Originally, Cuba was inhabited by three
peoples: siboney, arawak and taino. Urinals succumbed to
the Spanish colonization that began in the 16th century.
With American help, Cuba became an independent nation in
1902 but dependence on the United States remained great.
The first half of the 20th century was ruled by a series
of brutal regimes.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Cuba, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
On October 29, 1492, Christofer Columbus ashore in
Cuba sent some scouts who could report that the island's
inhabitants were peaceful. Then Columbus sailed on. A
few decades later, Spain decided to look for gold in
Cuba and sent an expedition there under the command of
Diego Velásquez. This time, the urinals resisted
Europeans, but were poorly trained and armed and forced
No major gold deposits were discovered, but Velásquez
became Cuba's first Spanish general governor and
established effective colonial management on the island.
The indigenous peoples were forced to pay taxes and work
for free. They largely died out in the following
The lack of minerals meant that Spain soon lost
interest in the colony with the exception of Havana,
which was surrounded by tobacco farms and in whose port
passing ships could supply.
In the 1700s and 1700s, Cuba again became valuable to
Spain because of the increasingly profitable export of
sugar from there. Imports of slaves from Africa
flourished. The independence of the United States
towards the end of the 18th century also opened a new
market for Cuban products. This laid the foundation for
Cuba's long-term economic dependence on the United
Colonial society was divided by race and class. There
were white, free blacks and slaves. The whites were
divided into two groups: white born in Spain,
peninsulares, and white born in
Cuba, Creole. The creoles were
treated as second class citizens and were excluded from
higher positions. Formed creoles began at the end of the
18th century to demand increased social and political
rights. The slave trade, on the other hand, had nothing
against it. Slavery in Cuba was first abolished in 1886.
During the 1840s and 1850s several slave revolts
erupted, but were defeated by Spanish troops. In October
1868, a group of plantation owners revolted against the
Spanish crown and demanded independence for Cuba. The
uprising was also strongly supported by radical workers
and peasants. It was only after ten years of bloody
fighting that the revolt broke down.
In 1895 the Cubans started a new liberation war. One
of the leaders was the lawyer José Martí, who was also a
poet and journalist. He died on May 19, 1895 in his
first meeting with the Spanish army and is still
celebrated today as a national hero in Cuba.
By this time, Cuba's sugar exports had become
dependent on the US market, and the sugar trade was
dominated by a single American company. Among American
investors, dissatisfaction was widespread with the
Spanish krona's policy. In order to protect their
interests in Cuba, the United States intervened in the
conflict between Cuba and Spain and declared war on
Spain in 1898. Already the same year, Cuba won its
independence from Spain, but at the price of American
occupation. Until 1902, an American military governor
ruled Cuba. Subsequently, the country became formally
politically independent and the first Cuban president,
Tomás Estrada (1902-1906), was elected.
However, Cuba was forced to accept a constitutional
amendment, the so-called Platt Amendment, which
gave the United States the right to militarily intervene
in the country. At the same time, an area in southeast
Cuba was educated to the Americans, where they built the
naval base Guantánamo, which the USA still has today.
The United States repeatedly intervened militarily and
politically with the support of the Platt Amendment
until 1934, when the amendment was repealed. However,
the United States retained its political influence.
Until the revolution in the late 1950s, Cuba was
ruled alternately by dictators and formally democratic,
but corrupt, regimes that curbed widespread social
unrest with violence. In 1933, an association of
students and military overthrew the notorious dictator
Gerardo Machado. In January 1934, Sergeant Fulgencio
Batista took power with US support. Many in the middle
class initially supported Batista, but his rule was also
characterized by terror and corruption. Batista lost the
1944 presidential election but regained power in a
bloodless coup in March 1952.
Among the many students who opposed Fulgencio
Batista's regime, lawyer Fidel Castro Ruz emerged as the
leader. He first tried to have the regime annulled by
the court. When this failed, he switched to armed
combat. Together with 165 men, he attacked the Moncada
barracks in Santiago on July 26, 1953. The attack failed
and Castro was arrested. He was sentenced to 15 years in
prison but was released in 1955 under a general amnesty
and sent to Mexico. There, Castro built up the July 26
movement, which got its name after the failed attack
against Moncada. The movement organized exile Cubans.
The Argentine doctor and Marxist Ernesto “Che” Guevara
In 1956, Castro decided to make another attempt to
overthrow Batista. At the head of some eighty rebels,
who received military training in Mexico, Castro
returned to Cuba in December in the Granma motorboat,
which became legendary. However, Batista was prepared
for Castro's arrival and most of the force was
destroyed. Brothers Fidel and Raúl Castro, Che Guevara
and a handful of rebels managed to escape into the
Sierra Maestra Mountains.
Batista's support for the middle class was
increasingly weakened, while the rebels encountered
sympathy with more and more groups in society. In the
fall of 1958, Castro left his base in Sierra Maestra and
went to Havana. On New Year's Day 1959 Batista fled. A
provisional government took over, led by Fidel Castro.
IMPORTANT YEARS IN CUBA'S HISTORY
1492 Columbus "discovers" Cuba
1511 Spain colonizes the country
1898 Spanish-American war
1899 American occupation
1902 Cuba becomes independent
1951 Fulgencio Batista takes power in a coup
1959 Batista flies and Fidel Castro becomes prime
1962 US before trade block; Cuba crisis
2006 Fidel Castro hands over power to his brother Raúl
2008 Raúl Castro introduces economic reform
2018 The era of Castro is over; Miguel Díaz-Canel
becomes new president
American is arrested
The American Alan Gross is arrested and accused of trying to disrupt the
political stability of the country as he provided people from the Jewish
minority with computers and other equipment for communication via the Internet.
New lunch system for government employees
In a pilot project, the government is closing the state lunchrooms in some
workplaces and instead giving the employees money so that they can buy lunch at
private eateries. At the same time, plans are being abolished to abolish the
rationing system, which gives the Cubans the right to buy a certain amount of
basic goods at low prices.
Cuba is allowed in a regional cooperation organization
The Organization of American States (OAS) repeals the 1962 exclusion of Cuba.
However, President Castro announces that Cuba does not intend to resume its
place in the organization.
Tightening measures are implemented
The government is launching a series of austerity measures to reduce energy
use and address the economic crisis that is prevailing in Cuba in the wake of
the global financial crisis.
Americans are allowed to send money
The United States is lifting the restrictions that apply to Americans of
Cuban origin visiting Cuba and sending money to their home country.
Raúl Castro is carrying out his first major government reform, with two of
Fidel Castro's closest confidants being forced to step down: Cabinet Secretary
Carlos Lage and Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque. However, Law may retain its
post as one of the Vice Presidents of the Cabinet. He is succeeded as Cabinet
Secretary by José Amado Ricardo Guerra, a general who is considered to be close
to Raúl Castro. The Orthodox Pérez Roque was the youngest in the Cuban
leadership and had predicted a future as president. A total of about ten people
are replaced. What really lies behind the changes remains hidden for the outside
world, but Fidel Castro lends support to the measures.