Timeline of the Cuban Revolution

Last updated

The Cuban Revolution was the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista's regime by the 26th of July Movement and the establishment of a new Cuban government led by Fidel Castro in 1959.


It began with the assault on the Moncada Barracks on 26 July 1953 and ended on 1 January 1959, when Batista was driven from the country and the cities Santa Clara and Santiago de Cuba were seized by revolutionaries, led by Che Guevara and Fidel Castro's surrogates Raúl Castro and Huber Matos, respectively.

However, the roots of the Cuban Revolution grows deep into the Cuban history and goes far back to the Cuban Independence Wars, in the last half of the nineteenth century and its consequences are still in motion in present day. Therefore, this is a timeline of the whole historical process that began on October 10, 1868, and it has not ended yet. Interventions by the United States, Russia, and other foreign powers are largely attributed to the state of Cuba today.


Before the Revolution



  • The "Tregua Fecunda", a truce between the Spanish Colonial Government and the Cuban independence fighters (mambises).
  • 1879-1880 The Little War, second war of Cuban independence. Another failed attempt of continuing the war.
  • 1893 April José Martí regroups the Cubans and unites them into the Cuban Revolutionary Party, which also supports the fight for the independence of Puerto Rico.


  • 1895 February 24 Beginning of the Cuban war of independence, third war of this kind.
  • 1895 May 19 Death of José Martí.
  • 1896 December 7 Death of Antonio Maceo.



  • First US military occupation of Cuba.


  • May 20 Cuba declares independence although the country remains a US protectorate.


  • Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is established in the easternmost part of Cuba. Guantanamo bay is currently used to “interrogate” high-profile US detainees.


  • U.S. companies bought millions of dollars worth of Cuban land and Cuban banks, deepening U.S. control of the island.
  • 1906-1917 The U.S. military intervened several times to put down coups, uprisings and facilitate elections.
  • 1920-1921 Economic crisis due to the end of WWI.
  • 1923 Protest of the Thirteen  [ es ], led by Rubén Martínez Villena. Resurgence of the National Conscience.
  • 1924 General Gerardo Machado wins the 1925 elections and becomes constitutional president of Cuba.
  • 1925 The Communist Party of Cuba (now known as the Popular Socialist Party) was established.
  • 1928 Machado is reelected and forms a much stronger government, with the pretension of stay in power at least until 1935, in violation of the Constitution. Machado is supported by the US government.
  • 1929 Following the stock market crash, the price of sugar, a main export, falls. Economic strife fuels revolutionary fervor.
  • 1930-1932 Beginning of a more decided way of resistance against General Machado's increasing repression against the people.


  • August 12 Machado was overthrown by a General Strike, led by the Communist Party, under Villena's control.
  • US consul in Cuba names a new provisional president, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Quesada, son of the Founding Father, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes.
  • September 4 A revolutionary junta led by Sergeant Fulgencio Batista seizes control of Cuba.
  • September 10 Formation of the One Hundred Days Government, under the presidency of Dr. Ramón Grau San Martín.


  • January Colonel Batista overthrows President Grau and names a new government under his supervision, becoming the de facto ruler of Cuba. Villena dies of Tuberculosis.


  • March A new General Strike led by the Communist Party is defeated and massacred by Colonel Batista's troops.
  • May Antonio Guiteras, one of the main leaders of the strike, is murdered in a fight against Batista's army.
  • December Provisional President Carlos Mendieta resigns. José Agripino Barnet is named new President of Cuba.


  • May First Presidential elections since 1928. The winner is Miguel Mariano Gómez, who Batista worries will be too independent and resist his behind-the-scenes rule.
  • December Under pressure from Batista and the army, Congress impeaches Gómez and removes him from office. Vice-president Federico Laredo Brú becomes the new president.


  • Legalization of most of the political parties and an eventual end of the repression.


  • Constitutional Assembly. Proclamation of the new Cuban Constitution.


  • The Cuban Communist Party was legalized.




  • August Chibás commits suicide, but the Orthodox Party seems unstoppable. The next Presidential elections would be celebrated in June 1952.


  • March 10 General Batista organizes a Coup d'État, a few months before the elections and overthrows the corrupt government of President Carlos Prío.

During the Cuban Revolution


  • 26 July – Castro leads a ragtag group of 160 rebels in an attack against the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba.
  • 16 October – Fidel Castro makes "History Will Absolve Me" speech in his own defense against the charges brought on him after the attack on the Moncada Barracks.


