A short History of Cuba

1492 Cuba is sighted by Christopher Columbus, who thinks it is part of the coast of Asia.
1500 - 1600 Unlike other South-American 'nations', there is almost no gold to be found in Cuba. The Spanish invaders, however, have other reasons to build up a colony here. Havana becomes the most important resupply-base for the Spanish in the Caribic.
1600 - 1800 Several Cuban cities are plundered by French, British and Dutch pirates, but Spain is able to keep control of Cuba. With the importation of African slaves the sugar and tobacco production rises fast.
1820 Cuba becomes the world largest producer of sugar.
1848-1854 Twice the US unsuccessfully attempts to buy Cuba from Spain.
1865 The importation of African slaves ends.
1868-1878 First War of Independence: After Spain refuses to consider internal autonomy, Cuban farmers raise a rebellion in the east, which ends in a truce 10 years later.
1890 Cuba becomes the US' third largest trading partner after Britain and Germany.
1895-1898 Second War of Independence: Despite the truce in 1878, the Cuban autonomist-movement grows very strong. Under the lead of General José Marti, the Cubans are about to win the war against the Spanish.
1898 The US takes advantage of the situation and declares war on Spain. The battered Spanish troops, already losing in the civil war, are no match for the fresh US army. The US military gaines control over Cuba and the Cubans are robbed of their hard fought independence.
1902 The US 'offer' the Cubans an agreement, in which the Cubans may gain independence, but where the US has the rights of military-intervention, whenever they think it appropriate. Upon this agreement, called 'Platt Amendment', the US-military builds their naval base at Guantanamo-Bay.
1952 Fulgencio Batista, a former President of Cuba makes his comeback with a military coup, preventing the almost certain election of a young Ortodoxo named Fidel Castro.
1957-1959 Beginning with small ambushes and ending in a civil-war, Fidel and Che lead the rebels to victory, forcing Batista and his corrupt regime to flee the country.
1959 Probably the biggest mistake in recent Cuban History:
In his enthusiasm of winning the civil-war, Castro nationalizes all large estates, affecting the holdings of large US companies. This is the beginning of the enimity between Cuba and the US.
1961 Isolated in the Carrebean, Cuba desperately needs allies. Castro therefore declares the Socialist-Nature of the Cuban revolution, ensuring Cuba the economic aid of the Soviet-Union.
1962 The Cuban Missile Crisis brings the world closer to a nuclear war than it has ever been.
1989 The collapse of Eastern Europe dries up Cuba's trade (and credits) with the Soviet-Union.
1991 Marxism-Leninism references are removed from the constitution.
1993 Castro amends the constitution to allow Cubans to hold foreign currency.
2002 Most important event: Lucy and Leonard visit Cuba