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MatanzasThe Cuba Nobody Knows$
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Miguel A. Bretos

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813038100

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813038100.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

Forget the Maine!

Forget the Maine!

(p.168) 12 Forget the Maine!

MIGUEL A. Bretos

University Press of Florida

Cuba's Oriente is privileged in the narrative of Cuba's search for independence from Spain, but the 1895 war for independence began at Ibarra, a hamlet near Matanzas City. Nearness to Havana, however, made the Matanzas insurgency vulnerable. The systematic wartime destruction of the island's sugar industry crippled Matanzas's economy. Matanzas, moreover, was the region of Cuba most affected by the Spanish government's policy of “reconcentration,” that is, the forcible removal of peasants to urban areas ill equipped to look after them. Population loss as a result of the 1895 conflict known as the Spanish–American War after the United States intervened in 1898, reached 10 per cent that of pre-war levels, a demographic catastrophe. This book's author's family was divided by the war. A great-grandfather, Americo Bretos, was an officer in the Cuban insurgent army, while another, Laurentino Garcia Alonso, was a Spanish businessman quite content with the preservation of colonial status.

Keywords:   independence war, 1895, Ibarra, reconcentration, demographic catastrophe

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