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Introduction

FOUR-HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS before the Castro brothers and the barbudos marched on the city of Havana, a brave Taíno chief from Hispaniola named Hatuey lead the first guerilla warfare against the conquering Spaniards. Within a few months he was defeated, and for his defiance he was burned alive, his people nearly wiped out. Yet his spirit has lived on in the hearts of Cuban leaders such as José Martí, Antonio Maceo and many others.

Flowers for Cuba

This site exists to facilitate a clear and detailed journey through the themes, concepts, people and ideas that comprise Cuban history, and to humanize the island's 500-year struggle for identity and independence.

Here you'll encounter many complex and passionate passages from Cuba's history. You can learn about the struggle of light and dark-skinned people to live together and trust each other, the challenge of the wealthy and the poor, the educated and the illiterate, to form bonds that are based on a deeper truth. The message of the revolutionary struggle that began in 1868 was anti-racist, and the Cuban struggle for independence, as a whole, can be seen as a race-less endeavor. Ada Ferrer, in her excellent book "Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898," shows how this rhetoric "made racial equality a foundation of the Cuban nation."

Marti, Maceo, Gomez Stamp Portraits

Cuba's history "has a significance out of proportion to its size," writes historian Philip S. Foner in his 1962 book, A History of Cuba and its relations with The United States, Vol. 1. "The story of Cuba's struggle for liberation from four-hundred years of Spanish domination is one of the great epics in history. The struggle for over half a century to change its status from a theoretically independent state, dominated by American imperialism, into a truly independent country is equally inspiring."

On this site you'll also learn about the peninsulares, Cuba's Spanish aristocracy opposed to any thought of Cuban independence, the hacendados, the wealthy Cuban-born slave-owners seeking annexation to the U.S. in order to preserve slavery and their way of life, and about the rebel army known as the mambises.

I invite you to share your thoughts on this work.

Jerry A. Sierra


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