The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825: Cuba and the Fight for Freedom in Matanzas 0807143359, 9780807143353

In June 1825 the Cuban countryside witnessed a large African-led slave rebellion -- a revolt that began a cycle of slave

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Table of contents :
One. Slavery in Western Cuba, 1792–1825
Two. Slave Resistance in Cuba to 1825
Three. Matanzas and Guamacaro: Slaves, Plantations, and the Atlantic World
Four. Conspiracy, Rebellion, and Frustration
Five. Trials and Murders: Different Interpretations of the Law
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 0807143359, 9780807143353

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the great african slave revolt of 1825

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Cuba and the Fight for Freedom in Matanzas

m a nu e l ba rc i a

louisiana state univ ersity press baton rouge

Published by Louisiana State University Press Copyright © 2012 by Louisiana State University Press All rights reserved Manufactured in the United States of America First printing des i gner: Michelle A. Neustrom ty pe fac es: Whitman, text; Tribute, display pr i nte r : McNaughton & Gunn, Inc. b i nder : Acme Bookbinding Maps by Jorge Macle

l i b ra ry of c on g ress c ata lo ging -in-publ icatio n data Barcia Paz, Manuel, 1972– The great African slave revolt of 1825 : Cuba and the fight for freedom in Matanzas / Manuel Barcia. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-8071-4332-2 (cloth : alk. paper) — ISBN 978-0-8071-4333-9 (pdf) — ISBN 978-0-8071-4334-6 (epub) — ISBN 978-0-8071-4335-3 (mobi) 1. Slavery—Cuba—History—19th century. 2. Slave insurrections—Cuba— History—19th century. 3. Africans—Cuba—History—19th century. 4. Plantations—Cuba—History—19th century. 5. Cuba—History—1810–1899. I. Title. HT1076.B3743 2012 306.3'62097291309034—dc22 2011039039

The paper in this book meets the guidelines for permanence and durability of the Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity of the Council on Library Resources. 䊊 ⬁

For Paul Glenister, R.I.P., for being the best friend and colleague and for listening to the story told in this book so many times

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These illuminating flashes of light announce the clap of thunder, and the blacks only need a brave enough leader to guide them to vengeance and slaughter. —d e ni s d i d e rot

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Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1 one

Slavery in Western Cuba, 1792–1825 23 two

Slave Resistance in Cuba to 1825 42 three

Matanzas and Guamacaro Slaves, Plantations, and the Atlantic World 68 four

Conspiracy, Rebellion, and Frustration 97 five

Trials and Murders Different Interpretations of the Law 120

x · Contents

Conclusion 148

Appendixes 153 Notes 179 Bibliography 213 Index 227



started writing this book many years ago. I began my research in the Archivo Nacional de Cuba in Havana thinking about writing a conference paper and ended up visiting document repositories all over the Atlantic looking for pieces of information that would allow me to put together the history of the great African rebellion of 1825. Throughout the years, many friends and colleagues gave me advice and suggestions on how to improve it and moral support that enabled me to finish it. I was only able to complete this book thanks to a University of Leeds Faculty of Arts Research Grant, which gave me the necessary time to write the final draft of the manuscript and then to respond to the readers’ comments. I am equally grateful to the personnel of the archives and libraries I visited; without them this book would never have seen the light of day. I owe a particular debt to Jorge Macle, at the Archivo Nacional de Cuba, who was always available to help me find documents that had gone astray. He is also the author of all the maps in this book. Matt Childs and I worked side by side, sharing the joys of finding archival “golden nuggets” and the disappointments of realizing that some important documents may have been lost forever. Karen Robert graciously helped me get hold of a number of documents from the Massachusetts Historical Society. Continual discussions with Gloria García over the years helped me rethink my ideas about the 1825 movement and, more generally, about slave rebellion in Cuba. Ada Ferrer gave me advice, references, and a copy of an important map, with a dinosaur sticker as a bonus, the work of one of her then very small daughters. Paul Lovejoy guided me through the intricacies of early nineteenthcentury West African history, and his son Henry was always happy to talk about Cuba, West Africa, or whatever else came up, including baseball. Rafael Marquese and Dale Tomich encouraged me to transform the original text, written in Spanish, into a book in English, and Matthias Röhrig Assunção discussed with me many times some of the ideas and problems that I deal with here. María del Carmen Barcia fueled my interest in the 1825 uprising and was xi

xii · Acknowledgments

always ready to comment on new findings and theories that I came up with. I am also indebted to Rosanne Adderley, Camillia Cowling, Mary Ellen Curtin, Lisa Earl Castillo, David Eltis, Leida Fernández, Alejandro de la Fuente, Reinaldo Funes, John Garrigus, Dick Geary, Alejandro Gómez, Lillian Guerra, Gwendolyn Hall, Jane Landers, Javier Laviña, Robin Law, Adrián López, Gillian McGillivray, Robert Paquette, José Antonio Piqueras, Joel Quirk, David Richardson, Inés Roldán de Montaud, Stacey Sommerdyck, Bill Van Norman, Claudia Varella, David Wheat, and Michael Zeuske for listening to my arguments time and again and for offering good suggestions for improving this study. Other colleagues and friends who offered academic and personal support and who must not be forgotten here are Gregorio Alonso, Nir Arielli, Monica Baar, Anastasia Belina, Robin Blackburn, Ben Bollig, Vania Celebicic, Paul Garner, Rachel Gillis, Stuart Green, Bettina Hermoso, Marial Iglesias, Ananya Kabir, Michelle Kelly, Cara Levey, Milagros López-Peláez, Isabelle Mudge, Oliver Murphy, Kristina Plá, Ricardo Quiza, Yasmin Reyes, Lisette Roura, Erna Von der Walde, and Duncan Wheeler. Both the first, anonymous reader and the second reader, Professor Sherry Johnson, made insightful observations that helped me to make the manuscript stronger and more accurate. Once again, Alisa Plant, at Louisiana State University Press, worked with me to make the best possible book out of my manuscript, and copyeditor Joanne Allen did a fantastic job tracking down and correcting my many mistakes. My family in Cuba and Greece have continued to be a source of inspiration and love, and my wife, Effie Kesidou, has been by my side all these years and has always believed in me. I owe her so much that I have literally run out of words to convey what she really means to me. This book is dedicated to my good friend and colleague Paul Glenister, who passed away suddenly in January 2008. I learned more from him about British culture and life than from anybody else. He introduced me to the likes of Red Dwarf, Men Behaving Badly, and Blackadder, all of which still make me laugh quite often. He, perhaps more than anyone, was at all times aware of the development of this project. I told him the story of the 1825 rebellion many times, and he was always happy to listen and offer ideas. Not surprisingly, then, this one is for you, mate.

the great african slave revolt of 1825

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n January 26, 1825, Francisco Dionisio Vives, who had been in charge of the government of Cuba for just under two years, had an important letter to write. Some days before, one of the officers under his command at the Havana garrison had found in the streets a pamphlet printed earlier that month by the well-known local publishing house of Arazoza y Soler questioning the continuation of Spanish colonial rule in Cuba at a time when the rest of Spanish America was achieving independence. In his letter to the secretary of justice, the captain general highlighted the dangers to which the island was exposed and referred to those trying to steal Cuba away from Spain as “revolutionaries of both worlds.” He said that he had ordered an inquiry into the publication of the pamphlet, and he reassured the Spanish bureaucrats in Madrid that his constant vigilance had, at least until then, kept all these attempts to prepare the “revolution they desired” at bay.1 In fact the captain general had reason to be concerned. By the time he wrote this letter, he had probably received news of the defeat of the Spanish army by South American patriots in the battle of Ayacucho.2 The collapse of Spanish domination in the Americas was by then all but a reality. In Mexico, only the fortress of San Juan de Ulúa was still in Spanish hands, and that only thanks to Vives himself.3 In both Mexico and Colombia the victorious revolutionaries were now plotting to free Cuba from Spain. Vives also knew about the intentions of the emerging United States, and he was all too aware of the constant threat that the neighboring Republic of Haiti—now governed by President Jean Pierre Boyer—continued to pose to Cuba. Only a few months earlier the discovery of the conspiracy of the Soles y Rayos de Bolivar had served as a reminder that the ideas of independence had not vanished from the island, and in August 1824 a military uprising led by Lieutenant Gaspar Rodríguez had taken place in Matanzas, revealing that even the ever-loyal army was not free from turmoil and division. Finally, there were the thousands of slaves living in the Cuban cities and countryside, who had participated in a number of small plots and revolts from the time of Captain General Luis de 1

2 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

las Casas in the last decade of the previous century. It is not surprising, then, that Vives would call his foes in this letter “revolutionaries of both worlds,” an apparent reference to both sides of the Atlantic.4 In addition to his fears of a foreign incursion against the island, Vives was conscious that it was this last threat, the one posed by the African slaves, on which he needed to keep a close eye at all times. Throughout the first half of 1825 he never ceased calling the Spanish Crown’s attention to the fact that foreign powers, including Britain, Mexico, Colombia, and Haiti, could take advantage of the large numbers of slaves inhabiting the island to tilt the balance in their favor once their struggle had begun.5 Vives was relentless in his efforts to stop this from happening. To thwart the menace presented by the Mexican revolutionaries, Vives, helped by the Hacienda intendants of this period, offered all his support to the defense of the fortress of San Juan de Ulúa, the last Spanish stronghold on the continent’s mainland.6 In early 1825 he very likely knew that an army was being assembled on the Yucatán Peninsula to attack Cuba and that holding on to San Juan de Ulúa would severely limit the chances of such an invasion.7 Vives was not alone in his apprehensiveness. In November, barely a few days before the final surrender of the fortress to the Mexican revolutionaries, the new Cuban intendant, Claudio Martínez de Pinillos, backed Vives in the strongest possible terms, stressing both the need for a stronger garrison in Havana and the dangers arising from new slave insurrections: And this island, without a naval force to protect her at this time, could see herself immersed in great afflictions. If it is true that these afflictions may not alter the public order in this capital, in my judgment secured by a majority of loyal and intelligent people, they may do so in our fields, where our slaves may rise up, provoking the subsequent ruin of our agriculture, which constitutes all the wealth of this country.8

In May, the king of Spain, Ferdinand VII, resolved to listen to the complaints arriving almost daily from Havana, and on May 28 he issued a royal decree conceding unlimited powers to the captain general of the island of Cuba.9 Almost simultaneously, on May 25, he issued a royal decree creating a Military Commission for the island, which henceforth would be charged with investigating, examining, and sentencing any act of opposition against Spanish colonial rule in Cuba.10

Introduction · 3

The creation of the Military Commission, an eminently repressive body, and the granting of unlimited powers to the captain general did not go down well with some inhabitants of the island. There were reports of significant numbers of people leaving Cuba for the United States as soon as the royal decrees were made public.11 For the Cuban authorities it was an altogether different story. Suddenly Vives found himself with unprecedented power to govern the island. The Military Commission was invaluable for its ability to control any form of dissent from both the slave and the free colored and white populations. It was just then, as Vives was finally starting to get a grip on the situation and could relax concerning the likelihood of a foreign invasion, that the African slaves already living on the island struck in the locality of Guamacaro with a force never before seen in Cuba.

From the moment that Vives received a written communiqué about the uprising, on the afternoon of June 15, he made up his mind to uncover any potential links between the rebel slaves and what he frequently called “our enemies,” meaning the enemies of the island, the “revolutionaries of both worlds” mentioned in his letter of January 26. One after another all the enemies of Cuba and Spain were methodically investigated. He first tried to establish a connection to the Mexicans, who had been organizing an expedition against the island since 1824; he then attempted to blame the British for spreading rumors among the slaves about the Spanish defeat in Ayacucho and the Colombian revolutionaries themselves for defeating Spain and posing a new threat to the peace of the island.12 Finally, just over a month after the insurrection took place, he criticized the French government for recognizing the independence of Haiti and for offering a “bad example” that would certainly “encourage the slaves of this island to rebel.”13 Despite his concerns and while Vives tried to make a connection between the events that unfolded in Guamacaro that mid-June day and the international plots against the island under his command, he was eventually forced to recognize that they were completely unrelated. The uprising of June 15 was conceived and planned by three men, all born and raised on the distant African continent—Pablo Gangá, Lorenzo Lucumí, and Federico Carabalí. The vast majority of those who eventually joined the movement were also Africanborn, mostly Carabalís, Gangás, Mandingas, and Lucumís. The ways in which the rebel group moved across the region and acted in the face of different

4 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

situations and choices reveal interesting aspects of the movement that made it unique at the time. The 1825 slave uprising in Guamacaro was the first large African-led slave revolt in nineteenth-century Cuba.14 It began a cycle of African-led slave rebellions that would only end with the repression of the plotters of the Conspiracy of La Escalera in 1844 and 1845. The short- and long-term impacts of the movement were unprecedented. The first images of the aftermath of the rebellion, which were described by Lieutenant Andrés Máximo Oliver in a letter to Vives telling of the dead bodies of white residents and burned estates that he had seen with his own eyes in the hours following the rebellion, haunted Cuban authorities and inhabitants from that day on.15 More importantly, this insurrection raised new questions about the best ways to govern the slave population and put in doubt the commonly held beliefs about the rivalries existing among the Africans brought to Cuba. To date there has not been a single book or article dedicated to this uprising, despite its indisputable historical significance. This book addresses this vacuum not only by offering the first explicit study of an African-led revolt in nineteenth-century Cuba but also by questioning the current lack of understanding about the character and scope of slave rebellion in Cuba during the Age of Revolution. This lack of understanding is, in my view, a result of the absence of individual studies of particular slave movements there.16 This absence of studies is a problem for anyone attempting to examine the character, intentions, leadership, and ideologies behind slave rebellions in the Atlantic world during the Age of Revolution. A quick snapshot of the Cuban case shows more than sixty slave plots and revolts, most of them African-led, that have gone practically unstudied, while two or three movements, notably the Aponte and La Escalera conspiracies, have received the bulk of academic interest until now. By overlooking dozens of slave movements, scholars have drawn general conclusions about slave rebelliousness in Cuba based on evidence pertaining to only a small number of events. The failure of scholars specializing in Cuba to look at the wider picture has had a domino effect at the Caribbean, Latin American, American, and Atlantic levels. The most recent author to produce a comprehensive study of slave revolts during the Age of Revolution, Johannes Postma, not surprisingly failed to look at most of the slave plots and revolts that took place in Cuba during the first half of the nineteenth century.17 Since this information about slave movements in Cuba is practically nonexistent for scholars who do not specialize in Cuban history, the section of Postma’s book devoted to the island

Introduction · 5

features only the Aponte conspiracy of 1812 and, to a minor extent, the La Escalera conspiracy of 1843–44, and his overall assessment of slave rebellion in Cuba overlooks completely the role of African-born slaves.18 One of the main objectives of this monograph, then, is to help fill this void with a comprehensive, evocative study of one of the most important African-led slave revolts to take place in the Americas in the Age of Revolution and to show that what happened in the Cuban countryside in this period was much more complex and rich than scholars have revealed so far. It is my hope that this book will answer crucial questions relating to African identities and ethnic collaboration in the diaspora and help bring the Cuban case to the attention of scholars of slavery in the Americas, who continue to focus their studies on and to derive their conclusions from the experiences of mainly English-speaking countries and Brazil. In particular, when it came to offering resistance to enslavement, those born in Africa used every piece of

6 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

ancestral wisdom acquired in their previous lives to resist covertly or to fight openly displaying the practical knowledge about war that they had brought with them across the Atlantic. To say that the 1825 uprising and the many others that occurred over the following two decades have been poorly studied would be an understatement. With the exception of the Aponte plot and revolt, which took place in 1812, and the conspiracy of La Escalera, in 1843–44, no other movement with slave participation in Cuba has been the subject of intensive research.19 Articles and books have been published about La Escalera, principally about its supposed ringleader, the free colored poet Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés, also known as Plácido. But even in this case the scholarly research based on primary sources is very limited. Incredibly, the most important book to date on this movement, Robert L. Paquette’s Sugar Is Made with Blood: The Conspiracy of La Escalera and the Conflict between Empires over Slavery in Cuba, was written without consulting any of the more than one hundred bundles of documents about the conspiracy housed in the Archivo Nacional de Cuba in Havana.20 Outside of Paquette’s superb volume, any scholar who approaches the history of slave rebellion in Cuba after 1825 will have very little to work with. The exceptions are works on two of the most important uprisings of the period. In 1982 the Cuban historian Juan Iduarte was the first to devote an entire piece to a movement involving slaves in Cuba other than those of 1812 and 1844. His study on the 1833 Lucumí insurrection on the coffee plantation Salvador, located west of Havana, showed for the first time that slave revolts in Cuba had clearly become more violent since those registered in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This was largely a direct result of the massive introduction of Lucumí slaves to the island beginning in the second decade of the nineteenth century.21 Eighteen years later, Daniel Martínez García published what has been until now the only other individual study of a slave revolt in the period. This particular movement was the Lucumí-led uprising of March 1843 on the sugar plantation Alcancía in the district of Bemba, east of Matanzas.22 Although both Iduarte and Martínez García failed to do justice to the African character of these two movements, their primary sources shone on their own and, perhaps unintentionally, served to open the way for future studies on other movements that occurred in the period. The rebellions of 1833 and 1843 were by no means unique. There were dozens of African-led insurrections in Cuba during the Age of Revolution, most of them led by Lucumí slaves, that so far have been barely mentioned, let alone studied. To my knowledge, two of the most important ones, which arguably

Introduction · 7

opened and closed the cycle—the Guamacaro revolt of June 1825 and the insurrection of La Guanábana in November 1843—have never been the subject of an academic study. Interestingly, the movement of 1843 in the districts of La Guanábana and Santa Ana is still remembered. In the 1970s, a monument to the rebels was erected on the grounds of the former sugar plantation Triunvirato, one of the main centers of the uprising, and Fidel Castro dedicated a few minutes of one of his long speeches to highlighting the historical significance of this event.23 When Cuban forces went into Angola in late 1975 to assist the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) to secure power against the advancing forces of the Forças Armadas Populares de Libertação de Angola (FAPLA) and the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA), the Cuban military commanders, or probably Fidel Castro himself, named the military operation “Carlota,” after one of the female leaders of the November 1843 rebellion.24 In contrast, the movement of 1825 all but disappeared from public documents after 1844. Even the most important scholars dedicated to the study of Cuban slavery failed to do more than merely mention the revolt that signaled the beginning of the period of Africanization of slave rebellion on the island. It was not until 1986 that a local historian in Matanzas, Israel Moliner Castañeda, finally paid attention to this remarkable event.25 Since then other historians have discussed the uprising to varying degrees. Robert L. Paquette and Joseph C. Dorsey, Laird W. Bergad, and Gloria García have all attempted to sketch the events of June 1825 while addressing wider issues. In 1994 Paquette and Dorsey were already raising awareness of the need for a case study of this “great revolt”: The great revolt of 1825 has not attracted the scholarly attention it deserves, and Cuba’s National Archive contains bundles of official documentation about it and many subsequent acts of collective slave resistance. Particularly significant are the records of the Comisión Militar, a special military tribunal extended by the Spanish government to Cuba in 1825 to handle dissidents of all colors. In fact, the commission’s first real test involved the prosecution of the slave rebels of 1825 from the Matanzas plantation district.26

The descriptions and digressions of the authors mentioned above, though valid attempts to give this movement the attention it deserves, have often been

8 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

plagued by errors that can only have derived from lack of information or from the occasionally hasty reading of the primary sources they consulted, primary sources that, being themselves problematic, needed to be read with care and often against the grain. Among these errors, which are no doubt the result of previous historiographical trends and interpretations, it is possible to find exaggerations and flawed interpretations of the information found in the original documents. Take, for instance, the simple issue of the number of slaves involved in the movement. In his pioneering study, Moliner Castañeda stated that at its peak the revolt numbered 223, and García has suggested in more than one place that the rebels’ number reached more than 400, or almost half of the entire slave population of the district of Guamacaro at the time.27 Very likely both figures are the consequence of reading preliminary impressions of local residents and authorities who in the heat and panic of the moment exaggerated the magnitude of the events. More difficult to explain is the number of “missing slaves” given by Moliner Castañeda, which he estimated to be about 170. As I shall reveal, there is no evidence to support this assertion or his suggestion that most of those slaves who escaped the repression joined palenques (runaway-slave settlements) in the neighboring districts.28 Both Moliner Castañeda and García have also suggested, incorrectly, that slaves from every estate in the region joined the movement, a fact that was already denied in the final conclusions offered by the Military Commission prosecutors who dealt with the rebellion’s aftermath.29 There were estates whose owners, warned of the danger, managed either to lock up their slaves or to get them out of the way of the rebels. Furthermore, as I shall reveal, on at least one plantation, Lemuel Taylor’s Santa Amalia, all but two of the slaves refused to join the rebels and protected their master against them. The geographical origin of the insurgents and the social status of their leaders are other aspects that have been incorrectly construed. For example, Moliner Castañeda and Gloria García failed to question strongly enough the early suppositions of the Cuban authorities concerning the participation of free colored people in the movement.30 In truth, as we shall see, Captain General Vives and his minions did everything in their power to connect this fragile section of the Cuban population with the rebels, something that he and his successors would continue to do until at least 1844. The fact is that in 1825 they failed miserably in their attempt, despite a wave of arrests against the free colored residents of Guamacaro that ultimately did not produce a single prosecution.

Introduction · 9

It is true, as the authors mentioned above have suggested, that there were two free colored drivers involved, but what they did not explain is that both were African-born freed men who had only recently been liberated by their master—Juan Fouquier—and who had continued to live on the same plantation in the same way that they had lived while they were slaves. Their freedom had a very little impact on their day-to-day lives. More importantly, although they seem to have played an important role during the revolt, nothing suggests that they were seriously involved in the plot that preceded it. By supporting Vives’s claim that free colored men were behind the movement, some of these scholars have also credited the captain general’s suppositions about the existence of external influences among the rebels. It is certainly understandable that Vives would consider such a proposition; however, by the end of 1825 it was clear even to him that the rebels had not been in contact with any free blacks or foreigners. When Moliner Castañeda, on the other hand, asserted that the link to the free blacks who participated in the revolt revealed that there had been a previous plot, he tacitly insinuated that without their organizational capabilities the African-born slaves would never have been able to conspire on their own.31 Similarly, Laird W. Bergad has again questioned the existence of a plot in a recent book, reviving his unfounded doubts about the lack of “organization or leadership” among the rebels, implicitly denying the agency of African-born men and women and their will or ability to resist enslavement in an organized fashion.32 Overall, what little information can be found in the existing literature is insufficient. The “great revolt of 1825,” as it was fittingly called by Paquette and Dorsey, has been misunderstood at best and ignored at worst, despite the best efforts and intentions of scholars who attempted to make some preliminary conclusions about its character, its leadership, its ethnic composition, and so on. Contrary to what Gloria García has suggested, this movement did not close a cycle of resistance. Rather, it opened a new one that was intrinsically related to a series of events that were occurring simultaneously in the places of origin of these new West African slaves.33 Up to the early 1820s, slave revolts in Cuba were not as violent as later ones would be; regularly involved free colored men, who frequently led from the front; and were often under the influence of various types of “Atlantic rumors,” sometimes including a Haitian connection, as was the case in 1798, 1806, and 1812.34 These movements, although sometimes involving substantial numbers of African-born men and women, as happened on the Peñas Altas plantation

10 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

in 1812, reflected the aspirations and goals of their leaders, the majority of whom were urban and Creole. After 1825, by contrast, African-born men and women assumed the leadership and constituted the majority of the rebels in almost every rural movement. These uprisings, which were certainly more violent, were fought according to the knowledge of war that those African men and women had brought with them from their distant homes. Not only that, but the revolts became more and more frequent over time, reaching their peak in the years 1842 and 1843, just before the repression of La Escalera led by Captain General Leopoldo O’Donnell. The events that unfolded in Guamacaro that late spring day of 1825 would change the lives of all those living in the western part of the island in the years to come. None of the studies mentioned above identified the potential of this revolt to enlighten discussions about identity and ethnicity in the diaspora, in this case not only African ones but also identities originating in the Americas and in Europe. The fact that the vast majority of the people involved in one way or another in this event were foreigners can help us understand how a number of Atlantic cultures converged in the plantation region of Guamacaro, creating a political and social atmosphere conducive to slave insurrection.35 As we shall see, almost from the moment that the Spanish authorities began investigating the event the fact that most of the planters and their employees were not Cuban-born was considered one of the main reasons why the African slaves living in Guamacaro took arms. The “savage Africans” were singled out when the Creoles could not be accused and charged, demonstrating not only the frustrations of the Spanish authorities but also the existing cultural gap between West African and Creole men and women and the limited association between them. The 1825 movement in Guamacaro constitutes, then, a window into an Atlantic milieu in which ethnicity and race mattered but where people had been born mattered even more.

The Africanization of slave rebellion in Cuba from 1825 on was not a matter of luck. After 1820, when the slave trade to Spanish America was officially abolished, the number of Africans transplanted to Cuba continued to grow steadily. While the pace of Creolization increased in most of the slave societies in the New World, only Cuba and some parts of Brazil maintained a majority of African-born slaves in their cities and countryside. More importantly, the origin of those sold as slaves on the West African shores and taken to the

Introduction · 11

Americas changed noticeably after a series of political and civil disputes and wars began to tear the formerly mighty Empire of Oyo apart. Cuba became, alongside northeastern Brazil, an exceptional place with a large African-born population that now included thousands of former subjects of Oyo. Slave plots and revolts in Cuba between 1825 and 1843 were quite frequently aimed at resisting enslavement itself and not slavery as a system, a fact that directly contradicts theoretical models offered by scholars such as Eugene Genovese and Michael Craton of the character of slave rebellion in the Americas in the Age of Revolution. It is imperative to address the still prevailing image of slaves changing their ways of resisting after the French and Haitian Revolutions took place, because it tends to ignore the specific nature of the various slave systems that existed in the Americas during that period and the ways in which these African men and women understood slavery themselves, since they too came from societies where slavery was present. In 1979 Genovese published a landmark book about African slavery in the Age of Revolution, From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave Revolts in the Making of the Atlantic World. Among the many ideas developed in this work, one provoked an international debate that is alive even today. Genovese stated that “by the end of the eighteenth century, the historical content of the slave revolts shifted decisively from attempts to secure freedom from slavery to attempts to overthrow slavery as a social system.”36 That is, rebellions prior to the 1790s had an intrinsically traditionalist and escapist character, while later rebellions were devoted to eradicating slavery as an institution from a “bourgeoisdemocratic” position. What Genovese proposed might be correct for those conspiracies and revolts that occurred in the United States and for a few others recorded in other regions of the Americas. However, without a solid knowledge of local and regional history, it cannot be assumed that what happened in one place occurred in another. A number of historians immediately questioned Genovese’s model. Michael Craton showed that in the British West Indies the Creolization that followed the abolition of the British Atlantic slave trade brought new, nonviolent tactics rather than radicalized slave resistance. In Craton’s view, in direct contrast to Genovese’s, the changes were the result of internal processes, in this case Creolization, rather than external ones. A new Creole population replaced the African-born slave population and, by extension, its reactions to oppression.37 As acts of resistance, rebellions in this period were also distinguished by this transition from African to Creole. According to Craton, slave

12 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

rebellions were then more elaborate and less violent than the rebellions that took place in the British Caribbean prior to 1807. Of particular relevance to this debate have been a number of recent works focusing on the impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Greater Caribbean. David Geggus, Laurent Dubois, Alejandro Gómez, and Ada Ferrer, among others, have emphasized how the insurrection that began in 1791 in Saint Domingue affected slave societies in the Americas from above and below.38 Although what happened in Saint Domingue and Haiti during the period did affect Cuba—for example, authorities and owners tightened their control of the slaves by implementing new rules and laws—Cuban slave revolts in this period cannot be included among the new revolutionary rebellions suggested by Genovese or among those whose leaders took the Haitian model as inspiration. Indeed, there were a few movements in Cuba in which emerging Atlantic ideologies were prevalent and clearly observable. These movements, discussed in chapter 2, were recorded mainly between 1798 and 1812, when news and people, including slaves, from Saint Domingue were arriving in Cuba on a regular basis. Between 1812 and 1844, some other plots involving slaves—though rarely led by them—attempted to overthrow the Spanish colonial system in Cuba, and in 1844 the repression that followed the uncovering of a large conspiracy pointed toward the involvement of slaves in it as well. Most of these movements were urban, or semi-urban, and were led, not by slaves, but by free men who more often than not were Creoles. More significantly, there were not very many, especially when compared with the dozens of African-led conspiracies and uprisings that took place in the western Cuban countryside during the same period. The fact that many of these movements started on coffee plantations, where working conditions were much less onerous than those on sugar estates, suggests that the rebels’ traditions, cosmologies, and knowledge of warfare, and not the nature of the work they had to do, may have been the central elements behind the vast majority of these plots and uprisings.39 Unfortunately, the abovementioned dearth of studies of specific slave revolts in Cuba has created a deceptive impression about the real character of slave rebellion in Cuba in the Age of Revolution and a lack of emphasis on the African past and life experiences of those slaves who rose up during the period, an impression that I attempt to rectify in this book. In spite of the opinion of scholars such as Kristin Mann, who argues that

Introduction · 13

the discussion “between proponents of the Africanist and Creolist models has reached the limits of its usefulness,”40 I believe that highlighting this difference is more fundamental today than ever. Although I agree with Mann’s suggestion that it is necessary to develop “a fuller and richer understanding of the history of the diaspora,”41 I believe that it is only now, after years of continuous efforts, that the work of a number of Africanists is being recognized by historians of the Americas, and therefore it is only now that the history of West and West Central Africa is beginning to have an uninterrupted and concrete impact upon the history of the Americas. Those African men, women, and children who survived the journey across the Atlantic had deep-rooted identities that were not transformed overnight after their arrival in the New World.42 Their understanding of the world, including ethnic relations, cosmologies, religions, knowledge of warfare, and so on, constitute one of the main potential lines of future research that are likely to shed light not only on their interactions with new cultures in the Americas but also on the history of the places they were forced to leave behind. We are on the threshold of a more coherent and continued history of Africa, written from sources originating on both sides of the Atlantic. Contrary to what Vincent Brown has recently suggested in his excellent study of death and power in the Atlantic world,43 in my opinion “African-ness” and “ethnicity” are exceptionally useful categories that can tell us more about the life experiences, practices, and beliefs of those who made it across the Atlantic than practically any other category. This is particularly the case for societies such as those of early nineteenth-century Cuba, where African-born men, women, and children constituted a large percentage of the total population.44 Thus, examining their life experiences is crucial to understanding their actions. It becomes necessary to pose questions that originate both in Africa and in the Americas. It is not enough to keep repeating arguments based on sources produced by and for white ruling groups. These sources need to be reread and reinterpreted. The African history contained within them needs to be incorporated into the body of knowledge about the experiences of these Africans in the Americas. It is also essential to look at the sources produced in Africa. For example, just because the travel accounts of Hugh Clapperton say nothing about Brazil or Cuba, we should not assume that documents like these cannot contribute to our understanding of the cultures and past lives of many Africans who lived in the regions visited by Clapperton and who were then taken to the New World as slaves.45

14 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

The African experiences of Cuban slaves, then, are at the core of this volume and constitute a main element in its questioning of the shift-of-character and Creolization models and its discussion of the role of African identities and ethnicities in western Cuba. I addressed this issue in my previous book, Seeds of Insurrection,46 but while there I focused on day-to-day resistance, in the present volume I attempt to reveal the transcendence of this African cultural background during a major, virtually unstudied single revolt. In acknowledging that the vast majority of the slaves involved in the 1825 insurrection were born and raised in a number of African regions, this study shows that their plotting rituals, their military tactics, and ultimately their reasons for rebelling had more to do with who they were and how they understood the world from the time they lived in Africa than with questionable foreign ideas and notions. To borrow Paul Lovejoy’s inspiring words: The struggle for survival began in Africa, which certainly helped to shape the struggle that continued in the Americas. The emphasis on Africa is important because it places the “middle passage” in the middle. What happened before the shipboard trauma had ramifications affecting the historical development of the African diaspora, the other side of the “middle” for the enslaved.47

As I have previously stated, the leaders and participants of the 1825 uprising were in the vast majority Africans, West Africans to be precise. The fact that this movement featured three leaders from three different ethnic backgrounds illustrates the kind of Pan-African collaboration that enslaved men and women were able to achieve when confronting the same enemy, which in this case could be either the whites or their condition as slaves. Most of these 1825 rebels were from the same three regions as their leaders: the Upper Guinea coast (Gangás and Mandingas) and the Bights of Benin (Lucumís and Ararás) and Biafra (Carabalís and probably some Lucumís too). From the depositions of some slaves interrogated after the revolt was put down, we know that they plotted the revolt on Sundays and that they always used their native tongues to do so, which indicates that they were able to at least understand one another irrespective of their place of origin. All these men, women, and children came from places where warfare was endemic. Those from the Upper Guinea coast, which expanded from the Gambia down to Cape Palmas, were recognized in Cuba as Mandingas or Gangás.

Introduction · 15

The Mandingas lived on a vast extension of land that included both the coast and the interior. Mandingas were Muslims and at least in that geographical area represented Islam for the rest of the population. In 1803 Thomas Winterbottom reported that Europeans had come to call “any one on the coast who professes Mohammedanism, indiscriminately, Mandingo man.”48 Mandingas and their neighbors the Susus, or Sosos—who were often exported to the New World as Mandingas or Gangás—were familiar not only with the institution of slavery but also with large slave revolts. In 1785 a massive slave insurrection took place in the Mandingo territories. The slaves ran away and settled in Susu lands, in the area of Yangekori, and remained there until they were finally quashed more than ten years later by a combined Mandingo-Susu force.49 Also originating from this region were the men and women known as Gangás in Cuba and other parts of the Americas. The Gangás were most likely from the coastal areas, from regions such as Kissi, Kroo, Vay, and Kono. Probably a number of Susus and also Bullons may have come to be identified with them. A large number of the rebels of 1825 in Guamacaro belonged to the Mandinga and Gangá ethnies.50 Those known as Mandinga and Gangá in Cuba had come from a region where boundaries between nations were difficult to draw and where small military expeditions seem to have been common, a region where the slaves exported through the factories established along the coast, including those at Sherbro and on the Pongas and Gallinas Rivers, were often prisoners of war. In the late eighteenth century John Matthews said of the enslaving practices there, “The best information I have been able to collect is, that great numbers are prisoners taken in war and are brought down, fifty or a hundred together, by the black slave merchants; that many are sold for witchcraft, and other real or imputed crimes.”51 About their ways of conducting war both Matthews and Winterbottom pointed out that their expeditions were frequently predatory and that they would burn down villages and take prisoners to sell as slaves.52 According to another contemporary traveler, Alexander Gordon Laing, the Kissis at least were reported to be very violent and to “cut the throats of their enemies” in their wars.53 By the 1830s some of the inhabitants along the coast, notably the Bissagos, had even secured a reputation for being suicidal.54 Further down the coast, beyond Cape Palmas and the Gold Coast, were the kingdoms of Dahomey and Oyo. In Cuba the Africans from this region were known from the sixteenth century as Ararás and Lucumís. In the first decades of the nineteenth century the political turmoil that engulfed the for-

16 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

merly mighty Empire of Oyo and the neighboring Hausa states to the north had almost immediate consequences for the dynamics of the transatlantic slave trade in the Bight of Benin. In the late eighteenth century Dahomey had cemented its place as a respected polity by successfully challenging the power of Oyo for the first time in many years. The ascension of Agonglo to the throne of Dahomey coincided with the weakening of Oyo after the death of Abiodun about 1789. From then on, Oyo was steadily consumed by a combination of internal wars and the threats posed by Dahomey from the southwest and the Fulani from the north. In 1817 the Fulani jih¯ad reached Oyo, bringing war to the heart of Yorubaland, and less than two decades later, about 1836, the empire collapsed. Soon after 1817 the ports of Ouidah, Porto Novo, Badagry, and Lagos increasingly received slaves who had previously been subjects of Oyo and some of its neighboring states, such as Borgu, Nupe, Bornu, and most of Hausaland. Many of these men were prisoners of war who had belonged to defeated armies. Most of those exported from these ports to Cuba and Brazil, with the exception of those who were Muslim, practiced an animist religion that came to be known in Cuba as Santería. Even those slaves who had not been soldiers or slaves back in Africa were intimately acquainted with both war and slavery. Men and women from Dahomey, Oyo, and their neighboring states gained a reputation for being rebellious and participated and led rebellions across the Americas. They played a significant role in the Haitian Revolution and in almost every slave insurrection staged in western Cuba and northeastern Brazil between 1820 and 1845.55 East of Oyo, not far from the Calabar River, lived the Ibos and the Ibibios, who came to be known in Cuba as Carabalís. Many of the rebels involved in the revolt of June 1825 in Matanzas were Carabalí slaves who likely had been deported from the ports of Bonny, Warré, and New and Old Calabar. In this region too, small raids provided the factories along the coast with slaves. The most notorious of those slave markets in the first decades of the nineteenth century was the one established in Bonny. In the 1790s Captain John Adams commented on the functioning of this slave market and gave a very unambiguous clue to who the Cuban Carabalí slaves were: This place is the wholesale market for slaves, as not fewer than 20,000 are annually sold here; 16,000 of whom are natives of one nation called Heebo . . . and those of the same nation are sold at New and Old Calabar. . . . The

Introduction · 17

remaining part of the above 20,000 is composed by the natives of the brass country, called Allakoos, and also of the Ibbibbys or Quaws.56

A contemporary publication supported Captain Adams’s remarks, stating that most of the slaves sold in the Calabar markets were drawn “from the vicinity of the coast” and that the main nations exported through those ports were the “Aqua” (Ibibios) and the “Howatt” (Ibos).57 The Ibibios, whose presence in Cuba under the name Carabalí Ibibio is well documented, were credited with almost every ship insurrection at Bonny, and according to Adams, they had sharpened teeth that gave them a fierce appearance.58 The Ibos, on the other hand, were closely watched by the slave traders because of their tendency to commit suicide. Both Bryan Edwards and Adams commented on this predisposition to take their own lives, which was based on their belief in what nineteenth-century writers repeatedly referred to as the transmigration of souls.59 Men and women belonging to all these African nations had a few things in common.60 They were all familiar with the institution of slavery, although they probably understood it and practiced it in different ways. They had all been in direct or indirect contact with war, in some cases large-scale ones, and many among them had been soldiers, enslaved as a result. Additionally, by the time of their arrival in the Americas, all these men and women had one more thing in common: the Middle Passage. All of them had been subjected to this profoundly dehumanizing experience and had very likely seen many of their friends and relatives die along the way. It should not be surprising that once on the other side of the Atlantic they could eventually surmount their ethnic and national differences and come together in order to face their common enemies.

But not only had the slaves that inhabited Guamacaro at the time come from different Atlantic regions but the slave owners, their employees, and the white population in general constituted the most varied assortment of people from almost every imaginable Atlantic place. By the second decade of the nineteenth century the area had gained the reputation of being an excellent retreat for those suffering from various diseases, including tuberculosis. Many North Americans flocked to the Matanzas countryside in search of a place to recuperate. This circumstance, together with the increase in direct trade between Matanzas and many U.S. ports, transformed the region into a truly cosmopolitan place.

18 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

Several travelers left their impressions of the various districts of the Matanzas countryside, including Guamacaro. The British commissioner Robert Jameson visited the area in 1820, Reverend Abiel Abbot in 1828, and Mary Gardner Lowell in 1832.61 One of the most important nineteenth-century poems in the English language—“Zophiël or the Bride of Seven” by Maria Gowen Brooks—was written at least in part on the San Patricio coffee plantation in Guamacaro.62 This trend continued in the years to come. William Rufus King was spending time in Guamacaro in an attempt to improve his health when he was elected the thirteenth vice president of the United States in 1852. He was sworn in on March 1853 on the estate of the Chartrand family.63 In this period Guamacaro and Matanzas also benefitted from a remarkable increase in the number of white immigrants. Among others to settle in the area were important traders such as John Latting and Moses Taylor, as well as former Saint Domingue planters and their families, some of whom had experienced firsthand the slave revolution that occurred in the French colony decades earlier. Others were Europeans who had wondered across the Atlantic world before landing in Cuba, and there were also some Spaniards from Tierra Firme, who had come seeking refuge from the wars of independence that had forced them from their previous homes. Guamacaro in 1825 was, then, a shared space where men and women from almost every corner of the Atlantic lived. The study of this locality and its economic, social, and cultural developments in the early nineteenth century provides us with a glimpse of a large world, an Atlantic world, in motion. Looking at how and why people came and went through the busy port city of Matanzas and its hinterland, we find a society that, albeit embedded in a Spanish colonial territory, was a meeting point for different cultures that interacted in myriad ordinary ways and that on occasion exploded in extraordinarily violent events. No wonder Vives and his subordinates were concerned about the possible weight of outside news and influences upon the inhabitants of an area that could hardly still be considered Spanish. Not only were the foreign whites aware of what was happening in the Atlantic world at the time but with the constant influx of African slaves came news of events taking place in their distant homes to those who were already living under slavery in Cuba. Arguably, all Europeans, Americans, and Africans living in Guamacaro were in contact with the external world, but not in the way that has been presumed until now. For the Lucumís, for example, news about the Owu wars, the destruction of

Introduction · 19

Egba, the migration to Abeokuta, or the continuous empowerment of Ilorin, to mention only a few events, was more likely to have an effect on their lives and actions than news coming from elsewhere that did not relate directly to their personal experiences. Whether Vives—an Atlantic man himself—was aware of this will remain a mystery. However, he was aware of the island’s importance to the Atlantic revolutionaries, and he understood that the Matanzas countryside was a potentially perilous area where opinions about events occurring elsewhere could be interpreted in ways that might threaten the Spanish colonial rule over Cuba.

The very Atlantic-ness of the inhabitants of Guamacaro meant that the research for this book was far from straightforward. I consulted document repositories on both sides of the Atlantic and found relevant information in almost every one of them. Of these repositories, the Archivo Nacional de Cuba was by far the most important. It is there where court records created by the Military Commission are housed, and it was there that I found the vast majority of other related documents.64 Within the Archivo Nacional de Cuba, I found additional documents in the Asuntos Políticos, Gobierno Superior Civil, Administración General de Rentas Terrestres, and Escribanías collections. Other manuscripts and printed documents were located in the Archivo Histórico de la Oficina del Historiador in Havana and in the Archivo Histórico Provincial de Matanzas. I found several letters written in Cuba in the days after the 1825 revolt in the Massachusetts Historical Archives. Since I was not able to visit the archives myself, I benefited from the help of Karen Robert, who graciously passed on to me a number of documents that she found there while doing research for her book on Mary Gardner Lowell.65 The National Archives in London, the Centre des Archives d’Outremer in Aix-en-Provence, and various archives in Spain proved to be very useful and provided me with important documents that for various reasons had been scattered across the Atlantic. The review and interpretation of these sources was undoubtedly a complicated task, beginning with an obligatory review and deciphering of the calligraphy of the different secretaries who recorded the proceedings of the interrogation sessions overseen by the local authorities and by the Military Commission officers. Fortunately, Félix de Acosta, Joaquín de la Fuente, and Lorenzo Baltanás, the three secretaries who bequeathed the bulk of the countless pages related to the causes of the revolt, all possessed legible handwrit-

20 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

ing. Another difficult task was that of understanding the particular shorthand methods and notations that each of them utilized to record the names of those interrogated (many of them non-Spanish in origin) and of geographical places relevant to the rebellion. They all clearly struggled with the spelling of the French and English names. Lemuel Taylor appeared in the documents as Samuel Telor or Tylor; Joshua Armitage appeared as Hermitache, Hermitage, or Armitach; Alejandro Chatelain as Chatelen, Sateliens, Satelier, or Chateloin; Jorge Víctor Pelletier as Peletie or Pertier; Gerónimo Paire as Per, Peyre, Peire, or Peré. The list goes on. Something similar occurred with the topography and geographical boundaries of the area where the revolt took place. In the original documents the uprising was frequently referred to as the “Guamacaro revolt” but also as the “Sumidero and Sabanazo revolt” and the “Coliseo revolt,” which made things even more confusing. After studying the path of the rebels and the maps of the area, old and new, I decided to keep the name Guamacaro, as it refers to the largest possible territory and was the name used most frequently by the authorities. Although technically the uprising began in the neighborhood of Sumidero and Sabanazo and was quashed in the vicinity of Coliseo, all three places were at the time considered to be part of the jurisdiction of Guamacaro, and I have considered them as such. All the information was located in three fundamental types of documents: first, and most important, statements taken from both rebels and witnesses during the interrogations that followed the insurrection; second, correspondence between authorities and some individuals produced as a result of the same procedures; and finally, published government decrees and legislative pamphlets, often of a repressive nature. The remaining materials, namely, Actas Capitulares and Protocolos Notariales, deal with the socioeconomic history of Matanzas and Guamacaro and record the personal histories of free residents and slaves who were living in the region during the first quarter of the nineteenth century. General problems associated with the interpretation of these types of sources have been discussed elsewhere by scholars interested in the forms of resistance practiced by African slaves and their descendants in the New World. In this particular case the testimonies given by those who were interrogated constituted the only evidence of the reasons for the revolt and the manner in which the actual plot and insurrection took place. Once again, all the evidence had to be read between the lines, since there were problems with

Introduction · 21

it from the very start. Some of these problems relate to the continuous and relentless efforts of the colonial authorities to involve the free colored people in the plot. In addition, colonial authorities and Captain General Vives, in particular, insisted for months on establishing a connection between the rebels and the Mexicans and the Colombians, who at the time posed a serious threat to the stability of the island. Rebels who were captured did everything they could to escape punishment and execution. In this case, the same sources that need to be carefully analyzed occasionally throw light on their attempts to distort the events and divert the attention of the prosecutors of the Military Commission. Concealing or releasing vital information could save some lives and condemn others. Those slaves who were captured after the revolt knew that and acted accordingly. At least two of them, Andrés Mandinga of Pérez and Imbretch and Santiago of Paire, commented about the conversations that captured slaves were having behind bars. Andrés related that they had all agreed to deny everything and that “all those who are in prison talked about the war every day.”66 Santiago supported what Andrés said and added that “all those who are in jail know about the war and are more guilty than him and that he was not saying this to save his life, because he knew that he was going to die anyway, but because he did not think that it was fair for them to go on laughing.”67 Rifts among the conspirators and rebels also surfaced during the interrogations, making things even more complicated and confusing. In a letter written three months after the revolt took place, José Ildefonso Suárez, a general adviser to the Military Commission, noted that most of the rebels had been born in Africa and that very few Spanish slaves (Creoles) had been involved, because the Africans tended to consider them “dumb” or “collaborators of the whites.”68 The sources contain a substantial amount of gossip, which contaminates them even further. To cite only one example, in mid-August a young slave belonging to the estate where the rebellion was planned declared that Ana Gangá, the wife of Federico Carabalí, one of the ringleaders, was also the lover of another ringleader, Pablo Gangá, and that she was among those who knew about the conspiracy.69 When she was interrogated soon after this, Ana denied being Pablo’s lover and being involved in the movement.70 Life was a precious thing to lose, and all those slaves who came before the Military Commission prosecutors did as much as they could to provide information that would serve their own interests, as did the slave owners and their employees. Many challenged the authorities and did everything in their power to gain the

22 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

release of their own slaves so that they could get back to work.71 Making sense of what was said and what was not said in the interrogations proved to be one of the main difficulties in my research for this work.

The plantation society in which the African revolt of June 1825 took place was certainly unique. A series of revolutions that had engulfed the Atlantic world had changed perceptions about the best ways to control the slaves and had revealed the dangers that threatened any society that supported plantations based on the labor of African men and women. Additionally, this plantation society was on the brink of another transformation, one that was the result of events occurring, not in Europe or the Americas, but in Africa. What began as a rebellion in what is today northern Nigeria soon became an Islamic movement that established a Caliphate and eventually helped to bring down an empire, Oyo. The empire in question had become what it was thanks to its magnificent army, which included a large cavalry. When the former warriors became slaves and were shipped across the Atlantic, they took with them their knowledge of war and put it into practice time and again until the mid-1840s. This book shows how these changes took place in Cuba and how the first of a large sequence of violent African-led slave rebellions unfolded. It also tells the story of those who participated in it and were affected by it and of its immediate and long-term repercussions. Ultimately, this book aims to fill a gap in the historiography of slave resistance in Cuba, the Americas, and the Atlantic world not only by providing a new individual study but by opening new avenues for research and providing new ideas for the study of African slave rebellion in the Atlantic world.


Slavery in Western Cuba, 1792–1825 The island of Cuba is a colossus, but he is standing on the sand; he remains erect only because of the constant calm that surrounds him; but the probability already exists that strong hurricane winds will shake him and that his fall will be both fast and inevitable unless we, in anticipation, strengthen his foundation. —félix varela, 1823


hen the Cuban priest Félix Varela wrote the passage excerpted above, he was certain of the message that he was transmitting to his readers. Prior to 1791, when the government of Captain General Luis de las Casas came to power, the island of Cuba had witnessed the beginnings of a plantation model, based on the production of sugar cane, in its western region. During Las Casas’s time a revolution in the French colony of Saint Domingue changed the state of affairs not only within the Caribbean Basin but across the Atlantic world. This event would play a pivotal role in the future of Cuba’s economy. Only a decade after the arrival of Las Casas and the beginning of the revolution in Saint Domingue, Cuba, until then heavily dependent on its relationship with New Spain, had become one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of sugar and one of the main slave regimes in the Atlantic world.1 Nevertheless, in spite of the early advances of the Cuban elites at the time, the future of this new plantation system was not decided until after the end of the Trienio Constitucional in Spain in 1823. Until then, debates between the proslavery and proabolition sides raged in both Havana and Madrid and kept all involved speculating over the island’s future.

The story of the transition from a local economy to a leading international one did not begin in 1791; it had begun almost three decades earlier. In 1762 a large part of western Cuba, including the capital, Havana, fell into the hands of the 23

24 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

British. When Spain entered the Seven Years’ War on the French side, Britain found herself free to initiate military action against the Spanish colonies in the New World.2 Havana’s significant geographical position made it an obvious target for the British, and it was finally attacked and taken in 1762. Thus, between August 1762 and July 1763 most of western Cuba fell under the protection and rule of King George III. This event had enormous repercussions for Cuba’s subsequent economic and political developments. From then on, the British enjoyed a prominent position in the minds of the island’s inhabitants. Beginning in 1763, the emergent Creole elites took it upon themselves to oversee the governance of Cuba, particularly its economic and social progress, and appealed to the memory of the peligro inglés (English threat) to justify blunders and misdemeanors in order to obtain monetary benefits and to legitimize their proslavery politics whenever necessary.3 The Creole elites who emerged after 1763 were by no means ordinary, nor were their lives and the time they lived in. They witnessed the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the emergence of the first American republic. They looked on in horror when the French Jacobins freed the slaves and the French monarch and his consort were decapitated amid revolutionary mayhem. And they watched in disbelief as, closer to home, the previously affluent colony of Saint Domingue became the stage for a bloody slave rebellion that eventually turned into a revolution and created the second independent republic in the continent, a black republic where the former Bourbon social order was turned upside down and the whites were killed or forced to flee. Men such as the merchant and planter Bernabé Martínez de Pinillos,4 originally from La Rioja, Spain, participated in the war between the colonies of North America and England and amassed fortunes by importing Africans, ably profiting from the French debacle in Saint Domingue. They sent their sons to the Peninsula to wage a war of resistance against the French invaders, in which some of them died. They ended their days with medals hanging heavy from their chests, continuing the endless payments associated with their titles of nobility, and seeing their old companions dying around them, while their sons were given the highest positions within the state, religious, and military institutions of Ferdinand VII’s absolute monarchy in Spain and Spanish America. The turmoil in Saint Domingue provided them with a unique opportunity, as they were fully aware from the outset. As far as they were concerned, things had never been the same since the departure of the British in 1763. They— or their peers—had had had a taste of the advantages that came from free

Slavery in Western Cuba, 1792–1825 · 25

trade imposed by the British, and even though Cuba’s return to Spanish hands meant that Spain once again had a monopoly on trade, they continued in their efforts to abolish such monopoly until ultimately they did so in the second decade of the nineteenth century. This generation of men of business, science, and the arts gladly took the reins of the colony and led the island to a new level of economic, political, and social development. On October 24, 1790, they began to publish a newspaper that achieved a continuous circulation. The Papel Periódico de la Habana advocated cultivation techniques employing the latest technological developments. Two of the men associated with the paper, the Count of Casa Montalvo and Francisco de Arango y Parreño, were even sent on a scientific and political investigative mission that took them to England, Portugal, Jamaica, and Saint Domingue in search of new technologies that could aid the development of the colony.5 The intensified trafficking in African slaves and their physical and economic exploitation were destined to become the main pillars of the plantation economy in western Cuba. The Creole elites were conscious of this and did everything in their power to get the new process started. Of course, the increase in the African population brought new problems, as it very quickly outnumbered the white population.6 In order to have greater control over this situation, many local, colonial, and royal rules and decrees were passed that clearly stated the rights and responsibilities of servants, employees, and slaves.7 The objective of these documents was to address the treatment of slaves and to create a slave system that would save the planters and the white population in general from a fate similar to that of the Saint Domingue planters, who had seen a comparable demographic development years earlier in their then prosperous colony. Important as they were, new laws were by no means the only documents aimed at establishing absolute control over the African slaves with whom the white population now shared the island. More subtle articles and pamphlets discussed aspects of the cultural background of the newly arrived slaves. For example, a fascinating document regarding a Christian doctrine to teach the bozal slaves the religion of their owners came to light at the end of the eighteenth century.8 The commentaries of some specialized medical doctors written during those years, despite not being considered legal documents, were widely used by plantation owners, or so their multiple editions would suggest.9 In this calculated game of subsistence and progress, the future of Cuba was placed in the hands of three institutions that focused on the political and eco-

26 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

nomic decisions of the colony and whose affiliates were, as one would expect, all members of the merchant and planter elites now running the island’s government. The members of these institutions were often merchants or planters or both. The oldest of these institutions was the Cabildo, or city council, of Havana. The Cabildo, which was founded in the sixteenth century, had a long history of making practical decisions relating to the future of the colony. Occasionally its representatives enjoyed fortuitous relationships with the captain general and even with the king. The Cabildo was joined in 1793 by the Real Sociedad Patriótica of Havana, created when it was fashionable to copy the new enlightened societies that proliferated in Europe at the time. From its inception, the Sociedad dedicated itself to the development of the arts, literature, and agriculture on the island. In support of these efforts, it published the Papel Periódico de la Habana, a newspaper that included numerous pieces on science, the promotion of health, education, and sentiments of patriotism, which in this case meant unequivocal loyalty to either Havana or Spain. The third institution to appear as part of the explosive intellectual and economic growth observed on the island during the 1790s was the Real Consulado de Agricultura y Comercio, among whose objectives were “the briefest and easiest administration of justice in mercantile lawsuits and the protection and promotion of agriculture and commerce in all of its branches.”10 Approved by a royal decree of April 4, 1794, the Consulado was in charge of the economic development of the island from then on, and it is important to note that its members did not spare any investment or resources that they thought might contribute to the success of their own political and economic interests.11 These three institutions—the Cabildo, the Sociedad Patriótica, and the Consulado—protested and begged before the Spanish Cortes and the monarchs as much as they considered necessary to attain their goals. The myth they created to jolt the Crown about the threat of the loss of Cuba to one of its enemies was very well woven. Over the years the members of these institutions used numerous arguments to get what they wanted. Two arguments were particularly successful in pointing out the island’s extreme fragility and lack of defenses: the possibility that Cuba might fall into the hands of a foreign power, notably Britain or Haiti; and the “barbarism” of the island’s own slaves, which might eventually lead to a revolution from within, as had befallen their French neighbors in Saint Domingue.12 Needless to say, the prosperity of these institutions depended on their capacity to continue, and if possible increase, the imports of Africans. For

Slavery in Western Cuba, 1792–1825 · 27

that reason, as soon as they realized the opportunity that the revolt in Saint Domingue offered them, they pleaded with the king and his ministers for a royal decree allowing them to introduce African slaves into the country in unprecedented numbers. By then they had also begun their struggle against the royal monopolies on trade with foreign nations and the production of tobacco on the island, both battles that would continue for years to come.13 In the meantime, while the rest of the Spanish territories in the continent were starting to reject Spain’s oppressive authority, Cuba remained so faithful that it earned the onerous title “Always Loyal Island of Cuba.” In 1816 the merchant and planter elites went as far as to conceive the preposterous idea of changing, once again, the name of the island to Fernandina, in honor of His Majesty Ferdinand VII.14 Their desire to win over whoever was in power in Spain led them to compose memorials filled with degrading pleas, which were addressed to the monarchs whenever they drew up laws that the elites considered harmful to their interests. In truth, such documents were not mere petitions, since they were regularly imbued with the recurrent threat of “the inexcusable loss of the island” at the hands of the black slaves, the British, the Haitians, or whomever they considered the most credible threat at the time.15 Cuba’s geographical surroundings and the international powers interested in snatching the island from Spain became effective weapons in the hands of these capable and eager men. The dangers and influences to which Cuba was subject were greater in their minds and in their writings than in reality. As mentioned above, the most frequently mentioned threats up to 1820 were those linked to the possibility of a British or Haitian attack or to a possible revolution of the slaves and/or the free colored men living on the island. Collectively or individually, these threats—to which after 1820 were added those posed by the United States, Mexico, and Colombia—were continuously used as effective political weapons to lobby for privileges and concessions throughout the first half of the nineteenth century. The effects of this repeated use of fear as a political weapon can be seen in Cuban history over a much longer period of time and warrant more profound study than they have received to date.16

While these merchant and planter elites were creating the image of Cuba that they wanted to show to the rest of the world, sugar and coffee plantations worked by ever-increasing numbers of African slaves proliferated in the interior of the island. The idyllic plantation image described by various travel chronicles and the polychromatic engravings of Justo Germán Cantero’s 1857

28 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

book Los ingenios hid the dark reality of coercion and abuse that went on day after day until slavery was finally abolished in 1886.17 A socioeconomic system cleverly structured by an administrative body functioned like a well-oiled machine, with the masters at the top, and the administrators, overseers, ox drivers, sugar masters, and slave drivers all important cogs in its internal production mechanisms. From the Vuelta de Abajo in the west to the region of Las Cuatro Villas in the center of the island, plantations were to be found everywhere in the Cuban countryside. Among all the regions that experienced the development of a plantation economy, Matanzas had an undeniable importance. There the number of slaves rose exponentially from the beginning of the nineteenth century, which explains why the surrounding countryside became the stage for numerous manifestations of slave resistance throughout the first half of the century.18 Contrary to the opinion of one English observer, who, trusting his government to abolish the slave trade in the Atlantic, in 1820 predicted a swift end to slavery in Cuba,19 slaves remained for many years the principal reason for Cuba’s success as a sugar and coffee exporter. This could be seen most clearly in Matanzas. In order to maintain the elevated levels of production necessary to provide significant gains, the importation of new slaves from Africa or other regions was vital. The trafficking of men and women had been legal since the sixteenth century, but by the time the industrialization of Cuban sugar production was beginning to take place, no one would have suspected that an exogenous event that had initially been considered the best thing ever to happen to Cuba—the slave uprising in neighboring Saint Domingue—would eventually become a menace to the continuity of this newly acquired wealth. As if the phantom of the black revolution in Saint Domingue were not enough, an abolitionist movement—focused primarily on abolishing the trafficking of slaves and later on the end of slavery—gained strength internationally from the end of the eighteenth century. In 1807 Great Britain broke definitively with its dark slave-trading past to become the powerful leader in the international campaign to end the slave trade.20 For many years Britain had been a major provider of slaves to the Americas. The ports of London, Bristol, and above all Liverpool were considered the most important slave-trading centers in the Atlantic world. However, in the mid-eighteenth century Britain began to experience the Industrial Revolution on its own soil. This event would change everything.21 Cities such as Birming-

Slavery in Western Cuba, 1792–1825 · 29

ham, Leeds, and Manchester created their own paths toward industrial development, which readily brought the introduction of new technologies of production alongside new concepts regarding social justice, including the always sensitive issue of the philosophical justification for the continuation of the traffic in slaves. Near the end of the century, William Pitt protested, although with some reservations, against the slave trade. Later, William Wilberforce, a member of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, founded in London in 1787, went even further and started an aggressive campaign to abolish this traffic. In 1789, only two years after the foundation of the society, Wilberforce put the matter directly before Parliament.22 From that year on, the powerful Albion became the stage for an intense battle between those who wanted to abolish the slave trade and those who endorsed its continuation. In a decade as turbulent as the 1790s, the abolitionist project could not achieve definitive success, but it did have several small strategic victories.23 Later, in 1804, the subject was properly deliberated when Parliament established a commission to decide whether the Atlantic slave trade should be abolished. Even then, it was only three years later, in February 1807, that the abolitionists’ ideas finally triumphed.24 After obtaining the abolition of slave trading to the British colonies, the abolitionists began a truly international mission: to fulfill the “divine” task of eliminating the slave trade from the face of the earth. The reasons behind this behavior have been widely discussed for more than two centuries. Some historians have emphasized economic factors, while others have looked to ideological, cultural, and religious motives as the fundamental reasons. Both, in fact, played a role. In spite of the economic reasons behind the international crusade led by the British abolitionists, philanthropic and religious beliefs also were important. It is probably worth recalling that the first abolitionist society was created in the powerful capital of the British Empire, and its second branch, founded under the name Amies des Noires in 1788 in Paris, was established under the auspices of English Quakers. The years between the foundation of these institutions and the legal abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire were filled by a persistent struggle between the abolitionist camp and the supporters of the slave trade. Their battles were not restricted to the halls where the abolitionists often met; they were fought in the streets by British people who met in broad daylight to discuss the matter. People who became involved in the abolitionist cause began collecting signatures and attending the meetings organized by abolitionist organizations.25 Great Britain wit-

