The makeup of Cuba in the latenineteenth century is much the same as it is today. Nearly66% of the population are white and of Spanish descent. About 22% are of mixed racial heritage, and 12% of thepopulace is black. Cuba lies to the south of the UnitedStates, and is most easily accessible by boat from theFlorida region.
It is this naval quality that encompasses theisland. During the Ten Years War, between 1868-1878,the Cubans fought against Spanish rule in their country. Rebellion broke out around the island, and the rebelsjoined under a united leader, Carlos de Cespedes, awealthy planter, who proclaimed independence from Spain. Nearly 200,000 lives were lost, until the Treaty of ElZanjun was signed. This agreement promised thegovernment would reform and abolish slavery and thetyrannical rule it held over the Cubans.
The treaty was nothonored however, and resistance was again put up in1885. The Spanish king at the time Alfonso XIII,encouraged the use of concentration camps forrevolutionaries caught in battle. The Cuban Revolutionbecame extremely bloody due to the use of Guerrillawarfare. This military operation, conducted on its hometerrain, consisted of inhabitants fed up with oppressive rule. The men involved operated from bases located deep in thejungle, dense forests, and high rocky elevations.
Guerrillasdepended on natives for food, shelter, and usefulinformation. While striking swiftly was a must, the bands ofmen were specialized in the undetected raiding of enemycamps. They could ambush a patrol, kill the soldiers, andsupply their entire company in a matter of hours. Cuttingcommunication between enemy lines became a primetarget, once severed from the army, a battalion could beattacked, disarmed, and their reserves used for therevolutionaries.
It was the unfortunate, destitute populacethat rebelled. Having little to lose they could fight on hometurf and soon, much to there delight had help from theUnited States. While in port in Havana on February 15,1898 the U. S. Battleship Maine was sunk by a largeexplosion. The Americans declared war on Spainimmediately, attacking all Spanish naval vessels in the area,marking the beginning of the Spanish-American War.
Finally on July 18, 1898, George Dewey, a U. S. navalofficer commanded the fleet that destroyed Spanish vesselsin Manila. Upon being defeated once again, Spainsurrendered, giving up Cuba and the Philippines as freecountries.
Therefore with the help of the United States, andthere own fighting rebellion within the country theinhabitants of Cuba gained freedom from Spanishdictatorship, becoming the Cuban Republic in 1901 andelecting Tomas Estrada Palma as president in 1902.Category: History