March 10, 1952: A few weeks before the presidential election, Gen. Fulgencio Batista leads a coup that overthrows elected President Carlos Prio Socarras. (1)
July 26, 1953: Lawyer Fidel Castro leads a group of rebels in an attack on the Moncada army barracks in Santiago de Cuba. The death toll: 69 attackers, 19 soldiers and police. Castro escapes, but is later arrested, tried and jailed. (2)
1955: Castro is freed under a general amnesty issued by Batista, and goes into exile in Mexico.
Nov. 25, 1956: Castro leaves Mexico with 81 followers aboard the yacht Granma. After a disastrous landing at Las Coloradas beach in Cuba's Oriente province Dec. 2, he escapes army pursuit and reaches the Sierra Maestra with a handful of survivors. From the mountains, he directs a guerrilla campaign against Batista that grows into a major insurrection with strong popular support.(5)
March 1958: U.S. government suspends all arms shipments to Batista.
November 1958: Batista's candidate for president, Andrés Rivero Aguero, wins an election widely regarded as rigged.
December 1958: U.S. Ambassador Earl T. Smith tells Batista the United States will not back his government or his successor's. He advises Batista to leave Cuba.
Jan. 1: Batista resigns and flees Cuba. The first exodus of refugees, mostly wealthy and upper-class Cubans, begins arriving in Miami. (3)
Jan. 5: Castro designates Manuel Urrutia as acting president, becomes commander in chief of the armed forces. (6)
Jan. 8: Castro leads victorious rebel troops into Havana. (4)
Feb. 16: Castro becomes prime minister. Summary executions begin for hundreds of people he calls ''war criminals.'' (7)
April 16-17: Castro visits the United States, denies any communist influence in his government. He says Cuba will not confiscate foreigners' properties and promises to hold free elections. Meets Vice President Richard Nixon, says he wants good relations with the United States.
April: Cuban-organized expeditions land in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua and Panama to fight against rightist dictators Rafael Trujillo, Francois ''Papa Doc'' Duvalier, Anastasio Somoza and Panama President Ernesto de la Guardia. All are defeated.
May 17: National Institute of Agrarian Reform expropriates all private land holdings over 3,200 acres.
July 17-18: Urrutia resigns and Castro names lawyer Osvaldo Dorticos to succeed him.
Oct. 28: Camilo Cienfuegos, one of the most popular heroes of the revolution, disappears on a flight from Camagüey to Havana. (9)
Feb. 4-13: Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Anastas Mikoyan visits Cuba and signs an agreement to buy 5 million tons of sugar over five years.
March: French cargo ship Le Coubre, laden with Soviet-bloc weapons and ammunition for Cuba, blows up in Havana harbor with heavy loss of life. Castro blames ''functionaries of the north American government.'' (10)
April: Government begins assuming control of news media. Eventually, all media would come under government control.
May 7: Cuba establishes diplomatic relations with Soviet Union.
May 27: United States suspends economic aid to Cuba.
June 29-July 1: Cuba nationalizes U.S. and British oil companies because they refuse to refine Soviet oil.
July 6: United States cuts Cuba's sugar quota for 1960 by 700,000 tons. Cuban government orders the expropriation of all U.S.-owned sugar refineries on the island.