Havana in History

Historical Events

  • 1515-08-25 Conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar founds Havana in modern day Cuba, on the southern coast of the island. Moved to its current location in 1519.
  • 1519-11-16 City of Havana moved to its current location to avoid mosquito infestations
  • 1762-08-14 English fleet occupies Havana
  • 1863-03-21 Naval Engagement at Havana, Cuba: USS Henrick Hudson vs Confederate blokcade runner Wild Pigeon
  • 1898-02-15 USS Maine sinks in Havana harbor, cause unknown, 258 sailors die
  • 1906-09-30 Real Academia Galega, Galician language biggest linguistic authority starts working in Havana
  • 1911-01-30 1st rescue of an air passenger by a ship, near Havana, Cuba
  • 1929-01-12 Seatrain (RR cars on ships) service begins, New Orleans-Havana
  • 1939-04-30 Tropicana ballet of Havana, Cuba, forms

Historic Event

1953-10-16 Fidel Castro sentenced to 15 years (Havana)

  • 1955-11-13 1st live telecast from non-contiguous foreign country-Havana Cuba

Battle of Interest

1957-03-13 Bloody battles in Cuba after the student led "Revolutionary Directorate" attacks the presidential palace in Havana in an unsuccessful attempt to depose dictator Fulgencio Batista

  • 1958-01-08 Cuban revolutionary forces capture Havana
  • 1958-03-27 Havana Hilton opens in Cuba, later HQ for Fidel Castro
  • 1958-04-03 Fidel Castro's rebels attack Havana
  • 1959-10-21 Contra revolutionaries bomb Havana
  • 1960-03-04 French freighter "La Coubre" explodes in Havana Cuba, killing 100
  • 1960-03-26 Orioles-Reds series planned for Havana is moved to Miami
  • 1960-07-08 Fidel Castro ends Havana's International League team, Sugar Kings move to New Jersey
  • 1969-06-04 22-year-old man sneaks into wheel pod of a jet parked in Havana and survives 9-hr flight to Spain despite thin oxygen levels at 29,000 ft
  • 1989-09-03 Iljushin-62 crashes down on residential area of Havana, 170 die
  • 1991-08-02 Pan Am games open in Havana
  • 1991-08-06 American softball pitcher Debbie Doom strikes out 17 in her 2nd consecutive perfect game at the Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba; beats Nicaragua, 8-0
  • 1991-08-18 Pan American games close in Havana
  • 1994-08-01 Train crash in Havana Cuba, 6 killed

Historic Event

2006-07-31 Fidel Castro temporarily hands over power to brother Raúl Castro. This leads to a celebration in Little Havana (La Pequeña Habana in Spanish), Miami, Florida, where many Cuban Americans participated.

Meeting of Interest

2015-09-20 Pope Francis meets Fidel Castro in Havana, on the 1st day of his tour of Cuba

  • 2016-02-12 Pope Francis meets Patriarch Kirill in Havana - first meeting between Catholic and Russian Orthodox church heads for nearly 1,000 years
  • 2018-05-18 Mexican Damojh airlines flight crashes near Havana airport, Cuba, killing 110 with just 3 survivors
  • 2019-01-27 Tornado strikes Havana, Cuba, killing three and injuring 172
  • 2019-11-16 500th anniversary of the founding of Havana, Cuba

Famous Birthdays

  • 1725-12-25 Esteban Salas y Castro, Cuban composer, born in Havana, Cuba (d. 1803)
  • 1847-07-31 Ignatio Cervantes, Cuban pianist and composer (Danzas Cubanas), born in Havana (d. 1905)
  • 1874-04-03 Eduardo Sanchez de Fuentes, Cuban composer, born in Havana, Cuba (d. 1944)

José Raúl CapablancaJosé Raúl Capablanca (1888-1942)

1888-11-19 Cuban World Chess Champion (1921-27), born in Havana, Cuba, Spanish Empire

