Cuban History from Pre-Colombian Times to the Present: A Timeline


?-1492 Pre-colonial Cuba. Three main tribes inhabited the island: Taínos, Ciboneyes and Guanahatabeyes.
1492 Christopher Columbus first arrived on the island.
1511 Diego Velázquez defeated the resistance from Cuban aborigines and claimed the island for Spain.
1519 The city of Havana was established in its current site.
1523 West African Slaves were brought to the island to work in mines and sugar fields.
1607 Havana became the capital.
1728 The University of Havana was founded.
1762 British attacked and captured Havana.
1763 Havana was returned to Spain.
1812 The Aponte slave rebellion was suppressed.
1820 Slavery officially abolished. Illegal trade continued.
1837 First railroad appeared in Cuba.
1844 The slave insurrection known as La Conspiración de la Escalera was defeated.
1868-1878 The Ten Year War for Independence. Spain maintained control over Cuba.
1892 José Martí founded the Partido Revolucionario Cubano to represent Cuban independence.
1895 Second war of independence. Martí died in Dos Rios.
1898 Explosion of the Battleship Maine at the entry of the Havana Harbor.
Beginning of the Spanish-American War.
1899 Spain relinquished control of Cuba.
1899-1902 U.S. military occupation of Cuba.
1901 First Cuban Constitution drafted, which included Platt Amendment giving intervention rights to the U.S.
1902 Cuba declared a free Republic. Don Tomás Estrada Palma served as first president.
1903 Guantánamo Base was leased to the U.S. in perpetuity.
1905 Estrada Palma elected to a second term.
1906 Failed uprising-Guerrita de Agosto.
1906-1909 U.S. intervention.
1908 Jose Miguel Gómez elected president.
1912 Failed uprising-Agrupación Independiente de Color.
1917 Mario G. Menocal elected President.
Cuba enters First World War.
1920 Alfredo Zayas elected president.
Sugar market collapsed.
1921 U.S. sent Crowder to investigate the allegations that the election had been fraudulent.
1925 Gerardo Machado became president.
Communist Party formed.
1929 Gerardo Machado's second term as president began.
1930 Student demonstrations against Machado.
1933 Machado's government was overthrown.
Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Quesada was appointed provisional president.
Upon his resignation, Ramón Grau became president.(l933-1934) and was soon deposed by Batista.
1934 Platt Amendment was repealed.
1934-1940 Short-lived presidencies:
Carlos Mendieta assumed the presidency for one year. Resigned in 1935 after a general strike. Followed by:
   José A. Barnet (1935-1936)
   Miguel Mariano Gómez (1936)
   Federico Laredo Bru (1936-1940)
1940 Fulgencio Batista was elected president.
1944 Ramón Grau became president.
1948 Carlos Prío was elected President.
1952 Prío's government was overthrown by Batista's dictatorship. Prío fled to exile.
1953 Fidel Castro and his followers attacked the Moncada military barracks unsuccessfully. He and his brother Raúl were captured and imprisoned.
1954 Mock elections kept Batista in power.
1959 Fidel Castro assumed power. Batista and some of his close associates fled the country.
1960 Soviet Union and Cuba established diplomatic relations and signed a trade agreement.
U.S. declared a commercial, economic, and financial embargo against Cuba in response to expropriation of American properties and businesses.
1961 The United States ended diplomatic ties with Cuba.
Fidel Castro acknowledged publicly that he was a Marxist-Leninist.
Bay of Pigs Invasion failed.
1962 Beginning of food rationing policies.
Missile Crisis-Confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States that created the possibility of a third world war. The crisis was resolved diplomatically.
1965-1967 Communist revolution exported to other countries.
1967 Che killed in Bolivia.
1968 Nationalization of private enterprise completed.
1975 Cuba socialist constitution approved.
1980 10,000 Cubans stormed into the Peruvian Embassy seeking political asylum.
Castro opened the Port of Mariel for anyone seeking to leave. Thousands of Cubans departed in what was later known as the Mariel Boatlift. Among the group, Castro sent to exile a small group of criminals and mental patients.
1983 Radio Martí authorized.
U.S. embargo against Cuba tightened.
1985 Austerity measures strengthened in Cuba.
Radio Martí began broadcasting to Cuba.
1989 Soviet Union trimmed support to Cuba.
1991 Soviet Union collapsed and Russia ended subsidies to Cuba. Beginning of a "Special Period" with severe shortages of gasoline and staples. Cubans asked to "work harder and endure."
The Castro government lessened religious intolerance.
Crackdown on dissidents.
1993 Capitalistic ventures on limited basis started to appear.
1994 Clinton ended "Open-door" policies towards Cubans seeking asylum. Refugees (balseros) would be repatriated.
1995 "Wet Foot, dry foot" policy was established to allow those refugees who have "touched" U.S. soil the possibility to seek asylum. It was triggered by a revision to the Cuban Adjustment Act.
1996 Tent city in Guantanamo Base, where the repatriates were being held, was closed.
Brothers to the Rescue plane shot down in international waters.
Helms-Burton Act passed by Congress extending sanctions against Cuba to include foreign investments.
Crackdown on dissenters strengthened.
1997 First public Mass held in Havana.
Tourism surpassed sugar as the top industry.
1999 Dissidents received harsh prison sentences.
Elián González, a child balsero, became the center of an international episode as relatives in Florida and his father in Cuba fought for his custody.
2000 Elián was returned to his father in Cuba.
2001 A shipment of foods and medicine arrived at Havana harbor.
2003 "Black Spring"- 75 human rights activists and journalists imprisoned Ladies in White, a group of women relatives of the jailed dissidents was formed in protest. Since then every Sunday they have attended mass and marched to a neighboring park to make their protest against human rights violations seen and heard.
2008 Internet restrictions tightened.
Raúl Castro replaced his ailing brother.
2010 Orlando Zapata Tamayo, political prisoner in a hunger strike to oppose human rights violations, died.