  • 1954 September Che Guevara arrives in Mexico City.
  • 1954 November Batista dissolves parliament and is elected constitutional president without opposition.


  • 1955 May Fidel and surviving members of his movement are released from prison under an amnesty from Batista.
  • 1955 June Brothers Fidel and Raúl Castro are introduced to Che Guevara in Mexico City.


  • 1956 Nov 25 Fidel Castro, with some 80 insurgents including Raúl Castro, Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos set sail from Mexico for Cuba on the yacht Granma.
  • 1956 December 2 Granma lands in Oriente Province.


  • 1957 January 17, Castro's guerrillas score their first success by sacking an army outpost on the south coast, and started gaining followers in both Cuba and abroad.
  • 1957 March 13, University students mount an unsuccessful attack on the Presidential Palace in Havana. Cuban revolutionary leader José Antonio Echeverría is killed in the streets of Havana by police.
  • 1957 May 28, Castro's 26 July movement overwhelms an army post in El Uvero.
  • 1957 July 30 Cuban revolutionary leader Frank País is killed in the streets of Santiago de Cuba by police while campaigning for the overthrow of Batista's government


  • 1958 February Raúl Castro opens a front in the Sierra de Cristal on Oriente's north coast.
  • 1958 March 13 U.S. suspends shipments of arms to Batista's forces.
  • 1958 March 17 Castro calls for a general revolt.
  • 1958 April 9 a general strike, organized by the 26th of July movement, is partially observed.
  • 1958 May Batista sends an army of 10,000 into the Sierra Maestra to destroy Castro's 300 armed guerrillas. By August, the rebels had defeated the army's advance and captured a huge amount of arms.
  • 1958 November 1 A Cuban aircraft en route from Miami to Havana is hijacked by militants but crashes. The hijackers were trying to land at Sierra Cristal in Eastern Cuba to deliver weapons to Raúl Castro's rebels. It is the first of what was to become many Cuba-U.S. hijackings
  • 1958 December Guevara directs a rebel attack on Santa Clara
  • 1958 December 28 Guevara's guerrilla troops seize Santa Clara.
  • 1958 December 31 Camilo Cienfuegos leads revolutionary guerrillas to victory in Yaguajay.


  • 1959 January 1 Batista steps down and a civilian government takes control.
  • 1959 January 1 The Cuban revolutionaries call a General Strike to ensure governmental control [1]
  • 1959 January 2 Che Guevara's and Camilo Cienfuegos' troops arrive on Havana.
  • 1959 January 5 Manuel Urrutia is named President of Cuba.
  • 1959 January 9 Fidel arrives in Havana.

After the Revolution


  • January–February Many members of the Batista regime are judged, sentenced and executed by the new government. Many of these trials were held in stadiums with executions shortly after trial, with the accused denied legal counsel.
  • February 16 Fidel Castro is named Prime Minister of Cuba, in substitution of José Miró Cardona.
  • May 17 Fidel Castro signed the First Law of Agrarian Reform, giving new lands for the Cuban peasants who didn't have any.
  • July Failed attempt of invasion by the Dominican Republic's dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Manuel Urrutia is replaced as president by the communist lawyer Osvaldo Dorticós.
  • September–October Major Huber Matos unsuccessfully attempts to rise up his troops in Camagüey province, but he is arrested by Major Camilo Cienfuegos, who mysteriously disappears on October 28. December Raúl Roa becomes the new Chancellor of Cuba.


  • March 6 La Coubre cargo ship carrying ammunition and explosives explodes in Havana Bay, killing over 100 people. Fidel Castro accuses the CIA of orchestrating this without providing any proof. A few days later, Photographer Alberto Korda makes the famous Che Guevara picture during the memorial service for the victims of the explosion.
  • Many private companies are nationalized by the Revolutionary Government. Those who opposed the Revolutionary Government, began to flee the island, mostly to Florida. Some others, formed guerrilla groups in the forests and mountains. In the meanwhile, Cuba formed an alliance with the Soviet Union, at the peak of the Cold War.
  • October Majors William Morgan and Jesús Carreras are arrested for conspiracy.


  • March Former Majors William Morgan and Jesús Carreras are executed for high treason.
  • April Fidel Castro officially proclaims that "Cuba is a socialist country". The Bay of Pigs' invasion is defeated, being captured 1.197 of the 1.500 Cubans who invaded the island supported by the US Government. Former Mayor Humberto Sorí Marín is executed for attempt on sabotage.
  • December 22 Fidel Castro officially proclaims that Cuba is a "Country without alphabets".


