Christopher Columbus claims Cuba for Spain.
Spanish conquistador Diego Velazquez becomes first governor of Cuba.
City of Havana founded as San Cristobel de la Habana.
Construction of El Morro Castle, built by the Spanish, at an entrance to Havana harbor begins.
English capture Santiago de Cuba to assist trade with Jamaica.
English withdraw from Cuba after Spain acknowledges England’s right to Jamaica.
Located in the Vedado district of Havana, the University of Havana or “Universidad de La Habana” was founded on January 5, 1728 as the oldest in Cuba, and one of the first to be founded in the Americas.
British and Spanish fleets fight in Havana Harbor.
British attack Havana and take control of Cuba as part of the Seven Years’ War.
The British cede Cuba to Spain in the Treaty of Paris.
José Julian Martí y Perez, Cuban poet and essayist, patriot and martyr was born.
The Ten Years’ War begins and was part of Cuba’s fight for independence from Spain.
Ten Years’ War of independence ends with truce with Spain.
Slavery was abolished and made illegal by royal decree in Cuba.
José Martí leads The Second War for Independence.
Martí Killed in Battle
José Martí was shot and killed in battle against Spanish troops at the Battle of Dos Ríos.
The Spanish–American War between Spain and the United States begins with the US blaming Spain for an explosion aboard the USS Maine in Havana harbor in Cuba. The US defeats Spain, the Treaty of Paris is signed and Spain cedes Cuba to the US.
US Secretary of War, William Howard Taft creates the Provisional Government of Cuba, names himself Provisional Governor of Cuba and establishes a naval base at Guantanamo Bay (GTMO).
United States passes the Platt Amendment, as part of the 1901 Army Appropriations Bill, stating the conditions for the withdrawal of the US troops in Cuba from the Spanish-American War.
Cuba and United States sign lease granting use of Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.
A new lease is signed in Havana for Guantanamo Bay. The United States will pay about $2000 per year for the lease.
Tomas Estrada, first president of Cuba, resigns.
Second Occupation of Cuba Begins
US begins the Second Occupation of Cuba.
Jose Miguel Gómez, leading candidate for the Liberal Party, becomes president.
US ends the Second Occupation of Cuba.
US returns to Cuba to put down Afro-Cuban rebellion.
Cuba enters World War I on the side of the Allies.
Fidel Castro born in province of Holguin.
Ernesto “Che” Guevara is born in Rosario, Argentina.
Machado overthrown in a coup led by Fulgencio Batista.
Cuban–American Treaty of Relations is signed by the United States of America and the Republic of Cuba.
Cuba and US sign a perpetual lease of the Guantanamo Naval Base for about $4000 per year.
The naval base remains in US hands and the US continues to pay an annual rent although Cuba reportedly does not cash the checks.
United States abandons its right to intervene in Cuba.
New Treaty Ratified
Cuban–American Treaty of Relations Act is ratified and proclaimed by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.1
Communist Party is legalized again.
Fulgencio Batista, supported by the Democratic Socialists Coalition, is elected president of Cuba.
1940 Constitution In Effect
The 1940 Constitution takes effect providing land reform, public education, a minimum wage and other social programs.
Hemingway Purchases Home in Cuba
Ernest Hemingway purchases a home in Cuba where he lives for the next 20 years.
Batista seizes power again and suspends the 1940 Constitution. Batista is a United States backed dictator from 1952-1959.
Fidel Castro and brother Raul leads an unsuccessful revolt against Batista on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba.
Castro Gives “History Will Absolve Me” Speech
Fidel Castro gives his four-hour “History Will Absolve Me” speech during his trial for the charges brought against him for the attack in Santiago de Cuba.
Batista issues an amnesty that frees Castro and others members from prison.
Castro meets Che Guevera
Fidel Castro and his brother Raul are introduced to Che Guevara in Mexico City.
Castro, aided by Che Guevara, wages guerrilla war in Cuba from the Sierra Maestra Mountains.
An anti-communist University student group charged the Presidential Palace in Havana to assassinate Cuban dictator, Batista. The attack was unsuccessful and 50 students were killed.
The United States suspends military aid to Batista forces.
Fidel Castro leads a guerrilla army into Havana and forces Batista to flee the country. Batista resigns presidency.
Castro Becomes Prime Minister
Castro is sworn in as prime minister and brother Raul Castro becomes his deputy. Che Guevara becomes third in command.
