2016, Fidel Castro, former leader of Cuba from 1959,
died aged 90. He had been succeeded by his brother Raul in 2008.
20 March 2016, US President Barack Obama became the first US President to
visit Cuba since 1928, arriving for a 3-day visit.
2008, Fidel Castro, aged 81, announced he was
resigning as President of Cuba after 49 years in post. His brother Raul Castro
was selected to succeed him.
1/2018, US President
Trump signed an Executive Order providing for the continued
operation of Guantanamo
The 2012 US National Defence Bill was not vetoed by President Obama, which meant
Bay would remain open as a detention facility.
January 2011, US President Barack Obama signed the 2011
Defence Authorisation Bill, which provided for the closure of Guantanamo Bay.
January 2009, US President Barack Obama attempted to close
Bay. US Congress blocked the move.
January 2009, The US admitted torturimg Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohammed al
Qahtani, under the Bush administration.
2/2006, The United
Nations called for the closure of Guantanamo Bay.
7/2004, The US
Bay inmates as �enemy combatants�, to circumvent a court ruling that
they could challenge their detention on the US mainland.
prison population of Guantanamo Bay reached a peak of 680. In October
2003 the Red Cross became coincerned at the �pyschological detereration� of a
large number oif the inmates.
first suspects from Afghanistan were brought to Guantanamo Bay.
25 October 2004, Cuban President Fidel Castro banned the iuse of US Dollars as
currency, with effect from 8 November 2004.
1994, US President Clinton, faced with
an influx of 20,000 Cubans, renegotiated with Fidel Castro the return of
travel restrictions on Cubans wishing to emigrate to the USA (see 11 August 1992).
11 August 1994, Fidel
Castro of Cuba lifted restrictions on emigration, prompting a surge
of 20,000 Cubans leaving for the USA. However see 9 September 1994.
15 June 1993,
The last Russian
troops left Cuba.
2 April 1989, Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev visited Cuba, to meet Fidel Castro
and try to halt the deterioration in relations between the two countries.
19 April 1982, The USA banned its citizens from tourist trips to Cuba.
1972, Cuba joined COMECON, the
Communist economic bloc.
1965, The USA airlifted refugees from
Cuba who wanted to leave the island.
September 1965, In Cuba, Castro announced that
Cubans wishing to leave for America in small boats may now do so; he cited a
severe housing shortage in Cuba.
7 January 1964,
In a drive to improve trade links with Europe, Cuba ordered 400 British
1963, The 1,000 acre maximum
private landholding in Cuba (see May 1959) was reduced to 160 acres. This increased State
landholdings from 40% to 60% of Cuba�s land.
28 April 1963, Cuban President Fidel
Castro visited the USSR.
Missile Crisis 1962-63
19 February 1963. The USSR
agreed to withdraw troops from Cuba.
24 December� 1962, Cuba released the Bay of Pigs
prisoners for a US$ 50 million ransom.
20 November 1962, President
Kennedy lifted the blockade
of Cuba, having verified that Soviet nuclear
missiles had been removed.
18 November 1962. President
Kennedy told a press conference that
Nikita Khrushchev had told him all Soviet jet bombers would be withdrawn from
Cuba within ten days.
13 November 1962. Fidel Castro, the Cuban leader, warned the US reconnaissance
planes would be shot down if they continued to fly over Cuba.
October 1962. Khrushchev began
to dismantle Soviet missile bases in Cuba, so ending the Cuba Missile Crisis.
Crisis; the Soviet Union simply ignored its earlier demand regarding Turkey. President Kennedy was leader of the USA at the time; on Saturday 27
October 1962 he was just about to order US air strikes on the missile bases,
when on Sunday the news came that the USSR had agreed to withdraw the missiles.
