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The Catholic Mission in Papua History Collections


Pater Neijens


Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA





The foundation of the mission Merauke

In 1884 and 1885 were England and Germany agree on the division of eastern New Guinea, with England and the southern part of Germany as a protectorate on the northern part took.

In 1896 the Dutch government finally sees the urgency in the introduction of effective governance, which is the establishment of administrative posts result, namely to Fakfak and Manokwari. At that time, the Governor of the English part of eastern New Guinea, Sir William McGregor complaints about the quick tours of the coastal population of the Dutch part of the English territory. It then mentioned that the accelerators’ Toegeri’s. Later they got the name ‘Kajakaja’ and finally, their own name: “Marindinezen.

In 1900, Mr. W. Kroesen, Assistant Resident of Fakfak, and sent to the south coast in 1902, at the mouth of the Marorivier the government post Merauke founded. There are one hundred and sixty soldiers and convicts with police stationed.

Mr. Kroesen was on his way to New Guinea English Catholic mission there to know, especially in the figure of Brother Henkelman. This gave him the address of his Congregation in Tilburg which the Apostolic Prefecture of Dutch New Guinea had been entrusted. The Prefect, Father Matthias Neijens ~ Langgoer stayed to the Kei Islands and through Tilburg received this invitation from Mr. Kroesen to Merauke to come. His invitation was a contribution to the formation of a new society, the responsibilities of the Board (to bring peace and order) could thrive.

Father Neijens (see figure), the events of 1904 as follows:

With both hands I grabbed the proposal from the government official to visit Merauke em there and try to establish a mission among the wild Kajakaja’s. But … come into contact and how to deal with that wild nature people, who are notorious for their love of murder, and whose language they do not understand? A language that only one word for word from headhunters who himself must listen and unlearn! Only two words of their language, I had accidentally vemomen: IGIS, this is the “name” and kaj, this is “good.” With that bit of language I would head up and the different villages. I informed Mr. Kroesen to the villages that I was going to come into contact with the savages, “Oh, that’s good, Prefect,” was the reply, “but I just can not let go. You know, those people can not be trusted: for two days they killed a Chinese. I will therefore give some soldiers, then you can safely ride the car. “

“I thank you for your bezergdheid, Resident, but you will not blame me, I do not choose your soldiers to go to those people. They will think I am a soldier eek: they shall receive me with suspicion and never will I as the consolations of thy people win. Again, Mr Assistant Resident, let me go alone, you will not worry for me. “

The assistant resident admitted, but warned me to be careful to have my life and reckless endangering. The equipment of the journey was soon ready. As a soldier of Chiristus armed myself not revolver, pistol or dagger, but was intentionally my long black went on to make me stand out from soldiers and other vreemdeiingen, took under one arm a box of bandages and dressings for wounds to connect under the other arm a box with beads and pulled bravely to the nearest village of the wild headhunters: Nowari.
After several quarters usually got the cabins in sight. Before the village were twenty or thirty Kajakaja’s lazily to the ground. Once they previously ‘unknown man’ there saw coming jumps all fierce and menacing and came towards me. At some paces they stopped and began this strange appearance with suspicious glances from side to take aile. I remained undaunted in the midst of that mess “animal people”; their whole naked body dripping with coconut oil, big pig teeth cessation by their misshapen nose, their arms and chest were draped with dirty objects in their hands, they had their bows and arrows or spear and knots. I did my best to show people that I had not come with hostile intentions:

I smiled and nodded kindly to the head, took leads of beads, waved it to them to to indicate that everything was for them and thus sought by gestures to show that I came as a friend.

One of the Kajakaja’s, certainly the bravest, was already ventured closer and finally to those strange white man to touch and when it ended well, wanted to show others that they were not afraid. The circle became closer and all had to even touch the visitor. Others drew chains to my big beard, and soon they were so vertrouweiijk that with their dirty hands in my beard came rooting, or me with wild eyes came to respect, under the cry of “so, so, so.” And I drew my but out of kindness, gave beads, and bowed and nodded his head and … alie had acquired friendship!

After that first encounter was so happy past and the general amazement and rejoicing had subsided, I knocked the nearest wild standing on the chest and said: “kaj” (good)! This salute was answered with a jump of joy, with exclamations of pleasure. Now I went along the entire row, knocked the people on the chest and said again: “kaj, kaj, kaj” They were all so good, good people. I pointed Vervoigens hand up and down at myself and wanted to omstaande and repeated: “kaj. kaj “(good). We are good for each other, so we are good friends … And the people jumping and shouting with delight!

Then I wrote one of the Kajakaja and asked “IGIS? IGIS? “(name?). Who had wanted so much sense to understand that I asked for his name. He said so his name. I had already finished my notebook and wrote that name: Wangeer. It understood that headhunters nothing of what was doing that sir running his hand over a white sheet was. In the following, I did exactly the same and so along the entire row. Now I began the names of my book to read. And every time a wanted to hear mention of the name, this was an outburst of joy and admiration!

But now my vocabulary was exhausted. What have done? I had noticed that my beard so great admiration had made reaching those wild people who have very little beard. I then took my beard in my hand, shook it once a good lot and asked again: “IGIS? IGIS? “Several gifts at once answer. Again I took my notebook, wrote that word “hos” and put behind it: beard. Then I felt my ears, my nose, my eyelids and asked again: “IGIS? IGIS? “I got a word to hear, wrote that on there and put the meaning behind. I took some sand, a stick, a little tame pig began to go to run, jump, pretend I drank, and slept like I always asked myself: “IGIS? IGIS? “My vocabulary began to rise.

Now one of the savages suddenly jumps forward and asks, “Wo IGIS?” That word “wo” I understood yet, but from the tone in which it was said, was that I wanted my name early. What could I reply? Neijens sounded so strange, my name Matthias equally so. So I would give my name but professional and powerful voice I replied, “missionary”. Allen had that name full of wonder and joy and they made them repeat: “misnorei”. “So, so misnorei” sounded from all sides. And all this was accompanied by whistling and shouting and jumping with delight and amazement.

I had said about fifty words in my booklet. I now took in handing out beads and with a friendly nod and Iaehen afseheid of my new friends and met the accepted terugtoeht to Merauke. I took the steamer to the Kei-ei] databases back to the first missionaries to reach, with untiring zeal and patience bun arduous task would begin.

Self, however, he went them one more time ahead in July 1905. Father Neijens writes:

“The June 28 I went to Surabaya ship and landed on July 6 in Merauke. Never has someone so piechtig Merauke ushered. Twenty Kajakaja’s standing on the pier found I had been in the lifeboat see steps and my long beard sighted and my black went, they recognized immediately the misnorei last year. They jumped for joy and cried out in fun. Others, upon hearing that wild cries, understood that Jets special had. Also they came flocking voile gallop and when I landed, I found myself surrounded by as many as fifty men and women, who together pushed to see me and the pleasure would have me by the hand to grasp and a minute of my beard pulling. She accompanied me to the house of the Assistant Resident, Mr. Kroesen, who was pleasantly surprised by this unexpected visit.

Mr. Kroesen is the sweetest for me and has promised me that he will spare nothing to help us in establishing our mission, which he expected so much good for the population. He gave me a house is abandoned where our missionaries may take up residence and where they can stay until their house is ready. Although I gladly would have liked a larger area, we will have enough for now to the seven or eight acres which Mr. Kroesen has given me. The location of betting site is excellent and as persons with an odds Kroesen life was declared, was the assistant resident give me any better ground. “

Pen drawing of H. Nollen, first settlement in Merauke

MSC-A group of international composition had been since the eighties found in a work area bet-eastern part of New Guinea, n.1. hand in Neu under German Pomerania and on Thursday Island, which was under English management. From that group now some Dutch missionaries called with the command to Merauke to leave. They were the fathers: Philip Braun, Henry Nollen brothers and Dion. van Roessel and Melchior Oomen.

The gouvemementsvaartuig The Falcon brought four missionaries to Merauke.

Father Braun writes:

The spring 10 August 1905, I arrived here. Now, we rocked enough. We constantly had a hard southeast wind, with the inevitable result of seasickness. Finally we are in Merauke, it is three o’clock in the morning. We are still a ten kilometers from the coast to the rich but shallow sea. At daylight dawning bet we look forward to all sides, eager to finally see our new place and see nothing. First bet in broad daylight with some effort we distinguish bet dirty yellow water over a dirt yellow stripe: that is bet country, the great New Guinea. The ship has not sailed tonight because the water is shallow and we must wait until the tide comes up. Then at eleven o’clock the anchor goes up and we steamed slowly to the entrance of Merauke. We are finally on the sandbar at the mouth of the river. The flat coastal stretches in unbroken line for us, a small miniature lighthouse interrupts the monotonous appearance of low wood and coconut trees. A very few wild fish in shallow water bet. Everything looks dead and extinct from. Until suddenly when turned in the river the entire settlement of Merauke before us.

Reason to Merauke (1900) [2]

It is not much, the future capital of southern New Guinea, but one is pleasantly surprised by something unbelievable beauties that few pans and some dozens of tin roofs there so suddenly for themselves to see that sad, just still deathly plain. At two o’clock we landed and after a short visit with Mr. Kroesen, we take our preliminary cottage us graciously ceded by him here in mind. It is small and very poor by European standards, but we are happy a1heel: provisionally we are under roof. The next day preoccupied with bet fresh hoot of our poor household mess. It is little that one has in Langgoer can give to us. Now we are doing everything a place to give the best we note that there are so many unfortunate missing a household to set up.

The Diary of Merauke tells bet following: Mr. Kroesen received the missionaries warmly, asked a bun available to home and because the water was always a problem, he showed them the next day, bring a large vessel. The commander and the commies were hospitable and helpful.

Literally writes Father Nollen:

Thanks to the good God who made us so successful here has led to our establishment and the affection of the whites has already assured, we may well continue for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

“Except Mr. Kroesen,” says Father Braun,

“Here are a controller, a clerk, ‘n post-commies and Europeans than any of the staff of the government boat De Valk properly. They also have their home country. If you add this for another three European traders, then you know the whole population of Merauke what Europeans are concerned. Furthermore, bet here is full of Chinese and Irish Female from all countries in our Eastern. The occupation is a hundred native soldiers, commanded by a European instructor. And now you know Merauke on two peculiarities: first, the punishment of workers and secondly the natives. Our first encounter with the convicts was that they all our belongings from the pier to our house brought. I held my breath when I saw criminals disappear with our visages arrnzalige huisraadjes: there is certainly not a tenth of the right address, I thought. But bet it was very hard, everything was there. Now there are a whole lot working in our field to build a new home. During the week they labor for the Government and we see them in different places in their brown suit walking around. On Sundays they may labor for individuals to earn a few cents, which they can buy some snacks during the week. They work steadily and are submissive and polite. ”

Braun also gives his first impressions of the natives:

The natives are not eigeniijk residents of Merauke. They live pretty far from it. The first impression is that of onzeglijke, incredible dirt hero: a dunghill on a human body and face bruised the devil as we sometimes see displayed. “But they feel good bet to own and can not enough admire beauty in mirrors made when traders have bartered for some coconuts. When we first stepped ashore cutting, there were just across the river only wanted to in their dugouts, loaded with coconuts, which they knives, axes, beads and mirrors exchange. Until they got on their knees in mud. Further up, their naked body smeared with coconut oil, mixed with dirt and dyes alleriei voorai red and black. We have seen women who completely with river clay and rubbed on her skin had dried clay gave her a stunning appearance. This wear, except the children and old people, all long hair. On a couple of hairs is an extension of grass made it on their shoulders depends, yes, sommlgen, especially in young girls up to the knees. Thereby the whole wig smeared with the necessary clay and filth, especially red earth, so that if, for example in our betting house sit and lean against something, a dirty, oily spot indicates the place where she sat bebben. Moreover, they substantially built, large, very muscular and agile, they have an open face. “

Nollen sees it otherwise:

The first thing you will, from afar, is that the big guys are so beautiful, tall, muscular, well proportioned, firm face, more oval than round, a well-developed nose. The men are naked. Head and chest, however, they have beaten horribly. First the earlobes pierced and there are large rings, I believe the shaft of kasuarisveren. In each ear hang ten or twelve. The nostrils are also pierced and widened dangerously, so they wear bamboo sticks in my finger where I can easily by stabbing. Typically, however, they contribute rather pig tusks, or frightful kromrne krauwels of raptors. Threateningly forward curved points give something cheeky and schrikkelijks their visage. The bundles of hair extension prefixes may also be a defense to a possible unexpected blow to break, because we are here in bet land of headhunters.


De stichting van de missiepost Merauke

In 1884 en 1885 werden Engeland en Duitsland het eens over de verdeling van oost Nieuw-Guinea, waarbij Engeland het zuidelijke deel en Duitsland het noordelijke deel als protectoraat op zich nam.

In 1896 ziet de Nederlandse Regering eindelijk de urgentie in van de invoering van daadwerkelijk bestuur, hetgeen de vestiging van bestuursposten tot gevolg heeft, namelijk te Fakfak en te Manokwari. In die tijd heeft de Gouverneur van het Engelse deel van Oost-Nieuw-Guinea, Sir William McGregor klachten ingediend over de sneltochten van de kustbewoners van het Nederlandse gedeelte op het Engelse grondgebied. Men noemde toen die snellers de ‘Toegeri’s’. Later kregen zij de naam ‘Kajakaja’ en ten slotte hun eigen naam: ‘Marindinezen’.

In 1900 wordt de heer W. Kroesen, assistent-resident van Fakfak, naar deze zuidkust gezonden en in 1902 wordt aan de monding van de Marorivier de bestuurspost Merauke gesticht. Er worden honderdzestig militairen met politie en dwangarbeiders gestationeerd.

De heer Kroesen had op zijn tocht naar Engels Nieuw-Guinea aldaar de katholieke missie leren kennen, met name in de figuur van broeder Henkelman. Deze gaf hem het adres van zijn Congregatie in Tilburg waaraan de Apostolische Prefectuur van Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea was toevertrouwd. De Prefect, pater Matthias Neijens~ verbleef te Langgoer op de Kei-eilanden en via Tilburg ontving deze de uitnodiging van de heer Kroesen om naar Merauke te komen. Zijn uitnodiging betrof een bijdrage aan de vorming van een nieuwe maatschappij, waarin de taak van het Bestuur (orde en rust te brengen) zou kunnen gedijen.

Pater Neijens (zie afbeelding) heeft de gebeurtenissen in 1904 als volgt weergegeven:

Met beide handen greep ik het voorstel van de bestuursambtenaar aan em Merauke te bezoeken en te proberen daar een missiepost te vestigen onder de wilde Kajakaja’s.  Maar… hoe in aanraking te komen en om te gaan met die woeste natuurmensen, die berucht zijn om hun moordzucht, en wier taal men niet verstaat? Een taal, die men slechts woord voor woord van die koppensnellers zelf moet afluisteren en afleren! Slechts twee woordjes van hun taal had ik toevallig vemomen: igis, dit is “naam” en kaj, dit is “goed”. Met dat beetje taalkennis zou ik op pad gaan en de verschillende dorpen bezoeken. Ik verwittigde de heer Kroesen dat ik naar de dorpen zou gaan om in aanraking te komen met de wilden: “Oh, dat is goed, Prefect”, was het antwoord, “maar alleen mag ik U niet laten gaan. Gij weet wel, die mensen zijn niet te vertrouwen: voor twee dagen hebben zij nog een Chinees vermoord. Ik zal u daarom enige soldaten meegeven, dan kunt gij de tocht veilig wagen.”

“Ik dank u wel voor uw bezergdheid, Resident, maar u zal het mij niet kwalijk nemen, dat ik niet verkies met uw soldaten naar die mensen te gaan. Zij zullen denken, dat ik eek een soldaat ben; zij zullen mij dan met achterdocht ontvangen en nooit zal ik zo het vertreuwen van die mensen winnen. Nogmaals, mijnheer de assistent-resident, laat mij alleen gaan; maakt u niet bezorgd voor mij.”

De assistent-resident gaf toe, doch vermaande mij om toch vooral voorzichtig te zijn en mijn leven niet roekeloos in gevaar te brengen. De uitrusting van de tocht was spoedig klaar. Als soldaat van Chiristus wapende ik mij niet met revolver, pistool of dolk, maar deed opzettelijk mijn lange zwarte toog aan om mij te doen onderscheiden van soldaten en andere vreemdeiingen, nam onder de ene arm een kistje met verbandstoffen om wonden te kunnen verbinden, onder de andere arm een kistje met kraaltjes en trok moedig naar het dichtstbijgelegen dorp der wilde koppensnellers: Nowari.
Na enige kwartieren gaans kreeg ik de hutten in zicht. Vóór het dorp lagen een twintig a dertig Kajakaja’s lui tegen de grond. Zodra zij dien ‘onbekende mens’ daar zagen aankomen sprongen allen woest en dreigend op en kwamen naar mij toe. Op enige passen afstand bleven zij staan en begonnen die vreemde verschijning met wantrouwende blikken van aile kanten op te nemen. Ik bleef onverschrokken temidden van die troep ‘diermensen’; geheel hun naakte lichaam droop van de kokosolie; grote varkenstanden staken door hun misvormde neus; hun armen en borst waren omhangen met vieze voorwerpen en in hun handen hadden zij hun boog en pijlen, of lans en knots. Ik deed mijn best om die mensen te laten zien, dat ik niet gekomen was met vijandige bedoelingen:

Ik lachte en knikte vriendelijk met het hoofd, nam snoeren van kralen, zwaaide ermee naar hen toe om te kennen te geven dat alles voor hen was en trachtte aldus door gebaren te laten zien dat ik kwam als vriend.

Een van de Kajakaja’s, zeker de moedigste, kwam reeds dichterbij en waagde het eindelijk om die vreemde blanke mens aan te raken; en toen dit goed afliep, wilden de anderen tonen dat zij ook niet bang waren. De kring werd nauwer en allen moesten de bezoeker eens aanraken. Anderen trokken tens aan mijn grote baard en weldra werden zij zo vertrouweiijk, dat zij met hun vuile handen in mijn baard kwamen wroeten, of mij met wilde ogen kwamen aanzien, onder de uitroep van “so, so, so.” En ik putte mij maar uit in vriendelijkheid, gaf kraaltjes, en boog en knikte met het hoofd en… had alIe vriendschap verworven!

Nadat die eerste kennismaking zo gelukkig was afgeLopen en de algemene verwondering en het vreugdebetoon waren bedaard, klopte ik de dichtstbijstaande wilde op de borst en zei: “kaj” (goed)! Dit begroeten werd beantwoord met een springen van blijdschap, met uitroepingen van plezier. Nu ging ik de gehele rij langs, klopte de mensen op de borst en zei telkens: “kaj, kaj, kaj !“ Zij waren dus allen goed, goede mensen. Vervoigens wees ik met de hand op en neer, naar mezelf en naar de omstaande wilden en herhaalde: “kaj. kaj” (goed). Wij zijn goed voor elkaar, dus wij zijn goede vrienden… En de lui sprongen en schreeuwden van pret!

Daarop richtte ik mij tot een van de Kajakaja’s en vroeg “igis? igis?” (naam?). Die wilde had toch zoveel verstand om te begrijpen, dat ik naar zijn naam vroeg. Hij zei dus zijn naam. Ik had mijn notitieboekje reeds klaar en schreef die naam op: Wangeer. Daar begrepen die koppensnellers niets van, wat die mijnheer daar deed terwijl hij met zijn hand over een wit blaadje ging. Bij de volgende deed ik juist hetzelfde en zo de gehele rij langs. Nu begon ik de namen van mijn boekje af te lezen. En telkens als een wilde zich bij de naam hoorde noemen, was dit een uitbarsting van vreugde en bewondering!

Maar nu was ook mijn woordenschat uitgeput. Wat nu gedaan? Ik had bemerkt dat mijn baard zo geweldig de bewondering had gaande gemaakt van die wilde mensen die zelf slechts zeer weinig baard hebben. Ik nam dan mijn baard in mijn hand, schudde er eens flink mee en vroeg wederom: “igis? igis?” Verschillenden gaven tegelijk antwoord. Ik nam wederom mijn notitieboekje, schreef dat woord op “hos” en zette erachter: baard. Dan betastte ik mijn oren, mijn neus, mijn oogleden en vroeg telkens: “igis? igis?” Ik kreeg een woord te horen, schreef dat op en zette er de betekenis achter. Ik nam wat zand, een houtje, een klein tam varken, begon te gaan, te lopen, te springen, deed alsof ik dronk, alsof ik sliep en telkens vroeg ik: “igis? igis?” Mijn woordenschat begon toe te nemen.

Nu springt plotseling een van de wilden vooruit en vraagt: “Wo igis?” Dat woordje “wo” verstond ik nog niet, maar uit de toon, waarop dat gezegd werd, maakte ik op dat die wilde naar mijn naam vroeg. Wat zou ik antwoorden? Neijens klonk zo vreemd; mijn voornaam Matthias al evenzeer. Ik zou dus mijn beroepsnaam maar geven en met krachtige stem antwoordde ik: “missionaris”. Allen moesten die naam vol verwondering en blijdschap herhalen en zij maakten ervan: “misnorei”. ”So, so misnorei” klonk het van alle kanten. En dat alles ging gepaard met springen en fluiten en geschreeuw van pret en verbazing.

Ik had aldus ongeveer vijftig woordjes in mijn boekje staan. Ik nam nu onder het uitdelen van kraaltjes en met vriendelijk knikken en Iaehen afseheid van mijn nieuwe vrienden en aanvaardde voldaan de terugtoeht naar Merauke. Ik ging met de stoomboot naar de Kei-ei]anden terug om de eerste missionarissen te halen, die met onvermoeide ijver en geduld bun zware taak zouden beginnen.

Zelf echter ging hij hen nog een maal vooruit in juli 1905. Pater Neijens schrijft:

“De 28e Juni ging ik te Soerabaja scheep en landde de 6e Juli in Merauke. Nooit is iemand zo piechtig Merauke binnengeleid. Een twintigtal Kajakaja’s die zich op de pier bevonden, hadden mij in de sloep zien stappen en mijn lange baard ziende en mijn zwarte toog, herkenden zij dadelijk de misnorei van verleden jaar. Zij sprongen van blijdschap en schreeuwden het uit van pret. Anderen, bij het horen van die wilde kreten, begrepen dat er jets bijzonders moest zijn. Ook zij kwamen toegestroomd in voile galop en toen ik voet aan wal zette, zag ik mij omringd door wel een vijftigtal mannen en vrouwen, die elkander verdrongen om mij te zien en het genoegen wilden hebben mij bij de hand te vatten en eens eventjes aan mijn baard te trekken. Zij vergezelden mij tot aan de woning van de assistent-resident, de heer Kroesen, die aangenaam verrast was door dat geheel onverwacht bezoek.

De heer Kroesen is allerliefst voor mij geweest en heeft mij beloofd dat hij niets zal sparen om ons te helpen in het oprichten van onze Missie, waarvan hij zoveel goeds verwacht voor de bevolking. Hij heeft mij een staatswoning afgestaan waar onze missionarissen hun intrek kunnen nemen en waar zij kunnen blijven totdat hun huis gereed is. Ofschoon ik gaarne een groter terrein had willen hebben, zullen wij voorlopig genoeg hebben aan de zeven of acht hectare die de heer Kroesen mij heeft geschonken. De ligging van bet terrein is uitstekend en zoals personen die met Kroesen op een gespannen voet leven mij verklaarden, kon de assistent-resident mij geen beter terrein schenken.”


Pentekening van H. Nollen, eerste nederzetting in Merauke

Een MSC-groep van internationale samenstelling had reeds sinds de jaren tachtig een arbeidsterrein gevonden in bet oostelijk deel van Nieuw-Guinea, n.1. enerzijds in Neu Pommeren dat onder Duits en anderzijds op Thursday-Island dat onder Engels beheer stond. Uit die groep werden nu enkele Nederlandse missionarissen opgeroepen met de opdracht naar Merauke te vertrekken. Het waren de paters: Philip Braun, Henricus Nollen en de broeders Dion. van Roessel en Melchior Oomen.

Het gouvemementsvaartuig De Valk bracht de vier missionarissen naar Merauke.

Pater Braun schrijft:

De veertiende Augustus 1905 ben ik hier aangekomen. Nu, geschommeld hebben wij genoeg. Wij hadden voortdurend een harde zuidoostenwind tegen, met het onvermijdelijke gevolg van zeeziekte. Eindelijk zijn we dan in Merauke, het is drie uur ‘s nachts. We liggen echter nog een kilometer of tien uit de kust op de volle, maar ondiepe zee. Bij bet aanbrekende daglicht kijken we uit naar alle kanten, verlangend eindelijk onze nieuwe verblijfplaats te zien, en zien niets. Eerst bij bet volle daglicht onderscheiden wij met enige inspanning boven bet vuilgele water een vuilgele streep: dat is bet land, het heerlijke Nieuw-Guinea. Het schip is vannacht niet binnengevaren omdat het water ondiep is; wij moeten wachten tot de vloed komt opzetten. Dan om elf uur gaat het anker omhoog en langzaam stomen wij naar de ingang van Merauke. Wij zijn eindelijk over de zandbank in de monding van de rivier. De vlakke kust strekt zich in onafgebroken rechte lijn voor ons uit, een klein miniatuur vuurtorentje breekt alleen het eentonige uitzicht van laaghout en kokosbomen. Een heel enkele wilde vist in bet ondiepe water. Alles ziet er doods en uitgestorven uit. Tot plotseling bij het binnendraaien van de rivier de gehele nederzetting van Merauke voor ons ligt.


Rede te Merauke (1Reason to Merauke (1900) [2]

It is not much, the future capital of southern New Guinea, but one is pleasantly surprised by something unbelievable beauties that few pans and some dozens of tin roofs there so suddenly for themselves to see that sad, just still deathly plain. At two o’clock we landed and after a short visit with Mr. Kroesen, we take our preliminary cottage us graciously ceded by him here in mind. It is small and very poor by European standards, but we are happy a1heel: provisionally we are under roof. The next day preoccupied with bet fresh hoot of our poor household mess. It is little that one has in Langgoer can give to us. Now we are doing everything a place to give the best we note that there are so many unfortunate missing a household to set up.

The Diary of Merauke tells bet following: Mr. Kroesen received the missionaries warmly, asked a bun available to home and because the water was always a problem, he showed them the next day, bring a large vessel. The commander and the commies were hospitable and helpful.

Literally writes Father Nollen:

Thanks to the good God who made us so successful here has led to our establishment and the affection of the whites has already assured, we may well continue for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

“Except Mr. Kroesen,” says Father Braun,

“Here are a controller, a clerk, ‘n post-commies and Europeans than any of the staff of the government boat De Valk properly. They also have their home country. If you add this for another three European traders, then you know the whole population of Merauke what Europeans are concerned. Furthermore, bet here is full of Chinese and Irish Female from all countries in our Eastern. The occupation is a hundred native soldiers, commanded by a European instructor. And now you know Merauke on two peculiarities: first, the punishment of workers and secondly the natives. Our first encounter with the convicts was that they all our belongings from the pier to our house brought. I held my breath when I saw criminals disappear with our visages arrnzalige huisraadjes: there is certainly not a tenth of the right address, I thought. But bet it was very hard, everything was there. Now there are a whole lot working in our field to build a new home. During the week they labor for the Government and we see them in different places in their brown suit walking around. On Sundays they may labor for individuals to earn a few cents, which they can buy some snacks during the week. They work steadily and are submissive and polite. ”

Braun also gives his first impressions of the natives:

The natives are not eigeniijk residents of Merauke. They live pretty far from it. The first impression is that of onzeglijke, incredible dirt hero: a dunghill on a human body and face bruised the devil as we sometimes see displayed. “But they feel good bet to own and can not enough admire beauty in mirrors made when traders have bartered for some coconuts. When we first stepped ashore cutting, there were just across the river only wanted to in their dugouts, loaded with coconuts, which they knives, axes, beads and mirrors exchange. Until they got on their knees in mud. Further up, their naked body smeared with coconut oil, mixed with dirt and dyes alleriei voorai red and black. We have seen women who completely with river clay and rubbed on her skin had dried clay gave her a stunning appearance. This wear, except the children and old people, all long hair. On a couple of hairs is an extension of grass made it on their shoulders depends, yes, sommlgen, especially in young girls up to the knees. Thereby the whole wig smeared with the necessary clay and filth, especially red earth, so that if, for example in our betting house sit and lean against something, a dirty, oily spot indicates the place where she sat bebben. Moreover, they substantially built, large, very muscular and agile, they have an open face. ”

Nollen sees it otherwise:

The first thing you will, from afar, is that the big guys are so beautiful, tall, muscular, well proportioned, firm face, more oval than round, a well-developed nose. The men are naked. Head and chest, however, they have beaten horribly. First the earlobes pierced and there are large rings, I believe the shaft of kasuarisveren. In each ear hang ten or twelve. The nostrils are also pierced and widened dangerously, so they wear bamboo sticks in my finger where I can easily by stabbing. Typically, however, they contribute rather pig tusks, or frightful kromrne krauwels of raptors. Threateningly forward curved points give something cheeky and schrikkelijks their visage. The bundles of hair extension prefixes may also be a defense to a possible unexpected blow to break, because we are here in bet land of headhunters.

A parsonage was built of native materaal and on October 3, 1905 in use

With the arrival on August 14, 1905 the first missionaries of the early history of the mission in Merauke, so this year 100 years ago.

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Merauke in 1908 by O.G.H. Heldring. Heldring was a geologist involved in exploration of southern New Guinea in 1907-1908. [2]

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Missionaries of the Sacred Heart

The monastic order of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart to Bredaseweg 204, Tilburg known as Rooi Harten, was founded in 1854 by the French chaplain Jules Chevalier Issoudun. In 1882 they settled in Tilburg in the former cloth factory of the firm Schreppers at Veldhoven (Wilhelmina), and in 1890 the new convent on the Bredaseweg into use. The Rooi Harten were engaged in missionary work in the Pacific in Melanesia and Micronesia, in Brazil, in the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines.
Some Fathers of the Mission House has also made merit as an author: eg January Boelaars the Fathers (1915), Henri Geurtjens (1875-1957), Cees Meuwese (1906-1978) and Jan Verschueren (1905-1970) wrote about language, people and culture of New Guinea, Father Maurice Miller (1886-1969) wrote about saints’ lives, Father Dr P. Schreurs (1924) on the Philippines and Father Simon Peeters (1860-1941) wrote a history of the Mission House and a biography of Father Henri Rutten.

Mission House on the Bredaseweg around 1910 (RHC Coll Tilburg).

The establishment of a printing was closely associated with the expenditure of the Annals of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Almanac. The first issue of the Annals in 1883 was printed by the printing of the Steam RK Boys Orphanage, the second edition was printed in Mönchengladbach, from the fifth volume was Lutkie Burg & Crane ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the printer, and from the eighteenth year (1898) HPM Verlinden in Bergen op Zoom. Only the second song of the twentieth year (1902) and Almanac 1903 appear in the printer in the Mission House to be printed. It can be deduced that in 1902 the missionaries began his own printing business. The first presses were operated by the brothers in January Vriens and Jan Foppele, and later by Jan Bogaers Show and Piette. The present building of the printing was established in 1927. During World War II was the printing stopped. After the war the brothers January Vriens and M. Joosten the printer back on life. From 1957 withdrew French Kolsters as commercial director seemed more and more staff, he made the printing of a corporation in which the Provincial MSC acted as sole shareholder: the Printing and Publishing Heart of Brabant was born. Later the printing by the Tilburg typesetting Vorspel NV. That typesetter went bankrupt. Thereafter, the printing slowly rebuilt.

The Mission House has a monastery library of over 20,000 titles. It comprises two sections: on the ground floor is the more scientific, on the first floor we find the Gymnasium library, derived from the uplifted Apostolic School or minor seminary of the MSC congregation, and built between 1889 and 1960. The library was largely serving the teachers and other house residents, while students had their own school library. When the philosophical and theological training homes of the congregation (major seminary) also were concentrated in Tilburg, these are the libraries, with a larger file than the original house library, housed in the Mission House. An important part of the MSC library is included in that years ago of the Theological Faculty of Tilburg. The principal librarian of the MSC library is Father Piet Cools (1904-1973) was. He was also chairman of the Association of Dutch Monastic Libraries. The library has a significant collection of French literature, this has to do with the French origin of the congregation.

Literature: HN 22.6.1985, Ronald Peeters and Ed Painters, Catholic image in Tilburg, Tilburg, 1990, p. 78-79; communication Dr P. Schreurs M.S.C. 12.19.1991, M. MSC Joosten, “The history of our printing, in: CBE Chronicle, M.S.C. Tilburg, issue 20, 1983, p. 2-5.

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The missionary Congregations

It is in Merauke in 1905 (14 August) The first missionaries arrive: Members of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Hart, to begin their missionary work.

The first missionaries came from Europe, the Europe of the nineteenth century. In this world that are economically and socially and which one was opened by the technique began to reach the earth, awoke at the instigation of the churches a whole new wave of missionary fervor, both the Mission and the Mission.

In France, where the de-Christianization of a universally accepted position unchurched hero and free morality had summoned the clergy experienced this mentality as “le mal modem. They sought the means to cure. One of them, Father Bear Jules Chevalier, founded in 1854 in Issoudun (near Bourges) a Congregation of priests and brothers: the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart ‘. He saw them as heralds of the Love that their contemporaries wished to re-ignite em Christ and love to give a Christian life. The motto that’s why he gave to his congregation was “Loved it everywhere H. Heart of Jesus … “.

After twenty-five years (1879) counted the Ccngregatie twenty-nine priests, five breeders and twenty-nine great-seminarians (including all two Dutch).

Around 1880 demanded the Masonic Government of the French Republic that the monks would apply for an official recognition, which would impose restrictions on their apostolate. The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) fled to the Netherlands. Here they received from Msgr. Godschalk, bishop of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, his country residence, home Gerra, assigned (1881).

House Gerra was the training center, the neviciaat, headed by Father Ch. Piperon. When the first nevicen were professed and new postulants had been submitted, the house was too small and a disused textile factory in the city of Tilburg purchased. In addition to the novitiate and the higher studies there was also the Minor Seminary, called Apostclische School housed.

The first members of the Congregation had occurred because the devotion to the Blessed Heart of Jesus wanted to spread, especially in France. However, the founder of their congregation itself had also bet bet beginning mission work in foreign countries as one of the main tasks of the institute and given the younger generation looked with longing for the realization of this mission from ideal. The motto was still: ~ Loved it everywhere … “Another bet during his forced departure of people from France, which the very existence of betting institute put into question, asked Father Chevalier procurator in Rome to the Congregation as a candidate for a or other mission to contribute to the H. Steel. Cardinal Simeoni, Prefect of the Congregation of the Propaganda Fide, offered them the whole Pacific (Melanesia and Micronesia), with the mission head attention to the island of New Guinea.

Meanwhile in 1874 the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart founded. The large exodus of members of both congregations to the Mission began. The first caravan traveled in 1881 with the adventurer Marquis de Rays, via Manila, Surabaya, Batavia and Singapore to Sydney. After thirteen months, they reached from there in northern New Guinea, the town of Port Breton, on the south coast of New Ireland was. Because they are nothing but ruins and graves found, they crossed the St. George’s Channel and began their mission work in New Britain.

In 1885 came two priests, three brothers and five sisters to bet-Thursday Island on the south coast of New Guinea. The nearby Yule Island they reached the mainland of New Guinea. This mission area had in 1910 after twenty-five years of work already twenty-three dead. Their average age was not above thirty-four years. “



Het is nog niet veel, de toekomstige hoofdstad van Zuid-Nieuw-Guinea, maar toch is men aangenaam verrast als door iets ongelooflijk schoons, die paar pannen- en enige tientallen zinken daken daar zo plotseling voor zich te zien, op die triestige, zoëven nog doodse vlakte. Om twee uur zijn wij aan wal en na een kort bezoek bij de heer Kroesen, nemen wij ons voorlopig huisje, ons zo welwillend door hem afgestaan even in ogenschouw. Het is klein en voor Europese begrippen erg armoedig, maar wij zijn er a1heel blij mee: voorlopig zijn we onder dak. De volgende dag wordt geheel in beslag genomen met bet versjouwen van ons armzalig rommeltje huisraad. Het is weinig dat men in Langgoer heeft kunnen afstaan voor ons. Nu we bezig zijn alles een plaatsje te geven, merken wij het best dat er nog zo jammer veel ontbreekt om een huishouden op te richten.

Het Dagboek van Merauke vertelt bet volgende: De heer Kroesen ontving de missionarissen hartelijk, stelde een woning tot bun beschikking en omdat de watervoorziening altijd een probleem was, liet hij hen de volgende dag een groot vat brengen. Ook de commandant en de commies waren gastvrij en hulpvaardig.

Letterlijk schrijft pater Nollen:

Dankzij de goede God, die ons hier zo voorspoedig heeft geleid en bij onze vestiging de genegenheid van de blanken reeds heeft verzekerd, mogen we hier voor goed blijven ter ere Gods en het heil van de zielen.

‘Behalve de heer Kroesen’, vertelt pater Braun,

‘zijn hier nog een controleur, een commies, ‘n post-commies en dan enige Europeanen die tot het personeel van de gouvernementsboot De Valk behoren. Zij ook hebben hun woning aan land. Reken daarbij nog een drietal Europese handelaars, dan ken je de hele bevolking van Merauke wat Europeanen betreft. Voorts wemelt bet hier van Chinezen en Maleiers uit alle landen van onze Oost. De bezetting bestaat uit een honderdtal inlandse soldaatjes, onder bevel van een Europese instructeur. En nu ken je Merauke op twee merkwaardigheden na: ten eerste de strafarbeiders en ten tweede de inboorlingen. Onze eerste kennismaking met de dwangarbeiders was dat zij ons hele boeltje van de pier naar onze woning brachten. Ik hield mijn hart vast toen ik die boeventronies zag verdwijnen met onze arrnzalige huisraadjes: daar komt zeker geen tiende van aan het goede adres, dacht ik. Maar bet viel erg hard mee: alles was er. Nu zijn er een hele partij bezig op ons terrein een nieuw huisje te bouwen. Door de week arbeiden zij voor de Regering en ziet men ze op verschillende plaatsen in hun bruine pakje rondlopen. ‘s Zondags mogen zij voor particulieren arbeiden om een paar centjes te verdienen, waarvan zij enige versnaperingen kunnen kopen gedurende de week. Ze werken gestadig aan en zijn onderdanig en beleefd.’

Braun geeft ook zijn eerste indrukken over de inboorlingen:

De inboorlingen zijn eigeniijk geen bewoners van Merauke. Zij wonen er tamelijk ver van af. De eerste indruk is die van onzeglijke, ongelooflijke vuilheld: een mesthoop op een mensenlichaam en het gezicht toegetakeld zoals men de duivel wel eens afgebeeld ziet. ‘Maar zij vinden bet mooi en kunnen zich aan eigen schoonheid niet genoeg bewonderen in spiegeltjes die zij bij de handelaars voor enige kokosnoten hebben geruild. Toen wij voor de eerste maai aan land stapten, kwamen er juist aan de overkant van de rivier enige wilden aan in hun uitgeholde boomstammen, volgeladen met kokosnoten, die zij voor messen, bijlen, kralen en die spiegeltjes ruilen. Tot over de knieën stapten zij door de modder. Verder omhoog, is hun spiernaakt lijf ingesmeerd met kokosolie, vermengd met vuil en alleriei kleurstoffen voorai rood en zwart. Vrouwen hebben wij gezien, die zich geheel met rivierklei ingesmeerd hadden en de op haar huid opgedroogde klei gaf haar een fantastisch uiterlijk. Daarbij dragen, behalve de kinderen en de oude lui, allen lange haren. Aan een paar haartjes wordt een verlenging van gras gemaakt, dat hun op de schouders afhangt, ja, bij sommlgen, vooral bij jonge meisjes tot aan de knieën. Daarbij wordt de hele pruik besmeerd met de nodige klei en vuiligheid, vooral rode aarde, zodat, als zij bijvoorbeeld bij ons in bet huis gaan zitten en ergens tegenaan leunen, een vuile, vette plek de plaats aanduidt waar zij gezeten bebben. Overigens zijn zij flink gebouwd, groot, sterk gespierd en lenig; zij hebben een open gelaat.’

Nollen ziet het al niet anders:

Het eerste wat u treft, al van verre, is dat het zo’n schone grote kerels zijn, hoog, gespierd, goed geproportioneerd, flink gezicht, meer ovaal dan rond, een goed ontwikkelde neus. De mannen lopen naakt. Hoofd en borst echter hebben zij afschuwelijk toegetakeld. Eerst zijn de oorlellen doorboord en daar hangen grote ringen in, Ik geloof van de schacht van kasuarisveren. In elk oor hangen er wel tien of twaalf. De neusvleugels hebben zij ook vervaarlijk doorboord en verwijd, zodat zij er bamboestokjes in dragen waar ik mijn vinger gemakkelijk kan doorsteken. Doorgaans echter dragen zij er liever varkensslagtanden in, of vervaarlijke kromrne krauwels van roofvogels. Die dreigend naar voren gekromde punten geven iets brutaals en schrikkelijks aan hun tronie. De bundels haarverlengsels zijn misschien ook een verweermiddel om een mogelijk onverwachte slag te breken, want wij zijn hier in bet land der koppensnellers.

Een pastorie werd gebouwd van inlands materaal en op 3 oktober 1905 in gebruik genomen

Met de komst op 14 augustus 1905 van de eerste missionarissen begin ook de geschiedenis van de missie in Merauke, Dit jaar dus 100 jaar geleden.



Merauke in 1908 door O.G.H. Heldring. Heldring was als geoloog betrokken bij de exploratie van Zuid Nieuw-Guinea in 1907-1908. [2]

Missionarissen van het H. Hart

De kloosterorde van de Missionarissen van het H. Hart aan de Bredaseweg 204, in Tilburg beter bekend als de Rooi Harten, is in 1854 gesticht door de Franse kapelaan Jules Chevalier te Issoudun. In 1882 vestigden zij zich in Tilburg in de voormalige lakenfabriek van de firma Schreppers aan de Veldhoven (Wilhelminapark), en in 1890 werd het nieuwe klooster aan de Bredaseweg in gebruik genomen. De Rooi Harten hielden zich bezig met het missiewerk in de Stille Zuidzee op Melanesië en Micronesië, in Brazilië, in Nederlands-Indië, en op de Filippijnen.
Een aantal paters van dit Missiehuis heeft zich ook als auteur verdienstelijk gemaakt: o.a. de paters Jan Boelaars (1915), Henri Geurtjens (1875-1957), Cees Meuwese (1906-1978) en Jan Verschueren (1905-1970) schreven over taal, volk en cultuur van Nieuw-Guinea, pater Maurits Molenaar (1886-1969) schreef over heiligenlevens, pater dr. P. Schreurs (1924) over de Filippijnen en pater Simon Peeters (1860-1941) schreef een geschiedschrijving over het Missiehuis en een biografie over pater Henri Rutten.


Missiehuis aan de Bredaseweg omstreeks 1910 (Coll. RHC Tilburg).

De oprichting van een eigen drukkerij hing nauw samen met de uitgaven van de Annalen van O.L. Vrouw van het H. Hart en de Almanak. Het eerste nummer van de Annalen werd in 1883 gedrukt bij de Stoomdrukkerij van het R.K. Jongensweeshuis, het tweede nummer werd in München-Gladbach gedrukt, vanaf de vijfde jaargang was Lutkie & Cranenburg te ‘s-Hertogenbosch de drukker, en vanaf de achttiende jaargang (1898) H.P.M. Verlinden te Bergen op Zoom. Pas het tweede nummer van de twintigste jaargang (1902) en de Almanak 1903 blijken in de eigen drukkerij van het Missiehuis gedrukt te zijn. Hieruit is af te leiden dat in 1902 de missionarissen een eigen drukkerij zijn begonnen. De eerste persen werden bediend door de broeders Jan Vriens en Jan Foppele, en later door Jan Bogaers en Toon Piëtte. Het huidige gebouw van de drukkerij kwam in 1927 tot stand. Gedurende de Tweede Wereldoorlog lag de drukkerij stil. Na de oorlog hebben de broeders Jan Vriens en M. Joosten de drukkerij weer leven in geblazen. Vanaf 1957 trok Frans Kolsters als commercieel-directeur steeds meer lekenpersoneel aan; hij maakte van de drukkerij een N.V., waarin de Provinciale M.S.C. als enige aandeelhouder optrad: de Drukkerij en Uitgeverij Hart van Brabant was geboren. Later werd de drukkerij door de Tilburgse zetterij Vorspel N.V. overgenomen. Die zetterij ging echter failliet. Daarna werd de drukkerij langzaam maar zeker weer opgebouwd.

Het Missiehuis bezit een kloosterbibliotheek met meer dan 20.000 titels. Ze bestaat uit twee afdelingen: op de begane grond zit de meer wetenschappelijke; op de eerste etage treffen we de gymnasiale bibliotheek aan, voortgekomen uit de opgeheven Apostolische School ofwel klein-seminarie van de M.S.C.-congregatie, en aangelegd tussen 1889 en 1960. De bibliotheek stond grotendeels ten dienste van de leraren en verdere huisbewoners, terwijl de studenten hun eigen schoolbibliotheek hadden. Toen de filosofische en theologische opleidingshuizen van de congregatie (groot-seminarie) eveneens in Tilburg werden geconcentreerd, zijn ook de bibliotheken hiervan, met een groter bestand dan de oorspronkelijke huisbibliotheek, in het Missiehuis ondergebracht. Een belangrijk deel van de M.S.C.-bibliotheek is jaren geleden opgenomen in die van de Theologische Faculteit Tilburg. De belangrijkste bibliothecaris van de M.S.C.-bibliotheek is wel pater dr. Piet Cools (1904-1973) geweest. Hij was onder meer voorzitter van de Vereniging voor Nederlandse Kloosterbibliotheken. De bibliotheek heeft een aanzienlijke collectie Franse literatuur; dit heeft te maken met de Franse oorsprong van de congregatie.

Literatuur: HN van 22-6-1985; Ronald Peeters en Ed Schilders, Katholiek Tilburg in beeld, Tilburg, 1990, p. 78-79; mededeling dr. P. Schreurs M.S.C. 19-12-1991; M. Joosten M.S.C., ‘De geschiedenis van onze drukkerij’, in: K.B.O. Kroniek, M.S.C. Tilburg, afl. 20, 1983, p. 2-5.

De missionerende Congregaties

Het is in Merauke dat in 1905 (14 augustus) de eerste missionarissen aankomen: de leden van de Congregatie van de Missionarissen van het H. Hart, om er hun missiewerk te beginnen.

Deze eerste missionarissen kwamen uit Europa, het Europa van de negentiende eeuw. In die wereld die economisch en sociaal opengegaan was en waarin men door de techniek de hele aarde begon te bereiken, ontwaakte op instigatie van de kerken een geheel nieuwe golf van missionair elan, zowel bij de Missie als bij de Zending.

In Frankrijk, waar de ontkerstening een algemeen aanvaarde situatie van onkerkelijkheld en vrije zedelijkheid had opgeroepen, beleefden de geestelijken deze mentaliteit als ‘le mal modeme’. Zij zochten naar de middelen om een genezing te bewerkstelligen. Eén van hen, de eerwaarde beer Jules Chevalier, stichtte in 1854 te Issoudun (bij Bourges) een Congregatie van priesters en broeders: de ‘Missionarissen van het H. Hart’. Hij zag hen als herauten van de Liefde die hun tijdgenoten wensten te ontvlammen em Christus wederliefde te geven en een christelijk leven te leiden. Het devies dat hij daarom aan zijn Congregatie meegaf luidde: ‘Bemind zij overal het H. Hart van Jezus…’.

Na vijfentwintig jaren (1879) telde de Ccngregatie negenentwintig paters, vijf breeders en negenentwintig groot-seminaristen (waaronder al twee Nederlanders).

Rond 1880 eiste de Maçonnieke Regering van de Franse Republiek dat de kloosterlingen een officiële erkenning zouden aanvragen, hetgeen hun Apostolaat beperkingen zou opleggen. De missionarissen van het H. Hart (MSC) weken uit naar Nederland. Hier kregen zij van mgr. Godschalk, bisschop van ‘s-Hertogenbosch, zijn eigen buitenverblijf, huize Gerra, toegewezen (1881).

Huize Gerra werd het vormingscentrum, het neviciaat, dat onder leiding staat van pater Ch. Piperon. Toen de eerste nevicen geprofest waren en nieuwe postulanten zich hadden aangemeld, werd het huis te klein en werd een afgedankte lakenfabriek in de stad Tilburg aangekocht. Naast het noviciaat en de hogere studies werd daar ook nog het Klein-Seminarie, de z.g. Apostclische School ondergebracht.

De eerste leden van de Congregatie waren ingetreden omdat zij de godsvrucht tot het H. Hart van Jezus wilden verspreiden, met name in Frankrijk. De stichter echter van hun Congregatie had zelf van bet begin af aan ook bet missiewerk in de vreemde landen als een van de voornaamste taken van zijn instituut gezien en de jongere garde zag met verlangen naar de verwezenlijking van dit missie-ideaal uit. Het devies was toch: ~Bemind zij overal…’ Nog tijdens bet gedwongen vertrek van zijn mensen uit Frankrijk, wat heel het bestaan van bet instituut op losse schroeven zette, vroeg pater Chevalier zijn procurator in Rome om de Congregatie als kandidaat voor een of andere missie voor te dragen bij de H. Steel. Kardinaal Simeoni, prefect van de Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, bood daarop de heel Zuidzee (Melanesië en Micronesië) aan, met de opdracht hoofdaandacht te schenken aan het eiland NieuwGuinea.

Intussen was in 1874 ook de Congregatie van de Dochters van O.L. Vrouw van het Heilige Hart gesticht. De grote uittocht van leden van beide Congregaties naar de Missie kon beginnen. De eerste karavaan reisde in 1881 met de avonturier Markies de Rays, via Manila, Soerabaja, Batavia en Singapore naar Sydney. Na dertien maanden bereikten zij van daaruit in noord Nieuw-Guinea het plaatsje Port Breton, dat aan de zuidkust van Nieuw Ierland lag. Omdat zij daar niets dan puinhopen en graven vonden, staken zij het Sint-Joriskanaal over en begonnen hun missiewerk op Nieuw Brittannië.

In 1885 kwamen er twee paters, drie broeders en vijf zusters naar bet Thursday-Island aan de zuidkust van Nieuw-Guinea. Via het nabijgelegen Yule-Island bereikte men het vasteland van Nieuw-Guinea. Dit missiegebied telde in 1910 na vijfentwintig jaar werk reeds drieentwintig overledenen. Hun gemiddelde leeftijd lag niet boven de vierendertig jaar.’

De stichting van de Apostolische Prefectuur van Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea

De westelijke helft van Nieuw-Guinea was een deel van Nederlands-Indië en voor de Regering bestond er voor heel Nederlands-Indië voor de katholieken slechts één erkende kerkrechtelijke autoriteit, n.l. het Apostolisch Vicariaat van Batavia (Djakarta).

De eerste missionarissen waren wereldheren (1808-1859). Daama werd het vicariaat toevertrouwd aan de Orde van de paters Jezuieten. Zij hadden op verschillende eilanden de zielzorg van aanwezige katholieken en de verkondiging van bet christelijk geloof aan de ‘heidenen’ op zich genomen.
Maar het was tegen het einde van de negentiende eeuw duidelijk geworden dat dit arbeidsveld veel te uitgebreid was voor bet personeelsbestand van deze ene Orde. Vanuit Europa meldden zich daarom andere Orden en Congregaties aan, die bereid waren om een deel van dit missieveld over te nemen. De MSC en met name de groep jongere Nederlandse leden, dacht nog steeds aan Nieuw-Guinea.
De Jezuieten waren in 1888 naar de Molukse eilanden gekomen en hadden bet missiewerk daar in gang gezet. De Missionarissen van het H. Hart verklaarden zich in 1896 bereid deze Missie (de Molukken en Nieuw-Guinea) over te nemen. Maar de Nederlandse Regering liet weten, dat zij geen tweede zelfstandig Apostolisch Vicariaat wenste te erkennen naast dat van Batavia. En de MSC zelf wenste niet als een onderafdeling van dat Jezuietisch Vicariaat ingezet te worden. Rome begreep de houding van de Nederlandse Regering niet, zodat de onderhandelingen geen vlot verloop hadden.
Het duurde zeven jaar voordat in 1902 de onderhandelingen tot resultaat hadden dat er een eigen Apostolische Prefectuur werd opgericht en erkend, nl. de Prefectuur van Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea. Pater M. Neijens werd benoemd tot de eerste Prefect. Met pater H. Geurtjens vertrok hij naar de Kei-eiianden waar zij de missie van de paters Jezuieten overnamen in 1903. Van daaruit vertrok men in 1905 naar Merauke.



Het Militair Exploratie-Detachement in Zuid-Nieuw-Guinea, 1907-1910 [2]


Het Militair Exploratie-Detachement in Zuid-Nieuw-Guinea, 1907-1910 [2

The missionary Congregations

It is in Merauke in 1905 (14 August) The first missionaries arrive: Members of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Hart, to begin their missionary work.

The first missionaries came from Europe, the Europe of the nineteenth century. In this world that are economically and socially and which one was opened by the technique began to reach the earth, awoke at the instigation of the churches a whole new wave of missionary fervor, both the Mission and the Mission.

In France, where the de-Christianization of a universally accepted position unchurched hero and free morality had summoned the clergy experienced this mentality as “le mal modem. They sought the means to cure. One of them, Father Bear Jules Chevalier, founded in 1854 in Issoudun (near Bourges) a Congregation of priests and brothers: the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart ‘. He saw them as heralds of the Love that their contemporaries wished to re-ignite em Christ and love to give a Christian life. The motto that’s why he gave to his congregation was “Loved it everywhere H. Heart of Jesus … “.

After twenty-five years (1879) counted the Ccngregatie twenty-nine priests, five breeders and twenty-nine great-seminarians (including all two Dutch).

Around 1880 demanded the Masonic Government of the French Republic that the monks would apply for an official recognition, which would impose restrictions on their apostolate. The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) fled to the Netherlands. Here they received from Msgr. Godschalk, bishop of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, his country residence, home Gerra, assigned (1881).

House Gerra was the training center, the neviciaat, headed by Father Ch. Piperon. When the first nevicen were professed and new postulants had been submitted, the house was too small and a disused textile factory in the city of Tilburg purchased. In addition to the novitiate and the higher studies there was also the Minor Seminary, called Apostclische School housed.

The first members of the Congregation had occurred because the devotion to the Blessed Heart of Jesus wanted to spread, especially in France. However, the founder of their congregation itself had also bet bet beginning mission work in foreign countries as one of the main tasks of the institute and given the younger generation looked with longing for the realization of this mission from ideal. The motto was still: ~ Loved it everywhere … “Another bet during his forced departure of people from France, which the very existence of betting institute put into question, asked Father Chevalier procurator in Rome to the Congregation as a candidate for a or other mission to contribute to the H. Steel. Cardinal Simeoni, Prefect of the Congregation of the Propaganda Fide, offered them the whole Pacific (Melanesia and Micronesia), with the mission head attention to the island of New Guinea.

Meanwhile in 1874 the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart founded. The large exodus of members of both congregations to the Mission began. The first caravan traveled in 1881 with the adventurer Marquis de Rays, via Manila, Surabaya, Batavia and Singapore to Sydney. After thirteen months, they reached from there in northern New Guinea, the town of Port Breton, on the south coast of New Ireland was. Because they are nothing but ruins and graves found, they crossed the St. George’s Channel and began their mission work in New Britain.

In 1885 came two priests, three brothers and five sisters to bet-Thursday Island on the south coast of New Guinea. The nearby Yule Island they reached the mainland of New Guinea. This mission area had in 1910 after twenty-five years of work already twenty-three dead. Their average age was not above thirty-four years. “

The foundation of the Apostolic Prefecture of Dutch New Guinea

The western half of New Guinea was part of the Dutch East Indies and the Government was there for the whole Dutch East Indies to the Catholic church law recognized only one authority, namely the Apostolic Vicariate of Batavia (Jakarta).

The first missionaries were world men (1808-1859). Thereafter, the vicariate entrusted to the Order of the Jesuit Fathers. They were on different islands present the pastoral care of Catholics and the proclamation of Christian faith to bet the “Gentiles” has taken on.
But it was towards the end of the nineteenth century it became clear that this was far too extensive field work for bet workforce of this one Order. From Europe came forward so other Orders and Congregations, who were willing to be part of this mission field to take over. The MSC, in particular the Dutch group of younger members, was still thinking about New Guinea.
The Jesuits were in 1888 and came to the Moluccas had bet mission work there put in motion. The Missionaries of the Sacred Hart declared themselves prepared this Mission in 1896 (the Moluccas and New Guinea) to take over. But the Dutch Government announced that it no second independent Apostolic Vicariate wished to recognize that addition of Batavia. And wished the MSC itself not as a subdivision of that Jesuitical Vicariate to be deployed. Rome understood the attitude of the Dutch Government does not, so that the negotiations were not smooth.
It took seven years before the negotiations in 1902 result had there own Apostolic Prefecture was established and recognized, namely the Prefecture of Dutch New Guinea. Father M. Neijens was appointed the first Prefect. With Father H. Geurtjens he left the Kei eiianden where she became the mission of the Jesuit Fathers took over in 1903. From there, they left in 1905 to Merauke.

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The Military Exploration Detachment in southern New Guinea, 1907-1910 [2]

The Military Exploration Detachment in southern New Guinea, 1907-1910 [2

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Pioneers in the early days.
In the first years of the mission in Merauke, there have been many missionaries. Here is an overview, many of them their lives prematurely left the work they did.

Father M. Neijens, born in Heel (Limburg) 1868, MSC was in 1887, received his doctorate in theology in Rome, was ordained priest since 1896, taught at the Grand Seminary MSC Antwerp and Louvain, was appointed Prefect of the Apostolic Prefecture of Dutch New Guinea in 1903. He went to the Moluccas, together with Father H. Geurtjens and founded the Mission in New Guinea in 1905, there came on a visit in 1906, 1909 and 1914. Prefect as he came into conflict with the Provincial Executive of the MSC in the Netherlands. He resigned as Prefect in 1915, worked until 1921 in Merauke and thereafter on the Kei Islands, where he died in 1941.
Father H. Nollen, born in ‘s-Hertogenbosch 1870, MSC was in 1891, ordained priest in 1897, moved to Neu Pomerania (then German New Guinea) in 1897 and came thence to Merauke 1905. He was Superior of the MSC Langgoer (Boulder) 1910, succeeded Father Neijens as Prefect 1915 and returned after the appointment of Msgr. J. Aerts MSC Vicar of the Vicariate of Dutch New Guinea back to Neu Pomerania. He worked there until 1951. He died in Sydney, Australia, 1951.
Ph. Fr. Braun, born in Beverwijk 1872, MSC 1892, 1897 and ordained a priest verlrok Neu Pomerania. Hence he came to Merauke in 1905 and after a year moved to Boulder. He later left and Kei as MSC priest in America, where he died in 1916.
Brother D. van Roessel, born in Tilburg 1860, MSC 1889, went to Merauke, 1905, was moved to Boulder in 1906 and died Saumlaki (Tanirnbar), 1930.
Brother M. Oomen, born in Hoeven 1869, MSC was in 1897, came to Merauke, 1905, died there 1906.
Brother N. Hamers, born in Tilburg 1872, MSC 1896, went to Neu Pomerania and came to Merauke in 1906, went on leave to the Netherlands, where he died in 1913.
Father E. Cappers, Geldrop born in 1877, MSC was in 1897, ordained 1904, was given the job of deputy director of the Minor Seminary of Tilburg, asked to resign and went to Merauke in 1906. He moved to Boulder ill 1909, died in the internment Cimahi, 1945.
Brother G. Verhoeven, born in Gemert 1871, MSC 1901, went to Merauke in 1907 and died after a month there.
Brother J. Joosten, born in Deurne 1872, MSC 1898, went to Merauke 1907, worked there until 1922 and then to Boulder, where he was shot by the Japanese in 1942.
Brother G. Jeanson, born in Duisburg (Did.) 1874, MSC was in 1899, worked at Merauke from 1908-1911 and died in the internment Bojo, Ceiebes 1944.
Father J. van der Kooy, born in Rijswijk 1878, MSC was in 1899, ordained priest 1904. His first period ran from 1909-1915 Merauke, then he worked in Boulder until 1923. His second period in New Guinea lasted from 1923 until he died in 1953.
Father J. Viegen, born in Maastricht 1871, MSC 1892, ordained 1897, moved to Boulder, was Superior of the MSC until 1909, then came to Merauke, turned back to Kei 1915, moved to the Netherlands 1920, died there in 1936.
Father J. of Kolk, Wanroy born in 1879, MSC 1900, ordained priest 1908. He came to Merauke 1910, founded the station in 1915 and moved to Okaba Langgoer at Boulder, appointed Mission Superior. He went to Nederiand 1922, where he died in 1931.
Father P. Vertenten, born in Hamme Viaanderen (Beigie) 1884, MSC was in 1904, ordained priest 1909 and went to Merauke and joined Father Van de Kolk in Okaba. In 1915 he came in Merauke where he is the “Savior of the Kaja-kaya’s’ was (1921). He left in 1925 and was nominated for the Congo (Africa). He died in Wilrijk, Antwerp, in 1946.
Brother H. of Santvoort, born in Tilburg 1878, MSC was in 1902, came to Merauke in 1910, worked to Okaba (plantation) to 1915, from Merauke, he returned to the Netherlands and died in Tilburg in 1950.
It is these men that we were working in southern New Guinea. In order to understand their work is more useful to say about their person, their origin, the time from which they arose and their special religious formation.

With a single word to characterize it thus:

Nollen, the open shelf, filled with the idea of seifsupporting (cattle, gardens, plantation);
Braun, the frustrated, which ai soon be no more Papuans could see;
Brother Van Roessel, jack of all trades;
Hammers brother, the Builder;
Joosten brother, the gardener;
the brothers Oomen and Verhoeven, the first victims;
brother Jeanson, helper in all areas;
Cappers, wandering, narrator;
Van der Kooy, sick father;
Viegen, the ‘anthropologist’;
Van de Kolk, founder of Okaba;
Brother Van Santvoort, man of kopraproduktie;
Vertenten, the savior of Kajakaja’s,
Neijens, the first Prefect.

Allen – by Braun, Van der Kooy and after Jeanson – were Brabant and Limburg, with a Viaming: Vertenten. They worked and lived together, bijeengepiaatst by the monastic authorities, together in the distant solitude, together dedicated solely for one purpose: to bring the Faith to the ‘heathens’, working on their repentance and adhere to the necessary civilization … but laboring ais own personalities, different from talent, temperament and character.

What this means in everyday life hot knew is difficult to trace because they wrote only that they were generally in good health and were able to keep it pleasant in dealing with cobble together. So was the fact in the published ‘letters’, but lateral unpublished observations in letters to the government or our colleagues do also suspect that another more bearable sometimes very difficult must have been.

Father Henry Nollen left in 1891 to the Mission of Neu Pomerania in the former German New Guinea. Hence he came to Merauke in 1905. He arranges the first house, put a nursery and livestock on. When Oomen brother died, was working in his garden shed and not least, he writes:

The work on stapett. Brother Hammers can not do everything. Well help Paler Cappers and I was so good we can, but what the farm is concerned, which is now in the hands of three who does not know.

A month later he writes:

The farm life and the stable air do me good … When milking goats I have now received the manure kruien. I also mow al .. I visit my sheep, but now twice a week to every other day. My language remains so in arrears, but it will recover again. “

He leaves that to the Provincial Superior in Tilburg still hear and say there, that from that side came no word of consolation upon the death of brother Oomen. He attends wedding on foot and on horseback in the villages nearby, carefully studying the country and people, asks and obtains a camera, published in Anthropos.
But Van de Kolk says Nollen that extension does not dare to ask for things that others are interested also agreed to establish. Nollen complains that the shipments come from Tilburg not over, not according to demand and not well packed. He displays his “poverty” so violently that it will be explained later as lack of concern with the Prefect.
The ‘sufficient’ money, however, that he received from Kei, went on to the large-scale farming, against the wishes of the Prefect in which he had committed, however. From the Diary of Merauke that kept Nollen, and especially his letters, he emerges as a very pious man, who begs for prayers and sacrifices for the conversion of the people. Superior became (1910) and therefore transferred from Merauke to Langgoer, he soon returned to Boulder from Merauke to the establishment of a mission station “on the Bian River” to prepare.
When Father Neijens in 1915 resigned as Prefect and was asked, Nollen, wanted to nominate as a successor, he told himself not competent to consider. He believes not be able to “own body” level government officials to deal with, he knows no language. He assumes office as a ‘temporary’ period between the prospect that Rome was a Vicar Apostolic – a bishop – will appoint. During this period, Van de Kolk and become the ruler who was Nollen but a difficult man, short-tempered. In 1921, Nollen Merauke visiting once and this was a big disappointment for the founder, he then returns to his first mission, Neu Vorpommern, where he continues to run until 1951.

Father Philip Braun stayed only a year to Merauke: 1905-1906. He could not harden. Nollen wrote to the Provinciaai: “At Braun, I did not PEEI, which focuses little on the lazy,” Il est blasé. “‘But these Kei Braun was the administrator of the prefecture and it occurs in his letters to the Provincial know as a critical man who really dared tell where the shoe wrong.

Father Edward Cappers got a job after his ordination as assistant director of the Minor Seminary of Tilburg, asked to resign and went to Merauke in 1906. Nollen had looked to him to replace Braun. His many additional articles in the Annals and the Almanac witnesses of his frequent visits to the villages and a real can do with them what was going on. In Merauke himself was his door is always open for visits. He was after a year or three sick and went to the Kei eiianden.

Was short-lived stay of Oomen brother who died in 1906, brother of Verhoeven, died after a month of Merauke and Brother Van Roessel in 1906 moved to Boulder and died in Saumlaki, (Tanimbar).

Brother Hammers was the real brother of that time, prepared for every good work, self-conscious of his valuable contribution, but also full of admiration and reverence for the fathers. In the letter about his own work he says:

“It’s almost eleven o’clock … now able to cook and simmer everything, get some bread soaked in milk for a treat, for if the priests the whole morning in the blazing sun had run, they may act as extra.”

He built the new parish of Merauke and later church and home in Okaba and went on leave to the Netherlands.

Brother Joosten. We hear very little about him, he kept faith with the market garden until 1922. After his leave, he worked at Boulder and was Msgr. Aerts and companions shot by the Japanese.

Together with his brother stayed. Jeanson Merauke.

Two figures came back very own in 1909 to Merauke: Father J. Father Jos van der Kooy and Viegen.

Father Van der Kooy. This quiet man draws himself best in a letter to the Provincial in 1912:

About conversion work I can say very little. Ais we occasionally a soul in heaven rockers, we are at biij; regular Christian communities there is still no. There are two churches under construction, one for and one for Wendoe Jobar. I honor that church full of believers Jobar see will I lien law a year or older. The courage we lose fuel, we all know that first, especially of a mission is difficult and the Lord expects earnings not to success. 1k pray Lord for you. Reciprocally I also ask your prayers that God give me courage and strength to much for him werken.5

Jos Viegen worked during his years in Merauke (1909-1915) and to Jobar Wendoe. He showed a special interest in the life of the Marind.

Jan van de Kolk. In the archives of the MSC in Tilburg is a letter from the chaplain from Wanroy, the birthplace of Van de Kolk. The chaplain writes:

The undersigned certifies that he Josephus of John Kolk over five years, and acolyte had known that it always has been blameless in his moral and religious behavior ‘and the other children in modesty and piety has always excelled. His tendency to missionary life are truly profound piety and virtue and also are more than just construction to the study, give me confidence that by the good God to missionary was created.

During his final year of study in theology, he shows himself extremely modest and willing to do anything to his government that he would like to hear New Guinea would be appointed. From there already was a letter from Paler Nollen come asking for a ‘wise man’ and then all the name of Van de Kolk calls.

Cappers wrote to Van de Kolk a warning letter:

When you come, welcome hear!
But make it clear that you yourself first is not to much to baptize. The longer I am here, the more I see how deep, unfathomably deep, the people here have fallen men and women, their life is a series of unnatural immorality. Disgusting.

In Batavia on his way to Boulder, he hears his appointment to Merauke. After a journey of two fifty days he arrives there. His first impression:

Altogether it struck me so bad. The “City” has been seen at all in ten minutes. Fathers and brothers look healthy with huge beards. The livestock: a stallion, a mare and three young stallions, three dogs, two Dutch cows, a firm bull, two buffaloes, three calves, thirty chickens, twenty ducks.
The area is surrounded with barbed wire.
There are coconuts, plantains, vegetable garden is a part. Brother Joosten sells cabbage, milk, eggs.
The life suits me prime, but one must not dirty, frightened and not impatient. The days are all equal to each other. At five o’clock on: morning prayer, meditation, Mass, breakfast and then on horseback to ± three hours. After dinner, afternoon nap. On 8 December we even had a high mass. Hammers brother and I have sung without a book. He would love to have songs like ‘Gebenedijd Thee … “. Paler Nollen and brother Hammers would like to hear about it steered the museum. They speak very disparagingly about Tilburg. Brother Hammers says: ‘1 k damned if jets are sending. “” He has a lot of effort and thank you ever had or even heard of the stuff arrived. And this I ate more experienced: the missionaries are very sensitive and short-tempered. That seems to work climate. “

He leaves for Okaba. Merauke was founded as a government post in 1902 as a mission station in 1905. Van de Kolk writes after ten years, in 1912, a brief historical overview on the work of Directors and Mission. He concludes his story as follows:

Thus there could be during the first years of a regular mission work is little question, nor indeed the unfamiliarity with the difficult language, the distrustful and fearful attitude of the savages, their attachment to their own use and much more, made these first years to a major mission life without much consolation. But they persisted, by nursing the sick and the linking of wounds they soon won the hearts of the benevolent Marindinees, so much so that the missionary simply “the good man was called. But one will never be able to describe how much sacrifice, dedication, patience, patience, self-conquest and fatigue that repentance is the fruit. It is the pioneering work that knows no satisfaction unless: later other missionaries will come that will make a start with the sow and reap. “

Typical of his time that he found solace in the fact that the Shipment – fifty years earlier to work – even less results already achieved. He writes:

Can I make a little comparison? On the other side of New Guinea, in the north, half a century honor than the south came into contact with civilization was already in 1855 a Protestant mission was founded. Ds. Van Hasselt wrote on the silver celebration of the Shipment, “On the list of the baptisms of 5 Febr. 1855 to 5 Feb. 1880 are only twenty names. “Then we need not complain, and may our Lord thanks that after five years been a much more favorable results achieved and that we in the silver celebration of the Catholic Mission in Southern New Guinea most likely a satisfactory and success will definitely have to write. But there must be prayers and suffering for the poor heathen souls of South New Guinea.

In 1913, the Board acted vigorously against headhunting in 1914 against the hunting paradise. The First World War broke out. In 1915 moved to Van de Kolk Langgoer, appointed Mission Superior.

Father Vertenten went to Merauke and from there to Okaba in 1911. As ‘The Saviour of the Kajakaja’s’ is known (see below) as “colleague” he turns his optimism and his sociability the inspiring figure to have been in the small communauteitjes. He works, writes, draws, keeps out the conflict with the government and fight for the preservation of life of the Papuans for their salvation. He signs himself the best in his letter (1912) to the Provincial:

In February it was already a year since I arrived in Okaba. I have since the Capital (!) Merauke, not seen … Why a lot of walking home when the home is so good?
We have a small but very cozy local community. I am therefore the longer the better here. Certainly we miss here provisionally the consolation that other, more advanced missions, but we should not consider the first happy to be here who proclaim God’s name?! The conversion of such yolk takes time, but our forefathers were also hundreds of years before they were presentable Christians, who were not much better, probably worse than these people here. In any case the prospect that once again this nation will honor God and love that encourages us.
We have a small farm. From our banana gardens we have lots of fun. The store’s Kajakaja there hands in each other: we are even real people, they say. Our health leaves nothing to be desired, I have before me I never felt fresher and hotter. Here also we may our Lord bedariken law. “

Van de Kolk became Superior in 1915, writes about him in that year the annual report:

Vertenten: the missionary zeal that is perhaps the best preserved and healthy optimism despite everything! A jewel of a fellow that nobody can be better witnesses than me. Is happy to Neijens Father (now Merauke), will do its best of New Guinea still to what is possible. “

After his successful trip to Batavia in 1921 to write Vertenten Viegen:

I’ve been to Java, you know al .. We should thank our Lord law; work on New Guinea was too good in the cross planted to fail. Therefore we have always kept in good spirits with God’s grace. “

And over this entire group was Father Matthias Neijens, the first Apostotische Prefect. Geurtjens Father, with whom he had left the Motukken, draws him as follows:

That Father M. Neijens a man of stature was everyone had to admit who knew him. Of medium stature, but solidly built, he betrayed his movements and gestures that a substantial body resolute soul lived. That resolute willpower was always one of his most distinctive features. What he undertook he did thoroughly and properly and then there were no difficulties deter him capable. Thus he has great things in the mission accomplished and the most painful ordeal that he knew was that grim circumstances often unbridled zest taming. In particular, he felt need to tocb in a different way to blow off steam, and are not to take out work drive cures. Then he grabbed a sledgehammer and pounded hard rifstenen, who set up one or another building stood in the way. Dan was not too hot tropical sun. If a Titan he swung the sledgehammer, which neerbonkte hard rock heads that the pieces all around him snorden and the sweat gushed from the body. Stared with amazement the natives to Tuan, Tuan so strange for a moment and did ats posed powerhouse. “

Neijens was the founder of the Mission in Dutch South New Guinea, at the request of Mr. Kroesen, 1904. Although he was offered police escort, he went alone to visit from Merauke to the Papuans in their villages.

Witty is the piece that Vertenten writes about his dealings with Fr Neijens to Merauke:

Father Neijens was a highly educated and literate man, well aware of religion and science, art and literature. He was also a fascinating conversationalist. If he lets interesting read bad, he could also be lively about it. For a time he spoke a lot about ancient history: Egypt, Assyria etc. Now Neijens father had an extraordinary memory and I was wondering: how can all remember that guy? During his absence I accidentally put his hand on the source of his conversations lately: Histoire ancienne. And when he came back, I started telling him from the old days and now of course knew more than he. A twinkle in his eyes told me, you rascal!





In de eerste jaren van de missiepost in Merauke zijn er vele missionarissen geweest. Hierbij een overzicht, waarvan velen hun leven voortijdig verlieten bij het werk dat ze deden.

  • Pater M. Neijens, geboren te Heel (Limburg) 1868, werd MSC in 1887, promoveerde te Rome in de theologie, werd daar priester gewijd 1896, doceerde aan het Groot-Seminarie MSC te Antwerpen en Leuven, werd benoemd tot Prefect van de Apostolische Prefectuur van Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea in 1903. Hij vertrok naar de Molukken te zamen met pater H. Geurtjens en stichtte de Missie op Nieuw-Guinea in 1905, kwam daar op bezoek in 1906, 1909 en 1914. Als Prefect kwam hij in conflict met het Provinciaal Bestuur van de MSC in Nederland. Hij trad af als Prefect in 1915, werkte nog tot 1921 in Merauke en daama op de Kei-eilanden, waar hij stierf in 1941.
  • Pater H. Nollen, geboren te ‘s-Hertogenbosch 1870, werd MSC in 1891, priester gewijd in 1897, vertrok naar Neu Pommeren (toenmalig Duits Nieuw-Guinea) in 1897 en kwam vandaar naar Merauke 1905. Hij werd Overste van de MSC te Langgoer (Kei) 1910, volgde pater Neijens op als Prefect 1915 en keerde na de benoeming van mgr. J. Aerts MSC tot Vicaris van het Vicariaat Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea naar Neu Pommeren terug. Daar werkte hij tot 1951. Hij stierf te Sydney, Australië, 1951.
  • Pater Ph. Braun, geboren te Beverwijk 1872, werd MSC in 1892, priester gewijd 1897 en verlrok naar Neu Pommeren. Vandaar kwam hij naar Merauke in 1905 en werd na één jaar overgeplaatst naar Kei. Hij verliet later Kei en heeft als MSC-priester in Amerika gewerkt, waar hij stierf in 1916.
  • Broeder D. van Roessel, geboren te Tilburg 1860, werd MSC in 1889, vertrok naar Merauke 1905, werd overgeplaatst naar Kei 1906 en overleed te Saumlaki (Tanirnbar), 1930.
  • Broeder M. Oomen, geboren te Hoeven 1869, werd MSC in 1897, kwam naar Merauke 1905, overleed daar 1906.
  • Broeder N. Hamers, geboren te Tilburg 1872, werd MSC in 1896, vertrok naar Neu Pommeren en kwam naar Merauke in 1906, ging op verlof naar Nederland, waar hij stierf in 1913.
  • Pater E. Cappers, geboren te Geldrop 1877, werd MSC in 1897, priester gewijd 1904, kreeg de taak van onderdirecteur van het Klein-Seminarie te Tilburg, vroeg zelf ontslag en vertrok naar Merauke in 1906. Hij vertrok ziek naar Kei 1909, stierf in het interneringskamp Cimahi, 1945.
  • Broeder G. Verhoeven, geboren te Gemert 1871, werd MSC in 1901, vertrok naar Merauke in 1907 en stierf na een maand aldaar.
  • Broeder J. Joosten, geboren te Deurne 1872, werd MSC in 1898, vertrok naar Merauke 1907, werkte daar tot 1922 en daarna op Kei, waar hij door de Japanners werd doodgeschoten in 1942.
  • Broeder G. Jeanson, geboren te Duisburg (Did.) 1874, werd MSC in 1899, werkte te Merauke van 1908-1911 en stierf in het interneringskamp Bojo, Ceiebes 1944.
  • Pater J. van der Kooy, geboren te Rijswijk 1878, werd MSC in 1899, priester gewijd 1904. Zijn eerste periode te Merauke liep van 1909-1915, daarna werkte hij op Kei tot 1923. Zijn tweede periode op Nieuw-Guinea duurde van 1923 tot hij daar stierf in 1953.
  • Pater J. Viegen, geboren te Maastricht 1871, werd MSC in 1892, priester gewijd 1897, vertrok naar Kei, was er Overste van de MSC tot 1909, kwam toen naar Merauke, keerde naar Kei terug 1915, vertrok naar Nederland 1920, stierf daar in 1936.
  • Pater J. van de Kolk, geboren te Wanroy 1879, werd MSC in 1900, priester gewijd 1908. Hij kwam naar Merauke 1910, stichtte de statie Okaba en verhuisde in 1915 naar Langgoer op Kei, benoemd als Missie-Overste. Hij vertrok naar Nederiand 1922, waar hij stierf in 1931.
  • Pater P. Vertenten, geboren te Hamme in Viaanderen (Beigie) 1884, werd MSC in 1904, priester gewijd 1909 en vertrok naar Merauke en voegde zich bij pater Van de Kolk in Okaba. In 1915 kwam hij weer in Merauke waar hij de ‘Redder van de Kaja-kaja’s’ werd (1921). Hij vertrok in 1925 en werd benoemd voor de Kongo (Afrika). Hij stierf te Wilrijk, Antwerpen, in 1946.
  • Broeder H. van Santvoort, geboren te Tilburg 1878, werd MSC in 1902, kwam in 1910 naar Merauke, werkte te Okaba (plantage) tot 1915, vanuit Merauke keerde hij naar Nederland terug en stierf te Tilburg in 1950.

Het zijn deze mannen die wij aan het werk waren in Zuid-Nieuw-Guinea. Om hun werk te begrijpen is het nuttig meer te zeggen over hun persoon, over hun afkomst, over de tijd waaruit zij voortkwamen en over hun speciale religieuze vorming.

