Sancti Spíritus (sängkˈtē-spēˈrētōs) [key], city (1994 est. pop. 86,000), Sancti Spíritus prov., central Cuba, on the Yayabo River. It is the commercial and processing center of an area that raises sugarcane, tobacco, and cattle. Founded in 1514, the city was moved to its present site in 1522. It experienced several pirate attacks. During the 19th cent., it became one of Cuba's most aristocratic cities. Sancti Spíritus was the first important city to be captured by Fidel Castro's guerrilla forces (late 1958). Declared a historic monument on its 450th anniversary, the city retains some of its colonial atmosphere; landmarks include a 16th-century bridge over the Yayabo River, a 16th-century church, and a theater dating back to 1839.
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