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Cuba History Timeline

1200s - 1700s

  • (1250) Taino Indians arrived in Cuba
  • (1492) Christopher Columbus discovered Cuba, claimed for Spain
  • (1511) Diego Colon settled Cuba; Diego de Velazquez appointed governor of Cuba by Spain
  • (1526) Slaves imported from Africa
  • (1762) King George III declared war on Spain; Havana captured by British forces led by Admiral George Pocock and Lord Albemarle
  • (1763) Havana returned to Spain by Treaty of Paris
1800s
  • (1810) King of Spain overthrown by Napoleon
  • (1868-78) Ten Years War of Independence ended in truce with Spain
  • (1886) Slavery abolished
  • (1898) US defeated Spain, gave up all claims to Cuba, ceded Cuba to US
1900s
  • (1902) Cuba became independent with Tomas Estrada Palma as president; Platt Amendment kept island under US protection, gave US right to intervene in Cuban affairs
  • (1906-09) President Estrada resigned; US occupied Cuba following rebellion led by Jose Miguel Gomez
  • (1909) Jose Miguel Gomez elected president
  • (1912) US forces returned to Cuba to help quell black protests against discrimination
  • (1924) Gerado Machado established dictatorship
  • (1925) Socialist party founded, formed basis of the Communist Party
  • (1933) Gerado Machado overthrown in coup led by Sergeant Fulgencio Batista
  • (1934) US relinquished right to intervene in internal affairs of Cuba
  • (1944) Fulgencio Batista retired; civilian Ramon Gray San Martin became president of Cuba
  • (1952) Fulgencio Batista took power again
  • (1953) Fidel Castro led unsuccessful revolution against Batista
  • (1956) Fidel Castro, Che Guevara led revolution
  • (1958) US withdrew military aid to Fulgencio Batista
  • (1959) Fidel Castro led Communist revolution with Che Guevara; rebel army overthrew President Fulgencio Batista
  • (1960) Cuba with Soviet Union, Communist policies; Cuban Communist State established with Russian backing; all US businesses in Cuba nationalized without compensation
  • (1961) Washington broke off all diplomatic relations with Havana; US sponsored abortive invasion by Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs
  • (1962) Cuban missile crisis ignited; Castro agreed to allow USSR to deploy nuclear missiles on island; crisis resolved when USSR agreed to remove missiles in return for withdrawal of US nuclear missiles from Turkey; Organization of American States (OAS) suspended Cuba over incompatible adherence to Marxism-Leninism
  • (1965) Cuba's sole political party renamed Cuban Communist Party
  • (1972) Cuba became full member of Soviet-based Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
  • (1976) Cuban Communist Party approved new socialist constitution; Castro elected president
  • (1976-81) Cuba sent troops to intervene in African disputes
  • (1980) 125,000 Cubans, many released convicts, fled to US
  • (1988) Cuba agreed to withdraw its troops from Angola
  • (1991) USSR collapsed
  • (1993) US tightened embargo on Cuba
  • (1994) Cuba signed agreement with US, US agreed to admit 20,000 Cubans a year in return for Cuba to halt exodus of refugees
  • (1996) US trade embargo in place
  • (1998) US eased restrictions on sending of money to relatives by Cuban Americans
  • (1999) Cuban child, Elian Gonzalez, picked up off Florida coast after boat capsized with; Miami-based Cuban exiles started campaign to keep Elian with relatives
2000s
  • (2000) Elian allowed to rejoin father in Cuba after prolonged court battles; US House of Representatives approved sale of food, medicines to Cuba; Russian President Vladimir Putin, visited Cuba, signed accords aimed at boosting bilateral ties
  • (2001) US exported food to Cuba after request from Cuban government to help cope with aftermath of Hurricane Michelle
  • (2002) Russia's last military base in Cuba at Lourdes closed; National Assembly amended constitution to make socialist system of government permanent
  • (2004) UN Human Rights Commission censured Cuba over rights record; US sanctions restricted US-Cuba family visits, cash remittances from expatriates; President Castro announced ban on transactions in US dollars, imposed 10% tax on dollar-peso conversions
  • (2005) Hurricane Dennis caused widespread destruction, 16 died
  • (2006) President Fidel Castro underwent surgery; temporarily handed over control of the government to brother, Raul
  • (2008) Raul Castro took over as president after Fidel Castro announced retirement
  • (2009) US Congress voted to lift Bush Administration restrictions on Cuban-Americans visits to Havana; Cuba signed agreement with Russia, allowed oil exploration in Cuban waters of Gulf of Mexico
  • (2010) Political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo died after 85 days on hunger strike
  • (2011) US President Barack Obama relaxed restrictions on travel to Cuba

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This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.