Met een enkel woord zijn zij aldus te karakteriseren:

Nollen, de openlegger, vervuld van de idee van seifsupporting (vee, tuinen, plantage);
Braun, de gefrustreerde, die ai spoedig geen Papoea meer kon zien;
broeder Van Roessel, manusje van alles;
broeder Hamers, de bouwheer;
broeder Joosten, de tuinman;
de broeders Oomen en Verhoeven, de eerste slachtoffers;
broeder Jeanson, helper op alle gebied;
Cappers, rondtrekkend, verteller;
Van der Kooy, ziekenvader;
Viegen, de ‘antropoloog’;
Van de Kolk, stichter van Okaba;
broeder Van Santvoort, man van de kopraproduktie;
Vertenten, de redder van de Kajakaja’s,
Neijens, de eerste Prefect.

Allen — op Braun, Van der Kooy en Jeanson na — waren Brabanders en Limburgers, met één Viaming: Vertenten. Zij werkten en leefden te zamen, bijeengepiaatst door de kloosteroverheid, samen in de verre eenzaamheid, samen zich inzettend voor het ene doel: het Geloof te brengen aan de ‘heidenen’, werkend aan hun bekering en aan de daarvoor nodige beschaving… maar wel arbeidend ais eigen persoonlijkheden, verschillend van talent, temperament en karakter.

Wat dit in het dagelijkse leven hetekende is moeilijk te achterhalen, want zij schreven alleen dat zij meestal goed gezond waren en het prettig wisten te houden in de omgang met eIkaar. Zo stond het namelijk in de gepubliceerde ‘brieven’, maar zijdelingse opmerkingen in niet gepubliceerde brieven aan de Overheid of confraters doen ons evenzeer vermoeden dat elkander steeds te verdragen ook wel eens heel moeilijk geweest moet zijn.

Pater Henricus Nollen vertrok in 1891 naar de Missie van Neu Pommeren in het toenmalige Duitse Nieuw-Guinea. Vandaar kwam hij naar Merauke in 1905. Hij regelt het eerste huis, zet een tuinderij en een veehouderij op. Toen broeder Oomen stierf, was het werken in tuin en stal hem niet te min. Hij schrijft:

Het werk stapett zich op. Broeder Hamers kan niet alles doen. Wel helpen paler Cappers en ik zo goed we kunnen, maar wat de boerderij aangaat, die komt nu in handen van drie die er niets van kennen.

Een maand later schrijft hij:

Het boerenleven en de stallucht doen me goed… Bij het geiten melken heb ik nu ook het mestkruien gekregen. Maaien doe ik ook al… Ik bezoek mijn schaapjes nu maar twee maal per week tegen anders iedere dag. Mijn taalkennis blijft zo ten achteren, maar dat zal ook weer bijkomen.’

Hij laat dat aan de Provinciale Overste in Tilburg wel horen en zegt erbij, dat er van die kant geen woord van troost was gekomen bij het overlijden van broeder Oomen. Hij bezoekt trouw te voet en te paard de dorpen in de nabijheid, bestudeert nauwkeurig land en volk, vraagt en verkrijgt een fototoestel, publiceert in Anthropos.
Maar Van de Kolk vertelt Nollen dat toestel niet te durven vragen om zaken die anderen interesseren ook eens te kunnen vastleggen. Nollen klaagt dat de zendingen uit Tilburg niet goed over komen, niet volgens de vraag en niet goed verpakt. Hij etaleert zijn ‘armoede’ zo hevig, dat dit later uitgelegd wordt als gebrek aan zorg bij de Prefect.
Het ‘voldoende’ geld echter, dat hij van Kei ontving, ging op aan de te groots opgezette veehouderij, tegen de wil van de Prefect in, die hem echter liet begaan. Uit het Dagboek van Merauke dat Nollen bijhield, en vooral ook uit zijn brieven, komt hij naar voren als een zeer vroom man, die smeekt om gebed en offers voor de bekering van de mensen. Overste geworden (1910) en daarom overgeplaatst van Merauke naar Langgoer, komt hij spoedig van Kei terug naar Merauke om de vestiging van een missiestatie “over de Bianrivier” voor te bereiden.
Toen pater Neijens in 1915 aftrad als Prefect en men hem, Nollen, wilde voordragen als de opvolger, liet hij horen zich niet bekwaam te achten. Hij meent niet in staat te zijn op ‘ambtenlijk’ niveau met regeringsfunctionarissen te kunnen omgaan, hij kent geen talen. Hij aanvaardt het ambt als ‘tijdelijke’ tussenperiode in het vooruitzicht dat Rome wel een Apostolische Vicaris — een bisschop — zal gaan benoemen. In die periode was Van de Kolk de Overste geworden en die vond Nollen maar een moeilijk mens, kort aangebonden. In 1921 bezoekt Nollen Merauke nog éénmaal en dit was een grote teleurstelling voor deze stichter; hij keert dan naar zijn eerste Missie, Neu Pommeren, terug, waar hij blijft werken tot 1951.

Pater Philippus Braun verbleef maar één jaar te Merauke: 1905-1906. Hij kon het er niet harden. Nollen schreef aan de Provinciaai: ‘Aan Braun heb ik niet veei, die houdt zich weinig met de lui op; “Il est blasé”.’ Maar deze Braun werd op Kei de administrator van de prefectuur en doet zich dan in zijn brieven aan de Provinciaal kennen als een kritisch man, die echt wel, durfde zeggen waar de schoen wrong.

Pater Eduard Cappers kreeg na zijn priesterwijding een taak als onderdirecteur van het Klein-Seminarie te Tilburg, vroeg zelf ontslag en vertrok naar Merauke in 1906. Nollen had naar hem uitgekeken om Braun te vervangen. Zijn vele artikeltjes in de Annalen en de Almanak getuigen van zijn veelvuldig bezoek aan de dorpen en van een echt mee kunnen doen met wat er gaande was. Ook in Merauke zelf stond zijn deur altijd open voor bezoek. Hij werd na een jaar of drie ziek en vertrok naar de Kei-eiianden.

Van korte duur was het verblijf van broeder Oomen die in 1906 overleed, van broeder Verhoeven, gestorven na een maand te Merauke en van broeder Van Roessel die in 1906 naar Kei vertrok en overleed te Saumlaki, (Tanimbar).

Broeder Hamers was de echte broeder van die tijd, tot elk goed werk bereid, zichzelf wel bewust van zijn waardevolle bijdrage, maar tegelijk vol bewondering en eerbied voor de paters. In de brief over zijn eigen werk zegt hij:

“Het is bijna elf uur… nu staat alles te koken en te pruttelen, gauw wat brood in melk geweekt voor een koekje, want als de paters de ganse morgen in de brandende zon gelopen hebben, mogen zij wet wat extra’s hebben.”

Hij bouwde de nieuwe pastorie van Merauke en later kerk en huis in Okaba en ging  op verlof naar Nederland.

Broeder Joosten. Wij horen heel weinig over hem; hij verzorgde trouw de tuinderij tot 1922. Na zijn verlof werkte hij op Kei en werd met mgr. Aerts en gezellen doodgeschoten door de Japanners.

Te zamen met hem verbleef broeder .Jeanson te Merauke.

Twee weer heel eigen figuren kwamen in 1909 naar Merauke: pater J. van der Kooy en pater Jos Viegen.

Pater Van der Kooy. Deze stille man tekent zichzelf het beste in een brief aan de Provinciaal in 1912:

Over ons bekeringswerk kan ik weinig zeggen. Ais we zo nu en dan een zieltje in de hemel wippen mogen we at biij zijn; van geregelde christengemeenten is nog geen sprake. Ook zijn twee kerkjes in aanbouw, een voor Wendoe en een voor Jobar. Eer dat ik dat kerkje van Jobar vol gelovigen zal zien, zal ik wet een jaar of lien ouder zijn. De moed verliezen we fuel; we weten dat alle begin, vooral van een missie, moeilijk is en Onze Lieve Heer rekent de verdiensten niet naar het succes. 1k bid Onze Lieve Heer voor u. Wederkerig vraag ik ook uw gebed opdat God mij moed en sterkte geve om veel voor Hem te werken.5

Jos Viegen werkte tijdens zijn jaren te Merauke (1909-1915) te Jobar en Wendoe. Hij toonde een heel bijzondere belangstelling voor de levensbeschouwing van de Marind.

Jan van de Kolk. In het Archief van de MSC in Tilburg ligt een brief van de kapelaan uit Wanroy, de geboorteplaats van Van de Kolk. De kapelaan schrijft:

De ondergetekende verklaart dat hij Johannes Josephus van de Kolk ruim vijf jaren heeft gekend en tot misdienaar heeft gehad, dat deze steeds onberispelijk is geweest in zijn zedelijk en godsdienstig gedrag en onder de overige kinderen in ingetogenheid en godsvrucht steeds heeft uitgemunt. Zijn neiging tot het missionarisleven, zijn werkelijk innige godsvrucht en deugd en tevens zijn meer dan gewone aanleg tot de studie, geven mij het vertrouwen dat hij door de goede God tot het missionarisleven is geroepen.

Tijdens zijn laatste studiejaar in de theologie laat hij zelf, uiterst bescheiden en tot alles bereid, aan zijn overheid horen dat hij graag voor Nieuw-Guinea benoemd zou worden. Van daar was reeds een brief van paler Nollen gekomen die vraagt om een ‘verstandig man’ en dan al de naam van Van de Kolk noemt.

Cappers schreef aan Van de Kolk een waarschuwende brief:

Als je komt, welkom hoor!
Doch maak het uzelf voorop duidelijk dat ge niet komt om er veel te dopen. Hoe langer ik hier ben, hoe meer ik zie hoe diep, onpeilbaar diep, de mensen hier gevallen zijn, mannen en vrouwen; hun leven is een aaneenschakeling van onnatuurlijke onzedelijkheid. Walgelijk.

In Batavia op doorreis naar Kei, hoort hij zijn benoeming voor Merauke. Na een reis van tweeenvijftig dagen arriveert hij daar. Zijn eerste indruk:

Alles te zamen viel het me erg mee. De “Stad” heeft men in tien minuten helemaal gezien. Paters en broeders zien er gezond uit met kolossale baarden. De veestapel: een hengst, een merrie en drie jonge hengsten, drie honden, twee Hollandse koeien, een ferme stier, twee karbouwen, drie kalveren, dertig kippen, twintig eenden.
Het terrein is omringd met prikkeldraad.
Er staan klappers, pisangs, een deel is moestuin. Broeder Joosten verkoopt kool, melk, eieren.
Het leventje bevalt me puik, maar men moet hier niet vies, bang en niet ongeduldig zijn. De dagen zijn hier alle aan elkaar gelijk. Om vijf uur op: morgengebed, meditatie, Mis, ontbijt en dan te paard tot ± drie uur. Daarna diner, middagdutje. Op 8 December hebben we zelfs Hoogmis gehad. Broeder Hamers en ik hebben gezongen zonder boek. Hij zou dolgraag de liedjes hebben zoals ‘Gebenedijd zijt Gij…’. Paler Nollen en broeder Hamers zouden graag eens iets horen over het gestuurde voor het museum. Zij spreken zeer ontmoedigend over Tilburg. Broeder Hamers zegt: ‘1k verdom het nog jets te sturen.’ ‘Hij heeft er veel moeite voor gedaan en nooit een dankje gekregen of zelfs niet vernomen dat de spullen aangekomen waren. En dit heb Ik at meer ondervonden: de missionarissen zijn zeer gevoelig en kort aangebonden. Dat schijnt het klimaat te bewerken.’

Hij vertrekt naar Okaba. Merauke werd gesticht als bestuurspost in 1902 en als missiepost in 1905. Van de Kolk schrijft na tien jaren, in 1912, een kort geschiedkundig overzicht over het werk van Bestuur en Missie. Hij besluit zijn verhaal als volgt:

Zodoende kon er gedurende de eerste jaren van een geregeld missiewerk nog weinig sprake zijn; trouwens de onbekendheid met de moeilijke taal, de wantrouwende en vreesachtige houding van de wilden, hun gehechtheid aan eigen gebruiken en zoveel meer, maakten deze eerste jaren tot een zwaar missieleven zonder veel troost. Maar men hield stand; door het verplegen van de zieken en het verbinden van wonden won men spoedig het goedige hart van de Marindinees, zozeer zelfs dat de missionaris gewoon ‘de goede man’ werd genoemd. Maar men zal nooit kunnen beschrijven van hoeveel opoffering, toewijding, geduld, lijdzaamheid, zelfoverwinning en vermoeienis die bekering de vrucht is. Het is het pionierswerk dat geen voldoening kent tenzij deze: later zullen andere missionarissen komen die een begin zullen kunnen maken met het zaaien en maaien.”

Typerend voor zijn tijd is dat hij troost vindt in het feit dat de Zending — al vijftig jaar eerder aan het werk — nog minder resultaat heeft geboekt. Hij schrijft:

Mag ik hier een kleine vergelijking maken? Aan de andere kant van NieuwGuinea, in het noorden, dat een halve eeuw eer dan het zuiden in aanraking kwam met de beschaving, werd reeds in 1855 een Protestantse missiepost gesticht. Ds. Van Hasselt schreef op het zilveren feest van die Zending: “Op de lijst van de dopelingen van 5 Febr. 1855 tot 5 Febr. 1880 komen slechts twintig namen voor.” Dan behoeven wij zeker niet te klagen en kunnen O.L. Heer danken dat we na vijf jaren reeds een veel gunstiger uitslag bereikten en dat we bij het zilveren feest van de Katholieke Missie op Zuid-Nieuw-Guinea allerwaarschijnlijkst een bevredigend en degelijk succes zullen te noteren hebben. Maar dan moet er gebeden en geleden worden voor de arme heidense zielen van ZuidNieuw-Guinea.

In 1913 trad het Bestuur krachtdadig op tegen het koppensnellen; in 1914 tegen de paradijsvogeljacht. De Eerste Wereldoorlog brak uit. In 1915 verhuisde Van de Kolk naar Langgoer, benoemd als Missie-Overste.

Pater Vertenten vertrok naar Merauke en van daar naar Okaba in 1911. Als ‘De Redder van de Kajakaja’s’ wordt bekend (zie verderop); als ‘confrater’ blijkt hij door zijn optimisme en zijn gezelligheid de bezielende figuur te zijn geweest in de kleine communauteitjes. Hij werkt, schrijft, tekent, houdt zich buiten het conflict met de Overheid en vecht voor het lijfsbehoud van de Papoea’ s omwille van hun heil. Hij tekent zichzelf het beste in zijn brief (1912) aan de Provinciaal:

In Februari was het reeds een jaar geleden dat ik in Okaba arriveerde. Ik heb sinds de Hoofdstad (!) Merauke, niet gezien… Waarom ook veel van huis lopen als het tehuis zo goed is?
Wij hebben hier een kleine, doch zeer gezellige communauteit. Ik ben dan ook hoe langer hoe liever hier. Zeker missen wij hier voorlopig de troost die andere, meer gevorderde missieposten geven, maar mogen wij ons niet gelukkig achten de eersten te zijn die hier Gods naam verkondigen?! De bekering van zulk een yolk vraagt veel tijd, maar onze voorvaderen deden er ook honderden jaren over eer zij presentabele christenen waren, die waren al niet veel beter, allicht slechter dan deze mensen hier. In alle geval het vooruitzicht dat eenmaal ook dit volk God eren en beminnen zal, dat bemoedigt ons.
Wij hebben hier een kleine boerderij. Van onze bananentuinen hebben wij veel plezier. De Kajakaja’s slaan er de handen voor in elkaar: wij zijn nog eens echte mensen, zeggen ze. Onze gezondheid laat niets te wensen over, Ik voor mij heb mij nooit frisser en heter gevoeld. Daar ook mogen wij O.L. Heer wet voor bedariken.’

Van de Kolk, Overste geworden in 1915, schrijft dat jaar over hem in het jaarrapport:

Vertenten: de missionaris die misschien het beste zijn ijver en gezond optimisme bewaard heeft ondanks alles! Een juweel van een Confrater, dat kan niemand beter getuigen dan ik. Is graag bij pater Neijens (nu te Merauke), zal zijn best doen om van Nieuw-Guinea nog te maken wat mogelijk is.’

Na zijn geslaagde reis naar Batavia in 1921 schrijft Vertenten aan Viegen:

Dat ik naar Java geweest ben, weet u al… Wij mogen O.L. Heer wet danken; het werk op Nieuw-Guinea was te goed in het kruis geplant om failliet te gaan. We hebben dan ook steeds met Gods genade goede moed gehouden.’

En boven deze hele groep stond pater Matthias Neijens, de eerste Apostotische Prefect. Pater Geurtjens, met wie hij naar de Motukken was vertrokken, tekent hem als volgt:

Dat pater dr. M. Neijens een man van formaat was zat iedereen toegeven die hem gekend heeft. Middelmatig van postuur, doch stevig gebouwd, verried hij in al zijn bewegingen en gebaren dat in dat lichaam een forse resolute ziel huisde. Die resolute wilskracht was steeds een zijner meest kenmerkende eigenschappen. Wat hij ondernam deed hij degelijk en grondig en dan waren geen moeilijkheden in staat hem af te schrikken. Daardoor heeft hij ook in de missie grote dingen tot stand gebracht en de pijnlijkste beproeving die hij kende was wel dat onverbiddelijke omstandigheden vaak zijn ongebreidelde werklust temden. Dan vooral gevoelde hij behoefte om tocb op een andere wijze stoom af te blazen en zijn niet in te houden werklust uit te kuren. Dan greep hij een zware voorhamer en beukte op de harde rifstenen, die het opzetten van een of ander gebouw in de weg stonden. Dan was geen tropenzon te heet. Als een Titaan zwaaide hij de moker, die neerbonkte op de harde rotskoppen dat de brokken in het rond snorden en hem het zweet van het lichaam gutste. Met stomme verbazing staarden dan de inlanders naar de toean, die voor een toean zo vreemd deed en even poseerde ats krachtpatser.’

Neijens werd de stichter van de Missie op Nederlands Zuid-Nieuw-Guinea, op verzoek van de heer Kroesen, 1904. Ofschoon hem politie-escorte werd aangeboden, ging hij alleen Merauke uit om op bezoek te gaan bij de Papoea’s in hun dorpen.

Geestig is het stukje dat Vertenten schrijft over zijn omgang met pater Neijens te Merauke:

Pater Neijens was een zeer ontwikkeld en belezen man, goed op de hoogte van godsdienst en wetenschap, kunst en letteren. Hij was bovendien een boeiend causeur. Als hij lets interessants gelezen bad, kon hij daar ook levendig over vertellen. Een tijd lang sprak hij veel over oude geschiedenis: Egypte, Assyrie enz. Nu had pater Neijens een buitengewoon geheugen en ik vroeg me verwonderd af: hoe kan die man dat allemaal onthouden? Tijdens zijn afwezigheid legde Ik toevallig de hand op de bron van zijn gesprekken uit de laatste tijd: Histoire ancienne. En toen hij terugkwam, begon ik hem te vertellen uit de oude tijd en wist er nu natuurlijk meer van dan hij. Een tinteling in zijn ogen zei me: jij deugniet!

Pionier bij de Marind-anim: Pater Petrus Vertenten

Op 3 oktober 1884 werd Petrus Vertenten geboren in Hamme, België. Na een eerste kennismaking met de Missionarissen van het Heilige Hart in 1898 in Borgerhout begon hij in de vijfde Latijnse. In zijn lectuur van de Annalen werd hij vooral geboeid door de verhalen van de Melseelse MSC’er Victor de Rijcke over Nieuw Guinea.

Dc studieuitslagen waren uitstekend. Petrus werd in Borgerhout lid van de Maria-Congregatie en was tijdens de vakantie te Hamme ook aktief in de Hamse studentenbond. Naast de gewone vorming was er ook ruim tijd en aandacht voor de kunstzinnige ontplooiing. Petrus werd secretaris van de toneel- en feestacademie “In Liefde Bloeyende” tijdens zijn vijfde en zesde studiejaar. Op het einde van zijn humaniora, in 1902-1903, maakten de leerlingen het vertrek mee van de paters Neijens en Geurtjens naar Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea, pas toegewezen gebied aan de msc.

In september 1903 startte Petrus Vertenten zijn noviciaat in Arnhem, wat op 4 oktober 1904 uitmondde in het uitspreken van zijn kloostergeloften. Als nieuwbakken Missionaris van het Heilig Hart startte de kloosterling Vertenten aan zijn filosofiestudie, onderbroken door teken- en schilderles van kunstschilder-academieleraar Bernard Janssen. In 1906 volgde dan de theologie. Nadat dit eerste jaar te Arnhem afgewerkt was geworden volgde er een korte vakantie te Hamme, waarna de theologie voortgezet werd te Leuven. Daar legde Petrus Vertenten op 4 oktober 1907 zijn eeuwige geloften af. Alhoewel hun opleiding niet aan de universiteit werd gegeven, waren er toch contacten met de studenten en dit leidde tot een lidmaatschap van de letterkundige club “Met Tijd en Vlijt”, waar Vertenten o.a. August Van Cauwelaert leerde kennen. In het tijdschrift van de Scholastieken werden de eerste bijdragen van Petrus Vertenten gepubliceerd, terwijl hij ook als illustrator optrad. De apostolische carrière wenkte ondertussen langzaam. Op 21 december 1907 ontving Petrus te Mechelen de kruinschering en de kleine wijdingen. Tijdens de verdere theologiestudie werd hij in december 1908 subdiaken gewijd, zes maand later tot diaken, wat uiteindelijk culmineerde op 21 december 1909 in de priesterwijding. Einde juli 1910 was de theologiestudie afgerond en wachtte Petrus Vertentcn op het antwoord van de provinciaal op zijn half jaar eerder gedane aanvraag voor de missie.


Petrus Vertenten werd door zijn provinciaal overste in juli 1910 benoemd om naar Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea te gaan. Na nog een korte vakantie te Hamme werd alles reisklaar gemaakt en op 15 september vertrokken vanuit het MSC-missiehuis te Tilburg vijf paters naar Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea. De reis ging over Leuven. Ass (via het nieuwe missieseminarie), Parijs naar Marseille, waar men scheep ginq met Ophir. Via het Suez-kanaal en Sri Lanka werd uiteindelijk Batavia bereikt. Na een rustpauze en een eerste de visu kennismaking met de typische plantengroei ging de groep missionarissen verder tot Soerabaja, waar men van boot wisselt. Via Ambon geraakt men in- Toeal, op de Kei-eilanden. Veel tijd om te vertoeven op het centrum van het aposto1ischi vicariaat van Nederlands Nieuw Guinea krijgt Petrus Vertenten die l0de november: 1910 niet, want om vier uur diende hij alleen verder te varen naar Nieuw-Guinea. Op 13 november 1910 stapte hij te Merauke, bij de Marorivier, aan land. Aangezien de accommodatie te Okaba, waar pater Van de Kolk en Broeder Hamers sinds augustus aan het werk waren, nog niet voltooid was, zou Vertenten te Merauke eerst de taal aanleren en de omgeving verkennen met zijn aanwezige confraters. Zijn eerste impressies aan het thuisfront na drie weken in Merauke:

“1k maak het nog steeds uitstekend. Dat kan ook moeilijk anders. 1k geloof niet dat ik ooit in mijn leven zooveel melk en pap gegeten heb als hier. Wij hebben hier koeien, verschillende en schoone ook… Ondertusschen leer ik de taal, schrijf de grammaire en de woordenboeken over ga met de Paters naar de dorpen van de wilden, soms voor twee of meer dagen, leg ‘s avonds sorns een visite af in de stad, iets wat elk nieuwaangekomen pastoor doen moet….. … en wat doe ik nog meer? rooken, brieven schrijven en hazen vangen” en muskieten wegslaan. Laatst ben ik met Pater Viegen naar Wendoe geweest, aan den anderen kant der Meraukerivier gelegen. Zoo wat twee en een half uur van hier. Van Wandoe uit gingen wij naar Koembe een dorp gelegen aan de rivier van denzelf den naam, ik heb daarover geschreven aan de studenten van het Klein-Liefdewerk. Misschien komt dat wel in de annalen.

Als ik met Pater van der Kooy meéga naar de dorpen aan dezen kant van de Meraukerivier ga ik altijd te paard. ‘t Grootste is het mijne, het heet “Lady”.

In Merauke, als gestichtte overheidspost, waren slechts weinig marindinezen aanwezig; hun dorpen lagen minstens een uur wandelen verder. Met nieuwjaar 1911 werden alle blanken bij de resident uitgenodigd voor de nieuwjaarsreeeptie, in totaal “nog geen twintig man”. De kennismaking met land en bevolking ging ondertussen door “dinsdag laatst was ik weer op marsch naar Wendoe met Pater Viegen. Aan dezen kant van de Meraukerivier gaat alles te paard, gaat ge naar Wendoe dan: alles te voet!

Nu is Wendoe niet zoo heel ver: twee uur, maar als er hooge zee staat, in den regentijd meestal dan kan men niet met het bootje naar ‘t zeestrand varen, men moet dan recht de rivier over en dan een uurtje door vette modder, waar de schoenen in vastzuigen, en door water; nu gingen wij er soms flink tot over de knieën in, maar ‘t had nu weinig of niet geregend, ‘t gebeurd meer, zie Pater Viegen, dat ge er tot de oksels in schiet… En ge moet er nog bij rekenen dat ge heel den tijd den weg moet zoeken.” 

Nieuw Guinea was wel sinds de l6de eeuw herhaaldelijk bezocht geworden door enkele explorators, maar er was geen enkele aanleiding om er ook effectief aan ontsluiting te gaan doen. Pas als een gevolg van de Europese scramble” voor koloniale gebieden in het laatste kwart van de 1 9de eeuw ging men ook dit ‘wit gebied verdelen. In november 1884 namen Duitsland en Groot-Brittannië bezit van het hun toegewezen dee! van Nieuw­Guinea. De Nederlanders hadden minder interesse in het hun toegemeten lands-deel. Pas in 1895 werd de grens met het Engels deel geregeld en in 1910 met de Duitsers. In 1902 werd de Neder­landse regeringspost Merauke opgericht als een antwoord op klachten van de Britse administratie te Port Moresby door de koppenjacht van de marindinezen op dorpen aan de andere kant van de grens. Het gebied werd eerst nog als een stief kind binnen Nederlands Indië bekeken, “a place for tours of punishment duty by delinquent civil servants and of exile for nationalist leaders”. De Marindinezen  hadden wel geprobeerd om ook deze post op te ruimen, maar de poe-anim (vreemdelingen, poe als klanknabootsing van een geweerschot) schoten de aanvallers uiteen en langzaam aan berustten zij in de b!anke aanwezigheid .

De inrichting van Merauke dient hierbij ook gezien te worden in de onafwendbare plicht voor het Neder­lands koloniaal bestuur om iets meer te inves­teren in zijn ge­biedsaanspraken gezien de Duitse, Engelse en zelfs Japanse belang­stelling.

Begin februari 1911 vertrok Petrus Vertenten naar zijn stand­plaats Okaba. Hij verwittigde de familie dat nieuws nu langer zou uitblijven: “ik zal niet meer in de gelegenheid zijn om aanstonds een brief te beantwoorden vermits de boot, die alleen in Merauke aanlegt, reeds verscheidene dagen weg is als wij in Okaba de correspondentie krijgen”. Hij kon ook zijn ervaringen van het eerste bijgewoonde feest meedelen, waarbij Petrus Vertenten zelfs een paar kinderen beschilderde.

Midden 1920 kon Petrus Vertenten mee met bestuursassistent Ch. D. Pelamonia voor een anderhalf maand durende patrouille-reis op de Koembe-rivier: “niets is misleidender dan de kaart van Z.N. Guinea met die vele kleine letters, die dorpsnamen en die vele grootere die volksstammen schijnen aan te geven. Om mij tot de Koembe te beperken: al die anim: sarou-anim, senam-anim, baad-anim enz. zijn geen verschillende stammen maar dorpen, letterlijk: menschen van savore (ca. 100), van senam (ca. 50) van baad (ca GO); dat klinkt heel anders dan: de stam der baad-anim enz”.

In zijn nieuwe standplaats begon onmiddellijk het werk. Naast het helpen van Broeder Van Santvoort diende Petrus Vertenten “geregeld Okaba, Mewi, Alakoe en Tawala (te) bezoeken, de zieken vooral de gewonden en koortsigen helpen, met de menschen praten en zien of er niemand gereed was de groote reis te ondernemen; die vooral moeten geholpen worden. In Mewi had ik het geluk een vrouwtje te doopen : Abomke. Ik gaf haar den naam van “Louise-Adolphine”. Een goed vrouwtje, vol goeden wil. Twee dagen later is zij gestorven. 1k schrijf dit uitvoerig aan Fr. Joos-Heyvaert, die mij gevraagd hadden iemand “Louise-Adolphine” te doopen”. “Vooreerst zal de eenige troost die wij van ons werk hebben wel zijn, dat wij de stervenden doopen. ‘t Zal nog een heel tijdje duren alvorens het eigenlijk bekeeringswerk een aanvang neemt. De menschen zijn hier te diep vervallen in allerlei dwaas bijgeloof en wat erger is en er moeilijker uit te krijgen zal zijn een zeer diepe zedeloosheid. Naar ‘t lichaam hebben zij niets te kort, maar hunne zielen vergaan van gebrek, en, ongelukkig genoeg, daar schijnen zij niet veel om te geven… Hadden wij de kinderen maar in onze macht! Zij houden veel van ons, nu reeds, die kinderen, dat is zeker, maar de meesten van nu zijn groot geworden midden in een zeer zondige om­geving, of liever allen, en de meesten zullen nog worden wat hunne ouders waren of zijn. Eerst moet een geslacht verdwijnen en dan zal onze werking dieper ingrijpen. De kinderen van nu zullen in ieder geval met andere gedachten opgroeien, al leven zij er niet naar. De meesten hebben er niets op tegen in stervensgevaar gedoopt te worden.”.

Pater Vertenten was ook een goed tekenaar. Hij heeft van zijn tijd in Nieuw Guinea een aantal prachtige tekeningen gemaakt.

           Potloodtekening meisje Nkundostam                                  



De Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het Heilige Hart
De Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart kwamen in 1920 naar de Kei-eilanden om de Franciscanessen van Heythuizen te vervangen. In 1928 vestigden de eerste zusters zich te Merauke, waar zij in de polikliniek werkten. De Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart namen ook de medische zorg voor de naburige dorpen op zich en begonnen een huishoudcursus voor meisjes in Merauke.
Papoea-meisjes leidden zij op tot verpleegkundigen en dorpsverzorgsters, die in de papoea-dorpen werkten als vroedvrouwen. Na de Tweede Wereldoorlog, in 1945, begonnen de zusters met schools onderwijs en een meisjesinternaat te Merauke.

Sinds 1949 waren de Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart werkzaam in het Mimika- (tot 1953) en Moejoe-gebied. In het Moejoe-gebied richtten zlj een meisjesinternaat op te Mindiptana (in 1949). De zusters stichtten een huishoudschool, werkten in het ziekenluis en namen de speciale zorg op zich voor meisjes die volgens de Moejoe-cultuur gedwongen werden om tweede vrouw (polygamie) te worden. In 1951 opende Mgr. H. Tillemans het noviciaat voor papoea-zusters en vertrouwde de leiding ervan toe aan de Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart. In oktober 1953 deden de eerste papoea-meisjes hun professie. Zij droegen de naam ‘Helpsters van Christus’.

In 1952 vestigden de Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart zich ook in het Mappigebied, te Kepi, waar een meisjesinternaat opgericht werd. In 1954 stichtten zij te Tanah-Merah eveneens een meisjesinternaat. Aan de huisgezinnen op het landbouwtrainingscentrum dat in 1956 te Kepi werd opgericht, gaven de zusters een cursus in hygiene en gezinszorg. Daarnaast gaven zij onderwijs aan katechisten op het katechistencentrum, dat in 1952 was opgericht. Hun taak was tevens de vorrning van lulponderwijzers en katholieke gezinnen. Sinds 1956 waren de Dodhters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart werkzaam in het Asmatgebied (Agats) en sinds 1958 op het Frederik-Hendrik-eiland (Kimaam), waar zij meisjesinternaten stichten.

De Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart werkten aan de ontwikkeling van de jonge papoea-vrouw. Op de huishoudscholen der meisjesinternaten te Merauke, Mindiptana en Kepi kregen de papoea-meisjes onderwijs in voedings- en zwangerschapsleer. Het leerplan was aangepast aan de leefwijze in de kampong (= dorp).

Bij de voedingsleer werd onderwezen hoe het menu afgewisseld, hoe groente geplant en hoe een tuin aangelegd kon worden. De zusters introduceerden peulvruchten. Deze peulvruchten kwamen goed van pas als vervangende voeding voor zwangere Awjoe-vrouwen. Awjoe-vrouwen mochten namelijk niet van bepaalde vissoorten eten als ze zwanger waren. Zij geloofden dat er een gehandicapt kind geboren zou worden als zij dit gebod overtraden. Zwangere vrouwen en malariapatienten werden door de zusters naar de kliniek gestuurd. De papoea-meisjes leerden kleren naaien en wassen, en hoe ze matten konden vlechten. Hun werd onderwezen hoe ze langer houdbare en dus verkoopbare sagokoeken moesten bakken. De Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart introduceerden het koken in pannen in plaats van het roosteren van voedsel ingepakt in een blad in hete as.


Geurtjens M.S.C., p. Henri

Henri Geurtjens werd op 5 juni 1875 te Deurne geboren. Reeds op 15-jarige leeftijd kwam hij naar Tilburg om bij de paters van het H. Hart (M.S.C.), toen nog aan de Veldhoven (Wilhelminapark), te gaan studeren voor missionaris. Enkele jaren later vertrok hij naar Chesal-Benoît in Frankrijk, het moederland van de paters M.S.C., waar hij tot 1895 bleef, om vervolgens te Antwerpen zijn hogere studie voort te zetten. Op 5 augustus 1900 werd hij tot priester gewijd en in de daarop volgende jaren was hij leraar aan de opleidingsschool in Tilburg. Op 1 september 1903 werd hij als missionaris uitgezonden naar de Kei-eilanden; later werkte hij op Tanimbar en op Zuidwest-Irian Jaya (Nieuw-Guinea). Hij bleef daar tot 1920 en werd een groot kenner van de Keiese taal. 


Pater Henri Geurtjens M.S.C. (1875-1957) onder de 
Kaja Kaja’s (Coll. RHC Tilburg).

Pater Geurtjens publiceerde de boeken: Woordenlijst der Keieesche taal, Spraakkunst der Keieesche taal (1921), Keieesche legenden (1924) en Marindeneesch-Nederlandsch Woordenboek (1932). Van 1920 tot 1932 werkte hij onder de Papoea’s van Irian Jaya. Hij ontdekte daar verschillende onbekende stammen en gebieden en schreef daarover enkele boeken: Uit een vreemde wereld (1921), Onder de Kaja-Kaja’s van Zuid Nieuw-Guinea (Roermond-Maaseik, J.J. Romen & Zonen, 1933), Op zoek naar oermenschen (Roermond-Maaseik, J.J. Romen & Zonen, 1934), Zijn plaats onder de zon (Roermond-Maaseik, J.J. Romen & Zonen, 1941) en Oost is Oost en West is West (Utrecht, Spectrum, 1946).


(Coll. Ronald Peeters, Tilburg).

Over de tocht met het gouvernements-stoomschip ‘De Zwaan’ op de Eilandenrivier op Zuid-Nieuw-Guinea in 1922, schreef hij in Op zoek naar oermenschen over zijn ontmoeting met de inlanders:

‘Lachen met de beenen

Eindelijk op een ietwat hoogere plaats langs den oever troffen we een aantal lui te samen. Daar werd gestopt en weldra doken nog verschillende kano’s op uit de naburige kreekjes. Ondanks ons aanhoudend gefleem van Savijo! Savijo! dat in hun taaltje ‘vriend’ moest beteekenen, bleven ze erg schuw en op een afstand, om bij de minste verdachte beweging onzerzijds als b.v. het richten van een fotolens, in het kreupelhout weg te springen. Maar toch kwamen ze weer spoedig zenuwachtig schuifelend en schoorvoetend terug, aangelokt door de bijlen en messen, die we voor hun begeerige oogen lieten schitteren. Om hun eigen vrees te bedriegen, deden ze overmoedig, net als de jongen, die fluit in ‘t donker. Ze stieten hooge schrille keelgeluiden uit: hih! hih! hih! lachten stuipachtig en flapperden daarbij op oerkomische manier krampachtig met de beenen. Deze eigenaardige gevoelsuiting namen we ook elders nog herhaaldelijk waar, zoodat ze onder ons alras bekend was als ‘kwispelstaarten of lachen met de beenen’.

Zijn laatste boek is Oost is Oost en West is West. In 1932 was hij naar Nederland teruggekeerd. Later in Tilburg werd hij in 1936 conservator van het juist opgerichte Nederlands Volkenkundig Missiemuseum aan de Paleisstraat. Vanaf 1934 werkte hij ook voor het woonwagenkamp. Dit woonwagenkamp ligt aan de naar hem (in 1960) genoemde Pater Geurtjensweg. Hij overleed te Tilburg op 22 december 1957.

Literatuur: GAT, Bevolkingsregisters, 1910/1920, deel 52 fol. 6; R.K. ‘Wie is wie ?’. Biografisch lexicon van bekende Nederlandsche Roomsch Katholieke tijdgenooten, Leiden, z.j., p. 46; Encycl. van Noord-Brabant, 2, 1985, p. 54-55; Ronald Peeters, De straten van Tilburg, Tilburg, 1987, p. 55.


Mgr. Verhoeven is twee periodes in Indonesië geweest: vóór de oorlog als pionier in Nieuw-Guinea, nà de oorlog als bisschop in Celebes. Dit levert twee zeer verschillende verhalen op. Daartussen was hij in Nederland werkzaam in beleidsfuncties die hem op visitatie naar verschillende missiegebieden brachten; op dit punt is het interview echter kort.
In 1923 arriveerde hij in het tegenwoordige bisdom Merauke. Hij schildert de situatie die hij daar aantrof: de bevolking en hun gebruiken, de moeizame pogingen van de missie (onder meer de paters P. Vertenten MSC en J. Verschueren MSC) om openingen te scheppen in dit ontoegankelijke gebied, de samenwerking met het gouvernement in het bijeenbrengen van mensen in dorpen en het oprichten van ‘beschavingsschooltjes’.
Dan vertelt hij over zijn eigen werk als woudloper: pastorale werkzaamheden waren er weinig, het ging er vooral om uit te vinden waar mensen waren. Uitgebreid vertelt hij over zijn tochten, onder meer naar Boven-Digul waar de regering in 1926 een verbanningsoord oprichtte.
In 1950 bracht hij nog een bezoek aan dit gebied en constateerde veel veranderingen (‘van wild land naar beheerd land’). In 1947 werd hij benoemd tot apostolisch vicaris (later bisschop) van Manado. Zijn verslag over deze periode bevat drie hoofdonderwerpen: de priesteropleiding, Vaticanum II en de oecumene.
Wat het eerste onderwerp aangaat is er onder meer informatie over de (weder)opbouw en uitbreiding van de opleidingsinstituten, over het dilemma seculier of regulier en moeilijkheden met Rome daarover, over het studieprogramma en resultaten.
Vaticanum II krijgt eveneens veel aandacht: zijn eigen ervaringen in Rome, de samenwerking met het Nederlandse episcopaat, de rol van de Paus en een aantal curieleden enz.
Het derde onderwerp tenslotte gaat vooral over de Minahasa, waar het protestantisme traditioneel sterk aanwezig was; hier bespreekt hij onder meer de kwestie van de ‘dubbele zending’. Na de oorlog werden de relaties geleidelijk aan beter; hiervoor wordt een aantal redenen genoemd..[4]


Het is in Nederland een modern woord – veel gebruikt. Doorlopers zijn kruiswoordraadsels, puzzels die doorlopen. Het is interessant, het geeft voldoening om zo’n “kruiswoordraadsel zonder zwarte vlakjes” op te lossen. Een mens kan er niet van slapen als je een woord niet kunt vinden en invullen –  je wilt en je moet het vinden! Want anders zit je ook vast met de volgende woorden die moeten doorlopen.

Als het wel lukt, dan kun je zo’n puzzel helemaal invullen. Dan is zo’n doorloper helemaal klaar, goed ingevuld!

In goed Nederlands kunnen we het woord “doorlopers” ook in een andere betekenis gebruiken – dikwijls gebruikten we dat woord in de missie van Nieuw-Guinea — nl. voor mensen die lopen, steeds maar doorlopen en die daarmee hun hele leven invullen: doorlopers — letterlijk, figuurlijk en geestelijk.

Op de onderstaande foto ziet u drie echte doorlopers nl. Piet Hoeboer, Kees Meuwese en Jan Verschueren, drie missionarissen van Nieuw-Guinea, drie echte pioniers. Ongetooflijk wat deze mannen hebben afgelopen in dat uitstrekte, barbaarse en moeilijke land: zij liepen altijd door, rechttijnig,doelbewust heel hun leven lang. Het is de moeite waard hen eens voor het voetlicht te plaatsen: zij waren gewone mensen, onvolmaakte mensen, maar ook charismatische missionarissen, juist omdat zij “doorlopers” waren.


Piet Hoeboer — de middelste op de foto — opende het Moejoegebied!   Kort gezegd!

Het betekende wel dat hij honderden kilometers moest lopen door onbekend en onbegaanbaar gebied waar geen wegen of paden waren. Hij woonde en werkte al enige tijd als pastoor in Moeting – een vooruitgeschoven plaatsje in het verre binnenland; na zorgvutdige navraag en berekening ging hij op tocht: onbekende bossen, eindeloze moerassen, onafzienbare waterplassen, dan weer een pad kappend door dichte bamboebossen — hij bleef in de goede richting met zijn kompas en zijn gidsen. Lopend dag na dag. Door het hoge water moest hij dagen omlopen – na veertien zware dagen raakte de mondvoorraad op –  hij liep door! Ze vingen een paar vissen, ze zochten naar knollen in het bos. Na negentien dagen kwamen zij in een verlaten tuintje waar bananenbomen waren geplant — ze plukten de bananen die nog groen en hard waren; als betaling — Piet was strikt eerlijk en rechtvaardig – hing hij zorgvuldig en droog verpakt wat tabak en een mes in de boom. Hij liep door en sterk vermagerd en hoekig – samen met zijn uitgeputte dragers- kwam hij aan bij het Moejoevolk. Hij is er gebteven, veertien jaar lang – voortdurend heen en weer trekkend- de mensen bijeenroepend uit hun boshutten om in dorpen te komen wonen waar hij een school opende.

Denkt u niet dat die Moejoemensen prettige en vriendelijke lui waren —integendeel – zij waren schuwe bosmensen, zij hidden zich verscholen in dat uitgestrekte en sombere regenwoud: angst voor etkaar, wraak, zwarte magic en andere lugubere praktij ken maakten hen tot sluipmoor­denaars en kannibalen. De ene moord riep de andere moord op: ketting­moorden! Piet Hoeboer doorzag dat systeem, hij zocht de mensen op, hij registreerde de namen van alle mensen die hij ontmoette in hun bos­huizen en die hij bij elkaar bracht: hij vormde meer dan dertig dorpen in tien jaar tijds: een catechist (of onderwijzer) bleef in dat dorp en hield de mensen bijeen! En Piet zou Piet niet zijn als hij niet — voortdurend heen en weer lopend van dorp tot dorp — met grote regetmaat en stiptheid zijn dorpen bezocht.

Hij bleef doorlopen en doorzetten — ook toen de Tweede Wereldoorlog uitbrak — die oorlog zelf bereikte hem niet, want hij zat te ver in het on­bekende binnenland, maar hij zat er wet ingesloten en afgesloten: zeer sober levend in eenzaamheid ging hij verder met zijn werk: hij begon in dat gebied zelf met een catechistenschool: de incest pientere en betrouw­bare jongens uit het Moejoegebied zelf werden verder gevormd tot “voorlopers” die hij dan in nieuw en pas gevorinde dorpen plaatste.

Alteen zo’n rechtlijnige single-fighter kon dit zware en opofferende werk aan en tot op de dag van vandaag wordt Piet Hoeboer door dit Moejoe­yolk genoemd: onze “Kambarim Taarep”.

Dat woord betekent: “onze Grote Man”, onze leider! Hij was ook hun dokter, die hun wonden verzorgde, die hielp bij moeilijke bevallingen, die zeer zorgvuldig en voorzichtig pillen en injecties gaf: hij was ook hun bouwheer die huizen, goede huizen, dorpen, scholen, kerken bouwde maar hij was bovenal hun pastoor, want hij leerde zijn Moejoe’ers dat God er was, dat God er was voor hen (zoals hij er was voor hen!): kort en hondig, duidelijk, zonder omwegen.

Maar deze missionaris die zo goed en rechtlijnig kon doorlopen was ook een knappe kop met veel initiatief. Dat kwam goed uit de verf toen Piet, na die zware jaren in de bossen van het verre binnenland, werd overgeplaatst naar de stad Merauke waar hij als secretaris van het bisdom aan de slag ging: hij zette dat pasopgerichte bisdom goed op poten — onverstoorbaar hardwerkend. En ondertussen ving hij de Papoea’s op die vanuit de donkere bossen naar het licht van “de stad” trokken. Met raad en raad hielp hij deze — pas-door-hem-ontdekte en door-hem-gedoopte —mensen om zich aan te passen aan dat nieuwe leven, hij voorzag het nijpende probleem van de urbanisatie.
Hij riep ze weer bij elkaar — en ditmaal kwamen ze graag naar hem toe, want hij was hun “Kambarim Taarep” — de grote, wijze man. Hij stichtte daar het dorp “De Vijf Klapperbomen” (Kelapa Lima) — hij bouwde daar een gemeenschaps­huis, een school, een kerk voor zijn mensen die, toen al, dreigden ten onder te gaan in de maalstroom van de stad. Piet Hoeboer trok de lijn weer door!

Hct is geen wonder dat deze man die in hart en nieren missionaris was, eenmaal terug in Nederland, zich maar moeilijk kon aanpassen aan de veranderde mentaliteit van kerk en samenleving; hij was nog altijd de doorloper in zijn geloof, in zijn priesterschap, in zijn omgang, in heel zijn persoonlijk leven. Voor zijn omgeving kwam hij hier in Nederland over als een rechtlijnig mens, soms te rechtlijning en cynisch, die zelfs zijn aangeboren hartelijkheid probeerde te verbergen: als men hem ging opzoeken dan gaf hij bij het afscheid een hand en met zijn andere hand terwijl hij zei: “Bedankt hoor, dat je gekomen bent!”.

In het klooster-bejaardenoord bleef hij zichzelf, ook toen hij oud en ziek werd. Zolang hij kon lopen maakte hij zijn toertje (wandeling) door de tuin: doorlopen!


Verschueren M.S.C. p. Jan

Pater Jan Verschueren M.S.C., geboren op 22 augustus 1905 te Oosterhout, kwam in 1931 als jong priester in Zuid-Irian Jaya (Nieuw-Guinea). Hij is er negenendertig jaar als missionaris gebleven, waardoor hij een enorme kennis had vergaard over de oude cultuur en gebruiken van het volk der Marind-anim, de Jéi-anim aan de Merauke-rivier, en de Janum-anim in het oosten van het land. Op 4 september 1948 ontdekte hij samen met pater Cees Meuwese M.S.C. een nieuwe rivier die de Koningin Julianarivier werd genoemd. Over deze tocht schreef hij, in samenwerking met pater Meuwese, het boek Nieuw Guinea uw naam is wildernis (Bussum, Brand, 1950). Hij beschreef de geschiedenis van de missies in Papua Nieuw-Guinea en Irian Jaya in deel I van Klein’s Nieuw-Guinea (1953). In 1960 schreef hij het essay A growing world: problems of the Catholic Mission in Oceania in Carmelus. Daarnaast leverde hij bijdragen in Nieuw-Guinea-Studiën en in Bijdragen van het Koninklijk Instituut van Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde. Bij het schrijven van zijn boek Dema ontleende prof. dr. J. van Baal veel van zijn informatie aan gegevens van Verschueren.
Pater Jan Verschueren overleed op 28 juli 1970 te Djakarta.

Literatuur: Lit.: Prof. dr. J. van Baal, ‘In memoriam Pater Jan Verschueren’, in: De Brug (extern contactblad M.S.C.), december 1970, p. 22-29.

Meuwese M.S.C., p. Cees

Pater Cornelius Josephus Johannes Maria Meuwese M.S.C., geboren op 23 november 1906 te Tilburg, werd op 10 augustus 1933 tot priester gewijd en vertrok in 1934 als missionaris van het H. Hart naar de missie van Zuid-Irian Jaya (Nieuw-Guinea). Hij was eerst tweeën-eenhalf jaar in Babo werkzaam en hij werd in 1937 benoemd in het Mappi-gebied, van waaruit hij verschillende verkenningstochten maakte. Op 4 september 1948 ontdekte hij samen met pater Jan Verschueren M.S.C. een nieuwe rivier, die op 6 september 1948, de dag van de kroning van koningin Juliana, door de Nederlandse regering werd erkend en voortaan Koningin Julianarivier werd genoemd. Pater Cees Meuwese werkte 24 jaar onder de papoea’s als missionaris en als ontdekkingsreiziger en etnograaf. Hierover gaf hij vele lezingen en hij publiceerde er een aantal artikelen over in de Annalen van het Missiehuis Tilburg, in de Katholieke Illustratie, in Elseviers-weekblad en in Edele Brabant. Samen met pater Verschueren schreef hij het boek Nieuw Guinea uw naam is wildernis (Bussum, Brand, 1950), zo meldt het titelblad. Volgens Van Baal is Verschueren echter de eigenlijke schrijver geweest.
Hij overleed op 26 november 1978 te Tilburg.


Cees Meuwese M.S.C. (1906-1978) (coll. RHC Tilburg).

Literatuur: GAT, Bevolkingsregister 1910/1920, deel 83 fol. 100; GAT, Collectie bidprentjes; Onze eigen cultuur, Tilburg, uitg. van de Culturele Dienst, 1949, p. 49-50; prof. dr. J. van Baal, ‘In memoriam Pater Jan Verschueren’, in: De Brug (extern contactblad M.S.C.), december 1970, p. 22-29.


De papoea’s van het Mappigebied zijn voornamlijk de Jahraj en Awjoe.
De Jahraj wonen aan de rechter- en de Awjoe aan de Iinkeroevers van de Mappirivier. De Jahraj-dorpen staan in de moerassige gebieden, terwijl de Awjoe zich vooral in de bossen gevestigd hebben.De papoea’s van de JabrajbevoLkingsgroep leefden in het stroomgebied van de rivieren Oba, Miwamon, Nambeomon en Bapei en in de heuvelgebieden daartussen.Vóór de Tweede Wereldoorlog woonden de Awjoe in metershoge boomhutten, omdat zij voortdurend werden aangevallen door de Jahraj.

Vanaf 1930 richtte het Nederlandse bestuur langs de Digoel enkele politieposten op om de Jahraj het koppensnellen te beletten. In 1937 opende pater C. Meuwese het Mappigebied, waarin de papoea’s van de Jahraj- en de Awjoebevolkingsgroepen woonden. Hij vestigde zich te Tanah-Merah.

In de eerste oorlogsjaren (1940 – 1942) deed pater P. Drabbe taalonderzoek zowel bij de Jahraj als bij de Awjoe. Hij vertaalde honderd verhalen uit de bijbel in hun talen. Voordat hij dit had gedaan, improviseerde pater C. Meuwese met behulp van zelfgemaakte taalaantekeningen. De Keiese goeroes gebruikten de taallijst van pater P. Drabbe als basis. Zij leerden de papoea-kinderen Maleis en hiervoor was een beperkte kennis van de Jahraj- en de Awjoe-talen noodzakelijk. Te Jatan organiseerde de missie in 1942 een groots doop- en vredesfeest tussen de papoea’s van de Jabraj- en de Awjoe-bevolkingsgroepen.

In 1946 verhuisde pater C. Meuwese van Tanah-Merah naar Kepi, dat sindsdien het centrum van het Mappigebied werd. Te Kepi werd (in 1948) een Voorschool opgericht. In 1948 ontdekten de paters C. Meuwese en J. Verschueren een rivier die zij de Koningin Julianarivier doopten. Langs deze rivier leefden papoea-bevolkingsgroepen die nog nooit met de buitenwereld contact hadden gehad. In oktober 1948 vierde de missie weer een doop- en vredesfeest tussen papoea’s van de Jabraj- en de Awjoe-bevotkingsgroepen. Dit werd echter in 1949 ‘achterhaald’, doordat de Jahraj een grote koppensneltocht hielden.

Van 1950 tot 1966 maakte pater dr. J. Boelaars studie van de cultuur der Jahraj. Dankzij dit onderzoek kon een proces tot acculturatie met succes op gang worden gebracht. In tegenstelling tot de Marind-anim kregen de Jahraj geen morele depressie. In 1951 werd ter gelegenheid van het bezoek van Mgr. H. Tillemans aan het Mappigebied eveneens een vredesfeest tussen de Jahraj en de Awjoe gehouden.

In 1952 kwamen de Dochters van O.L.Vrouw van het H.Hart naar het Mappigebied. Te Kepi (in 1952) en te Tanah-Merah (in 1954) richtten zij meisjesinternaten op. In 1952 werd er een kateehistencentrum geopend te Kepi. In 1955 werd in dezelfde plaats een voorlopersschool opgericht. De Broeders van O.L.Vrouw van Zeven Smarten zetten zich in 1956 ook in het Mappigebied neder. In hetzelfde jaar werd begonnen met het Welvaartsplan Mappi. Ter begeleiding van dit streekprojekt richtten de broeders (in 1956) een landbouwtrainingscentrum op.In 1959, na meer dan twintig jaar missie-invloed, maakten (ook gedoopte) Jahraj zich opeens weer schuldig aan koppensnellen. Er werden meer dan vijftig koppen gesneld.


The Daughters of the Sacred Heart of O.L.Vrouw
The Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in 1920 came to the Kei Islands to the Franciscan Sisters of Heythuizen replacement. In 1928 established the first sisters to Merauke, where she worked in the clinic. The Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart took the medical care of the neighboring villages on its course and began housekeeping for girls in Merauke.
Papua girls they led on to village nurses and nurses, in the Papuan villages worked as midwives. After the Second World War, in 1945, the sisters started with a girl boarding school education and to Merauke.

Since 1949, the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart working in the Mimika-(until 1953) and Muyu. In Muyu zlj a girl boarding school founded to Mindiptana (in 1949). The sisters founded a domestic science, worked in the louse ill and took special care for girls who are under the Muyu culture were forced to second wife (polygamy) should be. In 1951 opened Mgr. H. Tillmans the novitiate for papua sisters and trusted its leadership to the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. In October 1953 did the first Papuan girls their profession. They bore the name ‘Help esters of Christ. “

In 1952 established the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is also in the Mappigebied to Kepi, where a girls’ boarding school was founded. In 1954 they founded in Tanah Merah, also a girls’ boarding school. And to the families of the agricultural training center that was founded in 1956 in Kepi, the sisters gave a course in hygiene and family. In addition they gave to the education of catechists katechistencentrum, which was founded in 1952. Their task was also vorrning of lulponderwijzers and Catholic families. Since 1956 the Dodhters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart working in the Asmatgebied (Agats) and since 1958 at the Frederik-Hendrik Island (Kimaam), where they found girl boarding schools.

The Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart worked on the development of the young Papuan woman. At the household of girl boarding schools in Merauke, and Kepi Mindiptana got the Papuan girls education in nutrition and pregnancy leather. The curriculum was adapted to the lifestyle in the kampong (village =).

The nutrition was taught how the menu varied, the vegetables planted and how a garden could be. The sisters introduced legumes. These pulses came in handy as a replacement Awjoe nutrition for pregnant women. Awjoe women were not of a certain fish eat if they were pregnant. They believed that a disabled child would be born if they violated this commandment. Pregnant women and malaria patients were the sisters sent to the clinic. The Papuan girls learned sewing and washing clothes, and how they could weave mats. They were taught how to last longer and therefore salable sago-cakes to bake. The Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart introduced the cooking pans instead of roasting food wrapped in a leaf in hot ashes.


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Geurtjens M.S.C., p. Henri

Henri Geurtjens was born June 5, 1875 in Deurne. Already at the age of 15 he moved to Tilburg to the Fathers of the Holy Heart (MSC), then the Veldhoven (Wilhelmina), to study for missionary. Some years later he left Chesal-Benoit in France, the motherland of the MSC Fathers, where he remained until 1895, then to Antwerp to pursue higher studies. On August 5, 1900 he was ordained a priest in the following years he taught at the School in Tilburg. On 1 September 1903 he was sent as a missionary to the Kei Islands, and later he worked at Southwest Tanimbar and Irian Jaya (New Guinea). He remained there until 1920 and was a great connoisseur of the Kai language.


Father Henri Geurtjens M.S.C. (1875-1957) under the
Kaja Kaja’s (RHC Coll Tilburg).

Father Geurtjens published the book: Glossary of Keieesche language, Grammar of Keieesche language (1921), Keieesche legends (1924) and Marindeneesch-Dutch Dictionary (1932). From 1920 to 1932 he worked among the Papuans of Irian Jaya. He found there several unknown tribes and territories and wrote about some books: A strange world (1921), Under the Kaja-Kaja of southern New Guinea (Roermond Maaseik, JJ Romen & Sons, 1933), In search of primitive man chen ( Roermond-Maaseik, JJ Romen & Sons, 1934), His Place in the Sun (Roermond-Maaseik, JJ Romen & Sons, 1941) and East is East and West is West (Utrecht, The Spectrum, 1946).


(Coll Ronald Peeters, Tilburg).

About the walk with the government-steamer the Swan River on the South Island New Guinea in 1922, he wrote in looking for prehistoric man dominion over his encounter with the natives:

“Laughter in the legs

Finally a somewhat higher position along the shore we found a number of people together. It was stopped, and soon emerged, several canoes from the neighboring creeks. Despite our persistent gefleem of Savijo! Savijo! that in their lingo ‘friend’ was mean, they remained very shy and aloof, to the slightest suspicious movement on our part as eg the focus of a photographic lens in the underbrush jumping away. Yet soon they came shuffling nervously and reluctantly returned, lured by the axes and knives, which we did for their greedy eyes sparkle. In order to deceive their own fears, they did so recklessly, like the boy who whistles in the dark. She thrust high shrill throat sounds: HIH! HIH! HIH! laughed convulsively and flapped frantically taking on oerkomische way with the legs. This peculiar expression of feeling, we also repeated elsewhere still true, so she soon was known among us as “wagging his tail or laugh with the legs.

His latest book is East is East and West is West. In 1932 he returned to the Netherlands. Later in Tilburg in 1936 he became curator of the recently established Dutch Ethnography Museum on Mission Street Palace. From 1934 he also worked for the trailer park. This trailer park is on the to him (in 1960) said Father Geurtjensweg. He died in Tilburg on 22 December 1957.

Literature: GAT, Population Registers, 1910/1920, Part 52 fol. 6; R.K. “Who is who ‘. Biographical dictionary of famous Dutch Roman Catholic contemporaries, Leiden, nd, p. 46, Encycl. of North Brabant, 2, 1985, p. 54-55; Ronald Peeters, The streets of Tilburg, Tilburg, 1987, p. 55.

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Mgr. Nico Verhoeven
Mgr. Verhoeven has been two periods in Indonesia, before the war as pioneered in New Guinea, after the war as a bishop in Celebes. This produces two very different stories. In between he worked in management positions in the Netherlands to him on visitation to different mission areas brought, at this point the interview, however short.
In 1923 he arrived in the present Diocese of Merauke. He paints the situation that he encountered there: the people and their customs, the laborious efforts of the mission (including the fathers P. and J. Verschueren Vertenten MSC MSC) to create openings in this inaccessible region, cooperation with the government in bringing together people in villages and the creation of “civilization schools.
Then he tells about his own work as a woodsman: pastoral work were few, the main objective was to find out where people were. Advanced, he talks about his trips, including to Upper Digul where the government in 1926 founded a place of exile.
In 1950 he took a visit to this area and found many changes (of wild country to manage land). In 1947 he was appointed apostolic vicar (later bishop) of Manado. His report on this period covers three main topics: the seminary, Vatican II and ecumenism.
Regarding the first topic is concerned, among other information about the (re) construction and expansion of the educational institutions, secular or regular about the dilemma and difficulties with Rome about that, about the study and results.
Vatican II also receives much attention: his own experiences in Rome, the collaboration with the Dutch episcopate, the role of the Pope and curia a number of members, etc.
The third topic is mainly about the Minahasa finally, where Protestantism was traditionally strong presence, here he discusses include the issue of ‘dual mission’. After the war, relations gradually improved, this is a number of reasons .. [4]

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The Netherlands is a modern word – a lot. By Bishops are crosswords, puzzles completed. It is interesting, it gives satisfaction to such a “crossword puzzle without black patches” to solve. A man can not sleep if you can not find a word and fill in – you want and you should find! Otherwise you sit down with the following words to follow.

If you succeed, you can completely fill such a puzzle. Then some doorloper ready, properly completed!

In Dutch well can we use the word “by runners” in another sense, use – often we used that word in the mission of New Guinea – ie for people who walk, ever go through and with it their whole lives filling: by runners – literally, figuratively and spiritually.

The picture below shows three runners namely real by Piet Hoeboer, and Jan Kees Meuwese Verschueren, three missionaries from New Guinea, three real pioneers. Ongetooflijk what these men have in the past that stretched barbarous and difficult country: they were always, rechttijnig, purposefully throughout their lifetime. It is worthwhile for them once the spotlight places: they were ordinary people, imperfect people, but also charismatic missionaries, precisely because it “skates” were.


Piet Hoeboer – the middle in the picture – it opened Muyu! Short!

It meant that he had to walk hundreds of miles through unknown and inaccessible areas where no roads or paths were. He lived for some time as curate in Moeting – a forward place in the interior; after zorgvutdige inquiry and calculation, he went on tour: unknown forests, endless swamps, endless pools, then a path kappend through dense bamboo forest – he remained in the right direction with his compass and his guides. Running day after day. The high water had rounds for days – after two hard days hit the victuals – he walked by! They caught a few fish, they were looking for tubers in the woods. After nineteen days they came in a deserted garden, where banana trees were planted – they picked the bananas are still green and hard goods, as payment – Piet was strictly honest and fair – he hung carefully and dry packed some tobacco and a knife in the tree. He walked by and emaciated and angular – with its depleted carriers, he arrived at the Moejoevolk. He is gebteven, fourteen years – back and forth, pulling people out of their summoning boshutten to come and live in villages where he opened a school.

Do not you think that Moejoemensen nice and friendly people were, on the contrary – they were frightened forest people, they are hidden is hidden in that vast and gloomy forest: fear etkaar, revenge, black magic and other sinister practices do made them assassins and cannibals. One called the other murder murder: chain murders! Piet Hoeboer saw through that system, he sought the people, he recorded the names of all the people he met in their Boshuizen and he brought together: he was more than thirty villages in ten years: a catechist (or teacher) remained in that village and held the people together! And Piet Piet would not be if he did not – constantly walking back and forth from town to town – with great promptness regetmaat and villages.

He kept walking and persevere – even when the Second World War – the war itself reached him, because he was too far into the unknown interior, but he was law enclosed and sealed: very sober living in solitude, he continued his work : he began in that area itself with a school catechists: incest insightful and reliable boys from the Muyu themselves were further formed to “precursors” that he, in new and newly placed gevorinde villages.

Alteen a linear single-fighter could this hard and sacrificial work and to this day is Piet Hoeboer by this Moejoeyolk called our “Kambarim Taarep”.

That word means “our Great Man”, our leader! He was their doctor who cared for their wounds, which helped in difficult deliveries, being very careful and cautious pills and injections did: he was also the project owner who houses, good houses, villages, schools, churches built but above all he was their pastor because he taught his Moejoe’ers that God was there, that God was there for them (as he was there for them!): short and hondig, clear, without detours.

But this missionary who was so good and straight through was also a good head with plenty of initiative. That was good the paint when Peter, after the difficult years in the forests of the far interior, was transferred to the town of Merauke, where he served as secretary of the diocese went to work: he put that newly founded diocese well on legs – imperturbable hardworking . And meanwhile he caught the Papuans on the ice from the dark woods to the light of “the city” went. With advice and counsel, he helped this – just-discovered-by-him-and him-doped-people to adapt to that new life, he foresaw the urgent problem of urbanization.
He called them together again – and this time they came to like him because he was their “Kambarim Taarep” – the great, wise man. He founded the village as “The Five topper Trees” (Kelapa Lima) – he built a community center, a school, a church for people who, even then, threatened to perish in the maelstrom of the city. Piet Hoeboer drew the line again!

Hct is no wonder that this man who was a missionary at heart, once back in the Netherlands, but has had difficulty adapting to the changing mentality of church and society, he was still the doorloper in his faith in his priesthood, in his intercourse, throughout his personal life. For his environment, he came here in the Netherlands as a straight man, sometimes too rechtlijning and cynical, even his innate cordiality tried to hide if he went to see then he gave the parting hand and with his other hand while he said “Thank hear that you came”.

In the monastery he continued north-elderly themselves, even when he was old and sick. As long as he could walk he made his trip (walk) through the garden: complete!

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Verschueren M.S.C. p. John

Father Jan Verschueren MSC, born on August 22, 1905 in Oosterhout, came in 1931 as a young priest in southern Irian Jaya (New Guinea). He is thirty-nine years as a missionary remained, which he had amassed a vast knowledge about the ancient culture and customs of the people of Marind-anim, the Jei-anim to the Merauke River, and the Janum-anim in the east of the land. On September 4, 1948, he discovered together with Fr Cees Meuwese MSC a new river which was called the River Queen Juliana. On this trip he wrote in collaboration with Father Meuwese, the book is your name New Guinea wilderness (Bussum, Fire, 1950). He described the history of missions in Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya in Part I of Klein’s New Guinea (1953). In 1960 he wrote the essay A growing world: problems of the Catholic Mission in Oceania in Carmelus. In addition, he made contributions in New Guinea Studies and Contributions of the Royal Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies. In writing his book Dema borrowed Prof. J. Baal much of his information to data from Verschueren.
Father Jan Verschueren died on July 28, 1970 in Jakarta.

Literature: Lit.: Prof. J. of Baal, “Obituary Father Jan Verschueren, in: The Bridge (external contact sheet MSC), december 1970, p. 22-29.

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Meuwese M.S.C., p. Cees

Father Cornelius Johannes Josephus Meuwese MSC Maria, born November 23, 1906 in Tilburg, on August 10, 1933 was ordained a priest in 1934 and went as a missionary of the Sacred Heart to the mission of South Irian Jaya (New Guinea). He had two first-half years working in Babo and in 1937 he was appointed to the Mappi area, from where he made several expeditions. On September 4, 1948, he discovered along with Father Jan Verschueren MSC a new river, on 6 September 1948, the day of the coronation of Queen Juliana, was recognized by the Dutch government and Queen Juliana now River was named. Father Cees Meuwese worked 24 years among the Papuans as a missionary and as an explorer and ethnographer. On this he gave many lectures and published a number of articles on the Annals of the Mission House Tilburg, in the Catholic Illustration, in Elsevier magazine and Noble-Brabant. Together with Father Verschueren he wrote the book New Guinea wilderness is your name (Bussum, Fire, 1950), reports the title page. According to Van Baal Verschueren, however the actual author was.
He died on November 26, 1978 in Tilburg.


Cees Meuwese M.S.C. (1906-1978) (coll. RHC Tilburg).

Literature: GAT, Census 1910/1920, part 83 fol. 100; GAT, Collection devotional, our own culture, Tilburg, ed. of the Cultural Services, 1949, p. 49-50; Prof. J. of Baal, “Obituary Father Jan Verschueren, in: The Bridge (external contact sheet MSC), december 1970, p. 22-29.

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The Papuans of Mappigebied are dominated by the Jahraj and Awjoe.
The Jahraj live on the right and the Awjoe Iinkeroevers of Mappirivier. The Jahraj villages are in the swampy areas, while the Awjoe mainly located in the forests of the JabrajbevoLkingsgroep hebben.De Papuans living in the catchment of the river Oba, Miwamon, Nambeomon and Bapei and in the hill regions daartussen.Vóór World War II lived in the Awjoe meter high tree house, because they were constantly attacked by the Jahraj.

From 1930 founded the Dutch administration along the Digul several police posts in order to prevent Jahraj headhunting. Opened in 1937, Father C. Meuwese the Mappigebied which the Papuans of Jahraj and the Awjoebevolkingsgroepen lived. He settled in Tanah-Merah.

In the first war (1940 – 1942) was Father P. Drabbe language research in both the Jahraj as the Awjoe. He translated one hundred stories from the Bible in their languages. Before he had done this improvised Father C. Meuwese using homemade language notes. The Kai gurus used the language list of Father P. Drabbe base. They learned the Malay and Papuan children this was a limited knowledge of the Jahraj Awjoe and the languages required. For Jatan organized the mission in 1942, a grand celebration of baptism and peace between the Papuans of Jabraj and the Awjoe-populations.

In 1946, Father moved C. Meuwese Tanah Merah-to Kepi, which has since been the center of the Mappigebied. To Kepi was (in 1948) a Pre-School was founded. In 1948 discovered the fathers C. Meuwese and J. Verschueren a river which they christened the Queen Juliana River. Along this river papua-lived populations that have never had contact with the outside world had. In October 1948 celebrated another baptism mission and peace celebration between the Papuans and the Jabraj Awjoe-bevotkingsgroepen. However, this was in 1949 ‘obsolete’ because the Jahraj a large headhunting trip did.

From 1950 to 1966, Father J. Boelaars study of the culture of Jahraj. This research was a process of acculturation successfully be launched. Unlike Marind-anim Jahraj not got the moral depression. In 1951 on the occasion of the visit of Mgr. H. Tillmans at the Mappigebied also a peace between the party and the Jahraj Awjoe held.

In 1952 came the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart to the Mappigebied. To Kepi (in 1952) and Tanah-Merah (in 1954) they founded on girl boarding. In 1952, a kateehistencentrum opened Kepi. In 1955 in the same place a predecessor school was founded. The Brothers of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows committed in 1956 in the Mappigebied down. In the same year began the Welfare Plan Mappi. To accompany this region brothers founded the project (in 1956) an agricultural training center op.In 1959, after more than twenty years of missionary influence, made (also baptized) Jahraj suddenly again guilty of headhunting. There were more than fifty heads rushed.






Paters M.S.C.

  • Pater M. Bennenbroek: 1959 – 1961 werkzaam te Edera; vertrok in 1961 naar Merauke.
  • Pater Dr. J. Boelaars: 1950 – 1966 adat-studie bij de Jahraj.
  • Pater Petr. Drabbe: 1939 – 1942 taalstudie bij de Jabraj en de Awjoe; 1946 – 1966 taalstudie in het Mappigebied, maar ook werkzaam te Merauke; vertrok in 1966 naar Nederland.
  • Pater Aug. van Dongen: 1960 – 1965 werkzaam te Aboge; vertrok in 1966 naar het gebied der Marind-anim.
  • Pater Wilh. van Dongen: 1953 – 1955; 1961 – 1963; 1965 – 1975; vertrok in 1975 naar het gebied der Marind-anim.
  • Mgr. Jac. van Duivenvoorde: 1961 – 1962 werkzaam te Tjitak; vertrok in 1962 naar Merauke.
  • Pater Joan. Geuskens: 1959 – 1978; vertrok in 1978 naar Merauke.
  • Pater Corn. Hendriks: 1957 – 1959 pastoor te Tanah-Merah; 1959- 1962 pastoor en schoolbeheerder te Kepi; 1962- 1964 ziek in Nederland; 1964 – 1969 pastoor en ressortleider te Kepi.
  • Pater Carol. Huiskamp: 1955 – 1961.
  • Pater Henr. Kemper: 1962 – 1964.
  • Pater Wilh. Lomnmertzen: 1955 – 1968 werkzaam te Arare.
  • Pater Corn. Meuwese: 1937 – 1962; vertrok in 1962 naar Nederland.
  • Pater Bern. van Oers: 1960 – 1975; vertrok in 1975 naar het Moejoegebied.
  • Pater Pater Hub. van Peij: 1962 – 1964 werkzaam te Getentiri; vertrok in 1965 naar Merauke.
  • Pater Joh. Ramaaker: 1959 – 1966; vertrok in 1967 naar het FrederikHendrik-eiland.
  • Pater Simon Schuur: 1953 – 1959.
  • Pater WiIh. Thieman: 1951 – 1958; 1961 – 1963 werkzaam te TanahMerah; vertrok in 1963 naar Merauke.
  • Pater Jos. Verhoeven: 1953.
  • Pater Joh. Verschueren: 1948 – 1953; vertrok in 1953 naar het gebied der Marind-anim.
  • Pater Tit. van de Vlugt: 1963 – 1967; vertrok in 1967 naar Okaba.
  • Pater Adr. Vriens: 1949 – 1959 werkzaam te Edera; vertrok in 1959 naar het gebied der Marind-anim.


Broeders M.S.C.

  • Broeder Ant. Galiart: 1931 – 1961 werkzaam te Tanah-Merah, maar tevens te Merauke en in het Mimikagebied.
  • Broeder Mar. Ariëns: 1946 – 1955 werkzaam in het Mappigebied, maar tevens bij de Marind-anim.
  • Broeder Ger. van Abswoude:1957 – ? werkzaam te Tanah-Merah, maar tevens in het Moejoe-gebied. 

Dochters van O.L. Vrouw van het H.Hart

  • Zuster Carolina van de 1954 – 1970 te Tanah-Merah Vrande: (onderwijs).
  • Zuster Gaudia van Woerkom:1952 – 1984 (huishouding).
  • Zuster Justina Hudepohl: 1952 – 1956 (ziekenzorg).
  • Zuster Jeanne Bullings: 1952 – ? (onderwijs). 

Broeders van O.L. Vrouw van Zeven Smarten

  • Broeder Xaverius van Roon:1950 – 1978 werkzaam in het Mappigebied, maar tevens te Merauke en in de Moejoe-streek (onderwijs).
  • Broeder Liborius Lauwers: 1950 – heden werkzaam in het Mappigebied, maar ook te Merauke en op het Frederik-Hendrik-eiland (landbouwcursus).
  • Broeder Cajetanus van de 1950 – heden werkzaam in het Pangaart: Mappigebied, maar tevens te Merauke (leraar houtbewerking).
  • Broeder Godefridus de 1952 – 1980 werkzaam in het Korte: Mappigebied, maar ook te Merauke en in de Moejoe-streek (onderwijs, transport binnenvaart).
  • Broeder Bernulph den 1961 – 1977 werkzaam in de Mappistreek, Dubbelden: maar tevens te Merauke en in bet Moejoe-gebied (leraar op de technische school).
  • Broeder Sarto Roelofs: 1961 – 1980 werkzaam in bet Mappigebied, maar ook te Merauke en in bet Moejoe-gebied (leraar).


  • Herman de Vries: 1953 – 1966 (opbouwwerk).


the end@copyright 2012

The Antique Indonesia Book Collections



Antique Indonesia Book


Part One


The East Indian adventure put on paper

Except curious objects, preserved animals, shells and other curiosities brought the returning East Indiamen also notes back. Notes in diaries, comprehensive reports, perhaps a copy logbook, in any case material which – supplemented with memories and texts from the published books – a new message could be made. That this is not always smoothly is illustrated by the example of Michael Hohreiter.

On January 22, 1624 Hans asked Hohreiter the ‘Pfarrkirchenbaupflegeamt’ Ulm Raißbuech whether he could spend his brother Michael. Michael, born in Ulm in 1591, was like his father trained in navigation on rafts, but did between 1614 and 1620 and served the VOC include Java, the Moluccas and Japan visited and described. Within a week Hohreiter Hans got a negative answer. From a publication could not have occurred. The notes were presented to an urban scholar, the deputy head and ‘Professor Historiarum “Johann Conrad Merckh, and had found that” solch raissbuch gar in Kainer ordnung unnd allererst inn Dass hochteutsch übersetzt were muesste’ .1 So easy that was not. The author apparently had traveled back to a bundle of notes taken Ulm who was not even written in good German, probably even in Dutch. He himself was in 1622 again returned to the Netherlands. From an edition is never materialized and the manuscript was lost.
How many similar cases will not have been of travel journals, sketchbooks, full or half-drawn notes, which were never published but preserved in the family and were finally disposed of as waste paper? There are several travel or incentive to do so narrated in handwriting, and sometimes one reads in the well-published travel stories between the lines something about the roads that had to be walked to a bundle of jottings a full book.

How did the final texts now come about? What was the work of the author, publisher or their appointed editor or editor?
Unfortunately there is no handwritten drafts of a
[P. 254]
VOC-known travel which can be compared with the printed editie.2 In answering the question must first be based on comments from the editors. They stood for the task to produce a text that was readable, entertaining and reliable, requirements that are not easily combined. Always they had to do with the three distinct main elements of the travel records existed: the actual journal kept from day to day, the actual details of the areas where they had gone through, and finally the personal observations, adventures and musings. Especially the latter two elements could take a considerable extent and the whole composition of its balance.
The editorial interventions consisted primarily of displaying the text in the High German. Probably lacked the East Indiamen sometimes the correct knowledge of High German language, perhaps their notes were too rudimentary, and some are known as Dutchified were that they had their notes in Dutch opgeschreven.3 Secondly, could the editor insert text elements. Facts that could have on residents and wildlife. Many additions therefore refer to a study of a book standing as a reliable scholar. Slotted facts are recognized and are often recognizable as such a manner, that is, as a footnote or margin text in a different font, or in a smaller font. To make the story more exciting adventures were also inserted which may not always really so had passed. In one case, that point to, namely where an official logbook or other sources of the same journey have been preserved. Another type of insertion is Christian, moralistic commentary.
The composition will often have been a problem. In the early travel is the apparent tension between the pure, from day to day journal kept one hand and the account details with the other thematic. Slowly but surely, those elements into one another and the travel narrative. The chronological structure is retained, but the narrative, thematic elements are becoming more organic in the text. Ernst Christoph Barchewitz writes in the preface of his Allerneueste und wahrhaffte Ost-India Essential Reise-Beschreibung (1730) that he never “Diarium” has tracked and that he was the principle of this book does not follow, “denn solches Thut eigentlich nichts zur history, au contraire, the es Fallet meisten Lesern verdrüslich ‘.4 He does so in the composition into the reader and bends the disadvantage of the lack of a journal into an advantage.
[P. 255]
In some cases the travel at the end shows traces of a family chronicle. Short is still listed how the traveler has perished after his return to Germany, whom he married and the children were born, what their names and who the godparents waren.5
Apart from failures and half-successful attempts went the route of the edition as follows: the text was compiled from the records and sometimes from the memories of the traveler, supplemented with information from other books and then streamlined editorial. There were orders, one for word and sometimes a few poems on the author submitted, prints were made and after that the whole to the drukker.6

The repatriated travelers could get to work with the development of his travel notes, but in several cases is known that an editor worked on the creation of the text. Reliability was a key concern of the author. A learned editor could provide the guarantee of reliability. Employee worked as a scholar of the great publishing house De Bry in Frankfurt, Zurich Arthus, the handwriting of Johann Explore. Explore was in 1607, sailed as a soldier on the fleet of Pieter Willemsz. Verhoef and returned after an adventurous period back in 1612. That same year appeared Ein kurtze Beschreibung einer Reyse as Part IX of Oriental Tours De Bry. The following year there was a sequel. Arthus was, says the title pages and the comments in the text, based on a ‘Kurtzer Verzeichnus “More of them and had numerous borrowings from earlier authors added, among others by Jan Huygen van Linschoten. In Nuremberg kept Christoph Arnold, professor of Greek, rhetoric, poetry and history in 1663 the Wahrhaftige Beschreibungen zweyer authorize Königreiche China und Japan for publishing Endter, containing the itinerary of the chief surgeon Johann Jacob Merklein.7 The Book of the surgeon Schreyer was significantly edited by his publisher, the Leipzig bookseller Johann Christian Wohlfahrt. The itinerary of Johann Gottlieb Worm is edited by a clergyman from the neighborhood, that a scholar but very dry introduction to added.


