Haiti is 77 km (48 mi) to the east, Jamaica (140 km/87 mi) and the Cayman Islands to the south.
The Taíno arrived from Hispanola sometime in the 3rd century A. D.
The average monthly wage as of July 2013 is 466 Cuban pesos—about US$19.
18 May 1539, 600
On 18 May 1539, Conquistador Hernando de Soto departed from Havana at the head of some 600 followers into a vast expedition through the Southeastern United States, starting at La Florida, in search of gold, treasure, fame and power.
The territory that is now Cuba was inhabited by the Ciboney Taíno people from the 4th millennium BC until Spanish colonisation in the 15th century.
1400, 1499, 1898, 1902
From the 15th century, it was a colony of Spain until the Spanish–American War of 1898, when Cuba was occupied by the United States and gained nominal independence as a de facto United States protectorate in 1902.
Cuba in years
1440, 5844, 9107
However, the country's fourth national report to the CBD contains a detailed breakdown of the numbers of species of each kingdom of life recorded from Cuba, the main groups being: animals (17,801 species), bacteria (270), chromista (707), fungi, including lichen-forming species (5844), plants (9107) and protozoa (1440).
=== Spanish colonization and rule (1492–1898) ===
12 October 1492, 28 October 1492
After first landing on an Island then called Guanahani, Bahamas, on 12 October 1492, Christopher Columbus commanded his three ships: La Pinta, La Niña and the Santa María, to land on Cuba's northeastern coast on 28 October 1492. (This was near what is now Bariay, Holguín Province.) Columbus claimed the island for the new Kingdom of Spain and named it Isla Juana after Juan, Prince of Asturias.
In 1511, the first Spanish settlement was founded by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar at Baracoa.
Other towns soon followed, including San Cristobal de la Habana, founded in 1515, which later became the capital.
Cuba in decades
In 1529, a measles outbreak in Cuba killed two-thirds of those few natives who had previously survived smallpox.
1 September 1548
On 1 September 1548, Dr.
4 November 1549
He arrived in Santiago, Cuba on 4 November 1549 and immediately declared the liberty of all natives.
After the French took Havana in 1555, the governor's son, Francisco de Angulo, went to Mexico.
By the mid-18th century, its colonists held 50,000 slaves, compared to 60,000 in Barbados; 300,000 in Virginia, both British colonies; and 450,000 in French Saint-Domingue, which had large-scale sugar cane plantations.
Cuba in centuries
1700, 1799, 1800, 1899
Historians such as Swedish Magnus Mõrner, who studied slavery in Latin America, found that manumissions increased when slave economies were in decline, as in 18th-century Cuba and early 19th-century Maryland of the United States.
The University of Havana was founded in 1728 and there are a number of other well-established colleges and universities.
The Seven Years' War, which erupted in 1754 across three continents, eventually arrived in the Spanish Caribbean.
1760, 1790, 1820
As slavery and colonialism collapsed in the French colony, the Spanish island underwent transformations that were almost the mirror image of Haiti's." Estimates suggest that between 1790 and 1820 some 325,000 Africans were imported to Cuba as slaves, which was four times the amount that had arrived between 1760 and 1790.
Spain's alliance with the French pitched them into direct conflict with the British, and in 1762 a British expedition of five warships and 4,000 troops set out from Portsmouth to capture Cuba.
The British arrived on 6 June, and by August had Havana under siege.
They were afraid because of the prospect that slaves might revolt in Cuba, too, and numerous prohibitions during the 1790s on the sale of slaves in Cuba that had previously been slaves in French colonies underscored this anxiety.
In part due to Cuban slaves working primarily in urbanized settings, by the 19th century, there had developed the practice of coartacion, or "buying oneself out of slavery", a "uniquely Cuban development", according to historian Herbert S. Klein.
Cuban literature began to find its voice in the early 19th century.
Historically, Cuba has ranked high in numbers of medical personnel and has made significant contributions to World health since the 19th century.
An exiled dissident named José Martí founded the Cuban Revolutionary Party in New York in 1892.
In January 1895 Martí traveled to Montecristi and Santo Domingo to join the efforts of Máximo Gómez.
