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Antonio Maceo Timeline
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August 5. At a conference in Kingston, Jamaica, Maceo and García plan the next uprising.

August 26. The Little War (La Guerra Chiquita) begins prematurely in Santiago de Cuba.

September 5. Maceo issues a "Proclamation to the People of Cuba," calling on all Cubans to fight for liberty.

September 12. Maceo leaves for Port-au-Prince. [The Spanish Consul in Jamaica informs the Cuban authorities, and various naval crafts are assigned to patrol the coasts of Santo Domingo and look out for a possible expedition led by Maceo.

September 23. Trying to cross the border into Santo Domingo on horseback, Maceo is attacked by a group of riders. He escapes and returns to Port-au-Prince, where he stays at the home of Cuban friend Santiago Pérez.

September 5. Antonio Maceo issues a circular known as “The Kingston Proclamation,” reminding Cubans that the reforms promised have not materialized. "instead of giving Cubans the opportunity to participate in the direction of their government, Spaniards have been pouring into the island to man political posts, pushing the rightful representatives of the people to one side; they are guided only by the interests of their pockets and that of the Peninsula…”

December 14. In Haiti, an assassination attempt is made on Maceo by Dominican generals Quintín Díaz and Antonio Pérez. Maceo is warned in advance and the attempt fails. It is later revealed that the attempt was planned and paid for by Cuba’s Captain General Ramón Blanco.


January 7. With his brother Marcos, Maceo leaves Haiti on the French steamer Deserade, heading for St. Thomas, in the Danish Virgin Islands.

Calixto Garcia

May 7. Calixto García (pictured) lands in Cuba.

May 18. Maceo arrives in Santo Domingo (on ship also named Santo Domingo) and stays at the Hotel Europa.

June 1. General José Maceo, Brigadier Rafael Maceo, Guillermo Moncada, and other rebel leaders surrender. The surrender is arranged by the consuls of France and England in Guantánamo, on the condition that the rebels are given safe passage from the island. But once out at sea, a Spanish warship takes them to Spanish prisons in Africa.

June 28. Maceo leaves Santo Domingo with 34 companions and a cargo of arms, bound for New York.

July 6. A third attempt is made on Maceo’s life. [José Ramón Vardespino, a Colombian, entered Maceo's room and thrust a knife into the hammock where he thought Maceo was resting (it turned out that Deogracia Marty was laying in Maceo's hammock). Vardespino was later arrested in Puerto Plata.]

August 3. General Calixto García is forced to surrender and is sent to prison in Spain.

August 24. Juan Bellido de Luna, director of the Cuban revolutionary paper in New York, La Independencia, writes to Maceo, urges him not to invade Cuba: "I fear that you may sacrifice yourself for a sterile cause. What has happened to Calixto is proof of the general demoralization of the Cuban people."

September 12. Maceo writes to Juan Bellido de Luna:
"That Calixto García has fallen prisoner for the second time is to be lamented for the great loss it brings to our cause. But the situation of that chieftain is more enviable than my own; he had the good fortune of reaching the battlefields of Cuba while my fate is to remain in foreign areas when he most needed me. It is not my fault. Everyone knows what efforts I have made to get there before him. But the constant setbacks that I have suffered and the lack of sufficient resources to carry the thirty men in my company to those beaches prevented me from being among the fortunate ones. Indeed, Calixto has the good luck of having fulfilled his aspirations, while I find disgrace hanging over me with all of my most important comrades able to reach Cuban soil…"

December 10. On his way to Honduras, General Gómez stops in Kingston to visit Maceo.


September 21. Maceo is appointed to the Honduran army with the grade of General of Division.

December. Eusebio Hernández and Carlos Roloff arrive in Honduras. [Hernández is appointed director of the Hospital of Tegucigalpa and professor in the School of Medicine of the Honduran National University.


May 31. Maceo finds work in Honduras as deputy judge.

July 31. Maceo finds new work (still in Honduras) as commander of the ports of Puerto Cortés and Omoa.