Frontispiece by Johann Sigmund Wurffbains Vierzehen Jährige Ost-India Essential Krieg und Ober-Kauffmanns-Dienste (Nuremberg 1686). Dutch Maritime Museum.
The winged figure on the left, which Fama suggests, holds a portrait of the author found.

 Between 1644 and 1660

he served the VOC and ‘auf everything fell Jahr von Tag zu Tag’ noted. He had hoped to continue until his return, but the writing was “durch Unglück zur See, leader!” Lost gegaan.


9 The book was now established on the basis of memory and Saars with dust from other “writers of the Orientalis Chen , Where, etc ‘. The editor was pastor of the St. Lorenz-Kirche in Neurenberg.10 The emphasis placed on the loss of the diary, or the announcement that the traveler had never tracked, can also be a hedge against possible criticism of errors.
In two cases, former VOC servants more or less forced to tell their experiences. That happened at the court of the aforementioned, culturally interested Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf, Friedrich III. In 1650 he learned that a man in Husum after six years had returned from the East Indies. This Jürgen Andersen did not feel that, as the Duke asked him, his experiences to paper to trust. Andersen then summoned the duke to the ducal castle in Schleswig, where the man him every day in the royal library for an hour to tell ‘von seiner Reise, und der Länder Einwohner Beschaffenheit’ .11 These stories were recorded by the scholar Adam Olearius hofbibliothecaris , who had concealed up. After this session asked the Duke Andersen again writing his story to record. This time, Andersen agreed to. The two descriptions were compared, without contradiction
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found and stored in the library ‘ad perpetuam rei memoriam. Years later, in 1669, combined Olearius this story with another travelogue of returning Holstein, the former VOC soldier Volquard Iversen become very popular in the oriental-Reise Beschreibunge.
Olearius had made efforts for the scientific level of the content and thereby did commit a kind of source criticism. He compared the two texts themselves and with other travel, he let the authors know each other and to verify certain things he corresponded additionally with Dutch in the East had been. In addition, he also attached to a good style in which the form should receive their itineraries. He was also a member of the most important German literary society, the ‘Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft, founded in Weimar in 1617. Their members, princes and scholars, strove to purify the German language, primarily of poetry, under the motto “Everything zu Nützen ‘.12 The books published by Olearius are a highlight in the seventeenth-century travelogues. The readership of both scholars and laymen could count on an excellent mix of information, and beautiful style of entertaining.
Posthumous publications
Not everyone wanted to publish his travel writings. Johann Sigmund Wurffbain example, returned in 1646 with a load of notes, there has always opposed, possibly because it was forbidden to publish trade secrets. He died in 1661. Two years later his oder Kurtzer Instruction Message, a presentation to business people by land or by sea to India wanted to travel. It was reissued in 1672 and in 1686. That last time that happened in his Vierzehen Jährige Ost-India Essential Krieg und Ober-Kaufmann-Dienste, a comprehensive account, based on his diaries and worried by his son Johann Paul, there are many details to added, taken from other books. So for example, he charged the whole dramatic story about the sinking of the VOC ship Batavia, a drama that is three years for Wurffbains trip had taken place. Wurffbain junior justify its own additions concerning animals and plants carefully.
Other travelogues were published posthumously. The widow of Johann Peter Reichart left shortly after the death of her husband’s extensive Zwanzigjährige Wanderschafft



Title page of Heinrich Muches itinerary, 1674.
Muche, from Breslau and trained as a painter, served as the military VOC in Java, the Moluccas and Japan. He verluchtte his itinerary with dozens of drawings.und Reisen at their own expense drukken.13 from two letter writers of the late eighteenth century, finally, Morgenstern and Von Wurmb, the letters from the East Indies, and edited it, published posthumously. The deliverers of Tomorrow Stern letters in the introduction that all the ‘Privatumstände’ concerns is omitted, as well as all the “trivial and unilateral ‘.14Unpublished
It could of course happen that never came to an edition. The surgeon was Ultzheimer after many trips back in 1610 in Tübingen and had described his travels from the head. Part of his luggage, including notes he ‘von zu Jahr Jahr und Tag zu Tag von “were kept, he had left behind in Amsterdam. Therefore it was not really writing now and not entirely in order and it included errors, as the author apologized at the end of the manuscript. He has written from memory and “Schreiber”, apparently a netschrijver and editor at the same time, also has not had time to better organize the text and styling. Ultzheimer a lover ever hoped it would help cover the costs needed for a better version. He had no doubt Friedrich, Duke of Wiirtemberg on the eye, to whom he also dedicated the manuscript. It never happened.
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A similar request for financial aid can be read in the catalog of the “Art and Natura Lien Kammer ‘by Conrad Raetzel. In the preface does Raetzel appeal to potential participants, ie ‘other Herschafft oder ein und von den Herrn jemand Buchführern. Perhaps they feel there is something for his Ostindisches Diarium to spend together with an illustrated version of his catalog. That would mean carvings to life must be made. Such an illustrated catalog would also be very practical for other collectors, Raetzel goes on, both of royal status of lower position. Despite this urgent request is Raetzels itinerary for nearly three centuries in a publisher waiting.
From the manuscript of Heinrich Muche is understandable that it never appeared in print. A former painter and VOC soldier from Breslau had one in his own eyes undoubtedly erudite writings composed, moreover, that he had provided drawings. He had his equipment taken from dozens of itineraries, descriptions and kosmografieën country and the whole interspersed with Dutch, German, French and Latin poems. But it was never issued. If he has already offered to a publisher, it will probably be too unbalanced and too wordy found.
Jörg Franz Müller returned in 1682 after thirteen years ago in Amsterdam. Are in rhyme and decorated with many colored drawings he travelogue here bind in a stamped leather band with his name erop.15 His notes he later worked in Rohrschach. In these writings he addresses the reader and the drawings he says that it will be beautiful engravings. This points to schedule publication, but also in this case, it did not happen.
A rare example of the struggle with substance gives Caspar Schmalkalden. He was between 1642 and 1652 in Dutch service successively in Brazil and in the East Indies soldier. In Forschungsbibliothek in Gotha is a clear, illustrated story of his travels. It is written in two hands: of himself and presumably his son. But elsewhere there are two bundles with other versions of this text, full of erasures and corrections, which shows how difficult the editorial is verlopen.16
The manuscript by Georg Naporra, written in 1757, is cool, divided into clear chapters, each beginning with a brief summary. It is in fact ready for the press. Why this has never been published is a mystery. Probability
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corpse, the Seven Years War, which broke out when and where this manuscript was completed in Gdansk has suffered, a spanner in the cast. Ten years after his return was Naporra in a good hit, he was married and had become a citizen of Gdansk. Maybe failed when the need for publication and the manuscript remained in the family. The long text of Gottfried Preller, finally, is probably only been intended for a small circle. The unbalanced composition, the absence of a division into sections, and the simple use of language all point in the direction of an intimate referred to text.
A comparison of the authors and do not have published during their life that those who are socially and financially the most successful in their lives were nothing autobiographical have published. One explanation could be that they best were aware of the commercial secrets of the Company and that they felt bound by their oath to publish anything about it. Moreover, they also do not need to travel through them to establish a position.
The public
For the manuscripts
Of the fourteen Indian travel texts that have survived only in manuscript, but few seem to have been intended for publication. These are written in fair-copy book, articulated in chapters and turning to a reader or refer to illustrations in the book would be included. But for some reason it never came to an edition. Other unpublished texts were intended for a small circle of family and friends, which the long travel time and time could be read or recited. It was the exotic variant of a familiekroniek.17 In some texts even expressly state that he has that little circle of friends. Most authors refer repeatedly to certain persons whom they had encountered on their journey and thus also indicates that public awareness must have been. This gave the reader or listener of the story then the possibility verifiëren.18
It was also suggested that the passenger’s personal handwriting offered to a prince. He wore the surgeon Andreas Ultzheimer his writing about his many trips to Friedrich, Duke of Wurttemberg, and Johann Wilhelm Vogel the manuscript of his travel to the Duke of Saxe-Gotha.19[P. 261]
For the printed travel
In the sixteenth century in Germany much travel in Latin published. They were intended for a scholarly audience. In the seventeenth century the number of Latin titles off percentage in favor of the German teksten.20 Not only the language, the price given to the public. In 1617 Johann Theodor de Bry wears his series on America to the German emperor. In the dedication he writes that publishing such books as many costs involved that their prices are high and almost the only books available for ‘Herrnstandts Persons, other unnd Vornehme und vermögliche Leute. There were also quite a few ‘guthertzige, und der Historien liebhabende Leute “which to him had called the’ Essential India Historien ‘short-form to geven.21 De Bry has indeed done that.
An impression of the functioning of the travel within a learned German intellectual environment one gets from one of the conversations of the literary society “Elbschwanenorden ‘, as it was described in 1668 by one of the members, the pastor Johann Rist.22 Four friends discuss the best and noblest way of ‘Zeit-Verkürzung, the typical name in the German baroque for the opportunity to be useful and enjoyable leisure time to spend. Conversation turns to travel. The host, “of quiet ‘as his nickname is, does an expose on a bundle of travel and discusses ten titles, which he always evaluates veracity, utility, style and reading. Many authors have only to los gefabuleerd, he says, and that amused him. “Ich Meines theils, when ich lese dergleichen Sachen, verwundere nirgends mehr über mich as Dass solche scribblers vermeinet haben, dass verständige Leute solchen ihren elenden Fabulen und lächerlichen Mährlein glauben zustellen wurden.” Der Quiet she reads so well, but is there to own words actually above. His friend Nobilidor thinks otherwise. “No,” he says, “that I waste my time with it, I like to read good Histories’, especially ‘frembde raisebeschreibungen” but he adds “nach solchen Possen ich habe kein grosses Desire’. And then he lists what he wise, that is useful travelogues understand. As an example he mentions the books that Adam Olearius has delivered. He tells them that “nichtes Partheyisches, nichtes Kindisches, nichtes Fabelhafftes, oder erdichtetes, probing his straight clean und Warheit nackende Durchaus ‘to find is.23 This shows that one makes the distinction between” sensible, true’ and ‘gefabuleerde’ travel. First, the utility, the second was purely a function as tijdpassering.24 In

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then very recent report by Nieuhof a Dutch delegation to Beijing, he notes that while a ‘gar feines nutzliches und Buch, “but that the embassy has followed just a straight road, often over water, making them as a kind of prisoners but little of the country gezien.25
The ‘true’ journey, as is repeatedly stated, had two functions: utility and entertainment, “Nußen und Vergnügen ‘.26 That utility had different meanings. Nut was informative, practical utility for the traveler who took advantage of such books. They could help travelers prepare for trips and merchants could benefit from them in defining their business strategies. A study of the subscribers of the German translation in 1777 by Engelbert Kaempfers book about Japan has shown that the buyers were mainly members of the upper crust of society, the higher middle class and professionals, doctors, clergy and landowners. In the port cities were mainly interested merchants. This suggests that interest in travel literature not only of philosophical or cultural but also economic in nature was.27
With utility was also meant the moral utility, the founding force of the text. Indeed, travelogues contributed to the knowledge of the world and thus to a good sense of the immensity and multiplicity of creation. The passenger was also an exemplary figure who by his steadfastness in the faith, gave an example. He proved the power of Providence.
The scientific usefulness is ingezien.28 the same time that the friends of the ‘Elbschwanenorden’ came together, wrote Leibniz, in his reflections on the systematization of education and research and storage of knowledge, that travel is necessary for historical research and that a set of all possible travel texts, letters and other written sources that are so often neglected by families, desired is.29 Paullini devoted Christian Franz in his Philosophical Lust-Stunden from 1706 contains a chapter on the usefulness of travel books and he also points to the ‘fremdes lustiges und ‘and on the morale useful. Theologians, lawyers, doctors, philosophers, politicians and ‘Liebhaber der Antiquitäten’ can benefit. They can decorate their own writings with historical trends and explain it, the physician can learn a lot about herbs and planten.30 The Kiel professor Daniel Georg Morhof in 1708 emphasized the multiform usefulness, “usum maximum ad res Varias” of travel .31

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A Dutch variant gives Peter Rabus, when he in his journal the Book Room of Europe in 1699, observes: “I do not know from what kind of writing more fun for inquisitive ingenuity to get is’ .32 Messages were also seen as a source of relaxation . One could read them as a pastime, comfortable home: they did not himself travel to gaan.33 But a few were so gripped by his home no longer be endured, and it went out for themselves the described Asian miracle countries to look to ‘tie Original oder zu sehen selbsten that Sach ‘.34
That travel not only for the upper classes were intended, is evident from the fact that more and more travel in the vernacular and that they also appeared on a modest size and therefore cheaper on the market. When Adam Olearius in 1658 the travel Von Mandelslo spend, he writes in the foreword that the book is to ‘Erlustigung des gemüths’ of ‘well learned as unlearned’ persons of high and low setting. The experienced men from practice, the actual travelers, which could then status and training or are at a lower level, they searched and found affiliation and recognition from the world of academics and literati. There also point to the words and the editorial guidance.
The sick comforter Isaac Sunderman, the only one of the 47 Germans in Dutch wrote it, did not so much for an academic audience, but for the “simple country blowing” that none of the seafaring life know how much has already been written about. He states his intended audience still with ‘myne Country ordinary people, in the Bergsche, Mark Nietzsche and Adhesive film CAL lands dwell, including those in Ontario Overyssel and the Moselle his’ .35 Sunderman was born in Westphalia, had six years on the Moselle a job before and after returning from the East in Deventer established. He focused so really acquaintances in the areas where he had lived. Winter Barley also calls himself in the same years ‘Landsman Nachbar und’ of the reader. Johann Peter Reichart, which a lot about life on board communicates, is aimed at the ‘in der ganz Schiffarth unerfahrne geneigte Leser’ .36
For whom and why travel useful, also describes CF Neickel, the author of a comprehensive book on art and rarities collections from 1727. The author emphasizes that knowledge is an asset, but that certainly not everyone has to have the university. Even ordinary fathers may in fact deepen their leisure hours in the sciences. Nothing is more useful for the proper Christian understanding than the study of nature, and
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therefor, other than nature walks in the spring or summer, ideally travelogues. Neickel public has in mind here as the fathers of the class of merchants and artisans after work or what to read by their wife or children read aloud. Again, the reading in this case already quite old travel an edifying functie.37
The above statements were made by authors, publishers and avid book readers. They say not many of whom, except persons in court circles and scholars actually read travelogues. About the German readership is little known. The book by Ludwig von Dies Horn, which in 1759 appeared and basically an East Indian lexicon, was intended for ‘der gemeine Mann oder auch sonsten Persons von lowly Power dergleichen’ .38 It also contained no engravings and not much personal about to inexpensive to maintain. In the second half of the eighteenth century was more read, including in civilian circles. Reading clubs flourished. The mayor of Bremen wrote in 1782 that the number of reading clubs in Lower Saxony increased from day to day, even in the smaller cities. Among the members were scholars and laymen, merchants, craftsmen, “Oekonomen, soldiers, old and young, men and vrouwen.39 A study of book ownership in Frankfurt around 1800 shows that 74 percent of the craft journeymen and 65 percent of master craftsmen no But the book bezaten.40 Liter Aryan Neue Zeitung of November 1802 indicates the “Unter den niedern Standings um sich immer mehr greif Lesewuth assignees. One thing is certain: some East Indiamen that they themselves have written about the East Indies have read before they left. Much more must they have read after their return. In their book they call because older titles, sometimes in the copying of information, sometimes scornfully at such naivety in earlier years.
From a book is known that the author has given to the city library of his residence. Johann Jacob Merklein wrote on the flyleaf of the book in which his travel was included, “Wohl-der Ehren Veste, Fürsichtige Kunstreiche und Herr Johann Jacob Merklein habe diese Reisbeschreibung of Windsheimischen Bibliothec am 13. August 1672 verehrt ‘.41 In a copy of the travel story of Elias Hesse state whose first owner was: a certain Georg Heinrich Hoeberlin in the sixth grade of the gymnasium of Stuttgart zat.42
About quantities and prices of treated Indian travel writings are largely unknown. From a letter of Jan Swammerdam in 1671 shows that two books of translations from German Dutch VOC 1 guilder and 16 travel together cost pennies. The one, the journey of Jürgen Andersen, had 168 pages, the other in which the travel of Saar, Iversen and Herport were combined, 204 pages. The same source shows how expensive a large folioboek was. The two-volume work Gedenckwaerdig Bedryf
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Of the Dutch East India Maetschappye of Olfert Dapper in 1670, in which two VOC embassies to China are described, it took 9 gulden.43 Some years later, a German edition. Only the book by Isaac Sunderman is known that the third edition in 1714 three hundred copies were printed for an amount of 45 gulden.44 This means that a total of perhaps 800 to 900 copies were printed.
Another indication for public circulation and gives the preface of the East Indian travelogue of Caspar Röhrig, the only portion that is known of this rare boek.45 Röhrig was, as noted earlier, in 1776 after three years as a sailor in Asia have worked, came back in Birkenfeld. He had married a rich woman and had started an inn, Zum Ostindische Schiff. In 1800 a publisher decided to give Röhrigs memoirs under the title Reisen und Fortunes, and put a sign-on purpose. The list shows that two bookstores (in Gotha in Rudolstadt) each have ordered 100 copies. A copy went to a library and read the rest, about 150 books, went to individuals in 45 towns and cities in Saxony. Among the bidders that their job tasks were many craftsmen, especially teachers, and further ducal officials and some merchants and military officers. It is striking that eight irish inn and seven ministers ordered the book. Maybe that inn irish felt an affinity with their fellow Röhrig – his occupation was stated in the title – perhaps even had ‘Gastwirten’ professionals are aware of travel and foreign countries with the towing business is to converse.
Summarized in the seventeenth century travelogues were read in the higher circles of the court, by scholars and writers, and in the eighteenth century increasingly by people from the middle classes. Artisans form a target group of the publisher and the case of Röhrig shows that the masters indeed read. The journeymen and servants read unlikely. If they have books in the house, then had that edifying werkjes.46

Reward for the story
As an exotic value had been present, as was also the story and certainly the story written some-thing. The returned traveler had a capital gain, which is perhaps the abject was as wild and inappropriate behavior, but for others it interesting. The commands in the
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Assignment of Johann Wilhelm Vogel to Friedrich, Duke of Saxe-Gotha. Forschungs-und Landesbibliothek Gotha.
Bird was on October 19, 1688 in Gotha returned after spending almost ten years in the East. On 23 August he signed this contract in the first calligraphed abridged version of his travelogue. It appeared six months later in print. Then followed two more comprehensive versions.

when he leaves the parental home to turn the wide world to explore, as his father had done forty years earlier, the city gives him three guilders travel money. Two years later, in the winter of 1730, receives its mother city legally still a bundle of wood. Three years later she also dies.
Another example may here the role of the sovereign illustrate. Johann Christoph Wolf thought in 1670 after eighteen years VOC service as assistant bookkeeper in Ceylon are quietly to enjoy his last years in his hometown Röbel in Mecklenburg. But after the first news of his return he was gone, according to his own words, to deal with a pesky parochial pride and love of his fellow townsmen. They tried him in a bad light and twelve years he had to be humiliated. How exactly tired of not clear, but in any case in 1782, Wolf published the first part of his Reise nach Zeilan. Apparently this book come face of Friedrich, Duke of Mecklenburg, who not only exonerated of ‘Accise’ and honored him with a gold medal, but actually did live in the ducal castle to Büsow. There he enjoyed life free lodging and free stoken.54 No wonder Wolf part two of his book Ceylon to the Duke commanded.

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Writing and publishing motives
No money, or honor
When all the words and commands would take literally, one might think that writing a travelogue came from a series of noble motives. The author has to describe God’s greatness, he would have wanted the readers can easily make their accurate and truthful mind to imagine how it toeging in distant countries, without having to step outside the door had to convert. The traveler had just put on the desk after long urging of good friends and influential people. In short, he was a noble, Christian, human and truthful, and especially modest man.
So it should not be interpreted literally. Although the combination of these traits should not be ruled out, we must understand the repeated reference to it as standard formulas. They served two purposes. The first was the recruitment to the address of the reader. He was led to believe how amazing this book is not there. The author did everything with my own eyes to the truth and he was therefore. Second, these texts have all more or less an undertone of self-justification. The author showcases black and white life, a life that is lived piously and wisely and in which he has not succumbed to the temptations of evil. His trust in God despite all fatalities and it has remained unshaken he owes his life. This behavior was good except for the words and poems to the author also emphasized by the inclusion of passports and letters of recommendation from the Company. They confirm that the owner of this paper the VOC has served faithfully for several years. The itinerary was thus a major recommendation of the author, an entertaining proof of good behavior. She became a means of returning to the East Indies Ganger his experience to its advantage. The book did not directly money, but functioned as a tool for social integration. A travelogue that was dedicated to an influential person could lead to an office, to income, to integration and therefore to respect. Publishing a book and certainly dedicate it to a king or an influential college increased the probability of an official status and could increases. It facilitated access to certain administrative, scientific or even nobility.
The desire to publish alone was not sufficient. An edition came about only when a publisher it was commercially viable. It was probably the author himself hardly financially wiser. A well-established lawyer in this field took it in 1675 as follows: “Those were the Schrifften derer Autorum Buchdruckern und

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Frontispiece of oriental-India Essential Der Kunst-und Lust-Gärtner Georg Meister (Dresden 1692). Dutch Maritime Museum.

Buchführern um einen Gewissen verkaufft Preiss, jedoch so, dass diese the profit, which Ehre jene aber davon Haben. ’55 Already in 1613 was Johann Explore, the first German of whom a report of his trip was pushed VOC, honored with a beautiful verse. He was “gloriose, full of honor, at his back and was able after so many lands and seas, crossing to and with many savage peoples fought to have ‘with glorious splendor the peaks of fame ascend’ .56 And in the order of Wurffbains itinerary from 1686 we read that distant travelers’ einen ewigen Ruhm ‘acquisition, even after their death, especially when they experience “aufrichtig und warhafftig’ to posterity have meegedeeld.57 A poem about the travels of Winter Barley describes his distant, long and difficult travel and praises him for the book he has written:
Sodann gereicht es Ihm sonderbahren zu Ehren,
There Dass ist der erste in unsrer Vatter-Stadt,
So long man und denckt Weist, von dem wir sagas hear
Dass there solches ein Buch in Truck gegeben hat … 58
If the author has received money, was it likely the person to whom the book was dedicated than the publisher. The only documented case of a reward for dedication is that of Martin Winter Barley, who in 1712 forty examples of his journal dedicated to the Board of Memmingen, for which he was conceived by 30 gulden.59 appeared of the same book copies with dedications to the boards of

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neighboring cities, doubtless with the expectation that there is also a financial gesture opposite would be. But the archives mention daarover.60
In one case writing a book a special, personal honor was. Elias Hesse, unlike many of his comrades with whom he had left Saxony, the experiment in Sumatra gold mine survived. Three years after returning, he writes on his experiences because his countrymen on their deathbed had begged him to disclose ‘who elendlich mission meist all sterben Erben und fl sparrows “and how dangerous such a journey, and everyone there to warn against. His book ends with a list of the sixteen on Sumatra deceased comrades.
It is remarkable that it was the inferiors in rank who have spent their experiences. The most successful candidates, as Wurffbain have made no effort. This is explained by a reluctance regarding the disclosure of vital VOC data. And perhaps it was precisely for them again beneath their station.
The prestige, the respect that the East India adventure yielded apparent from poems that were dedicated to the author and the book are placed in the front. A similar function has a portrait in the book, with a spell or a few lines of poetry. Of some authors is also known that they were commemorated their dead with respect. On the death in 1680 by Johann von der Behr, who had fought as a soldier in Ceylon, was the poet Heinrich von Bredelo commissioned a number of poems. In one of them he praises von der Behr roars like a fearless hero who marches forth to where
… Elephant in the hin der Sonne explains
Durch Donner und Bliz Bley, durch Tausend Sturm und Wetter.
Wellen und durch Wind Gehn, und nie auf ruhn Federn,
Vor Keiner Noth (bricht schon Mast, Anckerthau und Bretter)
Auch nur ein einzigs Mahl verzagte … 61
In the city museum in Ulm was located before the Second World War the tombstone of one Jacob Franck, who in 1625 was born in this city. The stone showed a ship on the rocks thrown and the text describing compressed Francks fifty lives. Originally baker and weaver, he was in service to Dutch East Indies traveled. He had in ’10 Jahr und Feuer Wassersgefahr in Schlachten,

Original info:

Titelprent van Der Orientalisch-Indianische Kunst- und Lust-Gärtner van Georg Meister (Dresden 1692). Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam.

Buchführern um einen gewissen Preiß verkaufft, jedoch so, daß diese den profit, jene aber die Ehre davon Haben.’55 Al in 1613 was Johann Verken, de eerste Duitser van wie een verslag van zijn voc-reis was gedrukt, vereerd met een fraai vers. Hij was ‘gloriose’, met roem beladen, bij de zijnen teruggekeerd en kon na zoveel landen en zeeën doorkruist te hebben en met zoveel woeste volkeren gevochten te hebben ‘met luisterrijke glorie de toppen van de roem bestijgen’.56 En in de opdracht van Wurffbains reisbeschrijving uit 1686 leest men dat verre reizigers ‘einen ewigen Ruhm’ verwerven, ook na hun dood, vooral wanneer ze hun ervaringen ‘aufrichtig und warhafftig’ aan het nageslacht hebben meegedeeld.57 Een gedicht over de reizen van Wintergerst beschrijft zijn verre, lange en moeizame reizen en prijst hem om het boek dat hij daarover heeft geschreven:

Sodann gereicht es Ihm zu sonderbahren Ehren,

daß Er der erste ist in unsrer Vatter-Stadt,

So lang man weist und denckt, von dem wir sagen hören,

Daß er ein solches Buch in Truck gegeben hat…58

Als de auteur al geld ontving, kwam dat waarschijnlijk eerder van degene aan wie het boek was opgedragen dan van de uitgever. Het enige aantoonbare geval van een beloning voor een dedicatie is dat van Martin Wintergerst, die in 1712 veertig exemplaren van zijn reisverslag opdroeg aan de raad van Memmingen, waarvoor hij werd bedacht met 30 gulden.59 Er verschenen van ditzelfde boek ook exemplaren met dedicaties aan de raden van

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naburige steden, ongetwijfeld met de verwachting dat daar ook een financieel gebaar tegenover zou staan. Maar de archieven zwijgen daarover.60In één geval is het schrijven van een boek een bijzondere, persoonlijke erezaak geweest. Elias Hesse heeft, anders dan zijn vele kameraden met wie hij uit Saksen vertrokken was, het goudmijnexperiment op Sumatra overleefd. Drie jaar na terugkeer schrijft hij zijn ervaringen op omdat zijn landgenoten hem op hun doodsbed hadden gesmeekt bekend te maken ‘wie elendlich sie meist alle sterben und verderben müssen’ en hoe gevaarlijk zo’n reis was, en een ieder daartegen te waarschuwen. Zijn boek eindigt met de lijst van de zestien op Sumatra overleden kameraden.Het is opvallend dat het juist de lageren in rang zijn die hun ervaringen hebben uitgegeven. De meest geslaagden, zoals Wurffbain, hebben er geen moeite voor gedaan. Dit valt te verklaren uit een terughoudendheid ten aanzien van het openbaarmaken van vitale voc-gegevens. En misschien was het voor hen nu juist weer beneden hun stand.Het aanzien, het respect dat het Oost-Indisch avontuur had opgeleverd blijkt uit gedichten die aan de auteur zijn opgedragen en die voorin het boek zijn geplaatst. Een zelfde functie heeft een portret voor in het boek, voorzien van een spreuk of een aantal dichtregels. Van enkele auteurs is ook bekend dat ze bij hun dood met respect werden herdacht. Op de dood in 1680 van Johann von der Behr, die als soldaat op Ceylon gevochten had, maakte de dichter Heinrich von Bredelo in opdracht een aantal gedichten. In een daarvan roemt hij Von der Behr ronkend als een held die onverschrokken voortmarcheert naar waar

… der Elephant hin in die Sonne legt

Durch Donner, Bliz und Bley, durch tausend Sturm und Wetter.

Durch Wind und Wellen gehn, und nie auf Federn ruhn,

Vor keiner Noth (bricht schon Mast, Anckerthau und Bretter)

Auch nur ein einzigs mahl verzagte…61

In het stadsmuseum van Ulm bevond zich voor de Tweede Wereldoorlog de grafsteen van een zekere Jacob Franck, die in 1625 in deze stad geboren was. De steen vertoonde een op de klippen geworpen schip en de tekst beschreef gecomprimeerd Francks vijftigjarige leven. Van oorsprong bakker en wever was hij in Hollandse dienst naar Oost-Indië gereisd. Hij had ‘10 Jahr in Feuer- und Wassersgefahr, in Schlachten,

60Lauchner 1986/86, p. 109.61Bredelo 1682.
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Frontispiece of the East Indian Travel description Elias Hesse (Dresden 1692). Dutch Maritime Museum.
HereIn Hesse describes the tragic fate of the Saxon Miners in 1680 under the Leadership of Benjamin Olitzsch to Sumatra traveled there in the gold mines of the Company to plants.

Hunger und Durst und brot ohne zugebracht Gefangenschafft fast. And its 128 companions he was with another the only one who had seen the home country again. Franck was married and had worn the rest of his life as landlord of the inn of The Red Lion and then plated Lam.62
In the cemetery of the East Frisian island Amrum are the graves of dozens of sailors. Also in this beautifully carved stone from some East Indiamen are the ship and the East India career immortalized.
For Caspar Schamberger, the successful surgeon at Deshima was a celeb rated funeral sermon was prepared All which detailed looks at his career. Martin Winter Barley was however no printed sermon, no tombstone, let alone an epitaph. However, his miraculous life recalled in the burial register or Martin Memmingen. At his funeral in 1728 They wrote: “Martin Wintergärst, Zeugwarth: (ein man or 22. Iahr gereiset 😉 starb in Christo, 58 iahr you. 2. Monat. RIP’63 His East Indian adventure was sixteen years after returning yet memorable .
Further the life of others is impossible to trace. Their story ends with the arrival home and the archives silent. A few adds to his East Indian adventure have anything about his family Circumstances
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present. David Tappe wrote Whom he married in any church, And Also mentions the names of his daughters and Where They are baptized. Preller Also writes on the last pages of his manuscript about his marriage, about The Difficult birth of his wife and the death of Their first daughter Within a week after birth. He then gets two songs and mentions the names of the godparents of his children.
Some were still decades in the memory thanks to reprints of Their books or fragments of it in bundles travelogues. Some enjoyed the honor to be Mentioned in a biographical dictionary or encyclopedieën.64

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present. David Tappe wrote whom he married in any church, and also mentions the names of his daughters and where they are baptized. Preller also writes on the last pages of his manuscript about his marriage, about the difficult birth of his wife and the death of their first daughter within a week after birth. He then gets two sons and mentions the names of the godparents of his children.
Some were still decades in the memory thanks to reprints of their books or fragments of it in bundles travelogues. Some enjoyed the honor to be mentioned in a biographical dictionary or encyclopedieën.64

The judgment of the East India adventure
How did the returnees back to their East Indian adventure? The main criteria by which success was judged, were amassed fortune and whether or not to retain health.
Some take the whole long travelogue and a cheerful tone to write a word about regret their vertrek.65 Most, however, look with mixed feelings on the Indian years ago. They explain their step many years ago from youthful daring curiosity, from ‘Fürwitz. They are, they write, in their youth been blinded by fancy, but misleading stories of soul vendors and others by travelogues and novels. Wurffbain warned in the middle of the seventeenth century. Those who have money and connections, it will be fine. Who goes out of poverty and has no connections, no matter how ingenious and hardworking too, will get heavy.
Johann von der Behr would remain there for seven years, but after his return he had to fix that instead of the proposed gold ‘nichts, denn Nichtige Kohle “had gathered. And he thanks the Lord that he “spoils” at least still has the lifetime teruggebracht.66 Elias Hesse is the first work for the Company to slavery vergelijkt.67 He summed it up shortly after his return in 1683 together. From most of the countries in the East Indies are said to be the cleanest, nicest and richest in the world. But the Dutch are masters and they are none to private trade, and without it you can not acquire wealth. Yet there are Company-servants along devious roads a large fortune. He has never since surrendered and he has returned, again with the biggest booty the leven.68 His travelogue, where-


Titelprent van de East Indian Travel description Elias van Hesse (Dresden 1692). Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam.
Hesse beschrijft herein de lotgevallen tragic van de Saksische Mijnwerkers onder the van in 1680 Leiding Benjamin Olitzsch naar de Sumatra reisden om daar in goudmijnen van de Compagnie te gaan plants.
Hunger und Durst und brot ohne zugebracht Gefangenschafft fast. And its 128 companions he was with another the only one who had seen the homeland again. Franck was married and had worn the rest of his life as landlord of the inn of The Red Lion and then plated Lam.62
In the cemetery of the East Frisian island Amrum are the graves of dozens of sailors. Also in this beautifully carved stone from some East Indiamen are the ship and the East India career immortalized.
For Caspar Schamberger, the successful surgeon at Deshima, was a celebrated funeral sermon was prepared which detailed looks at his career. Martin Winter Barley was however no printed sermon, no tombstone, let alone an epitaph. However, his miraculous life recalled in the burial register of Martinus Memmingen. At his funeral in 1728 they wrote: “Martin Wintergärst, Zeugwarth: (ein man of 22. Iahr gereiset 😉 starb in Christo, 58 iahr you. 2. monat. RIP’63 His East Indian adventure was sixteen years after returning yet memorable.
The further life of others is impossible to trace. Their story ends with the arrival home and the archives silent. A few adds to his East Indian adventure have anything about his family circumstances
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present. David Tappe wrote whom he married in any church, and also mentions the names of his daughters and where they are baptized. Preller also writes on the last pages of his manuscript about his marriage, about the difficult birth of his wife and the death of their first daughter within a week after birth. He then gets two sons and mentions the names of the godparents of his children.
Some were still decades in the memory thanks to reprints of their books or fragments of it in bundles travelogues. Some enjoyed the honor to be mentioned in a biographical dictionary or encyclopedieën.64


62Schmidlin 1934, pp. 61-62.63Lauchner 1985/86, p. 124.
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heden. David Tappe schrijft met wie hij trouwde en in welke kerk, en noemt ook de namen van zijn dochters en waar ze gedoopt zijn. Ook Preller schrijft op de laatste bladzijden van zijn handschrift over zijn huwelijk, over de moeizame bevalling van zijn vrouw en de dood van hun eerste dochtertje binnen een week na de geboorte. Hij krijgt daarna twee zoontjes en noemt de namen van de peetouders van zijn kinderen.Enkelen bleven nog decennia in de herinnering dankzij herdrukken van hun boek of door fragmenten ervan in bundels reisverhalen. Sommigen genoten de eer te worden vermeld in een biografisch woordenboek of in encyclopedieën.64 64Bijvoorbeeld Johann Beckmanns Litteratur der älteren Reisebeschreibungen (Göttingen 1807-1810), waarin Wurffbain, Hesse, Tappe, Langhansz, Wintergerst, Meister en Schwartz staan. In Heinrich Zedlers Großes vollständiges Universall-Lexikon aller Wissenschaften und Künste (Dresden 1732-1754) zijn Wagner, Meister, Vogel, Saar en Wintergerst opgenomen. Ook in Christian Gottlieb Jöchers Allgemeine Gelehrten Lexicon (Leipzig/Bremen 1705-1819) komen Oost-Indiëvaarders voor. In de Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (Berlijn 1875-) vinden we: Ultzheimer, Wurffbain, Wagner, Merklein, Von der Behr, Andersen, Saar, Tappe, Schreyer, Schweitzer, Hesse, Langhansz, Wintergerst, Kolb en Worm.

Het oordeel over het Oost-Indisch avontuur

Hoe keken de repatrianten terug op hun Oost-Indisch avontuur? De belangrijkste criteria waarop het succes beoordeeld werd, waren het vergaarde fortuin en de al of niet behouden gezondheid.

Enkelen houden het hele reisverhaal lang een opgewekte toon aan en schrijven met geen woord over spijt van hun vertrek.65 De meesten echter kijken met gemengde gevoelens op de Indische jaren terug. Ze verklaren hun stap van zoveel jaren geleden uit jeugdige overmoedige nieuwsgierigheid, uit ‘Fürwitz’. Ze zijn, schrijven ze, in hun jeugd verblind geweest door fraaie, maar misleidende verhalen van zielverkopers en anderen, door reisbeschrijvingen en romans. Wurffbain waarschuwde al in het midden van de zeventiende eeuw. Wie geld en connecties heeft, zal het wel redden. Wie uit armoede gaat en geen connecties heeft, hoe vernuftig en hardwerkend ook, zal het zwaar krijgen.

Johann von der Behr zou er zeven jaar blijven, maar na terugkeer moest hij vaststellen dat hij in plaats van het voorgestelde goud ‘nichts, denn nichtige Kohle’ had vergaard. En hij dankt de Heer dat hij ‘als buit’ ten minste nog het leven mee heeft teruggebracht.66 Elias Hesse is de eerste die het werk voor de Compagnie met slavernij vergelijkt.67 Hij vatte het kort na zijn terugkeer in 1683 samen. Van het grootste deel der landen in Oost-Indië zegt men dat ze tot de schoonste, prettigste en rijkste van de wereld behoren. Maar de Hollanders zijn hier heer en meester en ze staan niemand toe particuliere handel te drijven, en zonder dat kun je geen rijkdom verwerven. Toch zijn er Compagnie-dienaren die langs slinkse wegen een groot fortuin vergaren. Hij heeft zich daar nooit aan overgegeven en hij is teruggekeerd, eveneens met als grootste buit het leven.68 Zijn reisverslag, waar-

65Met name Müller, Barchewitz en Schröder.66Von der Behr, rdb xx, p. 13.67Hesse, rdb x, p. 178.68Idem, pp. 126-127.
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Tombstone Nahmens Nickels and his wife Mattje Nick Elsen, Amrum. Photo: Georg Quedens.
Nahmen Nickels (1715-1785) came from the East Frisian island Amrum and run twice in VOC service as captain for the East Indies. The first time in 1759 at the Zoo, the second time in 1761 on the Aschat. This ship is carved on this stone. In Dutch service he called himself Cornelis Nannings of Ameren.

the first of three editions in 1687 came out, nobody will have encouraged to go there. Christoph Langhansz also shows a serious warning to hear. The key word to him that so often flows from the pen when he talks about employment with the VOC has been ‘slavery’. In his preface to the reader, he writes in 1705 that all who desire to travel is to travel to East Indian hats, as they yield little more this time. Who still goes trades his freedom for slavery, and who will have escaped all danger, may still be lucky if his health has not suffered. He himself is glad he was able within three years ontkomen.69 And so we read numerous comments received from a little optimistic visionary. There is really no one who advises on an adventure.
Over the years versombert the tone. The many prefaces and dedications with their optimistic endorsements of travel in general and the trip to the East Indies in particular disappear. The motive for the many wonders of God’s creation to behold no longer occurs. The stories are businesslike and cynical. It also describes the more personal feelings, and that is a general trend in autobiographies and travelogues. Georg Naporra cursed in 1757 in his preface to the books as a youngster he had read about the East Indies. They have deceived him. They seemed so nice, but I do not believe in,
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he writes, “sonder verwerffe und mehr verfluche sion fell, weil mission einen anlaß giebt zur verleitung eines jungen men und ich habe es ganz befunden else. He describes the miserable lives of soldiers and sailors that none of his friends stupidity will commit to serve in the Company.
Johann Christoph Wolf, eighteen years as a clerk to Ceylon served, writes in the preface of his in 1782 published book that anyone who believes in the East Indies ‘lauter Gold und Silberberge’ to be found and that one “bald Schäß sammlen reich und könne were “seriously mistaken. Who lives and virtuous ‘geschicklichkeit’ shows it could make a fortune. And he wants than anyone discourage the trip maken.70 same message echoed from the letters of Morgenstern and the Baron von Wurmb. Morgenstern surprised in 1771 in a letter from Batavia on the strange ideas that people in Europe from the East Indies. It is thought that the money in the street and the pearls and jewels on the beach. No, the East Indies is no longer what it was twenty or thirty years ago. It makes fortune here only by a lucrative appointment, by trade or by both. And, it is monotonous, which is primarily accessible by means of good letters of recommendation. Of the thousands who come here remain barely fifty alive, and only five of them make fortunes. In similar terms in 1774 Baron von Wurmb writes in a letter: the times have passed that those who undertook this long journey, even in the lower ranks of soldier or sailor could hope to acquire any property. Who Indies only Barchewitz or other travelogues knows and therefore thinks that the money so gathered pickings, is equally disappointed as those who the world only know from romans.71 Here refers Von Wurmb so the itinerary of Ernst Christoph Barchewitz, which 1711 to 1722 had served in India and whose adventures were first published in 1730, after four reprints followed, the last in 1762. In the book by Otto Friedrich Mentzel, published in 1784, we read a recent complaint about the East to quote: “Remember these things, my friends, and do not go to the East. Teach yourself to maintain a fair trading and stay home in your homeland. “Elsewhere he writes that the hundred soldiers rarely more than thirty come back and that of the hundreds who remain rarely more than ten PhD or a grade get them enables to build a decent life. Of the thousand men who have made promotional find rarely, very rarely, one that really made fortune and returned to Europe as wealthy man.72
The entire period reads as key to the East Indies success: good connections, money and happiness. In principle,
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can make a career in Asia faster than in Germany or the Netherlands. But who has money will not be inclined to go to the East. Good relationships are equally important in the East Indies and in Europe. The whole life depends on patronage to one another. In the course of the eighteenth century curiosity gets as travel motif in the background, at least in the authors discussed here. The welcoming glow of the East is gone. Asia is in these descriptions are no longer the mythical land where the diamonds up for grabs, but for a cutthroat world of envy and corruption. Asia from the sixteenth century was known as a region with unprecedented opportunities, as the “Irdisches Paradis, in the eighteenth century began to shine to fade and they even spoke of the” Kirchhof der Europäer.
A number of East Indiamen has lived for decades after the adventure. Of mutual contacts between veterans after return of the VOC is virtually unknown. Trevennot press the repatriated East Indiaman on the heart to leave a fund for his “poor Ost-Indian Reijse Brüder” who have returned ill or fault of their impoverished vervallen.73 Twice describes someone in Europe towards home look up an old friend. Christian Burckhardt is in Leiden along the former VOC doctor Paul Hermann. Both were coming from Halle. Hermann, who was in charge of the hospital in Colombo, where Burckhardt had healed from a serious illness. He had been professor of botany at Leiden become. He had a huge collection of natural history brought back, consisting of dried plants, insects, lizards, snakes, echinoderms, fish, shells, corals and rocks. Part of it stood in the botanical gardens of the university, some in his own house, the Museum Indicum. The reception was very warm. Burckhardt writes that he, as used in India, “meliori modo emfangen und aufgenommen ‘werd.74
Christoph gets Frik years after his return visit from a former lieutenant from Constance, which he in the hospital of Bantam had a paralysis genezen.75 Johann Saar, who in 1660 had returned to Nuremberg, writes about his “Werther Freund, the Surgeon Merklein, forty miles further south in Windsheim lived seven years earlier and who was repatriated. It is likely that they sought out each other again. Zacharias Wagner for his departure from Batavia gemaakt.76 his will he bequeathed considerable sums to relatives in Saxony, but also forgot his friends in the Netherlands. His friend Joan Blaeu, the famous cartographer and publisher in Amsterdam, received a cash prize except a beautiful Bengali bedspread. Caspar Schamberger at Leipzig, who had been chief surgeon in Asia and Wagner on Deshima had met, was also conceived with money. Elias of the Broecke, which in the
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Coromandel had worked and lived again in Dordrecht, received a Japanese lacquered triktrakbord. Andreas Cleyer, surgeon in Batavia was 200 dollars. The overall legacy of Wagner was 31,625 guilders. Apart from this the existence of money from many Indian rarities as Japanese writing cabinets, chests’ opgesamelde rariteyten “and his book” Essential daer only brasil rariteyten in getekent staen, “his book or liber amicorum and several private geschriften.77
Who should we be happier deem VOC in the high ranks such as Wagner, Morgenstern and Von Wurmb who had succeeded in gaining a fortune, but who have not been able to enjoy a quiet, comfortable old age because they died before this could ? Or someone like Winter Barley, who have returned to the homeland, but his last years in poverty wear? Only a few of the 47 men can be said to be the full benefits of the East Indian adventure had. People like Bird, my inspector in Altenburg and Coburg, Meister, hofhovenier in Dresden, or Raetzel, member of the town in Halberstadt, all have still been in decent comfort lived, started a family and respect enjoyed, not least because of their East -Indian adventure.
All they had years earlier in a company which paid the implications they could not possibly overlook. For those already departing good recommendations possessed was all a little easier, but for many Schweitzer, Meisters, Birds and Prellers of Saxony, Thuringia and Wiirtemberg, from Silesia, Hesse and Mecklenburg, who do not have, was not it. These men on the ships and their positions in Asia countless fellow soldiers, comrades, compatriots die, men with the same hopes and expectations had been sailing, but who have not met. Others have returned, but have been unable to earn much, maybe they are robbed at sea, in the Netherlands or in Germany. They are ill, in Asia had an arm, leg or lost, or were so psychologically damaged that they could never function properly. It was these people along German roads attracted a paltry penny earned in an inn with the telling of their East Indian adventure or singing a song about the torrid India, perhaps wandering with a parrot or a motley cassowary on a rope , or simply begging. Their stories we will never read. It is only through the writings of their returning comrades in social origins and experiences were related, but the lucky and healthy
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with some capital returned, we were able to get an idea of what it has meant for a German youth to join the East Indian adventure.

Original info:

Grafsteen van Nickels Nahmens en zijn vrouw Mattje Nickelsen, Amrum. Foto: Georg Quedens.
Nickels Nahmen (1715-1785) kwam van het Oost-Friese eilandje Amrum en voer tweemaal in voc-dienst als schipper naar Oost-Indië. De eerste maal in 1759 op de Blijdorp, de tweede maal in 1761 op de Aschat. Dit schip is op deze steen uitgehouwen. In Nederlandse dienst noemde hij zich Cornelis Nannings van Ameren.

van de eerste van drie drukken in 1687 uitkwam, zal niemand hebben aangespoord om daarheen te gaan. Ook Christoph Langhansz laat een ernstige waarschuwing horen. Het kernwoord dat hem zo vaak uit de pen vloeit wanneer hij het over het dienstverband met de voc heeft is ‘slavernij’. In zijn voorwoord aan de lezer schrijft hij in 1705 dat ieder die lust heeft om te reizen zich voor Oost-Indische reizen moet hoeden, aangezien ze in deze tijd weinig meer opbrengen. Wie er toch heengaat verruilt zijn vrijheid voor slavernij, en wie daar aan alle gevaar ontkomen is, mag nog van geluk spreken als zijn gezondheid niet geleden heeft. Hijzelf is blij dat hij er binnen drie jaar aan heeft kunnen ontkomen.69 En zo lezen we talloze opmerkingen die van een weinig optimistische visie getuigen. Er is werkelijk niemand die een dergelijk avontuur aanraadt.

In de loop der jaren versombert de toon. De vele voorwoorden en dedicaties met hun optimistische aanprijzingen van het reizen in het algemeen en van de tocht naar Oost-Indië in het bijzonder verdwijnen. Het motief om de vele wonderen van Gods schepping te aanschouwen komt niet meer voor. De verhalen worden zakelijker en cynischer. Men beschrijft ook meer de persoonlijke gevoelens, en dat is een algemene ontwikkeling in autobiografieën en reisverslagen. Georg Naporra vervloekt in 1757 in zijn voorwoord de boeken die hij als jongeling over Oost-Indië gelezen had. Ze hebben hem misleid. Ze leken zo aardig, maar daar geloof ik niet meer in,

69Langhansz 1705, voorwoord.
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schrijft hij, ‘sonder verwerffe und verfluche sie vielmehr, weil sie einen anlaß giebt zur verleitung eines jungen menschen und ich es ganz anders befunden habe’. Hij beschrijft het ellendige leven van soldaten en matrozen opdat niemand van zijn vrienden de domheid zal begaan dienst te nemen bij de Compagnie.Johann Christoph Wolf, die achttien jaar als klerk op Ceylon gediend heeft, schrijft in het voorwoord van zijn in 1782 gepubliceerde boek dat degene die meent dat in Oost-Indië ‘lauter Gold und Silberberge’ te vinden zijn en dat men er ‘bald Schäß sammlen und reich werden könne’, zich ernstig vergist. Wie deugdzaam leeft en ‘geschicklichkeit’ toont kan er wel fortuin maken. En hij wil dan ook niemand afraden de reis te maken.70 Dezelfde boodschap klinkt door uit de brieven van Morgenstern en van de baron von Wurmb. Morgenstern verbaast zich in 1771 in een brief uit Batavia over de vreemde denkbeelden die men in Europa van Oost-Indië heeft. Men denkt dat het geld op straat ligt en de paarlen en juwelen op het strand. Nee, Oost-Indië is al lang niet meer wat het twintig of dertig jaar geleden was. Men maakt hier fortuin alleen door een lucratieve aanstelling, door handel of door beide tegelijk. En, het wordt eentonig, dat is toch vooral te bereiken door middel van goede aanbevelingsbrieven. Van de duizenden die hier komen blijven er nauwelijks vijftig in leven, en van hen maken er nauwelijks vijf fortuin. In soortgelijke bewoordingen schrijft in 1774 baron von Wurmb in een brief: de tijden zijn voorbij dat degenen die deze verre reis ondernamen, zelfs in de lagere rangen van soldaat of matroos, konden hopen enig vermogen te verwerven. Wie Indië alleen uit Barchewitz of andere reisbeschrijvingen kent en daardoor denkt dat het geld zo bijeen te rapen valt, wordt evenzo teleurgesteld als degenen die de wereld slechts kennen uit romans.71 Hier refereert Von Wurmb dus aan de reisbeschrijving van Ernst Christoph Barchewitz, die van 1711 tot 1722 in Indië gediend had en wiens belevenissen voor het eerst werden gepubliceerd in 1730, waarna nog vier herdrukken volgden, de laatste in 1762. In het boek van Otto Friedrich Mentzel, verschenen in 1784, lezen we, om een laatste klacht over de Oost aan te halen: ‘Onthoudt deze dingen, mijn vrienden, en ga niet naar de Oost. Leer jezelf te onderhouden door een eerlijke handel en blijf thuis in je vaderland.’ Elders schrijft hij dat van de honderd soldaten er zelden meer dan dertig terugkomen en dat van de honderd die blijven zelden meer dan tien promotie maken of in een rang komen die hen in staat stelt een behoorlijk bestaan op te bouwen. Van de duizend man die wel promotie maakten vind je er zelden, zeer zelden, één die werkelijk fortuin heeft gemaakt en die naar Europa terugkeerde als rijk man.72De hele periode door leest men als sleutel tot het Oost-Indisch succes: goede connecties, geld en geluk. In principe 70Wolf 1782, voorwoord.71Wurmb en Wollzogen 1794, p. 5.72Mentzel 1919, pp. 112 en 162.
[p. 278]  
kan men in Azië sneller carrière maken dan in Duitsland of Nederland. Maar wie geld heeft zal niet snel geneigd zijn naar de Oost te gaan. Goede relaties zijn in Oost-Indië even belangrijk als in Europa. Het hele leven hangt van patronage aan elkaar. In de loop van de achttiende eeuw raakt nieuwsgierigheid als reismotief op de achtergrond, althans bij de hier behandelde auteurs. De aantrekkelijke glans van het Oosten is verdwenen. Azië staat in deze beschrijvingen niet langer voor het mythische land waar de diamanten voor het oprapen liggen, maar voor een moordende wereld vol afgunst en corruptie. Stond Azië vanaf de zestiende eeuw te boek als een gebied met ongekende mogelijkheden, als het ‘Irdisches Paradis’, in de achttiende eeuw begon die glans te verbleken en sprak men zelfs van het ‘Kirchhof der Europäer’.Een aantal Oost-Indiëvaarders heeft na het avontuur nog decennia geleefd. Van onderlinge contacten na terugkeer tussen oudgedienden van de voc is vrijwel niets bekend. Trevennot drukt de gerepatrieerde Oost-Indiëvaarder op het hart een fonds na te laten voor zijn ‘arme Ost-Indische Reijse Brüder’, die ziek zijn teruggekeerd of buiten hun schuld tot armoede zijn vervallen.73 Tweemaal wordt beschreven dat iemand in Europa op weg naar huis een oude bekende opzoekt. Christian Burckhardt gaat in Leiden langs bij de voormalige voc-arts Paul Hermann. Beiden waren afkomstig uit Halle. Hermann, destijds belast met de leiding van het hospitaal te Colombo, had Burckhardt daar genezen van een zware ziekte. Hij was inmiddels hoogleraar in de botanie te Leiden geworden. Hij had een reusachtige collectie naturalia mee teruggenomen, bestaande uit gedroogde planten, insecten, hagedissen, slangen, echinodermen, vissen, schelpen, koralen en gesteentes. Een deel daarvan stond opgesteld in de Hortus Botanicus van de universiteit, een ander deel in zijn eigen huis, het Museum Indicum. De ontvangst was allerhartelijkst. Burckhardt schrijft dat hij, zoals vroeger in Indië, ‘meliori modo emfangen und aufgenommen’ werd.74Christoph Frik krijgt jaren na zijn terugkeer bezoek van een voormalige luitenant uit Konstanz, die hij in het hospitaal van Bantam van een verlamming had genezen.75 Johann Saar, die in 1660 in Neurenberg was teruggekeerd, schrijft over zijn ‘werther Freund’, de chirurgijn Merklein, die veertig kilometer zuidelijker in Windsheim woonde, en die zeven jaar eerder was gerepatrieerd. Het is aannemelijk dat ze elkaar nog eens opzochten. Zacharias Wagner had voor zijn vertrek uit Batavia zijn testament gemaakt.76 Hij legateerde aanzienlijke bedragen aan familieleden in Saksen, maar vergat ook zijn vrienden in Nederland niet. Zijn vriend Joan Blaeu, de beroemde cartograaf en uitgever in Amsterdam, kreeg behalve een geldbedrag een fraaie Bengaalse beddesprei. Caspar Schamberger te Leipzig, die opperchirurgijn in Azië was geweest en die Wagner op Deshima had leren kennen, werd ook bedacht met geld. Elias van den Broecke, die op de 73Trevennot, f. 284. In Nederland werd in 1750 voor armlastige voc-officieren een soort pensioenfonds opgericht.74Burckhardt 1693, p. 90. Herbaria van Hermann bevinden zich in de Rijksherbaria van Utrecht en Leiden, schelpen in het British Museum, Londen.75Frik 1692, p. 222.76Afschrift en codicil: Gemeentearchief Amsterdam, notaris J. d’Amour, Notarieel Archief 2157, 318-342. Met dank aan Jaap van der Veen, die mij hiervan een transcriptie bezorgde.
[p. 279]  
Coromandelkust had gewerkt en weer in Dordrecht woonde, ontving een Japans verlakt triktrakbord. Andreas Cleyer, chirurgijn in Batavia kreeg 200 rijksdaalders. De totale nalatenschap van Wagner bedroeg 31.625 gulden. Behalve uit geld bestond deze uit vele Indische zeldzaamheden als Japanse schrijfkabinetten, kisten met ‘opgesamelde rariteyten’ en zijn boek ‘daer enige brasilische rariteyten in getekent staen’, zijn stamboek of liber amicorum en nog verschillende eigen geschriften.77Wie moeten we gelukkiger achten, voc-dienaren in de hoge rangen zoals Wagner, Morgenstern of Von Wurmb die geslaagd waren in het vergaren van een fortuin, maar die niet hebben kunnen genieten van een rustige, comfortabele oude dag omdat ze stierven voor het zover was? Of iemand als Wintergerst, die wel terugkeerde in het vaderland, maar zijn laatste jaren in armoede sleet? Slechts van een paar van de 47 mannen kan worden gezegd dat ze het volle profijt van het Oost-Indisch avontuur hebben gehad. Mensen als Vogel, mijninspecteur in Altenburg en Coburg, Meister, hofhovenier in Dresden, of Raetzel, lid van het stadsbestuur in Halberstadt, hebben allen nog lang in behoorlijke welstand geleefd, een gezin gesticht en respect genoten, niet in de laatste plaats dankzij hun Oost-Indisch avontuur.Allen hadden ze zich jaren tevoren in een onderneming gestort waarvan ze de implicaties onmogelijk konden overzien. Voor degenen die al bij vertrek goede aanbevelingen bezaten was het allemaal iets gemakkelijker, maar voor de vele Schweitzers, Meisters, Vogels en Prellers uit Saksen, Thüringen en Wurtemberg, uit Silezië, Hessen of Mecklenburg, die er geen hadden, viel het niet mee. Deze mannen hebben op de schepen en op hun posten in Azië talloze medesoldaten, kameraden, landgenoten zien sterven, mannen die met dezelfde hoop en verwachtingen waren uitgevaren, maar die het niet hebben gehaald. Anderen zijn wel teruggekeerd, maar zijn niet bij machte geweest veel te verdienen, misschien zijn ze beroofd, op zee, in Nederland, of in Duitsland. Ze zijn ziek geworden, hadden in Azië een arm, been of oog verloren, of waren psychisch zo beschadigd dat ze nooit meer goed konden functioneren. Het waren deze mensen die langs de Duitse wegen trokken, een schamele duit verdienden in een herberg met het vertellen van hun Oost-Indisch avontuur of het zingen van een lied over het verzengende Indië, misschien rondtrekkend met een papegaai of een mottige casuaris aan een touw, of gewoon bedelend. Hun verhalen zullen we nooit lezen. Het is alleen dankzij de geschriften van hun teruggekeerde kameraden, die in sociale afkomst en ervaringen verwant waren, maar het geluk hebben gehad gezond en 77Dit Braziliaanse boek is het Thier-Buch in het Kupferstichkabinett te Dresden (Ca. 226a. m. (a) 7a).
[p. 280]  
met enig kapitaal te zijn teruggekeerd, dat we een beeld hebben kunnen krijgen van wat het voor een Duitse jongeman betekend heeft om zich in het Oost-Indisch avontuur te storten.  
[p. 281]  

Waste, wandering soldiers near Stuttgart.
  Drawing by Daniel Pfisterer, about 1720th Old Castle, Stuttgart.

  Throughout Germany roamed around old discharged soldiers who could not adapt to the civil society. This also applied to VOC soldiers. The poem quips the former unscrupulous behavior of these former ‘Marti’s son, “sons of the god of war Mars, and their miserable condition now.

  Martis hither your son, and behold who ends sichs,
  The peasants Volck her so long that labor and flaying;
  Your mission Achet at nothing, and even bad, hold
  Now, your mission and you are Lord your servant.

  In the mid verse set the former soldiers themselves. They now earn a living as a vermin pig, goose and goat herder and have to feed even with.

  I’m in a former war captain decay Deputy
  b swineherd I am a lieutenant was damned;

Original info:
  I c. Corporal will eat Ungeziffer tie fast;
  d musketeer hat I Ganss and goat UMBS food

Afgedankte, zwervende soldaten in de buurt van Stuttgart.
Tekening door Daniël Pfisterer, ca. 1720. Württembergisches Landesmuseum, Stuttgart.
In heel Duitsland zwierven oude, afgedankte soldaten rond die zich niet meer konden aanpassen aan de burgermaatschappij. Dat gold ook voor voc-soldaten. Het versje schimpt op het vroegere nietsontziende gedrag van deze voormalige ‘Martis Söhn’, zonen van de oorlogsgod Mars, en op hun inmiddels ellendige toestand.

Hieher Ihr Martis Söhn, und sehet wie sichs endet,
Die ihr das Bauren Volck so lange plagt und schindet;
Ihr achet Sie vor nichts, und haltet sie gar schlecht,
Nun sind sie eure Herrn und Ihr seid Ihre Knecht.

In het onderste versje stellen de voormalige militairen zich voor. Ze verdienen nu de kost als varkens-, ganzen- en geitenhoeder en moeten zich zelfs met ongedierte voeden.

a Ich hab in alten Krieg Rittmeisters stell verwesen
b Ich Sauhirt bin damals ein Lieutenant gewesen;
c Mich Corporal will fast das Ungeziffer freßen;
d Ich Musquetierer hüt die ganß und geiß umbs eßen;


The Cuba history collections Part four



Cuba History Collections

Part Four

Spanish-Cuban-American War


Created By

Dr iwan suwandy,MHA



Spanish-Cuban-American War








February 24 –

Second Cuban Insurrection begins.


April –


 General Gomez,


 General Antonio Maceo,


 Jose Maceo,

 Cebreco, Crombet, Guerra,


 Jose Marti


and Borrero land in Cuba

May 19 – 


Cuban Jose Marti killed in encounter at Dos Rios Oriente Province.

June 13 –


Spanish General Fidel de Santoclides killed in


 the battle of Peralejo Oriente Province.  He died, killed by sharpshooter Andres Fernandez of


Antonio Maceo’s escort, while protecting


Arsenio Martinez Campos Spanish Governor of Cuba. 


Martinez Campos takes refuge in Bayamo and is soon removed from his position and returned to Spain.

September 17 –

 Battleship MAINE commissioned.



October 1895-January 1896. 


Antonio Maceo and


Maximo Gomez take their forces on


 the “La Invasion” fighting almost every day from Mangos de Baragua Oriente Province eastern Cuba to


Mantua, in Pinar del Rio Province in extreme western Cuba.

November 30, 1895


 Battle at Iguara. 

It is in  this “La Invasion” encounter that


Winston Churchill is given a medal “Red Cross” by the Spanish.  Spanish claim  victory but numerically inferior Cubans continue to advance.






1896 Cuba 5 Pesos EL BANCO ESPANOL VF




January, 1896 –



Antonio Maceo and


Maximo Gomez end their “La Invasion.”

February 16 –



General Weyler issues first of reconcentrado orders.


February, 1896: Reconcentration Policy

In 1896, General Weyler of Spain implemented the first wave of the Spanish “Reconcentracion Policy” that sent thousands of Cubans into concentration camps. Under Weyler’s policy, the rural population had eight days to move into designated camps located in fortified towns; any person who failed to obey was shot. The housing in these areas was typically abandoned, decaying, roofless, and virtually unihabitable. Food was scarce and famine and disease quickly swept through the camps. By 1898, one third of Cuba’s population had been forcibly sent into the concentration camps. Over 400,000 Cubans died as a result of the Spanish Reconcentration Policy.


Dyal, Donald H.. Historical Dictionary of the Spanish American War. Greenwood Press: Westport, CT, 1996.

O’Toole, G.J.A., The Spanish War: An American Epic-1898. W.W. Norton & Company: New York, 1984


March 24 – 


Calixto Garcia, escaped from Spain, arrives in Cuba with well armed expedition.

August 26 –

 Philippine Revolution begins.

December, 7 –


Antonio Maceo


killed in encounter at



Punta Brava,


 Havana Province.

December 30:

Filipino national hero Dr. Jose Rizal is executed by Spanish troops.


March 4 –


William McKinley inaugurated as president of the United States.

March 13 –


Calixto Garcia now using cannon


enters the fortified town of Jiguani Oriente Province.

June 19 –


Stewart Woodford appointed U.S. Minister to Spain

August 8 –


One hundred and fourteen years ago today, in the tiny Spanish spa town of Santa Agueda, Spain’s autocratic and much-hated

prime minister Cánovas del Castillo was assassinated:

gunned down as a final act of revenge by an Italian anarchist who could no longer tolerate this Spaniard’s decade-long policies of Neo Inquisition-style repression.

For the brutal Medieval-style torture of Castillo’s enemies – from mainland Spain to its American colonies – had long included the burning of victims’ flesh, the breaking of their bones, even the removal of their tongues. 

 To the insufferable autocrat Cánovas del Castillo, such modern concepts as Universal Suffrage and Freedom of Religion could be met with only one response: brute force.

But while the extreme sufferings of his Cuban colonists had long been the subject of international debate, it was right here on the Spanish mainland itself that Cánovas would perpetrate his worst crimes, concentrated acts of such bloodlust and bitterness that they would only drive ‘his’ people away from such pro-royal, pro-church nationalism towards those concepts of Catalan and Basque Separatism that still resound even today.

But the infamous incident which precipitated Cánovas del Castillo’s assassination – his singlemost controversial and most pivotal action yet perpetrated against the Spanish people – occurred in Barcelona, during the Corpus Christi Day processions of June 7th 1896, when a bomb – thrown by an unknown, and apparently randomly – succeeded in killing five Spanish workmen and a policemen.

 Using this as an excuse for more extraordinary brute force, Cánovas del Castillo had over 400 arrested and incarcerated inside the hilltop fortress of Montjuic (‘the hill of the Jews’), where torture, squalid conditions and the insufferable Mediterranean summer heat killed many as they awaited trial.

On hearing the accounts of Cánovas’ policies directly from the mouths of fleeing Spaniards who had suffered under his dreadful policies, the London-based Italian anarchist


Michele Angiolillo

decided that extreme action must be taken immediately. And so, traveling to Spain with just a small suitcase containing a few sticks of dynamite and two revolvers, Angiolillo followed his target to the spa town of Santa Agueda, where – on the afternoon of August 8th – he shot and killed Cánovas del Castillo just as the prime minister sat enjoying the spa waters. The assassin was at once apprehended but offered no resistance. Angiolillo was put before a summary court martial and confessed to the assassination, insisting that he had acted alone as a reprisal for the institutional murder of his comrades at Montjuic.

 He was sentenced to death on 20th August 1897. To the spectators who had come to view his execution, Angiolillo’s final word was “Germinal” – being the seventh month of the French Republic calendar.

Having at no time during his trial nor during the days leading up to his execution shown any sign of remorse, Angiolillo then walked calmly to his execution by strangulation at the garrote.

Several days later, at a New York celebration of Michele Angiolillo’s heroic actions, the Italian anarchist Salvatore Pallavencini emphatically declared the anarchist position thus: “The man who killed Cánovas was a martyr to the cause of humanity and progress.” He concluded: “Anarchists think it is better to kill a ruler who is a tyrant than to have a revolution in which thousands have to die because of his acts.”


Spanish Prime Minister


 Canovas assassinated.


August 30 –


The Spanish forts

 at Tunas, north western Oriente Province fall to


Calixto Garcia.



October 4 –


Prime Minister Sagasta takes office in Spain.

October 31-


 Prime Minister Sagasta recalls


 General Weyler from Cuba.


November 28 –


The Spanish forts at Guisa, Northern foothills of Sierra Maestra Oriente Province,  fall to Calixto Garcia

Read more Info



1895 COLOMBIA. U.S. troops invade the Colombian state of Panama to “protect American interests”.

1895: UNITED STATES. Josiah Strong, minister of the Christian religion, publishes Our Country: Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis, in which he contends that the United States, as the home of the “superior” Anglo-Saxon race, has an obligation to spread political “liberty”, “Christianity” and “civilization”. Strong’s book was enormously popular and the first edition sold 158,000 copies. The delusions of racial, moral and societal superiority promulgated by Strong were an important factor in encouraging Americans of the day to rationalize U.S. aggression against other nations.

1895: COLOMBIA. U.S. Marines invade the Colombian state of Panama. Again.

1895: UNITED STATES. Whites attack black workers in New Orleans killing six.

1896: UNITED STATES. Once again in the forefront of freedom and liberty, the United States Supreme Court puts its stamp of approval on apartheid in the land of the free. In Plessy v. Ferguson the Court rules that “separate but equal” facilities satisfy guarantees under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

1895-98: UNITED STATES. Yellow media mogul and Nazi mouthpiece-to-be William Randolph Hearst and yellow media tycoon Joseph Pulizter engage in a contest to see which man can reduce American journalistic standards to the lowest possible level. A mixture of exaggeration, outright lies and fabrications, jingoistic nonsense, xenophobia and sensationalism, so-called “yellow journalism”, apparently sells newspapers in the U.S. and Hearst and Pulitzer strive to outdo each other in their race to the sewers. The two newspaper barons play the major role in “manufacturing consent” by manipulating the U.S. public before and during the long-planned war which led to the U.S. invasions of Cuba, the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico.

In fantasyland America, Pulitzer, who plumbed the depths of sleazy and dishonest publishing, will ultimately be remembered only for the Pulitzer Prize, ironically intended as a recognition of quality journalism.

1896: UNITED STATES. Vivisection gets a boost when Dr. Arthur Wentworth performs spinal taps on twenty nine children at Children’s Hospital in Boston to determine if the procedure is harmful.

1896: NICARAGUA. U.S. Marines invade the port of Corinto.

1896: UNITED STATES. Corporations directly buy their first presidential election. William McKinley is elected with $6 million in cash from from corporations. His opponent, populist William Jennings Bryan, has only $600,000 to spend on the campaign. The six mil buys McKinley’s campaign hundreds of trained speakers, millions of posters, buttons, and billboards, and three hundred million campaign flyers printed in nine languages.

McKinley was peculiarly susceptible to the boys with the money. In 1893, he had been rescued from bankruptcy with $100,000, a pretty big chunk of change in 1893, by a conspiracy, sorry, consortium, of John D. Rockefeller, his friend Mark Hanna and similar types. Hanna duly became McKinley’s top political adviser and chairman of the Republican National Committee. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust kicked in a cool quarter million to McKinley’s election campaign. And, to keep Rockefeller’s rival, J.P. Morgan, happy, his minion Garret A. Hobart, the director of various Morgan enterprises including the Liberty National Bank of New York, was made Vice-president, nicely rounding out the robber baron ticket.

A grateful McKinley will soon, on behalf of the same corporate interests who bought his election, preside over the illegal annexation of the nation of Hawaii and a war of empire against Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.

All questions in a democracy
are questions of money.

Mark Hanna

McKinley’s Campaign Manager

1896: UNITED STATES. State militia are used to break a miners’ strike in Leadville, Colorado.

1897-ongoing: UNITED STATES. America’s leading merchants of death, the Dupont family, enter into a conspiracy with their European competitors to monopolize the world gunpowder market. Better killing through chemistry.

1897: UNITED STATES. Theodore Roosevelt, tightly allied to the J.P. Morgan banking interests, is made Assistant Secretary of the Navy. During a speech at the U.S. Naval War College where plans for a war of empire against Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines have been under development since 1894, Roosevelt says, “diplomacy is utterly useless where there is no force behind it; the diplomat is the servant, not the master, of the soldier…No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumphs of war.”

1896: NICARAGUA. U.S. forces invade the Nicaraguan port of Corinto to “protect American interests”.

1897: UNITED STATES. At the Lattimer Mine in Pennsylvania, a sheriff and his deputies open fire on striking mineworkers, killing nineteen. Most of the victims are shot in the back.

I897: UNITED STATES. Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, sends a cable to Admiral George Dewey advising him to prepare for an attack on the Spanish fleet in the Philippines pending “developments” in Cuba. Whoa there Teddy, we haven’t blown the Maine up yet. And six weeks before the Maine does blow up, Roosevelt writes a letter to his very good friend, gun runner William Astor Chanler, saying, “I earnestly hope that events will so shape themselves that we must interfere (in Cuba) some time not in the distant future


Chronology of the Spanish American War

Spanish-Cuban-American War



 January 8 –


A second appeal by President McKinley for contributions to aid suffering Cubans
                      announced the co-operation of


 the American Red Cross Society.

 January 12 –

                      Rioters instigated by volunteers in Havana made a demonstration against newspaper
                      offices of
El Reconcentrado.



January 17 –

                      General Lee,


in communications to the State Department, suggested that a ship to protect Americans in Havana

in the event of another riot

January 21 –

                      General Castellanos

with 1,600 troops raided Esperanza, the seat of the insurgent
                      government in the Cubitas Mountains. Government officials escaped.

January 24 –

Maine ordered to Havana.

January 25 –

Maine arrived at Havana and moored at the govermnent anchorage.

January 25 –

                      Filibuster steamer
Tillie foundered in Long Island Sound, four men drowned.

  January 27 –
                      Brigadier-General Aranguren was surprised and killed


in his camp near Tapaste, Havana
                      province, by


 Lieutenant-Colonel Benedicto with the Spanish Reina Battalion.

He  recently put to death Lieutenant-Colonel Ruiz, who had brought him an offer of money from


Captain-General Blanco

to accept autonomy.

February 9 –
                      Copy of a letter written by

 Dupuy de Lome attacking President McKinlev printed.


Señor Dupuy de Lome

admitted writing the letter, and his recall was demanded  Department.

   February 15 –

Feb. 15 — USS Maine explodes, sinks; 266 crewmen lost. The Maine’s captain urges suspension of judgment on the cause of the explosion.

         USS MAINE blowned up            

264 men and two officers killed


 spanish  Minister De Lome

sailed for Spain.

February 16 –

                      General Lee

asked for a court of inquiry on the Maine disaster.

February 17 –
                      Captains W. T. Samps and F. E. Chadwick, and Lieutenant-Commanders W. P. Potter
                      and Adolph Marix, detailed as




Naval Board of Inquiry.

February 18 –

                      Spanish warship
Vizcaya arrived at New York harbor.

         February 21 –

                      Naval court of inquiry arrived at Havana and began investigation

I897: UNITED STATES. Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, sends a cable to Admiral George Dewey advising him to prepare for an attack on the Spanish fleet in the Philippines pending “developments” in Cuba. Whoa there Teddy, we haven’t blown the Maine up yet. And six weeks before the Maine does blow up, Roosevelt writes a letter to his very good friend, gun runner William Astor Chanler, saying, “I earnestly hope that events will so shape themselves that we must interfere (in Cuba) some time not in the distant future.”

 February 25 –

Vizcaya sailed from New York for Havana.

   March 6 –
                      Spain unofficially asks for


Fitzhugh Lee’s recall.


Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee

(1835 – 1905)


Former Confederate Major-General Fitzhugh Lee was the consul-general of the United States to Havana, Cuba at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War.  During the war he commanded the VII Army Corps.


The son of a U.S. (and later Confederate) naval officer, Lee was born in Virginia in 1835.  He attended the West Point Military Academy from 1852-1856, flirting with expulsion for pranks before graduating 45 out of a class of 49.

Following graduation, Lee served as a cavalry officer in Texas for two and a half years before being appointed an assistant instructor of tactics at West Point in late 1860.  While in Texas, Lee saw his first combat in battles against Indians.  He was seriously wounded in a skirmish on May 19, 1859.

Lee’s tenure as an instructor at his alma mater would last only 6 months. Like many Southern officers (including Lee’s famous uncle, Robert E. Lee) he resigned his commission in May, 1861 and was named a first lieutenant in the regular Confederate army shortly after.

Promotion in the Confederate army was fast for young Lee (far faster than it would have been in a peacetime US Army!); he rose to lieutenant-colonel in August, then to brigadier-general the following July.  His highest rank, major-general, would be attained in September, 1863; after achieving his greatest notoriety in the Battle of  Chancellorsville where, leading the only full brigade of Confederate cavalry, he guarded the Confederate’s flanking march around Union General Hooker’s exposed right wing.

Lee saw much more action throughout the war.  In September, 1864 he was wounded again and out of action for four months.  By the time of his return, however, the Southern fate was all but certain. Lee surrendered on April 11, 1865.

Following a short stint as a Union prisoner, Lee turned his efforts to farming, taking pride in his success in the endeavor.  In addition to farming Lee wrote several books in this period.  He also began improving his political skills.  Lacking any boastfulness and quick-witted, with an excellent sense of humor, the above-average soldier was an even better politician.  The unusual mix of abilities would serve him well.

The public arena beckoned a return in 1885, as Lee’s famous name and popular personality gained him election as governor of Virginia.  Though his single term was relatively uneventful, it served to cast him in the political arena.  In 1893 he was defeated for the Democratic nomination to the United States Senate.  The following year hewrote his finest book, a biography of Uncle Robert E. Lee.

Democratic President Grover Cleveland, battling the continued economic woes of the 1890’s, diplomatic troubles with Spain and England, and harsh congressional critics such as conservative Henry Cabot Lodge, appointed Lee consul-general to Havana in 1896.

Lee arrived in June to an island torn by civil war and mass poverty. Three weeks after his arrival he informed the State Department that Cuban rebels did not have the strength to drive the Spanish out, but that the Spanish were equally unable to subdue the rebellion.  He railed against the Spanish tactics to suppress the rebels and fought for the rights of American citizens in Cuba (including some suspected by the Spanish of aiding the rebels and held captive in Cuba, such as crewmen of the filibustering vessel COMPETITOR, and Dr. Ricardo Ruiz de Ugarrio y Salvador, a naturalized American citizen).

Ironically, Lee won the praise of Cleveland’s staunchest critics, who used Lee’s strong stance against Spain as further fuel against the more benevolent President.  Lodge wrote of Lee’s “good sense and firm courage,” while lamenting that Lee “was not sustained by the (Cleveland) Administration as he should have been.”

December, 1897 saw more unrest in Havana.  While much of the violence wasactually caused by the Cuban rebels (often directed toward American-owned sugar plantations), Lee’s concern was chiefly the safety of Americans in Cuba, thus causing him to exaggerate the threat he feared from Cubans loyal to Spain. Lee requested a warship be ready in Key West in case violence erupted.  The MAINE was ordered to Florida in January, and Captain Sigsbee maintained steady communication with the consul-general’s office. Early that month, the situation appeared to Lee to have taken aturn for the worse.  He sent a preliminary signal to Sigsbee, prompting him to ready hisship.  Whether Lee felt he had over-estimated the danger or the situation calmed, he never sent a further call for the MAINE. President McKinley and Navy Secretary John Long, however, did order MAINE to Havana.


Though Lee was unnerved by the MAINE‘s sudden arrival when he had specifically advised against it’s visit at that time, months later he would recall the arrival as “a beautiful sight and one long to be remembered.”  Perhaps this underscored his ownuncertainty of the situation.  Adding to the uncertainty was the prospect of growingGerman influence in the Caribbean (which, some speculate, was McKinley‘s motivationin sending the MAINE to Cuba).  Whatever the reasoning, late 1897-early-1898 saw Lee take a step back from his earlier blatant criticism of the Spanish. Proponents of Leein 1896-8 saw his actions as decisive and pro-American, leading nicely to the “splendid little war,” while later critics would charge that his misreading of theCuban situation(which, some would believe was intentional) moved both sides closer to war.



In spite of Lee’s misgivings, MAINE arrived in Havana on January 25.  Lee and Sigsbee were treated to a bullfight by hosting Spanish officers as part of the “good will” visit.  Underneath it all, however, was an undeniable tension.  Washington soon began to realize that the presence of the MAINE would only serve temporary goals, and many wondered how long she should remain in Havana.

One of those who worried about overstaying his welcome was Secretary of Navy Long.  Nearly the opposite of his fiery assistant, Theodore Roosevelt, Long openly considered pulling the MAINE out of Cuba.  Upon that suggestion, Lee threw away earlier  objections to  the ships visit, and both he and Sigsbee strongly opposed withdrawing the MAINE, unless it was relieved by another warship. “Many will claimSpain demanded it should go,” Lee wrote Washington,” we are master of the situationhere and I would not disturb or alter it.”

The explosion of the MAINE on February 15 suddenly changed everything. While McKinley and Washington moved closer to war by the day, Lee’s chief concern was the safety and evacuation of Americans in Cuba.  As threats and ultimatums grew more intense, Lee cabled the President for more time, stating that he could not assure the safety of all Americans by Tuesday, April 5, a deadline previously set for Spanish agreement to terms set forth by the White House.  He requested McKinley delay any statements until at least Saturday the 9th.  Under intense pressure McKinley stalled, delaying the message that would lead to war until Monday, April 11, a day after Lee’s arrival in Florida.

Following his return to a hero’s welcome in the U.S., Lee was commissioned major-general of volunteers and assigned the VII Army Corps.  The appointment was largely political, as McKinley had made it a point to place a few well known former Confederate officers in key commands to unite the nation (Joe Wheeler was another).  VII Corps trained in preparation of a major role in a fall offensive, though the war’s quick end (quicker than many thought, that is) kept VII Corps from any action. Lee’s logistical and planning abilities and previous military experience exhibited itself through the VII Corp’s few health and administrative problems; problems which plagued many of the other army corps.  After the war he commanded what amounted to an army of occupation in Havana and was charged with the restoration of order on the island.