  • Becomes more and more obvious that the US Government will invade Cuba with its army, so the Cuban Revolutionary Government ask for Soviet help.
  • October Cuban Missile Crisis: The world on the brink of nuclear war.


  • Second Law of Agrarian Reform is signed by the Revolutionary Government. Hurricane "Flora" destroyed the East of the country.


  • The attempts of Cuban Minister of Industries, Major Che Guevara, of industrializing the country failed.


  • January Former Major Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo is captured while attempting to form a new group to sabotage the economy of Cuba.
  • March Che Guevara leaves Cuba and goes to Congo, planning to start a new revolution there.
  • The last remains of anti-communist guerrilla groups are definitely defeated.


  • Che Guevara secretly returns to Cuba with the intention of marching to Bolivia, planning to start a new revolution there. He and most of his men were killed in Bolivia.


  • "Sovietization" of the Cuban Revolution. Repression against writers, actors, musicians, rockers, homosexuals, and anyone who follows the American Pop Culture. Standardization of the way of dressing and the hair style, etc.
  • 1973 August 6 Fulgencio Batista dies of a "heart attack" in Spain, where he had lived the remainder of his life in exile.
  • 1975-1976 Constitutional Assembly.
  • 1976 February 24 Proclamation of the new Cuban Socialist Constitution.
  • 1976 December Fidel Castro is elected the new President of Cuba.
  • 1977-1978 Cuban military intervention in Ethiopia.
  • 1980 April–October Mariel Exodus.


  • Economic "Golden Age" of the Cuban Revolution. Partial "liberalization" of the country. Cuban military interventions in Angola and Nicaragua.
  • 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev takes power in the Soviet Union.
  • 1989 General Ochoa's trials.


  • 1990-1994 The "Special Period": Collapse of the Soviet Union and the Cuban economy. Rafters' Crisis.
  • 1995-1999 Partial economic recovery and further "liberalization".


  • Fidel Castro proclaims the "Battle of Ideas", a new way of doing things and recovering the country's economic situation.


  • November Hurricane "Michelle" affected the country.


  • April Cuba fully supports Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez during the attempt of Coup d'État on his government.
  • September–October Hurricanes "Lily" and "Theodore" affected the country.


  • March–April Cuba prepares for a probable invasion by US troops, after the US invasion of Iraq.


  • Hurricane "Ivan" affected the country.


  • Beginning of the "Energetic Revolution", some sort of green revolution in Cuba.
  • September Hurricane "Wilma" affected the country.


  • July Fidel Castro leaves power temporarily in his Vice-president's hands, General Raúl Castro.


  • February 24 Raúl Castro becomes officially the new President of Cuba.
  • August–September Hurricanes "Gustav", "Ike" and "Paloma" affected the country.



  • The Cuban Revolutionary Government decides to create two new provinces for the country: Artemisa and Mayabeque.


  • April Raúl Castro impulsed the "Actualization of the Economic and Social Model", similar of what China and Vietnam have done since the 1980s.
  • July President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez is operate for the first time, due to his cancer.


  • Hurricane "Sandy" affected the country.
  • December President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez goes to Cuba to be operated again.



  • Cuban Thaw: Two and a half years of relatively normal relationships between Cuba and the US.
  • 2016 October Hurricane "Matthew" affected the country.
  • 2016 November 25 Death of Fidel Castro.
  • 2017 June American President Donald Trump puts an end to the Cuban Thaw.
  • 2017 September Hurricane "Irma" affected the country.


  • April 19 Miguel Díaz-Canel becomes the new President of Cuba.
  • October 10 President Díaz-Canel and General Raúl Castro celebrated the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, 150 years ago (1868).


  • February 24 National Referendum of the new Cuban Constitution.
  • April 10 Proclamation of the new Cuban Constitution.


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fulgencio Batista</span> President of Cuba, 1940–1944; dictator, 1952–1959

Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar was a Cuban military officer and politician who served as the elected president of Cuba from 1940 to 1944 and as a military dictator from 1952 to 1959, until he was overthrown in the Cuban Revolution.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Raúl Castro</span> Leader of Cuba from 2011 to 2021

Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz is a Cuban retired politician and general who served as the first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, the most senior position in the one-party communist state, from 2011 to 2021, and President of Cuba between 2008 and 2018, succeeding his brother Fidel Castro.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cuban Revolution</span> 1953–59 rebellion against the Cuban government led by Fidel Castro

