The United States said on Wednesday (Dec 17) that it planned to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, a major policy shift after decades of hostile ties with the communist-ruled island.
Here are some key events in US-Cuba relations in the last half-century:
Jan 1, 1959 - US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista flees Cuba as Mr Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries seize control.
Jan 3, 1961 - The US breaks off diplomatic relations with Cuba after the nationalisation of US-owned properties.
April 16, 1961 - Mr Castro declares his revolution is socialist. The next day, CIA-backed Cuban exiles try to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, but are defeated.
Feb 7, 1962 - The US imposes a complete commercial embargo against Cuba.
Oct 1962 - The US discovers Soviet nuclear missiles on Cuba, leading to a showdown with the Soviet Union that almost leads to war. The confrontation ends with the Russians removing the missiles and the United States agreeing never to invade Cuba and, secretly, pulling its missiles from Turkey.
April-October 1980 - Cuba allows 125,000 people to travel to the US from the port of Mariel in what becomes known as the Mariel Boatlift.
December 1991 - The Soviet Union, Cuba's biggest benefactor, collapses, touching off an economic crisis from which the island has not fully recovered.
August-September 1994 - More than 35,000 people leave Cuba in fragile boats, headed for the US.
July 31, 2006 - Mr Fidel Castro provisionally turns over power to his brother, Mr Raul Castro, after undergoing emergency intestinal surgery.
Feb 24, 2008 - The National Assembly elects Mr Raul Castro to formally replace the ailing Fidel.
December 2009 - Cuba arrests Mr Alan Gross. It later convicts the US Agency for International Development sub-contractor to 15 years in prison after accusing him of importing banned technology and trying to establish a clandestine Internet service for Cuban Jews.
January 2011 - The White House loosens travel restrictions on Cuba to allow "people-to-people" contact.
Dec 17, 2014 - Mr Gross is released and flown back to the US, and a spy held in Cuba is freed in exchange for three Cuban intelligence agents held in America. Washington says diplomatic relations will be restored and many commercial restrictions eased.