The Beginning of the Ten Years’ War is observed every year on October 10. It is regarded as the first instance of Cuban independence, and the country has it listed as one of its many public holidays. In 1868, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes made a declaration, also known as the “Grito de Yara,” or the “Cry of Yara,” that began the Ten Years’ War, the first of three armed conflicts against the Spanish occupation of Cuban territory. Much like any other independence-related holiday, this date holds major significance for Cubans, as it celebrates their identity, culture, and heritage nationwide.
History of The Beginning of the Ten Years’ War
The Republic of Cuba is an archipelago country made up of the main island of Cuba, Isla de la Juventud, and over a thousand minor islets. It is located east of the Yucatán Peninsula in the southern end of Mexico, right where the northern Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean converge. Although the country is autonomous now, this wasn’t always the case.
The Peninsular Wars in Europe during the late 1800s resulted in Napoleon’s brother, Joseph, becoming King of Spain. With no loyalty to the new regime, many Spanish colonies in South and Central America sparked independence movements. Cuba stayed faithful to Spain, but as the century progressed, so did the desire for independence, as well as growing resentment of the Spanish administration, which was perceived to be corrupt and repressive.
Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, a rich and powerful sugar mill owner, along with his followers, declared independence on October 10, 1868. The ‘Grito de Yara’ signaled the beginning of the Ten Years’ War, the first of three armed conflicts towards independence. Though it ended in surrender to the Spanish in May 1878, the Ten Years’ War was a watershed moment in Cuba’s fight for independence from Spain, which was finally achieved in December 1898. The events of October 1868 are also seen as directly leading to Cuba’s abolition of slavery in 1886. Spain’s withdrawal from Cuba in 1898 was a direct result of the American victory in the Spanish–American War. The U.S. military ruled for almost four years before Cuba finally got its formal independence on May 20, 1902.
The Beginning of the Ten Years’ War timeline
The Guanahatabey and Ciboney people live in what will one day become Cuba.
Columbus disembarks in Cuba on October 27 and claims the island for Spain.
Napoleon names his brother the King of Spain.
The “Grito de Yara” marks the beginning of the journey towards independence.
The United States cedes authority to the Cuban government on May 20.
The Beginning of the Ten Years’ War FAQs
Why are Americans unable to visit Cuba?
In 1962, the U.S. State Department imposed an embargo on trade between Cuba and the United States of America. It still makes traveling to Cuba more difficult than you might think, but not impossible.
What is Cuba’s national dish
You may have heard of it before; it’s called Ropa Vieja.
What was the original name of Cuba?
Cuba gets its name from its original indigenous name, Cubanacan.
How to Observe The Beginning of the Ten Years’ War
Watch the parades
To commemorate the day, Cubans hold parades and musical performances. Watch the entire thing on online news channels.
Visit the country
If you have the opportunity to travel to Cuba, by all means, do so! The country has pristine white sand beaches and lots of culture to share.
Make a Cuban dish
What better way to celebrate than having a warm Cuban meal with friends and family? Look up recipes online and prepare a special occasion feast.
5 Surprising Facts About Cuba
Their cigars are unique
Cuban cigars are well-known all over the world for their defining aroma and taste.
Celebrating Christmas was forbidden
Cuba was proclaimed an atheist state under Fidel Castro's government, and celebrating Christmas was banned from 1969 to 1998.
They are very literate
At 99.9%, Cuba boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world.
Son is widely popular
While salsa is well-known throughout the world, Son Cubano is the most popular music genre in Cuba.
Dominoes is a popular pastime
In most Cuban neighborhoods, men playing dominoes on the street are a common sight.
Why The Beginning of the Ten Years’ War is Important
It commemorates history
Cuba has a long and colorful history. We get to discover everything about its journey to independence today.
It promotes tourism
Who wouldn't want to visit Cuba? The more people learn about the country today, the more likely they are to visit.
It allows us to appreciate Cuba
This day allows us to recognize the Cuban people's struggle for independence. We admire their courage in achieving their freedom.
The Beginning of the Ten Years’ War dates