was developed there (1904-16). The number of inhabitants of the town of Guantanamo, according to the United States War Department census of 1899, was 7,137. The total population of the district in 1914 was given as 51,036.