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Book Chapter

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Few questions of historical interpretation are more passionately debated than those that have become intertwined with a national narrative and with the definition of how a country came to be what it is imagined to be. For the island nation of Cuba, political independence was forged in a lengthy series of wars against Spanish colonial rule, ending in a direct encounter with U.S. expansionism. Those wars began in 1868 and concluded in 1898 with the departure of Spanish troops, followed by a military occupation of the island by U.S. forces. In 1902 the arst Cuban republic emerged, but it was bound by the infamous Platt Amendment, which guaranteed to the United States a right of renewed intervention. The wars themselves were thus both a triumph and a defeat, a touchstone for national pride, and—in the outcome—a source of nationalist disappointment.