Tragedy in Havana
November 27, 1871eBook - 2000
"In translating into English this work by Fermín Valdés Domínguez, Consuelo E. Stebbins has made available to a larger reading public one of the more important historical narratives of late-19th-century Cuba. [It] serves as a chronicle of one of the traumas of the late colonial period and an important independentista text by which to study the sources of Cuba Libre. Stebbins has enriched the English-language sources on Cuba."--Louis A Pérez, Jr., J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Consuelo E. Stebbins makes available for the first time in English a classic text in Cuban history, documenting a crucial event in the history of Cuba’s independence movement. The execution of 8 medical students and imprisonment of 31 of their colleagues for defacing the tomb of loyalist hero Gonzalo Castañón inflamed anticolonial sentiment and rallied popular support to the first armed Cuban resistance to colonial rule. The incident brought international condemnation of King Amadeo of Spain and marked the beginning of the end for the Spanish government in Cuba.
Valdés Domínguez’s text is an eyewitness account, chronicling events leading up to the massacre and following its aftermath through the imprisonment of the survivors, the ensuing riots in Havana, and official and unofficial reaction. Beyond its historical value, it is a literary landmark. Domínguez captures the passion of the independence movement in his account of efforts to vindicate the memory of the slain students.
The Stebbins translation preserves both the historical and the literary qualities of the original text while enriching it with a selection of contemporary reaction from the foreign press and with foreign consulate correspondence that offers different interpretations of events. Her work will provide a valuable resource for scholars of Cuban and Spanish colonial history and for students of testimonial narrative.
Consuelo E. Stebbins is assistant professor and director of the Center for Multilingual Multicultural Studies at the University of Central Florida, Orlando. Her recent publications have focused on educational issues for language minority students.