The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 37, Issue 1

Article 2
Decolonizing Cuba: Public Culture and Nationalism in the Years “Between Empires”, 1898-1902

Marial Iglesias Utset


Abstract

US military intervention and the termination of the Cuban War of Independence in 1898 ended that island’s long colonial relationship with Spain and started a profound cultural transformation that was reflected in an intense battle of signs. The US presence, especially in the urban areas, resulted in a series of transformations of public spaces that deeply affected the life of the inhabitants of the island. “American style” modernization constituted a prime factor in the “ideology of progress” with which the Americans justified and legalized their military presence. However, the extraordinary popularization and socialization of the symbolic patrimony of the war at this same time became a vehicle for the creation of a public national culture of seminal importance in the construction of an imaginary Cuban polity during the first years of the twentieth century.