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Timeline of Cuban history

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Title: Timeline of Cuban history  
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Subject: List of colonial governors of Cuba, Boxing in Cuba, Balseros (rafters), History of the Jews in Cuba, Media of Cuba
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Timeline of Cuban history

This is a timeline of Cuban history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Cuba and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Cuba. See also the list of colonial governors of Cuba and list of Presidents of Cuba.

Centuries: 15th · 16th · 17th · 18th · 19th · 20th · 21st

15th century

Year Date Event
1492 28 October Christopher Columbus lands at Bariay, Holguin Province in east Cuba.
1494 Columbus returns to Cuba and sails along the south coast.

16th century

Year Date Event
1508 Sebastián de Ocampo circumnavigates Cuba, confirming that it is an island.
1510 Spanish set out from Hispaniola. The conquest of Cuba begins.
1511 The first governor of Cuba, the Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar leads a group of settlers in Baracoa.
1512 Indigenous Cuban resistance leader Hatuey is burned at the stake.
1514 Havana founded as San Cristóbal de la Habana.
1523 Emperor Charles V authorizes 4,000 gold pesos for the construction of cotton mills.
1527 First African Slaves arrive in Cuba.
1532 First Slave rebellion is crushed.
1537 French fleet briefly occupy Havana.
Slave rebellion of African and indigenous slaves is crushed.
French corsairs blockade Santiago de Cuba
1542 Spanish crown abandons the encomienda colonial land settlement system.
1553 Governor of Cuba relocates to Havana.
1555 French campaign against the Sudan usam
1578 French corsairs plunder Baracoa
1586 English privateer Francis Drake lands at Cape San Antonio but doesn't attack
1597 The Castillo del Morro Morro Castle (fortress), is completed above the eastern entrance to the Havana harbor.

17th century

Year Date Event
1603 Authorities decree that the sale of tobacco to foreigners is punishable by death.
1607 Havana is officially named capital of Cuba.
1628 Dutch fleet led by Piet Heyn plunders the Spanish fleet in Havana harbor
1649 Epidemic kills a third of the island's population.
1662 English fleet captained by Christopher Myngs captures Santiago de Cuba to open up trade with neighbouring Jamaica
1670 English retreat after Spain recognises England's ownership of Jamaica.
Francisco Rodríguez de Ledesma becomes Governor of Cuba. He serves for ten years.

18th century

Year Date Event
1728 The University of Havana is founded.
1734 Francisco de Güemes y Horcasitas Gordón de Saenz de Villamolinedo begins a 12 year tenure as Governor of Cuba.
1741 British Admiral Edward Vernon captures Guantánamo Bay, renaming it Cumberland Bay, during the War of Jenkins' Ear. His troops are decimated by fevers and are resisted by local guerrilla forces and withdraw.
1747 Francisco Antonio Cagigal de la Vega begins a 13 year tenure as Governor of Cuba.
1748 Construction of Havana cathedral completed.
12 October Battle of Havana. Skirmishes between British and Spanish fleets in Havana harbor.
1762 5 March English expedition secretly leaves Portsmouth to capture Havana.
30 July British troops occupy Havana during Seven Years' War.
1763 British troops suffer atrocious losses to fever, and reach agreement with the Spanish to trade Cuba in return for Florida.
1793 Slave rebellion in Saint-Domingue (which was to become the Haitian revolution) brings the first of 30,000 white refugees to Cuba.
1799 Salvador de Muro y Salazar becomes Governor of Cuba 1799-1812