November. Maceo receives the first letter from Martí, (dated July 20). Martí writes: "The Cuban problem has its answer in a social rather than a political solution. And this solution can only be obtained with the love and mutual respect of the one race for the other and the dignified and generous prudence which animates your high and noble heart. For me the one who promotes hatred in Cuba or who tries to take advantage of that which exists is a criminal. And he who tries to suffocate the legitimate aspirations of a special tenderness with which I think of these evils. My remedies for them are discreet, loving, and evangelical rather than boastful or ostentatious."

November 29. Maceo responds to Martí's letter of July 20. "My sword and my breath are the service of Cuba," he writes. Maceo again names General Gómez as the man best qualified to lead the Cubans in battle.


January. Maceo’s wife, María Cabrales, arrives in Puerto Cortés. Later that same month (January 15) General Gómez calls on Maceo with a business proposition – the establishment of an agricultural colony of Cuban emigrants.

March 25. Gómez writes to Maceo about their latest business venture:
"All that we asked has been conceded (and modified in our favor), but the most important thing is the interest and even the enthusiasm which the government, the congress, the most notable men of commerce, and men of some social and financial representation have demonstrated."

May. Honduran President Marco Aurelio Soto (who had been actively supported by Maceo) flees the country.

June 13. Maceo writes to the editor of El Yara:
“Cuba will be free when the redeeming sword flings her antagonists into the sea. The Spanish domination was a shame and affront to the world that suffered it. But for is it is a shame which dishonors us. Whoever tries to take power over Cuba will only get the dust of its soil drenched in blood, if he does not perish in the struggle.”

July. Maceo resigns his posts in Honduras and declares, “Our enslaved Cuba demands that its sons fight for its freedom.”


June 10. Gómez, Hernández and Maceo gather at Gómez' house to plan the new rebellion. Their plans are based on financial support promised by wealthy Cuban Félix Govín.

August 2. Maceo and Gómez leave with their families (on the steamboat Santa Dalla) for the U.S. to join the new independence movement.

August 9. Maceo and Gómez arrive in New Orleans. Maceo dislikes the racial attitude of the U.S. and comments on this to his friends.

September. Maceo and Gómez visit Key West, where they receive a warm reception. Maceo finally meets the directors of the revolutionary newspaper El Yara (they have corresponded by mail for seven years). Maceo learns about the death of his brother Rafael Maceo in a Spanish prison in Africa, and the escape of his other brother José Maceo.

September 26. Maceo and Gómez, with José Rogelio Castillo, depart for New York on the ship Lámparas.

October 1. In New York, Maceo and Gómez begin to hold conferences at the small hotel of Madame Griffon, on Ninth Ave. This is the first time that Maceo and Martí meet face-to-face.

October 20. In a letter to Gómez, Martí resigns from the revolutionary movement. (This is because of Martí's lack of trust for Gómez.)

November 13. Maceo arrives in Veracruz, Mexico, to collect money for the revolution. [He is unable to collect money or establish an understanding with the Mexican government.]


January 5. Maceo and Gómez re-join their families in New Orleans.

January 24. Hernandez, before going to New York to buy weapons for the revolution with money raised in Key West, tells Maceo to be aware of spies, and that the Spanish government knew of their efforts. He added that an American warship had been alerted to prevent an expedition.

May 31. Maceo again arrives in New Orleans aboard a Spanish ship flying a Mexican flag.

July 1. María Cabrales (Maceo's wife) travels with the Gómez family to Jamaica. Maceo joins them a week later.

September. Authorities in Santo Domingo confiscate a shipment of arms purchased by the revolutionists. This is a major setback, and Gómez receives most of the blame. One of his most vocal critics is General Flor Crombet.

October. Maceo travels to Key West to raise money for the independence effort.

December 23. A letter from Gómez to Maceo leads to the first serious breach in their long friendship. (Gómez questioned Maceo's motives in urging him to begin the war immediately.)


January 2-9. In Santo Domingo, Gómez is held in prison. He is released on the condition that he leaves the country immediately.

January 16. Maceo sends Gómez another letter, less severe in tone than his first response.

January 29. Waiting for a shipment of arms that was supposed to arrive in Colón, Panama on the 23rd, Maceo writes two letters to friends in Kingston: Ernesto Bavastro and Benito Machado. He expresses a sense of helplessness with the politics of the rebel movement and the many setbacks, errors and misfortunes.

