Cuba was one of the first territories colonized by Spain and among the last to secure its independence. It was among the last territories in the hemisphere to abolish slavery, yet home to the first black political party in the Americas. Its struggle for independence from Spain helped usher in an age of U.S. imperialism. It is the hemisphere?s first and last socialist state. This brief description hints not only at the complexities of Cuban history but also at its significance for international histories of nationalism and imperialism, race and slavery, the Cold War and socialist revolution. This course serves as an in-depth examination of that complex and fascinating history. The course focuses in depth on the major themes that have shaped modern Cuban history in the 19th and 20th centuries: race and slavery, nationalism and imperialism, reform and revolution. Particular attention is paid to the revolution of 1959.