30 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

nessed one of the most progressive and formidable humanitarian movements in history. It is therefore impossible to reduce the motives of the British in the abolition of the international slave trade to just vulgar economic interest. Cuban elites, highly familiar with all European events, were particularly aware of the developments in this battle and frequently discussed among themselves the best ways to prepare for the real possibility that the abolitionists, or as they saw them the enemies of the newly found prosperity of the island, could win.

d e fe n di n g p r i n ci p l e s an d p o c k e t s Cuban Slavery in the Atlantic Context I have always forecasted and feared a crisis that, attacking the fragile foundations of our properties, will shake the structure where our fortunes rest and will make all this prosperity acquired thanks to so much effort on the government’s side and so much judgment on the inhabitants’ side disappear. —count of santovenia, 1843

To aid in the uphill battle against the enemies of the island, what was described as the “most European capital of the Americas” was blessed with some of the most brilliant subjects of the era in the Spanish colonies. Negrophobia developed widely from the moment that slaves began to be a group of significant size within the Cuban population, and day by day it began to be reflected in the discourse of the prosperous elites of the Cuban capital. However, this was not an obstacle for the thriving trade in Africans destined to work on the plantations and in cities. Scarcely a few weeks after the abolition of the slave trade in all the British colonies, on January 22, 1808, the Cabildo of Havana expressed serious reservations about what the future might hold for Cuba. On this date the members of the Cabildo showed their opposition to the Machiavellian intentions of Napoleon Bonaparte, whose name, perhaps owing to superstition, was almost never mentioned in their debates.26 Their second concern that morning came from Britain and the threat that its new abolitionist policies represented for Cuba’s riches. The British also continued to threaten the island militarily. In the early nineteenth century the residents of Havana had not yet overcome their fears of a new invasion by redcoats. None of the measures taken over the years to make them feel safe had had the desired result; neither the impressive magnificence of San Carlos de la Cabaña’s

Slavery in Western Cuba, 1792–1825 · 31

fortress nor the city walls, when they were finally completed, had satisfied them. Britain seemed to be constantly stalking the island, even more so now that events elsewhere had made Cuba more attractive to foreign interests. In a premeditated manner, the members of the Cabildo repeatedly accused the British of wanting not only to destroy their most precious source of wealth but also to snatch the island from Spanish hands, either through an armed invasion or by purchasing it from the king. Cuban newspapers were filled with stories about British intentions. There had been signs of these supposed intentions from the moment the war with France had come to an end. In 1814 Lloyds of London attempted in vain to send an agent to Havana to deal with any claims made in the Cuban capital relating to ships or merchandise insured by them.27 Beginning in 1816, the Diario del Gobierno de la Habana, at the time the main newspaper on the island, published several articles discussing the state of affairs in Great Britain and that country’s intention to control trade in the Caribbean.28 In 1820, with the newly found freedom of the press that characterized the Trienio Constitucional, other newspapers joined the charge against British intentions. One of them, El Observador Habanero, published two vitriolic attacks on the British following the publication in Jamaica of a pamphlet that encouraged Cubans to break their colonial ties with Spain and seek British protection.29 Since the end of the war against the French, the British had reestablished themselves as the most dreaded enemies of Cuban prosperity, now more so because their anti-slave-trade policies had transformed them into possibly the worst threat of all. Returning to that morning of January 1808, a final apprehension, perhaps the most obvious and the most stressful, was raised by the Cabildo: the real possibility of facing a rebellion similar to the one that had occurred in neighboring Saint Domingue. These fears were directed toward the black inhabitants of the island and toward those who had rid themselves of their chains in the now frighteningly close Republic and State of Haiti. Their apprehensions were recorded for posterity in the plea made that day: The war with France is not as perilous as the extraordinary number of our slaves. We do not have strongholds (apart from this capital city) that can assure a withdrawal of the whites in the case of a negro insurrection, leaving the fields open to all sorts of havoc and cruelty. Our slaves have followed the fatal example of their compatriots in Santo Domingo: the desire for liberty, which must precisely have an influence upon them. There

32 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

are just and well-founded suspicions that among our slaves currently hide many of those who took part in the uprising in the Guarico and that they may become the logical promoters and caudillos.30

Nevertheless, not everything was orderly and harmonious in the insular capital. Some distinguished members of Havana society were beginning to raise their voices and question the mass introduction of slaves and their treatment on the plantations. The Spanish surgeon Francisco Barrera y Domingo was among the first to speak out about his concerns. Barrera y Domingo, who never saw his manuscript on the illnesses of African slaves and potential remedies to combat them published, maintained a firm opposition to the trafficking of slaves and their maltreatment.31 Even more fervent were the criticisms of the respected priest and philosopher José Agustín Caballero, who, in a series of articles that appeared in the Papel Periódico de la Habana between 1791 and 1799, attacked the slave trade and highlighted the negative effect that it was having upon Cuban society.32 While the slaves were the problem that kept them awake at night, the British abolitionists speedily became a real headache for the merchant and planter elites. The pressures exerted by the powerful British Empire, felt from the early 1810s, were closely followed by those who represented the Cabildo of Havana and the Real Consulado. From 1809, following orders of George Canning, the British ambassador to Madrid, John Hookham Frere, took advantage of whatever opportunities arose to express Britain’s motives for abolishing the slave trade before the Spanish Cortes. These pressures intensified during the following years, albeit with little success. The war of resistance against the French was then the main priority for the Spanish Regency, whose members refused to lend their ear on such a delicate matter.33 The slave trade, however, brought such a level of prosperity to the island— and by extension to the coffers of the king in Madrid—that despite their apprehensions and fears, the ruling elites in Cuba did not renounced it but instead expanded it. In the early part of 1787, four years before Saint Domingue descended into a spiral of violence that would result in its independence from France in 1804, the members of the Cabildo of Havana were already pleading with the governor of the island to allow the importation of significantly larger numbers of slaves to work on the plantations.34 From 1789, the pressures on King Charles IV intensified as never before. The king signed decree after decree authorizing the trafficking of slaves, as a consequence of which

Slavery in Western Cuba, 1792–1825 · 33

the demographic composition of the island changed dramatically to resemble increasingly that of prerevolutionary Saint Domingue.35 In 1803 an anonymous society was created in Havana with the purpose of actively participating in the slave trade and diminishing the island’s dependence on foreign slave traders. In the same year, the members of the newly formed anonymous society sent a letter to the king asking for his royal permission to establish a commercial office in London or Liverpool, where their businesses could operate more advantageously. In the same document they appealed to the monarch to permit them to establish floating factories in two or three places on the African coast, where they could collect cargoes of slaves and hold them until the time was right to ship them to Cuba.36 Among this society’s most prestigious shareholders were the Real Consulado, Pedro and Francisco María de la Cuesta y Manzanal, Tomás de la Cruz Muñoz, the Counts of Jaruco and Casa Bayona, Bernabé Martínez de Pinillos, and, of course, the ideologist of the Cuban elites at the time, Francisco de Arango y Parreño. By the time Canning and Frere decided to put pressure on the Spanish Cortes, the slave trade had ended in the British Atlantic, while it had reached new levels of sophistication in the Spanish Atlantic. In 1811 Cuban merchant and planter elites were at the top of their game, but things became more complicated that year, as the British intensified their attacks against the Spanish slave trade. Through lobbying, the new British ambassador on the Peninsula, Henry Wellesley, managed to persuade some deputies of the constituent Cortes of 1812 to bring up the cause in the sessions held in Cadiz during the spring of that year. Havana’s deputy to the Cortes, Andrés de Jáuregui, was charged with responding to the proposals presented by Miguel Guridi y Alcocer and Agustín de Argüelles. Not surprisingly, Jáuregui based his case on the almost certain loss of the island of Cuba if the trade were to be stopped, a convincing argument that provoked a private discussion—instead of a public one, which Wellesley and the other abolitionists had hoped for—and led to a quick defeat of the abolitionist motion.37 But that was not all. As soon as news of a possible debate on the abolition of the slave trade reached Havana, both the Captain General Marquis of Someruelos and Francisco de Arango y Parreño wrote to the Cortes claiming that if the abolitionist cause were allowed to win, the certain loss of the island and ruin of its inhabitants would be their fault. Both documents had a tremendous impact on the deputies who read them in Cadiz. Arango y Parreño’s missive claimed, in a tragic tone, that “it is about our lives, all our fortune, and that

34 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

of our descendants that we are talking here. . . . Let our voices speak with candor; let our bitterness appear before your eyes in the colors of our hearts.”38 Once the intimidating letters of Someruelos and Arango y Parreño were known in Spain, the Cortes decided to side with the merchants and planters of the island. Then, in 1812, an unexpected turn of events further complicated the matter. An extensive conspiracy organized by free men of color and slaves, with branches in several parts of the island, was discovered in Havana. From the beginning of the year the planters’ worries had turned into real fears when various revolts led by free colored men and slaves broke out across the island. Especially disturbing for them was one that erupted on the Peñas Altas sugar plantation, just a few kilometers outside Havana. In March, when the revolts were crushed and the bigger conspiracy was uncovered, Cuban authorities and residents, speaking in unison, placed the blame on the Spanish Cortes, claiming that they had consistently incited the disorderly behavior of the slaves by agreeing to have untimely discussions about the abolition of the slave trade. The Conspiracy of Aponte, then, gave Havana’s ruling elites an unexpected opportunity, in that they could maintain the moral high ground in their discussions with the Spanish Cortes. British and Spanish abolitionists felt obliged to take a recess until conditions were once again favorable for resuscitating the debate of this sensitive issue.39

After the debates of 1811–12, the battle for the abolition of the African slave trade in the Spanish Atlantic was fought in two periods. In the first period, 1813–17, some remarkable skirmishes took place during the Congress of Vienna, of 1814, which resulted in another victory for the supporters of the trade, and during 1817, when an Anglo-Spanish treaty abolishing the slave trade was finally forced upon Ferdinand VII by the British. In the second period, 1821–23, during the Trienio Constitucional, Ferdinand lost his absolute powers, and new Cortes were summoned. Then, despite facing formidable odds, Cuban colonial authorities and merchant and planter elites questioned the legality of the treaty of September 1817 and demanded the reestablishment of the lucrative slave trade in the Spanish Atlantic on a legal basis. Although they failed to achieve their objectives, their involvement in the slave trade continued, albeit illegally, until the early 1870s. ***

Slavery in Western Cuba, 1792–1825 · 35

Once the Napoleonic Wars had ceased in 1815, the campaign against the Atlantic slave trade once again became the top priority for Great Britain’s foreign policy. The experienced British minister Henry Wellesley was now ready to resume his duties before the Spanish Crown. Guided by Lord Castlereagh, Wellesley tried to achieve by all possible means a Spanish condemnation of the slave trade. Seeing that such a pronouncement was highly unlikely, the government of Castlereagh directed all of its efforts toward achieving at least an abolitionist declaration by the Congress of Vienna, which took place between September 1814 and June 1815.40 The fear that the European powers meeting in Vienna might reach a definitive agreement to end the slave trade was a serious concern for all those involved with this trade in one way or another in Cuba. While the congress was taking place in Vienna, Arango y Parreño, then living in Paris, openly questioned, in the press, the authority of those participating in the congress to make critical decisions about the future of his native island. At the same time, Claudio Martínez de Pinillos, the elder son of Bernabé and the then representative of Havana’s Real Consulado in Madrid, kept his compatriots informed of every discussion and every decision that was taken in Vienna. In a letter written from the Spanish capital on November 1, 1814, Martínez de Pinillos discussed the balance of power among the postwar European nations, concluding that those who were indifferent to the African slave trade were “unfortunately the most influential” and that “the constant determination and efforts made by the English to put an end to the slave trade, as a direct method to destroy our colonial agricultural industry,” were being welcomed in the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.41 Despite all the efforts of Arango y Parreño and Martínez de Pinillos, Britain, now victorious and Europe’s arbitrator, persuaded the rest of the representatives participating in the congress to sign a declaration condemning the Atlantic slave trade. Clearly, for the supporters of the trade in Africans this singular document alone meant nothing. The damage had been limited in the short term at least. Soon, however, and rather predictably, the new British ambassador to Spain, Charles Vaughan, began to put pressure on Ferdinand VII in order to obtain a firm commitment from the king to end Spain’s involvement in this trade. The Spanish monarch’s debt to Great Britain, combined with Spain’s evident military weakness in the face of the mightiest military power of the era, ultimately convinced him to kowtow to the British and sign a treaty on September 20, 1817. The treaty stipulated that Ferdinand must

36 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

abolish the slave trade in all of his territories; he promised to stop it north of the Equator immediately and then south of the Equator by May 20, 1820.42 The treaty of 1817 was neither respected nor honored by the Spanish. The Atlantic slave trade, far from disappearing, intensified to an unprecedented degree. According to extant figures or current estimates—depending on whether primary or secondary sources are consulted—in the decades following the signing of the treaty of 1817 tens of thousands of new slaves were shipped from Africa to Cuba.43 Ferdinand was simply unable to enforce the treaty. In 1820, the year that the total abolition of the slave trade was supposed to take place, the Spanish monarch was restricted again by the constitution passed eight years previously in Cadiz. During the period now known as the Trienio Constitucional, the absolute powers of the king were abolished, and immediate elections of deputies to the reestablished Cortes were called for.44 While the slave trade continued to operate freely in spite of the multiple complaints presented by the British, Cuban Creole planters, frightened by the Spanish Crown’s signing of the 1817 treaty, seized the sudden opportunity that the Cortes offered them and sent one of their most distinguished members, the Catholic priest Juan Bernardo O’Gavan, to put forward their arguments in favor of the slave trade with the rather unrealistic aim of nullifying the treaty. The Cabildo could not have been more transparent in its aims: We expressly supplicate and request that our deputy . . . promote the question of the dishonorable treaty that our Government agreed to with England concerning ceasing the commerce with Africa, calling the attention of the Congress to the fact that our King was taken by surprise, and the dreadful consequences that this treaty has produced and will produce . . . since otherwise the ruin of this island will be inevitable.45

To complicate matters further, those who opposed the trade in Havana had a priest and deputy of their own, Félix Varela, whom they sent to Madrid to argue their cause. The petitions written by these two priests monopolized the public’s attention, both in Cuba and on the Peninsula. O’Gavan’s conservative communication was published and widely circulated; Varela’s, though well known, was not published until many years later. Interestingly, the two communications employed the same arguments to reach diametrically opposed conclusions. Once again some of the old enemies resurfaced: the British, the Haitians, and the possibility of a large slave rebellion on the island, this time accompanied by the menace posed by the emergent United States. These two

Slavery in Western Cuba, 1792–1825 · 37

documents allow us to understand the different viewpoints that existed in Cuba during the first half of the nineteenth century. O’Gavan arrived in Madrid in 1820 and immediately began to work on behalf of the pro-slave-trade Creole planters, with whom he found himself strongly linked. In response to a proposal presented at the Cortes on March 23, 1821, to establish penal laws capable of completely destroying the slave trade in the Spanish Atlantic, O’Gavan wrote his best-known work, a pamphlet of barely twelve pages that became a classic text for those who supported the slave trade. The circumstances were now very different from those of 1811. Spain found herself bound by an oath with Britain that at least on paper impeded her support of the trade of Africans in the Atlantic. Somewhat perplexingly, Juan Bernardo O’Gavan went to Madrid to challenge the treaty of 1817, following instructions from the Cabildo and the Real Consulado in Havana: From whatever perspective we look at this problem, it can be seen that the precipitate decisions taken were rigged by tainted interests and that they failed to respect existing sacred rights and to consider political and legal reasons, as well as the public interest.46

Highlighting the “uncivilized” state of the blacks in Africa and the benevolence and benefits associated with their new life in Cuba, O’Gavan employed anthropological, economic, social, and religious arguments to make the case for maintaining the flow of African slaves to the island. His strongest argument, however, was Cuba’s possible loss to the Spanish Crown. Leaving no room for equivocation, and echoing the Cabildo of Havana’s request, he commented on the already prominent danger posed to Cuba by the British and the Haitians and mentioned a new threat coming from the now prosperous United States of America to the north: There exists a wise government, liberal in principles, powerful and active, which contrives to extend above her [the island of Cuba] a charitable hand and to attract her by all means possible to its system of liberty and splendor, lavishing upon her abundant resources for her agriculture and commerce.47

Of course, O’Gavan conveniently failed to mention that such a prodigious nation hosted a thriving slave system. The opinion of the priest from Santiago de Cuba must have struck the Spanish ministers as a word of warning and a forerunner to the American Monroe Doctrine: “If the caprice and imprudence of

38 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

those in charge has no limits, our patience does.”48 In other words, if necessary, Cuban merchant and planter elites would at least seriously consider the protection of anyone who would allow them to continue importing slaves from Africa. Two years after O’Gavan’s rant, Father Félix Varela arrived in Spain, also as a deputy to the Cortes. In contrast to his predecessor, Varela did not feel compassion or sympathy for the Creole planters or the peninsular merchants who controlled the institutions governing Cuban life. Varela, who had been born in Havana in 1788, was a man known for his honesty, and like O’Gavan, he was trusted by Havana’s bishop, Juan José Díaz de Espada, who had supported his election in the Cuban capital. His performance in the Cortes, while limited, was so progressive that he became a symbol for future generations of Cubans. Varela presented two proposals to the Cortes, one of autonomy for Cuba, and another for the gradual abolition of slavery in the island. The latter was entitled “Memoria que demuestra la necesidad de extinguir la esclavitud de los negros en la isla de Cuba, atendiendo a los intereses de sus propietarios.” Putting aside his clearly humanitarian interests, Varela recommended the gradual abolition of slavery in all of Spain’s territories, with compensation to all slave owners. What is most interesting about this document is its novelty; Varela petitioned for the abolition of slavery only three years after the treaty for the abolition of the slave trade had been fully implemented, at least on paper. Curiously, in order to support his proposal, which because of the fall of the constitutional regime was never discussed, Varela felt obliged to use the same arguments from which Arango y Parreño and O’Gavan had previously benefited. In other words, he formally attacked Great Britain and cited the fears of an invasion from the nearby Republic of Haiti and the risk of a major slave uprising in Cuba. Additionally, and probably to the dismay of most of his compatriots, Varela criticized the uncontrolled introduction of slaves to the island: In this way it was believed that we could replace, without any menace, the lack of arms. Without danger, with male slaves! The events of Santo Domingo quickly reminded the government of the error they had committed; nevertheless, the imports of blacks continued.49

Varela saw a deeper problem and tried to expose it: It is a fact that agriculture and the arts on the island of Cuba all depend absolutely on those originally from Africa, and if these men would like

Slavery in Western Cuba, 1792–1825 · 39

to ruin us, they would only have to suspend their work and stage a new resistance. Their preponderance might encourage these unfortunate men to solicit by the use of force what they are denied by means of justice, namely, their freedom and the right to be happy. Until now it has been believed that their own rusticity impeded them from undertaking such actions; but we are already seeing that they are not as rustic as we thought and that even if they were, this would serve to make them free, since we know that the most barbarous men are the best soldiers when they have a leader. And are we lacking leaders? There were [leaders] on the island of Santo Domingo, and our officers assured us that they had seen among the ranks of the black rebels uniforms of an enemy nation, whose engineers had directed their actions on the battlefield.50

Varela’s arguments were terrifying, if not completely true: “I am sure that the first one to vociferously propose independence will have almost all of those who are originally from Africa on his side.”51 Varela’s document on the need for the effective abolition of slavery in Cuba can be considered the last important piece written on the topic before the rebellion of Guamacaro.52 At the start of 1825 the abolition of the slave trade in the Atlantic had already become an international obligation for all governments and a palpable reality in parts of the Americas, such as Brazil and Cuba. British interventions, however, had no success in practical terms, and the treaty of 1817, which was succeeded by another one signed in 1835, was never fulfilled.53 The future of Cuba, uncertain in 1791, was crystal clear in 1825. Cuban Creole planters continued to receive their cargos of the euphemistic sacos de carbón despite the efforts of the abolitionists and the British government. The plantations continued to expand day after day, year after year, in the rural countryside of the western part of the island. New, mammoth sugar mills began to appear, accommodating several hundred slaves. Between 1820 and 1830 numerous ships full of slaves from Africa arrived illegally in Cuba; the need for slave labor outweighed any international treaty, no matter who the signatories were.54 Recent technological advances were applied, leading to higher productivity in the fields and in the mills. The use of steam to propel the grinding mills, the remarkable improvements made to the roads across the western part of the island, and the introduction of the railway in the mid-1830s kept profits high and thus encouraged the continuation of this inhumane trade across the

40 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

Atlantic. By 1825 the term slavery was so closely associated with the name of the island that they became almost synonymous. The omnipotent powers conceded to the captains general who governed Cuba from the time of the restoration of Ferdinand VII to the Spanish throne in 1823 and the creation of a permanent Military Commission for the island in 1825 were signs of the conservative politics reigning in Spain and of the state of submission to which Cuba would be subjected for several years to come.55 The appointment of Francisco Dionisio Vives to the governorship of Cuba in 1823 was a reflection of the disorder and political mayhem that had plagued the island since the Napoleonic invasion of the Peninsula in 1808. The granting of unlimited powers to the captains general and the establishment of the Military Commission in 1825 were direct consequences of the external and internal threats to the island at the time. These threats increased steadily during the Trienio Constitucional, between 1820 and 1823. To the already existing Colombian, Mexican, and Haitian menaces, Captain General Vives had to add the proindependence conspiracies of the Soles y Rayos de Bolívar and the Great Legion of the Black Eagle, both supported from abroad. Furthermore, at the time of Vives’s arrival in Cuba, the military had been in disarray for more than twenty years. The ongoing conflict between Peninsulares and Creoles in the army had led to an accumulation of resentments and to the deterioration of public order by the early 1820s, when “an assortment of mutinies, confrontations, conspiracies, plots, and protests circulated throughout the island.”56 Matanzas, where African slaves were already a felt presence, did not escape the civil and military unrest. Some important members of the city’s elite were involved in the 1823 Conspiracy of the Soles y Rayos de Bolívar,57 and in August 1824 the Army lieutenant Gaspar Rodríguez read the Constitution of 1812 aloud in the main square of the city and then fled to the countryside before going into exile in Mexico.58 That this popular unrest in Matanzas took place only a few months before the slave rebellion studied here might also suggest that in addition to their own reasons to rise up, some of the slaves living in Guamacaro, in particular the coach drivers, may have learned about the breakdown of authority within the Spanish military and, drawing from their own knowledge of warfare, seen 1825 as a very propitious time to revolt. While authorities, the military, and the slave owners were less unified and weaker than ever, the African slaves living under their oppression found a way to come together, forgetting ethnic rivalries, and organized and staged the first large African-led insurrection to take place in nineteenth-century Cuba.

Slavery in Western Cuba, 1792–1825 · 41

The introduction of African slaves had therefore transformed the western part of the island into a time bomb waiting to explode. By their own choice, planters and merchants were transformed into the slaves of the slave system they had created, while their political ambitions were limited to the minimum. Nevertheless, their fortunes continued to grow.59 The newly acquired wealth was more important than political power, and the impulse they felt to line their own pockets was now so strong that they were severely compromised and could see only one way forward. Cuba would still witness the horrors of slavery.


Slave Resistance in Cuba to 1825 Everything will be taken from us by the negro devil that perhaps one day will rule over the Antilles. —field marshall josé moscoso, 1822


his chapter opens with a brief account of the manifestations of slave resistance in Cuba during the first centuries of Spanish colonial rule. Understanding these early instances of resistance will allow us to appreciate a number of events that occurred in the Atlantic world during the Age of Revolution and the impact they would have upon slavery in Cuba. Before the changes associated with this new world order reached Cuba in the late eighteenth century, slave rebellion on the island had been confined to sporadic incidents that were generally quickly dealt with by the authorities. This overview of the acts of resistance that preceded the Age of Revolution will expand our understanding of the changes that took place within the institution of slavery in Cuba and will provide us with valuable insight into how these changes affected slave rebellion on the island from about 1820 on.

ea r ly mo de r n cu ba, 1 5 2 2 – 1 7 90 Almost from the moment early Spanish adventurers settled in the New World, they faced dissent, first from the indigenous peoples and later from the newly imported African slaves. Although during the first decades of Spanish conquest and colonization of the Americas only a few minor urban settlements existed, the need for cheap labor to work in the mines and fields led the Spanish almost immediately to enslave men and women on a regular basis. As is well known, the indigenous population was soon decimated in the Caribbean islands by harsh living conditions and new diseases. Replacing them with Africans, who were considered to be stronger, was the logical next step. 42

Slave Resistance in Cuba to 1825 · 43

In the first half of the sixteenth century some of these urban settlements began to grow and to acquire a certain importance. Cartagena de Indias, Panama, Nombre de Dios, Veracruz, Santo Domingo, and Havana became some of the most important administrative and political centers of the emerging Spanish Empire. Predictably, their socio-demographic paths differed, yet all experienced wide-ranging forms of resistance by the indigenous inhabitants of the colonized lands and then by the imported Africans. As early as 1522, Governor Diego Colón was forced to crush a rebellion that started on his own plantation, near Santo Domingo on the island of La Española.1 In each of these centers, whether Spanish authorities recorded instances of slave resistance was dependent on their level of distress or fear. Violent cases such as revolts and marronage were typically recorded, while other, disguised actions were more often than not ignored. As the sixteenth century progressed and more African slaves were taken to the New World, increasing numbers of references to the forms of resistance practiced by these African men and women and their descendants appeared in the historical record. In 1523, just a few months after the uprising in La Española, a group of African slaves rebelled in Mexico, and there were reports of disturbances in Santa Marta in 1529 and Panama in 1531.2 Cuba was no means an exception. As early as 1534, near the town of Bayamo, four blacks destined to work in the mines rose and pillaged the region. They were soon defeated, and their heads cut off and shown to the inhabitants of the town as a warning to other Africans.3 Runaway slaves were rapidly becoming another serious problem for the authorities and the residents. Reports from 1538 and 1543 indicate that Indians and African slaves ran away.4 The following years saw the island’s economy languish and its population steadily decrease until Havana became the last port of departure for the Spanish treasure fleets in the late 1550s. Very few cases of violent slave resistance were recorded in that period. There were references to runaway slaves in 1558 and 1569, but it was only in the mid-1570s that there was a concerted effort to tackle this problem with the Ordenanzas de Cáceres.5 The Ordenanzas of 1574, as they were also known, included some measures to deal with runaway slaves. Nevertheless, as the Cuban historian Alejandro de la Fuente has rightly pointed out, the limited attention to the problem within the Ordenanzas highlights the fact that runaway slaves were not a very serious threat to the colony at the time, something that would drastically change in the following years.6 In the years 1599–1603 the members of the Cabildo of Havana discussed the best ways to keep the increasing marronage under control.7 The increase

44 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

in the number of sugar-cane plantations, and in the number of African slaves needed to work in this flourishing industry, also brought a rise in the number of runaway slaves. The Cabildo, following instructions from the governor of the island, Juan Maldonado, discussed and approved a set of ordinances designed to bring maroons under control.8 The Ordenanzas de Cimarrones were approved on July 14, 1600 and then modified on various occasions throughout the seventeenth century. Although cases of captured runaway slaves appear time and again in different sources, including records of slave sales and official correspondence, slave uprisings all but disappeared. In discussing the forms of resistance practiced by Cuban slaves in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Alejandro de la Fuente mentions no significant slave revolts, nor does Leví Marrero in his comprehensive study of colonial Cuba.9 Runaway slaves on the other hand continued to be an important topic of discussion and a cause of anxiety for Cuban authorities for most of the rest of the colonial era. In 1690 Sebastián Calvo de la Puerta and Hilario de Estrada were commissioned by the Cabildo of Havana to prepare a new set of regulations to strengthen control over the island’s maroons. De la Fuente has correctly identified a series of continuities between the Ordenanzas of 1600 and the Condiciones para la Captura de Negros Cimarrones of June 1690. The new regulations were approved by King Charles II in a royal decree issued on November 9, 1693.10 Nevertheless, runaway slaves continued to be a problem. Predictably, as African slaves continued to be introduced in the seventeenth century, the problems with maroons continued. The region around the recently founded city of Matanzas, for example, saw a significant increase in the population of runaway slaves. In late 1734 the procurador of the city, Tomás Rangel, wrote to the governor of the island, Juan Francisco Güemes y Horcasitas, requesting the appointment of an alcalde provincial de la Santa Hermandad, who would assist the citizens of Matanzas in their fight against the “many maroon negroes” who had created all sorts of trouble in the district since about 1721, when the number of slaves living in the district had begun to steadily rise. In Rangel’s words, “many residents who had had no slaves now had two, four, and more.” There are no details of specific actions undertaken by the maroons of Matanzas, but according to Rangel they were responsible for “various insults, robberies, and dead and wounded people.”11 Governor Güemes y Horcasitas supported the petition and asked the Crown to make the requested appointment as soon as possible.12 While in Matanzas the maroons were gradually becoming a source of concern and fear to their neighbors, two other events shook the very foundation

Slave Resistance in Cuba to 1825 · 45

of the Spanish slave system in Cuba. First, in 1727 a large African slave revolt took place at the Quiebra Hacha sugar mill, south of Havana; then, in 1731 and 1733 the always restless royal slaves at the mines of Santiago del Prado, near Santiago de Cuba, defied the Spanish authorities first by running away and then by openly refusing to work on the fortifications of the city. In April 1727 Havana was in a state of alert. A British fleet under the command of Admiral Francis Hosier had been lurking in Cuban waters since March 8.13 Although Hosier’s men were struck down by yellow fever—a consequence of getting too close to the city of Portobello a few months earlier during the British blockade of that city—the ships were still considered a menace to the peace of the island. Eventually, Hosier retired to the Windward Passage in early May, leaving behind a ship that cruised off Havana.14 It was precisely during the time that Hosier was threatening the island’s capital that the first major slave revolt recorded in the history of Cuba occurred.15 The uprising took place on the Quiebra Hacha plantation, owned by the first Count of Casa Bayona. It began when the count attempted a strangely humble and compassionate act toward his slaves: he washed their feet as Jesus Christ had once done for his apostles. The slaves, probably not understanding the meaning of this singular ritual and perhaps interpreting it as a moment of weakness, saw an opportunity to rise against their master. A large number of slaves belonging to Quiebra Hacha and many others from neighboring plantations rebelled and plundered the region using “stolen fire weapons and labor tools” to cause “grave insults, deaths, and sacrileges, stealing the sacred garments and chalices [from the church] and placing this city [Havana] in great danger.”16 The revolt was finally put down when a company of infantry sent from the capital and a group of residents confronted and defeated the rebels. Years later, the count recalled how the fear of a “universal commotion of the negroes” was felt by the entire island, particularly as the capital, Havana, was at that time under siege by the fleet of Admiral Hosier. As a matter of fact, Hosier seems to have been blamed to a certain extent for the uprising. In 1733 the count mentioned that at the time some people had suggested that Hosier and the British could have fueled the “conspiracy of the negroes,” since his estate was situated “almost at the center of the rest” and therefore was a propitious place to begin an organized movement.17 The bloodshed did not conclude with the defeat of the rebels. A tribunal under the direction of Tiburcio Díaz Pimienta judged and dealt the surviving slaves various punishments. The Cabildo of Havana sponsored a collection of

46 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

money that was then shared among those white residents who had been affected by the insurrection.18 The uprising left a lasting impression on Cuban planters and authorities. Sixty-three years later, when the planters of the western part of the island decided to question the Carolinian Black Code of 1788, they were keen to remind the king of how dangerous African slaves could be. One example of slave rebelliousness that they cited was the uprising of the slaves of the Count of Casa Bayona. In a very solemn tone, they reminded the king of what had resulted when the count decided to change the dynamics of domination on his plantation: The first Count of Casa Bayona, wanting to demonstrate his humility in the ceremonies corresponding to Holy Thursday, he washed the feet of twelve of the slaves in his sugar mill, invited them to his table, and served them . . . then the slaves abused the privilege given to them by their master and refused to work. When persuasion and softness proved ineffective, the use of force was deemed necessary. Then, once and for all, the slaves raised their heads, called others to organize tumult, rebelled, [and] insulted their sugar mill and the others around, and it was necessary for the government to subdue them with weapons, costing much blood and some lives.19

The historical significance of the slave revolt of 1727 cannot be ignored. For the first time ever the authorities and the residents alike realized the intrinsic dangers associated with possessing large numbers of African slaves. That the uprising remained fresh in their memories decades later is apparent proof of its impact on their understanding of slavery and on their methods of repression and control of this slave population. The revolt also had some more prosaic— although symbolic—and immediate consequences. Following a request from the Count of Casa Bayona in the place where the Quiebra Hacha sugar mill had once thrived, a new town that aimed to have a “large population” was founded with the intention of erasing the memory of the rebellion from the minds of the slaves. The king was happy to grant this concession to the count. A new town was considered to be the best way of avoiding a similar event in the area. The establishment of Santa María del Rosario, a popular urban center to this day, was a direct result of the first large slave uprising to take place in Cuba.20 At the other end of the island, the royal slaves of Santiago del Prado’s mines in El Cobre, long renowned for being troublemakers, caused outrage with a series of open acts of disobedience that began in the late 1720s and only par-

Slave Resistance in Cuba to 1825 · 47

tially concluded in 1738. Already in 1677 the royal slaves had shown that any attempt at direct government intervention in their affairs would be met with open resistance. In that year, after being told that the government was planning to send some of them to work in the fortifications of Santiago de Cuba, they ran away to the mountains, and from there they negotiated the terms of their return, pledging allegiance to their master the king of Spain.21 Running away and negotiating from their hideouts became a familiar strategy for the slaves of El Cobre. As María Elena Díaz has put it, “Slave resistance through cimarronaje was perceived early on as a possible political limitation on the local state’s ability to enforce Crown policy.”22 In the late 1720s the restless royal slaves found themselves immersed in a conflict with the new governor of Santiago de Cuba, Pedro Ignacio Ximénez. In 1731 tensions reached the boiling point, and the royal slaves again fled to the mountains, where they stayed until 1732. Again they invoked the name of the king and stressed their loyalty to him, pitting the governor against the monarch. In order to make their arguments even clearer, they took banners with them and wrote to the bishop of the island, Pedro Agustín Morell de Santa Cruz, asking him to intervene on their behalf.23 Although they eventually returned to the village, peace did not last for long. In 1733 they were at loggerheads with Governor Ximénez again when the latter decided to assign some of them to work on the fortifications of Santiago de Cuba. This time they openly refused to obey the governor of that city and sent a petition to the captain general of the island, Francisco Güemes y Horcasitas, denouncing the abuses.24 Even after Ximénez was replaced by Francisco Cagigal de la Vega in 1738, the conflict continued, and the problems resurfaced throughout the eighteenth century until the royal slaves were finally granted their longawaited freedom in 1800.25 Being owned by the king certainly benefited the slaves of El Cobre. Their strategies of resistance clearly reflected their exceptionality and allowed them to challenge colonial authorities time and again with some degree of protection. This was not the case for most of the Africans who were steadily populating the Cuban countryside and cities at the time. For them, insurrection, marronage, and suicide were the only viable ways to resist oppression. While Governors Ximénez and Cagigal de la Vega and the Cabildo of Santiago de Cuba were engulfed in the ongoing conflict with the royal slaves, an increment in the number of maroons in the region also added to their problems. In 1747 the authorities were forced to pay attention to a longstanding

48 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

runaway slave settlement located not far from El Cobre, as well as to two others, in the regions of Mayarí and Moa.26 According to the Cuban historian and anthropologist Gabino La Rosa Corzo, the attack on the El Portillo settlement in late 1747 involved about one hundred men from the surrounding villages and towns, including El Cobre. El Portillo allegedly had been in existence for more than twenty years, but only with the increase in the number of slaves in the area as a result of the transatlantic slave trade had the palenque expanded, thus provoking the reaction of colonial authorities. La Rosa Corzo also points out that the location of the settlement in the south of the island was in itself another reason for concern, for the authorities were all too aware of the enduring conflict between the British authorities and the maroons in nearby Jamaica.27 Although the slave hunters did not attack the settlement, they were able to capture more than half of its inhabitants. The vast majority of them were, predictably, African-born men and women—6 Congos, 2 Carabalís, 1 Mandinga, 1 Mina, and 1 Creole.28 They also captured two small children who had been born in the palenque. Despite the utmost efforts of the local authorities and the interest shown in the matter by the governors of the island and even the king, El Portillo continued to be a problem for a few more years. In 1752 the settlement came under attack once again, and three maroons were captured.29 In the following years the problems with runaway slaves never really went away. In 1790 Cuban planters recalled how after the British returned Havana to the Spanish after eleven months of occupation in 1763, many slaves who had fled to the interior of the island were happy to return to the city to look for their masters. Many, they said, but not all, since those who were “maroons, delinquent, and evil” decided to stay away in the mountains.30 In 1777 there were reports of maroon communities in the eastern part of the island. While addressing the problem in 1779, Captain General Diego José Navarro ordered that any slave found carrying a weapon should be “given a hundred lashes” adding that one of his hands would be pierced with a nail on the first offense and that it would be cut off altogether if he offended again.31 In the 1770s, Cuban planters and authorities were already putting together a more coherent discourse about the character and inclinations of the Africanborn slaves based on years of observation and empirical study. Among their recurrent concerns were the various forms of resistance practiced by their African servants. In 1772, for example, the Cabildo of Havana attempted to explain the Cuban slave system to the king in a sort of digest letter. Predictably, marronage featured preeminently. They highlighted in particular the fact

Slave Resistance in Cuba to 1825 · 49

that once a slave had ran away, he would always be considered a maroon. They wrote that upon arriving in Cuba, African-born slaves immediately fall into all sorts of vices, and soon after they flee; once they run away, they steal to survive, taking the oxen from the poor, the pig from the unfortunate, and the hen from the underprivileged. . . . If surrounded by justice, they either kill or die, . . . most of the time they end up badly wounded, thus ineffectual and worthless to their masters. If they do not resist at first, then the irons and the subsequent punishments irritate them, and we can never return them to their previous state, because once they run away for any minor reason, they are forever maroons, and in this state any previously interested buyer no longer wants them. . . . If, on the other hand, the owners decide to ignore or dissimulate the problem, they go rapidly from abyss to abyss, and the slaves begin to consider themselves indispensable, confronting their masters, refusing to obey orders or to work, and they get involved in vices of love. . . . Some abuse the person of their masters, while others take the lives of their owners with their own hands or knives.32

In the same statement the members of the Cabildo identified and explained a common form of resistance that until that moment had not been much discussed by Cuban authorities, at least in official correspondence: suicides. Making use of the pathological terminology of the time, they referred to the state of melancholy suffered by many recently arrived Africans and mentioned their belief in a life after death: “Some of them die despite their constitution because there is no way of making them understand that work should be a part of every man’s life, and they surrender their spirit to an extreme melancholy rather than agreeing to work. . . . Many hang themselves, persuaded of a transmigration to their home countries.”33 A few years later, in the already mentioned statement of 1790 sent by a large number of Cuban planters to the king, the authors were keen to stress, once again, all the “evils” resulting from the character of the Africans brought to the island. Not surprisingly, the forms of resistance employed by the slaves were one of the most powerful arguments for the need to suspend the recently issued Carolinian Black Code: It is necessary to define who the bozales are and to pause to explain their character, nature, and conditions. They are barbarians, daring, ungrateful

50 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

for any benefit. They never leave behind their lack of refinement. Good treatment angers them: their temperament is hard and rough. Many among them never forget the error of the Pythagorean transmigration, which has sustained then since childhood. That is why they do not fear taking their own lives. They tend to be desperate, to create tumult, to steal, and to get drunk; they are arsonists and are inclined to all sorts of vices. To prove this, we could show you authentic documents exposing the horrific crimes that they have carried out in the countryside whenever control over them has been relaxed or whenever their masters have treated them with care. . . . They have assassinated their owners and overseers. They, on one occasion, dug out the heart of the man who had governed them and, roasting it, made it a delectable dish for their ire. They have formed palenques and rancherías (runaway settlement smaller than a palenque) in the thickest of forests and from there have launched attacks on those who pass by and on those who live in the countryside, stealing from all and forcing themselves on the women they have found. They have risen up in the sugar mills, they have killed, they have injured, and they have destroyed everything they have found in their path, to the point that on some occasions the government has been forced to confront them with weapons, shedding much blood in order to contain them. . . . After they have taken vengeance upon their masters and overseers, they normally hang themselves, jump into the water, or kill themselves in other ways. They have set fire to houses and other buildings, as recently happened in the sugar mill of Dn Josef Ignacio de Orta, whose inhabitants were attacked by a group of maroons, forcing them to contain the violence with fire weapons and to put out the fire at the same time, resulting in some being gravely wounded and others having members mutilated. And they have, at the moment, revolted in El Guarico, a neighboring French colony, to the extent that the authorities there are in a state of concern and anxiety.34

What started with a clear expression of discontent about a royal order regarding the control of the slaves ended with a defense of the Cuban slave system and a very powerful rationalization of the dangers that threatened a society heavily reliant on African-born slaves. Although the planters’ and authorities’ main focus was the African-born slaves, they eventually decided to mention an event that at the time, in January 1790, was just beginning to unfold: the slave unrest that would ultimately led to the Haitian Revolution and the second independent republic in the Americas.

Slave Resistance in Cuba to 1825 · 51

re b e l l i o n an d r e p r e ssi o n a f ter t h e e v e n t s i n sai n t do m i n g u e And I decided to put an end to these insurrections. —count of santa clara, 1798

The events in Saint Domingue and the massive introduction of slaves that began in the late 1780s changed the Cuban landscape forever. This new era, signaled by a need for Africans to work on the plantations that were expanding as never before west, south, and above all east of Havana, was the result of the opportunistic policies of the Cuban Creole elites, who saw a once-in-a-lifetime chance to replace Saint Domingue as a leading sugar and coffee exporter in the international markets. The resulting combination of the slave revolution in the neighboring territory and the increase in the slave population in Cuba brought prosperity—especially to those who were already well off—but also anxiety and at times panic. The real impact of the revolution in Saint Domingue across the Caribbean Basin has at times been exaggerated. However, it is clear that by the mid-1790s there were very real reasons for concern among Cuban whites. The series of events that began to unfold in the autumn of 1794 would eventually lead Captain General Luis de las Casas to prohibit the importation of French-speaking slaves to the island and to approve new rules to deal with the incessant problems caused by maroons on the island. Las Casas, however, did not immediately give credence to the many alarming rumors that began to reach Cuba almost from the onset of the insurrection in Saint Domingue. On the contrary, he refused to take any direct measures other than conducting some enquiries following orders from Spain in late 1794. In his short reply to the Count del Campo de Alanges, he was as straightforward as possible in dismissing all the reigning rumors about the possibility of a major slave revolt in Cuba influenced by the events of Saint Domingue, calling them “vague and insubstantial.”35 The captain general would eventually change his mind on this matter as a result of a series of events that took place in 1795. Nevertheless, his opinion —and the opinions of those who helped him to explain the reasons for the state of alarm among Cuban inhabitants in late 1794 and early 1795—about the situation in Havana begs a careful analysis, especially since these documents seem to have been frequently overlooked by historians. In the autumn of 1794 Havana was consumed by fear. Talk in the streets suggested that a slave insurrection was about to break out in the city and its

52 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

surroundings. In November there was a rumor that the slaves in the sugar mill of the Marquis of Jústiz de Santa Ana, situated in Matanzas, were plotting an uprising under the supervision and command of some foreigners. Las Casas sent one of his men to look into the matter, and after eight days of interrogations and observations on the sugar estate, his envoy wrote to him dismissing the likelihood of any possible conspiracy there.36 In the capital there were stories of slaves who, influenced by the news from Saint Domingue, had defied their masters and other white people. White residents advised one another about the best ways to protect themselves in the event of a revolt, suggesting that they lock themselves inside their houses until the situation improved. The captain general complained that his government had been openly questioned by the inhabitants of the city. There were also unfounded rumors about the unusual provisioning of ammunition by the local militias and about the rare movement of gunpowder to the ships in the harbor. Havana’s citizens were also convinced that the guns of every ship and fortress were loaded and ready for battle. The matter even reached the Cabildo, where the issue of dealing with possible French-speaking illegal migrants in the area was considered to be of the highest importance.37 Captain General Luis de la Casas was then compelled to gather information about the rumors in order to discover whether there was any truth to them. As it turned out, all of them were either exaggerated or more likely lies. Las Casas noted that Carlos de la Ribiére, an émigré French general, had reported that a black man named Blas Joseph Melgarejo had asked another French émigré, a mulatto, whether they were supposed to do what the blacks of El Guarico had done. Las Casas also mentioned the case of the fifteen-year-old slave María Dolores, who had reacted to being punished by her mistress with the words, “There are also blacks who slaughter whites.”38 About the same time, some urban slaves had been overheard talking about a “tumult” that was supposed to occur as soon as the fleet of Gabriel de Aristizábal left the port of Havana. After reviewing each of these reports, along with others mentioned in this document, Las Casas concluded that there was nothing to fear and blamed the commotion on the “creative imagination of the people” of the capital. 39 He was convinced that there was no reason to be disturbed and that he people of Havana would come to understand that their fears had been unfounded. But Las Casas was wrong. Word of the news from Saint Domingue about an insurrection that had freed the slaves eventually began to create new problems for the captain general and for white Cubans in general. The historian Ada

Slave Resistance in Cuba to 1825 · 53

Ferrer has examined the ways in which news reached Cuba throughout the period, stressing that alongside ample and detailed information about the occurrences in the neighboring colony, apocalyptic images were received, digested, and interpreted by all sorts of people on the island, including the slaves.40 The event that ultimately persuaded Las Casas about the actual danger that the news from Saint Domingue posed for the peace of Cuba took place in July 1795, barely two months after his letter to the Count del Campo de Alanges. It did not happen in Havana, but in the area surrounding the town of Puerto Príncipe. On the afternoon of July 6, Serapio Recio arrived at his small estate, Cuatro Compañeros. One of his slaves, a twenty-five-year-old Creole named Romualdo from El Cobre (of all places), began to talk to him without showing the requisite respect. Serapio threatened him with a manatí, a whip made from the skin of a manatee, and Romualdo, grabbing a machete, replied that that was “exactly what he wanted.” Realizing that he was in danger, the owner ran to the house to get his own machete and pistols, but by the time he got there, all his weapons had been taken by another slave, Joseph, a French-speaking man of about twenty-seven years. While Serapio was trying to get hold of a weapon, Joseph appeared in front of him carrying a club. Not guessing his real intentions, Serapio ordered him to tie up Romualdo. Joseph answered, “Tie him up? Why would I tie him up? Nobody here has a master any longer: we are all free.”41 Romualdo and Joseph locked their owner in the house and attempted to set the place on fire, but when they ran into problems, Romualdo contented himself with attacking his master with a chair that he found in the living room. Serapio was finally left alone inside the house, under the surveillance of a slave whom Romualdo ordered to make sure Serapio did not get out. Later that day another slave, Florentín, a teenage mulatto who managed to get inside the house, told Serapio that Romualdo and Joseph were planning to run away that night, taking all the slaves of the estate with them. Allegedly, they would then raid the area, recruiting more rebels before heading for Santa Cruz, where they would attack the Spanish army barracks in order to obtain rifles, which they would later use to stage an attack on Puerto Príncipe.42 In the end, Serapio was unable to stop the slaves from running away and executing their plan. They moved from estate to estate, recruiting slaves but respecting the lives of most of the people they found in their path. As soon as the rebels left the Cuatro Compañeros estate, Serapio headed for his brother’s house, and together, helped by some slaves, they went to Puerto Príncipe to

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inform Lieutenant Governor Alfonso de Viana about the disturbance. Eventually the rebel slaves, who by now numbered seventeen, were confronted and defeated at about 11:00 a.m. not far from the Cuatro Compañeros estate by a troop made up of white residents and black slaves.43 The revolt of the slaves of Cuatro Compañeros not only changed the captain general’s assessment of the real dangers that loomed over Cuba as a result of the disturbances in Saint Domingue but also led to a series of new measures of social control explicitly aimed at slaves imported from the French and British West Indies. Lieutenant Governor Viana was quick to issue some instructions prohibiting the use of weapons by the slaves in the jurisdiction of Puerto Príncipe. Viana explained to Las Casas that he had used the previously mentioned orders of Captain General Diego José Navarro, issued in 1779, as a template for these measures. He also informed the captain general about the situation in the territory under his command: “This neighborhood is in a state of alarm, and people believe that they are on the eve of seeing firsthand the tragic scenes and ghastly desolation that have ruined the most delicious and rich colony in the Americas.”44 By now Las Casas was aware of the real danger that foreign slaves posed to the stability of the island. In a bando (proclamation) on February 25, 1796, he ordered the expulsion of all French-speaking slaves introduced to the island after August 1790 and all English-speaking slaves introduced after 1794. He also banned any new imports of slaves from the neighboring French and English colonies and directed that the slave trade to Cuba should be understood as a trade only with the coast of Africa. The captain general’s measures were clearly intended to keep the ideas of equality, fraternity, and freedom from reaching and spreading in the territory entrusted to him by the Spanish Crown. Although his ordinance may have limited the manifestations of slave resistance to a certain extent, it did not by any means end the problem. Slaves from the French and English West Indies continued to arrive in Cuba despite the bando of 1796, and the slaves who were brought from these neighboring islands continued to lead and participate in insurrectionary movements during the following years.45 In an unexpected twist, and as a response to the bando of Las Casas, some French-speaking slaves began to spread rumors that the bando had in fact decreed the freedom of all slaves that had arrived in Cuba from French colonies. In Puerto Príncipe one slave confronted his owner, Francisco Rodríguez, and told him that he had been freed by orders of the captain general. Ultimately,

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the slave made it to the headquarters of Lieutenant Governor Alfonso de Viana, where he was asked where exactly he had heard that his freedom had been ordered by the captain general. He replied that the “blacks from the colony of Cap Français were all free because they had fought for their own freedom” and that therefore those in Cuba were also free. Viana put the slave in a dungeon overnight, and early in the morning he ordered all slave owners who had French-speaking slaves to bring them to the city’s main square, where he also brought the despondent slave to face the multitude. The unnamed slave was wearing a dress that bore the inscription “This is the fruit of the imagined freedom of the French-speaking negroes: real freedom can only be found in virtue.”46 After he was presented to the crowd, he was given one hundred lashes and left where passersby could see him until 11:00 a.m. The owner was then ordered to remove the slave from the island immediately, following the recommendations of the bando of February 1796. Despite all the measures taken by Las Casas and his successor, Captain General José Procopio de Bassecourt, Count of Santa Clara, a series of new slave movements, sometimes organized by slaves from other Caribbean islands, took place in 1798 and 1799. The summer of 1798 saw another slave insurrection in Puerto Príncipe, and soon after that a well-organized plot was uncovered among the slaves of the sugar plantations around the town of Trinidad. In both movements there were “French” or “English” slaves among the leaders, and both were organized by rural and urban slaves. This latter circumstance constituted a new problem for the authorities, who until that time had been dealing almost exclusively with manifestations of slave resistance that took place in the countryside rather than in the island’s urban centers. On June 11, 1798, the region of Puerto Príncipe once again served as the stage for a slave insurrection. At dawn a white man—who is unnamed in the existing documents—on his way to the plantation Timina, in the district of Puerto Príncipe, was stopped by a black man who persuaded him to turn around and escape as quickly as possible, because otherwise he would be killed by the slaves of the neighboring sugar plantations, who had revolted that morning. The white man hurried back to Puerto Príncipe and gave news of the event to the authorities, who rushed to fight the rebel slaves, but by the time they caught up with them, the damage had been done.47 The slaves had revolted after the prearranged signal given by a fotuto.48 As soon as they took over the first plantation, they restrained the white workers. When those workers’ master did not arrive—he had been warned about the

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danger by a woman—the slaves went on to the next estates, where they used machetes to kill the overseers and other white men. Before retreating, they set fire to some of the buildings on the plantations. Eventually driven away by a colonial troop of sixty men commanded by the lieutenant governor, the rebels were forced to hide in the mountains.49 Unfortunately for them, some of their companions who had not gotten away revealed their location to the authorities after being tortured. An official communication was issued offering fifty pesos for every rebel captured alive and twenty-five pesos for those who were killed. A group of more than twenty white men tried to reach the location of the runaway slaves, but the white men were spotted by a slave woman among the runaways, who began to shout, “Whites, whites, kill, kill.” The attack on their ranchería ended in a battle in which one of the rebels lost his life and three others were captured alive. At least one of the rebels who managed to escape the attack committed suicide soon afterwards, hanging himself from a tree. The prisoners declared “so many things that it was frightening to listen to them,” including that they had been in cahoots with some urban slaves from Puerto Príncipe. They had planned to join the slaves of Puerto Príncipe and had stored foodstuffs and ammunition in a house in the town. They had also planned to kill all the white men and to spare the white women “for their own use.” Days after the event, the governor of Puerto Príncipe commented to a friend, “On the day of the tumult and revolution it seemed like judgment day in this town; everything was in confusion, particularly among the women, who locked the doors while we prepared the weapons, gunpowder, and bullets and got ready to fight and to die killing, because there was no other remedy, for the trouble was a general one.”50 The revolt, in which three whites and an undetermined number of slaves died, was led by African and Creole slaves. Although some of them were known as “Frenchmen,” the three main leaders—Antonio, Fernando, and Pedro Nolasco —seem to have been Carabalí slaves. All three were sentenced to be hanged after being publicly exhibited in the streets of the town. Two other slaves, Juan de Dios Mandinga and Luis Congo (also known as a Frenchman), were given two hundred lashes and then deported to the prisons of San Fernando de Omoa and San Juan de Ulúa. Francisca Victoria, a slave of Ana Arteaga, was sentenced to ten years in irons in the Casa de Recogidas, after which she was to be expelled from the island, while nine others were condemned to various sentences, including lashes and years of imprisonment in Panama and San Juan de Ulúa. Five more slaves, including another woman, were obliged to witness the punishment of their companions.51

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Weeks later the inhabitants of Trinidad, the main city in the south-central part of the island, where sugar plantations were blossoming in this era, awakened to news of another slave plot. Slaves from various estates around the city had decided to take advantage of the festivities planned for the feast of Santa Ana, when they would be allowed, exceptionally, to gather in Trinidad. The conspiracy had been whispered among plantation slaves for a while. Drumming parties hosted by Congo slaves had provided an opportunity to discuss the plan, which according to some of the captured plotters involved killing all the whites and escaping to Jamaica, where they would presumably join the maroon communities. The betrayal by one of the initiated slaves on the Buenavista estate alerted the authorities, and a strong crackdown on the plotters quickly followed.52 Once again, some of the leaders and participants in the plot were slaves from neighboring islands. José María Curazao, for instance, had very likely arrived from the Dutch island of that name, while some of his co-conspirators had been born in Jamaica, which helps to explain the peculiarity of their plan of escape. In a letter to his brother, the captain general, a week after the conspiracy was uncovered, Luis Alexandro de Bassecourt, lieutenant governor of Trinidad, wrote that the slaves had had in mind “finishing off every white man, taking possession of all the weapons of the militias and of the gunpowder depot, while simultaneously torching the entire city.” The occurrence had clearly created a wave of terror among the residents of Trinidad. Bassecourt confessed to his brother his fears about a possible depopulation of the city as a result of the ensuing state of alarm. The plot, according to the lieutenant governor, had made “a lively impression upon these inhabitants who now no longer believe that their lives and estates are safe, and as a result some have tried to move to other towns on this island in order to protect themselves from such imminent calamities.”53 The punishment of those involved was swift and harsh. Juan José Mina and José María Curazao, the two ringleaders, were condemned to be hanged after being taken through the streets of Trinidad. Other slaves were sentenced to several years’ imprisonment in San Fernando de Omoa, San Juan de Ulúa, and Pensacola, and they were forbidden to return to Cuba under penalty of death.54 These slave movements, clearly linked in one way or another to Saint Domingue and the rest of the European colonies in the Caribbean, were starting to take a toll even among the fervent defenders of the slave trade in the Real Consulado. Soon after the revolt of Puerto Príncipe and the uncovering of the plot in Trinidad, the Real Consulado held an extraordinary meeting in

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which they recommended that the Captain General Count of Santa Clara enforce the orders of his predecessor concerning the importation of slaves from neighboring Caribbean islands. The five movements that had taken place in the space of three years had left no doubt among the members that the “seeds of rebellion” that had been disseminated across the Caribbean had been sown among their slaves as well. Predictably, they blamed the “French and English negroes.”55 The Count of Santa Clara did as much as he could to enforce the bando of 1796 and to limit slave resistance. Commenting on the punishment dealt to the ringleaders of the conspiracy of Trinidad, he said that he hoped that such a punishment would “contain the other negroes of the province, who perhaps will think about doing the same, motivated by the news of the events that had occurred in the French part of the island of Saint Domingue.” Nevertheless, he recognized that at least in Havana the blacks had lost the respect they had once had for the whites. This was “confirmed by the brawl that happened the 7th of that month when some negroes rebelled, captained by a Creole man, insulting the troops that attempted to calm them.”56 Unfortunately, the count did not give any particulars about this movement, depriving us of precious information about what was clearly an act of open insurrection perpetrated by the slaves of the capital. Whatever really happened in November, however, was preceded by slave unrest on the sugar estates of Sebastián Peñalver in August and Nicolás Calvo de la Puerta in October, both located in the area surrounding Havana. Although neither of these movements (nor, for that matter, any slave movement recorded before 1806) involved foreign slaves, they contributed to the fear prevalent among the island’s white population that a general slave revolt similar to the one that had engulfed nearby Saint Domingue would soon break out in Cuba. On August 10, 1798, barely two weeks after the slave plot in Trinidad was uncovered, thirty-eight male slaves on the sugar plantation of Sebastián Peñalver ran away to the bush. The reasons given were harsh treatment by their overseer and the fact that the he was living with one of the female slaves on the estate and, at the same time, pursuing other slave women. There were also rumors about an unknown white man who allegedly had encouraged the slaves to run away. After being informed of the incident, the Count of Santa Clara sent a group of men under the command of Rudescindo de los Olivos, known as Tinquillo, to the estate. When they arrived, they found that all the slaves had returned to work after the owner of the estate, Sebastián Peñal-

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ver, had listened to their grievances. To the disbelief of Peñalver, and despite finding everything calm, Tinquillo and his men began to chase the slaves and mistreat them, ultimately wounding four and killing one. This unnecessary behavior was very likely a consequence of the fear felt by the population of the island at the time.57 On October 28, 1798, the slaves on the Nueva Holanda sugar plantation rebelled. Twenty-three of them ran off at about 9:00 p.m. and were chased by the overseer of the sugar mill and by their owner, the Catholic priest Carlos Mallarini. From Nueva Holanda the rebels went to the neighboring sugar plantation, Surinam. There they asked the slave driver whether their overseer was a good man and whether he wanted them to kill him. Later on that day, not far from Nueva Holanda, the rebels, who were sharpening a number of long wood sticks on the lands of the Gabriel estate, were taken by surprise by a group led by the overseer and the priest. Although most of the rebels ran away, some resisted their captors wielding machetes and irons. Nevertheless, by dusk all of the rebels either had been captured or had presented themselves voluntarily to the overseer. They declared that they had been forced to join the movement and that the leaders had threatened to kill them if they refused. According to the only existing report on the revolt, only those who were considered to be leaders were punished.58 The last slave movement recorded in the eighteenth century took place on February 2, 1799, in the sugar mill of Antonio Ponce de León, also in the Havana countryside. That day, thirty-six recently landed African-born slaves ran away from the plantation, taking their machetes with them. Ponce de León’s wife was sent immediately to the plantation to evaluate the gravity of the situation. Soon after her arrival, the rebel slaves came out of the woods carrying their machetes and some handmade spears with them. As soon as they were asked by Ponce de León’s wife to put their weapons down, they obeyed, citing the behavior of the plantation’s manager as their reason for fleeing. The slaves requested that their master return to the estate immediately to address their complaints. At this point the owner’s wife decided that the slaves should not be punished and ordered them to return to their routine, promising that her husband would come to the estate soon to listen their demands. Two days later, however, he had not shown up, and the slaves complained again about the need for him to visit the plantation as soon as possible.59 Ultimately, when Ponce de León arrived at his estate, he explained to the slaves that they had no other master than himself, and after buying some