24 February 1895, 11 April 1895
Fighting against the Spanish army began in Cuba on 24 February 1895, but Martí was unable to reach Cuba until 11 April 1895.
19 May 1895
Martí was killed in the battle of Dos Rios on 19 May 1895.
After the Spanish–American War, Spain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris (1898), by which Spain ceded Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam to the United States for the sum of US$20 million and Cuba became a protectorate of the United States.
A five-member executive committee (the Pentarchy of 1933) was chosen to head a provisional government.
The period from 1933 to 1937 was a time of "virtually unremitting social and political warfare".
1933, 1935, 1936, 1940
On balance, during this period 1933–1940 Cuba is supported by a fragile politic reality that materialize in the decision making of three presidents in two years (1935–1936), as well as in the militaristic and repressive policies of Batista as Head of the Army.
Between 1933 and 1958, Cuba extended economic regulations enormously, causing economic problems.
A general strike (in which the Communist Party sided with Machado), uprisings among sugar workers, and an army revolt forced Machado into exile in August 1933.
In September 1933, the Sergeants' Revolt, led by Sergeant Fulgencio Batista, overthrew Cespedes.
Grau resigned in 1934, leaving the way clear for Batista, who dominated Cuban politics for the next 25 years, at first through a series of puppet-presidents.
As a fragile republic, in 1940 Cuba attempted to strengthen its democratic system, but mounting political radicalization and social strife culminated in a coup and subsequent dictatorship under Fulgencio Batista in 1952.
A new constitution was adopted in 1940, which engineered radical progressive ideas, including the right to labour and health care.
Batista adhered to the 1940 constitution's strictures preventing his re-election.
Back in power, and receiving financial, military, and logistical support from the United States government, Batista suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked most political liberties, including the right to strike.
Batista was elected president in the same year, holding the post until 1944.
Ramon Grau San Martin was the winner of the next election, in 1944.
From 1959 to 1966 Cuban insurgents fought a six-year rebellion in the Escambray Mountains against the Castro government. The U. S.
State Department has estimated that 3,200 people were executed from 1959 to 1962.
According to Amnesty International, official death sentences from 1959–87 numbered 237 of which all but 21 were actually carried out.
The vast majority of those executed directly following the 1959 revolution were policemen, politicians, and informers of the Batista regime accused of crimes such as torture and murder, and their public trials and executions had widespread popular support among the Cuban population.
In 1961 the Cuban government had imposed broad restrictions on travel to prevent the mass emigration of people after the 1959 revolution; it approved exit visas only on rare occasions.
During the three decades after January 1959, more than one million Cubans of all social classes — constituting 10% of the total population — emigrated to the United States, a proportion that matches the extent of emigration to the U.
In response, between 1960 and 1964 the U. S.
Disease and infant mortality increased in the 1960s immediately after the revolution, when half of Cuba's 6,000 doctors left the country.
In February 1960, Castro signed a commercial agreement with Soviet Vice-Premier Anastas Mikoyan.
In March 1960, Eisenhower gave his approval to a CIA plan to arm and train a group of Cuban refugees to overthrow the Castro regime.
Effective 14 January 2013, Cuba ended the requirement established in 1961, that any citizens who wish to travel abroad were required to obtain an expensive government permit and a letter of invitation.
Cuba supported Algeria in 1961–1965, and sent tens of thousands of troops to Angola during the Angolan Civil War.
Although the country's population has grown by about four million people since 1961, the rate of growth slowed during that period, and the population began to decline in 2006, due in the country's low fertility rate (1.43 children per woman) coupled with emigration.
14 April 1961
The invasion (known as the Bay of Pigs Invasion) took place on 14 April 1961.
The country was a point of contention during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, and a nuclear war nearly broke out during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
The standard of living in the 1970s was "extremely spartan" and discontent was rife.
Fidel Castro admitted the failures of economic policies in a 1970 speech.
The Communist Party of Cuba has held six party congress meetings since 1975.
1975, 1980, 1989
From 1975 until the late 1980s, Soviet military assistance enabled Cuba to upgrade its military capabilities.
