The Year of the Lash

MIGUEL A. Bretos

in Matanzas

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780813038100
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813041568 | DOI:
The Year of the Lash

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Seeking to prevent an apocalyptic slave uprising, the colony's government launched a wave of repression in 1844 that claimed thousands of victims. Matanzas was the center of it all. The year 1844 lives on in Cuban folklore as “the year of the lash.” Implementing the systematic terror was the new Captain-General, Leopoldo O'Donnell. Whether or not there was an actual conspiracy, there were feared precedents, well-known potential conspirators, and a proximate concern. The year before, Carlota, a Yoruba woman, and a diverse group of fellow slaves seized Triumvirato sugar mill, executed their oppressors and put neighboring plantations to the torch. It was the last and most severe of a string of such episodes. Suspected as go-betweens and co-conspirators, freedmen were singled out by the government. The most prominent victim of the repression was the mulatto poet Gabriel de la Concepcion Valdes (“Placido”), shot in Matanzas in 1844.

Keywords: 1844; lash; slavery; slave uprisings; slave conspiracies; O'Donnell; Carlota; Triumvirato; Placido

Chapter.  6781 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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