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shackles in town, he punished the eight slaves he considered to be the ringleaders of the mutiny. A week later the interrogations of the eight punished slaves resulted in the denouncement of an African-born ladino (already settled) slave who had not participated in the movement. Apparently, he had encouraged the recently arrived Africans to rebel against the manager because he had a long-running feud with him. Ponce de León decided to pardon all the bozales and punish the ladino, who had taken advantage of them to pursue his own interests. Although Ponce de León’s measures were quickly praised for bringing an instant peace, his slaves were far from happy with the way he had brought the matter to a close, and a few weeks later thirteen sugar-cane fields belonging to the estate were set on fire. Of course, the slaves were suspected.60 In 1802 two other slave movements took place in the region around the capital. In June, slave unrest plagued the sugar plantation San Juan Bautista, owned by the Marquis of Cárdenas de Monte Hermoso in Managua. Regrettably, the documents do not offer a narrative of the events, and the existing information is limited to what the members of the Real Consulado said in Havana after the movement had been defeated. The discussions of this influential group reveal the seriousness of this slave movement. The Real Consulado particularly stressed the need for “a swift exemplary public punishment” of the rebels in order to “maintain rigorous discipline” in the future.61 They also suggested rewarding all those residents who had helped put down the unrest. In a letter sent that same day to Captain General Marquis of Someruelos the members of the Real Consulado pressed the government to deal a “necessary and prompt punishment” not only to the rebel slaves of San Juan Bautista but to all the rebel slaves living in that area.62 Almost simultaneously with the events of Managua, the slaves on an estate in the vicinity of San Antonio Abad showed symptoms of dissent that lasted for months. In a first instance the slaves of the coffee plantation belonging to Juan de Santa María walked away from the fields and headed for Havana after being told that the owner had sold the estate to Anastasio Fellowes in mid1802. Eventually they were captured near the town of Santiago de las Vegas and taken back to the estate. Although the slaves did not offer resistance and agreed to return peacefully, a few days later they refused to work and showed clear signs of challenging the authority of their owner and overseer by making gestures at them after being stopped from playing their drums. The overseer of the estate, Eligio Enoué, declared that the slaves were in the habit of playing their drums day and night, even during working hours. When Enoué at-

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tempted to stop them from playing, some of them defied his order and told the others to “play the drum, play the drum.” The overseer identified the ringleaders of the mutiny and put them in irons.63 What happened after that remains a mystery. When the slaves challenged the authority of their owner again in December, the new overseer, Mariano Zapotier, was quick to suppress any sign of rebelliousness. This time, under the influence of the slave driver—a slave himself—the slaves refused to eat the food they were given. A difficult process of negotiation followed. Finally, under the overseer’s orders the slaves ate their food, although as Zapotier himself acknowledged, it was impossible to force the slave driver to eat, and in the end he died of starvation.64 None of the slave movements on the plantations around Havana in the years 1798–1802 seem to have been linked to the news or rumors about the events of Saint Domingue. Nevertheless, it is clear that those events strongly influenced the repressive measures taken by the government and the Creole elites in Havana to stop the slaves from revolting. They very likely also contributed to the fear of a general slave uprising on the part of the white population of the island from the mid-1790s on. The next movement, however, was bigger and better organized, with leaders who were clearly influenced by ideas and beliefs resulting from the defeat of the whites at the hands of the black slaves in the newly founded Republic of Haiti. In the first week of May 1806 Mariano Congo was apprehended by three other Congo slaves belonging to the La Concordia sugar mill when he tried to persuade them to join an uprising that was being planned by slaves in the region of Guara. Joaquín Congo, one of the slaves who captured and denounced Mariano, declared that he and his companions, Marcelino and Toribio, had been encouraged to join the movement by the Creole slave Francisco Fuertes, who had told them that the slaves of the surrounding estates were ready to rise up and kill all the whites, including the children. They were supposed to gather at the El Navío sugar plantation, where the rebellion was set to begin. According to Joaquín, the rebels were to march toward Havana, where they would attempt to take the fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña.65 In order to accomplish their plan, the ringleaders, Francisco Fuertes and Estanislao, a former slave born in Port-au-Prince, relied mostly on the slave drivers of the estates in the region and even approached the “old blacks” who had helped build La Cabaña in order to discover the best way to take possession of the massive fortress. Joaquín also confessed to having attended a meeting at

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which the slaves discussed the victories achieved by their counterparts in Saint Domingue. Not surprisingly, Francisco Fuertes and Estanislao’s plan after taking the fortress was to rule the island and “be absolutely free as in El Guarico.”66 The Cuban historian Gloria García has pointed out that the plot was the work of rural slaves only. However, these rural slaves did not have rural origins.67 The two ringleaders had been born in the cities of Havana and Port-auPrince and were clearly steeped in Atlantic revolutionary ideas, and Mariano Congo, who was closer to the ringleaders than anyone else, was an Africanborn slave who had lived in Cuba for most of his life. Ada Ferrer has observed that the testimonies of the other slaves were confusing and far from conclusive but that clearly most of them seemed to know about the events on the neighboring island. Apart from the references to Saint Domingue, the only real reason given by the slaves for agreeing to rebel was the bad treatment to which they were subjected on the plantations where they lived.68 Furthermore, the level of organization of the insurrection shows that the slaves had a very clear understanding of what was needed to succeed. They wanted to take the capital’s primary bastion of defense, and for that they sought out people with an intimate knowledge about the place, “old blacks” who had labored in the fortress during the government of the Marquis de la Torre in the 1770s. They also wanted to rule as their fellow rebel slaves had done in Saint Domingue, and in case of defeat they had a backup plan of running away to the mountains and remaining there as free men. This unsuccessful 1806 plot was arguably one of the main movements of the period, but until very recently it has received little academic attention. In addition to the works of García and Ferrer, a handful of scholars have barely scratched the surface. This movement, which seems to have been heavily influenced by the events of Saint Domingue, deserves an in-depth examination.69 By contrast, the next major movement involving slaves to take place on the island, the conspiracy and revolt of Aponte in 1812, has been the subject of numerous studies since the mid-nineteenth century, some of them very recent.70 Aponte has been hailed both as a national hero and as the embodiment of all things evil relating to Africa. The movement he helped to conceive, undoubtedly one of the largest ever recorded in the Americas and certainly the first to really threaten the colonial status quo in Cuba, was well organized and involved Africans and Creoles, slaves and free men and women, from cities, towns, and plantations. It had branches across the island, and as the authorities at the time and, later, a number of scholars have rightly noticed, their lead-

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ers drew their inspiration from the Haitian Revolution. The traditional view of the character of the movement has recently been challenged by Matt D. Childs.71 While the movement has usually been considered to be a plot, Childs notes that two important uprisings were associated with the plot. In fact, he points out, the second of these uprisings was led by some of the main ringleaders of the first. Childs concludes that instead of considering the events of 1812 as a conspiracy, we should see them as a rebellion, since the movement at least partially erupted as two open acts of defiance to the Spanish colonial system.72 It all started sometime in 1811, perhaps earlier. Free men and slaves from Havana and other cities and towns of the island had been receiving sporadic news about the progress of the two new Haitian independent polities, the State of Haiti in the north and the Republic of Haiti in the south. In late 1811 and early 1812 some of these men began to organize a rebellion intended to bring Spanish colonialism and Cuban slavery to an end. They met in taverns and at public festivities and took advantage of religious celebrations to discuss the different ways of carrying out their plan. The first outbreak took place on January 15. Once again the Puerto Príncipe countryside became the stage for a slave revolt, in this case involving men and women from five plantations at its peak. Scores of white and black men perished during the time that the rebels were rampant. Despite all the efforts of the standing army and the local militias, many rebels managed to escape to the neighboring areas of Bayamo and Holguín, where authorities feared the worst during the following months. In both places more plotters were denounced and taken to prison, preventing them joining the rebellion.73 Just as the authorities of the eastern part of the island were beginning to get a grip on the situation, a massive uprising took place outside Havana, much to the astonishment of Captain General Marquis of Someruelos and the inhabitants of the city. The insurrection began on March 14 on the Peñas Altas sugar plantation, owned by Juan de Santa Cruz. This plantation and others around it had been exposed to the proselytism of a group of men directly connected to the main plotting cell in Havana. Some of them, in fact, joined the uprising and led the rebels until they were finally defeated after destroying a number of buildings and killing some of the inhabitants.74 This fruitless uprising signaled the end for the organizers of the plot. As soon as the authorities realized that the revolts of the preceding weeks had deeper roots, they began seizing and interrogating free men and slaves in and around Havana. Before long, most of the ringleaders were in custody

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and the plan was in tatters. The alleged mastermind of the movement was a black artist named José Antonio Aponte. In his house the authorities found a book of paintings that persuaded them of the culpability of Aponte and his associates. The book contained more than seventy drawings depicting subjects that ranged from the Colossus of Rhodes and the pyramids of Egypt to the black kings of Abyssinia. More relevant, the authorities also discovered images of George Washington, Jean Jacques Dessalines, and Henri Christophe, which they considered solid proof of the culpability of Aponte and his co-conspirators.75 The 1812 movement was in many ways singular. Never before had the island been so obviously close to succumbing to a revolution led by its black and mulatto inhabitants. Even more worrying for the planters, this time the ghost of Haiti seemed to have come to life in Cuba. Not only was one of the leaders a Frenchman, a circumstance that had occurred a few times before, but Jean Barbier had consciously impersonated Saint Domingue’s General Jean François in order to attract more slaves and free blacks to the movement. It seems that Aponte himself had been communicating for some time with General Gil Narciso and his men, who had been staying in Casablanca, on the opposite side of Havana’s harbor, as “guests” of the Spanish government. There are reasons to believe that Narciso was indeed ready to take command of the troops once the rebellion had begun.76 For the Spanish authorities and the Cuban white population the 1812 movement was a rough reminder of the dangers related to the ever-rising number of African slaves living in Cuba, who could, given propitious circumstances, bring their lives and fortunes to an abrupt end. Aponte, Barbier, and the other leaders of the movement were executed after short trials. Many of the participants also found their end at the gallows or were deported from the island forever. Contrary to the opinion of some observers, who commented on the continuous plots and uprisings, there were no large slave rebellions for a few years.77 There was a small uprising outside Havana in 1817, and there were poorly organized conspiracies in the eastern part of the island in 1822 and 1824.78 In the meantime, maroons once more become the main source of concern for Cuban authorities and planters.

Beginning in the early 1790s, the number of runaway slaves across the island increased steadily. In order to avoid undesirable consequences, the Real Con-

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sulado prepared and issued a code of rules specifically addressing all matters relating to maroons and palenques. The Nuevo Reglamento y Arancel que Debe Gobernar la Captura de Esclavos Cimarrones became effective on December 20, 1796, after being approved in a royal decree, and in the following years it was published many times, underlining the importance of having such a code of rules in place.79 The Nuevo Reglamento defined the various categories of runaway slaves, the price paid to the slave hunters for their capture, and the different punishments they were expected to receive once caught. It also laid down rules for the local authorities, slave owners, and slave hunters. Although, as La Rosa Corzo has argued, the Nuevo Reglamento failed to work in the eastern part of the island, in the western part it became the instrument by which all those linked to the capture and restitution of maroons guided themselves.80 In the following decades the maroon question became more of a political one. The very existence of a division between the western and the eastern parts of Cuba led to disputes, grievances, and mistrust between the authorities of the two parts of the island. In the east the situation was so grave by the mid1810s that the governor of Santiago de Cuba was forced to sign a treaty with a group of maroons based in Baracoa.81 In the west, meanwhile, some areas west of Havana and around Matanzas saw a rapid increase in the number of maroons. In 1803 a foreign visitor, Robert Charles Dallas, describing the state of affairs between the maroons and the slave hunters wrote about the tactics they used and about the dogs they trained to hunt the runaway slaves. He even included in his book an engraving of a rancheador (slave hunter) with his dogs.82 A decade later, in 1814, the slave hunters Matías Pérez Sánchez and Ramón Machín informed the Real Consulado that “it was true that there were no formal palenques” in the El Rubí mountain range. They also revealed that they had managed to disperse a number of rancherías, capturing about thirty maroons; however, others got away, beyond the locality of Santa Cruz de los Pinos.83 Both Pérez Sánchez and Machín were slave-hunter captains, and their journals, together with those of other captains who chased the maroons in the western part of the island during the first decades of the nineteenth century, are the most revealing documents about the lives of both the hunters and the runaway slaves. Although it was in the Vuelta de Abajo that the maroons were causing the most trouble, the plantation region, now expanding east of Havana and Matanzas, was having problems of its own. In 1815 and 1816 a slave-hunting

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party of about fifty men was active in the northern area of Sagua la Grande, trying to stop the maroons from becoming a serious problem for the area residents.84 In January 1819, while the eastern part of the island was being disturbed by the maroons of Baracoa, Captain José Garcilaso de la Vega wrote to the Real Consulado informing that body about the situation in the Vuelta de Abajo. He explained that between Cayajabos, where his headquarters were located, and the Cape of San Antonio there were more than five hundred maroons. He also mentioned the names of the principal leaders in that part of the country, among them Trini, the leader in the hills of San Cristóbal; Pascual Betancour, in the hills of Campanario; and the one-handed Ambrosio Congo, in Las Guacamayas. De la Vega had been able to obtain this information thanks to a network of slave spies who had been sent by a group of planters, among whom were José Antonio Ramos, Bernabé Martínez de Pinillos, Ignacio Pedroso, and Rafael de Zayas, all well-established members of the Cuban sacarocracy at the time.85 A year later there were around twenty active slave hunters in the area. In October 1820 the rancheador Gaspar Antonio Rodríguez reported that he had captured several maroons belonging to a slave group that, after gathering in the El Mulo hills, had attacked the plantations, causing significant damage to the properties of many planters. Rodríguez complained that he had been unable to administer any punishment because the planters had decided to protect their slaves from his men.86 Over the next years Gaspar Antonio Rodríguez continued to chase runaway slaves in the Vuelta de Abajo. In May 1822 a group of fifty-one slaves from the San Roque sugar plantation, in Cayajabos, rebelled and ran away. Rodríguez, who was hot on the trail of a palenque, was forced to abandon the chase and return to Cayajabos in order to go after the San Roque slaves. As soon as he and his men arrived in the area, the vast majority of the slaves came forward and surrendered. Rodríguez was critical of the good treatment they were given by their master, who apparently refused to whip them and relied only on irons to discipline them.87 Barely two months later the slaves at San Roque rebelled and ran away again. Although once again, they surrendered and returned to the estate almost immediately, this time their actions had more serious repercussions. From that day on, slave owners in the region were forced to employ one white man for every thirty slaves and to form a squad among themselves that would be prepared to put down any sign of dissent as soon as it appeared.88 A year later, not satisfied with that arrangement, the new captain general, Francisco Dionisio Vives, ordered Colo-

Slave Resistance in Cuba to 1825 · 67

nel Joaquín de Miranda to keep a close eye on the area and take his men there for reconnaissance.89 Although the mountains of the western part of the island continued to provide a haven for runaway slaves throughout the entire period, their numbers and organization were never great enough to threaten the Spanish colonial system. This is supported by the fact that the Real Consulado was always suspicious of requests for funds to support slave hunters. Time and again they refused to provide the requested sums. Although more often than not they ended up paying, they were well aware that maroons, at least in the west, were under a certain degree of control.90

Rebel and runaway slaves were a constant topic of debate among Cubans, from those living on remote plantations to those dictating the destiny of the colony from their palaces in Havana. In 1825 slave revolt was probably the main cause for fear among Cuban merchants, planters, authorities, and the general population. They were well aware of the menace posed to their lives and fortunes by the neighboring Republic of Haiti, the British abolitionists, and the independent movements that in the battle of Ayacucho had all but defeated the Spanish armies on the South American continent. But slaves, or more specifically African-born slaves, constituted their most palpable enemies. In June they would get a real taste of the damage, both physical and psychological, that a large slave uprising could cause.


Matanzas and Guamacaro Slaves, Plantations, and the Atlantic World The new products that previously have been considered incapable of prospering here must be allowed to grow in absolute freedom so that they can develop and expand until they acquire the necessary strength to cope with the payment of taxes and the prohibitive laws that they will be forced to abide by. —francisco arango y parreño, 1792

mata n z a s a n d t h e e x pa n si o n o f t h e p l a n tat i o n s


an Carlos de Matanzas, one of the most beautiful Cuban cities, has been known as the Athens of Cuba because of the many writers and artists born there. Matanzas has also been called the “City of Bridges” because of the many crossings that have joined the banks of the three rivers that divide her since the eighteenth century. Some of the most significant chapters of Cuba’s history have unfolded in or near Matanzas. In 1628, for example, the Dutch buccaneer Piet Hein captured an entire Spanish fleet that was returning to the Peninsula loaded with treasures collected in New Spain and Tierra Firme—the first and only time in the history of piracy. Matanzas was also the site one of the most macabre episodes of the colonial period when in 1844 her streets and fields became the stage for an immense machinery of torment for those who were subjected to the investigations following the discovery of what came to be known as the Conspiracy of the Ladder, or La Escalera.

The city of Matanzas was founded in 1693 by Captain General Severino de Manzaneda and the bishop of Cuba, Diego Evelino de Compostela. The approval for the settlement had been granted by King Charles II by means of the royal decree of September 25, 1690. Three years later, on October 10, Captain 68

Matanzas and Guamacaro: Slaves, Plantations, and the Atlantic World · 69

General de Manzaneda himself laid the foundation stone of the castle that would carry his name from that moment on.1 Furthermore, Bishop de Compostela celebrated the first mass in the place where the great parochial church of the city would shortly be erected.2 During the first half of the eighteenth century the newly founded city advanced little. Nevertheless, in these years some buildings of certain importance appeared at the heart of the urban settlement, and the local authorities and inhabitants began to build the bridges that would link the inner city with the new urbanized areas of Pueblo Nuevo (Bridge of Bailén) and Versailles (Bridge of La Concordia). However, it was only after the British occupation of the western part of the island between August 1762 and July 1763, and chiefly due to the expansion of the plantations from Havana eastward, that the city became important.3 During his ecclesiastical visit to the island of Cuba from 1755 to 1757, Bishop Pedro Agustín Morell de Santa Cruz barely mentioned the city, limiting his references to the area where Matanzas was situated: And eleven leagues distant is the harbor of Matanzas, which is deep. Ships can enter. It has six knots of water where they can anchor. Its entrance is dangerous, but once inside, ships are protected from all winds. To the east is a river that some call Nilboe, and to the interior is the Canimár [sic]. Also to the east are the Matanzas and Sn. Juan Rivers. To the west is the mouth of the Yumuri [sic] River.4

From 1762 the rural areas outside Matanzas, which had always been governed, as was the city, by the central government of Havana, underwent a process of transformation that was closely related to the interests of the incipient sugar oligarchy based in the island’s capital. Thus, until the end of the eighteenth century, Matanzas constituted another region on the periphery in the initial phase of expansion of the sugar-cane industry. As for coffee, which became the second most significant product in the region, its extensive growth only began with the arrival of colonists from Louisiana and Saint Domingue in the final decade of the century.5 It was about this time that the Matanzas countryside started to blossom as a leading plantation area. Already in the early 1770s some of the most prominent families from Havana—among them the O’Farrill, the Montalvo, the Calvo de la Puerta, the Zequeira, the Recio, the Zayas, and the Armenteros

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families—had settled in the vast territory, gaining control of extensive lands.6 In 1766 Matanzas and her surrounding area had only two sugar plantations; twenty-five years later there were eight. However, beginning in the last decade of the eighteenth century the sugar and coffee industries grew rapidly, and by 1796 there were eighteen sugar plantations producing more than thirty-six hundred boxes of sugar per year. The Galician scientist Ramón de la Sagra would observe a few years later, in the pages of his Anales de Ciencias, Agricultura, Comercio y Artes, that the development of the city and the territory under her jurisdiction between 1817 and 1827 had been vast; he emphasized the increase in the black population as a result of the ever-rising numbers of African slaves imported into the region since the last decade of the previous century.7 The assimilation of Havanan customs in the flourishing village also did not escape his notice: “Over the past ten years the population of Matanzas has more than doubled . . . and the clear increase in the number of slaves is a result of the luxury of the [white] families adopting the customs of those of the capital by filling their houses with useless servants.”8 In the same way, de la Sagra compared the exports of sugar and coffee from the ports of Havana and Matanzas, emphasizing the expansion of the overseas commerce that had taken place in Matanzas since the royal decree of 1792, which authorized an increase in the number of African slaves that could be brought to Cuba. He also noted that the Matanzas region had undergone a process of transformation and that, as a direct result of the colonial laws of white repopulation in place since 1817, the rural areas had developed at a steady pace. Table 1 shows agricultural developments in Matanzas by type of estate. Table 1. Matanzas Agricultural Developments, 1816–1826 property type




Sugar plantations Coffee plantations Paddocks Estanciasa Haciendasb Total

76 75 138 667 — 956

106 244 148 1,163 81 1,742

+30 +169 +10 +696 +81 +986

Source: Anales de Ciencia, Agricultura, Comercio y Artes, November 1827, 148. a Ranches. b Estates.

Matanzas and Guamacaro: Slaves, Plantations, and the Atlantic World · 71

New colonial rules encouraging white immigration to Cuba and increases in the slave trade combined to create the appropriate conditions for the development of the coffee industry in the Matanzas countryside. In the “Reglas para el domicilio de nuevos colonos y sus auxilios” (Rules for the Residence of New Colonists and the Aids to be Provided), issued in March 1818 by Captain General José Cienfuegos and Intendant Alejandro Ramírez, were instructions for colonists arriving in the western part of Cuba from that date on to be transferred to a number of urban settlements around the capital, Havana.9 Among the cities and villages referred to in these rules, the most prosperous and populous was Matanzas because of its remarkably convenient location. A high percentage of the new colonists that subsequently settled in and around the port of Matanzas arrived from the United States, chiefly from ports such as New Orleans, Boston, Charleston, and New York, all of which had commercial relations with Matanzas. The port of Matanzas and other coastal points to the east of the city—of which Cárdenas was the main one from the late 1820s—played a prominent role in the economic development of the plantation region.10 These places functioned as points of shipment for the sugar, coffee, and other agricultural products that were manufactured in the ever-bigger plantations of the region. Nevertheless, the rocky nature of the coast was a problem. One possible solution considered by the authorities was to build a canal that would connect the peninsula of Varadero with Santa Clara. In response to this transportation issue and other related problems, an article published in October 1829 under the pseudonym El Observador Matancero claimed that “the many farms developed to the east of Matanzas possess the worst coasts on the island, although over time they are likely to become as good as the best ones. For the time being, the prodigious fertility of these lands will be able to cover the costs of transporting their goods by land; however, we should not be happy about the present conditions.”11 The fast and steady economic development of the region in the first years of the nineteenth century led King Ferdinand VII to create a “Political and Military Governorship for the city of Matanzas, His Majesty being convinced of the importance of such a need,” on August 16, 1815. Following the recommendations of his overseas minister, the king appointed Brigadier Juan Tirry y Lacy the first governor. Not surprisingly, and in keeping with the idea of increasing the profile of Matanzas as a trading port for Cuban goods, the first concession given to the city after the appointment of Tirry y Lacy was that of “the commerce of negroes directly with the coast of Africa without having

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to depend on the port of Havana as had been done previously.”12 A number of well-versed slave traders, who were by then living in the city, immediately took advantage of this regulation, and the Matanzas countryside continued to observe rapid growth in its African population in the following years. Within the jurisdiction of the new provincial capital remained the inner regions—Yumurí, Ceiba Mocha, Santa Ana, Guamacaro, and Camarioca— characterized by their high productivity and their being more populous than the outer parts of the rural area—Guamutas to the northeast, Macuriges to the south, and Hanábana to the southeast. In a report given by Lieutenant Governor Cecilio Ayllón in 1821 on the development achieved by Matanzas and its environs during those years, he was quick to depict, in the clearest possible terms, the prosperity of the region: Matanzas—or to be more precise, its jurisdiction—will produce this year of [18]21 somewhere between 75,000 and 80,000 boxes of sugar, 40,000 qqs [quintales] of coffee. . . . Basing our calculation on existing data, the jurisdiction of Matanzas has registered an increase of between six thousand and seven thousand white people, counting among them more than two thousand foreigners of both sexes, some of them farmers and the rest dedicating themselves to mechanical jobs.13

Nevertheless, in the same report Ayllón complained about the poor living conditions that still existed in the city, emphasizing the ghastly state of the roads that linked the city with its countryside, which were “all in an atrocious condition, particularly the one over the Canímar, which had a very treacherous point alongside a precipice, despite being the most used.”14 From Ayllón’s illustrative report it is possible to conclude that about 1820 Matanzas was still developing, largely thanks to the financial capital circulating in its trading community, the support of the central government, and the settlement of individuals arriving from various Atlantic territories. As such, Matanzas was undergoing fast social and economic transformation. This is confirmed by statistics for the region pertaining to the year 1826 published by Ramón de la Sagra.15 The development of the rural economy in the area after the implementation of Ramírez’s and Cienfuegos’s policies to attract white immigrants to the island is obvious from these statistics. The remarkable economic growth of the city and its vast surroundings in the first years of the nineteenth century made them attractive places to make

Matanzas and Guamacaro: Slaves, Plantations, and the Atlantic World · 73

money. According to Laird W. Bergad, “The forging of trade linkages between Cuba and the newly independent United States during the Napoleonic period, when European trade with the Caribbean declined owing to constant naval warfare, led to direct investments by U.S. citizens in the Matanzas region. Capital was invested in four areas of economic activity: the establishment of merchant houses; slave trading; sugar production; and coffee farming.”16 In Bergad’s view, the first American intentions to offer facilities to the commerce in Matanzas date from 1808 and 1809, when the firm Latting & Glen was established there. By 1810 Zachary Atkins, John Rhodes, Patrick Welsh, and Joseph Otis had all settled in the city. From this moment on, it becomes very difficult to follow the trail of these merchants, who, it must be noted, were not always Americans.17 The variety of surnames recorded in the city’s notary registry in this time period illustrates the great diversity among the residents in and around Matanzas. Sometimes they appear as owners of sugar and coffee plantations and other times as merchants, speculators, and investors. Among them was a large group of French-speaking settlers who had arrived either directly or indirectly from Louisiana and Haiti. The inhabitants of this emerging city witnessed the formation of a cosmopolitan urban and rural society heavily defined by the numerous slaves who, imported from Africa and introduced by the port, caused the first uprisings in the region, in the mid-1820s. The cosmopolitan spirit of Matanzas was fueled by foreign interests, who came because of Matanzas’s proximity to the United States, excellent port, and good soil, as well as the clear intention expressed by the government of the island to foster a plantation economy in the region. The financial capital provided by the Cuban aristocracy and nobility also contributed to this visible change. Matanzas became a boisterous place, full of foreigners, hopeful would-

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be planters, some of whom were multilingual, a significant group of free Africans and their descendants, and, finally, an imposing mass of slaves that in some rural areas, such as Guamacaro, constituted more than 90 percent of the total population.18 Between 1792 and 1817—the years in which the two population censuses of this period were carried out—Matanzas grew at an impressive rate 1.06 percent per year. In 1817 free people of color constituted 22.7 percent of the population; slaves, 22.9 percent; and whites, 54.4 percent.19 The sharp population increase, provoked by the arrival of white foreigners and African slaves, was central to Matanzas’s being the second city of the island from the 1820s to the 1840s.

At the beginning of 1899, after carrying out a reconnaissance mission ordered by his immediate superior officer, First Lieutenant Ralph Harrison, a member of the second squadron of cavalry of the U.S. Army, described the Guamacaro area as follows: “The soil in the Guamacaro valley is black and most fertile. The valley is simply magnificent, but it appears that there is hardly an acre in cultivation. . . . I saw two or three ox teams in the valley, but no other animals of any kind, except the usual pig.”20 Harrison’s description could be confirmed by anyone who visits the region today; aside from his observation about the absence of crops in 1899— obviously a result of the Cuban War of Independence—his description does not differ from what can presently be seen across the territory. The black soil of the valley, excellent for sowing produce, is covered today by vast sugar-cane plantations that spread from the heights of Camarioca and El Sumidero to the foothills of El Jacán. Oxen and pigs continue to be part of the rural landscape. The valley is a stunning place, with many shades of green. However, in the early years of the nineteenth century the area was totally different, with cane fields only beginning to appear. In those years the fertile foothills of the valley were propitious for the development of numerous coffee plantations, chiefly promoted by planters who had arrived from other latitudes. Many of the foreigners who visited Matanzas and Guamacaro during those years emphasized the prosperity and beauty of the region. The prominent South Carolinian Reverend Abiel Abbot was not the only one. An unknown French captain whose ship was docked in the port of Matanzas commented in 1825 about the “fast progress” made by the coffee industry there, and both Robert Jameson and Mary Gardner Lowell discussed

Matanzas and Guamacaro: Slaves, Plantations, and the Atlantic World · 75

the topic extensively in their books about Cuba, published in 1821 and 1832, respectively.21 According to these accounts, the valley was in those years an exuberant Garden of Eden. Surrounded by the numerous streams that crossed the productive lands, the coffee trees dominated the landscape. Reverend Abbot was one of the travelers to leave an account of his impressions about the valley and its surroundings. Viewing the landscape from the heights of Camarioca, he was struck by the predominance and beauty of the coffee plantations: “The coffee estates were still more numerous; but the avenues with which they are adorned, set with palm, and orange, mango, and other trees, both fruitful and beautiful, and shrubs and bushes of gorgeous flowers, were too distant to exhibit their charms to advantage. The Sumidero, in most parts of the circle appears in high cultivation.”22 As a matter of fact, at least in the Guamacaro district, coffee had clearly overtaken sugar as the main crop by 1826. When Captain General Francisco Dionisio Vives published his Cuadro estadístico de la siempre fiel isla de Cuba in 1827, the number of coffee plantations in Guamacaro was more than four times the number of sugar mills. And the number of slaves living on coffee plantations was more than double the number of those living on sugar plantations (see table 2). The situation would change rapidly, however. By the mid-1830s many of these coffee plantations had either vanished or become sugar estates. The international coffee crisis, which started in 1823 and was in full swing by the late 1820s, adversely affected the price of the commodity, and this, together with the tax exports imposed by the Spanish Crown, had a negative impact on Cuban coffee growers, who saw the prosperity of previous times disappear before their eyes. The situation was so critical that in 1828 the Real Consulado Table 2. Distribution of Land in Guamacaro, 1826–1827 land use Sugar plantations (ingenios) Coffee plantations (cafetales) Pastures (potreros) Ranches/farms (estancias) Estates/ranches (haciendas)



number of slaves

16 80 22 57 2

497 176.5 267.75 145 —

1,058 2,645 220 97 —

Source: Vives’s statistics for the jurisdiction of Guamacaro in 1826, reprinted in Anales de Ciencia, Agricultura, Comercio y Artes, November 1827, 147.

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wrote a sober letter to the king explaining the need for an immediate lifting of the export taxes. They were quite straightforward in describing the situation: “Lost already are our hopes that coffee will again reach a price capable of compensating our sacrifices.”23 For the coffee planters of Guamacaro, the combination of the crisis and the hurtful taxes was a tremendous blow; most of them contracted large debts, and many lost their estates. The lack of good roads was without a doubt the greatest problem for the new inhabitants and those passing through in the area. The most important road at the time was the camino de la isla, or “road of the island,” which crossed Guamacaro from northwest to southeast, passing through what is today the crossroads of Coliseo. The authorities frequently had to deal with complaints from local residents about their lack of access to this important road.24 In the first half of the nineteenth century the territory known as Guamacaro comprised a large area. Unlike present-day Guamacaro, which is limited to the village of this name and its immediate lands, in the nineteenth century Guamacaro included the localities of Limonar, the Jacán hills, El Sumidero, Coliseo, the San José estate, and the village of Guamacaro.25 With the passing of time, each one of these places acquired its own geographical or judicial identity. This process led to the reduction of the territory included under the name Guamacaro from an entire district to a small village and its surroundings. The valley of Guamacaro and the settlement of Coliseo, both of which belonged to the district of Guamacaro from 1816 on, were the setting for the slave rebellion examined here. By the early years of the nineteenth century the lands of Guamacaro had become a desired destination for foreign planters, many of whom brought with them expertise in growing and trading coffee. Beginning in 1818, this tendency intensified with the arrival of new white settlers from various regions of the Americas and Europe.

s e arch i n g f o r a n e w h o m e The Atlantic Colonization of Guamacaro Here, without money intelligence and effort are worthless. —francisco lemaur and félix lemaur, 1798

From the moment that Cuban authorities decided to encourage the development of a plantation economy in the western part of the island that would rely

Matanzas and Guamacaro: Slaves, Plantations, and the Atlantic World · 77

heavily on slaves brought from Africa, they had to deal with the real possibility of being outnumbered by their servants. The figures of the census of 1792 were already unambiguous about the hazards connected to the new plantation system, which was supposed to bring them the prosperity they had dreamed of. As early as 1796 Francisco de Arango y Parreño was obliged to confront the members of the Real Consulado, who saw in the uncontrolled introduction of African slaves the peril of following Saint Domingue down the path of rebellion and disaster. On that occasion the ideologist of the proslavery plantation model, supported by his neighbor and friend Nicolás Calvo, addressed the fears of his colleagues by stressing that the unrest that had taken over the formerly peaceful French colony had been a direct result of the revolution in France. To Arango y Parreño it was clear that “the slaves would never have rebelled had they not seen the discord and treasons among the white people, which gave the slaves no option but to rise up.”26 At the same time that this debate was unfolding, large numbers of former inhabitants of Saint Domingue began to arrive in Cuba, settling principally in the eastern part of the island. Hundreds of families from Saint Domingue, many bringing their servants with them, arrived on the island seeking refuge from the violence that had driven them from their homes. Just a few years later, this first influx was reinforced by a new migratory flow from Louisiana, which had been yielded to France by Spain in 1803. White immigration was somehow brought to a halt after the French invasion of Spain in 1808. A large number of the white colonists who had arrived in Cuba from Saint Domingue and Louisiana were suddenly expelled in 1808 and 1809, accused of being French or of sympathizing with the French. It was not long before the authorities realized that their worries about the future had not gone away forever. The Conspiracy of Aponte and the uprisings that occurred in several parts of the island during 1812 made this clear. The members of the Cabildo of Havana deemed demographic rebalancing the only way to prevent future revolts. Referring to one of these uprisings, the members of the Cabildo reflected: “That the fire on the Peñas Altas sugar plantation . . . cannot and should not be viewed as anything other than a project conceived by the blacks against the whites with the aim of breaking the chains of slavery; that these same fears exist and will exist as long as the white population of the island is not as large as we desire.”27 After the arrival of the new intendant, Alejandro Ramírez, the idea of promoting the immigration of white people to the island was resurrected once again. As soon as he assumed the direction of the Cuban treasury, Ramírez

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gave his full support to this project, a long-awaited development desired equally by authorities and prominent individuals on the island.28 Before making his first decisions on the matter, Ramírez consulted carefully the memoir produced in mid-1815 by Andrés de Zayas and Francisco Chacón. In this document, written at the request of the Cabildo of Havana, the authors pressed for ways to be found to promote white immigration to Cuba, suggesting that special benefits be offered to any Catholic foreigners who decided to answer their call and move to Cuba. The main reason behind their insistence on the legal establishment of these benefits was their constant fear of experiencing what had occurred in Saint Domingue: How sad and desolate will our hearts be after seeing that in the jurisdiction of Havana there are, according to the last census, one hundred and seventy-one whites and one hundred and eighty-nine of color, counting both freedmen and slaves. . . . The negroes multiply themselves in a way that is not proportioned to the whites, and according to the most precise news, for a long time in the baptisms the whites are outnumbered by two to one when compared with the people of color.29

For Zayas and Chacón, it was lamentable that the captains general in charge of the colony during the years in which the introduction of slaves had expanded had not taken any measures to protect Cuba “from a surprise from our negroes, or a catastrophe like the one that happened on the unlucky island of Saint Domingue.”30 Once he was made aware of the real extent of the problem, Ramírez called his advisers together for a consultation. After examining the problem in detail and securing the support of Captain General José Cienfuegos, he dictated a code of rules aimed at creating the necessary conditions for transforming Cuba into a desirable destination for any white Catholic person interested in finding a place to settle down and prosper. The “Reglas para el domicilio de nuevos colonos y sus auxilios” appeared on March 6, 1818, in three languages: Spanish, English, and French.31 The document, comprising thirteen articles, outlined the requirements that all new settlers must meet in order to be permitted to immigrate to Cuba. One requirement was that they be Catholic. Those foreigners interested in relocating to Cuba were obliged to have all their religious and civil documents in order or risk being immediately expelled. Those colonists who were accepted could

Matanzas and Guamacaro: Slaves, Plantations, and the Atlantic World · 79

receive monetary sums, as well as medical care, from the Cuban government during their first months on the island. Alleging reasons of “physical” and “sanitary” security, the authorities ruled that the new colonists must leave the cities as soon as possible after their arrival and move to four rural areas around the cities of Havana and Matanzas that were specially prepared to receive foreign colonists: Guanabacoa, Güines, Matanzas, and Guanajay. As previously mentioned, the Atlantic migration resulting from these rules was the main contributor to the economic transformation of Matanzas at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The document clearly specified that every new settler would be supervised by a sponsor, who would be charged with expediting his or her relocation paperwork, seeking an appropriate place for resettlement, and answering for the individual’s public behavior. To put this program into practice the authorities named some prominent inhabitants of the island, who immediately went to work on it.32 Ramírez’s document circulated widely in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. The best proof of this was the considerable number of foreigners who applied for and were eventually granted residence on the island in the subsequent years. This migration had very diverse geographical origins. Notably, the correspondence of the Spanish consulates in the United States during these years reflects how the various Spanish consuls became spokesmen for Ramírez’s policies. Ramírez’s rules were soon followed by the establishment of a Junta de Población Blanca, or White Population Board, which was entrusted with providing aid to the immigrants who began arriving in Cuba. The members of the junta were also responsible for any new arrangements deemed necessary to keep this policy in place in the years to come. One of the main results of the new regulations was the almost instant rise in the number of coffee plantations in places where the new colonists settled. During the first quarter of the century, coffee became the second most important product in regions where the new colonists invested capital in coffee, just behind sugar; this was particularly so in the case of Matanzas. Developments in the international coffee market beginning in the late eighteenth century meant that Cuba was able to take advantage of the collapse of the production of coffee in Saint Domingue and effectively replace the neighboring territory as one of the leading suppliers of the product at the international level, together with Brazil and the island of Java. Nevertheless, in 1809, after Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of Spain, this success was interrupted when the expulsion of the vast majority of

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the French colonists on the island resulted in the abandonment of numerous coffee plantations, which were already yielding considerable profits to their owners by that time.33 From 1817, thanks to Ramírez’s policy of encouraging white immigration, many of these old colonists returned to Cuba, giving new life to the coffee industry on the island. This time they were joined by numerous families hailing from various geographical regions of the Americas and Europe, who also contributed to the energetic boost in the cultivation of the crop. The campaign of white immigration to the island was also helped by the media offensive mounted in those years praising the quality of the Cuban soil and the importance of the cultivation of coffee. One of the most frequent arguments used by the press was the healing power of coffee, which was, according to them, almost as effective as a magical balm. An article appearing in the Diario del Gobierno de la Habana in February 1818 affirmed that among coffee’s many miraculous benefits, it accelerated digestion, helped to prevent colic and flatulence, mitigated headaches, asthma, and coughs, and was effective against gout and body stones. The article also recommended it for those who needed to stay awake throughout the night and commented that it was particularly useful for those who wanted to concentrate better while studying. The article counted among the “addicts” who owed their fame to coffee innumerable men of science, the arts, and letters. Standing out among them was the French writer and philosopher Voltaire, who reportedly drank coffee on countless occasions every day.34 This manipulation of public opinion was promptly rewarded. The consumption of coffee spread in Cuba and eventually became part of daily life in the cities and the countryside alike. Coffee production and its trade in the ports of Havana and Matanzas increased to the point that it became the second most important export.35 Despite the relative length of its productive cycle, coffee yielded its dividends before too long. The Atlantic colonists that arrived in Cuba during those years were familiar with the latest cultivation techniques, and they worked hard to promote and enlarge their plantations. Reverend Abiel Abbot commented on the diligence of the foreign planters: “It is usual for these planters, with judicious economy, to reclaim the forest, plant their coffee trees, build their store and out houses, and beautiful driers, and even plant their ornamental walks, before they lavish time and expense on their own mansion.”36 The Africans who performed the field work on the plantations constituted a second crucial element in the development of the coffee industry in Matan-

Matanzas and Guamacaro: Slaves, Plantations, and the Atlantic World · 81

zas at the beginning of the nineteenth century.37 The number of slaves working on the estates in the area of Coliseo in this period demonstrates their importance. Among the most prosperous plantations in the area were La Carolina, owned by Jorge Bartlett, with fifty-two slaves in 1823; Java, owned by Juan Fouquier, with seventy-seven slaves in 1825; and La Hermita, the property of Enrique Disdier and Guillermo C. Gowen, with eighty slaves in 1825.38 The coincidence of these three elements in Coliseo—foreign planters, African slaves, and coffee—during the first quarter of the nineteenth century transformed the area into a kind of coffee island surrounded by great sugar plantations. The valley of Guamacaro saw the development of an alternative plantation economy in its fertile lands that was characterized by a more flexible labor system than that of the sugar plantations. This system allowed some of the coffee plantations to survive for decades, despite the repeated cycles of crisis that the industry and international markets began to suffer in the late 1820s. Within the district of Guamacaro, it was in Coliseo that coffee plantations were predominant during this period. Of the twenty-five properties affected by the slave uprising of 1825, twenty-three were coffee plantations. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Coliseo was home to two large circular haciendas that were demolished precisely during those years, San José and El Sumidero. Additionally, Coliseo counted some caballerías belonging to the Spanish Crown in the area between the two haciendas (one Cuban caballería of land was equal to roughly 134.202 m2). In the years preceding Ramírez’s policies encouraging the white colonization of the island, migrations to the region had not been notably high, although some foreign colonists had already begun to develop plantations there, and a few businessmen, mainly from the United States, had invested capital in the region. Among the businessmen who had begun to invest capital there were the Americans James Usher, William Murphy, and Benjamin Booth, the German Jacobo Mildestein, and Spanish families such as the González de la Barrera, the Frías, and the Fernández del Junco. Some of the inhabitants of Coliseo in 1825 had been living in the region since the beginning of the century. One such person was Pedro Chapeau, who was called before the vigilance board formed in Matanzas during 1809, after Captain General Marquis of Someruelos ordered the expulsion of all French residents from the island upon the invasion of the Spain by Napoleon Bonaparte.39 Chapeau was one of the few lucky ones who, despite being “French” (he was a native of Saint Domingue), was granted permission to stay in Cuba. Enrique Disdier was also in Cuba by 1809, participating actively in the political and social life of the capital,40

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and Guillermo C. Gowen, his associate some years later, was in Cuba from at least 1806, for in his request for naturalization in 1816 he stated that he had lived on the island for at least ten years.41 These isolated cases aside, it was not until Ramírez’s policies began to be implemented that a large white and foreign population transformed the region into a multilingual and multicultural coffee-producing one. Once the new rules were in place, new settlers started to arrive from virtually every corner of the Americas and Europe. A close look at the new inhabitants of Coliseo at about the time of the slave revolt of 1825 reveals that there were men and women from Germany, the Netherlands, England, Ireland, France, Saint Domingue, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Connecticut, South Carolina, and Missouri, among others places. Three main regions, however, provided the vast majority of the new settlers, namely, Louisiana, the East Coast of the United States, and Haiti—the old Saint Domingue. Many of these settlers, particularly those born in Europe, Saint Domingue, and mainland Spanish America, had been forced at some point during their lives to leave (and in some cases flee) their homes and emigrate to new territories where they could enjoy a more secure and prosperous existence. Many German, Dutch, and French settlers ended up in Cuba after fleeing from a Europe that was submerged in chaos and death by Napoleon’s expansionist campaigns. And many others had escaped the revolutionary wars on the Spanish mainland and French Saint Domingue. Having little chance of survival, these men, many of whom were followed by their families, had left their homes for destinations where they could settle down and prosper. Not surprisingly, the relatively young and open-bordered United States of America proved to be a safe haven for many of them. Once established in the United States, their lives tended to follow a common pattern. Whether or not they had previous experience in the development of plantations, they settled mostly in the South, surrounded by slaves, often in rural environments and deeply involved in the growing and production of coffee, cotton, and indigo. As soon as they heard about Ramirez’s new policies, many of them decided to take advantage of what they saw as a suitable opportunity to prosper in a relatively peaceful territory blessed with an excellent climate and productive lands. More significantly, since Cuba’s laws with respect to slavery were tailor-made for the perpetuation of the status quo, they did not expect to have to worry about abolition in the foreseeable future. It was no coincidence that

Matanzas and Guamacaro: Slaves, Plantations, and the Atlantic World · 83

once the new rules were in place, the island of Cuba received a substantial number of white colonists, coming mostly, as already stated, from Louisiana, the East Coast of the United States, and, to a lesser degree, the even younger neighboring nation of Haiti. The Spanish authorities and the local population almost immediately created a stereotypical image of their new residents. There were infinite criticisms of the relaxed customs of the French-speaking immigrants and of the supposed paternalism they practiced with their slaves. Their Catholicism, real or not, was evident in the names they gave to their estates. A significant number of saints’ names taken from the Catholic calendar were given to plantations in Coliseo, for example, Santa Cecilia, Santa Amalia, Santa Ana, San Julián, and Nuestra Señora de la Luz (Our Lady of the Light). Other plantation names reflected the previous experiences of the planters, for example, Mount Vernon, recalling George Washington’s plantation in Virginia; La Carolina, in memory of the Union’s southern state; Java, the name of the main coffeeproducing island in the world at the time; and Ontario, referring to the British Canadian territory of the same name. The classical tradition also provided some interesting names, although these appeared in smaller numbers. One estate was named El Consistorio, for the committee, or group of committees, that advised he Roman emperors, and another was called El Laberinto, referring to the legend of the labyrinth, the Minotaur, and Ariadne.42 Women’s names were also given to local plantations, such as the coffee plantations Amelia and Isabela. A smaller number were given names related in one way or another to attitudes and events from the owners’ earlier lives, including La Constancia (the Constancy), El Dichoso (the Fortunate One), and El Solitario (the Lonely One).43 By looking at the personal histories of these planters, their families, and their employees, it is possible to glimpse the slave plantation where the slave revolt of 1825 took place. The outlandish way in which these men and women dealt with their slaves seems to have presented the plotters and rebels with crucial opportunities. If we are to believe the argument of the Spanish officers who conducted the investigation that followed the rebellion, these foreign men and women, while prosperous and hardworking, had a singular way of treating their slaves, and thus the world they helped to create in Guamacaro differed from what the colonial government had envisioned. It seems that to a certain extent their habits, customs, and traditions constituted a catalyst for the events that unfolded on June 15, 1825.

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*** Two of the early foreign settlers who arrived in Guamacaro in search of land on which to establish coffee plantations were Enrique Disdier and Guillermo C. Gowen. Between them they owned at least three coffee estates in the area, as well as some smaller properties in other regions of the island.44 The partnership of Disdier and Gowen had other business interests as well, including the transportation of all sorts of merchandise between Matanzas and Havana, and, at least in the case of Disdier, a likely involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.45 Disdier was a native of Malaga in Spain. Throughout his long life he held high positions in government institutions in Havana. When he died, on February 5, 1851, he left an immense fortune, which was distributed among his descendants.46 Gowen, born in the United States, had been doing business with Disdier since at least 1816. By 1823 the two had acquired three coffee plantations in the district of Guamacaro and a considerable number of slaves. In 1825 one of these plantations, La Hermita, had a labor force of eighty slaves, while another, San Patricio, had 260, making it one of the largest coffee plantations on the island at the time.47 In December 1819 Disdier and Gowen paid 500 pesos to one Robert Blakeley for two caballerías in El Sumidero; shortly after that, they would establish one of their jointly owned coffee plantations on this land.48 To these lands they added others bought from Jacobo Mildestein in December 1820 for 2,125 pesos. Together these lands would form the La Hermita coffee plantation.49 Many years after the partnership between Disdier and Gowen was dissolved, and even after both had died, La Hermita continued to be one of the main coffee plantations in western Cuba. Very few documents remain from its later history, however; indeed, in 1846, when the owners were asked by the authorities to show their title of ownership, they were unable to produce it.50 On May 5, 1821, Disdier and Gowen further expanded their business with the purchase of the coffee plantation San Roberto, in the nearby district of Canímar, from one Benjamin Booth, who acted on behalf of Colonel Juan Rivas Vertiz.51 The subsequent regular lawsuits they were forced to face in relation to this property limited their investments in it. Nevertheless, according to Guillermo Murphy, the attorney of Disdier and Gowen in this particular enterprise—and later himself a buyer of a part of the plantation—from the moment of its purchase “several alterations were made within the estate, to which end they brought in more negroes, and they enlarged the coffee fields, factories and whatever else they thought appropriate.”52

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Their third coffee plantation, San Patricio, was developed gradually. In 1816 Disdier and Gowen bought from Manuel Pérez and Pedro Figueras, through their attorney, Benjamin Booth, 8¹⁄³ caballerías belonging to the lands once owned by the Marquis of Jústiz de Santa Ana. They paid thirty-two thousand pesos for San Patricio, which included 11 slaves living there, the existing crop, the machinery, and all other means of production. The coffee plantation grew larger as the result of acquisitions of adjacent lands. Eventually, San Patricio became an estate of 15¹⁄³ caballerías with a labor force of 246 slaves.53 The business partnership of Enrique Disdier and Guillermo C. Gowen was perhaps the most successful among the many that developed within Guamacaro. In the late 1840s they still owned the La Hermita and San Patricio plantations, and they had added two more, Josefa and Inés, which they had purchased from Manuel de Villena, Marquis of the Real Tesoro, in the mid-1830s, during the international coffee crisis.54 The partnership finally dissolved in 1846 after a long court case between their heirs.55 This business alliance exemplifies the free association of foreign capital in early nineteenthcentury Cuba. Disdier was a Spaniard, and Gowen an American, which, far from hurting their chances of success, led them to amass significant fortunes. They surrounded themselves with experienced real-estate agents and legal representatives and purchased a number of plantations dedicated to the production of coffee, a product to which they devoted all their attention.56 Men such as Guillermo Murphy, Benjamin Booth, and Juan Latting contributed significantly to the prosperity of Disdier and Gowen’s business ventures.

The business partnership formed by Jean (or Juan) Fouquier Van Preters and Pierre Antoine Martial Soulé de Limendoux was without doubt the most peculiar in the region. The two had extremely different personal histories, and yet they managed to do business together for quite some time without any serious problems arising between them. Fouquier was a Dutchman who had resided for many years in St. Genevieve, Missouri; Soulé had been born in the province of Béarn, in the French Pyrenees, and had arrived in Cuba after fleeing the recruitment “carried out by Napoleon Bonaparte of all the youths capable of bearing arms.”57 Fouquier was a respectable resident in northern Louisiana when he decided to move to Cuba. He had lived there since at least 1811, the year he married María Luisa Saint-Géme Bauvais, a native of Missouri. In contrast to Soulé, Fouquier seems to have been a fanatic follower of Bonaparte. The first two children of his marriage to María Luisa, who were

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born during the first French Empire, were named Jacques Napoleon and Thérèse Josephine.58 Fouquier was one of the first foreigners to respond to Ramírez’s 1818 invitation. As the leader of a group of families, he negotiated their relocation to Cuba with the Spanish consulate in New Orleans. Shortly after the new regulations took effect, the Spanish consul in that port, Felipe Fatio, wrote to Ramírez: Don Juan Fouquier Van Preters, a native of Amsterdam . . . has been recommended to me by the most distinguished residents of this capital; I have granted him the relevant passport, and I am in no doubt that he has good principles and that he will be very useful for the progress of the white immigration plans, as much because of his agricultural knowledge as because of the respect he commands among most of the previously mentioned inhabitants who want to emigrate.59

On November 10, 1819, in a public auction of the goods of the deceased Liverpudlian planter Patrick Welsh, Fouquier acquired forty-four caballerías, on which he founded the coffee plantation Java. Together with these lands, Fouquier purchased the fifty-four slaves who were already living on the property.60 The following year, he sold half of the estate to Soulé, who effectively became his partner, although Soulé never lived there, nor was he involved in the operation of the plantation, which in practice remained under Fouquier’s control. Five years later, Fouquier died without leaving a will. By that time the estate was smaller, twenty-eight caballerías having been sold sometime before 1825.61 Conversely, the estate’s slaves now numbered seventy-seven, and the production of its 160,000 coffee bushes had raised its value from 72,576 pesos in 1819 to 120,640 pesos in 1825.62 After the death of her husband, María Luisa decided to return to Louisiana to live near her relatives. Before going back, she attempted to sell her part of the plantation to Soulé, but he showed no interest until she decided to make the sale of the Java plantation public—the advertisement appeared for several days in the pages of the most important newspapers of the island’s capital— and in the end Soulé acquired the other half of the coffee plantation from his old partner’s widow.63 Years later, Soulé, who apparently continued to be an absentee owner, was obliged to transform the old coffee plantation into a sugar plantation, which allowed him to survive the various crises that would follow and to remain one of the most important owners in the area.

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*** Another important partnership established in Coliseo during the first quarter of the century was that of the Americans Ephron William Webster and Ebenezer W. Sage, who were related by Webster’s marriage to Sage’s sister, Mary.64 Before going to Cuba at the end of the second decade of the nineteenth century, the Websters and the Sages resided in New York City. The two men’s personal histories seem to have been very similar: they came from wealthy Connecticut families—Webster was a native of Middleton, and Sage of Hartford —and both set their sights on Cuba because of the opportunity to build a lucrative business presented by the 1818 regulations. In 1819, while Sage remained in New York to manage the family business, Webster and his wife traveled to Cuba in search of a good place to settle down and establish a plantation. Two coffee estates were quickly developed thanks to the family’s capital: the Santa Ana, located near the Coliseo road and bordered by the estates owned by José Canes and Francisco Goitía; and the Ontario, comprising 8 caballerías and 230 cords, bought from Juan Fouquier in July 1820 for 6,532 pesos and 3 ½ reals.65 Very few references to the Santa Ana coffee plantation remain in the official documents. In 1825 it comprised just over nine caballerías and counted thirtytwo slaves.66 The best (albeit brief) description of this plantation was given in 1828 by Reverend Abiel Abbot, who, pleasantly impressed by the courtesy of the owners, wrote: “Yesterday we dined and took coffee with Mr. W. family, of Connecticut, and very interesting.”67 Abbot was more impressed, however, by the enormous cotton tree on the plantation: One on the Santa Ana Estate, towers a hundred feet towards heaven, sixtyfive of which, ascertained by admeasurement, are a smooth cylinder, without a limb or knot, twentyseven and a half feet in circumference, six feet from the ground; and near the base, where it spreads itself in the direction of its principal roots, like a giant bracing himself against the tempest, the fluted trunk has been measured, fortysix feet and a half.68

The Ontario plantation was, from April 1823, the headquarters of Webster, who by that time had Hispanicized his first name, as so many foreigners did, and was signing documents and being recognized as Guillermo Webster.69 By the end of the 1820s, both the Santa Ana and Ontario plantations were feel-

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ing the financial impact of the international coffee crisis, and both plantations, together with their slaves and goods, were mortgaged to the powerful Matanzas-based Howland and Company. In 1826 Webster had to mortgage half of the Ontario for the small sum of two thousand pesos.70 Although there are no subsequent references to the Ontario plantation, it can be presumed that Webster lost it sometime between 1826 and his death in 1841. By the time his will was read, soon after his death, he owned only the Santa Ana.71 The financial problems confronted by the partnership of Webster and Sage exemplify the negative impact of the international coffee crisis on the planters and the industry in Cuba during the late 1820s and 1830s. Despite Webster’s repeated attempts to save both estates and despite the support he received from his brother-in-law and partner, in the end he had only the Santa Ana to bequeath to his heirs.

Other foreigners who settled in Coliseo after 1818 also formed associations to increase their chances of success in an already very competitive market. One such case was the partnership of Luis Juan María Chatelain, Jorge Víctor Pelletier, and María Magdalena Tonton Lamelle. Chatelain was a native of Saint Domingue, whence he and his family had been forced to flee shortly after the revolution began. His son Alejandro, who was residing on the estate when Reverend Abbot visited the area in 1828, was in Abbot’s words “a gentleman of a noble figure.”72 What Chatelain experienced when his slaves rebelled the morning of June 15, 1825, was reminiscent of what had occurred in Saint Domingue. Reverend Abbot related how Alejandro and his brother had been saved by a loyal black servant there. “His family lost their whole property, and escaped narrowly from their blazing home. Mr C. and his brother, then little children, were snatched from the ruins by a faithful servant who fled with them to the mountains.”73 Soon after their arrival in Cuba sometime before 1819, the Chatelains settled in Coliseo, where Luis Juan María and Jorge Víctor Pelletier bought twenty-eight caballerías from Gerónimo Paire and Luisa Divina Fussilier and founded the Santa Cecilia coffee plantation.74 Pelletier was a native of Louisiana who had arrived in Cuba shortly after the publication of Ramírez’s rules. A third member joined their venture, apparently by force. As soon as Chatelain and Pelletier purchased Santa Cecilia, they were obliged to mortgage the property and ten slaves to one Madam Tonton Lamelle, who became their busi-

Matanzas and Guamacaro: Slaves, Plantations, and the Atlantic World · 89

ness partner less than a year later.75 In 1825 the estate was divided into three small coffee plantations, all located within the original twenty-eight caballerías and all under the name Santa Cecilia.76 By 1827 the differences among the associates were stronger than ever; that year Pelletier began a lawsuit against Madam Tonton Lamelle and Chatelain for denying him the access to the road to Matanzas.77 Very little is known about what became of these small coffee plantations in the following years. It is likely, given their size and early economic troubles, that they perished before the advance of the sugar industry in the region, probably even before the crisis in the international coffee market brought the growing of coffee there to a standstill.

The Bartlett brothers—Samuel, Henry (or Enrique), and George (or Jorge)— settled in Coliseo in the early 1820s. They had come from the northeast coast of the United States to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the new white-immigration rules issued by the Cuban authorities. Although luck smiled down on them in the beginning—they bought two coffee plantations as soon as they arrived—their good fortune did not last. The least fortunate among them was, without doubt, Samuel. Because of his scarce economic resources, Samuel was soon forced to become Enrique’s employee on the La Isabela coffee plantation, and he was the only one of the three brothers to be killed by the rebel slaves during the uprising of 1825. Enrique bought a coffee plantation comprising four caballerías to the north of the Coliseo crossroads. This estate, which he christened La Isabela, was bordered by the plantations of José Canes and Antonio Ruiz, as well as by Webster and Sage’s Santa Ana. Although his financial constraints were never as great as those of his brother Samuel, Enrique had to mortgage La Isabela and his nine slaves to Guillermo Savage in January 1822 in order to harvest his crop for that year.78 Shortly after Samuel’s death, Enrique followed him to the grave. La Isabela was then inherited by the third brother, Jorge. Jorge was undoubtedly more fortunate than his brothers; his coffee plantation, La Carolina, became one of the most prosperous and most beautiful in Guamacaro. Reverend Abbot stayed there with him and his family during his visit to the area in 1828. His comments about the estate were overall very positive: Mr B.’s place is very delightful. A fine walk, with a row of palm trees fronts its place; an avenue of the same leads to his new and handsome building.

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. . . A semicircle of beautiful hills at a few miles distance seems to enclose his prospect. This plantation is yet young, and every year is filling up a picture, which any description of mine will fail to present it [sic] all its beauties.79

In 1825 La Carolina had sixteen slaves, a considerable number compared with the numbers on most other plantations in the area.80 After his brothers passed away, Jorge Bartlett began to have problems with both of his plantations. In March 1827 he was forced to mortgage La Isabela to the powerful house of Howland and Company,81 and three years later he had to mortgage La Carolina to Federico Guillermo Arnz.82 The international crisis in the coffee markets had a heavy impact upon Bartlett’s two properties. In April 1835 Jorge remortgaged La Carolina for the sum of seventeen pesos, this time to Thomas Gibbs Atkins, Federico Guillermo Arnz, and a presumed relative, Enoch Bartlett.83 All the evidence suggests that he had already lost La Isabela by that time. Despite his financial difficulties, within the next two years Bartlett managed to settle all his debts. Nevertheless, in October 1839 he had to mortgage La Carolina a third time for the sum of 11,000 pesos, this time to the commercial house of Bauer, Bayley and Company.84 Against all odds, Jorge Bartlett managed to pay this debt too. A few years later, in the mid-1840s, La Carolina became a sugar plantation, and it still gives name to the place where the present-day Granma sugar mill is located.85

Joshua Armitage arrived in Guamacaro about 1819. In June 1823 he was the owner of the coffee plantation El Sabanazo, located in the El Jacán foothills,86 which had a labor force of nineteen slaves by 1825.87 Born in England, Armitage had moved to Saint Louis, Missouri, where he married and lived for many years. In Saint Louis he had his first child and lost his first wife. It was there too that he was married a second time, to Margarita Litwood. Excluding José, the youngest of Joshua’s children with Margarita, all the members of the Armitage family were murdered during the slave rebellion of 1825, effectively leaving the estate without an owner. Thanks to a valuation conducted by the authorities after the family members were buried, we know that El Sabanazo had 10¹⁄8 caballerías, of which 4∑ were only rocks, part of the heights of El Jacán. The family house was fourteen yards long and five wide, built of wood over pitch and with a ceiling made of guano. In approximately

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five years the plantation had grown a great deal, having sixty thousand coffee bushes and two terraces for drying the beans. The total value of the estate was set at 24,755 pesos and 4 reals.88 In the years after the death of Armitage, his wife, and his two oldest children, El Sabanazo faced bankruptcy along with many other plantations in the area.

