The British Invasion of Havana from “The Exciting Story of Cuba”
When the British attacked Havana in 1762, Admiral de Hevia failed to scuttle the ships under his command. Thus, his ships fell into the hands of the British. The Admiral was returned to Spain where he was court-martialed, stripped of his titles and sentenced to house arrest for 10 years. Fortunately, he was pardoned three years later, on September 17, 1765. Reinstated he returned to active duty as the commander of the Marine Corps in Cadiz. He died seven years later on December 2, 1772, at Isla de León, Spain.
Havana being under the rule of the British governor Sir George Keppel, the 3rd Earl of Albemarle, the British opened trade with their North American and Caribbean colonies, causing a dramatic transformation in the culture of Cuba, as well as bringing an increase to the population. Thousands of additional slaves were brought to the island under British rule, ostensibly to work on the new sugar plantations.
The British occupation, however, didn’t last long, since the Seven Years’ War ended less than a year after the British arrived, and with the signing of the Peace of Paris Treaty the English agreed to surrender Cuba in exchange for Florida. In Britain, many people believed they could have done better, had they included Mexico and some of the colonies in South America, as part of the deal. The Florida Keys, not being directly connected to the Florida mainland, also remained in dispute, but it was not contested as long as free trade was permitted. After the deal was made with the British, Spain retained control of Cuba until after the secessionist movements were ended with the Treaty of Paris, signed on December 10, 1898. The United States Senate ratified the treaty on February 6, 1899.
In 1793, many more slaves were imported into Cuba when French slave owners fled from Haiti during the Slave Rebellion, also known as the Haitian Revolution. This brought 30,000 white refugees and their slaves into Cuba. With their knowledge of coffee and sugar processing, they founded many new plantations. This period of the English occupation and French influx, although chronologically short, was when the floodgates of slavery were opened wide. It was at this time that the largest numbers of black slaves ever, were imported into the country.
Bombardment of Havana’s Moro Fortress by the British in 1762
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