The last quarter of the nineteenth century found Cuba enmeshed in a complicated colonial environment, tied to the declining Spanish empire yet economically dependent on the newly ascendant United States. Rebellion against Spain had involved two generations of Cubans in major but fruitless wars. By careful examination of the social and economic changes occurring in Cuba, and of the political content of the separatist movement, the author argues that the successful insurrection of 1895-98 was not simply the last of the New World rebellions against European colonialism. It was the first of a genre that would become increasingly familiar in the twentieth century: a guerrilla war of national liberation aspiring to the transformation of society.
The third player in the drama was the United States. For almost a century, the United States had pursuedthe acquistion of Cuba. Stepping in when Spain was defeated, the Americans occupied Cuba ostensibly to prepare it for independence but instead deliberately created institutions that restored the social hierarchy and guaranteed political and economic dependence. It was not the last time the U.S. intervention would thwart the Cuban revolutionary impulse.
Scott demonstrates that slaves themselves helped to accelerate the elimination of slavery. Through flight, participation in nationalist insurgency, legal action, and self-purchase, slaves were able to force the issue, helping to dismantle slavery piece by piece. With emancipation, former slaves faced transformed, but still very limited, economic options. By the end of the nineteenth-century, some chose to join a new and ultimately successful rebellion against Spanish power.
In a new afterword, prepared for this edition, the author reflects on the complexities of postemancipation society, and on recent developments in historical methodology that make it possible to address these questions in new ways.
The untold story of a heroic band of Caribbean pirates whose defiance of imperial rule inspired revolt in colonial outposts across the world
In the early eighteenth century, the Pirate Republic was home to some of the great pirate captains, including Blackbeard, "Black Sam" Bellamy, and Charles Vane. Along with their fellow pirates—former sailors, indentured servants, and runaway slaves—this "Flying Gang" established a crude but distinctive democracy in the Bahamas, carving out their own zone of freedom in which servants were free, blacks could be equal citizens, and leaders were chosen or deposed by a vote. They cut off trade routes, sacked slave ships, and severed Europe from its New World empires, and for a brief, glorious period the Republic was a success.