Undeniably one of the most enigmatic cases among the planters settled in Coliseo in 1825 was that of Antonio Manuel Pérez and Antonio Díaz Imbretch, owners of the El Dichoso coffee plantation. I was unable to discover any information about the latter; finding even his full name proved difficult. For the former, by contrast, the information was considerable and diverse. Pérez was born in Germany under a different, unknown name; he adopted the Spanish name when he became a resident of Cuba. In 1809 he was living in Cap Haitian, where he married Justina Emilia Bellanger, a native of that city, as documented by a letter of dowry signed there before the public notary, Lecardonel.89 Little more than a decade later, Pérez, his wife, and his brother-in-law, Santiago Bellanger, had moved to Guamacaro, where they became co-owners of El Dichoso.90 In 1822 the plantation was already in dire straits, and Pérez’s debts led him to mortgage some of his slaves, something that he would do time and again in the following years.91 His financial problems were so serious that in September 1826 he was forced to value the plantation with the clear purpose of selling or mortgaging his half of it. Measuring 10¼ caballerías, El Dichoso had 180,000 coffee bushes that produced from five thousand to six thousand arrobas (roughly 125,000–150,000 pounds) of coffee per year. Within its boundaries there was also a paddock with a wooden hedge that accounted for 2 caballerías. El Dichoso was crossed by a “lively river,” a desirable and convenient feature for the proper irrigation of the fields.92 A year earlier, at the time of the revolt, the plantation had had a labor force of forty-four slaves, one of the largest in the region.93 Not surprisingly, the valuation of the property—139,469 pesos and 6 reals— was considered extremely high for the time. Three months later, on December 5, 1826, the Diario de la Habana advertised that Pérez’s half of El Dichoso was for sale for the price of 84,687 pesos and 6 reals. Pérez managed to weather the storm somehow and kept possession of his half of the plantation. Five years later, in 1831, despite their mounting debts, he and his partner contin-

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ued to own the estate. By then, Pérez’s finances were so compromised that for the first time he took advantage of his prestige as an ex-pilot in Spain’s Real Armada, with more than twenty years’ experience, to request more time to repay his debts.94 Although there are no subsequent references to El Dichoso in the documents, the numerous debts hanging over Pérez and his business partner probably led to the property’s becoming a sugar plantation. The fate of El Dichoso, at one time one of the largest and more productive coffee plantations in Guamacaro, constitutes another example of how the international coffee crisis transformed the region from a coffee island into another sugar-intensive production area.

Among all the foreign planters living in Coliseo in 1825, Pedro Chapeau was probably the first to settle there. Fleeing the events in Saint Domingue, Chapeau arrived in Cuba in one of the migratory waves that took place after 1796. When all the French-speaking residents on the island were taken before juntas de vigilancia in 1809, after Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Spain, Chapeau was no exception. He was fortunate to benefit from the intercession of Mrs. Josefa de Velasco, a respectable citizen who managed to get the support of Captain General Marquis de Someruelos, who recommended that the Matanzas authorities consider Chapeau’s outstanding behavior from the moment he had migrated to Cuba as an extenuating circumstance. Ultimately, thanks to the intervention of the highest authority in the land, Chapeau managed to remain in Cuba, one of the few Francophone immigrants to survive the 1809 wave of expulsions.95 In 1822 he owned the Mount Vernon coffee plantation, in the heart of Coliseo, which had an area of six caballerías and a labor force of twelve slaves by 1823, making it one of the most modest estates in the area. Chapeau was one of the first planters in Coliseo to become irreversibly indebted. In 1822 he owed the considerable sum of 6,878 pesos and 2 reals to his neighbor Diego González de la Barrera;96 in 1823 he had to mortgage his twelve slaves in order to repay a debt of 5,500 pesos, contracted in January of that year, to Jacobo Mildestein.97 By 1828 Chapeau’s innumerable debts had left him with only a third of the original estate; he now owned it jointly with Howland and Company, which had begun to take over the debts of some of the plantation owners in Coliseo. Later that year, Chapeau had to mortgage the remainder of

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Mount Vernon to his co-owners.98 That was the last time his name appeared in association with the property; it is very likely that he was unable to repay his debt and lost the premises for good to Howland and Company.

We know even less about when and how Lemuel Taylor, a native of Baltimore according to Reverend Abbot—who spent a day and a night on his coffee plantation, Santa Amalia—moved to Guamacaro. All the existing evidence suggests that Taylor arrived in Cuba from the United States after the publication of Ramírez’s rules in 1818. Vincent Grey, one of his neighbors in Cuba, claimed to have known him since 1814, when he was still living in the United States. Grey also said that Taylor always ran his estate “dressed like an overseer, with a whip in his hands, going after the negroes under the severe heat of the sun.”99 Although Taylor was at some point the owner or co-owner of three coffee plantations, he seems to have followed many of his neighbors into ruin. In the early 1820s Taylor owned the San Marcos plantation, where his family lived, the Santa Amalia plantation in Coliseo, and the Browse Hall plantation, which he co-owned with Pedro Figueras. He was also the proprietor of the Vivos y Muertos hacienda, located in Sabanilla de Gregorio.100 In 1825 the Santa Amalia plantation was already dangerously compromised, to the point that Taylor was sent to prison for his inability to pay his debts. Consequently, in October of that year, Juan and Roberto Oliver became co-owners of one-third of the plantation, while Antonio de Frías and Cornelio Souchay co-owned another third, leaving Taylor as the mortgaged owner of the remaining third.101 The few existing documents suggest that Taylor defaulted on his debts and lost the plantation soon thereafter. His name, like those of many other coffee planters in the area, disappeared from the historical records during the second half of the 1820s.

There is very little information about the other planters living in Coliseo in 1825. Of José de Arce, owner of the Hernani coffee plantation and a tavern at the Coliseo crossroads, we only know that in November 1823 he bought a caballería of land from Francisco de Lima and that a few weeks later he bought 3½ adjacent caballerías from Pedro Fernández.102 In these lands he established the Hernani plantation, which he still owned at the time of his death in June 1832.103

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Another planter in the area, Gerónimo Paire, was also a refugee from the former French colony of Saint Domingue. Shortly after the promulgation of Ramírez’s rules, Paire traveled to Cuba, probably from the United States, and settled in Coliseo. At the beginning of the 1820s he sold twenty-eight caballerías to Chatelain and Pelletier, and it was on that land that they developed their coffee plantations.104 By the time of his death, Paire owned sixteen slaves on his estate, La Amelia, almost certainly named after his wife, Maria Amelia Marta Gousson.105 La Amelia, advantageously situated on the road to Limonar, was one of the most successful coffee plantations in the region. By the end of the 1840s, when most of the coffee farms in Guamacaro had all but disappeared, La Amelia was still producing robust harvests under the supervision of Paire’s widow. Managing the plantation during those years was not easy, and the widow was faced with continuous debts. However, thanks to the fertile soil and the successful crops, she was able to hold on to the property during the crisis that hit the coffee industry from the late 1820s to well into the 1840s.106 Another planter residing in Coliseo in 1825, José Canes, had arrived in Cuba from New Orleans after Ramírez’s rules were published. Upon his arrival, sometime in 1820 or 1821, Canes, who was thirty years old at the time, went directly to Matanzas, where he bought nine caballerías from the San José estate, which belonged to Francisco de la Barca.107 On the same day, he contracted a debt with the seller and mortgaged the nine caballerías.108 Before long, Canes had made enough money to repay the debt and had begun to develop the El Consistorio coffee plantation. Four years later, in 1825, he had a prosperous plantation with a labor force of sixteen slaves.109 Although there are no documents concerning Canes’s subsequent history, maps dating from the 1840s and 1850s show that in those years he owned more than one estate in Guamacaro, presumably making him one of the few successful planters in the region. Nicolas Odicio was one of the first planters to move to Coliseo. In 1819 he and his wife, Josefa González de la Barrera, sold five caballerías from his estate in El Sumidero to one James Usher.110 In 1823 they co-owned with Juan Carol the San Miguel del Rosario sugar plantation, which comprised forty-eight caballerías of land and had a labor force of forty-three slaves, thirty-six of whom were bozales.111 Other coffee planters in Coliseo in 1825 were Juan Bautista Tosca, a native of Valencia, Spain, and owner of the Nuestra Señora de la Luz plantation;112 Francisco de Lima, owner of La Constancia, with fifteen slaves in 1825;113 Francisco Goitía, owner of the Unión plantation, which he still owned

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at the end of the 1830s;114 Francisco Ubaldo Morejón, who owned San Julián; Antonio Gómez, owner of El Solitario; Gaspar Hernández, who like Canes owned an estate called El Consistorio; and Antonio Ruiz, Santiago Aniebas, and Diego González de la Barrera, all owners of unnamed coffee plantations. The signs of the impending international coffee crisis were evident in the late 1820s. The crisis created deep and long-lasting havoc among the coffee planters of Coliseo and the rest of western Cuba. In June 1829 El Correo de Trinidad was perhaps the first Cuban newspaper to highlight the possible end of the good times for the coffee planters: “The extraordinary increase in the prices of coffee seen not long after peace, and particularly in the years 1817, 1818, and 1819, excited the ambition of the planters, and the increase was so excessive that from that period it was clear that at the end of each year the crops were exceeding the demand.”115 Clearly the continual increase in coffee production, not only in Cuba but also in places such as Java and Brazil, was one of the fundamental causes of the collapse of the industry in Cuba. Another was the constant fluctuations in prices in the global market, a reality from the last decade of the eighteenth century. As Ramón de la Sagra noted in his Anales de Agricultura e Industria Rural in 1831, “perhaps no article among the colonial products has exhibited such extraordinary fluctuations in a small number of years as coffee. Regardless of whether we consider its growth, its consumption, or price, the outcome is always uncertain and presents us with some new characteristic worthy of our attention.”116 In the decades that followed, the crisis continued to intensify. The number of plantations dedicated to the cultivation of the crop in western Cuba diminished considerably during the period. According to Francisco Pérez de la Riva, the crisis reached a critical point in 1827, when the production and export of coffee exceeded 500,000 quintals for the first time. This increase was owing mainly to the maturation of the coffee bushes planted at the end of the previous decade, the introduction of new technologies and new scientific developments for their cultivation, and the significant boost in the number of slaves working on the coffee estates.117 In 1827 there were 2,067 coffee plantations in Cuba producing just over 2 million arrobas (50 million pounds). About two decades later, in 1846, there were only 1,670 plantations producing less than 820,000 arrobas (20,500 pounds). Additionally, two major hurricanes that hit the western part of the island in 1844 and 1846 contributed to the decline of the coffee industry. By 1861 there were only 996 coffee estates, and a year later there were only 782,

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a clear signal that the dominance of the once-powerful industry was nearing its end.118 Although coffee continued to be the second most important product in the economy of Matanzas, coffee plantations vanished from the plains and were confined to the foothills of the few mountain ranges in the region, while sugar-cane fields took over the countryside. The redistribution of land that occurred as a result of the coffee crisis also led to an increase in the number of slaves in the area. In other words, the large labor force need for the production of sugar resulted in a sizable demographic recovery. Beginning in 1827, sugar cane steadily displaced coffee in the Matanzas countryside, transforming the region into a mammoth sugar factory.119


Conspiracy, Rebellion, and Frustration The disorganized actions of the negroes prove that the motive and origin of the plot is none other than the freedom that the foreigners have granted to their slaves on a regular basis. —francisco seidel, december 1825


n the night of June 15, 1825, slaves from various estates in Coliseo put into motion what they considered an overdue act of revenge. The opportunity to move from plantation to plantation, granted to the slaves by the majority of owners, turned out to be the fundamental trigger for the violent acts initiated in the early hours of that day. The insurrection started at about midnight and continued for more than twelve hours. The rebels moved from plantation to plantation, attacking white owners, overseers, and other employees and recruiting new rebels whenever possible. Eventually they encountered a considerable number of armed residents who barricaded themselves in the home of José de Arce, at the Coliseo crossroads; after a brief encounter, the rebels were dispersed when reinforcements arrived. Those slaves who survived the onslaught at Coliseo tried to flee; some, in a smaller platoon, raided neighboring estates, while others became isolated and were, for the most part, captured or executed in the following weeks and months. Whether the great revolt of 1825 was the result of a well-planned conspiracy or a spontaneous explosion of anger is a subject of great importance. As will soon become clear, the declarations of some slaves made after the uprising failed confirm that it was carefully planned. According to these testimonies, the preparations began well before the revolt erupted; however, exactly when they began is hard to ascertain. Both San Gil,1 a slave owned by Carlos Victor Mansuit, Jorge Víctor Pelletier’s uncle, and Sambo Lucumí, from Pedro Chapeau’s Mount Vernon estate,2 claimed to have known about the rebels’ plot for about a month, making them the only individuals who were able to provide a relatively precise time frame for the conspiracy.3 However, since neither San 97

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Gil nor Sambo Lucumí was part of the main group of plotters, their knowledge of the project must have been very limited.4 Pablo Gangá, who belonged to Juan Bautista Tosca and was without a doubt the brains behind the movement, was the only one of the leaders to survive the repression that followed the defeat of the rebels. Despite this, during his interrogation he denied having had any responsibility whatsoever for the event, and thus he deprived us of valuable information about the period that preceded the insurrection. A third declaration, provided by Jorge Bartlett, the owner of the La Carolina plantation, provides a further clue about the origins of the plot, which he suspected had been developing for at least six months. When interrogated, Bartlett stated “that his slave Justo was always meeting up with slaves from other estates . . . that one night he caught him with other negroes in his hut, and that the one named Camilo, a slave of Gómez, was talking to him about the war plan, which Justo corroborated, and that this could have taken place six months ago.”5 Other statements made by slaves who participated in the uprising confirmed the existence of the plot. Cecilio Lucumí, owned by Luis Juan María Chatelain, stated that “the uprising had been planned for a long time,”6 and Tom Mandinga Sosó, owned by Juan Fouquier, accused Chatelain’s slave Lorenzo Lucumí of inciting them to rebellion “a long time before it actually took place,” explaining that he would visit them every Sunday “inviting them to commit to the plan whose purpose was to make them rebel and kill all the whites.”7 This evidence corroborates the existence of a plot. Those slaves who were best placed played the most important roles in its development. The main leader of the movement, Pablo Gangá, was a coach driver on Tosca’s coffee plantation, Nuestra Señora de la Luz. In the months preceding the uprising, Pablo had strengthened his ties with slaves from other estates in the area, encouraging them to confront and kill their white owners. All the evidence indicates that he promoted two main conspiracy foci. His position as a coach driver and the location of his master’s plantation at the center of Coliseo enabled him to create independent groups, or cells, which followed his orders. The first and most important of these cells was formed by Federico Carabalí, a slave on Joshua Armitage’s El Sabanazo estate, and Lorenzo Lucumí, a slave on Chatelain’s Santa Cecilia. These two individuals ultimately led the June 15 uprising. Both were West Africans from the Slave Coast, and both had very specific characteristics that made them ideal leaders of the movement.

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Federico was a member of the Carabalí ethnie, reputed among the whites for their violent character, and he was considered by his community to be a powerful sorcerer. These characteristics, together with the fact that many of the rebels also belonged to the Carabalí ethnie, constituted valuable prerequisites for his becoming a leader among the slaves. Lorenzo Lucumí was probably the most respected of all the plotters. Apart from being one of its main organizers, he was also the main military leader once the uprising began. Lorenzo was a Lucumí, and his compatriots were renowned among Cuban whites for their intolerance of oppression and enslavement.8 It is very likely that both had had previous experience as warriors in own native countries. Their conspiratorial tendencies and above all their authoritative charisma at the outbreak of the rebellion reveal a state of mind and a knowledge of what needed to be done, which would have been practically impossible to achieve without prior knowledge of the art of war.9 The authorities were unable to learn much about the makeup or the organization of the second cell. In this group there were slaves from a number of coffee plantations—Enrique Disdier and Guillermo Gowen’s La Hermita, Francisco Ubaldo Morejón’s San Julián, Lemuel Taylor’s Santa Amalia, and Pedro Chapeau’s Mount Vernon. On La Hermita, the leader was Pío Carabalí, whose co-leaders were four other slaves from his own ethnic background, some of whom were relatives of his.10 Just before his death, he named Francisco Criollo, a slave of Morejón’s, as the one charged with serving as a link between the two cells on the day of the uprising.11 According to Juan Chartrand, who witnessed Pío Carabalí’s interrogation, Pío had confirmed that Francisco Criollo was, along with Pablo Gangá, one of the captains of the project.12 In addition, Pío mentioned three free mulattos living near La Hermita who had promised to supply weapons and gunpowder for the uprising.13 The evidence collected by the Military Commission pointed to the existence of a longtime alliance between some of Lemuel Taylor’s and Pedro Chapeau’s slaves. One of Taylor’s slave drivers, Cristóbal, not only was considered by his comrades to be one of the organizers of the plot but had acquired the reputation of being a sorcerer whose duty was to protect them from the weapons of their oppressors. The declarations made by Taylor’s slaves are quite clear in this respect, mostly agreeing that Cristóbal was the head, or captain, of the revolt. On Taylor’s own farm, the slave Román was involved in the plan, and Sambo Lucumí accused Román of having encouraged him to participate as well.14 Meanwhile, on the Chapeau plantation the Lucumís Pedro and Sambo

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were also involved in the project. The one-handed José Román Mandinga, a slave belonging to Juan Tosca, was also in this cell.15 The role played by the slaves from the El Solitario plantation, owned by Antonio Gómez, is difficult to grasp. Although none of the main leaders of the rebellion belonged to this plantation, the majority of the slaves there were aware of what was taking place in Federico and Lorenzo’s group, as well as in Pío’s. A slave named Camilo from this plantation had plotted in the huts and workplaces on the plantations owned by Jorge Bartlett, Pedro Chapeau, and Lemuel Taylor.16 Simultaneously, León Carabalí, who had links to the Carabalís from La Hermita, was also aware of what was going on in the area.17 Of further interest here is that El Solitario was the rendezvous site for the rebel slaves on the night of the uprising. One fact about which there is no question is Pablo Gangá’s leadership during the conspiratory period. His contacts, which were fostered and maintained through kinship and solidarity networks, were key to the organization of the project. The purchase of slaves who had arrived on the same vessels had made Coliseo the destination of some families from distant Africa. The kinship ties and affinity between slaves is apparent from the entries of slave purchases found in the notary registry of Matanzas, as well as from the declarations of these slaves before the Military Commission. From the existing documentation it is possible to conclude that the Carabalís from El Sabanazo, La Hermita, and El Solitario plantations had been acquainted in their homeland, and some of them were members of the same families. According to the militia officer Francisco Rueda, the slave Antonio Carabalí, from the El Sabanazo estate, was related to five Carabalís working on La Hermita.18 And Vicente Carabalí, from El Solitario, had confessed his family links with others, including the Carabalís Antonio and Federico from El Sabanazo.19 These relationships of solidarity and kinship constituted one of the pillars upon which the movement was based. The mutual understanding that existed between slaves in the region made it possible for them to draw up a plan and follow through on it. As discussed in the previous chapter, the character of plantation owners and their relatively benign treatment of their slaves also contributed to the success of the uprising. One of the bitterest complaints made by the public prosecutors, Francisco Seidel and Francisco Xavier Lamadriz, when formulating their summaries of the causes behind the revolt was that the foreign plantation owners had given their slaves too much freedom. Indeed, the testimonies of the slaves interro-

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gated after the quashing of the rebellion revealed that the plantation owners of Guamacaro had allowed drumming and dancing parties every Sunday, granted freedom of mobility to their slaves during resting periods, and turned a blind eye to the nocturnal feasts organized by them, which often took place in the evening, at the end of the workday.20 When questioned, Esteban, a twelveyear-old slave of Armitage’s, declared that all “those blacks would always be going to his house, because their owner let them play their drums on Sundays; that the one who went most frequently was Pablo [Gangá], who always met up with Federico [Carabalí].”21 One of Paire’s slaves, Santiago Mandinga, confirmed that Lorenzo and Federico “would go around on Sundays and on some other nights too, encouraging people to prepare themselves.”22 The autonomous spaces granted by the plantation owners or those created clandestinely by the slaves became places where the slaves could not only practice their customs but also voice their desire to resist oppression, and to do so through violent means. Some of them took advantage of these opportunities to plan ways to confront their masters and, on occasion, the prevailing slave system. The drumming and dancing celebrations that took place on Sundays on the El Sabanazo plantation were used by Federico Carabalí and Pablo Gangá to fine-tune their plot. The use of their native African languages allowed them to speak with liberty about delicate topics in front of those who were not yet initiated.23 Also, the permission to move around freely that plantation owners of the region frequently granted to their slaves significantly aided the slaves in spreading their ideas. Several of the statements given by the slaves who were interrogated after the revolt was crushed referred to conversations that had taken place along the footpaths, estate boundary fences, and some well-protected streams and creeks, all of which were ideal places for the diffusion of the ideas of rebellion among slaves who had not yet become involved in the plot. In order to persuade their fellow slaves to join them, the most influential leaders used a strategy that sought to achieve maximum effect: the spread of invented or exaggerated news by word of mouth. When questioned about the organization of the movement, Gómez’s slave José Luis declared that Federico had told him “that a black man from the Vuelta Arriba had come to tell him that over there they could no longer put up with the whites, that they were punishing them a lot, and that they were killing many blacks and burying them in wastelands, and that these were the reasons why they should start a war.”24 Meanwhile, Fouquier’s slave Tom Mandinga Sosó accused Lorenzo and

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Federico of encouraging the slaves “to stop working in the fields, to eat their chickens and other things that they might have, and to make them believe that with war everything was going to be lost and that the blacks from the Satrán, Sabanazo, Gómez, and Pelletier plantations, as well as others, had already taken such action.”25 The Guamacaro plot of 1825 had all the elements necessary to mutate into an open rebellion. A group of intelligent leaders, whose bravery and experience in military matters allowed them to make the most of the cracks in the plantation owners’ supervision, were able to organize an insurgent movement that very likely resembled those in which they had been involved in their African homelands. According to the statements made by some of the accused, they counted on finding weapons on the estates they were supposed to attack and on recruitment tactics that left little or no room for self-determination to those who were “invited” to join the insurrection. And in fact these West

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African strategies were followed on the day of the rebellion. According to one of the plotters on the estate of Antonio Gómez, the uprising had been postponed twice—for reasons unknown to him—before it finally took place. Vicente Congo stated that initially Sunday had been considered the best day to start the revolt; however, the leaders had delayed their plans until Monday and then deferred the revolt again. In the end, the uprising began on Tuesday night.26 In spite of these delays, the plot remained concealed by those few who knew about it, and the inhabitants of the region were surprised by an event that they simply did not see coming. The events started with a late-night meeting at the El Solitario plantation on Monday, June 14. Several slaves from Chatelain’s coffee plantation, led by Lorenzo Lucumí, went to El Solitario in search of slaves to join them in rising up against their white oppressors. Although apparently treated badly by their owner on a daily basis, Gómez’s slaves suggested that the uprising begin elsewhere and that their plantation be left for last. According to Vicente Congo, he and his friend José Luis tried to persuade Lorenzo to avoid an early encounter with their master, Antonio Gómez, because “he might show up and kill them all.”27 Lorenzo’s response was plain and swift: he slapped José Luis in the face and told them both that they should not be afraid of the white men. Despite Lorenzo’s angry reaction, all the evidence suggests that he decided to heed his comrades’ suggestions and instead led the would-be rebels toward the El Sabanazo plantation, where Federico Carabalí was waiting for him to arrive. Although Lorenzo went to El Sabanazo with a clear plan as to what he wanted to do, many of his followers had no idea of the difficult situation they were getting themselves into. During questioning, José María Gangá, one of Gómez’s slaves, recounted that after going to bed that night “they were summoned by four black men who wanted them to go with them to the Englishman’s plantation to eat, and as they usually had no difficulty in doing so, they joined, despite it being already very late at night.”28 On reaching the outskirts of Armitage’s plantation, Lorenzo advanced further in order to communicate with his co-leader, Federico Carabalí. Meanwhile, his companions waited by the boundary fence for the outcome of the exceptional invitation to a nocturnal feast. Minutes later, taking maximum advantage of the trust his owner had put in him, Federico woke Armitage and his eldest son on the pretext that he had found a runaway slave in one of the slave huts on the plantation. Then Armitage, his wife, and his two oldest sons fell one by one into the hands of the rebel slaves. Despite the contradictions in

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several of the testimonies about the unfolding of the events, the statement that appears to be the most detailed and truthful is that of Armitage’s slave Ana, a native of Kentucky: On the day that is mentioned at about one o’clock in the morning according to the time indicated on her master’s clock, the black man Federico, who was from the same estate, arrived at the door of the house, and when he called his owner he told him that he should get up, that a fugitive slave was in the huts: at that instant the owner got up, and as he was going through the door, Federico told him that he should take with him his eldest son, which he did, and without suitable weapons they followed Federico back to the huts; once they arrived there, the black men Lorenzo and Ysidoro, both slaves of Chatelain, fell upon the master and his son, beating them to death, a fact that was seen clearly and distinctly by her because she had gotten closer due to her curiosity. After seeing such a cruel act take place, she rushed to where her mistress was and told her about the terrible event; she then got up instantly, went to the huts, and after seeing the terrible state of her husband and her son began to scream and cry. Immediately the black man José de la Luz, a slave on the coffee plantation of Gómez, came out to meet her and to calm her down, forcing her to shut her mouth, but failing to do so, José de la Luz hit her on the head with a club and killed her on the spot: at this moment the youngest child tried to escape through the coffee trees, and chasing after him, José de la Luz killed him as well.29

José de la Luz Mandinga, a slave of Gómez’s, corroborated almost everything Ana had said when he was interrogated by the officers of the Military Commission, the only exception having to do with events related to the deaths of Armitage’s wife, Margarita Litwood, and son Guillermo. He confirmed the story of the runaway slave invented by Federico to set a trap for Armitage and added that when Armitage went out to the huts, “Lorenzo hit him on the head with a machete, and . . . next many others fell upon him, beating and hacking him to death with clubs and machetes.”30 José de la Luz claimed he was innocent of all the murders that took place on El Sabanazo. According to him, it was his companion, León Carabalí, who killed Armitage’s wife, while he had hurt no one. In fact, he declared that while he was attempting to hit Armitage with his machete, he had accidentally

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struck his friend Camilo, an error that did not go down well with Lorenzo, who hit him with the butt of his rifle and started swearing at him, saying “that he was a mandinga devil and that he was completely useless.”31 After Armitage, his eldest sons, and his wife were killed, the only member of the family left alive in the house was the four-year-old José. According to Armitage’s twelve-year-old slave Esteban, on seeing that the rebels were coming to loot the house, the boy went toward the window crying, and Antonio Carabalí, also a slave on the estate, “took the boy by the hand and raising his machete said that he was the only one left to kill, at which point Lorenzo stopped him, saying that the little one knew nothing.” Antonio Carabalí attempted to kill the child anyway, “but Lorenzo did everything he could to prevent him from doing so,” after which “the mulatto woman Daniela came out of the room and snatched the boy from Antonio’s hands and took him to the kitchen.”32 José de la Luz pointed out that in the end Antonio had obeyed Lorenzo because he was the unquestioned leader of the rebels.33 Immediately after this incident, shouts of “Here comes a white man” were heard by Lorenzo, Antonio, and the others. The rebels headed for the plantation’s courtyard to meet the intruder. Through the early-morning darkness they saw a man coming toward them on horseback carrying a sword. The rider was none other than the architect of the uprising, Pablo Gangá of Tosca, who had come to see how the revolt was going. After dismounting, Pablo investigated what his comrades had done until that moment, and on being told about the deaths of Armitage and his relatives, he asked to be taken to where the bodies lay so that he could confirm that they were telling the truth. According to José de la Luz, “When he saw them, he grabbed a machete, saying ‘so that I also get a part of this,’ and sank his sword into the body of the Englishman.”34 After this act of symbolizing his leadership, Pablo distributed “paper bags of gunpowder, which he carried in pouches” and told them to speed things up, saying that on his estate the slaves were prepared and waiting for them to arrive so that they could join in. Following Pablo Gangá’s suggestions, Lorenzo and Federico left El Sabanazo and headed to other nearby estates to get enough men, weapons, and ammunition to keep the fight going.35 The next stop for the insurgents was Java, Juan Fouquier’s plantation. After crossing several estates, a group of about a hundred slaves appeared at about 3:30 a.m. in Java’s courtyard, making a lot of noise. Tom Mandinga Sosó, who was one of Fouquier’s slaves and who later became one of the most prominent rebels, declared that he and his workmates were sleeping when, an hour be-

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fore the Ave María, “they heard the noise of a lot of people and heavy knocking on the doors of the huts; he then got up because of the noise, and so did his friends, and they all saw a crowd of black men”; afterwards “a group or gang went to his master’s house, broke down the doors, and killed him.”36 What Tom said was confirmed by Fouquier’s widow, María Luisa SaintGéme Bauvais, who stated that while she was sleeping next to her husband, both of them had been woken up by the sound of knocking on one of the doors of the house. After opening the door and realizing the danger they were in, her husband went to the huts of his slaves in search of refuge. On his way there, he was ambushed near the chicken sheds by the rebel slaves, who hacked him with machetes and punched him repeatedly. Fouquier did not die right away, and when María Luisa tried to escape with her two children a few minutes later, “she saw her husband still breathing and stretched out on the ground, she then held him close, and it was at this moment that their slave driver, Félix, hit him on the left shoulder with the flat side of the machete he was carrying” and in doing so put an end to Fouquier’s life.37 Fouquier’s widow then sought refuge in the hut of Manuel Carabalí, a slave whom she trusted, who hid her and her two children under his bed. Days after his interrogation, Manuel declared that “he locked them up in his hut while he stayed guarding the doorway until all the other blacks had left the farm, which only happened after the sun began to rise. When they finally left, he made her go to Mr. Pérez’s house in search of protection.”38 Following Manuel Carabalí’s advice, María Luisa and her children went to the neighboring plantation owned by Antonio Manuel Pérez, where they would come across the rebel slaves one more time.39 Almost simultaneously, the insurgents were going to great lengths in their search for gunpowder, cold weapons, firearms, and alcoholic spirits in Fouquier’s plantation house and warehouses. They looked for slaves who might have some idea of where to find these things. Ramón Gangá, who had been one of Fouquier’s domestic servants and who was a teenager at the time, explained that the rebels had threatened to kill him for refusing to help them in their search. Indeed, on seeing his reluctance to tell them where Fouquier kept his weapons, Victor and Santiago, both slaves of Gerónimo Paire, tried to murder him, “but he ran away and slept in a field, where he was surprised by the daybreak.”40 Meanwhile, in the courtyard of Fouquier’s plantation, the triumphant demonstrations continued. The enthusiasm of the rebel slaves was far greater on

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this estate than anywhere else before or after. Santiago Congo recalled days later that they had had to calm the Java slaves down when they tried to set fire to their own huts. And Alejandro Mandinga declared that in front of the hut of the slave driver Cristóbal, Félix had said to them, “Now the master is dead, let us all go to battle.”41 And so they did, ordering all the slaves of the plantation to follow them. Those who refused either managed to run away from the rebels or were forced to follow them. Luciano, a slave on the Java plantation, was tied up and taken prisoner by the rebel slaves until they decided to release him on the boundary between the estates of Chatelain and Lima.42 By now the insurgent slaves were better armed, and many of them were starting to succumb to the effects of the alcohol that they had been consuming from the moment the rebellion began. Lorenzo Lucumí was now wearing a black jacket with gold buttons and a small hat with cock feathers in it; some of the other leaders were wearing similar hats.43 They began to move from plantation to plantation playing their drums and displaying aggressive and erratic behavior. The group’s next stop was the coffee plantation El Dichoso, owned by Antonio Manuel Pérez and Antonio Díaz Imbretch. There, following their pattern on earlier estates, they tried to find and kill Pérez; his brotherin-law, Santiago Bellanger; the overseer, Carlos Larderet; and the other white employees on the estate. Luckily for Pérez, Fouquier’s widow had arrived at the plantation before the insurgents, giving him and his men precious minutes to prepare their escape. According to Pérez, she had arrived at about 4:00 a.m. in bloodstained clothes accompanied by her two children. Pérez “called the overseer and told him to bring the people together and make them pray, which they were used to doing before starting work each morning, with the objective of taking them to the house and locking them inside,” at which point the insurgents began to arrive at the plantation.44 Seeing that his life was at stake, Pérez locked the main door of the house and ran out the back door toward Pelletier’s plantation, but as he left he was fired upon by the rebels. Andrés Mandinga, one of Pérez’s slaves, “saw that his master stood still wearing a shirt, and asked him what was going on, and before he was able to answer his question a black man shot at him with a rifle, and then his master ran through the slaves, fleeing.” Meanwhile, the overseer, Carlos Larderet, fled with the plantation’s carpenter toward the neighboring property of Gerónimo Paire, where he too would soon meet the rebels again. The only one to lose his life at El Dichoso was Pérez’s brother-in-law, San-

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tiago Bellanger, who was allegedly murdered by one of Paire’s slaves, Santiago, though no other details are known about this particular event.45 After the hasty escape of Pérez and his employees, the only ones left at El Dichoso were the rebel slaves, the white women of the house, and Fouquier’s widow, María Luisa, and children.46 María Luisa’s observations provided a somewhat fragmented picture of what took place on this estate while the slaves were still there. According to her account, they began to destroy everything in the house, all the while dancing and celebrating. In the midst of everything, she summoned her slave Santiago Congo, whose job it had been to take her and her late husband to Matanzas for many years, and asked him why they had killed Fouquier. Santiago replied “in an arrogant tone of voice, turning his back on her in contempt while also dancing and jumping, that she should not talk to him since [Fouquier’s death] had not been his fault.”47 Later on, Cayetano, another of María Luisa’s slaves, touched her on the shoulder and told her “that she should be calm, that there was no solution, that all the whites, be they French, Spanish, or English, had to die without anyone interfering and that nothing would be done to the women.”48 Pérez’s wife, Justina Emilia Bellanger, stated that the slaves had entered looking for her husband, “saying that all the whites of Matanzas and of Havana were already dead.”49 From El Dichoso the insurgents went on to Gerónimo Paire’s La Amelia, from which some of the first slaves to rebel had come. Although there are many accounts of what happened on this estate, the most accurate was probably the one given by María Marta Gousson, Paire’s wife. She related that “daylight brought with it the arrival of many negroes to their plantation, named La Amelia, several of whom went to the room where she was lying. There five negroes pointed rifles at her and swore at her loudly, demanding money, gunpowder, and weapons.”50 While this was occurring, Paire and his son, Enrique, were driven into the main room of the house, where witnesses reported they were murdered. According to the statements given by Santiago, José de la Luz, and Paire’s wife, Paire received several machete blows from Lorenzo Lucumí. Andrés Mandinga, a slave of Pérez’s, added that he had found Paire “on the ground with an injury to his head, but that at the time he was still alive, and that he helped him to get up, and that then, almost falling over, Paire entered the house; but at the same time the slave Víctor, who was coming out of the house, shouted at him and compelled him to finish him off, but as he did not want to, Víctor did it himself with a machete.” Paire died, and apparently

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soon thereafter his son was hacked to death by a slave of Chatelain’s named Marcos.51 However, another version was given by a slave from La Amelia, who added that Enrique “was taken by the hand by the slave Víctor, and that although his owner’s wife pleaded with the aforementioned Víctor, he ignored her and ordered that he should be killed, which was then done by Lorenzo, who shot him with a rifle. Lorenzo then aimed at the girl, Enriqueta, though he was unable to kill her, as the black women put themselves between them.”52 On the La Amelia estate, standing out from the rest of the rebels were Lorenzo Lucumí, who killed Gerónimo Paire, and Víctor and Santiago, both slaves of Paire’s, the former for the murder of his master and his master’s son aided by Lorenzo, and the latter for being among those who encouraged the insurgents to take revenge on their masters. Santiago’s was certainly a special case, since he was the only one among the leaders of the rebellion who had any real knowledge about the political events that had taken place recently in the circum-Caribbean region, probably including the Haitian Revolution and the international ban on the trafficking of Africans. In fact, he was from New Orleans and spoke French perfectly; Fouquier’s slave Santiago Congo said that he could remember his namesake shouting “in French at [Fouquier’s] wife in her own home.”53 Even though the rebels did not attempt to assassinate María Luisa, as soon as she had a chance she fled with her two remaining children toward Fernando del Junco’s plantation, where she finally found shelter.54 The insurgents then headed from La Amelia toward Jorge Víctor Pelletier’s coffee plantation. Carlos Larderet, the overseer on El Dichoso, testified that upon arriving at La Amelia he had found the slaves destroying the furniture from the living quarters of the house, and that when they saw him, they had descended upon him, forcing him to flee toward Pelletier’s estate. When he reached the edge of the estate, Larderet, together with Pelletier and his uncle, Carlos Víctor Mansuit, had to face the insurgents until they were forced to flee again, this time each his own way.55 Just before these events took place, the news of what was happening on Paire’s plantation arrived at Pelletier and Mansuit’s estate, Santa Cecilia, thanks to Antonio Manuel Pérez, who warned his neighbors of the danger before going on to alert the local authorities. Having been informed of the uprising, rather than fleeing, Pelletier and Mansuit chose to go to the La Amelia plantation to find out what was happening there. On arrival, Pelletier and his slave San Gil moved Paire’s body and that of his son into the house, where only five slave women had remained.56

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While they were making their way back to Santa Cecilia, they came upon Pérez’s overseer, Carlos Larderet, and the insurgents, led by Lorenzo Lucumí, Andrés Mandinga, and Luis Carabalí, who were all chasing him. An intense fight began, from which the only one of the three white men to come away unharmed was Larderet; Mansuit was killed by Santiago of Paire, while Pelletier received a serious injury to the head from Luis Carabalí.57 Despite his injury, and with some of the rebels close behind him, Pelletier managed to escape. He sought refuge in the nearby estate of Francisco de Lima, but a few hours later he was moved to Bartlett’s La Carolina, where the conditions were more conducive to his recovery. Meanwhile, at daybreak the slaves headed to the adjoining plantation of Luis Juan María de Chatelain. Upon their arrival they found the main door of the house “well secured,” and they found no whites, for in advance of their arrival Antonio Manuel Pérez and one of Mansuit’s slaves, San Gil, had passed by and warned the owners of the danger.58 A few days later, Alejandro María de Chatelain, the plantation owner’s son, admitted that their lives had been saved as a result of San Gil’s timely warning.59 From Chatelain’s plantation, the rebel slaves went on to that of Juan Bautista Tosca, where they arrived at approximately 6:30 a.m.60 When they reached the estate, Tosca was working on a fence alongside a stream next to the house. According to a statement he made afterwards, he was “called by his wife, and when he turned his head . . . to see what she wanted, he saw that his house was full of negroes from outside the estate and that two of them were coming toward him with their rifles aimed at him.”61 Thanks to his wife’s timely warning, Tosca managed to flee to the nearby plantation of Felipe Jiménez. In the meantime, his wife hid behind a door, protected by two loyal slaves, until the rebels left. What is surprising about this particular incident is that the slaves protected their mistress following the orders of the plantation’s coach driver, Pablo Gangá, who was the main coordinator of the revolt. When questioned, María de la Luz Díaz, Tosca’s wife, commented that she had hidden herself at Pablo’s request while the slaves destroyed everything “with great enthusiasm.”62 Pablo’s behavior is analyzed in the following chapter; for now it is enough to say that as a result of his ambiguous conduct, this intelligent man managed to survive the onslaught to which many of his comrades succumbed, making it possible for him to orchestrate another plot two decades later. Once the rebels had departed, María de la Luz was able to go in search of her husband, whom she found a few hours later. The rebel troop’s next

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stop was the San Julián plantation, owned by Francisco Ubaldo Morejón. A little before the insurgents arrived, Morejón was warned about what was happening on the estates in the vicinity. At about 7:00 a.m., his neighbor Julián Rodríguez appeared at San Julián terrified and shouting desperately that he should save his family and that the slaves on the estates in the area “had turned against them and were chopping, burning, and killing.”63 On hearing the news, Morejón got his family out at once, armed his three workers, and fled in the direction of José de Arce’s tavern. On the way there, he warned several of his neighbors and then joined the dragoons unit that arrived at noon from Matanzas to quell the insurrection. San Julián was probably the worst hit of all the plantations attacked by the rebel slaves. Although no one died, a fire consumed the warehouse and the seven hundred pounds of coffee stored there, most of which had already been bagged. In addition, the flames destroyed “the crops, the mill, the carriage, the coach, a cart, and the plantation house.”64 After leaving the San Julián plantation, the insurgents went out onto the main road near an inn owned by José Saavedra, which they soon reached. The most reliable account of what took place there was that of Vicente Carabalí, a slave of Disdier and Gowen’s, who had been absent from his home since June 13. Even though he did not see everything, his statement was detailed enough to show how the events occurred: While he was hiding in the bushes, he heard the sound of people close by, and when he got closer to see who was there, he saw about thirteen or fourteen blacks walking along the road, some with machetes and others with clubs, and two others on horseback, each carrying a gun. He was afraid, and from the bushes he saw that the blacks went into a shop, after which two whites ran out. He saw that one of them seemed to get away, while the other one was caught by the blacks, who then killed him by hitting him with their machetes and clubs.65

The murder witnessed by this eighteen-year-old slave was that of the shop’s assistant, whose name was never revealed. The other man in the shop was Manuel Fernández, a resident in the area who was killed by José de la Luz Mandinga and Andrés Mandinga when he failed to escape.66 After provisioning themselves with the contents of the shop, “particularly the spirits,” the insurgents moved toward the Santa Ana coffee plantation, owned by Guillermo Webster and Ebenezer Sage.67 At about 8:00 a.m., prior

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to the rebels’ appearance, Francisco Ubaldo Morejón told Webster and the manager of the plantation, Esteban Rainy, what was taking place in the vicinity of their estate. Rainy immediately set off on horseback for the fields where the slaves were working.68 Having been informed of the danger, the overseer, Miguel Suárez, ordered all the slaves to abandon their machetes and quickly head for the plantation courtyard, with the intention of locking them up before the rebels arrived.69 On his return from the fields, Rainy saw immediately that the estate had been seized by the rebel slaves. He quickly realized that his life was at risk after being shot at three times while trying to get past the slaves on his horse. Before getting away, he was stopped by Félix Mandinga, a slave on the Santa Ana, who held on to one of his legs as another slave shouted, “Kill this devil, kill him.”70 The overseer, Suárez, also managed to save his own life, in much the same way as Rainy. Remembering what had happened that morning, Suárez “using both hands . . . managed to strike down two of the rebels from his own plantation and ran and jumped over a stone wall, which at the end meant that he was able to avoid being killed by them.”71 Guillermo Webster managed to get away in similar circumstances to those of his employees Rainy and Suárez, who escaped moments before he did.72 According to one of his slaves, Ramón Mandinga, “His master took a gun and threatened the blacks with it and retreated with his horse along the other path, since the main path was full of blacks from outside.” 73 However, Webster’s neighbor Samuel Bartlett, who was also the brother of the owners of the nearby La Carolina and La Isabela plantations, was not so lucky. Bartlett did not get the chance to escape the rebels’ attack and was fiercely hacked to death with machetes until his head and a hand were cut off.74 According to the testimonies compiled by the authorities during subsequent investigations, those found guilty of his murder were Félix Mandinga, owned by Webster, and Cayetano Gangá and Tom Mandinga Sosó, owned by Fouquier.75 Before leaving the Santa Ana plantation, the rebels, who by then seem to have been drinking freely, raided the warehouse and drank “all but ten bottles” of Ebenezer Sage’s port wine and “all Mrs. Sage’s Muscatel.”76 Back on the main road, the rebels split into two groups. The first group headed toward the nearby estate belonging to José Canes, El Consistorio, and the second group went first to Francisco Goitía’s plantation and then continued along the main road toward the Coliseo crossroads. It must have been the larger of the two groups that invaded El Consistorio, whose courtyard they

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found completely empty when they arrived. Canes testified “that it must have been about half past six or seven in the morning when he was out working with his slaves in the fields of the plantation and that Mr. Francisco Ubaldo Morejón arrived shouting at them that there was a slave uprising and that they were already on the move, and at that moment he ordered six negroes to take his wife from there”; meanwhile, he went on horseback toward Coliseo, where he joined the group that faced the rebels in front of José de Arce’s tavern.77 Under the leadership of Pablo Gangá, the smaller group invaded the El Carmelo coffee plantation, owned by Francisco Goitía. Reaching the plantation’s courtyard, the rebels found much the same situation that their comrades had encountered at El Consistorio: Goitía, warned by Alejandro Chatelain, had sent his slaves to Lagunillas and his family to a neighboring estate, and then he too had joined the group of white residents who would soon fight the slaves in front of José de Arce’s tavern.78 It was then that the insurgents were defeated. Despite the prestige that Lorenzo and Federico enjoyed among the slaves in the area, in twelve long hours the rebels’ ranks had barely swelled. According to subsequent calculations made by the authorities, at the time when the rebels arrived at Arce’s tavern, next to the Coliseo crossroads, the slaves numbered approximately 180. After leaving the plantations owned by Canes and Goitía, the two groups of slaves came together once again and headed toward the crossroads. A group of area residents had assembled there and were waiting for the insurgents to arrive. Although the documents repeatedly claim that there were only four men to stop the slaves, all the evidence suggests that there were many more. According to various statements, Fernando del Junco, José Canes, Captain Andrés Ximénez, José Zamora, Dionisio Bermúdez, and José de Arce were among those present.79 When the rebel slaves arrived at the crossroads, they found Francisco Goitía waiting for them outside the tavern. According to statements made days later by some of the surviving slaves, Goitía “urged them to calm down, but when he saw that he was achieving nothing and the two slaves named Lorenzo and Pablo Gangá fired two shots at him, he fled with the whites who were with him.”80 While this was taking place, a group of slaves entered the tavern and set fire to it. Led by Goitía, the residents of the area barricaded themselves on the top floor of José de Arce’s house, which was next door to the tavern, and from there they began to fire at the rebels, reducing their numbers significantly. The

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rebels were forced to retreat and seek refuge in the adjacent scrublands. At the very instant that they began to withdraw, a troop of soldiers and residents appeared at the top of the road and charged them, dispersing the remaining slaves across the nearby plantations.

t h e co u n t e r at tack Hunting Down the Rebel Slaves Chasing and killing all those who were found with weapons and who made use of them: and without any difficulty we would have had the satisfaction of exterminating them or catching them all. —andrés máximo oliver, 1825

Although this attack successfully broke up the group of rebels, it did not prevent those slaves who managed to escape from forming new groups and continuing to loot the surrounding estates. What happened on the plantations owned by Enrique and Jorge Bartlett, Pedro Chapeau, Enrique Disdier and Guillermo Gowen, Gaspar Hernández, Lemuel Taylor, and Antonio Gómez in the hours following the counterattack can also be considered part of the rebellion. However, before examining these events in depth, it is necessary to be aware of how the colonial authorities reacted when faced with the threat of a large-scale uprising. Shortly before daybreak the news of the uprising had spread among the inhabitants of Guamacaro. The residents had charged themselves, with the help of some slaves, with the responsibility of warning others of the perilous situation they were all in. Early in the morning, both Captain Andrés Ximénez and the captain of the jurisdiction of Guamacaro, Andrés Máximo Oliver, wrote to the governor of Matanzas urgently requesting help.81 Both notes were written at approximately 8:00 a.m., in two different parts of the area. Ximénez’s note, which was hastily written on a torn piece of paper, was exceptionally precise about the threat facing the inhabitants of the area: Right now it is eight o’clock in the morning, and we are in this place in the Sumidero area in the biggest predicament, since the slaves of Fouquier and many other plantations have rebelled, and despite our efforts, they have burned down some of the estates and caused some deaths. We hope that Your Excellency will help us to control these disorders.82

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When Oliver’s and Ximénez’s notes reached Matanzas later that morning, the governor, Cecilio Ayllón, who was the intended recipient, was absent. Provisionally in his place was Infantry Colonel Manuel de Castilla y Armenteros. It was he who took the first steps to get the situation under control and who dictated the appropriate measures to stop the rebellion from spreading and growing. At 11:00 a.m. Castilla y Armenteros sent word to Captain General Francisco Dionisio Vives informing him of the situation. Despite being written in Matanzas, this letter was no less urgent in its tone than those of Oliver and Ximénez. In it, Castilla y Armenteros included the content of the other messages, which he had obtained by word of mouth, and the measures that he had taken so that order could be reestablished immediately. Castilla y Armenteros reported that he had immediately sent in the American dragoons, as well as a police troop on horseback, and that he had taken as many steps as he had deemed “necessary to ensure the safety of the public and to avoid any disastrous results that might arise if a similar attack were to become more potent.”83 Thereafter he asked the captain general most insistently for all the help that he could give to defend the city in view of the very limited armed forces at his disposal. Some hours later, a more relaxed Castilla y Armenteros wrote to Vives notifying him that the rebellion had died down and that Matanzas’s safety had been reinforced by a sergeant and fourteen men from the war brigantine Marte, which was anchored in the harbor. He had received additional help from the captain of the port, Luis de Vera, who had appeared with twenty men ready for battle. Before noon the provisional governor had placed armed forces on both sides of the city, as far east as the Morrillo Castle in Canímar and as far west as Peñas Altas.84 With the resistance of the residents of Guamacaro, assisted by the dragoons of Matanzas, the rebellion was finally quashed. The slaves scattered over the nearby plantations, and although many started out on their own, in the days following their defeat many fugitives formed groups that rumbled across the district, causing all sorts of damage. A fairly large group headed for the estates owned by Gaspar Hernández, Jorge Bartlett, Lemuel Taylor, and Pedro Chapeau, where they continued looting and murdering. On the edge of Gaspar Hernández’s sugar plantation, El Consistorio, a clash took place between the sugar master, José de la Luz Nodarse, and Tosca’s slave Pedro José Mandinga. Although the latter had fled with a group of slaves after the defeat at the crossroads of Coliseo, by the time he fought the sugar master of El Consistorio he was alone. During the short exchange of blows, Nodarse injured the slave with his machete and then captured him and turned

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him over to the authorities.85 After the rebels disbanded, the largest of the residual groups was the one that headed northward and invaded the estates belonging to Taylor, Chapeau, and Jorge Bartlett. Soon after their defeat in Coliseo, this group appeared on Bartlett’s La Carolina attempting to recruit men in order to resume the insurrection. To do this, the leaders, Román and Cristóbal, owned by Taylor, and Félix, owned by Webster and Sage, spread the rumor that “the whites were going to kill all the blacks, so they had to flee to save their lives.”86 Some of the slaves from this plantation left with the fugitives and returned to Coliseo. The next plantation to come under attack from this group was Santa Amalia, owned by Lemuel Taylor. According to some of the statements provided by witnesses, Taylor fought the insurgents alone with a rifle and a four-barreled gun before escaping on horseback.87 A few days after the event, Jos Howland described Taylor’s bravery in a letter sent to the United States: Taylor escaped by a wonderful presence of mind added to great firmness, he was warned of his danger and had locked all his negroes inside de house just as part of those who left St Anna came to his plantation. He was armed with his gun and pistols and with his own negroes in the rear, he found the revolters [sic] and held them at bay some minutes, threatening to shoot the first 3 or 4 who should approach him. Most fortunately at that moment 3 or 4 white men armed came galloping up, when the negroes fled and left him in quiet possession of the ground.88

Taylor, who was imprisoned a few months later for failing to pay some of his debts, explained from his cell in Matanzas how he had behaved when he had faced the rebel slaves: You know it, and almost all the inhabitants of the island know it; I was busy working when the negroes’ uprising took place. I then left the plough and took up the sword and resisted the invaders in a very difficult and bloody battle against them, leading my own slaves to repel the rebels; I did not allow myself to be frightened by the huge crowd nor by seeing at my feet the dead white stonemason who was helping me. My tactfulness prevents me from accepting merit for my good actions but allows me to remind you that I am presenting this from prison, where I find myself . . . among wrongdoers.89

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From Taylor’s plantation the rebels went on to the adjacent one owned by Pedro Chapeau. There, José Milson, a stonemason who was working at the estate that day, was murdered. According to the statement given by one of Jorge Bartlett’s slaves, Luisa, Milson was near the estate’s pond washing his horse when he was attacked. Attempting to escape, he was caught by Webster’s slave Félix, who was the first to strike him with his machete. The rest of the group joined in and hacked the stonemason with their machetes until “he was in little pieces.”90 The other stonemason working at Taylor’s plantation that day, James Mahoney, managed to escape while avoiding shots fired at him by the rebels. Mahoney would later lament that although he had tried his best, he had not managed to save the life of his friend Milson.91 In the meantime, the soldiers from Matanzas began their search for the fugitives. The inhabitants of the area quickly came together in groups to help them, and in this way, in the following hours and days, the groups led by Andrés Máximo Oliver, José Martínez, Dionisio Bermúdez, Carlos Ghersi, and Domingo Armona began to operate. Soon after dispersing the rebels, José Martínez would write to the governor of Matanzas from Limonar: It is two o’clock in the afternoon, and returning from the search for the insurgent slaves, I am informing you that up until now they have been chased and some have died, though it has not been possible to prevent several murders and fires, as well as the joining of slaves from three or four farms, from Coliseo, and from the Sumidero.92

Together with this short missive, Martínez sent a green military jacket of the kind used by the dragoons. The jacket had been taken from Fouquier’s slave Cayetano Gangá, who was one of the leaders of the rebellion and who was said to have fallen that afternoon in the sown fields of the Santa Amalia plantation, owned by Taylor.93 The following morning, Oliver sent news of the apparent calm existing in the region.94 Nevertheless, the situation was far from being so. The groups of residents and the dragoons from Matanzas did not rest until they had killed and captured the majority of the fugitives.95 Many of the encounters with the runaway slaves were violent and led to the death of those slaves who would not surrender. While the temporary governor of Matanzas gave orders to begin judicial proceedings in the provincial capital,96 in Guamacaro, Carlos Ghersi, the captain of one of the groups of slave hunters, carefully explained what had hap-

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pened in the hours following the uprising. In his report, Ghersi wrote that he had buried the bodies of Gerónimo and Enrique Paire, Juan Fouquier, Antonio Canuet, and Santiago Bellanger. According to the news that he had been able to gather, there had been approximately ten deaths and three injuries among the whites and forty deaths among the blacks. He also said that he had been presented with six fugitive slaves who claimed to be innocent, and he praised the courage with which the second lieutenant of the Matanzas dragoons, Domingo Urúe, had dealt with the situation.97 Ghersi was the first to give a report of the chronological sequence of the events on June 15. In this communication, full of errors, he inaccurately stated that the uprising had begun on Fouquier’s plantation, that Jorge Víctor Pelletier had been assassinated, and that the ringleaders had been “two free black men called Cristóbal Carabalí and Tomás Carabalí, who were both slave drivers on that plantation,” together with Chatelain’s slave Lorenzo Lucumí.98 The two most noteworthy elements of the 1825 slave rebellion are the indiscriminate use of violence and the many direct and indirect references to Africa that appear in the documents produced as a direct result of it. Despite being slaves on coffee plantations, a condition that in theory guaranteed them a better life than the slaves who worked on sugar estates enjoyed, these men carried within them a deep bitterness toward the whites who owned and governed them. The reason for their extreme behavior must be discerned if the real character of this movement is to be properly assessed and determined. Another important question has to do with the fact that during the first half of the nineteenth century at least as many, if not more, slave movements took place on coffee plantations as on sugar estates, even though the latter vastly outnumbered the former in western Cuba.99 The fact was that for a long period of time Lorenzo, Federico, Pablo, and the majority of their comrades had the opportunity to move from estate to estate in the region, talking and plotting as much as they liked and needed. Their day-to-day living conditions, in spite of their being rural slaves, were by no means the worst in Cuba at the time. However, their excessive use of violence throughout the twelve-hour revolt contrasts suspiciously with this “benign” way of life. This behavior may have had two main causes. First, the freedom of movement enjoyed by the slaves, often granted by their owners, gave them the opportunity to organize and draw up a plan intended to regain control of the land, to obtain freedom, and—what was most important to them, necessary for obtaining these first two objectives—to kill their enemies

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the whites. To them waging war against the whites was a must if they were to achieve their goals. The second cause is nothing more than a supplement to the first. The Africans’ knowledge of the world and traditions, recreated and redefined in their new home, would always be a part of them. These African traditions are evident in their actions and their warlike behavior. The use of symbols of war, such as hats decorated with cock feathers and the military and civilian clothes taken from the estates of their owners; the respect for women; the beating of the African drums before and during the rebellion; the dancing and jumping; and the ruthless murders of their victims had probably been learned at a very early age in far-off Africa. Their knowledge of war had been obtained from constant and deep conflicts between different peoples of Africa south of the Sahara at the turn of the nineteenth century.100 With particular reference to the African links between slaves in the New World, John K. Thornton has stated: African military service had been the route by which many, if not most, of the recently arrived Africans became slaves in the first place, since so many people had been enslaved as a result of war. Under these circumstances, their military performance may not be as remarkable as historians have assumed. As ex-soldiers and veterans of African wars, they may have needed little more than the opportunity to serve again, in a rather different form of war in America.101

After being defeated at the Coliseo crossroads, the rebels, now in full retreat, fled in the direction of the neighboring estates, finding their way through the hills of El Sumidero and El Sabanazo. From this moment on, the roles were reversed. The slave rebels began to be hunted down, attacked, and repressed by the authorities and white inhabitants of the region. The story of the aftermath of the rebellion had just begun.


