Timeline of Cuban history

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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 Cuba history of the bombs list of colonial governors of Cuba and list of presidents of Cuba.

15th century

Year Date Event
1492 27 October Christopher Columbus arrives in Cuba and claims the island for Spain.

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 The first African slaves arrive in Cuba.
1532 The first slave rebellion is crushed.
1537 A French fleet briefly occupies Havana.
French corsairs blockade Santiago de Cuba.
1542 The Spanish crown abandons the encomienda colonial land settlement system.
1553 The Governor of Cuba relocates to Havana.
1555 French campaign against the Sudan usam
1578 French corsairs plunder Baracoa.
1586 The English privateer Francis Drake lands at Cape San Antonio but does not attack.
1597 Construction of the Morro Castle fortress is completed above the eastern entrance to Havana harbor.

17th century

Year Date Event
1603 Authorities decree that the sale of tobacco to foreigners is punishable by death.
1607 Havana is named capital of Cuba.
1628 A Dutch fleet led by Piet Heyn plunders the Spanish fleet in Havana harbor.
1649 An epidemic of yellow fever kills a third of the island's European population.[1]
1662 An English fleet captained by Christopher Myngs captures Santiago de Cuba to open up trade with Jamaica.
1670 The English withdraw after Spain recognises England's ownership of Jamaica.
Francisco Rodríguez de Ledesma [es] becomes Governor of Cuba. He serves for ten years.

18th century

Year Date Event
1728 The University of Havana is founded.
1734 Juan Francisco de Güemes [es] begins a 12-year tenure as Governor of Cuba.
1741 British Admiral Edward Vernon briefly captures Guantánamo Bay, renaming it Cumberland Bay, during the War of Jenkins' Ear. His troops withdraw after being decimated by fevers and raids from Spanish troops.
1747 Francisco Antonio Cagigal de la Vega begins a 13-year tenure as Governor of Cuba.
1748 Construction of Havana cathedral is completed.
12 October Battle of Havana. Skirmishes between British and Spanish fleets end indecisively on a strategic level.
1762 5 March A massive British expedition leaves Portsmouth to capture Havana.
30 July British troops capture Havana during the Seven Years' War.
1763 British troops suffer atrocious losses to disease. They cede Cuba to Spain in the Treaty of Paris.
1793 Some 30,000 French refugees from a slave rebellion in Saint-Domingue, which becomes the Haitian revolution, arrive in 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 1812–17.
1819 22 April Settlers from Bordeaux and Louisiana found the first European settlement at Cienfuegos.
1843 Leopoldo O'Donnell, Duke of Tetuan becomes governor of Cuba 1843–48.
1844 Known as the Year of the Lash, when an uprising of black slaves was brutally suppressed.
1851 The filibustering Lopez Expedition was defeated by Spanish authorities.
1853 28 January José Martí is born in Havana.
1868 The first war of Cuban independence, also known as the Ten Years' War, begins. It lasts until 1878.
10 October Revolutionaries under the leadership of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes proclaim Cuban independence.
1869 10 April An assembly of rebels against Spanish rule adopts the Guáimaro Constitution, which remains nominally in effect until the end of the Ten Years' War.[2]
1878 10 February The Pact of Zanjón, promising the end of slavery in Cuba, ends the Ten Years' War.
1879 August A second uprising ("The Little War"), engineered by Antonio Maceo and Calixto García, begins. It is quelled by superior Spanish forces in the autumn of 1880.
1886 October 7 Slavery is abolished in Cuba.
1895 23 February The Cuban revolution is relaunched under the leadership of José Martí and General Máximo Gómez y Báez.
19 May José Martí is killed by Spanish troops at the Battle of Dos Ríos.
September Spanish Captain-General Arsenio Martínez Campos is defeated at Peralejo and leaves Cuba in January 1887.
1896 Cuban rebels led by Antonio Maceo and Maximo Gomez execute a successful invasion along the length of the island. Maceo is killed by Spanish forces in December.
1897 Calixto Garcia takes a series of strategic fort complexes in the East, leaving the Spanish confined to coastal cities there.
1898 15 February The battleship USS Maine explodes and sinks while anchored in Havana harbor.
10 December The Treaty of Paris between Spain and the U.S. ends the Spanish–American War. Spain relinquishes 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 U.S. Provisional Governor of Cuba.