Castro Visits Princeton University
Castro speaks on the theme of “The United States and the Revolutionary Spirit” at Princeton University, New Jersey.
CIA Issues Memo on Castro
The United States Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) issues memorandum urging “the elimination of Fidel Castro.”
Soviet Chairman Nikita Khrushchev offers support to Cuba. Cuba allies with the Soviet Union.
US Businesses Nationalized
All US businesses and commercial property in Cuba are nationalized with no compensation by the Cuban government.
US Imposes Embargo
The United States embargoes all exports to Cuba except food and medical supplies.
Castro proclaims Cuba a communist state and allies with USSR. Castro announces he is a Socialist.
US Ends Relations with Cuba
US breaks off all diplomatic relations with Havana.
Bay of Pigs Invasion
Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles, with United States support, fails.
Sunday, January 21
Cuba expelled from the Organization of the American States (OAS).
Castro indicates Cuba will soon have new defenses against the US.
Castro allows Union of Soviet Socialist Republics(USSR) nuclear missiles on Cuba.
Wednesday, August 29
U-2 spy plane photos verify service-to-air missile (SAM) site under construction in La Coloma, Cuba.
Sunday, October 14
U-2 photos show medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) and intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) launch pads under construction.
Friday, October 19
Ex-Comm, group of American political leaders, discuss Cuban quarantine.
Saturday, October 20
Ex-Comm recommends quarantine.
Sunday, October 21
President John F. Kennedy orders a naval blockade of Cuba. Operation is reviewed and approved.
Monday, October 22
President John F. Kennedy addresses the public and announces a naval blockade of Cuba. US Military issues DEFCON 3.
Tuesday, October 23
Khrushchev orders Soviet ships to stop 750 miles from Cuba.
Wednesday, October 24
Soviet Union Premier Nikita Khrushchev responds to Kennedy’s message that the US blockade was an “act of aggression.” Refuses to remove missiles from Cuba. US Military issue DEFCON 2.
Thursday, October 25
Kennedy orders flights over Cuba to increase from once to twice per day.
Friday, October 26
Ex-Comm discusses plans to invade Cuba.
Soviets offer to withdraw missiles in return for a US guarantee to not invade Cuba.
Saturday, October 27
Khrushchev sends message to Kennedy that deal must include removal of US Jupiter missiles from Turkey.
US U-2F shot down with surface-to-air missile near Banes, Cuba.
Kennedy ignores first message and responds to second message.
Kennedy proposes removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba under United Nations supervision and guarantee that US would not attack Cuba.
Sunday, October 28
Khrushchev agrees to remove Soviet missiles. He accepts Kennedy’s pledge not to invade Cuba. Kennedy agrees to remove missiles from Turkey.
US announces removal of the last Soviet missiles from Cuba.
Operation Peter Pan brings Cuban children to the US.
Cuba’s sole political party renamed the Communist Party of Cuba.
Socialist revolutionary and guerilla leader, Che Guevara executed in La Higuera, Bolivia at the age of 39.
©Wikimedia Commons User:Egs / CC-BY-SA-3.0
Cuba begins sending troops to Africa to assist in revolutions.
April 15 – October 31
Approximately 125,000 Cubans flee to the United States.
Castro makes the following statement in a speech in Nicaragua: “In our country we have a military base against the will of our people. It has been there throughout the twenty-six years of the revolution, and it is being occupied by force.” 3 4
Reagan Affirms Purpose of GTMO
In an interview with Soviet journalists, US President Ronald Reagan affirms that the purpose of the Guantanamo Naval Base is political to impose the US presence, even if the Cubans don’t want it. 3 4
US launches TV Martí, US funded anti-Castro broadcast aimed at Cuba.
President Fidel Castro announces Cuba had entered a “Special Period” with reduced levels of import from the Soviet Union due to it’s economic collapse.
The United Nations General Assembly passes a resolution condemning the ongoing impact of the US embargo and declaring it in violation of the Charter of the UN and international law. This resolution is passed annually.
GTMO Converted to Prison
Guantanamo Naval Base starts to be used as a prison.
Cuba opens state enterprises to private investment.
Cuban fighter jets shoot down 2 Cessna aircraft flown by Cuban-Americans dropping anti-Castro leaflets.
US Implements Permanent Embargo
US Trade embargo made permanent in response to the downing of the planes.
Pope John Paul II meets Fidel Castro and spends five days visiting Cuba. Celebrates Mass on Revolution Square in Havana.
Five-year-old Cuban Elian Gonzalez found afloat in Straits of Florida. After negotiations, the boy is returned to his father in Cuba.