19th century

Year Date Event
1812 Juan Ruíz de Apodaca becomes governor of Cuba 1812-16.
1843 Leopoldo O'Donnell, Duke of Tetuan becomes governor of Cuba 1843-48.
1844 So-called Year of the Lash when an uprising of black slaves, known as the Conspiración de La Escalera (Conspiracy of the Ladder), was brutally suppressed.
1853 28 January José Julián Martí Pérez born in Havana.
1868 First war of Cuban independence. Also known as the Ten Years' War. (to 1878)
10 October Revolutionaries under the leadership of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes proclaims Cuban independence.
1878 8 February Pact of Zanjón ends Ten Years' War and ends uprising.
1879 August A second uprising ("The Little War"), engineered by Antonio Maceo and Calixto García, begins but is quelled by superior Spanish forces in autumn 1880.
1886 Slavery abolished
1890 February José Sánchez Gómez becomes provisional Governor of Cuba.
1895 23 February Mounting discontent culminated in a resumption of the Cuban revolution, under the leadership of the writer and patriot José Martí and General Máximo Gómez y Báez.
19 May José Martí killed in battle with Spanish troops at the Battle of Dos Ríos.
September Arsenio Martínez Campos is defeated at Peralejo and leaves Cuba in January next year.
1896 Successful invasion campaign along the length of the island by Cuban rebels led by Antonio Maceo, and Maximo Gomez; Winston Churchill fights on Spanish side at battle of Iguara [1]; Maceo is killed on return east [2]
1897 Calixto Garcia takes a series of strategic fort complexes in the East and the Spanish are essentially confined to coastal cities there.
1898 15 February The battleship USS Maine explodes and sinks while anchored in Havana Harbor, stirring suspicions of sabotage against the United States by the Spanish; ultimately resulting in fueling the start of The Spanish-American War in late March.
17 March U.S. Senator, and former War Secretary Redfield Proctor protests against Spanish controlled concentration camps
6 June Invasion of Guantánamo Bay American and Cuban forces invade the strategically and commercially important area of Guantanamo Bay during the Spanish-American war. (to 10 June)
10 December Treaty of Peace in Paris ends the Spanish-American War by which Spain relinquished sovereignty over Cuba.
1899 1 January The Spanish colonial government withdraws and the last captain General Alfonso Jimenez Castellano hands over power to the North American Military Governor, General John Ruller Brooke.
23 December Leonard Wood becomes US Provisional Governor of Cuba