Fitzhugh Lee retired a brigadier-general on March 2, 1901.  He died four years later. Lee was buried in his U.S. Army uniform, which caused one ex-Confederate to say “What’ll [deceased Confederate general] Stonewall think when Fitz turns up in heaven wearing that!”



 March 8 –

                      $50,000,000 war fund

voted unanimously by the House of Representatives.

5 Silver US Dollars 1896




US $2 1896

Silver Certificate
1 Dollar – Series of 1886
Signs: Rosecrans/ Nebeker
Condition: VF
Martha Washington
Price: $ 499.00  


Silver Certificate
1 Dollar – Series of 1896
Signs: Tillman/ Morgan
Condition: Ch CU/ Gem
Educational Note
One of the most beautiful US banknote.
Price: $ 2590.00

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Silver Certificate
1 Dollar – Series of 1899
Signs: Teehee/ burke
Condition: Ch CU/ Gem
Eagle, Lincoln & Grant
Price: $ 479.00

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Silver Certificate
1 Dollar – Series of 1923
Signs: Speelman/ White
Condition: CU
Price: $ 159.00

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Silver Certificate
2 Dollar – Series of 1899
Signs: Vernon/ McClung
Condition: F
Price: $ 249.00

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Silver Certificate
5 Dollar – Series of 1891
Signs: Rosecrans/ Nebeker
Condition: VG
Ulysses S. Grant-18th president
Price: $ 299.00

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Silver Certificate
5 Dollar – Series of 1899
Signs: Speelman/ White
Condition: VG
Indian head(Oncpapa tribe of Sioux Indian
Price: $ 479.00  


 March 9 –
                      War fund of $50,000,000 passed unanimously by the Senate.

March 12 –
                      Government purchased


Brazilian cruiser Amazonas

and other ships abroad

 March 14 –

                      Spain’s torpedo flotilla

sailed for


Cape Verde Islands.



 March 17 –

                      Senator Redfield Proctor,

in a speech to the Senate, told of the starvation and ruin  observed in Cuba.

 March 21 –
Maine Court of Inquiry finished

its report and delivered it to


Admiral Sicard




Key West.

  March 22 –

Maine report sent to Washington.

March 25 –
Maine report delivered to the President, and officially announced that


The  MEINE was blown up by a mine.

 March 26 –
                      President McKinley sent two notes to Spain one on the
Maine report, and the other
                      calling for the cessation of the war in Cuba.

  March 28 –
                      President McKinley sent the
Maine report to Congress, with a brief message stating
                      that Spain had been informed of the court’s findings.

March 28 –
                      Report of the Spanish Court of Inquiry, declaring the
Maine was destroyed by an
                      interior explosion, was received in Washington.

 March 30 –
                      President McKinley,



Minister Woodford,

 asked Spain for a cessation of hostilities
                      in Cuba and negotiations for ultimate independence.

  March 31 –
                      Spain refused to accede to any of President McKinley’s propositions.

 April 1 –
                      House of Representatives appropriated $22,648,000 to build war vessels.

April 6 –


cabled President McKinley

to suspend extreme measures pending

 the Vatican’s
negotiations with Spain.

April 7 –
                      Ambassadors of England, Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Russia appealed to the
                      President for peace.

April 9 –
                      Spain ordered


Captain-General Blanco to proclaim an armistice in Cuba

              April 9 –

                      Consul Fitzhugh Lee

and American citizens left Havana.

 April 11 –
                      President sent consular reports and message to Congress, asking authority to stop the war
                      in Cuba.

April 16 –
                      United States Army began moving to the coast.

 April 19 –
                      Both Houses of Congress adopted resolutions declaring Cuba free and empowering the
                      President to compel Spain to withdraw her army and navy.

April 20 –

                      President McKinley

 signed the resolutions and sent his ultimatum to Spain, and the Queen
                      Regent sent a warlike message to the Cortes.

 April 21 –

 Minister Woodford

was given his passport.

April 22 –
                      The President issued his proclamation

to the neutral powers, announcing that Spain

                      the United States

were at war.


 Commodore Sampson’s fleet sailed from Key West to be in
                      a blockade of Havana.


Gunboat Nashville captured


 the Spanish ship Buena Ventura.

April 23 –
                      President issued a call

for 125,000 volunteers.

April 24 –
                      Spain formally declared

that war existed with the United States.

April 25 –

                      Commodore George Dewey’s fleet ordered to sail from Hong Kong for the Philippines.

April 27 –

                      Matanzas bombarded


the New York, Cincinnati and Puritan.

 April 30 –

 Spanish Admiral

 Pascual Cervera

and his squadron left the Cape Verde Islands for the West Indies.

May 1

                      Commodore Dewey defeated


Admiral Montojo in Manila Bay,

destroying eleven ships
                      and killing and wounding more than five hundred of the enemy. American casualities, seven
                      men slightly wounded.

May 11 –

                      Commodore Dewey

promoted to be a rear-admiral.


Attacks made on



at which Ensign Worth Bagley and five of the Winslow‘s crew killed.

 May 11 –


Admiral Cervera’s


 squadron sighted off Martinique.

 May 12 –

                      Commodore Sampson bombarded

San Juan, Puerto Rico, but caused little damage.

 May 13 –
                      The F]ying Squadron,



 Commodore Schley,

left Hampton Roads for Cuban

May 17 –

                      Cervera’s fleet, after coaling

at Curaçao, put into


the harbor of Santiago de Cuba.

 May 22 –


sailed from San Francisco for Manila.

 May 24 –

Oregon arrived off


Jupiter Inlet, Fla.,

 from her great trip from San Francisco,
                      which she left March.

 May 25 –
                      The President issued his second call for volunteers, 75,000. First Manila expedition


   San Francisco.


May 27 –

  Commodore Schley

 discovered that


Cervera’s fleet


 was in Santiago harbor and
                      blockaded him.

May 30 –

                      Commodore Sampson’s fleet



Commodore Schley’s.

May 31 –
                      Forts commanding the entrance to Santiago harbor bombarded.

June 3 –

     Hobson and seven men

sank the Merrimac in the channel entrance to Santiago harbor,

being captured were confined in Morro Castle.

Read more

The Sinking of the Merrimac


The hide-and-seek action that ultimately ended with the naval battle at Santiago two months into the Spanish-American War started with the initial declarations of war by Spain on April 21st and the United States on April 25th.  With the opening declaration of hostilities, Spain moved swiftly to protect its citizens in the Caribbean.  Beyond the fleet at Manila, the remainder of the once mighty Spanish Armada was located in Spain and off the Cape Verde Islands.

The flotilla at home was undergoing  maintenance and repair at Cadiz, Spain.  These ships would not be battle-ready for at least a month, so defense of the Caribbean was delegated to the Cape Verde flotilla.

Rear Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete was surprised and dismayed when he received orders to lift anchor at his haven in the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of West Africa, and proceed to the West Indies (Caribbean).  “This is a very risky adventure, for the defeat of my ships in the Caribbean could result in great danger for the Canaries, and perhaps the bombardment of our coastal cities,” he wired back to Madrid.  “Any division of our fleet, and any separation from European seas, is a strategic mistake.”

Admiral Cervera was a respected naval officer and not a man fearful to do his job, but the orders sending his flotilla to meet the American warships in the Caribbean gave him an ominous foreboding of disaster.  When his appeal to Madrid was denied, he dutifully hoisted anchor on April 29th and set a course for Cuba.  Before his departure he registered his concern one more time, wiring Madrid that, “Nothing can be expected of this expedition except the total destruction of our flotilla.  With a clear conscience I go to the sacrifice, but I cannot understand the (Spanish) navy’s decision.”



As quickly as the media in the United States heard the news that Admiral Cervera’s ships were heading west, the yellow journalists worked up a frenzy of fear and dread, proclaiming in large headlines that the Spanish Armada was on its way and would bombard American coastal cities within two weeks.  Despite the fact that the “Armada” actually consisted of only four outdated cruisers and three smaller torpedo boats, the news reports quickly sensationalized the coming conflict to epic proportions.   The panic and public outcry that followed prompted immediate naval action at home.  Even as Admiral Dewey was enroute from China to Manila Bay for the infamous battle of May 1st,  preparations were underway to move the US Navy’s Atlantic fleet to the Caribbean.

Navy Secretary John D. Long was convinced Cervera and his ships would most likely head for San Juan, Puerto Rico on the eastern border of the Caribbean, though he left open the possibility that the Spanish Admiral might instead elect to steam straight for Havana.  The Atlantic fleet was under the command of US Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, a worthy opponent for Admiral Cervera.  Sampson proposed quick strikes, first to capture Havana, then a rapid voyage to shell and capture San Juan.  He reasoned that such a move would deny the Spanish flotilla any safe haven when they arrived in the Caribbean, projected by Secretary Long to be on or near the date of May 10th.

Once again however, it was the media that would dictate the order of battle.  Public panic and the cry for protection of American coastal waters prompted Long to split Sampson’s fleet, pulling the battleships Texas, Massachusetts and Iowa back to Hampton Roads, Virginia as a “flying squadron” under Commodore Winfield Scott Schley.  Sampson’s other warships were limited to blockade duties around the island of Cuba, further stripped by the transfer of two of his cruisers to support efforts of a naval militia under Commodore John Howell that was assigned routine patrol duty of the Atlantic coastline from Maine to Florida.

Those first two weeks of the Spanish-American War were filled with frustration and boredom in the Caribbean.  The inaction was further compounded when the sailors of Sampson’s fleet began hearing the glorious reports of the victory at Manila Bay, half a world away.  When Cervera’s flotilla had not arrived in the West Indies by Secretary Long’s predicted date of May 10th, the American commander, his officers, and his men were both disappointed and further frustrated.  It was this continuing erosion of morale that prompted Captain McCalla of the Marblehead to engage his ships in the cable-cutting operation of May 11th, and that also prompted Captain Todd to send his vessels into Cardenas Harbor that same day.  Both efforts had broken the boredom, but both had also ended in near disaster.

Feeling the same frustration as his men and with the Spanish flotilla proving to be a “no show”, Admiral Sampson chose to commence a reconnaissance of Puerto Rico.

The small island less than 3,500 square miles was located on the eastern fringe of the Caribbean, and sat between Cuba and the expected flotilla from Cape Verde.  Claimed for Spain by Christopher Columbus and colonized by Ponce De Leon, the people of Puerto Rico had begun requesting independence from Spanish rule. In 1897 Madrid granted the people of Puerto Rico a limited degree of self-government, but resisted all demands for independence.

When Admiral Sampson began his reconnaissance in May 1898, the Spanish had three forts on the long, narrow island.  On May 12th Sampson entered the harbor at San Juan on the western edge of the island.  His fleet consisted of seven warships, a torpedo boat, a tug and supporting supply vessels.  Carefully the fleet maneuvered around the sunken hulks of two ships in the harbor at San Juan, and proceeded towards the forts deep inside.   Sampson had hoped to find Cervera’s ships at anchor inside the calm waters, but all he found as he circled the harbor three times, were three small gunboats.  

As the fleet passed the enemy forts inside the harbor at San Juan, Admiral Sampson opened fire.  In the brief battles that followed, Sampson’s ships neither rendered or received any major damage.  As the ships withdrew however, an enemy shell exploded on the New York, killing two men and wounding seven.  Discouraged, disappointed and now running low on fuel, Admiral Sampson directed his fleet to return to Key West for resupply and repairs.

Steaming for Key West the day following his bombardment of San Juan, Admiral Sampson received some disappointing news.  The U.S.S. Solace caught up to the American ships with a report that Admiral Cervera’s fleet had returned to Cadiz, in Spain.  As the bulk of the American naval presence departed the Antilles, on May 14th the Spanish gunboats Conde de Venadito and Nueva Espana made a brief and generally ineffective sortie out of Havana.  The following day the U.S.S. Porter caught up to Admiral Sampson bearing surprising news.  The report he’d received two days earlier from the Solace was in error.  Admiral Cervera’s squadron had indeed arrived in the Antilles, and had been spotted at Martinique on May 12th, then in Curaco on the 14th.  Also, on May 13th Commodore Schley’s flying squadron had left Hampton Roads for Cuba.

The news, rather than raising the excitement level, served only to add to the frustration.   Low on fuel, Sampson had no choice but to continue his course for Key West.  In the two weeks that followed, events moved rapidly in the Caribbean and the commander of the Atlantic fleet chaffed at the bit to return and meet the enemy.  On May 18th the New York arrived in Key West and Admiral Sampson met briefly with Commodore Schley and ordered him to immediately steam for the harbor at Cienfuegos, the place he deemed the most likely destination of Admiral Cervera’s flotilla.

On the morning of May 19th Admiral Cervera’s ships reached the entrance to Santiago harbor at the southeast end of the island of Cuba.  It was the same day that the remainder of Admiral Sampson’s ships finally arrived in Key West.  The following day the Navy Department notified Admiral Sampson that in all probability, reports of Cervera’s fleet arriving at Santiago were correct.  It was anticipated that the enemy ships would proceed immediately for Cienfuegos, 300 miles and a single day’s travel, further to the west.  Based upon the location of Sampson’s ships in Key West and the route of the flying squadron under Schley, Cervera would be unmolested in this effort.

It wasn’t until midnight on May 21st that the flying squadron reached Cienfuegos, Commodore Schley’s warships riding out the darkness of night from a distance of about 20 miles.  With daylight however, his ships cruised closer to Cienfuegos, hoping to draw fire and confirm the presence of the enemy fleet.  They met only silence.  Somehow, once again, the Spanish fleet had eluded the Americans.  Meanwhile Admiral Sampson had returned to the Antilles, taking a blockading position in his flagship northwest of Cuba.  Here he sent a message to Commodore Schley to proceed with his flying squadron to Santiago, where Sampson expected the squadron to arrive on May 24th.  The search for the enemy fleet was still underway in the cat-and-mouse game that was now nearly a month old.

In fact, Admiral Cervera had taken his ships inside the narrow confines of Santiago Harbor.  While Cienfuegos may have been preferable, his ships were low on coal, and the 300-mile voyage to Cienfuegos had to be postponed.  That action not only sheltered the Spanish flotilla, but left the Americans wondering where the mighty armada of the Spanish Empire had vanished.

Commodore Schley didn’t leave immediately for Santiago however, remaining outside Cienfuegos where he was joined at noon on May 22nd by the  Iowa and the Dupont.  That afternoon he again sent his ships in closer to Cienfuegos, and this time he believed he could see  the tops of an enemy man-of-war.  Dupont was sent closer to reconnoiter and reported seeing several ships inside the harbor.  Schley initially believed he had found Admiral Cervera.  While continuing this blockade of Cienfuegos, the flying squadron was joined by additional American ships including the Castine, an armed yacht, and the aging collier Merrimac.  On the evening of May 24th Schley ordered the Castine to take up position in front of the harbor at Cienfuegos, though he was now convinced the Spanish fleet was not to be found nearby.  The Dupont was returned to Key West, and the flying squadron proceeded towards the opening to Santiago harbor 300 miles away.  Schley’s squadron included the Brooklyn, Iowa, Texas, Massachusetts, Marblehead, Vixen, Hawk, Eagle and Merrimac.


U.S.S. Merrimac

Not to be confused with the Civil War ironclad, the Merrimac was an aging collier the Navy purchased from T. Hogan & Sons of New York City on April 12, 1898 for the sum of $342,000.  With no armaments and no armor, the 333-foot ship was pressed into a Spanish-American War support role a few weeks after purchase, under the leadership of Commander Miller.

Almost from the beginning of the Merrimac’s brief stint of US Naval service, it was  plagued by problems.  The ship broke down so frequently it was the butt of common jokes, and it was said that at times “the full engineer force of the Brooklyn was sent about to get her running again.”

On the day Schley set course for Santiago, he also sent a message to Admiral Sampson indicating there was no sign of the Spanish flotilla at Cienfuegos, and that his ships did not have enough coal to maintain a blockade at the opening to Santiago harbor.  Unaware that the enemy warships were hidden within the narrow harbor, on May 26th Schley left the St. Paul to watch the harbor, then set his squadron on a course for Key West.  Enroute and about 40 miles from Santiago, the Merrimac broke down so completely it had to be taken under tow by the Yale.  

In the meantime, Admiral Sampson learned that in fact, the enemy warships had taken anchor inside Santiago Harbor, and was determined to end the chase.  He returned to Key West to obtain permission to personally take command of the blockade at Santiago Harbor and, he hoped, subsequently destroy Admiral Cervera’s squadron.  His request granted, on May 29th Admiral Sampson departed Key West for Santiago de Cuba in his flagship U.S.S. New York.  Joining his flotilla, in addition to the Mayflower and the Porter, was the newly arrived U.S.S. Oregon.  (The powerful battleship Oregon, under the command of Captain Charles Clark, had left port in San Francisco on March 12th to travel around the Cape and arrive in Florida after a 14,700 nautical mile, 71-day race against time.  The length of time it took the battleship to move from coast to coast would give rise to ideas for a shorter route, perhaps a canal in the narrow finger that joined the continents of North and South America.)


The Harbor of Santiago de Cuba is a long, narrow finger of calm tropical sea that reaches inland nearly 10 miles.  The shoreline is dotted with hidden coves and inlets, the perfect hiding place for small gunboats to protect any ships anchored inside.  Access to the harbor from the sea could only be accomplished through a narrow inlet, only 200 yards across.  The inlet itself was protected from the west by the Socapa Battery and on the eastern shore by the Morro Castle.

Before leaving Key West, Admiral Sampson had conferred with Captains Converse and Fogler and Commodore Watson in efforts to format a plan of action.  Unlike the harbor at Manila, there was no hope for American warships to enter and destroy the armada.  By chance, more than by design, Cervera’s ships were stuck in a harbor that offered far more protection from attack than had they been able to continue to Cienfuegos.  The culmination of these conferences was that, if the American ships couldn’t get in to destroy Admiral Cervera, then they would pen his ships inside.  There were discussions about loading several small schooners with brick and rocks and then sinking them in the narrow inlet.  Captain Converse thought of the broken down, 333-foot Merrimac and suggested that it might provide a greater sunken barrier than several schooners.

As Admiral Sampson steamed towards the enemy in his flag ship, the plan of action had been determined.  All that remained was to figure out a way to accomplish it.  The mission would be a dangerous one, sailing the large ship directly into the fire of enemy cannon, then sending it to the bottom of the sea.  Perhaps the HOW would be far more difficult than the WHAT, and even more critical than either perhaps, 

was the WHO!



Assistant Naval Contractor Richmond Pearson Hobson was a 28-year old lieutenant on the staff of Admiral Sampson as the New York steamed towards Santiago and the Spanish squadron of Admiral Cervera.  Hobson was a unique individual, somewhat of a loner who kept to himself.  At the age of 15 Hobson had entered the US Naval Academy at Annapolis and four years later graduated FIRST in his class of  1889.

It was during Hobson’s first three years at the Academy that much of his military personality would be shaped.  A man of principle and dedication, some would say he went to the extreme.   He was quick to report infractions, even when it involved midshipment of his own class.  During his first three years at Annapolis, classmates refused to talk to him except when official business required it.  Hobson took the situation in stride, concentrating on his studies.  In his senior year his classmates extended an olive branch, inviting the 18-year old youth back into their fraternity.  Having become used to the silent treatment, young Richmond informed his classmates that he was content with the status quo.

 On the night of May 29th as the New York headed back to Cuba, Admiral Sampson called the young officer to his quarters.  Briefly he outlined the plan to sink the Merrimac in the shallow waters of the entrance to Santiago Harbor, looking to the Naval Contractor for assurances as to the missions viability.  Hobson listened intently, then requested time to plan such a mission.  \The following day, his work completed, Lieutenant Hobson presented his plan to Admiral Sampson.

Hobson’s plan was to fit out the aging collier with a series of explosive charges along the port side, ten of them in all.   Under the cover of darkness the Merrimac would then enter the harbor, slowly steaming to the shallow waters in the narrowest passageway, where the bow anchor would drop causing the current to swiftly turn the ship sideways.  At this point the stern anchor would drop, holding the ship in place as the torpedoes were electrically detonated.  With the port side facing into the harbor entrance, the holes opened by the torpedoes would fill with water swiftly in the onrushing current, and the Merrimac would sink in less than two minutes.

Admiral Sampson listened attentively to Hobson’s proposals, including the part of the plan that called for the young lieutenant to lead the mission personally.  The Admiral approved it in its entirety, then set the men of the New York to the tasks of preparing the ten water-tight canisters that, when filled with nearly 80 pounds of brown powder, would be strapped below the water line on the port side of the Merrimac.

The following day, May 1st, Sampson’s ships arrived outside the harbor entrance, far enough away to be beyond the range of the guns at Socapa Battery or the Moro Castle.  The Merrimac, repaired again at least for the moment, was brought alongside the New York so that Lieutenant Hobson could supervise the placement of the ten charges that would put the old ship “out of its misery”.  He also carefully supervised placement of the detonators that would trigger these charges.  

The plan was for the mission to commence that very evening.  One additional task remained.  One man alone could not maneuver the 333-foot ship into the channel, drop the bow anchor, drop the stern anchor, and then detonate all ten charges.  It was not a mission the Lieutenant could accomplish by himself….this time Hobson would have to recruit assistance and work as part of a team.

Before Admiral Sampson issued his request for volunteers, he explained in explicit terms just how dangerous the mission would be.  For all practical purposes, it appeared to be a suicide mission, attempting to sail the old ship directly into the guns of the enemy, sink her, and then escape and evade the enemy to return on a small catamaran carried on the deck of the doomed collier.  His ominous speech concluded, the Admiral asked for volunteers.  Three hundred men at once offered to risk their lives, including Captain Miller who was reluctant to turn command of his vessel over to another.

From the ranks of the eager sailors, Hobson selected six men.  From the New York he selected Gunners Mate First Class George Charette and Coxswain Randolph Clausen.  From the USS Iowa he selected Coxswain J. E. Murphy.  Remaining to guide their vessel Merrimac in its final voyage were three sailors who had joined the Navy little over a month earlier, volunteers all of them.  Machinist First Class George Phillips and Water Tender Francis Kelly would operate the engines of the Merrimac for one final operation,  while Coxswain Osborn Deignan would man the helm to steer his ship to her final, glorious conclusion.

Preparations for the May 1st attack did not go well.  It seemed nothing had ever gone smoothly for the Merrimac when it joined the US Navy.  All ten charges were in place, the volunteers were ready to go, but there were only enough batteries to fire six of the ten explosive charges.  To Hobson’s chagrin, the mission was postponed and work continued on the ship the following day.

As Hobson reviewed his plans, he felt he needed one more volunteer for the crew.  Not only did he want a man to handle the task of dropping the stern anchor at the critical moment, he wanted an experienced sailor who could lead the others if anything should happen to himself.  Hobson discussed the matter with the New York’s executive officer, then approached 29-year old Master-At-Arms of the Admiral’s flagship.  Daniel Montague not only had seven years of experience in the United States Navy, prior to that service he had been a member of the British Royal Navy.  Montague promptly volunteered for the dangerous mission.

In the early morning darkness of May 3rd, what would become one of the most historic missions since the Great Locomotive Chase of the Civil War began.  In addition to Hobson and his seven volunteers, the Merrimac’s pilot and assistant engineer remained aboard for the first leg of the journey.  As they moved the ship towards the harbor, Hobson began testing his explosive charges.  To his frustration and dismay, only seven of the ten charges passed his initial test–he was going in at only 70%.  Refusing to be delayed another day, Hobson ordered the Merrimac to continue, steaming at full speed of 9 knots.

As the Merrimac neared the harbor entrance she slowed momentarily.  A small steam launch piloted by Cadet Powell steered close enough to take aboard the pilot and assistant engineer.  The plan was for Powell to keep his launch close to the harbor entrance to pick up Hobson and his seven volunteers who would return on the small catamaran once the Merrimac had been scuttled.

It was near total darkness as Hobson again commanded his doomed ship to move forward at full speed, riding the swell of the flood tide and hiding beneath a night  no longer illuminated by the moon.  Straight into the enemy guns the warriors sailed, hoping against hope that the darkness would be their one ally in the dangerous waters of the enemy.  It was not to be.

Within 500 yards of the narrow channel, the Merrimac suddenly came under heavy enemy fire.  Even in near total darkness, an enemy picket boat had discovered the ship.  Despite the loss of the element of surprise, and in the face of the intense enemy fire, the volunteer crew of the Merrimac continued at full speed into the jaws of death.  Within minutes a torrent of heavy cannon fire rained on the ship from all sides as it boldly entered the channel under the deadly guns of the Socapa Battery and Morro Castle.

The aged ship shook with the repeated battery of heavy enemy shells, but continued to steam valiantly ahead at full speed.  Hobson himself later wrote, “The striking of projectiles and flying fragments produced a grinding sound, with a fine ring in it of steel on steel.  The deck vibrated heavily, and we felt the full effect, lying, as we were, full-length on our faces.  At each instant it seemed that certainly the next would bring a projectile among us…I looked for my own body to be cut in two diagonally, from the left hip upward, and wondered for a moment what the sensation would be.”

Near the stern anchor, Montague heard a heavy round crash into the structure, cutting the anchor lashings.  At the helm, Coxswain Deignan yelled to Hobson, “She won’t respond sir!  The tiller ropes have been shot away!”  The same round had destroyed the collier’s all-important steering gear.  Almost beyond navigation now, the ship continued forward, propelled by the momentum of its full-speed approach and the swift currents of the flood tide.  And then the ship was in the channel, braving the continuing fire but moving ever closer its destination as the crew remained at their posts.  Despite the hail of fire that raked his ship,  Hobson stood exposed on the bridge, stripped to his underwear, to monitor the situation.  And then the Merrimac was sliding sideways, drifting away from the narrowest part of the channel and into deeper waters.

In the distance the Spanish warships Colon and Oquendo added their fire to the fusillade from the shore batteries.  Even when the Reina Mercedes sent two torpedoes to make direct hits on the Merrimac, nearly ripping it in half, Hobson and his volunteers stood faithfully at their stations.  Above the din of battle, Hobson shouted the order and Murphy dropped anchor to halt the rapidly drifting ship.  The stern anchor shot away, the doomed collier continued to drift as it dragged the lone anchor across the floor of the harbor.  Kelly began knocking the caps from the sea valves as Hobson set to the process of detonating the explosive charges.  The enemy fire had also destroyed batteries and detonators.  Only two of the charges exploded into the early morning sky.

The lack of working explosives failed to sink the ship in the less than two minute span previously plotted.  Instead, it remained afloat for more than an hour, burning intensely and slowly going to its grave.  Only a short distance from the shallow waters, the ship had come so close, only to fail in the end to accomplish its goal.

As the Merrimac burned, the catamaran fell up-side-down into the harbor.   Stripped to their underwear, the seven volunteers clung tenuously to their last vestige of haven, waiting for Hobson to leap overboard to join them.  Beyond the mouth of the harbor Cadet Powell continued to move through the darkness, waiting for the heroic men of the Merrimac to appear.  Finally, as morning dawned, he turned his launch back to rejoin the fleet with tales of the incredible display of enemy firepower he had witnessed, and the sad report that apparently none of the brave sailors had survived the night.  Within minutes, word had spread throughout Admiral Sampson’s ships.  It was a morning for sorrow and mourning.

Inside the harbor, Richmond Hobson and his valiant sailors clung to their overturned catamaran, hoping and praying that the current would turn and sweep them back out to sea…and to safety.   Instead the tide only moved them closer to the enemy.  

In that first dangerous hour, small arms fire from the nearby shore forced them to use their “raft” as a shield.  But as the Merrimac burned out and slowly sank, the enemy fire tapered off, then stopped.   In the early morning haze the eight sailors noted the approach of a Spanish launch–and then it was upon them.  Hobson yelled to the enemy, “Is there any officer in the boat to accept our surrender as prisoners of war.”

An gentlemanly looking Spanish officer appeared and motioned towards the men, ordering his sailors to lower their weapons and help the American sailors board his launch.  The officer that accepted their surrender was none other than Spanish Rear Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete himself.  As Hobson and his brave sailors surrendered to the enemy, Cervera surveyed the scene around him, taking in all that these young men had attempted to do, all that they had endured, and the risk that they had taken.  Turning to them he spoke one word……



Later that afternoon a small Spanish tug left the harbor under a flag of truce.  Steaming next to the New York, it halted while Cervera’s chief-of-staff, Captain Bustamente delivered a message from the Spanish admiral that Richmond Hobson and all of his men were safe.  It was a dramatic example of compassion in time of war, an enemy commander’s show of respect for true heroism even when exhibited by his enemy.   The message delivered, Bustamente returned to Santiago with provisions of clothing and a small amount of money for the captured sailors.

Initially the 8 prisoners were confined at Morro Castle, then later moved into the city of Santiago De Cuba.  Three weeks later Daniel Montague became very sick and was moved to a hospital.  (Though he recovered, the tropical illness contracted during his captivity, led to ill health in the years to follow and eventually contributed to his death in 1912.)  On July 6th, after a desperate battle during which Admiral Cevera would attempt to escape the harbor with his fleet, all eight volunteers from the ill-fated Merrimac sinking were paroled in a prisoner exchange.


Richmond Hobson and his men came home to be hailed as heroes.  On November 2, 1899, all seven of the sailors who had volunteered for the Merrimac mission were awarded Medals of Honor.  As a Naval officer, Hobson himself was ineligible for his Nation’s highest recognition of uncommon valor.  

(Prior to 1917, the Navy Medal of Honor was reserved for presentation ONLY to ENLISTED sailors and Marines.)        






John E.


The lack of success of the mission to trap the Spanish fleet by sinking the Merrimac could not damper the coverage in the media, or the public adoration showered on Hobson and his heroes.  Also despite Hobson’s failure to receive the Medal of Honor, he became recognized as one of our Country’s greatest heroes of that Splendid Little War.

A special commemorative poster was later widely circulated depicting the history of that conflict.   The photos of 10 of the leaders and heroes of that war were printed on that poster.  Richmond Hobson’s photo was among the ten, positioned in the center just below a painting of the capture of his team by Admiral Cevera and the Spanish.  (You can click on the smaller image of this poster at left, to view or print a larger copy in a separate window.)

 On October 8, 1898, just six months after Hobson’s heroic mission, Mr. and Mrs. Hilton of Westville, South Carolina were blessed with a baby boy.  They named him after the hero of their day.  Twenty years later their son would find himself facing his own war in France, a war in which 20-year old Sergeant Hilton would earn the Medal of Honor.  On the official roll of honor his name is listed as Richmond H. Hilton….his full name however…Richmond Hobson Hilton.

In his post-war years, Hobson himself chose to leave his Naval career.  In 1904 he was a Presidential elector from his home state of Alabama.  From 1907 to 1915 Hobson served his state’s 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

One year before Hobson’s namesake received the Medal of Honor, our Nation’s highest award underwent several major changes.  Among these was a new provision that no longer restricted award of the Medal to enlisted sailors and Marines.  In future wars, heroes like Richmond Hobson would be recognized for their courage, regardless of their rank.

On April 29, 1933 Richmond Hobson was invited to the White House.  The United States Congress had taken special action to add Hobson’s name to the Roll of Honor along with his those of his valiant sailors.  On that day, by that special act of Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented Richmond Hobson the Medal of Honor for his heroism 35 years earlier.  

Elsewhere the occasion was surely a moment of unique pride for Richmond Hobson Hilton, the Spanish-American war hero’s namesake.  With that award, Hilton became the only known person in history, named for a Medal of Honor recipient, to receive it himself.

              June 6 –

                      Spanish cruiser
Reina Mercedes sunk in the Santiago harbor entrance by the Spaniards
                      to prevent ingress of American war vessels.
          read more


The Battle of Santiago

Spanish Wrecks after the Battle

On 3 July 1898 a US force demolished the Spanish squadron at Santiago, Cuba, in one of the two major naval actions of the Spanish-American War. The Spanish squadron was poorly manned, poorly maintained and out-gunned, so it was an easy victory for the US. Six Spanish ships took part in the action – the armored cruisers Vizcaya, Infanta Maria Teresa, Cristobal Colon and Almirante Oquendo, and the destroyers Furor and Pluton. All these ships were run ashore, except Pluton, which sank. In addition, the Spanish cruiser Reina Mercedes was scuttled in the channel. Because many of the ships were beached, we have this unusual chance to view the ruined hulks of the Spanish ships.

Armored Cruiser Vizcaya

The armored cruisers Vizcaya, Infanta Maria Teresa and Almirante Oquendo were sisterships. Each ship carried two 11″ guns, but they were lightly armored. All three were lost at Santiago.


Vizcaya prior to the war. The 11″ guns were housed in two single turrets, one forward and one aft.


Broadside view of Vizcaya’s hulk, from the starboard side, aft. The destruction is evident even from a good distance away, with nothing but the funnels left standing above decks, and the entire hull blackened by fire.


Port side view of Vizcaya’s hulk from astern. A fallen mast rests across the aft 11″ turret.


Onboard view of Vizcaya’s ruined decks and demolished superstructure. The deck is entirely burned away, the secondary guns ruined, and the superstructure flattened.


Another onboard view, showing the general destruction of the ship. The secondary batteries have been completely smashed in.


Vizcaya’s after 11 inch gun following the battle. Her fallen mainmast lies across the turret.


Armored Cruiser Infanta Maria Teresa

Infanta Maria Teresa prior to the war.


Infanta Maria Teresa in April 1898, not long before her destruction.


Port side view of Infanta Maria Teresa’s hulk. Her funnels and one mast are still standing, but little else remains.


Wreckage of Infanta Maria Teresa’s bridge.


The starboard side spar deck. As in her sistership, the deck is entirely burned away.


Teresa’s after 11 inch gun turret. Amazingly, the US Navy salvaged this shattered hulk, and tried to tow the ship back to the US – but she went around in the Bahamas and was lost.


Armored Cruiser Almirante Oquendo

Almirante Oquendo prior to the war.


The wreck of Almirante Oquendo.


Armored Cruiser Cristobal Colon

Cristobal Colon prior to the war, with laundry hung out to dry. Spain acquired this ship from Italy in 1897, but her 10 inch guns were never installed, leaving her nearly defenseless.


The officers of Cristobal Colon prior to the war. One of the ship’s empty 10″ gun mountings appears behind the officers.


The wreck of Cristobal Colon.


Old Cruiser Reina Mercedes

Reina Mercedes early in her career. This old cruiser was completely obsolete by 1898, and she played no active part in the war. Some of her guns were removed and used for shore defenses, and she was scuttled as a blockship at Santiago.


Reina Mercedes scuttled in the channel. She was raised by the US Navy on 1 March 1899, then repaired and rebuilt in the US. She served as a receiving ship after 1902, mainly at Newport and Annapolis. By the 1950’s she was serving as a residence for the commander of the Naval Academy. In 1957 it was deemed too expensive to maintain the ancient ship, and she was stricken and scrapped.


June 11 –
                      Body of marines landed at Guantanamo from the
Marblehead and Texas, and had a
                      brisk skirmish.

June 12-14 –

                      General Shafter embarked at

Tampa for Santiago with an army of 16,000 men.




             June 15 –

                      Caimanera forts bombarded by US war ships.

 June 15 –
                      Admiral Cámara

with a fleet of ten of Spain’s best war ships

left Cádiz for


Via port suez canal to Manila
             June 20 –
                      General Shafter disembarked his army of invasion at Daiquirí, with a loss of one man killed
                      and two wounded.

 June 21 –

                      Angara capital of Guam, one of the islands of the Ladrones, captured by

the Charleston.

June 24 –

In Cuba,

Juraguá captured


the Spanish were defeated  


Las Guásimas.


Heavy loss on both
                      sides, among the Americans

killed being Capron and Fish.

The SANTIAGO and several other transports languished off of Santiago for several days. In the disorganization of the disembarking troops, supplies, etc. at Daiquiri, Maj. Gen. Shafter simply had forgotten about the transports in the diversionary movement! The men spent their time swimming, and trying to cope with the crowded conditions. The morning of June 25 dawned to reveal something no one aboard the SANTIAGO had expected – an empty sea! During the night, the other transports had received belated orders to proceed to Siboney. In the darkness, the SANTIAGO was not seen and did not receive the orders. Finally the orders arrived in the morning. The first had become the last! The Ninth was finally able to begin to disembark at about 3:00 p.m., passing the wounded arriving from the skirmish at Las Guasimas as it came ashore.


The 9th U.S. arrives at Siboney

The next day was spent in helping to unload supplied from the transports. On June 27th, the Ninth finally took up their line of march toward Santiago. The unit made four miles that day, the men laboring in the intense heat, carrying their blanket rolls and ammunition. That night the regiment camped at Sevilla.

As the Ninth finally approached Santiago and the San Juan heights, it found itself in the valley between the American artillery and the Spanish forces. Shells of all types filled the air, luckily a safe distance above the regiment. Orders were issued to stack the blanket rolls, which were placed under guard, prior to going into action. The unit began its advance, forming its line, though it was not clear in which direction they should advance. The bullets of the Spanish Mausers sliced the air, but the smokeless powder completely concealed the Spanish positions. Finally, they were ordered ahead by Gen. Kent, and lead to a path that lead to the left off of the main road. In the movements, the first and second battalions of the regiment got separated with the 24th Infantry placed between. As the units moved into position, they past the 71st New York Volunteer Infantry hunkered down and trying to shield itself from the enemy’s fire.

In the space of a short time, Colonel Wikoff was killed, Lieutenant Colonels Worth and Liscum were both wounded. The Ninth Infantry and the other regiments of the 3rd Brigade advanced toward San Juan Hill, in spite of not having a brigade commander! Lt. Col. Ezra P. Ewers, who was now the senior officer in the Brigade would not learn this fact until after San Juan Hill was captured!

The men had to pass over five hundred yards under heavy enemy fire. Instead of aiming for the blockhouse atop the heights, the brigade aimed for the space between to the blockhouse, and the end of the hill, placing the unit in a very pivotal position. The troops of the Third, Ninth and 24th Infantries intermixed in their crossing of the San Juan River. The men were ordered to cease firing, but the order was of no avail. Some of the troops began to move ahead. The Ninth followed a few seconds later. As it reached the crest of San Juan Hill, its men took part in the volley firing against the retreating Spanish troops.


The 9th U.S. prepares to move out toward San Juan Hill

From the heat and exhaustion, the men lay down on the reverse side of the slope, out of range of the Spanish bullets. They remained in this position until Gen. Hawkins ordered them to get back into position at the crest to fire on the Spanish, in case the enemy counter-attacked. The expected counter-attack did not come. During the ensuing night, the regiment dug in, and by morning was entrenched.

On July 3, the men of the Ninth heard the sound of a distant bombardment. It was not until the next day that they learned that the firing was from the naval battle of Santiago, and that they had listened to the sacrificing of the dreaded Spanish squadron.

The men now settled into the siege of Santiago. From July 3 to July 10, they worked to reinforce their trenches. Each company  was sent down to the river to bathe until it was learned that the river was being used for drinking water by the units downstream. The bathing was quickly stopped unfortunately for the men of the Ninth.

No company cooking equipment had been provided, so each man had to fend for himself. Between gathering firewood, obtaining supplies (which were always in short supply, and only being replenished in the nick of time), cooking their food, etc. each man spent nearly six hours a day simply in keeping himself fed.

During the Battle of San Juan Hill, and the ensuing siege of Santiago, the Ninth U.S. Infantry lost one officer and 4 enlisted men killed and 27 enlisted men wounded. The surrender came on July 17. The Ninth may have taken part in the surrender ceremonies or have arrived just afterward, marching into Santiago, and watching the raising of the U.S. flag. After the ceremony, the regiment took up quarters in the Teatro de la Reina (“the Queen’s Theater”). It began guard duty in various sites around the town. At about this time, khaki uniforms were finally issued to the men.

It was also at about this time that sickness began to make its appearance in the regiment. Up until July 13, between four and nine men were usually reported sick each day. By July 17, the number had risen to about 17 men per day.  Within two days, the sick count had risen to 28 men. By July 20, the number jumped to 78 men, the next day to 92 men, and by July 22, 132 men out of the regiment’s 433 men were reported sick. Many of the men who were not officially reported as sick were also in poor condition, and barely able to perform their duties. The first death from sickness occurred on July 21. The second occurred on July 30. Two more men died on August 2.

On August 2, the Ninth was relieved by Col. Hood’s 2nd U.S. Volunteers, which was considered to be an “immune” regiment. By August 10, the Ninth was given orders to withdraw. The three mile march to the docks was difficult on the weakened men. Fifteen officers and 323 men made the trip. Leaving the docks, the men passed the sunken hulk of the REINA MERCEDES and were taken out to the ST. LOUIS, along with the 10th U.S. Infantry and part of the 71st New York Volunteer Infantry.

Aboard the transport one man died, and his death was attributed to yellow fever. As a result, the vessel was put in quarantine. The men were also put through a rigorous cleaning, and given new blue uniforms. The Ninth reached Montauk [Camp Wikoff] on August 13, with only 277 men present for duty, the remainder being placed in the hospital. On August 21 the unit was released from quarantine, though many of the men remained in the hospital.


The 9th U.S. Infantry at Montauk Point

By early September, the Ninth U.S. Infantry was back in the Madison Barracks. However, its stay would be short. By March of 1899, the unit was ordered to proceed to the Philippines to take part in the Philippine-American War. Before the unit left, the legacy of Cuba showed itself one more time – 26 men were discharged


June 28 –

     General Merritt


 left for Manila to assume


command of the American army operating in the

 July 1 –

 Terrific fighting in


 front of Santiago.


El Caney and San Juan Hill were carried by assaults in
                      which the American loss was great.

July 3 –


 Admiral Cervera’s


squadron of four armored cruisers and two torpedo-boat destroyers

 annihilated by


Commodore Schley’s


blockading fleet.

The surrender of Santiago was
  demanded by


 General Shafter.

July 6 –

                      Hobson and his comrades were exchanged for six Spanish officers
             Constructor Richmond Pearson Hobson

By Patrick McSherry

Click here for a link to Hobson’s home of Magnolia Grove
Click here  to visit another page with info. on Richmond Hobson
Click here see a view of Richmond Hobson, late in life, the Medal of Honor from Franklin Demalon Roosevelt
Click here to see a view of the USS HOBSON, DD-464, named for Richmond Hobson

Richmond Pearson Hobson was one of the great heros of the Spanish-American War, following only Theodore Roosevelt and George Dewey. Hobson’s fame and popularity was the result of leading an unsuccessful attempt to block the harbor of Santiago de Cuba by sinking the collier MERRIMAC in the entrance.

Hobson was born August 17, 1870, in Greensboro, Alabama. His father was a Confederate veteran of the American Civil War, and the family lived on the family estate of Hobson’s mother, a plantation called “Magnolia Grove”. He was the second of seven children. Young Richmond attended private school, and the Southern University in Greensboro from 1882 to 1885. He won a competitive test for appointment to the Naval Academy at age fourteen.

At Annapolis, Richmond was the youngest in his class. His strong religious views created difficulties for him with classmates. Midshipman Hobson was later put in “coventry”, or cut off from all social contact with his classmates, for putting some of the other students on report. He spent his last two years in this state of isolation. However bad his social situation, his academic life flourished. During his years at the Academy Hobson never ranked lower than third in his class. He also developed an interest in steam engines and naval architecture.

Hobson graduated from Annapolis in 1889, ranked first in his class. He was offered the opportunity to study naval architecture abroad and did so, in Paris at the Ecole National Superieurdes Mines in 1890 and 1891. This was followed by studies at the Ecole d’ Application du Genie Maritime from 1891 to 1893, where he graduated “with distinction.”

After his return to the United States, Hobson served for a year and a half as an assistant naval constructor in the Navy Department’s Bureau of Construction and Repair at Washington D.C. He attempted to get a posting to Asia during the Sino-Japanese War, and also to Europe, but his requests were denied. Instead, Hobson was sent aboard the USS NEW YORK, and served in various shipyards in the northeast. During this time, a superior officer accused Hobson of neglect of duty for accepting some defective metal castings. He was eventually vindicated by Acting Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt.

In 1897, Hobson created and ran the third year program for naval construction at Annapolis. As war loomed, the entire class went to Key West, Florida to continue the students’ education with the North Atlantic Squadron. It was while serving with Admiral Sampson on the USS NEW YORK that Hobson was given the task of sinking the MERRIMAC to block the entrance to Santiago Harbor. The effort failed and Hobson was taken prisoner. He was exchanged on July 6, 1898, and, to his surprise, found himself a national hero.

After the war, Hobson had himself appointed Inspector of Spanish Wrecks, charged with determining if any of the damaged and sunken Spanish vessels at Cuba could be raised and reused. He succeeded in raising the REINA MERCEDES and the INFANTA MARIA TERESA. Hobson next went to the Far East to continue his salvage efforts with the victims of Dewey‘s attack. Here he salvaged the ISLE DE CUBA, ISLE DE LUZON and DON JUAN DE AUSTRIA. On his way to the Philippines, Hobson, still the popular war hero, was accused of kissing his way across the United States as he accepted the requests of ladies to be kissed. When the press began making an issue of it an embarrassed Hobson refused all future requests. Hobson’s hero status also created tension with his fellow officers, many of whom avoided him. About this time, he began to suffer from inflammation of the retina, which was aggravated by exposure to sunlight and desk work. Hobson requested a medical discharge beginning in 1900. The request was denied.

In 1901 Congress passed a joint resolution thanking Hobson for his exploits aboard the MERRIMAC. The resolution promoted him from Lieutenant to Captain, and also advanced him ten positions on the Construction Corps seniority list. This action served to make Hobson even more of an outcast among his fellow officers, who resented the preferential treatment. He resigned his commission in 1903.

Hobson’s departure from the Navy gave him time for other pursuits also. In 1905 he married Grizelda Houston Hull, the great-great niece of Confederate general Leonidas Polk, the great niece of former Alabama governor, George Houston, and a cousin of General “Fightin’ Joe” Wheeler. These connections would serve him well in political life.

As a civilian, Hobson took up the lecture circuit, traveling across the country in 1903 and 1904. In 1907, on his second attempt, the former Captain was elected to Congress, serving four terms. In 1908, before an unfriendly Democratic National Convention, Hobson commented that President Theodore Roosevelt had stated that there was a good possibility of war with Japan in the near future. Roosevelt denied the comments. With his Great White Fleet preparing to sail around the world, talk of trouble with Japan, either military or diplomatic, was not appreciated by the President. In spite of the acrimonious debate, Hobson continued predicting war with Japan until even the press tired of reporting his comments on the issue.

Congressman Hobson served on the Naval Affairs Committee from 1907 to 1914, working to strengthen the fleet and warning of future clashes with European powers, Japan and Russia. He was an early supporter of Womens’ Suffrage and fought for Black soldiers unjustly accused of rioting and killing a civilian in Brownsville Texas. In 1911, he introduced the first National Prohibition bill. Hobson’s views, unpopular with many of his constituents, ended his political career in 1916.

Later in life, Hobson continued to act against alcohol and drug abuse, serving as general secretary of the American Alcohol and Education Association, president of the International Narcotic Education Association and the World Narcotic Defense Association. He was also the organizer of the 1926 World Conference on Narcotic Education.

In 1933, Hobson was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions aboard the MERRIMAC during the Spanish-American War. His crew had received the medal in 1899, but officers were not eligible for the honor at that time. In 1934, Hobson was made a Rear Admiral on the retired list and granted a pension.

Richmond Pearson Hobson died of a heart attack on March 16, 1937, and was buried with honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

On January 22, 1942, the U.S. Navy commissioned a destroyer named in Richmond Hobson’s honor, the DD-464 HOBSON. The vessel saw extensive action throughout World War Two, in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific theaters of operations. She was awarded  six battle stars and shared in a Presidential unit Citation. She was lost in 1952 after a tragic collision with the aircraft carrier, USS WASP.


 July 8 –

   Admiral Cámara

was ordered to return with his fleet to Cádiz to protect Spanish coast
                      threatened by American warships.

 July 10 –
                      A second bombardment of Santiago, which severely battered Morro Castle.

  July 11 –

 General Miles



General Miles was a steamship constructed in 1882 which served in various coastal areas of the states of Oregon and Washington, as well as British Columbia and the territory of Alaska. It was apparently named after US General Nelson A. Miles.

Originally a sailing schooner built in 1879, the General Miles was extensively reconstructed in 1890 and renamed Willapa. In 1903 the name was changed again to Bellingham. After a conversion to diesel power in 1922, the vessel was renamed Norco. The vessel is notable for, among other things, for having been first a sailing vessel from 1879 to 1882, a steamship from 1882 to 1918, a sailing barge from 1919 to 1922, and a motor vessel (diesel-powered) from 1922 to 1950


joined the American Army before Santiago and conferred with


 General Shafter as to the means for reducing the city

 July 17 –
                      After the expiration of

 two periods of truce


General Toral surrendered Santiago and the
                      eastern province of Cuba to General Shafter.

             July 20 –

                      General Leonard Wood was appointed Military Governor of Santiago, and entered upon
                      his duties by feeding the hungry, clothing the destitute and cleaning the city.

  July 21 –
                      The harbor of Nipe was entered by four gunboats, which, after an hours’ fierce
                      bombardment, captured the port.

 July 25 –
                      General Miles, with 8,000 men, after a voyage of three days, landed at Guánica, Puerto
                      Rico. He immediately began his march towards Ponce, which surrendered on the 28th.

 July 26 –
                      The French Ambassador at Washington,


 Jules Cambon, acting for Spain, asked the
                      President upon what terms he would treat for peace.

July 30 –
                      The President communicated his answer to M. Cambon.

 July 31 –
                      The Spaniards made a night attack on the Americans investing Manila but were repulsed
                      with severe losses.

August –
                      The Rough Riders left Santiago for Montauk Point, Long Island

August 9 –
                      A large force of Spanish were defeated at Coamo, Puerto Rico, by General Ernst. The
                      Spanish Government formally accepted the terms of peace submitted by the President
            August 12
                      The peace protocol was signed, an armistice proclaimed, and the Cuban blockade raised.
           August 13 –
                      Manila was bombarded by Dewey’s fleet and simultaneously attacked by the American
                      land forces, under which combined assaults the city surrendered unconditionally
           August 20 –
                      Great naval demonstration in New York harbor.
           August 22 –
                      All troops under General Merritt remaining at San Francisco ordered to Honolulu.
           August 23 –
                      Bids opened for the construction of twelve torpedo boats and sixteen destroyers. General
                      Merritt appointed governor of Manila. General Otis assumed command of the Eighth
                      Corps in the Philippines.
           August 25 –
                      General Shafter left Santiago.
           August 26 –
                      President officially announced the names of the American Peace Commissioners. Last of
                      General Shafter’s command leaves Santiago for this country.
           August 29 –
                      Lieutenant Hobson arrived at Santiago to direct the raising of the
María Teresa and
Cristobal Colón.
           August 30 –
                      General Wheeler ordered an investigation of Camp Wikoff.
         September 2 –
                      Spanish Government selected three peace commissioners.
         September 3 –
                      President visited Montauk.
         September 9 –
                      Peace Commission completed by the appointment of Senator Gray. President ordered
                      investigation of War Department.
        September 10 –
                      Spanish Cortes approved Peace Protocol
        September 11 –
                      American Puerto Rico Evacuation Commission met in joint session at San Juan.
        September 12 –
                      Admiral Pascual Cervera left Portsmouth, N. H., for Spain.
        September 13 –
                     Roosevelt’s Rough Riders mustered out of service. Spanish Senate approved Protocol.
        September 14 –
                      Evacuation of Puerto Rico began. Queen Regent signed Protocol.
        September 17 –
                      American Cuban Evacuation Commissions met in joint session at Havana. Peace
                      Commissioners sailed for Paris.
        September 20 –
                      Spanish evacuation of outlying ports in Puerto Rico began. First American flag raised in
        September 24 –
                      Jurisdiction of Military Governor Wood extended to embrace entire province of Santiago
                      de Cuba. First meeting of the War Investigating Committee held at the White House.
        September 25 –
                      Lieutenant Hobson floated the
María Teresa.
        September 27 –
                      American Peace Commissioners convened in Paris.
        September 28 –
                      American Commissioners received by French Minister of Foreign Affairs.
        September 29 –
                      Spanish and American Commissioners met for first time, at breakfast given at the Foreign
                      Offce, Paris.
           October 1 –
                      Peace Commissioners held first joint session.
           October 4 –
                      2,000 irregular Spanish troops revolted near Cienfuegos and refused to lay down arms
                      until paid back salaries. Battleship
Illinois launched at Newport News.
          October 1O –
                      American flag hoisted over Manzanillo, Cuba.
          October 12 –
Iowa and Oregon left New York for Manila.
          October 16 –
                      Opening of Peace Jubilee in Chicago.
          October 18 –
                      United States took formal possession of Puerto Rico.
          October 24 –
                      Spanish evacuation of Puerto Rico completed
          October 25 –
                      Philadelphia Jubilee began with naval parade in the Delaware.
          October 30 –
María Teresa left Caimanera for Hampton Roads.
          October 31 –
                      American Peace Commissioners demanded cession of entire Philippine group.
          November 5 –
María Teresa, cruiser, reported lost off San Salvador, Bahamas.
          November 8 –
María Teresa reported ashore at Cat Island, Bahamas.
         November 17 –
                      Evacuation of Camp Meade completed
         November 21 –
                      American ultimatum presented to Spanish Peace Commissioners.
         November 25 –
                      First United States troops landed in Havana province.
         November 28 –
                      Spain agreed to cede Phllippines.
         November 30 –
                      Captain-General Blanco left Havana for Spain.
         December 10 –
                      Peace Treaty signed.
         December 11 –
                      Small riot in Havana. Three Cubans killed.
         December 14 –
                      Fitzhugh Lee arrived in Havana.
         December 24 –
                      Peace Treaty delivered to President McKinley.
         December 27 –
                      American Evacuation Commissioners issued a proclamation to the inhabitants of Cuba.
         December 31 –
                      Last day of Spanish sovereignty in Westem Hemisphere.








Spanish-Cuban-American War


Click on the pictures


Pacific campaign

Santiago de Cuba harbor




Santiago de Cuba and vicinity 1898

Santiago de Cuba and vicinity July 14, 1898


Spanish-American War in Cuba

Cuba Struggle for Independence (1868-1898)
and then (Washington Post published), starts
the “Splendid Little” War . What follows are some benchmarks along the way:


April 10, 1895 — Jose Marti, Cuban revolutionary,



launches insurrection against Spanish rule.



He is killed May 19.



The most famous cigar ever rolled in Tampa went out not as a Corona or a Presidente, but as a liberator to spark the Cuban Revolution of 1895. This cigar cost thousands of lives, but eventually won the independence of Cuba from Spain.

  The story of the cigar that went to war starts Jan. 29, 1895, at the residence of Gonzalo De Quesada, secretary of the Cuban Revolutionary Party in New York City. Jose Marti, the leader of the Cuban crusade for freedom, called a secret meeting of the revolutionary junta at the Quesada home.

Present were General Jose Mayia Rodriguez, representing Generalisimo Maximo Gomez, and General Enrique Collazo, representing the Revolutionary Junta of Havana. Among the Cuban patriots taking part in the historic junta was Emilio Cordero, who in later years would become a prominent leader in the cigar industry of America marketing his popular brand Mi Hogar.        Gonzalo de Quesada        Jose Marti


Jan. 1, 1898 —

 In an effort to defuse the insurrection, Spain gives Cubans limited political autonomy.

Jan. 12 —

Spaniards in Cuba riot against autonomy given to Cubans.


Jan. 25 — USS Maine arrives in Havana Harbor to protect American interests.

Feb. 15 — USS Maine explodes, sinks; 266 crewmen lost. The Maine’s captain urges suspension of judgment on the cause of the explosion.

March 28 —

Naval Court of Inquiry says Maine destroyed by a mine.


April 11 —

President William McKinley asks Congress for declaration of war.

April 25 —

State of war exists between United States and Spain.


June 10 — U.S. Marines land at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


July 1 —


 Battles of El Caney and San Juan Hill in Cuba


result in American victories and instant national acclaim for


Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, the former Navy Department official and future president who leads the Rough Riders at San Juan Heights.

Among Theodore Roosevelt’s many accomplishments were two terms as President of the United States, the publishing of more than forty works of nonfiction, the exploration of the South American wilderness, and having his likeness sculpted on Mount Rushmore. However, even with all of these and many other achievements, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt often stated that participating in the Battle of San Juan Hill, Cuba, during the Spanish-American War was one of his proudest moments. Roosevelt’s service with the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, also known as the “Rough Riders,” lasted only four months, but he proclaimed “there are no four months of my life to which I look back with more pride and satisfaction.”(1) To most people, the charge up San Juan Hill is one of the two most memorable events connected with the “Splendid Little War.”(2) The other is the sinking of the USS Maine, which helped set the stage for war.

The American victory over Spain placed the nation among the world’s great powers. For Roosevelt, the Spanish-American War fulfilled a lifelong dream. While friends in the newspaper business ensured that his exploits in Cuba were not overlooked by the public, the future President yearned for even greater acclaim. He coveted the country’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor. Despite an intense lobbying effort by some of his superior officers and a close friend, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Roosevelt’s request for the medal was denied by the War Department. Questions remain as to whether Roosevelt was refused the Medal of Honor because he was undeserving or if friction between himself and the War Department was the actual reason for denial.

Although countless pages have documented the Rough Riders in Cuba, the Medal of Honor issue has been largely ignored in print. Even two of Roosevelt’s own publications, The Rough Riders and An Autobiography, fail to mention in the narrative his desire for the award.(3) A multitude of War Department documents and Roosevelt’s own published letters clearly state his argument that “I am entitled to the Medal of Honor and I want it.”(4) With the centennial of the Spanish-American War approaching, perhaps this is an appropriate time to reevaluate Roosevelt’s role in the conflict and determine if his contribution was as worthy as he claimed.

After the Maine exploded in Havana Harbor, Cuba, on February 15, 1898, popular opinion in the United States cried for retaliation against Spain. The fever was fueled by yellow journalists such as Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World and William Randolph Hearst of the New York Journal. One of the most anxious Americans was Theodore Roosevelt. When he had taken office as assistant secretary of the navy in April 1897, he used his position to expound upon America’s future role as a world power. He felt this goal could not be achieved without war. During a June 2, 1897, speech at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, the assistant secretary noted that “diplomacy is utterly useless where there is no force behind it; the diplomat is the servant, no the master, of the soldier. . . . No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumphs of war.”(5)

With war declared on April 21, 1898, the self-proclaimed jingo saw his wishes come true and was anxious to take part in the upcoming fray. Several years after the war, he boasted that “I had always felt that if there were a serious war I wished to be in a position to explain to my children why I did take part in it, and not why I did not take part in it.”(6) The latter portion of this statement was probably a reference to his father’s decision not to serve in the military during the Civil War, which haunted Roosevelt throughout his life. According to one of his biographers, “family, friends, and superiors all implored Roosevelt to remain in the post in which he had done so much to prepare the navy for war.”(7) Roosevelt ignored these pleas and instead lobbied Secretary of War Russell A. Alger for an army commission. Opportunity came for Roosevelt when the War Department mobilized the army for war.

A severe shortage of men prevented the army from immediately setting forth on an expedition to Cuba. To remedy the situation, President William McKinley proposed to Congress a first call for 125,000 state volunteers. The proposal became law on April 22. Four days later, additional legislation was passed to increase the regular army to more than twice its strength. On May 25, McKinley issued a second call for 75,000 volunteers to bring the army up to adequate strength for whatever expeditions might be required.

Most of the volunteers under the first call came from existing state militia or national guard outfits since they numbered about 125,000 men. The order for troops also permitted the federal government to raise three volunteer cavalry regiments to serve independently from the state units.(8) Secretary of War Alger knew the perfect candidate to command the first regiment: Theodore Roosevelt. Upon learning from Alger that the First United States Volunteer Cavalry Regiment was his to command, Roosevelt was ecstatic. He declined the offer, however, since his only military service had been three years in the New York National Guard, and he felt this was not enough experience to lead an entire regiment during wartime. As a compromise, Roosevelt suggested that he serve as lieutenant colonel if his good friend Leonard Wood was named as the commander. Alger agreed, and the Rough Riders were born.(9)

Wood was an ideal choice to command the newly formed regiment. He had many of the same political connections as Roosevelt, whom he had met in mid-1897 while serving as the White House physician, and they developed a deep friendship. Besides a career as a medical officer, Wood had served as both an army assistant surgeon and line officer during the expedition against Geronimo in 1886. He distinguished himself in the campaign and received the Medal of Honor in March 1898 for his role in Geronimo’s surrender. Wood was the only officer serving in the long campaign to receive the award, and rumors circulated that his political ties were the reason he had been singled out.(10)

Secretary of War Alger authorized Wood to raise and organize “a regiment of Volunteers possessing special qualifications as horsemen and marksmen.” Furthermore, War Department Special Order #98, April 27, 1898, directed Wood to report to Muskogee, Indian Territory; Guthrie, Oklahoma; Sante Fe, New Mexico; Prescott, Arizona Territory; Carson City, Nevada; and Salt Lake City, Utah for recruiting.(11) But once the word spread that the Rough Riders were recruiting men, applications came from all over the country. Originally the regiment was allotted 780 men by the War Department, but popular interest in becoming a Rough Rider quickly enlarged the number to 1,000. By July 7, 1898, the regiment exceeded the legal limit of men, with more than 1,100 names on the muster rolls.(12)

The origin of the name “Rough Riders,” according to Roosevelt, was created “both by the public and by the rest of the army . . . doubtless because the bulk of the men were from the Southwestern ranch country and were skilled in the wild horsemanship of the great plains.”(13) Publicly, Roosevelt invoked an image as a cowboy because of the several years he spent ranching in the Dakota Territory and the publication of his multivolume work The Winning of the West. In addition to the majority of cowboys and ranchers, recruits came from Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Roosevelt also recruited at the various social clubs of Boston and New York with which he was well acquainted. From this contingent Roosevelt especially sought athletes such as cross-country riders and polo players. Notable among the blue-blood eastern families recruited for the Rough Riders was Hamilton Fish, the nephew of former Secretary of State Fish. Most noteworthy of the western recruits was William “Bucky” O’Neil, who was the mayor of Prescott, Arizona, and a famous sheriff. A number of Native Americans representing tribes such as the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and Creeks rounded out the regiment.(14)

The Rough Riders trained in San Antonio, Texas, for about four weeks, then joined the other outfits congregating in Tampa, Florida, for transport to Cuba.(15) The expedition was organized as the U.S. Army’s Fifth Corps. They were led by the rotund Maj. Gen. William R. Shafter, a Medal of Honor winner during the Civil War and veteran of the Indian wars. The Rough Riders had the distinction of being one of only three volunteer regiments that initially went to Cuba.(16)

  Officers at camp in Tampa, Florida: Maj. George Dunn, Major Brodie, former Confederate Gen. Joseph Wheeler, Chaplain Brown of the Rough Riders, Col. Leonard Wood, and Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt. (NARA 111-SC-93549)

“I Am Entitled to the Medal of Honor and I Want It”
Theodore Roosevelt and His Quest for Glory, Part 2

Leaving Tampa on June 6, the Fifth Corps anchored a week later off the coast of Santiago de Cuba and remained there until an advance force of the U.S. Army landed at the small port of Daiquiri, seventeen miles from Santiago. With the help of naval gunfire and a small force of Cuban revolutionaries under the command of Gen. Calixto Garcia, the three hundred Spanish troops in the area of Daiquiri were forced to withdraw on June 22. Because of heavy surf conditions, Shafter selected a landing point eight miles closer to Santiago at the port of Siboney. By June 26, most of the expedition was on shore, but not without casualties. Two men and a number of artillery horses and pack mules drowned in the rough sea. Roosevelt remembered that “we did the landing as we had everything else–that is, in a scramble.”(17)

  Landing at Daiquiri. (NARA 111-SC-94528)

Upon landing in Cuba, the mission of the Fifth Corps was unclear. The War Department gave Shafter instructions to destroy the Spanish forces at Santiago, and how to go about this was left up to him. As soon as a sufficient force landed on shore at Siboney, Shafter ordered the march toward Santiago. Although the Spaniards put up no resistance to the American landings, Cubans in the area reported that a force of two thousand Spaniards were about four miles from Siboney in the village of Las Guasimas. Former Confederate officer Maj. Gen. “Fighting” Joe Wheeler, who commanded the Fifth Corps cavalry division as a volunteer, sent Brig. Gen. Samuel B.M. Young on a reconnaissance toward the village with his brigade, which included the Rough Riders and the African American Tenth U.S. Cavalry. After a two-hour fight, Young’s brigade had the enemy fleeing toward Santiago.(18)

Sixteen Americans and ten Spaniards were killed in the fight. Figuring prominently in the skirmish were the Rough Riders, who suffered eight casualties. Newspapers across the United States proclaimed it a Rough Riders victory. Most responsible for the accolades was correspondent Richard Harding Davis, who tagged along with the Rough Riders and acted as Roosevelt’s own press secretary. In reality, Wheeler had advanced the cavalry prematurely, and they had been ambushed. Two of the Rough Riders killed were among the regiment’s more promising troopers, Capt. Allyn K. Capron and Sgt. Hamilton Fish. The most positive aspect of the skirmish was that it boosted morale among the soldiers and gave them confidence for the big fight that lay ahead.(19)

After the unexpected Las Guasimas fight, Shafter decided against any further advances until he could build up substantial supplies at Siboney and Daiquiri. On June 28 Shafter learned that a Spanish relief force was heading to reinforce troops entrenched among the heights surrounding Santiago. Two days later he ordered his forces to be ready to march toward Santiago on July 1. The ultimate goal was San Juan Hill, which was also known as either San Juan Heights or San Juan Ridge.(20)

The San Juan Heights rise above Santiago, about two miles east of the city. A small rise known as Kettle Hill was named for an abandoned mill and its iron kettles used to refine sugar. San Juan Hill rises to the southwest, about 400 yards further than Kettle Hill, and stands about 125 feet high with a brick blockhouse at the summit. Just east of Kettle and San Juan Hills flows the San Juan River. Approximately a thousand yards west of the San Juan Heights there was a strong line of Spanish fortifications that included barbed-wire entanglements, rifle pits, and trenches dug on the heights and to their rear.

Shafter’s plan to assault the San Juan Heights, based upon reconnaissance by his own troops and the Cuban army, was to send the Fifth Corps through the only two practicable routes in the jungle-covered terrain. The First Infantry Division under Brig. Gen. Jacob F. Kent and Wheeler’s cavalry would approach Kettle and San Juan Hills through the same road the army had followed from Siboney. The first phase of the attack was for Brig. Gen. Henry W. Lawton’s Second Infantry Division to take the village of El Caney on the right flank by way of the road to Guantanamo, which he claimed was possible in two hours. Lawton was then to move on to Santiago with Kent and Wheeler approaching to his left. If the plan went as designed, the three divisions would clear the Spaniards from the San Juan Heights and bring Santiago under siege.

The Battle of Santiago began early in the morning of July 1 with Lawton attacking El Caney, but his force of sixty-six hundred men met heavy resistance from the five hundred Spaniards garrisoned at the village. Not until late afternoon did El Caney come under American control.

With Lawton bogged down in El Caney, the First Cavalry Division and First Infantry Division with about eight thousand men would have to attack the defenses of San Juan Heights without the planned infantry support. The cavalry was now under the command of Brig. Gen. Samuel S. Sumner, who temporarily replaced an ill General Wheeler. As result of Wheeler’s illness, Wood was promoted to brigadier general, and Roosevelt was raised to the rank of colonel of the Rough Riders.

The infantry division under General Kent moved behind the Sumner’s cavalry division along the road leading to the heights at about 11 a.m. Gradually the infantry pressed up alongside the cavalry, then both divisions took position in an area that provided little cover, with the cavalry on the right and the infantry on the left. Not yet having received orders from Shafter’s headquarters, the men were exposed in the open with no clear course of action. Before the men completed their deployment, the Spanish troops on San Juan and Kettle Hills commenced rifle and artillery fire.

What triggered the Spanish fusillade was an observation balloon operated by the Signal Corps. Their mission was to obtain more intelligence about the Spanish position, but the balloon gave the Spaniards a perfect marker on which to aim their fire. How many American casualties the balloon caused is impossible to say. On the positive side, the two observers aboard the balloon gathered information on the enemy’s strength at San Juan Hill and discovered an alternate trail that helped spread the deployment of the Fifth Corps infantry.(21)

Sumner and Kent realized that San Juan Hill was heavily defended and the infantry and cavalry would be decimated unless they either advanced or retreated. Kent’s infantry, followed by Sumner’s cavalry, deployed along a narrow path, and by 1 p.m. the Americans established a firing line facing the heights against the Spanish right flank. Lt. John H. Parker and his battery of Gatling guns caused the most destruction. At a range of six hundred to eight hundred yards, Parker demoralized the Spaniards by firing continuously for little over eight minutes.(22)

Using Parker’s guns as a cover, the cavalry and infantry finally received permission to attack the Spanish forward positions along San Juan Heights. What actually happened at this point is still quite confusing. A number of different versions of the battle by its participants conflict with each other. Of particular interest to this study is Roosevelt’s own account of the events. In his two reports to Leonard Wood that were published in the Report of the Secretary of War, as well as his postwar story in The Rough Riders, Roosevelt gives the impression that he alone was the first to charge the San Juan Heights to drive away the entrenched Spaniards. This image of Theodore Roosevelt was propagated with the help of Richard Harding Davis. Reporting for the New York Herald, Davis transcribed what Roosevelt told him, then added his own twist to the story. In addition to the newspaper articles, magazines and books picked up his story. Davis depicted a fearless Roosevelt, wearing a blue polka-dotted bandanna, charging up the hill mounted on his horse, Texas. Thus the legend of Theodore Roosevelt was created.(23)

  Roosevelt and his Rough Riders atop San Juan Hill. (NARA 306-ST-505-58-4822)

The first report, written on July 4, 1898, provides Roosevelt’s initial claim for credit in charging the heights. He wrote,

After crossing the river at the ford we were moved along and up its right bank under fire, and were held in reserve at a sunken road. . . . We then received your order to advance and support the regular cavalry in the attack on the entrenchments and blockhouses on the hills to the left. The regiment was deployed on both sides of the road, and moved forward until we came to the rearmost lines of the regulars. We moved forward until I ordered a charge, and the men rushed the blockhouse and rifle pits on the hill to the right of our advance. They did the work in fine shape, though suffering severely. The guidons of Troop E and G were first planted on the summit, though the first men up were some A and B troopers, who were with me.

After the passage of almost three weeks, Roosevelt’s final report to Wood elaborated even further on his immortal charge.

We moved through several skirmish lines of the regiment ahead of us, as it seemed to me that our only chance was in rushing the entrenchments in front. . . . Accordingly we charged the blockhouse and entrenchments on the hill to our right against a heavy fire. It was taken in good style, the men of my regiment thus being the first to capture any fortified position and to break through the Spanish lines. The guidons of G and E troops were first at this point, but some of the men of A and B troops who were with me personally got in ahead of them. At the last wire fence up this hill I was obliged to abandon my horse and after that went on foot. . . . By the time San Juan was taken a large force had assembled on the hill we had previously captured, consisting not only of my own regiment but of the ninth and of portions of other cavalry regiments.(24)

  An “Oath of Office” certifies Theodore Roosevelt’s promotion to colonel of the First Volunteer Cavalry. (NARA, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780s-1917, RG 94)

In The Rough Riders, written almost a year after the war, Roosevelt provides further assessment of his gallantry.

The General [Sumner] at once ordered the first brigade to advance on the hills, and the second to support it. The instant I received the order I sprang on my horse and then my “crowded hour” began. . . . I started in the rear of the regiment, the position in which the colonel should theoretically stay. . . . I had intended to go into action on foot . . . but the heat was so oppressive that I found I should be quite unable to run up and down the line . . . moreover, when on horseback, I could see the men better and they could see me better.

I soon found that I could get that line, behind which I personally was, faster forward than the one immediately in front of it. . . . This happened with every line in succession, until I found myself at the head of the regiment. . . . The Ninth Regiment was immediately in front of me, and the First on my left, and these went up Kettle Hill with my regiment. The Third, Sixth, and Tenth went partly up Kettle Hill (following the Rough Riders and the Ninth and the First). . . . By the time I came to the head of the regiment we ran into the left wing of the ninth regulars . . . , who were lying down. I spoke to the captain in command. . . . I asked where the Colonel was, and as he was not in sight, said, “Then I am the ranking officer here and I give the order to charge. . . .” Naturally the Captain hesitated to obey this order. . . . So I said, “Then let my men through sir,” and rode on through the lines, followed by the grinning Rough Riders. . . .

Wheeling around, I then again galloped toward the hill, passing the shouting, cheering, firing men. . . . Some forty yards from the top I ran into a wire fence and jumped off Little Texas. . . . Almost immediately afterward the hill was covered by the troops, both Rough Riders and the colored troops of the Ninth, and some of the men of the First. There was the usual confusion, and afterward there was much discussion as to exactly who had been on the hill first. The first guidons planted there were those of the three New Mexican troops, G, E, and F, of my regiment . . . , but on the extreme right of the hill, at the opposite end from where we struck it, Captains Taylor and McBain, and their men of the Ninth were first up. Each of the five captains was firm in the belief that his troop was first up.(25)

While Roosevelt’s accounts and Davis’s articles make exciting reading, they do not tell the complete story. Based on official reports that Roosevelt either did not consult or refused to believe, historians writing about the battle for Santiago since July 1, 1898, have exposed a number of inaccuracies in Roosevelt’s versions. Ultimately the revised histories place credit for the charge on the San Juan Heights with the regular army, whom Roosevelt ignored in his accounts. Another obvious mistake is Roosevelt’s insistence in his official reports that he charged San Juan Hill, when in reality his immediate assault was on Kettle Hill. According to historians Peggy and Harold Samuels, Roosevelt had convinced himself that he had charged San Juan Hill as had Hawkins. “Although San Juan Hill and Kettle Hill were separated by geography and by difference in the quality of defenses, Roosevelt lumped together the hill, the knoll, the valley before them, and the heights as ‘the battlefield at San Juan Hill.’ He glossed over the clear physical difference between San Juan Hill in particular and the entire San Juan battlefield.”(26)

What the evidence supports is that the cavalry division advanced to the northwest across the San Juan River and up Kettle Hill. By the time the assault reached the top of Kettle Hill the ground was practically deserted by the Spanish soldiers. Due to the confusion of the heavy fire, cavalry units were intermingled with white soldiers of the Rough Riders firing beside the colored soldiers of the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry Regiments.(27) Who reached Kettle Hill first is where the confusion lies. First Lt. Edward D. Anderson made the claim for Troop C of the Tenth Cavalry. His report states that “while advancing near the road, Colonel Wood, the brigade commander, came by and told me to move my troop to the right and toward the blockhouse. I had 1 man killed and 7 wounded in reaching the top of the hill. . . . Shortly, Colonel Roosevelt and part of his regiment joined our right and I reported to him with my troop. His command took the position behind the crest in which we now occupy.”(28)

The troops on Kettle Hill under the orders of Sumner and the inspiration of Theodore Roosevelt started down the west slope of the hill and up the northern extension of San Juan Hill. The cavalry encountered trenches filled with dead Spaniards or those who wished to surrender. Some of the bolder enemy were shot in full flight by the Rough Riders and other regiments now firmly in place on San Juan Hill. The assaults against Kettle and San Juan Hills were against Spanish troops that had already begun pulling back. Around noon their two field artillery pieces had been depleted of ammunition, and their infantry had been decimated by the Gatling gun, artillery, and rifle fire. Those who remained in the trenches when the U.S. cavalry appeared were either dead or wounded. The Rough Riders did charge San Juan Hill, but only after the assault on the more strategically important Kettle Hill.

The July 1 assault on the San Juan Heights drove the Spaniards from the high ground surrounding the city of Santiago. This was accomplished at a severe cost, though, as the Fifth Corps sustained more than 1,300 casualties. The Rough Riders, who were about 490 strong when the battle started, suffered 15 men killed and 73 wounded. One of those killed was Bucky O’Neil, who was shot through the back of the head while parading in front of Troop A. Morale among the officers and men was at the lowest point of the campaign because of the high casualty rate and confusion of the day’s battle.

To make matters worse, logistical problems in getting supplies and food to the men on San Juan Hill, as well as abysmal medical services, prompted Shafter to consider withdrawing on July 2 to reorganize. But the Fifth Corps remained and debated with the navy for the next several days over the course to follow for an attack on Santiago. Shafter wanted the navy to force its way through Santiago Harbor and bombard the city, while Adm. William T. Sampson wanted the army first to seize the forts at the entrance of the harbor. In the meantime, negotiations commenced between Shafter and the new commander of the Spanish forces at Santiago, Gen. Jose Toral. Shafter threatened Toral with a combined sea and land attack if the Spanish did not surrender. The final blow for the Spanish force was the fiery destruction of their squadron as it tried to flee Santiago Harbor on July 3. This, coupled with an increase in sickness and lack of food for Toral’s men, induced the Spanish commander to surrender, and formal ceremonies took place on July 17.(29)

  Spanish forces march through the streets of Santiago. (NARA 111-SC-81840)

The Spaniards were not the only ones suffering from disease. By the end of July, almost 20 percent of Shafter’s men were hospitalized because of yellow fever, dysentery, and a large number of malaria cases. At first the War Department felt the Fifth Corps should remain in Cuba and wait out the epidemics, but Shafter warned that the disease would worsen unless the sick men were returned to the United States. Shafter solicited the views of his division and brigade commanders, and they concurred that the weakened soldiers must leave Cuba immediately or risk yellow fever deaths rising by the hundreds. All three of Shafter’s division commanders and several of the brigade officers, including Roosevelt, drafted and signed a letter stating their views on the withdrawal from Cuba. The letter was included with Shafter’s dispatch and sent to the War Department on August 3. Roosevelt also took matters into his own hands and sent an urgent plea to his friend, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. A copy of Shafter’s dispatch was leaked to an Associated Press correspondent at the Fifth Corps headquarters, and the generals’ letter was printed in newspapers across the United States. Although the exact source of who leaked the dispatch was never revealed, Roosevelt has often been considered the prime suspect. Because the dispatch went through so many hands, it was called the “Round Robin” letter.

The letter caused great embarrassment to the McKinley administration, which appeared cold and callous to the American public for leaving the sick troops in Cuba. McKinley was also fearful that news of a decimated army would give the Spanish more bargaining power when negotiating the armistice. The scandal became known as the “Round Robin Affair,” and as a result, McKinley allowed Shafter to start sending his men north as soon as possible. The first shipload of troops left Santiago on August 7, and by August 25 the entire corps had left Cuba. The Rough Riders were among those transported on one of the first ships to leave Cuba and arrived at Montauk Point, Long Island, on August 15 to a cheering crowd.(30)

Before Roosevelt and his Rough Riders left Cuba for the United States, he commenced fighting another, personal, battle. General Wheeler promised to recommend him to the War Department for a Medal of Honor, and his good friend Leonard Wood got the ball rolling by submitting the first endorsement on July 6. In a letter to the War Department Adjutant General’s office in Washington, Wood plainly stated that “I have the honor to recommend Lieut. Col. Theodore Roosevelt . . . for a Medal of Honor for distinguished gallantry in leading a charge on one of the entrenched hills to the east of the Spanish position in the suburbs of Santiago de Cuba, July First, 1898.”(31)

Although a nice gesture, Wood’s recommendation had very little merit. He had not been present during the actual charge, and Wood’s enemies asserted that he had got lost in the woods trying to maneuver his brigade, reaching San Juan Hill only after the fighting had ended. He was therefore not a reliable witness, and the War Department would later reveal this fact. Following Wood’s recommendation were similar endorsements from Generals Wheeler and Shafter. Like Wood, they also had not witnessed Roosevelt’s alleged heroic charge.

