Early Inhabitants (Before 1492)
Before the arrival of the Spanish, the island was inhabited by indigenous peoples such as the Taíno and Guanahatabey. They lived in small communities, primarily engaged in fishing and agriculture.
Spanish Colonisation (1492 - 1898)
Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba in 1492, claiming it for Spain. The Spanish exploited the island's resources and indigenous population, leading to the near-extinction of the native peoples. Sugar and tobacco plantations became the backbone of the Cuban economy, relying heavily on African slave labour.
Struggle for Independence (1868 - 1898)
Cuba's struggle for independence from Spain began with the Ten Years' War in 1868. Despite initial failures, the desire for independence persisted, culminating in the Spanish-American War. The U.S. intervened, and Spain relinquished control of Cuba in 1898.
American Influence (1898 - 1959)
Following the Spanish-American War, Cuba became a U.S. protectorate. While it gained formal independence in 1902, American influence remained strong, particularly in the economy. The Platt Amendment allowed the U.S. to intervene in Cuban affairs, which it did several times to protect its interests.
Batista Regime (1952 - 1959)
Fulgencio Batista seized power in a coup in 1952. His authoritarian regime was marked by corruption and close ties with American businesses. Public discontent grew, leading to revolutionary movements.
Cuban Revolution (1959)
Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and their rebel forces successfully overthrew Batista in 1959. While initially promising democracy, Castro soon aligned with the Soviet Union and established a communist state.
Communist Rule (1959 - Present)
Under Castro, Cuba underwent significant changes, including land reforms and the nationalisation of industries. Political repression, human rights abuses, and economic hardships have been persistent issues. The U.S. imposed an economic embargo in 1960, which has had a long-lasting impact on the Cuban economy.
Post-Soviet Era (1991 - Present)
The collapse of the Soviet Union led to a severe economic crisis known as the "Special Period." Despite hardships, the regime has survived, now under the leadership of Fidel's brother, Raúl Castro, and more recently, Miguel Díaz-Canel. While some economic reforms have been implemented, the communist system remains in place, and political dissent is not tolerated.