March 20. Dr. Hernández arrives in Colón, Panama with bad news about the shipment Maceo was expecting on January 23.

July 10. Flor Crombet arrives in Panama.

July 20. Crombet arrives in Kingston, aboard the Morning Star, with arms and ammunitions for the rebels. "But the ship's captain," writes Foner, "fearful of being arrested with his dangerous cargo, threw the entire shipment into the sea and returned to New York." (This is the second time that war materials are lost).

August 17. A major conference of all the military and civil leaders is held at the house of Octavio Bavastro (a close friend of Maceo) in Kingston, Jamaica. After a brief misunderstanding over the transfer of $1,000 from the Rodríguez to the Maceo expedition, Maceo declares his belief that efforts to launch an armed rebellion in Cuba should be temporarily suspended. After a tense and lively discussion they all agree that the war effort will continue, and Maceo agrees to abide by the decisions of the group. At one point in the meeting (while discussing how the various expeditions are to be organized) Flor Crombet rudely interrupts Maceo, using violent, abusive language. The exchange ends when Maceo challenges Crombet to a duel to the death. [Maceo designates Ernesto Bavastro and Benito Machada as his seconds, and Crombet designates Agustín Cebreco and Pedro Castillo. The following day both men are persuaded to postpone the duel indefinitely for the welfare of the revolutionary cause.]

August 31. At a dispute over finances, in which Maceo questions Gómez’s authoritarian style, his integrity, and his fitness to command, Gómez brakes off their friendship.

October 7. A Royal Decree abolishes slavery in Cuba.

December 8. Gómez announces the end of the rebel movement. Many blame Maceo personally for the failure to properly organize a rebellion.


January 3. In Panama, Maceo obtains a concession to build a large number of wooden houses in the community of Bas Obispo (and his financial status improves considerably).

December. Maceo is actively involved with the Masons in Inter-Oceanic Lodge Number Forty-four.


January 4. Maceo is sick with malaria in the Isthmus of Panama when he receives a circular by José Martí discussing preparations for a future uprising. Maceo writes to Martí: "Today as yesterday and always, Senor Martí, I believe that all Cubans, without social distinctions, must put aside their dissension. For the sake of our enslaved country, which each day, becomes more unfortunate, we must purge ourselves of the seeds of discord sown in our hearts by the enemies of our noble cause…"

January 15. After he recovers from malaria, Maceo writes again to Martí, outlining his political thinking and offering support for the cause of Cuban independence.


January 29. After Captain General Salamanca signs a passport for Maceo, and two Cuban merchants in Jamaica (Benito Machado and Prudencio Bravo) receive assurances of safe passage by the Spanish consul, Maceo leaves Port-au-Prince on the Manuelito y Maria, headed for Cuba.

February 5. At eleven o'clock in the morning, the Manuelito y Maria reaches Havana. Later a reporter from the daily newspaper La Lucha interviews Maceo, who stays in the Hotel Inglaterra and receives many visits from former rebel leaders and others.

Maceo writes: “I was deeply troubled by the idea of returning to Cuba by a Spanish conveyance and of entering my country under the guise of peace and concord when what I wanted was war and the extermination of the colonial system in Cuba.

After arriving in Santiago de Cuba, Maceo remains on the ship and is visited by Flor Crombet, Antonio Colás and Antonio Pareño. [Crombet and Colás assure him that the province of Oriente is ready to go to war for Cuba's independence.]

February 1. The Manuelito y Maria arrives in the port of Gibara. Maceo meets again stays on the ship while he meets with rebel leaders.

February 5. At eleven o’clock in the morning, the Manuelito y Maria reaches Havana. Maceo is interviewed by a reporter from the daily newspaper LA LUCHA. Maceo stays in the Hotel Inglaterra, where he receives many visits from former rebel leaders and others wishing to meet him.

According to Foner, “Even his enemies were not immune to his charm. One of the most capable Spanish officers in the Ten Years’ War told Maceo that he was the worthiest military opponent he had ever faced. According to one account—that of a Spanish officer who was later converted into an ardent revolutionary by Maceo—many Spanish soldiers saluted the caudillo as they would have a general on the streets of Havana.”