  • 1890-08-04 Dolf Luque, Cuban Baseball HOF pitcher (World Series 1919, 33; MLB wins leader & MLB ERA leader 1923; Cincinnati Reds, NY Giants), born in Havana, Cuba (d. 1957)
  • 1890-09-24 Mike González, Cuban baseball player, born in Havana, Cuba (d. 1977)
  • 1900-05-20 Lydia Cabrera, Cuban Anthropologist, born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1903-08-14 Millard Mitchell, Cuban actor (12 O'Clock High, Gunfighter), born in Havana, Cuba (d. 1953)
  • 1907-06-11 Marino Barreto, Cuban pianist and singer, born in Havana, Cuba (d. 1995)
  • 1907-12-03 Machito [Francisco "Frank" Grillo], Latin jazz musician and creator of Cu-bop and salsa music (Afro-Cubans), born in Havana, Cuba - NB: birth date and location disputed (d. 1984)
  • 1910-12-19 Jose Lezama Lima, Cuban poet and novelist, born in Havana, Cuba (d. 1976)
  • 1914-11-15 Jorge Bolet, Cuban-born American pianist known for his performances of the work of Franz Liszt, born in Havana, Cuba (d. 1990)
  • 1917-09-25 Johnny Sain, American baseball player, born in Havana, Arkansas (d. 2006)
  • 1920-02-27 Jose Melis, orchestra leader (Jack Paar Program), born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1921-12-21 Alicia Alonso, Cuban ballerina and founder of the National Ballet of Cuba, born in Havana, Cuba (d. 2019)
  • 1923-07-23 Luis Aloma, Cuban baseball player, born in Havana, Cuba (d. 1997)
  • 1927-10-12 Antonia Rey [Francesch], Cuban-born American actress (True Colors, Wise Guys), born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1928-05-31 Jacob Lateiner, Cuban-American concert pianist, and professor (Juilliard School, 1966-2010), born in Havana, Cuba (d. 2010)
  • 1928-12-11 Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Cuban filmmaker (Muerte de un burócrata), born in Havana, Cuba (d. 1996)
  • 1929-11-10 Ninón Sevilla, Cuban-Mexican actress (Aventurera, Víctimas del Pecado), born in Havana, Cuba (d. 2015)
  • 1930-10-29 Omara Portuondo, Cuban singer (Cuarteto d'Aida; Buena Vista Social Club), born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1932-02-06 Camilo Cienfuegos, Cuban revolutionary, born in Havana, Cuba (d. 1959)
  • 1939-03-01 Leo Brouwer, Cuban composer, conductor and musician, born in Havana
  • 1941-07-04 Sergio Oliva, American body builder (The Myth, IFBB Mr. Olympia, 1967-9), born in Havana, Cuba (d. 2012)
  • 1941-12-04 Humberto Solás, Cuban film director and writer (Lucia), born in Havana, Cuba (d. 2008)
  • 1943-06-24 Georg Stanford Brown, Cuban actor (Terry Webster-Rookies), born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1946-09-02 Luis Avalos, actor (Condo, E/R, I Had 3 Wives), born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1950-06-03 Marlene Elejarde, Cuban athlete 4x100m runner (Olympic silver 1968), born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1953-11-04 Carlos Gutierrez, American politician (35th United States Secretary of Commerce 2005-09), born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1954-08-13 Lincoln Díaz-Balart, Cuban-American attorney and politician (Rep-R-Florida), born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1954-08-29 Julio Fernandez, Cuban-American jazz guitarist (Spyro Gyra, 1984-present), born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1956-04-12 Andy Garcia, Cuban-American actor (Stand & Deliver, 8 Million Ways to Die), born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1956-09-13 Oribe Canales, Cuban American celebrity hairdresser, born in Havana, Cuba (d. 2018)
  • 1956-12-02 Steven Bauer, Cuban-American actor (Scarface, Thief of Hearts), born in Havana, Cuba

Gloria EstefanGloria Estefan (65 years old)

1957-09-01 Cuban-American singer (Miami Sound Machine - "Conga"), born in Havana, Cuba

Alberto SalazarAlberto Salazar (64 years old)

1958-08-07 American track coach and long distance runner (NYC Marathon 1980-82, Boston 1982), born in Havana, Cuba

  • 1958-10-09 Al Jourgensen, Cuban-American musician (Ministry), born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1961-10-04 (Juan) "Jon" Secada, Cuban-American Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter ("Just Another Day"), born in Havana, Cuba

José CansecoJosé Canseco (58 years old)

1964-07-02 Cuban-American MLB outfielder and designated hitter (AL MVP 1988), born in Havana, Cuba

  • 1964-09-24 Rafael Palmeiro, 1st baseman (Baltimore Orioles), born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1967-01-23 Belkis Ayón, Cuban printmaker (collography), born in Havana, Cuba (d. 1999)
  • 1972-01-11 Rey Ordonez, Cuban-American baseball infielder (NY Mets), born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1975-10-23 Odalys García, Cuban actress (Lente Loco), born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1977-08-20 Mayra Verónica, Cuban-American model and actress, born in Havana, Cuba

Famous Weddings

  • 1923-03-23 Writer Anaïs Nin (Delta of Venus) marries banker and artist Hugh Parker Guiler in Havana, Cuba