The historians of Cuba have produced a body of literature which is indeed worthy of respect, and which merits considerably more serious attention than it has generally received. Scholars in the United States have been especially remiss in this respect, and the effects are now being felt in the very practical area of human relations. Since the historiography of a nation is one key to the mind and soul of the people of that nation, this survey of Cuban historical writing will reflect the author’s attempt to east a little light upon this area of the life of Cuba.

The Cuban historians of the modern period did not begin their efforts with a tabula rasa. A rich body of historical literature was produced during the colonial period, and some of these works are still classics in the true sense of the word. The colonial historiography of Cuba reached a climax during the period 1842 to 1898, with the works of such men as Jacobo de la Pezuela, José Antonio Saco, Pedro José Guiteras, and Antonio Bachiller y Morales.1 The works of these and other men reflected a growing cultural maturity, a deepening tradition of scholarship based upon documentary research, as well as a widening split between the Spanish-oriented Cubans and those who were beginning to draw their inspiration from insular sources. Pezuela’s Historia de la Isla de Cuba2 reflected the climax of Spanish influence in the writing of Cuban history, while Saco’s Historia de la esclavitud3 and Guiteras’ Historia de la Isla de Cuba4 reconstructed the history of Cuba and its institutions in the context of a growing Creole separatism. Bachiller devoted his efforts to the analysis of a distinctly Cuban culture and the peculiar aspects of Cuban social anthropology.5

Cuban historical scholarship matured during the century of conflict concerning the status of Cuba, and the works of Cuban historians reflected the various aspects of the conflict. Reform, autonomy, independence, annexation to the United States, and the status quo of Spanish rule were advocated by various men as being the true direction of Cuban historical development.6 In addition, these historians debated internal questions such as slavery and the type of government which the island should have. Some historians were forced into exile as a result of their writing, and this enhanced the ideological influence of France and the United States upon those historians who favored some form of separation from Spain.7 The ideas of nineteenth-century liberalism became an important element in the frame-of-reference of these historians as they helped to prepare the foundations for the elimination of Spanish rule. Historians such as Saco, Guiteras, Bachiller, Enrique José Varona, Manuel Sanguily, and others helped to develop a new historical consciousness in Cuba.8 Their works marked a break in the colonial mentality, and their interpretation of the development of Cuban culture, combined with their mature scholarship, exerted a profound influence on Cuban historical studies in the twentieth century. This rich historiographical tradition, with its deep appreciation of the value of historical study, proved to be one of the most important cultural assets of the new Republic of Cuba.


Cuban historiography during the first two decades of the twentieth century was under the influence of the generation which had achieved independence. Generally speaking, these historians displayed a positivistic liberalism which was expressed as an optimistic faith in the ability of the republic to develop along the lines of the United States. Enrique José Varona was one of the outstanding representatives of this group. In addition to his historical studies, he was also active in the areas of philosophy, poetry, and practical politics. Varona epitomized the outlook of his generation when he wrote:

We Cubans are few in number, but we are all illustrious. Our history is not just history, it is an epic. Nothing that we do is a mere fact, it is a doughty deed, a fiery feat. Except for our stature, everything about us is great and admirable.9

Many of these historians considered themselves a part of the Cuban elite whose function was to guide the young nation along the paths of development. Their works thus reflected a neo-Darwinian concept of social evolution which appeared eminently logical in the light of their historical experience. Cuban independence and national conciousness were viewed as evolutionary developments, produced through years of struggle. Future development, it was assumed, would continue along similar lines. The young Fernando Ortiz elucidated this view in 1914 when he told the members of the Sociedad Económica to follow the example of the nineteenth-century thinkers, who “showed us how the work of a group of men with faith can carve a people and a nationality out of an exploited colony.” Ortiz recommended development through the establishment of magazines, schools, universities, museums, and the publication of books.10

The Cuban historians of the generation which made the transition from colony to republic were devoted to the ideal of “scientific” history, and to promote investigation of this type they founded the Academy of History in 1910. In subsequent years the Academy became the center of one important tradition in modern Cuban historiography, and the efforts of the Academy helped to foster several historiographical trends. One of the most significant of these was the attention given to interpreting the Cuban Revolution. In a newly independent republic this emphasis developed out of a natural desire to explain the causes and elevate the heroes of the struggle for independence. This had its roots in the pre-independence period with such works as Enrique Collazo’s Desde Yara hasta el Zanjón,11 Enrique José Varona’s Cuba contra España, manifesto del Partido Revolucionario Cubano a los pueblos hispano-americanos,12 and Rafael María Merchán’s Cuba. Justificación de su guerra de independencia.13

With the ending of the revolution Cuban historians accelerated the development of the independence theme. The influence of the transition generation in promoting this theme can be seen in such works as Evelio Rodríguez Lendián’s La Independencia absoluta como el ideal cubano,14 Vidal Morales y Morales’ Iniciadores y primeros mártires de la revolución,15 Enrique Collazo’s La guerra en Cuba,16 and Enrique José Varona’s De la colonia a la república.17

Vidal Morales y Morales made another significant contribution to the professional development of Cuban historiography through his work in the Archivo Nacional. Designated head of the archives by the United States occupation government, Morales began the difficult task of reorganizing the archives, and in 1902 he initiated the publication of the Boletín del Archivo Nacional.

During the 1920’s new currents began to appear in Cuban historiography as the transition generation faded away. At the root of these changes, however, were the political turmoil in Cuba and the constant pressure of the United States government. The re-imposition of United States rule between 1906 and 1909, the landings of American marines during the Race War of 1912, the intervention in 1917, and the expanding control of the Cuban economy by Yankee businessmen raised doubts among some historians as to the actual reality of Cuban independence. Closely connected to this was a growing disillusionment with the political leaders of Cuba. Hints of this feeling were first displayed by Enrique Collazo in 1910;18 just as his book Los americanos en Cuba had contained the seeds of an anti-Yankee type of nationalism.19 The young historian Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring articulated this intensification of Cuban nationalism in 1922 with his attack on the Platt Amendment, and this point-of-view became increasingly significant during the 1920’s and 1930’s.20 Many historians of the new generation adopted this theme with varying degrees of intensity,21 as did a few of the elder statesmen of Cuban history.22

The development of the Machado dictatorship, the collapse of the Cuban economy, the failure of the Revolution of 1933, and the role of the United States in all these events contributed to the development of this new school of Cuban historiography. The growing discontent and frustration among all groups of Cuban intellectuals could be seen in the tendency to explain Cuba’s troubles in terms of capitalism and Yankee imperialism. A few historians became converts to Communism, but many more could be best described as left-of-center advocates of socio-economic reform and the restriction—or elimination—of the influence of the United States.

During these decades economic factors and the policies of the United States government emerged as important themes in Cuban historical writing. The re-interpretations resulting were, to an extent, centered around the War of Independence. The most significant pioneer work in this area was the multi-volume Historia de Cuba en sus relaciones con los Estados Unidos y España, written by Herminio Portell Vilá.23 Based upon extensive archival research, Portell Vilá’s publications clearly articulated a position which various Cubans had been suggesting for several years. The basic themes were the imperialistic policies of the United States and the predominant role played by Cubans in the so-called Spanish American War.

In 1940 the revisionist historians organized the Sociedad Cubana de Estudios Históricos e Internacionales, and this organization became an important center for revisionist trends. Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring was the principal leader in this group which included men with various degrees of left-of-center views.24 The annual congresses held by the Sociedad issued forceful resolutions on topics ranging from Cuban polities to historical questions. These reflected the general orientation and the historiographical interpretations of the revisionist school. In 1943 the group voted to change the name of the Spanish-American War to La Guerra Hispano-Cubanoamericana, and this change was approved by the Cuban Congress in 1946.

The “Final Acts” of the Tenth Congress in 1952 revealed several interesting themes. A lengthy declaration stated that the war in 1898 was won by Cuban arms, and that as a result Cuban independence was not a gift of the United States. Another labeled the New York Museum of Natural History’s exhibit of Indocuban archeology “deficient and erroneously presented,” and called for corrections. The declaration on colonial history declared that the term “colonial period” should be used instead of the title “hispánico” period. The reasoning given was that the latter term ignored or minimized four centuries of Cuban development toward nationality, and the winning of independence through “bloody and terrible wars.” This declaration continued with an indictment of various Spanish governors and military leaders, a theme which had been presented in a paper by Enrique Gay-Calbó. Other declarations attacked the reintroduction of bullfighting as a regression to “barbarous colonial customs,” and the imperialistic interference of the United States with Cuban freedom from the time of the Platt Amendment to 1952.25

The other important school of Cuban historiography centered around the Academy of History. Although its actual membership was highly restricted, the Academy exerted a great deal of influence among those historians who adhered to the older, scientific tradition. This was a generally conservative approach which embodied a milder interpretation of the role of the United States and the problems of Cuba. The Academy group tended to avoid political controversy, and concentrated on the publication of documentary collections and the promotion of historical research. Much of this work was focused on the nineteenth century and the independence movement, but the Academy did work to broaden the scope of research efforts. One of the more significant products of this movement was the publication in 1952 of the ten volume Historia de la nación cubana. Ramiro Guerra y Sánchez, Emeterio S. Santovenia, Juan J. Remos, José M, Pérez Cabrera, and other prominent historians—including some revisionists—covered all aspects of Cuban history in producing a work which is also a monument to the vast amount of historical writing done by Cubans.26