A Spanish officer, Fidel Vidal de Santocildes, approaches Maceo at the "Acera de Louvre," a gathering place at the Hotel Inglaterra, and tells him that he is the "most worthy military opponent I have ever faced." [Ironically, Santocildes is killed in battle against Maceo in 1898.]

In Havana, as in the rest of the country, many white, well-to-do Creoles welcome Maceo into their homes. Spaniards are alarmed by the warmth and friendship offered to Maceo. According to Cuban historian Herminio Portell Vilá, "this demonstrated the increasing integration of the people… All these symptoms revealed that neither autonomy nor annexation represented the Cuban aspiration as did independence."

July 20. Maceo takes a train to Batabanó, where he then takes a ship to Santiago de Cuba (where he was born) I the province of Oriente.

July 25. After arriving in Santiago de Cuba, Maceo stays at the Hotel Louvre.

July 29. At a banquet in Maceo's honor (at a restaurant called La Venus) a young man named Jose J. Hernandez asks about Cuba being annexed to the U.S. to become "one more star in the great American constellation." Maceo immediately replies, "Young man, I believe, although it seems impossible to me that this can be the only outcome, that in such a case I would be on the side of the Spaniards."

British consul in Santiago, A. De Crowe, sends a dispatch to the Earl of Salisbury stating: “His real aim is a Cuba for the colored, and he would commence a war of races as soon as he could. White liberals flatter him because they think he can help them, but they also fear him.”

August 5. Maceo attends a dinner at the home of lawyer Urbano Sánchez Hechavarría, where along with Crombet and others they continue to plan the next insurrection. It is agreed that Sánchez Hechavarría will serve as the civil chief of the revolution in Oriente.

August 24. Captain General Camilo Polavieja arrives in Cuba.

August 26. Polavieja sends the following coded telegraph to the civil governor of Santiago de Cuba, Juan Antonio Vinont:"In conjunction with the military governor you are ordered to arrange for the immediate departure of don Antonio Maceo and his family for Kinston or some other foreign port. For this action you are authorized to facilitate and pay for his transportation on my account. I recommend that you and the military governor exercise the greatest reserve and discretion in carrying out this order so as to avoid all excitement on the part of his sympathizers. At the same time you must take all convenient means to restrict the actions of Maceo from the moment of notification to the time of his departure. Give me an account of the result by this same means of communication."

August 27. The civil governor of Santiago de Cuba responds to Polavieja:"There is no ship or communication with the outside whatsoever until Saturday. For that reason the Commanding General and I have not notified Maceo, believing it best to wait until the day before his departure in order to avoid excitement among his sympathizers. I request that you advise me in case he tries to see you, since this is probably what he will want to do. Our vigilance continues.

August 29. A police escort informs Maceo and his wife at their hotel that they must leave the following day on an American ship bound for New York.

August 28. Captain General Polavieja sends two telegrams to Santiago de Cuba with instructions. The first one:
"According to the judgment of the Commanding General and yourself, you must notify Maceo the same day of the departure of the ship, if it should leave in the afternoon, and if it should go in the morning, you must do it the night before. In that way from the moment of notification not much time will pass before the embarkation and you will be able to minimize the spread of the news as much as possible. Above all this will enable you to prevent his flight to the country. If he should request permission to see me, tell him that his request is denied, since it is agreed that for the good of all he must leave the Island."
The second telegram:
"I request that you give me an account of all that occurs in regard to Maceo, especially concerning his embarkation. It is necessary that you watch Flor Crombet carefully also. He had revolutionary plans for that area."

A police escort (lead by Narciso Manrique y Salazar) informs Maceo and his wife at their hotel that they must leave the following day on an American ship bound for New York. A group of policemen immediately move into Hotel Louvre with orders to prevent Maceo from leaving.

News of Maceo's detention spreads rapidly, and Urbano Sánchez Hechavarría convinces Maceo that the time is not right for an insurrection.

August 30. The civil governor, Juan Antonio Vinont, escorts Maceo and his wife to the steam ship Cienfuegos. While saying farewell, the governor puts thirty ounces of gold in Maceo's hand. When asked about the source of the money, the governor replies that he's been instructed to do so by the government. Maceo refuses the money.

