Manuel de Céspedes and his followers at the Grito de Yara.
Today, Yara is celebrated for its important historical contributions to
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.
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.
This article was published in
Volume 51 Number 10 - October 10, 2021