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Cuba Fast Facts

March 3, 2014 -- Updated 2105 GMT (0505 HKT)

(CNN) -- Here's a look at what you need need to know about Cuba, a communist country located in the Caribbean Sea, approximately 90 miles south of Florida.

About Cuba:
(from the CIA World Factbook)

Area: 110,860 sq km (slightly smaller than Pennsylvania)

Population: 11,061,886 (July 2013 est.)

Median age: 39.5 years

Capital: Havana

Ethnic Groups: white 65.1%, mulatto and mestizo 24.8%, black 10.1% (2002 census)

GDP: $121 billion (2012 est.)

GDP per capita: $10,200 (2010 est.)

Unemployment: 3.8% (2012 est.)

Other Facts:
Before the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Cuba was receiving subsidies worth $4-$6 billion a year.

The United States pays Cuba approximately $4,085 a year to lease the 45 square miles that the Guantánamo Bay Naval Station occupies. Cuba has not accepted the payment since 1959.

In 2013, the U.S. Coast Guard stopped approximately 1,357 Cuban migrants attempting to reach the U.S.

Timeline:
1492 - Explorer Christopher Columbus lands on the island of Cuba and claims it for Spain. Spain controls the island until 1898, making it a hub for the slave trade and the export of sugar and coffee.

1898 - The U.S. assists Cubans in winning independence from Spain during the Spanish-American War. The Treaty of Paris gives the U.S. temporary control of Cuba.

1902 - Cuba gains independence from the U.S.

1903 - The new Republic of Cuba leases 45 square miles of land in Guantánamo Bay to the U.S. for construction of a naval station. Building on the naval station begins that same year.

1952 - Former President Fulgencio Batista stages a coup with the support of the army, and assumes power.

July 26, 1953 - Fidel Castro and approximately 150 others attack the Moncada military barracks in Santiago de Cuba in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Batista regime.

October 16, 1953 - Castro is sentenced to 15 years in prison.

May 15, 1955 - Castro and his brother, Raul, are released as part of a general amnesty for political prisoners.

December 2, 1956 - Eighty-two exiles land in Cuba, on a yacht named Granma. Most are killed immediately. The survivors, including the Castros, flee to the Sierra Maestra Mountains. During 1957-1958, they wage a guerrilla campaign from this base, which includes skirmishes with government troops and burning sugar crops.

January 1, 1959 - Batista is overthrown by Castro's forces.

1960 - Cuba nationalizes approximately $1 billion of U.S. owned property on the island. In response, the U.S. places a trade embargo on Cuba.

January 1961 - The U.S. and Cuba end diplomatic relations.

April 1961 - The U.S. backs Cuban exiles in an unsuccessful attempt to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs.

October 1962 - The U.S. discovers that the Soviet Union is building missile installations in Cuba. The standoff ends with the Soviet Union withdrawing the missiles and the U.S. promising not to invade Cuba.

1977 - The U.S. Interests Section in Havana is opened.

April-September 1980 - Fidel Castro allows anyone who wants to leave Cuba to freely depart from the port of Mariel, Cuba. Approximately 124,000 Cuban migrants enter the United States.

October 1983 - U.S. troops invade the Caribbean island of Grenada, after a group of military officers aligned with Cuba stage a coup.

1994 - The U.S. and Cuba sign an agreement designed to halt the flow of illegal aliens from Cuba to the U.S.

1996 - U.S. President Bill Clinton signs the Helms-Burton Act into law, tightening sanctions against Cuba.

January 1998 - Pope John Paul II visits Cuba.

1999 - U.S. President Bill Clinton eases travel restrictions to Cuba.

November 1999 - Five-year-old Elian Gonzalez is found in the water between Cuba and Florida, the only survivor of a group attempting to reach the U.S. by boat. A long custody battle between Gonzalez' father in Cuba and relatives in Florida strains relations between Cuba and the U.S. The standoff ends with U.S. federal agents forcibly removing the boy from his great-uncle's home. Gonzalez and his father return to Cuba in June 2000.

2002 - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter visits Cuba, the first former or sitting president to visit the island since 1928.

July 31, 2006 - A statement read on Cuban TV announces that Fidel Castro is undergoing intestinal surgery and has provisionally handed over power to his younger brother,Raul.

February 19, 2008 - Due to ailing health, Fidel Castro announces his resignation as president in a letter published in the middle of the night in the online version of Cuba's state-run newspaper, Granma.

February 24, 2008 - Raul Castro is chosen by Cuba's National Assembly to be the country's new president.

December 2009 - American Alan Gross is jailed while working as a subcontractor on a U.S. Agency for International Development project aimed at spreading democracy. His actions are deemed illegal by Cuban authorities. He is accused of trying set up illegal Internet connections on the island. Gross says he was trying to help connect the Jewish community to the Internet and was not a threat to the government.

February 24, 2013 - Raul Castro is re-elected to a second five-year term. Later during a nationally televised speech, Castro announces that he will step down from power in 2018 when his term is over.

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