The Cuban Revolution was a military and political effort to overthrow the government of Cuba between 1953 and 1959. It began after the 1952 Cuban coup d'état which placed Fulgencio Batista as head of state and the failed mass strike in opposition that followed. After failing to contest Batista in court, Fidel Castro organized an armed attack on the Cuban military's Moncada Barracks on July 26, 1953. The rebels were arrested and while in prison formed the 26th of July Movement. After gaining amnesty the M-26-7 rebels organized an expedition from Mexico on the Granma yacht to invade Cuba. In the following years the M-26-7 rebel army would slowly defeat the Cuban army in the countryside, while its urban wing would engage in sabotage and rebel army recruitment. Over time the originally critical and ambivalent Popular Socialist Party would come to support the 26th of July Movement in late 1958. By the time the rebels were to oust Batista the revolution was being driven by the Popular Socialist Party, 26th of July Movement, and the Revolutionary Directorate of March 13.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Camilo Cienfuegos</span> Cuban revolutionary fighter and guerilla (1933–1959)

Camilo Cienfuegos Gorriarán was a Cuban revolutionary. One of the major figures of the Cuban Revolution, he was widely considered second only to Fidel Castro among the revolutionary leadership.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Landing of the Granma</span> Invasion of Cuba done by a single yacht in the Cuban revolution

Granma is a yacht that was used to transport 82 fighters of the Cuban Revolution from Mexico to Cuba in November 1956 to overthrow the regime of Fulgencio Batista. The 60-foot diesel-powered vessel was built in 1943 by Wheeler Shipbuilding of Brooklyn, New York, as a light armored target practice boat, US Navy C-1994, and modified postwar to accommodate 12 people. "Granma", in English, is an affectionate term for a grandmother; the yacht is said to have been named for the previous owner's grandmother.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">26th of July Movement</span> Cuban political organization

The 26th of July Movement was a Cuban vanguard revolutionary organization and later a political party led by Fidel Castro. The movement's name commemorates the failed 1953 attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba, part of an attempt to overthrow the dictator Fulgencio Batista.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado</span> President of Cuba from 1959 to 1976

Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado was a Cuban politician who served as the president of Cuba from 1959 to 1976. He was a close ally of Cuban revolutionary and longtime leader Fidel Castro.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Manuel Urrutia Lleó</span> President of Cuba from January to July 1959

Manuel Urrutia Lleó was a liberal Cuban lawyer and politician. He campaigned against the Gerardo Machado government and the dictatorial second presidency of Fulgencio Batista during the 1950s, before serving as president in the revolutionary government of 1959. Urrutia resigned his position after only seven months, owing to a series of disputes with revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, and emigrated to the United States shortly afterward.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Huber Matos</span>

Huber Matos Benítez was a Cuban military leader, political dissident, activist, and writer. He opposed the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista from its inception in 1952 and fought alongside Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos and other members of the 26th of July Movement to overthrow it. Following the success of the Cuban Revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power, he criticized the regime's shift in favor of Marxist principles and ties to the Popular Socialist Party (PSP). Convicted of treason and sedition by the revolutionary government, he spent 20 years in prison (1959–1979) before being released in 1979. He then divided his time between Miami, Florida, and Costa Rica while continuing to protest the policies of the Cuban government.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">La Cabaña</span> 18th-century fortress complex un Havana, Cuba

Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, colloquially known as La Cabaña, is an 18th-century fortress complex, the third-largest in the Americas, located on the elevated eastern side of the harbor entrance in Havana, Cuba. The fort rises above the 60-meter (200 ft) hilltop, along with Morro Castle. The fort is part of the Old Havana World Heritage Site which was created in 1982.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Alexander Morgan</span> American revolutionary

William Alexander Morgan was an American-born Cuban guerilla commander who fought in the Cuban Revolution, leading a band of rebels that drove the Cuban army from key positions in the central mountains as part of Second National Front of Escambray, thereby helping to pave the way for Fidel Castro's forces to secure victory. Morgan was one of about two dozen U.S. citizens to fight in the revolution and one of only three foreign nationals to hold the rank of comandante in the rebel forces. In the years after the revolution, Morgan became disenchanted with Castro's turn to communism and he became one of the leaders of the CIA-supplied Escambray rebellion. In 1961, he was arrested by the Cuban government and, after a military trial, executed by firing squad in the presence of Fidel and Raúl Castro.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Juan Almeida Bosque</span>

Juan Almeida Bosque was a Cuban politician and one of the original commanders of the insurgent forces in the Cuban Revolution. After the rebels took power in 1959, he was a prominent figure in the Communist Party of Cuba. At the time of his death, he was a Vice-President of the Cuban Council of State and was its third ranking member. He received several decorations, and national and international awards, including the title of "Hero of the Republic of Cuba" and the Order of Máximo Gómez.