The Constitution of 1976, which defined Cuba as a socialist republic, was replaced by the Constitution of 1992, which is "guided by the ideas of José Martí and the political and social ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin." The constitution describes the Communist Party of Cuba as the "leading force of society and of the state".
Religious freedom increased through the 1980s, with the government amending the constitution in 1992 to drop the state's characterization as atheistic.
Recovery occurred by the 1980s, and the country's health care has been widely praised.
By 2006, public sector employment was 78% and private sector 22%, compared to 91.8% to 8.2% in 1981.
In 1985, Cuba devoted more than 10% of its GDP to military expenditures.
In the 1990s, Human Rights Watch reported that Cuba's extensive prison system, one of the largest in Latin America, consists of 40 maximum-security prisons, 30 minimum-security prisons, and over 200 work camps.
The government's relaxation of restrictions on house churches in the 1990s led to an explosion of Pentecostalism, with some groups claiming as many as 100,000 members.
Havana was the heart of the rap scene in Cuba when it began in the 1990s.
Castro's rule was severely tested in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse in 1991 (known in Cuba as the Special Period).
Like the rest of the Cuban economy, medical care suffered from severe material shortages following the end of Soviet subsidies in 1991, and a tightening of the U.
The United States continues an embargo against Cuba "so long as it continues to refuse to move toward democratization and greater respect for human rights", though the UN General Assembly has, since 1992, passed a resolution every year condemning the ongoing impact of the embargo and claiming it violates the Charter of the United Nations and international law.
On 5 August 1994, state security dispersed protesters in a spontaneous protest in Havana.
9 September 1994
On 9 September 1994, the U.
In 1996, the United States, then under President Bill Clinton, brought in the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, better known as the Helms–Burton Act.
Indeed, this drop in fertility is among the largest in the Western Hemisphere and is attributed largely to unrestricted access to legal abortion: Cuba's abortion rate was 58.6 per 1000 pregnancies in 1996, compared to an average of 35 in the Caribbean, 27 in Latin America overall, and 48 in Europe.
September 2015, 1998, 2011
Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI visited Cuba in 1998 and 2011, respectively, and Pope Francis visited Cuba in September 2015.
Intermarriage between diverse groups is widespread, and consequently there is some discrepancy in reports of the country's racial composition: whereas the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami determined that 62% of Cubans are black, the 2002 Cuban census found that a similar proportion of the population, 65.05%, was white.
In 2003, the government arrested and imprisoned a large number of civil activists, a period known as the "Black Spring".
In 2003, the European Union (EU) accused the Cuban government of "continuing flagrant violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms".
Cuba has tripled its market share of Caribbean tourism in the last decade; as a result of significant investment in tourism infrastructure, this growth rate is predicted to continue. 1.9 million tourists visited Cuba in 2003, predominantly from Canada and the European Union, generating revenue of US$2.1 billion.
In 2005, Cuba had exports of US$2.4 billion, ranking 114 of 226 world countries, and imports of US$6.9 billion, ranking 87 of 226 countries.
Oil exploration in 2005 by the US Geological Survey revealed that the North Cuba Basin could produce about 4.6 billion barrels (730,000,000 m3) to 9.3 billion barrels (1.48×109 m3) of oil.
In 2006, Cuba started to test-drill these locations for possible exploitation.
Its birth rate (9.88 births per thousand population in 2006) is one of the lowest in the Western Hemisphere.
Despite less than half of the population identifying as Catholics in 2006, it nonetheless remains the dominant faith.
Cuba had the second-highest number of imprisoned journalists of any nation in 2008 (China had the highest) according to various sources, including the Committee to Protect Journalists and Human Rights Watch.
In 2009, United States President Barack Obama stated on April 17, in Trinidad and Tobago that "the United States seeks a new beginning with Cuba", and reversed the Bush Administration's prohibition on travel and remittances by Cuban-Americans from the United States to Cuba.
As of 2009, Cuba spent about US$91.8 million on its armed forces.
In 2009, the Cuban Government estimated this loss at $685 million annually.
In March 2009, Raúl Castro removed some of his brother's appointees.