Trials and Murders Different Interpretations of the Law Repression and the proper punishment of crimes are essential elements for the conservation of the people. —claudio martínez de pinillos, 1830


uring the days that followed the uprising, the authorities, aided by the fervent support of the local residents, unleashed a wave of repressive measures that ranged from arrests to illegal summary executions. The large number of letters exchanged between the slave-hunting parties, local residents, officers in charge of the investigation, the governor of Matanzas, the officers at the Military Commission headquarters in Havana, and Captain General Vives himself are invaluable sources of information about the repression and court procedures against the rebel slaves. The documents produced by the colonial government and the Military Commission are the best sources for the study of the insurrection. Although colonial authorities were eager to downplay the historical significance of the event almost from the moment they began questioning the rebels, the thoughts, actions, and ideas of the latter were sketched sometimes in detail and other times only barely. Thus, the voices of the rebels, though filtered by the prosecutors, secretaries, and colonial officers, can be occasionally discerned. Sometimes, when their depositions were literally transcribed, making them accurate pieces of historical evidence, these voices are clear. Other times, when secretaries used predesigned formulae or transcribed what they thought was relevant and discarded the rest, the voices are more difficult to recognize. All in all, a thorough and systematic reading between the lines of every deposition while keeping the context in mind helps us understand what the words of these men and women, interrogated under very harsh conditions, possibly including torture, may have meant. The morning after the revolt was crushed, Manuel Castilla y Armenteros, 120

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acting governor of Matanzas, ordered his officers to learn as much as possible about the leaders of the movement, their aims, any possible accomplices from outside the district, and any other matters relating to the disturbing episode. Castilla y Armenteros entrusted this mission to the old and experienced officer Félix de Acosta, who, accompanied by his secretary, Joaquín de la Fuente, immediately headed to Guamacaro and began interrogating anyone involved in the events of the previous day.1 His first witnesses were two slaves, Guillermo Congo, a slave on Guillermo Gowen’s coffee plantation, and San Gil, a slave belonging to Carlos Mansuit. On June 18, what until that moment had only constituted a thought became a near certainty that put the authorities in Matanzas and Havana on alert. During his interrogation San Gil, helped by two interpreters, declared that far from being spontaneous, the uprising had been carefully planned for at least a month before it broke out. As soon as San Gil revealed his knowledge of a premeditated plot, the governor of Matanzas, Cecilio Ayllón, who was once again in charge of the province, wrote an anxious letter to Captain General Vives highlighting his suspicions about the existence of “a combined plan with the colored people of this city, Havana, and buelta de abajo [sic] and that in order to carry it out they had been acquiring gunpowder and bullets for some time, taking advantage of the slaves that come and go from their estates to the towns and villages, buying and selling stuff.”2 Thus, Vives’s fears of an international conspiracy to snatch the island from the hands of Spain seemed to be justified. The captain general was so certain that something was going on beyond the coffee fields of Guamacaro that he let everyone know his thoughts about this possible plot. In a letter sent to the governor of Matanzas he confessed, “I have reason to believe that the movement is the work of our enemies, always tireless in their endeavors to bring ruin and destruction to this ever loyal island.”3 Until then Vives had been convinced that there was nothing to fear from the slaves living on the island. As we have seen, the first months of 1825 were a difficult period for the captain general, who had been continually on alert, expecting an imminent invasion from those he called his “enemies.” Just a month earlier he had written about the desires for independence among the Creole middle classes, while dismissing any idea of a serious menace to the stability of the island unless “a force of six to eight thousand men from abroad came to aid the revolutionaries.”4 In another letter, written a week later, he had been more precise, referring to his fear that only a “powerful Colombian force” could change the situ-

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ation in Cuba; even if the Cubans were eager to achieve independence from Spain, he claimed, they were reluctant to do anything on their own because they were afraid of “their negroes.”5 Convinced as he was of an international plot against the “ever loyal island” on his watch, Vives resolved to pass all the information in his possession to the president of the recently created Military Commission, Luis Michelena.6 Following Vives’s request, Michelena ordered the prosecutor Pablo Rosete to pay a visit to Lieutenant Francisco de Sentmanat y Zayas, who was being held at the Morro Castle awaiting trial for treason against the Spanish Crown. On Rosete’s agenda there was only one item, namely, to find out whether there was any relationship, however minimal, between Sentmanat y Zayas and the rebel slaves of Guamacaro. Probably under heavy pressure, Sentmanat y Zayas confessed barely twenty-four hours later that indeed there was a well-organized conspiracy to free the island of Cuba from Spanish colonial domination.7 According to him, the commander general of the province of Yucatán, Ignacio Mora, had been in charge of this plot from the beginning. Mora had had the tacit support of the president of the newly established Mexican Republic. Sentmanat y Zayas admitted the existence of “a secret plot known as the Black Eagle,” whose only purpose was to “[attract] the people of color of this island.”8 Not surprisingly, then, Vives commented soon after to the British Mixed Commission judge in Havana, Henry Theo Kilbee, that he had strong reasons to believe that there was a link between the rebel slaves and the plotters based on the Yucatán Peninsula. Kilbee’s letter to the Foreign Office leaves no doubt as to Vives’s feelings on the subject: “Genl. Vives, however, told me the other day that he had traced to the Mexican Govt. or at least to the Campeche branch of it, a plan of organizing insurrection among the people of colour here; and that a secret association had been introduced, called the order of the Black Eagle.”9 To a certain extent Vives was right to fear an attack from Campeche. Although both he and Martínez de Pinillos referred on more than one occasion to the possibility of facing an invasion from Colombian revolutionaries, it was in Mexico that an expeditionary army to force the Spanish out of Cuba took shape in early 1825.10 For the Mexicans, or at least for General Antonio López de Santa Anna, this was the only way of guaranteeing the absolute independence of Mexico, where the Spanish still held the fortress of San Juan de Ulúa in Veracruz.11 On March 7, López de Santa Anna addressed the troops stationed in Campeche and called on them to deliver “a country of brothers”

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from Spanish oppression. This call to arms alone was enough to justify Captain General Vives’s apprehensive behavior during these months: Soldiers! You are going to perform for your country a most important service. . . . You are about to secure the independence of this republic forever, as well as that of the island of Cuba. Soldiers! The nation entrusts to your valor and virtue the destiny of thousands. I cannot doubt but that 1500 men, animated with intentions like yours, will be enough to intimidate and even vanquish the handful of mercenary soldiers, whom the Captain General of that island can count upon.12

Despite the efforts of Vives, Michelena, and Rosete, the repeated interrogations of Sentmanat y Zayas did not establish any real link between the conspirators based in Veracruz and the slave rebels of Guamacaro, and even Vives was forced to accept that at least for the time being these were two different threats to the stability of the island and needed to be treated as such. In fact, as time went by, the hypothesis of a plot that involved people from Matanzas, Havana, and the Yucatán government lost any credibility in the eyes of the colonial authorities charged with discovering the leaders and the real motives behind the movement.13

As Captain General Vives struggled to prove his theories in the relative safety of Havana, the situation in the Matanzas countryside continued to be tortuous. Fugitive slaves were still being hunted, and those who were captured by the slave-hunting parties and the colonial militia were sent to the provincial capital, Matanzas, where they were subjected to tough interrogation sessions and in some cases to torture in the La Vigía fortress, the Consulado building, the Cataluña Battalion’s headquarters, and the city prison. On June 20 Ayllón wrote to Vives describing the situation in Matanzas and Guamacaro. He described a series of events that had occurred in the days immediately following the uprising. Fear runs through Ayllón’s letter, in which he begged Vives for a fast and exemplary punishment for all those involved. Distancing himself from Vives’s suspicions of an international conspiracy, Ayllón reminded the captain general of the real possibility that an agreement between the slaves and the free coloreds had been the main force behind the rebellion. Ayllón informed Vives about the measures he had taken to keep

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the city and its countryside under the tightest possible control. To the existing troops under the command of Castilla y Armenteros he had added a sergeant, two corporals, and twenty-four soldiers to block the strategically central crossing over the Canímar River. He had also appointed a corporal and ten dragoons to transport the slave prisoners from Guamacaro to Matanzas and to speed up investigations.14 Ayllón begged Vives to appoint a section of the recently created Military Commission to take over the investigation, since “if the paperwork were speeded up, the costs of the proceedings would be little or none, which would undoubtedly benefit those who have suffered the loss of their parents and relatives and the destruction of their possessions.”15 The morning of the twentieth, at the same time that Ayllón was writing to Vives, his envoy, Félix de Acosta, was in Guamacaro interrogating all those involved in or affected by the insurrection there. Acosta methodically called plantation owners and their relatives, white employees, slaves, and residents to appear before him and questioned them closely in an attempt to discover the origins and further developments of the uprising. To accomplish his task, Acosta was forced to ride his horse from estate to estate, crossing roads where some of the rebel slaves were still at large and where he spotted the unburied corpses of some of the victims.16 On June 21, Lieutenant Colonel Domingo Armona, who had been sent to Mantanzas by Vives expressly “to suffocate the mutiny,”17 captured the two slave drivers from Juan Fouquier’s coffee plantation, Cristóbal and Tomás, both Carabalís, who earlier had been accused of leading the movement. Both were African-born ex-slaves who, despite having been freed by their owner, had continued to work for him in very much the same way that they had before. Surprisingly, there is very little information in the investigation paperwork about these two men. Most of the slaves belonging to Fouquier’s plantation considered Cristóbal and Tomás their equals in spite of the two men’s recently acquired freedom.18 Presumably Cristóbal and Tomás were summarily executed soon after being captured by the soldiers under Armona’s command. In a terse note written from the Amistad coffee plantation, near the Limonar road, Armona described how the prisoners had tried to escape, forcing his men to shoot them on the spot. Although Armona apologized profusely, he also boasted of having done his job by killing them, a punishment he considered more than adequate for their crimes.19 What Armona could not foresee was the response to his men’s daring actions among the authorities in charge of the investigation. Castilla y Armenteros

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was the first to lament the consequences of the execution of Cristóbal Carabalí and Tomás Carabalí, which would deprive them of the important depositions of both slave drivers, considered to be among the leaders of the revolt, if not of the conspiracy. In a letter sent directly to Captain General Vives, Castilla y Armenteros said that he had reprimanded Armona and warned him to avoid any future actions of this type, which in his eyes were totally unnecessary.20 José Ildefonso Suárez, the general adviser to the Military Commission, reacted even more strongly. He called the actions of Armona and his men “an abuse of arms, the most barbarous that could be committed and deserving of the most severe of punishments.” Suárez promised to be tough with anyone who followed Armona’s example and issued orders to proceed immediately to investigate the veracity of Armona’s words, “arresting the culprits so that they can be judged by the same Military Commission in a separate trial.”21 The following day, José Cadaval, the new president of the Military Commission, passed Suárez’s letter to the captain general, echoing Suárez’s opinion that Armona’s men had been rash in assassinating Tomás and Cristóbal. In fact, Cadaval not only supported Suárez but implicitly encouraged Vives to take action.22 That same day, Cadaval ordered the Military Commission officers in Matanzas to question Armona and his men. The report written by Prosecutor Lamadriz after the interrogation of First Sergeant José del Castillo confirmed that Armona’s men had acted rashly. As a result, Cadaval agreed to put del Castillo and the four soldiers involved in the incident on trial.23 Suárez’s and Cadaval’s interest in the matter eventually waned, partly because of inadequate funding and partly because of insufficient personnel to investigate the event. Just a few days later, Armona sent three other slave prisoners to Matanzas in an effort to make up for his earlier blunder. Among them was Francisco Criollo of Morejón, the supposed link between Pablo Gangá and the Carabalí slaves from La Hermita.24 A week after the uprising took place, many slaves were still at large in the foothills of Sumidero and Sabanazo or among the coffee fields on the plains. Although the situation was under control, in Matanzas Ayllón was far from calm. On June 22 he reluctantly obeyed Vives’s order to return most of the cannons he had in Matanzas to Havana for the defense of the city: “I am sending in the steamship Neptuno two of the three cannons that in the present circumstances I consider extremely necessary here; but seeing your orders from yesterday, I have no other alternative but to meet my obligations and send them to you.”25 On the twenty-third, to Ayllón’s bewilderment, Vives went even further and ordered the disbandment of the militias and groups of

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residents who had been chasing and capturing the remaining runaway slaves. In compensation, and to quell Ayllón’s fears, the captain general issued orders to the police of Matanzas and the party under Armona’s command to continue the persecution of the fugitives until all of them were captured and brought to Matanzas to face trial.26

In the following days these two groups continued to hunt down, capture, and sometimes kill slaves throughout the region. On June 26 the main leader of the insurrection, Lorenzo Lucumí, was rounded up and killed. Apparently, Lorenzo had remained isolated after the skirmish in front of José de Arce’s tavern, at the Coliseo crossroads, which had resulted in the dispersion of the rebels. He had been drifting aimlessly for a week since the defeat of the rebels when he was spotted by Dionisio Bermúdez’s men in the foothills of Sabanazo. Soon after Lorenzo was killed, Bermúdez wrote that “he had had to give the order to open fire because when they surrounded him, he had refused to surrender and had confronted them with a machete and a knife, with the result that he had been killed by a bullet.” 27 The afternoon of the same day, another seven slaves were sent to the jail in Matanzas to face trial for insubordination.28 The morning of the twenty-seventh, one of Gaspar Hernández’s slaves, Gregorio, was found dead “with two handkerchiefs and hanging from a güira tree.”29 A few hours later, the authorities found another slave hanged. It was Alejandro Carabalí, one of the slaves supposedly involved in the plot at the La Hermita coffee plantation.30 Almost simultaneously, in the foothills of Limones, Dionisio Bermúdez and his men came across Federico Carabalí, another of the main leaders of the movement. After offering stern resistance, Federico climbed up a tree “wielding a knife and shouting that he would murder anyone who came close to him and that he would not be caught alive.” His resolve to fight to the end led Bermúdez to order his men to shoot him. Eventually Federico was wounded by a bullet, fell from the tree, and was killed by the dogs Bermúdez had brought with him.31 That same day, León Carabalí was assassinated at Antonio Gómez’s coffee plantation. León had probably decided to return to the plantation because he was tired of fleeing. He was shot by the overseer when, apparently, he refused to surrender after being summoned to do so.32 Something similar happened the same afternoon in the courtyard of the Campana coffee plantation, where

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the owner, Rafael Zamora, killed with his saber another fugitive, Miguel Carabalí of Gómez, who had been involved in the insurrection from the start.33

In the meantime, Captain General Vives had finally come to terms with the fact that Ayllón was only coping with the situation. Vives ordered the president of the Military Commission to dispatch some of his men as soon as possible to replace the local authorities in charge of the interrogations. As soon as the order reached him, Michelena asked to be relieved of his duties, alleging health problems.34 Michelena had tried to quit his position three months earlier for similar reasons. Furthermore, the speaker of the Military Commission, Joaquín Gascué, simultaneously renounced his post, citing his many responsibilities as the main reason for his decision.35 This time Vives accepted Michelena’s resignation and named his second in command of the island, the recently ascended Brigadier José Cadaval (who was already segundo cabo and teniente del rey), as the new president.36 According to Jacobo de la Pezuela, Cadaval was named president of the Military Commission in recognition of his active role in the uncovering and repression of the Conspiracy of the Soles y Rayos de Bolívar in 1823.37 Once his appointment was approved, Cadaval lost no time in writing to the governor of Matanzas that from that moment on, the Military Commission would be in charge of the investigation. He also requested that all existing documents and prisoners be put at the disposal of the prosecutors traveling to Matanzas in the following days.38 All of this came as a relief to Ayllón. As soon as Cadaval’s orders arrived, he sent all the documents gathered by Félix de Acosta the previous week to the Military Commission and transferred the custody of the prisoners to the officers under Cadaval’s command. That same day, José Ildefonso Suárez produced his first report on the uprising. In a melodramatic tone he addressed both Vives and Cadaval: “Scenes like those considered by my imagination have filled me with anguish and pain, witnessing the innocent victims who perished at the hands of their own servants. They have obliged me to consider the path that this Commission should follow in order to administer the right punishment to such barbarous and cruel men.”39 In Suárez’s view, all those involved in the insurrection deserved nothing less than the harshest punishment. However, he reminded Vives and Cadaval that those slaves who had helped thwart the revolt and those who had intervened to save their owners’ lives should be generously rewarded.40

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It should be borne in mind that Suárez’s preliminary report was one of the first ever to be written by him as general adviser to the Military Commission. As Suárez was well aware, every word set a precedent for future trials. Not surprisingly, his initial conclusions were extremely measured. He called on the authorities and residents to continue to keep their good judgment and to avoid taking justice into their own hands while chasing and capturing the slaves still at large. Both Vives and Cadaval probably found his careful words at such a turbulent moment too detached from reality, although they knew that Suárez’s real intention was to stop the indiscriminate killings and thus allow the officers of the Military Commission to do their work of examining and punishing the rebels. The final question in his report was the clearest sign yet that he was truly interested in uncovering the motives behind the uprising and in avoiding more summary executions like those of the slave drivers Tomás and Cristóbal: “What will this country gain from hanging twenty negroes who murdered their owners if we do not uncover the real reasons that led this event to occur, ignoring the source of that same evil?”41 Suárez’s words were taken very seriously by both Vives and Cadaval. The latter in particular wanted to do a good job. After all, this was the first big criminal investigation the recently created Military Commission had had to deal with, and the prestige of the commission as well as his own were at stake. On July 5 Cadaval asked the military prosecutors Francisco Xavier Lamadriz and Anastasio Castellanos to take over the case.42 They traveled to Matanzas and began interrogating the rebels, victims, and witnesses, with immediate effect.43 On July 13 the captain general published a pamphlet entitled Circular á toda la isla y capitanías de esta jurisdicción. In this pamphlet Vives once again alerted the population of the island about the international conspiracy he believed was being organized by the enemies of Spain, who wanted “to reduce the prosperous island to ashes.” He praised the ways in which local authorities had been dealing with problems and guaranteed that as long as they continued to fulfill their duties and obey his orders, the island would be safe and remain Spanish. Particular attention should be given to Vives’s regulations concerning the surveillance of slaves on rural estates. In the specific case of Matanzas his steps were radical. He ordered the local judges to issue reports every eight days on the state of the areas under their command, in addition to the already customary monthly reports. Vives assured the population that these measures were designed to guarantee the “peace and internal calm” of the island.44 During their first month in charge of the investigation, the Military Com-

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mission prosecutors did little. Castellanos, one of the prosecutors named by Cadaval, had to be replaced on July 25, only a few weeks after taking up his post, because of serious health problems.45 His replacement was the rising star of the Military Commission, Prosecutor Francisco Seidel.46 As soon as Seidel arrived in Matanzas, he wrote a letter to Cadaval complaining about the lack of organization in the Military Commission headquarters in that city.47 Over the next six days Seidel and his secretary, Lorenzo Baltanás, spent most of their time organizing the documents produced until that moment as part of the criminal case.48 In this task they were helped by the other prosecutor in charge, Francisco Xavier Lamadriz, and his secretary, Tomás Ángel.49 On August 7, after reading everything he and Seidel had been able to collect, Lamadriz wrote an official report in which he attempted to address the main questions related to the insurrection. His conclusions were given in the form of questions and answers. Given below are the questions, followed by summaries of the answers: What were the aims of the rebels? To kill all the whites and to gain their freedom. According to Lamadriz, there was no reason to believe that the rebels had in mind the constitution of a government or an organized army. Why did the rebels not take the road to Matanzas? The main reason, in Lamadriz’s view, was the defeat they had suffered in front of José de Arce’s tavern at the Coliseo crossroads. However, a few lines below, he contradicted himself, emphasizing that from the start the movements of the rebels had been inconsistent and erratic and recognizing that had they been interested in heading toward Matanzas, they could have done it when they came to the road near Morejón’s plantation. Why did the rebels lack places to retreat to and hide in the case of defeat? For Lamadriz, this was the most difficult question to answer. If, as he believed— correctly—a plot had preceded the uprising, then the plotters should have planned in advance what to do in case they failed. Ultimately, Lamadriz resolved to try to find out more about this subject. Why were there not enough witnesses, when the rebellion had had an unambiguous public nature? To this question Lamadriz replied with a well-known historical example: “The experience shows us that the most public places, where crowds regularly gather, are precisely where witnesses are sometimes most difficult to find, as happened with the assassination of King Henry IV of France, who was killed while inside his coach, accompanied by the Duke of Espernomio and surrounded by his guards. The king was stabbed without

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anyone noticing the event, and it is well accepted by historians that had the murderer picked the dagger up from the floor with a little more care, no one would have been able to testify about the crime.”50 Were the rebels guided by others, or was the uprising planned entirely by the participants? On this matter Lamadriz had no doubts. In his eyes the uprising “was only the work of the negroes from the coffee plantations” and had been carried out with “the blunders, lack of skills, and cowardice that are characteristic of them.”51 It is worth examining these five questions. To begin with, the aims of the Guamacaro rebels resemble those of the vast majority of African-led slave movements that occurred in the New World throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.52 These aims, repeated time and again across the Americas, were the assassination of all the oppressing whites, the appropriation of the land previously owned by the whites they intended to kill, and consequently the attainment of freedom.53 The absence of a plan for ruling the island if they succeeded in overcoming the whites demonstrates the shortsightedness of the leaders, who had concentrated their efforts on defeating the whites and left all other essential decisions for later. To Lamadriz, Seidel, and their colleagues, their lack of planning was bizarre. Educated within Western cultural parameters, they could not understand how Africans regarded warfare and society in general.54 They struggled to grasp West Africans’ patterns of behavior and their understanding of the world around them. Regarding the lack of places to which to retreat in case of defeat, there are various theories. The most likely explanation is that in case of defeat, African slaves—who constituted the overwhelming majority of the rebels—may have regarded suicide as their only way out.55 As already stated, many of the rebels battled the colonial militia and resident groups to the very end. Others committed suicide, believing that they would return to their homelands, where they would be born again. Another plausible explanation is that they had planned to flee to the mountains and remain there as maroons, enjoying a life of freedom away from the plantations. The absence of witnesses was probably a consequence of the fear among the slaves of testifying against their rebel companions, many of whom were violent men who could walk free after the trials and come back to the plantations looking for revenge. Another likely explanation is that the slaves who were captured and subjected to interrogations had friends and relatives among

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those who had nothing to do with the uprising and would never testify against them. Finally, the death of many of the rebel slaves, including most of the leaders, deprived the authorities of innumerable details that might have shed light on the plot and the revolt. When it came to the Guamacaro revolt, Lamadriz’s digressions also served to reject, once and for all, any suggestion of its association with an international plot to overthrow the Spanish colonial domination in Cuba. The actions of the rebel slaves and a considerable amount of evidence obtained during the interrogatories point toward what Genovese called a “traditionalist” and “escapist” rebellion deeply influenced by the use of African warfare organization and tactics.56

On August 9, Lieutenant Francisco de la Guardia forwarded a list of the estates that had been affected by the insurrection to Seidel.57 With this list and the map of the region drawn a few days earlier by Castilla y Armenteros, Seidel and Lamadriz began to evaluate the damages caused by the rebels and the best way to deal with them.58 Seidel and Lamadriz had another serious issue to deal with: they had to raise the funds necessary to carry out the trial-related investigations and to record their findings. The colonial government in Havana seemed reluctant to cover the expenses. Ayllón’s position had been clear from the moment he suggested the establishment of a section of the Military Commission in Matanzas to speed up the process and reduce the costs of the investigation. Finally, the affected residents were in no position to help with the costs. Some had lost part of their labor force, others their buildings or harvests, and in the worst cases close relatives. By mid-August, just days after arriving in Matanzas to replace Castellanos, Seidel was voicing his concern that the available funds were inadequate to proceed with the investigations. On August 13 the diligent prosecutor requested authorization from the president of the Military Commission to employ second- and third-class prisoners in the construction work in the public square in Matanzas, in return alleviating the expenses related to their daily subsistence.59 Seidel also took a hard line in dealings with his own people when he questioned the role of the authorities of Matanzas and the Military Commission up to that moment. His assessment was unambiguous: those in charge had been “apprehending negroes, accumulating paperwork, writing reports, etc., to the point where the public funds would not suffice to support the detainees, leav-

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ing the estates desolated and the Military Commission confronting an endless number of cases.”60 As we shall see, in spite of Seidel’s apprehensions and Cadaval’s support over the following months, the situation only got worse, so that Cadaval’s only option was to request the intervention of Intendant Claudio Martínez de Pinillos to sort out the resulting financial mess. On September 1, Seidel published his first report on the uprising, highlighting the protagonists, the causes, and the consequences. The report included a chronological narrative of the events and an examination of some of the issues addressed by Lamadriz in early August. The document also included a list of the slaves that had participated in the revolt and the damages suffered by each estate. Accompanying the report were lists of the names of those killed and wounded, of those still at large, and finally of those in the custody of the Military Commission. The numbers were shocking. Of the 973 slaves living in the region, a staggering 201, or just over 20 percent, had participated in the insurrection at one point or another. At its climax, just before their defeat at the Coliseo crossroads, the insurgent troops numbered some 180 slaves. The rebels had relied mostly on their machetes and knives to carry out the insurrection; some rifles had been used, although without causing any serious harm. Seidel emphasized that not even one of the dead whites had been shot by the slaves; they had all been killed with machetes, knives, clubs, and other working tools. Seidel was eager to stress that the rebels had acted according to a very erratic plan. He also noted that they had relied upon “various superstitions they call brugería [sic], which have a great influence upon the negroes.”61 The main leaders had been Lorenzo Lucumí of Chatelain, Federico Carabalí of Armitage, and Pablo Gangá of Tosca, who had been in charge of the plot from the beginning. Although the documents do not tell the whole story, it is possible to draw some conclusions based on the information recorded by the colonial officers in charge of the case. As stated above, 201 slaves were involved in the uprising. We know the ethnic denomination of 64. This means that we have a sample of 32 percent of all the rebels, which in statistical terms constitutes a reliable sample for the purpose of statistical analysis. Based on this information, we can say that Carabalí, Mandinga, and Gangá slaves contributed the largest number of rebels with a known origin, 29.6 percent, 23.4 percent, and 17.1 percent, respectively. The ringleaders Pablo Gangá and Federico Carabalí belonged to two of these large groups. Of those who were freed without being charged, four were free men, at least one of whom was born in Africa. In addi-

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tion, two others were Congo slaves, another was a Gangá, and still another was an African-born slave of unknown origin who had been enslaved and taken to the New World at a very early age (see appendix 8). These figures support what Lamadriz, Seidel, and the rest of the Spanish authorities who dealt with the revolt were eventually forced to admit: that despite their animosity and distrust toward the Creole free blacks and their desire to show that they had been involved in the movement, the organization and execution of the insurrection had been an almost exclusively African slave affair. Among those who had taken up arms, only two men were free. What is more, these were African-born men who had continued to live very much as slaves on the same plantation where they had lived before being freed. Of the rebels with a known origin, only six, fewer than 10 percent, were Creole, and among these only one had been born outside Cuba. The evidence was overwhelming. An African movement, with African leaders, mostly African participants, and supported by African beliefs and practices, had rocked Guamacaro on that mid-June day. Both Lamadriz and Seidel soon accepted the evidence before their eyes. Although this was only a partial report, in it Seidel was keen to echo his fellow prosecutor Lamadriz almost word for word, particularly in all matters concerning the character and breadth of the movement. On the same day that the report was published, nine slaves were executed in Matanzas.62 The execution was witnessed by several slaves who were taken to the city from Guamacaro with the sole purpose of forcing them to participate in the ritual, despite the wishes of the owners, who wanted the executions to take place on the affected plantations.63 The heads of all nine slaves were severed and placed in public places, including some of the plantations affected by the rebellion,64 to remind the rest of the slaves of the consequences of attempting any actions against their masters or the authorities.65

pa r a l l e l “ co n sp i r aci e s” a n d th e o b l i gato ry b l ack co de o f 1 8 25 And so they told him to say something; that it was the war against the whites they were asking him about, to which he answered that the food that was not served on the table could not be eaten. —francisco mandinga of larrantry, 1825

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To their surprise, at the end of August Seidel and Lamadriz received a letter sent by Francisco Hernández Morejón, a resident of Guamacaro, who claimed to have “discovered” another slave plot in the area.66 After Lamadriz was forced to look into such claims, it was quickly revealed that Martín Gangá, the slave who had “confessed” that there was a new plot, had done so under torture. When Martín came into contact with the Military Commission, he promptly asked for the protection of the authorities and alleged that he had been forced to confess while he was being whipped.67 In the prevailing state of panic, however, no claims were easily dismissed. Lamadriz spent almost four months interrogating owners, employees, and slaves before finally concluding that everything had been the result of a confession obtained under torture and in open contravention of the royal decree of July 25, 1814, which had permanently prohibited the use of “torments and tortures” to obtain confessions.68 Lamadriz was far from happy. He accused Morejón, his overseer, and the local captain of jurisdiction, Andrés Máximo Oliver—who was also the brother-in-law of Hernández Morejón’s overseer—of conniving to waste the time of the authorities. Upon reading Lamadriz’s conclusions, José Ildefonso Suárez, furious, attacked the irresponsible residents and local authorities and lamented the time wasted in pursuit of a bogus conspiracy. Suárez made a point of reminding them that it was illegal to resort to physical torture, which was in itself “a horrendous crime, forever banished from the Spanish colonies.” He was also critical of the family links existing between Oliver and the overseer and saw in this relationship a possible cause for their actions.69 Martín Gangá was finally sent back to his estate in mid-December, and the investigation was closed for good. All those involved in the punishment inflicted on Martín were severely reprimanded and their prestige seriously compromised.

Hernández Morejón’s letter denouncing a new conspiracy was not the only one received by Seidel and Lamadriz in August 1825. Only a few days before Hernández Morejón decided to squander the prosecutors’ time and efforts, a similar communiqué arrived in the office of the Military Commission section established in Matanzas. On August 14 Sebastián Braz, provisionally in charge of the government of Matanzas, wrote to Seidel indicating the uncovering of a new slave plot on the estates situated on the border between the jurisdictions of Guamacaro and Camarioca.70 Braz was clearly distraught about the possibility of a new slave uprising during his tenure as acting governor. He

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recommended that Seidel act swiftly to discover whether the news was true. Efficient as always, Seidel, traveled on horseback to Guamacaro that same afternoon accompanied by his secretary, Lorenzo Baltanás, and some soldiers. The company arrived at the headquarters of the captain of the jurisdiction in Guamacaro an hour before midnight. Seidel immediately requested all the relevant documents from the captain, who was none other than Andrés Máximo Oliver, who, as we have seen, would come up with his own “new slave plot” a few days later. After going through the various documents, Seidel and Baltanás began the interrogations that same night. Apparently, some slaves from the coffee plantations belonging to Peyton, Larrantry, Bez, Macomb, Monet, Dickinson, and Bellechasses planned to rise up against the whites on August 13. The interrogations produced depositions that resembled those obtained from the rebels interrogated in the aftermath of the June uprising. However, certain specifics set these depositions apart from the earlier ones.71 For example, the plotters wanted to kill all the whites and to head for the Vuelta de Arriba to join forces with those slaves who were still at large after the June uprising. They were aware that during the revolt their companions, though defeated, had “cut off many white heads,” and some of them were convinced that many of the rebels were still fighting and “cutting off more heads.” Perhaps more appealing was the belief that after the uprising, “on the estates of El Sumidero and Sabanazo people did not work any longer, because they had risen up against the whites.”72 These were, of course, only rumors aimed at bringing the slaves together in order to organize another upheaval. Thus, overall the reasons of these new conspirators were similar—though not identical—to those of the rebel slaves of Coliseo. The use of rumors was crucial during the organizational period. One of the ringleaders of the frustrated plan, Sandi Quisí, created a real problem for Seidel when he directly involved three white people in the plot, among them Enrique Peyton, the son of the owner of his estate. According to Sandi, his “young master” had once told him confidentially that “from his land there was coming a ship loaded with people to fight alongside the Creoles and the white people on the side of the blacks.”73 In his testimony Sandi also involved the carpenter of the estate, a Scotsman named William Brander, and a neighbor named Manuel Benítez. Another slave, Francisco Mandinga, had a different story, also based on a rumor. He confessed that his friend Pastor Lucumí had told him once that “the king of the whites and the governor of Havana had issued orders to kill all the old blacks and that consequently it was imperative to finish off all the whites.”74

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These rumors found their counterpart in the repressive practices and the white discourse, official or not, that entered the public and hidden transcripts of the slaves. Bloodshed similar to that following the June insurrection became the most talked-about possible outcome among the plotters of August. Carlos Gangá of Peyton declared that he had tried to talk his companion Bozen out of such daring ideas by pointing out that “once they were on the main road, the whites would capture and kill him; that he had seen in Matanzas all the blacks who had been taken there and that people were saying that there were others who had been killed for going against the whites.”75 Of course the use of rumor as a weapon had a limited effect, and to make matters worse, the white residents of Guamacaro began to use all sorts of threats to frighten the slaves. Rumors about another revolt and threats of new carnage were heard daily in the area for the months to come. One of the ringleaders of the August plot, Francisco Mandinga, reported: One day they were working by the road with all the people, some Spanish whites passed by and shouted at them: look how many black heads, what a pity we cannot cut them off; and addressing the blacks they shouted at them, why don’t you rise up so that we can cut your heads off as we already did to the other blacks?76

In his concluding remarks Seidel stated his opinions about the failed August conspiracy. He was certain that this plot was connected with the one that had led to the revolt in June only a few miles away. Although he had had some initial doubts about this link, by the time he concluded the criminal investigation he was convinced that this plot had been “in its origin, preparations, means, objectives, and aims absolutely identical to that of the fifteenth of June.”77 Seidel’s theory of a real connection between the plotters of August and the rebels of June was flawed, however. As even Seidel knew, not a single piece of evidence collected over four months proved that the two groups had communicated with each other. Seidel based his entire theory on the similarities between the two movements. In his view, it could not be assumed that “there was in this [plot] any occult or intelligent hand taking care of the organization or preparing the necessary means to achieve the desired results.” He finally concluded that “the ignorance and clumsiness of the negroes is as clearly visible as it was in El Sabanazo.”78 The trial was brought to an end in mid-January 1826; five of the main suspects were executed following Seidel’s recommendations.79

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*** Barely a month after the uprising was crushed, Captain General Vives, still feeling the need for increased security in the countryside, began to ask his subordinates to implement new measures to bring the slaves under stricter control. The regulations of July 13 clearly had not been enough. Now Vives wanted a brand-new slave code to change the living and working conditions of the slaves in the countryside. In a letter to the Real Consulado sent on August 25 the captain general begged for help in this matter.80 Not only did he mention the conspiracies and revolts that had taken place the previous months but he reminded the members of the continual problems caused by the maroons of Santa Cruz de los Pinos, Bahía Honda, and Las Pozas in the Vuelta de Abajo.81 In his view, it was essential to issue a code of rules to govern the Cuban countryside, especially those areas with large numbers of slaves.82 Less than two months later a black code was issued for the province of Matanzas as a direct result of Vives’s recommendations. 83 This black code, unique in the history of Atlantic slavery in the sense that it was specifically directed at a reduced provincial area, had two basic objectives. First, it attempted to grant more powers to the region’s plantation owners, allowing them to isolate their slaves from those of their neighbors. Slave mobility was considered one of the main reasons behind the June revolt, and the code sought to eradicate the problem once and for all. Second, it aimed to establish a liturgy of control that all residents, including owners, slaves, and employees, would be forced to obey. The penal section of the code was strict and clear in specifying the punishment for those who did not respect this liturgy. Owners and employees in the Matanzas region were expected to supervise their slaves around the clock, allowing them no time for anything but work during the day and rest at night. Probably one of the most transformative items in the code was article 14, which specified that within a period of three years all planters in the area had to build structures capable of housing the slaves and keeping them locked up. In other words, this code was the first ever to order the construction of the infamous barracones, or slave barracks, which a few years later would spread across the western part of the island, making slaves’ already difficult lives even worse. Three years after the code was enacted, Reverend Abiel Abbot visited the estate of Lemuel Taylor, in Guamacaro, one of those invaded by the rebel slaves in 1825. One of the things that caught Abbot’s attention was an almost finished structure that differed from anything he had seen in Cuba:

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On Mr. T’s estate is building and almost done, a fine square of negro huts or boheas. The exterior wall is ten feet high and the interior is a little lower, so as to convey off the rain. It is of stone, set in mortar. The apartments are sufficiently large, with a door to shut at pleasure, and a grated window to let in the light and air, and to let out the smoke of the fire, which, within the tropics, they love to light up. The interior walls are plastered, and are not only comfortable, but handsome. The general cook’s establishment fronts the gateway entrance; and at night the gateway is effectually closed. The neatness, and even beauty and comfort of these dwellings recommend the plan to general use; yet in a country where runaways are so difficult to reclaim from the forests and caves, its advantages for securing the tenants from nocturnal rambles, and from temptations to desert, are its highest recommendation. This security is as advantageous to the slaves as to the masters; and therefore is matter of humanity. It promotes regularity of conduct and habits; prevents thieving and conspiracy, and most of those delinquencies, which bring upon them the hunt of men and dogs, the lash, and sometimes the punishment of death.84

For the first time ever in Cuba the building of slave barracks destined to accommodate plantation slaves was ordered and regulated. Surprisingly, this fact has been ignored by scholars, perhaps because the code was local and thus not very well known.85 From the time the code took effect, slave barracks slowly but steadily began to fill the western Cuban countryside. The code clearly specified how they should be constructed.86 However, the specifications were often disregarded, and various types of slave barracks proliferated. The code also prohibited practices that seem to have been common in the area. The very fact of prohibiting a specific type of behavior is proof that such behavior was occurring often enough for it to be addressed. Departing from this premise, and bearing in mind the content of the 1825 Code of Ayllón, it is possible to infer that before 1825 the slaves in the Matanzas countryside enjoyed a number of liberties that so far have been little known and rarely discussed. Some of them were described by the same slaves who were interrogated by the authorities after the revolt was crushed. For example, the code prohibited slave owners from allowing their slaves to communicate with those living on nearby estates. They were also prohibited from employing free colored men as overseers and slave drivers, and they were ordered to prohibit their slaves from leaving the estate in the evenings, from hunting and fishing,

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and from owning horses or mares.87 The code was unambiguous about the need to have one white person for the first fifty slaves on every plantation, then one for every thirty more slaves. The 1825 Code of Ayllón was an attempt to stop overt manifestations of slave resistance in Matanzas and its countryside. Although the code was not always effectively applied, it certainly brought some peace of mind to the white residents of the region, at least at first.88 Control over the increasing Cuban slave population was further tightened by new regulations and laws in the following years. The captains general Francisco Ricafort, Miguel Tacón, Jerónimo Valdés, and Leopoldo O’Donnell produced numerous legal regulations and ordinances and even new black codes with the aim of delimiting as much as possible the rights and obligations of the inhabitants of the Cuban countryside.89 The 1825 Code of Ayllón’s objectives and its place in the history of the slave legislation in Cuba and the Americas deserve to be analyzed in further depth than they have been until now.90

l ast i mag e s o f a t r i al We are called barbarians by the foreigners, while they themselves, without the exception of Raynal or Pratt, who have written so many pages about the fate of the negroes in the Americas, recognize the Spanish as the most benevolent and humane in respect to these unfortunate beings. —josé ildefonso suárez, 1825

At the beginning of October, Vives wrote to the Secretary of Justice boasting that thanks to the punishments given to the rebels, peace had been fully reestablished in Matanzas.91 However, after the executions of September the trial paperwork continued to accumulate in the offices of the Military Commission; the criminal investigations were far from over. A second group of slaves had been charged, and was awaiting trial, while some others were still running away and hiding in the foothills of Sumidero and Sabanazo. Bearing all this in mind, Lamadriz and Seidel decided to continue their investigations until at least the second group of prisoners could be brought to trial. One unresolved issue was the previous pardon offered by the Military Commission judges to Pablo Gangá. Evidently, Prosecutor Seidel was still unhappy about the leniency of the sentence given to one whom he viewed as

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one of the ringleaders of the movement. Seidel wanted the death penalty for Pablo. After all, he had given enough proof of Pablo’s crimes to the judges. This time Seidel asked for the support of Suárez, who was happy to go along and once again recommended the death penalty for Pablo. However, the Military Commission president, Cadaval, again denied the petition from these men, and Pablo Gangá lived to die another day.92 Perhaps unintentionally, Suárez’s constant complaints about the delays in closing the investigations had put extra pressure on Cadaval, which in turn had perhaps led to his refusal to change the punishment given to Pablo. Suárez’s insisted on concluding the investigations in early September for a number of reasons. Because of the recent uncovering of plots in Guamacaro and Camarioca, his two trusted prosecutors had had to devote considerable time to investigating potentially devastating conspiracies, as well as a small disturbance in the region of Río Blanco de Norte on June 27, which, although only minor, stretched their resources to the limit.93 There was also the amount of money spent since the investigations had begun two and a half months earlier. By mid-September his words had taken on a tone of near desperation: “The interests of this country and the [slave] owners imperiously demand from us that unless necessary we do not apply extreme punishments, punishments that can be as excessive as the very crime we seek to punish.”94 With this private communication to the president of the Military Commission, Suárez wanted to achieve two things. First and foremost, he wanted a quick and decisive—and humane—reprimand for the slaves who had participated in the rebellion. Second, he was desperate to convince Cadaval of the need to reduce the amount of money spent by the Military Commission during its extended stay in Matanzas on the maintenance of both its own members and the prisoners. However, in order to implement Suárez’s ideas, it was necessary to capture the slaves who were still at large, or at least as many of them as possible. With this aim the authorities eventually decided to maintain some armed groups to hunt down these fugitives. The decision paid dividends over the following weeks and months. On September 21 José Perdomo, the overseer of the Java coffee plantation, took Cayetano Gangá’s life. Cayetano had been one of the leaders of the insurrection, and his name was known to the Military Commission prosecutors and secretaries.95 On November 4, Marcos Mandinga, a slave of Paire’s, was captured by Dionisio Bermúdez’s men and sent by Oliver to Matanzas to stand trial.96

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Ultimately, by December the Military Commission officers had managed to put together a second group of “first-class” prisoners. In mid-December the commission heard the cases against Vicente Congo of Gómez, Guillermo Carabalí of Fouquier, Cristóbal Gangá of Taylor, Román Criollo of Taylor, Pedro Carabalí of Armitage, Justo Lucumí of Bartlett, Lecsi Mina of Fouquier, and José María Gangá of Gómez. They were sentenced to death by firing squad (to be shot in the back). The sentence was carried out in Matanzas on February 1, 1826, in the presence of three slaves from every estate involved in the event; the plotters of Camarioca were executed that same day. In his conclusions, Prosecutor Seidel revisited what he believed to have been the slaves’ reasons for rebelling. He was convinced that the main cause of the revolt had been “the lack of precautions taken by the owners of the coffee plantations.”97 This document is the only one among the vast number of documents produced by the authorities, owners, and residents that contains a reference to Saint Domingue. However, it was not Seidel’s intention to suggest any link between the slave rebels of Guamacaro and the only successful slave revolution ever to occur in the Americas. Instead, when he was drafting his conclusions, Seidel felt, for the first and only time since being put in charge of the investigations, that he had to draw the attention of the authorities to the relationship between African religions and slave rebellions: “The bad arts of sorcery and witchcraft have a huge influence upon the ignorant souls of the negroes,” he wrote, adding that “these arts caused much damage to the damned and ill-fated island of Saint Domingue at the time of her bloody and disastrous revolution.” As Lamadriz and Suárez had earlier, he put all the blame on the shoulders of the foreign slave owners “The desperate maneuvers of the negroes prove beyond any doubt that the motive and origin of the conspiracy is none other than the horrifying freedom that the foreigners used to give to their slaves.”98 Nonetheless, the repression did not end there. On December 29, just days after the second trial took place, Marcos Congo, a slave of Chatelain’s, was apprehended. Marcos had been accused by various witnesses of murdering the son of Gerónimo Paire during the June uprising.99 Marcos’s capture led the authorities to stage a third trial, in which Marcos and a number of fugitive slaves were judged. On May 8, 1826, Marcos Congo was sentenced to death by firing squad and shot in the back. Gustavo of Fouquier, José Ramón Mandinga of Tosca, José María of Fouquier, and Juan Carabalí and Jorch of Armitage were given the same sentence in absentia.100

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*** Almost from the moment the uprising was put down the authorities were forced to look into the behavior of some residents who had helped to crush the rebels and to find ways to reward their efforts. At the end of July 1825 Andrés Máximo Oliver wrote a long letter to Captain General Vives describing in detail how the slaves had been defeated and hunted down thanks to the bravery of some of the white residents in the area. Oliver pointed out that recommending “in particular some of the residents would only hurt the personal pride of the others, since they all disputed among themselves the glory of hunting down any negro that they might find.”101 A few weeks earlier the members of the Real Consulado in Havana had discussed the matter and suggested that they recognize and reward those who had fought the slave rebels. At their meeting of July 6, they had raised the issue and pointed out that it would be appropriate to remunerate in some form not only the white residents but also the slaves who had collaborated in subduing the revolt. They had also discussed giving some financial support to those families who had suffered the loss of a “father or a husband.”102 Over the following months, Oliver and the Real Consulado were joined in their calls by Lamadriz, Seidel, and Suárez. In his conclusions, Lamadriz was quick to praise the residents, in particular Francisco Goitía, who had first raised the alarm, prudently shielding his own slaves “from the contagion of the revolution.” Lamadriz pointed out that Goitía had also approached the rebels, advising them to put down their weapons “with so much danger to his life that he was the target of twelve bullets shot by the slaves.”103 The Military Commission prosecutors themselves, as well as their secretaries, were rewarded by their superiors. In January 1826 Cadaval wrote to Captain General Vives giving an account of the excellent work carried out by the men under his command. Cadaval emphasized the role of Prosecutors Lamadriz and Seidel and their secretaries, Tomás Ángel and Lorenzo Baltanás, and recommended that all but Seidel be promoted to the next military rank. Since Seidel was not eligible for promotion—he had been promoted to the rank of captain late in 1825—Cadaval suggested that he be granted the Real Orden de Isabel la Católica (Royal and American Order of Isabella the Catholic).104 Some loyal slaves were also recommended for rewards, not only by the Real Consulado but by Adviser Suárez, who declared the need to show gratitude to those slaves who, “caught between blood and fire,” had been able to “recognize

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humanity and practice their virtues.”105 In the following months, Prosecutors Lamadriz and Seidel joined Suárez in suggesting some sort of reward for those servants who had remained loyal while their companions rebelled. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that such rewards were ever granted.

By mid-March 1826 Vives and Cadaval had further economic worries as the many debts contracted during the investigations began to take a toll on the Military Commission funds. Despite the measures Lamadriz and Seidel employed to keep to a tight budget, the situation steadily worsened. The fact that the slaves did not have property created problems, since the Military Commission officers found themselves with nothing to confiscate to cover their expenses. Additionally, the landowners of Guamacaro were not particularly wealthy, and the uprising left many of them struggling to cope with massive debts. Where to get the money was by then probably the authorities’ greatest dilemma. Cadaval turned to Captain General Vives and asked him to request the assistance of Claudio Martínez de Pinillos, who had been appointed intendant on November 8, 1825. Even though Martínez de Pinillos had more important concerns at the moment—he was implementing a general tax reform on the island—he was forced to pay attention to Cadaval’s pleas. The debt generated by the proceedings that followed the revolt inevitably became another complicated matter in the hands of the intendant. In his first letter to Martínez de Pinillos, the captain general went straight to the point. He explained that the coffers of the government were empty and that he had nowhere else to turn for the money needed to pay the costs of the Military Commission in Matanzas.106 Martínez de Pinillos, however, preferred to dodge the bullet and replied by suggesting that Vives attempt a collection among the residents of Guamacaro. Three months later, following Martínez de Pinillos’s advice, the Military Commission raised six hundred pesos from the residents of the area affected by the uprising. A happy Vives wrote to the intendant thanking him for the suggestion,107 and Martínez de Pinillos was pleased that the Military Commission had taken his advice.108 Despite the combined efforts of the various branches of the colonial government, the financial problem resurfaced again a year later. Now there were no residents to push to the limit and no prisoners to employ in hard labor in either Matanzas or Havana. The debts contracted by the Military Commis-

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sion during the months following the 1825 revolt were almost insurmountable. Finding himself with no resources with which to deal with this debt, the captain general sent the bill to the intendant. This time Martínez de Pinillos agreed to take care of the debt, which at that time amounted to 557 pesos.109 In the following years the Military Commission had to call on the intendant less and less, and by the mid-1830s they it was self-sufficient thanks to the many goods confiscated over the years.

The defeat of the 1825 slave uprising did little to ease the fears of the colonial authorities in Matanzas and the white population in general. On the contrary, these fears intensified. Every provincial governor after 1825 was aware of the dangers that such a large population of African-born men and women posed to the peace and tranquility of the area. Gradually Matanzas became known as the place where slave revolts were most likely to occur and therefore where white people’s lives were most at risk. Several subsequent revolts during the 1820s, 1830s, and early 1840s showed them that not even the strictest control or the implementation of local black codes could guarantee peace and security in the region. Guamacaro continued to be regarded by residents and authorities alike as the most dangerous area under the governorship of Matanzas. In 1830, for example, there was a strong rumor that a new movement similar to the one in 1825 was being planned by the slaves of the rural estates in the area. Governor Ayllón, by then used to dealing with African slaves, wrote of his fears to Captain General Vives in early July. Ayllón told Vives that on June 15, the fifth anniversary of the 1825 revolt, a white resident from La Guanábana, near Guamacaro, had informed him that he had met a very strange black man who had threatened him with an uprising on the Day of San Juan.110 By the time Ayllón received this message, he was already investigating some news he had received a few days earlier from the owner of the Arcadia coffee plantation, who had seen “something mysterious in the faces of some of his negroes, there was something different about them, they had very well done braids in their kinky hair and buckled bands on their wrists.”111 Knowing that any delay might have fatal consequences, Ayllón immediately reinforced the security in the area. He divided the estates into groups of eight and charged “the most expert resident in each place” with watching them for signs of rebelliousness.112

Trials and Murders: Different Interpretations of the Law · 145

The captain general was quick to respond to Ayllón’s concerns. He issued a decree for the entire island and particularly for the rural captaincies of Matanzas. The decree did not say anything new but was a kind of reminder of the hazards facing Cuba at the time. Vives wanted to stress the need for absolute compliance with the black code issued for Matanzas in 1825. On account of the high level of alert, once again, as he had done following the defeat of the 1825 uprising, he recommended that the local authorities issue reports every eight days, in addition to their monthly reports. Basically, Vives wanted to reaffirm and remind people of the need for strict surveillance and control over the slaves in order to avoid another event like the one of 1825. This decree was published five years to the day after Vives had been compelled to issue new regulations after the uprising in Guamacaro. It was another document featuring repressive lines tainted by a background of terror, one of the many issued and circulated in nineteenth-century Cuba to restate the absolute need of keeping close supervision over the thousands of slaves living in the rural areas of the island.113 However, the problem with African-born slaves in rural Matanzas—and also in Havana—only increased in the following years. The cycle of slave rebellions staged in the western part of the island from 1825 until 1844 constituted the absolute peak of slave resistance in the Americas after the Haitian Revolution. In this period, at least sixty plots and insurrections—so far little studied—kept Cuban authorities, planters, and neighbors constantly on alert. By 1843 the revolts not only continued but had become larger and more dangerous, especially in the Matanzas countryside. The Lucumí-led insurrections of March in Bemba and November in La Guanábana, though only two among the many that took place that year, were the largest ever recorded in the history of Cuba. In 1844, soon after the Conspiracy of La Escalera was uncovered, Matanzas and in particular Guamacaro became central stages for the interrogation, torture, and execution of the free coloreds and slaves accused of participating in it. Among them were two men who had been involved in the revolt of 1825. Agustín Ximénez, one of the free colored men of “bad reputation” arrested and interrogated by Seidel and Lamadriz in 1825 was found to be deeply involved in the 1843–44 plot. In 1825 he had been released because there was no proof against him or any of his free colored friends. However, in 1844 the charges against him were more grave and consistent. Ximénez was accused of being a leader and a sorcerer in military trial number 38, carried out by Prosecutor

146 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

Apolinar de la Gala and Secretary Benigno García. As he was awaiting sentence in a dark dungeon in Matanzas, a few hours after being interrogated and probably tortured by the Military Commission officers, Ximénez committed suicide. Despite denying every one of the charges against him, he found himself in a desperate situation, having been accused by several witnesses of being one of the ringleaders of the movement in Guamacaro. In fact, one of the questions he was forced to answer had to do with his past relationship with Spanish justice. Ximénez answered that his only previous brush with the law had occurred in 1825, when he had been imprisoned for six or seven months right after the slave uprising in Coliseo. He stated that he had been detained by Domingo Armona and that he had been released without being charged as his arrest had been a big mistake.114 Pablo Gangá, the main ringleader of the 1825 plot, was also arrested in 1844 for being part of the large conspiracy uncovered by the authorities in December 1843. Back in 1825 Pablo had managed to survive by saving the life of his owner’s wife when the rebel slaves arrived on the plantation where he lived. As we have seen, he had ordered a couple of his fellow slaves to hide her behind a door and to keep her safe from the rebel slaves. This circumstance had outweighed the many accusations made against him, and despite the protests of Prosecutor Seidel, Pablo’s life was spared. Considering the gravity of his actions before and during the uprising, Pablo should have followed many of the men he had dragged into the movement to the gallows. However, for saving the life of his owner’s wife, he had been sentenced only to wear irons and perform hard labor for a few years. When he was arrested in 1844, Pablo was no longer Juan Tosca’s slave. When he reappears in the documents after a silence of nineteen years, he is called by the surname of his new owner, Linares. However, in some documents he appears as “Pablo Gangá de Tosca o de Linares,” a clear reference to his previous name and master. Any doubt that these two Pablos were the same person can be erased by looking at his age: Pablo Gangá de Tosca was twentysix in 1825, and Pablo Gangá de Linares was forty-five in 1844.115 When he was arrested in 1844, Pablo was accused by seventeen witnesses of being a ringleader and a sorcerer in the new movement. He was also accused of going from estate to estate in Guamacaro offering to get weapons for the plotters—something he had also done in 1825—and of having a flag ready for use when the rebellion began. Although Pablo acknowledged being involved in the movement, he denied being one of the ringleaders. Not sur-

Trials and Murders: Different Interpretations of the Law · 147

prisingly, the authorities did not believe a word he said, especially after connecting him to the uprising of 1825. One can only imagine the life Pablo had led during those nineteen years. According to the testimony offered by various witnesses, he was a respected man in the area. His lucky escape in 1825 probably had given him a kind of legendary status among the slaves, and he almost certainly reminded them that he had tried to obtain their freedom by organizing a rebellion against their oppressors. But these are only conjectures. What happened to Pablo during those years is not recorded in any historical source. Nevertheless, his reemergence as the leader of a conspiracy cell tells us that he never really lost his will to fight against his oppressors. Pablo was sentenced to death by firing squad and executed on September 11, 1844. However, the problems with the slaves of Guamacaro did not disappear with his death or the deaths of many others.116

After La Escalera, the slaves in Guamacaro and elsewhere resisted domination in less dangerous ways. Until the first war for the independence of Cuba began in 1868, the slaves continued to interact with the colonial power and avoided direct confrontation. The process of Creolization that gathered speed in the late 1850s117 and the belief that open rebellion was destined to fail time after time, combined with tighter control of the rural estates led the slaves to seek alternative forms of resistance. Disguised forms of resistance, suicide, and marronage became the most convenient and efficient forms of resistance after 1844.



t the turn of the nineteenth century the Atlantic was swiftly becoming a place where diverse cultures found themselves entwined. The New World, where both Europeans and Africans had been contributing to the steady transformation of the demographic landscape, was the place where these confluences were most visible. Matanzas and especially the rural area of Guamacaro were patent examples of this process. In these fertile lands, covered by coffee bushes and by emerging sugar estates, a convergence between Euro-American ideologies, represented by the authorities, slave owners, and their employees, and African beliefs and practices, embodied by the Africans slaves and free men, vied for supremacy in a struggle that was fought according to its protagonists’ understanding of the world. Exactly six months from the day that a group of African-born slaves decided to rebel against their white masters in the jurisdiction of Guamacaro, on the other side of the world the inhabitants of Sydney, Australia, were able to read about the event in the pages of the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser.1 The report, which was taken from the New York Gazette, was brief but surprisingly accurate. Predictably, the number of rebel slaves was exaggerated —there were said to be about three hundred—but otherwise the story described the events of that day quite accurately. By the time the news of the revolt had transcended the boundaries of the Atlantic world and reached the distant shores of Australia, the United States and Western Europe had learned about it and had discussed it extensively in their newspapers. In the United States, the news was published as early as July 7 in the Maryland Gazette and State Register and continued to circulate in the months to come.2 In Great Britain, the news of the insurrection was first published on August 5 in the Liverpool Mercury, and then it was reproduced for several weeks in newspapers published in London, Leeds, Oxford, Edinburgh, and other cities.3 But the reports of the June insurrection were not the only ones to cross the Atlantic, for news of the plot uncovered in August in the district of Camarioca was published and discussed in at least one British newspaper on October 10.4 148

Conclusion · 149

The African-led insurrection of June 1825 was a local event whose cast came from almost every corner of the Atlantic world, and not surprisingly, it had repercussions in distant places, including the places of birth of many of the participants. The very fact that news of the uprising was published around the world in less than six months is evidence of its impact on an increasingly globalized world. Whether the reports of the revolt of 1825 made it back to Africa is not known. However, we do know that there were African sailors on board the slave ships that continued to journey back and forth between Cuba and the African regions where the slaves living in Cuba had been purchased. Certainly, the newly arriving African men and women bought in the factories established along the shores of West and West Central Africa were a continuous source of information for those already living on the plantations in Guamacaro and elsewhere in Cuba. That those who were enslaved in Cuba continued to receive news of events taking place in their homelands very likely had also a direct impact on their attitudes and actions. News crossed the Atlantic in all directions and kept all those associated with this ocean, which functioned as a shared space, connected in ways that we know today as well as in ways that we can only imagine.

The events of June 1825 in Guamacaro also represent an unambiguous example of the deficiencies that still plague the field of slavery studies in the Americas. Conclusions about the role of identity, ethnicity, African beliefs, and so on, within slave movements in the Age of Revolution continue to be based on a number of studies that have focused on plots and insurrections that occurred in the United States, the British and French Caribbean, and Brazil. The few books about Cuban movements involving slaves have so far centered on the Conspiracy of Aponte in 1812 and the Conspiracy of La Escalera in 1843–44, both led by free urban Creole elites. I hope that this monograph about an African-led slave rebellion in Cuba will contribute to the ongoing discussions, which so far have failed to examine the characteristics of most of the slave movements that took place in Cuba, where the continuous introduction of African slaves during the nineteenth century produced a much more complex situation than has usually been assumed. In their attempts to explain slave rebellions in the Americas, historians have often subordinated the influence of the various African cultures involved to that of European and/or American revolutionary ideologies of the period. In

150 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

this respect, this book is only a first attempt to recover the historical memory of a series of long-ignored plots and revolts in which the role of the African protagonists and their cultures has been obscured by both the colonial authorities who dealt with them and by the professional historians who failed to question the judgment of the former. Neither Captain General Vives nor those under his command were able to demonstrate links between the Guamacaro rebels and movements being organized outside the island. Notwithstanding their best endeavors, they also failed to incriminate the free colored residents of the district, many of whom spent months in the provincial prison paying for crimes that they very likely had not committed. The rebellion of 1825 had all the characteristics that would describe almost every other insurrection staged in the Cuban countryside over the next twenty years. Its leaders had been born in Africa and very likely had personally experienced war there. Some, possibly many, had fought in those confrontations, had been sold to the merchants on the African shores as prisoners of war, and had eventually made the Atlantic crossing together. Many of the slaves who landed in the western part of Cuba in the first half of the nineteenth century had known one another in Africa, and many were related by blood. Already existing links of kin and solidarity, often related to their war experiences, were reinforced by new ones forged with Africans they met after arriving at their destination. In 1825 Guamacaro, these characteristics were not lost on the colonial authorities who dealt with the aftermath of the revolt. The rebels used Western weapons, as well as machetes, spears, and clubs to hack or beat their enemies to death. Their tactics were similar to those used in various parts of Africa. Hand-to-hand combat, raiding, torching, and plundering were all apparent in 1825 and were common features in African warfare almost everywhere in the period. The June 1825 revolt was the first African-led rebellion that involved hundreds of rebels and had a truly mixed ethnic component to take place in Cuba. As has been shown, Carabalís, Mandingas, Gangás, and Lucumís constituted the core of the rebel group, but men belonging to other ethnies also participated and shared the same destiny as those who belonged to the largest groups. The leaders of this movement were respected among their companions and represented three of these ethnies. One of the leaders, Federico Carabalí, was reputed to be a sorcerer, and another, Pablo Gangá, was a coach driver who enjoyed the freedom of moving from plantation to plantation, which helped him to develop the plot. The third leader, Lorenzo, was a Lucumí who had arrived in Cuba only a few years ear-

Conclusion · 151

lier and who probably had been enslaved during the Owu wars or during the attacks on Oyo from Ilorin that began late in the second decade of the nineteenth century. All the evidence suggests that he was an experienced warrior and that he was respected by all the Africans involved in the uprising, irrespective of their ethnic background, for his military leadership. Once the insurrection was under way, some of the leaders dressed themselves in bright and colorful clothes stolen from the whites that they considered appropriate to their rank. Lorenzo wore a black jacket with gold buttons and a hat decorated with cock feathers. Cayetano Gangá, who also played a central role in the revolt, was seen wearing a green army jacket, and others also wore hats with cock feathers. The rebels, following their African traditions of warfare, moved from plantation to plantation killing, torching, and beating their drums. They also stole spirits and drank to a point that many were reportedly drunk by the time they came across the white residents and the militias at the Coliseo crossroads. Their methods of recruitment also resembled those practiced in their homelands. They forced those they found on the estates to join them or risk being punished or even executed, and curiously enough, they did not trust their Creole fellows most of the time. Once defeated, if possible they hid in the forests and mountains, and many committed suicide in the hope of a swift return to their homelands.

The events of 1825 in Guamacaro can in fact be considered an extension of West African warfare in a New World setting. They illustrate the extent to which Africans perpetuated, reproduced, and passed along their ideas about the world. For anyone familiar with the existing accounts of warfare in nineteenth-century West Africa, the similarities between the way war was waged in Yorubaland, Igboland, Hausaland, or Futa Djallon, on the one hand, and Guamacaro, on the other, are clear. Many of the slaves involved who were later captured were unable to speak Spanish and needed to be interrogated with the help of interpreters. More often than not, in their testimonies they referred to the events of June 1825 not as an uprising, a revolt, or even a movement but as a “war.” Many bore on their faces the marks put there by their elders in Africa. One slave, Juan Arará, was ordered to swear to tell the truth by the “God that he loved” before being interrogated by the officers of the Military Commission.5 According to a report written in the early 1770s, when the slave population on the island was considerably smaller and the conditions were more propi-

152 · The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

tious for such an integration to take place, the length of time it took most of the Africans to settle down in their new home and learn the language of their oppressors was about seven years. Even then it was believed that some Africans would never learn the Spanish language, preferring to remain in their “savage” condition.6 Colonial authorities at that time recognized that they were dealing with people whose attitudes, behavior, and manners they could not comprehend. Because of this failure to understand the Africans, the authorities were more often than not bound to fail in their dealing with them, and the measures they employed to stop them from rebelling were limited to repression and violence and to vague attempts to Christianize them in the hope that belief in the Christian god would change their attitudes toward enslavement.

