Slavery existed in Cuba
longer than anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere, except Brazil.
Slaves were purchased from Africa where
Arab Muslim slave traders had enslaved an estimated 180 million
in the 14 centuries of Islam.
wrote December 19, 1859:
"When a market for African slaves shall no longer be furnished in Cuba ... Christianity and civilization may gradually penetrate the existing gloom."
Ulysses S. Grant
stated, December 2, 1872:
"Slavery in Cuba
is ... a terrible evil ... It is greatly to be hoped that ... Spain will voluntarily adopt ... emancipation ... in sympathy with the other powers of the Christian and civilized world."
Independence movements were attempted in Cuba in the 1820s and 1830s, but the absolute monarchy of
Spain crushed them.
On October 10, 1868, landowner
Carlos Manuel de Céspedes
freed his slaves and declared Cuba's independence from Spain.
Cubans drafted a
"10th of October Manifesto,"
"Rebelling against Spanish tyranny, we want to indicate to the world the reasons ...
Spain governs us with iron and blood;
it imposes ... taxes at will; it deprives us of all political, civil and religious freedom;
it has put us under military watch in days of peace,
arresting exiling and executing without being subject to any proceedings ...
it prohibits that we freely assemble ..."
"10th of October Manifesto"
"Spain loads us with hungry bureaucrats who live from our patrimony and consume the product of our work ...
So that we do not know our rights, it maintains us in the ignorance ...
It forces us to maintain a expensive army, whose unique use is to repress and to humiliate us ...
To the God of our consciousness we appealed, and to the good faith of the civilized nations ..."
"10th of October Manifesto"
"We want to enjoy the freedom for whose use God created man ...
We want to abolish slavery
... We want freedom of meeting, freedom of the press and the freedom to brings back consciousness; and we appeal to practice inalienable rights of the man ..."
In 1878, the Spanish Government crushed the revolt and ended
"The Ten Years War"
in which thousands were killed.
Under international pressure,
Spain ended slavery by Royal decree in 1886.
took place in 1879, and finally, in 1895, open rebellion broke out.
Governor Valeriano Weyler
to Cuba to smash anti-government protestors.
adapted the U.S. Government's model of
during Democrat President Jackson's
Trail of Tears Indian Removal Act
in the 1830's and developed it into notorious
rounded up hundreds of thousands of Cuban civilians from their rural farms and marched them into crowded camps --
an example that Hitler and Stalin followed.
Ultimately, between 1896-1897, over
a third of Cuba's population
Over 225,000 died
from starvation, exposure and yellow fever.
pleas for help
reached the United States.
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Newspaper publishers made pioneering use of sensationalism and propaganda to push public policy.
Joseph Pulitzer's New York World
William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal,
stirred public sentiment with
"yellow press" journalism
, demanding President McKinley intervene militarily.
who was on assignment in Cuba, sent a cable message in 1897: "Everything quiet. There is no trouble here. There will be no war. Wish to return."
"You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war."
responded by sending the
The ship blew up under suspicious conditions on February 15, 1898.
approved a Resolution of Congress, April 20, 1898:
"Whereas the abhorrent conditions which have existed for more than three years in the island of Cuba, so near our own borders,
have shocked the moral sense of the people of the United States, have been a disgrace to Christian civilization,
... culminating, as they have, in the destruction of a United States battle ship, with 266 of its officers and crew, while on a friendly visit in the harbor of Havana, and cannot longer be endured ...
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives ... that the people of the island of Cuba are and of right ought to be free."
Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt,
resigned and organized the first volunteer cavalry, made up of polo riders, cowboys and even Indians.
The U.S. Army used the
for the first time in mobile offensive combat.
Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders,
along with other regiments, charged up
Cuba's Kettle Hill,
San Juan Hill,
capturing it on JULY 1, 1898.
After eight hours of heavy fighting there were over
1,500 American casualties.
One of the officers,
Lt. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing,
later rose to the highest rank ever "General of the Armies."
"The entire command moved forward as coolly as though the buzzing of bullets was the humming of bees.
White regiments, black regiments, regulars and Rough Riders, representing the young manhood of the North and the South, fought shoulder to shoulder,
unmindful of race or color,
unmindful of whether commanded by ex-Confederate or not, and mindful of only their common duty as Americans."
Among the thousands of Americans who volunteered for service were 5,000 Black soldiers called
Other Black soldiers were nicknamed
as they were considered more resistant to tropical climate and diseases.
Casualties of the Spanish-American War included:
-379 Americans killed,
-1,645 wounded, and
-2,621 who died of disease.
On the Spanish side:
-800 wounded and
-15,000 died of disease.
The large numbers dying of yellow fever led
Army physician Walter Reed
to conduct research and confirm the disease was spread by mosquitoes.
Sick and wounded soldiers were cared for by
founder of the
American Red Cross,
and an order of
referred to as a
Band of Angels.
After the War,
Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam,
were no longer controlled by Spain.
wrote, July 6, 1898:
"At a time ... of the ... glorious achievements of the naval and military arms ... at Santiago de Cuba,
it is fitting that we should pause and ... reverently bow before the throne of divine grace and give devout praise to God, who holdeth the nations in the hollow of His Hands."