20th century

Year Date Event
1901 5 March The U.S. Platt Amendment stipulates the conditions for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
12 June The Constitutional Convention adopts the 1901 Constitution in its final form, including the provisions of the Platt Amendment.
1902 20 May The Cuban Republic is established under the 1901 Constitution. Tomás Estrada Palma takes office as president.
1906 29 September Under attack from defeated political rivals, President Tomás Estrada Palma seeks U.S. intervention and U.S. troops reoccupy Cuba under Provisional Governor William Howard Taft.
13 October Charles Magoon becomes Provisional Governor of Cuba
1909 28 January U.S. occupation ends. José Miguel Gómez of the Liberal Party becomes president.
1912 May–June The Gómez government suppresses the Negro Rebellion, a revolt on the part of Afro-Cubans.
1913 20 May The presidency of Mario García Menocal begins.
1917 7 April Cuba enters World War I on the side of the Allies. Upon Menocal's reelection, José Miguel Gómez and other Liberals launch a revolt known as the Chambelona War. The U.S. intervenes on behalf of Menocal's government.
1921 20 May Alfredo Zayas becomes president.
1925 23 March By the Hay-Quesada Treaty, the U.S. recognizes Cuban sovereignty over the Isle of Pines.
20 May Gerardo Machado becomes president.
1926 13 August Fidel Castro is born in the province of Holguín.
1928 10 January Julio Antonio Mella, a founder of the Communist Party in Cuba, is murdered in Mexico.
14 June Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, known as Che Guevara, is born in Rosario, Argentina.
1931 10 August Old Mambi warriors Carlos Mendieta and Mario García Menocal land forces at Rio Verde in an attempt to overthrow Gerardo Machado. They are defeated by 14 August in military operations that include the first use of military aviation in Cuba.
1933 12 August Gerardo Machado is forced to leave Cuba in the face of violent opposition on the part of ABC and Antonio Guiteras Holmes, a general strike, and pressure from senior officers of Cuban Armed Forces and U.S. Ambassador Sumner Welles. A provisional government is established, with Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada as president.
4 September A group of military officers that includes Fulgencio Batista launches the Sergeants' Revolt and topples the provisional government.
5 September The five-day, five-man coalition government called the Pentarchy of 1933 lasted through Sept. 9.
10 September Ramón Grau (one of the pentarchy) becomes president and continues the One Hundred Days Government.
2 October Enlisted men and sergeants loyal to Batista, joined by radical elements, force Army Officers from the Hotel Nacional in heavy fighting.
9 November Blas Hernández, his followers, and some ABC members make a stand in old Atarés Castle. They are defeated by Batista loyalists. Hernández surrenders and is murdered.
1934 January 16 The One Hundred Days Government ends; Carlos Hevia serves briefly as president.
January 18 Manuel Márquez Sterling is president for a few hours, followed by Carlos Mendieta.
16 June ABC holds a demonstration at the Havana festival and its march is attacked by radical forces, including those of Antonio Guiteras.
1935 8 May Leading radical Antonio Guiteras is betrayed and dies fighting Batista forces.
1938 September The Communist party is legalized again.
1940 10 October The 1940 Constitution, signed by the members of the Constitutional Assembly on 1 July, takes effect. It is suspended in 1952.
1941 9–11 December Cuba declares war on Japan, Germany, and Italy.[3]
1943 The Soviet Union opens an embassy in Havana. Its first ambassador is Andrei Gromyko.[4]
1951 5 August Eduardo Chibás, leader of the Ortodoxo party and mentor of Fidel Castro, commits suicide during a live radio broadcast.
1952 10 March Former president Batista, supported by the army, seizes power once more.
1953 26 July Some 160 revolutionaries under the command of Fidel Castro launch an attack on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba.
16 October On trial for his role in the attack on the Moncada barracks, Fidel Castro defends himself with a speech later published as "History Will Absolve Me".
1954 September Che Guevara arrives in Mexico City.
November Batista dissolves parliament and is elected constitutional president unopposed.
1955 May Batista issues an amnesty that frees Fidel and other members of his movement from prison.
June Brothers Fidel and Raúl Castro are introduced to Che Guevara in Mexico City.
1956 29 April Autentico Assault on Goicuria Barracks in Matanzas fails. Ex-president Prío exiled to Miami.[5][6]
November The yacht Granma sets out from Mexico to Cuba with 82 men on board, including Raúl Castro, Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos.
2 December The 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, reinforced by militia led by Frank Pais, overwhelm an army post in El Uvero.
19 July Calixto Sánchez White leads a landing from the boat Corinthia at Cabonico in north Oriente of Auténtico and are defeated.
