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1895: Cuban War for Independence

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Jose Marti

Unlike the Ten Years' War, the Cuban Independence Movement of the 1890s was not ignored by the United States. By 1895, the United States was a very different nation than it had been in 1865. The Civil War was over, the American west had been settled, and immigration was at record heights. As historian Stephen Ambrose says, the United States "had to find some new outlet for our energy, for our dynamic nature, for this coiled spring that was the United States."

Leading journalists like William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer took great interest in the Cuban struggle, using dramatic, sensationalist stories to sell millions of newspapers. Although Hearst's altruism may be questioned, he and other journalists did bring American attention to the sufferings of the Cuban people.

The central leaders of the 1895 Cuban revolution were Maximo Gomez, ,Calixto Garcia, and Jose Marti. Gomez (1836-1905), who had dedicated more than half of his life to make Cuba free, became the military leader of the Cuban revolution in 1895. Garcia (1839-1898), one of the best known Cuban insurgents, was an essential factor in the U.S. military's success in Cuba. Garcia provided key intelligence to the United States military, including maps and information about the Spanish officers. Marti (1853-1895), a Cuban émigré who organized the Cigarworkers Party, joined Gomez in 1895 and was killed in action. After his death, Marti became a martyr of the revolution and remains a hero to the Cuban people.

Spain responded to the Cuban insurgency by sending 100,000 soldiers to Cuba in 1895. After the United States government was drawn into the conflict in 1898, the end of Spanish rule became a reality. However, the defeat of Spain and the U.S. presence in Cuba raised new questions for the "Pearl" of the Caribbean—questions that have never been fully answered.


Ambrose, Stephen. Interview with Great Projects Film Company, Februay 14, 1998, 3:00 pm.

Dyal, Donald H.. Historical Dictionary of the Spanish American War. Greenwood Press: Westport, CT, 1996.

O'Toole, G.J.A., The Spanish War: An American Epic-1898. W.W. Norton & Company: New York, 1984.

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