20th century

Year Date Event
1901 2 March Platt Amendment passed in the U.S. stipulating the conditions for the withdrawal of United States troops, assuring U.S. control over Cuban affairs.
1902 20 May The Cuban republic is instituted under the presidency of Tomás Estrada Palma.
1906 29 September Revolt against Tomás Estrada Palma successful. Peace negotiated by Frederick N. Funston, U.S. troops reoccupy Cuba under William Howard Taft.
13 October Charles Magoon becomes U.S. governor of Cuba
1909 28 January Cuba returns to homerule. José Miguel Gómez of the Liberal Party becomes president.
1912 Separatist Black revolt is defeated in bloody campaign
1913 20 May Mario García Menocal presidency begins.
1917 7 April Cuba enters World War I on the side of the Allies. In Chambelona War Liberal Revolt is suppressed by Conservadores of Menocal
1921 20 May Alfredo Zayas becomes president.
1925 20 May Gerardo Machado becomes president. At uncertain date Fabio Grobart, a stalinist communist leader enters Cuba
1926 13 August Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz born in the province of Holguín.
1928 10 January Julio Antonio Mella a founder of the Stalinist Communist Party in Cuba is murdered in Mexico. Details are murky; Gerardo Machado agents blamed by some, Tina Modotti and Vittorio Vidale communist assassins blamed by others.
14 June Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (Che Guevara) born in Rosario, Argentina.
1931 10 August Old Mambi warriors Carlos Mendieta and Mario García Menocal land forces at Rio Verde attempting to overthrow the now clearly dictatorial Gerardo Machado. They are defeated in actions that include first military aviation use in Cuba. (to 14 August)
1933 12 August Gerardo Machado, despite last minute support from the Communist Party, is forced to leave Cuba, by ABC and Antonio Guiteras Holmes resistance actions, a general strike, pressure from senior officers of Cuban Armed Forces and U.S. Ambassador Sumner Welles. Communist activity high and extends through rest of summer with establishment of ephemeral soviets in eastern provinces.
4 September "Sergeants' Revolt" organized by a group including Fulgencio Batista topples provisional government.
2 October Batista loyal enlisted men and sergeants, plus radical elements, force Army Officers out of Hotel Nacional in heavy fighting. Some are murdered after surrender.
9 November Blas Hernández his followers and some ABC members make a stand in old Atarés Castle they are defeated by Batista loyalists in bloody battle and Blas Hernández is murdered on surrender.
1934 16 June ABC demonstration Havana festival and march attacked by radical gunners including those of Antonio Guiteras with bombs and machine guns, numerous dead.
1935 8 May Leading radical Antonio Guiteras is betrayed and dies fighting Batista forces.
1938 September Communist party legalized again.
1939 23 August Fabio Grobart publicly justifies Ribbentrop-Molotov pact.
1941 8 May Sandalio Junco, a Communist labor leader who defected to Trotskyism, is murdered by Stalin Loyalists.
December Cuban government declares war on Germany, Japan, and Italy.
1943 Soviet embassy opened in Havana.
1951 15 May Eduardo Chibás, leader of the Ortodoxo party and mentor of Fidel Castro commits suicide on live radio.
1952 March Former president Batista, supported by the army, seizes power.
1953 26 July Some 160 revolutionaries under the command of Fidel Castro launch an attack on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba. Communists at meeting in Santioago arrested, Fabio Grobart said to have attended, but not listed in arrest records,
16 October Fidel Castro makes "History Will Absolve Me" speech in his own defense against the charges brought on him after the attack on the Moncada Barracks.
1954 September Che Guevara arrives in Mexico City.
November Batista dissolves parliament and is elected constitutional president without opposition.
1955 May Fidel and surviving members of his movement are released from prison under an amnesty from Batista.
June Brothers Fidel and Raúl Castro are introduced to Che Guevara in Mexico City.
1956 29 April Autentico Assault on Goicuria Barracks, in Matanzas attackers are ts including Raúl Castro, Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, executes informers and sets sail from Mexico for Cuba on the yacht Granma.
2 December Granma lands in Oriente Province.
1957 17 January Castro's guerrillas score their first success by sacking an army outpost on the south coast, and start gaining followers in both Cuba and abroad.
13 March University students mount an attack on the Presidential Palace in Havana. Batista forewarned. Attackers mostly killed, others flee and are betrayed.
28 May Castro's 26 July movement, heavily reinforced by Frank Pais Militia, overwhelm an army post in El Uvero.
19 July Autentico landing in the "Corynthia," led by Calixto Sánchez White in north Oriente, at Cabonico Batista is forewarned and then guided by agents, almost all 27 killed.
30 July Cuban revolutionary Frank País is killed in the streets of Santiago de Cuba by police while campaigning for the overthrow of Batista government.
6 September Naval revolt at Cienfuegos is crushed by forces loyal to Batista.
1958 February Raúl Castro takes leadership of about 500 pre-existing Escopeteros guerrillas and opens a front in the Sierra de Cristal on Oriente's north coast.
13 March U.S. suspends shipments of arms to Batista's forces.
17 March Castro calls for a general revolt.
9 April A general strike, organized by the 26 July movement, is partially observed.
May Batista sends an army of 10,000 into the Sierra Maestra to destroy Castro's 300 armed guerrillas (supported by uncounted escopeteros). By August, the rebels had defeated the army's advance and captured a huge amount of arms.
1 November A Cubana aircraft en route from Miami to Havana is hijacked by militants but crashes. The hijackers were trying to land at Sierra Cristal in Eastern Cuba to deliver weapons to Raúl Castro's rebels. It is the first of what was to become many Cuba-U.S. hijackings.[1]
20 November 30 Key position at Guisa is taken, and in the following month most cities in Oriente fall to Rebel Hands. (to 30 November)
December Guevara, Santa Clara.
28 December Rebels seize Santa Clara.
31 December Camilo Cienfuegos leads revolutionary guerrillas to victory in Yaguajay, Huber Matos Enters Santiago.
1959 1 January President Batista resigns and flees the country. Fidel Castro's column enters Santiago de Cuba. Raul Castro starts mass executions of captured military. Diverse urban rebels, mainly Directorio, seize Havana
2 January Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos arrive in Havana.
