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The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825

Cuba and the Fight for Freedom in Matanzas

Manuel Barcia

Publication Year: 2012

In June 1825 the Cuban countryside witnessed a large African-led slave rebellion—a revolt that began a cycle of slave uprisings lasting until the mid-1840s. The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825 examines this movement and its participants for the first time, highlighting the significance of African warriors in New World plantation society. Unlike previous slave revolts—led by alliances between free people of color and slaves, blacks and mulattoes, Africans and Creoles, and rural and urban populations—only African-born men organized the uprising of 1825. From this year onwards, Barcia argues, slave uprisings in Cuba underwent a phase of Africanization that concluded only in the mid-1840s with the conspiracy of La Escalera, a large movement organized by free colored men with ample participation of the slave population. The Great African Slave Revolt of 1825 offers a detailed examination of the sociopolitical and economic background of the Matanzas rebellion, both locally and colonially. Based on extensive primary sources, particularly court records, the study provides a microhistorical analysis of the days that preceded this event, the uprising itself, and the days and months that followed. Barcia gives the Great African Revolt of 1825 its rightful place in the history of slavery in Cuba, the Caribbean, and the Americas.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

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pp. xi-xii

I 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 . . .

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pp. 1-22

On 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 . . .

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ONE: Slavery in Western Cuba, 1792–1825

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pp. 23-41

When the Cuban priest Félix Varela wrote the passage excerpted above, he was certain of the message that he was transmitting to his readers. Prior . . .

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TWO: Slave Resistance in Cuba to 1825

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pp. 42-67

This chapter opens with a brief account of the manifestations of slave resistance in Cuba during the first centuries of Spanish colonial rule. Understanding . . .

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THREE: Matanzas and Guamacaro Slaves, Plantations, and the Atlantic World

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pp. 68-96

San 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 . . .

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FOUR: Conspiracy, Rebellion, and Frustration

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pp. 97-119

On 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 . . .

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FIVE: Trials and Murders Different Interpretations of the Law

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pp. 120-147

During the days that followed the uprising, the authorities, aided by the fervent support of the local residents, unleashed a wave of repressive measures . . .

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pp. 148-152

At the turn of the nineteenth century the Atlantic was swiftly becoming a place where diverse cultures found themselves entwined. The New World, where . . .


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pp. 153-178


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pp. 179-211


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pp. 213-225


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pp. 227-234

E-ISBN-13: 9780807143339
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807143322

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2012