From the mid-1930’s there was a noticeable increase in the quantity of Cuban historical writing. Cultural and intellectual history began to receive more attention, as did the first three centuries of the colonial period. Cuba had been relatively calm during this period in which Cuban historiography became broader in scope and more penetrating in depth of analysis. The Revolution of Fidel Castro produced a disruption of historical scholarship both in terms of quantity and quality. Many historians have left Cuba since 1959. Those who remained in Cuba have produced some work, but the intense emotional climate produced by the revolution hampers calm, analytical research; this condition exists on both sides of the Florida Straits. The historians in Cuba today tend to represent those of the Cuban Society of Historical Study group who see the Castro Revolution as a logical process involving the final liberation of Cuba from the influence of the United States.27 Symbolic of this new orientation in Cuban intellectual life is the recent publication by the American Marxist historian Philip Foner of two volumes of his projected multi-volume history of Cuba.28

In looking back over Cuban historiography in the modern period, it is evident that a combination of factors has influenced most of the writing of history. The factor of a longer duration of colonial rule—when other areas of Latin America had gained their freedom—coupled with the severe struggle for independence, and followed by the enforced tutelage and supervision of the United States have helped to shape the intellectual currents of modern Cuba. The hyper-sensitiveness of Cuban nationalism has been due in part to these developments. The United States took over the Cuban Revolution, renamed it, and then spoke endlessly about how grateful the Cubans should be for the “gift” of independence. At the same time the Cuban economy was being tied more closely to the economy of the United States, and the naval base at Guantánamo Bay served as a constant reminder of the powerful neighbor to the north.

In this context Cuban historians, in various ways, have been trying to establish the basis of Cuban nationality, and to promote a sense of pride in the historical traditions of the island republic. This search for national identification is not peculiar to Cuba, but the Cuban manifestation has been sharpened by the historical context. In the introduction to his Historia de Cuba en sus relaciones con los Estados Unidos y España, Herminio Portell Vilá seemed to be trying to justify the past and future of an island which had existed under the brooding presence of two more powerful nations. The object of his work, he stated, was to document

a thesis which aspires to prove that the history of Cuba is worthy, stimulating, full of educative examples, and sufficient upon which to construct the future of a country admirably endowed to be happy, rich, free, and respectable.

Cuban historians of all schools have reflected these feelings in varying degrees. As a result much of their effort has been directed at the nineteenth century and the struggle for independence. In the process, many historians have deprecated the Spanish heritage, and have made the Black Legend an important element in Cuban historiography. From about the mid-1940’s there was evidence of a slow weakening of these tendencies, but events since 1959 have altered the entire course of Cuban historical writing. The pro-Castro historians have vigorously reemphasized these tendencies, and so far no “exile school” of Cuban historians has emerged.29


One of the most important elements in the Cuban historiographical tradition has been the great stress given to the collection, preservation, and publication of documentary sources. The Archivo National de Cuba has done pioneering work in this area, and has stimulated various private groups to engage in similar projects. The collections of papers, guides to archives and libraries, and bibliographies which have been published in this century, are valuable aids to the researcher in Cuban history.

The Archivo Nacional has had a rather stable existence since 1906, but the confusion of earlier years resulted in the loss of some documents. The Spanish authorities in the 1880’s sent some documents to the Archivo General de Indias en Sevilla,30 and in 1898 they shipped some 330 boxes of documents to Spain. These were later placed in the Archivo Histórico de Guerra en Segovia.31 In addition, in 1898 the Spanish authorities sold a number of documents as “waste paper,” and burned others. Most of those burned were older materials which were in a deteriorated condition. The American officials also sold a considerable number of documents during the occupation. In 1899 the Archives were moved from the San Francisco Convent to La Fuerza Castle, and in 1906 the collections were moved to the Cuartel de Artillería, where they remained until the construction of the new archives building in the late 1940’s. The two early moves produced some losses and much confusion, but under the able direction of Captain Joaquín Llaverías the Archivo Nacional became one of the best in Latin America.32

Captain Llaverías devoted much time to the publication program of the Archivo. Under his guidence the Boletín del Archivo Nacional—the oldest archival review of any Latin American country which has been in continuous publication—developed into an important publication vehicle for source material. In 1912 Llaverías published his Historia de los archivos de Cuba. This was the first full length account of a Latin American archives, and is still a classic in the field.33 In addition, Llaverías edited a number of documentary collections and guides to archival holdings in Cuba and Spain.34

In 1943 the Archivo Nacional instituted the publication of important documentary material under the general title Publicaciones del Archivo National de Cuba. By 1961 fifty-two volumes of the Publicaciones had been issued. Included in these were the diplomatic correspondence of the Cuban delegation in New York for the years 1895-1898, papers concerning the careers of Antonio Maceo and José Martí, and documents dealing with La Guerra Chiquita of 1878-1879. In 1960 the Archivo began to publish collections pertaining to the history of other Latin American countries. The first two volumes contained documents in the Cuban archives which concerned the history of Venezuela and Argentina, and the original plan projected similar volumes to honor the other countries in Latin America.35

Numerous documents for the history of Havana have been published by the Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad de la Habana. Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring has held the position of Historiador since the 1930’s, and in 1937 he began to edit a documentary series entitled Colección de documentos para la historia de Cuba. One of the most valuable collections in this series is the records of the ayuntamiento de la Habana dating from 1550. The records prior to this date were destroyed by pirates.36 In 1935 Roig de Leuchsenring had instituted a general publication series for the city of Havana. By 1960 the Cuadernos de Historia Habanera consisted of some seventy-two volumes.

Cuban historical scholarship has also been advanced by several other publication projects. The Academy of History began its Anales de la Academia de la Historia de Cuba in 1919, and in subsequent years issued numerous volumes of source material and historical studies. Between 1940 and 1952 the Archivo de José Martí in six volumes was published by the Cuban Ministry of Education. The publications Revista de la Biblioteca National and Revista Cubana are also important sources for articles on Cuban history.

Prior to the recent upheaval, Cuba was one of the leading centers in the hemisphere in bibliographical publication. Much of the credit for this can be attributed to Carlos M. Trelles and Fermín Peraza y Sarausa. Peraza’s Bibliografía martiano, 1853-1953,37 is a monumental work in the field, and his 1945 guide to Cuban books in the Library of Congress is a valuable work for historians in the United States.38 From 1937 until his departure from Cuba, Peraza also edited the Anuario bibliográfico cubano, a yearly listing of books and pamphlets published in Cuba.39 Bibliographical studies in Cuba were elevated to a position of major importance by Carlos M. Trelles. His Biblioteca histórica cubana40 and Bibliografía cubana de los siglos XVII y XVIII41 are still of much importance for Cuban colonial history.42


Colonial History to 1800

Writing in 1945 Felipe Pichardo Moya criticized Cuban historians for their neglect of colonial history prior to 1762, and for their deprecation of the Spanish heritage.43 These two inter-related facets of Cuban historiography are still noticeable, but beginning in the late 1930’s Cuban historians began to probe the period in greater depth.

Prior to this much of the published work in the early colonial period had been done by scholars in the United States and other countries. The pioneer scholar in this field was Irene A. Wright, whose book The Early History of Cuba: 1492-1586 was published in 1916.44 She subsequently published other volumes dealing with Havana and Santiago de Cuba. These works were based on research in the Spanish archives, and tended to emphasize military and governmental aspects.45 C. H. Haring, C. E. Chapman, and Lillian E. Fisher discussed various aspects of Cuban colonial history in the context of broader studies, while W. W. Pierson and Duvon C. Corbitt analyzed the workings of the Spanish colonial government in Cuba.46

Several aspects of Cuba’s early history were being investigated by Fernando Ortiz. Working in the fields of archeology and social anthropology, Ortiz published a number of studies concerning Cuban Indians and Negroes. His Cuba primitiva, published in 1922, discussed the Spanish exploitation and elimination of the Indians, and his Historia de la arqueología cubana continued the story of the disappearance of the Cuban Indians.47 His works on the culture of the Negro slaves illuminated another vital area of Cuba’s colonial development, in spite of the fact that the earlier works reveal a pessimistic view in regard to the ability of the Negroes to develop “higher” cultures.48

The traditional view of Cuban history emphasized the development of Cuban culture after 1790. This view was challenged in the 1930’s as historians began to work more intensively in the eighteenth century. Jorge Mañach pushed the beginning of a genuine Cuban culture back to the English capture of Havana in 1762,49 and in 1937 Gerardo Castellanos analyzed the causal factors behind the thoughts and actions of the nineteenth-century separatists in terms of the Hispanic heritage dating from the sixteenth century. Castellanos also traced the development of Creole rebellion from the sublevación de los vegueros (1715-1720), thus establishing an economic link between the independence movement and the early colonial period.50 In subsequent years much of the increasing attention given to the period prior to 1800 came from studies of economic history. In 1938 Elías Entralgo published a story of the sublevación de los vegueros,51 and in 1951 the Academy of History sponsored the publication of a more detailed study of the tobacco growers’ revolt by José Rivero Muñiz.52 The latter book revealed the impact of the revolt on Bourbon economic policies in Cuba.

