Significant milestones in the life of Fidel Castro
August 13, 1926: Fidel Alejandro Vittore Castro Ruz is born in Biran, eastern Cuba. He was the third of seven children to a Spanish immigrant landowner and a Cuban woman, who was the housekeeper of the landowner’s family.
1945 – 50: Castro studies law at the University of Havana, graduating with a law degree in 1950.
1948 (Oct 18); Castro marries Mirta Diaz-Balart.
1953 (July 26) : Leads an attack on Santiago de Cuba’s Moncada military barracks. The attack failed and Castro is arrested sentenced to 15-yrs in prison. He is released in 1955 and leaves for Mexico where with other Cuban exiles he starts the July 26 movement named after the failed attack.
1956 (Dec 2) : Castro launches a 25-month-long military campaign in the Sierra Maestra mountains.
1959 (Jan 1): After his defeat at the Battle of Santa Clara in December 1958, Cuban Dictator Fulgencio Batista flees the country. Castro makes a victorious entry into Havana on January 8, assumes the role of Commander-in-Chief and is appointed prime minister in February.
1959 (April 15 -27)- Castro meets with US Vice President Richard Nixon in the United States.
1960: Castro establishes diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.
1961: The United States severs diplomatic relations with Cuba.
1961(April 17 to 20): Cuban forces defeat 1,400 anti-Castro fighters in the US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion.
1961 (May1-Mayday): Castro officially announces Cuba is a Socialist estate.
1962 (February 13): US President John F. Kennedy decrees a trade embargo against Cuba.
1962 (October): The Soviet Union deploys nuclear missiles in Cuba. President Kennedy establishes a naval/military blockade to prevent further missiles entering Cuba. After a tense period of four days, Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev agrees to withdraw the missiles from Cuba based on guarantees from the United States that it would not invade Cuba.
1963 (April): Castro makes his first visit to the Soviet Union.
1965: Castro founds the Communist Party of Cuba, and becomes its leader.
1975: Castro sends troops to help Angola independence fighters, and signal his opposition to apartheid in neighboring South Africa.
1980: Approves the exodus of some 125,000 Cuban refugees from the Cuban Port of Mariel to the US in what is known historically as the “Mariel Boatlift.”.
1990: The Soviet Union collapses, and Cuba loses significant support from its former ally. This results in Cuba experiencing severe economic difficulties without Soviet financial aid.
1995: Castro visits China for the first time.
1998: Welcomes Pope John Paul II on his historic visit to Cuba.
1999: Launches a successful campaign for the return of six-year-old Cuban shipwreck survivor Elian Gonzalez from Florida.
2006 (July 31): Castro is diagnosed with an intestinal illness, has surgery and temporarily transfers power to his brother, and Chief of Defense Raul Castro, 75.
2008 (Feb): Fidel officially resigns as Cuban President and Raul Castro is named president and head of the Cuban Communist Party.
2008 – 2016 – Fidel Castro in retirement makes occasional public appearances in Cuba, but spend most of his time indoors writing a series of newspaper columns, and meeting visiting foreign dignitaries.
2016 (Nov 25): Fidel Castro dies aged 90, Raul Castro announces his death shortly after midnight on November 26.