Pánfilo de Narváez gave Havana – the sixth town founded by the Spanish on Cuba – its name: San Cristóbal de la Habana.The name combines San Cristóbal, patron saint of Havana.Shortly after the founding of Cuba's first cities, the island served as little more than a base for the Conquista of other lands.Havana began as a trading port, and suffered regular attacks by buccaneers, pirates, and French corsairs.The city of Havana was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and due to its strategic location it served as a springboard for the Spanish conquest of the Americas, becoming a stopping point for treasure-laden Spanish galleons returning to Spain.
As trade between Caribbean and North American states increased in the early 19th century, Havana became a flourishing and fashionable city.
The town that became Havana finally originated adjacent to what was then called Puerto de Carenas (literally, "Careening Bay"), in 1519.
The quality of this natural bay, which now hosts Havana's harbor, warranted this change of location.
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.
All attempts to found a city on Cuba's south coast failed.
Construction began on what was to become the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña, the third biggest Spanish fortification in the New World after Fort San Cristobal (the biggest) and Fort San Felipe del Morro both in San Juan, Puerto Rico.