Roosevelt also pushed the Medal of Honor issue to his long-time companion, Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. Roosevelt boasted to him “that General Wheeler intends to recommend me for the Medal of Honor; naturally I should like to have it.” In a another letter to Lodge complaining about the deplorable conditions in Cuba and the deaths that might result from the malaria, Roosevelt reflected upon his own possible death. He told Lodge that “if I do go, I do wish you would get that medal for me anyhow, as I should awfully like the children to have it, and I think I earned it.”(32)

Impatient to hear news about the Medal of Honor, Roosevelt wrote to the War Department in September 1898. Assistant Secretary of War George D. Meikeljohn responded that they had Wood, Wheeler, and Shafter’s letters on file, but “owing to the pressure of current work the Department is unable to give consideration cases of this class at the present time, but the application made in your behalf will receive careful attention as soon as it is found practicable to take up these cases.”(33)

Although Roosevelt may have deemed Meikeljohn’s response a snub, his application was indeed one of many pouring into the War Department. Joining him on the Medal of Honor and Brevet list were more than fifty other veterans of the Spanish-American War. In order to deal with each case in a fair manner, Secretary of War Alger established on November 9, 1898, a “board of officers . . . for the purpose of making recommendations for brevet promotions, the awards of medals of honor, and certificates of merit for the officers, and enlisted men who participated in the campaigns of Santiago, the Philippines, and Porto Rico.”(34)

Known as the “Brevet Board,” the three officers in charge received mountains of paperwork from the Adjutant General’s Office that no doubt included Roosevelt’s numerous letters and supporting documents. To determine eligibility for the Medal of Honor, the Brevet Board had to follow paragraph 177 of the United States Army regulations. It states that “in order that the Congressional Medal of Honor may be deserved[,] service must have been performed in action as such conspicuous character to clearly distinguish the man for gallantry and intrepidity above his comrades–service that involved extreme jeopardy of life or the performance of extraordinary hazardous duty. Recommendations for the decoration will be judged by this standard of extraordinary merit, and incontestible proof of performance of the service will be exacted.”(35) Since its creation during the Civil War, the Medal of Honor had been haphazardly awarded because there were no clear rules or policies for documenting and authenticating the acts of gallantry befitting the decoration. The Brevet Board served to temporarily correct this dilemma.

Four months after submission of his name for the Medal of Honor, Roosevelt became more obsessed with the issue. He painfully told Lodge on December 6 that “if I didn’t earn it, then no commissioned officer can ever earn it. . . . I don’t ask this as a favor–I ask it as a right. . . . I feel rather ugly on this medal of honor business; and the President and War Dept. may as well understand it. If they want fighting, they shall have it.” Three weeks later in another letter to Lodge, Roosevelt changed his tone. He told his friend “now, please don’t, in the midst of all your worry over big matters, do another thing in connection with the medal.”(36)

  Roosevelt repeatedly stressed recommendations on his behalf by Generals Wood, Wheeler, and Shafter. Wood vaguely praised the “conspicuous gallantry” of Roosevelt’s leadership. (NARA, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780s-1917, RG 94)

He prepared himself for possible denial after learning from Senator Lodge that Secretary Alger had told him at a White House dinner that the Rough Rider would not receive the medal. Roosevelt also claimed that Alger had made this announcement to others on a number of occasions. He wrote to Leonard Wood and told him “pray do not think of the medal anymore. There is nothing to be done about it. I really care more for the recommendations for it than the medal itself.”(37) In a letter to Gen. Francis Vinton Greene, Roosevelt vented his frustrations about Alger: “You will readily understand however, that both my friends and myself feel that when the Secretary announces in advance publicly and repeatedly that the medal must not and will not be given, this mere fact itself amounts to coercion of the Board, and I shall think that the Board might better <<display>> sensitiveness about the coercion than about my friends having called in consequence of the Secretary’s public statements.”(38)

Roosevelt also expressed these same feelings in a barrage of letters to the office of the Adjutant General of the War Department, Henry C. Corbin. Corbin responded that “one word as to the reported remark of the Secretary of War that ‘you were not entitled to a medal of honor.’ I am fully persuaded that the Secretary never made any such statement to any one. My relations with the Secretary have been intimate and your name has been frequently mentioned and there was never a suggestion from him that was not full of kindly regard and appreciation. What he probably did say was ‘the case as presented by General Wood would not, under the rules of the office, entitle you to this consideration,’ and you must agree that Wood’s recommendation was lacking in the special features that warrant the issuance of medals to any one. As you have written him, I hope he will be able to set forth in detail just why it should be done. Should he do this, I undertake to say the Secretary will share with me the pleasure of bestowing this honor upon you.”(39)

Taking Corbin’s advice, Roosevelt solicited another statement from Wood. But Wood’s second letter quoted almost verbatim the official reports submitted to him in July by Roosevelt. In other words, Wood could not offer himself as an eyewitness. Roosevelt began to realize that there may not be any accurate witnesses to his valor because “I don’t know who saw me throughout the fight, because I was almost always in the front and could not tell who was close behind me, and was paying no attention to it.” Not giving up the fight, Roosevelt requested statements from regular army officers and volunteers who were either with him or in the area during the attack on San Juan Heights.

Roosevelt was correct. The statements submitted on his behalf were of little help because they provided conflicting and vague accounts of his bravery. Capt. C. J. Stevens of the Ninth Cavalry stated that “Col. Roosevelt was among the very first to reach the crest of the hill.” On the other hand, 1st Lt. Robert Howe of the Sixth Cavalry recalled that the “Colonel’s life was placed in extreme jeopardy, owing to the conspicuous position he took in leading the line, and being the first to reach the crest of that hill.” Gen. Samuel S. Sumner, as though he felt an obligation to support Roosevelt’s Medal of Honor case, simply says that “Col. Roosevelt by his example and fearlessness inspired his men at both Kettle Hill and the ridge known as San Juan, he led his command in person.” Sumner, whose testimony had great merit, provides no comments on whether Roosevelt was the first or among the first on the hill. The statements from former officers in the Rough Riders, such as Maxwell Keyes, W. J. McCann, and M. J. Jenkins, were biased in support of Roosevelt. They essentially echoed their colonel’s argument.(40)

With the Medal of Honor issue dragging on, Roosevelt’s emotions took on a childlike, vindictive tone. In a letter to Gen. Bradley Tyler Johnson, he wrote, “I do not believe the War Department has the slightest intentions of granting it, and I have really given up thinking about it. You see I cannot blame the War Department for feeling bitterly toward me now, for I have hit, and intend to hit them, hard for what they have done and left done and left undone, and I am rather pleased than otherwise that they should have given me no excuse to feel under any obligation to them. Now they can grant me the medal or not, just as they wish, for it will not make a particle of difference in what I shall write about them.”(41) When Roosevelt states that “I have hit the War Department hard,” he is most likely referring to the Round Robin affair and his testimony before the “Commission Appointed by the President to Investigate the Conduct of the War Department in the War With Spain.”

The long wait for news about his award ended for Roosevelt on June 8, 1899, when the Brevet Board submitted its recommendations for the Medal of Honor to the secretary of war. The three board members stated that “many cases of bravery and unquestioned courage in battle have been presented, but the application of the rules laid down for the guidance of the Board in awarding Medals of Honor constrains it to limit its recommendations.”(42) Twenty-eight participants of the Santiago Campaign were approved to receive the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action, but Roosevelt’s name was not among them. Instead, his name appeared with other volunteer officers on a separate list for recommendation as brevet colonel and brevet brigadier general.

Exactly why the Brevet Board denied Roosevelt the award is not officially documented. There are no extant War Department records nor similar correspondence among the personal papers of Russell Alger that hint at why Roosevelt was rejected. Certainly no evidence exists to support the contention that Alger held a grudge over the Round Robin affair or Roosevelt’s testimony to the congressional committee. On the contrary, letters from the War Department to Roosevelt indicate that they were more than willing to assist him in getting the Medal of Honor. One can only assume that the Brevet Board came to the conclusion that, though Roosevelt’s conduct in Cuba was quite admirable, it was not worthy of a Medal of Honor.

  The Medal of Honor was awarded to twenty-eight men in the battle for Santiago, but Roosevelt failed to secure it. (U.S. Army Center of Military History)

Regardless of why Roosevelt was not awarded the Medal of Honor, it was the correct decision. In one way or another, most of the officers participating in the fighting on July 1, 1898, performed very well. Military historian Graham Cosmas states that “in most regiments, the officer casualty rate was about double that for enlisted men–an indication of the extent and price of leadership from the front.”(43) To single out Roosevelt as a hero among the other line officers would have been a great injustice, and the merit of the award would have been cheapened. The denial of the Medal of Honor does not diminish the fact that Roosevelt gave his best effort in attempting to bring order to the chaos along the San Juan Heights. He risked his life by riding his horse during the charge while the Spanish bullets rained down upon him. There is no doubt that he was an inspiration to the men of the Rough Riders and the troops of the cavalry division.

Roosevelt took the Brevet Board’s decision with great disappointment, as might be expected. But time also helped heal any ill feelings he may have harbored, at least publicly. Since he was no longer serving in the United States Army, the brevet ranks of colonel and brigadier general had only political value to Roosevelt.(44) His career as a politician was right on track, and there was no reason to stew about the Medal of Honor any further. In 1907 he rejected an offer to join the Medal of Honor Club for the reason that “I was recommended for it [Medal of Honor] by my superior officers in the Santiago campaign, but I was not awarded it; and frankly, looking back on it now, I feel that the board which declined to award it took exactly the right position.”(45)

The reasons behind Roosevelt’s adamancy about getting the Medal of Honor are open to conjecture, but political ambition was certainly one of his motives. Clearly Roosevelt had sights on the presidency, and the medal was the perfect vehicle to help get him into the White House. He may also have been in awe of the Medal of Honor winners with whom he served in Cuba: Nelson A. Miles, William R. Shafter, Henry W. Lawton, Robert Lee Howe, and Leonard Wood. As an overly confident volunteer, Roosevelt hoped for acceptance by the regular officers. In his eyes, the Medal of Honor would put him on the same level as the career soldiers. Politically, not receiving the Medal of Honor certainly did not impede Roosevelt’s career as a civil servant. Because of his participation in the Spanish-American War, he was considered one of the most popular and colorful political figures in the United States. Almost immediately after the war, Roosevelt was elected governor of New York, then selected by McKinley as his vice president, then became President of the United States. His political successes were a direct result of the image he made for himself in Cuba.

Theodore Roosevelt passed away in 1919 from complications relating to an adventure in South America. Had Roosevelt still been alive in 1944, he would have been proud to learn that a Roosevelt did eventually win the award he so coveted. His son Brig. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., received the Medal of Honor posthumously for “gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, in France.”(46) However, this Medal of Honor was awarded with its own bit of controversy. Originally, Theodore jr. had been cited for the Distinguished Service Cross. Some commanding officers in the First Army, including Maj. Gen. J. Lawton Collins and Lt. Gen. Courtney Hodges, considered this to be the appropriate award, but the War Department upgraded the citation to a Medal of Honor.(47)

Even though he did not receive his nation’s highest military decoration, Theodore Roosevelt will forever be known as one of America’s most well-liked and vibrant characters. His charge up Kettle Hill, even though he insisted it was San Juan Hill, conjures a heroic image that will likely never fade with time. Theodore Roosevelt will always be remembered as the embodiment of the Spanish-American War, a significant historical event that he called the “time of my life.”(48)


The Crowded Hour

The Charge at
El Caney & San Juan Hills

PHOTO RIGHT:  Rough Rider Color Sergeant Wright

Among the regiments assembled and digging for shelter from the enemy guns at the foot of San Juan Hill was the 6th US Infantry, a part of General Kent’s 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division under Brigadier General Hamilton S. Hawkins.  Among the members of Hawkins’ staff was an eager young lieutenant who had told a friend he would return from battle as either a colonel or a corps.  As the enemy fire continued to rain upon the stalemated American soldiers, Lieutenant Jules Ord turned to his commander.  Tired of the wait he informed General Hawkins, “General, if you will order a charge, I will lead it.”


A veteran of Civil War assaults on fortified enemy positions, General Hawkins considered the young lieutenant’s offer, weighing it against the high rate of casualties he knew such a charge would create. 


 Lieutenant Ord broke the silence of the general’s contemplation.  “If you do not wish to order a charge, General, I should like to volunteer,” he offered.  “We can’t stay here, can we?”

“I would not ask any man to volunteer,” General Hawkins replied.

“If you do not FORBID it, I will start it,” Ord implored.  “I only ask you not to refuse permission.”

Of a truth, it was an unusual conversation between a commanding general and a junior staffer.  But the grizzled veteran also realized that Lieutenant Ord was right, the men couldn’t stay where they were and continue to suffer at the mercy of the enemy guns above them.  “I will not ask for volunteers, I will not give permission and I will not refuse it,” the general finally responded ambiguously.  “God bless you and good luck!”

Shirtless against the heat and armed with a pistol in one hand and saber in the other, Lieutenant Ord rose up and shouted to his men, “Come on, you men.  We can’t stay here.  Follow me!”.   In the tension of the moment and inspired by the sight of the brave lieutenant, the men of General Hawkins’ 6th Infantry rose to their feet to charge directly into the guns of the Spanish.  Almost immediately, Lieutenant Ord was struck by enemy rounds and fell dead, but his shout had energized the moment and the 6th Infantry continued to rush the hillside.  

To the right of the 6th, the men of the Rough Riders saw Lieutenant Ord and his men begin their assault and rose also, attacking the enemy above.  To the rear the 10th US Cavalry became caught up in the excitement, rushing forward to join the attack.  In the spontaneity and confusion of the moment,  the all-black regiment split with part of the 10th joining the 6th Infantry to attack San Juan Hill, and the other half mingling with the Rough Riders to assault Kettle Hill.

Focus on

Lieutenant J. Ord Hume L.F.



Born in Edinburgh 1864, he was one of the best known Composers and Bandmasters in late 1800s and early 1900s. He had a remarkable career as Bandsman, Bandmaster, Composer and Adjudicator. He joined the Duke of Duccleuch-Dalkeith Militia Permanent Staff when only eleven years old and became Cornet Soloist a year later.  At the age of sixteen he went to the Band of the Royal Scots Greys as Cornet Soloist, and remained with that regiment until 1887.

He was then appointed Organist of the Military Presbyterian Church, Aldershot, and Bandmaster of the Aldershot and Farnham Institute Bands. He held numerous other appointments, including the Bandmastership of the 3rd. V.B. Durham Light Infantry. Mr Ord Hume published uptowards 1,000 pieces. It was he who composed the test pieces for the first two 1,000 Guineas Challenge Cup Competitions at the Crystal Palace, and had been Chief Adjudicator in that Contest for many years. 

For a number of years he had headed the list of Adjudicators in the country, and as a Professional Teacher had been associated with practically every band of importance in the country.  Mr Ord Hume also had the Editorial Control of a number of important publications. In 1902 he toured the Commonwealth of Australia as Adjudicator at musical function of all kinds.

He was adjudicator at the Championship of Ulster Contest in Belfast in October 1905 and continued to adjudicate from time to time until the 20th N.I.B.A. Championship in Belfast, November 1931. This was his last appearance at this contest.  His last decision at a Band Contest, was given at the Aonach Tailteann Band Championship in the Mansion House, Dublin on Saturday 9th July, 1932. (This contest was won by Bloomfield Amateur Flute Band, Belfast. Piccolo player was Donald Sloan).

He passed away on 28th November 1932 after having been in ill health for sometime. His death was deeply regretted, not only by the N.I.B.A. but by all Bandsmen in Northern Ireland, by whom he was well known and greatly respected. He also arranged many fine test pieces for the Flute Bands over the years.


Notes taken from the Ulster Amateur Flute Band History, complied by Donald Sloan.




Among the Buffalo Soldiers that mingled with the Rough Riders was the 10th Cavalry’s regimental quartermaster, an 1886 graduate of West Point who had been an instructor at his alma mater when the Spanish-American War broke out.  He had requested a combat assignment with the statement that, “If I did not make every effort to obtain an opportunity for field service I should never forgive myself.”

When the young lieutenant was informed that all West Point instructors were frozen in their positions, and when repeated letters to the assistant secretary of war proved fruitless, he threatened, “I shall resign (the West Point position) and join some National Guard or volunteer unit that stands a chance of being sent to Cuba.”  Having previously served with the 10th US Cavalry, he also wrote his friend



 Colonel Guy V. Henry, commander of the 10th, requesting a return to service in his old unit.  When Colonel Henry requested the assignment of the young lieutenant to the 10th as it prepared for duty in Cuba, the assistant secretary of war finally granted him permission to leave his teaching duties.

As a white officer among the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th, the lieutenant had been given a nickname.  Though his first name was John, he was facetiously referred to as “BLACK JACK”.  It was a moniker that would follow him for life, long after his service with the 10th Cavalry ended, and nearly twenty years later would become one of the most famous names in military history when Lieutenant John J. Black Jack Pershing would become a general and lead the Untied States Expeditionary forces in


John J. Black Jack Pershing would become a genereral

The Great War.


As Lieutenant Pershing charged up Kettle Hill among the men of his 10th Cavalry and Colonel Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, he was more than impressed by what he was witnessing.  He later wrote:

“Each officer or soldier next in rank took charge of the line or group immediately in his front or rear and halting to fire at each good opportunity, taking reasonable advantage of cover, the entire command moved forward as coolly as though the buzzing of bullets was the humming of bees.  White regiments, black regiments, regulars and Rough Riders, representing the young manhood of the North and the South, fought shoulder to shoulder, unmindful of race or color, unmindful of whether commanded by ex-Confederate or not, and mindful of only their common duty as Americans.”


Read more

July 3 —


Spain’s Atlantic fleet, having sought refuge in the harbor of Santiago, Cuba, attempts to escape and is destroyed by American naval forces.


Fort Huachuca: The Traditional Home of the Buffalo Soldier


Buffalo Soldier statue at Fort Huachuca’s Main Gate.
It was dedicated in 1977 to recognize the part Huachuca
has played in African-American military history.
U.S. Army photo

Henry O. Flipper was the first African-American graduate (1877) of the U.S. Military Academy. The 10th Cavalry officer was dismissed from the service in 1882 after discrepancies were found in the post commissary funds of which he was in charge. Flipper maintained his innocence. He stayed on the Mexican border, serving as a mining engineer and publishing the Nogales Sunday Herald. He later became the interpreter for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 1919-1922, an assistant to the Secretary of Interior, 1922-1923, and an engineer with a New York oil company operating in Venezuela. He authored several books before his death in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1940 at the age of 84. U.S. Army Signal Corps photo.

The story of black Americans fighting under their nation’s flag is older than the flag itself. First introduced as slaves by the British early in the 17th century, blacks served alongside their white masters in the first colonial militias organized to defend against Indian attacks.

By the time of the American Revolution, some freed slaves were taking a stand for independence along with the white colonists. A freedman named Crispus Attucks was among those eleven Americans gunned down in the Boston massacre of March 5, 1770, when they defied the British soldiery. When the war broke out, blacks like Peter Salem and Salem Poore were in the thick of the fighting. Salem was credited with shooting the British commander at Bunker Hill and Poore was cited for gallantry. A number of other blacks were serving in New England militia units in 1775, but when the Continental Army was officially formed in 1775, Congress bowed to the insistence of the southern slaveholders and excluded blacks, free or slave, from service. These regulations were soon overridden by the necessities of the desperate fighting and the need for manpower. Black veterans were retained and new recruits were accepted.

“A Halt to Tighten the Packs,” Frederic Remington

In all, there were approximately 5,000 blacks who served in the American Revolutionary War. Despite the fact that they continued to make real military contributions in the War of 1812 and in the Civil War, it was not until after that latter war that blacks were accepted into the regular Army.

Fort Huachuca, more than any other installation in the U.S. military establishment, was at the heart of half a century of black military history. It was here that black soldiers came to reflect upon their worth, to remember the part they had played in taming Comanche, Kiowa, Apache, and Sioux; in punching a hole through Spanish lines on a Cuban hilltop so Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders could dash through it; and in winning the day against Mexican forces at Agua Caliente in 1916. If their white fellow Americans did not show them the respect they deserved, their foes in battle did. The Indians called them “Buffalo Soldiers.” The Germans in World War I referred to them as “Hell Fighters.”

Sergeant George Berry of the 10th Cavalry who planted the colors of the 10th Cavalry on San Juan Hill, Cuba, 1 July 1898. [ He is holding those same colors and standing in front of the headquarters at Huachuca.]

It was on Huachuca’s parade field that they felt the stirrings of pride that only the soldier knows, and they marched with a growing sense of equality that their brother civilians would not be allowed to feel until decades later. Problems of discrimination were as widespread in the Army as they were in other parts of American society, but minority barriers fell faster in the Army where the most important measure of a man is his dependability in a fight.

In 1866 six black regular Army regiments were formed. They were the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st Infantry and the 9th and 10th Cavalry. Three years later, as part of a reduction in the size of the Army, the 38th and 41st were consolidated to form the 24th Infantry and the 39th and 40th made up the new 25th Infantry. Officered by whites, these regiments went on to justify the belief by black leaders that men of their race could contribute mightily to the nation’s defense. Some of the service of each of these regiments in the latter part of the 19th century is highlighted in the paragraphs that follow.

The 24th Infantry Regiment participated in 1875 expeditions against hostile Kiowas and Commanches in the Department of Texas. One of the engagements of this campaign saw Lieutenant John Bullis and three Seminole-Negro Indian scouts attack a 25-man war party on the Pecos River. Sergeant John Ward, Private Pompey Factor and Trumpeter Isaac Payne were rewarded with the Medal of Honor for their exceptional bravery in this encounter.

General Benjamin H. Grierson in 1863. Grierson had earned a reputation as a daring cavalryman during the Civil War and was named the commander of the newly formed 10th Cavalry regiment, the Buffalo Soldiers, in 1866.

The 25th Infantry Regiment spent its first ten years in Texas building and repairing military posts, roads and telegraph lines; performing escort and guard duty of all description; marching and counter-marching from post to post; and scouting for Indians. In 1880 the regiment was ordered to the Department of Dakota and stationed at Fort Missoula, Montana. It participated in the Pine Ridge Campaign of 189091, the last stand of the Sioux, and quelled civil disorders in Missoula during the Northern Pacific Railroad strike in 1894.

The 10th Cavalry Regiment, or “Buffalo Soldiers,” is probably the most renowned of the black regiments. At its inception, the commander, Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson, was determined to fill the ranks only with men of the highest quality. Orders went out to recruit none but “superior men … who would do credit to the regiment.” The 10th’s record in several Indian War campaigns attests to the fact that Grierson achieved his goal. In 1886, the Buffalo Soldiers tracked Geronimo’s renegades in the Pinito Mountains in Mexico and several months later ran down the last Apache holdout Mangas and his band.

In 1890 the Battle of Wounded Knee Creek, the last major fight of the Indian Wars, pitted the U.S. 7th Cavalry against Big Foot’s Sioux. The 9th Cavalry Regiment also took part in this campaign and played a dramatic part in the Battle of Clay Creek Mission. Over 1,800 Sioux under Little Wound and Two Strike had encircled the battle-weary 7th. The situation looked grave until the 9th Cavalry arrived on the field and drove off the Indian force with an their rear. For conspicuous gallantry displayed on this occasion, Corporal William O. Wilson, Troop 1, 9th Cavalry, was granted the Medal of Honor.

Frederic Remington. “Saddle Up”

The paths of all four of these regiments would intersect in a scenic canyon in southeastern Arizona, just twenty miles from the Mexican border. The place was called Fort Huachuca and it had played an important part in the Apache campaigns since its establishment in 1877.

The first black regiment to arrive at Huachuca was the 24th Infantry which sent companies there in 1892. During the next year, the entire regiment would come together at the fort. Here they remained until 1896, a year that saw some excitement for the troops who thought that the Indian Wars were ended. It was in that year that Colonel John Mosby Bacon took Companies C and H, of the 24th Infantry out of Fort Huachuca to run down Yaqui Indians who had been raiding around Harshaw and Nogales. The search for these Mexico-based Indians proved inconclusive.

“Dismounted Negro, Tenth Cavalry,” Frederic Remington

Companies A and H of the 25th Infantry regiment took up residence in Huachuca Canyon in 1898, after returning from fighting in Cuba, and A Company remained there until the end of April 1899.

Troops of the 9th Cavalry joined the 25th Infantry at Fort Huachuca in 1898 and rotated its units in and out of the post until 1900. A detachment of the 9th would return briefly for a short tour in 1912.

Although the 9th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry regiments had all served briefly at Fort Huachuca during the 1890s, it wasn’t until the 10th Cavalry, or the “Buffalo Soldiers,” arrived there in December 1913 that the continuous era of black soldiers began at Huachuca. (The nickname “Buffalo Soldiers” was first given to the men of the 10th Cavalry by the Indians of the plains who likened their hair to that of the buffalo. Over the years this name has been extended by veterans to include soldiers of all of the original black regiments.)

This proud cavalry unit had served in Arizona before, in the last century, rotating from one post to another in Arizona, New Mexico or Texas, wherever they were needed to track down Apache renegades. So the startling vistas were not new to many of the veterans. Nor was the relentless desert sun a stranger to these horsemen who doggedly followed the trail of Pancho Villa into Mexico in 1916. In Huachuca Canyon they found a home for the next eighteen years, the longest this mobile unit would stay at any one place since its formation in 1866.

Men of the 25th Infantry warm themselves around a Sibley stove at Fort Keough, Montana, in 1890-91.

Right after their arrival at Huachuca, in 1914, the men of the 10th were spread out at encampments along the Arizona-Mexico border from Yuma on the West to Naco on the east. They corralled their horses and stretched their tents at points in between like Forrest, Osborne, Nogales, Lochiel, Harrison’s Ranch, Arivaca, Sasabe, La Osa, and San Fernando. Many would sweat it out under canvas for as long as ten months before being rotated back to their home station in the cooler elevations of the Huachucas.

They were picketed along the border, not as some training exercise, but to enforce neutrality laws. Mexico was experiencing political upheaval on a scale that alarmed statesmen in Washington, D. C., and they quickly legislated that there could be no encroachments upon American soil.

Kitchen scene, 25th Infantry during winter campaign, 1890-91, Fort Keough, Montana. U.S. Army Signal Corps photo (SC83763).

They were relieved in 1931 by the 25th Infantry Regiment. First arriving at the post in 1928, the 25th continued the tradition of black soldiering there. Like the 10th Cavalry, they had seen hard combat in both the Indian Wars and in Cuba. Also like the Tenth, they were to serve there for 14 years until 1942 when they were incorporated as cadre into the newly formed 93d Infantry Division.

The 93d and 92d Divisions trained one after the other at Fort Huachuca during World War II. The 93d, which would be the first black division to see action in the war, arrived in Arizona in 1942 and shipped out to the Pacific in 1944. Because its regiments, the 368th and 369th, were assigned to the French Army in World War 1, the light blue French helmet became the division’s shoulder patch.

A squad room interior of the 24th Infantry at Huachuca around 1892.

The 92d too had regiments (365th, 370th and 371st) that could trace their lineage to some heroic fighting in France in 1918, but the division chose to reach back to the Indian Wars of the 1870s and 80s for their symbol. They chose for their shoulder patch the buffalo, recalling the “Buffalo Soldiers,” as the black troops were respectfully called by the Indians of the Western plains.

Company B of the 25th Infantry was stationed at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, from 1883-1888.
They pose here in their full dress uniforms. U.S. Army Signal Corps photo SC 83637.

To some blacks Huachuca was a mountain refuge far away from the immense struggle that was taking place in America’s city streets and country lanes, a fight for equality. But for others it was a way to participate in the struggle, to take up a profession that offered dignity, service to country, and maybe a warrior’s death. For whatever reason they joined the Army (the Marines did not admit blacks; the Navy had only a few openings for the menial job of messboy), Fort Huachuca would be an almost inevitable stop along their way. Some found it to be “a very fine place to serve.” To others it was “an infamous place.” For all it was, for a time, home. Black infantrymen and cavalrymen carved out a place in history there. If the sobriquet “Buffalo Soldier” has come to stand collectively for the black men who served in the four regular army regiments from 1866 to World War 11, then Fort Huachuca has earned the distinction of being “Home of the Buffalo Soldier.”

“A Campfire Sketch,” Frederic Remington——————“A Pull at the Canteen,” Frederic Remington



Though the Colors of the United States of America were flying from the summits of San Juan and Kettle Hills by 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon,


General Henry Lawton’s 2nd Infantry Division was still struggling for both survival and victory at El Caney.  Among the first to attack in the early morning was the 71st Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, many of its men falling to the devastating fire from the Spanish blockhouses.  Two regular infantry regiments moved into position as the 71st fell back, the ranks of these units likewise being quickly repulsed as they pushed through the high jungle grass in their attempt to charge the enemy.

The Spanish were not, however, without their own tragic losses.


General Vara de Rey fought his soldiers well, until falling himself…shot through both legs.  While being carried to safety on a stretcher, he was hit again, this time in the head, and died instantly.  Before the day came to a close, two of his sons, serving under him at El Caney, would also be killed.

Two hours after the US Colors had risen over San Juan Hill, Lawton’s 3rd, 20th, and 25th US Infantry launched a heavy assault.  Much like the earlier charge at San Juan Hill, it was an almost spontaneous eruption of brave American soldiers who had fought all day and tired of the constant rain of enemy fire from the trenches.  The terrain was now littered with the bodies of dead and wounded Americans while, inside the city a small handful of leaderless Spanish soldiers was all that remained to make a final valiant stand.  Of the 520 Spanish soldiers who had defended the city earlier in the day, less than 100 remained to face the American charge.  





The charge began as Lieutenant Kinnison of the 25th observed, “We cannot take the trenches without charging them,” then almost immediately fell wounded by an enemy round before he could sound the charge.  Second Lieutenant A. J. Moss replaced him as yells and whoops “which would have done credit to a Comanche Indian” went up and down the ranks, according to Sergeant Major Frank Pullen of the 25th.  The Buffalo Soldiers charged with a fury, ignoring the men that fell around them, to charge the enemy trenches and rout the last of the enemy defenders.  Company H was first to reach the blockhouse where Private Butler took possession of the enemy flag for his company.  (Later an officer of the 12th infantry entered and ordered Butler to give up the flag.  Dutifully, Butler followed the white officer’s orders, but not before cutting a swatch from the enemy standard to later substantiate his claim that his company and his regiment had been the first to take the position.)

Within half an hour the battle was over, the city secured and the stone fort at El Viso destroyed.  By five in the evening all Spaniards who had not escaped into the jungle were either dead or captured.  The “two hour victory” had taken a full day, but because of the valor and determination of the young American soldiers, victory had at last come.  It was not without great cost, 81 Americans killed at El Caney, another 360 wounded.  Nine members of the 17th Infantry Regiment received Medals of Honor, all for “GALLANTLY ASSISTING IN THE RESCUE OF THE WOUNDED FROM IN FRONT OF THE LINES UNDER HEAVY FIRE OF THE ENEMY.

At both El Caney and at San Juan Hill, the efforts to bury the dead and treat and evacuate the wounded went long into the night and after the midnight hour.  At San Juan the Americans pitched their tents and dined on captured enemy provisions.  Throughout the night an alert vigil was maintained against the expected counter-attack that never materialized.

At El Caney General Lawton prepared his troops to finally move south to join with the other two divisions, nearly a full day behind schedule.  


El Caney

17th US Infantry

2LT Charles Roberts
1Lt Benjamin Hardaway

Company C


Company D

Cpl Ulysses Buzzard   Cpl Norman Ressler
Pvt George Berg   Cpl Warren Shepherd
Pvt Oscar Brookin    
Pvt Thomas Graves    
Pvt Bruno Wende    

San Juan & 
Kettle Hill

Company F
10th US Cavalry


SgtMaj Edward Baker

Company F
10th US Infantry


Company H
21st US Infantry

Pvt Charles Cantrell   Pvt John Deswan
Sgt Andrew Cummins   Cpl Thomas Doherty
Pvt William Keller   Pvt Frank Fournia
Pvt James Nash   Pvt Thomas Kelly
Pvt Alfred Polond   Pvt George Nee
    Mus Herman Pfisterer

Company A
13th US Infantry


US Volunteers

Sgt Alexander Quinn   Cpt Albert Mills








Though Colonel Theodore Roosevelt emerged from the Spanish-American war a larger-than-life hero, in great part due his reckless but valiant leadership at Kettle Hill.  Never-the-less, he was denied the Medal of Honor.  Many historians believe this was due to his outspoken criticism of Secretary of War Alger and other top military planners.  While the public adored “Teddy” and fed vociferously on the reports of his Rough Riders, those who were the subjects of Roosevelt’s scathing reports of poorly planned military actions and inept efforts to properly equip and supply his soldiers, exacted their revenge.  Indeed, Roosevelt went so far as to say publicly, “I Am Entitled to the Medal of Honor and I Want It”.

Though two Medal of Honor recipients who had witnessed Roosevelt’s actions at Kettle and San Juan Hills (Generals Shafter and Wood) recommended the intrepid leader of the Rough Riders, his political enemies succeeded in denying it to him during his lifetime.  Beyond Roosevelt’s death, his actions were debated for decades and finally, more than 100 years after his famous charge during the Spanish-American War, Congress approved the award.  On January 16, 2001 President William Clinton presented Theodore Roosevelt’s Medal of Honor to his great-grandson Tweed Roosevelt, in ceremonies at the White House.  His award brought the total of awards earned in the July 1, 1898 battles at El Caney, Kettle Hill and San Juan Hill to an even two-dozen.  Ironically, Roosevelt’s long-sought Medal of Honor would be the ONLY posthumous award of the entire Spanish-American War.

Theodore Roosevelt’s MOH Citation





Governor-General of Cuba 
Ramon Blanco y Erenas







Spanish-American War in Cuba

Cuba Struggle for Independence (1868-1898)
and then (Washington Post published), starts
the “Splendid Little” War . What follows are some benchmarks along the way:


April 10, 1895 — Jose Marti, Cuban revolutionary,



launches insurrection against Spanish rule.



He is killed May 19.


The most famous cigar ever rolled in Tampa went out not as a Corona or a Presidente, but as a liberator to spark the Cuban Revolution of 1895. This cigar cost thousands of lives, but eventually won the independence of Cuba from Spain.

  The story of the cigar that went to war starts Jan. 29, 1895, at the residence of Gonzalo De Quesada, secretary of the Cuban Revolutionary Party in New York City. Jose Marti, the leader of the Cuban crusade for freedom, called a secret meeting of the revolutionary junta at the Quesada home.

Present were General Jose Mayia Rodriguez, representing Generalisimo Maximo Gomez, and General Enrique Collazo, representing the Revolutionary Junta of Havana. Among the Cuban patriots taking part in the historic junta was Emilio Cordero, who in later years would become a prominent leader in the cigar industry of America marketing his popular brand Mi Hogar.        Gonzalo de Quesada        Jose Marti


Jan. 1, 1898 —

 In an effort to defuse the insurrection, Spain gives Cubans limited political autonomy.

Jan. 12 —

Spaniards in Cuba riot against autonomy given to Cubans.


Jan. 25 — USS Maine arrives in Havana Harbor to protect American interests.

Feb. 15 — USS Maine explodes, sinks; 266 crewmen lost. The Maine’s captain urges suspension of judgment on the cause of the explosion.

March 28 —

Naval Court of Inquiry says Maine destroyed by a mine.


Spanish-Cuban-American War
Embarkation at Tampa, Florida


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U.S. Regulars leaving for Cuba. 








Company A, First United States Volunteer Engineers.

Spanish-Cuban-American War
Embarkation at Tampa, Florida


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Spanish-Cuban-American War
Embarkation at Tampa, Florida


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The Spanish-Cuban-American War 
The Sinking of the U.S.S. Merrimac
June 3, 1898


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Merrimac being scuttled at the mouth of Santiago de Cuba harbor.







The smokestack of the Merrimac near Estrella Point.


Spanish-Cuban-American War
Disembarkation and Attack at Guantanamo Bay
June 11-12, 1898



April 11 —

President William McKinley asks Congress for declaration of war.

April 25 —

State of war exists between United States and Spain.


June 10 — U.S. Marines land at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


June 11 –
                      Body of marines landed at Guantanamo from the
Marblehead and Texas, and had a
                      brisk skirmish







Spanish-Cuban-American War
U.S. disembarkation at Aserraderos, 
Cuba, June 20, 1898


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     Gen. Shafter and Admiral Sampson received by
     Cuban Liberation Army at Aserraderos.



Spanish-Cuban-American War
U.S. disembarkation at Daiquiri, Cuba
June 22, 1898


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Horses and mules being thrown off transports swim to shore.




Troops landing on the dock at Daiquiri.

Troops landing on the dock at Daiquiri.



Spanish-Cuban-American War
U.S. disembarkation at Daiquiri, Cuba
June 22, 1898


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The Rough Riders disembarking at Daiquiri



Troops assembling at Daiquiri before marching to Siboney.




Wrecked locomotive at Daiquiri


Spanish-Cuban-American War
U.S. disembarkation at Siboney, Cuba
June 23, 1898


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Massachusetts volunteers disembark from the New York at Siboney. 

 Troops landing on the beach at Siboney.







Siboney blockhouse

Siboney blockhouse

Spanish-Cuban-American War
Battle of Las Guasimas
June 24, 1898


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Spanish-Cuban-American War
Artillery duel at El Pozo, Cuba
July 1, 1898


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The Battle of El Caney
July 1, 1898



The Crowded Hour

The Charge at
El Caney & San Juan Hills

PHOTO RIGHT:  Rough Rider Color Sergeant Wright

Among the regiments assembled and digging for shelter from the enemy guns at the foot of San Juan Hill was the 6th US Infantry, a part of General Kent’s 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division under Brigadier General Hamilton S. Hawkins.  Among the members of Hawkins’ staff was an eager young lieutenant who had told a friend he would return from battle as either a colonel or a corps.  As the enemy fire continued to rain upon the stalemated American soldiers, Lieutenant Jules Ord turned to his commander.  Tired of the wait he informed General Hawkins, “General, if you will order a charge, I will lead it.”


A veteran of Civil War assaults on fortified enemy positions, General Hawkins considered the young lieutenant’s offer, weighing it against the high rate of casualties he knew such a charge would create. 


 Lieutenant Ord broke the silence of the general’s contemplation.  “If you do not wish to order a charge, General, I should like to volunteer,” he offered.  “We can’t stay here, can we?”

“I would not ask any man to volunteer,” General Hawkins replied.

“If you do not FORBID it, I will start it,” Ord implored.  “I only ask you not to refuse permission.”

Of a truth, it was an unusual conversation between a commanding general and a junior staffer.  But the grizzled veteran also realized that Lieutenant Ord was right, the men couldn’t stay where they were and continue to suffer at the mercy of the enemy guns above them.  “I will not ask for volunteers, I will not give permission and I will not refuse it,” the general finally responded ambiguously.  “God bless you and good luck!”

Shirtless against the heat and armed with a pistol in one hand and saber in the other, Lieutenant Ord rose up and shouted to his men, “Come on, you men.  We can’t stay here.  Follow me!”.   In the tension of the moment and inspired by the sight of the brave lieutenant, the men of General Hawkins’ 6th Infantry rose to their feet to charge directly into the guns of the Spanish.  Almost immediately, Lieutenant Ord was struck by enemy rounds and fell dead, but his shout had energized the moment and the 6th Infantry continued to rush the hillside.  

To the right of the 6th, the men of the Rough Riders saw Lieutenant Ord and his men begin their assault and rose also, attacking the enemy above.  To the rear the 10th US Cavalry became caught up in the excitement, rushing forward to join the attack.  In the spontaneity and confusion of the moment,  the all-black regiment split with part of the 10th joining the 6th Infantry to attack San Juan Hill, and the other half mingling with the Rough Riders to assault Kettle Hill.

Focus on

Lieutenant J. Ord Hume L.F.



Born in Edinburgh 1864, he was one of the best known Composers and Bandmasters in late 1800s and early 1900s. He had a remarkable career as Bandsman, Bandmaster, Composer and Adjudicator. He joined the Duke of Duccleuch-Dalkeith Militia Permanent Staff when only eleven years old and became Cornet Soloist a year later.  At the age of sixteen he went to the Band of the Royal Scots Greys as Cornet Soloist, and remained with that regiment until 1887.

He was then appointed Organist of the Military Presbyterian Church, Aldershot, and Bandmaster of the Aldershot and Farnham Institute Bands. He held numerous other appointments, including the Bandmastership of the 3rd. V.B. Durham Light Infantry. Mr Ord Hume published uptowards 1,000 pieces. It was he who composed the test pieces for the first two 1,000 Guineas Challenge Cup Competitions at the Crystal Palace, and had been Chief Adjudicator in that Contest for many years. 

For a number of years he had headed the list of Adjudicators in the country, and as a Professional Teacher had been associated with practically every band of importance in the country.  Mr Ord Hume also had the Editorial Control of a number of important publications. In 1902 he toured the Commonwealth of Australia as Adjudicator at musical function of all kinds.

He was adjudicator at the Championship of Ulster Contest in Belfast in October 1905 and continued to adjudicate from time to time until the 20th N.I.B.A. Championship in Belfast, November 1931. This was his last appearance at this contest.  His last decision at a Band Contest, was given at the Aonach Tailteann Band Championship in the Mansion House, Dublin on Saturday 9th July, 1932. (This contest was won by Bloomfield Amateur Flute Band, Belfast. Piccolo player was Donald Sloan).

He passed away on 28th November 1932 after having been in ill health for sometime. His death was deeply regretted, not only by the N.I.B.A. but by all Bandsmen in Northern Ireland, by whom he was well known and greatly respected. He also arranged many fine test pieces for the Flute Bands over the years.


Notes taken from the Ulster Amateur Flute Band History, complied by Donald Sloan.




Among the Buffalo Soldiers that mingled with the Rough Riders was the 10th Cavalry’s regimental quartermaster, an 1886 graduate of West Point who had been an instructor at his alma mater when the Spanish-American War broke out.  He had requested a combat assignment with the statement that, “If I did not make every effort to obtain an opportunity for field service I should never forgive myself.”

When the young lieutenant was informed that all West Point instructors were frozen in their positions, and when repeated letters to the assistant secretary of war proved fruitless, he threatened, “I shall resign (the West Point position) and join some National Guard or volunteer unit that stands a chance of being sent to Cuba.”  Having previously served with the 10th US Cavalry, he also wrote his friend



 Colonel Guy V. Henry, commander of the 10th, requesting a return to service in his old unit.  When Colonel Henry requested the assignment of the young lieutenant to the 10th as it prepared for duty in Cuba, the assistant secretary of war finally granted him permission to leave his teaching duties.

As a white officer among the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th, the lieutenant had been given a nickname.  Though his first name was John, he was facetiously referred to as “BLACK JACK”.  It was a moniker that would follow him for life, long after his service with the 10th Cavalry ended, and nearly twenty years later would become one of the most famous names in military history when Lieutenant John J. Black Jack Pershing would become a general and lead the Untied States Expeditionary forces in


John J. Black Jack Pershing would become a genereral

The Great War.


As Lieutenant Pershing charged up Kettle Hill among the men of his 10th Cavalry and Colonel Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, he was more than impressed by what he was witnessing.  He later wrote:

“Each officer or soldier next in rank took charge of the line or group immediately in his front or rear and halting to fire at each good opportunity, taking reasonable advantage of cover, the entire command moved forward as coolly as though the buzzing of bullets was the humming of bees.  White regiments, black regiments, regulars and Rough Riders, representing the young manhood of the North and the South, fought shoulder to shoulder, unmindful of race or color, unmindful of whether commanded by ex-Confederate or not, and mindful of only their common duty as Americans.”




El Viso Fort on hilltop, left. The blockhouse and defense line, right. 

Ducoureaud plantation, on El Caney-Santiago road, declared neutral by both sides.



Village of El Caney as seen from El Viso Fort.

El Caney street looking northeast.



The blockhouse and defense line at El Caney.

U.S. 7th Infantry Regiment firing on El Caney from the north.



El Viso Fort on hilltop.


The Battle of El Caney
July 1, 1898


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Final charge of Chaffee’s Brigade (7th, 12th, 17th, Regular Infantry)

The Spanish defense El Caney.



Capron’s Battery in action at El Caney





Interior of El Viso Fort after its capture.



Capron’s Battery



El Viso Fort damaged by artillery fire from Capron’s battery.





Spanish-Cuban-American War
Battle of San Juan Hill
July 1, 1898


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Charge of the 24th and 25th USCT and Rescue of Rough Riders.



Observation balloon being inflated at the battle of San Juan Hill.

In the trenches facing the Spanish blockhouse at San Juan Hill before the battle.





Spanish-Cuban-American War
Battle of San Juan Hill
July 1, 1898


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Gatling guns hauled by mules arrive to turn the tide at San Juan Hill.

Four Gatling guns won victory where conventional artillery failed.



Gatling guns cover the advance.

Teddy Roosevelt on horse leads the charge up San Juan Hill.



U.S. troops under a heavy barrage.

    Charging uphill toward the Spanish blockhouse.




Spanish-Cuban-American War
Battle of San Juan Hill
July 1, 1898


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10th Cavalry USCT advances on San Juan Hill




Capture of the Spanish Blockhouse.


       U.S. wounded take shelter behind the captured
      blockhouse with corpses from both sides in front. 

The blockhouse after its capture.




 Artillery pock marks on blockhouse
at San Juan Hill.


Capt. Theophilus Morrison,
killed at San Juan Hill.
Union Dale Cemetery
Pittsburgh, Pa.


The Spanish-Cuban-American War 
Naval Battle of Santiago
July 3, 1898


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The U.S. Navy smashes Admiral Pascual Cervera’s Spanish fleet.

Naval battle at Santiago de Cuba

The converted yatch Gloucester attacked two Spanish destroyers before being joined by the USS Indiana.


The Spanish-Cuban-American War 
Naval Battle of Santiago
July 3, 1898


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Explosion on the Vizcaya.

The Vizcaya had been raked by the USS Oregon.



Starboard quarter of the Vizcaya.

Vizcaya’s 13-inch gun and fallen mast, after it ran aground.



Starboard quarter of the Vizcaya

Portside of the disabled Vizcaya

Portside of the disabled Vizcaya


The Spanish-Cuban-American War 
Naval Battle of Santiago
July 3, 1898


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The Almirante Oquendo, struck 57 times. Its captain died of a heart attack after its surrender.

Starboard side of the Almirante Oquendo. Its steel plates were bulging apart.



The cruiser Reina Mercedes before Morro Castle.

Furor sinking



Cervera’s flagship, the Infanta Maria Teresa, was the first to be
disabled with 29 hits.

     The Cristobal Colon, with guns pointing upward, scuttled at the mouth of the Turquino
     River after a 75-mile chase.


The Spanish-Cuban-American War 
Naval Battle of Santiago
July 3, 1898


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 July 3 —


Spain’s Atlantic fleet, having sought refuge in the harbor of Santiago, Cuba, attempts to escape and is destroyed by American naval forces.


Spanish-Cuban-American War
The Siege of Santiago de Cuba
July 1898


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Spanish-Cuban-American War
The Siege of Santiago de Cuba
July 1898

       71st New York Regiment cook a meal during the 16-day
     siege of Santiago. 





 July 3 —


Spain’s Atlantic fleet, having sought refuge in the harbor of Santiago, Cuba, attempts to escape and is destroyed by American naval forces.


July 6 —

 Congress, caught up in expansionist fever fed by the war, votes to annex Hawaii, which has nothing to do with Spain.

July 14 —


Santiago surrenders.


On July 17, 1898,


General Jose Toral (center right) surrenders at Santiago, Cuba to the American commander,


Major General William Shafter (center left).


The Siege of Santiago

After setting up a telegraph connection to Washington, D.C., the V Corps began its march to Santiago on June 24. Fearful that tropical diseases such as malaria and yellow fever would overtake his troops, Shafter resolved to get them to Santiago as fast as possible.


The V Corps’ first battle occurred that day at Las Guásimas, a few miles from the landing point. Led by General Wheeler and Colonel Leonard Wood (1860–1927), the American troops ran into Spanish soldiers retreating toward Santiago. Death totals were low by military standards, but the Americans learned how hard it is to fight an enemy in jungle terrain. For example, most Spaniards used rifles with smokeless powder, but many American volunteers, including the Rough Riders, used rifles that revealed a soldier’s location with a puff of smoke as soon as he pulled the trigger.


After the battle at Las Guásimas, a series of hills called San Juan Heights and the town of El Caney were all that separated the Americans from Santiago. Meeting with his officers on June 30, Shafter said his plan was simply to storm those city defenses. Finally ashore, Shafter traveled to high ground at a place called El Pozo, where he could see Santiago two-and-a-half miles away. Communication problems, however, prevented Shafter from having any real input during the daylong battle on July 1.


The battle proved to be the deadliest of the war. Shafter expected General Lawton’s regiment to take El Caney in two hours. It took nine. Meanwhile, Generals Kent and Wheeler stormed San Juan Heights, an operation that included the Rough Riders as well as two African American army regiments. By the end of the day, hundreds of Americans and Spaniards were dead as the surviving Spanish soldiers retreated to temporary safety in Santiago.


Surrender and suffering

Two days later, on July 3, Admiral Cervera’s fleet tried to escape Santiago harbor to go to Havana or Cienfuegos. As Admiral Sampson was on his way to a meeting with Shafter, Commodore Winfield S. Schley (1839–1909) led the Atlantic Fleet to victory against Cervera. With no naval defenses and hundreds of people starving in the city, Spanish commander José Torál surrendered Santiago and all twelve thousand of his troops in the surrounding region on July 17.


Surrender gave Shafter another chance to insult the Cubans and disgruntle the news correspondents. Although the Cuban rebels had been fighting against Spain for over three years, Shafter refused to let them participate in the surrender ceremonies on July 17. This snub led Calixto García to resign from the Cuban army the next day. At the ceremony, while U.S. soldiers raised the American flag over the palace in Santiago, Shafter ordered his troops to remove American news correspondent Sylvester Scovel from the palace roof. Scovel refused to get down voluntarily upon Shafter’s order to do so and allegedly struck at Shafter in an ensuing argument.


The V Corps then found itself stuck in Cuba during the deadly summer months, when tropical diseases such as malaria and yellow fever were at their worst. According to Foner, when asked to identify his best generals during the revolution against Spain, Cuban general Gómez had named June, July, and August. But those months had attacked American soldiers also, who were not used to the muggy climate. The majority of the fifty-five hundred American casualties of the war came about as a result of sickness and disease rather than from combat.


Cuba’s second-largest city suffered during its siege. About half of its prewar populace, some 20,000 civilians, were allowed to evacuate for El Caney. Its buildings were then shelled from the encircling heights until July 14, when General Toral was asked to capitulate. After telegraphing Madrid, he accepted the Americans’ terms, so General Shafter raised the Stars and Stripes over the governor’s palace by noon on July 17.

The rebel leader García was excluded from this arrangement, however, and his followers were not allowed into the devastated city. Instead, the young Wood was installed as military governor on July 20, 1898, despite objections from rebels who argued that at least its civic administration “should be turned over to Cubans.” Shafter grudgingly agreed to share some duties, so the wealthy, French-educated rebel general Demetrio Castillo was temporarily named mayor. But the Americans remained distrustful and contemptuous of the ragtag insurgents, most of whom were black, and believed that only the former Spanish municipal officials could manage the city’s resurrection.

Castillo therefore was removed a few days later in favor of Santiago’s

ex-Spanish mayor, Leonardo Ros. García’s aggrieved followers retired into the hills, their vision of Cuban independence having been dashed. As some rebels still wished to avenge years of repression, roads inland remained dangerous for travelers, and no produce reached market. Some defeated Spaniards in turn continued to treat all Cubans with vindictiveness, while the American occupiers often regarded black inhabitants—almost 57 percent of Santiago’s peacetime populace—with blatant racism.

Fortunately, Wood proved to be an excellent administrator. He immediately addressed the needs of the few surviving residents, who were still suffering so badly from disease and famine that the death rate exceeded 200 people a day. Water and sewer systems had been destroyed, and no public funds were available. Wood hired citizens to clear streets of bodies and debris, then turned to repairing the docks and bridges. At first, he paid wages with rations, then he issued checks as the economy revived. García was allowed to make a ceremonial visit on September 22, yet the Americans still refused to relinquish control. Wood’s authority was even expanded the next month to encompass all of eastern Cuba, with Castillo as his token vice governor.


Yellow fever breaks out among American troops the next day.


Spanish-Cuban-American War
Surrender of Santiago de Cuba
July 13, 1898




Gen. Toral’s surrender to Gen. Shafter, July 13, 1898



American and Spanish troops fraternize after the surrender.




The Tree of Peace





Spanish-Cuban-American War
U.S. invasion of Puerto Rico
July 25, 1898


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U.S. landing site. Guánica, Puerto Rico.



Spanish troops in P.R.



N.Y. 17th Volunteer Regiment lands at Arroyo, Puerto Rico.



N.Y. 17th Volunteer Regiment

U.S. troops in Arroyo



U.S. flag raised over Guayama City Hall.

U.S. Cavalry passing through San German

Sixth Mass. Infantry soldiers dead at Utuado, P.R.
 July 25 — U.S. Army invades Puerto Rico.


July 26 — Spain asks for peace.

Aug. 6 — Spain accepts American terms for peace.

Aug. 12 — Truce is signed with Spain.

Oct. 1 — Peace negotiations with Spain commence in Paris.

Dec. 10, 1898 — War ends, officially, with signing of the Treaty of Paris (With no Cuban Representative present). United States pays Spain $20 million for Philippines. Spain also cedes Puerto Rico and Guam and agrees to renounce sovereignty over Cuba.





Spanish-Cuban-American War
U.S. and Cuban Liberation Army
Joint Operations


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     Left to right: Aide to Gen. Demetrio Castillo Duany, and generals Castillo,
     William Shafter, Joe Wheeler, Kent, Nelson Miles, Calixto Garcia. 


     Brig. Gen. William Ludlow and Maj. Gen. Calixto Garcia.   


     Gen. Shafter and Admiral Sampson received
     by Cuban Liberation Army at Aserraderos.







Spanish-Cuban-American War
Medical Corps




Ambulance Corps




1898-1900: CHINA. U.S. troops invade to oppose the Boxer Rebellion which is an attempt to end Western domination of China.

1898: NICARAGUA. U.S. Marines invade the Nicaraguan port of San Juan del Sur.

1898: UNITED STATES. White Democrats disagree with an editorial written by the Wilmington, North Carolina Daily Record’s black editor. They march on the newpaper’s office, burning and destroying it. The mob goes on a racist rampage in the city, killing fourteen blacks. The Democrats then stage a coup forcing Wilmington Mayor Silas P. Wright and black and white members of the city government to resign.

1898: UNITED STATES. Once again the United States Supreme Court demonstrates clearly whose pulling its strings when it declares invalid a section of the Erdman Act which had made it a criminal offense for railroads to dismiss employees or discriminate against prospective employees based on their union activities. Can’t be havin’ none of that in the land of the free.

1898: UNITED STATES. Wall Street stock market manipulator E.H. Harriman and Judge Robert Scott Lovett gain control of the Union Pacific Railroad with cash arranged by William Rockefeller and the Warburg family’s Kuhn, Loeb Company. In return, Harriman deposits the vast receipts from the railroad into the Rockefellers’ City Bank and, when he issues tens of millions of dollars in “watered” (fraudulent) railroad stock, Harriman sells most of it through the crooks at Kuhn, Loeb.

Harriman and the Rockefellers have a nice little conspiracy going. Harriman charges those oil companies competing with the Rockefellers vastly inflated freight rates. The Rockefellers then buy the struggling companies for peanuts and build Standard Oil into a monstrous and utterly ruthless monopoly. The Rockefellers sell oil products below cost in every market in which there is a competitor, driving it out of business. The Rockefellers then jack up their prices to the absolute maximum they can extort from consumers.

1898-1959: CUBA. In the midst of countless hostile actions, the destruction of the Cuban economy and an ongoing, vitriolic propaganda campaign by the U.S. against Spain, the USS Maine enters Havana Harbor on the patently absurd pretext of it being, in the words of the grotesque U.S. consul in Havana, a “friendly act of courtesy”. The secondary pretext, of protecting Americans in Cuba, is equally absurd as Frederic Remington pointed out.

Remington, an illustrator for the Hearst newspapers, the key element in the propaganda campaign preparing the U.S. public for the long-planned U.S. invasion of Cuba, sends a cable to Hearst telling him that, contrary to the hysterical tales being invented and carried in the Hearst papers, “all is quiet” in Cuba and asks for permission to return to the U.S. Hearst sends Remington a cable saying, “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”


On cue and as though by magic, the USS Maine oh-so-conveniently blows up in Havana Harbor, resulting in the death of two hundred and sixty six U.S. sailors. By a fabulous stroke of luck, of the two hundred and sixty six corpses, only two belong to officers and to junior officers at that. Enlisted men were barred from going ashore. Officers were not.

By another fabulous stroke of luck, the U.S. has, since 1894, been beavering away planning for a full scale war against Spain and the seizure of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. The blowing up of the USS Maine is the starting whistle.

The “act of terrorism” is, of course, immediately blamed on the Spanish who, self-evidently, had absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose by blowing up the Maine. A massive and hysterical propaganda campaign in the U.S. mass media, largely owned by Hearst and his fellow media slut, Pulitzer, whips the American public, who have already been well prepared by several years of vicious anti-Spanish propaganda, into a mindless war frenzy.

American newspapers carry out their sacred duty of printing lies to deceive the masses and carry headlines such as “The Warship Maine Was Split in Two by an Enemy’s Infernal Machine”, “How the Maine Looks As It Lies, Wrecked by Spanish Treachery” and “The Maine Was Destroyed by Treachery”. Illustrations in the newspapers, presented as fact and accepted as such by the American public, show imaginary explosives beneath the Maine and imaginary wires running ashore to imaginary Spanish evildoers.

And Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, who had, prior to the Maine explosion, warned Admiral Dewey to be ready to attack the Spanish, cold bloodedly kicks off the wars against Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines when he tells American newspapers that the Maine explosion definitely was not an accident, a statement for which there was absolutely no factual basis and was clearly designed to inflame the American public.

Six weeks later, a U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry surprises no one by coming to the conclusion that the Maine explosion was caused by a mine and we’re all supposed to know who put it there, aren’t we? The head of the Court of Inquiry, Captain William T. Sampson, will be duly rewarded with a nice fat promotion to the command of the U.S. North Atlantic Fleet.

But there are one or two things about this Court of Inquiry which seem to have been forgotten. The Judge Advocate of the U.S. Navy, Adolf Marix, reported to the court that his informants in Havana indicated that a two hundred pound mine had been placed beneath the Maine’s powder magazines by divers working for Cuban businessmen, not by the Spanish, who were, of course, the last people in the world who would do anything to give the U.S. an excuse to attack.

The Cuban businessmen were, in turn, connected to the American gun runner William Astor Chanler who had been involved in smuggling arms to Cuba and was, purely coincidentally, a very good friend of Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt. And Roosevelt wasn’t the least bit squeamish about killing a few hundred Americans. In one of his less guarded moments, he had written to Henry Cabot Lodge, “I don’t care whether our sea-coast cities are bombarded or not, this country needs a war.”

In 1971, British historian Hugh Thomas will quote William Astor Chanler as claiming responsibility for the blowing up of the Maine in a conversation with the American ambassador to the USSR, William C. Bullitt in the early 1930’s. Shortly after the conversation with Bullitt, Chanler died. Information on the cause of his death is difficult to find.

The blowing up of the USS Maine serves as the pretext for the U.S. attack on all Spanish possessions in the Caribbean and the Pacific which had been planned by the U.S. since 1894. The U.S. invades Cuba and occupies and seizes Puerto Rico, preventing its first scheduled democratic election. The U.S. later seizes Guam and invades the Philippines. In the fantasyland of American “history”, this unprovoked war of aggression and empire building is called the Spanish-American War. In Cuba, it is more accurately known as the U.S. intervention in the Cuban War of Independence.

And now that Theodore Roosevelt has the splendid little war he has been so keen on, it’s time to turn it to political advantage. Roosevelt heads off to “liberate” Cuba with the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, the so-called Rough Riders. Roosevelt has very good friends in the U.S. mass media and he makes sure there is a constant flow of reports of his exploits, real or imagined. To be doubly sure, he has his very own “embedded” reporter, Richard Harding Davis of the New York Herald, whose glowing reports are picked up by a host of other American newspapers and magazines. Roosevelt’s propaganda engine would have us believe that he and the Rough Riders defeated the Spanish at San Juan Hill in Cuba virtually single handed. Roosevelt lobbied mightily for a Congressional Medal of Honor but he and his cronies couldn’t persuade the War Deparment to cough up. It would have to wait until 2001 for William “Wet Willy” Clinton to put the icing on Roosevelt’s propaganda cake.

The Humboldt (California) Times puts a nice racist spin on things when it prints a New York press story reporting that “Japs are excluded” from serving in the U.S. Navy. The report continues that “in view of the fact that there were several Japanese on board the Maine when it was blown up, it is interesting to learn the government has adopted a method that will keep them out of our navy.” The idea, apparently is that all people of Japanese ancestry are spies and those who were killed on the Maine had “useful information which (could) have been used for Japan’s benefit.” Well, Praise the Lord that those yellow devils got themselves blown up before they could betray the world’s loudest demockracy. The paper goes on, “The government has passed a rule that men admitted to the navy must be more than five feet, four inches tall. Navy officers say that will exclude the Japs.”

And who is making tens of millions of dollars yet again in their role as America’s leading merchants of death during this “splendid little war”? None other than the Duponts of course, who provide the majority of gunpowder to the U.S. government for its conquest of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Once again, it’s a case of Better Killing Through Chemistry thanks to the Dupont family.

When the Spanish in Cuba are defeated, the U.S. immediately changes its tactics, which were purportedly intended to help Cubans win their independence. The U.S. military refuses to allow Cuban independence fighters, the majority of whom are black, to take part in the surrender ceremonies or the creation of a Cuban government. The U.S. does not allow the Cubans to be present at the signing of the peace treaty in Paris. To prevent democracy prevailing and the Cuban government falling into the hands of its, gasp, black majority, U.S. dictator John R. Brooke disbands the mainly black Cuban army but leaves the previously demonized white Spanish officials in place. Hold on there John, I thought we were fighting the Spanish and helping the Cubans…

Unlike Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam, Cuba is not directly seized by the U.S. due to the Teller Amendment to the U.S. declaration of war against Spain. Instead, following U.S. military occupation, a series of repressive, racist dictatorships, ultimately connected with the U.S. Mafia, is installed. American sugar companies, multinationals, the Mafia, various Nazi supporters and merchants of death such as the DuPont family and other wealthy, white friends of the various U.S. supported dictatorships prosper while the great majority of Cubans live short lives of poverty, hopelessness and fear.

1898. NICARAGUA. U.S. Marines invade the port city of San Juan del Sur.

1898-present: HAWAII. In the midst of all this murderous empire building, the U.S. purports to formally annex the independent nation of Hawaii, the government of which had been overthrown by a coup of American sugar barons in 1893. By happy coincidence, the illegal annexation of Hawaii happens just in time for the U.S. to use Hawaii as a base for its planned invasion and occupation of the Philippines.

The U.S. remains in illegal occupation of Hawaii until the present day.

1898: HAWAII. Now that Hawaii has been stolen by the U.S., the great benefits of freedom and equality enjoyed in the U.S. are generously given to Hawaiians. Congress extends the racist Chinese Exclusion Act to Hawaii and the immigration of people of Chinese descent from Hawaii to the U.S. is prohibited. The U.S. appoints commissioners to run Hawaii. Unsurprisingly, among them is sugar baron and coup leader Sanford Dole. And to ensure harmony with our not-quite-white brothers in Hawaii, the list of commissioners is nicely rounded out by John T. Morgan, a grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, an advocate of apartheid, a supporter of legalized lynching and a devout opponent of the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which was intended to prevent the denial of voting rights based on race.


PUERTO RICO. The U.S. invades and occupies Puerto Rico, a rich island with a strategic position long coveted by American militarists and robber barons, just as its one million people are in the process of achieving independence from Spain and are about to hold their first democratic elections. The first priority of the world’s loudest demockracy is, of course, to cancel the scheduled elections which, as in Cuba, would have resulted in a free country ruled by, gasp, black people. The nation of Puerto Rico is stolen from its people and becomes an occupied colony of the U.S. Repeated independence movements are ruthlessly and murderously crushed by the U.S. Puerto Rican patriots and independence leaders are imprisoned and tortured. The Spanish language is outlawed in schools and the American colonizers send missionaries to further the destruction of local culture. Local agriculture is systematically destroyed, making the island dependent on food imports from the U.S. and driving Puerto Ricans to work as virtual slave labor on what rapidly become American-owned plantations. Other Puerto Ricans are driven into the factories of U.S.-owned companies as cheap labor. A completely powerless puppet legislature is installed to create the usual tawdry illusion of democracy. In plain fact, Puerto Rico is a dictatorship run by the U.S. military.

The U.S. forces Puerto Ricans to become U.S. citizens in 1917 in order to allow them to be drafted into the military after the U.S. enters WW I just in time to be in on the treaty signing. In the fine tradition of American demockracy, Puerto Rico is given “non-voting” status in the U.S. Congress. The U.S. constructs major military bases and uses large parts of Puerto Rico, particularly the islands of Culebra and Vieques, as bombing ranges. Puerto Rico’s El Yunque rainforest is used by the U.S. for chemical warfare testing. The island of Vieques is used for test firing radioactive depleted uranium (DU) armaments (dirty bombs) which the U.S. will later use in its covert nuclear wars against the people of Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.

General Nelson A. Miles, who headed the U.S. invasion of Puerto Rico was not just a talented genocide artist who had carried out innumerable slaughters of native Americans so that their land could be stolen, he was also, as befits a senior U.S. military officer, a truly gifted liar. Miles said, “We have not come to make war upon the people of a country that for centuries has been oppressed, but, on the contrary, to bring you protection, not only to yourselves but to your property, to promote your prosperity, and to bestow upon you the immunities and blessings of the liberal institutions of our government.” Well gee, thanks a lot there Nelson. Thought for a minute you were here to steal our country.


 GUAM. The U.S. invades and seizes the strategically located island of Guam. It becomes a permanent part of the American Empire.


The U.S. Navy under Admiral Dewey, who was warned by Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt BEFORE the Maine explosion to be ready to attack the Spanish, destroys the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay. Filipino independence leader Emilio Aguinaldo returns from exile and resumes the Filipino war of independence against the Spanish. On June 12, 1898, having defeated all Spanish forces in the Philippines outside the capital of Manila, Aguinaldo signs the Philippine Declaration of Independence and ranges twenty thousand Filipino independence fighters in fourteen miles of trenches around the city of Manila, trapping fifteen thousand Spanish troops.

The ever-benevolent United States is, of course, in the Philippines only, as Admiral Dewey says, to “protect the natives and free them from the yoke of Spain”, a sort of nineteenth century Operation Filipino Freedom. Aguinaldo honors an American request not to attack the Spanish garrison, holding off for three months as Dewey waits for U.S. troops to arrive. Unknown to Aguinaldo, Dewey assures the U.S. government that he will “enter the city and keep the Indians (Filipinos) out.” When U.S. troops finally arrive, Dewey and General Wesley Merritt make a secret agreement with the Spanish governor, Fermin Jaudenes, for a mock battle after which the Spanish will surrender to the U.S. Dewey warns the Filipino independence fighters to stay out of Manila or they will be fired on by the U.S. The farce is carried out and the Spanish duly surrender to the U.S.

A few weeks later, the Philippine assembly ratifies the Malolos Constitution, establishing the Philippine Republic as an independent nation. During the Paris Peace Conference between the U.S. and Spain, President William McKinley first orders that the U.S. annex Luzon, Guam and Puerto Rico but not the Philippines. But, apparently, God has other ideas. On the night of October 24th, the President of the United States of America receives formal instructions from The Lord God Almighty.

I walked the floor of the White House night after night until midnight; and I am not ashamed to tell you, gentlemen, that I went down on my knees and prayed Almighty God for light and guidance more than one night. And one night late it came to me this way, that there was nothing left for us to do…but to take them all (the former Spanish colonies) and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died. And then I went to bed, and went to sleep, and slept soundly, and the next morning I sent for the chief engineer of the War Department and I told him to put the Philippines on the map of the United States.

William McKinley’s jihad against the Filipino people has begun. When told that the people of the Philippines are Roman Catholic, McKinley responds, “Exactly.”

1898: UNITED STATES. In December,

 McKinley issues what is farcically called the Benevolent Assimilation proclamation, one of the most outrageous pieces of hypocrisy ever crafted.

We come, not as invaders or conquerors, but as friends, to protect the natives in their homes, in their employments, and in their personal and religious rights. All persons who, either by active aid or by honest submission, co-operate with the Government of the United States to give effect to these beneficent purposes will receive the reward of its support and protection. All others will be brought within the lawful rule we have assumed, with firmness if need be, but without severity, so far as possible…..Finally, it should be the earnest wish and paramount aim of the military administration to win the confidence, respect, and affection of the inhabitants of the Philippines by assuring them in every possible way that full measure of individual rights and liberties which is the heritage of free peoples, and by proving to them that the mission of the United States is one of BENEVOLENT ASSIMILATION substituting the mild sway of justice and right for arbitrary rule. In the fulfillment of this high mission, supporting the temperate administration of affairs for the greatest good of the governed, there must be sedulously maintained the strong arm of authority, to repress disturbance and to overcome all obstacles to the bestowal of the blessings of good and stable government upon the people of the Philippine Islands under the free flag of the United States.

Needless to say, the reality didn’t quite align with McKinley’s pious lies.

In the path of the Washington Regiment and Battery D of the Sixth Artillery there were 1,008 dead niggers, and a great many wounded. We burned all their houses. I don’t know how many men, women, and children the Tennessee boys did kill. They would not take any prisoners. U.S. Soldier


The real Battle of Manila takes place when U.S. troops slaughter three thousand Filipinos in a battle for the capital of the Philippines. Admiral Dewey steams up the Pasig River and fires five hundred pound shells into the Filipino trenches. Filipino corpses are so numerous that the Americans later use the bodies to makes breastworks. A British witness says, “This is not war; it is simply massacre and murderous butchery.”

The slaughter at Manila was necessary, but not glorious. The entire American population justifies the conduct of its army at Manila because only by a crushing repulse of the Filipinos could our position be made secure. We are the trustees of civilization and peace throughout the islands. Chicago Tribune



 As always, the U.S. press is doing a fine job of brainwashing the masses and, however we may criticize them for their whoring on behalf of the the ruling elite, we have to admire their flexibility. In the blinking of an eye, Filipino independence leader Emilio Aguinaldo, who had foolishly decided to oppose the U.S. theft of the Philippines, is repositioned from international statesman to brutish dictator. Aguinaldo even undergoes a change in skin color, appropriate since America’s war against the Filipino people is, fundamentally, a racist war of conquest against “niggers” and “Indians”.

1899: PHILIPPINES. In March,

U.S. troops capture Malolos, the seat of Aguinaldo’s government. The U.S. conducts a war against the Filipino people throughout 1899 in a series of bloody battles. The U.S.-appointed dictator of the Philippines is the military governor, General Elwell Stephen Otis. Otis is well qualified for the position, having been instrumental in carrying out the United States Government’s successful genocide of native Americans. Otis’ command is staffed with officers who, too, have learned the craft of genocide, killing native Americans.

The war against the people of the Philippines becomes nothing more than an extension of America’s racist wars against native Americans and its enslavement of blacks. American troops in the Philippines routinely talk and write of hunting and killing “niggers” and “Indians”. The phrase “nigger hunting” frequently occurs in letters written by American troops to the folks back home. Such letters also include gruesome details of burning villages, slaughtering prisoners and civilians, forced labor and looting. In 1900, Otis is replaced by another talented genocide artist, General Arthur McArthur, who carries on the good work.

U.S. Army Colonel Jacob Smith tells American reporters that fighting the Filipinos is “worse than fighting Indians”. Smith says that he is using tactics against the Filipinos which he had learned fighting “savages” in the American west and Smith, a “veteran” of the Wounded Knee massacre of three hundred and fifty native American men, woman and children, knows all about exterminating the inferior races. The New York Times enthusiastically endorses Smith’s embrace of genocide as “long overdue.” The American press, as always doing its sacred duty to deceive and manipulate the American public on behalf of the ruling elite, routinely refers to the Filipinos fighting the foreign invaders of their country as “insurgents”.

In the U.S. Senate, Albert Beveridge isn’t shy about stating the real motives for America’s war against the people of the Philippines.

The Philippines are ours forever….And just beyond the Philippines are China’s illimitable markets. We will not retreat from either….We will not renounce our part in the mission of our race, trustee, under God, of the civilization of the world…..The Pacific is our ocean…..Where shall we turn for consumers of our surplus? Geography answers the question. China is our natural customer….The Philippines give us a base at the door of all the East….No land in America surpasses in fertility the plains and valleys of Luzon. Rice and coffee, sugar and cocoanuts, hemp and tobacco…..The wood of the Philippines can supply the furniture of the world for a century to come. At Cebu the best informed man on the island told me that 40 miles of Cebu’s mountain chain are practically mountains of coal……I have a nugget of pure gold picked up in its present form on the banks of a Philippine creek. . . .It has been charged that our conduct of the war has been cruel. Senators, it has been the reverse…..we are not dealing with Americans or Europeans. We are dealing with Orientals.

And the mass murder of the Filipino people and the theft of their country has another motive. One of the major goals of the U.S. ruling elite was the economic conquest of the Far East and especially the opening of the vast Asian markets to the petroleum products of the Rockefellers. At the time, the U.S. fleet lacked a base in the Far East. The extension of American military might to the Far East on behalf of the Rockefellers and their clubmates demanded a place where American warships could be based, repaired and replenished with coal and ammunition. Unfortunately for the Filipinos, their country fit the bill perfectly.

1899: GUAM.

 The U.S. establishes a prison for Filipino political prisoners on the the island of Guam.


 The staff correspondents of the American newspapers stationed in Manila cable a joint protest against censorship of the press by the U.S. military. The correspondents make the shocking allegation that the American people have been deceived about what is going on in the Philippines. They report that they have been forced to participate in this misrepresentation. Genocide artist General Elwell Otis, U.S. military dictator of the Philippines, explains the suppression of the truth as being a good thing. The truth, he says, “would alarm the people at home.” Can’t be havin’ nobody alarmed in the land of the free.


. U.S. troops attack Chippewa Indians at Leech Lake, Minnesota.


 The American Anti-Imperialist League is formed to oppose the U.S. annexation of the Philippines. Among the members is Mark Twain who will serve as vice president of the league from 1901 until his death in 1910. It will have to wait until 1992, however, until many of Twain’s anti-imperialist writings are published in book form. Better late than never.


Funny thing about America, the boys in the back room have got everyone so thoroughly brainwashed they’ll kill and die for them on the most ludicrously fabricated pretexts even though, during and after every war, men in uniform are treated like shit. It’s been that way since the Revolution and it’s still that way today.

The war against Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines was no different. American troops were inadequately housed, poorly fed and had shoddy medical care. Thousands died from communicable diseases such as typhoid. There were allegations of contaminated meat. The patriotic folks at Armor supplied 500,000 pounds of canned meat to the military. It had already been shipped to Britain and returned but, hey, business is business. The answer? Appoint a commission to “investigate” the problem.

And what fine, upstanding person of unquestioned integrity do we select to head this noble commission? Why none other than Grenville Dodge, big time genocide artist and, more to the point, big time railroad swindler and a man who committed treason for cash against the federal government during the Civil War. One of Dodge’s best rackets had been defrauding the federal government of millions of dollars on per-mile railroad construction subsidies. Appointing Dodge to investigate possible fraud and mismanagement by the War Department is sort of like appointing Allen Dulles to the Warren Commission or Henry Kissinger to the 9-11 Commission. Oh yeah, we did that too.

Unsurprisingly, Dodge does his job just the way he’s supposed to and finds that everything in the War Department is just swell. What a relief!


 U.S. forces invade parts of Nicaragua to “protect interests” during the revolution of Juan Reyes. What they are really doing is trying to help Reyes who will be more “understanding” to American gold mining and other commercial interests.


. U.S. forces invade the Colombian state of Panama.

1899: SAMOA.

 U.S. and British forces invade to “protect interests” and control the succession to the Samoan throne so it comes out right.


Two thousand people gather in Georgia to witness the lynching of Sam Holt, a black farm laborer accused of killing his white employer. A contemporary newspaper report states that Holt’s ears, fingers and other parts of his body were cut off. He was then burned at the stake. Holt’s bones were crushed and his heart and liver cut into small pieces. Souvenir collectors paid twenty five cents for a piece of bone. A piece of Holt’s liver, cooked, sold for ten cents.


. In a six week period during March and April, twelve black men are lynched in Georgia including a minister of religion, Elijah Strickland, who was tortured before being lynched. Yet again it’s a case of Truth, Justice or the American Way and none of the murderers is charged.

1899-1901: UNITED STATES

. On behalf of corporate interests, the U.S. Army occupies the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho mining region to break a miners’ strike.


The U.S. invades and occupies Wake Island to use it as a cable station as part of its military strategy against the people of the Philippines.


In a long-running battle with mineowners, miners blow up machinery in Wardner, Idaho. President William McKinley sends federal troops to crush the miners and, using the ruling elite’s standard divide and conquer tactic, picks black units from the segregated U.S. army on the theory that racial divisions will prevent them sympathizing with the white miners. The troops conduct house-to-house searches at bayonet-point and make mass arrests throughout the area. More than a thousand people are held prisoner without charge or trial for months in so-called “bullpens”. Eventually all are released without a single charge being laid.


The Cuba history Collections


Dr iwan suwandy,MHA





Cuban Military and Diplomatic Issues

Cuban Air Force Planes; Information

Air and Air Defense Force (DAAFAR) are the primary agency handling planes and its flying and maintenance. Cuban air force owns many planes designed and manufactured by erstwhile Soviet Union and then Latin American countries. During 1980s, Cuba showed the air powers to countries in Africa with the help of Soviet Union. During this period Cuba dispatched many fighter planes to African countries such as Angola and Ethiopia to execute many aerial attacks on South Africa and Somalia respectively.

There are many aircrafts meant for attacking the enemies. These are L-39 and Mi-24. The Cuban air force has fighter planes such as MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-29, all of which are imported from Soviet Union. The Cuban air defense force has trainer planes such as L-39, which are being used extensively to train pilots of DAAFAR. The transport aircrafts the Cuban air force own include Mi-8, An-24 and MI-17.

Cuban Air force fighter planes which are in use include MiG-29UB. They had owned the Hawker Sea Fury, MiG-15, MiG-17, MiG-19, North American P-51 Mustang and North American B-25 Mitchell. It is estimated that at present Cuban air force has about 230 fixed wing aircrafts. There are thirteen military bases in Cuba. The Cuban air force planes are distributed and stationed at these stations. The exact picture of Cuban air force assets are not known to the open world.

A recent assessment in 2007 states that Cuban air force has 8000 personnel, 31 combat airplanes, and other 179 aircrafts. The 31 combat consist of 4 MiG-21s, 24 MiG-23s and 3 MiG-29s. Cuban air force planes also include transport aircrafts and helicopters for surveillance.

Defense specialists have different opinions on the strength and weakness of the Cuban air force and Cuban air force planes. Some believe that Cuban air force just possess bare minimum planes just enough to run the defense internally. The training facilities are also bare minimum. But some experts differ in this and believe that they have enough Cuban air force planes to tackle any internal and external threats.

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Birth of Air Transport in Cuba

On 17 May 1913, Domingo Rosillo piloted an airplane from Key West, Florida to Cuba securing the $10,000 award for being the first to accomplish the feat. This 90-mile crossing came just ten years after the Wright brothers’ historic and four years after Blériot’s famous English-Channel crossing of twenty-one miles. Cubans rallied behind the achievement. As the stamps in fig. 1 depict, however, Agustín Parlá, a Cuban-born pilot who crossed the Straits two days after Rosillo with just a simple compass (Rosillo preferred a naval escort) acquired the more lasting recognition.

