Here are some key dates in Cuba since Fidel Castro came to power in January 1959:
Jan. 1, 1959 — Castro's rebels take power as dictator Fulgencio Batista flees Cuba.
Jan. 7, 1959 — The United States recognizes the new Cuban government.
May 8, 1960 — Diplomatic relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union resume.
Oct. 19, 1960 — Washington bans exports to Cuba, other than food and medicine.
Jan. 3, 1961 — U.S. breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba after Cuban government demands a drastic reduction in U.S. Embassy staff within 48 hours.
April 16, 1961 — Castro declares Cuba a socialist state.
April 17, 1961 — Bay of Pigs: CIA-backed Cuban exiles stage failed invasion.
Feb, 7, 1962 — Washington bans all Cuban imports.
Oct. 14-26, 1962 — U.S. blockade forces removal of Soviet nuclear missiles from Cuba. U.S. President John F. Kennedy agrees privately not to invade Cuba.
Mar. 13, 1968 — Castro's government takes over almost all private businesses under the banner of the Great Revolutionary Offensive.
April 1980 — Mariel boatlift: Cuba says anyone can leave; some 125,000 Cubans flee.
December 1991 — Collapse of Soviet Union devastates Cuban economy.
August 1994 — Castro declares he will not stop Cubans trying to leave; some 40,000 take to sea heading for United States.
Nov. 19, 1996 — Pope John Paul II receives Castro at the Vatican. The Pope accepts an invitation to visit Cuba.
July 31, 2006 — Castro announces he has had an operation, temporarily cedes power to his brother Raul.
Feb. 19, 2008 — Castro resigns as president.
July 2010 — Castro re-emerges after years in seclusion, visiting a scientific institute, giving a TV interview, talking to academics and even taking in a dolphin show at the aquarium.
April 19, 2011 — Castro is replaced by his brother Raul as first secretary of the Communist Party, the last official post he held. The elder Castro made a brief appearance at the Congress.
April 19, 2016 —Castro delivers a valedictory speech at the Communist Party's seventh Congress, declaring that "soon I'll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban Communists will remain."
Nov. 25, 2016 — Fidel Castro dies.
Information from The Associated Press and the U.S. Embassy was used in this report.
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