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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: July 2, 2013.

Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders charged up Cuba’s San Juan Hill and captured it on JULY 1, 1898.

After eight hours of heavy fighting there were over 1,500 American casualties, with the wounded being cared for by Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross.

The Spanish-American War was preceded by atrocities in Cuba, as it was the second last place in the Western Hemisphere, following Brazil, where slavery still existed.

President James Buchanan had written, December 19, 1859:

“When a market for African slaves shall no longer be furnished in Cuba…Christianity and civilization may gradually penetrate the existing gloom.”

President Ulysses S. Grant stated, December 2, 1872:

“Slavery in Cuba is…a terrible evil…It is greatly to be hoped that…Spain will voluntarily adopt…emancipation…in sympathy with the other powers of the Christian and civilized world.”

In 1868, a Creole farmer in Cuba began a revolt. Cubans drafted a “10th of October Manifesto”:

“When rebelling us against the Spanish tyranny we want to indicate to the world the reasons…

Spain governs us with iron and blood; it imposes…taxes at will; it prevails us from all political, civil and religious freedom; it has put us under military watch in days of peace, that catch, exile and execute without being subject to any proceedings…it prohibits that we freely assemble…

Spain loads us with hungry employees who live from our patrimony and consume the product of our work…

So that we do not know our rights it maintains us in the ignorance…

It forces us to maintain a expensive army, whose unique use is to repress and to humiliate us…

To the God of our consciousness we appealed, and to the good faith of the civilized nations…

We want to enjoy the freedom for whose use God created man…We want to abolish slavery…We want freedom of meeting, freedom of the press…”

The Spanish Government crushed the revolt in what was called, “The Ten Years War,” killing thousands.

Under international pressure, Spain issued a Royal decree in 1886, ending slavery.

In 1879, the Little War took place, and in 1895, a final rebellion broke out.

Spain sent Valeriano Weyler to be the Governor of Cuba with orders to smash the anti-government protestors.

Governor Weyler pioneered the use of “concentration camps,” where he rounded up hundreds of thousands of Cuban civilians from their rural farms and marched them into crowded camps.

Between 1896-1897, over a third of Cuba’s population was in concentration camps, and over 225,000 died from starvation, exposure and yellow fever.

When pleas for help reached the United States, the U.S.S. Maine was sent to Havana. On February 15, 1898, it blew up in the harbor, under suspicious circumstances.

Newspaper publishers William Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer stirred the public with “yellow press” journalism into demanding President McKinley intervene militarily.

McKinley finally approved the Resolution of Congress, April 20, 1898:

“Whereas the abhorrent conditions which have existed for more than three years in the island of Cuba, so near our own borders, have shocked the moral sense of the people of the United States, have been a disgrace to Christian civilization,

culminating, as they have, in the destruction of a United States battle ship, with 266 of its officers and crew, while on a friendly visit in the harbor of Havana, and cannot longer be endured…

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives…that the people of the island of Cuba are and of right ought to be free.”

Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, resigned and organized the first volunteer cavalry, made up of polo riders, cowboys and even Indians, helping to win the Battle of San Juan Hill.

Spain lost control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

President William McKinley wrote, July 6, 1898:

“At a time…of the…glorious achievements of the naval and military arms…at Santiago de Cuba, it is fitting that we should pause and…reverently bow before the throne of divine grace and give devout praise to God, who holdeth the nations in the hollow of His Hands.”






William J. Federer is a nationally known speaker, best-selling author, and president of Amerisearch, Inc., a publishing company dedicated to researching America’s noble heritage.

To learn more about the author please visit  William Federer


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