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Cuba is a state in the Imperial States of America. Explored by Columbus in the 15th century, it was settled by the Spanish, who destroyed the native population. In 1898, a Cuban rebellion against the Spanish gained American support, who ousted the Spanish in the First Spanish-American war. After a period of occupation, the United States annexed Cuba in 1906, prompting a rebellion. Despite continued resistance to the Americans, the U.S maintained control over Cuba. With American retirees settling in Cuba, the demographics of the island changed, resulting in Cuba's full statehood in 1964 as part of the newly formed Imperial States of America. With the Hispanic population disenfranchised, many Cuban rebels, such as the Castro brothers, continued to fight for Cuban independence.
Spanish Rule and " Liberation"
For centuries, Cuba had been under Spanish rule, but in the late 19th century, Cuba began agitating for independence. The brutal working conditions of Sugar mill workers only got worse as the price for Cuban sugar went down. The Cubans turned to guerrilla warfare, which was somewhat successful. To deal with the declining situation, Valeriano Weyler was sent to Cuba. Weyler used brutal tactics to crush the rebellion, word of which spread to the United States through yellow journalists such as William Hearst. These journalists slowly increased the demand for war, and President McKinley sent a ship to Cuba to protect U.S interests. When the ship mysteriously sunk, the media blamed it on the Spanish. On April 25th, 1898, Congress declared war on Spain.
Between June 22 and June 24, the U.S corps under General William Shafter landed at Daiquiri and Siboney, east of Santiago, and established an American base of operations. A contingent of Spanish troops, having fought a skirmish with the Americans near Siboney on June 23, had retired to their lightly-entrenched positions at Las Guasimas. The battle ended indecisively in favor of Spain and the Spanish left Las Guasimas on their planned retreat to Santiago.The U.S. army employed Civil War era skirmishers at the head of the advancing columns. The Battle of Las Guasimas showed the U.S. that the old linear Civil War tactics did not work effectively against Spanish troops who had learned the art of cover and concealment from their own struggle with Cuban insurgents, and never made the error of revealing their positions while on the defense. American soldiers were only able to advance against the Spaniards in what are now called "fireteam" rushes, four-to-five man groups advancing while others laid down supporting fire.
On July 1, a combined force of about 15,000 American troops in regular infantry, cavalry and volunteer regiments, including Theodore Roosevelt and his "Rough Riders," notably the 71st New York, 1st North Carolina, 23rd and 24th Colored, and rebel Cuban forces attacked 1270 entrenched Spaniards in dangerous Civil War-style frontal assaults at the Battle of El Caney and Battle of San Juan Hill outside of Santiago. More than 200 U.S. soldiers were killed and close to 1200 wounded in the fighting. Supporting fire by Gatling guns was critical to the success of the assault. Cervera decided to escape Santiago two days later.
The Spanish forces at Guantanamo were so isolated by Marines and Cuban forces that they did not know that Santiago was under siege, and their forces in the northern part of the province could not break through Cuban lines. This was not true of the Escario relief column from Manzanillo, which fought its way past determined Cuban resistance but arrived too late to participate in the siege.
Due to the American advances, the Spanish called for a ceasefire on August 12. In the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded nearly all of its territories to the United States. Cuba was temporarily placed under an American lease, before its permanent status could be settled. Without a specific amendment to decide the fate of Cuba, the island remained under American occupation, as American businesses gained more influence in the region. When the lease expired in 1906, President Roosevelt encouraged Congress to permanently annex Cuba to the U.S. With Imperialists controlling Congress, Cuba was annexed.
American RuleWith the annexation of Cuba, Roosevelt began to modernize the nation. Millions of dollars were sent to build up Cuban infrastructure. Modern roads and railroads were built, and Cuban ports were updated. The island soon came to dominated by a few American companies, such as United Sugar, which employed locals in conditions similar to slavery. A few resorts were set up in places like Havana to attract American tourists. But self rule was limited. Blacks could not vote, and the Cuban Assembly had little power. As a result, many of the Cuban heroes from the Spanish- American war grew concerned, and resumed their guerrilla tactics - this time against the Americans. Ironically, the Americans used the same tactics as the Spanish to crush the revolt, including concentration camps, though they were not as harsh as the Spanish. The American base at Guantanamo Bay became notorious for its abuses. It later became the central prison in the Western Hemisphere. The Americans utilized African-American regiments who were immune to diseases such as yellow fever. Jim Crow style segregation became prominent in Cuba, and United Sugar hired mercenaries to protect their plantations and to prevent escape by their laborers. The rebels, including Marxists, hid in the jungles, making several attacks. By 1911, the rebellion had subsided, and Cuba slowly returned to normal.