Detailed studies of the economic history of the pre-1800 period focused more attention on the continuity of Cuban development. Ramiro Guerra y Sánchez published Azúcar y población de las Antillas in 1935.53 This was one of the first major investigations of the development of the sugar industry and its relationship to land holding and population. In 1944 H. E. Friedlaender’s Historia económica de Cuba analyzed economic thought and evolution in the eighteenth century, and placed Cuban economic development within the changing structure of world capitalism.54 Julio le Riverend Brusone investigated origins of the Cuban economy from 1510 to 1660, in an important exploratory work issued in 1945,55 and the next year Francisco Pérez de la Riva published his extensive study of the landholding systems from the beginnings to 1819.56 The impact of the American Revolution on the economic, legal, and institutional life of Cuba has been developed in detail by María Encarnación Rodríguez Vicente.57 By 1956 the economic aspect of the early colonial period had been developed to the point where Levi Marrero y Artiles could produce an excellent synthesis of all aspects of Cuban economic history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.58

With the economic historians leading the way, specialists in other fields gradually began to study the cultural and institutional aspects of the early colonial period. Felipe Pichardo Moya revised the prevailing view concerning the extermination of the aborigines, and stated that these people survived in sufficient numbers to form an element in the twentieth-century population of Cuba.59 A growing interest in intellectual figures of the eighteenth century was indicated in works by Fermín Peraza,60 Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring,61 and Julio le Riverend Brusone,62 while aspects of institutional history were developed by Emeterio S. Santovenia63 and Eugenio Sarrablo Aguarles.64

In his 1945 article Pichardo had called on Cuban historians to revise their concept of the colonial heritage, and to place Cuban history in its perspective of colonial evolution. “Cubano insurrecto era hijo del colono leal,” was his admonition to those who concentrated on the separatist movements of the nineteenth century. Many historians, however, were slow to take up the challenge, and some who worked in the early period still portrayed the “Black Legend” in all its intensity.65 Changes were evident in the works of such men as Ramiro Guerra, Julio le Riverend Brusone, and Pichardo. Guerra’s Manuel de historia de Cuba (1938)66 gave more than usual attention to the early colonial period, and the multi-volume Historia de la nación cubana (1952) explained the period between 1697 and 1790 in terms of the first manifestations of a sentiment and spirit properly Cuban.67 Even these works, however, revealed the limited attention given by historians to the early colonial period. Guerra’s material on the first century after the conquest was based on his earlier Historia de Cuba of the 1920’s,68 and only two of the ten volumes of the 1952 publication were devoted to the period from 1492 to 1790. Thus, Julio le Riverend Brusone, writing in 1957, was still expressing a controversial view when he attacked the idea that the cultural life of Cuba did not begin until after 1790.69

Colonial Period: The Nineteenth Century

This period has clearly been the favorite of Cuban historians. The various conspiracies and uprisings, the Ten Years War, and the Revolution of 1895 constitute the drama of Cuban independence, and many volumes have been produced which deal with these events and the important men involved.

Until the 1930’s Cuban historians tended to stress only those major conspiracies, revolts, and heroes which could be clearly identified with the struggle for independence. Memoir material was published during the first decade of independence by participants such as José Miró Argenter,70 Bernabé Boza,71 and Fernando Figuerdo Soccarás.72 During the same period a number of biographical studies of the leaders of the independence movements were written by Vidal Morales y Morales,73 Luis Lagomasino,74 Eladio Aguilera y Rojas,75 Carlos M. Trelles,76 and Carlos de Velasco.77

The conspiracies and uprisings prior to 1868 have been investigated by several historians. La conspiración de la Escalera of 1844 has been interpreted in various ways. Vidal Morales and Francisco González del Valle have written that this conspiracy was a myth created by the Spanish to justify their harsh measures.78 On the other hand, Ramiro Guerra, Emeterio S. Santovenia, and the Spanish historian Mario Hernández y Sánchez-Barba support the view that the conspiracy did exist and that David Turnbull—the British Consul—was involved.79 José Manuel Ximeno has gone further and hailed the conspiracy as the first major example of a secessionist movement with implications all over Cuba.80

Elías Entralgo has written about the conspiracy of Aponte (1811-12),81 and Roque E. Garrigó has devoted several volumes to the 1821 conspiracy of Soles y Rayos de Bolívar.82 In 1939 Diego González analyzed the movements between 1852 and 1867—involving the conspiracies of Vuelta Abajo and Pinto—and concluded that these were true independence movements.83 Guerra’s Manual de historia also contains much original material on the period 1840-1868.84

The role of the Masonic Lodge in the independence movement and in the various conspiracies has been receiving increasing attention. In 1934 Luis Oliva Pulgarón presented some aspects of this,85 and Garrigó stressed the role of the Masons in the 1821 conspiracy.86 Francisco J. Ponte Domínguez has published two books developing the role of the Masons, and has concluded that a Masonic link can be established between Narciso López, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, Antonio Maceo, and José Martí.87 By 1952 Jorge Quintana was ready to state that enough evidence existed to assert the Masonic origins of the revolutionary movement of 1868.88

Historians of La Guerra de los Diez Años (1868-1870) have proliferated since the 1930’s.89 Ramiro Guerra analyzed the war and its hackground in his Manual de historia, and stressed the relationship between the abolition of slavery and the independence movement in his Antecedentes y significación de la Guerra de 1868.90 In 1950 Guerra produced what is probably the best history of the war. The two-volume Guerra de los Diez Años describes the effect of Spanish policies after 1825, and the relationship to such factors as the decline of the coffee industry, slavery, and the disappearance of the annexationist “fantasy.” Guerra stated that the leaders of the revolution came from the areas where the Negro—particularly the slave—was a negligible factor, but that the war developed a popular basis as all classes and groups converged in a common effort. In the process he stressed the view that the slaves were brought in as free men, and that in the end this revolt of “free people” created a patriotic tradition and guaranteed the future triumph of Cuban independence.91

This latter work emphasized class solidarity in contrast—and perhaps in reaction to—works which tended to portray the Cuban Creoles in more opportunistic terms. Emeterio S. Santovenia92 and Raúl Cepero Bonilla93 had, in varying degrees, taken this position, as Guerra in 1938 had stressed the class conflict between whites and blacks.94 Studies by Leopoldo Horrego y Estuch95 and Francisco J. Ponte Domínguez96 took a milder view of the problem by giving a more charitable construction to the motives of the Creoles, while Elías Entralgo97 presented the war as being primarily a conflict over slavery.

In the early 1940’s a segment of the Cuban historical profession began to give much more consideration to the nineteenth-century personages who did not participate in conspiracies or in the independence movement. The historians gave more sympathetic treatment to the reformers, annexationists, and autonomists, and gave men in these groups due credit for contributing to the Cuban national tradition. This broader approach to Cuban patriotism in the nineteenth century was characterized by new studies of men such as Padre Félix Varela, José Antonio Saco, Rafael Montoro, and Calixto Bernal y Soto. Raúl Lorenzo’s book, Sentido nacionalista del pensamiento de Saco,98 presented Saco as a man misunderstood by both sides. His conclusion emphasized that Varela, Saco, and Martí personified the successive stages in the development of Cuban nationalism. Santovenia called this trend “la labor nueva,” and his volume Reforma y revolución en Cuba presented Cuban nationalism in terms of the merging of the reform and revolutionary traditions.99 Studies of the Ten Year’s War by Horrego and Ponte were in the same tradition.100

Another group of Cuban historians launched a vigorous attack on the same men and groups. In part, this almost simultaneous movement in two directions reflected the growing ideological split among Cuban historians.101 The group which began to debunk the reformers, annexationists, and autonomists generally placed more emphasis on group conflict in Cuba and exalted the nineteenth-century advocates of independence. To an extent this group was also more severe in its view of the policies of the United States. In 1939 Diego González wrote that the movements between 1852 and 1867 were not inspired by annexationist ideas. In addition he criticized the motives of those Cubans who remained loyal to Spain.102 Rafael Soto Paz in 1941 attacked what he called “La falsa cubanidad” of Saco and others.103

Herminio Portell Vilá’s three-volume work, Narciso López y su época, was in this tradition. Portell Vilá thoroughly documents his thesis that López was not an annexationist but a true fighter for Cuban independence. At the same time he criticizes the United States for its annexationist schemes.104 Gerardo Brown Castillo divides the blame for Cuba’s problems and the delay in independence between foreign interference and the Cuban landed aristocracy. In this socioeconomic study, he attacks Saco, Domíngo del Monte, and the various groups which opposed independence. In addition, he accuses the landed aristocracy of saddling Cuba with a one-crop economy, perpetuating slavery, and hindering the development of small farms.105 In a sense this historian was also echoing the frustrations and ideas of some twentieth-century Cubans.