In October 1919, the Compañía Aérea Cubana (C.A.C) was founded by Hannibal J. de Mesa. He purchased six Farman aircraft, which a French team brought to Cuba by ship. C.A.C. began a flying school with Farman F-40s; it did some sightseeing around Havana; carried out surveying and aerial photography; and started a small . The General Manager was Agustin Parlá.

The first Cuban service started in October 1920 and although this enterprise survived for only a few months, it opened the first regular schedule in the whole of Latin America. Two weeks earlier, a United States company had opened an air link between Havana and the United States. These were bold experiments in the embryo stage of an industry that had yet to identify its role in society.

Meanwhile, in 1920, the Cuban aviator, Jaime González, was to make the first air mail in Cuba (fig. 2a), and on 15 October 1920, in the United States, Florida West Indies Airways (F.W.I.A.) received the first Foreign Air Mail contract from the U.S. Post Office (fig 3, fig 4, fig 5). One month later, Aeromarine, which had purchased F.W.I.A., began regular service from Key West to Havana using Curtiss Type F5L flying boats.

On 30 October 1920, C.A.C. had started Cuban domestic services, with Farman F-60 Goliaths on a new route from Havana to Santiago de Cuba, via Cienfuegos/Santa Clara and Camagüey. But on January 1921, this service ended, because of economic in Cuba, caused by big sugar beet harvests in Europe. By 1 Nov. 1921, Aeromarine was operating two daily Curtiss F5L services from Key West to Havana. But after about two years, Aeromarine also ceased operations, because of financial losses.



AKA Agustin Parlá Orduña
                               JULY 4, 1957.


  Agustin Parla  



 Born October 10, 1887 – Died July 31, 1946
     Parents emigrated to Key West during the Spanish -American War where his father, a friend of the Cuban apostle Jose Marti, worked and raised money for the Cuban revolution.
     Agustin was born in Key West and was educated there. After Cuba was liberated, the family returned to Havana where he continued his education. In 1912 Charles F. Walsh, an American aviator took Agustin on his first flight seated on one of the wings of the plane. There began his enthusiasm for aviation. He received his pilots license at the Curtiss School of Aviation in Miami on April 20, 1912.
     On May 19, 1913, without a compass to guide him, he left Key West carrying the Cuban Flag that Jose Marti had carried with him during his travels in Florida raising monies for the Cuban cause. He landed at sea near Maiel, Cuba where sailors rescued him from his hydroplane.
     On September 24, 1916 in Buffalo, NY he flew over Niagara Falls and won the contest in which several nations participated. For this honor the Cuban flag was raised while the Cuban anthem was played. Famous Cuban composer, Antonio M. Romeu wrote a song titled “Parla Sobre El Niagara” (Parla over Niagara).
     On May 20, 1919, Parla with American aviator Johnny Green inaugurated the first commercial flight in Cuba in the seaplane “Sunshine.”
     On May 7, 1920, he flew over Havana at night, that is considered the first nocturnal flight.
     A bust was dedicated at the Key West International Airport on July 4, 1957 honoring Agustin Parla as the first man to fly between Key West and Cuba.
     His pioneering spirit in aviation is preserved in memorabilia at San Carlos Museum in Key West and his name is inscribed at the Smithsonian Institute as one of the “Early Birds”.
Editor’s Note: This summary of his career was kindly provided by Thomas Peterson, the great-grandnephew of Agustin.
He is being assisted by his grandmother and great-grandmother, the sister of Agustin. I am greatly indebted to him and the family.



Furnished by Arely Guccione
Via Email, August 16, 2002     My name is Arely Guccione and Agustin Parla was my paternal grandfather. I am 37 years old and reside in West Palm Beach, Florida. I have a sister named Gracie and a twin brother named Jorge Parla. Jorge has two children named Jose Parla and Karina Parla. The last name Parla continues…..
     I think Agustin Parla had two or three wives. Agustine’s wife (My dad’s mom) died of leukemia, so my dad ended up being taken care of by his aunt. I remember my dad telling me that he was only 5 or 6 when this happened. My dad because of this, I think, had a hard life. He was the nicest most easy going person you would ever want to meet. He married my mom Herminia and had us three kids.
     In 1965 my mom and we came to the US. We were only 11 and 12 months old and my dad didn’t get to come with us because of Fidel Castro. We didn’t see our Dad until we were 5 years old and by then we had a stepdad. My dad went to Georgia and studied, got a degree and became a salesman.

He died in April of 1998 of a heart attack.
     Regarding your request for materials to help tell my grandfather’s story, my sister Gracie has an 8X10 picture of Agustin, his wife ( I don’t know her name) and my Dad Jose Parla when he was maybe 5 or 6 years old. I don’t know if it’s a copy. I don’t think she’ll send the one she has, but how does she send it to you?……by scanning it or how. Let me know. I have a picture of his statue that’s in the Key West Airport. I will follow up with you about anecdotes or remembrances. I will get together with my twin brother and my sister and my two step brothers. My dad Jose Parla had a second wife and had two boys Ray and Tony Parla. Ray is an Independent Film Maker in Miami, FL and Tony is a graffiti artist in New York. I’m very proud of them. I think they are in their mid 20’s.
     I also have a famous aunt whose name is Margarita Parla. She was a famous ballerina in Cuba. I think she was part French or something.




It was the best of times; Mid-century ,1950s…Your aunt, Miss Margarita Parla was a touring ballerina, she also came up with the idea of speaking or singing while dancing ballet .. The idea , then, was not well taken by the general public.(STILL ISN’T )

During a performance at the magnificent “Teatro del Sauto” in sophisticated Matanzas, Cuba ”Miss Parla was dancing Swan Lake and on the final scenes she loudly said :” I am like the Swan, when I sing, I die”…most of the audience rose to their feet and said: “let her sing , let her sing.” ( Que cante , que cante)

After the above, it was impossible to continue with the ballet because the audience had turned the affair into a circus type comedy and Miss Parla would have none of it…she exited furiously, but most of us went home laughing and felt highly entertained.

I do not know if Margarita Parla ever performed in Matanzas again; pity ,it would have been a sold out performance.




Thank you for your attention to my grandfather’s history on your website. I am Jose Antonio Parla. Son of Jose Agustin Parla. I was born in Miami Florida in 1973 and now live in Brooklyn, NY. All my life my biggest dream was to visit Cuba and I finally went this Jaunary for the first time. There I met family I did not know existed on both sides of my family.
      I visited the aeronatic museum where my grandfather Agustin Parla’s history is on display. Both of the award cups for his flight from Key West to Mariel and his Niagara cups are there. As well as his pilot belt and wallet. There are a few photos of him and all of his medals awarded to him are there as well. These were awarded by the Cuban goverment and the Gallego society and there are metals given to him as sponsorship from Bacardi when it was still in Santiago de Cuba.
     On my trip to Habana I met an uncle by the name of Cecilio Martinez. My father and him were raised together. Martinez is the maiden name of my grandmother who was the wife of Agustin Parla the pilot. Cecilio handed me down letters , photos, albums, newspaper articles of Parla the pilot. At the museum in Habana there were letters written by Jose Marti adressed to my great grandparents who were exiled in Key West FL, and helped to raise money from their Tabacco, Cuban independence struggle.
     Along in this email I send you a picture of an original commemorative document made in behalf of my grandfather. You are welcome to post it.
All my best,
Jose Parla.


  ONLINE RESOURCES – 1     If you search for “Agustin Parla” using the Google search engine, (9-24-03), you will find about 23 links.  


  Agustin Parlá Orduña
Cuban Aviation Pioneer, and First Cuban Pilot     This page on Rubén Urribarres’ Cuban Aviation ,Aviación Cubana website offers some 14 biographies of important Cuban pioneer aviators, including Agustin Parlá Orduña, in English. To go directly to his story, click on the title above.
     If time permits, and you want to know more about Cuban Aviation, you will be amply rewarded by going to the homepage and selecting several of the many sections such as: People, Articles etc.
     Of special interest is a very nice article written by Rubén Urribarres entitled the Audacious Flight of Rosillo and Parlá. This version is in Spanish, but I will post a machine-translated article in English below for your convenience.
Audacious Flight
Agustin Parlá has arrived at Key West with his hydroplane
and hopes to make the passage at the same time as Rosillo.
El Mundo Newspaper
11 of May of 1913     May 17, 1913, Domingo Rosillo and Agustin Parlá, pioneers of Cuban aviation, added their names to the history of aviation, by making the first international flight of aviation in Latin America. They established a world-wide distance record by flying their airplanes the 90 miles from Key West to Havana in 2 hours and 40 minutes. This record was snatched from nobody less than the famous French pilot and aeronautical designer, Luis Bleriot.
     The aerial trip between Key West in the U.S.A. and Havana was considered to be extremely dangerous. North American aviator McCurdy had tried it without success in 1913 and the two Cubans would repeat his attempt in the hope of better luck.
     The City Council of Havana decided to reward the feat: “Ten thousand pesos for whoever arrives first and five thousand for the second.”
     The flight would depend on the support of three ships of the Cuban Navy: the “Patria”, which would be stationed at 45 miles from Havana, the “Hatuey” at 30 miles, and the “24 de Febrero” at 15 miles from the finish. A North American ship: the Auxiliary Gunboat “Peoria” also would cooperate to insure the security of the intrepid pilots.
     When the first airplane took off from Havana, the battery of La Cabaña would fire two cannon shots to announce the start of the passage.
     Nevertheless, the day of departure had not yet arrived. Rosillo had gone to Key West before Parlá and had it not been that the propeller of his Bleriot-XI monoplane had been broken during a test flight, one he made to please the Cuban immigrants who longed for a triumph, the flight would already have been attempted. He had to wait until a replacement propeller could arrive from Cuba. Parlá arrived in Key West in his Curtiss hydroplane, which was powered by an engine of 80 horsepower.
     Parlá, in spite of his lack of experience, had the superiority of his apparatus to make a flight over the water in his favor. If it had to land unexpectedly on the ocean, at least it would be able to float. Anyway, Rosillo’s propeller was delayed even longer and although Parlá was ready for the flight, the conditions at the time were not favorable. It was known that Rosillo would bring a letter valise with him and an order to buy tobacco at the Gato factory. The tobacco industry would thus use aviation for its commercial operations for the first time. Finally, the long awaited propeller for the Bleriot monoplane arrived. Everything was ready for the 17th.
     At the first light of dawn of that day, on the smallest of three signal masts of the Morro de La Habana, a red flag appeared: the public knew that it was the great day.
At 5:10 a.m., Rosillo departed. His airplane was baptized with the name of Habana and on the rudder was written, “Cuba.”
     He flew for 2 hours, 30 minutes and 40 seconds. At that point, he ran out of gas. A strong crosswind had made him consume more fuel than he had anticipated.
     After the trip was completed, he declared:
     – My impressions of today? You have heard me speak of the storm under the skull?
     “I began to see that the gasoline level was dropping in the indicating tube, at a rate faster than had been calculated. All around I could only see sea and sky. The machine performed perfectly; I saw the “Hatuey”, and passed it. The tank was almost empty, but finally I saw Cuba. I had arrived without a drop of gasoline in the tank. I couldn’t even make it to where I had planned to land, in the Polígono de Columbia. I had to land instead in el campo de tiro. The wind had made me use more fuel than I had planned. I had filled the tank with 50 liters, and on a lucky hunch, I had added 10 ounces more…
     Parlá, on the other hand, had left at 5:57 and by 6:01 he had to return: “I began the flight, but the apparatus did not respond properly. It would not let me compensate for the wind that blew. When I returned and inspected it, I found that two tension wires of the elevator were broken.” Rosillo was, without a doubt, the winner.
     On the 19th, at 2:00 in the afternoon and without previous notification of his intentions, Parlá again went in search of his goal. He did not have support from the Navy. Unlike Rosillo, who preferred to fly escorted by ships, Parlá flew on his own. The news came as a surprise in Havana and the public prepared to receive the resolute aviatior. More than two hours had passed, still the Curtiss was not seen from el Morro. Had he perished? Was he floating somewhere of the Caribbean? Had he been blown off course by the wind, to who knows what place, and now he would fly without directions? everyone asked.
     Soon the answer arrived: “aviator Agustin Parlá landed on the water in the bay of Mariel, at the risk of his life, at 4:30 today, May 19, 1913. Motor failure had prevented him from reaching Havana, but he is well and already has started off by automobile for the capital “.
     Of the flight from Key West a reporter wrote, “… filled with limitless patriotism and a tenacious resolution, he embarked on the trial flight. As the town had followed it from start to finish, they finally learned that the aviator had moved steadily along the ideal course, the one that led to Cuba “.
     The City Council of Havana awarded the second prize to Parlá, although, in truth, it was Cuba who won, as was affirmed: “its name is registered in the history of aviation and will be placed among the advanced countries due to their persistence to advance aviation up to the maximum limit”.
Revista Sendas. Year 2, number 10, 1998.


  AGUSTIN PARLA – CUBA     This webpage on the Smithsonian Institution website offers a nice portrait, which can be enlarged, of Agustin Parla as a young man. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.  


  AIRPORT HISTORY FOR MONROE COUNTY, FL     You will find a brief mention of his flight in 1913 in the “The Florida Keys Cybermuseum Transportation Room” page of the “-KEYS HISTOREUM-” website, Presented by the Historical Preservation Society of the Upper Keys. You may access the entry itself by clicking on the title above.
      If time permits, you will want to enjoy the many other features which are available from the homepage. You can access it by clicking on the website title immediately above.
  JOHNNY GREEN AND SUNSHINE     Johnny Green and the Curtiss flying boat “Sunshine”, which Cuban aviator Agustin Parla used, on May 29, 1919, to make the first commercial flight from Cuba to the United States of America. I do not know who the other person is, in the photo, but it appears that they are named in the description on its back,
     “March 14, 1921, Seaplane “Sunshine”, Johnny Green, Aviator, From St. Petersburgh, Florida, Alida Blume”


  ONLINE RESOURCES – 2     On September 17, 2005, Rubén Urribarres alerted me to a very informative new website which offers some additional insight into Parla’s life and death. The article is in Spanish, but you can obtain an English translation by copying the URL and pasting it into the Babelfish program which is available from the Alta Vista website. The translation is a bit awkward, but I think you can make sense out of it and it does offer some information which is otherwise unavailable.  
  Agustín Parlá

Josefina Ortega | La Habana     If you read Spanish, you will enjoy this illustrated article to the fullest extent. If not, I suggest that you look at the photographs first and then obtain the machine-translation using Babelfish. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.


  Agustin Parla     Agustin Parla, October 10, 1887-July 31, 1946, Cuban pioneer aviator, came to Curtiss at Hammondsport in 1911 to learn to fly. He learned and soloed at Miami in March of 1912.
     Returning to the States the following year he purchased a Curtiss seaplane and planned to make the first flight between the United States and Cuba but Domingo Rosillo was two days ahead of him.
     Parla took off from Key West and flew to Mariel Bay, near Havana, on May 19, 1913, but cracked up in alighting. The distance was approximately 90 miles and the time 2:55:00 but he received $5000 as a second prize.
     He did not keep up his flying career but did continue to participate in aeronautic events. He represented Cuba at the Miami races in 1935 and spoke on behalf of the Cuban Senate in acknowledging greetings from the U. S. Secretary of State on the occasion of the 1936 Miami-Havana good will flight. State Secretary R. Walton Moore had commented on the Parla flight of 23 years before. Parla was then, 1936, Inspector General of Airports of Cuba, which post he held until recently. Parla was accepted for membership in the EBs in 1935.

Winston Churchill in Cuba

One of the most curious events in the Spanish-Cuban-American war was the presence of Winston Churchill (1895) much before the U.S. entry into the war. Churchill was gathering information as a military observer. There are even some who infer that the information on tactics and methods used by the Spanish was put to work in subsequent Boer War, and led to the eventual victory of the British forces in that South African War.

It is interesting to speculate that a much more complete military style copy of Churchill’s reports may exist somewhere in the vast archives of the British Empire, or in the private papers of his son




In support of this, one can infer tantalizing hints by Randolph, when he refers to his father Winston Churchill’s advice to him at the time of the Spanish Civil War so as not to appear to be a spy. In addition, it is noted below Winston Churchill at the time of his visit to Cuba was on a leave of absence from his regiment.

However, one should bear in mind what a knowledgeable source points out (for further details see Davis 1906): “Churchill’s visit to the front was typical of ambitious British (and German, Japanese, Russian, Turkish, and even American) military officers of the day. They got experience in seeing combat, and the resulting reports filed at home could help boost one’s chances of promotion. In many cases it was also lucrative in that the observers would also write articles for popular magazines. The American and Spanish armies were loaded with observers. At times, however, the observers were not necessarily welcomed by their own units, who had to stand the boring times (with the lack of promotion) at home, while the officers of means could get a leave of absence and go gallivanting.”

What we see below are accounts by a brilliant, but still very young, man who just turning twenty-one as yet does not fully understand the complexities of irregular war, nor the subtleties of Cuban politics and racial relations. For instance Churchill accepts the Spanish propaganda point that Antonio Maceo was a Black separatist, a while it is now clear that Maceo, not only was not completely black (he was mulatto), but was an avowed integrationist. The Spanish (e.g. Antonio Serra Ortiz, 1906) view of the war was of course quite different from the Cuban perspective (Jose Miro Argenter 1909). Whatever, South Africa, the Sudan, Gallapoli etc, will teach Churchill other lessons, and a great man will be forged.


————————- ******** ————————–

Timeline in Cuba History (1868-1961)


 First war of Cuban independence. Also known as the Ten Years’ War.

Martínez Campos
and Valeriano Weyler

General Martínez Campos Weyler The Butcher

General Martínez Campos (left)

Usually credited with negotiating the Spanish “victory” over the mambises in the Ten-Year War (1868-78), Campos resigned his post as Captain General of Cuba after the rebel invasion of the western provinces in January 1896. He was replaced by General Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau.

General Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau (right)

Also known as “the butcher,” Weyler took over as Captain General of Cuba when General Campos resigned in early 1896. The Cuban war of independence was not going well for Spain, the rebels had just invaded Havana, and Antonio Maceo had made his way clear to Mantua, the westernmost point on the island.

Upon arriving in Havana on February 11 1896, Weyler’s first priority was the death of Maceo.

Unable to control the population’s support for the rebel forces, he instituted a policy of “re-concentration” in which Cubans were forced to move away from the country into fortified “towns.” This would prevent the rebels from receiving aide from the peasants

1868 October 10 , 

Revolutionaries under the leadership of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes proclaims Cuban independence. 

Since 1980, Cubans have celebrated 20 October as National Culture Day, in evocation of a local date of warrior exaltation, the triumphal entry of the small Bayamo Liberation Army, centered around the planter Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, who on 10 October 1868 gave freedom to the slaves of his sugar mill and proclaimed the beginning of the struggle for the independence of Cuba.

As the colonial regiment commanded by Julian Udaeta surrendered before the cheering citizens, supporters of independence, Céspedes and his followers celebrated the victory in the Plaza of the Parish Church with a ceremony and a festive conga for the people.

At that time, Pedro Figueredo Cisneros distributed the verses of The Bayamesa, whose music and lyrics he had composed in the previous year with the help of his wife, the poet Isabel Vazquez, upon request of the illustrious Francisco Maceo Osorio, who later was the assistant Carlos Manuel de Cespedes along with Figueredo.

It has been said that amid the euphoria, the creator and Bayamese patriot improvised lyrics about his horse to sing in chorus for the first time, but the testimonies of his contemporaries reveal that music and the verses were known by many conspirators who had kept silent for their own safety. Perucho, they called Peter Figueredo, played the score at home to dozens of trusted friends and entrusted the orchestration of the piece to the maestro Manuel Muñoz Cedeño, who first performed it publicly in the main parish on the occasion of Corpus Christi, in the presence of the priest Diego José Baptista and the aforementioned Julian Udaeta, military governor of Bayamo, which faulted the instrumentalists for the subversive nature of the march.

The Bayamo Anthem, played on 20 October 1868 and published on 22 and 27 of that month and year in The Free Cuban, embedded itself in the minds of the independence fighters, who often sang it in combat or to start sessions of the House of Representatives, a sort of parliament in the jungle.

Although José Martí praised what happened on that October 20, 1868 and reproduced in Patria the stanzas of the Bayamo Anthem, in June 1892, and on January 21 and October 4, 1893, it was the Constituent Assembly in November 1900 which declared it a national symbol.

In October we commemorate other historic ephemera, such as the discovery of America – 12 October 1492 – and the arrival of Christopher Columbus on our shores days later, an event of great significance for the encounters of peoples and cultures, and international mobility that erupted between Europe and the so-called West Indies.

More than a fact of cultural consequence, the evocations of October 10 and 20, 1868, signals the warrior affinity of those who rule the island like those Captain Generals appointed by the Spanish overlords until 1898.

The story gallops in the memory of the people, but does not model the culture, it complements it. We will have to rewrite the story of war, unilateral and simplistic, that creates myths and masks the oppression. Today, as in 1868, the stanzas of the Bayamo Anthem, turned into the National Anthem, represent a dilemma of our reality, but no one calls to combat nor thinks about guns. Is it that we fear a “glorious death” or that we have gotten used to “living with shame and ignominy”?

1878 February 8,

Pact of Zanjón ends Ten Years’ War and ends uprising.

The Ten years war,
The First Conflict in a history of war’s that would lead to Spain giving up it’s rights in the America’s and else where.

It all started on October 10th, 1868 by a man named Carlos Manuel de Céspedes.

On that day he declared Cuban Independence from the Spanish empire with Grito de Yara. Picking up his rifle this small planter freed his slaves and set off to war. In the weeks to come he would lead thousands of men, badly armed in to battles with Spanish Forces.

Arsenio Martínez Campos with over 100,000 Spainish Soldiers, fought back against the Rebels. Leading his men in a series of battles that would define path of this war.


During the first few days, the uprising almost failed. Céspedes intended to occupy the nearby town of Yara on October 11, from which this revolution is commemorated in Cuba as a national holiday under the name Grito de Yara (“Cry of Yara”). In spite of this defeat, the uprising of Yara was supported in various regions on Oriente and continued to spread throughout the eastern region of Cuba. On October 13, the rebels took eight towns in the province favouring enrolment and acquisition of arms. By the end of October, the insurrection had some 12,000 volunteers.


Máximo Gómez A Cuban Rebel Commander would teach them how to fight. Including teaching them there most lethal tactic the machete charge.

The machete charge was particularly lethal because it involved firearms as well. If the Spanish were caught on the march, the machetes would cut through their ranks. When the Spaniards (following then-standard tactics) formed a square, rifle fire from infantry under cover and pistol and carbine fire from charging cavalry would cause many losses


After a Series of bloody battles, The Spanish Army would put in to use a series of brutal Tactics. Including the Execution of Cuban Rebels and there supporters.


After 3 days of Combat in in October the city of Bayamo finally fell to rebel forces. 3 months later Spanish Forces would retake it.

On November 4, 1868, Camagüey rose up in arms and, in early February1869, Las Villas followed

After Series of Defeats

Gomez was replace by Former Confederate general Thomas Jordan.

General Jordan’s regular tactics, although initially effective, left the families of Cuban rebels far too vulnerable to the “ethnic cleansing” tactics of the ruthless Blas Villate.



Soon After Thomas Jordan would leave and Gomez will come back to leading the Cuban Rebels.

On April 10, 1869, a constitutional assembly took place in the town of Guáimaro (Camagüey), with the purpose of providing the revolution with greater organizational and juridical unity and with representatives from the areas that had joined the uprising.

Céspedes was then elected, on April 12, 1869, as the first president of the Republic in Arms and General Manuel de Quesada (who had fought in Mexico under Benito Juárez during the French invasion of that country), as Chief of the Armed Forces.

After failing to reach an agreement with the insurrection forces in early 1869, the Spanish responded by unleashing a war of extermination. The colonial government passed several laws: all arrested leaders and collaborators would be executed on the spot, ships carrying weapons would be seized and all onboard immediately executed, males 15 and older caught outside of their plantations or places of residence without justification would be summarily executed, all towns were ordered to raise the white flag, otherwise burnt to the ground, any woman caught away from her farm or place of residence would be concentrated in cities.

October 31, 1873 the steamship Virginius was seize by the Spanish Military. Later known as the Virginius Affair

The serial executions were only stopped by the intervention of a British man-of-war under the command of Sir Lambton Lorraine.




Creciente de Valmaseda”, farmers (Guajiros), and the families of Mambises were killed or captured en masse and sent to concentration camps.


Activities in the Ten Years War peaked in the years 1872 and 1873, but after the death of Agramonte and destitution of Céspedes, Cuban operations were limited to the regions of Camagüey and Oriente. Gómez began an invasion of Western Cuba in 1875, but the vast majority of slaves and wealthy sugar producers in the region did not join the revolt. After his most trusted general, the American Henry Reeve, was killed in 1876, the invasion was over.

Spain’s efforts to fight were hindered by the civil war (Third Carlist War),that broke out in Spain in 1872. When the civil war ended in 1876, more Spanish troops were sent to Cuba until they numbered more than 250,000. The impact of the Spanish measures on the liberation forces was severe. Neither side in the war was able to win a single concrete victory, let alone crush the opposing side to win the war, but in the long run Spain gained the upper hand

Estrada Palma was captured by Spanish troops on October 19, 1877. As a result of successive misfortunes, on February 8, 1878, the constitutional organs of the Cuban government were dissolved and negotiations for peace were started in Zanjón, Puerto Príncipe.

General Arsenio Martínez Campos, in charge of applying the new policy, arrived in Cuba, but it took him almost two years to convince most of the rebels to accept the Pact of Zanjón on February 10, 1878, signed by a negotiating committee. The document contained most of the promises made by Spain. The Ten Years’ War came to an end


Cuban Insurgents


a ‘machete charge’


1879 August,

 A second uprising (“The Little War”), engineered by Antonio Maceo and Calixto García, begins but is quelled by superior Spanish forces in autumn 1880.
1886 Slavery abolished

Read more

The Little War

This Little Conflict Rose out of the Ten Year War and would Bleed in to the The next war. Lead By Calixto Garcia, one of the few revolutionary leaders who did not sign the Pact of Zanjón.


With Little Battle test leaders and a lack of Ammonation and weapon and no Major Powers to support the cause. The War was quick and brutal with most of the revolutionary leaders were arrested. The rest of the leaders were forced to capitulate throughout 1879 and 1880, and by September 1880, the rebels had been completely defeated


1890 February, José Sánchez Gómez becomes provisional Governor of Cuba.
1895 23 February Mounting discontent culminated in a resumption of the Cuban revolution, under the leadership of the writer and patriot José Martí and General Máximo Gómez y Báez.
1895 May 19 José Martí killed in battle with Spanish troops at the Battle of Dos Ríos.
1895 September, Arsenio Martínez Campos is defeated at Peralejo and leaves Cuba in January next year.
1896 Successful invasion campaign along the length of the island by Cuban rebels led by Antonio Maceo, and Maximo Gomez; Winston Churchill fights on Spanish side at battle of Iguara [1]; Maceo is killed on return east [2]
1897 Calixto Garcia takes a series of strategic fort complexes in the East and the Spanish are essentially confined to coastal cities there.
1898 June 6–10th Invasion of Guantánamo Bay American and Cuban forces invade the strategically and commercially important area of Guantanamo Bay during the Spanish-American war.
1898 March 17, U.S. Senator, and former War Secretary Redfield Proctor protests against Spanish controlled concentration camps
1898 December 10, Treaty of Peace in Paris ends the Spanish-American War by which Spain relinquished sovereignty over Cuba.
1899 January 1, The Spanish colonial government withdraws and the last captain General Alfonso Jimenez Castellano hands over power to the North American Military Governor, General John Ruller Brooke.
1899 December 23 Leonard Wood becomes US Provisional Governor of Cuba

Republican Cuba

The Spainish American war

The eruption of Cuban revolt, Weyler’s disliked measures, and the popular fury these events whipped up proved to be a boon to the newspaper industry in New York City, where Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World and William Randolph Hearst of the New York Journal recognized the potential for great headlines and stories that would sell copies. Both covered Spain’s actions and Weyler’s tactics in a way that confirmed the extant popular disparaging attitude toward Spain in the U.S. In the minds, schoolbooks, and scholarship of the mostly Protestant U.S. public, the Catholic Spanish Empire was a backward, immoral union built on the backs of enslaved natives and funded with stolen gold.

The indignation — stirred up by feuding newspapers and predicated on a popular prejudice against Spain — did not alone move the U.S. closer to war. Seen from the western seaboard of the U.S., however, the view of the American Pacific was quite different. Nineteenth century American historiography was dominated by the notion of Manifest Destiny, the belief popularised by John O’Sullivan that the USA was destined to ‘overspread and to possess the whole of the continent’.[23] The U.S. had important economic interests that were being harmed by the prolonged conflict. Shipping firms that relied heavily on trade with Cuba suffered huge losses as the conflict continued unresolved.[24] These firms pressed Congress and McKinley to seek an end to the revolt. Other U.S. business concerns, specifically those who had invested in Cuban sugar, looked to the Spanish to restore order to the situation.[25] Stability, not war, was the ultimate goal of both interests. How stability would be achieved would depend largely on the ability of Spain and the U.S. to work out their issues diplomatically.

President William McKinley, well aware of the political complexity surrounding the conflict, was predisposed to end the revolt peacefully. Threatening to consider recognizing Cuba’s belligerent status, and thus allowing the legal rearming of Cuban insurgents by U.S. firms, he sent Stewart L. Woodford to Madrid to negotiate an end to the conflict. With Práxedes Sagasta, an open advocate of Cuban autonomy, now Prime Minister of Spain (the more hard-line Cánovas del Castillo having been assassinated before Woodford arrived), negotiations went fairly smoothly. Cuban autonomy was set to begin on January 1, 1898

Eleven days after the Cuban autonomous government took power, a small riot erupted in Havana. The riot was thought to be ignited by Spanish officers who were offended by the persistent newspaper criticism of General Valeriano Weyler’s policies. McKinley sent the USS Maine to Havana





The need for the U.S. to send Maine to Havana had been anticipated for months, but the Spanish government was notified just 18 hours before its arrival, which was contrary to diplomatic convention. Preparations for the possible conflict started in October 1897, when President McKinley made arrangements for Maine to be deployed to Key West, Florida, as a part of a larger, global deployment of U.S. naval power to be able to attack simultaneously on several fronts if the war was not avoided. As Maine left Florida, a large part of the North Atlantic Squadron was moved to Key West and the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, others were moved just off shore of Lisbon. And still others were moved to Hong Kong.

The Sinking of the USS MAINE

At 9:40 pm on February 15, Maine sank in the harbor after suffering a massive explosion. While McKinley preached patience, the news of the explosion and the death of 266 sailors stirred popular American opinion into demanding a swift belligerent response. McKinley requested that Congress appropriate 50 million dollars for defense, and Congress unanimously obliged. Most American leaders took the position that the cause of the explosion was unknown, but public attention was now riveted on the situation and Spain was unable to find a diplomatic solution to avoid war. It appealed to the European powers; all of whom advised Spain to back down and avoid war.






War Declared and build up



Senator Redfield Proctor’s speech — delivered on March 17, 1898 — thoroughly analyzed the situation, concluding that war was the only answer. The speech helped provide one final push for the United States to declare war. Many in the business and religious communities, which had heretofore opposed war, switched sides, leaving McKinley and Speaker Reed almost alone in their resistance to a war. On April 11, McKinley ended his resistance and asked Congress for authority to send American troops to Cuba to end the civil war there, knowing that Congress would force a war.

President McKinley signed the joint resolution on April 20, 1898, and the ultimatum was forwarded to Spain. In response, Spain broke off diplomatic relations with the United States on April 21. On the same day, the U.S. navy began a blockade of Cuba. Spain declared war on April 23. On April 25, Congress declared that a state of war between the U.S. and Spain had existed since April 21, the day the blockade of Cuba had begun.


The Navy was ready, but the Army was not well-prepared for the war and made radical changes in plans and hurried purchases of supplies. In the spring of 1898, the strength of the U.S. Army was just 28,000 men. The Army wanted 50,000 new men but received over 220,000, through volunteers and the mobilization of state National Guard units.






PostedSun 10 April 2011 05:17 PM

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1879 August,

 A second uprising (“The Little War”), engineered by Antonio Maceo and Calixto García, begins but is quelled by superior Spanish forces in autumn 1880.
1886 Slavery abolished
1890 February, José Sánchez Gómez becomes provisional Governor of Cuba.
1895 23 February Mounting discontent culminated in a resumption of the Cuban revolution, under the leadership of the writer and patriot José Martí and General Máximo Gómez y Báez.
1895 May 19 José Martí killed in battle with Spanish troops at the Battle of Dos Ríos.
1895 September, Arsenio Martínez Campos is defeated at Peralejo and leaves Cuba in January next year.
1896 Successful invasion campaign along the length of the island by Cuban rebels led by Antonio Maceo, and Maximo Gomez; Winston Churchill fights on Spanish side at battle of Iguara [1]; Maceo is killed on return east [2]
1897 Calixto Garcia takes a series of strategic fort complexes in the East and the Spanish are essentially confined to coastal cities there.
1898 June 6–10th Invasion of Guantánamo Bay American and Cuban forces invade the strategically and commercially important area of Guantanamo Bay during the Spanish-American war.
1898 March 17, U.S. Senator, and former War Secretary Redfield Proctor protests against Spanish controlled concentration camps
1898 December 10, Treaty of Peace in Paris ends the Spanish-American War by which Spain relinquished sovereignty over Cuba.
1899 January 1, The Spanish colonial government withdraws and the last captain General Alfonso Jimenez Castellano hands over power to the North American Military Governor, General John Ruller Brooke.
1899 December 23 Leonard Wood becomes US Provisional Governor of Cuba

Republican Cuba

1901 March 2, Platt Amendment passed in the U.S. stipulating the conditions for the withdrawal of United States troops, assuring U.S. control over Cuban affairs.
1902 May 20 The Cuban republic is instituted under the presidency of Tomás Estrada Palma.
1906 September 29 Revolt against Tomás Estrada Palma successful. Peace negotiated by Frederick N. Funston, U.S. troops reoccupy Cuba under William Howard Taft.
1906 October 13 Charles Magoon becomes U.S. governor of Cuba
1909 January 28 Cuba returns to homerule. José Miguel Gómez of the Liberal Party becomes president.
1912 Separatist Black revolt is defeated in bloody campaign
1913 May 20 Mario García Menocal presidency begins.
1917 April 7 Cuba enters World War I on the side of the Allies. In Chambelona War Liberal Revolt is suppressed by Conservadores of Menocal
1921 May 20 Alfredo Zayas becomes president.
1925 May 20 Gerardo Machado becomes president. At uncertain date Fabio Grobart, a stalinist communist leader enters Cuba
1926 August 13 Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz born in the province of Holguín.
1928 June 14 Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (Che Guevara) born in Rosario, Argentina.
1928 January 10 Julio Antonio Mella a founder of the Stalinist Communist Party in Cuba is murdered in Mexico. Details are murky; Gerardo Machado agents blamed by some, Tina Modotti and Vittorio Vidale communist assassins blamed by others.
1931 August 10–14 Old Mambi warriors Carlos Mendieta and Mario García Menocal land forces at Rio Verde attempting to overthrow the now clearly dictatorial Gerardo Machado. They are defeated in actions that include first military aviation use in Cuba.
1933 August 12 Gerardo Machado, despite last minute support from the Communist Party, is forced to leave Cuba, by ABC and Antonio Guiteras Holmes resistance actions, a general strike, pressure from senior officers of Cuban Armed Forces and U.S. Ambassador Sumner Welles. Communist activity high and extends through rest of summer with establishment of ephemeral soviets in eastern provinces.
1933 September 4 “Sergeants’ Revolt” organized by a group including Fulgencio Batista topples provisional government.
1933 October 2 Batista loyal enlisted men and sergeants, plus radical elements, force Army Officers out of Hotel Nacional in heavy fighting. Some are murdered after surrender.
1933 November 9 Blas Hernández his followers and some ABC members make a stand in old Atarés Castle they are defeated by Batista loyalists in bloody battle and Blas Hernández is murdered on surrender.
1934 June 16, 17 1934 ABC demonstration Havana festival and march attacked by radical gunners including those of Antonio Guiteras with bombs and machine guns, numerous dead.
1935 May 8 Leading radical Antonio Guiteras is betrayed and dies fighting Batista forces.
1938 September Communist party legalized again.
1939 after August 23 Fabio Grobart publicly justifies Ribbentrop-Molotov pact.
1941 May 8, 1941 Sandalio Junco, a Communist labor leader who defected to Trotskyism, is murdered by Stalin Loyalists.
1941 December Cuban government declares war on Germany, Japan, and Italy.
1943 Soviet embassy opened in Havana.

Revolution and Socialist Cuba

1951 May 15 Eduardo Chibás, leader of the Ortodoxo party and mentor of Fidel Castro commits suicide on live radio.
1952 March Former president Batista, supported by the army, seizes power.
1953 July 26 Some 160 revolutionaries under the command of Fidel Castro launch an attack on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba. Communists at meeting in Santiago arrested, Fabio Grobart said to have attended, but not listed in arrest records,
1953 October 16 Fidel Castro makes “History Will Absolve Me” speech in his own defense against the charges brought on him after the attack on the Moncada Barracks.
1954 September Che Guevara arrives in Mexico City.
1954 November Batista dissolves parliament and is elected constitutional president without opposition.
1955 May Fidel and surviving members of his movement are released from prison under an amnesty from Batista.
1955 June Brothers Fidel and Raúl Castro are introduced to Che Guevara in Mexico City.
1956 April 29 Autentico Assault on Goicuria Barracks, in Matanzas attackers are ts including Raúl Castro, Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, executes informers and sets sail from Mexico for Cuba on the yacht Granma.
1956 December 2 Granma lands in Oriente Province.
1957 January 17, Castro’s guerrillas score their first success by sacking an army outpost on the south coast, and start gaining followers in both Cuba and abroad.
1957 March 13, University students mount an attack on the Presidential Palace in Havana. Batista forewarned. Attackers mostly killed, others flee and are betrayed.
1957 May 28 1957, Castro’s 26 July movement, heavily reinforced by Frank Pais Militia, overwhelm an army post in El Uvero.
1957 July 19 Autentico landing in the “Corynthia,” led by Calixto Sánchez White in north Oriente, at Cabonico Batista is forewarned and then guided by agents, almost all 27 killed.
1957 July 30 Cuban revolutionary Frank País is killed in the streets of Santiago de Cuba by police while campaigning for the overthrow of Batista government.
1957 September 5 Naval revolt at Cienfuegos is crushed by forces loyal to Batista.
1958 February Raúl Castro takes leadership of about 500 pre-existing Escopeteros guerrillas and opens a front in the Sierra de Cristal on Oriente’s north coast.
1958 March 13 U.S. suspends shipments of arms to Batista’s forces.
1958 March 17 Castro calls for a general revolt.
1958 April 9 A general strike, organized by the 26th of July movement, is partially observed.
1958 May Batista sends an army of 10,000 into the Sierra Maestra to destroy Castro’s 300 armed guerrillas (supported by uncounted escopeteros). By August, the rebels had defeated the army’s advance and captured a huge amount of arms.
1958 November 1 A Cubana aircraft en route from Miami to Havana is hijacked by militants but crashes. The hijackers were trying to land at Sierra Cristal in Eastern Cuba to deliver weapons to Raúl Castro’s rebels. It is the first of what was to become many Cuba-U.S. hijackings.[2]
1958 November 20 to November 30 Key position at Guisa is taken, and in the following month most cities in Oriente fall to Rebel Hands.
1958 December Guevara, William Alexander Morgan and non-communist Directorio Forces attack Santa Clara.
1958 December 28 Rebels seize Santa Clara.
1958 December 31 Camilo Cienfuegos leads revolutionary guerrillas to victory in Yaguajay, Huber Matos Enters Santiago.

1959 January 1 President Batista resigns and flees the country. Fidel Castro’s column enters Santiago de Cuba. Raul Castro starts mass executions of captured military. Diverse urban rebels, mainly Directorio, seize Havana
1959 January 2 Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos arrive in Havana.
1959 January 5 Manuel Urrutia named President of Cuba
1959 January 8 Fidel Castro arrives at Havana, speaks to crowds at Camp Columbia.
1959 February 16 Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba.
1959 March Fabio Grobart is present at a series of meetings with Castro brothers, Guevara and Valdes at Cojimar
1959 April 20 Fidel Castro speaks at Princeton University, New Jersey.[3]
1959 May 17 The Cuban government enacts the Agrarian Reform Law which limits land 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) ranches or less if other agricultural land, no payment is made.
1959 July 17 Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado becomes President of Cuba, replacing Manuel Urrutia forced to resign by Fidel Castro. Dorticós serves until 2 December 1976
1959 October 28 Plane carrying Camilo Cienfuegos disappears during a night from Camagüey to Havana. He is presumed dead.
1959 December 11, Trial of revolutionary Huber Matos begins. Matos is found guilty of “treason and sedition”.
1960 March 4, the freighter La Coubre a 4,310-ton French vessel carrying 76 tons of Belgian munitions explodes while it began unloading in Havana harbor.
1960 March 17, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower orders CIA director Allen Dulles to train Cuban exiles for a covert invasion of Cuba.
1960 July 5 All U.S. businesses and commercial property in Cuba is nationalized at the direction of the Cuban government.
1960 October 19, U.S. imposes embargo prohibiting all exports to Cuba except foodstuffs and medical supplies.
1960 October 31, nationalization of all U.S. property is completed.
1960 December 26, Operation Peter Pan (Operación Pedro Pan) begins, an operation transporting 14,000 children of parents opposed to the new government. The scheme continues until U.S. airports are closed to Cuban during 1962.
1961 January 1, Cuban government initiates national literacy scheme.
1961 “March” former rebel comandante Humberto Sorí Marin and Catholic leaders shot.
1961 April 15, Bay of Pigs invasion.
1961 US Trade embargo on Cuba.

Sources: Wikepedia/

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Spanish-American War in Cuba

Cuba Struggle for Independence (1868-1898)
and then (Washington Post published), starts the “Splendid Little” War . What follows are some benchmarks along the way:

April 10, 1895 — Jose Marti, Cuban revolutionary, launches insurrection against Spanish rule. He is killed May 19.

Jan. 1, 1898 — In an effort to defuse the insurrection, Spain gives Cubans limited political autonomy.

Jan. 12 — Spaniards in Cuba riot against autonomy given to Cubans.

Jan. 25 — USS Maine arrives in Havana Harbor to protect American interests.

Feb. 15 — USS Maine explodes, sinks; 266 crewmen lost. The Maine’s captain urges suspension of judgment on the cause of the explosion.

March 28 — Naval Court of Inquiry says Maine destroyed by a mine.

April 11 — President William McKinley asks Congress for declaration of war.

April 25 — State of war exists between United States and Spain.

June 10 — U.S. Marines land at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

July 1 — Battles of El Caney and San Juan Hill in Cuba result in American victories and instant national acclaim for Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, the former Navy Department official and future president who leads the Rough Riders at San Juan Heights.

July 3 — Spain’s Atlantic fleet, having sought refuge in the harbor of Santiago, Cuba, attempts to escape and is destroyed by American naval forces.

July 6 — Congress, caught up in expansionist fever fed by the war, votes to annex Hawaii, which has nothing to do with Spain.

July 14 — Santiago surrenders. Yellow fever breaks out among American troops the next day.

July 25 — U.S. Army invades Puerto Rico.

July 26 — Spain asks for peace.

Aug. 6 — Spain accepts American terms for peace.

Aug. 12 — Truce is signed with Spain.

Oct. 1 — Peace negotiations with Spain commence in Paris.

Dec. 10, 1898 — War ends, officially, with signing of the Treaty of Paris (With no Cuban Representative present). United States pays Spain $20 million for Philippines. Spain also cedes Puerto Rico and Guam and agrees to renounce sovereignty over Cuba.

In 1902, the U.S. declares Cuba independent, keeps naval base and the right to intervene in internal and foreign affairs (EmmPlatt).


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Bernabe Varona y Borrero

Cuban patriot. Born in 1845 in Camagüey and died in 1873 in Santiago de Cuba.

In his hometown took part in the work that gave rise to conspiracy in the region uprising against the colonial power in November 1868 and was one of the first to take up arms to join the patriots of Bayamo. Noted for his courage and determination, he was appointed chief of the bodyguard of President Carlos Manuel de Cespedes.

In May 1869 he was responsible for the burning of Guaimaro city where a month earlier had been agreed the first Constitution of the Republic in arms, and whose defense was impossible because of powerful siege to the Spanish forces. In June of that year he participated in the attack on Las Tunas. He fought in Las Minas and mares, and was among the attackers of Fort St. Joseph. In 1869 he rescued, head of fourteen men, a Cuban family that was driven toward prisoner Camaguey, a Spanish column of more than three hundred members.

In April 1871 he was sent abroad with a mission to organize expeditions to support the insurrection.

On 23 October 1873, the Virginius sailed from Kingston, Jamaica with a large number of Cuban insurgents (102 according to our count). The ship sailed to Jeremie on the island of Haiti and from there to Port-au-Prince, where 300 Remingtons and 300,000 cartridges were loaded on-board. From Port-au-Prince the Virginius went to Comito, where 800 daggers, 800 machetes, a barrel of powder and a case of was loaded. The steamer, which at this time was leaking, headed for Cuba, but never reached shore. About six miles from land, with the hills of Guantanamo in sight, the Virginius was intercepted by the Spanish warship Tornado, under the command of Captain Dionisio Costilla (the Tornado, coincidentally had been built at the same Scottish shipyard for the Chilean navy and had been captured by a Spanish frigate during the Pacific War between Chile and Peru and incoporated into the Spanish Armada under the same name) .

The Virginius then turned course to Jamaica and an 8-hour sea chase ensued. During this chase, guns and equipment were dumped overboard to lighten ship, but the poor physical condition of the ship and engines caused Captain Fry to stop and surrender the ship barely 6 miles from the Jamaican coast on 31 October 1873 (some reports indicate that the ship was already within British territorial waters).

The Virginius was towed by the Tornado to Santiago de Cuba harbor and arrived on 1 November 1873. On board were a total of 165 persons (154 according to our count), including the ship’s crew and an expeditionary force intending to aid the Cuban revolutionary cause. In charge of the expedition was the General Bernabe Varona y Borrero, seized by the colonial authorities, was one of the fifty-three men were shot on that occasion.

In the Santa Efigenia cemetery of Santiago de Cuba there is a small rectangular pantheon, with a royal palm in each of its corners, where the victims of the Virginius are buried. There is a plaque in memory of the victims.

Marti made reference to his heroism in the note “Bernabe Varona’s mother,” published in Patria , on January 26, 1895.


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The CIA’s Man at the Bay of Pigs.

The three days of futile bloodshed haunted the both of them — the CIA spook and the commander in chief he despised, John F. Kennedy.

”We both had scores to settle with Castro,” the old, bullet-scarred commando recalls from his home in Tampa. ”But I wasn’t haunted in the same way that Kennedy was. I had nothing to feel guilty about.”

Such is Grayston L. Lynch’s way of explaining his long, strange bond to a flawed president and a lost cause that began 37 years ago with the bloody, tragic, history-altering Bay of Pigs invasion and continued until 1967 in more than 2,000 secret CIA raids on Cuba from Miami.

Lynch was our man on Cuba’s Playa Giron beach on April 16, 1961 — the white, ”Tex-Mex”-speaking CIA agent who fired the first shot of the Bay of Pigs assault and then took desperate, unofficial command of the doomed force of 1,500 Cuban volunteers, most of them Miami exiles, recruited and trained — then disavowed — by the Kennedy administration.

Sunday, at age 75, Lynch returns to Miami with a new book that vents bitterness and disillusionment, but celebrates the bravery of his comrades in arms, about 75 of whom died, and 1,250 of whom were captured and imprisoned.

Many of them are now prominent and successful Americans — including Miami’s former state Rep. Luis Morse, House Speaker pro tempore, then in command of the supply ship Houston. Lynch describes Morse’s desperate beaching of the Houston in the Bay of Pigs after Cuban warplanes blew a 10-foot hole in its stern.

Lynch hasn’t seen any of the survivors of the 2506 Assault Brigade in years, but the Cuban volunteers who made up the force regard him as ”one of the big warriors of this country,” says Jose Dausa of the 2506 Brigade Association in Miami.

In his book, Decision for Disaster: Betrayal at the Bay of Pigs (Brassey’s, $24.95), Lynch returns the compliment: ”The only heartening observation . . . was that the brigade had fought magnificently. Outnumbered in every battle by at least twenty to one, it had inflicted heavy casualties on Castro’s forces at a rate of fifty to one.”

Much about the Bay of Pigs debacle — a three-day battle that failed after President Kennedy canceled air support and disavowed American involvement — already has been told in other books.

But the mere fact that Lynch is alive and intact to tell his bullet-whizzing, ground-zero tale, which he wrote more than 20 years ago and only now has published, seems miraculous.

War wounds

He carries wounds from World War II’s D-Day Normandy invasion, from the Battle of the Bulge, and from Heartbreak Ridge in Korea. He served with the Special Forces in Laos. After the Bay of Pigs disaster until 1967, Lynch directed 2,126 clandestine CIA assaults on Cuba out of Miami, directly participating in 113 of them.

This week, Lynch said he never worked with Luis Posada Carriles, whom The New York Times recently identified as a Miami-based bomber financed by the late to conduct raids against Cuba in the mid-1960s.

But Lynch himself ducked ”a thousand” Cuban bullets from 1960 to 1967, and eventually adopted a custom of the Cuban exiles he commanded — he wore a Catholic Virgin de Cobre medallion around his neck to keep him from harm. ”There must have been something to it,” he now laughs.

Must have been. In his 1979 book, Bay of Pigs, author Peter Wyden describes Lynch as a real-life lethal weapon who ”moved well and cursed sparingly . . . Hollywood could not have cast a better personality. [Lynch] suggested what the operation needed most: indestructibility.”

Lynch is the surviving half of a two-man, non-Cuban CIA team which the Kennedy administration attached to the Brigade. The other agent, William ”Rip” Robertson, died in 1973 of malaria in Laos.

Both agents, vaguely assigned to the 2506 Brigade as ”troubleshooters,” ended up going ashore and fighting. Gray accompanied a night team of frogmen to Playa Giron and actually started the battle by firing on a Cuban jeep that directed its headlights at the frogmen as they rafted in. (They learned later that the militia members in the jeep thought they were lost fishermen.)

After returning to his supply ship, the Blagar, Gray later shot down two Cuban warplanes and, in Wyden’s words, ”became the closest thing to an on-the-spot military commander that the Cuban operation ever had.”

Like Armageddon

So chaotic was the battle that at one point, when one of the Brigade’s supply ships was destroyed by Cuban attack planes, some believed that Armageddon itself beckoned.

Lynch recalls:

”The Rio Escondido exploded in a huge, mushroom-shaped fireball. . . . At this moment, I received an urgent call from Rip up at Red Beach. . . . ”Gray!” Rip said. ”What the hell was that?” I told him that the Rio Escondido had been hit and had exploded. ”My God, Gray! For a moment, I thought Fidel had the A-bomb!”

Lynch asserts that Cuban ground defenses ”were kind of like a mob, coming at us in open trucks while we blasted away,” and the invasion would have wildly succeeded if not for the aerial bombardment.

The bombings caused panic aboard the remaining supply ships, mostly operated by civilian crews, which fled to sea, and left the Brigade without ammunition.

Lynch includes this last dispatch from Brigade commander Jose ”Pepe” San Ramon:

”Tanks closing in on Blue Beach from north and east. They are firing directly at our headquarters. Fighting on beach. Send all available aircraft now!”

And finally:

”I can’t wait any longer. I am destroying my radio now.”

All of this tragedy Lynch attributes to Kennedy’s last-minute decision to cancel air strikes, fearful of widening U.S. involvement.

”This may have been the politically proper way to fight a war, according to the rules laid down by the ‘armchair generals’ of Camelot,” Lynch writes, ”but we called it murder.”

Rescuing survivors

The one honorable U.S. aspect of the failed invasion, he says, was the Navy’s full-scale effort afterward to rescue survivors.

He describes this scene:

”The search planes reported a survivor sitting under a mangrove tree, slowly waving a white cloth on the end of stick . . . He’d been drinking salt water and could neither stand nor talk . . .

”Slowly, drop by drop, we were trying to get water into him . . . Finally, he was able to form a few words.

”I asked what the man had said. Turning to me with tears in his eyes, [frogman Amado] Cantillo said, ‘He wants to know if we won.’ ”

Despite Lynch’s contempt for Kennedy, the agent believes Kennedy’s subsequent secret campaign against Castro — which brought to Miami the largest CIA contingent outside of Langley, Md. — was devastatingly successful and would have toppled Castro if not for Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. He plans to publish a second book about those Miami years, tentatively titled The CIA’s Secret War on Cuba.

Sunday he’s looking forward to signing books for any Brigade veterans who come to his reading — men he last knew only as ”brave boys who had never before fired a shot in anger.”

But Miami, he says, is as close to Cuba as he ever wants to get — even if he outlives Castro, which he’s not betting on. ”I’ve already seen Cuba,” he says.


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Searching for “Che” Guevara ‘Dead or Alive’ (1 of 3)

In early 1965, the CIA began to hear whisperings of Che’s plan to export the Castro Revolution — he considered it Cuba’s duty to encourage other “national liberation movements” around the world. CIA officials immediately put Gustavo Villoldo and other Cuban Americans on the scent.

This is the CIA agent who hunted Che.

It was Villoldo who hounded him from the Caribbean to Africa to Latin America to avenge his father’s death and fight Castro’s brand of communism.

Villoldo crossed a river in the dead of night to infiltrate the leftist side of a bloody civil war in the Dominican Republic to check out rumors that Che was there. The Argentine was nowhere to be found.

He led a group of Cuban-American CIA agents into the Congo later that year, just missing Che as he escaped to neighboring Tanzania with 120 other Cubans after the government squashed rebel forces.

“We had him identified there and were there for 28 days, but all was lost for Che already, and he escaped,” said Villoldo. “A few more days and we might have closed in on him.”

His CIA orders were to locate Che, Villoldo recalled, “but my intention was to get him, dead or alive.”

Che went into hiding for months after the Congo, licking the wounds to his fighting psyche and searching for another country where he could try his hand at subversion. After discussions with Castro, he settled on Bolivia.

Che lasted barely 12 months in the jungles of Bolivia, the first eight in hiding while preparing his guerrilla campaign, the last four running from a battalion of Bolivian Army Rangers, trained by U.S. Army Green Berets and advised by a team of three Cuban exiles working for the CIA. A CIA official who directed the Bolivia mission has confirmed that Villoldo was the “lead agent in the field.”

Two of the three CIA men, radio operator Felix Rodriguez and urban police adviser Julio Garcia, later were featured in books that gave their own, sometimes embellished stories on the hunt for Che.

But the team’s leader, Villoldo, has kept his version of events to himself, until now.

Villoldo carried Bolivian army credentials identifying him as Capt. Eduardo Gonzalez. He wore Bolivian army fatigues and was so discreet that several Bolivian officers who worked with him for several weeks never realized he was a CIA man.

Among his tasks: evaluating information from the interrogation of French socialist Regis Debray, who had written a glowing book on the Castro guerrillas’ ideology. Debray had been captured after visiting Che in the Bolivian jungles.

In an ugly dispute that continues to this day, Che’s family has accused Debray of betraying him. Debray denies it. Said Villoldo, using Cuban slang for someone who confesses all: “He talked through his elbows.”

Che, 39, was wounded and captured during a jungle firefight on Oct. 8, 1967. He was executed by two Bolivian Rangers the next day in the mud-brick schoolhouse in the village of La Higuera, on orders from Bolivia’s military dictator, Rene Barrientos.

“At no time did I or the CIA have a say in executing Che,” said Villoldo. “That was a Bolivian decision.”

Che’s corpse was strapped to the skids of an army helicopter on Oct. 9 and flown to the nearby farm town of Vallegrande, where the Rangers tracking Che had set up a base near an airstrip. The body was displayed for peasants and journalists for the next 24 hours, on a stretcher placed atop a cement washstand in the laundry room of Our Lord of Malta Hospital, really a lean-to attached to the back of the hospital. And then it disappeared for 30 years.

Sources: Herald/Tamayo/Villoldo/

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Searching for “Che” Guevara ‘Dead or Alive’ (2 of 3)

Gary Prado, the captain who commanded the Ranger company that captured Che, and who later rose to the rank of general, insisted for years that the body had been cremated and the ashes scattered. Others whispered that it was thrown from a helicopter into the deepest jungle, or fed to wild dogs.

But then in late 1995, retired Bolivian Gen. Mario Vargas told American author John Lee Anderson, who was writing a Che biography, that the body had been buried near the Vallegrande airstrip. Vargas later admitted he had based his story on hearsay — which happened, ironically, to be correct.

Suddenly, the little town of 8,000 people was awash in Cuban forensic anthropologists and geologists. They managed to locate five remains, only a fraction of the 32 guerrillas, including Bolivian and Peruvian leftists and Cuban Sierra Maestra veterans, killed in the area in 1967 and buried in unmarked graves.

But for the next 16 months there was no sign of Che’s body. And Che, for all the Cubans’ talk of the importance of giving proper funerals to all of the dead guerrillas, was the real prize.

And then this spring, Gustavo Villoldo surfaced and made a bombshell offer.

In an April 23 message clandestinely delivered to Che’s daughter Aleida, a Castro supporter living in Havana, Villoldo offered to personally dig up Che’s remains and turn them over to her for humanitarian reasons.

Villoldo wrote that only two years earlier, he had believed that Che’s body should remain hidden. But several factors, he added, had led him to “a profound reconsideration.”

“I have not renounced the personal, ideological and political principles that drove me to fight against Ernesto `Che’ Guevara,” he wrote Aleida. “But in the same way the United States wants back its dead in Korea and Vietnam, Guevara’s widow and children have the right to demand his body.”

He set two conditions:

No politics or propaganda, because he did not want to expose himself to attacks by exiles in Miami who might begrudge his decision to cooperate. “I am a political exile and live in a very difficult society of exiles, loaded with multiple pressures.”

And he wanted sole control over all publicity proceeds. Any profits derived from the fanfare almost certain to erupt, he said, should be donated to scholarships for Bolivian medical students.

Villoldo now acknowledges he had another concern in mind: Since it was likely that Che’s bones would eventually be recovered — after all, the Cubans were digging in the correct area — injecting himself into the excavations would take the edge off Castro’s likely triumph. “There were still politics and propaganda involved, and I still did not want Castro to capitalize completely on this,” he said.

Cuban officials would later charge that Villoldo was only trying to throw the search off-track, and would attack his demand to control all publicity as a crass effort to capture the limelight and cash in on Che’s bones.

But Villoldo’s offer in fact unleashed a race for the remains between the Cubans, Villoldo and even Bolivians who wanted to keep Che’s grave in Vallegrande as a tourism draw and political memorial.

“I was told Fidel pitched a fit because he could not allow the gusano [exile worm] who advised the Bolivian army in the hunt for Che, and the man who he knew had buried Che, to be the man who returned him to Cuba.”

Meanwhile, Vallegrande municipal officials declared Che’s remains a “national patrimony” and slapped a moratorium on digging until mid-June. Then the town started promoting a “Che’s Route” walking tour at $70 per day and planning a museum.

Loyola Guzman, who as a young woman was treasurer of the Bolivian Marxist faction that followed Che into the jungles, argued that if Che gave his life for Bolivia, his remains rightly belonged under Bolivian soil. “His life was an example of heroic internationalism that no single country should monopolize,” said Guzman, now a human-rights campaigner.

Villoldo meanwhile had hired a South Florida firm whose ground-search radar could locate Che’s burial site in case Villoldo’s memory failed him, contacted a book agent and negotiated with a three-man TV crew in Miami to record his search.

He denies that he wanted publicity for himself. “I wanted history to know exactly how things happened,” he said.

Villoldo had made reservations on a June 26 from Miami to Bolivia, and after much lobbying, won permission to search from Bolivian Human Resources Minister Franklin Anaya, a former ambassador in Havana and author of a sympathetic book on Cuba who was acting as the Bolivian liaison with the Cuban anthropologists. “I had my bags packed,” said Villoldo.

Media accounts later alleged that Anaya and Bolivian President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada had made a deal with Castro to favor the Cuban team.

The accounts could not be confirmed, but Anaya suddenly canceled Villoldo’s plane reservations. Villoldo appealed to President Sanchez de Lozada and was again cleared to fly to Bolivia. But Bolivian friends counseled him to stay in Miami, Villoldo said.

“My friends told me that Castro knew of my planned arrival, and that there was some possibility the Cubans would take some action against me,” Villoldo said. “Based on the warning . . . I decided to wait and see what happened.”

What happened was a Cuban dash to find the body.

Just 18 days after Villoldo’s letter reached Aleida Guevara, and one day after the municipal ban on digging ended, the Cubans launched a search for Che’s remains with an intensity unseen in the previous 16 months of digging. They worked from sunup to sundown, virtually nonstop. They were in such a hurry, they used the one excavation tool considered anathema by all experts in their field — a bulldozer.

By June 27, a Cuban team led by Jorge Gonzalez, head of the Havana Institute of Legal Medicine, had dug several test trenches and pits in the area described by Gen. Vargas, but came up empty-handed. Time was running out.

President Sanchez de Lozada’s government had ordered all digging stopped on June 28, apparently because of the June 2 election of a new Bolivian president, Hugo Banzer. A former military dictator in the 1970s, Banzer is known to have little liking for Che, Castro or Cuba. Sanchez de Lozada might have correctly presumed his actions might come under unsympathetic examination by his successor.

Indeed, Banzer, sworn into office in August, has vowed to investigate his predecessor’s role in helping Cuba dig up Che’s remains, and to investigate press reports that Anaya might personally profit from the publicity rights to the excavation story.

No Hands

The Cuban diggers met until 4 o’clock the morning of June 28 to decide where to focus their last day of digging, recalled Alejandro Inchaurregui, one of a team of Argentine Forensic Anthropologists called in to help the Cubans.

What are believed to be the long-lost bones of Che rest on an examining table at a small hospital in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on July 8 of this year.
Ground radar surveys conducted by the Cuban-Argentine search team in early 1997 had revealed a dozen spots of disturbed earth that could be secret grave sites — or maybe displaced rocks or fallen trees. Of these, three in particular had all the characteristics of being man-made. This is where they set to work. With a bulldozer.

In the first spot, they set the bulldozer blade to scrape away four inches of dirt with each pass. Nearly two hours later, they hit rock and no sign of any bones. They moved on to spot No. 2.

Eighteen scrapes of the bulldozer later, almost exactly six feet down, the blade uncovered and broke parts of a human skeleton.

What the Cubans had found were seven bodies, in two groups of three and four, separated by 2 1/2 feet, buried in a pit wedged between Vallegrande’s old dirt airstrip to the north and the nearby cemetery to the south.

Jubilation erupted when the second body was uncovered, the middle one in the group of three, and was found to have no hands. Che’s hands were amputated after his death as proof of his demise.

But Che’s remains still had to be officially identified by Bolivian government officials so that they could be released and flown to Cuba.

“Ministry of Interior people were telling us to move fast. As the inauguration of Banzer approached, the screws tightened,” said Inchaurregui.

And so in the dead of night on July 5, a convoy of 10 vehicles made a five-hour, 150-mile dash at breakneck speeds along treacherous mountain roads to transfer the remains to the provincial capital of Santa Cruz.

There, the handless remains were quickly identified. The excavated teeth perfectly matched a plaster mold of Che’s teeth made in Havana before he left for the Congo so that he could be identified if he died in combat.

And there was a clincher, revealed to Tropic by Jaime Nino de Guzman, who had been a Bolivian army major and helicopter pilot in 1967, and who had seen Che alive as a captive in La Higuera as he flew officers and supplies in and out.

Che looked dreadful, Nino de Guzman recalled last month from his home in La Paz. He was shot through the right calf, his hair was matted with dirt, his were shredded, and his feet were covered in rough leather sheaths. But Che held his head high, looked everyone straight in the eyes and asked only for something to smoke. Seldom seen without a Cuban cigar in hand after Castro triumphed, Che had switched to a pipe for the guerrilla war.

“I took pity, he looked so terrible, and gave him my small bag of imported tobacco for his pipe. He smiled and thanked me,” the pilot recalled in a telephone interview.

Thirty years later, Inchaurregui said, he was inspecting a blue jacket dug up next to the handless remains when he found a tiny inside pocket, almost hidden and apparently missed by the soldiers who searched Che’s body. Tucked away inside was a small bag of pipe tobacco.

“I must tell you I had serious doubts at the beginning. I thought the Cubans would just find any old bones and call it Che,” said Nino de Guzman. “But after hearing about the tobacco pouch, I have no doubts.”

Neither do most others familiar with the search.

“Just seeing the genuine excitement, the genuine euphoria on the face of the Cubans there makes me certain this was Che’s remains,” said John Lee Anderson, the American author. Anderson witnessed the final stages of the dig. “They were simply overcome, crying and hugging each other.”

Sources: Herald/Tamayo/Villoldo/

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Searching for “Che” Guevara ‘Dead or Alive’ (3 of 3)

Recovering Che’s remains was a propaganda triumph for Castro, whose ideology has all but keeled over since the collapse of the Soviet Bloc.

Che was, literally, the poster boy for the Cuban Revolution. He was an asthmatic, Argentine-born physician who joined Castro in the war against the Batista dictatorship, then rejected Soviet orthodoxy, and gave his life trying to export an ideology that he regarded as more humanitarian than communist. A 17-ton, five-story steel profile of Che covers the facade of the Interior Ministry headquarters in Havana’s Revolution Plaza. It is a frequent backdrop to Fidel’s most important speeches, a virtual logo of the Cuban capital.

To this day Che remains a worldwide icon for radical change, his many political and economic blunders and guerrilla defeats mostly forgotten and largely overshadowed by his huge cultural impact. His romantic image, amplified by his early death and unorthodox communism, allowed his appeal to transcend ideological lines.

A 17-ton, five-story steel profile of Che covers the facade of the Interior Ministry headquarters in Havana’s Revolution Plaza. It is a frequent backdrop to Fidel’s most important speeches, a virtual logo of the Cuban capital.
“Che has become a universal, multigenerational symbol of the ’60s, like the Beatles, a man sufficiently political to capture the politics of the times in a broad sense without getting bogged down in the whole Cold War issue,” said Jorge Castaneda, a Mexican who authored one of three Che biographies published this year. But Che’s story is all about money, too. Cuba bought 10,000 Swiss-made Swatch watches carrying Che’s beret-clad and bearded visage and sold them in Havana boutiques. Former Culture Minister Armando Hart authored a multimedia CD-ROM on Che, priced at $60.

Havana music historian Santiago Felu has put together an anthology of 135 songs about Che, to go on sale in October. Felu said the songs will include traditional Cuban rhythms as well as rock and blues, and some whose lyrics are “critical of those who have misused and vulgarized Che’s image.”

Perhaps he means the Cuban street peddlers who offer tourists Che’s image on everything from wood carvings to hammered leather, and even dried sea grape leaves inscribed with some of his famous sayings.

It’s doubtful he means the key chains, posters and T-shirts with Che’s image always sold in Cuban government shops at $6 to $10 a pop.

Cuba drew the line on commercializing Che’s image last year, going after a British brewer that briefly manufactured a “Che” beer carrying his image and the captivating slogan, “Banned in the U.S. It must be good.”

Of course certain Che artifacts — the authentic ones, like rusty old rifles, rucksacks and yellowed photographs found in Bolivia and quietly brought back to Cuba by Cuban agents for years — cannot be mass produced. But they can still be exploited.

That applies especially to the ultimate Che artifact: his long-lost bones.

A Final Enigma

Even Gustavo Villoldo, who hunted Guevara all over the world, now acknowledges that these are probably Che’s remains. “Although I initially doubted it, all the evidence points to that,” he said after reviewing the evidence.

Yet another mystery remains, for the grave where the Cubans found seven remains does not match in significant details the grave where Villoldo says he buried Che and two other guerrillas.

“I cannot explain that at all,” he said. “That was the single most important moment in my life, and I can remember the details as though they are happening right now, right here. And they just don’t match.”

Villoldo heard of Che’s capture while he was in the Ranger’s advance command post in a nearby town. Villoldo rushed to Vallegrande, arriving on Oct. 9, just two hours before the helicopter with Che’s body landed at a dirt airstrip jammed with hundreds of journalists and curious townspeople.

“I never saw him alive, but I had no interest in that or in talking to him,” he said. “It was never personal to me, even though the fact that Che had contributed to my dad’s death was always in the back of my mind. It was just a job.”

The following day, Oct. 10, the top Bolivian military commanders and Villoldo gathered in the restaurant of Vallegrande’s lone hotel, the two-story Hotel Teresita, to discuss how to dispose of Che’s body, he recalled.

As in Che’s exhumation 30 years later, it was a race against the clock: The army officials had received word that some of Che’s relatives were on their way to Vallegrande to claim the body.

But both the Bolivians and Villoldo wanted to “disappear” it.

“We thought it was important to dispose of it in utmost security to deny Castro the bones and the possibility of building some sort of monument that he could exploit both ideologically and commercially,” recalled Villoldo.

Someone suggested cremating it, Villoldo said, but he argued that in the absence of a true crematorium in Vallegrande, “all we would be doing would be holding a barbecue. I told them that they had written a pretty page in the history of the Bolivian army, and that they should not end that way.”

Army commanders eventually settled on amputating the hands for future identification and then burying the body in secret. Army Chief Gen. Alfredo Ovando assigned Villoldo to carry out the decisions. Villoldo was photographed by Bolivian journalists looking over the shoulders of the two doctors who performed a quick autopsy of the corpse and later — after the journalists were gone — amputated its hands.

That’s when Villoldo clipped a lock of Che’s scraggly hair, at least initially for a U.S. Green Beret who had asked him for a keepsake. But, he ruefully acknowledged, he did keep a few strands.

“I don’t even recall if I cut it with a knife or scissors. I was not interested and I had no intention to keep it. I am not that kind of person. But in time, I figured, well . . .” He still has it, though he has never shown it in public.

Villoldo said he was provided with a security guard, a driver for a truck to transport the body and a second driver for the bulldozer that would bury it.

He took a nap, awoke at about 1:45 a.m., and went to the hospital laundry room. Che’s body was laid atop a laundry basin. On the dirt floor, a couple of feet away, were the rapidly decomposing corpses of two other rebels.

It’s the same scene described by helicopter pilot Nino de Guzman and by Alberto Suazo, who in 1967, as a young reporter for United Press International, saw Che’s corpse in the hospital. But Suazo recalled seeing “another three or four guerrilla corpses” laid out somewhere in the patio behind the hospital, which is consistent with Guzman’s account of flying in seven corpses.

Villoldo insists he saw only Che’s and two other bodies.

He ordered his helpers to load the three corpses on the truck. They drove to the airstrip in total darkness until he saw a likely spot near the walled Vallegrande cemetery, Villoldo recalled. He told the driver to stop.

The spot was south of the airstrip and west of the cemetery, in an area where a bulldozer had already been working nearby so that a fresh grave would not be apparent, Villoldo says.

But the mass grave dug up by the Cubans was north of the cemetery.

Villoldo says that while he sent one of his men to get the bulldozer, he took compass readings and paced off distances from four points that would allow him to find the exact spot again. He wrote nothing down, he says, but committed the measurements to memory.

Then they backed the truck to the edge of a natural in the ground and unloaded the three corpses. Villoldo ordered the bulldozer driver to cover them up.

Both Villoldo and the bulldozer driver, who still lives in Vallegrande and was interviewed by Inchaurregui, recall that it began to rain toward the end of the burial.

The bulldozer driver said he did not remember exactly how many bodies he buried or whether the site was north or west of the cemetery. He cannot even say for certain that Che was among the bodies, Inchaurregui told Tropic.

Inchaurregui said he believes Villoldo is lying or mistaken about burying only three bodies. “He obviously has political considerations for saying what he says. I am not surprised that after 30 years he would still be trying to lead everyone astray,” the Argentine said.

Villoldo’s CIA supervisor for the Bolivia mission, now retired in North Florida but still speaking only on condition of anonymity, said this: “Gus does not exaggerate. I would believe him if he says he buried three.”

So how about those seven remains? Who were ‘Willy’ Simon Cuba Sarabia who helped Che when he was wounded in the Quebrada de Yuro. Others were Orlando Tamayo “Antonio’; Aniceto Reynago Gordillo “Aniceto”; Rene Martinez Tamayo; Alberto Fernández Moises de Oca “Pacho” and Juan Pablo Chang Navarro.

Could the truck or bulldozer drivers have buried the other four guerrillas earlier in the day and then led an unwitting Villoldo to the same spot to bury Che and the two others?

“No way. I told them where to go, where to stop. I picked the spot all by myself,” Villoldo said.

Could the drivers have buried the other four bodies in the same spot as Che and the two others the next day, perhaps returning to where they had left the bulldozer after the rains came?

Not likely, said Inchaurregui. The pattern of digging marks in the pit from which the seven bodies were excavated indicated that a bulldozer had dug it with back-and-forth passes — not simply moved dirt atop bodies in a natural as Villoldo described.

Analysis of dirt hardness also showed the grave had one common floor of hard-packed dirt under all the bodies, and that all the seven bodies had been covered with the same dirt at the same time, Inchaurregui added.

“It looks to me like one opening and one closing of the grave. It’s seven bodies, not three. That’s the empirical evidence,” the anthropologist concluded.

Could Villoldo, by a zillion-to-one coincidence, have buried the three bodies in the same natural where some Bolivian army officer had earlier simply dumped four unburied corpses?

“I looked down into that and saw nothing,” said Villoldo. “I buried and covered three bodies. I know that for sure. I never saw seven bodies, I never even knew of seven bodies until much later.”

Today, a reduced team of Cubans working at a slower pace remains in Vallegrande, looking for some 23 more guerrilla corpses believed buried in unmarked graves around the region.

Still missing is the body of the second most notorious guerrilla: Tamara Bunker, a pretty, young Argentine of German descent code-named Tanya, a reputed KGB agent.

Villoldo remains determined to fly to Bolivia to visit the site where the handless remains were dug up and compare it to the compass bearings and distances he recorded the night he buried Che.

In the meantime, Villoldo tends his farm, pores over large scale maps of Vallegrande, re-reads his books on Che and tries to figure out how it’s possible to bury three bodies and dig up seven.

“Maybe you can headline this story Che: The End of the Myth,” he suggested.

But perhaps it is only the beginning of another.

Sources: Herald/Tamayo/Villoldo/

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First US Intervention in Cuba

During the War in 1897, the Cuban Liberation Army maintained a privileged position in Camagüey and Oriente, where the Spanish only controlled a few cities. Spanish liberal leader Praxedes Sagasta admitted in May 1897: “After having sent 200,000 men and shed so much blood, we don’t own more land on the island than what our soldiers are stepping on”. The rebel force of 3,000 defeated the Spanish in various encounters, such as the battle of La Reforma and the surrender of Las Tunas on 30 August, and the Spaniards were kept on the defensive. Las Tunas had been guarded by over 1,000 well-armed and well-supplied men.

As stipulated at the Jimaguayú Assembly two years earlier, a second Constituent Assembly met in La Yaya, Camagüey, on 10 October 1897. The newly-adopted constitution decreed that a military command be subordinated to civilian rule. The government was confirmed, naming Bartolomé Masó as president and Dr. Domingo Méndez Capote vice as president.

Madrid decided to change its policy toward Cuba, replacing Weyler, drawing up a colonial constitution for Cuba and Puerto Rico, and installing a new government in Havana. But with half the country out of its control, and the other half in arms, the new government was powerless and rejected by the rebels.

The Maine incident

The Cuban struggle for independence had captured the American imagination for years and newspapers had been agitating for intervention with sensational stories of Spanish atrocities against the native Cuban population, intentionally sensationalized and exaggerated. Americans believed that Cuba’s battle with Spain resembled America’s Revolutionary War. This continued even after Spain replaced Weyler and changed its policies and American public opinion was very much in favour of intervening in favour of the Cubans.

In January 1898, a riot by Cuban Spanish loyalists against the new autonomous government broke out in Havana leading to the destruction of the printing presses of four local newspapers for publishing articles critical of Spanish Army atrocities. The US Consul-General cabled Washington with fears for the lives of Americans living in Havana. In response the battleship USS Maine was sent to Havana in the last week of January. On 15 February 1898 the Maine was rocked by an explosion, killing 268 of the crew and sinking the ship in the harbour. The cause of the explosion has not been clearly established to this day. In an attempt to appease the US the colonial government took two steps that had been demanded by President William McKinley: it ended the forced relocation and offered negotiations with the independence fighters. But the truce was rejected by the rebels.

The Spanish-American War – the Cuban theatre

The explosion of the Maine sparked a wave of indignation in the US. Newspaper owners such as William R. Hearst leapt to the conclusion that Spanish officials in Cuba were to blame, and they widely publicized the conspiracy although Spain could have had no interest in getting the US involved in the conflict. Yellow journalism fuelled American anger by publishing “atrocities” committed by Spain in Cuba. Hearst, when informed by Frederic Remington, whom he had hired to furnish illustrations for his newspaper, that conditions in Cuba were not bad enough to warrant hostilities, allegedly replied, “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” McKinley, Speaker of the House Thomas Brackett Reed, and the business community opposed the growing public demand for war, which was lashed to fury by yellow journalism. The American cry of the hour became, Remember the Maine, To Hell with Spain!

The decisive event was probably the speech of Senator Redfield Proctor delivered on 17 March, analyzing the situation and concluding that war was the only answer. The business and religious communities switched sides, leaving McKinley and Reed almost alone in their opposition to the war. “Faced with a revved up, war-ready population, and all the editorial encouragement the two competitors could muster, the US jumped at the opportunity to get involved and showcase its new steam-powered Navy”. On 11 April McKinley asked Congress for authority to send American troops to Cuba for the purpose of ending the civil war there. On 19 April Congress passed joint resolutions (by a vote of 311 to 6 in the House and 42 to 35 in the Senate) supporting Cuban independence and disclaiming any intention to annex Cuba, demanding Spanish withdrawal, and authorizing the president to use as much military force as he thought necessary to help Cuban patriots gain independence from Spain. This was adopted by resolution of Congress and included from Senator Henry Teller the Teller Amendment, which passed unanimously, stipulating that “the island of Cuba is, and by right should be, free and independent”. The amendment disclaimed any intention on the part of the US to exercise jurisdiction or control over Cuba for other than pacification reasons, and confirmed that the armed forces would be removed once the war is over. Senate and Congress passed the amendment on 19 April, McKinley signed the joint resolution on 20 April and the ultimatum was forwarded to Spain. War was declared on 20/21 April 1898.

“It’s been suggested that a major reason for the US war against Spain was the fierce competition emerging between Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World and William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal.” Joseph E. Wisan wrote in an essay titled “The Cuban Crisis As Reflected In The New York Press”, published in “American Imperialism” in 1898: “In the opinion of the writer, the Spanish-American War would not have occurred had not the appearance of Hearst in New York journalism precipitated a bitter battle for newspaper circulation.” It has also been argued that the main reason the U.S. entered the war was the failed secret attempt, in 1896, to purchase Cuba from a weaker, war-depleted Spain.

Propaganda of the Spanish American War

Hostilities started hours after the declaration of war when a US contingent under Admiral William T. Sampson blockaded several Cuban ports. The Americans decided to invade Cuba and to start in Oriente where the Cubans had almost absolute control and were able to co-operate, for example, by establishing a beachhead and protecting the US landing in Daiquiri. The first US objective was to capture the city of Santiago de Cuba in order to destroy Linares’ army and Cervera’s fleet. To reach Santiago they had to pass through concentrated Spanish defences in the San Juan Hills and a small town in El Caney. Between 22 and 24 June the Americans landed under General William R. Shafter at Daiquirí and Siboney, east of Santiago, and established a base. The port of Santiago became the main target of naval operations. The US fleet attacking Santiago needed shelter from the summer hurricane season. Thus nearby Guantánamo Bay with its excellent harbour was chosen for this purpose and attacked on 6 June (1898 invasion of Guantánamo Bay). The Battle of Santiago de Cuba, on 3 July 1898, was the largest naval engagement during the Spanish-American War resulting in the destruction of the Spanish Caribbean Squadron (Flota de Ultramar).