What came after is well known but has been poorly studied. Dozens of African-led insurrections took place across the western Cuban countryside, most of them under the leadership of Lucumí slaves. Until 1844 no measures taken by the colonial authorities came close to diminishing their frequency, their size, or their violent outcomes. Only with the horrifying repression that followed the uncovering of the plot that came to be known as La Escalera in late 1843 did these revolts come to a halt. Even then, African-born slaves continued to run away to the forests and mountains and to commit suicide; in fact, the suicides became more frequent, eventually leading Cuban authorities to investigate, evaluate, and discuss at the highest level possible ways to prevent them.7 Lorenzo, Federico, Pablo, and the others who rebelled in June 1825 settled the score for the years to come and signaled with their actions the beginning of a new period of Africanization of slave rebellion in the island. As Robert Jameson rightly pointed out in the early 1820s, “The African soil from which they were torn” continued to cling to them, in nothing more so than in the way they fought against their foes.8 What Vives, his predecessors, and his cronies had feared all along was from that day on a reality. African warfare had come to stay in Spanish Cuba.

Appendix 1

Slave Imports to Cuba from African Ports, 1817–1866 total slaves Slaves embarked 643,935 Slaves disembarked 561,656 Percentage of slaves embarked who died during voyage Length of Middle Passage (in days) Percentage of male slaves Percentage of children

total voyages


standard deviation

1,554 1,554 121

414.4 361.4 18.4%

222.8 181.7 18.7%

26 257 250

57.7 64.3% 30.7%

32.3 15.6% 14.2%

Source: Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, (accessed 23 July 2010).


Appendix 2

ru les fo r t h e r e si de n ce o f n e w c o l o n i st s a n d a i ds to b e p rov i de d Havanah the 6th of March 1818. His Excellency the Governor Captain General, and Honorable the Intendant General of this Island, pursuing the examination of the measures best adapted to the important object charged in the Royal order in Council of the 21st October ult.o; and having seen the reports and propositions of the Committee on this subject; have determined. In order to facilitate the means of domiciliating the new Colonists there shall be appointed well known inhabitants of probity and good name, to act as protectors and Patrons of those of each Nation severally to be applied to, on their arrival, to give proof of their qualifications and circumstances, in order to be reported to the Government, and to proceed in such measures as their cases may require. 2.d The qualifications required are principally that the individuals presenting themselves, being foreigners do profess the Roman Catholic Religion, and produce their certificate of Baptism or other legal documents, which the Patrons shall cause to be translated and duly attested. In case such proofs are not produced, the Patrons will form their opinion from reasonable inductions derived from recommendations by well known persons, and an examination of their moral conduct. The Patrons shall report in writing to the Government those applicants whom they have ascertained to posess the qualifications required in the Royal order; and they shall personally introduce them to the Government’s office, in order to take the oath prescribed by the 2.d article: after which a letter of domiciliation will be granted to them, in a printed form, without any fee or other expence to the party agreeably to the article. 154

Rules for the Residence of New Colonists and Aids to Be Provided · 155

3.d The want of the proofs of Catholicism above mentioned shall be noted in the letter of domiciliation: and the term of two years given for obtaining them, in which case the Patrons will give their assistance in procuring the same. During the time stipulated the Judge and Curate of the place where the person may reside are required to observe their moral conduct and to report accordingly. If at the expiration of the said term of two years any one be unable to prove that he professes our Holy Religion, he shall be deprived of his letter of domiciliation and be considered as a transient person, and as such be compelled to quit this Island in the space of three months agreeably to the article of the Royal order. Having obtained from Government the letter of domiciliation the Colonist will have a right to the following assistance viz: Three rials (1 s. 9 d. sterl.) per day for each head of a family and half of this stipend for each one of his children during the space of two months. The like sum of three rials per day and for the same space of time will be allowed to single persons being agriculturists or artizans; also a house and lodging in the town or village in the interior which may be asigned to them, or in the country houses which hey may be directed to, of such Planters as have generously offered, or may offer their aid to this desirable service. Hospital and medical assistance will be granted if any falls sick within the above mentioned time. Charges of transporting themselves by land will also be paid at the rate of one dollar per league to heads of families, and a half dollar to each of their children; if it be convenient that the removal should be made by sea it will remain with the commissioners of Government to fix the allowance. Let it be understood that these aids will be granted to the new colonists which may come to this Island within the space of four years beginning from May next, at the end of which time it will cease, or the commissioners will propose what they should think proper, according to the circumstances. For the preservation of health of said colonists and for other physical and economic reasons, they shall not remain in this city or its suburbs, longer than the necessary time for obtaining their letter of domiciliation; after which they shall be immediately conducted to the neighbouring towns viz: Guanabacoa, Güines, Matanzas and Guanajay. The Commissioners of Government shall take charge of their distribution and provide be-

156 · Appendix 2

forehand lodgings and other assistance for them, and transport without delay those that are to be sent to any particular plantations, the owners of which have agreed to admit them. As among the offers made there are gratuitous partitions of land and building grounds, the commissioners shall be charged with all that relates to this important object; likewise with the selection of the colonists, agriculturists and artizans, as well as with the rules of police and good order for their establishment and arrangement, and with the proposing to Government of whatever respect the individuals and the localities. These aids and assistances shall be granted not only to agriculturists, but also to whatever artizan that may be useful to the agricultural interest; as well as to those who may come as to those who are already in this city or its suburbs, whether spaniards or foreigners, and established according to the rules prescribed. A Foreigner having his letter of domiciliation shall present it by his Patron to the Commissioners, and receive through him the assistance allowed by the preceding articles, without any other document than the said letter, upon which shall be inscribed the place to which he is destined; and a report of each case is to be left in a book kept by the Secretary of the Commissioners. It is hereby recommended to the Patrons to exercise towards their clients all offices of humanity and protection; to keep them in view as much as possible in their places of destination: to facilitate to them the means of obtaining the credentials of their Catholicism and good conduct: to contribute to their more convenient establishment and continuance in this Island while they prove themselves worthy of it by their Religion and good habits; the colonists on their part must report to their Patrons their situation and condition, and address through them whatever petition or request they may have to make to the Government. If any Colonist shall introduce goods or a capital to benefit by the privilege granted in the art.o of the Royal order, his Patron shall present a manifest of the same at the Royal Custom House. Should the amount ex-

Rules for the Residence of New Colonists and Aids to Be Provided · 157

ceed two thousand dollars it shall be subject to the proofs required by the King’s Commissioners of the Revenue to ascertain the property; in order to guard against the abuses which in such cases might be committed. M.r Matias Averhoff is hereby appointed Patron for the colonists of the German Nation, for the French J. J. Chauviteau and Leon Blain. For the English, Irish and others speaking the english language Mess. rs David Nagle and John Murdock, and for the Spaniards and persons of other countries Joaquin Gomez and Joaquin Aizpurua. Don Próspero Amador García honorary Commissary of the Army being appointed at the proposal of the Commissioners as depositary of the funds destined for this object, will keep the accounts in exact order, in order shat a report thereof may be made from time to time to His Majesty and an extract of the same be published in the public papers. The Commissioners will devise a simple mode for keeping these accounts with correctness and perspicuity. The Governor of the Province of Cuba will proceed to act agreeably to these instructions naming the like Commissioners and Patrons, and making a report every six months to the Superior Government with a list of the letters of Domiciliation granted. The Governor of Matanzas will have equal power, as also de Governor of Trinidad and the four Towns by the delegation of these authorities: and in Puerto-Príncipe the Honorable the Regent of the Royal Audience of the district will perform in conformity to the Commission given him for the settlement of the Port of Nuevitas, every thing relating to this object. All which will be communicated to whom it may concern, and an account given of these proceedings to H.M. as well as of those which may hereafter be resolved on in consequence of the said Royal order of the October ult.o— José Cienfuegos.—Alexandro Ramirez.

Source: ANC, AP, 298/12.

Appendix 3

list o f th e i ndi v i dual s w h o at tack e d a n d d e f e at e d th e b lac k s w h o r e b e l l e d t h e l ast 1 5 t h j u n e Dn. Gabriel Olasagásti Dn. Agustín Geilin Dn. Tomás Yuda Dn. Juan José Dn. José Borrell Dn. Cristóbal Vidal Dn. José Rivero Dn. Franco Pérez Dn. Pedro Tusin Dn. N. Bibanco Dn. Manuel Codeso Dn. Jorge Chatelen Dn. Carlos Larderet Dn. Antonio Delgado Dn. Antonio Calderín Dn. Pascual Dias Dn. Andrés Yrodo

whites Captain of Guamacaro, Dn. Andrés Má. Oliver Dn. Fernando del Junco Dn. Dionisio Vermúdez Dn. Yganacio Rivero Dn. Andrés Ximénez Dn. Julián Rodríguez Dn. Pablo Ramírez Dn. Joaquín Canela Dn. Miguel Castillo Dn. José Mena Dn. Joaquín Zarco Dn. Franco Nodal Dn. Esteban Nodal Dn. Pedro Ximénez Dn. Casimiro Morejón Dn. Manuel Ximénez Dn. Juan Chartran Dn. Cayetano Martínez Dn. Juan Linares Dn. Alonso Rosado Dn. José Perdomo Dn. Ramón Jaramillo Dn. Miguel Suárez Dn. Lucas Díaz Dn. Santiago Díaz Dn. Agustín N. (Manager of Webster) Dn. Baldomero Ximénez Dn. Waldo Bata Dn. José Herrera

mulattos and blacks Martín Cabrera Nicolás Simanca and his son Bacilio Martínez Ylario Santa Ana Pablo Santana Manuel Manama José Olivera Manuel Cárdenas Tomás Lasonser and his brother Source: ANC, GSC, 936/33009.


Appendix 4 (See table on following page)


Situation of the Affected Estates in the Jurisdiction of Guamacaro: Submitted by the Captain of the Jurisdiction, Andrés Máximo Oliver, Limonar, 28 July 1825 jurisdiction





1. Mat[anzas] 2. Hab[ana]

Sumidero San José

Solitario Sabanazo

3. Hab. 4. Hab.

Sumidero San José

Constancia Chatelain

5. Hab.

San José


6. Hab.

San José

Sta. Cecilia

7. Hab.

San José


8. Hab.

San José


9. Hab.


N[uestra] S[eñora] de la Luz

— — House 4 plundered — — House — plundered House 2 plundered and furniture damaged House 2 plundered and furniture damaged House — plundered and furniture damaged House 2 plundered and furniture damaged House — plundered and furniture damaged









— —

11 10

6 4

— —

4 2

— —

— —

— 3

— —

2 7

2 3

— —

— 4

— —

— —

— —




















10. Hab.


San Julián

11. 12. 13. 14.

Sumidero San José San José San José

Saavedra Santa Ana Elizabeta Unión

15. Hab. 16. Hab. 17. Hab.

San José San José San José

Consistorio González Coliseo

18. 19. 20. 21.

San José Sabanilla Sabanilla Sabanilla

Chapeau Sta. Amalia Ingenio P[adre] Noroña Sn. Patricio La Hermita Sumidero

Hab. Hab. Hab. Hab.

Hab. Hab. Hab. Hab.

22. Mat. 23. Mat. 24. Mat. Total

Guamacaro Sumidero Sumidero

Installations — and harvest burned Plundered 2 Plundered 1 Plundered — Family — house plundered and other house burned Plundered — Plundered — Store — plundered Plundered 1 Plundered 1 Plundered — Plundered — Plundered Plundered Plundered

— — — 15





— — — —

— 23 5 —

— 3 — —

— — — —

— 6 1 —

— — — —

— — — —

— 14 4 —

— — 1

16 — —

— — 1

— — —

— — —

— — —

— — —

16 — —

— — 2 —

14 — — —

2 — — 1

— — 1 —

3 2 — —

— — — —

— — — —

8 — — —

— — — 4

— — — 170

2 1 — 43

— — — 1

— — — 41

— — — 2

— — 2 2

— — — 85

Source: ANC, GSC, 936/33009. Note: The abbreviated column headings are as follows: W/D, whites dead; W/W, whites wounded; B/L, blacks lacking; B/D, blacks dead; B/W, blacks wounded; B/J, blacks in jail; F/D, free men of color dead; F/J, free men of color in jail; B/TO, blacks turned over to the authorities.

Appendix 5

c o d e o f ru l e s f o r t h e ru r a l p o l i c i n g o f the j u r i sdi ct i o n o f mata n z a s D. Cecilio Ayllón, Knight of the Royal and Military Order of San Fernando, decorated with the crosses of distinction of the first and third armies, battle of Valls, blockades of Pamplona and Bayona and with the shield of loyalty to the King, Our Lord. Colonel of Infantry and Political and Military Governor by His Majesty of the City of Matanzas and its jurisdiction, and its underdelegate of Real Hacienda. Convinced of the importance and necessity of having a uniform regime and internal government for the rural estates to better strengthen the security of the fields, after listening to various landowners of experience and good judgment, I have decided to prescribe for those estates of this jurisdiction, and in addition to the General Code of Rules that his Excellency the President Governor and Captain General will dictate, the following measures.

f i r st pa rt Security Measures

1 An absolute lack of communication shall be imposed upon all the slaves from the estates, avoiding the smallest relations even with the most immediate ones in the neighborhoods, except in case of emergency. 2. The government of the estates shall never be entrusted again to people of color, regardless of how reliable they may be, nor will they hire other paid free workers without a license from the government, and in such cases they will never be foreigners or natives of Costa Firme and even less in the case of domestic service, of course dismissing those that are currently employed. 162

Code of Rules for the Rural Policing of the Jurisdiction of Matanzas · 163

3. Managers, overseers, and other employees should not be admitted without the presentation of good conduct reports from the estates they came from, or from the captain of the district in which they had been staying or where they were residing, and this report should be supported by the testimony of witnesses. 4. For every fifty negroes older than ten years there will be on every estate a white worker or employee besides the master and the manager, or overseer where there was no manager; increasing the number of whites proportionally to one for every thirty over the first fifty, and these individuals will be governed by the manager or overseer. 5. At no time should free colored men enter the estates without a specific reason and a license from the government, applying the same to white men who are not known workers; neither of them will be allowed to go to the slave houses, to the place where the negroes are working, or to have the slightest communication with them; and they should leave the estates as soon as their mission there is accomplished. 6. We also forbid from entering the estates any vendors without a previous license from the master, manager or overseer, and when they obtain such a license they should go directly to one of the rooms on the estate and they must sell their products in their presence, leaving the estate as soon as they have finished. 7. No person should stay overnight on the estate without a license from the master or manager, not denying hospitality when urgent to those who need it and do not seem suspicious, observing in any case the last provision in the previous two articles. 8. After prayers all gates and doors on the estate must be shut, no one shall leave without the knowledge of the master or manager, or overseer where there was no manager even when there are no doors; and such an excursion shall only be for an urgent and specific reason; otherwise they should not go out until dawn. 9. Neither the overseers nor other workers and employees will receive visits after prayers, nor will they gather after ten in the evening or have

164 · Appendix 5

noisy distractions; and for any other activity they shall have a license from the master or manager. 10. At 9 in the evening all estates will call for silence, all slaves will be assembled and will not be allowed to work during the night. 11. During the night the employees will patrol the estate two or three times, paying attention to anything that may be happening, searching the slave huts if they consider it necessary and examining everything they consider relevant. 12. Every week and varying the days the slave huts must be scrupulously searched in order to find out whether they have beverages or effects that may be suspicious. 13. In the afternoon after the hours of work all labor instruments made of iron shall be collected and locked up in a secure place; these instruments shall only be in the hands of the slaves during working hours; and all fire arms and others belonging to the masters, managers, &c., shall always be guarded and secured. 14. Within a period of three years from today every estate with more than thirty negroes must have constructed a building for the purpose of locking up the slaves, this building having suitable lodging facilities so that they can be divided by state and sex. On those estates having fewer slaves they shall be concentrated as much as possible in their huts, placing them behind a thick wooden wall of four to five varas high with a door secured with a key. 15. Sending slaves outside of the estate to carry messages or to perform tasks should be avoided as much as possible, and when it becomes necessary to do so these tasks should be undertaken by a trusted slave or by a young negro of fourteen years of age, and he should always carry with him a paper explaining the reason and the time he had left, as well as the item or amount that he was ordered to get; under no circumstance will vendors or market men who are not white be allowed, not even on the small estates, it being possible to fill these positions with a young paid boy.

Code of Rules for the Rural Policing of the Jurisdiction of Matanzas · 165

16. At those times when the slaves are permitted to work in their garden plots an attendance list shall be read before they leave, leaving only those who were on guard; to the said plots they will be escorted by one of the employees on the estate who shall keep an eye on the slaves so that none escapes and with the principal aim of avoiding any sort of communication with others who might try to contact them while there: at the time to eat a second attendance list will be read, and if they are to continue their work this will last only until five o’clock in the afternoon, when they will return to the estate. 17. On those days when they have tangos and dances, these should not continue beyond nine o’clock in the evening, and they will be presided over by one or two white employees of the estate until their conclusion, never allowing under any circumstance the infiltration of any mulatto or negro, free or slave who does not belong to the estate. 18. Under no circumstance will the owners allow godfathers in baptisms and marriages that take place outside of the estate, and such roles shall be undertaken by those negroes from the estate who are the eldest and wisest. 19. The position of slave driver shall alternate among all those slaves who are capable of doing the job, changing them every six months; these men shall not be allowed to punish with more than three lashes while in the fields and will inform the overseer of any reason for a more severe punishment so that he can decide accordingly. 20. It is absolutely prohibited for the slaves to leave the estate with the excuse of going fishing or hunting or to go searching for hutias and it is also forbidden for them to own horses or mares, so that their possible separation from the estate becomes more difficult. 21. All owners of sugar and coffee plantations shall procure a water-pump engine in case of fire, and it is recommended that they make use of it. In case such a disaster occurs during the hours of darkness they should all try to contain it by their own means, which should not be difficult with the aid of the pump engine. Only the estate affected by the fire will call for help and no other estate should call under any circumstance. Those

166 · Appendix 5

estates in the neighborhood shall send a white man to make sure that the fire is real and he shall provide help either with the strength of his own arms or by giving notice to the authority charged with keeping order. If the blaze happens during the day or if its occurrence extends until sunrise, the neighboring estates shall send a proportionate number of their own people, making sure that they do not leave their own estates unprotected. This force shall be led by one or two white men who shall never be either the manager or the overseer, and they will march to the affected estate in order and in silence, putting any fire arms that they may have in a safe place as soon as they arrive. In order to determine the people who shall help the neighboring estate in this case the overseer must go to the place where the negroes are and once there he will call by their names, one by one, those who will go, while the others shall stay quite and continue their work. On the burned estate no one shall give away aguardiente or any other liquor, and those negro women who are weak or pregnant shall not help to put down the fire, nor shall the little negroes or those who are useless help. Once their work is done all the groups shall return to their estates, not allowing any sort of meeting among the slaves, and in the same order in which they came. The ropes for the bells shall have two to three brazas of chains at the very least and their tolling will stop as soon as the number of arrived people is enough to put down the fire, or as soon as the fire begins to diminish.

se co n d part Relating to the Masters

To assure the implementation of the previous articles with the good treatment, policy and humanity that are necessary for the best government and preservation of a estate, the masters shall make sure that the following precautions are observed within them. 1. That the slaves are given the necessary care to relieve their pains and illnesses. 2. That they never lack healthful and abundant food to sustain their health and their strength, giving them as well the necessary clothing. 3. That they never lack sufficient time to rest every day so that they can eat and then return to their work with renewed vigor.

Code of Rules for the Rural Policing of the Jurisdiction of Matanzas · 167

4. That those negro women who are pregnant shall be relieved of their tasks three months before and three months after giving birth, giving them time every day to feed and to clean their children. 5. That managers and overseers instruct the slaves in religious practices, teaching them Christian doctrine and how to pray. 6. That the slaves should be corrected and punished by these employees according to the gravity of their offenses, and when these are such that they deserve more than a provisional and prompt punishment to teach the others a lesson, the employees should inform their superiors about the offense and the punishment so that they can decide whether further measures are needed. It should be well understood that at the time of punishing any excess attempted against a white person there should not be the slightest consideration and they will be promptly disciplined with the corresponding severity, and if the excess is among those publicly punished by the existing laws justice must be dealt to the slave. 7. Under no circumstance shall the overseers or slave drivers make use of the manatí or any other whip with a leather end. Nor should dogs be loose during the day and the working hours, but only in the evening hours after the people have been assembled, or if needed. 8. That as many marriages as possible take place, since it is clear that the good behavior of these people depends on how settled they are and on the love they feel for their offspring. 9. That managers and overseers help them to acquire one or two pigs, and that they also allow them to sell them and also their poultry, grains, &c as well as the possibility to buy those things they may need and that they are allowed to own, since as the result of the prohibition of all communication they will be unable to do all this on their own. 10. Those slaves who offer the best service and who behave the best shall be rewarded in some way for serving as a good example to their companions, and such a reward should help improve the conduct of some. 11. Finally, since it is well known that the voice of a priest has a beneficial effect upon the slaves, improving their morals and their behavior, and

168 · Appendix 5

because they can also teach religion and advise the slaves to stay away from excesses, all owners must have the Parish priest visit their estates once or twice every year, celebrate mass if possible in some of them, address the slaves in words that they can understand according to their intelligence and compel the slaves to comply annually with the precept of attending church. Penal Part of the Code

In general we do not presume that among masters exist such indifference and abandonment as to allow the aforementioned rules to be overlooked, since it is their own existence and welfare that are at stake, but since not all estates are under the command of their masters, and because there may be some in charge of the estates who, disregarding all consideration, might expose us with their example and bad government, we prescribe the following rules: 1. Any owner who is accused by the government of having failed to comply with this code or some of its more essential provisions about the security of the estates and the maintenance of public order, with the exception for now of numbers 4 and 14 of the first part will be fined 100 pesos the first time and 200 the second time, leaving the punishment for the third time to be decided according to what is stated by the existing law. 2. He will also be obliged to satisfy within 5 months what is dictated in the previously mentioned number 4. If he fails to comply, the government will be forced to hire the said white employees, and he will be fined 50 pesos. 3. At his expense and regulated by the government, should he fail to carry out the provision mentioned in article 14, he will be forced to build the building described, for which the government will confiscate as much of his annual crop as is necessary to cover the costs of the work. 4. Any owner who fails to put in practice what is stipulated in the second part of this code will be fined 50 pesos the first time and 100 the second and these fines will increase should he again fail to do it. 5. Any manager or overseer who fails to comply with any of the articles of this code in the part that refers to them will be fined 25 pesos the first time,

Code of Rules for the Rural Policing of the Jurisdiction of Matanzas · 169

and 50 the second time, and will be removed from his job the third time. 6. Any manager or overseer who allows persons of the class designated in article 5 of the first part of this code to remain on the estate for any period of time will be fined 100 pesos the first time and removed the second time; this is an exception to the regulation established in the previous paragraph, for this abuse is the main cause of the disorderliness that we try to avoid. 7. Any manager or overseer is authorized to punish with twenty lashes any negro found on his estate without a written license from this master, in which instance the owner’s presence is required so that the slave can be collected and his punishment verified. Also, they should commend his owner to place him in shackles or irons for fifteen days. Managers and overseers will be fined 25 pesos for failing to comply with this regulation.

f i n al part Vigilance

In order to enforce compliance with the present code, the government will name and authorize a number of landowners who will have the following responsibilities. In every jurisdiction three landowners will be named by the government to supervise twenty estates. These landowners will be told which estates they are to supervise, which will always be the closest to their place of residence. Each year the landowners will be replaced so that there can be as much variation as possible. These individuals will be called comisarios de policía rural. The estates owned by each trio of comisarios will be supervised by the nearest other group of three, so that each group will be charged with supervising not only their designated twenty estates but also the estates of the three comisarios nearest to them. Powers

They will have the power to visit the estates under their surveillance whenever they are informed of any failure to comply in full or in part with the provisions of this code. These visits should be conducted by all three together, or if this is not possible, by at least two of them; they will determine whether the rules

170 · Appendix 5

are being obeyed, carefully calling any failures to the attention of those in charge, but never in front of the slaves; and they will impose the prescribed fines on those who have failed to comply. They will notify the government through the district captain about the results of these visits so that the fines become effective and the owners are once again obliged to comply. They will receive any news of contraventions to this code sent by masters, overseers, or any other residents, and once they find out whether there is any truth to them, they will implement what is ordered in this code always with prudence, care, and courtesy. They will write down the reasons for their visits and in the notification to the government they will explain in detail all the circumstances surrounding any event or occurrence, the reasons why the fines are imposed, also providing any information related to their justification for compelling any owner to follow the law or to remove any manager, overseer, &c. The previously mentioned notices sent to the government will be monthly, unless an extraordinary circumstance merits sending them more often. This code will be in effect in the civil jurisdiction of the city and in the districts included under its military jurisdiction, and to this effect the Escmo. Señor Presidente Gobernador and Capitán General has decided to send corresponding aid to this government on the first of this month; consequently we are ordered to observe the code’s regulations and to implement the chosen penalties without interfering with its prompt execution. The powers and obligations specified in the final part are bestowed upon the district captain and his lieutenants until the government receives the registers of all the group of twenty estates, and until the comisarios de policía begin their duties; and for the knowledge of all owners, managers, overseers, and the rest of those who must follow it, we order that this code be printed and circulated among the captains and lieutenants of the districts of both jurisdictions so that they can enforce it in all parts. Matanzas, October 22, 1825. Source: ANC, GSC, 1469/37999.

Appendix 6

c h ro n o l o gy o f t h e 1 8 25 r e vo lt 1825 January–June

Plans for an uprising begin.


The plot intensifies. Pablo Gangá and Francisco Criollo spread the word among the slaves on the plantations in the area.

June 13–14

Two initial attempts to start the uprising are aborted.

June 15

At midnight the would-be rebels gather at the El Solitario and El Sabanazo estates. The insurrection begins on the latter. Under the leadership of Lorenzo Lucumí and Federico Carabalí the rebels kill Joshua Armitage, his wife, and his eldest two children. The rebels head for the Java plantation, where they murder the owner and his eldest son. After leaving the Java estate, the rebels, now better armed and drinking heavily, go to the El Dichoso coffee plantation. Next they go to the La Amelia and Santa Cecilia plantations, where they kill three white men.


172 · Appendix 6

The rebels then take a country road and stop at the Nuestra Señora de la Luz and San Julián plantations before arriving at the main road, or camino de la isla. Once on the main road, they attack a tavern owned by José Saavedra, whom they kill, along with another white man who is present. Next they go to the Santa Ana estate, owned by Webster and Sage, and the El Consistorio estate, owned by José Canes. At noon the rebels reach a tavern at the Coliseo crossroads, where they make a last stand against armed white residents and a group of soldiers. Many of them lose their lives in this battle, and the rest disperse. After dispersing, the main group of rebels heads north toward the plantations of Taylor, Chapeau, and Bartlett. June–July

The surviving rebels are hunted down by parties of rancheadores and residents. Lorenzo Lucumí is killed on June 26, and Federico Carabalí, the next day.


New rumors about other interconnected plots spread throughout the jurisdictions of Guamacaro and Camarioca. The rumors are apparently true.


The first group of prisoners are executed.


The Code of Ayllón is published.


The Fortress of San Juan de Ulúa in Mexico capitulates. Spain loses its last possession in continental America.

Chronology of the 1825 Revolt · 173

1826 January

The second group of prisoners are executed.


The third group of prisoners are condemned to death, many of them in absentia.

1828 April

José Ramón Mandinga of Tosca is captured and executed.

Appendix 7

fr ee b lac k s a n d sl av e s i n vo lv e d i n t h e m ov e m e n t *

casualt i e s Released without Charge

Fernando Congo (Zamora) San Gil (Mansuit) Julián Gangá (Gómez) Vicente Congo (Disdier and Gowen) Felix Ximénez (free) Isidro (free) Agustin Ximénez (free) Antonio Pineda Mandinga (free) Executed by Firing Squad on September 1, 1825

Tom Mandinga Sosó (Fouquier) Santiago Criollo (Paire) Jose de la Luz Mandinga (Gomez) Alonso Carabalí (Armitage) Andrés Mandinga (Pérez and Imbretch) Luis Carabalí (Pérez and Imbretch) Juan Arará (Bartlett) Félix Mandinga (Webster and Sage) Roberto Gangá (Chapeau)

*Also listed are the names of some men who were not part of the revolt but who were arrested because they were suspected of being involved. 174

Free Blacks and Slaves Involved in the Movement · 175

d e ad a n d f u g i t i v e sl av e s Dead

Ambrosio (Gómez) Miguel Carabalí (Gómez) León Carabalí (Gómez) Mateo (Gómez) Federico Carabalí (Armitage) Antonio Carabalí (Armitage) Crispin (Armitage) Pedro Carabalí (Armitage) Francisco (Armitage) Agustín (Armitage) Francisco (Fouquier) Félix (Fouquier) Miguel (Fouquier) Carlos (Fouquier) Cristóbal Carabalí (Fouquier) Tomas Carabalí (Fouquier) Hércules (Pérez and Imbretch) Teodoro (Pérez and Imbretch) Felipe (Lima) Luis (Lima) Juan (Webster and Sage) Simón (Webster and Sage) Tomas (Webster and Sage) Vicente (Webster and Sage) José (Webster and Sage) Carlos (Tosca) José de la Luz Mandinga (Tosca) Víctor (Paire) Francisco (Paire) Canuto (Morejón) Marcos Congo (Chatelain) Isidoro (Chatelain) Lorenzo Lucumí (Chatelain) Dis (Bartlett)

176 · Appendix 7

Pío Carabalí (Disdier and Gowen) Alejandro Carabalí (Disdier and Gowen) Two others belonging to the San Patricio (Disdier and Gowen) Fugitive

Antonio Carabalí (Gómez) Jorch Carabalí (Armitage) Juan Carabalí (Armitage) Gustavo (Fouquier) Cayetano Gangá (Fouquier) José Maria (Fouquier) José (Fouquier) Marcos (Perez and Imbretch) Pedro (Perez and Imbretch) Rafael (Chapeau) León (Chapeau) Gabriel (Webster and Sage) Domingo (Webster and Sage) Marcos Mandinga (Paire) Cecilio (Morejón) José Ramón Mandinga (Tosca)

p r i so n e r s w h o w e r e t r i e d Alejandro Mandinga (Fouquier) José Antonio Gangá (Fouquier) Lecsi Mina (Fouquier) Guillermo Carabalí (Fouquier) Tom Mandinga Sosó (Fouquier) Santiago Congo (Fouquier) Francisco (Fouquier) Luis Criollo (Gómez) Jose Maria Gangá (Gómez) Vicente Congo (Gómez) José Luis (Gómez) Julián Gangá (Gómez) José de la Luz Mandinga (Gómez)

Free Blacks and Slaves Involved in the Movement · 177

Ramón Criollo (Taylor) Cristóbal Gangá (Taylor) Vicente Carabalí (Disdier and Gowen) Andrés Mandinga (Pérez and Imbretch) Luciano Criollo (Pérez and Imbretch) Luis Carabalí (Pérez and Imbretch) Antonio Carabalí (Pérez and Imbretch) Juan (Pérez and Imbretch) José (Pérez and Imbretch) San Gil (Pelletier) Santiago Mandinga (Pelletier) Antonio Mandinga (Pelletier) Tom Gangá (Armitage) Pedro Carabalí (Armitage) Alonso Carabalí (Armitage) Francisco Martínez (Sardiñas) Francisco Criollo (Morejón) Julián Gangá (Morejón) Manuel Carabalí (Chapeau) Sebastián bozal (Chapeau) Roberto Gangá (Chapeau) Sambo Lucumí (Chapeau) José Felipe Criollo (Chatelain) Santiago Criollo (Paire) Carlos Mandinga (Tonton Lamelle) Cecilio Lucumí (Tonton Lamelle) Ramon Mandinga (Webster and Sage) Cayetano Gangá (Webster and Sage) Gregorio Gangá (Webster and Sage) Félix Mandinga (Webster and Sage) Isidro Mandinga (Webster and Sage) Miguel Congo (Webster and Sage) Juan Arará (Bartlett) Fernando Congo (Zamora) Benito Mandinga (Tosca) Pablo Gangá (Tosca) Pedro José Mandinga (Tosca) Justo Lucumí (Bartlett)

Appendix 8

Breakdown of Ethnic Background of Rebel Slaves ethnicity


Carabalí Mandinga Gangá Congo Lucumí Arará Mina African (other) Criollo (Cuba) Criollo (other)

19 15 11 5 4 1 1 2 5 2



i n t ro d u c t i o n 1. Captain General Francisco Dionisio Vives to the Secretary of Justice, Havana, 26 January 1825, AHN, ULT, 1603/44. The place specified in correspondence is that of the sender; and unless otherwise noted, translations are my own. 2. On the Spanish defeat at Ayacucho, see Margaret L. Woodward, “The Spanish Army and the Loss of America, 1810–1824,” Hispanic America Historical Review 48, no. 8 (1968): 586–607. See also John R. Fisher, “The Royalist Regime in the Viceroyalty of Peru, 1820–1824,” Journal of Latin American Studies 32, no. 1 (2000): 55–84. 3. See “Sobre socorros a San Juan de Ulúa, 1824–25,” AHN, ULT, 1603/31. 4. Rafe Blaufarb has recently pointed out the historical relevance of what he has aptly called the “Western Question” in referring to the international competition over the former Spanish American territories. This geopolitical competition over a collapsing empire became one of the most serious issues Vives was forced to deal with during his tenure as governor of Cuba. See Rafe Blaufarb, “The Western Question: The Geopolitics of Latin American Independence,” American Historical Review 112, no. 3 (2007): 742–63. 5. The letters sent by Vives to the secretary of state about the problems surrounding Cuba at the time can be found in AHN, ULT, 1603/9, and AGI, EST, 17/101. 6. The fortress had been under a Mexican blockade since 1822. In 1823 the commander of the fortress, Francisco Lemaur, had ordered the bombardment of the city of Veracruz, which it overlooks. By 1825 the situation was unsustainable. Cuban authorities complained about the waste of resources on a lost cause and reminded the king sending troops to San Juan de Ulúa would deprive Havana of any protection against a probable attack. The last commander of the fortress, José María Coppinger, finally capitulated on 21 November 1825, after an epidemic of scurvy broke out among the Spanish troops. For different accounts and analyses of the last days of San Juan de Ulúa under Spanish control, see Ricardo Robelo Arenas, General History of San Juan de Ulúa (Veracruz, Mexico, 1990), 29–36; Stanley C. Green, The Mexican Republic: The First Decade, 1823–1832 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1987), 87–88; and Alfred H. Siemens, Between the Summit and the Sea: Central Veracruz in the Nineteenth Century (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1990), 37, 49, 180. 7. News about this army, as well as the one the Colombians supposedly were assembling, circulated widely in the Atlantic world at the time. See chapter 1. 8. Claudio Martínez de Pinillos to the Secretary of the Treasury, Havana, 12 November 1825, AGI, ULT, 181. 9. See Joaquín Llaverías, La Comisión Militar Ejecutiva y Permanente de la Isla de Cuba (Havana: El Siglo XX, 1929), 8–11.


180 · Notes to Pages 2-6 10. Ibid. 11. See Aurora and Franklin Gazette (Philadelphia), 24 March 1825; and Raleigh Register and North Carolina State Gazette, 25 March 1825. 12. In a letter of 21 June to the secretary of justice, Vives claimed that the British had spread the news of the Spanish defeat in Peru and that the “rebels of Costa Firme” had set their sights on Cuba. He also said that the news had had a profound impact among the Cuban inhabitants, who were now concerned about what the future might hold for them. AHN, ULT, 1603/9. 13. Vives to the Secretary of Justice, Havana, 28 July 1825, AHN, ULT, 1603/30. 14. None of the previous slave insurrections that had occurred since the turn of the century had had more than one hundred armed men. In the largest, at the ingenio (sugar plantation) Peñas Altas and surrounding plantations in March 1812, an unknown number of rebels took part. Although hundreds of witnesses were interrogated, only a handful were indicted. Additionally, the two major movements involving slaves on the island (1806 and 1812) were not led by African-born men and women, but by Creoles, who were also often free. 15. Andrés Máximo Oliver to Vives, Guamacaro, 28 July 1825, ANC, GSC, 936/33009. Oliver described seeing a number of burning buildings on the adjacent plantations, as well as the lifeless bodies of men and women strewn along the roadsides. 16. With few exceptions, studies on Cuban slavery have focused on general topics. The African slave trade, including its international repercussions, has been the main one. Other topics often studied have been the social conditions of slaves, punishments and repressive measures they were forced to endure, and their religious traditions. Marronage, conspiracies, and rebellions are perhaps the last additions to this list. Sadly, many studies have been riddled with hasty assumptions and interpretations without theoretical or methodological foundation. 17. Johannes Postma, Slave Revolts (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2008), 64–65. 18. Ibid., 65. Two recently published works have, however, begun to rectify this trend: Matt D. Childs and Manuel Barcia “Cuba,” in The Oxford Handbook of Slavery in the Americas, ed. Robert L. Paquette and Mark M. Smith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 90–110; and Gad Heuman, “Slave Rebellions,” in The Routledge History of Slavery, ed. Gad Heuman and Trevor Burnard (London: Routledge, 2010), 220–33. 19. There have been a few studies on conspiracies and revolts involving slaves that took place prior to 1825. The most recent and remarkable example is Matt D. Childs, The 1812 Aponte Rebellion in Cuba and the Struggle against Atlantic Slavery (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006). See also José Luciano Franco, La conspiración de Aponte (Havana: Archivo Nacional y Consejo Nacional de Cultura, 1963); Gloria García, Conspiraciones y revueltas: La actividad política de los negros en Cuba, 1790–1845 (Santiago de Cuba: Oriente, 2003); David P. Geggus, “Slave Resistance in the Spanish Caribbean in the Mid-1790s,” in A Turbulent Time: The French Revolution and the Greater Caribbean, ed. David Barry Gaspar and David Patrick Geggus (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997), 131–55; and Stephan Palmié, Wizards and Scientists: Explorations in AfroCuban Modernity and Tradition (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002). 20. Although Paquette did travel to Havana in the early 1980s, he was denied access to the National Archive’s original documents on La Escalera. As a result, he conducted impressive research in American and European archives and libraries, which even today stands as one of the most remarkable examples of how to do research and produce an outstanding piece of work with alternative sources. 21. Juan Iduarte, “Noticias sobre sublevaciones y conspiraciones de esclavos: Cafetal Salvador, 1833,” Revista de la Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, 3rd ser., 73, no. 24, pts. 1 and 2 (1982): 117–52.

Notes to Pages 6-12 · 181 22. Daniel Martínez García, “La sublevación de la Alcancía: Su rehabilitación histórica en el proceso conspirativo que concluye en La Escalera (1844),” Rábida 19 (2000): 41–48. 23. Speech by Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz, president of the Republic of Cuba, at the ceremony commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the Cuban military mission in Angola and the forty-ninth anniversary of the landing of the Granma, Revolutionary Armed Forces Day, 2 December 2005, (accessed 18 June 2009). 24. Edgar George, The Cuban Intervention in Angola, 1965–1991 (London: Routledge, 2005), 77–78. 25. Israel Moliner Castañeda, “Las sublevaciones de esclavos en Matanzas,” Islas 85 (1986): 24–48. 26. Robert L. Paquette and Joseph C. Dorsey, “The Escoto Papers and Cuban Slave Resistance,” Slavery and Abolition 15, no. 3 (1994): 93. 27. Moliner Castañeda, “Las sublevaciones de esclavos en Matanzas,” 29; García, Conspiraciones y revueltas, 84; idem, “La resistencia: La lucha de los negros contra el sistema esclavista, 1790– 1845,” in El rumor de Haití en Cuba: Temor, raza y rebeldía, ed. María Dolores González-Ripoll, Consuelo Naranjo, Ada Ferrer, Gloria García, and Josef Opatrný (Madrid: CSIC, 2004), 296. 28. Moliner Castañeda, “Las sublevaciones de esclavos en Matanzas,” 29–30. 29. Ibid.; García, Conspiraciones y revueltas, 84–85. 30. Moliner Castañeda, “Las sublevaciones de esclavos en Matanzas,” 30; Paquette and Dorsey, “Escoto Papers and Cuban Slave Resistance,” 92; García, Conspiraciones y revueltas, 84. 31. Moliner Castañeda, “Las sublevaciones de esclavos en Matanzas,” 30–31. 32. Bergad first made this suggestion in his excellent study on Matanzas published in 1990, and then reproduced it in his comparative book of 2007. See his Cuban Rural Society in the Nineteenth Century: The Social and Economic History of Monoculture in Matanzas (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990), 84–85; and The Comparative Histories of Slavery in Brazil, Cuba and the United States (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 209. 33. García, “La resistencia,” 295. 34. Manuel Barcia, Seeds of Insurrection: Domination and Control on Western Cuban Plantations, 1808–1848 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008), 29–31. 35. See, e.g., Miguel Bretos, Matanzas: The Cuba Nobody Knows (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2010); and Jane Landers, Atlantic Creoles in the Age of Revolutions (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010), esp. chaps. 4–6. For a relatively recent study on the need to expand our understanding of identity and ethnicity in the diaspora see Douglas B. Chambers, “Ethnicity in the Diaspora: The Slave-Trade and the Creation of African ‘Nations’ in the Americas,” Slavery and Abolition 22, no. 3 (2001): 25-39. 36. Eugene D. Genovese, From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave Revolts in the Making of the Modern World (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1979), 3. 37. Michael Craton, Testing the Chains: Resistance to Slavery in the British West Indies (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1982); idem, “The Passion to Exist: Slave Rebellions in the British West Indies, 1629–1832,” Journal of Caribbean History 13, no. 1 (1980): 1–20; idem, “Proto-Peasant Revolts? The Late Slave Rebellions in the British West Indies, 1816–1832,” Past & Present 85 (1979): 99–125. 38. See David P. Geggus, ed., The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2001); Laurent Dubois, A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787–1804 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004); Alejandro E. Gómez, “El síndrome de Saint-Domingue: Percepciones y sensibilidades de la Revolución Haitiana en el Gran Caribe (1791–1814),” Caravelle 86 (2006): 125–55; and Ada Ferrer, “Speaking of Haiti: Slavery and Freedom in Cuban Slave Testimony,” in The World of

182 · Notes to Pages 12-16 the Haitian Revolution, ed. David Geggus and Norman Fiering (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009), 223–47. 39. See William C. Van Norman Jr., “Shade Grown Slavery: Life and Labor on Coffee Plantations in Western Cuba, 1790–1845” (PhD diss., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2005), 41, 171–73. 40. Kristin Mann, “Shifting Paradigms in the Study of the African Diaspora and of Atlantic History and Culture,” in Rethinking the African Diaspora: The Making of a Black Atlantic World in the Bight of Benin and Brazil, ed. Kristin Mann and Edna G. Bay (London: Frank Cass, 2001), 6. 41. Ibid., 7. 42. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, Slavery and African Ethnicities in the Americas: Restoring the Links (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005), 165–72. 43. Vincent Brown, The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008), 8. 44. In 1827 the total population of the island reached 704,487 inhabitants. Of those, 286,942 were slaves, in all likelihood most of them African-born, since the known number of African slaves landing on Cuban shores between 1790 and 1827 was approximately 244,255. See Francisco Dionisio Vives, Cuadro estadístico de la siempre fiel isla de Cuba correspondiente al año de 1827 (Havana: Imprenta del Gobierno y de la Capitanía General, 1827). For figures on slaves landing, see 45. Paul Lovejoy and Jamie Bruce-Lockhart, eds., Hugh Clapperton into the Interior of Africa: Records of the Second Expedition, 1825–1827 (Leiden: Brill, 2005). 46. Manuel Barcia, Seeds of Insurrection, esp. chap. 2. 47. Paul Lovejoy, “Identifying Enslaved Africans in the African Diaspora,” in Identity in the Shadow of Slavery, ed. Paul Lovejoy (London: Continuum International, 2000), 7. 48. Thomas Winterbottom, An Account of the Native Africans in the Neighbourhood of Sierra Leone; to which is added an Account of the Present State of Medicine among them, 2 vols. (London: Wittingham, 1803), 2:7. 49. See Bronislaw Nowak, “The Slave Rebellion in Sierra Leone in 1785–1796,” Hemispheres 3 (1986): 151–69; Ismael Rashid, “Escape, Revolt and Marronage in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Sierra Leone Hinterland,” Canadian Journal of African Studies 34 (2000): 656–83; and Bruce Mouser, “Rebellion, Marronage and Jih¯ad: Strategies of Resistance to Slavery on the Sierra Leone Coast, c. 1783–1796,” Journal of African History 48, no. 1 (2007): 27–44. 50. In 1803 Winterbottom was happy to use the term Gango negroes, used in some parts of the Americas, to refer to the people from this area in discussing their. Winterbottom, Account of the Native Africans, 2:163–64. For a discussion of ethnie, a term I use throughout, see Chambers, “Ethnicity in the Diaspora.” 51. John Matthews, A Voyage to the River Sierra Leone on the Coast of Africa (London: White and Son, 1791), 146–47. 52. Ibid., 86; Winterbottom, Account of the Native Africans, 2:153. 53. Alexander Gordon Laing, Travels in the Timannee, Kooranko, and Soolima Countries in Western Africa (London: John Murray, 1825), 300–301. 54. James Cowles Prichard, Researches into the Physical History of Mankind, 2 vols. (London: Sherwood, Gilbert, and Piper, 1837), 2:82. 55. João José Reis, Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993).

Notes to Pages 17-21 · 183 56. John Adams, Remarks on the Country Extending from Cape Palmas to the River Congo, including observations on the manners and customs of the inhabitants (London: G. and W. B. Whittaker, 1823), 130. 57. The Edinburgh Gazetteer or Geographical Dictionary containing a description of the various countries, kingdoms, estates, cities, towns, mountains, &c. of the World (Edinburgh: A. Constable, 1822), 2:23. 58. Adams, Remarks, 132. 59. Bryan Edwards, The History Civil and Commercial of the British Colonies in the West Indies (London: John Stockdale, 1807), 87; Adams, Remarks, 133. On the transmigration of the souls among African-born slaves in the Americas, see William D. Piersen, “White Cannibals, Black Martyrs: Fear, Depression, and Religious Faith as Causes of Suicide among New Slaves,” Journal of Negro History 62, no. 2 (1977): 147–59; María Poumier Taquechel, “El suicidio esclavo en Cuba en los años 1840,” Anuario de Estudios Americanos 43 (1986): 69–86; Michael Gomez, “African Slavery and Identity in the Americas,” Radical History Review 75 (1999): 111–20; Jackson Ferreira, “Por hojese acaba a lida: Suicidio escravo na Bahia (1850–1888),” Afro-Asia 31 (2004): 197–234; and Louis A. Perez, To Die in Cuba: Suicide and Society (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005). 60. The revolt of 1825 also counted a few participants who were either from other African regions (notably, there were two Congo slaves involved) or Creoles (there were a few locals and at least two foreigners, one from New Orleans and another from Cartagena de Indias). Among the 231 rebels they were, of course, a minority, although the involvement and participation of some of them was significant. 61. For a recent examination of Abbot’s observations of the area affected by the insurrection of 1825 and its consequences, see María del Carmen Barcia, “El aroma nace en el surco: Un viajero en los cafetales,” Catauro 10, no. 18 (2008): 56–70. 62. Maria Gowen Brooks, Zophiël, a poem (Boston: Richardson and Lord, 1825). The preface to the first edition of this poem was signed by Gowen Brooks on the San Patricio coffee plantation on 30 March 1825. 63. William Rufus King is the only U.S. vice president to have taken the oath of office outside the territory of the United States. Mark O. Hatfield, Vice-Presidents of the United States, 1789–1993 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1997), 181–87. 64. The records produced by the Military Commission can be found in the Archivio Nacional de Cuba, in both the Comisión Militar and the Miscelánea de Expedientes collections. The latter collection has been largely overlooked until recently owing to problems related to its organization and classification. See Jorge L. Giovanetti and Camillia Cowling, “Hard Work with the Mare Magnum of the Past: Nineteenth Century Cuban History and the Miscelánea de Expedientes Collection,” Cuban Studies 39 (2007): 60–84. 65. Mary Gardner Lowell, New Year in Cuba: Mary Gardner Lowell’s Travel Diary, 1831–1832, ed. Karen Robert (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2003). 66. Deposition of Andrés Mandinga of Pérez and Imbretch, 31 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 86v–92. 67. Deposition of Santiago of Paire, 31 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 83v–86v. 68. José Ildefonso Suárez to José Cadaval, Havana, 19 September 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5. 69. Deposition of Esteban of Armitage, 20 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 62–65v. Esteban also declared that after the revolt began, Ana had been very happy and danced. He also accused

184 · Notes to Pages 21-24 her of joining the rebel troop. For some reason the prosecutor, Francisco Seidel, decided not to follow up on Esteban’s lead, and Ana was presumably freed soon after her interrogation. 70. Deposition of Ana Gangá of Armitage, 20 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 143–147v. 71. Guillermo Webster to Ebenezer Sage, Ontario coffee plantation, 13 November 1825, MHS, EWS, 2/1825.

c h ap t e r o n e 1. The main text on Cuba’s becoming one of the world’s leading sugar producer is still Manuel Moreno Fraginals, El ingenio: Complejo económico-social cubano del azúcar, 2nd ed., 3 vols. (Havana: Ciencias Sociales, 1978). Other important works on the topic are Mercedes García Rodríguez, Entre haciendas y plantaciones: Orígenes de la manufactura azucarera en la Habana (Havana: Ciencias Sociales, 2007); and Sherry Johnson, The Social Transformation of Eighteenth-Century Cuba (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2001). For a further analysis of Cuban sugar in the nineteenth century, see Fe Iglesias, Del ingenio al central (Havana: Ciencias Sociales, 1999). 2. The Spain of Charles III entered the war on France’s side because of the Family Pact (August 1761) between the Spanish and French Bourbons. Spain’s intervention was late and disastrous; nothing was gained, while much was lost. It was perhaps the worst war of the prudent Spanish monarchy. See Don Cook, The Long Fuse: How England Lost the American Colonies, 1760– 1785 (London: Avalon Travel, 1996), 28–30; Bailey Stone, The Genesis of the French Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 113–17; and Stephen Brumwell, Redcoats: The British Soldier and War in the Americas, 1755–1763 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 294–96. 3. See Fernando Ortiz, Los negros esclavos (Havana: Ciencias Sociales, 1975); Moreno Fraginals, El ingenio; David Murray, Odious Commerce: Britain, Spain, and the Abolition of the Cuban Slave Trade (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980); María del Carmen Barcia, Burguesía esclavista y abolición (Havana: Ciencias Sociales, 1987); and Robert L. Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood: The Conspiracy of La Escalera and the Conflict between Empires over Slavery in Cuba (Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1987). 4. Bernabé Martínez de Pinillos was born in 1752 into a wealthy family in the Riojan town of Vigueras. He arrived in Cuba at the end of 1770, and from 1780 on he sold all types of articles and raw materials, including wines from Tenerife, paintings from Bramant, soaps, and much more. By 1790 he had achieved a certain position in the society of the capital. When the landowners of the western part of the island drew up the famous letter of protest against the Carolinian Black Code in 1790, Martínez de Pinillos was one of the first to sign it. From the time of the slave-trade boom and the intensification of the production of sugar cane, Bernabé had a successful career as a sugar planter. In 1795 he became the head of the Maritime Insurance Company, established in Havana. In 1808 his career continued on a safe and steady ascent. In that year he was named a minister of the Real Consulado. He also managed to secure a deal that saw his firstborn son chosen to hold the post of representative of the town hall of the city before the Council of Regency, which effectively governed Spanish America during the Napoleonic invasion of Spain. When Francisco Arango y Parreño and the Marquis of Someruelos proposed the creation of a Junta de Gobierno in the Havana in 1808, Bernabé was one of the seventy-three signatories of the petition. In 1825 he received the title Count of Villanueva, which he enjoyed until his death, four years later. In his

Notes to Pages 25-27 · 185 will he left his heirs a sizable fortune that included two sugar plantations in the Vuelta de Abajo. Bernabé was just one among the many men who made their fortunes and rose in Cuban society at the time. 5. See Francisco Arango y Parreño, “Discurso sobre la agricultura en La Habana y los medios de fomentarla” (1792), in Obras, by Francisco Arango y Parreño, 2 vols. (Havana: Ministerio de Educación, 1952), 1:114–74. 6. For a discussion of the racial balance in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Cuba, see Leví Marrero, Cuba: Economía y sociedad, 15 vols. (Madrid: Playor, [1983]), 9:151; and Laird W. Bergad, Fe Iglesias, and María del Carmen Barcia, The Cuban Slave Market, 1790–1880 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 25–27. 7. For analyses of these rules, see Manuel Lucena Salmoral, Los códigos negros de la América Española (Alcalá: Universidad de Alcalá, 1996); and Manuel Barcia, Con el látigo de la ira: Legislación, represión y control en las plantaciones cubanas, 1790–1870 (Havana: Ciencias Sociales, 1999). 8. Javier Laviña, Doctrina para negros: Explicación de la doctrina cristiana acomodada a la capacidad de los negros bozales; Nicolás Duque de Estrada (Barcelona: Sendai, 1989). See also “Real Cédula a los oficiales de la Isla de Cuba que tengan mucha cuenta de que los negros vivan cristianamente,” in Colección de documentos para la historia de la formación social de Hispanoamérica, 1493–1810, ed. Richard Konetzke, 4 vols. (Madrid: CSIC, 1953), 1:572. 9. See, e.g., Francisco Barrera y Domingo, Reflexiones histórico físico naturales médico quirúrgicas: Prácticos y especulativos entretenimientos acerca de la vida, usos, costumbres, alimentos, bestidos, color y enfermedades a que propendían los negros de África, venidos á las Américas (Havana: Ediciones C.R., 1953). See also Bernardo Honorato de Chateausalins, El vademecum de los hacendados cubanos (Havana: Imprenta de Manuel Soler, 1854); Henri Dumont, “Antropología y patología comparada de los negros esclavos: Memoria inédita referente a Cuba,” Revista Bimestre Cubana 10, no. 3 (1915): 161–71, 263–74, 407–20, and 11, no. 2 (1916): 15–30, 78–90; and Manuel Pérez Beato, “Datos para la historia de la medicina en Cuba,” El Curioso Americano 3–4 (May–August 1910): 90–93. 10. Marrero, Cuba, 10:22. 11. In the Archivo Nacional de Cuba in Havana an entire collection of documents relates to the Real Consulado and its successor, the Junta de Fomento. 12. However, in their fervent defense of the slave trade, Cubans knew very well how to wash their hands of any responsibility in matters relating to slavery. Instead, they repeatedly blamed the inconsistency of the monarchs who had permitted and encouraged the development of slavery in the Americas. 13. The battle for the abolition of the royal monopoly on the sales of tobacco continued until June 23, 1817, when the royal decree granting Cuban tobacco growers their wish to produce and sell their products in a more competitive market was passed. See Johnson, Social Transformation of Eighteenth-Century Cuba, 26–29, 54–57. 14. In the minutes of the Cabildo of Havana of 1815 and 1816 were recorded all the agreements and the correspondence with the Cabildo representative to King Ferdinand VII, Francisco Antonio Rucabado. The motion was rejected by the Crown. Some months later, the Cabildo attempted to erect an equestrian statue of the “Rey Felón,” a project that had an unexpected end: the statue was eventually erected, but without a horse. Similar attempts to win the king’s attention included a lavish celebration of Ferdinand’s wedding in 1816. For more on the constant flirtations with the king, see AHOHH, ACT, vol. 90, fols. 92–94v, 148v–149, 271v–272, and 275–275v.

186 · Notes to Pages 27-30 15. On this theme it is vital to consult Matt D. Childs, “‘A Black French General arrived to conquer the island’: Images of the Haitian Revolution in Cuba’s 1812 Aponte Rebellion,” in Geggus, Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 135–56; and Ada Ferrer, “La société esclavagiste cubaine et la révolution haïtienne,” Annales 58, no. 2 (2003): 333–56. 16. On the importance of the “Haitian threat,” see Ada Ferrer, “Noticias de Haití en Cuba,” Revista de Indias 63, no. 229 (2003): 675–94, esp. 676–77. 17. Justo Germán Cantero, Los ingenios: Colección de vistas de los principales ingenios de azúcar de la isla de Cuba (Havana: Luis Marquier, 1857). 18. Robert Jameson, Letters from the Havana, during the year 1820; containing an account of the present state of the island of Cuba, and observations on the slave trade (London: John Miller, 1821); Bergad, Cuban Rural Society. 19. “There can be no doubt,” wrote Robert Jameson, “that the happiness of the future generations of Cubano’s will be advanced by the present abolition. Its terrific past history and frowning future, one would think must sufficiently impress its neighbour with the policy and necessity of solely augmenting its white population. I can vouch for their ability to labour in this climate. The great obstacle to white exertion is the slavery of the blacks, which gives a debased character to manual exertion.” Jameson, Letters from the Havana, 135. 20. See, among many other sources, Dale H. Porter, The Abolition of the Slave Trade in England, 1784–1807 (London: Archon Books, 1970); and Adam Hochschild, Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2005). 21. See, e.g., Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery (London: Deutsch, 1964); and Robin Blackburn, The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery (London: Verso, 1988). 22. On the English campaign to abolish the slave trade in the Atlantic, see, e.g., Williams, Capitalism and Slavery; Reginald Coupland, The British Anti-Slavery Movement (London: Thornton Butterworth, 1933); David Brion Davies, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770–1823 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1966); Johnson U. J. Asiegbu, Slavery and the Politics of Liberation, 1787–1861 (New York: Africana, 1969); and Seymour Drescher, Capitalism and AntiSlavery: British Abolitionism in Comparative Perspective (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987). More recent works that have expanded the subject are Judith Jennings, The Business of Abolishing the British Slave Trade, 1783–1807 (London: Routledge, 1997); and J. R. Oldfield, Popular Politics and British Anti-Slavery: The Mobilisation of Public Opinion against the Slave Trade, 1787–1807 (London: Routledge, 1998). 23. Blackburn, Overthrow of Colonial Slavery, 131–60. 24. See, e.g., Roger Anstey, The Atlantic Slave Trade and British Abolition, 1760–1810 (London: Macmillan, 1975); Seymour Drescher, Econocide: British Slavery in the Era of Abolition (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1977); idem, “Whose Abolition? Popular Pressure and the Ending of the British Slave Trade,” Past & Present 143 (1994): 136–66; and J. R. Oldfield, “The London Committee and Mobilization of Public Opinion against the Slave Trade,” Historical Journal 35, no. 2 (1992): 331–43. 25. Murray, Odious Commerce, 22–26. 26. The circumstances surrounding the omission of the French emperor’s name were very peculiar. Whether in the minutes of the Cabildo of Havana or in the correspondence of Cubans who found themselves in Spain during the French invasion, there was a notable lack of direct references to Napoleon. On the few occasions when he was mentioned, his titles were used instead of his name, or a pejorative nickname was employed. The reasons for such behavior are still the subject of speculation.

