Born in 1901 as Ruben Fulgencio Batista Zaldivar, the man later known simply as Fulgencio Batista grew to hold a very influential position in Cuban politics and history. A coup in 1933 led to his self appointment as head of the country's military and months later he forced the ruling president out of office, replacing him with a man of his own choice.
American politicians and government officials favored the behind the scenes rule of Batista and increased their affiliation and business dealings with Cuba upon his election as president in 1940. After serving a four year term, President Batista moved to Florida but, as the result of another coup, regained the seat as Cuban president in 1952, serving until 1959. The controversial leader died in August of 1973.