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The town is named after the island of Cuba. The Town of Cuba was established in 1807 from part of the Town of Angelica. In 1808, a small piece was taken off to form part of the new Town (now City) and Village (now City) of Salamanca, New York. The first settlers arrived around 1789 near what is now called "Old Fort". The early economy relied on agriculture and timber harvesting until two large deposits were discovered nearby: iron ore in 1840 by William Burt; and oil shale in 1880 by John D Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company which built an experimental refinery at Rouseville that operated for about ten years before closing due to lack or profitability or market demand for its product kerosene lamp fuel made from shale oil rather than petroleum crude oil as used today . A second boom occurred during World War II when a steel mill opened just outside town producing armor plate among other things but closed within 10 years after war ended with no need for such products anymore .