The USSR attempted to leverage the removal of NATO missiles from Turkey but did
not achieve this. The USA had to achieve this result, for political, not
military, reasons, or else how could USA support be relied upon further from
home. In fact the danger from the Cuban missiles was not much greater than if
the same intercontinental ballistic missiles had been launched from 5,000 miles
away in the USSR. Actually the 40 or so missiles on Cuba would have reached the
USA before any USSR-launched missiles, so acting as an early warning for the
USA to launch its 1,685 missiles against the USSR. The USA did not know,
however, that only a fraction of the USSR-based missiles were operational, so
the 40 Cuban missiles did amount to a substantial increase in Soviet firepower
against the USA.
October 1962, USAF Major Rudolf Anderson became the only combatant
fatality of the Cuban Missile Crisis when his U-2 airplane was shot down by a
surface-to-air missile while he was flying over Cuba
October 1962, The USSR offered to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba if
NATO missiles were removed from Turkey; the US rejected this idea. In fact the US had been planning
to remove these missiles anyway, seeing them as obsolete; however a removal now
might be seen as a victory for the Soviet Union.
October 1962. The USA
began to blockade Cuba over the Cuban Missile Crisis. At 10.15am, 500 miles from the Cuban coastline, two Soviet merchant
vessels, the Gargarin and the Komiles, encountered American
warships. The Essex had orders to sink the accompanying Soviet
submarines should they refuse to surface when challenged.
22 October 1962 President Kennedy ordered a blockade of Cuba after Soviet missile
sites were found there.
18 October 1962, US President Kennedy and Secretary
of State Dean Rusk met at the White House with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko and Soviet Ambassador to the US Anatoly Dobrynin. Gromyko told Kennedy
that Soviet operations in Cuba were purely defensive, and Kennedy did not tell Gromyko that the US had discovered Soviet
nuclear missiles in Cuba.
16 October 1962, President Kennedy saw aerial photos of Cuba which appeared to show
nuclear-armed missiles being installed in Cuba.
15 October 1962, At the National
Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC), analysis of the 928 images, taken
the day before by the U-2 over flight, showed that offensive missiles and
launchers had been placed in Cuba.
2 September 1962. The USSR agreed to supply weapons to
Cuba.� This started the Cuban Missile Crisis.
29 August 1962.
American spy planes took pictures of Soviet technicians constructing missile
launch pads in Cuba.
29 May 1962, Nikita Kruschev
of the USSR made a proposal to Fidel Castro of Cuba to station Soviet nuclear
missiles there. This would, from the USSR�s stance, solve two problems; the
vulnerability of Cuba to the USA, and the Soviet missile gap with America. Castro
accepted, and by August 1962 the missiles began arriving. By October 1962 Cuba
was hosting 162 nuclear missiles, each one 70x more powerful than the Hiroshima
Bay of Pigs invasion, 1961-62
8 April 1962. In Cuba,
over 1,000 Bay of Pigs invaders were sentenced to 30 years in jail.
17 May 1961, Fidel Castro
offered to exchange prisoners captured in the Bay of Pigs venture for 500
17 April 1961. 1,300
Cuban exiles, led by Jose Cardona, attempted
to invade Cuba from the Bay of Pigs. However on 18 and 19 April 1961 the
exiles were pinned down on the beach by Castro�s troops. The USA under President Kennedy backed down
following Khrushchev�s declaration
that the USSR would defend Cuba
against the USA and the 1,200 survivors were left to their fate. They surrendered to Cuban authorities on 20
Cuban-Soviet ties reinforced; US diplomatic and trade sanctions,
3 February 1962, President
Kennedy of the USA banned all trade with Cuba. Cigar smokers were
January 1962, A
Cuban-Soviet trade treaty was signed.�������
24 August 1961,
At the UN, Cuba challenged the existence of the US base at Guantanamo, claiming
its real purpose was aggression against South American nations.������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������
3 January 1961. The US
severed all diplomatic relations with Cuba.
19 October 1960. The
USA imposed an embargo on shipments to Cuba, banning all exports to Cuba except food and medicine. Cuba had
been buying arms from the USSR, and when the USA imposed economic sanctions by
refusing to buy Cuban sugar, Castro nationalised USA businesses. Cuba also attempted
to 'export Revolution', to the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Nicaragua. However many young US citizens supported Castro.
