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The Occupation of HavanaWar, Trade, and Slavery in the Atlantic World$
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Elena A. Schneider

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469645353

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469645353.001.0001

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A City under Siege

A City under Siege

The Battle for Havana

(p.113) 3 A City under Siege
The Occupation of Havana

Elena A. Schneider

University of North Carolina Press

This middle section of the book, on the invasion and occupation, treats the two phases of the central events in Cuba as separate but parallel processes, with their own protagonists and outcomes. Chapter 3 focuses on the critical role of people of African descent during the siege. British war commanders had counted on a formidable defense of Havana from the Spanish soldiers stationed there, but what surprised them was the vigorous part played by free and enslaved people of color on the front lines of the defense. Not all people of African descent present at the siege acted in support of either the British or the Spanish war effort. But in general blacks in Havana made the siege so protracted that the British almost failed; its armies ended up losing more men to a virulent yellow fever outbreak than they had in the entire Seven Years’ War in North America. The defense of Havana was so fierce that it took down a massive British army and severely limited plans for the occupation.

Keywords:   Yellow fever, Soldiers, Military history, Desertion, Spies, Siege warfare, Cannon, Slave soldiers, Militia

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