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Cuba Independence

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Cuba Independence

Three wars against the Spanish empire namely La Guerra Chiquita or the small war (1879-1880), La Guerra de los Diez Anos or the Ten Year War( 1868-1878) which began when Carlos Manuel Cespedes freed his slaves and finally the War of Independence(1895-1898) led the pathways to independence in Cuba.

The third war launched by the Cuban rebels finally freed them from Spanish rule. In the early days of the War of Independence there were 80,000 men made up of Spanish regular troops, Spanish and Cuban volunteers made up of the slaves of landowners of rural communities in Cuba.


This number was to increase two years later to become 240,000. Fully equipped and trained with weapons the Spanish troops did not match the rebels. The latter, the ‘guerilleros’ had to resort to the environment, surprise ambush, rapid horses, machete and help from the peasant farmers to fight the opposing troops. This war united the veterans of the Ten Year War namely: Josť Marti, Antonio Maceo, Maximo Gomez, Flor Crombet and Calixto Garcia and others to fight against colonial domination. Josť Marti, the Cuban poet and Carlos Manuel Cespedes are considered the fathers of Independence in Cuba.


It was after much careful thought and planning that the War of Independence started under the leadership of Josť Marti. According to him, independence was the only way to get rid of Spanish domination and have a free Cuba. And in 1895, on the battlefield in Dos Rios in the Oriente Province, now known as the Holguin Province, his death instead of diminishing the spirits of his troops inspired them giving them much strength to struggle. This inspiration then spread to all eastern Cuba enabling the nation to stand and fight for their freedom.

In the American-Spanish war, Cuba changed hands to be occupied by the Americans. In fact the War started in 1898 with the explosion of the Maine, an American battleship sent by the President William Mckinley to protect the Americans citizens and American interests in Cuba.

While the Spanish said it was an internal explosion, the Americans fervently believed it was the underwater mines that sank the battleship killing more than 250 crew members. Following this the congressmen in the United Stated allowed the President to fight the Spanish and free Cuba from the Spanish empire.

After the victory of the Americans, Cuba gained its independence. But on December 10, 1898 instead of the Cuban flag it was the American flag which rose over Havana while the Spanish one was lowered. Though many Cuban citizens participated and died during the wars, their troops did not parade in the city.


They were simply denied of the expression of their nationalist sense of belonging by the US General William R. Shafter. Cuba though recognized independent; the Americans did not withdraw their troops. It was only after the signing of the Platt Amendments passed in the congress in 1901 and added to the Cuban constitution that they left. The Platt amendment specifies the lease of land for a naval base and right to intervene in the Cuban affairs state if American interests were in danger as well as not to let any other foreign power to occupy any parcel of the Cuban territory.


The Cuban flag rose in the Cuban sky only on May 20 1902.The American occupied the island from 1906 -1909 and again in 1912. However, Cuba remained economically and politically dependant of the United States and this till the late 1950s.





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