17 May 1960, Radio
Swan, secretly funded and operated by the CIA, began broadcasting
anti-Communist propaganda to Cuba, from a transmitter on Swan Island off of the
coast of Honduras.
Fidel Castro leftist reforms 1959-60
14 October 1960, Cuba
nationalised all banks and major commercial enterprises.
August 1960. Castro nationalised
all US-owned property in Cuba, in retaliation for US economic sanctions.
June 1960, Castro threatened to seize US-owned property
in Cuba, in retaliation for US economic sanctions.
21 February 1960. Castro nationalised all private businesses in Cuba.
13 February 1960, Cuban
Castro� signed an agreement
woith the USSR. The Soviet Union would provide US$ 100 million worth of crdit
to Cuba., and buy 5 million tons of Cuban sugar.
4 February 1960, Russian
First Deputy Minister Anastas Mikoyan began a 10-day visit to Cuba.
Russia agreed to buy Cuban sugar, extend it credit, and to supply military
planes to Cuba.
4 January 1960, The
US-Cuba relationship broke up, but the US retained Guantanamo Bay.
4 June 1959. Cuba
nationalised USA sugar mils in its territory.
May 1959, Cuba passed the Agrarian
Reform Law, limiting private landholdings to a maximum of 1,000 acres. Some
40% of Cuba�s land now came into
State ownership. Some of this land was redistributed to landless peasants but
most stayed under the care of the Instituto
Nacional de Reforma Agraria (INRA). See 1963. Before this reform, nine
large foreign-owned sugar companies owned some 2,500,000 acres between them.,
with the Cuban Atlantic Company alone possessing 660,000 acres. US interests
controlled, by the late 1940s, 40% of Cuban sugar production and 90% of Cuban
mining. With sugar exports the main source of revenue for Cuba, the US
effectively controlled the island�s economy by raising or lowering sugar
imports to the US from Cuba. Following this expropriation of land, the US
struck Cuba from its sugar quota import list in 1960.
15 April 1959, Castro
made a State visit to the USA.
Fidel Castro gains power 1953-59
16 February 1959. Fidel Castro
became Prime Minister of Cuba after
overthrowing the regime of Fulgencio Batista. At age 32, he was the
youngest ever leader of Cuba. See 1 January 1959.
8 January 1959, Fidel Castro entered Havana in triumph.
1 January 1959. The Right-wing President Fulgencio
Batista of Cuba was
overthrown and fled to the Dominican Republic. Fidel Castro, aged 32, proclaimed a new Government. See 16 February 1959.
Castro executed his opponents and legalised the Communist Party.
13 October 1958, Fidel Castro
warned that any Cuban participating in the general electiosn scheduled for 3
November would be guilty of treason, and that candidates faced execution unless
they withdrew by 30 October.
17 September 1958, Fidel Castro began an
offensive against the Batista regime in Cuba.
5 April 1958. Castro began
'total war' against the Cuban dictator, Batista.
3 April 1958, Castro�s revolutionary
army begins its attacks on Havana.
2 April 1958. The USA embargoed arms shipments to Cuba.
27 March 1958, The
Havana Hilton Hotel opened. Costing US$ 21 million, it was renamed the Havana
Libre in 1959.
29 October 1957, Fulgencio Batista suspended the Cuban Constitution.
5 September 1957, Rebels
Castro, along with Cuban navy Officers, tried to seize a naval base
at Cienfuegos.� Forces loyal to President Batista of Cuba
defeated the attempt, and the rebel leaders were executed.
28 May 1957, Fidel Castro�s
forces attacked the Cuban garrison at Uvero.
13 March 1957, A
student-led �Revolutionary Directorate� made an unsuccessful attempt to depose
Fulgencio Batista.� The
movement was violently suppressed.
