History Series - Did the Empire fall in Cuba or was it Pushed?

  • Instituto Cervantes, 15-19 Devereux Court, London

The final talk in the Canning House - Instituto Cervantes joint history series that chronicles 'The Rise and Fall of the Spanish Empire' looks at the 'Did the Empire fall in Cuba or was it pushed? And, if so, by whom?'. The talk will be given by Professor Antoni Kapcia, University of Nottingham. Details below:

For some 80 years after the first waves of independence rebellions in Spanish America, Cuba defied the odds - and sporadic and often half-hearted US pressure - and remained decidedly under Madrid's colonial control. However, this soon turned out to be much less because of any deep Cuban loyalty (although, as the century progressed, Spanish immigration into the island did cement cultural links and complicate the small but steadily growing constituency for separatism) or because of Spanish power than because of persistent criollo fears of black rebellion. Slavery, therefore, remained the key to conditional loyalty; hence, when the abolition of the slave trade made slavery a declining asset and especially when Madrid, to head off the prospect of black support for independence, decreed the eventual abolition of slavery, the die was cast and all-out rebellion became only a matter of time. Nonetheless, it still took over two decades for that rebellion to come close to succeeding. This lecture will, therefore, examine why it took so long and what precisely were the many and often contradictory pressures which determined both the rocky road to independence and the very particular outcomes of the final rebellion.

The price of each ticket is £5 for members and £10 for non-members. There will be a wine reception to follow.

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