Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Cuba on October 28, 1492 during his voyage to the west. In honor of the daughter of Ferdinand V and Isabella I of Spain, he named it after their daughter, which the name was Juana. It then eventually became known as Cuba, from its original name Cubanascan.

Shortly after, cattle ranching quickly became the mainstay of the economy of Cuba. Large estates then were built on the island under the encomienda system, which is enslaving the Indians under the pretext of offering instruction in Christianity. After the amblolishment of the Indians only 5000 Indians survived. After the Indians passed away the Cubans then brought in African slaves as replacements.

By the 17th century, Eurporeans were beginning to challenge Spain's grip of Cuba. British troops then entered Cuba in June of 1762 and occupied Havana for 11 months. The British then imported more African slaves, which then Cuba began to grow.

Tobacco was the island's largest growth as well as sugar. By 1820 Cuba was the largest sugar producers. In 1868, planter Carlos Manuel launched Cuba's First War of Independence. After 10 years, and the killing of 200,000, the rebels were sent and a pact was signed granting them amnesty.

In March of 1952 former president Batista, suspended the constitution, diminished the congress, and instituted a provisional government, promising elections the next year. In the mid-1950's the Batista government instituted a economic development program, that together stabilization of the sugar price, improved the economic outlook of Cuba. However, on Decemeber 2, 1956, Castro with some other 80 congruents invaded that to happen.The force was crushed by the army, but Castro escaped into the mountains, where he organized the 26th of July Movement, so called to commemorate the 1953 uprising. For the next year Castro's forces, using guerrilla tactics, opposed the Batista government and won considerable popular support. On March 17, 1958, Castro called for a general revolt. His forces made steady gains through the remainder of the year, and on January 1, 1959, Batista resigned and fled the country. A provisional government was established. Castro, although he initially renounced office, became premier in mid-February. In the early weeks of the regime military tribunals tried many former Batista associates, and some 550 were executed (Encarta, 1997).

Created by Donna Dixon

Email Me donnad@ufl.edu

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