Timeline of the Cuban Revolution

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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 rebels, led by Che Guevara and Fidel Castro's surrogates Raúl Castro and Huber Matos, respectively .


Before the Revolution[edit]


  • The United States takes control of Cuba after Spain was defeated in the Spanish–American War and cedes all claims to the island.


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


  • US companies bought millions of dollars worth of Cuban land.
  • The US military intervened several times to put down coups, uprisings and facilitate elections.
  • The Cuban Communist Party was established.
  • Following the stock market crash, the price of sugar, a main export, falls. Economic strife fuels revolutionary fervor.


  • A revolutionary junta led by military officer Fulgencio Batista seizes control of Cuba.


  • The US ambassador to Cuba reports that the new government is very unpopular "with all the better classes" and supported by the military only.


  • The Cuban Communist Party was legalized.


  • Batista steps down and a civilian government takes control.



  • 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.
  • 1957 May 28, Castro's 26 July movement overwhelm an army post in El Uvero.
  • 1957 July 30 Cuban revolutionary Frank País is killed in the streets of Santiago de Cuba by police while campaigning for the overthrow of Batista 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.


Cuba: Timeline of a revolution by Al Jazeera English