5 January Manuel Urrutia named President of Cuba
8 January Fidel Castro arrives at Havana, speaks to crowds at Camp Columbia.
16 February Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba.
March Fabio Grobart is present at a series of meetings with Castro brothers, Guevara and Valdes at Cojimar
20 April Fidel Castro speaks at Princeton University, New Jersey.[2]
17 May The Cuban government enacts the Agrarian Reform Law which limits land 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) ranches or less if other agricultural land, no payment is made.
17 July Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado becomes President of Cuba, replacing Manuel Urrutia forced to resign by Fidel Castro. Dorticós serves until 2 December 1976
28 October Plane carrying Camilo Cienfuegos disappears during a night flight from Camagüey to Havana. He is presumed dead.
11 December Trial of revolutionary Huber Matos begins. Matos is found guilty of "treason and sedition".
1960 4 March The freighter La Coubre a 4,310-ton French vessel carrying 76 tons of Belgian munitions explodes while it began unloading in Havana harbor.
17 March U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower orders CIA director Allen Dulles to train Cuban exiles for a covert invasion of Cuba.
5 July All U.S. businesses and commercial property in Cuba is nationalized at the direction of the Cuban government.
19 October U.S. imposes embargo prohibiting all exports to Cuba except foodstuffs and medical supplies.
31 October Nationalization of all U.S. property is completed.
26 December Operation Peter Pan (Operación Pedro Pan) begins, an operation transporting 14,000 children of parents opposed to the new government. The scheme continues until U.S. airports are closed to Cuban flights during 1962.
1961 US Trade embargo on Cuba.
1 January Cuban government initiates national literacy scheme.
March former rebel comandante Humberto Sorí Marin and Catholic leaders shot.
15 April Bay of Pigs invasion.
1962 31 January Cuba Organization of American States.
17 August Central Intelligence Agency Director John McCone suggests that the Soviet Union is constructing offensive missile installations in Cuba.
29 August At a news conference, U.S. President John F. Kennedy tells reporters: "I'm not for invading Cuba at this time... an action like that... could lead to very serious consequences for many people."
31 August President Kennedy is informed that the 29 August U-2 mission confirms the presence of surface-to-air missile batteries in Cuba.
16 October
22 October President Kennedy addresses the U.S.
23 October U.S. establishes air and sea blockade in response to photographs of Soviet missile bases under construction in Cuba. U.S. threatens to invade Cuba if the bases are not dismantled and warns that a nuclear attack launched from Cuba would be considered a Soviet attack requiring full retaliation.
28 October Khrushchev agrees to remove offensive weapons from Cuba and the U.S. agrees to remove missiles from Turkey and promises not to invade Cuba.
21 November U.S. ends Cuban blockade, satisfied that all bases are removed and Soviet jets will leave the island by 20 December.
1963 October 2nd Agrarian reform.
November Compulsory military service introduced.
1964 OAS enforce embargo against Cuba.
1965 3 October the Integrated Revolutionary Organizations (ORI) become the governing Communist Party of Cuba.
1967 9 October Che Guevara executed in La Higuera, Bolivia.
1968 March all private bars and restaurants are finally closed down.
1972 Cuba becomes a member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON).
1974 Maternity leave bill introduced by the Cuban government.
1975 The Soviet Union engages in a massive airlift of Cuban forces into Angola.
The Family Code bill establishes the official goal of equal participation in the home.
July OAS lifts the trade embargo and other sanctions.
1976 March South African forces backing the UNITA rebel force withdraw from Angola. It is regarded as a victory for Cuban forces.
6 October Two time bombs destroy Cubana Flight 455 departing from Barbados, via Trinidad, to Cuba. Evidence implicated several CIA-linked anti-Castro Cuban exiles and members of the Venezuelan secret police DISIP.
2 December Fidel Castro becomes President of Cuba.
1977 1 January Political and administrative division divides Cuba into fourteen provinces, 168 municipalities and the special municipality of Isla de la Juventud.
May 50 Cuban military personnel sent to Ethiopia.
1979 21 October Huber Matos is released from prison having served out his full term. He was reunited in Costa Rica with his wife and children, who had left Cuba in 1963, and moved to Miami.
1980 April Mariel Boat Lift. Cuban Government announces that anyone wishing to leave Cuba may depart by boat from Mariel port, prompting an exodus of up to 125,000 people to the U.S.
7 June U.S. President Jimmy Carter orders the Justice department to expel any Cubans who have committed "serious crimes" in Cuba.
1983 25 October United States invades the island of Grenada and also clash with Cuban troops.
1984 Cuba reduces its troop strength in Ethiopia to approximately 3,000 from 12,000.
1987 Law #62 on the Penal Code introduced recognising discrimination based on any reason and the violation of the right of equality as a crime.
1989 12 July Prominent general in the Cuban armed forces Arnaldo Ochoa is executed after allegations of involvement in drug smuggling.
17 September The last Cuban troops leave Ethiopia.
1990 23 March U.S. launch TV Marti.
1991 Dissolution of Soviet Union highly affects Cuban economy
May Cuba remove all troops from Angola.
1992 July National Assembly of Cuba passes the Constitutional Reform Law allowing for direct elections to the assembly by the Cuban people every five years.[3]
1993 6 November Cuban government announce it is opening state enterprises to private investment.
1996 February Cuban authorities arrest or detain at least 150 dissidents, marking the most widespread crackdown on opposition groups in the country since the early 1960s.
24 February Cuban fighter jets shoot down two US-registered civilian aircraft over international waters, killing four men
12 March The Helms-Burton Act, which extends the U.S. embargo against Cuba to foreign companies is passed.
1998 21 January Pope John Paul II becomes the first Pope to visit the island.
1999 Christian anti-abortion activist Oscar Elías Biscet is detained by Cuban police for organizing meetings in Havana and Matanzas.
5 November 6 year old Elián González is found in the Straits of Florida clinging to an inner tube.
2000 14 December Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Cuba and signs accords aimed at boosting bilateral ties.

