Biography of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Borja del Castillo (1819-1874)

Cuban independence leader, first President of the independent Republic of Cuba, born in Bayamo in 1819 and died in the Hacienda de San Lorenzoen 1874.

Rich landowner in the eastern part of Cuba, made his studies in the universities of La Habana, Madrid and Barcelona, where earned a doctorate in law in 1840. During his stay in Spain, he/she came into contact with Prim and next he/she starred in a coup attempt that resulted in the exile of the Spanish general. In 1844 he/she returned to Cuba, where he/she practiced law and cultivated letters, until in 1852, on the occasion of some pro-independence statements made in the course of a dinner, he/she was imprisoned. From that moment became a fervent advocate of the independence of Cuba.

On October 10, 1868, in his hacienda de La Demajagua, in Manzanillo, granted freedom to slaves and declared war on Spain. This event, which has gone down in history as the Grito de Yara, was a sign of daring and courage, but at the time an act of reckless and foolhardy, that lawns only had a handful of followers. Despite this, the action triumphed due to events which suffered from Spain at the time, rocked by the revolution and the dethronement of Isabel II. The result was the of the ten years war, which convulsed Cuba from 1868 to 1878.

On April 10, 1869, he/she summoned the first Constituent Assembly of Cuba in Guáimaro, in what was, after a coup de force, elected Supreme Leader of the independence movement and President of the so-called Republic in arms. The main measure adopted by Céspedes was the abolition of slavery.

The cause of the revolution, devoid of external support and deeply divided internally, was heading towards no choice but to defeat, prompting that even prior to be wiped out militarily, on October 27, 1873 Céspedes was deposed as Republican President by a meeting of members in Jijagual. The often reason was the indulgence of the President towards abuses of his brother-in-law, which led the independence army.

After this, lawns retreated to the hacienda of San Lorenzo, in Sierra Maestra, where he/she dedicated himself to teach the children of peasants. Reported by this activity to the Spanish troops, lawns preferred suicide to get caught. His corpse was buried comrade.