In reconstructing the history of Cuba in the nineteenth century Cuban historians have evidenced some interest in the foreign policies of other countries and the relation of these to Cuba. The annexationist José Ignacio Rodríguez published in 1900 a history of the idea that Cuba should be part of the United States.106 Sympathy for this idea died during the first decade of the Republic, and Cuban historians began to analyze this question from a different point-of-view. Herminio Portell Vila began to investigate this and related questions during the early 1930’s (he had been forced into exile by the regime of Gerardo Machado). He did a great deal of original research in archival and manuscript collections in the United States, and the end product was his four-volume Historia de Cuba en sus relaciones con los Estados Unidos y España.107 The major thesis of this work was that annexation was the ulterior aim of United States policy toward Cuba throughout the nineteenth century. This policy, he maintained, was responsible for Cuba’s failure to achieve independence during the century. Although dismissed by some reviewers in the United States as nothing but polemic, these volumes did break new ground by revealing evidence which previously had been ignored. Distortions and errors did exist in this work, but it has, in varying degrees, influenced almost everything written by Cubans on this subject since 1938.108

Several studies have been devoted to the relationship between colonial Cuba and the Latin American republics. Santovenia analyzed the policies of Simón Bolívar toward the Spanish colonies in the Caribbean,109 and José L. Franco has elaborated on the theme that Cuba was the center of Spanish efforts to recover the continental empire.110 Ramiro Guerra and Santovenia have also written studies picturing Cuba as the center of international rivalries in the Caribbean. Santovenia’s book is characterized by the theme that the Cubans were passive subjects of these rivalries, and his discussion of the policies of the United States reflects the more pro-United States approach of the conservative school of historians.111

With the exception of the foreign relations area, historians in the United States have written comparatively little about the period of Cuban history prior to the 1890’s. Even in this area the emphasis has been on the activities of the United States, and the effect of these on Cuba has all too often been ignored. James M. Callahan was one of the first scholars to study U. S.-Cuban relations within the framework of United States diplomacy toward Spain and Britain.112 Other historians, however, did not follow the extensive pattern of Callahan, but rather concentrated on the immediate causes of United States intervention in 1898 or on the pre-Civil War expansionist activities. In writing about the latter area, most United States historians have relied on the works of Robert G. Caldwell,113 Amos A. Ettinger,114 and Roy F. Nichols.115 Most of the emphasis has been placed on diplomatic history, but Nichols has explored some of the economic aspects. Basil Rauch’s American Interest in Cuba: 1848-1855, relates the diplomatic and economic factors in the most thorough survey of U. S.-Cuban relations of this period.116 Some of the broader studies of United States policy toward Latin America also contain material on this subject.117

The Revolution of 1895 and the Spanish-Cuban-American War

The historiography of these climactic events generally followed a standard pattern during the first three decades of the twentieth century. Cuban historians tended to focus their attention on events between 1895 and the American intervention in 1898, and to follow the lead of historians in the United States for the so-called Spanish-American War period.118 Activities in other countries relating to the revolution in Cuba were also emphasized by such writers as Manuel Márquez Sterling119 and Orestes Ferrara. The work by Ferrara is especially valuable for its discussion of Spanish efforts to form a European coalition.120

One of the first major attacks on the prevailing interpretation of the Spanish-American War was made by Herminio Portell Vilá. In his Historia de Cuba he asserted that the United States would have lost the war without Cuban aid, and that the Cubans could have won their independence without American intervention.121 This interpretation of the imperialistic motives of the United States was developed in more detail by Roig de Leuchsenring. In his book 1895 y 1898. Dos guerras cubanas. Ensayo de revaloración, this historian interpreted the war as a democratic, working-class movement. He concluded that the socio-economic revolution envisaged by Martí had not as yet been achieved. The theses of this book were formally approved by La Sociedad Cubana de Estudios Históricos e Internacionales.122 Another book by Roig de Leuchsenring developed the themes that the Cubans won their own independence, and that General Calixto García formulated the tactics and operational plans used by the United States Army.123

Portell Vilá returned to the attack in 1949 with a volume describing the ignorance and crudity of the American military leaders in their dealings with the Cubans. He argued that García covered the landing of the United States forces, and then so arranged his forces that scarcely 3,000 of the 25,000 Spanish troops in the eastern province were able to go to the assistance of the Santiago garrison. These would not have made it, Portell Vilá argued, if General Shafter had not overruled García’s request to detach 2,000 men from the siege of Santiago in order to block the road from Bayamo. Shafter subsequently publicly blamed the Cubans for allowing the Spaniards to get through.124 This volume is one of the best of the revisionist school, and reflects the natural resentment of many Cubans toward an interpretation of their revolution which had largely ignored the contribution of the Cuban forces.

Not all Cuban historians, however, accepted these revised views. Miguel Varona Guerrero—who had been a military aide to Gómez—played down the role of the United States, but in more restrained terms.125 Cosme de la Torriente rejected the revisionist position, and argued that United States naval power was a vital factor.126 Julio Morales and Juan J. Remos, among others, took much the same position.127

The revisionist historians also attacked some of the Cuban revolutionary leaders for their cooperation with the United States.128 Gómez, García, and Tomás Estrada Palma were all criticized for their failure to exact recognition of the “República en Armas” as a sine qua non for Cuban assistance.129 Cosme de la Torriente defended García against these charges, and Carlos Márquez Sterling did much the same for Estrada Palma.130

José Martí, as the veritable symbol of Cuban independence, has been subjected to little—if any—debunking. The revival of interest in Martí developed with the intensification of Cuban nationalism in the 1920’s, and the first major biography was written by Jorge Mañach in 1933.131 Subsequent biographers have presented various interpretations of the life and activities of Martí. Leonardo Griñán Peralta has analyzed his political thought;132 M. Isidor Méndez presented a psychological analysis of his idealistic philosophy of action;133 Mauricio Magdaleno has emphasized his continental patriotism;134 and Gonzalo de Quesada y Miranda has developed his political romanticism.135 Medardo Vitier analyzed the religious ideas of Martí, and also presented the view that Martí was not as anti-United States as some had portrayed him.136 In 1953 Félix Lizaso wrote a biography which attempted to explain the “real” Martí behind the glorified image.137 This book reflected the trend in Martí studies to find the greatness of Martí on the human level.

Historians in the United States have concentrated their attention on the causes for American involvement138 and the military and diplomatic aspects of the intervention. In the process most of these historians have followed the pattern which developed in 1898. The Cuban Revolution and its leaders have been relegated to a subordinate position, and the war has been portrayed in such a way that the subsequent military occupation appears as a natural development. This “historiographical imperialism” of American historians produced the term Spanish-American War, and helped to inculcate in many Americans a paternalistic view of Cuba.139 Many of the books produced by the war generation tended to be eulogistic in nature, but the writings of French E. Chadwick are more objective and complete.140 During the 1920’s and 1930’s the war was presented as a comic-opera, but post-World War II historians presented it in more serious terms.141 The activities of Cubans in the United States have been given limited consideration, and what has been produced generally concentrates on propaganda activity.142

Era of the Republic

The historiography of the Republican period is characterized by a shortage of scholarly research and publication. Many of the books on recent history are colored by the profound political cleavages of the period and are probably most useful as guides to various points-of-view. This is especially true for books dealing with events from 1920 to the present.143

The best overall survey of the years 1900-1950 has been published in the volumes of the Historia de la nación cubana, and useful studies of economic history have been written by Alberto Arredondo, Gustavo Gutiérrez, and Raúl Lorenzo.144 The Cuban economic historians have emphasized the adverse aspects of foreign capital investment in the island. Arredondo and Lorenzo are especially critical in their portrayal of Cuba as an economic colony of the United States, while the authors of the Historia de la nación cubana generally present a different view of this subject.

For the first three decades of the twentieth century Cuban historians generally praised the occupation activities of Generals John R. Brooke and Leonard Wood, and the administration of Tomás Estrada Palma. Many of these historians, however, were quite critical of the activities of Charles E. Magoon during the second intervention (1906-1909).145 In the 1930’s the revisionist historians began to reinterpret the first intervention. Herminio Portell Vilá documented the annexationist sympathies of General Wood and linked these to the establishment of the protectorate under the Platt Amendment. His criticism of those Cubans who cooperated with the United States was developed in greater detail by other revisionists. Rufino Pérez Landa blamed Estrada and Gómez for the failure of the United States to cooperate with the “República en Armas,” since both men ignored Bartolomé Masó. In addition, he wrote that Masó could have been a better president.146 The revisionists thus began to portray Estrada as a man out of touch with Cuban conditions and more oriented to the views of the United States government. Since 1959 these views have become the predominant element in Cuban historiography, and are closely related to interpretations of the economic and political influence of the United States.147

Historians in the United States have been much more concerned with studies about U. S.-Cuban relations than with investigations of Cuban internal affairs in the twentieth century. Charles E. Chapman in 1928 combined these two areas in a politically oriented volume which was marked by the paternalistic point-of-view. The same year Leland Jenks published a study entitled Our Cuban Colony, which stressed the role of economic imperialism in United States relations with Cuba.148 To a lesser degree Jenks’ criticisms of American policy were subsequently reflected in Wilfred H. Callcott’s study of the Caribbean policy of the United States, and in Robert F. Smith’s investigation of the relationship between business and diplomacy.149 Economic aspects of U. S.-Cuban relations during the first quarter of the twentieth century were also developed by Philip G. Wright and Chester Lloyd Jones, while the political aspects have been studied by David Lockmiller, Russell H. Fitzgibbon, Bryce Wood, and Ralph E. Minger.150 These studies tend to place a more favorable construction on the motives and policies of the United States government.

The best studies of Cuban domestic affairs in this century have been written by non-historians such as the sociologist Lowry Nelson and the economist Henry C. Wallich. Nelson’s Rural Cuba probed the economic and social aspects of an important segment of the Cuban populace, while Wallich related the monetary problems of the island to its export-structured economy.151 In 1962 Wyatt MacGaffey and Clifford R. Barnett published a short survey of all aspects of modern Cuban culture. This volume is a synthesis of more detailed works which serves a useful purpose as an introduction to contemporary Cuba.152

Numerous books have already been written about Fidel Castro’s revolution, and the interpretations range from far left to far right.153 Some of the more useful works have been written by Ray Brennan, Irving Pflaum, Herbert Matthews, Theodore Draper, William A. Williams, Tad Szulc and Karl Meyer.154 None of these can be termed “definitive,” but taken as a group they do give a kind of perspective on recent developments concerning Cuba and the policy of the United States.

