This essay considers the nature of the Spanish American War as a seminal event in American history that had a tremendous influence on Cuban immigration to the United States.
Spanish control of Cuba had dated back unto the early colonial period, as it was Christopher Columbus who first discovered the island in the 15th century. Cuban immigration to the United States had been prevalent as the two nations developed throughout the proceeding centuries, but greatly increased in the years immediately preceding the Spanish and American War. While this was in part brought on by the increased levels of revolutionary strife occurring throughout the country during this period, after the fall of the Spanish empire despotic rule in the Cuban colony greatly increased. It was during this period that Cuban farmers and intellectuals who had previously supported Spanish rule began to alter their perceptions and gradually support independence Indeed, prior to the Spanish American War, Cubans had engaged in a series of conflicts in an attempt to gain independence from Spanish rule (Corbitt 1963). Through the Ten Years’ War, the Little War, and the War of ’95, Cubans made strides to asserting their independence, although these wars were ultimately unsuccessful. During this period Cubans immigrated to the United States to avoid what they believed was oppressive Spanish rule, as well as to gain supporters for their revolutionary efforts. Cuban was an impoverished nation and country and the revolutionists didn’t have money for supplies to advance their revolutionary agenda. This poverty and internal strife also contributed in great part to the increased levels of immigration (Paterson 1996). Gradually, it was in great part due to the Cuban immigrants that moved to the United States and shifted public perception of the conflict that led to the United States involvement in the Spanish American War.