Chronography of Cuba
Page last modified 28 January 2023
See also South and Central America
25 November 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.
18 February 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.
Guantanamo Bay, 2002-18
1/2018, US President Trump signed an Executive Order providing for the continued operation of Guantanamo Bay.
14 December� 2011, The 2012 US National Defence Bill was not vetoed by President Obama, which meant that Guantanamo Bay would remain open as a detention facility.
7 January 2011, US President Barack Obama signed the 2011 Defence Authorisation Bill, which provided for the closure of Guantanamo Bay.
22 January 2009, US President Barack Obama attempted to close down Guantanamo Bay. US Congress blocked the move.
14 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 classified Guantanamo Bay inmates as �enemy combatants�, to circumvent a court ruling that they could challenge their detention on the US mainland.
5/2003, The 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.
1/2002, The 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.
9 September 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.
7 January 1964, In a drive to improve trade links with Europe, Cuba ordered 400 British buses.
1963, The 1,000 acre maximum private landholding in Cuba (see 5/1959) 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.
Cuban 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.
28 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.
27 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
26 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.
24 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.
16 October 1962, President Kennedy saw aerial photos of Cuba which appeared to show nuclear-armed missiles being installed 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 Bomb.
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 bulldozers.
17 April 1961. 1,300 Anti-Castro 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 April 1961.
Cuban-Soviet ties reinforced; US diplomatic and trade sanctions, 1960-62
3 February 1962, President Kennedy of the USA banned all trade with Cuba. Cigar smokers were badly hit.
9 January 1962, A Cuban-Soviet trade treaty was signed.��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������
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.
Fidel Castro leftist reforms 1959-60
14 October 1960, Cuba nationalised all banks and major commercial enterprises.
6 August 1960. Castro nationalised all US-owned property in Cuba, in retaliation for US economic sanctions.
23 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 leader Fidel 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 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.
5/1959, 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.
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 under Fidel 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 Cuban President 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.
5/1955, General amnesty for political prisoners in Cuba. Fidel Castro was freed and left for Mexico, where� he began plotting to overthrow Batista.
10 March 1952,Military coup in Cuba. President 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 of Cuba.
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 September.
6/1933, A 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.
1932, Various 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 Government.
8/1931, Anti-Morales 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 Cuban President.
13 August 1926. Cuban revolutionary and leader Fidel Castro was born near Biran, the son of a sugar planter.
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.
3/1917, 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.
US occupation of Cuba, 1901-06
29 September 1906, Following the resignation of President Palma of Cuba, the USA declared a provisional Government toi restore order.
5 February 1904, The US ended its occupation of Cuba.
23 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.
31 December� 1901, In Presidential elections in Cuba, Tomas Estrada Palma was elected.
12 June 1901, A new Constitution for Cuba was drawn up, giving the US extensive rights that made the island virtually a US protectorate.
20 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 Bay.
16 January 1901, Fulgencio Batista, Cuban leader 1952-53, was born.
21 February 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 music.
1899, The USA occupied Cuba, installing an interim military government.
10 June 1898, Guantanamo Bay, 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.
24 February 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 concentration camps.
10 February 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 from Spain.
18 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 independence.
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.