Resistance in Santiago consolidated around Fort Canosa, all the while major battles between Spaniards and Americans took place at Las Guasimas (Battle of Las Guasimas) on 24 June El Caney Battle of El Caney and San Juan Hill Battle of San Juan Hill on 1 July 1898 outside of Santiago [48] after which the American advance ground to a halt. Spanish troops successfully defended Fort Canosa, allowing them to stabilize their line and bar the entry to Santiago. The Americans and Cubans forcibly began a bloody, strangling siege of the city which eventually surrendered on 16 July after the defeat of the Spanish Caribbean Squadron. Thus, Oriente was under control of Americans and the Cubans, but US General Nelson A. Miles would not allow Cuban troops to enter Santiago, claiming that he wanted to prevent clashes between Cubans and Spaniards. Thus, Cuban General Calixto Carcía, head of the mambi forces in the Eastern department, ordered his troops to hold their respective areas and resigned, writing a letter of protest to General Shafter.

After losing the Philippines and Puerto Rico, which had also been invaded by the US, and with no hope of holding on to Cuba, Spain sued for peace on 17 July 1898. On 12 August the US and Spain signed a protocol of Peace in which Spain agreed to relinquish all claim of sovereignty over and title of Cuba. On 10 December 1898 the US and Spain signed the Treaty of Paris, recognizing Cuban independence Although the Cubans had participated in the liberation efforts, the US prevented Cuba from participating in the Paris peace talks and signing the treaty. The treaty set no time limit for US occupation and the Isle of Pines was excluded from Cuba. Although the treaty officially granted Cuba’s independence, US General William R. Shafter refused to allow Cuban General Calixto García and his rebel forces to participate in the surrender ceremonies in Santiago de Cuba.

The first US occupation and the Platt amendment

After the Spanish troops left the island in December 1898, the government of Cuba was handed over to the United States on 1 January 1899. The first governor was General John R. Brooke. Unlike Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines, the United States did not annex Cuba because of the restrictions imposed in the Teller Amendment. The US administration was undecided on Cuba’s future status. Once it had been pried away from the Spaniards it was to be assured that it moved and remained in the US sphere. How this was to be achieved was a matter of intense discussion and annexation was an option, not only on the mainland but also in Cuba. McKinley spoke about the links that should exist between the two nations.

Brooke set up a civilian government, placed US governors in seven newly created departments, and named civilian governors for the provinces as well as mayors and representatives for the municipalities. Many Spanish colonial government officials were kept in their posts. The population were ordered to disarm and, ignoring the Mambi Army, Brooke created the Rural Guard and municipal police corps at the service of the occupation forces. Cuba’s judicial powers and courts remained legally based on the codes of the Spanish government. Tomás Estrada Palma, Martí’s successor as delegate of the Cuban Revolutionary Party, dissolved the party a few days after the signing of the Paris Treaty in December 1898, claiming that the objectives of the party had been met. The revolutionary Assembly of Representatives was also dissolved. Thus, the three representative institutions of the national liberation movement disappeared.

Before the US officially took over the government, it had already begun cutting tariffs on US goods entering Cuba without granting the same rights to Cuban goods going to the US. Government payments had to be made in US dollars. In spite of the Foraker Amendment, prohibiting the US occupation government from granting privileges and concessions to US investors, the Cuban economy, facilitated by the occupation government, was soon dominated by US capital. The growth of US sugar estates was so quick that in 1905 nearly 10% of Cuba’s total land area belonged to US citizens. By 1902 US companies controlled 80% of Cuba’s ore exports and owned most of the sugar and cigarette factories.

The US Army also began a massive public health program to fight endemic diseases, mainly yellow fever, and an education system was organized at all levels, increasing the number of primary schools fourfold.

Elections and independence

Voices soon began to be heard, demanding a Constituent Assembly. In December 1899 the US War Secretary assured that the occupation was temporary, that municipal elections would be held, that a Constituent Assembly would be set up, followed by general elections and that sovereignty would be handed to Cubans. Brooke was replaced by General Leonard Wood to oversee the transition. Parties were created, including the Cuban National Party, the Federal Republican Party of Las Villas, the Republican Party of Havana and the Democratic Union Party. The first elections for mayors, treasurers and attorneys of the country’s 110 municipalities for a one-year-term took place on 16 June 1900 but balloting was limited to literate Cubans older than 21 and with properties worth more than 250 US dollars. Only members of the dissolved Liberation Army were exempt from these conditions. Thus, the number of about 418,000 male citizens over 21 was reduced to about 151,000. 360,000 women were totally excluded. The same elections were held one year later, again for a one-year-term.

Elections for 31 delegates to a Constituent Assembly were held on 15 September 1900 with the same balloting restrictions. In all three elections, pro-independence candidates, including a large number of mambi delegates, won overwhelming majorities.[60] The Constitution was drawn up from November 1900 to February 1901 and then passed by the Assembly. It established a republican form of government, proclaimed internationally-recognized individual rights and liberties, freedom of religion, separation between church and state, and described the composition, structure and functions of state powers.

On 2 March 1901, the US Congress passed the Army Appropriations Act, stipulating the conditions for the withdrawal of United States troops remaining in Cuba following the Spanish-American War. As a rider, this act included the Platt Amendment, which defined the terms of Cuban-US relations until 1934. It replaced the earlier Teller Amendment. The amendment provided for a number of rules heavily infringing on Cuba’s sovereignty:
Cuba would not transfer Cuban land to any power other than the United States.
Cuba would contract no foreign debt without guarantees that the interest could be served from ordinary revenues.
The right to US intervention in Cuban affairs and military occupation when the US authorities considered that the life, properties and rights of US citizens were in danger.
Cuba was prohibited from negotiating treaties with any country other than the United States “which will impair or to impair the independence of Cuba”.
Cuba was prohibited to “permit any foreign power or powers to obtain … lodgement in or control over any portion” of Cuba.
The Isle of Pines (now called Isla de la Juventud) was deemed outside the boundaries of Cuba until the title to it was adjusted in a future treaty.
The sale or lease to the United States of “lands necessary for coaling or naval stations at certain specified points to be agreed upon.” The amendment ceded to the United States the naval base in Cuba (Guantánamo Bay) and granted the right to use a number of other naval bases as coal stations.

As a precondition to Cuba’s independence, the US demanded that this amendment be approved fully and without changes by the Constituent Assembly as an appendix to the new constitution. Faced with this alternative, the appendix was approved, after heated debate, by a margin of 4 votes. Governor Wood admitted: “Little or no independence had been left to Cuba with the Platt Amendment and the only thing appropriate was to seek annexation”.
In the presidential elections of 31 December 1901, Tomás Estrada Palma, a US citizen still living in the United States, was the only candidate. His adversary, General Bartolomé Masó, withdrew his candidacy in protest against US favoritism and the manipulation of the political machine by Palma’s followers. Palma was elected to be the Republic’s first President, although he only returned to Cuba four months after the election. The US occupation officially ended when Palma took office on 20 May 1902.

Cuba in the early 20th century

In 1902, the United States handed over control to a Cuban government that as a condition of the transfer had included in its constitution provisions implementing the requirements of the Platt Amendment, which among other things gave the United States the right to intervene militarily in Cuba. Havana and Varadero became popular tourist resorts. The Cuban population gradually enacted civil rights anti-discrimination legislation that ordered minimum employment quotas for Cubans.

President Tomás Estrada Palma was elected in 1902, and Cuba was declared independent, though Guantanamo Bay was leased to the United States as part of the Platt Amendment. The status of the Isle of Pines as Cuban territory was left undefined until 1925 when the United States finally recognized Cuban sovereignty over the island. Estrada Palma, a frugal man, governed successfully for his four year term; yet when he tried to extend his time in office, a revolt ensued. In 1906, the United States representative William Howard Taft, notably with the personal diplomacy of Frederick Funston, negotiated an end of the successful revolt led by able young general Enrique Loynaz del Castillo, who had served under Antonio Maceo in the final war of independence. Estrada Palma resigned. The United States Governor Charles Magoon assumed temporary control until 1909.

Source: Wiki/ USHispWAR/InternetPhotos/YouTube/

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First Hand Account of Bay of Pigs Invasion (US Records)

MAY 1961
[Reference: Dade County OCB file #153-D]

CI 153-D
DATE: May 29, 1961

TO: THOMAS J. KELLY, Metropolitan Sheriff

FROM: LT. FRANK KAPPEL, Supervisor, Criminal Intelligence

Additional Information – ULISES CARBO

Reference is made to the report under the same case number dated May 21, 1961 in which the initial contact with the delegation of ten Cuban prisoners was related. The prisoners arrived in Miami on May 20, 1961 to negotiate an offer made by FIDEL CASTRO to exchange the captured invaders of Bahia de Cochinos for 500 tractors.

The leader of the group, ULISES CARBO, a personal acquaintance of the writer, related several episodes of the invasion in addition to information concerning the treatment of the captives by the Communist regime of Cuba.

ULISES CARBO was aboard the transport “Houston” when the invasion force sailed from Puerto Cabezas toward the Bahia de Cochinos landing beaches. Just prior to departure, the ranking officers aboard the transport had a strong argument with a C.I.A. agent known as “Jerry” about the feasibility and need for anti aircraft protection. As a result, eight .50 caliber machine guns were installed on the “Houston”. The “Houston” was the slowest vessel in the convoy, her speed being only eight knots. This caused an earlier departure from Puerto Cabezas and by consequence a longer stay at sea.

The “Houston” was carried two battalions plus fuel and ammunition. The troops were supposed to be transferred to waiting L.C.I.’s which, in turn, would land them to the selected beach.

When the transport reached the rendezvous point at the inner tip of the Bay of Cochinos, the L.C.I.’s failed to materialize and consequently t he troops had to be landed by outboard launches which were to be used only for beach patrol duty.

At approximately 2 a.m. when the “Houston” approached the objective, it became necessary to lower the patrol launches and lifeboats to land the troops. In contrast with orders of strict silence to be observed by the troops, the lowering of the boats was a noisy operation. It is the opinion of CARBO that the militiamen ashore were alerted by the noise of the steam operated davits when they put the small boats overboard. CARBO related an incident of a man who dropped a clip on deck and was immediately placed under arrest while almost immediately afterwards, the noisy davits were put in operation.

As a consequence of the lack of appropriate landing means, the disembarking of the personnel, which was originally planned to take only one and one and a half hours, took such a long time to accomplish, that at daylight only half of the personnel had reached shore.

With daylight the “Houston” came under constant attack by enemy aircraft. As a consequence all landing operations had to be halted after an attempt to land a party of eight men ended with the death of five as the strafing aircraft singled the small craft for target.

The “Houston” was escorted by the “Barbara J” which, according to CARBO, had four United States officers aboard. These officers were observed manning the anti aircraft guns of the vessel and drew the admiration of the Cubans for their courage.

At approximately 8:00 a.m., a Seafury launched two rockets against the “Houston” that completely disabled the transport which had already suffered damages in the ruder during a previous attack. Since there was no possibility of repairing the two large holes amidships produced by the rockets, Captain LUIS MORSE DELGADO decided to proceed toward land and beach the ship.

ULISES CARBO related an incident that left him and his companions astonished and bitter at the unaccountable behavior of the crew of the “Barbara J”

When the “Houston” was disabled by the direct hit several men jumped overboard an began swimming toward the “Barbara J” which was standing by.

For some unexplainable reason the “Barbara J” instead of picking up the survivors, revved up her engines and began moving toward the opposite direction. This action caused such a resentment among the men left on the “Houston” that they opened fire against the “Barbara J”.

CARBO added that when the transport ran around approximately 800 meters (½ mile) from shore, it had just reached the limit of its endurance because it sank with only a few feet of superstructure remaining above water. Through the hole on her side, the “Houston” lost a large quantity of oil which rendered more difficult the evacuation of the ship.

The two lifeboats, capable of carrying 30 men each, were used to land the non swimmers, while the personnel capable of swimming, covered the distance as best as it could under constant strafing by the CASTRO aircraft.

ULISES CARBO revealed that he had to shed his boots and pants to facilitate his movements and thus he reached shore in his underwear.

From the time he landed until captured ten days later, ULISES CARBO had very little to eat and drink with the exception of grub worms, crabs, and roots all eaten raw to prevent detention.

CARBO related that the morale of the invaders was very high and, contrary to CASTRO’S claims, several hundred militiamen surrendered during the initial phases of the invasion.

Episodes of heroism were common but in some instances, there were acts that were outstanding. According to CARBO, a tank manned by the invaders engaged in combat with a Stalin-type enemy tank. When its ammunition was exhausted, it charged against its opponent and pushed it out of the road into the swamp where it sank in the mud.

On another instance, 17 men with a few bazookas and two mortars placed on the highway linking San Blas to the interior held at bay an estimated five to six thousand militiamen for two days.

CARBO also related that one of the high ranking officers committed an act of cowardice that earned him the name of “Sabana blanca” (white sheet) because he was one of the first to surrender and used a white sheet to attract attention. CARBO did not reveal his name.

CARBO revealed that during the peak of the air attacks, he overheard the frantic appeals for air support by the Captain of the United States D.D. “Santiago”. In one of the verbal exchanges the Captain is desperation exclaimed, “The State Department is full of shit”. When the Captain of a nearby carrier replied that he could not order his plane to support the desperate invaders because of express orders from the Department of State.

CARBO added that United States planes were observed flying overhead at a high altitude towards the end of the first day and observed a delta wing-type aircraft peel off from a group of three and open fire on some distant objective. This is the only alleged intervention by a United States aircraft reported so far by participants in the invasion.

CARBO stated that the invaders managed to penetrate as far as 30 miles inland but after the second day the lack of ammunition and food became so acute that there was no other alternative but to surrender or try to escape towards the Escambray Mountains.

The CASTRO forces, which towards the end of the fighting had reached an estimated strength of 61,000, began gaining terrain only after the third day and after the ammunition had been exhausted.

The writer was able to establish, after a perusal of a Cuban magazine relating the CASTRO version of the operations, that only a dozen of mortar shells were captured with the equipment which appeared in photographs published by the magazine.

CARBO revealed that he received fair treatment at the hands of his captors and added that during his meanderings in the swamps, he and three companions came in contact with several patrols of militiamen. Although the enemy was superior in number and armament, it was also very restive in engaging the small haggard group armed with only a .30 caliber machine gun and three belts of ammunition.

The group of prisoners arrived in Miami related an episode of genocide perpetrated by the CASTRO forces that equals in cruelty similar acts performed by Nazi exterminators during World War II.

A group of the first prisoners to be captured, totaling 152 was packed in a refrigerator trailer for the trip to Havana. There was no ventilation in the insulated van and soon the heat and the lack of air rendered the situation unbearable. One of the prisoners managed to open a hole with the aid of a crucifix allowing thus a small group to take turns in breathing fresh air. No amount of pounding on the sides of the van resulted in improving the captive’s conditions since they were escorted by a hardened communist, Captain OSMANI CIENFUEGOS, Minister of Public Works and brother of CAMILO CIENFUEGOS who disappeared on October 28, 1959, allegedly killed on CASTRO’S orders.

At the end of the 90 mile trip, nine prisoners were found dead by asphyxiation. Five of them were identified as follows: RENE SILVA, PEPE MILLAN, PEPE VILLARELLO, CUCO CERVANTES, and JOSE IGNACIO MACIA. RENE SILVA is a cousin of ULISES CARBO who asked that this incident be kept from the press until the negotiations for the tractors were ended.

CARBO revealed that he underwent a 4 ½ hour interrogation by FIDEL CASTRO who was extremely polite and at one point revealed that his side had deployed no less than 49 battalions of an estimated strength of 50,000 men. According to CASTRO, 80,000 mortar and 50,000 cannon shells were expended during the battle. CASTRO called the invaders fools for opposing such a superior force as long as they did.

One of the prisoners in the group, a Negro named ELOY FELIX PEREZ TAMAYO, when told by CASTRO during a television interrogatory that Negroes in Cuba could swim in the same beaches with whites replied, “I did not come to fight in Cuba because I wanted to go swimming”.

CARBO revealed that just prior to departure, the group was taken to a 3 ½ hour tour of Havana and shown the accomplishments of the communist regime. At the end of the tour, CASTRO personally took the group into a restaurant an ordered that they be served food and beer without limitations. Obviously this was meant to convince the prisoners about to embark for Miami that there was no food shortage in Havana.

Many of the prisoners revealed that the women employs of the Social Welfare who came in contact with them slipped rosaries in their hands and expressed their sympathy. Many of the militia guards serve as contacts with the outside and CARBO revealed that he had means of communicating with Miami when necessary.

At approximately 7:25 a.m., May 27, 1961 the ten prisoners returned to Havana on P.A.A. 421. They expressed confidence that their negotiations would bring about the proposed exchange of prisoners.

Respectfully submitted,

Intelligence Agent

LT. FRANK KAPPEL, Supervisor
Criminal Intelligence
ALT /rcw

Note: Cuban Prisoners were exchanged after negotiations.

Sources: US Records/CuInv/InternetPhotos/

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Morro Castle (Habana)

Morro Castle Spanish: Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro is a picturesque fortress guarding the entrance to Havana bay in Havana, Cuba. Juan Bautista Antonelli, an Italian engineer, was commissioned to design the structure. When it was built in 1589, Cuba was under the control of Spain. The castle, named after the biblical Magi, was later captured by the British in 1762.

Morro Castle in Havana shares the name with other structures in Santiago de Cuba and the Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Perched on the promontory on the opposite side of the harbor from Old Havana it can be viewed from miles around as it dominates the port entrance.
Built initially in 1589 in response to raids on Havana harbor, el Morro protected the mouth of the harbor with a chain being strung out across the water to the fort at La Punta.

Soources: Wiki/MorroC./InteernetPhotos/

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Cuba and the MPLA before the Civil War

Cuba’s first informal contacts with the MPLA dated back to the late 1950s. MPLA guerrillas received their first training from Cubans in Algiers starting in 1963 and Guevara met MPLA-leader Agostinho Neto for the first high-level talks on 5 January 1965 in Brazzaville where Cuba was establishing a two-year military mission. This mission had the primary purpose to act as a strategic reserve for the Cuban operation in eastern Congo. It also was to provide assistance to the Alphonse Massemba-Débat government in Brazzaville and, at Neto’s request, to the MPLA with its operations against the Portuguese in Cabinda and in northern Angola where its major foe was the FNLA. This co-operation marked the beginning of the Cuban-Angolan alliance which was to last 26 years.[38] The MPLA-Cuban operations in Cabinda and northern Angola were met with very little success and the Cubans ended the mission to Brazzaville as planned in July 1966. The MPLA moved its headquarters to Lusaka in early 1968. A few MPLA guerrillas continued to receive military training in Cuba but else contacts between Cuba and the MPLA cooled as Havana turned its attention to the liberation struggle in Guiné (Guinea-Bissau). Following Castro’s tour of African countries in May 1972 Cuba stepped up its internationalist operations in Africa starting a training mission in Sierra Leone and smaller technical missions in Equatorial Guinea, Somalia, Algeria and Tanzania.

In a memorandum of 22 November 1972 by Cuban Major Manuel Piñeiro Lozada to Major Raúl Castro it says: “For some time now we have discussed the possibility of entering Angola and Mozambique with the objective of getting to know the revolutionary movements in those countries. These movements have been a mystery even for those socialist countries that give them considerable aid. This research would help us give more focused aid to those movements. I don’t consider it necessary to delineate the strategic importance of these countries, it takes only pointing out that a change in the course of events of the wars that are developing in both countries could signify a change in all the forces in the African continent. For the first time two independent countries in Africa from which a bigger war could be waged would have common borders with the region with the principle investment and the strongest political-military knot of Imperialism in Africa exist: South Africa, Rhodesia, Zaire, and the Portuguese colonies.

Our comrades in the MPLA solicited us this May for the following:
a) That we train 10 men in Cuba in guerrilla warfare ….
b) That we send a crew to fly a DC-3 ….
c) They want to send a high level delegation to Cuba ….

… Both movements will coordinate with the governments of Tanzania and Zambia for safe passage of our comrades through their territories”.
These considerations in 1972 bore no fruit and Cuba’s attentions remained focused on Guinea-Bissau. It was only after the Portuguese Revolution that an MPLA delegation brought a request for economic aid, military training and arms to Cuba on 26 July 1974. In early October Cuba received another request, this time more urgent, for 5 Cuban military officers to help organize the MPLA army, FAPLA. In December 1974 / January 1975 Cuba sent Major Alfonso Perez Morales and Carlos Cadelo on a fact finding mission to Angola to assess the situation. In a letter of 26 January 1975, handed to Cadelo and Morales, Neto listed what the MPLA wanted from Cuba:

“1. The establishment, organization, and maintenance of a military school for cadres. We urgently need to create a company of security personnel, and we need to train military staff. 2. A ship to transport the war materiel that we have in Dar-es-Salaam to Angola. The delivery in Angola, if it were in a Cuban ship, could take place outside of territorial waters. 3. Weapons and transportation for the Rapid Deployment Unit (Brigada de Intervencion) that we are planning to organize, as well as light weapons for some infantry battalions. 4. Transmitters and receivers to resolve communication problems of widely dispersed military units. 5. Uniforms and military equipment for 10,000 men. 6. Two pilots and one mechanic. 7. Assistance in training trade union leaders. 8. Assistance in organizing schools to teach Marxism… 9. Publications dealing with political and military subjects, especially instruction manuals. 10. Financial assistance while we are establishing and organizing ourselves.”

Although Cuba was considering the establishment of a military mission (military training) in Angola, again there was no official response to this request. It was only reiterated by the MPLA in May 1975 when Cuban commander Flavio Bravo met Neto in Brazzaville while the Portuguese were preparing to withdraw from their African colonies. The MPLA’s hopes for aid were turned to the eastern Bloc countries from where not enough help materialised according to their wishes. Neto is quoted in a Cuban report complaining about Moscow’s lacklustre support. He also expressed hope that the war in Angola would become “a vital issue in the fight against imperialism and socialism”. But neither the USSR nor the MPLA itself expected a major war to break out before independence. In March 1975 the MPLA sent ca. 100 members for training in the Soviet Union and the requested financial assistance (100,000US$) it received from Yugoslavia.

In November 1975, on the eve of Angola’s independence, Cuba launched a large-scale military intervention in support of the leftist liberation movement MPLA against United States-backed invasions by South Africa and Zaire in support of two other liberation movements competing for power in the country, FNLA and UNITA.
Following the retreat of Zaire and South Africa, Cuban forces remained in Angola to support the Angolan government against the UNITA insurgency in the continuing Angolan Civil War.

In 1988, Cuban troops intervened a second time to avert a military disaster in a Soviet-led FAPLA offensive against UNITA which was supported by South Africa, leading to the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale. This turn of events is considered to have been the major impetus to the success of the ongoing peace talks leading to the New York Accords after which Cuban and South African forces withdrew from Angola while South West Africa gained its independence from South Africa. The War in Angola ended in 1991.

In addition to the Cuban military, from 1976 to 1991, 430,000 Cuban foreign aid volunteers served in Angola. At one point, two-thirds of all doctors in Angola were Cuban.

Source: Wiki/AngolaMPLA/InternetPhtos/

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PANAMA: End of an Invasion

On April 16, 1959, the newspaper La Estrella de Panama issued the alarm that an invasion was coming to Panama by Cubans, foreign mercenaries and some Panamanians who were in Cuba. Two hundred (200) men were trained in Pinar del Rio, led by guerrilla leader Dermidio Escalona. The armed expedition, consisting of about 82 Cubans, two Panamanian and an American, and was led by Cuban Cesar Vega, an old college friend of Castro and expeditionary of Cayo Confite fiasco.

On board the ship Mayarí Cuba, the group left from the anchorage in Batabano, south of Havana to Panama on April 19 and landed at a place known as Playa Colorada, to support an armed uprising that had originated in Cerro Tute. On day 22, the Panamanian guard made prisoners two members of the contingent, a Panamanian student named Picans and a Cuban named Gilberto Betancourt, who had been captain of the cells in action and sabotage the July 26 Movement in Havana, and which was subsequently was shot in Cuba by firing squad for opposing the Castro government. The girls of the village of Nombre de Dios (Name of God) strolled toward the azure Caribbean, arm in arm with the Cuban invaders who had come to Panama to overthrow the democratic government of President Ernesto de la Guardia. As the landing craft taking them off to jail in Panama City backed off the beach, Expedition Commander Cesar Vega and his 83 men (plus a 24-year-old Cuban girl) broke into a song that Castro’s rebels used to sing in Cuba’s Sierra Maestra. The girls of Nombre de Dios wept as the invaders sailed away.

Given the failure of the expedition, the Castro government was forced to cooperate with the Organization of American States to send two members of the military intelligence department, Captain Armando Torres and Lt.Fernando Ruiz, to urge the surrender of the expedition before the arrival of the OAS commission in the Canal Zone. The invasion was a failure from the first moment, to sink the boat in the marshes and cliffs of Nombre de Dios with only one casualty in the action. The invaders, on the other hand, chose a desolate area for the guerrilla warfare, and finally had to be rescued by Navy ships of the United States.

The first of May, Vega capitulated to an OAS commission. This intrusion to overthrow the democratic government of President Ernesto de la Guardia, was the result of a complex intrigue in Latin America, where several characters plotted, including the pro-Castro Rubén Miró, Dr. Roberto Arias,a Panamanian and a gigolo married to British dancer Margot Fonteyn.

At that time, Castro was on a trip to the United States and Canada, and this failure became a sticking point for the Cuban press and political circles in many countries. Raul Castro met him in Texas, so that it will notify the details of the fiasco; Panama was the first and last time the two brothers would find themselves out of the country simultaneously.

Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro, who had been telling U.S. audiences that he flatly opposed Caribbean filibusters, knew all about the Panamanian plot, but was caught aback as the Arias-Fonteyn flop placed Panama in a spotlight of world attention. He ordered his brother, Armed Forces Chief Raúl Castro, to come to Houston for a private talk. The Castros sent a pair of their bearded officers to Panama to persuade the invaders to withdraw.
In Washington the Organization of American States met, listened to a Panamanian plea for help against “international pirates,” sent an investigating team. While patrol boats and planes contributed by the U.S., Ecuador and Colombia scouted the Caribbean and the Panamanian coast for signs of a rumored reinforcement fleet, Invader Chief Cesar Vega met the Cuban officers and the OAS negotiators, and surrendered. Cuba was expected to ask Panama to give the invaders leniency.

Wiki/Alberto Baeza Flores/OAS/InterenetPhotos/

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Invasion of Cuba From Dominican Republic (US Records)

[Reference: RIF 124-10294-10051, FBI record 2-1423-9TH NR 36]

DATE: 05/05/59

1-Mr. Belmont
1-Mr. Donahoe
1-Mr. Correr
1-Mr. Nasca
1-Mr. Mullins

TO: A. H. Belmont
FROM: S. B. Donahoe

During the past few days we have received information from three substantial sources that invasion of Cuba from Dominican Republic is imminent. The sources are: General Manuel Benitez, head of National Police of Cuba from 1940 to 1944 and member of Cuban Legislature from 1948 to 1958; Frank Perez Perez, a source of Miami Office who is aligned with General Benitez and , former Cuban Senator and newspaperman who maintained a private army of hoodlums while Batista was in power and who has been described as a bandit and gangster; I. Irving Davidson, registered agent of Israeli and Nicaraguan Governments who talked with Batista in the Dominican Republic on 4/29/59 and who quotes Batista as stating a group of Cuban riffraff is planning invasion of Cuba from the Dominican Republic with approval of Generalissimo Trujillo who feels Castro will attack if not attacked first.

General Benitez stated General Jose Pedraza Cabrera, who headed Batista’s final campaign against Castro, will be Commander-in-Chief of this new movement which has headquarters in Dominican Republic. Pedraza is in exile there at the present time. While in charge of Batista’s army, Pedraza was considered a very brave man and disciplinarian. He was part of three-man junta which ruled Cuba immediately following Batista’s downfall. Perez claims all other.
Latin-American countries have sanctioned this movement against Cuba and claims Dr. Emilio Nunez Portuondo, chief Cuban delegate to United Nations prior to Castro’s victory, will undoubtedly head the revolutionary junta which will control Cuba for six months until free elections can be held. Following were named as financial contributors to this new movement in addition to Batista who General Benitez claims contributed $2,000,000: Fernando de la Riva, Cuban mining executive; Marino Lopez Blanco, former Cuban Senator and consular official who was stationed in Florida until Castro assumed power; Amadeo Lopez Castro, close personal friend and economic advisor to Batista who was one of leading candidates to succeed Batista before revolution; Francisco Cajigas, former government official under Batista who was admitted to the United States immediately after Batista’s downfall; Roberto “Chili” Mendoza, wealthy sugar magnate who headed group which held gambling concession at Hotel Havana-Hilton prior to Castro’s victory; Garcia Montes, Minister of Education under Batista; Colonel Orlando Piedra, Chief of Cuban Bureau of Investigations under Batista. Our requests for investigations in Cuba by Cuban National Police were approved by Piedra and he assisted us in handling informal deportations from Cuba. We have sent numerous letters of thanks to Piedra. He fled to the Dominican Republic on 1/1/59 and later claimed INS refused him admittance tot he U. S. which INS denies. He owns considerable property in Miami and reportedly amassed a fortune from “take” on gambling activities while head of Bureau of Investigations; Carlos Govea, described as a wealthy Cuban. Bufiles do not definitely identify this individual. In the early 1940′s a Lieutenant Carlos Govea, member of a wealthy and influential family of engineers and contractors, was source of American Embassy and Legal Attache in Havana while serving on Havana Police Department. Carlos Govea y Araoz, born 3/20/18, Havana, was admitted to U. S. on ½/53 to attend the Institute of Sugar Stabilization.

General Benitez claims $25,000 has been delivered to William Alexander Morgan, the American who was a leader of the “Second Front” in Escambray Mountains during Cuban Revolution. Morgan supposedly is angry at Castro who did not give him or other “Second Front” leaders recognition in the new government. Morgan was born at Cleveland, Ohio, in 1928 and is U. S. citizen. He served in U. S. Army from 1946 until his dishonorable discharge on 4/11/50 which resulted from his conviction by a court-martial on escape from custody charges. In 1946 he was arrested on felony charge and he was also charged with armed robbery while in the Army. He reportedly is veteran of Korean War and is described as a judo expert. Recently Morgan’s father told Bureau Agents son is emotionally disturbed and in need of psychiatric help. He has deserted two or three wives, some with children, in the past several years. Eloy Menoyo was Commander-in-Chief of the “Second Front” during the Cuban Revolution and he originally was reported as in favor of a military junta taking over Cuba in preference to Castro. However, he came to the U. S. on a good-will trip in March, 1959, and, according to State Department, then indicated he had no ambitions of his own and was 100% in favor of Castro’s group. On 4/3/59 Andrew Szentgyorgyi (St. George), a free lance writer and photographer, advised he had just returned from a month’s visit to Cuba where he learned a new opposition group headed by Menoyo and Morgan was being formed in the Escambray region.

Other persons named by Benitez and Perez as potential leaders in new Cuban Government if Castro is overthrown were: Dr. Octavio Montero, described as a distinguished medical doctor and professor at University of Havana. Bufiles contain no information concerning Montero; Manuel Antonio Varona, prominent Cuban politician who was Prime Minister under former President Carlos Prio Socarras. Varona not in U. S. at present time but is registered as agent for Council for Cuban Liberation, on anti-Batista group; Emilio Ochoa, described as representative of Orthodox Party. Ochoa possibly is identical with Emilio Laureano Ochoa y Ochoa who was subject of Registration Act investigation by Miami in 1954. the latter reportedly was connected with Cuban Orthodox Party and was then living in exile in Miami. His registration was solicited by the Department on basis of our investigation which revealed he was involved in printing of anti-Batista propaganda for shipment from Miami to locations outside the U. S. He did register on 4/26/54 and CIA advised he returned to Cuba clandestinely in late 1954 to await revolution there but in January, 1955, went to Mexico. As of May, 1955, Ochoa was back in Miami and he terminated his registration with the Department on 10/26/55; Eusebio Mujal, Secretary General of largest labor group in Cuba, Cuba Confederation of Labor, until Batista’s overthrow. Benitez claims he is now in Mexico in exile and is cooperating with the new movement as are other anti-communist Cuban labor elements.

on 4/29/59 advised he has no doubt forces opposed to Castro will unite and that he will join the group if it looks good. He named Aureliano Sanchez Arango as another Cuban leader who is cooperating with the new movement. According to Masferrer, Sanchez leads revolutionary group known as “Triple A.” Sanchez was Minister of Education under President Prio at which time he was described as Prio’s closest friend. In recent years he has been jailed many times for political reasons and has been in exile in several countries, including the U. S. He has been engaged in plans to overthrow Batista for many years but was in Mexico in 1957 and it is not known if he played any part in assisting Castro.

U. S. residents, in addition to those previously named, who reportedly are assisting the new movement are: Daniel Vasquez, former close associate of ex-President Prio, who is presently under indictment with Prio and others for conspiring to violate the Neutrality Statute. Vasquez published a Spanish-language newspaper, “Tribuna,” which is definitely anti-Castro. He has been cooperating with Miami Office in recent past and claims his paper aims to fight communism and to show in U. S. and Cuban extent of communist entrenchment in Cuba; Richard Jaffe, Miami real estate man associated with Masferrer who told Miami several thousand copies of “Tribuna” were dropped on Cuba on 4/22 and 25/59.

General Benitez, our chief source of information concerning this group, frequently writes laudatory letters to Bureau and offers to assist us in any possible way. He is staunch anti-communist and has denounced communist influence in Castro’s regime. He reportedly acquired $4,000,000 or $5,000,000 while in charge of Cuba’s National Police from 1940 to 1944. When Batista was ousted in 1944, Benitez was jailed for short time and came to Miami upon release. He was involved in unsuccessful plot to overthrow Cuban Government in 1947. He returned to Cuba in 1948 after being elected to Cuban Legislature where he served until 1958. He told Legat, Havana, in 1958 he was Batista’s choice for Mayor of Havana in elections later that year and planned to steal more money as Mayor than he did as Chief of Police. Benitez was not elected Mayor and, according to Legat, His reputation in Cuba is very poor.

Source: CubanArchives/FBI/InternetPhotos/

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Cuban and US Invsion of Grenada

The codenamed Operation ‘Urgent Fury’, was a 1983 US-led, a Caribbean island nation with a population of just over 100,000 located 100 miles (160 km) north of Venezuela. It was triggered by a military coup which ousted a brief revolutionary government. The successful invasion led to a change of government but was controversial due to charges of American imperialism, Cold War politics, the involvement of Cuba, the unstable state of the Grenadian government, and Grenada’s status as a Commonwealth realm with Elizabeth II as the monarch. Grenada gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1974, and Leftist rebels seized power in a coup in 1979. After a 1983 internal power struggle ended with the deposition and murder of revolutionary Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, the invasion began on 25 October 1983. A combined force of about 7,600 troops from the United States, Jamaica, and members of the Regional Security System (RSS) defeated Grenadian resistance and the military government of Hudson Austin was deposed. Civilian deaths include all the residents of the island’s only Mental Hospital.

Why ?

The Bishop government began constructing the Point Salines International Airport with the help of Britain, Cuba, Libya, Algeria, and other nations. The airport had been first proposed by the British government in 1954, when Grenada was still a British colony. It had been designed by Canadians, underwritten by the British government, and partly built by a London firm. The U.S. government accused Grenada of constructing facilities to aid a Soviet-Cuban military build-up in the Caribbean, and to assist the Soviet and Cuban transportation of weapons to Central American insurgents. Bishop’s government claimed that the airport was built to accommodate commercial aircraft carrying tourists, pointing out that such jets could not land at the existing airport on the island’s north. Neither could the existing airport, itself, be expanded as its runway abutted a mountain.

In March 1983, Ronald Reagan began issuing warnings about the threat posed to the United States and the Caribbean by the “Soviet-Cuban militarization” as evidenced by the excessively long airplane runway being built as well as intelligence sources. He said that the 9,000-foot (2,700 m) runway and the oil storage tanks were unnecessary for commercial , and that evidence pointed that the airport was to become a Cuban-Soviet military airbase.

US Intervention..

The invasion, which commenced at 05:00 on 25 October 1983, was the first major operation conducted by the U.S. military since the Vietnam War.[citation needed] Vice Admiral Joseph Metcalf, III, Commander Second Fleet, was the overall commander of U.S. forces, designated Joint Task Force 120, which included elements of each military service and multiple special operations units. Fighting continued for several days and the total number of U.S. troops reached some 7,000 along with 300 troops from the OECS. The invading forces encountered about 1,500 Grenadian soldiers and about 700 Cubans. Also present were 60 advisors from the Soviet Union, North Korea, East Germany, Bulgaria, and Libya.According to journalist Bob Woodward in his book Veil, the supposed captured “military advisers” from the aforementioned countries were actually accredited diplomats and included their dependents. None took any actual part in the fighting. Some of the “construction workers” were actually a detachment of Cuban Military Special Forces and combat engineers.

Official U.S. sources state that the defenders were well-prepared, well-positioned and put up stubborn resistance, to the extent that the U.S. called in two battalions of reinforcements on the evening of 26 October. The total naval and air superiority of the coalition forces – including helicopter gunships and naval gunfire support – overwhelmed the local forces. Nearly eight thousand soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines had participated in URGENT FURY along with 353 Caribbean allies of the CPF. U.S. forces had sustained 19 killed and 116 wounded; Cuban forces sustained 25 killed, 59 wounded and 638 combatants captured. Grenadian forces casualties were 45 killed and 358 wounded; at least 24 civilians.

The Cuban government sent these troops there to support the leftist government of the country. In 2008 the government of Grenada announced a move to build a monument to honor the Cubans killed during the invasion. At the time of the announcement the Cuban and Grenadian government are still seeking to locate a suitable site for the monument.

While the invasion enjoyed broad public support in the United States,and received support from some sectors in Grenada from local groups who viewed the post-coup regime as illegitimate, it was criticized by the United Kingdom, Canada and the United Nations General Assembly, which condemned it as “a flagrant violation of international law”.25 October is a national holiday in Grenada, called Thanksgiving Day, to commemorate the invasion, and on 29 May 2009 the Point Salines International Airport was officially renamed in honor of the slain pre-coup leader Maurice Bishop by the Government of Grenada.

Sources: Wiki/CubanWars/InternetPhotos/

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The Cayo Confites was a military plot against Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, originated in Cuba in 1947, which promoted an armed invasion to overthrow the regime. Its name comes from the island in the Camagüey archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean called Cayo Confites .

By early 1947, amid the democratic airs Post-War, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo was surrounded by governments opposed to his dictatorship , Romulo Betancourt in Venezuela , Juan Jose Arevalo in Guatemala , Ramón Grau San Martín in Cuba, and Elli Lescot in Haiti .

After a Dominican exile unifying congress held at the University of Havana, was composed of the united front of the Dominican Liberation, with Angel Morales as president of the doctors Ramon Lara and Juan Isidro Jimenez Grullon,secretaries,Leovigildo Neck, Plenipotentiaries and Juan Bosch special envoy to the Americas.

In January 1945, Juan Bosch travels to Mexico,to Venezuela in October, where he met with President Romulo Betancourt, and in November traveled to Haiti where President Lescot Ellie gave him the sum of 25,000 dollars as a contribution to the fight against Trujillo.

In January 1946, Johnny Rodriguez , a wealthy landowner of the La Vega , went into exile and took over the expedition plans that were in Havana .
José Manuel German , Minister of Education of the government of Grau San Martin, who as contact between the Dominican exiles and the Cuban government, while Manolo Castro, director of sports ministry itself, leader of the revolutionary socialist movement MSR took the lead in the work of Cuban volunteer recruitment for the expedition .

Based on operating the facilities of the Hotel San Luis in Havana, Dominicans, Cubans and other nationalities were able to form an army of more than 1000 men, including veterans of the Spanish Civil War and World War II.

From July 13, 1947, the exiles chose a central committee to lead the expedition composed of:
Johnny Rodriguez Garcia
Angel Morales
Neck Leovigildo
Juan Bosch
Juan Isidro Jimenez Grullon


Days after the expedition out of Havana to the Polytechnic Holguín in eastern Cuba where they receive military training under the direction of Manolo Bordas who held the rank of lieutenant U.S. Army, and who organized the expedition of four battalions;
Sandino Battalion , Commander, , a Cuban, a lawyer and veteran of the Spanish civil war
Guiteras Battalion , commander Eufemio Fernandez Cuban physician and veteran of the Spanish Civil War
Luperon Battalion , commander Jorge Rivas Monte , Honduran military career military school graduate in Guatemala
Battalion Maximo Gomez , commander Mederne Feliciano , career military leader of the expedition of Gibara

Polytechnic of Holguín the expedition were transferred Nipes Bay where they expected the ship and the schooner Aurora Berta much of the cargo for shipment, boarded the ships and headed for a cay in the Camagüey archipelago called cay candy.
The United States government to learn of the invasion plans began to pressure President Grau San Martin, to stop military action against Trujillo prepared, for this purpose its ambassador in Havana Henry Norweb in July 1947 the president visited twice Grau and twice Chancellor of his government.

Trujillo declares war

On July 22, 1947, Trujillo became aware of the invasion plans against him from Cuban territory, and began a series of protests through diplomatic channels against the government of Cuba. Weeks later, before the imminent departure of the expedition, Trujillo said: “Since the first step on Dominican land invasion, we will begin to bombard the city of Havana.”

In the midst of military exercises, practice landings and other maneuvers, the expedition of Key Confites expected more ships as well as completing a number of planes for a solid air support. Entering the month of September, the movement had four ships, 13 aircraft and 1,200 armed men. Among the expedition were:
José Horacio Rodríguez
Ramon Mejia
Emilio Mejia Pichirilo
Mauricio Báez
Fidel Castro
Carlos Gutierrez Menoyo
Pedro Mir
Francisco Alberto Horacio Vázquez
Federico Horacio Vázquez
Germain Martinez Reyna
Nicanor Saleta Arias
Arseno Feliu Miguel Angel
Horacio Julio Ornes Coiscou
Jose Rolando Martinez Bonilla
Angel Miolan
Dato Pagan Perdomo
Victor’s brothers, Rafael and Virgilio Mainardi Reyna.

While the expedition hoped the planes were equipped with weapons of combat to begin the invasion of Santo Domingo relying on air support, General Pérez Genovevo Damer , chief of the Cuban army traveled to Washington DC where he met with senior U.S. Army military and diplomats in the service of Trujillo .
Several days later, General Pérez Damera proceeded to confiscate a shipment of weapons from the estate of the Minister Jose Manuel Aleman intervene and the arms the expedition of Key Confites had in the hotel Sevilla. Parallel to the action of Perez Damera, the U.S. ambassador to Cuba, Henry Norweb , calls to airmen Rupert E. Waddell, Thomas Sawyer and Hollis Smith, the three Americans, engaged in Cayo Confites, to return to the United States and abandon the expedition , the pilots are welcome to call and return home.

After the defection of troops, ships confusion between expeditionary and skirmishes with the Cuban navy, the expedition members were forced to disembark at the port of West Indies, where they were captured, disarmed and taken to the Columbia military base in Havana.

Being imprisoned in Colombia, Juan Bosch declared a hunger strike until they were released every member of the expedition. After a general agreement between Perez Damera and Juan Bosch, the prisoners were released and the movement’s leaders began negotiations with the Cuban government to return their weapons that were confiscated.

Given the Cuban government’s refusal to return the arms to the president of Guatemala, Juan Jose Arevalo intervened claiming ownership of them.

Sources: Wiki/Inv.CubansRDomn/InternetPhotos/

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Nestor ‘Tony’ Izquierdo was born in the Matanzas Province in Cuba in 1936. The son of Camilo Izquierdo and Josefina Diaz, he was a devoted Roman Catholic. As a young man, Nestor worked with his father in a construction business.

In 1959 Manuel Artime emerged as a leading anti-Communist. He worked closely with the Catholic University Association (CUA). Later that year he moved to the Manzanillo region where he joined up with Carlos Prio and Tony Varona. Along with Huber Matos they planned a counter-revolution. Izquierdo joined Artime’s Rural Commandos.

In 1960 Izquierdo left Cuba and entered the United States via Mexico. Along with Manuel Artime, Tony Varona, Rafael Quintero, Aureliano Arango and Jose Miro Cardona established the Movement for the Recovery of the Revolution (MRR Party).

Izquierdo took part in the Bay of Pigs as a member of Brigade 2506. In the early 1960′s, he worked closely with Rip Robertson and David Sanchez Morales in the many aggressive and successful raids against Castro. Izquierdo also worked under Frank Castro in the Halcones Dorados (Golden Hawks).

In 1963 Manuel Artime obtained funds from the CIA via Ted Shackley head of the JM/WAVE station in Florida. Artime moved to Nicaragua where he formed a 300 man army. Artime was joined by several other anti-Castro Cubans including Nestor Izquierdo, Frank Castro, Rafael Quintero and Felix Rodriguez.

It is believed that Nestor Izquierdo was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Independently of each other, James Richards and Gerry Hemming have claimed that Izquierdo was involved with the events in Dealey Plaza. Specifically, his role being the Dal-Tex spotter.

In April of 1977, Nestor Izquierdo, Rafael Quintero, Rafael Villaverde, Raul Villaverde, Jesus Lazo and Valentine Hernandez were the subjects of a U.S. Justice Department inquiry. In Izquierdo’s case, no identifiable information could be sourced.

Izquierdo, a devout anti-communist, fought the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. His CIA case officer was Harold Feeney.
Nestor Izquierdo was killed in Nicaragua in a plane crash in 1979. Because of Izquierdo’s constant fight against Communism and for his bravery, in 1992, Gilberto Casanova raised the necessary funds to construct a bronze statue of Nestor Izquierdo in Miami’s Little Havana. It was created by sculptor Tony Lopez.

Spartacus Educational (

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Rolando Masferrer Rojas

Born in Holguín, July 12, 1918,in Oriente province, better known simply as , was a Cuban guerrilla leader, lawyer, congressman, newspaper publisher, member of the Cuban Communist Party and political activist.

Joined the Cuban Communist Party in 1935 and worked for their newspaper Hoy. He later joined Joven Cuba revolutionary organization. Masferrer and three other Joven Cuba members were arrested on Nov. 9, 1936, for plotting to assassinate Col. José Pedraza, chief of the National Police. After his release, Masferrer enrolled in June 1937 in the International Brigades fighting for the Republic during the Spanish Civil War. He achieved the rank of major, in charge of the 401 Battalion, 101 Brigade, 46 Division, 5th Corps of the Ebro Army. Masferrer was wounded in action twice. After returning to Cuba in 1939, he became assistant editor of Hoy and graduated from the University of Havana Law School in 1945 with the Dolz Award, given to the most studious member of the class. Masferrer and a group of Cuban Communists who sided with Earl Browder during the Duclos incident were expelled from the party on Aug. 22, 1945 for advocating rapprochement with the U. S. He then founded the weekly magazine Tiempo en Cuba to combat the Stalinists. Masferrer married Lucila Montero, who gave birth to Alejandro and Liudmila. In 1946 he was an English teacher at Marianao High School. Masferrer was elected Republican Party Representative from Oriente province on June 1, 1948. He was elected in 1954 as Auténtico Party Senator from Oriente.

1940s Cuba

He was rival of Fidel Castro in the bloody feuds of the trigger happy action groups and subject of at least one failed attempt by Castro to kill him. Masferrer also participated, with Castro, in the Caribbean Legion plot Cayo Confites (See Ameringer, 1995) to overthrow Dominican Republic Dictator Rafael Trujillo. He was elected to the Cuban House of Representatives in 1949.

Masferrer was a staunch supporter of Cuban leader Fulgencio Batista. He was not only a Senator in the Batista government but more importantly the leading founder of Los Tigres de Masferrer, a guerrilla organization set up to protect Batista from other para-military groups and to support Batista militarily. In this period he published two papers Tiempo in Havana and Libertad in Santiago de Cuba which insulted Francisco Franco, but without positive reaction among other leftwing Spanish Civil war exiles.

During the final years of the last Batista regime to (the end of 1958), Masferrer and his tigres operated in Oriente province; often, it is said, out headquarters in Victoria de las Tunas, others say in Santiago, Manzanillo and Bayamo where he had an array of exotic weapons including very lethal large caliber “air rifles.” At times his followers penetrated the Sierra Maestra with stealthy silence, terrifying some local Escopeteros who without time to react or appropriated weapons to face him fled before his forces; then the “tigres” vanished. In this fashion the Tigres apparently too stealthy to be opposed raided and killed throughout the foot hills of the Sierra Maestra. He is known to have threatened Franciscan priests in Manzanillo. The present Cuban government accuses Masferrer of 2,000 killings, but also says that the Tigres were careful to remove all evidence.

A most ingenious and intelligent, if ruthless, man Masferrer, plotted to buy vast “La Hacienda Sevilla” and divide up the land so as to reward the local guajiros for informing on Fidel Castro in the first months of his operations in the Sierra Maestra. This connection may or may not explain the attempted betrayal of Castro by Agrarian Organizer Eutemio Guerra.

Regardless that Masferrer had been a Communist supporter, after Fidel Castro took over Cuba’s presidency on January 9, 1959, Masferrer had to abandon the island, because Castro accused him of stealing US $10 million. He left in a boat, landing in Miami.

US 1960s and 1970s

In the United States, he befriended Mafia bosses such as Santo Trafficante, as well union leader Jimmy Hoffa. In Miami he published ‘LIBERTAD’ newspaper (tabloid). The first Libertad newspaper was published in Santiago de Cuba in the 1950s under the direction of Carlos Zayas, a close associate of Masferrer.
Masferrer was also known for mistreating Cubans residing in Florida, extorting money from them for what he said was “to help Cuba”.

From Miami, according to some reports,he and Central Intelligence Agency member Richard Bissell planned an assassination attempt on Castro. But, seventy seven days after Castro had assumed power, the would-be assassins that had been sent to Cuba, were arrested by Cuban police, and the attempt failed.

Shortly after, Masferrer organized another group to try a second attempt on Cuba’s leader. Among them was the infamous Armentino Feria Perez.

September 26, 1960 Masferrer sent an expedition of four boats to Cuba. One boat reached Cuba, three Americans: Allan D. Thompson, Anthony Zarba and Robert O. Fuller were caught and eventually executed.

In December, 1960, the Miami Herald, reported that Masferrer was leading a small group of fifty three people who were polishing their killing skills at a ranch owned by multi-millionaire Howard Hughes. Masferrer might have intended to hire a few of them for his organization.

In the early 1960s, Masferrer was associated with El Tiempo, a Spanish-language newspaper, edited by S. Ross, in New York City.

In 1961, Masferrer met with President John F. Kennedy, presumably to talk about Castro and the situation in Cuba. But Kennedy disliked Masferrer’s radical and fanatical personality, and the two never established any publicly known conversation after that.

In the 1960s Masferrer plotted and accumulated weapons to invade Haiti so as to have a base, free of US law, to attack the Castro government of Cuba which had foiled direct attempts to land. Masferrer was killed by a car bomb in 1975.

Sources: Wiki/Masf.Cuba/InteernetPhotos/

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The True Story of the Armored Train of Santa Clara (1 of 4)


My name is Henry Louis Gomez and this site is my attempt to wade through the propaganda and dimming memories to uncover the truth behind one of the last events of Cuba’s Batista regime. I became interested in the professional revolutionary, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, after reading a novel by one of my favorite authors, W.E.B. Griffin. During a discussion with my father about the Cuban Revolution in general and Guevara in particular, my father regaled me with what I then thought was an almost unbelievable tale about my grandfather and how he had actually been confronted by the most infamous man to wear a beret.

This is a fascinating story about treachery, possible bribery, and an unlikely prize: an armored train. This episode has become a footnote in Cuban history because it occurred on the eve of Fulgencio Batista’s from Cuba, and was therefore overshadowed by it. The truth about these events is important however because it sheds light on the character of the men who lived through them as well as the illegitimate nature of the Cuban Revolution itself.

This site is dedicated to my grandfather, who died before I really got a chance to know him and before my interest in history blossomed. Many times, while researching this material, I wished he were still alive to give me his account first hand. Instead I have relied on the testimony of eyewitness and the surviving relatives of the protagonists, as well as declassified government documents, and an assortment of literature from various other sources.


Many volumes have been written about Cuba’s dictator, Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, and I don’t intend to bore you with too many details of his life here since he is peripheral to the story I want to tell. But there’s some information that’s worth noting. Castro was born to a wealthy landowner in the easternmost province of Cuba. His mother was a former servant in his father’s household. Castro was ultimately educated in Havana where he graduated the equivalent of high school as well as law school.

He gained a reputation as a violent agitator, responsible for the death of rival student leaders. Many who knew him well in his youth say he always had communist inclinations. Some of the parallels between the rise to power of Fidel Castro and that of Adolph Hitler are remarkable. On July 26th 1953 Castro and a group of like-minded guerillas attacked the Moncada army barracks, resulting in his own version of the Beer Hall Putsch. Just like the Beer Hall Putsch, the attack was a fiasco and Fidel Castro ultimately was caught. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and like Hitler was ultimately given amnesty and released. The Moncada attack succeeded in making Castro a very visible opponent of the Batista regime. His 26th of July movement gets a lot of the credit for creating the conditions that forced Batista to leave the country but the fact is that there were many groups in Cuba working towards this end. These groups, which held varying political and ideological beliefs, weren’t just involved in Guerilla actions but also in underground activities in the cities and towns across the country.


Castro went to Mexico to train a guerrilla force with the objective of toppling Batista. While there he met the Argentine Ernesto Rafael Guevara de la Serna. Guevara is reputed to have been a medical doctor. The story goes that while touring South America on a motorcycle, Guevara became disgusted by the injustice and poverty he saw. That it drove him to become a revolutionary. There is no doubt that Guevara was inspired by Josef Stalin.

At one point he even took to signing his name as “Stalin II”. Today Guevara’s face can be seen on t-shirts and posters in every corner of the world. He symbolizes an idealized revolutionary spirit but the truth is that Che Guevara emulated Stalin to a tee.


In 1956 Castro, Guevara and some eighty-odd guerillas embarked for Cuba on a yacht named “Granma” of all things. The landing was an unmitigated disaster from which only sixteen survived an attack by Cuban armed forces. The remaining guerrillas made their way into the Sierra Maestra (a mountain range in eastern Cuba). Once there they began to recruit followers.

In the years since 1958, the official history of the Cuban Revolution has been written to depict Castro and Guevara as valiant and cunning warriors. It should be noted however, that the second-most devastating weapon in the Rebel arsenal turned out to be propaganda. The most important was cash, but more on that later. Castro and Guevara were extremely media savvy, granting interviews to Cuban and American journalists as well as broadcasting messages via Radio Rebelde (Rebel Radio). The reality is that most of the so-called battles were mere skirmishes and that both Castro and Guevara had a tendency to disappear when the bullets started flying in earnest. Paul Bethel reports in his book The Losers: The Definitive Report, by an eyewitness, of the Communist Conquest of Cuba and the Soviet Penetration in Latin America, that the U.S. Embassy in Cuba estimated the total of fatalities during the two-year “war” in the countryside at 182. For both sides! While the real number was probably higher than that, the truth is that there were no military masterstrokes. That a ragtag force that never numbered more than several hundred was able to topple the government of a country with armed forces numbering 33,000 and a population of 6.5 million is more a testament to the discontent that many Cubans had with Batista than any love for Fidel Castro or desire for communist rule. The fact is that Castro himself admitted that he hid his communist ideology so as not to alienate the masses. (Continue)

Sources: TheArmoredTrain/HenryGomez/InternetPhotos/

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The True Story of the Armored Train of Santa Clara (2 of 4)


My grandfather, Enrique A. Gomez M.D. Photo taken in 1950 upon his entering the Cuban Army as a Lieutenant

Enrique Antonio Gomez Perez was my grandfather. He was born in the town of San Juan y Martinez on March 17, 1908. His grandmother, Isabel Rubio, was a Cuban patriot and martyr of the war for Cuban independence from Spain. Rubio was a nurse for the Rebels who were trying throw off the yoke of Spanish rule. She was shot by Spanish loyalist troops and died shortly afterwards due to complications from her wounds. Today the town she was born in bears her name. There is a small museum in that town which honors her contribution to Cuban independence. Sadly I’ve never been there because I refuse to go to Cuba and spend dollars that will end up in the Castro government’s coffers. Rubio’s son Modesto, my great grandfather, was a doctor. My grandfather followed in his footsteps and also became a doctor. He graduated from the University of Havana’s Medical School in 1937. His specialty was pediatrics. He joined the Army as a physician in 1950 and treated the children of enlisted men and fellow officers. At one point he was transferred to the army’s corps of engineers.


By the fall of 1958 Batista’s offensives against the various Rebel forces had largely failed. In November, under pressure from the U.S., Batista held elections in which Andres Rivero Aguero, his handpicked successor, was declared the winner. This election was popularly regarded as a sham. In any case Rivero was set to assume power in February of 1959. Castro did not want that transition to take place. Sensing that there would be a small window in which the Rebels could win the war and he could establish a new regime without U.S. interference.

Anti-Batista sentiment was becoming much more prevalent among everyday Cubans. The army was demoralized, not wanting to die for a regime which, it was obvious, wasn’t going to survive much longer. The town of Santa Clara is located in Las Villas province in roughly the center of the island. Emboldened by the lack of resistance the guerillas were facing from the Cuban armed forces, Castro decided to send forces to Las Villas province to capture the city and cut the island in half.

He charged Guevara with the responsibility of leading this force known as “Column 8”. Castro was fond of these grandiose names. He had several “columns” under his command on several “fronts”. Each of these “columns” had maybe 150 men. They were largely untrained and lack of discipline among the men was a common problem. Guevara established a reputation for maintaining the discipline of men entrusted to his command. He did it at the end of a gun. It’s been well reported that he personally executed more than a few of his men for “treason”. In any case the capture of Santa Clara posed a significant challenge as it was roughly 250 miles from the Sierra Maestra and was home to a rather large garrison fort. Guevara and his men made the trip in 5 weeks, largely avoiding contact with Batista’s forces, arriving in Las Villas province in early December 1958. By that time it was apparent to American observers in the U.S. Embassy that the Batista regime was going to fall, it was just a matter of when. There was a lot of confusion about the actual progress Rebel forces were making because of government censorship and conflicting propaganda coming from both sides.

One of the biggest problems facing Batista was the sabotage of the country’s roads and bridges in the areas the Rebels were controlling. To alleviate the problem, he dispatched an armored train full of men and materiel. Guevara’s and the official Castroite version of the story contend that this was a major offensive aimed at crushing the Rebellion once and for all. But the truth is that the 340 officers and enlisted men on that train belonged to the corps of engineers. Among them was my grandfather, by that point a captain. Batista did not lack infantry troops, his forces greatly outnumbered Rebel forces in almost every engagement of the war. In fact the garrison fort in Santa Clara contained several thousand well-equipped men. The town also contained several hundred police officers that had been summoned from around the province. What he lacked at that point was troops that were committed to fighting for and possibly dying for him. The objective of the men on that train was to repair bridges and roads that had become casualties of the war thus far. The highest-ranking officer aboard the train was Colonel Florentino E. Rosell y Leyva. In addition to being my grandfather’s commanding officer, Gomez Perez knew Rosell personally and socially.

The train departed Havana on or about the 23rd of December. After some setbacks it reached the town of Santa Clara on or about 25th of December. The train came to a stop at the foot of the Capiro Hills. Soldiers were placed on the hill to defend the train but on the 29th of December they pulled back from their defensive positions when faced with Rebel fire. It became apparent that the train was in a bad location since the Rebels were now holding positions in the higher terrain of the hills and were firing down on the train. Though the train was armored on its sides the roofs of the various carriages were unprotected. The train was ordered to move away from the hills and closer to the town. Anticipating this move some of the guerillas used a bulldozer to destroy a section of the railroad track. This caused the several of the carriages to derail. The officers and men eventually surrendered the train to Che Guevara. With the exception of the nature and purpose of the troops aboard the train, all accounts generally agree on the details to this point.

The purpose of this site is to explore the circumstances surrounding the surrender of the train. One might ask why this is important. In the end, a surrender is a surrender. But since those fateful day since late December 1958 it has been rumored that Colonel Rosell “sold” the armored train; that he was given cash to surrender the train and its contents to Che Guevara. If true, these allegations shed a new light on Guevara’s “genius” as a guerrilla strategist. After all this was his biggest victory as a professional revolutionary. His subsequent failures in the Congo and Bolivia (where he was caught and killed) are well documented so if he indeed took Santa Clara without the heavy fighting he reported in his diaries and that has been accepted as the official version of the events, then his entire career as a guerilla commander would be largely a fraud.

Colonel Rosell presumably arrived in Santa Clara by airplane on the 24th. He participated in a somber noche buena, (Christmas Eve dinner) with the officers in the garrison fort. He ate breakfast aboard the armored train on Christmas morning, yet he was not among the surrendering officers and enlisted men a couple of days later. Rosell’s brother, a local politician in Santa Clara was seen by my grandfather when he came to visit the colonel aboard the train. Gomez later saw both brothers depart with several briefcases in automobiles. Colonel Rosell never returned to the train leaving it in the command of Comandante Gomez Calderon (no relation to my grandfather Gomez Perez). That Colonel Rosell abandoned the train is not in doubt. His motivations are. Was he returning to Havana under orders of his superiors? Was he going to update Batista on the situation in the field? Was he a coward who did not want to be caught by Rebel forces and executed? Or was he bribed to surrender the train and then (in an act of self-preservation and greed) abandoned it and the men in his command?


My grandmother was naturally worried about my grandfather. She had not heard any news of the train, its progress or its location. She decided to pay Colonel Rosell’s family a visit in their home just outside of Havana. My father Enrique L. Gomez who was 16 years old at the time drove his mother there since she did not at that point know how to drive a car. When they arrived they found the house was completely dark. They knocked on the door and after some time the Colonel’s mother in law opened the door. She seemed out of sorts.My grandmother asked what had happened to the armored train and what had happened to the Colonel.

Cuban postage stamp commemorating the “Battle of Santa Clara.” You can see the depiction of the armored train in the upper right hand corner.

The woman responded that she didn’t know what happened to the train but that Rosell had arrived that morning and gone fishing on his yacht. “Fishing?” my grandmother asked incredulously. The woman said yes, that he had left on his yacht saying he was going fishing. She added that the SIM (Military Intelligence Service) had been by the house and ransacked it. She said the SIM men had left only 20 minutes before my father and grandmother arrived and showed them how they had turned the house over. My father and grandmother decided to leave Rosell’s home for fear of getting caught up in whatever was going on.

Colonel Rosell flew from the air base in Santa Clara to Havana and departed on his yacht for Miami. He had sent his wife and children ahead of him several days before. Rosell immediately became quite wealthy in Miami with a construction company. Those who subscribe to the theory that he did indeed accept a cash payment for the surrender of the train point to this as proof that he came to U.S. with a substantial amount of “seed capital” but by all accounts Rosell was wealthy in Cuba. In those early days, immediately before and after Batista fled, some Cubans were able to escape with some of their assets so it’s not inconceivable to think that he moved his savings to Miami at some point during those fateful days. (Continue)

Sources: TheArmoredTrain/HenryGomez/InternetPhotos/

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The True Story of the Armored Train of Santa Clara (3 of 4)


The derailed train was fired upon and returned fire sporadically for some time. At one point voices outside the train began yelling “The International Red Cross is asking for a ceasefire, the International Red Cross is asking for a ceasefire.” My grandfather who was in one of the carriages closest to where the voices were coming from came out to address the men who were asking for the ceasefire. He was accompanied by another officer who was also a doctor by the name of Valdez Infante. The men who had come to ask for the ceasefire said that the Comandante ‘Che’ Guevara wanted to speak with the train’s commanding officer. My grandfather asked one of the men on the train to send for Gomez Calderon. Meanwhile the men escorted my grandfather and Valdez Infante into a house. From that house he passed to another house through a hole that had been made in the wall as a sort of passageway. After passing through several houses in this manner he was finally face to face with Che Guevara.

My grandfather’s identification of Guevara was positive. He was wearing an arm cast and a sling on his broken arm. Guevara had broken it earlier in the campaign. Guevara asked why the Rebels had been fired upon by the men on the train. “This is not what we had agreed to!” My grandfather explained that he knew nothing of any agreement. At that point Gomez Calderon arrived and Guevara repeated his question. Gomez Calderon also said he knew nothing of an arrangement. Guevara seemed legitimately upset. He explained to the three army officers that the battle to save the Batista regime was lost and that the train was vulnerable. That the men aboard could fight and be killed or they could surrender the train and join the Rebels or otherwise return to Havana. Gomez Calderon said that he preferred not to make a decision on the spot. That he wanted to confer with the other officers aboard the train. The three officers returned to the train. My grandfather never saw Guevara again. Ultimately the officers agreed to surrender. All of the men were given the option to join the Rebel forces. Only one man took the Rebels up on the offer. The officers were then separated from the men and the officers were then transported to the port of Caibarien, which was under Rebel control. They spent the night of the 30th there and departed for Havana on a navy vessel the following morning. My grandmother received a call from a friend of my grandfather’s named Jesus Blanco whose brother was in the navy. Blanco stated that my grandfather would be arriving that night at about 11:00 PM on a vessel captained by his brother. My father and grandmother arrived at the docks at 10:30 and at 11:00 the vessel arrived as scheduled. My grandfather was only able to speak to his son and wife for a couple of minutes as he was being taken from the vessel to a bus. He explained that “it’s all over, the Rebels completely control Santa Clara.”

It seems incongruous that the Rebels would capture the train and simply allow the officers a safe return to Havana. It’s worth mentioning that the Rebels really had no interest in keeping these men prisoner. Prisoners needed to be guarded and fed. The Rebels being the small force that they were of course couldn’t spare the men or supplies to do this. Besides they were promising amnesty to all officers and soldiers who surrendered without a fight. Castro had broadcast certain edicts that resistors to the revolution would be tried as traitors and if found guilty be sentenced to an execution by firing squad. How much this weighed on the minds of the soldiers that were being asked to fight the Rebels cannot be underestimated. Sending the officers back to Havana posed little risk to the Rebels. They knew that the men would be viewed as traitors by the army and would not be trusted again with commands. In the end it became irrelevant because shortly after the vessel with the officers from the armored train arrived on the evening of the 31st, Batista fled Havana and the Rebels had their victory.


Once in Havana my grandfather was kept at an air force base for several weeks before being released. Remember that once Batista fled, Fidel Castro’s chosen President, Manuel Urrutia Lleo, was recognized by the United States and by the Cuban people as the legitimate leader of Cuba. The soldiers, seamen and airmen of the Cuban armed forces now officially worked for the Revolutionary government. Castro initially guaranteed the jobs of all military men that were not deemed as treasonous to the revolution. He calculated correctly that if he could keep the military happy until he could consolidate his power that he would then be in a better position to remake the Cuban armed forces with men loyal to him. My grandfather continued on as a doctor in the army for several months until he was discharged of his duties.


In various books about Che Guevara the capture of the train is portrayed as the critical moment in the battle for Santa Clara. The entire image of Che as a master guerilla strategist is built upon it.

In his book, Respuesta, Fulgencio Batista says that General Francisco Tabernilla Sr. and General Pedro A. Rodriguez Avila “informed me that Colonel Florentino Rosell, without authorization from his superiors, had to return to Havana, saying that he needed to render urgent information. The following day they informed me that Colonel Rosell had deserted. During the morning, he left by sea, the assumption being that he was headed to some port in Florida in the United States of America.”

In an article that appeared in El Diario de Nueva York on June 25th 1959, Francisco Rodriguez Tamayo, AKA “El Mexicano”, who was a captain in the Rebel Army and Humberto Olivera Perez who was a captain in Cuba’s Regular Army, state that “…many of the “battles” that were won by rebel forces were in reality “purchases” made by the rebel army off of Batista officers.” The article continues, “According to them, Colonel Ernesto [sic] Rosell for a sum (that some sources say was $350,000 and others say was $1,000,000) sold the armored train in Santa Clara to “Che” Guevara. He sold not only the whole train, but also the arms and troops aboard it.”

In the same article “El Mexicano” talks about how the Rebels collected funds for the purposes of bribing Batista forces and purchasing their weapons and he claims that “When all the battles were done, Fidel had, in the 26th of July headquarters, some $4,500,000 left for those purposes. I don’t know what might have happened to that money.”

My grandfather’s account of Guevara’s reaction to the shots fired from the train is consistent with a man who felt he had been swindled. My grandfather also stated that the officers on the train were all speculating that Rosell had been paid. This gives us some insight as to the feelings of the rank and file soldiers who apparently were aware of the allegations that battle victories were being routinely bought by the Rebels.

Jorge Castañeda, in his biography of Guevara, writes that Eloy Gutierrez Menoyo, a rival Rebel leader claims he had negotiated a surrender with Rosell but that Rosell’s brother spoke to Che Guevara and instead of surrendering the train to Gutierrez Menoyo the train would be surrendered to Guevara. This detail is important because of the weapons that were believed to be aboard the train. With those weapons Guevara and the 26th of July forces would be much better armed than the rest of the Rebel groups. Castañeda quotes Gutierrez Menoyo as saying “I discussed this two or three times with Guevara and asked him ‘what did you offer that I didn’t?’ He only laughed and never confessed the truth to me.”

For his part, Che Guevara writes in his memoirs of the Cuban Revolution that an incredible battle took place. That the Rebels threw Molotov cocktails on the train’s carriages making them into ovens and that after fierce fighting the train was surrendered. This is almost certainly not the case. My grandfather never mentioned a single soldier on that train as having been killed or seriously injured. This, like so much else that is written about the Cuban Revolution, is simply a myth. A large segment of populace of Santa Clara were in support of the Rebels. The men on the derailed armored train were cut off from their fellow soldiers in the garrison fort. They had been abandoned by their commanding officer. They weren’t even infantrymen. They were prepared to build bridges and repair roads not kill fellow Cubans while trying to suppress a popular revolution.

Rosell lived in Miami until his death in January of 2007. He wrote a book in 1960 entitled, La Verdad (The Truth) explaining his side of the story. In their 1980 book, The Winds of December, John Dorschner and Roberto Fabricio state that in the interview they conducted with him, Rosell admits to having lied about certain details in La Verdad. The irony of that statement should not be lost on the reader.

Dorschner and Fabricio do not mention the rumored sale of the train. In their version of the events, Rosell flees because he fears being arrested by SIM as a traitor because he had hatched a plan with other army officers to oust Batista and come to an agreement with the Rebels to install a new ruling junta. Supposedly once Guevara and the Rebels rejected the plan, and its very existence was made known to SIM and Batista, Rosell had nowhere to go but Miami. Various sources agree that Rosell was among several officers that were displaying defeatist attitudes during those December days, looking for accommodations with the Rebels. Rosell definitely appears to have been spinning, what Dorschner and Fabricio call a “web of intrigue.” (Continue)

Sources: TheArmoredTrain/HenryGomez/InternetPhotos/

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The True Story of the Armored Train of Santa Clara (4 of 4)

“Web of Intrigue”

This web of intrigue is underscored by an account given to me by Santiago de Juan. Mr. de Juan owned 2 radio stations in Cuba and managed 5 others. He was also a member of the Havana underground working for the Directorio Revolucionario 13 de Marzo with the code name of Marcos Duran until his situation in the city became untenable. He then went to the Escambray mountains where he participated in joint actions with the 26th of July forces. On the morning of December 24th, while attempting to travel from Placetas to Santa Clara in an automobile and disguised in civilian , he was stopped at a checkpoint. A colonel directed him out of earshot of his traveling companions. There the colonel made it clear that he knew who de Juan was and what he was up to by saying “Listen, I am an Engineer and you are a Radio Station owner, so lets talk like such, okay?” After a brief exchange of words about what had happened in Placetas, the colonel asked de Juan to meet him in the restaurant of the Gran Hotel in Santa Clara.

Santiago de Juan explains what happened next “We were having lunch at the hotel restaurant just a few minutes past noon, when the elevator door opened and out came Rosell Leyva, by himself. As a courtesy, I got up and walked toward him and we met halfway, by ourselves. He greeted me with a ‘buenas tardes’ and again, without beating around the bush asked: ‘Have you heard of the Tren Blindado?’ The truth is that if I did, I could not really remember but so as not to sound stupid, I said yes with a gesture of my head. Then he continued and said: ‘In the next few days, the train will not have much protection.’ he extended his hand which I accepted and bid me ‘buenas tardes’ again, turned around and that is all I know about him.”

Mr. de Juan corroborates Dorschner and Fabricio’s version inasmuch as Rosell was trying to send a signal to the Rebels that he would turn the train over without a fight, quite possibly as a gesture of goodwill to them, believing the war was lost. One thing is certain, he was not acting like someone who was committed to carrying out the mission he had been entrusted with. I think it’s a little far fetched to believe that Rosell acted instinctively when he fled and that he did not premeditate his departure to Miami, given that he sent his family ahead of him.

The Rebel forces were well financed by wealthy Cubans that wanted to oust Batista. Castro also extorted money from the businesses (mostly sugar mills) in the areas he controlled. Dorschner and Fabricio detail one instance where a Sugar Mill president paid a $450,000 “tax” to the Rebels. Paul Bethel documents in his book, The Losers, an instance in which a large sum of money was paid by Che Guevara to army officials for safe passage through otherwise hostile territory. Bethel’s opinion of the armored train episode is that Rosell “sold the train to Castro. A few shots and bombs to make it look good, and the deal was consummated in a triumph of Castro propaganda.”

It is possible that Rosell was in fact paid a large sum of money to surrender the train. But wanting to hedge his bet in case of a double cross, he took the money and fled to Miami. Where I differ with Bethel is that I believe that any shots that were fired by Cuban soldiers during the brief engagement were legitimate since Rosell was gone and the men knew nothing of an “arrangement.” Although Rosell reneged on his deal ultimately Che got his prize, his legend and later his comeuppance in Bolivia.

My grandfather eventually came to the United States. He became licensed to practice medicine and opened a private practice in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He was very popular among the Puerto Ricans living in the area because he was a pediatrician that spoke Spanish. With his help my father was able to attend college at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and the medical school at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain. My grandfather died in Miami in 1979. My grandmother still lives. I have a sister who is an elementary school teacher and I work in Spanish language advertising. My grandfather had four other grandchildren from his daughter. Two of them, Alejandro and Luis Enrique, are graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point. None of his six grandchildren followed their genetic legacy and went into medicine.


The vast majority of the people who supported the Cuban Revolution initially were not communists or socialists. They simply wanted a democratically elected government that would reform and remedy some of the nation’s pressing problems. Once Batista fled, Castro’s evil genius was truly displayed. He consolidated this popular revolution by first eliminating supporters of the previous regime through farcical show trials and summary executions and then by jailing or executing potential rivals that had been previously cooperating with him. Fans of Fidel Castro usually gloss over this reign of terror that would have made Stalin himself proud. As far as the people, many of them wealthy, who helped fund Castro and his Revolution go, this should serve as a cautionary tale. Be careful what you wish for. These people thought that anyone other than Batista would be better. Castro ended up being their worst nightmare. He nationalized every industry and confiscated all private property. Many of Castro’s harshest critics today were once on his side, and that has to tell you something about his character. Cuba’s human rights abuses are well documented. There is no democracy and there are no individual rights in Cuba. 10% of the Cuban population lives in exile and if allowed there’d be a lot more than that.

After Castro took power, Che Guevara was placed in charge of the military fort known as La Cabaña. While there he supervised and personally participated in the torture and execution by firing squad of hundreds of Cubans. El Che, to me, seems like the kind of guy who only felt alive when he had the power to kill a defenseless fellow human being in his hands. I doubt that he was ever really a medical doctor. I have yet to see one shred of proof that he ever graduated from medical school and have studied him intensely. In addition to the firing squads Guevara was responsible for setting up the gulag system in Cuba where people were imprisoned for such crimes as being homosexual and listening to rock and roll music. Just the kind of hero you’d want adorning the front of your t-shirt.


The Japan Manga Comic History Collections

created by

Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA

private limited editions in CD-ROM

Copyright @ 2012


   [MANGA.] Miyao, Shigeo. Karutobi Karusuke. Tokyo, 1927.          
First edition, 8vo, pp. [4], 212, [16]; illustrated throughout and printed in green, blue, and orange; pictorial paper-covered boards; remains of original glassine, publisher’s pictorial box; box slightly soiled and with one short split, else generally fine. Shigeo Miyao (1902-1983) was primarily known as a manga artist creating humorous children’s manga such as Kushisuke Manyuki (“The Adventures of Dango Kushisuke”) during the Taisho period. He was born in Tokyo and studied manga with Okamoto Ippei (1886-1948), generally considered the godfather of manga. He was one of the first artists to use the word manga (literally, “funny pictures”) close to its current sense. “Miyao had the distinction of being one of the first professional artists to specialize in children’s comics.” In 1922, he began serializing a 6-panel Manga Taro [Comics Taro] in a daily newspaper which the following year was put into book form “just in time for most copies to be destroyed in the 1923 earthquake. In the present book he writes of the adventures of the samurai super-hero, Karutobi Karusuke. (See Schodt, Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics, 1986, p. 48-49.) Sixty-three hits for Miyao in OCLC, all but one after 1948, the earliest being 1934.

Printed During the American Occupation

  [MANGA.] Taniuchi, Rokuro. Shinjitsu-Ichiro Kun. Tokyo, 1948.   
First edition, small 8vo, (approx. 18 x 12 cm.), pp. [2], 64; text printed in English, kanji, and katakana, pictorial title page printed in orange, 256 illustrated panels in the text (4 to a page), each page spread alternately printed in blue and brown, original color printed wrappers; minor worming in the margins of several leaves, small chip from the corner of one cover, moderate wear, but generally a good or better example. A rare Japanese manga printed during the American occupation of Japan. What makes this manga so interesting is that it seeks to instruct the native English (i.e. American) speaker in the new katakana character, which went through a series of orthographic reforms following World War II as illustrated here; each panel contains phonetic Japanese captioned in English and katakana, and with frequent footnotes explaining the nonstandard American words such as “ain’t” or “cuz” or “lemme.” The katakana syllabary consists of 48 syllables and was originally considered “men’s writing”. Since the 20th century, the katakana character has been used mainly to write non-Chinese loan words, onomatopoeic words, foreign names, in telegrams, and for emphasis (the equivalent of bold, italic or upper case text in English). Before the 20th century all foreign loanwords were written with kanji. Rokuro Taniuchi (born 1921) is a well-known Japanese artist who first began work as a comic artist during the 1940’s. A dozen or so titles of his work appear in OCLC but not one before 1965.