Cultural History

Interest in Cuban cultural history lagged during the first three decades of the twentieth century. Some basic work was done—most notably by Fernando Ortiz—and between 1916 and 1921 the Italian Adolfo Dollero published a three-volume survey of the social, economic, literary, and scientific aspects of Cuba’s culture.155

By 1940 the investigations of Ortiz had progressed to the point where he could publish two interpretive analyses of the nature of Cuban culture. His Contrapunteo cubano del tabaco y azúcar combined sociology and economic history to demonstrate how the socioeconomic systems evolving from the raising of sugar and tobacco had influenced the process of transculturation. According to Ortiz the aristocratic latifundista tradition and the democratic independent farmer tradition developed from these rival systems to form conflicting elements in Cuban culture. His other work, Los factores humanos de la cubanidad, described the mingling in Cuba of diverse cultural strains and how these produced a distinct Cuban ethos.156 Another element in the interpretation of Cuban culture was added by Francisco Pérez de la Riva.157 His thesis concerned the coffee plantation as the center of Cuban culture in the colonial period, and the influence which this had on the political, social, and literary life of Cuba. These works were probably influenced by the investigation of the Brazilian scholar Gilberto Freyre, and represent the most original explanations of Cuban cultural development.

During the 1930’s and 1940’s Cuban scholars also began more intensive investigations in the area of intellectual history. Biographies of such men as Padre Varela, José Agustín Caballero, Rafael Montoro, José Martí, and Enrique José Varona served as vehicles for the study of the philosophical currents which shaped Cuban thought and action after 1762.158 Two of the most productive scholars in this field—Raimundo Menocal y Cueto and Medardo Vitier—have also published broader surveys of intellectual trends.159 Vitier has been especially concerned with Positivism, and his book, La filosofía en Cuba, presents the theme that this philosophy produced the sceptical tone of Cuban political liberalism in the twentieth century.160 Economic thought in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries has been thoroughly analyzed by H. E. Friedlaender.161

Other elements of Cuban culture have increasingly attracted historians during the last two decades. Histories of Cuban literature have been written by J. J. Arrom, José Antonio Portuondo, Salvador Bueno, and Juan J. Remos.162 The three-volume study by Remos is especially valuable, since the author relates literature to social, economic, and political conditions. Various aspects of art and music have been studied by Fernando Ortiz, Anita Arroyo, and Loló de la Torriente.163 Félix Lizaso’s survey of these cultural developments reflected the increasing appreciation of Cuban scholars for the richness of the artistic and literary heritage.164


Any suggestions concerning future research needed in Cuban history should begin with the period 1549 to 1762. More detailed investigation is needed on such topics as the incorporation of the Indian into the Cuban population, the importance of the illegal trade through various ports, the relations between the pirates and Cuban residents, and the cultural basis which later produced the golden age of Cuban writing. In addition, useful studies could be made concerning the relationship of the island to the rest of the Spanish American empire and to the adjacent possessions of Britain and France. Harry Bernstein’s Origins of Inter-American Interest, 1700-1812 certainly provides a point-of-departure for more detailed studies on the latter subject.165

In spite of the heavy concentration on the nineteenth century, various gaps still exist in our knowledge of this vital era. The activities and influence of the various groups of exiles, the factors influencing Spanish colonial policy, and the interim between 1878 and 1895 are examples of such gaps. More work is also needed on the autonomista and annexationist movements, and such studies could profitably trace the influence of these on the Cuban Republic. In the area of United States relations with Cuba we need more work on the years 1800 to 1848, and on the period of the Ten Years War. The time is also ripe for a new synthesis of the background of United States intervention in 1898. This should also include the full story of the Cuban revolutionaries and their role in the Spanish-Cuban-American War.

The history of Cuba in the twentieth century offers a wide field for research. Indeed, a deeper understanding of this period is vital for a balanced view of all of Latin America in this century of revolution. To help explain why Cuba has become an ally of the Soviet Union we need much more investigation into the ideological currents of this century and the influence upon these of such events as the abortive revolution of 1933. The problem of the Negro and the currents of racial antagonism which produced the Race War of 1912 must also be included in these investigations; this applies as well to the role of the intellectual in Cuban political developments. In the future historians must consider the impact of the Castro Revolution on the ideas and events in the rest of Latin America, especially its influence on how other Latin Americans interpret the nature and function of the revolutionary process. Objectivity of a high degree will be needed for such studies, and the neat patterns derived from the historical experience of the United States will have to be put aside.

Perhaps it is symbolic of our age that suggestions for needed research must be qualified by the workings of foreign policy. The investigation of some subjects will be postponed until relations between Cuba and the United States become more amicable. Some work can be done, however. Collections of published documents and works by Cuban historians are available. Some of these should be translated into English so that historians in this country would have no excuse for ignoring them. Cuban history has entered an exciting new age, and the exploration of the history of this important island offers a challenge to those scholars who seek to understand the complexities of human activity.


The most complete analysis of Cuban historiography from 1492 to 1900 can be found in José Manuel Pérez Cabrera, Historiografía de Cuba (México, 1962). Other valuable studies are: Juan J. Remos, “Historiadores de Cuba,” Revista de la Biblioteca Nacional, VI (1955), 45-92; Fundamentos de una historia de la historiografía cubana (Havana, 1959), published by the Academy of History; and Rafael Montoro, Historiadores de Cuba (Havana, 1926). A general introduction to the subject can be found in A. Curtis Wilgus, Histories and Historians of Hispanic America (2nd ed., New York, 1942).


(4 vols., Madrid, 1868-1878). Cf. Emilio A. Soulére, Historia de la insurrección y guerra de Cuba (2 vols., Barcelona, 1879); Antonio Pirala, Anales de la guerra de Cuba (3 vols., Madrid, 1895-1898).


(6 vols., Barcelona and Paris, 1875-1879).


(2 vols., New York, 1865-1866).


Apuntes para la historia de las letras y de la instrucción pública en la Isla de Cuba (3 vols., Madrid, 1859-1861); Cuba primitiva. Origen, lenguas, tradiciones e historia de los indios de las Antillas Mayores e las Lucayas (2nd ed., Havana, 1883).


Representatives of the Integrista were Mariano Torrente, Dionisio Alcalá Galiano, and Justo Zaragoza. The best known “annexationist” historian was José Ignacio Rodríguez.


Cf. Enrique Piñeyro, “El conflicto entre la esclavitud y la libertad en los Estados Unidos, de 1850-61,” Revista Cubana (1890). Saco spent several years in France, and Guiteras resided in the United States, where he was influenced by George Bancroft.


Varona was one of the leading exponents of Positivism in Cuba.


Quoted in Wyatt MacGaffey and Clifford R. Barnett, Cuba: Its People, Its Society, Its Culture (New Haven, Conn., 1962), 217.


Ibid., 219.


(Havana, 1893).


(New York, 1895).


(Bogotá, 1896).


(Havana, 1899).


(Havana, 1901). Cf. Precursores de la independencia de Cuba (Havana, 1889); Contribución a la historia de la independencia (Havana, 1901).


(Havana, 1905).


(Havana, 1919).


Cuba intervenida (Havana, 1910). Cf. Carlos Manuel Trelles, El progreso (1902 a 1905) y el retroceso (1906 a 1922) de la república de Cuba (Havana, 1923).


Los americanos en Cuba (Havana, 1905). Probably the earliest attack on the United States and its policies by a Cuban Marxist was Julio César Gandarilla, Contra el Yanqui. Obra de protesta contra la Enmienda Platt y contra la absorción y el maquiavelismo norteamericanos (Havana, 1913).


“La Enmienda Platt, su interpretación primitiva y sus aplicaciones posteriores,” Anuario de 1922 de la Sociedad Cubana de Derecho Internacional, V (1922) 323-462; El intervencionismo, mal de males de Cuba republicana (San José, Costa Rica, 1931).


Fernando Ortiz, “Cuba’s Title to the Isle of Pines,” Cuba Review, XXIII (1924); Enrique Gay-Calbó, “Cuba no es un estado cliente,” Cuba Contemporánea, XXXVIII (1926), 109-120; Raúl de Cárdenas, La política de los Estados Unidos en el continente americano (Havana, 1921).


Cf. Enrique José Varona, “El Imperialismo Yankee en Cuba,” Repertorio Americano, III (1922), 309-311.


(4 vols., Havana, 1938-1941). Two earlier but less extensive works were: Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, Historia de la Enmienda Platt—una interpretación de la realidad cubana (2 vols., 1935); Ramiro Guerra y Sánchez, La expansión territorial de los Estados Unidos a expensas de España y de los países hispanoamericanos (Havana, 1935).


Roig de Leuchsenring and the other participants believed that the Academy was too conservative and too exclusive. The new group had members who were Communists—such as Carlos Rafael Rodríguez—but this was typical of similar groups in other Latin American countries.


En el cincuentenario de la República. Décimo Congreso Nacional de Historia, 14 al 17 de noviembre de 1952 (Havana, 1953).


(Havana, 1952). Useful texts had previously been written by Ramiro Guerra, Emeterio S. Santovenia, and Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring.


