Carlos Manuel de Céspedes

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Céspedes, Carlos Manuel de

 

Born Apr. 18, 1819, in Bayamo; died Feb. 27, 1874, in San Lorenzo. A leader in Cuba’s Ten Years’ War (1868–78), against the Spanish colonialists.

The son of a well-to-do planter, Céspedes studied in Havana and at the universities of Barcelona and Madrid. After freeing his own slaves, he called on them to take part in the liberation struggle. In October 1868 he assumed command of the army of liberation and promulgated the manifesto “A Call From Yara,” which declared Cuba independent. In 1869 he helped draft the first Cuban constitution. In 1874 he was taken prisoner by the Spanish and executed. A great Cuban patriot, Céspedes is known as the father of his country.