Pact of Zanjón

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The Pact of Zanjón ended the armed struggle of Cubans for independence from Spain that lasted from 1868 to 1878, the Ten Years' War. On February 10, 1878, a group of negotiators representing the rebels gathered in Zanjón, a village in Camagüey Province, and signed the document offered them by the Spanish commander in Cuba, General Arsenio Martínez Campos, who had arrived in the Spanish colony two years earlier and immediately sought to come to terms with the rebels. The end of hostilities did not represent a military victory for either side, but a recognition by both sides of their "mutual exhaustion".[1]

A small group of anti-Spanish insurgents in Oriente led by Lt. General Antonio Maceo Grajales continued to resist Spanish rule, unsatisfied with the Pact because it failed to recognize Cuban independence or to abolish slavery immediately. They argued their case without success in a meeting known as the Baraguá protest (es) on March 15. Maceo fled Cuba for Jamaica in May and hostilities concluded on May 28, 1878,[2] but he had gained international notoriety for his stance on slavery.[3]

The Pact promised that Cuba would have the same status under the Spanish as Puerto Rico, notably some representation in the Spanish parliament.[4] It granted a general amnesty for all political offenses since 1868 and freed from prison all those held for such offenses as well as any Spanish deserters, though leaders once freed would have to leave Cuba. It guaranteed everyone the right to leave Cuba if they chose to.[3] Those released under the amnesty included Jose Marti, Juan Gualberto Gomez, and Antonio Maceo. Calixto Garcia was released from prison in Spain, and left promptly for Paris where he began raising funds for the next phase of the Cuban independence movement.[5]

The pact offered manumission to slaves and Chinese immigrants who had fought on either side in the conflict and an eventual end to slavery in Cuba in 1888, later events changed this schedule and slavery ended in Cuba in October 1886.[6]

The Pact also promised greater freedom of the press and freedom of assembly, and in the years that followed many new organizations were established, political and fraternal, and union activity developed. The Partido Liberal Automista, which advocated reforms without independence, grew its membership, and new organizations of blacks were formed to advance a civil rights agenda.[4]

The peace established by the Pact was short-lived and proved to be more of a truce than a treaty. The rebellion was renewed briefly in August 1879, the Spanish abandoned most of their commitments, and a guerilla war simmered until the outbreak of the Cuban War of Independence in 1895.

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  1. ^ Henken, Ted (2013). Cuba. ABC-CLIO. pp. 44–5. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Navarro, José Cantón (1998). History of Cuba: The Challenge of the Yoke and the Star. Havana: Editorial SI-MAR S. A. p. 52. ISBN 959-7054-19-1. 
  3. ^ a b Simons, Geoff (1996). Cuba: From Conquistador to Castro. Macmillan Press. pp. 149–1. Retrieved 21 March 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Scott, Rebecca J. (2005). Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery. Harvard University Press. pp. 104–5. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  5. ^ Villafana, Frank R. (2012). Expansionism: Its Effects on Cuba's Independence. Transaction Publishers. p. 112. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  6. ^ Pierpaoli Jr., Paul G. (2009). "Zanjón, Pact of". In Tucker, Spencer C. The Encyclopedia of the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. p. 715. Retrieved 21 March 2016.