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Cuba was discovered and claimed for Spain by Christopher Columbus in October of 1492. Havana became an important commercial seaport between Spain and its colonies in the Western Hemisphere. Two major uprisings in 1868 and 1895 against the Spanish military on the island eventually led to independence. The U.S. entered the later conflict on the side of the revolutionaries when the U.S.S. Maine, anchored in Havana harbor was sunk, precipitating the Spanish-American War in February of 1898. In December of 1898 Spain relinquished its rights to Cuba in the Treaty of Paris.
Three years of U.S. administration followed and independence was proclaimed in 1902.
A communist revolution, led by Fidel Castro, took control in 1959. In 1963 Cuba was moving towards a full-fledged Communist system modeled on the USSR.
1492 - Christopher Columbus commanded his three ships: La Pinta, La Niña and the Santa María, to land on Cuba's northeastern coast
1529 - A measles outbreak in Cuba killed two-thirds of those few natives who had previously survived smallpox
1555 -The French took Havana
1817 - The population of Cuba was 630,980, of which 291,021 were white, 115,691 free people of color (mixed-race), and 224,268 black slaves
1868 - The rebellion for independence from Spain resulted in a prolonged conflict known as the Ten Years' War
1892 - Cuban Revolutionary Party founded in New York with the aim of the party to achieve Cuban independence from Spain. Between 200,000 and 400,000 Cuban civilians died from starvation and disease the numbers were verified by the Red Cross and a United States Senator
1902 - Cuba gained formal independence from the U.S. became the Republic of Cuba at that time
1959 - 1966 Cuban insurgents fought a six-year rebellion in the Escambray Mountains against the Castro government that lasted longer and involved more soldiers than the Cuban Revolution. Estimates for the total number of political executions range from 4,000 to 33,000
1963 - Cuba was moving towards a full-fledged Communist system modeled on the USSR
2014 - The embargo between the United States and Cuba was not immediately lifted, but was relaxed to allow import, export, and certain limited commerce