As early as 200 years before Spanish exploration of the New World, Cuba was inhabited by three groups of Arawak Indians—the Cyboneys, Guanahacabibes, and Tainos. The Tainos occupied the central and eastern regions of Cuba, as well as some nearby Caribbean islands.

Important dates in Cuba
1492 Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba and claimed the island for Spain.
1520's The first African slaves arrived in Cuba.
1762 The British seized Havana. They returned it to Spanish control in 1763.
1868-1878 Cuban revolutionaries fought Spanish rule in the Ten Years' War. Under the Pact of Zanjon, which ended the war, Spain promised reforms.
1886 Slavery was abolished in Cuba.
1895 A revolution, led by Jose Marti, broke out in Cuba against Spanish rule.
1898 The United States, supporting the Cuban rebels, defeated Spain in the Spanish-American War. Spain gave up all claims to Cuba.
1898-1902 A U.S. military government controlled Cuba.
1901 Cuba adopted a constitution that included as set of provisions called the Platt Amendment. The amendment allowed the United States to intervene in Cuban affairs.
1902 Tomas Estrada Palma became the first president of the Republic of Cuba.
1906-1909 United States forces again occupied Cuba.
1933 A revolutionary group led by Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar took control of the government.
1934 The United States and Cuba signed a treaty that canceled the Platt Amendment.
1959 Fidel Castro's forces overthrew Batista's government, and Castro became ruler of the country.
1961 Cuban exiles sponsored by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs and were quickly defeated by Castro's army.
1962 The Soviet Union agreed to U.S. demands that it remove its missiles from Cuba and dismantle the remaining missile bases on the island.
1976 Cuba adopted a new constitution that established the Communist Party as the leading authority in the government and society.
1991 The Soviet Union, which had been an important source of economic aid to Cuba, was dissolved. Cuba's economy suffered greatly as a result.
1993 Cuba instituted economic reforms that allowed some workers to start private businesses.