3 June 2009
On 3 June 2009, the Organization of American States adopted a resolution to end the 47-year ban on Cuban membership of the group.
In 2010, Cubans were allowed to build their own houses.
According to the official census of 2010, Cuba's population was 11,241,161, comprising 5,628,996 men and 5,612,165 women.
In 2010, the Pew Forum estimated that religious affiliation in Cuba is 65% Christian (60% Roman Catholic or about 6.9 million in 2016, 5% Protestant or about 575,000 in 2016), 23% unaffiliated, 17% folk religion (such as santería), and the remaining 0.4% consisting of other religions.
In July 2010, the unofficial Cuban Human Rights Commission said there were 167 political prisoners in Cuba, a fall from 201 at the start of the year.
In 2011, the party stated that there were 800,000 members, and representatives generally constitute at least half of the Councils of state and the National Assembly.
Cuba's most important mineral resource is nickel, with 21% of total exports in 2011.
Cuba recorded 2,688,000 international tourists in 2011, the third-highest figure in the Caribbean (behind the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico).
December 2012, 2011
In 2011, the Cuban state denounced reggaeton as degenerate, directed reduced "low-profile" airplay of the genre (but did not ban it entirely) and banned the megahit Chupi Chupi by Osmani García, characterizing its description of sex as "the sort which a prostitute would carry out." In December 2012, the Cuban government officially banned sexually explicit reggaeton songs and music videos from radio and television.
The vaccine has been available for free to the Cuban population since 2011.
2 August 2011
On 2 August 2011, The New York Times reported that Cuba reaffirmed its intent to legalize "buying and selling" of private property before the year's end.
As of 2013 its reserves were estimated at 5.5 million tons, over 7% of the world total.
13 January 2013
Prior to January 13, 2013, Cuban citizens could not travel abroad, leave or return to Cuba without first obtaining official permission along with applying for a government issued passport and travel visa, which was often denied.
February 2013, 2018
In February 2013, Cuban president Raúl Castro announced he would resign in 2018, ending his five-year term, and that he hopes to implement permanent term limits for future Cuban Presidents, including age limits.
October 2013, August 2016
In October 2013, Raúl said he intended to merge the two currencies, but as of August 2016, the dual Currency system remains in force.
As of September 2014, there are around 50,000 Cuban-trained health care workers aiding 66 nations.
As of December 2014, talks with Cuban officials and American officials, including President Barack Obama, resulted in the release of Alan Gross, fifty-two political prisoners, and an unnamed non-citizen agent of the United States in return for the release of three Cuban agents currently imprisoned in the United States.
17 December 2014
On 17 December 2014, United States President Barack Obama announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba, pushing for Congress to put an end to the embargo.
S. relations starting in December 2014 under the Obama administration, a growing number of U.
In 2015, Cuba became the first country to eradicate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, a milestone hailed by the World Health Organization as "one of the greatest public health achievements possible".
30 June 2015
This was realized on 30 June 2015, when Cuba and the U.
S. reached a deal to reopen embassies in their respective capitals on 20 July 2015 and reestablish diplomatic relations.
Cuba is considered an authoritarian regime according to the 2016 Democracy Index and 2017 Freedom in the World survey.
According to Cuba historian Louis Perez of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, "Havana was then what Las Vegas has become." In 2016, the Miami Herald wrote, "... about 27 percent of Cubans earn under $50 per month; 34 percent earn the equivalent of $50 to $100 per month; and 20 percent earn $101 to $200.
25 November 2016
After Fidel Castro died on 25 November 2016, the Cuban government declared a nine-day mourning period.
27 January 2017
The average temperature is 21 °C (69.8 °F) in January and 27 °C (80.6 °F) in July.
On 17 September 2017, the United States considered closing its Cuban embassy following mysterious sonic attacks on its staff.
8 September 2017
Prison sentences range from 7 to 25 years."Some tourist facilities were extensively damaged on 8 September 2017 when Hurricane Irma hit the island.
8 September 2017
Hurricane Irma hit the island on 8 September 2017, with winds of 260 kilometres per hour, at the Camagüey Archipelago; the storm reached Ciego de Avila province around midnight and continued to pound Cuba the next day.
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