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.

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.

In 1762

1762: The English fleet takes over Havana Harbor; the British troops suffer atrocious losses due to fever. The two governments reach agreement that Spain will cede Florida in exchange for keeping Cuba.

In 1791

1791: The Haitian slaves revolt against the planters under the direction of Francois Toussaint Overture; he is captured by trickery and dies in a French prison.

In 1839

1793-1803: After years of bitter and bloody battles, the slaves, led by Haitian successor to Overture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, forces the French to flee Haiti. More than 30,000 French, white refugees come to Cuba after the rebellion.

In 1812

1812: A group of Cuban slaves headed by Jose Antonio Aponte plan a revolt. The plot is discovered and Aponte is hung, but revolts by slaves continue.

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