Cuba, formally the Republic of Cuba, is an island country in the Caribbean. The country of Cuba comprises the major island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud and numerous island chains. Havana is the resources of Cuba and its largest city. The second-largest city is Santiago de Cuba. To the north of Cuba exists the United States (150 km (93 mi) away), the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands are to the northeast, Mexico is to the west (210 km (130 mi) away), the Cayman Islands and Jamaica are to the south and Haiti and the Dominican Republic are to the southeast. The island of Cuba was inhabited by many Meso-American Indian tribes prior to the landing of explorer Christopher Columbus in 1492, that claimed it for the Kingdom of Spain. Cuba continued to be a colony of Spain till the Spanish-- American War of 1898, after which it gained nominal freedom as a de facto U.S. protectorate in 1902.