Notes to Pages 31-33 · 187 27. Joseph Marryat to the Real Consulado, London, 17 October 1814, ANC, RCJF, 201/8922. Marryat asked the Real Consulado to support Lloyds of London’s chosen agent, Louis de Coussin, “in the execution of the duties of his office, and permit him to take charge of any British vessels of property that may meet with damage.” 28. These articles in the Diario del Gobierno de la Habana began to appear with more frequency from the autumn of 1816. They can be consulted at the Cuban National Library. See, e.g., “Sobre las expediciones inglesas en Africa,” 25 August 1816, 1–3; “Estado del comercio de Inglaterra,” 6 October 1816, 1–3; and “Sobre los barcos de vapor,” 9 December 1816, 1–4. The articles continued to appear both in the Diario del Gobierno de la Habana and in El Observador Habanero until at least 1826. See, from the former, “Situación de la Gran Bretaña,” 18 October 1826, 2. 29. El Observador Habanero, 15 September and 30 December 1820. 30. Minutes of the Cabildo, 22 January 1808, AHOHH, ACT, vol. 75, fol. 18. These fears had been clear since the beginning of the mass introduction of African slaves to the island. See, e.g., Francisco Arango y Parreño, “Representación hecha á S.M. con motivo de la sublevación de esclavos en los dominios franceses de la Isla de Santo Domingo,” in Arango y Parreño, Obras, 1:109–13. Another expression of these fears can be seen in “Representación al Rey de los dueños de ingenios de la Habana,” ANC, RCJF, 150/7405, reprinted in part in García, La esclavitud desde la esclavitud: La visión de los siervos (Mexico City: Centro de Investigación Científica Ing. Jorge L. Tamayo, 1996), 62–79. 31. Barrera y Domingo, Reflexiones histórico físico naturales. For some studies on Barrera y Domingo, see Michele Flouret, “Un precurseur de la médecine psychosomatique en 1798: Francisco Barrera y Domingo, medecin des esclaves à Cuba,” in Pratiques du corps: Médecine, hygiène, alimentation, sexualité, ed. J. M. Racault and A. J. Bullier (Reunion: Publications de l’Université de la Reunion, 1985), 141–54; and Vicente Martínez Tejero, “Un ilustrado aragonés en Cuba: Francisco Barrera, cirujano y naturalista,” in El Conde de Aranda y su tiempo, ed. José A. Ferrer Benimeli, Esteban Sarasa, and Eliseo Serrano (Zaragoza: Institución Fernando el Católico, 2000), 1:373–89. 32. José Agustín Caballero published some of these works under pseudonyms, one of which was El amigo de los esclavos (The slaves’ friend). See “Nobilísimos cosecheros de azúcar, señores amos de ingenios, mis predilectos paisanos”; “Matrimonios entre esclavos: Posterior al 7 de abril de 1796”; and “De la consideración sobre la esclavitud en este País: Informe a la Sociedad Patriótica, 24 de noviembre de 1798,” all published first in Papel Periódico de la Habana and reprinted in Escritos varios, 2 vols. (Havana: Universidad de la Habana, 1956), 1:142–47, 1:148–52, 2:3–10. See also Edelberto Leyva, introduction to José Agustín Caballero: Obras, ed. Edelberto Leyva (Havana: Imagen Contemporánea, 1999). 33. Murray, Odious Commerce, 27–28. 34. “Petición del Cabildo de la Habana al Excelentísimo Sr. Gobernador General de un permiso para la introducción de negros, año 1787,” El Curioso Americano 2, no. 1 (1894): 5–8. The Cabildo of Havana hired the British traders Baker and Dawson to import slaves into Cuba from the mid-1780s until 1793. For a detailed discussion of this arrangement, see Arango y Parreño, “Discurso.” 35. See, e.g., Real Cédula concediendo libertad para el comercio de negros con las islas de Cuba, Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico y provincia de Caracas, a españoles y extrangeros, baxo las reglas que se expresan (Madrid, 1789); Real Cédula concediendo libertad para el comercio de negros con los virreynatos de Santa Fé, Buenos Aires, Capitanía General de Caracas e islas de Santo Domingo, Cuba y Puerto Rico, a españoles y extrangeros baxo las reglas que se expresan (Madrid, 1791); and Real Cédula para la continuación del comercio de negros, 22 de abril de 1804 (Madrid, 1804).

188 · Notes to Pages 33-38 36. Landowners and merchants of Havana to King Charles IV, Havana, 12 January 1803, ANC, AP, 106/9. See also José Luciano Franco, Comercio clandestino de esclavos (Havana: Ciencias Sociales, 1991). 37. Murray, Odious Commerce, 29. 38. Representación de la Ciudad de la Habana á las Cortes, el 20 de julio de 1811, con motivo de las proposiciones hechas por D. José Miguel Guridi Alcocer y D. Agustín de Argüelles, sobre el tráfico y esclavitud de los negros; extendida por el Alférez Mayor de la Ciudad, D. Francisco de Arango, por encargo del Cabildo, Consulado y Sociedad Patriótica de la Habana, in Arango y Parreño, Obras, 2:145–87. Although this text was signed by several important residents of Havana, its real and only author was Arango y Parreño. 39. See Childs, 1812 Aponte Rebellion; and Palmié, Wizards and Scientists. 40. See Betty Fladeland, “Abolitionist Pressures on the Concert of Europe, 1814–1822,” Journal of Modern History 38, no. 4 (1966): 355–73; Jerome Reich, “The Slave Trade at the Congress of Vienna—A Study in English Public Opinion,” Journal of Negro History 53, no. 2 (1968): 129–43; and Murray, Odious Commerce, 50–56. 41. Claudio Martínez de Pinillos to the Prior and Consuls, Madrid, 1 November 1814, ANC, GSC, 1099/40587. 42. Tratado entre S.M. el Rey de España y de las Indias y S.M. el Rey del Reino Unido de Gran Bretaña e Irlanda, para la abolición del tráfico de negros, concluido y firmado en Madrid en 23 de setiembre de 1817 (Madrid, 1817). The treaty was put into effect for the whole of the Spanish Empire by the Real Cédula para la abolición del tráfico de negros concluido y firmado en Madrid, en 23 de setiembre de 1817 (Madrid, 1817). These documents can be found in “Documentos relativos al proyecto de convenio que el gobierno inglés presentó al español para declarar libres á los negros importados de África después del 30 de Octubre de 1820,” Revista Cubana 5 (1887): 444–59. 43. For figures on the transatlantic slave trade to Cuba from 1817 to the mid-1860s, see appendix 1. 44. The period known as the Trienio Constitucional, during which the constitution of 1812 and the Cortes were reinstated, began in January 1820 with the uprising of Cabezas de San Juan, led by Rafael de Riego. During the following three years there were numerous governments with different policies. The constitution was abolished, and King Ferdinand VII recuperated all his powers after the invasion of the Duke of Angoulême and his army in 1823. This recuperation was made possible by the forces of the reactionary monarchists in Spain and thanks to the Family Pact between the Spanish and French Bourbons. See William Spence Robinson, “The Policy of Spain toward Its Revolted Colonies, 1820–1823,” Hispanic American Historical Review 6, nos. 1–3 (1926): 21–46. 45. Instrucciones al diputado O’Gavan sobre el asunto de negros y el tratado de 1817: Cabildo of 23 October 1820, AHOHH, ACT, vol. 100, fols. 168–169v. O’Gavan’s response was debated in the Cabildo on 7 July 1821. AHOHH, ACT, vol. 100, fol. 334v. 46. The instructions from the Real Consulado were printed as an appendix to the pamphlet. See Juan Bernardo O’Gavan, Observaciones sobre la suerte de los negros del Africa, considerados en su propia patria y trasplantados á las Antillas Españolas y Reclamación contra el tratado celebrado con los ingleses en el año de 1817 (Madrid: Imprenta del Universal, 1821), 12–14. 47. Ibid., 12. 48. Ibid. 49. Felix Varela, “Memoria que demuestra la necesidad de extinguir la esclavitud de los negros en la isla de Cuba, atendiendo a los intereses de sus propietarios,” in Felix Varela: Obras, ed. Jorge

Notes to Pages 39-43 · 189 Ibarra, Eduardo Torres-Cueva, and Mercedes García Rodríguez, 3 vols. (Havana: Imagen Contemporánea, 1997), 2:117. 50. Ibid. These words appear to have been copied verbatim from the French philosopher Denis Diderot, who wrote in addition that “these illuminating flashes of light announce the clap of thunder, and the blacks only need a brave enough leader to guide them to vengeance and slaughter. Where is he, this great man whose nature should perhaps fill mankind with pride?” Quoted in Michèle Duchet, Diderot et l’histoire des deux Indes, ou l’écriture fragmentaire (Paris: Nizet, 1978), 214; and Michel-Rolph Trouillot, “From Planters’ Journals to Academia: The Haitian Revolution as Unthinkable History,” Journal of Caribbean History 25, nos. 1–2 (1991): 86–87. The translation is from the latter. 51. Varela, “Memoria,” 2:119. 52. Arango also intervened in the debate on the side of his fellow planters. See Francisco Arango y Parreño, “Reflexiones de un habanero sobre la independencia de esta Isla” (1823), in Arango y Parreño, Obras, 2:343–76. 53. Tratado entre S.M. la reina de España y S.M. el Rey del Reino Unido de Gran Bretaña e Irlanda para la abolición del tráfico de esclavos, concluido y firmado en Madrid en 28 de junio de 1835 (Havana: Imprenta del Gobierno y Capitanía General, 1858). 54. Between 1790 and 1827 an estimated 1,116 slave ships, carrying a minimum of 244,255 African slaves, landed on Cuban shores. See 55. During these years at least three important conspiracies were discovered and repressed by the government of Francisco Dionisio Vives. Among these were those of Los Soles y Rayos de Bolívar in 1823 and the Águila Negra in 1830 (which was discovered in 1825). Employing the best ways to control the slaves continued to be paramount. For example, in 1824 the authorities revised the Reglamento de Esclavos Cimarrones, implemented for the first time in 1796. 56. Sherry Johnson, “From Authority to Impotence: Arango’s Adversaries and their Fall from Power during the Constitutional Period (1808–1823),” in Francisco Arango y la invención de la Cuba azucarera, ed. María Dolores González Ripoll and Izaskún Álvarez Cuartero (Salamanca: Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca, 2009), 209. 57. One of the main leaders of this conspiracy was José Teurbe Tolón, a resident of Matanzas at the time, who was forced to seek political asylum in Mexico upon the discovery of the plot. See Vidal Morales y Morales, Iniciadores y primeros mártires de la revolución cubana (Havana: Consejo Nacional de Cultura, 1963), 304. 58. Ibid.; Manuel de Paz Sánchez, José Fernández Fernández, and Nelson López Novegil, El bandolerismo en Cuba (1800–1933): Presencia canaria y protesta rural (Las Palmas: Centro de la Cultura Popular Canaria, 1994), 49–51. 59. See, e.g., Rafael Duharte Jiménez, “La situación política en la primera mitad del siglo XIX,” in Seis ensayos de interpretación histórica (Santiago de Cuba: Oriente, 1983), 10–32; Manuel Barcia, “Herencia y racionalidad: La doble moral de los propietarios cubanos de esclavos,” Debates Americanos 9 (2000): 20–26; and García, Conspiraciones y revueltas.

c h ap t e r t wo 1. José Luciano Franco, “Maroons and Slave Rebellions in the Spanish Territories,” in Maroon Societies: Rebel Slaves Communities in the Americas, ed. Richard Price (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 33.

190 · Notes to Pages 43-46 2. David M. Davidson, “Negro Slave Control and Resistance in Colonial Mexico, 1519–1650,” in ibid., 89; and Franco, “Maroons and Slave Rebellions,” 33. Other studies on slave resistance in early colonial Spanish America are María Cristina Navarrete, Cimarrones y palenques en el siglo XVII (Cali, Colombia: Universidad del Valle, 2003); and Enriqueta Vila Vilar, “Cimarronaje en Panamá y Cartagena: El costo de una guerrilla en el siglo XVII,” Caravelle 49 (1987): 77–92. 3. Alejandro de la Fuente, “Rebeldía esclava y represión esclavista: Cuba; siglos XVI y XVII,” Alcance a la Revista de la Biblioteca Nacional “José Martí” 2, no. 22 (1988): 7–8. 4. Ibid., 8. 5. See Alejandro de la Fuente, Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008), 182–83. 6. De la Fuente, “Rebeldía esclava y represión esclavista,” 10–11. 7. Ibid., 10–15. 8. Ibid. The Ordenanzas of 1600, or Ordenanzas de Cimarrones, can be found in AGI, SD, 116. 9. De la Fuente, “Rebeldía esclava y represión esclavista,” is practically the only historically documented academic work we have that discusses slave resistance in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Cuba. This lack of well-documented studies of early modern Cuba, already emphasized by de la Fuente in 1988, continues to be a major problem for Cuban historians today. 10. On both the Ordenanzas of 1600 and the Condiciones of 1693, see ibid., 10–20. 11. Tomás Rangel to Juan Francisco Güemes y Horcasitas, Matanzas, 1734, AGI, SD, 381. 12. Güemes y Horcasitas to unknown recipient, Havana, 10 November 1734, AGI, SD, 381. The petition was approved in August 1735. 13. Francis Hosier to the King, [off Havana], 10 March 1727, NMM, HSR/H/15. Both the instructions sent to Hosier to intercept the Spanish fleet at Portobello and the admiral’s letters describing his operations in the Caribbean are located at the National Maritime Museum in London. 14. Hosier to the King, [Windward Passage], 12 May 1727, NMM, HSR/H/15. 15. This uprising caused unprecedented concern and was still put forward as an argument by Cuban slave owners when they wrote to the king in the late eighteenth century to complain about the Carolinian Black Code of 1788. See “Los hacendados y dueños de los ingenios de azucar de dicha isla [Cuba],” sent by Cuban slave owners to the Crown, Havana, 19 January 1790, AGI, EST, 7/5. The revolt was also the subject of a 1977 motion picture entitled La última cena, directed by the Cuban filmmaker Tomás Gutiérrez Alea. 16. Representation by the Count of Casa Bayona, in “Testimonios de autos de la Fundación de Santa María del Rosario,” 1733, AGI, SD, 381. 17. Ibid. There is not a single reference to the revolt in Hosier’s correspondence from April to August 1727, when Hosier fell ill and died, a victim of the yellow fever. Serving in the Royal Navy for many years, he had been in a number of campaigns, including the battles of Barfleur in 1693 and Cartagena in 1711. 18. Minutes of the Cabildo, 12 September 1727, AHOHH, ACT, vol. 23, fols. 385–385v. 19. “Los hacendados y dueños de los ingenios de azucar de dicha isla [Cuba].” See also Marquis of Cárdenas de Monte Hermoso and Miguel José Peñalver y Calvo to the Count of Floridablanca, Havana, 5 February 1790, AGI, EST, 7/5. 20. “Real Despacho concediendo permiso para la fundación de una villa en las tierras del ingenio Quiebra Hacha y hacienda colindante llamada Jiaraco, tambien perteneciente al Conde de Casa Bayona,” ANC, AP, 4/34.

Notes to Pages 47-56 · 191 21. María Elena Díaz, The Virgin, the King, and the Royal Slaves of El Cobre: Negotiating Freedom in Colonial Cuba, 1670–1780 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000), 74–76. 22. Ibid., 76. 23. Ibid., 304–5. 24. Ibid., 345–49. For the letter to Governor Güemes y Horcasitas in ca. 1735, see AGI, SD, 451. 25. See José Luciano Franco, Las minas de Santiago del Prado y la rebelión de los cobreros, 1530– 1800 (Havana: Ciencias Sociales, 1975). 26. AGI, SD, 367; ANC, RCO, 2/96. See also Bárbara Danzie León, “Esclavitud y rebeldía en el Caribe: Una mirada a través de los documentos” (paper presented at the annual meeting of the Latin American Studies Association, Montreal, 2007). 27. Gabino La Rosa Corzo, Runaway Slave Settlements in Cuba: Resistance and Repression (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), 44–48. 28. Ibid., 49–62. La Rosa Corzo also includes in this section an examination of the interrogations of the captured maroons. 29. Ibid., 66. 30. “Los hacendados y dueños de los ingenios de azucar de dicha isla [Cuba].” 31. For the incidents of 1777 in the eastern part of the island, see La Rosa Corzo, Runaway Slave Settlements, 71–72; for the regulations enacted by Captain General Navarro, see Marrero, Cuba, 13:207. 32. Representation of the Cabildo of Havana to the King, 1772, AGI, SD, 2211. 33. Ibid. 34. “Los hacendados y dueños de los ingenios de azucar de dicha isla [Cuba].” 35. Captain General Luis de las Casas to the Count del Campo de Alanges, Havana, 7 May 1795, AGS, SDG, 6854/57. 36. Manuel de Zayas Santa Cruz to Las Casas, Havana, 21 November 1794, AGS, SDG, 6854/57. 37. Report of Captain General Luis de las Casas, Havana, 12 March 1795, AGS, SDG, 6854/57. 38. Ibid. 39. Ibid. 40. Ferrer, “Noticias de Haití en Cuba.” See also idem, “La société esclavagiste cubaine.” 41. Report of Alfonso de Viana, July 1795, AGI, EST, 5A/15. 42. Ibid. 43. “Relaciones de los varios movimientos de negros acaecidos en la villa de Puerto del Príncipe y ciudad de Trinidad de esta Ysla,” AGS, SDG, 6865/57. 44. Viana to Las Casas, Puerto Príncipe, 14 July 1795, AGS, SDG, 6865/57. Three years later, in 1798, the main leaders of the revolt were still in the dungeons of Puerto Príncipe waiting for a verdict. 45. For figures on the transatlantic slave trade, see appendix 1. 46. Viana to Las Casas, 9 April 1796, AGS, SDG, 6865/57. 47. “Noticias acaecidas en la Villa de Puerto del Príncipe, el día 13 de junio de 1798,” AGS, SDG, 6865/57. An incomplete copy of this report can be found in ANC, RCJF, 203/8993. 48. The fotuto was a musical instrument made from the empty shell of a sea snail. 49. “Noticias acaecidas en la Villa de Puerto del Príncipe, el día 13 de junio de 1798,” AGS, SDG, 6865/57. 50. Ibid. 51. Ibid.

192 · Notes to Pages 57-64 52. “Sentencia dada por la Capitanía General en el proceso de los negros sublevados en Trinidad,” AGS, SDG, 6865/24. See also ANC, AP, 7/30. 53. Luis Alexandro de Bassecourt to the Count of Santa Clara, Trinidad, 3 August 1798, AGI, EST, 1/80. 54. “Sentencia dada por la Capitanía General en el proceso de los negros sublevados en Trinidad,” AGS, SDG, 6865/24. 55. Real Consulado to the Count of Santa Clara, Havana, 18 August 1798, AGS, SDG, 6865/24. 56. Jose Procopio de Bassecourt, Count of Santa Clara, to Francisco Saavedra, Havana, 29 November 1798, AGI, EST, 1/80. 57. “Movimiento de negros en el Yngenio de D. Sebastian Peñalber, cituado [sic] en el Mariel a 52 leguas a la Costa de Sotavento,” AGS, SDG, 6865/57. 58. “Movimiento de negros en el Yngenio de D. Sebastián Calvo, situado en Güines, a 12 leguas de esta Ciudad,” AGS, SDG, 6865/24. 59. “Movimiento de negros en el Yngenio de D. Antonio Ponze de Leon, Auditor de Guerra de Marina, situado en tierras del Corral de Sta. Cruz, diez leguas al S.E.,” AGS, SDG, 6865/24. 60. Ibid. The authorities were not able to prove their suspicions, and the arsonists went unpunished. 61. Minutes of the junta of 9 June 1802, ANC, RCJF, 150/7407. 62. Marquis of Cárdenas de Monte Hermoso, Juan de Santa María, and Antonio del Valle Hernández to Captain General Marquis of Someruelos, Havana, 9 June 1802, ANC, RCJF, 150/7407. 63. Deposition of Eligio Enoué, January 1803, AGI, CUB, 1630. 64. Antonio Fernández to the Marquis of Someruelos, San Antonio Abad, 27 January 1803, AGI, CUB, 1630. 65. Deposition of Joaquín Congo, May 1806, ANC, AP, 9/27. 66. Ibid. 67. See García, Conspiraciones y revueltas, 38–39. 68. Ferrer, “La societé esclavagiste cubaine”; idem, “Noticias de Haití en Cuba.” 69. For other approaches to the events of 1806, see Gloria García, “A propósito de La Escalera: El esclavo como sujeto político,” Boletín del Archivo Nacional de Cuba 12 (2000): 1–13; and Manuel Barcia, Seeds of Insurrection, 30–31. 70. A large number of works address the Aponte movement either centrally or peripherally. See, e.g., José de Jesús Márquez, “Conspiración de Aponte,” Revista Cubana 19 (1894): 441–54; Ángel Augier, “José Antonio Aponte y la conspiración de 1812,” Bohemia 54, no. 15 (1962): 48–49; Franco, La conspiración de Aponte; Alain Yacou, “La conspiración de Aponte (1812),” Historia y Sociedad 1 (1988): 39–58; Palmié, Wizards and Scientists, esp. chap. 1; García, Conspiraciones y revueltas; and Lena Delgado de Torres, “Reformulating Nationalism in the African Diaspora: The Aponte Rebellion of 1812,” CR: The New Centenal Review 3, no. 3 (2003): 27–46. 71. Childs’s recent study on the movement is the most complete to date. See Childs, 1812 Aponte Rebellion. 72. Ibid., esp. the introduction. 73. See ibid., chap. 4. 74. Ibid. 75. A description of Aponte’s book of paintings and his explanations about each of the drawings can be found in the appendix to Franco, La conspiración de Aponte.

Notes to Pages 64-69 · 193 76. Childs, 1812 Aponte Rebellion, 164–68. 77. Field Marshal Juan Moscoso commented in a letter written in Havana in 1822 that “some negroes are revolting in the sugar mills, but this problem would be insignificant if Saint Domingue were not so close.” Moscoso to José de Hezeta, Havana, 15 May 1822, AGI, SD, 1339. 78. See “Rebelión en el Caney,” ANC, AP, 28/12; “Conspiración en Guajana o Guanicum,” ANC, AP, 117/53; “Expediente contra negros rebeldes de Guanímar,” ANC, AP, 117/51; and “Medidas contra levantamientos de esclavos en Oriente,” ANC, AP, 117/27. 79. See Nuevo reglamento y arancel que debe gobernar en la captura de esclavos cimarrones (Havana: Imprenta de la Capitanía General, 1797). 80. La Rosa Corzo, Runaway Slave Settlements, 79–99. 81. For the best account of the situation in eastern Cuba during those years, see ibid. See also Zoila Danger Roll, Los cimarrones del Frijol (Santiago de Cuba: Oriente, 1977); Francisco Pérez de la Riva, “Cuban Palenques,” in Price, Maroon Societies, 49–59; and José Luis Belmonte Postigo, “Intentan sacudir el yugo de la servidumbre: El cimarronaje cubano en el Oriente cubano,” Universidad del Atlántico, Historia Caribe, Barranquilla 12 (2007): 7–21. 82. Robert Charles Dallas, The History of the Maroons, from their origin to the establishment of their chief tribe at Sierra Leone: including the expedition to Cuba, for the purpose of procuring Spanish chasseurs; and the state of the island of Jamaica for the last ten years: with a succinct history of the island previous to that period, 2 vols. (London: Longman and Rees, 1803). 83. Minutes of the junta of 20 April 1814, ANC, RCJF, vol. 169, fols. 15–15v. 84. “Expediente sobre la persecución de palenques en la parte Oriental de esta Isla. Provincia de Cuba,” ANC, RCJF, 141/6935. 85. José Garcilaso de la Vega to the Real Consulado, Havana, 30 January 1819, ANC, RCJF, 141/6934. 86. Gaspar Antonio Rodríguez to the Real Consulado, Cayajabos, 14 October 1820, ANC, RCJF, 141/6940. 87. Gaspar Antonio Rodríguez to the Real Consulado, Cayajabos, 4 March 1822, ANC, RCJF, 150/7416. 88. “Desmanes de esclavos en Cayajabos,” 15 May 1822, ANC, AP, 124/99. 89. Vives to Joaquin de Miranda, Havana, 1 September 1823, ANC, RCJF, 150/7427. Miranda did not find anything unusual in his tour of the region. 90. The journals kept by the slave hunters of the period sometimes refer to the fact that by the mid-1820s the numbers of maroons were in decline. See Manuel Barcia, Seeds of Insurrection, 69–70. For reproductions of many of these journals, see Gabino La Rosa Corzo and Mirtha T. González, Cazadores de esclavos: Diarios (Havana: Fundación Fernando Ortiz, 2004).

c h ap t e r t h r e e 1. The San Severino Castle’s works were concluded in 1734 by the Spanish engineer Ignacio Rodríguez. During the British invasion of 1762 the commander of the castle, Felipe García Solís, under attack from the invaders, with the help of five soldiers accumulated all the gunpowder in the center of the fortress and blew it up. After Spain recovered control of the city a year later, the castle was rebuilt as we see it today. 2. “Apuntes sobre la jurisdicción de Matanzas, 1820,” ANC, GSC, 887/29859.

194 · Notes to Pages 69-74 3. On the historical evolution of the city of Matanzas, see Adolfo Dollero, Cultura cubana (la provincia de Matanzas y su evolución) (Havana: Seoane y Fernández, 1919); Francisco Ponte Domínguez, Matanzas: Biografía de una provincia (Havana: Siglo XX, 1959); and Urbano Martínez Carmenate, Historia de Matanzas (siglos XVI–XVIII) (Matanzas: Ediciones Matanzas, 1999). The most recent study on the history of the city is Bretos, Matanzas. 4. Pedro Agustín Morell de Santa Cruz, La visita eclesiástica (Havana: Ciencias Sociales, 1985), 130. 5. Ibid. 6. For example, Lorenzo Montalvo y Ruíz de Alarcón, the minister of maritime affairs on the island of Cuba and Count of Macuriges, not only owned the Santísima Trinidad and San Blas sugar mills outside Havana but became the proprietor of vast lands in the region of Matanzas, to the point of owning the entire area of the Zapata swamps. One district, today the municipality of Güira de Macuriges, took its name from his noble title. The region of Ceiba Mocha, on the other hand, eventually became the dominion of the O’Farrill family, one of whose members, Juan Manuel O’Farrill y Arredondo, established the first steamship service between Havana and Matanzas in 1819. 7. For figures related to this population increase, see Bergad, Cuban Rural Society, 29–31. 8. Anales de Ciencia, Agricultura, Comercio y Artes, November 1827, 144. 9. “Reglas para el domicilio de nuevos colonos y sus auxilios,” 6 March 1818, ANC, AP, 298/2. See appendix 2. 10. Cárdenas was founded in 1827 as a fundamental part of the white colonization of the island. The optimization of its geographical location, on the banks of the harbor of the same name and east of Matanzas, at the center of a plantation region, is evidence of the objectives of the authorities in the period. Cárdenas experienced fast economic growth from its foundation, becoming one of the largest and more important Cuban cities by the second half of the nineteenth century. Hundreds of thousands of hogsheads of sugar were exported through its port and its surrounding districts—formed by the districts of Guamutas and Lagunillas—making it one of the island’s most important sugar-producing regions. 11. “Ojeada económica sobre la isla de Cuba, ó sean observaciones á la introducción de D. Ramón de la Sagra al tomo 3o. de sus Anales,” Anales de Ciencia, Agricultura, Comercio y Artes, October 1829, 101. 12. “Descripción Geográfico-Histórica de la Ciudad y partido de Matanzas,” Diario del Gobierno de la Habana, 23, 24 February 1814. 13. Communication of 22 July 1821, ANC, GSC, 887/29859. 14. Ibid. 15. Anales de Ciencia, Agricultura, Comercio y Artes, November 1827, 147. 16. Bergad, Cuban Rural Society, 27. 17. As this chapter shows, the protocolos notariales of Matanzas are full of signatures of colonizers and merchants from places as distant as France, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, England, Ireland, Saint Domingue, New Granada, Peru, and many islands in the West Indies. Documents relating to these men and women can be found on virtually every page of every book of protocolos cited in this chapter. 18. Bergad, Cuban Rural Society, 29. 19. Ibid., 79. 20. Ibid., 321–22.

Notes to Pages 75-80 · 195 21. “Extrait d’un rapport du capitaine commandant du navire du commerce le Bordelain á son retour de la Havane,” 4 September 1825, CAOM, SG/AMER, 16. See also the multiple references to the coffee issue in Jameson, Letters from the Havana, 86–114; and Gardner Lowell, New Year in Cuba, 76–177. 22. Abiel Abbot, Letters Written in the Interior of Cuba (Boston: Bowles and Dearborn, 1829), letter 9, Sumidero, 1 March 1828, 33–34. 23. “Exposición del Real Consulado sobre la necesidad de exonerar de derechos a las exportaciones de azúcar y café by Ramón Ramírez y Francisco Fesser,” Havana, 4 October 1828, AGI, ULT, 182. 24. See Pedro Chapeau, Domingo Aleo, and Santiago Macomb to the Consular Deputy of the City of Matanzas, Matanzas, 22 February 1822, ANC, RCJF, 117/4934. See also Miguel José de Barbería to the Prior and Consuls, Matanzas, 27 March 1828, ANC, RCJF, 117/4960. In this year the Real Consulado offered help to the residents so that they could fix the roads. 25. In his unpublished work “El cólera en Guamacaro” the Italian medical doctor and plantation owner José Yarini described Guamacaro as “surrounded by hills covered by thick forests with trees of an extraordinary size. . . . The low flood plains have a humid soil, which is the reason for their extreme fertility. This fertility is preserved by the heavy rains that fall in the region and also in the nearby mountains. These lands are crossed by an infinite number of streams that very likely originate in the same source. At every step communications are interrupted by this or that stream.” AHMF, unclassified. 26. Minutes of the junta of 20 April 1796, ANC, RCJF, vol. 161, fol. 144v. 27. Minutes of the Cabildo, 7 August 1818, AHOHH, ACT, vol. 94, fols. 171v–172. 28. Scholars differ widely on Alejandro Ramírez’s role in the white population project. Heinrich Friedlaender, for example, saw in Ramírez the great patron of small property, while María del Carmen Barcia has suggested that although Ramírez did support small proprietors, he also supported the continuous development of the plantation economy. Barcia also considers that in relation to the white immigration project, the intendant was barely an heir to a policy conceived and developed years earlier by the Creole elites of the island. Heinrich Friedlaender, Historia económica de Cuba, 2 vols. (Havana: Ciencias Sociales, 1978), 1:188–212; María del Carmen Barcia, “Los proyectos de población blanca y la Real Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País,” Espace Caraïbe 2 (1994): 111–30. See also Consuelo Naranjo Orovio and Armando García González, Racismo e imigración en Cuba en el siglo XIX (Madrid: Doce Calles, 1996), 45–68; and idem, “Cara y cruz de una política colonial: Azúcar y población en Cuba,” in Más allá del azúcar: Política, diversificación y prácticas económicas en Cuba, 1878–1930, ed. Antonio Santamaría García and Consuelo Naranjo Orovio (Madrid: Doce Calles, 2009), 21–57. 29. “Memoria sobre fomento de la población blanca redactada a solicitud del Cabildo por los Sres Andrés de Zayas y Francisco Chacón,” Havana, 14 July 1815, AHOHH, ACT, vol. 89, fols. 356–356v. 30. Ibid., 356v. 31. See n. 9 above. 32. ANC, AP, 298/12. Item 11a named Matías Averhoff as a sponsor for the German migrants; Juan José Chaviteau and León Blaín for the French; David Nagle and John Murdock for the English, the Irish, and any other English-speaking colonists; and Joaquín Gómez and Joaquín Aizpurúa for the Spanish. 33. Alain Yacou, “La présence française dans la partie occidentale de l’île Cuba au lendemain de la révolution de Saint-Domingue,” Revue Française d’Histoire d’Outre-Mer 84 (1987): 149–88;

196 · Notes to Pages 80-85 idem, “Esclaves et libres français à Cuba au lendemain de la révolution française,” Jahrbuch für Geschichte von Staat, Wissenschaft und Gessellschaft Lateinamerikas 28 (1991): 163–97. 34. Diario del Gobierno de la Habana, 20 February 1818, 2. 35. Francisco Pérez de la Riva, El café: Historia de su cultivo y explotación en Cuba (Havana: Jesús Montero, 1944), 51, 74. 36. Abbot, Letters, letter 6, La Carolina, 26 February 1828, 27. 37. Bergad, Cuban Rural Society, 68, table 4.1. In 1817 there were only 2,211 slaves in Guamacaro, constituting 70.9% of the population in the district. Two and a half decades later, in 1841, the number of slaves in Guamacaro was 11,822, 89.9% of the population. 38. Protocolo de Luis López de Villavicencio, ANC, AGRT, 669/77; “Intestado de Juan Fouquier, vecino del partido de Guamacaro,” [1825–26], ANC, ELB, 439/3; “Estado de las fincas sublevadas en el Partido de Guamacaro,” July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5. 39. Someruelos to the Cabildo of Matanzas, Havana, 10 November 1809, AHPM, AC, vol. 22, fol. 223. 40. ANC, ES, 548/6298. 41. Guillermo C. Gowen to the Cabildo of Havana, Havana, 22 August 1816, AHOHH, ACT, vol. 82, fols. 339–40. See also the short notice of approval of Gowen’s request by Captain General José Cienfuegos, Diario del Gobierno de la Habana, 19 February 1818, 3. 42. Years later Juan Chartrand’s El Laberinto became a sugar mill named Ariadna, indicating the family’s continued interest in the classics. Many later Chartrands were famous artists, including the most important Cuban landscape painter of the nineteenth century, Esteban Chartrand. 43. Research on the settlement, development, prosperity, and decadence of the coffee planters of Coliseo has been challenging. The existing sources dedicated to this are not sufficient. In order to understand the transformation of Coliseo into a coffee plantation area, it was necessary to work with a vast array of archival collections, using the names of the planters and their relatives as obligatory references. In some cases only a few references appeared. These cases are included at the end of this section. I look first at those planters who were more successful and left more historical traces and then proceed to those who were less successful. 44. ANC, EH, 342/11296. Years later Disdier still owned the Ganges sugar mill in the region of Santiago. 45. In 1819 Disdier supplied a number of guns for the defense of Havana that, according to the intendant Ramírez, had previously been used in the slave trade with Africa. Ramírez to the Secretary of State, Havana, 28 November 1819. AGI, ULT, 179. 46. ANC, EBD, 166/2982. 47. ANC, CM, 1/3. 48. Certificaciones de Santiago López de Villavicencio, ANC, AGRT, 669/56. 49. Certificaciones de Félix Lancis, ANC, AGRT, 669/61. Jacobo Mildestein sold 1.25 of the 5 caballerías in Laguna de Palos to Disdier for the sum of 2,125 pesos on 14 December 1820. 50. ANC, EH, 49/1077. 51. Certificaciones de Félix Lancis, ANC, AGRT, 669/65. 52. ANC, PBD, 1823, fols. 580–82. 53. On 14 July 1820 Disdier and Gowen acquired five caballerías adjacent to San Patricio from Victoria Latour, widow of Varrier, for 2,500 pesos. In 1824 they bought from Francisco de Acosta two more caballerías, also adjacent to the plantation, for 900 pesos. This transaction took place through an intermediary authorized by Gowen, no other than Mr. Juan Latting, one of the rich-

Notes to Pages 85-89 · 197 est merchants in the city at the time. A document signed by both Disdier and Gowen before the notary José Salinas on 5 March 1822 listed all 276 slaves living on the plantation at the time. ANC, EH, 49/1077; ANC, RB, 90/211. 54. ANC, EH, 49/1077. 55. ANC, EH, 49/1077, fols. 1081, 1083. 56. ANC, EH, 49/1081. In fact, Disdier was also in partnership with Guillermo Murphy from March 1827. 57. Diario del Gobierno de la Habana, 7 October 1824, 2. Upon his arrival in Spain, Soulé de Limendoux adopted a Castilian name and thus became Antonio Marcial Martínez. 58. ANC, ELB, 439/3. Jacques Napoleon was born in St. Genevieve, Missouri, in 1812, and his sister, Thérèse Josephine, was born a year later, in 1813. Fouquier’s other two children, Jean Félix and Augustín, were born in 1815 and 1817, respectively, after Napoleon’s defeat. 59. Felipe Fatio to Alejandro Ramírez, New Orleans, 26 November 1818, ANC, IGH, 1124/147. 60. ANC, ELB, 439/3. 61. Protocolo de Luis López de Villavicencio, 1823, fols. 119–119v, ANC, PN-MAT. 62. ANC, ELB, 439/3. A description of the property in mid-1825, just after the slave revolt took place, reveals that the plantation comprised 28 caballerías with 160,000 coffee bushes fully productive. The plantation also included a field of plantains, a coffee seedbed, a paddock of 1 caballería, four pairs of oxen, a batey (central courtyard of any plantation), a mill, twenty small coffee dryers, and a wooden house covered with a roof made of guano. 63. See Diario de la Habana, 14 December 1825, 2; and Noticioso Mercantil, 11, 12, 13 December 1825, 4. 64. ANC, EBD, 164/2942, 11. 65. ANC, ELB, 439/3. 66. ANC, CM, 1/5; ANC, EBD, 164/2942. 67. Abbot, Letters, letter 5, La Carolina, 23 February 1828, 20. 68. Ibid., letter 3, La Carolina, 18 February 1828, 10. 69. Protocolo de Luis López de Villavicencio, 1823, fols. 288v–293, ANC, PN-MAT. Sage gave full powers to Webster to deal with any matters related to Ontario. The powers were conferred before the New York public notary Andrew S. Garr on 3 April 1823. Protocolo de Luis López de Villavicencio, 1823, fols. 288v–293, ANC, PN-MAT. 70. AHPM, AH, vol. 3, fol. 4, no. 19, 1 April 1826. 71. ANC, EBD, 164/2942. 72. Abbot, Letters, letter 6, La Carolina, 26 February 1828, 21. 73. Ibid. 74. Protocolo de Luis López de Villavicencio, 1819, ANC, PN-MAT. 75. AHPM, AH, vol. 1, fol. 191, no. 811, 16 August 1822. In May 1820 Madame Lamelle left the business partnership, and Luis Juan María Chatelain was forced to remortgage ten slaves in order to deal with the resulting crisis. On the sale of the slaves, see AHPM, AH, vol. 1, fol. 53, no. 233, 14 May 1819. 76. ANC, CM, 1/5. Although the map drawn by Colonel Manuel de Castilla y Armenteros shows the estate divided into two different, all existing documents indicate that it was divided into three. In 1825 Pelletier had fourteen slaves, while Madame Lamelle and Luis Chatelain had only four each, which suggests their economic constraints. 77. ANC, EGO, 384/15. Pelletier believed that his former business partners should grant him

198 · Notes to Pages 89-93 access to the road, since “the royal road, the town, and the parish church are all closer to that specific point [the road].” 78. AHPM, AH, vol. 1, fol. 171, no. 689, 19 January 1822. 79. Abbot, Letters, letter 2, La Carolina, 17 February 1828, 9. 80. “Estado de las fincas sublevadas en el Partido de Guamacaro,” July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5. 81. AHPM, AH, vol. 3, fol. 73, no. 294, 29 March 1827. The representatives of Howland & Co. in Cuba were Joseph Hill Clark and William Branker. 82. AHPM, AH, vol. 5, fol. 70, no. 272, 9 June 1830. 83. Jorge Bartlett’s debt of 4,000 pesos to Thomas Gibbs Atkins was canceled on 11 April 1838; a debt of 6,000, contracted with Enoch Bartlett, was canceled on 15 April 1842; and a debt of 7,000, contracted with Federico Guillermo Arnz, was canceled ten days later, on 25 April 1842. AHPM, AH, vol. 7, fol. 33v, nos. 178, 179, 180. 84. AHPM, AH, vol. 9, fols. 198–198v, no. 488, 24 October 1839. The debt was canceled on 25 April 1842. 85. In his inventory of the Matanzas ingenios Alberto Perret Ballester traces the further development of this estate until the second half of the twentieth century. He erroneously gives its first owner as a Mr. Taylor. Alberto Perret Ballester, El azúcar en Matanzas y sus dueños en la Habana: Apuntes e iconografía (Havana: Ciencias Sociales, 2007), 57–58. 86. Protocolo de Luis López de Villavicencio, 1823, fol. 282v, ANC, PN-MAT. 87. “Estado de las fincas sublevadas en el Partido de Guamacaro,” July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5. See appendix 4. 88. ANC, EGA, 376/1. 89. Guarico was the name given in Cuba and most of Hispanic America to the city of Le Cap (le Cap Français until the early nineteenth century and Le Cap Haitian after the Haitian Revolution, 1791–1804). The name was also frequently used to identify the former colony of Saint Domingue. 90. Protocolo de Luis López de Villavicencio, 20 September 1823, fol. 444v, ANC, PN-MAT. 91. AHPM, AH, vol. 1, fol. 176v, no. 721, 26 March 1822. 92. Valuation of the El Dichoso coffee plantation, 17 September 1826, ANC, EM, 278/2288. 93. “Estado de las fincas sublevadas en el Partido de Guamacaro,” July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5. 94. Antonio Manuel Pérez to Vives, Havana, 22 March 1831, ANC, EM, 278/2288. 95. Someruelos to the Cabildo of Matanzas, Havana, 10 November 1809, AHPM, AC, vol. 22, fol. 223. 96. AHPM, AH, vol. 1, fol. 181, no. 750, 22 May 1822. 97. Protocolo de Luis López de Villavicencio, 1823, fol. 24, ANC, PN-MAT. 98. AHPM, AH, vol. 4, fol. 3, no. 11, 21 February 1828. 99. ANC, EGA, 291/1, fols. 119–121v. 100. Certificaciones de Félix Lancis, ANC, AGRT, 669/76. The hacienda was sold to Juan and Roberto Oliver on 28 April 1823. 101. ANC, EGA, 291/1, fols. 313–330v. 102. Protocolo de Luis López de Villavicencio, 11 November 1823, fol. 542, ANC, PN-MAT; Certificaciones de Luis López de Villavicencio, 1 December 1823, ANC, AGRT, 669/77. 103. Insurance contract for the Hernani coffee plantation to benefit José de Arce’s sons, AHPM, AH, vol. 5, fol. 79v, no. 312, 17 July 1830; José de Arce’s will, 10 June 1832, Protocolo de Joaquín de la Fuente, Testamentos, vol. 2, fols. 172–175v, ANC, PN-MAT. Arce died on 24 June in Guamacaro.

Notes to Pages 94-99 · 199 104. Protocolo de Luis López de Villavicencio, 1825 fol. 64v, ANC, PN-MAT. 105. “Estado de las fincas sublevadas en el Partido de Guamacaro,” July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5. 106. María Amelia de Paire mortgaged the estate on 18 April 1843. She paid the debt four years later, on 11 August 1847. AHPM, AH, vol. 11, fol. 131, no. 381. 107. Certificaciones de Félix Lancis, 13 February 1821, ANC, AGRT, 669/65. 108. AHPM, AH, vol. 1, fol. 125v, no. 505, 13 February 1821. The debt amounted to 2,972 pesos. 109. “Estado de las fincas sublevadas en el Partido de Guamacaro,” July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5. 110. Protocolo de López de Villavicencio, 1819, fols. 444–444v, ANC, PN-MAT. 111. Protocolo de López de Villavicencio, 1823, fols. 121v–125, ANC, PN-MAT. 112. AHPM, AH, vol. 5, fol. 116, no. 442, 11 November 1830. In 1830 Tosca mortgaged his coffee plantation and his crop for 7,096 pesos. Years later he had vanished from the region. 113. “Estado de las fincas sublevadas en el Partido de Guamacaro,” July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5. 114. AHPM, AH, vol. 7, fols. 178–178v, nos. 959 and 960, 4 and 5 August 1834. Goitía mortgaged El Carmelo, renamed Unión in the early 1830s, to Antonio Ruíz’s sons; the debt was paid on 9 September 1836. 115. El Correo de Trinidad, 21 June 1829. 116. Anales de Agricultura e Industria Rural, 31 June 1831. 117. F. Pérez de la Riva, El café, 77–79. 118. Van Norman, “Shade Grown Slavery,” 72, 107; Louis A. Perez, Winds of Change: Hurricanes and the Transformation of Nineteenth-Century Cuba (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001), 64–65, 80–92. 119. Moreno Fraginals, El ingenio, 2:5–90.

c h ap t e r fo u r 1. Deposition of San Gil of Mansuit, 17 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 7–11. The first attempt to interrogate San Gil had to be discontinued until a French translator could be found. 2. Deposition of Sambo Lucumí of Chapeau, 25 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 250v–252. 3. A third slave, José Felipe Navarro, a native of Maracaibo, also claimed to have known about the plot for some time. However, this testimony seems to have been compromised by the fact that José Felipe clearly told many lies during the interrogation in an effort to save himself. Deposition of José Felipe Navarro, 18 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 254–255v. 4. In fact, San Gil was never among the plotters. His knowledge of the plan was limited, and his participation almost nil. 5. Deposition of Félix Mandinga of Webster, 10 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 74–75v. 6. Deposition of Cecilio Lucumí of Chatelain, 19 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 46v–50. 7. Deposition of Tom (or Tomás) Mandinga Sosó of Fouquier, 19 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 122v–127v. 8. Ortiz, Los negros esclavos, 72. According to Ortiz, the Lucumís were the most intelligent and most civilized slaves but also fearless and difficult to subject and intimidate, although they were reputed to be good workers. 9. See, e.g., Monica Schuler, “Akan Slave Rebellions in the British Caribbean,” Savacou 1, no. 1 (1970): 8–31; idem, “Day-to-day Resistance to Slavery in the Caribbean during the Eighteenth Century,” Bulletin of the African Studies Association of the West Indies 6 (1973): 57–75; John K. Thorn-

200 · Notes to Pages 99-105 ton, “African Dimensions of the Stone Rebellion,” American Historical Review 96, no. 4 (1991): 1101–13; and idem, “African Soldiers in the Haitian Revolution,” Journal of Caribbean History 25, nos. 1–2 (1991): 50–80. 10. Deposition of Lieutenant Francisco Rueda, 19 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 67–69. 11. Deposition of Dionisio Bermúdez, 19 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 51v–52v. 12. Deposition of Juan Chartrand, 24 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 75v–77. According to Chartrand, his slave Pío Carabalí had told him that the organizers were Pablo Gangá and Francisco Criollo, both coach drivers. There was no other direct accusation against Francisco Criollo. In fact, the only other reference to his possible involvement in the plot came from Domingo Armona, who stated in a letter that he was supposed to be “one of the main organizers of the plot.” Armona to Cecilio Ayllón, Guamacaro, 24 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 195–96. 13. Deposition of Dionisio Bermúdez, 19 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 51v–52v. The free blacks Antonio (also known as “El Moro”), Agustín Ximénez, and Félix Ximénez did not enjoy a good reputation among the residents of Guamacaro. However, despite the efforts of the prosecutors to link them to the plotters, they were released after proving their innocence to the Military Commission. Years later, one of them, Agustín, was arrested because of his alleged participation in the conspiracy of La Escalera. 14. Deposition of Sambo Lucumí of Chapeau, 25 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 250v–252. Only two slaves on Taylor’s plantation participated in the revolt. The rest allegedly refused to join the movement and even protected the plantation owner against their rebel companions when they attempted to kill him. 15. Deposition of Justo Lucumí of Bartlett, 25 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 228–229v. 16. Deposition of Jorge Bartlett, 23 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 74–75v. 17. Deposition of Vicente Congo of Gómez, 19 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 64–67. 18. Deposition of Lieutenant Francisco Rueda, 19 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 67–69. 19. Deposition of Vicente Congo of Gómez, 19 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 64–67. 20. Deposition of José María Gangá of Gómez, 23 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 112–113v. 21. Deposition of Esteban of Armitage, 20 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 62–65v. 22. Deposition of Santiago Mandinga of Paire, 10 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 127v–129. 23. Deposition of Esteban of Armitage, 20 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 62–65v. Such segregationist practices are common security measure in conspiracies. Thanks to them, ringleaders often keep potential rebels ignorant of their plans until just before they are about to take place. 24. Deposition of José Luis of Gómez, 13 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 48–50. 25. Deposition of Tom Mandinga Sosó of Fouquier, 10 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 122–127v. 26. Deposition of Vicente Congo of Gómez, 19 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 64–67. 27. Deposition of Vicente Congo of Gómez, 21 September 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 181–182v. 28. Deposition of José María Gangá of Gómez, 23 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 112–113v. 29. Deposition of Ana (from Kentucky) of Armitage, 22 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 143–147v. 30. Deposition of José de la Luz Mandinga of Gómez, 21 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 95v–104. 31. Ibid. See also the deposition of José María Gangá of Gómez, 23 June 1825, ANC, ME, 172/A, fol. 51v. José María Gangá declared that Armitage had been assassinated by “all his slaves and those of Mr. Satelien who were there as well: they were the ones who killed one of his sons,

Notes to Pages 105-109 · 201 and . . . the other son was killed by Lorenzo alone, and . . . the woman was murdered by a black man belonging to the same estate called Manuel.” ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 112–113v. 32. Deposition of Esteban of Armitage, 20 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 62–65v. 33. Deposition of José de la Luz Mandinga of Gómez, 10 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 130–132v. 34. Ibid. 35. Deposition of Esteban of Armitage, 20 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 62–65v. 36. Deposition of Tom Mandinga Sosó of Fouquier, 19 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 50v–53. 37. Deposition of María Luisa Saint-Géme Bauvais, 21 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 174v–177v. 38. Deposition of Manuel Criollo (Carabalí) of Fouquier, 18 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 18v–21. 39. María Luisa also accused her slave Lecsi, whom she “saw with a torch and a rifle in his hands . . . aiming at her husband outside the house.” She also accused José Antonio Gangá, whom she saw “near the door of the house during the event, and because he was a negro whom she appreciated, she asked him for help, but his answer was to wave his machete and threaten her with a fierce grimace.” Deposition of María Luisa Saint-Géme Bauvais, 21 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 60–61v. 40. Deposition of Ramón Gangá of Fouquier, 18 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 21–22v. 41. Deposition of Alejandro Mandinga of Fouquier, 9 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 33v–34. 42. Deposition of Luciano (from Cartagena de Indias) of Fouquier, 18 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 26v–31. Luciano’s story was confirmed by Francisco Goitía when he was called to testify on 21 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 123v–126. 43. Depositions of Cecilio Lucumí of Chatelain and José Felipe (from Maracaibo) of Chatelain, 19 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 44–50. 44. Deposition of Antonio Manuel Pérez, 23 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 168–70. 45. Deposition of Andrés Mandinga of Pérez and Imbretch, 20 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 86v–92. 46. The women and children left behind were Justina Emilia Bellanger, Pérez’s wife, his mother, his sister, and Fouquier’s widow and her children. ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 86v–92. 47. Depositions of María Luisa Saint-Géme Bauvais and Santiago Congo of Fouquier, 21 August and 19 September 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 60–61v and 189–190v. Santiago denied responding in that way to his master’s wife. He also denied dancing and explained “that the reason why he turned his back on her and why he was jumping was because that was the way people of his nation demonstrated their feelings.” 48. Deposition of María Luisa Saint-Géme Bauvais, 21 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 60–61v. 49. Deposition of Justina Emilia Bellanger, 23 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 170–171v. 50. Deposition of María Marta Gousson, 23 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 179v–181v. 51. Deposition of Andrés Mandinga of Pérez and Imbretch, 20 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 86v–92. 52. Deposition of Santiago (from New Orleans) of Paire, 20 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 83v–86v. 53. Confrontation between Santiago Congo of Fouquier and Santiago of Paire, 25 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 116v–117. 54. Deposition of María Marta Gousson, 23 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 179v–181v.

202 · Notes to Pages 109-114 55. Deposition of Carlos Larderet, 23 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 171v–173v. 56. Deposition of San Gil of Mansuit, 17 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3. fols. 7–11. San Gil also testified that when Pérez was telling them about the uprising, they could hear gunshots fired in the distance. 57. Deposition of Jorge Víctor Pelletier, 23 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 186v–188. Fuser, a slave of Mansuit’s born in Saint Domingue, confirmed Pelletier’s testimony about Luis Carabalí being responsible for his wounds. Deposition of Fuser of Mansuit, 23 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 173v–174v. 58. Depositions of San Gil of Mansuit and Alejandro María Chatelain, 17 June and 1 July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 7–11 and 142–143v. 59. Deposition of Alejandro María Chatelain, 1 July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 142–143v. 60. For some unknown reason, the rebels did not enter Webster and Sage’s Ontario plantation. Esteban Rainy, the manager of the Santa Ana plantation, also owned by Webster and Sage, himself seemed baffled. In a letter sent probably to Ebenezer William Sage he commented, “God only knows what prevented them from going to the Ontario, they passed along the front of the place but not one of them entered.” Rainy to [Sage?], Santa Ana, 23 June 1825, MHS, EWS, 2/1825. 61. Deposition of Juan Tosca, 22 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 140v–142. 62. Deposition of María de la Luz Díaz, 22 June 1825, ANC. CM, 1/3, fols. 156–59. 63. Deposition of Francisco Ubaldo Morejón, 21 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 130–34. 64. “Reconocimiento de los destrozos causados por los esclavos rebeldes,” by Félix Acosta and Joaquín de la Fuente, 25 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 160–160v. 65. Deposition of Vicente Carabalí of Disdier and Gowen, 16 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 2–3v. 66. Depositions of José de la Luz Mandinga of Gómez and Cecilio Lucumí of Chatelain, 19 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 95v–104 and 207v–208v. 67. Jos Howland to [Sage?], Matanzas, 21 June 1825, MHS, EWS, 2/1825. 68. Rainy to Sage, La Carolina, 18 June 1825, MHS, EWS, 2/1825. 69. Deposition of Esteban Rainy, 21 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 126v–129. 70. Deposition of Jorge Bartlett, 23 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 92–94. 71. Deposition of Miguel Suárez, 22 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 137v–140. 72. [J. B.] Clark to E. W. Sage, Matanzas, 15 June 1825, MHS, EWS, 2/1825. 73. Deposition of Ramón Mandinga of Webster and Sage, 13 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 46–47v. 74. Bartlett was killed while on his way to retrieve his horse, which he had left at the Santa Ana plantation. Howland to [Sage?], Matanzas, 21 June 1825, MHS, EWS, 2/1825. 75. Deposition of Esteban Rainy, 21 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 126v–129. 76. Rainy to [Sage?], Santa Ana, 23 June 1825, MHS, EWS, 2/1825. 77. Deposition of José Canes, 21 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 134v–137. 78. Depositions of José de la Luz Mandinga of Gómez and Francisco Goitía, 21 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 95v–104 and 123v–126. 79. See appendix 3. 80. Deposition of José de la Luz Mandinga of Gómez, 21 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 95v–104. 81. Andrés Máximo Oliver to the Governor of Matanzas, Sumidero, 15 June 1825, ANC, GSC, 936/33008.

Notes to Pages 114-119 · 203 82. Andrés Ximénez to the Governor of Matanzas, Sumidero, 15 June 1825, ANC, GSC, 936/33008. 83. Manuel de Castilla y Armenteros to Vives, Matanzas, morning of 15 June 1825, ANC, GSC, 936/33008. Castilla y Armenteros was clearly alarmed at the supposed magnitude of the event. He told Vives that he had reason to believe that there were more than five hundred slave rebels plundering the region. 84. Castilla y Armenteros to Vives, Matanzas, afternoon of 15 June 1825, ANC, GSC, 936/33008. The decision to send a group of men to Peñas Altas was not accidental: only thirteen years earlier a significant slave revolt had taken place there. 85. Depositions of José de la Luz Nodarse and Pedro José Mandinga of Tosca, 28 July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 19–22. 86. Deposition of Luisa of Bartlett, 23 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 183v–186. 87. Deposition of Román Criollo of Taylor, 10 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 37v–40. 88. Howland to [Sage?], Matanzas, 21 June 1825, MHS, EWS, 2/1825. 89. Lemuel Taylor to Vives, Matanzas, 8 October 1825, ANC, EGA, 291/1. 90. Deposition of Luisa of Bartlett, 23 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 183v–186. 91. Deposition of James Mahoney, 26 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 230–32. 92. José Martínez to the Governor of Matanzas, Limonar, afternoon of 15 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3. fols. 13–14. 93. Ibid. According to Martínez, he had killed Cayetano in a coffee field on the plantation of Lemuel Taylor. However, Cayetano was in fact killed by the overseer of the Java estate in September. 94. Andrés Máximo Oliver to the Governor of Matanzas, Guamacaro, 16 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 15–16. 95. Carlos Ghersi to the Governor of Matanzas, Cafetal Java, 16 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 5–6v. “I will spend this evening in the fields,” wrote Carlos Ghersi, “with the intention of impeding any meeting or communication among the negroes from taking place and protecting the property that was not lost in the revolt; after dispersing, the negroes have sought refuge in the hills, where I will go tomorrow to look for them.” 96. Criminal proceedings ordered by Colonel Manuel Castilla y Armenteros, 16 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fol. 1. 97. Ghersi to the Governor of Matanzas, Cafetal Java, 16 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 5–6v. 98. Ibid. Ghersi’s report led to two myths. The first related to the origins of the revolt, which has been known ever since as the “revolt of the slaves of Fouquier.” The second was that free men had been behind the movement from the outset, which, as we shall see in the next chapter, was untrue. 99. See Manuel Barcia, Seeds of Insurrection, chap. 2. 100. On warfare in early nineteenth-century West and West Central Africa, see Robert Smith, “Yoruba Armament,” Journal of African History 8, no. 1 (1967): 87–106; idem, “The Canoe in West African History,” ibid. 11, no. 4 (1970): 515–33; R. A. Kea, “Firearms and Warfare on the Gold and Slave Coasts from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries,” ibid. 12, no. 2 (1971): 185–213; G. N. Uzoigwe, “Pre-Colonial Military Studies in Africa,” Journal of Modern African Studies 13, no. 3 (1975): 469–81; Robin Law, “A West African Cavalry State: The Kingdom of Oyo,” Journal of African History 16, no. 1 (1975): 1–15; and W. A. Richards, “The Import of Firearms into West Africa in the Eighteenth Century,” ibid. 21, no. 1 (1980): 43–59. 101. Thornton, “African Soldiers in the Haitian Revolution,” 59.

