Front Door to Cuba

Carlos Manuel de Cespedes

The Struggle
for Cuban Independence and Identity
An Introduction

Cuba's desire for independence from the Spanish empire existed for almost 100 years before Carlos Manuel de Céspedes issued the famed Grito de Yara that started Cuba's first formal war against Spain.

Efforts to obtain legal autonomy had been explored, and drastically failed. The only hope was in complete separation.

The Ten Year War (1868-1878) ended in a stalemate, but one man stood against the compromise and won the hearts and minds of Cubans throughout the island. Antonio Maceo became the symbol of a Cuban identity that included the idea of racial equality and the end of slavery.

Rebel rhetoric and ideology always emphasized an anti-racist agenda, and this became part of the Cuban identity that eventually went to war against Spain. Men like José Martí, Juan Gualberto Gómez and others, spread the idea of Cuba as a race-less society, and even if the reality of the island never quite lived up to the caliber of the dream, it makes Cuba unique in this struggle, and very different from the empires that would claim her.

In 1890 Martí formed the Cuban Revolutionary Party, and organized the third and final war effort against Spain. Veterans of the various previous wars for independence came aboard, Antonio and José Maceo, Maximo Gómez, Calixto Garcia and others.

The war started in 1895, and Cuba would never be the same. At the very end, Spain ceded control of the island to the U.S. government.

So ended the 19th century; the island under the control of a new empire, and the promise (in the form of the Teller Amendment) that soon the Cuban flag would fly over the nation's capitol.

José María Heredia
Cuba's romantic poet

de Cespedes on a stamp

Narciso López and the Cuban Flag

What is the Ostend Manifesto? | Read the full text of the Ostend Manifesto

Wars against Spain

Carlos Manuel de Céspedes
The Ten Year War | The Little War

Excerpt from an editorial in Madrid's newspaper La Discusión, March 24 1870

The Virginius Incident

José Martí - An intro and a full bio | The José Martí Timeline | Books about Martí

Antonio Maceo - An introduction | The Antonio Maceo Timeline | Maceo's Letter to President Estrada Palma | Maceo's "Protest of Baraguá" | José Martí on Antonio Maceo

Did Antonio Maceo and Flor Crombet fight a duel?

Manifesto of Montecristi

The 3rd and Final War for Cuban Independence from Spain

Frederick Funston | Funston Meets Gómez | Funston: Memories of Two Wars

The Abolition of Slavery in Cuba

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