The USS Maine explodes in Havana harbor. The Spanish-American War ushers in a period of U.S. dominance in Cuba.
Fidel Castro leads an unsuccessful effort to overthrow the American-backed government of Fulgencio Batista.
Castro, with help from Ernesto "Che" Guevara, overthrows Batista and forms a new government.
Castro seizes all American owned business in Cuba. The United States ends diplomatic relations with Cuba and initiates an embargo on all trade with Cuba.
The United States backs the failed "Bay of Pigs" plan to invade Cuba. Cuba becomes a communist state and opens an alliance with the Soviet Union.
The "Cuban Missile Crisis" leads to a nuclear stand-off between the United States and Soviet Union.
125,000 Cubans flee to Florida in the Mariel Boatlift.
Cuba shoots down two civilian airplanes from the United States.
Pope John Paul II visits Cuba and calls the U.S. embargo deplorable.
Elian Gonzalez, a Cuban child, is picked up off the coast of Florida. He is later returned to his father in Cuba after intense legal battles and diplomatic maneuvering.
U.S. food exports to Cuba are allowed as part of the recovery from Hurricane Michelle.
The U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay Cuba is used as a controversial prison for terrorist suspects.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice includes Cuba in her "Outposts of Tyranny."
Raul Castro official becomes president in February.