Within a few days of Maceo's departure, Colonels Pedro Castillo and angel Guerra, General Flor Crombet and others are also deported from Cuba. Some revolutionary sympathizers are sent to jail.

September. Maceo and his wife leave New York on the same ship that brought them from Cuba, and they arrive in Kingston, Jamaica, early in the month.


February. Maceo visits Costa Rica to investigate business possibilities similar to his previous efforts in Honduras. He is about to make a deal for the establishment of a farming colony on the Caribbean or Atlantic shores of the country when the Spanish government obstructs the deal.


February. Maceo travels to New York, where he learns about Jose Marti's work organizing the Cuban Revolutionary Party.


February 1. Martí offers Maceo a leading place in the new revolutionary movement. Maceo does not immediately respond.

May 25. Martí writes to Maceo to let him know that he will visit in about one month.

June 30. Martí visits Maceo for a week in San José, Costa Rica.

October 6. In “Patria,” Martí publishes his insights about Antonio Maceo.

November. Maceo visits Cuba incognito. He then goes to Jamaica.

November 28. At eighty-five years of age, Maceo’s mother, Mariana Grajales, dies.

December 12. In Patria, Martí pays tribute to Maceo’s mother:
“[Cuba’s] entire people, rich and poor, arrogant and humble, masters and servants, followed this woman of eighty-five years to the grave in a strange land. Died in Jamaica, November 27, Mariana Maceo.
All Cubans attended the internment, because there is no heart in Cuba that does not feel all that is owed to this beloved old woman, who would always caress your hand with such tenderness. Her mind was already going from having lived so much, but from time to time that energetic face lit up, as though a ray of sun were shining within… I remember that when we were talking about the war at a time when it seemed as if we were not able to carry on the struggle, she got up brusquely, and turned aside to think, alone. And she, who was so good, looked at us as if with anger. Many times, if I had forgotten my duty as a man, I would have retained it because of the example of that woman. Her husband and sons died fighting for Cuba, and we all know that from her breasts, Antonio and Jose Maceo imbibed the qualities which propelled them into the vanguard of the defenders of our liberties.”


January 12. Maceo writes to Martí about the death of his mother: "Only three times in my anguished life as a Cuban revolutionist have I suffered such strong and tempestuous emotions of pain and sadness as I have just had with her death in a foreign land. How terrible were these three things! My father, the Pact of Zanjón, and my mother."

April 8. In New York, Gómez and Martí hold a conference to discuss the recent delays in revolutionary preparations.

April 20. Martí writes to Maceo:
"You are indispensable for Cuba. To me you are, and I say it sincerely, one of the most complete, magnificent, strongest, and useful men of Cuba. You are too great, Maceo. I must say that I feel such a deep and intimate affection for you that, believe it or not, it is though I was conceived in the same womb with you. Doesn't María love me like a brother? Didn't your mother caress me as she would her own son? Didn't she publicly call me her son? Rest assured that while I have a hand in the matter you will be fully recognized."

May 19. Maceo takes a residence in San José, capital of Costa Rica. He shares a room with Enrique Loinás del Castillo, who was sent by Martí to assist Maceo.

June 7. Martí arrives in San José. In a meeting with José Maceo and Flor Crombet, he emphasizes that Antonio Maceo is to be in absolute command of the revolutionary expedition to Cuba.

August 22. Maceo writes to Enrique Trujillo, director of the rebel newspaper El Porvenir. Trujillo has been attacking Martí's domination of the Cuban Revolutionary Party in letters and editorials. Maceo demands that criticism of Martí stop, that there should be "more unity and less division."

November 17. Maceo is the target of another assassination attempt after attending a theater performance ("Felipe Derblay," a comedy by Jorge Ohnet presented by the Company Paulino Delgado). Maceo is shot on the shoulder. It is his twenty-second wound. Also targeted is Enrique Loinás del Castillo, who saves Maceo's life. [Loinás is later deported from of Costa Rica.]

September 30. Tired of waiting for the wealthy “hacendados” to provide the money already promised the revolution, Gómez writes to Maceo, asking that everything be ready by “November 15 at the latest,” to begin the new war for independence.

Maceo Timeline - Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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