Birth name: Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz
Father: Angel Castro, wealthy landowner
Mother: Lina Ruz, cook and maid to Angel Castro’s first wife
Marriage: Dalia Soto del Valle (date unavailable-November 25, 2016, his death); Mirta Diaz-Balart (October 12, 1948-1955, divorced)
Children: with Natalia Revuelta: Alina; with unknown woman: Jorge Angel; with Dalia Soto del Valle: Alexis, Alexander, Antonio, Alejandro, Angel; with Mirta Diaz-Balart: Fidel “Fidelito”
Education: Colegio Dolores in Santiago de Cuba, 1942; Colegio Belen in Havana, 1945; University of Havana, doctorate in 1950
Led the overthrow of the Batista dictatorship of Cuba in 1959.
Made Cuba the first Communist country in the Western Hemisphere.
Brought social reforms to Cuba, but was criticized for oppressing human rights and freedom of speech.
During his time in office, thousands of Cubans sought exile in the United States.
1947 – Castro participates in an unsuccessful rebellion in the Dominican Republic against Generalissimo Rafael Trujillo.
1952 – Castro runs for parliament. The government is overthrown on March 10, 1952, by Fulgencio Batista, and the elections are suspended.
July 26, 1953 – 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.
December 2, 1956 – Eighty-two exiles land in Cuba, on a yacht named Granma. Most are killed immediately. The survivors, including Guevara and the Castros, flee to the Sierra Maestra Mountains. Between 1957 and 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.
January 2, 1959 – Manuel Urrutia is named the new president. Jose Miro Cardona is appointed prime minister.
February 16, 1959 – Castro takes over as prime minister.
April 15-26, 1959 – Castro visits the United States.
April 17, 1961 – A group of approximately 1,300 Cuban exiles land at Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs). Armed with US weapons, they make an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Castro. The survivors are released in December 1962, in exchange for $53 million in food and medicine.
May 1962 – A Soviet delegation visits Cuba. During the visit, Soviet officials meet with Castro to discuss installing nuclear missiles in Cuba.
December 3, 1976 – Castro becomes president of the State Council. This new title replaces the posts of president and prime minister.
April-September 1980 – Some 125,000 Cubans immigrate to the United States. This exodus becomes known as the Mariel Boatlift.
June 23, 2001 – Appears ill during a speech and is helped from the podium.
Spring 2003 – Castro cracks down on dissidents, giving long sentences to 75 arrested activists.
October 20, 2004 – After delivering a speech, Castro falls while leaving the podium.
July 31, 2006 – A statement read on Cuban TV announces that Castro is undergoing intestinal surgery and has provisionally handed over power to his brother Raul. The arrangement is expected to last for several weeks while Castro recuperates.
June 3, 2007 – Castro is shown on Cuban TV standing and greeting a visitor.
October 29, 2007 – Castro publishes his autobiography, “My Life,” in the United Kingdom. The book contains a series of interviews done with journalist Ignacio Ramonet. The book is released in the US in early 2008.
March 22, 2011 – In an essay published in Cuban state media, Castro writes that he resigned as head of the Communist party when he fell ill on July 31, 2006, and never tried to resume his position.
February 3, 2012 – Castro publishes a two-volume memoir of his life, “Fidel Castro Ruz: Guerrilla of Time,” based on conversations with the journalist Katiuska Blanco.
March 2, 2015 – Cuba’s state-run press publishes photos of Castro speaking with five Cuban intelligence agents recently released by the United States in a prisoner swap.