30 July Local police kill Frank País, a leader of the 26 July movement, in the streets of Santiago de Cuba.
5 September Forces loyal to Batista crush a naval revolt at Cayo Loco Naval Base in Cienfuegos.[7]
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 and their supporters. By August, the rebels had defeated the army's advance and captured a huge amount of weaponry.
20–30 November Thirty key positions at Guisa are taken. In the following month most cities in Oriente fall to rebel hands.
December Guevara, William Alexander Morgan, and forces of the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil, an organization of university students, attack Santa Clara.
28 December Rebel forces take 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. Various urban rebels, mainly associated with 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.[8]
17 May The Cuban government enacts the Agrarian Reform Law, seizing large (mostly corporate and foreign) holdings of agricultural land and redistributing it to smaller land owners. The new holdings are limited to 1,000 acres (4.0 km2).
17 July Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado becomes President of Cuba, replacing Manuel Urrutia, who is 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 French freighter La Coubre explodes while unloading in Havana harbor, and Fidel Castro calls it sabotage by the U.S. on 5 March.[9]
17 March U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower orders CIA director Allen Dulles to train Cuban exiles for a covert invasion of Cuba.
6 April U.S. Secretary of State Lester Mallory outlines objectives of embargo in a memo: "...inconspicuous as possible, makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government."[10]
5 July All U.S. businesses and commercial property in Cuba are 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 Cuban nationalization of all U.S. property in Cuba is completed.
26 December Operation Peter Pan (Operación Pedro Pan) begins, an operation transporting to the U.S. 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 U.S. 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.
18 April Nikita Khrushchev writes to John F. Kennedy to end U.S. aggression against Cuba.[11]
1962 31 January Cuba expelled from the 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.
Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) 16 October McGeorge Bundy informs President Kennedy that evidence shows Soviet medium-range ballistic missiles in Cuba. Kennedy immediately gathers a group that becomes known as "ExComm," the Executive Committee of the National Security Council.
22 October President Kennedy addresses the nation on television, announcing a blockade on arms shipments to Cuba.
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.
1962 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.
28 September Fidel announces Cubans can emigrate, which launches the Camarioca boatlift and airlift.[12]
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.
15 February A referendum endorses the 1976 Constitution, which institutionalizes the principles of the Cuban Revolution. It takes effect of 24 February.
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 Fifty Cuban military personnel sent to Ethiopia.[13]
1979 21 October Huber Matos is released from prison after serving out his full term.[14]
1980 April–October The Mariel Boatlift. Cuban authorities allow up to 125,000 people to depart Cuba by boat from Mariel harbor for the U.S. The Cuban and U.S. governments agree to halt the exodus in October.
7 June U.S. President Jimmy Carter orders the U.S. Justice Department to expel any Cubans who committed "serious crimes" in Cuba.[15]
1983 25 October United States invades the island of Grenada and clash with Cuban troops.[16]
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 The U.S. launches TV Marti.
1991 May Cuba removed all troops from Angola.
26 December The Soviet Union formally dissolved ended the Cold War which meant the loss of full economic and military aid to Cuba, causing a negative impact on the Cuban economy.
1992 July The National Assembly of Cuba passes the Constitutional Reform Law allowing for direct elections to the assembly by the Cuban people every five years.[17]
1993 6 November The Cuban government opens state enterprises to private investment.
1996 February Cuban authorities arrest or detain at least 150 dissidents, marking the most widespread crackdown on opposition groups since the early 1960s.
24 February Cuban fighter jets shoot down two US-registered civilian aircraft over international waters, killing four men.
12 March In the U.S., the Helms-Burton Act extends the U.S. embargo against Cuba to foreign companies.
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 Six-year/old Elián González is found clinging to an inner tube in the Straits of Florida.
2000 14 December Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Cuba and signs accords aimed at boosting bilateral ties.

