Bayamo is Cuba’s second-oldest city. It also has the historic honor of being known as the capital of the First Republic in Arms during the independence struggle in the 19th century. In 1869, Bayamo’s residents decided to set fire to their own city rather than surrendering to the Spanish colonialists. Bayamo is also where the Father of the Nation, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, was born, as well as the place where the words and music of the National Anthem – still used today — were created. The anthem was sung for the first time on October 20, 1868; today this auspicious date is when the annual Day of Cuban Culture is celebrated.