Naruto Manga Chapter 001 Uzumaki Naruto
Naruto Manga Chapter 002 Konohamaru
Naruto Manga Chapter 003 Uchiha Sasuke
Naruto Manga Chapter 004 Hatake Kakashi
Naruto Manga Chapter 005 Carelessness is Your Worst Enemy
Naruto Manga Chapter 006 Not Sasuke-kun
Naruto Manga Chapter 007 Kakashi’s Conclusion



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 2

Naruto Manga Chapter 008 That’s Why You’re Failures
Naruto Manga Chapter 009 The Worst Possible Client
Naruto Manga Chapter 010 Two Down
Naruto Manga Chapter 011 Disembark!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 012 It’s Over
Naruto Manga Chapter 013 I’m a Ninja
Naruto Manga Chapter 014 Secret Plan
Naruto Manga Chapter 015 Sharingan Resurrected
Naruto Manga Chapter 016 English Who Are You?
Naruto Manga Chapter 017 English Preparation for Battle



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 3

Naruto Manga Chapter 018 Training Commences!
Naruto Manga Chapter 019 Symbol of Courage
Naruto Manga Chapter 020 The Country That Had a Hero
Naruto Manga Chapter 021 Encounter in the Forest
Naruto Manga Chapter 022 A Rival Appears
Naruto Manga Chapter 023 Two Surprise Attacks
Naruto Manga Chapter 024 Speed
Naruto Manga Chapter 025 For the Sake of Dreams
Naruto Manga Chapter 026 Crumbling Dreams
Naruto Manga Chapter 027 Awaken



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 4

Naruto Manga Chapter 028 Nine-Tails
Naruto Manga Chapter 029 An Important Person
Naruto Manga Chapter 030 Your Future Is…
Naruto Manga Chapter 031 Their Own Battles
Naruto Manga Chapter 032 A Tool Called Shinobi
Naruto Manga Chapter 033 The Bridge of Heroes
Naruto Manga Chapter 034 Intruders!?
Naruto Manga Chapter 035 Iruka vs. Kakashi
Naruto Manga Chapter 036 Sakura’s Depression



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 5

Naruto Manga Chapter 037 The Worst Match-up
Naruto Manga Chapter 038 An Important Person
Naruto Manga Chapter 039 Challengers
Naruto Manga Chapter 040 The First Test
Naruto Manga Chapter 041 The Devil’s Whisper
Naruto Manga Chapter 042 Each Person’s Battle
Naruto Manga Chapter 043 The Tenth Question
Naruto Manga Chapter 044 Tested Ability
Naruto Manga Chapter 045 The Second Test



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 6

Naruto Manga Chapter 046 The Codeword Is…
Naruto Manga Chapter 047 Predator
Naruto Manga Chapter 048 The Purpose Is…
Naruto Manga Chapter 049 Coward
Naruto Manga Chapter 050 I Must…
Naruto Manga Chapter 051 The Beautiful Beast
Naruto Manga Chapter 052 Condition of Usage
Naruto Manga Chapter 053 Sakura’s Decision
Naruto Manga Chapter 054 Sakura and Ino



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 7

Naruto Manga Chapter 055 All-out War
Naruto Manga Chapter 056 Granted Power
Naruto Manga Chapter 057 Ten Hours Earlier
Naruto Manga Chapter 058 Witnesses
Naruto Manga Chapter 059 Tragedy of Sand
Naruto Manga Chapter 060 Last Chance
Naruto Manga Chapter 061 The Path You Should Take
Naruto Manga Chapter 062 Trapped Rats
Naruto Manga Chapter 063 The Other Face



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 8

Naruto Manga Chapter 064 Hokage’s Message
Naruto Manga Chapter 065 Life-Risking Battles
Naruto Manga Chapter 066 Sakura’s Request
Naruto Manga Chapter 067 Opposing Ability
Naruto Manga Chapter 068 The Uchiha Blood
Naruto Manga Chapter 069 The Terrifying Visitor
Naruto Manga Chapter 070 The One Who Will Die Is…
Naruto Manga Chapter 071 A Wall Too High
Naruto Manga Chapter 072 Rivalry



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 9

Naruto Manga Chapter 073 Announcement of Defeat…!?
Naruto Manga Chapter 074 The Sixth Match and Them…
Naruto Manga Chapter 075 Naruto’s Growth
Naruto Manga Chapter 076 Kiba’s Comeback!! Naruto’s Comeback!?
Naruto Manga Chapter 077 Naruto’s Trick
Naruto Manga Chapter 078 Neji and Hinata
Naruto Manga Chapter 079 The Hyuuga
Naruto Manga Chapter 080 Surpass the Limit
Naruto Manga Chapter 081 Gaara vs…



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 10

Naruto Manga Chapter 082 Lee’s Secret!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 083 Absolute Defense Crumbles!?
Naruto Manga Chapter 084 The Genius of Hard Work
Naruto Manga Chapter 085 Now…
Naruto Manga Chapter 086 A Great Ninja…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 087 Prelims Conclude…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 088 Where’s Sasuke…!?
Naruto Manga Chapter 089 Naruto’s Request…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 090 What About the Training!?



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 11

Naruto Manga Chapter 091 Disciple Application
Naruto Manga Chapter 092 Leaf and Sound and Sand and…
Naruto Manga Chapter 093 Each’s Passion
Naruto Manga Chapter 094 Key
Naruto Manga Chapter 095 The Meeting
Naruto Manga Chapter 096 The Sudden Intruder
Naruto Manga Chapter 097 Reason to Exist
Naruto Manga Chapter 098 A Proud Failure
Naruto Manga Chapter 099 Main Event Commences!!



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 12

Naruto Manga Chapter 100 Prepared to Die…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 101 The Other…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 102 The Bird in the Cage…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 103 Loser!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 104 The Power to Change…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 105 The Great Flight!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 106 Sasuke Fails…!?
Naruto Manga Chapter 107 The Guy with No Motivation!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 108 A Hidden Path to Victory…!?



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 13

Naruto Manga Chapter 109 Leaf, Dance…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 110 Finally…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 111 Sasuke vs. Gaara!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 112 Sasuke’s Taijutsu…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 113 Reason for the Lateness…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 114 Attack…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 115 Chuunin Test, Conclusion…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 116 The Crumbling Leaf…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 117 The Assigned Mission…!!



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 14

Naruto Manga Chapter 118 Forced to Stay…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 119 My Life…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 120 Hokage vs. Hokage!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 121 Horrible Reality Test…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 122 Inherited Dying Will!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 123 The Final Sealing
Naruto Manga Chapter 124 The Eternal Battle…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 125 The Moment of Awakening…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 126 Unprepared…!!



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 15

Naruto Manga Chapter 127 Feeling Alive…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 128 Beyond His Limits…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 129 Pain…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 130 Love…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 131 A Name Called Gaara…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 132 Two Boys… Darkness and Light
Naruto Manga Chapter 133 Strong Guys…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 134 Naruto Ninja Chronicles!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 135 The Flight Like a Storm!!



Naruto Manga (Comics) Volume 16

Naruto Manga Chapter 136 The Final Blow…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 137 The Shinobi of the Leaf…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 138 The Crumbling Leaf, End!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 139 The Person’s Name Is…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 140 Proximity…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 141 Uchiha Itachi!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 142 Kakashi vs. Itachi
Naruto Manga Chapter 143 Yondaime’s Inheritance!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 144 A Young Pursuit



Naruto Manga (Comics) Volume 17

Naruto Manga Chapter 145 Memory of Despair
Naruto Manga Chapter 146 Hatred…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 147 My Fight!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 148 Itachi’s Ability!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 149 Legendary…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 150 Start of the Training…!?
Naruto Manga Chapter 151 Chance…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 152 Second Stage
Naruto Manga Chapter 153 Explorers!!



Naruto Manga (Comics) Volume 18

Naruto Manga Chapter 154 Arrived…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 155 The Third Step
Naruto Manga Chapter 156 Business
Naruto Manga Chapter 157 And the Answer is…!?
Naruto Manga Chapter 158 I Won’t Forgive You…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 159 The Wager…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 160 The Necklace of Death…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 161 Tsunade’s Decision!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 162 The Heart That Can’t Resist…!!



Naruto Manga (Comics) Volume 19

Naruto Manga Chapter 163 What Refuses to Decay…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 164 Medical Ninja!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 165 Naruto, Attacks!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 166 A Ninja’s Talents…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 167 The Arrangement…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 168 Just One More Time
Naruto Manga Chapter 169 To Bet One’s Life…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 170 The Battle of the Legendary Three
Naruto Manga Chapter 171 The Inheritor



Naruto Manga (Comics) Volume 20

Naruto Manga Chapter 172 Returning Home
Naruto Manga Chapter 173 Affliction
Naruto Manga Chapter 174 Each and Their Path…!
Naruto Manga Chapter 175 Naruto vs. Sasuke!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 176 Bitter Rivalry…
Naruto Manga Chapter 177 The Four Sounds
Naruto Manga Chapter 178 The Temptation of the Sound…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 179 Don’t Forget…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 180 It’s a Promise!!



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 21

Naruto Manga Chapter 181 The Fight Begins…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 182 The Gathering!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 183 Promise of a Lifetime
Naruto Manga Chapter 184 Sound vs. Leaf!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 185 In Pursuit of the Sounds…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 186 Mission… Failed!?
Naruto Manga Chapter 187 Praying for Mercy…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 188 Hidden Leaf’s Shinobi…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 189 The Power of Trust…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 190 Inexcusable!!



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 22

Naruto Manga Chapter 191 Friends…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 192 Plan…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 193 Game Over
Naruto Manga Chapter 194 Probing Each Other
Naruto Manga Chapter 195 Strategy…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 196 The Strongest Foe!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 197 Unyielding Determination!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 198 Reincarnation…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 199 Desire…!!



[b]Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 23

Naruto Manga Chapter 200 According to Plan…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 201 Miscalculation…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 202 The Three Wishes!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 203 Sakon’s Secret
Naruto Manga Chapter 204 Ukon’s Abilities
Naruto Manga Chapter 205 Kiba’s Decision!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 206 Crisis…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 207 The Game is Up
Naruto Manga Chapter 208 The First Hand is a Feint!!



[b]Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 24

Naruto Manga Chapter 209 Reinforcements on the Scene!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 210 Lee’s Secret!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 211 Unpredictable…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 212 Pinch, Pinch, Pinch!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 213 A Large Debt…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 214 Retreat for the Time Being…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 215 Gaara of the Desert
Naruto Manga Chapter 216 Spear and the Shield…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 217 For Precious People



[b]Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 25

Naruto Manga Chapter 218 Brothers of the Leaf!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 219 The Future and the Past
Naruto Manga Chapter 220 Older Brother and Younger Brother
Naruto Manga Chapter 221 A Distant Brother
Naruto Manga Chapter 222 Suspicious of Itachi
Naruto Manga Chapter 223 Sasuke and His Father
Naruto Manga Chapter 224 That Day…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 225 Within the Darkness…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 226 To My Dear Friend…!!



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 26

Naruto Manga Chapter 227 Chidori vs. Rasengan!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 228 Kakashi’s Premonition
Naruto Manga Chapter 229 Bonds…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 230 Time of Awakening!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 231 A Special Power!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 232 Valley of the End
Naruto Manga Chapter 233 The Worst Conclusion…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 234 The Day of Separation…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 235 Mission Failure…!!



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 27

Naruto Manga Chapter 236 The Promise That I Could Not Keep
Naruto Manga Chapter 237 Fool…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 238 The Day of Setting Off!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 239 Kakashi Gaiden 1: Mission Start…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 240 Kakashi Gaiden 2: Teamwork!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 241 Kakashi Gaiden 3: The True Hero
Naruto Manga Chapter 242 Kakashi Gaiden 4: The Crybaby Ninja!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 243 Kakashi Gaiden 5: Present
Naruto Manga Chapter 244 Kakashi Gaiden 6: The Sharingan Hero



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 28

Naruto Manga Chapter 245 Naruto’s Homecoming!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 246 Growth of the Two
Naruto Manga Chapter 247 Those Who Invade the Sand
Naruto Manga Chapter 248 The Ambush on the Sand…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 249 As the Kazekage…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 250 New Team, New Mission!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 251 To The Sand…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 252 Emotions, Racing…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 253 Reliable Reinforcements…!!



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 29

Naruto Manga Chapter 254 Siblings…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 255 Close By!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 256 Those Blocking the Way!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 257 The Value of Kakashi’s Experience
Naruto Manga Chapter 258 Gai vs. Kisame
Naruto Manga Chapter 259 Itachi’s Strength…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 260 Kakashi vs. Itachi!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 261 Jinchuuriki…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 262 Racing Emotions…!!



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 30

Naruto Manga Chapter 263 A Furious Cry…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 264 Sasori’s Art…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 265 Chiyo and Sakura
Naruto Manga Chapter 266 Sasori Appears…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 267 Violent Determination
Naruto Manga Chapter 268 Puppeteer vs. Puppeteer!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 269 All I Can Do
Naruto Manga Chapter 270 Miscalculation…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 271 Unknown Abilities…!!



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 31

Naruto Manga Chapter 272 Chiyo vs. Sasori…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 273 Last Battle!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 274 Ungrantable Dream
Naruto Manga Chapter 275 The Reward
Naruto Manga Chapter 276 New Sharingan
Naruto Manga Chapter 277 Ultimate Art Form
Naruto Manga Chapter 278 The Death of Gaara
Naruto Manga Chapter 279 Wonderous Chakra
Naruto Manga Chapter 280 The Entrusted Wish



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 32

Naruto Manga Chapter 281 The Road to Sasuke!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 282 Kakashi’s Group Returns
Naruto Manga Chapter 283 Search for More Members
Naruto Manga Chapter 284 New Companions
Naruto Manga Chapter 285 You, from “Root”
Naruto Manga Chapter 286 Naruto, and Sasuke, and Sai
Naruto Manga Chapter 287 Untitled
Naruto Manga Chapter 288 Incomprehensible Feelings
Naruto Manga Chapter 289 Akatsuki Sp



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 33

Naruto Manga Chapter 290 The End of Treason
Naruto Manga Chapter 291 The Trigger of Anger
Naruto Manga Chapter 292 The Third Tail
Naruto Manga Chapter 293 Running Wildly
Naruto Manga Chapter 294 The Third Tail
Naruto Manga Chapter 295 To the Kyuubi…
Naruto Manga Chapter 296 A Sorrowful Conclusion
Naruto Manga Chapter 297 Sai’s Mission
Naruto Manga Chapter 298 Secret Mission
Naruto Manga Chapter 299 The Source of Strength…!!



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 34

Naruto Manga Chapter 300 Sai’s Picture Book!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 301 Sai and Sasuke!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 302 Infiltration…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 303 Sai’s Betrayal!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 304 The Reverse Side of Betrayal!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 305 The Bond With Your Friend
Naruto Manga Chapter 306 The Hour of Reunion…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 307 Whim…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 308 Sasuke’s Strength!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 309 Conversation with Kyuubi!!



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 35

Naruto Manga Chapter 310 Title
Naruto Manga Chapter 311 Nickname
Naruto Manga Chapter 312 Silent Approaching Threat!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 313 The New Duo!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 314 Akatsuki’s Invasion…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 315 Special Training
Naruto Manga Chapter 316 Training Starts
Naruto Manga Chapter 317 The Nightmare Begins
Naruto Manga Chapter 318 Favorable Training
Naruto Manga Chapter 319 The Motivation



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 36 – Cell Number 10

After Naruto gains proper control over the wind element, Kakashi tells him that creating his own unique attack will require mixing wind with his Rasengan. As Naruto struggles to accomplish this task, a Niju Shotai team consisting of Shikamaru Nara and Asuma Sarutobi finds Hidan and Kakuzu. Although they are quickly able to deliver a fatal blow to Hidan, it becomes apparent that Hidan cannot be killed by normal means. Hidan is soon able to “link” himself to Asuma, causing any damage he receives to be transferred to Asuma. As such, Hidan tries to stab himself in the heart, which would kill Asuma yet leave himself unfazed. Shikamaru does his best to prevent this, though Hidan ultimately proves successful. As reinforcements arrive the Akatsuki duo is driven off,and the Niju Shotai members return home to bury Asuma.


Naruto Manga Chapter 320 Bounty Head Money

Naruto Manga Chapter 321 Smooth Talking…!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 322 He Can’t Be Killed

Naruto Manga Chapter 323 God’s Judgment

Naruto Manga Chapter 324 Shikamaru’s Analysis

Naruto Manga Chapter 325 There is No After…!

Naruto Manga Chapter 326 Desired Pain…!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 327 Within Despair…

Naruto Manga Chapter 328 Team 10

Naruto Manga Chapter 329 The True Goal…!!


Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 37 – Shikamaru’s Battle

In this volume, Shikamaru sets out with the remaining members of Team 10 to find Hidan and avenge Asuma. To help them in their quest Kakashi joins them as leader, leaving Yamato in charge of overseeing Naruto’s training. Once they find the Akatsuki pair, Shikamaru restrains them with his shadow while Kakashi pierces Kakuzu’s chest. Kakuzu, having multiple extra hearts, survives the attackand frees Hidan, allowing the two to join forces against the Konoha ninja. Needing to separate the two, Shikamaru captures Hidan againand leads him away, where he avenges Asuma by blowing Hidan up and burying his still speaking remains. Kakashi and the others have a considerably more difficult time with Kakuzu who is able to use his extra hearts to a great advantage. Just as they are about to be killed, Naruto arrives with Yamato, Sakura,and Sai to save them.

Naruto Manga Chapter 330 The Sad News…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 331 Team 10 Heads Out…!
Naruto Manga Chapter 332 Shikamaru’s Battle!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 333 Affinity…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 334 Black Transformation…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 335 The Terrible Secret!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 336 Complete Turn Around, Predicament…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 337 Shikamaru’s Genius
Naruto Manga Chapter 338 When He Was Cursed…
Naruto Manga Chapter 339 New Jutsu…!!



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 38 – Practice Makes Perfect

Having advanced his training enough to form a usable attack, Naruto forms his new jutsu. Although Kakuzu is able to avoid the attack for a while, Naruto is ultimately able to strike him with it, destroying his remaining hearts and ending the battle. As the Konoha ninja return home, Sasuke, elsewhere, decides he has learned all he can from Orochimaru. Uninterested in giving Orochimaru his body, Sasuke tries to kill him, though Orochimaru is still able to initiate the body-stealing process. Through the use of his Sharingan, Sasuke is able to turn the process around and absorbs Orochimaru into his own body. Freed from Orochimaru’s control, Sasuke at long last begins recruiting ninja he has deemed essential in his plan to kill his brother, Akatsuki member Itachi Uchiha. After recruiting Suigetsu Hozuki and Karin, he begins searching for the final member of his team, Jugo

Naruto Manga Chapter 340 Dangerous Bridge
Naruto Manga Chapter 341 Fruits of the Training…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 342 King
Naruto Manga Chapter 343 Heartlessly
Naruto Manga Chapter 344 Snake and…
Naruto Manga Chapter 345 The Ritual…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 346 The New Jutsu’s Secret
Naruto Manga Chapter 347 Dropping By on the Way
Naruto Manga Chapter 348 The Next One
Naruto Manga Chapter 349 North Base



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 39 – On the Move

With some reluctance, Jugo agrees to join Sasuke and the others. His team assembled, Sasuke calls them “Snake”, and they split up to search for clues about Itachi’s whereabouts. Once word of Orochimaru’s defeat by Sasuke reaches Konoha, Naruto decides that this would be a good opportunity to try and retrieve Sasuke again. Realizing that Sasuke is looking for Itachi, Naruto sets out with Sakura, Sai, Kakashi, Yamato, and the members of Team 8 to find either of the Uchiha brothers. Akatsuki also learns of Orochimaru’s defeat, and mobilizes Deidara and his new teammate Tobi to deal withSasuke. The two soon find Sasuke, and Deidara meets him in battle, though Sasuke’s abilities soon prove to be more than a match for Deidara’s bombs.

Naruto Manga Chapter 350 Shocking News…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 351 Man to Man Talk
Naruto Manga Chapter 352 The Objective
Naruto Manga Chapter 353 “Akatsuki” Meeting…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 354 The People Starting to Move
Naruto Manga Chapter 355 Which Way…!?
Naruto Manga Chapter 356 Collision…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 357 Deidara vs. Sasuke!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 358 Cornered by C2!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 359 Those Eyes…!!



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 40 – The Ultimate Art

Sasuke survives Deidara’s strongest attacks. Left without options if he is to gain victory, Deidara blows himself up, hoping to take Sasuke with him. Sasuke escapes the blast, though is forced to regroup with the other members of Snake to rest. After he recuperates, they head to a nearby Akatsuki lair where Sasuke is able to meet with Itachi. Once Sasuke exhibits his increased skills, Itachi consents to meeting with him elsewhere for their last battle. Meanwhile, Tobi, despite seeming to have died during Deidara’s explosion, begins to put his plans into motion. After revealing himself as Madara Uchiha, he assigns the Akatsuki leader, Pain, the task of capturing Naruto. Before Pain can set out on this mission, however, Jiraiya infiltrates Amegakure, and Pain is forced to deal with him before he can go after Naruto.

Naruto Manga Chapter 360 C4 Karura
Naruto Manga Chapter 361 Weak Point…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 362 Ultimate Art!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 363 Sasuke’s Death…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 364 The Objective…!!
Naruto Manga Chapter 365 Chasing Itachi
Naruto Manga Chapter 366 Brothers
Naruto Manga Chapter 367 Itachi and Sasuke
Naruto Manga Chapter 368 Reconnaissance
Naruto Manga Chapter 369 About Pain



Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 41 – Jiraiya Choice

After gathering some intelligence on Pain, Jiraiya goes to confront him. Before he can do so, however, he is found by Pain’s partner, Konan, a former student of his. During a brief battle Jiraiya begins to suspect that Pain is also a former student, Nagato, a belief that is confirmed upon the Akatsuki leader’s arrival. Konan falls back while Pain battles with Jiraiya, and the two exchange blows with their summons. Once Jiraiya’s toads begin to gain the upperhand, Pain summons two additional Pains to fight alongside him. Though caught off guard by this turn of events and left outnumbered, Jiraiya is able to finish off the three bodies. Believing the battle to be won, Jiraiya continues on his way, only to be badly injured by the appearance of three more Pains in addition to the three he just killed.


Naruto Manga Chapter 370 Uneasiness

Naruto Manga Chapter 371 An Old Friend…!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 372 A Crying Country!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 373 The Student-and-Teacher Era…!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 374 Growth Into a God!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 375 The Two Hermits…!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 376 Child of Prophecy!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 377 Sage Mode!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 378 One on One…!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 379 Jiraiya’s Choice!!


Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 42 – The Secret of the Mangekyo

Though able to capture one of the six, Jiraiya is unable to defeat Pain’s other five bodies. Knowing this will be the only chance to learn the secret behind Pain, he sends the captured body to Tsunade and, doubting that Pain is actually Nagato, goes to investigate the Akatsuki leader’s true identity. Jiraiya succeeds and sends his discovery to Naruto and the rest of Konoha, but dies of the wounds he sustains. Elsewhere, Sasuke meets with Itachi, leaving Snake behind to deal with his partner, Kisame. As Naruto and company near their location, Tobi steps in to stall them so that the two brothers can fight uninhibited. The battle between Sasuke and Itachi commences, and Sasuke is able to use his years of hatred to push Itachi to his limits.


Naruto Manga Chapter 380 That Face…!

Naruto Manga Chapter 381 His True Identity!

Naruto Manga Chapter 382 My Real Decision!

Naruto Manga Chapter 383 The Epilogue, And The…!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 384 Two Roads

Naruto Manga Chapter 385 The Secret of the Mangekyou!

Naruto Manga Chapter 386 My New Light!

Naruto Manga Chapter 387 Reality…!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 388 The Gap Between Our Power!

Naruto Manga Chapter 389 Sasuke Turns the Tide!


Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 43 – The Man Who Knows the Truth

To bring the battle to a swift end Sasuke conjures up a bolt of lightning to strike Itachi down. Itachi survives the attack, though after removing Orochimaru from Sasuke’s body and saying goodbye to his little brother, dies of a preexisting disease. Tobi collects Sasuke to attend to his injuries and Naruto, having lost Sasuke’s trail, is forced to return home. Once Sasuke regains consciousness Tobi tells him of the Uchiha’s history: that after he, Madara Uchiha, helped to found Konoha, a mistrust between Konoha’s leadership and the Uchiha was created. When years later the Uchiha began planning to overthrow this leadership, Itachi was ordered by Konoha to eliminate his own clan to prevent the Uchiha’s rebellion. While Itachi did as instructed, he chose to spare Sasuke and lived as a criminal so that he could someday die by Sasuke’s hands, effectively avenging the Uchiha. Realizing that Itachi was as much of a victim as he was, Sasuke heads out to destroy Konoha.


Naruto Manga Chapter 390 The Final Jutsu!

Naruto Manga Chapter 391 …With the Thunder!

Naruto Manga Chapter 392 Susano’o!

Naruto Manga Chapter 393 My Eyes…!

Naruto Manga Chapter 394 Sasuke’s Victory

Naruto Manga Chapter 395 The Mystery That Is Tobi

Naruto Manga Chapter 396 Introduction

Naruto Manga Chapter 397 The Man Who Knows The Truth

Naruto Manga Chapter 398 The Leaf’s Origins

Naruto Manga Chapter 399 The Beginning of Everything

Naruto Manga Chapter 400 In The Pits of Hell

Naruto Manga Chapter 401 Illusion

Naruto Manga Chapter 402 Last Words


Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 44 – Passing Down the Senjutsu…!!

Upon his return to Konoha, Naruto learns of Jiraiya’s death. Knowing that Akatsuki will be coming for him, Naruto decides to learn how to use senjutsu to prepare himself for the inevitable encounter with Pain. He goes to the home of the toads to train, just as Jiraiya had years earlier, and leaves deciphering Pain’s identity to his friends in Konoha. Elsewhere, Sasuke agrees to have Snake, now renamed “Hawk”, work with Akatsuki in return for their help in destroying Konoha. Hawk is sent to capture the eight-tailed beast, and upon finding its host (Killer Bee) they engage him in battle. Even though Killer Bee proves an even match for the four of them, he nevertheless decides to release the beast within him.


Naruto Manga Chapter 403 Tears

Naruto Manga Chapter 404 Hawk and Akatsuki

Naruto Manga Chapter 405 What He Left Behind

Naruto Manga Chapter 406 Unlock The Future

Naruto Manga Chapter 407 To Naruto

Naruto Manga Chapter 408 Fukasaku’s Proposal

Naruto Manga Chapter 409 Passing Down The Sage Technigues

Naruto Manga Chapter 410 Battle Of Thunder-Cloud Gorge

Naruto Manga Chapter 411 8 Tails VS Sasuke

Naruto Manga Chapter 412 Unprecedented Fear


Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 45 – Battlefield Konoha!!

With the full power of the Eight-Tailed Beast, Killer Bee is able to decimate Hawk. Fearing the deaths of his teammates, Sasuke unleashes his newly acquired Mangekyo Sharingan to suppress the beast’s influence and capture Killer Bee. When the Raikage, the leader of Kumogakure and Killer Bee’s brother, learns of this, he decides to convene the five Kage to discuss how to deal with the growing threat that is Akatsuki. As word of the meeting is sent out, Akatsuki attempts to extract the eight-tailed beast from Killer Bee’s body, only to discover that the body is a fake and that Killer Bee still roams free. Elsewhere, Naruto masters senjutsu and begins to apply its teachings to some of his old techniques. While he does so, Pain’s six bodies arrive in Konoha and attack the village in search of him. Taken by surprise, Konoha mobilizes its forces, Kakashi even engaging two of Pain’s bodies at once.


Naruto Manga Chapter 413 Crash

Naruto Manga Chapter 414 Raging Bull

Naruto Manga Chapter 415 A New Power

Naruto Manga Chapter 416 The Legend Of Gusty Ninja…

Naruto Manga Chapter 417 The Raikage Moves

Naruto Manga Chapter 418 Naruto, The Sage!

Naruto Manga Chapter 419 Attack!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 420 Battlefield Leaf!

Naruto Manga Chapter 421 Call Naruto Back!!…

Naruto Manga Chapter 422 Kakashi vs Pain!


Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 46 – Naruto Return

Although he is able to defeat one of the six paths, Kakashi is unable to land a blow on the Deva Path and is left on the brink of death. Across the village, Konoha’s other ninja have similar difficulties with the remaining bodies, all the while struggling to find out as much as they can about Pain. Pain eventually discovers Naruto’s whereaboutsand destroys Konoha to teach the villagers the pain of fighting. Naruto returns from his training immediately following Pain’s attack,and takes it upon himself to avenge the damage done to the village and its inhabitants. Using his new senjutsu abilities, Naruto reduces the Six Paths of Pain to two.


Naruto Manga Chapter 423 The Power of Deva Realm!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 424 Determination!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 425 Hatake Kakashi

Naruto Manga Chapter 426 Naruto And Konoha [url]…nonymous-X.rar

Naruto Manga Chapter 427 Reunion

Naruto Manga Chapter 428 Conversation!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 429 “Pain”

Naruto Manga Chapter 430 Naruto’s Return!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 431 Naruto Erupts!!

Naruto Manga Chapter 432 The Return of The Rasen Shuriken!!


Naruto Manga (Comic) Volume 47

Naruto Manga Chapter 433 The Sage’s Arts Give Out…?!…

Naruto Manga Chapter 434 Naruto vs The Deva Path!…

Naruto Manga Chapter 435 Divine Attractor…

Naruto Manga Chapter 436 Peace…

Naruto Manga Chapter 437 Confession…

Naruto Manga Chapter 438 The Seal Shatters…

Naruto Manga Chapter 439 Chibaku Tensei…

Naruto Manga Chapter 440 Speaking With The Fourth!!…

Naruto Manga Chapter 441 Rasen Shuriken vs Shinra Tensei…

Naruto Manga Chapter 442 The Final Gamble!!…



The kanji for “manga” from Seasonal Passersby (Shiki no Yukikai), 1798, by Santō Kyōden and Kitao Shigemasa.

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Manga (kanji: 漫画; hiragana: まんが; katakana: マンガ; About this sound listen (help·info); English /ˈmɑːŋɡə/ or /ˈmæŋɡə/) is the Japanese word for “comics/cartoons” and consists of comics and print cartoons (sometimes also called komikku コミック). In the West, the term “manga” has been appropriated to refer specifically to comics created in Japan, or by Japanese authors, in the Japanese language and conforming to the style developed in Japan in the late 19th century.[1] In their modern form, manga date from shortly after World War II,[citation needed] but they have a long, complex pre-history in earlier Japanese art.[2]

In Japan, people of all ages read manga. The medium includes works in a broad range of genres: action-adventure, romance, sports and games, historical drama, comedy, science fiction and fantasy, mystery, horror, sexuality, and business/commerce, among others.[3] Since the 1950s, manga has steadily become a major part of the Japanese publishing industry,[4] representing a ¥406 billion market in Japan in 2007 (approximately $3.6 billion) and ¥420 billion ($5.5 billion) in 2009.[5] Manga have also gained a significant worldwide audience.[6] In Europe and the Middle East the market is worth $250 million.[7] In 2008, the U.S. and Canadian manga market was valued at $175 million. The markets in France and the United States are about the same size. Manga stories are typically printed in black-and-white,[8] although some full-color manga exist (e.g. Colorful). In Japan, manga are usually serialized in large manga magazines, often containing many stories, each presented in a single episode to be continued in the next issue. If the series is successful, collected chapters may be republished in paperback books called tankōbon.[9] A manga artist (mangaka in Japanese) typically works with a few assistants in a small studio and is associated with a creative editor from a commercial publishing company.[10] If a manga series is popular enough, it may be animated after or even during its run,[11] although sometimes manga are drawn centering on previously existing live-action or animated films[12] (e.g. Star Wars).

“Manga” as a term used outside Japan refers specifically to comics originally published in Japan.[13] However, manga-influenced comics, among original works, exist in other parts of the world, particularly in Taiwan (“manhua“), South Korea (“manhwa“),[14] and China, notably Hong Kong (“manhua“).[15] In France, “la nouvelle manga” has developed as a form of bande dessinée (literally drawn strip) drawn in styles influenced by Japanese manga. In the United States, people refer to what they perceive as manga “styled” comics as Amerimanga, world manga, or original English-language manga (OEL manga). Still, the original term “manga” is primarily used in English-speaking countries solely to describe comics of Japanese origin.



[edit] Etymology

The Chinese characters used to write the word manga in Japanese can be translated as “whimsical drawings”. The word first came into common usage in the late 18th century with the publication of such works as Santō Kyōden‘s picturebook Shiji no yukikai (1798), and in the early 19th century with such works as Aikawa Minwa’s Manga hyakujo (1814) and the celebrated Hokusai Manga books (1814–1834) containing assorted drawings from the sketchbooks of the famous ukiyo-e artist Hokusai.[16] Rakuten Kitazawa (1876–1955) first used the word “manga” in the modern sense.[17]

[edit] History and characteristics

Main article: History of manga

Historians and writers on manga history have described two broad and complementary processes shaping modern manga. Their views differ in the relative importance they attribute to the role of cultural and historical events following World War II versus the role of pre-War, Meiji, and pre-Meiji Japanese culture and art.

One view emphasizes events occurring during and after the U.S. Occupation of Japan (1945–1952), and stresses that manga strongly reflect U.S. cultural influences, including U.S. comics (brought to Japan by the GIs) and images and themes from U.S. television, film, and cartoons (especially Disney).[18] Alternately, other writers such as Frederik L. Schodt, Kinko Ito, and Adam L. Kern stress continuity of Japanese cultural and aesthetic traditions as central to the history of manga.[19]

Modern manga originated in the Occupation (1945–1952) and post-Occupation years (1952–early 1960s), while a previously militaristic and ultra-nationalist Japan rebuilt its political and economic infrastructure. An explosion of artistic creativity occurred in this period,[20] involving manga artists such as Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy) and Machiko Hasegawa (Sazae-san).

A kami-shibai story teller from Sazae-san by Machiko Hasegawa. Sazae appears with her hair in a bun.

Astro Boy quickly became (and remains) immensely popular in Japan and elsewhere,[21] and the anime adaptation of Sazae-san continues to run as of 2011[update], regularly drawing more viewers than any other anime on Japanese television. Tezuka and Hasegawa both made stylistic innovations. In Tezuka’s “cinematographic” technique, the panels are like a motion picture that reveals details of action bordering on slow motion as well as rapid zooms from distance to close-up shots. This kind of visual dynamism was widely adopted by later manga artists.[22] Hasegawa’s focus on daily life and on women’s experience also came to characterize later shōjo manga.[23] Between 1950 and 1969, an increasingly large readership for manga emerged in Japan with the solidification of its two main marketing genres, shōnen manga aimed at boys and shōjo manga aimed at girls.[24]

In 1969 a group of female manga artists (later called the Year 24 Group, also known as Magnificent 24s) made their shōjo manga debut (“year 24” comes from the Japanese name for the year 1949, the birth-year of many of these artists).[25] The group included Hagio Moto, Riyoko Ikeda, Yumiko Oshima, Keiko Takemiya, and Ryoko Yamagishi, and they marked the first major entry of female artists into manga.[9] Thereafter, primarily female manga artists would draw shōjo for a readership of girls and young women.[26] In the following decades (1975–present), shōjo manga continued to develop stylistically while simultaneously evolving different but overlapping subgenres.[27] Major subgenres include romance, superheroines, and “Ladies Comics” (in Japanese, redisu レディース, redikomi レディコミ, and josei 女性).[28]

Modern shōjo manga romance features love as a major theme set into emotionally intense narratives of self-realization.[29] With the superheroines, shōjo manga saw releases such as Pink Hanamori‘s Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Reiko Yoshida‘s Tokyo Mew Mew, And, Naoko Takeuchi‘s Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, which became internationally popular in both manga and anime formats.[30] Groups (or sentais) of girls working together have also been popular within this genre. Like Lucia, Hanon, and Rina singing together, and Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter, and Sailor Venus working together.[31]

Manga for male readers sub-divides according to the age of its intended readership: boys up to 18 years old (shōnen manga) and young men 18- to 30-years old (seinen manga);[32] as well as by content, including action-adventure often involving male heroes, slapstick humor, themes of honor, and sometimes explicit sexuality.[33] The Japanese use different kanji for two closely allied meanings of “seinen”—青年 for “youth, young man” and 成年 for “adult, majority”—the second referring to sexually overt manga aimed at grown men and also called seijin (“adult” 成人) manga.[34] Shōnen, seinen, and seijin manga share many features in common.

Boys and young men became some of the earliest readers of manga after World War II. From the 1950s on, shōnen manga focused on topics thought to interest the archetypal boy, including subjects like robots, space-travel, and heroic action-adventure.[35] Popular themes include science fiction, technology, sports, and supernatural settings. Manga with solitary costumed superheroes like Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man generally did not become as popular.[36]

The role of girls and women in manga produced for male readers has evolved considerably over time to include those featuring single pretty girls (bishōjo)[37] such as Belldandy from Oh My Goddess!, stories where such girls and women surround the hero, as in Negima and Hanaukyo Maid Team, or groups of heavily armed female warriors (sentō bishōjo)[38]

With the relaxation of censorship in Japan in the 1990s, a wide variety of explicit sexual themes appeared in manga intended for male readers, and correspondingly occur in English translations.[39] However, in 2010 the Tokyo Metropolitan Government passed a bill to restrict harmful content.[1]

The gekiga style of drawing—emotionally dark, often starkly realistic, sometimes very violent—focuses on the day-in, day-out grim realities of life, often drawn in gritty and unpretty fashions.[40] Gekiga such as Sampei Shirato‘s 1959–1962 Chronicles of a Ninja’s Military Accomplishments (Ninja Bugeichō) arose in the late 1950s and 1960s partly from left-wing student and working-class political activism[41] and partly from the aesthetic dissatisfaction of young manga artists like Yoshihiro Tatsumi with existing manga.[42]

[edit] Publications

In Japan, manga constituted an annual 406 billion yen (approximately $3.6 billion USD) publication-industry by 2007.[43] Recently, the manga industry has expanded worldwide, where distribution companies license and reprint manga into their native languages.

After a series has run for a while, publishers often collect the stories together and print them in dedicated book-sized volumes, called tankōbon. These are the equivalent of U.S. trade paperbacks or graphic novels. These volumes use higher-quality paper, and are useful to those who want to “catch up” with a series so they can follow it in the magazines or if they find the cost of the weeklies or monthlies to be prohibitive. Recently, “deluxe” versions have also been printed as readers have gotten older and the need for something special grew. Old manga have also been reprinted using somewhat lesser quality paper and sold for 100 yen (about $1 U.S. dollar) each to compete with the used book market.

Marketeers primarily classify manga by the age and gender of the target readership.[44] In particular, books and magazines sold to boys (shōnen) and girls (shōjo) have distinctive cover art and are placed on different shelves in most bookstores. Due to cross-readership, consumer response is not limited by demographics. For example, male readers subscribing to a series intended for girls and so on.

Japan also has manga cafés, or manga kissa (kissa is an abbreviation of kissaten). At a manga kissa, people drink coffee and read manga, and sometimes stay there overnight.

There has been an increase in the amount of publications of original webmanga. It is internationally drawn by enthusiasts of all levels of experience, and is intended for online viewing. It can be ordered in graphic novel form if available in print.

The Kyoto International Manga Museum maintains a very large website listing manga published in Japanese.[45]

[edit] Magazines

Eshinbun Nipponchi; credited as the first manga magazine ever made.

Manga magazines usually have many series running concurrently with approximately 20–40 pages allocated to each series per issue. Other magazines such as the anime fandom magazine Newtype featured single chapters within their monthly periodicals. Other magazines like Nakayoshi feature many stories written by many different artists; these magazines, or “anthology magazines”, as they are also known (colloquially “phone books”), are usually printed on low-quality newsprint and can be anywhere from 200 to more than 850 pages thick. Manga magazines also contain one-shot comics and various four-panel yonkoma (equivalent to comic strips). Manga series can run for many years if they are successful. Manga artists sometimes start out with a few “one-shot” manga projects just to try to get their name out. If these are successful and receive good reviews, they are continued. Magazines often have a short life.[46]

[edit] History

Kanagaki Robun and Kawanabe Kyosai created the first manga magazine in 1874: Eshinbun Nipponchi. The magazine was heavily influenced by Japan Punch, founded in 1862 by Charles Wirgman, a British cartoonist. Eshinbun Nipponchi had a very simple style of drawings and did not become popular with many people. Eshinbun Nipponchi ended after three issues. The magazine Kisho Shimbun in 1875 was inspired by Eshinbun Nipponchi, which was followed by Marumaru Chinbun in 1877, and then Garakuta Chinpo in 1879.[47] Shōnen Sekai was the first shōnen magazine created in 1895 by Iwaya Sazanami, a famous writer of Japanese children’s literature back then. Shōnen Sekai had a strong focus on the First Sino-Japanese War.[48]

In 1905 the manga-magazine publishing boom started with the Russo-Japanese War,[49] Tokyo Pakku was created and became a huge hit.[50] After Tokyo Pakku in 1905, a female version of Shōnen Sekai was created and named Shōjo Sekai, considered the first shōjo magazine.[51] Shōnen Pakku was made and is considered the first children’s manga magazine. The children’s demographic was in an early stage of development in the Meiji period. Shōnen Pakku was influenced from foreign children’s magazines such as Puck which an employee of Jitsugyō no Nihon (publisher of the magazine) saw and decided to emulate. In 1924, Kodomo Pakku was launched as another children’s manga magazine after Shōnen Pakku.[50] During the boom, Poten (derived from the French “potin”) was published in 1908. All the pages were in full color with influences from Tokyo Pakku and Osaka Pakku. It is unknown if there were any more issues besides the first one.[49] Kodomo Pakku was launched May 1924 by Tokyosha and featured high-quality art by many members of the manga artistry like Takei Takeo, Takehisa Yumeji and Aso Yutaka. Some of the manga featured speech balloons, where other manga from the previous eras did not use speech balloons and were silent.[50]

Published from May 1935 to January 1941, Manga no Kuni coincided with the period of the Second Sino-Japanese War. Manga no Kuni featured information on becoming a mangaka and on other comics industries around the world. Manga no Kuni handed its title to Sashie Manga Kenkyū in August 1940.[52]

[edit] Dōjinshi

Main article: Dōjinshi

Dōjinshi, produced by small publishers outside of the mainstream commercial market, resemble in their publishing small-press independently published comic books in the United States. Comiket, the largest comic book convention in the world with around 500,000 visitors gathering over three days, is devoted to dōjinshi. While they most often contain original stories, many are parodies of or include characters from popular manga and anime series. Some dōjinshi continue with a series’ story or write an entirely new one using its characters, much like fan fiction. In 2007, dōjinshi sold for 27.73 billion yen (245 million USD).[43]

[edit] International markets

Main article: Manga outside Japan

As of 2007[update] the influence of manga on international comics had grown considerably over the past two decades.[53] “Influence” is used here to refer to effects on the comics markets outside of Japan and to aesthetic effects on comics artists internationally.

The reading direction in a traditional manga

Traditionally, manga stories flow from top to bottom and from right to left. Some publishers of translated manga keep to this original format. Other publishers mirror the pages horizontally before printing the translation, changing the reading direction to a more “Western” left to right, so as not to confuse foreign readers or traditional comics-consumers. This practice is known as “flipping”.[54] For the most part, criticism suggests that flipping goes against the original intentions of the creator (for example, if a person wears a shirt that reads “MAY” on it, and gets flipped, then the word is altered to “YAM”), who may be ignorant of how awkward is to read comics when the eyes must flow through the pages and text in opposite directions, resulting in an experience that’s quite distinct from reading something that flows homogeneously. Flipping may also cause oddities with familiar asymmetrical objects or layouts, such as a car being depicted with the gas pedal on the left and the brake on the right, or a shirt with the buttons on the wrong side, but these issues are minor when compared to the unnatural reading flow, and some of them could be solved with an adaptation work that goes beyond just translation and blind flipping.[55]

[edit] United States

Manga made their way only gradually into U.S. markets, first in association with anime and then independently.[56] Some U.S. fans became aware of manga in the 1970s and early 1980s.[57] However, anime was initially more accessible than manga to U.S. fans,[58] many of whom were college-age young people who found it easier to obtain, subtitle, and exhibit video tapes of anime than translate, reproduce, and distribute tankōbon-style manga books.[59] One of the first manga translated into English and marketed in the U.S. was Keiji Nakazawa‘s Barefoot Gen, an autobiographical story of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima issued by Leonard Rifas and Educomics (1980–1982).[60] More manga were translated between the mid-1980s and 1990s, including Golgo 13 in 1986, Lone Wolf and Cub from First Comics in 1987, and Kamui, Area 88, and Mai the Psychic Girl, also in 1987 and all from Viz MediaEclipse Comics.[61] Others soon followed, including Akira from Marvel ComicsEpic Comics imprint and Appleseed from Eclipse Comics in 1988, and later Iczer-1 (Antarctic Press, 1994) and Ippongi Bang‘s F-111 Bandit (Antarctic Press, 1995).

In the 1980s to the mid-1990s, Japanese animation, like Akira, Dragon Ball, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Pokémon, made a bigger impact on the fan experience and in the market than manga.[62] Matters changed when translator-entrepreneur Toren Smith founded Studio Proteus in 1986. Smith and Studio Proteus acted as an agent and translator of many Japanese manga, including Masamune Shirow‘s Appleseed and Kōsuke Fujishima‘s Oh My Goddess!, for Dark Horse and Eros Comix, eliminating the need for these publishers to seek their own contacts in Japan.[63] Simultaneously, the Japanese publisher Shogakukan opened a U.S. market initiative with their U.S. subsidiary Viz, enabling Viz to draw directly on Shogakukan’s catalogue and translation skills.[54]

A young boy reading Black Cat in a Barnes & Noble bookstore

Japanese publishers began pursuing a U.S. market in the mid-1990s due to a stagnation in the domestic market for manga.[64] The U.S. manga market took an upturn with mid-1990s anime and manga versions of Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell (translated by Frederik L. Schodt and Toren Smith) becoming very popular among fans.[65] Another success of the mid-1990s was Sailor Moon.[66] By 1995–1998, the Sailor Moon manga had been exported to over 23 countries, including China, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, North America and most of Europe.[67] In 1997, Mixx Entertainment began publishing Sailor Moon, along with CLAMP‘s Magic Knight Rayearth, Hitoshi Iwaaki‘s Parasyte and Tsutomu Takahashi‘s Ice Blade in the monthly manga magazine MixxZine. Two years later, MixxZine was renamed to Tokyopop before discontinuing in 2000. Mixx Entertainment, later renamed Tokyopop, also published manga in trade paperbacks and, like Viz, began aggressive marketing of manga to both young male and young female demographics.[68]

In the following years, manga became increasingly popular, and new publishers entered the field while the established publishers greatly expanded their catalogues.[69] As of 2008[update], the U.S. and Canadian manga market generated $175 million in annual sales.[70] Simultaneously, mainstream U.S. media began to discuss manga, with articles in The New York Times, Time magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Wired magazine.[71]

[edit] Europe

Manga has influenced European cartooning in a way somewhat different from the U.S. experience. Broadcast anime in Italy and France opened the European market to manga during the 1970s.[72] French art has borrowed from Japan since the 19th century (Japonisme),[73] and has its own highly developed tradition of bande dessinée cartooning.[74] In France, beginning in the mid-1990s,[75] manga has proven very popular to a wide readership, accounting for about one-third of comics sales in France since 2004.[76] According to the Japan External Trade Organization, sales of manga reached $212.6 million within France and Germany alone in 2006.[72] France represents about 50% of the European market.[77] European publishers marketing manga translated into French include Glénat, Asuka, Casterman, Kana, and Pika Édition, among others.

European publishers also translate manga into German, Italian, Dutch, and other languages. As of 2007, about 70% of all comics sold in Germany are manga.[78] Manga publishers based in the United Kingdom include Gollancz and Titan Books. Manga publishers from the United States have a strong marketing presence in the United Kingdom: for example, the Tanoshimi line from Random House.

[edit] Localized manga

A number of artists in the United States have drawn comics and cartoons influenced by manga. As an early example, Vernon Grant drew manga-influenced comics while living in Japan in the late 1960s and early 1970s.[79] Others include Frank Miller‘s mid-1980s Ronin, Adam Warren and Toren Smith’s 1988 The Dirty Pair,[80] Ben Dunn‘s 1987 Ninja High School, Stan Sakai‘s 1984 Usagi Yojimbo, and Manga Shi 2000 from Crusade Comics (1997).

By the 21st century several U.S. manga publishers had begun to produce work by U.S. artists under the broad marketing label of manga.[81] In 2002, I.C. Entertainment, formerly Studio Ironcat and now out of business, launched a series of manga by U.S. artists called Amerimanga.[82] In 2004 eigoMANGA launched Rumble Pak and Sakura Pakk anthology series. Seven Seas Entertainment followed suit with World Manga.[83] Simultaneously, TokyoPop introduced original English-language manga (OEL manga) later renamed Global Manga.[84] TokyoPop is currently the largest U.S. publisher of original English language manga.[85]

Francophone artists have also developed their own versions of manga, like Frédéric Boilet‘s la nouvelle manga. Boilet has worked in France and in Japan, sometimes collaborating with Japanese artists.[86]


36 Great Manga Missed by the Eisner Awards

Sure, there were some great manga nominated for an Eisner award in 2009 but what about the ones that didn’t get the nod from the nominating committee? See the year’s best manga that got missed by the Eisner Awards, but are still worth your money and attention, as recommended by some of the web’s top bloggers, critics, and comics creators.

See the seven manga nominated for the 2009 Eisner Awards, and the 2008 and 2007 nominees.

2007 Will Eisner Awards Manga Nominees

San Diego Comic-Con International, July 23, 2007

The 2007 Will Eisner Awards recognized the growing influence of manga in the American comics scene by creating a new category, Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Japan. A variety of titles were nominated, including Old Boy by Garon Tsuchiya, Antique Bakery by Fumi Yoshinaga and Naoki Urasawa’s Monster.

The winners were be announced at the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con International at a Friday night reception on the San Diego Convention Center, and in the end, only Old Boy walked off with a prize.

The Walking Man by Jiro Taniguchi

The Walking Man by Jiro Taniguchi

Antique Bakery by Fumi Yoshinaga

Antique Bakery by Fumi Yoshinaga

Naoki Urasawa’s Monster

Naoki Urasawa’s Monster

Old Boy Volume 1 by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi

Old Boy Volume 1 by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi

After School Nightmare by Setona Mizushiro

Dramacon Volume 1 by Svetlana Chmakova

Dramacon Volume 1 by Svetlana Chmakova

Ode to Kirihito by Osamu Tezuka


2008 Will Eisner Awards Manga Nominees

San Diego Comic-Con International, July 27, 2008

Continuing the trend from the 2007 Eisners, Comic-Con International has recognized 13 manga and manga-related titles in its nominations for the 2008 Will Eisner Awards.

Besides nominating five noteworthy titles in the manga-specific category, Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material–Japan, the Eisner judges also nominated Japanese creators in several other categories, including Best Short Story (Book by Yuichi Yokoyama and Town of Evening Calm by Fumiyo Kouno; Best Publication for Kids (Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma) and two creator-specific nominations for Fumi Yoshinaga and Takeshi Obata. See the full list of 2008 Eisner nominees.

The winners will be announced at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con International at a reception on Friday, July 25 at the San Diego Convention Center.

New Engineering

Book, from New Engineering

The Ice Wanderer and Other Stories

Return to the Sea, from The Ice Wanderer and Other Stories

Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms

Town of Evening Calm

Naoki Urasawa’s Monster

Naoki Urasawa’s Monster


Scene from Yotsuba Volume 3

Apollo’s Song

Apollo’s Song – Synthians


2009 Will Eisner Awards Manga Nominees

San Diego Comic-Con International, July 23 -26, 2009

After nominating 13 manga titles in 2008, there were significantly fewer Japanese comics given the nod for the 2009 Will Eisner Awards, with only 8 nominations, including a double nomination for Naoki-Urasawa’s Monster.

Voting for the Eisner Awards is limited to comics professionals, including comics creators, editors, publishers, and retailers. Comics press, marketing / PR professionals in the comics biz and fans are not allowed to vote in the Eisners. See the full list of 2009 Eisner nominees.

The winners will be announced at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International at a reception on Friday, July 24 at the San Diego Convention Center.


Naoki Urasawa’s Monster Volume 18

Naoki Urasawa’s Monster Volume 18



Dororo Volume 1

Dororo Volume 1

Quest for the Missing Girl

Cat-Eyed Boy Volume 1

Cat-Eyed Boy Volume 1







SAILOR MOON Mixx Manga English Comic Books 1st Prints

Sailormoon English Manga comic books put out by MiXX Magazine before they changed into ToykoPop. These are beautiful as new condition having been put away for many years



The Differences Between Japanese Manga & American Comics

What are the primary differences between Japanese Manga (Comics) and American Comics?


There is a big difference in art styles between Manga, which is more stylized (exaggerated) and American comics, which tend to be more “realistic”. There are also quite a few serious differences between the two types of comics. Some of the differences, just to mention a few of them are the cost, creation, diverse audience and genres, presentation and even size.

The creation of Manga as well as its presentation is quite different than American Comics. Manga is printed in black-and-white format while American comics are the majority of the time in full color. Also, when you look at a graphic novel or Manga you will notice a difference in the size. Manga is frequently smaller than traditional American comic books, usually digest-size and roughly half to one-third the size of American comics. But where the American comics are generally thin like a small magazine, running about 32 pages, Manga comic books are thick and can be hundreds of pages in length!


In page count, Manga is quite similar to graphic novels, which are often just collections of the ongoing American comics. But unlike American graphic novels, which are usually just a collection of monthly comics in a single unified story or story arc, Manga books are often apart of an even bigger story and a complete Manga storyline can run thousands of pages.

Another difference between traditional American comics is that mainstream American comics are often created in a sort of assembly-line fashion. They have a writer (story), a penciler (initial sketch), inker (uses a pen to ink over the sketch), letterer (adds dialog) and a colorist (colors the inked sketch). Most Manga books are done by a single creator, who combines all those chores (except coloring).


Also Manga story lines usually move at a much quicker pace. Due to the high page count, one reads a Manga book at an accelerated pace. Manga books almost always have fewer panels and less dialogue (rambling) per page than American comic books. The price for Manga is also more than the average comic book and a bit more than a standard paperback novel, the small size of Manga and black-and-white printing rather than full color keeps the cost down. The lack color is made up when you consider the story development that it’ll have with the amount of pages it has.


In Japan, Manga is not viewed as just for kids unlike the American stereotype. There pretty much is a Manga for everyone. With that being stated there are three main genres in Japanese Manga: Shonen Manga (boy’s comics), Shojo Manga (girl’s comics) and Hentai (adult comics).

Shonen Manga is pretty much comics that are primarily action and/or adventure geared. If you’d like to view some examples of that genre, I’d recommend “Bleach” and/or “Full Metal Alchemist”. Shojo Manga is for the opposite sex; they are often about relationships and/or love interests. Please note that even though a particular genre is geared towards a certain audience it’s not limited to just that audience (unless otherwise stated). Finally Hentai Manga, I won’t delve much into this since it is primarily for adults and NOT suitable for children (just to be safe in case a child is reading this). Anyways, Hentai Manga is sometimes sexually explicit and/or adult-themed. In other words, do not purchase this for your child.

Next time someone asks you what the difference is between Manga and [American] comics, you can surprise them with your knowledge.




four volumes in manga – comic book

these were two books – The Dangerous Mr Ryder and The Marriage Debt – each in a two voume set.


Here is Mr Ryder with the blonde heroine above. (The scene on the orange bedspread is not as sinister as it looks, by the way – Jack Ryder is trying to prevent the infuriated Grand Duchess knifing him in the back!) This is the first of my Those Scandalous Ravenhursts series, so I’m hoping this one does well and they print all 6!


Below is The Marriage Debt with my hero, Nicholas, in Newgate, about to hang as Black Jack Standon, notorious highwayman. I love the way the artist has captured Katherine’s fierce determination to save him from the gallows.


I had no idea what to expect inside – would the story be cut, changed – how could I tell? But it was soon very clear that the manga version was incredibly true to the original book: I could follow it easily from the pictures and it all seems to be there.

I’m not sure that I entirely like the heroines with their huge eyes, but the heroes are to die for! Sexy, smouldering men of action who are also accomplished, tender lovers – definitely swoon-making.


Here’s an example of the inside at the beginning of The Marriage Debt.


I think it is vivid and really carries you through the story. This scene is from the extract below – see what you think. The hero looks just as I imagined him.


What was particularly interesting, from the point of view of image, was that The Marriage Debt is being reprinted this month in the UK in the first volume of The Regency Collection 2011. Regency Pleasures also contains The Model Debutante – I’m not sure what the Manga artist would have made of the nude modelling scenes in that!


The very different cover for that volume is shown at the bottom of the page.


The beginning of The Marriage Debt –


The tall man in the frieze coat sat cross-legged on the hard bench, put his elbows on his knees, his chin on his clasped hands and thought. It required some concentration to ignore the shackles on his legs, the cold that seeped out of the damp walls, the rustles and squeaking in the rotten straw that covered the floor and the constant noise that echoed through the long dark corridors.
A few cells away a man was screaming an incoherent flood of obscenities that seemed to have gone on for hours. More distantly someone was dragging a stick across the bars of one of the great rooms, a monotonous music which fretted at the nerves. A boy was sobbing somewhere close. Footsteps on the flags outside and the clank and jingle of keys heralded the passing of a pair of turnkeys.
Long ago his father had said he was born to be hanged. At the time he had laughed: nothing had seemed more improbable. Now the words spoken in anger had been proven right: in eight days he would step outside Newgate gaol to the gallows platform and the hangman’s noose.

One small mercy was that they had put him in a cell by himself, not thrown him into one of the common yards where pickpockets and murderers, petty thieves and rapists crowded together, sleeping in great filthy chambers as best they might, fighting amongst themselves and preying on the weakest amongst them if they could.
Apparently his notoriety as Black Jack Standon was worth enough in tips to the turnkeys for them to keep him apart where he could be better shown off to the languid gentlemen and over-excited ladies who found an afternoon’s slumming a stimulating entertainment. The sight of an infamous highwayman who had made the Oxford road through Hertfordshire his hunting ground was the climax of the visit to one of London’s most feared prisons.
He had hurled his bowl at the group who had clustered around the narrow barred opening an hour or two ago and smiled grimly at the shrieks and curses when the foul liquid which passed as stew splattered the fine clothes on the other side of the grill. He doubted they’d feed him again today after that. It was no loss, he seemed to have passed beyond hunger after the trial – if such it could be called.

What do you think of the manga version? Attractive or off-putting? I love them, but I like the elegant lady on the Pleasures cover as well

[edit] Awards

The Japanese manga industry grants a large number of awards, mostly sponsored by publishers, with the winning prize usually including publication of the winning stories in magazines released by the sponsoring publisher. Examples of these awards include:

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has awarded the International Manga Award annually since May 2007.[87

The Paraguay History Collections Part One

The Paraguay History


Part one


Created By

Dr iwan suwandy,MHA

Copyright @ 2012




THE COMPLETE CD with full illustrations exist but only for premium member







The history of Paraguay is poorly documented, as almost no archaeological research has been done and little is known of Paraguay‘s pre-Columbian history. What is certain is that the eastern part of the country was occupied by

Guaraní peoples for at least 1,000 years before the Spanish colonization of the Americas. Evidence indicates that these indigenous Americans developed a fairly sophisticated semi-nomadic culture consisting of several independent multivillage communities. The first Spaniards settled in the territory in the 16th century. They were predominantly young men, as few women followed them to the region. Following the Spanish conquest and colonization, a large mixed (mestizo) population developed, which spoke the language of their indigenous mothers but adopted much of their fathers’ Spanish culture[citation needed].

Paraguay’s colonial history was one of general calm punctuated by turbulent political events; the country’s economy at the time made it unimportant to the Spanish crown, and the distance of its capital from other new cities on the South American continent lead to isolation.

Paraguay declared its independence from Spain in 1811; since then, the country has had a history of dictatorial governments, from the Utopian regime of

José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia (El Supremo)

to the suicidal reign of


 Francisco Solano López,

who nearly devastated the country in warfare against the combined forces of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay from 1865 through 1870. The so-called Paraguayan War ended in the near annihilation of Paraguay and set the stage for the formation of a two-party (Colorado vs. Liberal) political system that persists until the present day.

Following political turmoil during the first three decades of the 20th century, Paraguay went to war again, this time with Bolivia. From 1932 to 1935, approximately 30,000 Paraguayans and 65,000 Bolivians died in fighting over possession of the Chaco region.

Initiative and creativity were stifled for many years during the rule of a series of dictators. From 1870 to 1954, Paraguay was ruled by 44 different men, 24 of whom were forced from office.

In 1954,


General Alfredo Stroessner

took advantage of the strong link between the armed forces and the Colorado Party to overthrow the government; he ruled until 1989.

Although there is little ethnic strife in Paraguay to impede social and economic progress, there is social conflict caused by underemployment and the enormous gap between the rich and the poor. Positive steps to correct these inequities have occurred since the 1989 ousting of the last dictator, and the country’s political system is moving toward a fully functioning democracy. However, the tradition of hierarchical organizational structures and generous rewarding of political favors prevails

Read More Informations

the flag

Paraguay, officially the Republic of Paraguay (Spanish: República del Paraguay), is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the country from north to south. Due to its central location in South America, it is sometimes referred to as Corazón de América, or the Heart of America.


The Guaraní have been living in Paraguay since prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century, when Paraguay became part of the Spanish colonial empire. Paraguay gained independence from Spain in 1811.


Independence House

The Casa de la Independencia Museum is located in the oldest building in Asuncion. Built in 1772, the house was constructed of palm wood and bamboo and features adobe walls and a thatched roof. Although the house was used as a residence, it was the center of one of the most important events in Paraguay’s history. It was in this humble home that the emancipation from Spain was planned in secret meetings. On May 14, 1811, a group of brave patriots left the house at dawn and surrounded the house of the Spanish governor. They demanded that he relinquish control over the nation, the surrender was carried out without any bloodshed.


In 2010, Paraguay experienced the largest economic expansion in Latin America and the second fastest in the world, only after Qatar.



The name of the river, Paraguay, is thought to come from Guaraní para, “of many varieties”, and gua, “riverine”.


There is no conclusive explanation for the origin of the name Paraguay.


The Spanish officer and scientist Félix de Azara suggests two versions: water from the Payaguas (Payaguá-and Payagua-i), referring to natural Payaguas living on the coasts of the river, and the other was due to the name of a great chief called “Paraguaio.”
The French-Argentine historian and writer Paul Groussac argued that it meant “river that flows through the sea (Pantanal).”
The ex-president and Paraguayan politician, Juan Natalicio Gonzalez said it meant “river of the habitants of the sea.”
Fray Antonio Ruiz de Montoya said that it meant “river crowned.”


Paraguay is divided by the Río Paraguay into the eastern region, called Eastern Paraguay (Paraguay Oriental) and known as the Paraná region; and the western region, officially called Western Paraguay (Paraguay Occidental) and also known as the Chaco. The country lies between latitudes 19° and 28°S, and longitudes 54° and 63°W. The terrain consists of grassy plains and wooded hills in the east. To the west, there are mostly low, marshy plains.


The local climate ranges from subtropical to temperate, with substantial rainfall in the eastern portions, though becoming semi-arid in the far west.


Pre-Columbian society in the wooded, fertile region which is now Paraguay consisted of seminomadic tribes, who were recognized for their fierce warrior traditions. These indigenous tribes were members of five distinct language families, and 17 separate ethnolinguistic groups remain today.


Europeans first arrived in the area in the early sixteenth century, and the settlement of Asunción was founded on August 15, 1537, by the Spanish explorer Juan de Salazar de Espinosa. The city eventually became the center of a Spanish colonial province, as well as the primary site of the Jesuit missions and settlements in South America in the eighteenth century. Jesuit Reductions were founded, and flourished in eastern Paraguay for about 150 years, until the expulsion of the Jesuits by the Spanish crown in 1767. Paraguay overthrew the local Spanish administration on May 15, 1811. Paraguay’s first ruler was the dictator Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia. He ruled Paraguay from 1814, until his death in 1840, with very little outside contact or influence, creating a utopian society based on Rousseau’s Social Contract. After his death, Paraguay went through the very brief ownership of various military officers under a new junta, until the secretary Carlos Antonio Lopez, Francia’s nephew, declared himself dictator. Lopez modernized Paraguay, and opened it up to foreign commerce. The relationship with Buenos Aires was limited to a non-aggression pact; Paraguayan independence from Argentina was declared in 1842. After Lopez’s death, power was transferred to his eldest son, Francisco Solano Lopez in 1862. Lopez’s expansionist aims lead to the War of the Triple Alliance in 1864. Paraguay fought against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, and was defeated in 1870 after five years of the bloodiest war in South America. According to William D. Rubinstein, “The normal estimate is that of a Paraguayan population of somewhere between 450,000 and 900,000, only 220,000 survived the war, of whom only 28,000 were adult males.” Paraguay also suffered extensive territorial losses to Brazil and Argentina.


the Chaco

More Photos of the Chaco

The Chaco War was fought with Bolivia in the 1930s, and Bolivia was defeated. Paraguay re-established sovereignty over the region called the Chaco, but forfeited additional territorial gains as a price of peace.


Paraguay’s Government Palace Palacio de los Lopez

Palacio de los Lopez, One of the most beautiful buildings in the city of Asuncion is the government palace. The construction of the Palacio de los Lopez began in 1857 as the residence for General Francisco Solano Lopez. But, the construction stopped with the outbreak of the War of the Triple Alliance and the palace wasn’t completed until 1892.

The official narrative of Paraguay’s history is fraught with disputes among historians, educators and politicians. The “authentic” version of historical events, wars in particular, varies depending on whether it was written in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Europe, or North America.


Both the Colorado Party and Liberal Party maintain distinct official versions of Paraguayan history. During the pillaging of Asuncion (Saqueo de Asunción) in 1869, the Brazilian Imperial Army ransacked and relocated the Paraguayan National Archives to Rio de Janeiro where they have been kept in secrecy, making Paraguayan history in the Colonial and early National periods difficult to study.


Between 1904 and 1954, Paraguay had thirty-one presidents, most of whom were removed from office by force.


From 1954 to 1989, the country was ruled by Alfredo Stroessner and the Colorado party. The dictator oversaw an era of economic expansion, but at the cost of a poor human rights and environmental record. Torture and death for political opponents was routine. After his overthrow, the Colorado continued to dominate national politics until 2008.


Leftist former bishop Fernando Lugo achieved a historic victory in Paraguay’s presidential election of April 2008, defeating the ruling party candidate, and ending 61 years of conservative rule. Lugo won with nearly 41% of the vote, compared to almost 31% for Blanca Ovelar of the Colorado party.


Paraguay is a representative democratic republic, with a multi-party system and separation of powers in three branches. Executive power is exercised solely by the President, who is head of state and head of government. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the National Congress. The Judiciary is vested on Tribunals and Courts of Civil Law and a nine-member Supreme Court of Justice, all of them independent of the executive and the legislature.


tomb of the unknown soldier

More Photos of the Hall of Honor

Paraguay gained its independence from Spain in 1811, and its first president was Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia, who was originally appointed with Fulgencio Yegros as alternative consul, but in 1814, de Francia was appointed president. He established new laws that more or less completely removed the powers of the church and the cabinet, forbade colonial citizens from marrying one other, being allowed to marry only blacks, mulattoes or natives, and cut off Paraguay from the rest of South America. Because of de Francia’s abolition of freedom, and his drive for complete power, Yegros and several other ex-politicians attempted to host a coup-d’etat against him, which failed, and they were imprisoned for life.


the cathedral

After World War II, politics became particularly unstable, with several political parties fighting for power in the late 1940s, which most notably brought about the Paraguayan civil war of 1947. A series of unstable governments ensued until the establishment, in 1954, of the stable regime of dictator Alfredo Stroessner, who remained in office for more than three decades, until 1989. Paraguay was modernized to some extent under Stroessner’s regime, although his rule was marked by extensive abuses.


The splits in the Colorado Party in the 1980s, and the conditions that led to this — Stroessner’s advanced age, the character of the regime, the economic downturn, and international isolation — provided an opportunity for demonstrations and statements by the opposition prior to the 1988 general elections.



PLRA leader Domingo Laino served as the focal point of the opposition in the second half of the 1980s. The government’s effort to isolate Laino by exiling him in 1982 had backfired. On his sixth attempt, in 1986, Laino returned with three television crews from the U.S., a former United States ambassador to Paraguay, and a group of Uruguayan and Argentine congressmen. Despite the international contingent, the police violently barred Laino’s return.


Cabildo- Cultural Center

More Photos of the Museum

However, the Stroessner regime relented in April 1987, and permitted Laino to arrive in Asunción. Laino took the lead in organizing demonstrations and diminishing somewhat the normal opposition party infighting. The opposition was unable to reach agreement on a common strategy regarding the elections, with some parties advocating abstention, and others calling for blank voting. Nonetheless, the parties did cooperate in holding numerous ‘lightning demonstrations’ (mítines relámpagos), especially in rural areas. Such demonstrations were held and disbanded quickly before the arrival of the police.


stream driven engine

More Photos from the Railroad Museum


In response to the upsurge in opposition activities, Stroessner condemned the Accord for advocating “sabotage of the general elections and disrespect of the law”, and used the national police and civilian vigilantes of the Colorado Party to break up demonstrations. A number of opposition leaders were imprisoned or otherwise harassed. Hermes Rafael Saguier, another key leader of the PLRA, was imprisoned for four months in 1987 on charges of sedition. In early February 1988, police arrested 200 people attending a National Coordinating Committee meeting in Coronel Oviedo. Laino and several other opposition figures were arrested before dawn on the day of the election, February 14, and held for twelve hours. The government declared Stroessner’s re-election with 89% of the vote.


While contending that these results reflected the virtual Colorado monopoly on the mass media, opposition politicians also saw several encouraging developments. Some 53% of those polled indicated that there was an “uneasiness” in Paraguayan society. Furthermore, 74% believed that the political situation needed changes, including 45% who wanted a substantial or total change. Finally, 31% stated that they planned to abstain from voting in the February elections.


On February 3, 1989, Stroessner was overthrown in a military coup headed by General Andrés Rodríguez. As president, Rodríguez instituted political, legal, and economic reforms and initiated a rapprochement with the international community.


The June 1992 constitution established a democratic system of government and dramatically improved protection of fundamental rights. In May 1993, Colorado Party candidate Juan Carlos Wasmosy was elected as Paraguay’s first civilian president in almost 40 years, in what international observers deemed fair and free elections.


water view in Asunción

With support from the United States, the Organization of American States, and other countries in the region, the Paraguayan people rejected an April 1996 attempt by then Army Chief General Lino Oviedo to oust President Wasmosy, taking an important step to strengthen democracy.


church of Fray Alonso de Buenaventura

More Photos of the church of Fray Alonso de Buenaventura

Oviedo became the Colorado candidate for president in the 1998 election, but when the Supreme Court upheld in April his conviction on charges related to the 1996 coup attempt, he was not allowed to run and remained in confinement. His former running mate, Raúl Cubas, became the Colorado Party’s candidate, and was elected in May in elections deemed by international observers to be free and fair. One of Cubas’ first acts after taking office in August was to commute Oviedo’s sentence and release him from confinement. In December 1998, Paraguay’s Supreme Court declared these actions unconstitutional. In this tense atmosphere, the murder of Vice President and long-time Oviedo rival Luis María Argaña on March 23, 1999, led the Chamber of Deputies to impeach Cubas the next day. The March 26 murder of eight student antigovernment demonstrators, widely believed to have been carried out by Oviedo supporters, made it clear that the Senate would vote to remove Cubas on March 29, and Cubas resigned on March 28. Senate President Luis González Macchi, a Cubas opponent, was peacefully sworn in as president the same day.


Santísima Trinidad del Paraná Ruins

More Photos of Trinidad Mission

In 2003, Nicanor Duarte Frutos was elected and sworn in as president.


church of Reducción de Jesús

More Photos of the Jesus Mission

For the 2008 general elections, the Colorado Party was once again a favorite. This time, their candidate was not an internal opponent to the President and self-proclaimed reformer, as in the two previous elections, but Minister of Education Blanca Ovelar, the first woman to appear as a candidate for a major party in Paraguayan history. However after sixty years of Colorado rule, voters chose a non-politician, former Roman Catholic Bishop Fernando Lugo. Although he was a longtime follower of the controversial liberation theology he was backed by the center-right Liberal Party, the Colorado Party’s traditional opponents.


from a Paraguayan saddle factory

Photos of the Saddle factory

Outgoing President Nicanor Duarte Frutos hailed the moment as the first time in the history of this nation that a government had handed power to opposition forces in an orderly and peaceful fashion.


mate supplies

More Photos of Mate

Lugo was sworn in on August 15, 2008, but unlike other South American countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, Lugo’s leftist agenda remains largely unimplemented as the Paraguayan Congress continues to be dominated by right-wing elected officials.


Monument in Filadelphia

More Photos of Filadelphia

Political instability in the past year, fueled by disputes within Fernando Lugo’s cabinet, has led the right wing Colorado Party to regain popularity. Reports suggest that the businessman Horacio Cartes is the new political figure amid disputes. Despite the DEA’s strong accusations against Cartes involving him in drug trafficking, he continues to amass followers in the political arena.


road in Chaco

On January 14, 2011, the Colorado Party convention enabled Horacio Cartes to run as the presidential candidate for the party, even though, as reports suggest, the party’s constitution didn’t allow it.

Chronology collectictions






The French Revolution, the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the subsequent war in Europe weakened Spain’s ability to maintain contact with and defend and control its colonies. When British troops attempted to seize Buenos Aires in 1806, the attack was repulsed by the city’s residents, not by Spain. Napoleon’s invasion of Spain in 1808, the capture of the Spanish king, Ferdinand VII, and Napoleon’s attempt to put his brother,

Joseph Bonaparte,

on the Spanish throne, severed the major remaining links between metropolis and satellite. Joseph had no constituency in Spanish America. Without a king, the entire colonial system lost its legitimacy, and the colonists revolted. Buoyed by their recent victory over British troops, the Buenos Aires cabildo deposed the Spanish viceroy on May 25, 1810, vowing to rule in the name of Ferdinand VII.



Yegros, Francia and Caballero.

The porteño action had unforeseen consequences for the histories of Argentina and Paraguay. News of the events in Buenos Aires stunned the citizens of Asunción, who had largely supported the royalist position. Discontent with the Spanish monarchy was dismissed because of a bigger rivalry with the city of Buenos Aires.

The porteños bungled their effort to extend control over Paraguay by choosing José Espínola y Peña as their spokesman in Asunción. Espínola was “perhaps the most hated Paraguayan of his era”, in the words of historian John Hoyt Williams. Espínola’s reception in Asunción was less than cordial, partly because he was closely linked to rapacious policies of

 the ex-governor, Lázaro de Rivera,

who had arbitrarily shot hundreds of his citizens until he was forced from office in 1805. Barely escaping a term of exile in Paraguay’s far north, Espínola fled back to Buenos Aires and lied about the extent of porteño support in Paraguay, causing the Buenos Aires cabildo to make an equally disastrous move. In a bid to settle the issue by force, the cabildo sent 1,100 troops under

 General Manuel Belgrano

 to subdue Asunción. Paraguayan troops soundly thrashed the porteños at Paraguarí and Tacuarí. Officers from both armies, however, fraternized openly during the campaign.

From these contacts the Paraguayans came to realize that Spanish dominance in South America was coming to an end, and that they, and not the Spaniards, held the real power.

The Paraguayan royalists’ ill-conceived actions inflamed nationalist sentiment. Believing that the Paraguayan officers who had beaten the porteños posed a direct threat to his rule,

Governor Bernardo de Velasco

 dispersed and disarmed the forces under his command and sent most of the soldiers home without paying them for their eight months of service. Velasco previously had lost face when he fled the battlefield at Paraguarí, thinking Belgrano would win. Discontent spread, and the last straw was the request by the Asunción cabildo for Portuguese military support against Belgrano’s forces, who were encamped just over the border in present-day Argentina. Far from bolstering the cabildo’s position, this move instantly ignited an uprising and the overthrow of Spanish authority in Paraguay on May 14 and 15, 1811.

Dictatorship and war



José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia



Litograph of José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, a 19th century ruler of Paraguay, with a mate and its respective bombilla.



José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia played a crucial role in the nation building of Paraguay

José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia was one of the greatest figures in Paraguayan history. Ruling from 1814 until his death in 1840, Francia succeeded almost single-handedly in building a strong, prosperous, secure, and independent nation at a time when Paraguay’s continued existence as a distinct country seemed unlikely. He left Paraguay at peace, with government coffers full and many infant industries flourishing. Frugal, honest, competent, and diligent, Francia was popular with the lower classes. Despite his popularity, Francia trampled on human rights, imposing a police state based on espionage, threats and force. Under Francia, Paraguay underwent a social upheaval that destroyed the old elites.

Paraguay at independence was a relatively undeveloped country. Most residents of Asunción and virtually all rural inhabitants were illiterate. Urban elites did have access to private schools and tutoring. University education was, however, restricted to the few who could afford studies at the National University of Córdoba, in present-day Argentina. Very few people had any experience in government, finance, or administration. The settlers treated the Indians as little better than slaves, and the paternalistic clergy treated them like children. The country was surrounded by hostile neighbors, including the warlike Chaco tribes. Strong measures were needed to save the country from disintegration.


By outwitting porteño diplomats in the negotiations that produced the Treaty of October 11, 1811 (in which Argentina implicitly recognized Paraguayan independence in return for vague promises of a military alliance), Francia proved that he possessed skills crucial to the future of the country.

Francia consolidated his power by convincing the insecure Paraguayan elite that he was indispensable. But at the end of 1811, dissatisfied with the political role that military officers were beginning to play, he resigned from the junta. From his retirement in his modest chacra (cottage or hut) at Ibaray, near Asunción, he told countless ordinary citizens who came to visit him that their revolution had been betrayed, that the change in government had only traded a Spanish-born elite for a criollo one, and that the present government was incompetent and mismanaged. In fact, the country was rapidly heading for a crisis. Not only were the Portuguese threatening to overrun the northern frontiers, but Argentina had also effectively closed the Río de la Plata to Paraguayan commerce by levying taxes and seizing ships. To make matters worse, the porteño government agitated for Paraguayan military assistance against the Spanish in Uruguay and, disregarding the Treaty of October 11, for unification of Paraguay with Argentina. The porteño government also informed the junta it wanted to reopen talks.




 Assuming control

When the junta learned that a porteño diplomat was on his way to Asunción, it panicked because it realized it was not competent to negotiate without Francia. In November 1812, the junta members invited Francia to take charge of foreign policy, an offer Francia accepted. In return, the junta agreed to place one-half of the army and half the available munitions under Francia’s command.



In the absence of anyone equal to him on the junta, Francia now controlled the government. When the Argentine envoy, Nicolás de Herrera, arrived in May 1813, he learned to his dismay that all decisions had to await the meeting of a Paraguayan congress in late September. Meanwhile, Paraguay again declared itself independent of Argentina and expelled two junta members known to be sympathetic to union with Argentina. Under virtual house arrest, Herrera had little scope to build support for unification, even though he resorted to bribery

The congress, which met on September 30, 1813, was certainly the first of its kind in Latin America. There were more than 1,100 delegates chosen by universal male suffrage, and many of these delegates represented the poor, rural Paraguayan majority. Ironically, the decisions of this democratically elected body would set the stage for a long dictatorship. Herrera was neither allowed to attend the sessions, nor to present his declaration; instead, the congress gave overwhelming support to Francia’s anti-imperialist foreign policy. The delegates rejected a proposal for Paraguayan attendance at a constitutional congress at Buenos Aires and established a Paraguayan republic, the first in Spanish America, with Francia as first consul. Francia was supposed to trade places every four months with the second consul, Fulgencio Yegros, but Francia’s consulship marked the beginning of his direct rule because Yegros was little more than a figurehead. Yegros, a man without political ambitions, represented the nationalist criollo military elite, but Francia was the more powerful because he derived his strength from the nationalist masses.



In 1820,

 four years after a Paraguayan congress had named Francia dictator for life with the title El Supremo Dictador (supreme dictator), Francia’s security system uncovered and quickly crushed a plot by the elite to assassinate El Supremo. Francia arrested almost 200 prominent Paraguayans and executed most of them. In 1821, Francia struck again, summoning all of Paraguay’s 300 or so peninsulares (people born in Spain) to Asunción’s main square, where he accused them of treason, had them arrested, and held them in jail for 18 months. Francia released them only after they agreed to pay an enormous collective indemnity of 150,000 pesos (about 75 percent of the annual state budget), an amount so large that it broke their predominance in the Paraguayan economy.

Targeting the church

One of Francia’s special targets was the Roman Catholic Church. The church had provided an essential ideological underpinning to Spanish rule by spreading the doctrine of the “divine right of kings” and inculcating the Indian masses with a resigned fatalism abou