Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y del Castillo
(Bayamo, 1818-San Lorenzo, Sierra Maestra, 1874)

Forefather of Cuban anticolonial wars. Lawyer from Bayamo, who sacrificed all his wealth to independence. Leader of trascendental measures. His strong revolutionary personality was a ladmark in the landowner sector, , that made him known as Father of the Country.

He was born in Bayamo, former Oriente province and present-day Granma, in April 18th, 1818. He studied grammar school in the Santo Domingo Convent, Bayamo, where he entered in 1829. When he finished his studies in that center he travelled to Havana. In 1835, he continued his studies in the San Carlos Seminar. He graduated as Bachelor in Laws three years later.

He travelled to Spain in 1840 to complete his studies and he became Licentiate in Laws. From 1842 to 1844 he travelled through France, Belgium, England, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Palestine and Egypt. His mastwership in several languages allowed him to study history and political institutions from those countries.

In 1844 he returned to Cuba and settled in Bayamo as lawyer. He was director of the Philarmonic Society and of its Section of Declamatioo. In 1849 he was syndic of Bayamo Town Hall. From 1852 to 1855 he was imprisoned in three different times. He collaborated in La Prensa (Havana), El Redactor (Santiago de Cuba) and La Antorcha (Manzanillo), where, besides, he was editor.

He played an impoprtant role in Buena Fe (Good Faith) Lodge, settled in Manzanillo on April, 1868 and began his conspiracy tasks.

In October 10th, 1868 he uprose in arms against the Spanish colonialism in his sugarmill La Demajagua, freeing his slaves and proclaim the Declaración de Independencia (Declaration of Independence), thus starting the Ten Years´War. He hoisted another version of the Cuban flag having the same colours, and ten days later he made it wave in the seizure of Bayamo.

In October 20th he seized Bayamo, being declared provisional capital and official site of rhe Revolution Government. There he settled El Cubano Libre, the newspaper..

In December 27th he signed the Decreet on Slavery which gave freedom to those slavces presentd by hismasters to fight for independence, and to those slaves belonging to owners who were obviously opposed to Revolution.

In April 1869 he was appointed President of the Republic in Arms by the Assembly of Guáimaro.

In May 29th, 1870, his son, Oscar is made prisoner by the Spaniards and shot when Céspedes refused to negotiate on the basis of his resignation, fact that proves Céspedes´revolutionary strenght. In December 31st, 1870 his wife Ana de Quesada became prisoner of the Spaniards.

In October 27th, 1873, the Chamer of Representatives deprived Céspedes from his charge of President of the Republic. He, agreed this with discipline. He settled in San Lorenzo, Sierra Maestra mountain range, where he died in unequal combat against the Spanish troops in February 27th, 1874.

He wrote drama El conde de Montgomery. He translated El cervecero rey, by D’Arlincour from French , and Las dos dianas, by Alexander Dumas and excerpts of Eneida from Latin.

Statue of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes
Estatua de Carlos Manuel de Céspedes
Carlos Manuel de Céspedes statue in the park named   afet him in Bayamo, Granma.  
Parque Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, Bayamo, Granma