Spanish Conquest of Cuba 1511-1512

In 1511, Diego Velasquez (de Cuellar, to distinguish him from the painter) was sent with an expedition of 300 men from Hispaniola with the order to subdue the island of Cuba to Spanish rule. He landed on the southern coast, where he established a settlement at Baracca (Villa de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion de Baracoa) on August 15th 1511.
Meanwhile, Hatuey, a cacique (Chief) of Taino Indios from Hispaniola, with several hundred followers, had paddled over to Cuba, to inform the inhabitants about the atrocities committed by the Spaniards on Hispaniola, and to incite them to resist the Spaniards. While he won over only few supporters, he waged a guerilla warfare against the Spanish, who feared to leave their fortified settlement at Baracca. Hatuey was betrayed, and burnt at the stake on February 2nd 1512. His story was written down by Bartolome de las Casas.

Except for the war with Hatuey and his followers, for the larger part refugees from Hispaniola, the Spanish conquest of Cuba was a single- sided event, the natives of Cuba offering little resistance, and the Spanish displaying extraordinary brutality, as demonstrated in the case of a village, the population of which, after having amicably received and fed the Spanish, was massacred.

The Legend of Hatuey, by J.A. Sierra
Baracoa 1511-1512, from Primeras Villas de Cuba, in Spanish
Diego Velasquez de Cuellar, from Wikipedia
Hatuey, from Cuba Heritage

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on March 11th 2004, last revised on November 18th 2004

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