In 1839

1848: James Polk floats the idea to Spain of buying Cuba for a hundred million or so. The idea is rebuffed.

Rita Luisa

Rita Luisa leaves Cuba after 1945, accompanying her mother, Consuelo, on her odyssey through Panama, Mexico and finally the United States, where she learns about Jim Crow, racial stereotyping, and misshapen ideas in Chickasha, Oklahoma.

In 1597

1597: The Castillo del Morro fortress is completed above the eastern entrance to Havana Harbor.

In 1662

1662: The English fleet led by Christopher Myngs captures Santiago de Cuba to opens trade with neighboring Jamaica.


Domitila, a widow with a small son, lives through an 18-month siege of Sancti Espiritu, initiated by General Valeriano Weyler, (1896-1897) inventor of the modern concentration camp. Thousands of peasants and farmworkers are forced off the land, crowded into wooden barracks constructed in pits, dotting the outer barrios of cities.

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