North America 1962: Cuban Missile Crisis
US–Cuban relations quickly deteriorated as Castro's new regime cracked down on the influence of foreign businesses and supported revolution abroad. In 1961 the US backed Cuban exiles in an attempt to overthrow Castro by landing at the Bay of Pigs, only to be repelled by the Cuban Army. Cuba responded by aligning with the Soviet Union and secretly hosting nuclear missiles capable of reaching the US mainland. When the US discovered the missiles, it confronted the Soviets in a tense standoff that threatened all-out nuclear war but was ultimately defused when the Soviets agreed to back down.
3 Jan 1959 State of Alaska▲
On 7 July 1958, United States President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act. In accordance with this act, the Territory of Alaska was admitted to the Union as the 49th state—the State of Alaska—on 3 January 1959.
14–20 Jun 1959 Cuban landings in Dominican Rep.▲
A Cuban plane landed guerillas in the Dominican Republic in an attempt to overthrow Rafael Trujillo, followed by a yacht-borne invasion, but the Dominican Army prevailed.
21 Aug 1959 Hawaii becomes US state▲
The Territory of Hawaii was admitted to US as the State of Hawaii.
19 Oct 1960 US embargo against Cuba begins▲
The United States placed an embargo on exports to Cuba (except for food and medicine).
13 Nov 1960 13 November Revolution▲
A group of left-wing junior military officers led a revolt against the autocratic government of General Ydigoras Fuentes in Guatemala—who had seized power in 1958—but were defeated. The surviving officers fled to the eastern hills to start the 13 November Revolutionary Movement (MR-13). This insurgency would mark the beginning of 36 years of civil war in Guatemala.
17–20 Apr 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion▲
A United States-backed force of Cuban exiles attempted an invasion of Cuba by landing at the Bay of Pigs, but was defeated by Fidel Castro’s government.
? Feb 1962 Renewal of Esequiba dispute▲
At a United Nations discussion on independence for British Guiana, Venezuela alleged that the 1899 Arbitral Award was invalid and reasserted its claim on Guayana Esequiba—the region west of the Essequibo River.
31 May 1962 West Indies Fed. dissolved▲
The West Indies Federation was dissolved after Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago opted for separate independence.
6 Aug 1962 Independence of Jamaica▲
The British Colony of Jamaica became an independent state within the Commonwealth.
31 Aug 1962 Trinidad & Tobago independent▲
Trinidad and Tobago gained independence from the United Kingdom, with politician and historian Eric Eustace Williams becoming its first prime minister. Williams would continue to serve in this role until his death in 1981.
14–28 Oct 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis▲
On 14 October 1962 the United States obtained photographs of Soviet ballistic missiles deployed in Cuba from one of their U-2 spy planes. Four days later, US President John F. Kennedy notified the nation and initiated a naval blockade of Cuba. This led to an 11-day confrontation between the US and the Soviet Union, ultimately resulting in the Soviets withdrawing their missiles from Cuba in return for a secret withdrawal of US missiles from Turkey.