Jackson proposes to continue his campaign to Cuba after he defeated the Seminole. With a small navy, the United States was in little position to invade any island colony. President James Monroe and Congress reject his request.
1818: Jackson calls on the people to aid him in his quest for Cuba. 500 volunteers from South Carolina, and addition 800 from Georgia, 300 more from Tennessee and 400 from Alabama and Mississippi rally to Jackson’s banner, swelling his army to nearly five thousand. Ship captains out of New Orleans offer their services to Jackson as do pirates and former privateers operating along the Gulf Coast.
2500 volunteers land in Havana on August 3, taking the city by surprise. Cubanos are divided on how they should respond. Some were still angry over the suspension of the 1814 Constitution and see the invasion as an opportunity. They believe a better deal would be offered by the United States than by Spain. Others opposed the invaders, not trusting the Americans. Havana erupts in civil war as Peninsulars and Creoles begin fighting amongst themselves.
Spain is furious over the invasion of Florida and Cuba and threatens war with the United States. They protest from a poor position. With wars raging across South America, they are hardly in the position of fighting another war. Havana falls into Jackson’s hands and the Spanish Captain-General flees into the interior of the island.
1819: Adams-Onis signed. The United States purchases East Florida and Cuba for ten million dollars, nearly as much as they paid for all of Louisiana. Spain puts the ten million to use in its colonial wars. One of the articles in the treaty guaranteed the property rights of the Cubanos.
1820: West and East Florida merged into Florida Territory. Cuba Territory established. Southerners begin to flock to Cuba. The old Spanish caste system is swept aside and replaced by the Dixie caste system. Peninsulars and Creoles are lumped together and Mestizos are classified as Indians. The fate of the Free Blacks on the island appears grim as many leave the island for Haiti.
1820s: Many of the settlers try to transplant Southern cash crops like sugar and tobacco on the island while the most enterprising enter into the sugar industry. Thanks to the labor-intensive and occasionally dangerous sugar fields Cuba becomes the new feared location for all American slaves. The sudden demand for labor on the rapidly expanding Cuban plantations causes a flow of slaves from Virginia and Kentucky to the island, bringing their former owners substantial profit.
1824: Jacksonville established on Matanzas Bay across from the old Spanish colonial city of Matanzas. It becomes the choice destination for immigrants. Despite property rights guaranteed to all Cubanos, the same equality did not exist elsewhere. Jacksonville was to be a White-only city. Mestizos and free Blacks were barred from living in the city. Naturally, despite the White-only law slaves were allowed within the city. By 1844, they make up fifteen percent of the population.
Jacksonville attempts to take the territorial governorship away from Havana, but after meeting with strong opposition of the White Cubanos, the proposal was abandoned. Early attempts to have English as the official language of the territory met with limited success.
1832: Samuel Wilson builds the largest rum distillery in Cuba at Jacksonville. He soon earns the title of Rum King. Where cotton was king on the mainland, sugar ruled the island. Plantation owners were quick to abandon cotton in favor of sugar. Small land owners dabble in sugar but lack the manpower and stick with tobacco. The grab for land pushes many poorer land-owners, such as the Mestizos, out of the prime real estate for sugar. The disposed settle further inland, taking up tobacco planting and cattle ranching.
1830s: Coffee planting catches on with American settlers. As with sugar, coffee is a labor intensive industry and the largest land and slave owners profit the most from its cultivation. Sugar remains king but coffee quickly takes its place as archduke. Most of the sugar and coffee produced in Cuba are destined for American ports, including those with a growing abolition movement. Anti-slavery factions point at Cuba Territory as a prime example of the institution’s evil. At the same time they benefit from the produce of slave labor.
1837: Indian Removal Act. Territorial politicians and land-hungry plantation owners try to have the act amended to classify Mestizos as Indians under Federal Law and have them removed from the island. The attempt fails.
1840s: European immigrants flock to the island, giving it the highest immigration rate of any Southern State or Territory. Many of the immigrants come from the British Isles and bring with them anti-slavery sentiments. Tens of thousands of Irelanders arrive following the famine in their homeland. Cuba is a popular destination because of its large Spanish, and more importantly Catholic population. Havana swells in size, becoming the largest Catholic city in the South by 1853.
1851: Cuba admitted into the Union as the Thirty-Second State. For the State’s first governor, the people elect Samuel Wilson. Statehood for Cuba was a rushed ordeal as it was a counter to the Free State of California. Southern Senators try to block California’s admission, going as far as to filibuster. Southerners in Cuba meet in Havana to quickly draft a Slave State Constitution. Much was borrowed from the Constitutions of Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina. Cuba admitted on July 14, almost a year after California.