©Wikimedia Commons Kremlin.ru / CC-BY-SA-4.0
Russian president Vladimir Putin visits Cuba and signs accords.
Cuba learns the US will use Guantanamo Bay to house prisoners.
First detainees from Afghanistan and Pakistan arrive at Guantanamo detention facility. 11
©Wikimedia Commons User:Magnus Manske / CC-BY-SA-3.0
Mary Robinson, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, states that the captives at GTMO are prisoners of war entitled to rights under the Geneva Convention.
At the United Nations Assembly, Castro demands that the Guantanamo territory be returned to Cuba.
Bush administration says that GTMO detainees have no rights under the US Constitution or in the US justice system.
Carter Visits Cuba
Former President Jimmy Carter visits Cuba on a goodwill mission, criticizes the embargo.
Cuba cracks down on anti-Castro dissidents.
Number of detainees at GTMO reaches about 680.
United States sanctions restrict US-Cuba family visits and cash remittances from expatriates.
Cuba’s Human Rights Record Censured
The United Nations Human Rights Commission passed a motion censuring Cuba for human rights abuses.
5 British Citizens Held at GTMO
An article in the NY Times reveals that 5 British citizens who were held at GTMO were beaten and tortured. They were released to the British and never charged by the British. 5
Supreme Court Affirms Detainees’ Right to Use Courts
United States Supreme Court rules foreign nationals at Guantanamo detention facility have the right to legal consul.
Following a Freedom of Information lawsuit by the Associated Press, the Pentagon releases a detailed list of GTMO detainees.6
In a 5-3 ruling, the US Supreme Court places limits on the government’s ability to try detainees.7
Raul Castro assumes duties of president of Cuba while Fidel Castro recovers from surgery.
Fidel Castro resigns as President of Cuba.
photograph by Roosewelt Pinheiro/ABr, distributed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Brazil.
Raul Castro is elected president by the National Assembly.
Cuba Lifts Restrictions On Personal Cellphones
Bans on private ownership of mobile phones and computers lifted.
Court Rules Detainees Have Constitutional Right
US Supreme Court says that detainees have the right to go before a federal judge to challenge their indefinite imprisonment. 12
EU Agrees to Lift Sanctions on Cuba
European Union lifts diplomatic sanction imposed on Cuba in 2003 over crackdown of dissidents.
US President Barack Obama issues an order to close the Guantanamo prison. United States Senate votes to keep the prison at Guantanamo open.
OAS lifts 47-year suspension of Cuba
Organization of American States votes to lift ban on Cuban membership imposed in 1962.
Congress passes a defense policy bill which limits the administration from trying detainees in a civilian court.
US President Barack Obama relaxes restrictions on travel to Cuba.
Cuba Passes Law Allowing Private Home Sales
Cuba passes law allowing individuals to buy and sell private property for the first time in 50 years.
Senate Intelligence Committee Report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. Conclusion: Torturing prisoners does not provide reputable intelligence or gain cooperation from detainees, but it does damage the international standing of the US.
The National Assembly reelects Raul Castro as president.
Cuba accepts European invitation to begin talks on improving relations and boosting economic ties.
US Reestablishes Diplomatic Relations
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) Public Domain
US President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro re-establish diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Cuba Sends Medical Relief to West Africa
Cuba sends more medical professionals than any other country to assist with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
United States eases trade and travel restrictions with Cuba allowing airlines to fly scheduled routes to Cuba, travelers to return with Cuban goods, etal.
Cuba Establishes Banking Ties in US
Cuba diplomats gain access to banking services in the US.
US and Cuban Reopen Embassies
US and Cuba reopen embassies and exchange charges d’affaires for first time in 54 years.
President Barack Obama makes a historic three-day visit to Cuba, the first US president to visit Cuba in 88 years.
Cuban revolutionary and politician, Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz. dies.
Additional detainees at GTMO are transferred abroad. As of January 2017, about 40 detainees remain at GTMO.
SC Senator Introduces Free Travel Act
South Carolina Senator Mark Sanford introduces The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2017 (H.R. 351).10
End of “Wet foot, Dry foot” policy
President Barack Obama ends the Cuba “Wet foot, Dry foot” policy that allowed any Cuban who makes it to US soil to stay and become a legal resident. The policy dates from 1995 under US President Bill Clinton. 8
Not Closing GITMO
US President Donald Trump says he will not close Guantanamo Detention Center. 9