Cf. Antonio Núñez Jiménez, La liberación de las islas (Havana, 1959), is based in part on the reports of the national congresses. José Antonio Portuondo, Bosquejo histórico de las letras cubanas (Havana, 1960).


Philip S. Foner, A History of Cuba and its Relations with the United States (New York, 1961-1963); Vol. 1 covers the period 1492-1845; Vol. II extends to 1895.


For the works of pro-Castro historians see those of Foner, Núñez Jiménez, and Portuondo cited in notes 27 and 28.


Roscoe R. Hill, Los archivos nacionales de la América latina (Havana, 1948), pp. 77-90; Pub. XIX of the Archivo Nacional. For guides to Cuban papers in Spanish archives see: José María Chacón y Calvo, Cedulario cubano. Los origines de la colonización (1492-1512) (Madrid, 1929); Joaquín Llaverías, Papeles existentes en el Archivo General de Indias relativos a Cuba y muy particularmente a la Habana (2 vols., Havana, 1931); Catálogo de los fondos cubanos del Archivo General de Indias (Seville, 1935); Roscoe R. Hill, Descriptive Catalogue of the Documents Relating to the History of the United States in the Papeles Procedentes de Cuba deposited in the Archivo General de Indios at Seville (Washington, 1916). A list of the documents transcribed by Nestor Carbonell and José María Chacón can be found in Manuel Moreno Fraginals, Misiones cubanas en los archivos europeos (México, 1951).


Hill, Los Archivos Nacionales. These were essentially military records.


Duvon C. Corbitt, “Señor Joaquín Llaverías and the Archivo Nacional de Cuba,” HAHR, XX (1940), 283-286.


Joaquín Llaverías, Historia de los archivos de Cuba (Havana, 1912); a second edition was issued in 1949.


Joaquín Llaverías, “Memoria de los trabajos realizados en el Archivo Nacional,” Boletín del Archivo Nacional (1932).


Documentos para la historia de Venezuela existentes en el Archivo Nacional de Cuba, Vol. LI (Havana, 1960); and, for Argentina, José Antonio Miralla y sus trabajos, Vol. LII (Havana, 1960).


Actas capitulares del ayuntamiento de la Habana, 1550-1574 (3 vols., Havana, 1937-1939); the first volume has a history of Havana to 1565 written by the editor. Also in this series, La dominación inglesa en la Habana. Libro de cabildos, 1762-1763 (Havana, 1936). See also Duvon C. Corbitt, “Historical Publications of the Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad de la Habana,” HAHR, XXXV (1955), 492-498.


(Havana, 1954).


Bibliografías cubanas (Washington, 1945).


Also of value is the annual Handbook of Latin American Studies, which has been published by the University of Florida since 1951.


(3 vols., Matanzas-Havana, 1922-1926).


(2nd ed., Havana, 1927).


Other guides to publications concerning Cuba are: L. Castro de Morales, Impresos relativos a Cuba editados en los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica (Havana, 1956), continues the work of A. P. C. Griffin, A List of Books Relating to Cuba (Washington, 1898); R. A. Humphreys, Latin American History: A Guide to the Literature in English (London, 1958); Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, “Una bibliografía de historia de Cuba,” numbers 3, 4, and 5 of Libros cubanos. Boletín de bibliografía cubana, I (1940-1941).


Felipe Pichardo Moya, Los indios de Cuba en sus tiempos históricos (Havana, 1945); this book also contains an excellent discussion of the historiography of Cuban colonial history. There were exceptions to the general tendency. For example, Emilio Bacardí y Moreau, Crónicas de Santiago de Cuba (10 vols., Barcelona and Santiago, Cuba, 1908-1924); José María Chacón y Calvo, El documento y la reconstrucción histórica (Havana, 1929), and Criticismo y colonización, in Revista Universidad de la Habana, numbers 5 and 7 (1934-1935).


(New York, 1916). See also her earlier and more general work, Cuba (New York, 1912).


Santiago de Cuba and Its District (1607-1640) (Madrid, 1918); this work includes a number of source documents. Historia documentada de San Cristóbal de la Habana en el siglo XVI, basada en los documentos originales existentes en el Archivo General de las Indias en Sevilla (2 vols., Havana, 1927). Historia documentada de San Cristóbal de la Habana en la primera mitad del siglo XVII (Havana, 1930).


C. H. Haring, Trade and Navigation Between Spain and the Indies in the Time of the Hapsburgs (Cambridge, Mass., 1918); C. H. Haring, “The Genesis of Royal Government in the Spanish Indies,” HAHR, VII (1927); Charles E. Chapman, Colonial Hispanic America: A History (New York, 1933); L. E. Fisher, The Intendant System in Spanish America (Berkeley, Cal., 1929); W. W. Pierson, “The Establishment and Early Functioning of the Intendencia of Cuba,” in W. W. Pierson (ed.), Studies in Hispanic American History (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1927); Duvon C. Corbitt, The Colonial Government of Cuba (Chapel Hill, N. C., 1938); Duvon C. Corbitt, “Mercedes and Realengos: A Survey of the Public Land System in Cuba,” HAHR, XIX (1939), 262-285; see also Hubert H. S. Aimes, Slavery In Cuba, 1511 to 1868 (New York, 1907); and W. F. Johnson, The History of Cuba (5 vols., New York, 1920).


Cuba primitiva (Havana, 1922). Historia de la arqueología cubana (Havana, 1936).


Los negros brujos: apuntes para un estudio de etnología criminal (Madrid, 1921); La decadencia cubana (Havana, 1924); La fiesta afrocubana de día de reyes (Havana, 1925).


Jorge Mañach, “Origines de la cultura en Cuba,” in Homenajea Varona (Havana, 1935), pp. 153-161. Gerardo Brown Castillo interpreted Cuban “national” history in the nineteenth century in the light of socio-economic factors developing from 1763: Cuba colonial. Ensayo histórico-social de la integración de la sociedad cubana (Havana, 1952). For aspects of the British siege and occupation of Havana see: Emeterio S. Santovenia, La profecía de William Patterson. Ensayo histórico sobre la ocupación de la Habana por los británicos (Havana, 1951); Francis R. Hart, The Siege of Havana, 1762 (New York, 1931).


Gerardo Castellanos, “Raíces del 10 de Octubre de 1868,” Paper read to Academia de la Historia de Cuba in 1937.


“Monopolio del tabaco: sublevación de los vegueros,” in Curso de introducción a la historia de Cuba (Havana, 1938). The struggle between the tobacco growers and the big coffee and sugar planters has been carefully studied by Emeterio S. Santovenia, Pinar del Rio (México, 1946).


Las tres sediciones de los vegueros en el siglo XVIII (Havana, 1951).


(Havana, 1935).


(Havana, 1944).


Los orígenes de la economía cubana (México, 1945).


Origen y régimen de la propiedad territorial en Cuba (Havana, 1946).


“El comercio cubano y la Guerra de Emancipación Norteamericana,” Anuario de Estudios Americanos, II (1954), 61-106.


Historia económica de cuba. Guía de estudio y documentación (2 vols., Havana, 1956).


See note 43.


“La obra del P. Zulaica en Cuba,” Inter-American Review of Bibliography (Oct., 1955), 275-289.


Vida y pensamiento de Varela (Havana, 1945).


“La imprenta y las primeras gacetas. En torno a la cultura cubana durante el siglo XVIII,” Boletín de la Asociación Cubana de Bibliotecarios, VIX (1957), 117-131.


El Protomedicato de la Habana (Havana, 1952).


“La fundación de Jaruco en Cuba y los primeros condes de ese título,” Anuario de Estudios Americanos (1951), 443-501. For other aspects of local institutions see: Jenaro Artiles, La Habana de Velázquez (Havana, 1946); and Manuel Martínez Escobar, Historia de Remedios (colonización y desenvolvimiento de Cuba) (Havana, 1944).


Cf. César Rodríguez Exposito, Hatuey, El primer liberatador de Cuba (Havana, 1944).


Manuel de historia de Cuba (económica, social y política), desde su descubrimiento hasta 1868, y un apéndice con la historia contemporánea (Havana, 1938).


Volume I covers the period from before the discovery to 1697, and volume II takes the story from there to 1790. Cultural, social, and economic factors are included in the discussions.


(Havana, 1921); this work covers the period 1492-1555.


See note 62; the author maintains that the cultural life of Cuba acquired more momentum and a modern bent only in the 1790’s.


Cuba: crónicas de la guerra. Las campañas de invasión y de occidente, 1895-1896 (3 vols., Havana, 1909).


Mi diario de la guerra (2 vols., Havana, 1900).


La Revolución de Yara (Havana, 1902).


Precursores de la independencia de Cuba (Havana, 1899); Iniciadores y primeros mártires de la revolución cubana (Havana, 1901); Hombres de 68. Rafael Morales y González (Havana, 1904).


Patricios y heroínas (3 vols., Havana, 1912-1915).


Francisco Vicente Aguilera y la revolución cubana (Havana, 1909).


Un precursor de la independencia de Cuba, José Alvarez de Toledo (Havana, 1926).


Estrada Palma: contribución histórica (Havana, 1911).


Morales, Iniciadores y primeros mártires de la revolución cubana. Francisco González del Valle, La conspiración de la Escalera (Havana, 1925).


Guerra, Manual de historia de Cuba. Santovenia, Historia de la nación cubana, IV. Mario Hernández y Sánchez-Barba, “David Turnbull y el problema de la esclavitud en Cuba,” Anuario de Estudios Americanos, XIV (1957), 33-34.


