Republic consisting of the island of Cuba and other nearby islands. It lies in the Caribbean Sea at the entrance of the Gulf of Mexico. Its capital and largest city is Havana.
Note: The sinking of the United States battleship Maine in Havana harbor led to the Spanish-American War in 1898.
Note: Fidel Castro took control of the Cuban government in 1959. The United States broke off relations with Cuba in 1961, after Castro exhibited strong left-wing leanings, established a system of military justice, and confiscated American investments in banks, industries, and land. Cuba then formed a close attachment to the Soviet Union.
Note: In 1961, under the administration of John F. Kennedy, American-trained Cuban exiles attempted to invade Cuba, landing at the Bay of Pigs, only to be easily defeated by Castro's forces. The Kennedy administration was sharply criticized for the Bay of Pigs fiasco.
Note: The Cuban missile crisis of 1962 occurred as a result of a Soviet buildup of medium-range missiles (capable of striking targets in the United States) in Cuba.
Note: In 1980, Cuban refugees began pouring into the United States when Castro allowed free emigration.
Note: The collapse of communism in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union has left Cuba as one of the last communist states.