Cuba. Following the liberation of Latin America’s mainland from Spanish rule, Cuba was the first country to begin its own war for independence from Spain. When Cubans battled for independence from Spain between 1868 and 1878, they were known as mambises, or “machetes,” or “mambis.” That conflict came to a close with a pact that was never implemented.
In Tampa, Cuban writer Jose Marti, who lives in New York, was looking for allies who would join him in the country’s war for independence from Spain.
The beginnings of the war. The conflict had its origins in the Cuban battle for independence from Spain, which began in February 1895 and lasted until the end of the century. The Cuban crisis was detrimental to U.S. interests in the island, which were believed to be worth $50 million at the time, and it almost brought U.S. commerce with Cuban ports, which was valued at $100 million yearly at the time, to a halt.
In the period 1895-1898, Cuba and the Philippine Islands staged a revolution against the Spanish Empire. However, the Filipinos were unable to achieve independence like their Cuban counterparts. When it came to both cases, it was the intervention of the United States that sealed the outcome.
Because of the United States’ success in the war, the Spanish were forced to surrender their claims to Cuba and to give sovereignty over Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the United States in a peace treaty that was signed in 1815. During the battle, the United States also annexed the autonomous state of Hawaii from the United Kingdom.
Because of this struggle, along with the Spanish-American trade dispute of the 1890s, the country’s productive potential had been reduced by two-thirds. Close to 20 percent of the city’s estimated prewar population of 1,800,000 had perished, and the outlook for those who survived was gloomy to say the very least. Cubans lacked financial resources and were highly indebted.
On December 10, 1898, representatives of Spain and the United States signed a peace treaty in Paris that recognized Cuba’s independence, gave Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States, and authorized the winning power to acquire the Philippines Islands from Spain for a sum of $20 million.
Until Spain abolished slavery in 1886, about one-third of Cuba’s population was enslaved and forced to labor on the plantations of wealthy landowners until the end of the nineteenth century. Cuban insurgents gained independence from Spain in 1868 and immediately started a guerilla campaign against Spanish authority.
Cuba is located just south of the Tropic of Cancer at the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean (to the north and east), the Gulf of Mexico (to the west), and the Caribbean Sea (to the south and west) (south).