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Cuba's Homeland Father and Rise Against Spanish Colonialism
Mural of La Demajagua rising by Carlos Maneul de Cespedes. Photo:  Radio Bayamo
Carlos Manuel de Cespedes y del Castillo was a well to do Cuban landowner that before going to fight for the country's freedom freed his slaves and urged them to join him in the zeal of seeing the Homeland sovereign and independent from Spanish colonial rule.
Cuba: The Mambi Ten Cent Stamp


But his deeds have remained, not alone for having started the fight for freedom, but also for leaving behind prints hard to delete from the country's history.

Being called Cuba's Homeland Father is among his biggest merits, without a doubt.

It is that when he was told that they would kill his son Oscar, who had been arrested by the Spanish colonial rulers; to what he replied: "Oscar isn't my only child; I'm the father of all the Cubans killed fighting for the Revolution."

Oscar was sentenced to death, but Cespedes did not give up the fight, as the Spaniards wanted to.

Such strong response took him being called the Father of the Homeland, an additional merit to the man that initiated the war for Cuba's independence in October 10th, 1868 when rising against Spanish colonial rule and freeing his slaves, at the time he urged them to join him in the fight for the country's freedom.

His gained moral authority and prestige took him being chosen as the President of the Republic in Arms, elected for the position at the rebel Assembly held in the town of Guaimaro, duty he devoted time and effort, and all his preparation and intelligence as the good lawyer, writer, poet, critic, that he was, but most of all the full length Cuban patriot that he was.

But Cespedes shone not alone in the fight for Cuba's independence, as history knows of his contribution to culture, he wrote plays and comedies, and composed pieces like La Bayamesa.

The Illusions Son of Bayamo also founded the Philharmonic Society in his home town.

Cespedes was not fully understood then, he underwent unfair pressures and fake accusations; therefore, was dismissed as President in October 27th, 1873.

Then he retired away to a far back place in the Sierra Maestra Mountains, where he began to write and teach illiterate children.

On February 27th, 1874 Cespedes was warned on the near presence of Spanish forces that headed there to catch him, he grabbed his gun and tired to escape but was killed in an uneven combat.

Every October the tenth, Tributes to Cespedes are observed in Bayamo, and all across the country.

The traditional laying of floral wreaths at the foot of a statue of the forefather in the city of Bayamo takes place every October the tenth with the participation of may people.

Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, a man of many talents, was born April 18, 1819, and launched the country's first war of independence, October 10, 1868, ordered the abolition of slavery, and in this early period of Cuban history, warned against the intentions of the United States to annex the island.

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  • William Read

    An interesting article. I have wondered for many years why Spain "hung on" to Cuba for many decades after the rest of its former Latin American empire had been given their independence; it was almost a century after the first independent state, in 1810, and Cuba achieving its freedom.