Ten Years’ War Summary

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The history of Ten Years’ War. What are the reasons, causes and results of Ten Years’ War? Information on Ten Years’ War.

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TEN YEARS’ WAR (1868-1878), the bloody first stage of Cuba’s 30-year struggle for independence from Spain. After most of Spanish America won independence in the 1820’s, Spanish rule in Cuba became more oppressive. Failure of the Cuban creóles to win reforms led to rebellion. The Ten Years’ War began in October 1868, when a small group of creóle planters in Oriente province issued the “Grito,” or proclamation of Yara, demanding an independent republic and gradual abolition of slavery. A constitution was drafted, and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes was elected president by a rebel assembly.

Warfare was centered in this eastern region, which suffered heavy property damage and loss of life. In the western half of the island, many creóle slave-holding planters supported Spain, partiy because of fear of abolition and “Africanization.” Indeed, the conflict had characteristics of a civil war, for creóles fought on both sides. It was also racial, with rebel forces being heavily black and mestizo (mulatto), because slaves who enlisted usually were freed. Regular Spanish forces were outnumbered by the Spanish militia, composed mainly of Spanish civilians resident in Cuba.

The Cuban forces, resorting increasingly to guerrilla warfare and despite prepetual supply problems, fought the Spanish to a stalemate. The Pact of Zanjón (February 1878) provided for amnesty, reform, and a guarantee of the freedom of former slaves in the rebel forces. The war, in which 200,000 persons died, doomed slavery in Cuba, but the peace was only a prelude to further conflict.

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