2 December� 1956, Fidel Castro clandestinely returned
to eastern Cuba, from Mexico, landing in the yacht Gramma.� He then waged an
18-month guerrilla campaign against the Batista government.� See 8 January 1959. See 8 January 1959. The invasion
initially suffered major setbacks, with the Gramma
first delayed by storms then grounding on a mudbank where government aircraft
could easily spot it. The entire invasion force of 82 men were flushed out of
cane fields by government soldiers, and only 12 managed to escape to the Sierra Maestra. Here, however, Castro
had friends from his childhood as� a
sugar farmer�s son. With the increasing support of local peasants, and by
clever use of the terrain, Castro�s supporters eventually won.
1 November 1954, General Fulgencio Batista was elected
President of Cuba.
26/7/1953, Fidel Castro
led an assault on the Moncada Barracks; this failed, but set him up as
revolutionary leader in Cuba.� Castro
served two years in prison before release under a general amnesty in 1955.� He went into exile in Mexico where he
prepared a campaign against Batista.
amnesty for political prisoners in Cuba. Fidel Castro was freed and left for Mexico,
where� he began plotting to overthrow Batista.
rebellion starts in Cuba
4 April 1952, The USA signed a
military assistance pact with Cuba.
10 March 1952,Military coup in
Socarra was overthrown and replaced by General Zaldivar (Fulgencio
Batista y Zald�var), who had previously been ruler of Cuba, 1933-40.
8 April 1947, Following a series
of killings due to labour strife, the Cuban Interior Ministry banned all
political meetings that might provoke disorder.
18 November 1944, The Popular Socialist
Youth organization was founded in Cuba.
10 October 1944, Ramon Grau took office as President
17 January 1934, Carlos Hevia resigned as
President of Cuba on just his third day in office.
15 January 1934, Ram�n Grau was forced to resign as President of Cuba and was
replaced by Carlos
Hevia. Soldiers fired on a crowd of Grau supporters gathered around
the presidential palace, killing three. Hevia would serve for only three days before
the military officials demanded his resignation.
5 September 1933, Carlos Manuel de Cespedes y� Quesada (1871-1939) was ousted in
an army coup staged by Sergeant Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar (1901-73) and
replaced by Professor
Ramon Grau San Martin (1887-1969).
12 August 1933, In Cuba the army,
led by Fulgencio
Batista, and backed by the US, overthrew President Machado y Morales. Carlos Manuel de Cespedes y� Quesada was installed as President, but ousted in
mediation initiative between the revoliutionary groups and the Cuban Govermnent
was attempted by the Us Ambassador to Cuba, Sumner Wells (1892-1961), but a
General Srtike and police brutality put an end to these negotiations.
revolutionary groups now existed in Cuba, with some 30 to 40 thousand members
in toital, most notably the ABC.
Their terrorism and sabotage provoked severe reprisals from the Cuban
24 July 1932, In Havana, 9 were
killed and 55 wounded in Cuban police raids on communist headquarters.
rebels landed at the Cuban port of Gibara, seized the police station and Town
Hall, distributed guns to the local population, and moved inland towards
Holguin, only to be soon defeated by the Cuban Army.
1930, Student protests at
the University of Havana due to Machado y Morales
dictatorial policies; the university was closed.
1928, Gerardo Morales was re-elected
13 August 1926. Cuban
revolutionary and leader Fidel Castro was born near Biran, the son of a
1924, Liberal candidate Gerardo Machado
y Morales (1871-1939) was elected Cuban President.
20 May 1917, Menocal
was inaugurated as Cuban President.
7 April 1917, Cuba
declared war on Germany.
March 1917, US marines landed in the
Liberal-supporting area of Santiago, Oriente Province, to crush the Liberal
uprising. The US believed Menocal was more likely than Zayas
to support the US war effort in Europe.
