Narciso López (Caracas, 1797- La Habana, 1851)

The flag, declared official by the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, has the same design that the one which waved for the first time in Cuba in May 19th, 1850, when General Narciso López seized the City of Cárdenas, commanded by the S.S..Creole raiders.

Narciso López was born in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1797 and died in Havana, Cuba, in September 1st, 1851. He came from a wealthy merchant family, and when the independence war in the colony outburst he sided the people, but later he joined the Spanish Army, and when the war finished he was awarded with the degree of Colonel. With the Royal Army López went to Cuba and later to Spain where he rendered services in the First Carlista War, and was known as “The First Lancer in the Army”.

In 1836 he became Brigadier and in 1839 Major General and appointed governor of Valencia. In 1841 General Valdés was appointed Governor of Cuba and he took López, who was trained for several important tasks, but when in 1843, Gebneral O'Donnell took charge, López was deprieved of all his commands and decided to retire to civil live.

In 1848 the Revolutionary Party of the island won him to its cause. He took part in a conspiracy against the government, which was discovered and then had to ran away to New York in 1849. There he organized a military expedition to invade Cuba in 1849, but it was frustrated by the p´roclamation of the President of the United States, Zachary Taylor as a consecuence of his change of policy regarding the annexation of Cuba.

Next year he organized another expedition, and landed in the city of Cárdenas, Matanzas, in May 19th, 1850. This failed invasion, by South East United States voluntary troops and with General Ambrosio José González as Second in Charge, only lasted a day, but has forever named Cárdenas as "Ciudad Bandera" (Flag City), for being there the place whe the Cuban flag was raised for the first time.

After the failurre Narciso López came back to New Orleans to arrange a new expedition.

In August 12th, 1851 he arrived for the place known as El Morrillo, near Bahía Honda, Pinar del Río province, in the northern coast of the island, West of Havana, but next day he was attacked by Spanish troops, and he retreated to the inner part of the zone.

His forces were soon divided and exterminated. Spanish attacked him and López was captured by the enemy. He was taken prisoner to the capital and put to trial by high treason and executed by garrote (strangled by an iron collar) in September 1st, while many of his men were sentenced to hard labour. López was the leader of the party in favour to annex Cuba to the United States of America.