Cuba, except for a brief period of British occupancy in 1762, remained a Spanish possession from the date of its discovery by Columbus until December 10, 1898, when the sovereignty was relinquished under the terms of the Treaty of Paris which ended the armed intervention of the United States in the struggle of the Cubans against Spanish rule. Cuba thus became an independent State. A convention which assembled on November 5, 1900, drew up a constitution which was adopted February 21, 1901, under which the Island assumed a republican form of government, with a President, Vice-President, a Senate and a House of Representatives. A law was passed in Washington authorising the President of the United States to hand over the government to the Cuban people upon the undertaking that they should conclude no treaty with a foreign power that would endanger the independence of Cuba, that no debts should be contracted for which the current revenue would not suffice, that the United States should have certain rights of intervention, and be granted the use of Naval Stations. On June 12, 1901, these conditions were accepted. On February 24, 1002, the election of the President and Vice-President took place, and the control of the Island was formally transferred to the national government on May 20. The coaling stations of Guantanamo Bay and Bahia Honda were leased to the United States for 2,000 dollars annually, on July 2, 1903.
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