1916, In Cuban Presidential elections,
the incumbent Conservative candidate, Mario Garcia Menocal (1866-1941), claimed
victory over the Liberal challenger,� Alfredo Zayas
(1861-1934). However the election was flawed, with more votes cast than there
were voters, and results lost or altered, The Cuban Supreme Court upheled a
legal challenge and new elections were scheduled for 2/1917, but before they
were held, Liberals started an insurrection. Jose Miguel Gomez led Liberal
forces from Santa Clara towards Havana, but Menocal, with US support and
arms, blocked their path.
1915, Americans owned 40% of Cuban sugar
production; other foreigners owned another 20%.
31 May 1912.
US marines landed in Cuba to quell a slave revolt.
occupation of Cuba, 1901-09
1 February 1909, US control of Cuba ended.
29 September 1906, Following the resignation of
Palma of Cuba, the USA declared a provisional Government to restore
24 February 1906, In Cuba, Tomas Estrada
Palma defeated Jose Gomez in the Presidential election.
rejected the result, and called Palma a �tool of Yankee imperialism�. Gomez
started an uprising, and Palma called for US assistance to quell it.
5 February 1904, The US ended its occupation
19 March 1903, US Senate ratified the
tariff reduction treaty signed with Cuba on 11 December 1902.
February 1903, The US signed a deal with Cuba to lease 45 square
miles of land at Guantanamo Bay for 2,000 gold coins (about US$ 4,000) a year. Fidel Castro
later refused to accept this money.
11 December 1902, The US agreed a treaty with
Cuba providing for a 20% reduction in tariff rates on US imports from Cuba. US
Senate ratified this treaty on 19 March 1903.
31 December� 1901, In Presidential elections in Cuba, Tomas Estrada Palma was elected.
June 1901, A new Constitution for Cuba was drawn up, giving the
US extensive rights that made the island virtually a US protectorate.
May 1901, End of US military rule in Cuba. However the US was granted
intervention rights and the right to use certain bases, including Guantanamo
2 March 1901, US Congress passed the Platt Amendment, which demanded that
Cuba comply with certain conditions before the US withdrew its occupation.
16 January 1901, Fulgencio
Batista, Cuban leader 1952-53, was born.
1901, Cuba became a Republic.
7 November 1900,
The People's Party was founded in Cuba.
5 November 1900,
The Cuban Constitutional Convention began to sit, until 21 February 1901.
6 April 1900,
The city of Havana, Cuba, banned the playing of African drums, a prohibition
that remained in effect until 1940, when conga drums again became part of Cuban
1899, The USA occupied Cuba,
installing an interim military government.
10 June 1898,
Cuba, was first used as a camp by US troops during the Spanish-American War (see USA).
1898, The USA declared war on
Spain, in support of the Cuban rebels. The US had significant financial
interests in Cuba.
1895, A Cuban revolt against Spanish
colonial rule began. Jose Marti landed on Cuba with a small band
of rebels to start a war of independence. However Marti was killed on the first
day of fighting and thousands of Cubans subsequently died in Spanish
1878, After some years of
pro-independency insurgency in Cuba, the Spanish General Arsenio Martinez de Campos
(1831-1900) concluded the Treaty of Zanjon this day with the rebels. However Spain reneged on many of the
reforms promised in this Treaty, although they did abolish slavery in 1886.
31 October 1873, The Spanish in Cuba seized the steamer Virginius, a rebel-owned ship
carrying arms but disguised under a false US flag.
10 October 1868,
A major rebellion against Spanish rule began, initiating a 10-year civil war. Cuban patriots proclaimed a revolution at Yara, issued the Grito de Yara, demanding independence
September 1810, Cuba declared independence from Spain.
Cuban independence movement begins
13 August 1762, The
British captured Havana, Cuba, from the Spanish. HGowever it was returned to
Spain under the Treaty of Paris in 1763. Slave
labour and proximity to US markets ensured the prosperity of the wealthy elite
in Cuba, whilst a strong Spanish garrison detereed any moves towards
1515, Havana was founded by the Spanish.
1509, The Spanish began the conquest
and colonisation of Cuba.
28 October 1492. Christopher Columbus arrived in Cuba,
believing it to be Japan.
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