Cuba History Timeline

By | October 15, 2021

The Republic of Cuba is an island state in the northern Caribbean, between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. To the north are the United States and the Bahamas, to the west Mexico, to the south the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, and to the southeast Haiti. Cuba and its indigenous people came under Spanish control in the 16th century.

According to dentistrymyth, Havana is the capital of Cuba, and the second largest city in the Caribbean after Santo Domingo, with a population of 2.1 million. In old Havana, much of the Spanish colonial architecture has been preserved and the district is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Other important cities are Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey.

Since the socialist revolution in 1959, many people have fled Cuba, and it is estimated that between 30,000 and 40,000 have died in these attempts.

Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is a US naval base located in Guantanamo Bay in the southeastern part of Cuba, which is used by the United States Navy. The Guantanamo base, as it is often called in the Danish media, also houses a prison camp for prisoners suspected of having links to al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations. American control of Cuban territory has never been popular with the Cuban people, nor with the government after the revolution.


1492 – Christopher Columbus arrives in Cuba – at the site that later becomes the city of Baracao and declares the island Spanish territory. The island was already inhabited by three Native American peoples, ciboney, arawak, and taino, who subsisted mainly on hunting and farming.

1508 – Sebastián de Ocampo is probably the first to sail to the area where Cuba is located, confirming the island’s existence. He was also the first to discover the Gulf of Mexico.

1511 – Spain, led by Diego Velázquez, conquers Cuba and its original groups of people. Velázquez establishes settlements, among others. Baraoca (August 15) and colonizes Cuba. Havana’s fantastic port makes it a common trading place to and from Spain. As early as about 1600, the Native American people were virtually exterminated due to disease, forced labor, and Spanish attacks. By about the year 1800, over 100,000 African slaves had been introduced. Despite an agreement between England and Spain to stop the slave trade, about half a million more were introduced during the 19th century.

1515 – Havana is founded by Velázquez and is called San Cristóbal de la Habana. It was granted city status in 1592.

1523 – Sugarcane, which will later become the island’s largest crop, is grown for the first time. The plant was brought by Columbus, but not until the 19th century. became the dominant source of income for the plantation owners. Since then, Cuba has been one of the world’s main exporters of sugar.

1527 – The first African slaves arrive in Cuba. (read here )

1538-1555 – Havana suffered from the burning of the city by free traders in 1538 and looting in 1553 and 1555.

1586 – English pirate Francis Drake, later known for making the world’s first circumnavigation of the world (he was the second – Elcano had already done this in 1522), landed at Cape San Antonio, but did not attack anyone.

1606 – The King of Spain declares that Cuba’s most important crop, tobacco, cannot be sold to strangers. Those who dare to violate the decree could be executed.

1607 – Havana is named the island’s capital.

1649 – About a third of the island’s residents die of the yellow fever.

1762 – Britain led by Admiral George Pocock and Lord Albemarle captures Havana and trades it with the Spaniards the following year for Florida. After getting the city back, the Spaniards made it the best fortified city in America. The occupation ends the following year.

1843-1844 – Cuban authorities suppress what they believe is a plot to liberate black slaves and end colonial rule. The uprising is called ” Conspiracy of La Escale ” and the assault is called ” the Year of the Lash “. About 400 slaves were killed, about 600 were imprisoned and 400 others deported.

1850s – Cuba’s national flag was created by Cuban exiles in New York, USA and was first officially hoisted in 1902.

1868 – The War of Independence begins and continues into the 19th century until the Spanish-American War this year, when the United States conquered the island.

1886 – Slavery is officially abolished in Cuba.

1896 – Led by General Valeriano Weyler, the Spanish military forces Cuba’s rural population into concentration camps, where thousands die of disease, starvation and exposure. Because of this, he is known as the “Butcher”, for his extreme tactics in identifying rebels.

1902 – Cuba is declared officially independent; The United States, however, maintained the right to economic and political dominance throughout the country until 1959.

1903 – In 1898, the Americans establish a naval base that extends over 116 km², south of the city of Guantánamo. The so-called Platt supplement gave the United States the right to Guantanamo Bay. In 1903, then-First President Tomás Estrada Palma signed an American treaty, after President Theodore Roosevelt had withdrawn American forces. The strategic importance of the base grew after the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. Since the revolution in 1959, Cuba has demanded the base be closed down.

