By the beginning of the 19th century , most of the Spanish colonies in America had achieved their independence. However, Cuba was still under Spanish rule, as was the island of Puerto Rico. It should be noted that Cuba was an economic and strategic stronghold for the Spanish. When did Cuba gain independence?
However, the way in which its inhabitants were treated, who did not have privileges, was heating the spirits. Although independence guerrillas had been organized on the island, the intervention of the United States was key to the development of the Cuban independence process. Let’s talk in more detail about the Cuban War and its characteristics.
Who participated in the Cuban War?
Spain, the United States and the Cuban independence forces participated in the Cuban War. The United States was giving its support to the Cuban independence forces, while Spain was giving support to those who wanted to maintain Spanish hegemony over the island , in order to prevent Cuba from separating itself from the Spanish crown.
Throughout the military actions that took place on the island, there were naval and land confrontations, which were dismantling the Spanish military forces present on the island. Spain was in the midst of a political and economic crisis that was reflected in its diminished naval force, which was inferior compared to the US naval force. When did Cuba gain independence?
When and where did the Cuban War take place?
The Cuban War took place between 1895 and 1898. It took place on the island of Cuba , which was a Spanish colony. To date, Spain had lost most of the colonies it had conquered in America. Only the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Cuba remained under his rule. This last colony turned out to be of great value to the Spanish, since thanks to its productive lands, Spain obtained different food supplies and economic income.
Causes of the Cuban War
The Cuban War arose due to various political, social and economic factors. The bad Spanish management on Cuba led to a growing discontent on the part of the population who were subjected to abuses which could not defend having no voice or vote both in politics and in claiming rights. These circumstances were awakening a growing contempt for Spanish rule.
In Cuba, a patriotic sentiment had been developing , which increasingly wanted to become independent from the Spanish crown and in this way to administer the island as a free and independent country. In the midst of this atmosphere of independence, the United States, which sought political and territorial interests in Cuba, decided to support the separatist process led by military and political leaders, who relied on civil society. When did Cuba gain independence?
On the other hand, Spain had not properly managed the island’s resources . Although large quantities of sugar, tobacco and other food items were produced, the economic benefits only favored a small part of the population made up of Spanish bourgeois and Creole followers of the Spanish crown.
Likewise, the island was not provided with manufactured articles, which did not favor the progress and development of the cities of Cuba . These circumstances increased the feeling of independence, which in past wars had been reflected in the Cuban population thirsty for freedom. In addition, this process, receiving support from the United States, made the Cubans not feel alone in their independence process .
Development of the Cuban War
By the middle of the 19th century, independence groups already existed in Cuba. José Martí was one of the main supporters of the independence movement . After organizing libertarian strategies in the United States, he returned to Cuba, where an uprising known as El Grito de Baire was taking place, which was an uprising of 35 towns in eastern Cuba .
This environment fostered the feeling of freedom on the island which led to the start of the war in 1895 . At first, the conflict developed as an offensive by armed guerrillas, which received the support of the peasant population. Faced with this instability, the United States sent support on the armored ship Maine , which was located off the coast of Havana. When did Cuba gain independence?
After an explosion registered inside the ship, a discord arose, in which the United States accused Spain of sabotage the ship, which served as an excuse to intervene in the conflict by declaring war on Spain . Given these circumstances, an atmosphere of war was created in both the United States and Spain, encouraged by the press, which justified or accused the military actions between both sides, further favoring the war between these two nations.
After two naval battles, the United States destroyed Spain’s naval force . This weakened the Spanish land forces, which could no longer receive support and supplies by sea. These circumstances were final and prepared the ground for the Spanish army to receive heavy defeats during the land battles , given that the independentistas had the support of the US army present on the island.
Consequences of the Cuban War
Although both sides suffered casualties and setbacks, the worst consequences were suffered by the Spanish. By the date of the Cuban War, Spain was already weakened after its great dominance since the conquests made in America. The empire was facing internal problems that were noted in the loss of control over its colonies, in this case, the loss of Cuba as one of its richest colonies with a strategic economic location . When did Cuba gain independence?
During this war, some 120,000 people lost their lives, in addition to material losses . This was counterproductive for the Spanish crown, which received the contempt of public opinion, due to the fact that those who did not have to pay 2,000 pesetas had to go to war, the poorest being affected.
As a consequence, in Spain an antimilitarist sentiment developed on the part of society . This instability led to revolts and internal wars in Spain. Although the war had ended in 1898, Cuba remained under the control of the United States until 1902 , when under pressure from the independentists, it achieved autonomy under the acceptance of the establishment of US military bases in Cuban territory.
In view of the loss of a large part of its naval fleet, Spain was unable to defend other colonies such as the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam, which had to cede to the United States after signing the Treaty of Paris between the two nations on December 10, 1898. Similarly , Spain was forced to sell the Mariana, Carolinas and Palau islands to Germany due to the distance and difficulty of defending them. When did Cuba gain independence?
These conditions made the influence and power that Spain once had disappear, thus losing its prominence as a conquering power from that moment, a situation from which it never recovered.
Victor of the Cuban War/independence of Cuba
The Spanish received great defeats on land and naval level. This was because they were unprepared to face a war against the United States. The fleet of modern ships limited them when facing the American fleet. In fact, the naval defeat that the Spanish received, caused that the Spanish armies had serious difficulties to be well supplied.
Additionally, the support that the Americans received from the Cuban independentists, allowed them to block the military actions of the Spanish. For this reason, Spain decided to enter into negotiations, in which it recognized the independence of the Cuban colony, thus sealing its defeat in the Cuban War . When did Cuba gain independence?