21st century

2001 23 June Fidel Castro almost faints following a televised speech.
2002 January Russia's last military base in Cuba, at Lourdes, closes.
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 visits Cuba. He praises the Varela project and criticizes the U.S. embargo.
2003 April The Cuban government arrests 78 writers and dissidents, blaming U.S. provocation and interference from James Cason, the chief of the United States Interests Section in Havana.
2005 20 May Around 200 dissidents hold a public meeting, which its organizers call the first such gathering since the 1959 revolution.[18]
7 July Hurricane Dennis causes widespread destruction in Cuba and leaves 16 people dead.
2006 31 July Raúl Castro assumes the duties of president of Cuba while Fidel Castro recovers from an emergency operation.
2008 19 February Fidel Castro resigns as President of Cuba.[19]
24 February Raúl is elected President by the National Assembly.[20]
2014 17 December U.S. President Barack Obama and Raúl Castro re-establish diplomatic ties between the two countries.[21]
2016 20 March U.S. President Barack Obama begins a three-day visit to Cuba.[22]
2016 25 November The death of Fidel Castro is announced. "The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening [03:29 GMT 25 November]."

See also

Cities in Cuba


  1. ^ C Cumo.The Ongoing Columbian Exchange: Stories of Biological and Economic Transfer in World History: Stories of Biological and Economic Transfer in World History Page 356 ISBN 978-1610697958 https://books.google.com/books?id=tzqhBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA356&dq=An+epidemic+kills+a+third+of+cuban+population+1649&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjYwIyV0vzbAhWus1kKHb49ASQQ6AEILzAB#v=onepage&q=An%20epidemic%20kills%20a%20third%20of%20cuban%20population%201649&f=false
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  4. ^ Gromyko, Andrei (1989). Memoirs. Doubleday. p. 89.
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  6. ^ Bonachea, Ramon L.; Martin, Marta San (31 December 2011). Cuban Insurrection 1952-1959. ISBN 9781412820905.
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  8. ^ Dr. Castro's Princeton Visit Archived 6 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine, 20–21 April 1959 by Thomas E. Bogenschild
  9. ^ Phillips, R. Hart (6 March 1960). "Castro Links U.S. to Ship 'Sabotage'; Denial is Swift" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958–1960, Cuba, Volume VI - Office of the Historian". Archived from the original on 27 September 2016. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  11. ^ "End U.S. Aggression Against the Republic of Cuba". Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  12. ^ Engstrom, David Wells (1997). Presidential Decision Making Adrift: The Carter Administration and the Mariel Boatlift. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 24ff. ISBN 9780847684144. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  13. ^ Gwertzman, Bernard (26 May 1977). "50 Cuban Advisers Reported Training Troops in Ethiopia" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  14. ^ Thomas, Jo (24 October 1979). "Freed Cuban Tells of Time Spent in a 'Concrete Box' Underground" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  15. ^ Pear, Robert (8 June 1980). "Carter Orders Move to Expel Criminals Among the Refugees" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  16. ^ Kaufman, Michael T. (26 October 1983). "1,900 U.S. Troops, with Ceribbean Allies, Invade Grenada and Fight". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2 April 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  17. ^ Cuba : Elections and Events 1990–2001 Archived 7 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Cuban dissidents rally in Havana". CNN. 20 May 2005. Archived from the original on 10 March 2006. Retrieved 5 October 2006.
  19. ^ McKinley, Jr., James C. (19 February 2008). "Do Not Rank". New York Times. Archived from the original on 9 October 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  20. ^ McKinley, Jr., James C. (25 February 2008). "At Cuba Helm, Castro Brother Stays the Course". New York Times. Archived from the original on 9 October 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  21. ^ "Historic thaw in U.S., Cuba standoff". CNN. 17 December 2014. Archived from the original on 2 January 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  22. ^ Davis, Julie Hirschfeld; Cave, Damien (20 March 2016). "Obama Arrives in Cuba, Heralding New Era After Decades of Hostility". New York Times. Archived from the original on 17 January 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2016.


External links