When the United States entered World War I in 1915, revolutionary fervor again spread across Cuba. Since Cuba was a central naval base for the American navy in the Caribbean, the Germans secretly sold arms to the Cuban rebels, who set fire to American ports in the dead of the night. The Germans even held a minor attack on Havana, as the Mexican army invaded Western Cuba. Rebels quickly joined the Mexicans, who made some advances. But, as Cuba was right next to the United States, it could easily ship supplies and troops to keep the rebellion under control. The U.S eventually held a counter assault, crushing the Mexicans in the Battle of Havana. With limited supplies, the Mexicans were forced back, and most of them returned to Mexico. A few remained along with German spies to aid the rebellion. When rebel leader Jose Gomez was killed in 1916, the rebellion slowly died away. Cuba continued to be the center for the American navy in the Caribbean, as the Americans held the important cities which really mattered. Despite the rebels holding control of the countryside, they were eventually overwhelmed by the Americans' superior numbers.
As the remaining rebels were hounded out in 1918, Cuba was slowly pacified. Cuba, with the rest of the United States, benefited from the Roaring Twenties. Cuba was fully modernized with complete infrastructure, and the island became open to the rest of the world. American tourists settled in huge waves around popular destinations such as Havana. Elite American neighborhoods spread, as more American businesses and people made its mark in Cuba. As more Cubans left for jobs, more Americans came. Slowly, the demographics were changing. However, Cubans remained in the majority, and a Cuban middle class began to develop, though many still lived in poverty. The Cuban Assembly gained more power, though it was still subject to American rule. This wave of modernization greatly improved the island and its living standards. However, when the Great Depression set on, most Cubans returned to poverty.While the American Elite and a few wealthy Cubans lived in grandeur, the average Cuban lived much worse. With racial prejudice in sway, tensions began to boil. Joblessness and low wages were prevalent. When President Smith decided to raise taxes on the Cubans, along with the rest of the colonies, the Cubans united against them. A convention was held in Havana illegally by leaders from across all of American held Latin America. During this Havana Convention, the self proclaimed Latin American Congress declared the independence of the colonies as the Latin American Union, with Mexican intellectual Lazaro Cardenas as its president. The news of the declaration spread across Latin America, prompting revolts. Smith immediately sent thousands of troops to Cuba to capture the rebels. However, the Latin American Congress escaped to Costa Rica, and later to Argentina, leaving behind rebel troops. Once again, the Cubans turned to guerrilla warfare, this time not only in the jungle, but the recently built slums. Rebel gangs harassed Americans in Havana, while fires broke out in American neighborhoods. Many Americans returned to the Mainland. Riots broke out attacking police and stealing food. But, as American troops stormed the island, the rebels were all killed or fled. Young Cubans were drafted into the U.S army and sent abroad to prevent them from revolting at home.
When the United States entered World War II, Cuba was once again a primary base for the American navy. While there were some minor attacks by rebels, the United States had learned from its previous wars, and kept the rebels under control. Minor raids by South American forces were largely repelled. With a secure location and cheap labor, Cuba was fully mobilized to produce supplies for the American army. Factories were built that produced food and weapons. Unemployment dropped, and rebel sentiment in Cuba disappeared. American propaganda and Communist attacks on Cuban troops convinced Cuba to identify with the U.S. Many Cuban regiments served with distinction in the Pacific, North Africa, and Anatolia. Cuban regiments were among the most decorated in the war, including the U.S 103rd, which lead the invasion of Germany and the Battle of the Bulge. Over 150,000 Cuban troops served in the war, mostly in distant theatres. The United States did not trust using the Cubans to fight against fellow Latin Americans, sensing revolt.
At the war's end, the industrialization of Cuba provided a post war boom. Thousands of Americans settled in resort suburbs around the cities such as Havana. There were few young males, as the Cuban regiments were still serving. However, outside of the suburbs and tourist towns, most Cubans remained in poverty. A young Cuban who served with the Communists in World War II returned home. His name was Fidel Castro . Castro began preaching against the United States, now the Imperial States gaining a few loyal followers before he was chased out. Cuba remained mobilized for war, and its factories continued to produce supplies used against the Russians. When the war ended, many regiments returned, and increased unemployment.
When Emperor Douglas MacArthur was assassinated by Castro's group, the Cabarellos de Libertad, riots broke out in Havana and her sister city, Miami, both notorious for anti-government sentiment. The riots attacked American police, who were sent to crack down on the CDL gangs. I.S troops bombed their neighborhoods, crushing the rebellion. With American whites and American culture now predominant in Cuba, President Lodge agreed to make Cuba a full fledged American state. The Cuban Assembly was finally given real power, but the Cuban State Senate, dominated by whites, only protected their own interests. Blacks and Hispanics were now oppressed by their own legislature, which passed laws against aspects of Cuban culture, including a ban on the public use of the Spanish language. While more riots broke out in 1970, it was racial, and independence impossible. They continued to live in poverty. The longed for rebellion was fought in South American by Cuba's native son, Fidel and when he was killed by an I.S bomber, Raul. Cuban nationalism lost whatever power it ever had.