1905 – Cubans revolt, in part because of the Platt Supplement. The uprising led to the United States again occupying the country for 3 years.

1909 – American occupation ends. José Miguel Gómez becomes president. His tenure (1909-13) is marred by accusations of corruption.

1912 – Black Cubans revolt and protest against discrimination. The US military is returning to quell the uprising.

1913 – Mario García Menocal becomes president from 1913-1921. During his tenure, he chose to be on the side of the Allies during World War I in 1917.

1920s – During the liquor ban era in the United States, Havana became a popular holiday destination for Americans; the night and gambling clubs survived the lifting of the liquor ban, but most were closed in 1959 after the Cuban Revolution. It was during this period that the many American cars came to Cuba, these cars still characterize the cityscape of Havana today despite their gradually poor condition.

1953 – The Cuban Revolution begins with an armed uprising led by Fidel Castro’s July 26 movement and its allies against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. The uprising ended with Batista being deposed on January 1, 1959, when his regime was replaced by Castro’s revolutionary government.

1955 – In Mexico in June, Castro meets with Argentine revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who joined Castro’s movement.

1958 – At the Battle of La Plata, Batista attacks Castro’s base on the Sierra Maestra mountain range, which lasted from July 11 to July 21, Castro’s forces defeated an entire battalion and captured 240 of
Batista’s soldiers, while Castro’s own forces only lost three men.

1959 – On January 1, a rebel army led by Fidel Castro overthrows President Fulgencio Batista, gains full control of the country, and proclaims the Republic of Cuba.

1960 – After the United States imposes a trade embargo, Cuba allies with the Soviet Union, while Prime Minister Castro declares Cuba a socialist state in 1961.

1961 – Invasion of Bay of Pigs on April 17, was a US planned and funded invasion attempt to overthrow the Castro government with armed Cuban exiles in southwestern Cuba. However, it completely failed and proved to be a major international embarrassing affair for the Kennedy administration. The operation cost 100 lives and more than a thousand were captured.

1962 – Over thirteen days in October (from 16-28. Read here ), the United States and the Soviet Union made mutual threats about the use of nuclear weapons if necessary. The Cuba crisis, as it was called, was the culmination of the Cold War, and it is believed that this is one of the closest circumstances in which the world has been on the brink of nuclear war between the two nuclear powers. The crisis arose when the Americans discovered that the Soviet Union was secretly in the process of setting up facilities for medium-range missiles in Cuba – only 140 km from the US coast. The discovery was made through an analysis of photographs taken by an American spy plane on October 14, 1962, during a flight over the island.

1965 – Cuba’s Communist Party is formed after the amalgamation of the Socialist People’s Party (Cuba) (formed 1920), the July 26 movement (formed 1955) and the El Directorio Revolucionario (formed 1954). These three parties had been united in the Integrated Revolutionary Organizations (IRO) since 1961, but the IRO was not officially considered a political party.

1967 – Fidel Castro holds a memorial service for Che Guevara at Revolution Square in Havana on October 18. Che was in captivity in the village of La Higuera in Bolivia when he was executed by Bolivian officer Mario Terán on October 9. (Read the speech here )

1976-2008 – Fidel Castro is president until his brother Raúl Castro replaces him in 2008.
2008 – During Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008, he described the Guantanamo camp as a ” sad chapter in American history ” and promised to close it in 2009. 7 years later, that has not yet happened.

2002 – President George W. Bush establishes a prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, where 20 particularly dangerous prisoners from the war in Afghanistan on January 11, and the subsequent Iraq war, called ” special combatants “, have been placed and interrogated. The prison camp has been heavily criticized, by a number of governments and organizations believing that a detention without a trial violates human rights. Since 2014, there are still 154 prisoners in the camp.

2008 – On February 23, Raul Castro is officially inaugurated as President of Cuba. He replaces his sick brother Fidel, who has been in power for the past 49 years.

2015 – On Wednesday, July 1, President Obama declares that in a historic step, the United States has re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba. On Monday, July 20, Cuba reopened their embassy in Washington DC, USA.

Cuba History Timeline