Cienfuegos is a town set in a bay on the sea with one of the best preserved historic centres. For its location and beauty in the colonial era, it was called the ‘Pearl of the South. When Columbus discovered the gulf in 1494, it was occupied by Jagua Indians. In order to defend the bay from pirates, the Spain built a fortress here in 1745. The first town was founded in 1819, and was named after the Cuban Governor General of the time, José Cienfuegos. The town is built in a Neo-Classic style with a geometric layout.