On this day in 1868 Cuba declared independence from Spain. The revolt was led by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. Céspedes, himself a plantation owner, freed his slaves and invited them to join the rebellion. In addition to the former slaves over 2000 Chinese joined the insurrection. The declaration, called the “Grito de Yara” led to the Ten Year War.
Céspedes is considered the father of the Cuban nation but was overthrown in 1873. Cuba abolished slavery in 1886. The next phase of Cuba’s war for independence from Spain begins in 1895 with the “Grito de Baire”, which declares, “Independencia o muerte.” (independence or death.) This led to Spanish-American war.