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History >> Geography >> Central America >> Cuba

Cuba

Timeline and History Overview

Cuba Timeline

BCE CE

Diego Velazquez

Brief Overview of the History of Cuba

Cuba was first settled by the Guanahatabey and Taino Native Americans. They were farmers, hunters, and fishers. Christopher Columbus landed at Cuba in 1492 and claimed the land for Spain. Columbus named the land Isla Juana, but later it would be called Cuba, which comes from the local Native American name of coabana.

The first Spanish settlement on Cuba was Baracoa which was founded by Diego Velazquez de Cuellar in 1511. As Cuba became more settled by the Spanish they developed industries of sugarcane, tobacco, and cattle.

Cuba first started to fight for its independence from Spain in 1868 in the Ten Years War. Led by national hero Jose Marti, the war for independence again became heated in 1895. In 1898 the United States became involved in the war when one of its battleships, the USS Maine, was sunk. The US gained control of Cuba with the Treaty of Paris and, in 1902, gave Cuba independence.

In 1952, a former president of Cuba named Fulgencio Batista took control of the country and made himself dictator. Many of the people of Cuba were not happy with this. Rebel leader Fidel Castro organized a revolution to overthrow Batista. In 1959, Fidel Castro was able to overthrow Batista's government and gain control of the country. He declared Cuba a socialist country and allied Cuba with the Soviet Union.

Cuba became a major player in the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. First, the United States unsuccessfully tried to overthrow Castro through the Bay of Pigs invasion. Then, the Soviet Union tried to establish a nuclear missile base at Cuba causing the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Fidel Castro remained in power for 50 years and then handed over the government to his younger brother Raul.

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History >> Geography >> Central America >> Cuba





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