Fidel Castro: A life in picturesPublishedduration26 November 2016shareSharenocloseShare pagelinkCopy linkAbout sharingimage copyrightAPimage captionFidel Castro was born in 1926 to a wealthy sugar planter. He turned to revolutionary politics as a young man.image copyrightAPimage captionAfter two years in jail for mounting a failed coup, he went into exile in Mexico. He returned in 1956 and his revolutionary movement took hold. Castro finally assumed power in Cuba on New Year's Day, 1959, after ousting Fulgencio Batista.image copyrightAPimage captionIn 1961, Castro led his troops against 1,500 Cuban exiles. The exiles were supported by the CIA, who landed in the Bay of Pigs in a bid to oust his government.image copyrightAFPimage captionErnesto "Che" Guevara, born in Argentina, became a key figure in Cuba's revolution alongside Castro - and a left-wing hero. The pair are pictured in the 1960s.image copyrightAPimage captionPerhaps Castro's biggest test came in 1962, when US President Kennedy warned him to remove Soviet missiles from Cuba.image copyrightAFPimage captionIn the end, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and Castro removed the missiles, and the threat of nuclear war was averted.image copyrightAPimage captionFidel Castro had a particular love of baseball. Here he is seen playing here at a teachers' college in the Sierra Maestra in 1962.image copyrightAFPimage captionMany liberal Cubans considered him an oppressive dictator.image copyrightAPimage captionThousands fled their homeland for the US, often on dangerous makeshift rafts.image copyrightOtherimage captionBut Fidel Castro retained enough public support to become one of the world's longest-serving leaders.image copyrightAFPimage captionSouth African icon Nelson Mandela was among those to embrace Castro, who opposed apartheid. In 1990, when his 27 years in jail ended, Mandela visited Cuba to express his gratitude. The pair are pictured in 1998.image copyrightAPimage captionPope John Paul II visited Cuba in 1998 - the first pontiff to do so. Hundreds of thousands gathered to hear his three-hour address in Havana's Revolution Square. Castro, who the church says persecuted Catholics for decades, sat in the front row.image copyrightAFPimage captionRussia's Vladimir Putin (pictured in 2000) met Castro several times. In a condolence message, he said "Fidel Castro was a sincere and reliable friend of Russia" and called him "a symbol of an era in the modern history of the world".image copyrightAFPimage captionIn September 2010, Fidel Castro addressed a rally for the first time in four years. His speech was the first in a string of appearances since he re-emerged in July 2010 from seclusion after surgery.image copyrightReutersimage captionAfter intestinal surgery in 2006, he handed day-to-day power to his brother Raul. Then he made only rare recorded appearances, before stepping down in February 2008.image copyrightAPimage captionOne of the last times Castro was glimpsed was during the visit of the Vietnamese president in November.