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Cienfuegos was founded on May 20, 1819 by José Cienfuegos. It became Cuba's first major port and the center of a thriving sugar industry. The city is situated in the southern coast of Cuba on the Bay of Buena Vista, which opens to the Caribbean Sea. In addition to its natural harbor, it has an excellent deepwater dock (the best in Cuba) built between 1924 and 1926 by US engineers that provide a large area for both loading and unloading ships as well as storage facilities for merchandise awaiting shipment abroad or transshipment within Cuba; this facility can accommodate vessels up to 100,000 tons deadweight (DWT). The city is also served by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Airport with flights from Havana operated by Cubana de Aviación among others.