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cuba history .org - History of Cuban Nation

Independence War (1895-1898)

The Independence War began in February 24 of 1895, under the writer and philosopher's intellectual direction José Martí who is considered by all the Cubans as Father of the Homeland. Martí gave the order of beginning the revolution in that date, and this began simultaneously in four places of the Oriente of Cuba - in Bayate, under Bartolomé Masó's command; in Ibarra, under Juan Gualberto Gómez and Antonio López Coloma's command; in Baire, with the siblings Saturnino and Mariano Lora; and in Guantánamo, with Periquito Pérez, Emilio Giró and others. The date of February 24 is commemorated in Cuba like national party under the name of "Grito de Baire."

Unfortunately, Martí, that had desired of participate actively in the conflict, it was killed in May 19 of 1895 near Dos Ríos' town in the Oriente of Cuba, when their group was surprised by a column of Spanish soldiers at Colonel Jiménez de Sandoval's command.

September 13 of 1895 an Assembly formed by delegates of the five squads that formed the Liberator Army made a meeting in Jimaguayú and chose to Salvador Cisneros Betancourt like President of the Republic, Bartolomé Masó like Vice chairman, Maximo Gómez like Generalissimo, Antonio Maceo like Lieutenant and Tomás Estrada Palma like diplomatic representative in the United States.

Máximo Gómez, a military leader brilliant, organized several highly successful campaigns, including the Circular Campaign around Camagüey, and the Invasion of Oriente to West of the complete island, everything in the short period of November 8 of 1895 to January 22 of 1896. The most outstanding action was the victory over Spanish General Martínez Campo in Coliseo's town.

The Spanish government's reaction was Martínez's Cámpos replacement for General Valeriano Weyler and the increase of troops in the island that added 180 000. Weyler ordered to all the inhabitants of rural areas to be confined in the cities and he declared that all those that were in the field would be considered insurrectionists. This cruel "concentration" had devastating side effects for the economy of the island. At the same time, the yellow fever continued taking as victims to tens of thousands of soldiers in the island. For this time, the Senate and the Congress of the United States both made separate court decisions recognizing the Cuban Revolution.

In September of 1897, it took place a constitutional convention in Yaya, where a new revolutionary government was chosen. General Bartolomé Masó was chosen as President and Domingo Méndez Capote as Vice chairman. During this year, the tensions between the United States and Spain increased markedly. Spain finally removed General Weyler and it granted to Cuba autonomy in domestic matters in 1897.