The Struggles of Cuba’s Black Soldiers in an Age of Imperial Wars

Age of Revolutions

By Elena Schneider

Schneider_Occupation_9781469645353_FCYou can start a book project thinking it is about one thing, but then realize in the writing that it is actually about another. When—way too many years ago—I began my study of the British invasion and occupation of Havana at the end of the Seven Years’ War, I thought I was writing a story about empires. The book would chart the clash between two competing imperial systems—their similarities and differences, convergences and divides—during a dynamic moment of imperial rivalry and reform. I was writing a book about empires, and I still did to a large extent, but when I immersed myself in the archives, I began to see that the protagonists of this battle were not those that I expected. Written all over eyewitness reports of the fighting in Havana were accounts of the critical role played by free and enslaved people of African descent. Their…

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