Christopher Columbus arrived in Cuba in 1492, and it remained under Spanish control until the Spanish-American war in 1898. Cuba remained under American control until 1902 when it declared Cuba independent. Cuba went through several governments until 1959 when Fidel Castro lead a revolution establishing a Communist government which is still in place today.Continue Reading
When Christopher Columbus arrived in Cuba in 1492, the Tainos indigenous people were the greatest population on the island. The Spanish conquest began in 1509 and decimated and enslaved Cuba's indigenous population. Spanish landowners also began importing slaves from Africa by the 1520s.
Under Spanish rule, Cuba became an important exporter of sugar and tobacco at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1868, Cuban landowners began to resist Spanish rule and started the first Cuban war of independence, the Ten Years War. In 1878, the war ended with some concessions made, but Cuba was still under Spanish rule.
In 1898, during the Spanish-American war, Spain gave control of the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Cuba to the United States. America had a strong presence in Cuba for the next 60 years.
In 1959, Fidel Castro and Ernesto Guerrera started a revolution to overthrow Cuba's government. Under Castro's rule, Cuba established a close relationship with the U.S.S.R., creating tensions with America. The United States staged an unsuccessful invasion at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. When the U.S.S.R. created missile bases on Cuba in 1962 it nearly lead to war. The war was averted when the United States agreed not to invade Cuba or overthrow Castro.
Castro remained in power until 2008 when he turned over the leadership of Cuba to his brother, Raul Castro. In 2014, the United States re-established diplomatic relationships with Cuba and re-opened embassies on the island in 2015.Learn more about Caribbean