Cuba was one of the colonies of the Spanish Empire for over several centuries. The USS Maine was at Havana Harbor when it exploded and war sunk, which brought the United States into war with Spain. Following American victory during the war, Spain ceded Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States. Cuba gained formal independence from the U.S. on May 20, 1902, as the Republic of Cuba. Under Cuba's new constitution, the U.S. retained the right to intervene in Cuban affairs and to supervise its finances and foreign relations. Under the Platt Amendment, the U.S. leased the Guantánamo Bay naval base from Cuba. From the early 1900s to the 1930s, the Cuban government was marked with political strife due to corruption. In 1933, Fulgencio Batista became the ruler of the country. In 1940, a new constitution was put in place. During the Second World War, Cuba was a strategic location for the United States Navy and their Lend-Lease Program to Europe. During the 1950s, Batista had became unpopular to the Cuban people, where he was overthrown in 1959 by the July 26 Movement led by Fidel Castro. Castro would then become the President of the communist Cuba. The United States unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow his regime in 1961 during the Bay of Pigs Invasion. The following year, the U.S. would impose a naval quarantine of the island following the discovery of Soviet nuclear missiles in what is now known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. The crisis was thankfully averted through 13 days of tough negotiation on both sides.
Cuba would then assist the Soviet Union through communist insurgencies occurring in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. The communist nation would continue this stance up until the Third World War.
World War III
Cuba entered the war as an ally of the Soviet Union and promptly invaded the Bahamas, Haiti, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the uninhabited U.S.-claimed Navassa Island. Cuba would also launch air attacks to the state of Florida and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, but failed to capture any territory. Because the country invaded the TCI, the United Kingdom declared war on Cuba and sent additional troops to Bermuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. This was happening when the Soviet Navy was striking coastal cities and U.S. navy bases on the East Coast in order to provide a distraction for U.S. forces defending the mainland. The naval base in Guantanamo Bay was constantly attacked by the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces but was also never penetrated. The U.S. troops there would continue to hold out until the Allied Invasion of Cuba, in what is known as the Siege of Guantanamo Bay.
As the war turned its favor on the Allied Forces, the island endured naval bombardment from the U.S. Navy, the Royal Navy, and the Mexican Navy. Following the bombardment, the Allies proceeded to invade the island, overthrow the communist regime, capture Fidel Castro, and restore a democratic government to the island nation. Fidel Castro was ironically imprisoned as a POW in the Guantanamo Bay prison facility along with other Cuban soldiers captured. Castro's brother, Raul, became the interim president and sued for peace with the U.S. He was present of the signing of the peace treaty in Geneva, Switzerland which ended World War III.
Cuba became a democratic state again after the war. The country re-established relations with the United States, eventually becoming one its largest trading partners in the Caribbean. Castro was given amnesty and was released in 1997 where he lived the remaining days of his life in his hometown. He remained an outspoken critic of the current administration that sued for peace and trade with the West. The island is also a popular tourist destination among Western foreigners. Because it has opened trade with the world, the country has recently had an increase in modern automobiles.
On November 25, 2016, Fidel Castro died at the age of 90. His death was met with mixed reactions worldwide.