The military history of Cuba begins with the island's conquest by the Spanish and its battles afterward to gain its independence. After the Communist takeover by Fidel Castro in 1959, Cuba became involved in many major conflicts of the Cold War in Africa and the Middle East, where it supported Marxist governments and fought against Western proxies. Castro's Cuba had some 39,000–40,000 military personnel abroad by the late 1970s, with the bulk of the forces in Sub-Saharan Africa but with some 1,365 stationed in the Middle East and North Africa. Cuban forces in Africa were mainly black and mulatto.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Che Guevara</span> Argentine-Cuban Marxist revolutionary (1928–1967)

Ernesto "Che" Guevara was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia in popular culture.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">José Ramón Machado Ventura</span> Cuban revolutionary and politician

José Ramón Machado Ventura is a Cuban revolutionary and politician who was the First Vice President of the Council of State of Cuba from 2008 to 2013. With the election of Raúl Castro as President of Cuba on 24 February 2008, Machado was elected to succeed him as First Vice President, serving until 2013. He was elected Second Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba in 2011.

Norberto Collado Abreu was the Cuban captain and helmsman of the yacht Granma, which brought Fidel Castro and 81 other rebels to Cuba from Tuxpan, Veracruz, Mexico, in 1956. The 1956 landing of Castro from the Granma in eastern Cuba began the Cuban Revolution which resulted in the termination of President Fulgencio Batista's government in 1959.

The Cuban communist revolutionary and politician Fidel Castro took part in the Cuban Revolution from 1953 to 1959. Following on from his early life, Castro decided to fight for the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista's military junta by founding a paramilitary organization, "The Movement". In July 1953, they launched a failed attack on the Moncada Barracks, during which many militants were killed and Castro was arrested. Placed on trial, he defended his actions and provided his famous "History Will Absolve Me" speech, before being sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment in the Model Prison on the Isla de Pinos. Renaming his group the "26th of July Movement" (MR-26-7), Castro was pardoned by Batista's government in May 1955, claiming they no longer considered him a political threat while offering to give him a place in the government, but he refused. Restructuring the MR-26-7, he fled to Mexico with his brother Raul Castro, where he met with Argentine Marxist-Leninist Che Guevara, and together they put together a small revolutionary force intent on overthrowing Batista.

The Progressive Action Party was a Cuban political party led by Fulgencio Batista. The party was founded on 1 April 1949, in the aftermath of the 1948 general elections, under the name of Unitary Action Party. It presented its first manifesto a few months later, on 1 August. In 1952, certain to lose the election, Batista made a coup d'etat by seizing the Presidency.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Consolidation of the Cuban Revolution</span> Period of Cuban history (1959–1970)

The consolidation of the Cuban Revolution is a period in Cuban history typically defined as starting in the aftermath of the revolution in 1959 and ending in the first congress of the Communist Party of Cuba 1975, which signified the final political solidification of the Cuban revolutionaries' new government. The period encompasses early domestic reforms, human rights violations continuing under the new regime, growing international tensions, and politically climaxed with the failure of the 1970 sugar harvest.

<i>Cuba de ayer</i>

The idea of the Cuba de ayer is a mythologized idyllic view of Cuba before the overthrow of the Batista government in the Cuban Revolution. This idealized vision of pre-revolutionary Cuba typically reinforces the ideas that Cuba before 1959 was an elegant, sophisticated, and largely white country that was ruined by the government of Fidel Castro. The Cuban exiles who fled after 1959 are viewed as majorly white, and had no general desire to leave Cuba but did so to flee tyranny. Cuban exiles who uphold this image of the Cuba de ayer view their version of Cuban culture as more desirable than American culture, and that it is best to recreate their lost culture of the Cuba de ayer in the United States. Proponents of the image of the Cuba de ayer also view Cuba as a more worthy country to live in than the United States and hope to return Cuba to the Cuba de ayer after the hoped for fall of the government of Fidel Castro. Critics of the idea of the Cuba de ayer claim it is a nationalist myth created for white Cuban exiles that ignores the reality of Cuban life before 1959, and embraces an exotic vision of Cuba.


  1. Cooke, Alistair (January 2, 1959). "Castro in control of Cuba". www.theguardian.com. The Guardian. | 1950-1959 | Guardian Century Archives. Retrieved 2023-04-04.


Cuba: Timeline of a revolution by Al Jazeera English