Havana | Key events in the life of longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro, whose death at 90 was announced on Saturday.
August 13, 1926: Castro is born in Biran, eastern Cuba, the third of seven children, son of a Spanish immigrant landowner and a Cuban mother who had been the family housekeeper. A fine student, Fidel was sent away from the farm to be schooled by Jesuits in Santiago.
July 26, 1953: Leads a failed attack on Santiago de Cuba’s Moncada military barracks. Castro is arrested and dozens of his men are jailed.
December 2, 1956: After setting off from Mexico, lands in southeastern Cuba on the ship Granma with 81 fighters and launches a 25-month-long military campaign in the Sierra Maestra mountains.
January 1, 1959: Dictator Fulgencio Batista flees the country. Castro makes a victorious entry into Havana on January 8 and is appointed prime minister in February.
April 15-27, 1959: Meets US Vice President Richard Nixon in the United States.
1960: Establishes diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.
1961: The US severs diplomatic relations with Cuba.
April 17-19, 1961: Defeats 1,400 anti-Castro fighters in the US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion.
February 13, 1962: US President John F. Kennedy decrees an embargo against Cuba.
October 1962: The Soviet Union deploys missiles in Cuba but eventually agrees to withdraw them in exchange for guarantees the United States would not invade Cuba.
April 1963: Castro makes his first visit to the Soviet Union.
1965: Castro founds the Communist Party of Cuba.
1975: Sends troops to help Angola independence fighters.
1980: Gives green light to refugee exodus of 125,000 on the so-called Mariel boatlift to the United States.
1990: Cuba plunges into extreme economic difficulties following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
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.
March 2003: Orders the arrest of 75 opposition leaders.
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