Cuba was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Subsequently the Island was invaded and colonized by the Spaniards. Most aboriginal groups such as the Ciboney, Taino and Guanahatabey that inhabited the Island were eliminated or died of diseases brought by the Spaniards. For many centuries the Island was neglected and was basically a stopping point for the Spanish fleet in transit to Spain from visiting the New world.
Eventually Cuba became the major sugar producer in the world. With the slave trade sugar supplanted tobacco and prosperity soon would replace poverty. While most of Latin America would soon break away from Spain Cuba remained loyal.
Soon the US would claim Cuba during the Spanish-American War of 1898, Independence from the US was gained by 1902. During the years of 1953-1959 Cuba was governed by US backed Fulgencio Batista. In 1959 Fidel Castro lead the Revolution and subsequently declared Cuba a Socialist State in 1961 and remained in power until in 2008 when he relinquished power to Raul Castro who is still in command today.