“Un pobre histrión,” Primer Congreso Nacional de Historia (Havana, 1943).


Los problemas de la esclavitud. Conspiración de Aponte (Havana, 1934).


La Conspiración de los Soles y Rayos de Bolívar (Havana, 1929).


Historia documentada de los movimientos revolucionarios por la independencia de Cuba. 1852-1867 (2 vols., Havana, 1939).


See note 66.


Apuntes históricos sobre la masonería cubana (Havana, 1934).


Historia documentada de la Conspiración de los Soles y Rayos de Bolívar (2 vols., Havana, 1939).


La masonería en la independencia de Cuba (Havana, 1944). El delito de Francmasonería en Cuba. Estudio histórico acerca de la alianza del altar y el trono, en persecución de la Francmasonería de Cuba (México, 1951).


“Algunas noticias sobre Masonería en el archivo nacional de Cuba,” Boletín del Archivo Nacional (Jan. 1952, Dec. 1953).


Cf. Juan J. Remos, Historiadores del 68 (Havana, 1952), provides a summary of Cuban writers on the war.


(Havana, 1942).


Guerra de los Diez Años, 1868-1878 (2 vols., Havana, 1950).


Raíces económicas del 68 (Havana, 1938).


Azúcar y abolición: apuntes para una historia crítica del abolicionismo (Havana, 1948).


Manual de historia de Cuba, 442.


El sentido revolucionario de 68 (Historia de un proceso ideológico) (Havana, 1945).


Historia de la Guerra de los Diez Años: desde su origen hasta la Asamblea de Guáimara (Havana, 1944); Historia de la Guerra de los Diez Años: desde la Asamblea de Guáimara hasta la destitución de Céspedes (Havana, 1958).


La insurrección de los Diez Años. Una interpretación social de este fenómono histórico (Havana, 1950).


(Havana, 1942). Cf. Herminio Portell Vilá, “Sobre el ideario político del padre Varela,” Revista Cuba, I (1935), has special reference to relations between Cuba and the United States; Antonio Hernández Travieso, El Padre Varela. Biografía del forjador de la conciencia cubana (Havana, 1949); Pánfilo D. Camacho, Montoro el líder del Autonomismo (Havana, 1952); Raimundo Menocal y Cueto, Rafael Montoro: Una interpretación histórica (Havana, 1952); Antonio L. Valverde, Calixto Bernal y Soto (Havana, 1942).


(Havana, 1942). Cf. Elías Entralgo, Los disputados por Cuba en las cortes de España durante los tres primeros períodos constitucionales (Havana, 1945); Ramón Infiesta, Historia constitucional de Cuba (Havana, 1942).


See notes 95 and 96.


See note 24.


González, Historia documentada de los movimientos revolucionarios.


La falsa cubanidad de Saco, Luz y del Monte (Havana, 1941).


(Havana, 1930, 1952, 1958).


Cuba colonial. Ensayo histórico social de la integración de la sociedad cubana (Havana, 1952).


Estudio histórico sobre el origen, desenvolvimiento y manifestaciones prácticas de la idea de la anexión de la Isla de Cuba á los Estados Unidos de América (Havana, 1900).


(Havana, 1938-1941).


For a recent example see Teresa Casuso, Cuba and Castro (New York, 1961).


Emeterio S. Santovenia, Bolívar y las Antillas hispanas (Madrid, 1935). Cf. Evelio Rodríguez Lendián, El Congreso de Panamá y la independencia de Cuba (Havana, 1911); Carlos M. Trelles, “Estudio de la Bibliografía Cubana sobre la Doctrina de Monroe,” HAHR, V (1922), 99-107.


Política continental americana de España en Cuba: 1812-1830 (Havana, 1947). For the Spanish view see Jerónimo Becker, Historia de las relaciones exteriores de España durante el siglo XIX (Madrid, 1924).


Ramiro Guerra, Cuba, centro de rivalidad internacional en el Caribe (Havana, 1952). Emeterio S. Santovenia, Armonías y conflictos en torno a Cuba (México, 1956), and Lincoln, el precursor de la Buena Vecindad (Havana, 1951).


James M. Callahan, Cuba and Anglo-American Relations (Washington, 1897); Cuba and International Relations: A Historical Study in American Diplomacy (Washington, 1899).


The López Expedition to Cuba: 1848-1851 (Princeton, N. J., 1915).


The Proposed Anglo-Franco-American Treaty of 1852 to Guarantee Cuba to Spain (London, 1930); The Mission to Spain of Pierre Soulé (New Haven, Conn., 1932).


Franklin Pierce (Philadelphia, 1931); Advance Agents of American Destiny (Philadelphia, 1956); “Cuban Commercial Regulations in 1805,” HAHR, XVI (1936), 213-219.


(New York, 1948).


Samuel Flagg Bemis, The Latin American Policy of the United States (New York, 1943); J. Fred Rippy, Rivalry of the United States and Great Britain over Latin America, 1808-1830 (Baltimore, 1929); Charles C. Griffin, The United States and the Disruption of the Spanish Empire, 1810-1822 (New York, 1937); Arthur P. Whitaker, The United States and the Independence of Latin America, 1800-1830 (Baltimore, 1941); Dexter Perkins, A History of the Monroe Doctrine (New ed., Boston, 1955), based on his earlier studies of 1933, 1937, and 1941; William R. Manning, Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States: Inter-American Affairs, 1831-1860 (12 vols., Washington 1939), Volumes X and XI concern Spain and Cuba. For a bibliography of U. S.-Cuban relations see Robert F. Smith, What Happened in Cuba: A Documentary History (New York, 1963).


Cf. Luis Estévez y Romero, Desde el Zanjón hasta Baire (Havana, 1899). Evelio Rodríguez Lendián, La revolución de 1895 (Havana, 1926). For a Spanish version see Juan Ortega Rubia, Historia de a regencia de María Cristina Hapsburg-Lorena (Madrid, 1906). See notes 70-75, 77.

In 1948 the Sociedad Cubana de Estudios Históricos e Internacionales resolved that the period 1868-1898 should be called La Guerra Libertadora Cubana de los Treinta Años.


La diplomacia en nuestra historia (Havana, 1909). See also: Gerardo Castellanos, Motivos de Cayo Hueso (Havana, 1936); and José Navas, Cuba y los Estados Unidos: boceto histórico sobre el eco de la causa cubana en la gran nación vecina (Havana, 1916).


Tentativos de intervención Europea en América, 1896-1898 (Havana, 1933), translated into English by W. E. Shea as The Last Spanish War: Revelations in Diplomacy (New York, 1937).


See volumes III and IV.


(Havana, 1945). Jorge Castellanos also wrote that the Revolution of 1895 had a more liberal political and social ideology than the Revolution of 1868; “El pensamiento social de Máximo Gómez,” Dialéctica, IV (1945), 101-110. Historians in the Soviet Union have recently become interested in Cuban history. One of the better works is a study of the independence movement between 1868 and 1898: A. M. Zorina, Iz Geroiheskogo Proshlogo Kubinskogo Naroda (Moscow, 1961).


La Guerra Cubano-Hispanoamericana fué ganada por el Lugarteniente General del ejército libertador Calixto García Iñiguez (Havana, 1955).


Herminio Portell Vilá, Historia de la guerra de Cuba y los Estados Unidos contra España (Havana, 1949). See also Felipe Martínez Arango, Cronología crítica de la Guerra Hispano-Cubanoamericano (Havana, 1950).


La guerra de la independencia de Cuba, 1895-1898 (3 vols., Havana, 1946).


Fin de la dominación de España en Cuba (Havana, 1948).


Morales presented his views in a paper given in 1950 to the Academy of History. Remos wrote the section of the Historia de la nación cubana dealing with this period.


Portell Vilá was especially critical of Palma, Alfredo Zayas, and Mario Menocal.


Cf. Rufino Pérez Landa, Bartolomé Masó y Márquez: Estudio biográfico documentado (Havana, 1947).


Cosme de la Torriente, Calixto García cooperó con las fuerzas armadas de los EE.UU. en 1898, cumpliendo órdenes del gobierno cubano (Havana, 1952); Carlos Márquez Sterling, Don Tomás. Biografía de una época (Havana, 1953).


Martí, el apóstol (Havana, 1933); published in English as Martí: Apostle of Freedom (New York, 1950). For guides to Martí studies see: Manuel Pedro González, Fuentes para el estudio de José Martí (Havana, 1950); Fermín Peraza y Sarausa, Bibliografía martiana, 1853-1953 (Havana, 1954); and Duvon C. Corbitt, “Historical Publications of the Martí Centennial,” HAHR, XXXIV (1954), 399-405. The most complete edition of Martí’s works is that of Gonzalo de Quesada y Miranda. There were 102 volumes in this edition by 1954.


Martí, líder político (Havana, 1943).


Martí (Havana, 1941).


Fulgor de Martí (México, 1941).


Martí, el hombre (Havana, 1940). See also: Ramón Vasconcelos, Predestinación de Martí (Havana, 1939); Nestor Carbonell, Martí. Carne y espíritu (2 vols., Havana, 1952); and Alberto Baeza Flores, Vida de José Martí. El hombre íntimo y el hombre público (Havana, 1954).


