Cuba’s Fight for Freedom 1868

Cuba’s Ten Year War for independence from Spain began on the plantation of Carlos Céspedes in 1868. This event is celebrated annually on October 10 as the “Grito de Yara” (“Cry of Yara”).  Céspedes declared Cuba’s independence and proclaimed freedom for Cuba’s slaves.  The Cuban Liberation Army, as it became known, fought a guerilla style war against the Spaniards.  Spain responded by sending the largest army to cross the Atlantic to fight the rebels: 200,000 soldiers commanded by 40 top generals.  This military might was a far greater force than US Commander George Washington ever fought during the American Revolutionary War.  After tremendous loss of life, the Cubans prevailed in 1898.  The Americans intervened in this conflict, which escalated into the Spanish American War.  As one American historian and war veteran later wrote, “Not one American in 10,000 realizes how important the Cuban army was in our Spanish war … Our histories simply state that we did it all …. Isn’t honor overdue where honor was earned?”  (Image of Carlos Céspedes)

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