Cuban Independence Day, October 10
Historic Start of Cuba’s Anti-Colonial Struggle Against Spain
October 10 is Cuban Independence Day. It marks the beginning of Cuba’s struggle for independence from Spain in 1868 when Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and his followers proclaimed independence in what came to be known as El Grito de Yara (The Yara Proclamation). The event marked the start of the Ten Years’ War known as Cuba’s First War of Independence. Though this First War of Independence ended with surrender to the Spanish in May 1878, in the longer term it proved to be a key event in Cuba’s struggle for independence from Spain. These events also directly contributed to the abolition of slavery in Cuba in 1886.
Spain was finally forced to withdraw from the island when representatives of Spain and the United States signed a peace treaty ending the Spanish-American War in Paris on December 10, 1898. The Treaty established the independence of Cuba, ceded Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States, and allowed the United States to purchase the Philippines Islands from Spain for $20 million. This was followed by three-and-a-half years of U.S. military rule, after which Cuba gained formal independence in 1902.
Today the anniversary is celebrated as a national holiday, a day of cultural events and gatherings which celebrate what it means to be Cuban and what Cuba has achieved as an independent nation.