204 · Notes to Pages 121-124 c h ap t e r fi ve 1. Félix de Acosta had been named an adviser to the governor of Matanzas by a royal order of 29 January 1817. ANC, RCO, 54/68. On 23 July 1844 he was a brigadier in the Spanish army and a commander of the squadrons of Fernando VII. ANC, RCO, 170/45. 2. Ayllón to Vives, Matanzas, 18 June 1825, ANC, AP, 30/10. 3. Vives to Ayllón, Havana, 17 June 1825, ANC, GSC, 936/33008. 4. Vives to unknown recipient, Havana, 17 May 1825, AGI, EST, 17/101. 5. Vives to unknown recipient, Havana, 20 May 1825, AGI, EST, 17/101. Vives’s fears were shared by Claudio Martínez de Pinillos, who wrote that same year about “an expedition of eight thousand men” that was being prepared in Colombia to attack Cuba. Martínez de Pinillos to [the Secretary of State?], 1825, AGI, EST, 17/131. 6. The Comisión Militar Ejecutiva y Permanente de la Isla de Cuba, created by a royal decree on 25 May 1825, was one of the measures linked to the new powers given to Captain General Vives to deal with the various threats to the island at the time. The Military Commission became the most important tribunal for dealing with crimes against the state. The founding members were Brigadier Luis Michelena, president; Colonels Joaquín Gascué, Rafael Arango, and Francisco Valderrama and Lieutenant Colonels Manuel García, Antonio María de la Paz, and Joaquín Fuero, speakers; José Ildefonso Suárez, adviser; Captains Francisco Javier de Lamadriz, Anastasio Castellanos, and Pablo Rosete and Lieutenant Francisco Seidel, prosecutors; and Second Lieutenants Lorenzo Baltanás, Tomás Ángel, Manuel Betancourt, and Julián Ángel, secretaries. ANC, CM, 1/1; Diario de la Habana, 28 June 1825, 1. 7. Communication of Pablo Rosete and Tomás Ángel after interrogating Lieutenant Francisco de Sentmanat y Zayas, Havana, 16 June 1825, AGI, SD, 1299. 8. Deposition of Sentmanat y Zayas, 19 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/4, fols. 117–120v. 9. Henry Theo Kilbee to Joseph Planta, Havana, 6 July 1825, NA, FO, 72/304. Soon thereafter the French consul in Havana gave credit to Vives’s fears. J. M. Angelucci to the Ministre de la Marine et des Colonies, Havana, 31 August 1825, CAOM, FM/GEN, 166/342. 10. Several American newspapers commented on the strength and intentions of this expeditionary force. See, e.g., Louisville (KY) Public Advertiser, 16 April 1825; Daily National Journal (Washington, DC), 16 May 1825; Providence (RI) Patriot, 21 May 1825; Carolina Observer (Fayetteville, NC), 2 June 1825; Aurora and Franklin Gazette (Philadelphia), 29 September 1825; and Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, DC), 30 September 1825. 11. Or perhaps not. A short note appeared in a U.S. newspaper that year questioning the real intentions of the Mexicans. It accused them of a “ruse de guerre” aimed at getting the Spanish forces out of San Juan de Ulúa. Augusta (GA) Chronicle, 5 November 1825. 12. The Commander General of the State of Yucatan to the division destined for the island of Cuba, Antonio López de Santa Anna, Campeachy [sic], 7 March 1825, published in English in Maryland Gazette and State Register (Annapolis), 19 May 1825. The proclamation was also printed in the Chillicothe (OH) Supporter and Scioto Gazette, 19 May 1825, and in the Bangor (ME) Register, 26 May 1825. 13. Conclusions of Prosecutor Francisco Seidel, Havana, 17 December 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5. 14. Ayllón to Vives, Matanzas, 20 June 1825, ANC, ME, 172/A. 15. Ibid. Vives was doing just that when Ayllón’s letter arrived. 16. Acosta and his secretary visited the coffee plantations of Tosca, Goitía, and Morejón, Bartlett’s La Carolina (where they interviewed Jorge Víctor Pelletier, who was severely

Notes to Pages 124-127 · 205 wounded),Tonton Lamelle’s Santa Cecilia, and Armitage’s El Sabanazo (where they recognized, because of their blond hair, the dismembered bodies of the owner, his wife, and their children). Soon afterwards, Acosta came across the dead bodies of Mansuit, Bellanger, Paire, and his son. ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 162–69. 17. Vives to the Governor of Matanzas, Havana, 16 June 1825, AGI, SD, 1299. On his return to Matanzas the evening of 17 June, Ayllón came across Armona and his men, who were in the city resting their horses before heading for the countryside to chase the rebels still at large. Ayllón to Vives, Matanzas, 18 June 1825, AGI, SD, 1299. 18. See the depositions of Fouquier’s slaves in chapter 4. 19. Armona to Ayllón, Cafetal Amistad, 21 June 1825, ANC, ME, 172/A. 20. Castilla y Armenteros to Vives, Matanzas, 22 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/4, fol. 123. 21. Statement by José Ildefonso Suárez, Havana, 26 June 1825. ANC, CM, 1/4, fols. 123v–124. 22. Cadaval to Vives, Havana, 27 June 1825, AGI, CUB, 2085. 23. Cadaval to Vives, Havana, 28 June 1825, AGI, CUB, 2085. The other soldiers were Manuel Gonzáles, Luis Hernández, Antonio Sevilla, and Ramón Sánches. 24. Armona to Ayllón, Limonar, 24 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 195–96. The previous day, Captain Rafael Zamora y Zepero had captured ten fugitive slaves hiding in the hills of the estates owned by José María Seydel and Joaquín de Solás. Zamora to Armona, Limonar, 23 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 197–197v. 25. Ayllón to Vives, Matanzas, 22 June 1825, AGI, CUB, 2019. 26. Vives to Ayllón, Havana, 23 June 1825, AHPM, GP, 7/1. Vives also decided that some local residents with their hounds should stay put. He was very likely referring to the rancheadores, or slave hunters, specialists in the hunting and capture of runaway slaves. 27. Dionisio Bermúdez to Andrés Máximo Oliver, communiqué, 27 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 240–240v. 28. Andrés Máximo Oliver to the Governor of Matanzas, Guamacaro, 26 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 233–34. 29. Consultation of José Ildefonso Suárez, 2 July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/4, fol. 136v. 30. Report of Andrés Máximo Oliver, 27 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fol. 242v. Antonio Carabalí’s body was immediately incinerated on Oliver’s orders. 31. Bermúdez to the Governor of Matanzas, Limonar, 27 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 243v–244. 32. Personal communication given to Andrés Máximo Oliver by the manager of the Solitario plantation, 27 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 243–243v. 33. José Fernández del Junco to Andrés Máximo Oliver, Cafetal Campana, 27 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 240v–241. 34. Luis Michelena to Vives, Havana, 22 June 1825, ANC, CM, 1/4, fol. 133v. Michelena was an old-school officer who had been attached to the island of Cuba for several years. Félix Varela noted in the pages of El Habanero that Michelena was “a man of honor, incapable of a low punch, who until now has not given any evidence of embracing the feelings of cruelty, or better, the feelings of barbarism, that are favored by those who belong to this type of institution on the Peninsula.” Félix Varela, “La Comisión Militar en La Habana,” in Varela, Félix Varela, 2:235–36. 35. Michelena to Vives, Havana, 5 March 1825, and Vives to the Secretary of War, Havana, 22 March 1825, AGI, SD, 1557. 36. Cadaval’s promotion to the presidency of the Military Commission was reported on the front page of the Diario de la Habana on 28 June 1825. The communication read: “Havana. 25 June

206 · Notes to Pages 127-129 1825—After being notified by the Sr. Brigadier D. Luis Michelena that the bad condition of his health would not allow him to continue at the head of the Military Commission I have named as his successor the Sr. Teniente del Rey of this city and segundo cabo of the island D. José Cadaval: which information is given for the general knowledge of the public. Vives = Antonio María de la Torre y Cárdenas, secretary.” 37. Jacobo de la Pezuela, Diccionario geográfico, estadístico, histórico de la isla de Cuba, 4 vols. (Madrid: Banco Industrial y Mercantil, 1863), 1:221–23. Joaquín Llaverías mentioned Cadaval’s his work as the president of the Military Commission for more than eleven years when he commented that during that time his opinion was sought before passing sentence against those brought before the commission. Llaverías, La Comisión Militar, 15; this work is the best study to date on the history of the commission. 38. Cadaval to Ayllón, Matanzas, 2 July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/3, fols. 258–59. 39. Preliminary report of José Ildefonso Suárez, 2 July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/4, fols. 125–28. 40. Ibid. 41. Ibid. 42. Francisco Xavier Lamadriz was an old Spanish officer who had been attached to Cuba since the last decade of the eighteenth century. On 22 July 1798 he was promoted to the post of lieutenant of infantry in Havana. ANC, RCO, 36/14. By 1825 he was already a captain in the same corps. In 1827 he left the Military Commission, and he finished his career working as an accountant for the Tribunal de Cuentas de La Habana. ANC, RCO, 75/46. 43. Cadaval to Ayllón, Matanzas, July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/4, fol. 128. 44. Circular á toda la isla y capitanías de esta jurisdicción, Havana, 13 July 1825, AHPM, GP, 7/4. 45. Cadaval to Vives, Matanzas, 13 July 1825, AGI, SD, 1299. 46. Francisco Seidel y Caballero was one of the most efficient colonial functionaries of his time. His fledging military career was boosted by his promotion to the Military Commission in 1825. Just a few months later he rose to the rank of captain of infantry and was officially named ayudante mayor de la Plaza de La Habana, one of the most difficult and desired positions within the government of the city. In 1828 he married María Manuela Martínez Ochoa and began to develop the coffee plantation San Francisco, located a few miles outside the village of San Antonio de los Baños. In 1834 this plantation comprised seven caballerías of land and had thirty-eight slaves. Seidel died soon after being promoted to the grade of lieutenant colonel on 24 March 1833, during the cholera epidemic of that year. On the first anniversary of his death the Diario de la Habana published a biographical article in which all his merits and achievements were remembered. Diario de la Habana, 24 and 26 March 1834; Francisco Javier de Santa Cruz y Mallen, Historia de las familias cubanas, 6 vols. (Havana: Hercules, 1944), 5:278. 47. Seidel and his secretary arrived in Matanzas by sea on 24 July. 48. In time, Lorenzo Baltanás would become the oldest member of the Military Commission, where he spent most of his military career. A sergeant and secretary in 1825, Baltanás was still a key member of the commission in 1844. During the repression of the plotters of 1843–44, Baltanás was one of the most important prosecutors to take on the criminal causes. ANC, CM, 54/1. 49. Francisco Seidel to Cadaval, Matanzas, 30 July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 3–4. Apparently, when Seidel arrived in Matanzas, Lamadriz had already begun to organize some of the papers, among them a list of the prisoners, a calculation of the approximate distance covered by the rebels, a list of all the white and black casualties, a memorandum of the examinations that needed to be conducted again, a transcription of the interrogation of Francisco Goitía, and a list of the

Notes to Pages 130-133 · 207 witnesses at the event. Francisco Xavier Lamadriz to Seidel, Matanzas, 28 July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 5–6v. 50. Lamadriz to Seidel, Matanzas, 28 July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 5–6v. By “the Duke of Espernomio” he meant Jean Louis de Nogarette de la Vallete, duc d’Epernon (1554–1642). 51. Ibid. 52. The Akan and Wolof slave revolts in the Caribbean; the slave-led revolution in Saint Domingue, which eventually led to the creation of the second independent republic in the Americas; and the Stono uprising in South Carolina in 1739, among many others, all sought freedom from enslavement but no major political or social changes. Eugene Genovese cataloged these rebellions as escapist, traditionalist, and aimed at breaking with the existing social contract. Genovese, From Rebellion to Revolution, 1–50. See also Schuler, “Akan Slave Rebellion in the British Caribbean”; Thornton, “African Dimensions of the Stono Rebellion”; idem, “African Soldiers in the Haitian Revolution”; and Robert L. Paquette, “Social History Update: Slave Resistance and Social History,” Journal of Social History 24, no. 3 (1991): 681–85. 53. In some cases they aimed to spare the white women so that they could marry them after their victory. 54. For an approach to warfare in West and West Central Africa, see John K. Thornton, Warfare in Atlantic Africa, 1500–1800 (London: UCL, 1999). 55. See Poumier Taquechel, “El suicidio esclavo en Cuba”; Perez, To Die in Cuba, 25–64; and Manuel Barcia, Seeds of Insurrection, 71–83. 56. The existing opinion about the African character of the revolt was supported by some local residents. A week after the revolt was put down, Jos Howland wrote that “it appears therefore that the plan was not general, not well conducted as far as it extended.” Howland to [Sage?], Matanzas, 21 June 1825, MHS, EWS, 2/1825. 57. Francisco de la Guardia to Seidel, Guamacaro, 9 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 43–45. See also appendix 4. 58. “Croquis de las fincas implicadas en el levantamiento del 15 de junio de 1825 en Guamacaro,” prepared by Manuel de Castilla y Armenteros, Matanzas, 17 July 1825, AHMS, AC-Cuba, 12.453. Copy of map courtesy of Ada Ferrer. 59. Seidel to Cadaval, Matanzas, 13 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fol. 88. Seidel said that the inmates would do their work while wearing irons. Both Cadaval and Suárez immediately acceded to Seidel’s request. 60. Seidel to Cadaval, Matanzas, 31 August 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 155–56. 61. Ibid., 156. 62. The nine were Tom Mandinga Sosó of Fouquier, Santiago of Paire, José de la Luz Mandinga of Gómez, Alonso Carabalí of Armitage, Andrés Mandinga and Luis Carabalí of Pérez and Imbretch, Juan Arará of Enrique Bartlett, Roberto Gangá of Chapeau, and Félix Mandinga of Webster. ANC, ME, 172/A. 63. A few days after the uprising was crushed Rainy wrote that “it is wished by all the planters that the executions of negroes should take place on the plantations where they belong.” Rainy to [Sage?], Santa Ana, 23 June 1825, MHS, EWS, 2/1825. 64. The heads of the executed men were placed on the Guamacaro road and on the estates of Fouquier, Paire, Armitage, Pelletier, and Chapeau. ANC, ME, 172/A. 65. Nevertheless, Pablo Gangá of Tosca managed to escape the death penalty to which he was sentenced. Instead he was sentenced to “200 lashes by the hand of the executioner while tied to

208 · Notes to Pages 134-137 the pillory” and to spend two years on his estate “wearing irons and doing the hardest and rudest works in the cafetal.” Execution of sentence, September 1825, AGI, CUB, 2085. 66. Francisco Hernández Morejón to Seidel, Guamacaro, 30 August 1825, ANC, CM, 2/1, fols. 97–99v. In 1825 Morejón owned at least one estate in the area and was an alcalde mayor in Matanzas. Not much is known about him. He was deeply involved along with Esteban Santa Cruz de Oviedo in the uncovering of the plot of 1843, which eventually led to the repression of La Escalera. Francisco Ximeno, who knew him personally, commented that he was the “son of a rich family of this city [Matanzas], a very intelligent man but unenlightened, always cautious and full of concerns. Having spent his youth in the countryside in charge of his father’s estates . . . his ambition grew stronger, and ever since he took the side of the authorities, becoming necessary to the government . . . people began calling him Pancho Machete, so that he became the object of ridicule due to his bravado; when the events of 1844 unfolded, he was involved from the very beginning, which led many to believe that he was the real mastermind behind the repression, a result more of his ignorance than of his wickedness.” Francisco Ximeno to Vidal Morales, Matanzas, 23 July 1882, BNC, CC-MORALES, 22/3. 67. Lamadriz to Cadaval, Havana, 8 December 1825, ANC, CM, 2/1, fols. 100–102v. 68. Ibid. 69. Suárez to Cadaval, Havana, 13 December 1825, ANC, CM, 2/1, fols. 112v–114. Despite Suárez’s opinion, Hernández Morejón seems to have been the mastermind behind this story. He ordered his overseer to torture Martín Gangá and wrote to Seidel to denounce the “plot.” 70. Sebastián Braz to Seidel, Matanzas, 14 August 1825, ANC, CM, 2/2, fol. 25. 71. The area where the new plot was uncovered was similar and located close to the area in which the June revolt had taken place. Slaves belonging to the same ethnies could be found in both areas. Both areas produced mostly coffee, although some sugar mills were already entering the local economy. Most of the slaves were African-born, and most of the white residents were foreigners. In August 1825 the area had immigrants from the United States, Curaçao, France, England, Scotland, and many other Atlantic places. 72. Deposition of Carlos Gangá of Peyton, 29 August 1825, ANC, CM, 2/2, fols. 38v–40. Bozen, a slave belonging to the widow of Peyton, was accused by his fellow slave Carlos Gangá of having declared in public his decision to flee toward the Vuelta Arriba “in order to join the blacks who were still killing whites.” 73. Confession of Sandi Quisí of Peyton, 26 September 1825, ANC, CM, 2/2, fol. 25v. 74. Confession of Francisco Mandinga of Larrantry, 26 September 1825, ANC, CM, 2/2, fols. 28–28v. 75. Deposition of Carlos Gangá of Peyton, 29 August 1825, ANC, CM, 2/2, fols. 38v–40. 76. Confession of Francisco Mandinga of Larrantry, 26 September 1825, ANC, CM, 2/2, fols. 28–28v. 77. Conclusions of Prosecutor Francisco Seidel, 10 January 1826, ANC, CM, 2/2, fols. 92–95v. 78. Ibid. 79. Sentence issued by the Military Commission, Havana, 12 January 1826, ANC, CM, 2/2, fols. 102–102v. Sandi Quisí, Carlos Gangá, and Antonio Congo of Peyton, Francisco Mandinga of Larrantry, and Roberto Inglés of Bez were condemned to be shot in the back by a firing squad. The sentence was carried out in Matanzas on 1 February 1826. 80. “These dispositions and those that I have already enacted with the intention of securing the peace of this island, make me desire eagerly the speedy enactment of a new Reglamento de

Notes to Pages 137-139 · 209 Policía Rural, which is all the more urgent as it is accredited by the recent events that occurred in Guamacaro.” Vives to the Real Consulado, Havana, 25 August 1825, ANC, AP, 30/31. 81. On top of the movements of June and August in Guamacaro and Camarioca, the authorities had to deal with another case of slave unrest on June 27, only two days after the Guamacaro revolt. This time some slaves from the Cantera sugar plantation, located in the district of Arcos de Canasí, between Matanzas and Havana, rebelled against their overseer, giving him a few lashes and then escaping to the nearby hills. In itself, the event was not particularly tragic, but the rumors that followed certainly were. These rumors traveled fast, and this simple event was transformed, by word of mouth, into a massive uprising and the assassination of the mayoral. Armed groups of residents began patrolling the area, while other residents rushed to other villages in search of safety. ANC, GSC, 936/33005. 82. Vives to the Real Consulado, Havana, 25 August 1825, ANC, AP, 30/31. 83. Cecilio Ayllón, Reglamento de Policía Rural de la Jurisdicción de Matanzas (Matanzas: Imprenta del Gobierno de Matanzas, 1825), in ANC, GSC, 1469/57999. For the text of the code, see appendix 5. 84. Abbot, Letters, letter 4, La Carolina, 19 February 1828, 12–13. That Reverend Abbot would see the barracks as something positive should not be surprising. He was, after all, a native of South Carolina, where slaves were treated as badly as they were in Cuba. 85. The study of slave barracks in Cuba is still in its infancy. The most important work on the subject continues to be Juan Pérez de la Riva, El barracón y otros ensayos (Havana: Ciencias Sociales, 1975). On slave barracks, see also Sidney W. Mintz, “La plantación como símbolo social,” Revista Bimestre Cubana 75 (1956): 104–20; Elena Padilla, “La colonización y el desarrollo de las plantaciones,” ibid., 92–103; Moreno Fraginals, El ingenio; Rebecca Scott, Slave Emancipation in Cuba: The Transition to Free Labor, 1860–1899 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985); and Pablo Tornero, Crecimiento económico y transformaciones sociales: Esclavos, hacendados y comerciantes en la Cuba colonial (1760–1840) (Madrid: Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social, 1996). For a recent study of bohíos (slave houses), see Lissette Roura Alvarez and S. Teresita Angelbello Izquierdo, “El bohío y la vivienda esclava rural en Cuba” (unpublished manuscript). For the specific case of coffee plantations from an archaeological perspective, see Theresa Singleton, “Slavery and Spatial Dialectics on Cuban Coffee Plantations,” World Archaeology 33, no. 1 (2001): 98–114. 86. See appendix 5, article 14. 87. Slave ownership of horses and mares was a recurrent theme during the period. Some years later, the landowner Juan Montalvo referred to the “slaves who owned mares” and to the “evils” resulting from this relaxation of the discipline. Montalvo noted that “on some estates the slaves are allowed to own mares, which is a big problem because they use them to transport whatever they steal and then go to the taverns, which unfortunately are in abundance, to exchange the goods for alcohol, giving ten for the price of one.” ANC, GSC, 940/33158. 88. In May 1827 the slaves of the Industria sugar plantation and the Esperanza coffee plantation in the district of Pipián ran away en masse to the mountains, creating huge concern among the population and the authorities, even in Matanzas and Havana. ANC, GSC, 936/33024. Moreover, on the Nuestra Señora de la Ascensión coffee plantation in Tapaste there was an uprising of Mina slaves, which once again alarmed the authorities and the residents. This incident ended up being assessed by the Military Commission. ANC, GSC, 936/33031. 89. Valdés in 1842 and O’Donnell in 1844 issued their own slave codes. Vives himself, as Mariano Ricafort and Miguel Tacón would do later, prohibited among other things the use of

210 · Notes to Pages 139-142 overseers of color, the employment of foreigners without proper recommendations, African drumming dances late at night, and the selling and buying of goods after prayers. 90. Years later, at the suggestion of the then governor of Matanzas, Antonio García Oña, the 1825 code served as a model for the 1842 Black Code of Valdés. ANC, RCJF, 940/33158. 91. Vives to the Secretary of Justice, Havana, 3 October 1825, AGI, SD, 1298. 92. Suárez to Cadaval, Havana, 4 September 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 150–52. 93. In the first hours of June 27, between ten and fifteen slaves in a paddock located near the Cantera sugar mill confronted and beat their overseer with wooden sticks until he managed to escape alive. Soon afterwards, more than two hundred well-armed white residents gathered in the area, and the revolt was promptly crushed. José Anillo to Vives, Boca de Jaruco, 27 June 1825, 7:00 a.m., and Antonio Santolla de Elías to Vives, Guanabacoa, 27 June 1825, ANC, GSC, 936/33007. 94. Suárez to Cadaval, Havana, 19 September 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 163–167v. This opinion was shared by many in Guamacaro. Some planters clearly tried to rescue their slaves from the Matanzas gallows, attempting to demonstrate their innocence. Others, such as Webster, were ready to make the culprits pay even if it was at their own expense. Webster’s employee Esteban Rainy complained to Webster’s partner, Ebenezer W. Sage, that “Mr. Webster says that he is determined to inform against [e]very one that was off as ring leaders. I have said every thing I could to prevent it and told that the loss of twelve would be a sufficient example. I would advice you to come immediately out as this business will be attended with a great expense. I shall exert myself to save expense and to have as few arrests as possible.” Rainy to Sage, Sta Carolina, 18 June 1825, MHS, EWS, 2/1825. 95. Andrés Máximo Oliver to Ayllón, Guamacaro, 21 September 1825, ANC. CM, 1/5, fol. 169. 96. Andrés Máximo Oliver to Ayllón, Guamacaro, 4 November 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fol. 202. 97. Conclusions of Prosecutor Francisco Seidel, Havana, 17 December 1825, ANC, CM, 1/5, fols. 207–210v. 98. Ibid. 99. Ayllón to Cadaval, Matanzas, 7 January 1826, ANC, CM, 2/4, fol. 13. 100. Sentence pronounced by the Military Commission, Havana, 8 May 1826, ANC, CM, 2/4, fol. 34. Three years later, on 17 April 1828, José Ramón Mandinga of Tosca was captured in the foothills of El Sumidero. According to the sentence passed against him on May 1826, he was subsequently executed at dawn on 10 July that same year. The similarities between this slave and Alejo Carpentier’s “Mackandal” are striking. Both were mandingas, both were one-handed, and both earned a reputation for being impossible to apprehend. Mackandal was a real person, and perhaps in the real world he did not have all the characteristics of his literary incarnation. However, José Ramón Mandinga’s legend among the slaves was so real that as soon as Prosecutor Seidel was informed of his capture, he wasted no time in explaining why it was important to execute him immediately. He wrote, “Seeing the name he had acquired among the others of being impossible to apprehend due to his deftness and intelligence in the woods, and considering that he has been on the run for the past two years despite all our efforts to capture him, causing problems to the owners of the area and luring their slaves away, I recommend mutilating his head and right hand and placing them in the most public place on the road to the hills of El Sumidero till time consumes them.” ANC, CM, 2/4, fols. 47–57v. On Mackandal’s legend, see Alejo Carpentier’s excellent novel El reino de este mundo (Havana: Letras Cubanas, 1984). 101. Andrés Máximo Oliver to Vives, Guamacaro, 27 July 1825, ANC, GSC, 936/33009. 102. Minutes of the junta of 6 July 1825, ANC, RCJF, 177/8159. 103. Conclusions of Prosecutor Francisco Lamadriz, Havana, 7 August 1825, ANC, ME, 172/E.

Notes to Pages 142-152 · 211 104. Cadaval to Vives, Havana, 26 January 1826, ANC, CM, 5/3. 105. Summary prepared by Adviser José Ildefonso Suárez, 2 July 1825, ANC, CM, 1/4, fols. 125–28. 106. Vives to Martínez de Pinillos, Havana, 2 March 1826, ANC, AP, 118/24. 107. Vives to Martínez de Pinillos, Havana, 21 June 1826, ANC, AP, 118/63. 108. Martínez de Pinillos to Vives, Havana, 22 June 1826, ANC, AP, 118/63. 109. Martínez de Pinillos to Vives, Havana, 12 June 1827, ANC, AP, 119/39. 110. Ayllón to Vives, Matanzas, 6 July 1830. ANC, AP, 35/9. 111. Ibid. In 1825 the Arcadia coffee plantation was owned by Peyton’s widow. Three of her slaves had been executed in 1826 after being found guilty of planning an insurrection against the whites. It is possible that in 1830 the new owner was her son Enrique, who had been accused in 1826 by one of his own slaves of being the mastermind behind the plot. 112. Ibid. Ayllón worried most about the caution and bad judgment of the slave owners, who might hide the truth from the authorities in order to protect their property, that is to say, their slaves. 113. Francisco Dionisio Vives, Circular á toda la Isla y Capitanías de esta jurisdicción, Havana, 13 July 1830. AHPM, GP, 7/4. 114. Deposition of Agustín Ximénez, 17 February 1844, ANC, CM, 37/1, fol. 39. 115. Deposition and confession of Pablo Gangá of Tosca or Linares, 7 March 1844, ANC, CM, 43/1, fols. 31–31v, 273–77, 772–73. 116. Collection of sentences handed down by a section of the Military Commission established in the city of Matanzas, 1844, ANC, CM, 130/9. 117. The process of Creolization in Cuba began in the early colonial period. However, according to Manuel Moreno Fraginals and Robert Paquette, the process accelerated after 1823. Whereas the Creole population increased by about 4% between 1791 and 1822, it increased by 20% in the period 1823–1844. Paquette, Sugar Is Made with Blood, 75, citing Manuel Moreno Fraginals, “Africa in Cuba: A Quantitative Analysis of the African Population in the Island of Cuba,” in Comparative Perspectives on Slavery in New World Plantation Societies, ed. Vera Rubin and Arthur Tuden (New York: New York Academy of Sciences, 1977), 187–201.

c o n c lu s i o n 1. Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 15 December 1825. 2. Maryland Gazette and State Register (Annapolis), 7 July 1825. See also Carolina Observer (Fayetteville, NC), 15 September 1825; and Bangor (ME) Register, 22 September 1825. 3. Liverpool Mercury, 5 August 1825. See also Leeds Mercury, 13 August 1825; Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh), 10 September 1825; and Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle (London), 11 September 1825. 4. John Bull, (London), 10 October 1825. 5. Deposition of Juan Arará of Chatelain, 20 July 1825, ANC, ME, 172/A. 6. Recurso del cabildo de la Habana a SM sobre la venta y libertad de negros y mulatos esclavos de los vecinos de ella, 1772, AGI, SD, 2211. 7. Manuel Barcia, Seeds of Insurrection, 71–83. 8. Jameson, Letters from the Havana, 20.

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a rc h i va l s o urc e s Archivo General de Indias, Sevilla (AGI) Cuba (CUB) Estado (EST) Santo Domingo (SD) Ultramar (ULT) Archivo General de Simancas (AGS) Secretaria del Despacho de Guerra (SDG) Archivo Histórico de la Oficina del Historiador, Havana (AHOHH) Actas de Cabildo Trasuntadas (ACT) Fondo General (FG) Archivo Histórico Militar de Segovia (AHMS) Asuntos de las Comandancias (AC-Cuba) Archivo Histórico del Museo Finlay, Havana (AHMF) Archivo Histórico Nacional, Madrid (AHN) Ultramar (ULT) Archivo Histórico Provincial de Matanzas (AHPM) Actas de Cabildo (AC) Anotaduría de Hipotecas (AH) Gobierno Provincial (GP) Archivo Nacional de Cuba, Havana (ANC) Administración General de Rentas Terrestres (AGRT) Asuntos Políticos (AP) Comisión Militar (CM) 213

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Donativos y Remisiones (DR) Escribanía de Bienes de Difuntos (EBD) Escribanía de Galletti (EGA) Escribanía de Gobierno (EGO) Escribanía de Hacienda (EH) Escribanía de Luís Blanco (ELB) Escribanía de Marina (EM) Escribanía de Salinas (ES) Gobierno Superior Civil (GSC) Intendencia General de Hacienda (IGH) Miscelánea de Expedientes (ME) Protocolo de Bienes de Difuntos (PBD) Protocolos Notariales-Matanzas (PN-MAT) Real Consulado y Junta de Fomento (RCJF) Realengos y Baldíos (RB) Reales Cédulas y Ordenes (RCO) Biblioteca Nacional de Cuba Jose Marti, Havana (BNC) Colección Morales (CC-MORALES) Centre des Archives d’Outremer, Aix-en-Provence (CAOM) Fondos Ministerieles–Généralités (FM/GEN) Séries Géographiques–Amérique (SG/AMER) Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston (MHS) Ebenezer William Sage Papers (EWS) National Archives, Kew (NA) Foreign Office (FO) National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (NMM) Royal Navy. Order books and orders (HSR/H)

ne ws pa p e r s Anales de Agricultura e Industria Rural Anales de Ciencia, Artes, Comercio y Agricultura Augusta (GA) Chronicle Aurora and Franklin Gazette (Philadelphia)

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Bangor (ME) Register Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle (London) Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh) Carolina Observer (Fayetteville, NC) Chillicothe (OH) Supporter and Scioto Gazette Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, DC) Daily National Journal (Washington, DC) Diario de la Habana Diario del Gobierno de la Habana El Correo de Trinidad El Observador Habanero John Bull (London) Leeds Mercury Liverpool Mercury Louisville (KY) Public Advertiser Maryland Gazette and State Register (Annapolis) Noticioso Mercantil Providence (RI) Patriot Raleigh Register and North Carolina State Gazette Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser

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Aponte, José Antonio, 64 Arango y Parreño, Francisco de, 25, 33–35, 38, 68, 77, 184n4, 189n52 Arará, Juan, 151 Ararás, 14–15 Arazoza y Soler publishing house, 1 Arcadia coffee plantation, 144, 211n111 Arce, José de, 93, 97, 111, 113, 126, 129 Argüelles, Agustín de, 33 Ariadna sugar plantation, 196n42 Aristizábal, Gabriel de, 52 Armitage, Joshua, 20, 90–91, 103–5 Armona, Domingo, 117, 124–26, 146, 200n12, 205n17 Arnz, Federico Guillermo, 90, 198n83 Atkins, Thomas Gibbs, 90, 198n83 Atkins, Zachary, 73 Australia, 148 Ayacucho, battle of, 1, 3, 67 Ayllón, Cecilio, 72, 115, 121, 123–27, 131, 144–45, 205n17, 211n112

Abbot, Abiel, 18, 74–75, 80, 87–89, 93, 137, 183n61, 195n22, 196n36, 209n84 Abeokuta, migration to, 19 Abiodun, 16 Abolitionist movement, 28–30, 32–39, 67 Acosta, Félix de, 19, 121, 124, 127, 204n1, 204n16 Adams, John, 16–17 Africa, geographical regions, 15–17 African: beliefs, 13, 17, 49, 133, 148–49; cultures, 10, 13, 148–50; ethnic collaboration in the Diaspora, 5; history and its possible contribution to the history of the Americas, 13; kinship, 100, 150; population increase in Cuba, 11, 13, 25, 51, 70, 72–74, 139, 144, 182n44, 211n117; slave trade, 10–11, 16–17, 28–39, 48, 54, 57, 71–72, 84, 180n16, 185n12, 188n43, 196n45; solidarity among, 100, 150; warfare, 12–14, 40, 102, 130–31, 150–52, 203n100, 207n54 African-born: leadership, 9–10; prisoners of war, 15–16, 150; slaves, 5, 9–11, 49–50, 59–60, 67, 145, 148, 152, 208n71; soldiers, 16–17, 22, 99, 119, 151 African-led insurrections: and alcohol, 106–17, 112, 209n87; lack of individual studies of, 4, 12–13; recruitment, 102, 151; retreats, 130; tactics and strategies, 14, 102–3, 129–31, 150; use of African languages, 101 Africanization of slave rebellions, 7, 10, 152 Age of Revolution, 4–6, 11–12, 42, 149 Agonglo (king of Dahomey), 16 Alcancía sugar mill, insurrection of, 6 Alcohol, role in the revolt, 106–7, 209n87 American Independence, 24 Amistad coffee plantation, 124 Ana (Armitage’s plantation), 104 Angel, Tomás, 44 Angolan war, Cuban forces in, 7, 181n23 Aniebas, Santiago, 95 Antonio Ponce de León sugar estate, 59 Aponte, conspiracy and revolt of, 4–6, 34, 62, 77, 149, 192n70; book of paintings, 64

Badagry, 16 Baltanás, Lorenzo, 19, 129, 135, 142, 204n6, 206n48 Baracoa, 65–6 Barbier, Jean, 64 Barca, Francisco de la, 94 Barcia, María del Carmen, 195n28 Barrera y Domingo, Francisco, 32 Bartlett, Enoch, 90 Bartlett, Enrique, 89, 114 Bartlett, Jorge, 81, 89–90, 98, 100, 114–17, 198n83 Bartlett, Samuel, 89, 112, 202n74 Bassecourt, José Procopio de (count of Santa Clara), 51, 55, 58 Bassecourt, Luis Alexandro de, 57 Bauer, Bayley and Company, 90 Bayamo, 43, 63 Bellanger, Justina Emilia, 91, 108, 201n46


228 · Index Bellanger, Santiago, 91, 107–8, 118, 205n16 Bemba, 6, 145 Benítez, Manuel, 135 Bergad, Laird W., 7, 9, 73, 181n32 Bermúdez, Dionisio, 113, 117, 126, 140 Betancour, Pascual (maroon leader), 66 Bight of Benin, 14, 16 Bight of Biafra, 14 Birmingham, 28–29 Bissagos, 15 Black Code of 1825, 133, 137–39, 144–45, 210n90 Black Eagle conspiracy, 40, 122 Blakeley, Robert, 84 Blaufarb, Rafe, 179n4 Bonaparte, Napoleon, 30, 79, 81, 85, 92, 186n26 Bonny, 16–17 Booth, Benjamin, 81, 84–85 Borgu, 16 Bornu, 16 Boston, 71 Boyer, Jean Pierre, 1 Bozal slaves, according to planters and other neighbors, 25, 49, 60 Bozen (Peyton’s plantation), 136, 208n72 Brander, William, 135, Braz, Sebastián, 134 Brazil, 5, 10–11, 13, 16, 39, 79, 95, 149 Bristol, 28 Britain, campaign for the abolition of the slave trade, 11, 23, 28–30, 32–36, 38–39, 67, 82, 186n19; interests in Cuba, 27, 31–37, 39, 45, 180n12; occupation of Havana, 23–25, 48, 69, 193n1 British Caribbean, 12 Brown, Vincent, 13 Browse Hall coffee plantation, 93 Bullons, 15 Caballero, José Agustín, 32, 187n32 Cabaña, Fortress of San Carlos de la, 30, 61 Cabildo de la Habana (City Council of Havana), 26, 30–32, 36–37, 43–45, 48–49, 52, 77–78, 185n14, 186n26, 187n34 Cadaval, José, 125, 127–29, 132, 140, 142–43, 205n36, 206n37, 207n59 Cadiz, 33, 36 Cagigal de la Vega, Francisco, 47 Calabar, 16–17 Calvo de la Puerta, Sebastián, 44 Calvo, Nicolás, 58, 77 Camarioca, 72, 74–75, 134, 140–41, 148, 209n81 camino de la isla (road of the island), 76 Campana coffee plantation, 126

Campeche, 122 Campo de Alanges, count of, 51, 53 Canes, José, 87, 89, 94–95, 112–13 Canímar, 72, 84, 115, 124 Canning, George, 32–33 Cantero, Justo Germán, 27 Canuet, Antonio, 118 Cape of San Antonio, 66 Cape Palmas, 14 Cap Français, 55, 198n89 Carabalí, Alejandro, 126 Carabalí, Alonso, 207n62 Carabalí, Antonio (Puerto Príncipe 1798), 56 Carabalí, Antonio (Sabanazo), 100, 105 Carabalí, Camilo, 98, 100, 105 Carabalí, Cristóbal, 118, 124–25 Carabalí, Federico, 3, 21, 98–101, 103, 126, 132, 150 Carabalí, Fernando (Puerto Príncipe 1798), 56 Carabalí, Guillermo, 141 Carabalí, León, 100, 104, 126 Carabalí, Luis, 110, 202n57, 207n62 Carabalí, Jorch, 141 Carabalí, Juan, 141 Carabalí, Manuel, 106 Carabalí, Miguel, 127 Carabalí, Pedro, 141 Carabalí, Pedro Nolasco (1798), 56 Carabalí, Pío, 99, 200n12 Carabalí, Tomás, 118, 124–25 Carabalí, Vicente, 100, 111 Carabalís, 3, 14, 16–17, 48, 100, 124–25, 150 Carlota, operation (1975), 7 Carmelo, coffee plantation, 113 Carol, Juan, 94 Carolinian Black Code (1788), 46, 49, 184n4 Cartagena de Indias, 43, 183n60 Casa Bayona, count of, 33, 45–46, 190n20 Casa de recogidas, 56 Casa Montalvo, count of, 25 Casas, Luis de las, 23, 51 Castellanos, Anastasio, 128–29, 131, 204n6 Castilla y Armenteros, Manuel de, 115, 120–21, 124–25, 131, 197n76 Castillo, José del, 125 Castro, Fidel, 7 Cayajabos, 66 Ceiba Mocha, 72, 194n6 censuses, 74, 77–78 Chacón, Francisco, 78 Chapeau, Pedro, 81, 92, 97, 99–100, 114, 117 Charles II of Spain (1665–1700), 44 Charles III of Spain (1759–1788), 184n2

Index · 229 Charles IV of Spain (1788–1808), 32 Charleston, 71 Chartrand family estate. See El Laberinto coffee plantation Chartrand, Juan, 9, 196n42 Chatelain, Alejandro, 20, 110, 113 Chatelain, Luis Juan Maria, 88–89, 94, 98, 110, 197n75, 197n76 Childs, Matt D., 63, 192n71 Christophe, Henri, 64 Cienfuegos, José, 71–72, 78 Clapperton, Hugh, 13 clothes, 119, 151 clubs, 104, 111, 132, 150 Code of Ayllón. See Black Code of 1825 coffee: development in Matanzas, 71–73, 79, 96, 196n43; introduction in Cuba, 51, 69–70, 80; virtues of, 80; world markets crisis, 75–76, 84–96 coffee plantations: development of, 27–28; foreigners and, 18, 69–70, 74, 79–80, 84–96; living conditions on, 80–81; slave revolts on, 6, 12, 60 Colombia, as a threat to Cuba’s status quo, 1–3, 21, 27, 40, 121–22, 204n5 Colón, Diego, 43 Compostela, Diego Evelino de, 68–69 Condiciones para la captura de negros cimarrones (1690), 44 Congo, Ambrosio (maroon leader), 66 Congo, Antonio, 208n79 Congo, Guillermo, 121 Congo, Joaquín (Guara 1806), 61 Congo, Luis, a.k.a. the Frenchman (Puerto Príncipe 1798), 56 Congo, Marcelino (Guara 1806), 61 Congo, Marcos, 141 Congo, Mariano (Guara 1806), 62 Congo, Santiago, 107–9, 201n47 Congo, Vicente, 103, 141 Congos, 48, 61, 133, 183n60 Coppinger, José María, 179n6 Cortes of 1812. See Spanish Cortes Coussin, Louis de, 187n27 Craton, Michael, 11 Creole: free men, 10, 12, 62, 132, 149, 180n14; slaves, 21, 56, 62, 151 Creolization, 10–12, 14, 147, 211n117 Criollo, Francisco, 99, 125, 200n12 Criollo, Román, 141 Cruz Muñoz, Tomás de la, 33 Cuatro Compañeros estate, 53–54 Cuatro Villas, Las, 28

Cuban population. See censuses Cuban slavery studies, 7–11, 149–50 Cuesta y Manzanal, Francisco de la, 33 Cuesta y Manzanal, Pedro de la, 33 Curazao, José María, 57 Cycle of slave rebellions in Cuba, 4, 7, 9, 145 Dahomey, 15–16 Dallas, Robert Charles, 65 Daniela (Armitage’s plantation), 105 Dessalines, Jean Jacques, 64 Diario de la Habana, 91, 205n36 Diario del Gobierno de la Habana, 80, 187n28 Díaz de Espada, Juan José, Bishop of Havana, 38 Díaz Imbretch, Antonio, 91, 107 Díaz, María de la Luz, 110 Díaz, María Elena, 47 Díaz Pimienta, Tiburcio, 45 Diderot, Denis, 189n50 Disdier, Enrique, 81, 84–85, 99, 114, 196n44, 196n45, 196n49, 196n53, 197n56 Dorsey, Joseph C., 7, 9 dragoons, 111, 115, 117–18, 124 drums: and war, 60–61, 107, 119, 151; drumming parties, 57, 101, 210n89 Dubois, Laurent, 12 Edinburgh, 148 Egba, destruction of, 18–19 El Cobre royal slaves, 45–48, 53 El Coliseo: battle of, 97, 112–15, 119, 126, 129, 132, 151; planters’ behavior, 10, 73–74, 76, 80, 82–83, 100, 141 El Consistorio coffee plantation (owned by Gaspar Hernández), 95, 115 El Consistorio coffee plantation (owned by José Canes), 83, 94–95, 112–13 El Dichoso coffee plantation, 83, 91–92, 107–9 El Laberinto coffee plantation, 83, 196n42 El Navío sugar plantation, 61 El Portillo runaway settlement, 48 El Rubí mountain range, 65 El Sabanazo coffee plantation, 90–91, 98, 101–5, 205n15 El Solitario coffee plantation, 83, 95, 100, 102–4, 16, 205n32 Enoué, Eligio, 60–61 Estanislao (Guara 1806), 61–62 Esteban (Armitage’s plantation), 101, 105, 183n69 Estrada, Hilario de, 44 ethnicity, 5, 9, 10, 13–17, 40, 132, 149–50, 181n35 executions, 120, 128, 133, 139, 207n63

230 · Index Family Pact, 184n2, 188n44 Fatio, Felipe, 86 fears to a new revolt in 1830, 144, 211n111 Fellowes, Anastasio, 60 Ferdinand VII of Spain (1808, 1813–1832), 2, 24, 27, 34–35, 40, 71, 185n14, 188n44 Fernández, Manuel, 111 Fernández, Pedro, 93 Ferrer, Ada, 12, 52–53, 62, 207n58 Figueras, Pedro, 85, 93 financial issues: relating to coffee production, 75, 85, 88, 92, 95–96; resulting from 1825 revolt, 132, 142–44 Florentín (1795), 53 foreign planters, 76–81, 92 Fouquier, Juan, 9, 81, 85–87, 98, 106, 108, 118, 124, 197n58 France, 31–32, 77, 129–30, 184n2 Francisca Victoria (slave of Ana Arteaga), 56 François, Jean, 64 free colored: as easy targets for the authorities, 145, 150; supposed implication of, 8–9, 21 French Caribbean, 149 French speaking: white immigrants, 73, 83, 92; slaves, 51–55 Frere, John Hookham, 32–33 Frías, Antonio de, 93 Fuente, Alejandro de la, 43–44, 190n9 Fuente, Joaquín de la, 19, 121 Fuertes, Francisco, 61–62 Fulani jihÐd, advancement on Oyo, 16 Fussilier, Luisa Divina, 88 Futa Djallon, warfare in, 151 Gabriel estate, 59 Gala, Apolinar de la, 146 Gallinas river, 15 Gambia, 14–15 Gangá, Ana, 21 Gangá, Carlos, 136, 208n72, 208n79 Gangá, Cayetano, 112, 117, 140, 151 Gangá, Cristóbal, 141 Gangá, José Antonio, 201n39 Gangá, José María, 103, 141, 200n31 Gangá, Martín, 134, 208n69 Gangá, Pablo, 3, 21, 98–101, 105, 110, 113, 125, 132, 139–40, 146, 150, 200n12, 207n65 Gangá, Ramón, 106 Gangás, 3, 14–15, 132, 150 García, Benigno, 146 García, Gloria, 7–9, 62 García Oña, Antonio, 210n90 García Solís, Felipe, 193n1

Gardner Lowell, Mary, 18–19, 75 Gascué, Joaquín, 127, 204n6 Geggus, David, 12 Genovese, Eugene, 11–12, 131, 207n59 George III of England (1760–1820), 24 Ghersi, Carlos, 117–18, 203n95, 203n98 Goitía, Francisco, 87, 94–95, 113, 142, 199n114, 201n42, 206n49 Gold Coast, 15 Gómez, Alejandro, 12 Gómez, Antonio, 95, 100, 103–4, 114 González de la Barrera, Diego, 92–95 González de la Barrera, Josefa, 94 Gousson, Maria Amelia Marta, 94, 108 Gowen Brooks, Maria, 18, 183n62 Gowen, Guillermo, 81–82, 84–85, 99, 114, 196n53 Gregorio (Hernández’s plantation), 126 Grey, Vincent, 93 Guamacaro: multicultural place, 10, 18, 83; geography, 18, 74–76, 148, 195n25; population in, 8, 15, 18, 74–75, 83, 196n37; post-1825, 144–47 Guamutas, 72, 194n10 Guanabacoa, 79 Guanábana, La, insurrection of, 7, 145 Guanajay, 79 Guara, conspiracy of, 61 Guardia, Francisco de la, 131 Guarico. See Saint Domingue Güemes y Horcasitas, Juan Francisco, 44, 47 Güines, 79 gunpowder, 52, 56–57, 99, 105–6, 108, 121, 193n1 Guridi y Alcocer, Miguel, 33 Gustavo (Fouquier’s plantation), 141 Haiti: as a threat to the security of Cuba, 1–3, 9, 26–27, 31, 37–38, 40, 61, 63–64, 67; recognition by France of, 3 Haitian Revolution, 11–12, 16, 50, 63, 109, 145, 198n89 Hanábana, 72 Harrison, Ralph, 74 Hausaland, 16, 151 Hein, Piet, 68 Henry IV of France, 129–30 Hernández, Gaspar, 95, 114–15, 126 Hernández Morejón, Francisco, 134, 208n66 Hernani coffee plantation, 93 historical sources, interpretation of, 7–8, 19–20 Holguín, 63, Hosier, Francis, 45, 190n13, 190n17 Howland and Company, 88, 90, 92–93, 198n81 Howland, Jos, 116, 207n56

Index · 231 Ibibios, 16–17 Ibos, 16–17 Identity, 10, 149, 181n35 Iduarte, Juan, 6 Igboland, warfare in, 151 Ilorin, 19, 151 Independence of Cuba, 1, 39–40, 74, 121–23, 147 interpreters, 121, 151 Islam, 15–16, 22 Jacán hills, 74, 76, 90 Jamaica, 25, 31, 48, 57 Jameson, Robert, 18, 74, 152, 186n19 Jaruco, count of, 33 Jáuregui, Andrés de, 33 Java coffee plantation, 81, 83, 86, 105–7, 140, 203n93 Java, island of, 79, 95 Jiménez, Felipe, 110 José Luis (Gómez’s plantation), 101, 103 José María (Fouquier’s plantation), 141 Joseph (slave in 1795), 53 Juan de Santa María plantation, 60 Junco, Fernando del, 109, 113 Junta de Población Blanca (White Population Board), 79 Jústiz de Santa Ana, marquis of, 52, 85 Kilbee, Henry Theo, 122 King, William Rufus (13th Vice-president of the United States), 18, 183n63 Kissi, 15 Kono, 15 Kroo, 15 La Amelia coffee plantation, 83, 94, 108–9 La Carolina coffee plantation, 81, 83, 89–90, 98, 110, 112, 116, 204n16 La Constancia coffee plantation, 83, 94 La Escalera, conspiracy of, 4–6, 10, 68, 145, 147, 149, 152, 200n13, 208n66 La Española, 43 Lagos, 16 La Hermita coffee plantation, 81, 84–85, 99– 100, 125–26 Laing, Alexander Gordon, 15 La Isabela coffee plantation, 83, 89–90, 112 Lamadriz, Francisco Xavier, 100, 125, 128–34, 139, 141–43, 145, 204n6, 206n42, 206n49 Larderet, Carlos, 107, 109–10 La Rosa Corzo, Gabino, 48, 65 Latting, John, and Glen, 18, 73, 85, 196n53 La Vigía fortress, 123

Leeds, 29, 148 Lemaur, Félix, 76 Lemaur, Francisco, 76, 179n6 Lima, Francisco de, 93–94, 107, 110 Limonar, 76, 94, 117, 124, 160 Litwood, Margarita, 90, 104 Liverpool, 28, 33 Liverpool Mercury, The, 148 Lloyds of London, 31, 187n27 London, 19, 28–29, 33, 148, 190n13 López de Santa Anna, Antonio, 122, 204n12 Louisiana, 69, 73, 77, 82–83, 85–86, 88 Lovejoy, Paul, 14 Luciano (Fouquier’s plantation), 107 Lucumí, Cecilio, 98 Lucumí, Justo, 141 Lucumí, Lorenzo, 3, 98–99, 103, 107–10, 118, 126, 132, 150 Lucumí, Pastor, 135 Lucumí, Pedro, 99 Lucumí, Sambo, 97–99 Lucumís, 3, 6, 14–15, 18–19, 145, 150, 152, 199n8 machetes, 56, 59, 104, 106, 111–12, 117, 132, 150 Machín, Ramón, 65 Macuriges, 72, 194n6 Madrid, 1, 23, 32, 35–37 magic, role of, 80 Mahoney, James, 117 Maldonado, Juan, 44 Mallarini, Carlos, 59 Manchester, 29 Mandinga, Alejandro, 107 Mandinga, Andrés, 21, 107–8, 110–11, 207n62 Mandinga, Félix, 112, 207n62 Mandinga, Francisco, 133, 135–36, 208n79 Mandinga, José de la Luz, 104–5, 111, 207n62 Mandinga, José Román, 100, 141, 210n100 Mandinga, Juan de Dios (Puerto Príncipe 1798), 56 Mandinga, Marcos, 140 Mandinga, Pedro José, 115 Mandinga, Ramón, 112 Mandinga, Santiago, 101 Mandinga Sosó, Tom, 98, 101, 105, 112, 207n62 Mandingas, 3; 14, 48, 150, 210n100; and Islam, 15 Mann, Kristin, 12–13 Mansuit, Carlos Victor, 97, 109–10, 121, 205n16 Manzaneda, Severino de, 68–69 María Dolores, teenage slave in 1794, 52 maroons: in eastern Cuba, 47–48, 65–66; in western Cuba, 44, 48, 65–67, 193n90; threats, 44, 49–51, 64–65, 137

232 · Index Marrero, Levi, 44 Marryat, Joseph, 187n27 Marte, brigantine, 115 Martínez de Pinillos, Bernabé, 24, 33, 66, 184n4 Martínez de Pinillos, Claudio, 2, 35, 120, 122, 132, 143–44, 204n5 Martínez García, Daniel, 6 Martínez, José, 117 Maryland Gazette and State Register, The, 148 Matanzas: as a cosmopolitan port and city, 17, 68–74, 193n3; countryside of, 18–19, 68–74, 96, 123, 145, 148, 194n6; popular unrest, 40; plantations, 28, 73–74, 79–81 Matthews, John, 15 Mayarí, 48 Melgarejo, Blas Joseph, 52 Mexico: revolutionaries from, 122; slave revolts in, 43; as a threat to Cuba’s status quo, 1–2, 27, 122 Michelena, Luis, 122–23, 127, 204n6, 205n34, 206n36 Middle Passage, 14, 17 Mildestein, Jacobo, 81, 84, 92 Military Commission: conclusions, 8, 128–29, 132, 134, 141–42; creation of, 2–3, 40, 124; officers, 120, 128–29, 131, 140–43, 146; reports, 125–29, 132–33; sentences, 139, 141, 146–47, 207n65, 208n79, 210n100 militias, 52, 57, 63, 123, 125, 130, 151 Milson, José, 117 Mina, Juan José (1798), 57 Mina, Lecsi, 141 Miranda, Joaquín de, 67 Moa, 48 Moliner Castañeda, Israel, 7–9 Montalvo y Ruíz de Alarcón, Lorenzo, count of Macuriges, 194n6 Mora, Ignacio, 122 Morejón, Francisco Ubaldo, 95, 99, 111–13, 129 Morell de Santa Cruz, Pedro Agustín, 47, 69 Morrillo Castle, 115 Morro Castle, 122 Moscoso, Field Marshall José, 42, 193n77 Mount Vernon coffee plantation, 83, 92–93, 97, 99 Murphy, William (Guillermo), 81, 84–85, 197n56 Narciso, Gil, 64 Navarro, Diego José, 48, 54, 191n31 Navarro, José Felipe, 199n3 Neptuno steam ship, 125 New Orleans, 71, 86, 94, 109, 183n60

news: circulation of, 1, 12, 18–19, 33, 52–53, 57–58, 61, 63, 78, 101, 109, 114, 144, 148–49, 179n7, 180n12 New Spain, relation with Cuba, 23, 68. See also Mexico New York, 71, 87, 197n69 New York Gazette, The, 148 Nodarse, José de la Luz, 115 Nombre de Dios, 43 Nuestra Señora de la Luz coffee plantation, 83, 94, 98 Nueva Holanda sugar plantation, 59 Nupe, 16 Observador Habanero, El, 31, 187n28 Odicio, Nicolás, 94 O’Donnell, Leopoldo, 10, 139, 109n89 O’Farrill y Arredondo, Juan Manuel, 194n6 O’Gavan, Juan Bernardo, 36–38, 188n45 Oliver, Andrés Máximo, 4, 114–15, 117, 134–35, 140, 142, 180n15, 205n30 Oliver, Juan, 93, 198n100 Oliver, Roberto, 93, 198n100 Olivos, Rudescindo de los (a) Tinquillo, 58–59 Ontario coffee plantation, 83, 87–88, 197n69, 202n60 Ordenanzas de Cáceres (1574), 43 Ordenanzas de Cimarrones (1600), 44, 190n8, 190n10 Orta, Josef Ignacio de, 50 Otis, Joseph, 73 Ouidah, 16 Oxford, 148 Owu wars, 18, 151 Oyo, Empire of, 11, 15–16, 22, 151 Paire, Enrique, 108, 118, 141, 205n16 Paire, Gerónimo, 20, 88, 94, 106–9, 118, 205n16 palenques, 8, 48, 50, 65–66 Panama, 43, 56 Papel Periódico de la Habana, 25–26, 32, 187n32 Paquette, Robert L., 6–7, 9, 180n20, 211n117 Pedroso, Ignacio, 66 Pelletier, Jorge Víctor, 20, 88–89, 94, 97, 109–10, 118, 197n76, 197n77, 202n57, 204n16 Pensacola, 57 Peñas Altas sugar plantation, insurrection of 1812, 9, 34, 63, 115, 180n14, 203n84 Perdomo, José, 140 Pérez, Antonio Manuel, 91–92, 106–10, 202n56 Pérez de la Riva, Francisco, 95 Pérez, Manuel, 85

Index · 233 Pérez Sánchez, Matías, 65 Peyton, Enrique, 135–36, 211n111 Pezuela, Jacobo de la, 127 Pitt, William, 29 Pongas river, 15 Port-au-Prince, 61–62 Portobello, 45, 190n13 Porto Novo, 16 Postma, Johannes, 4 Puerto Príncipe, 53–57, 63, 191n44 Quiebra Hacha sugar mill, 45–46, 190n20 Quisí, Sandi, 135, 208n79 Rainy, Esteban, 112, 202n60, 207n63, 210n94 Ramírez, Alejandro, 71–72, 77–82, 86, 93–94, 195n28, 196n45 Ramos, José Antonio, 66 rancherías, 50, 56, 65 Rangel, Tomás, 44 Real Consulado de Agricultura y Comercio, 26, 32–33, 35, 37, 57, 60, 65–67, 75, 77, 137, 142, 184n4, 185n11, 188n46, 195n24 Real Sociedad Patriótica, 26 Recio, Serapio, 53 Reglas para el domicilio de nuevos colonos y sus auxilios (1817), 71, 78–79, 82–83, 88–89, 93–94 Rhodes, John, 73 Ribiére, Carlos de la, 52 Ricafort, Mariano, 139, 209n89 Riego, Rafael de, 188n44 Río Blanco del Norte, disturbances in, 140 Rivas Vertiz, Juan, 84 Robert, Karen, 19 Rodríguez, Francisco, 54 Rodríguez, Gaspar (lieutenant in 1824), 1, 40 Rodríguez, Gaspar Antonio, 66 Rodríguez, Ignacio, 193n1 Rodríguez, Julián, 111 Rosete, Pablo, 122–23, 204n6 Rucabado, Francisco Antonio, 185n14 Rueda, Francisco, 100 Ruiz, Antonio, 89, 95, 199n114 runaway slaves. See maroons Saavedra, José, 111 Sage, Ebenezer W., 87, 89, 111–12, 197n69, 202n60, 210n94 Sage, Mary, 87 Sagra, Ramón de la, 70, 72, 95 Sagua la Grande, 66

Saint Domingue: émigrés from, 12, 18, 52–53, 62, 64, 69, 77, 82, 94; insurrection in, 12, 23– 28, 51, 57–58, 78, 141, 207n52; pre-revolution, 32–33, 78, 198n89 Saint-Géme Bouvais, Marie Louise, 85, 106 Salvador coffee plantation, 6 San Fernando de Omoa fortress, 56–57 San Gil (slave of Mansuit), 97, 109–10, 121, 199n1, 199n4, 202n56 San José hacienda, 76, 81, 94 San Juan Bautista plantation, 60 San Juan de Ulúa fortress, 1–2, 56–57, 122, 179n6, 204n11 San Julián coffee plantation, 83, 95, 99, 111 San Marcos coffee plantation, 93 San Miguel del Rosario sugar plantation, 94 San Patricio coffee plantation, 18, 84–85, 183n62, 196n53 San Roberto coffee plantation, 84 San Roque plantation, 66 San Severino castle, 193n1 Santa Amalia coffee plantation, 8, 83, 93, 116–17 Santa Ana coffee plantation, 83, 87–89, 111–12, 202n60, 202n74 Santa Cecilia coffee plantation, 83, 88–89, 98, 109–10, 205n16 Santa Clara, count of. See Bassecourt, José Procopio de (count of Santa Clara) Santa Cruz de los Pinos, 65, 137 Santa Cruz (del Sur), 53 Santa María del Rosario, 46 Santa Marta, 43 santería, 16 Santiago de Cuba, 37, 45, 47, 65 Santiago de las Vegas, 60 Santiago del Prado mines. See El Cobre royal slaves Santiago (Paire’s plantation), 21, 106, 108–10, 207n62 Santo Domingo, 31, 38–39, 43 Savage, Guillermo, 89 scurvy, 179n6 Sebastián Peñalver sugar plantation, 58 Seidel, Francisco, 97, 100, 129–36, 139–43, 145– 46, 184n69, 204n6, 206n46, 206n47, 206n49, 207n59, 208n69, 210n100 Sentmanat y Zayas, Francisco de, 122–23 Sherbro, 15 slave plantation system, 23, 77 slavery: in Africa, 14, 16, 37, 150; in Calabar, 16–17 slavery studies, 149

234 · Index Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, 29 Soles y Rayos de Bolivar, conspiracy of, 1, 40, 127, 189n55 Someruelos, marquis of, 33–34, 60, 63, 81, 92 Souchay, Cornelio, 93 Soulé de Limendoux, Pierre, 85–86, 197n57 Spain, 1–3, 19, 23–27, 31, 34–35, 37–38, 40, 51, 77, 79, 81, 84, 92, 94, 121–22, 184n2, 184n4, 186n26, 188n44, 193n1 Spanish America, 1, 10, 24, 82, 179n4, 190n2 Spanish army, 1, 53 Spanish Cortes, 26, 32–34, 36–38, 188n44 Spanish Treasure Fleet, 43 spears, 59, 150 Suárez, José Ildefonso, 21, 125, 127–28, 134, 139–42, 204n6, 207n59, 208n69 Suárez, Miguel, 112 sugar plantations, expansion of, 55–57, 70, 75, 81 suicides, 47, 49, 56, 130, 146–47, 151–52 Sumidero, 20, 74–76, 81, 84, 94, 114, 117, 119, 125, 135, 139, 210n100 Surinam sugar plantation, 59 Susus or Sosos, 15 Sydney, 148 Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, The, 148 Tacón, Miguel, 139, 209n89 Taylor, Lemuel, 8, 20, 93, 99–100, 114, 116–17, 137, 198n35 Taylor, Moses, 18 technologies, application of new, 25, 29, 95 Timina plantation, 55 Tirry y Lacy, Juan, 71 tobacco, royal monopoly, 27, 185n13 Tonton Lamelle, María Magdalena, 88–89, 197n75, 197n76, 205n16 torture, 56, 120, 123, 134, 145–46, 208n69 Tosca, Juan Bautista, 94, 98, 100, 110–11, 146, 199n112, 204n16 Treaty of 1817, 36–37, 39 Treaty of 1835, 39 Trienio Constitucional, 23, 31, 34, 36, 40, 188n44 Trini (maroon leader), 66 Trinidad, 55, 57–58 Triunvirato sugar mill, 7 tuberculosis, 17 Unión coffee plantation, 94 United States, 1, 3, 11, 18, 27, 36, 71, 73, 79, 81–84, 89, 93–94, 116, 148–49, 208n71

Upper Guinea, 14 Urúe, Domingo, 118 Usher, James, 81, 94 Valdés, Gabriel de la Concepción (a) Plácido, 6 Valdés, Jerónimo, 139, 109n89 Varela, Félix, 23, 36, 38–39, 205n34 Vay, 15 Vega, José Garcilaso de la, 66 Veracruz, 43, 122–23, 179n6 Viana, Alfonso de, 54–55 Victor (Paire’s plantation), 106, 108–9 Vives, Francisco Dionisio, 1–4, 8–9, 18–19, 21, 40, 66, 75, 115, 120–25, 127–28, 137, 139, 142– 45, 150, 152, 179n4, 179n5, 180n12, 189n55, 203n83, 204n5, 204n6, 204n9, 205n26, 209n89 Vuelta de Abajo, 28, 65–66, 121, 137, 185n4 Warré, 16 Washington, George, 64, 83 weapons, 45, 54–57, 59, 99, 102, 104–6, 108, 114, 142, 146, 150 Webster, Guillermo (Ephron William), 87–89, 111–12, 197n69, 210n94 Wellesley, Henry, 33, 35 Welsh, Patrick, 73, 86 West Africa, warfare in, 12–15, 40, 130–31, 150–52, 203n100, 207n54 West Central Africa, 13, 149, 207n54 Western Europe, 148 Western question, 179n4 Wilberforce, William, 29 Winterbottom, Thomas, 15, 182n50 Ximénez, Agustín, 145–46, 200n13 Ximénez, Andrés, 113–15 Ximénez, Pedro Ignacio, 47 Yangekori, slave revolt in, 15 Yarini, José, 195n25 Yorubaland, warfare in, 16, 151 Yucatán peninsula, 2, 122–23 Yumurí, 69, 72 Zamora, José, 113 Zamora, Rafael, 127, 205n24 Zapotier, Mariano, 61 Zayas, Andrés de, 78 Zayas, Rafael de, 66 Zophiël or the Bride of Seven, 18, 183n62