The Pact of Zanjon Ends 10 Years’ War

The Pact of Zanjon ended the armed conflict of Cubans for independence from Spain, a struggle that lasted from 1868 to 1878.  On February 10, 1878, a group of negotiators representing the rebels gathered in Zanjon, a village in Camaguey Province, and signed the document offered them by the Spanish commander in Cuba, General Arsenio Martinez Campos.  The cease  fire did not represent a battle victory for either side, but a recognition that both were totally exhausted.

Lt. General Antonio Maceo Grajales, and his group of anti-Spanish insurgents in Oriente, did not agree with the Pact, principally because it failed to recognize Cuban independence or to abolish slavery immediately.  They argued their case unsuccessfully in a meeting known as the Baragua protest on March 15.  Maceo fled Cuba for Jamaica in May and hostilities concluded on May 28, 1878.

The Pact promised that Cuba, like Puerto Rico, would have representation in the Spanish Parliament. It granted general amnesty for all political offenses since 1868 and freed political prisoners and deserters from prison.  Any of the dissenters could leave Cuba and leaders of the rebellion had to leave.  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.

The Pact also promised greater freedom of the press and that of assembly.  It also offered manumission to slaves and Chinese immigrants who had fought on either side of the conflict and an eventual end to slavery.  The projected date to end slavery was 1888, but later events changed this schedule.  Slavery finally ended earlier in 1886.

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 1879, the Spanish abandoned most of their commitments, and a guerrilla war simmered until the outbreak of the Cuban War of Independence in 1895.



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