On This Day – Beginning of Cuban War of Independence





On this day in 1885, the Cuban War of Independence began in the last of three liberation wars that Cuba fought against Spain. It began as Jose Marti, who had moved to the United States in 1881 and mobilised the support of the Cuban exile community, began to push for a revolution and independence from Spain. He also lobbied against the U.S annexation of Cuba, which some Cuban and American politicians desired.

On March 25, Marti presented the Proclamation of Montecristi which outlined the policy for Cuba’s war of independence, including that the war was to be waged by whites and blacks alike and that the revolution should bring new economic life to Cuba. The insurrection began on this day in 1895, February 24, as uprisings broke out across the island. However, as a result of the Ten Years War between 1868-1878, the possession of weapons by private individuals had been abolished, which led to concerns over the availability of weapons. As a result, a guerrilla-warfare type of fighting broke out as rebels began using their environment, the element of surprise, fast horses and machetes.

Despite being vastly outnumbered, the revolutionaries invaded every province and surrounded many large cities and well-fortified towns. In 1897, the rebel force of 3,000 managed to defeat the Spanish forces at various encounters. However, the final three months of the conflict escalated to become the Spanish-American War.