21st century

Year Date Event
2001 23 June Fidel Castro faints during a televised speech
2002 Jan Russia's last military base in Cuba, at Lourdes, closes down.
6 May U.S. Under Secretary of State John R. Bolton accuses Cuba of trying to develop biological weapons, adding the country to Washington's list of "axis of evil" countries.
12 May Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter becomes the first U.S. President past or present to visit Cuba. He praises the Varela project and criticizes the U.S. embargo.
2003 Apr Cuban government arrest 78 writers and dissidents blaming U.S. provocation and interference from James Cason, the chief of the United States Interests Section in Havana.
2004 8 November Ban on transactions in US dollars, and imposition of 10% tax on dollar-peso conversions introduced.
2005 20 May Around 200 [4]
7 July Hurricane Dennis causes widespread destruction and leaves 16 people dead.
2006 31 July Raúl Castro assumes presidential duties as Fidel Castro recovers from an emergency operation.
2008 19 February Fidel Castro announces he would not reprise his role as President of Cuba and refuses to be reelected again.

See also


  • Cuba timeline : Cold War Chronology Educator guide. Accessed 5 October 2006.
  • Timeline: Cuba. A chronology of key events BBC online. 1 August 2006. Accessed 5 October 2006.
  • Hugh Thomas Cuba or the Pursuit of Freedom (Paperback) Da Capo Press; Updated edition (April 1998) ISBN 0-306-80827-7
  1. ^ Accident details
  2. ^ Dr. Castro's Princeton Visit, 20–21 April 1959 by Thomas E. Bogenschild
  3. ^ Cuba : Elections and Events 1990-2001
  4. ^ "Cuban dissidents rally in Havana". CNN. 20 May 2005. Retrieved 5 October 2006. 
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