Martí, estudio integral (Havana, 1954). For the other view see: Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, El internacionalismo antiimperialista en la obra político-revolucionaria de José Martí (Havana, 1935); and Manuel Pedro González, José Martí: Epic Chronicler of the United States in the Eighties (Chapel Hill, N. C., 1953), which discusses both the pro- and anti-United States aspects of Martí’s writings.


Proyección humana de Martí (Buenos Aires, 1953). Lizaso had written an earlier biography entitled Martí, místico del deber (Buenos Aires, 1940).


Cf. French E. Chadwick, The Relations of the United States and Spain, Diplomacy (New York, 1909); Julius Platt, Expansionists of 1898 (Baltimore, 1936); Joseph E. Wisan, The Cuban Crisis as Reflected in the New York Press, 1895-1898 (New York, 1934); George W. Auxier, “Middle Western Newspapers and the Spanish-American War, 1895-1898,” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, XXVI (1940), 523-534; Ernest R. May, Imperial Democracy. The Emergence of America as a Great Power (New York, 1961).


The only historian in the United States who has taken note of the fact that the Cubans have changed the name of the war is Samuel Flagg Bemis, A Short History of American Foreign Policy and Diplomacy (New York, 1959). To draw a comparison, one might consider what the reaction would have been in this country if the French had called the American Revolution the Franco-British War, and their historians had Telegated Washington and his army to the status of bushwackers and pack-horses.


The Relations of the United States and Spain: The Spanish-American War (2 vols., New York, 1911). For the eulogistic view see: Theodore Roosevelt, The Rough Riders (New York, 1899); and R. A. Alger, The Spanish-American War (New York, 1901).


Cf. Walter Millis, The Martial Spirit: A Study of the War with Spain (New York, 1931); and Frank Freidel, The Splendid Little War (Boston, 1958).


Cf. Horatio S. Rubens, Liberty, the Story of Cuba (New York, 1932); John C. Appel, “The Unionization of the Florida Cigar-Makers and the Coming of the War with Spain,” HAHR, XXXVI (1956), 38-49; and George W. Auxier, “The Propaganda Activities of the Cuban Junta in Precipitating the Spanish-American War, 1895-1898,” HAHR, XIX (1939), 286-305.


Few specialized works have been produced, even with regard to some of the more dramatic events. For the Revolution of 1933 see: Ramón Grau San Martín, La revolución cubana ante América (México, 1936); Ulpiano Vega Cobiellas, Los doctores Ramón Grau San Martín y Carlos Saladrigas Zayas. Bosquejo de una etapa (Havana, 1944); and Ricardo Adam y Silva, La gran mentira: septimbre de 19SS (Havana, 1947). The “official” version of the Castro Revolution is Armando Giménez, Sierra Maestra: La revolución de Fidel Castro (Buenos Aires, 1959).


Alberto Arreodondo, Cuba: Tierra indefensa (Havana, 1945); Gustavo Gutiérrez, El desarrollo económico de Cuba (Havana, 1952); Raúl Lorenzo, El empleo en Cuba (Havana, 1955).


Cf. Rafael Martínez Ortiz, Cuba: Los primeros años de independencia (2 vols., 2nd ed., Paris, 1921); General Leonard Wood’s Administration in Cuba (Paris, 1920). Enrique Barbarrosa, El proceso de la república, análisis de la situación económica de Cuba bajo el gobierno presidencial de Tomás Estrada Palma y José Miguel Gómez (Havana, 1911). Ramiro Guerra, Un cuarto de siglo de evolución cubana (Havana, 1924). Juan M. Leisea, Historia de Cuba (Havana, 1925). Carlos M. Trelles, El progreso . . . y el retroceso.


Bartolomé Masó y Márquez. See note 129.


For examples see: Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, El presidente McKinley y el gobernador Wood, máximos enemigos de Cuba libre (Havana, 1960); Hipólito G. González, “El engaño de una fecha: 20 de Mayo de 1902,” in Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring (ed.), Historia de Cuba republicana y sus antecedentes favorables y adversos a la independencia. XIII Congreso Nacional de Historia. Discursos y acuerdos. Conclusiones de los trabajos presentados (Havana, 1960). Mario Guiral Moreno, “Como fué restaurada la república en 1909,” Ibid.


Charles E. Chapman, A History of the Cuban Republic (New York, 1927); Leland H. Jenks, Our Cuban Colony (New York, 1928).


Wilfrid H. Callcott, The Caribbean Policy of the United States, 1890-1920 (Baltimore, 1942); Robert F. Smith, The United States and Cuba: Business and Diplomacy, 1917-1960 (New York, 1960). See also: Albert G. Robinson, Cuba and the Intervention (New York, 1905); and Carleton Beals, The Crime of Cuba (Philadelphia, 1933).


Philip G. Wright, Sugar in Relation to the Tariff (New York, 1924), and The Cuban Situation and Our Treaty Relations (Washington, 1931); Chester Lloyd Jones, The Caribbean Interests of the United States (New York, 1916), and The Caribbean Since 1900 (New York, 1936). David Lockmiller, Magoon in Cuba (Chapel Hill, N. C., 1938), and Enoch H. Crowder, Soldier, Lawyer, and Statesman (Columbia, Mo., 1955); Russell H. Fitzgibbon, Cuba and the United States, 1900-1935 (Menasha, Wis., 1935). Bryce Wood, The Making of the Good Neighbor Policy (New York, 1961). Ralph E. Minger, “William H. Taft and the United States Intervention in Cuba in 1906,” HAHR, XLI (1961), 75-89.


Lowry Nelson, Rural Cuba (Minneapolis, Minn., 1950). Henry C. Wallich, Monetary Problems of an Export Economy: The Cuban Experience, 1914-1947 (Cambridge, Mass., 1950).


Cuba: Its People, Its Society, Its Culture (New Haven, Conn., 1962).


On the left see: Mario Gill, Cuba si! Yanquis no! (México, 1960), and J. P. Morray, The Second Revolution in Cuba (New York, 1961). On the right see: Nathaniel Weyl, Red Star Over Cuba (New York, 1961).


Ray Brennan, Castro, Cuba and Justice (New York, 1959); Irving Pflaum, Tragic Island (New York, 1961); Herbert Matthews, The Cuban Story (New York, 1961); Theodore Draper, Castro’s Revolution. Myths and Realities (New York, 1962); William A. Williams, The United States, Cuba and Castro (New York, 1962); Karl Meyer and Tad Szulc, The Cuban Invasion: Chronicle of a Disaster (New York, 1962). For bibliographies of some of the material published see: Sue Anderson, “The Cuban Revolution; A Bibliography of Materials in English,” Hispanic American Report, XIV (1961), 316-319; and Margaret B. Mughisuddin and Bum-Joon Lee Park, Cuba Since Castro: A Bibliography of Revolutionary Material (Washington, 1963).


Cultura cubana (Havana, 1916); Cultura cubana: Matanzas (Havana, 1916); and Cultura cubana: Pinar del Río (Havana, 1921).


(Havana, 1940), for both works. Contrapunteo cubano was translated into English as Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar (New York, 1947).


El café. Historia de su cultivo y exploitación en Cuba (Havana, 1944).


For example see: Hernández Travieso, El Padre Varela (see note 98); Roberto Agramonte y Pichardo, José Agustín Caballero y los orígines de la conciencia cubana (Havana, 1952); Menocal, Rafael Montoro (see note 98); Griñán Peralta, Martí, líder político (see note 132); José Varela Zequeira, La figura de Enrique José Varona: su influencia y su escepticismo (Havana, 1937); Medardo Vitier, La lección de Varona (México, 1945); and for an interpretive study of the origins of republican ideas, Enrique Gay-Calbó, “El colonialismo y la república,” Revista Bimestre Cubana, XLV (1940).


Raimundo Menocal y Cueto, Origen y desarrollo de pensamiento cubano (2 vols., Havana, 1945-1947). Medaro Vitier, Las ideas en Cuba proceso del pensamiento político, filosófico, y crítico en Cuba (2 vols., Havana, 1938).


(México, 1948).


Friedlaender, Historia económica de Cuba.


J. J. Arrom, Historia de la literatura dramática cubana (New Haven, Conn., 1944); José Antonio Portuondo, El contenido social de la literatura cubana (México, 1944), and Bosquejo histórico de las letras cubanas (Havana, 1960); Salvador Bueno, Medio siglo de literatura cubana (1902-1952) (Havana, 1953); Juan J. Remos, Historia de la literatura cubana (3 vols., Havana, 1945).


Fernando Ortiz, La africanía de la música folklórica (Havana, 1950); and Los bailes y el teatro de los negros en el folklore de Cuba (Havana, 1951). Anita Arroyo, Las artes industriales en Cuba: su historia y evolución desde las culturas procolombinas hasta nuestro días (Havana, 1943). Loló de la Torriente, Estudios de las artes plásticas en Cuba (Havana, 1954).


Panorama de la cultura cubana (México, 1949).


(Philadelphia, 1945).

Author notes


This article deals primarily with the publications on Cuban history which have appeared since 1900, with special emphasis on post-1920 publications. The coverage of this material has been of necessity quite selective, and no attempt has been made to give systematic attention to certain specialized fields. The author wishes to express his appreciation to all those who contributed to the writing of this article: especially to Fermín Peraza, now of the University of Florida, Duvon C. Corbitt of Asbury College, Thomas F. McGann of the University of Texas, and the library staff of the Latin American Collection of the University of Texas. Of course, all errors and all points of view expressed remain the sole responsibility of the author.

The author is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Rhode Island.