The balance of free to slave in the Senate would continue through the decade with the admission as Slave States of Sonora in 1852, Chihuahua in 1855, Kansas in 1858 as part of the Kansas-Nebraska Compromise and Durango in 1859, all to counter Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Oregon respectively. When the list of Slave Territories ran low, tensions between Northern and Southern interests began to rise. The rejection of slavery in recently acquired Costa Rica by abolitionist settlers brought fears in the South of being overrun by anti-slavery immigrants.
1865: Following the election of a strongly anti-slavery Republican President, one Abraham Lincoln, several of the Southern States voted to secede from the Union. A vote was held in Havana by a group of self-appointed delegates. Few were elected and most were large land-owners. The vote to join the Confederate States passed by 71%.
Not all Cubans were reconciled with leaving the Union and fighting between pro-secessionist and anti-secessionists ranges in most of the large cities. Only Jacksonville was exempt from the fighting. After the end of the War Between the States, anti-secessionists and remaining free Blacks left the island either for Costa Rica Territory or the British colonies. Despite a treaty between the CSA and United Kingdom, British officials refused to return any escaped slaves that were discovered among the free Blacks.
The departure of Cubans was quickly negated by the arrival of Kentuckians and their slaves to the island, following Kentucky’s decision to remain in the Union. Smaller numbers arrive from Missouri, Maryland and Delaware.
1870s: Cuba continues to be the top destination of immigration to the CSA. In 1873, it saw more immigrants arrive in its ports than did the rest of the CSA combined. Throughout the decade, nearly thirty percent of immigrants chose Cuba. Even with these added numbers, the total immigration to the Confederate States was only one-fourth that to the United States. Between 1867 and 1885, the population of Cuba doubles. Change in demographics gives Cuba a far more liberal view than the rest of the Confederate States.
1882: Start of the Third Anglo-American War, lasts until 1885. The Confederate States remain neutral in the fight, though British ships visit ports in Cuba.
1893: Passage of 1892 Slave Codes in the many States of the CSA. Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Arkansas pass legislation allowing for the gradual manumission of slaves. Durango, Chihuahua and Sonora end slavery outright. Manumission was called on by the former States as a form of compensation to the landed interests for eventual loss of property. The latter States never had large numbers of slaves. The Deep South and Cuba restrict slavery to the agricultural sector.
1890s: Then end of a drastic linguistic shift that began in the 1860s. Due to immigration from abroad and migration from within the CSA, Spanish is largely replaced by English throughout the State. Spanish continues to be in use but only in the countryside and in Mestizo communities.
1900s: Cuba becomes the top tourist destination for Confederate middle class. As of 1900, Cuba and the four western States were the only ones that were not under the prohibition of alcohol. Tourists from the Eastern Seaboard flock to Cuban cities for vacations. Havana also becomes a top destination for the wealthy of the United States.
The growing tourist industry causes some to lobby the State Assembly to amend the 1892 Code to allow for the use of slaves in tourism. Owners of hotels and other attractions argue that slaves would lower their costs in the long-run, while opponents declare the use of slaves would tarnish the city’s image to non-Confederates, causing them to seek their enjoyment in the Bahamas or other British possessions.
1913: Start of the Great War. The CSA is at war with the USA and Germany on the side of Britain, France and Russia. CSN bases a squadron of cruisers at Havana and operates submarines out of Guantanamo. Confederate 2nd Fleet relocated from New Orleans to Havana, which is later effectively destroyed at the Battle of Grand Bahama, leaving Cuba defenseless.
1915: American invasion of Cuba. United States Marines land at Guantanamo. The city is taken by surprise. The return of the United States to Cuba is met with mixed responses. The Mestizo population was divided on whether or not to support the CSA or USA. As was the White population, though not nearly as evenly. Those who supported the USA were landless and small-time land owners, while the wealthy and those with the most to lose continued to support the CSA. Nationalism played a much larger role in the White community as the Mestizos were viewed by many plantation owners and politicians as only a step above Blacks in the social hierarchy.
1916: Following the governor of Tennessee, Governor Thomas Ridgefield sues the United States for a separate peace. By 1916, the eastern half of the island is already under US occupation and under blockade; Cuba can expect no further aid from the government in Richmond. Cuban militia stands down and regular army and Marine Corps units continue the fight until the end of the war.
1920s: The Roaring Twenties were the height of Reconstruction. Many laws established while part of the CSA were retained by the occupied States. The most notable exception being that of slavery, which was abolished in the United States by a Constitutional Amendment shortly after the end of the War Between the States. Diehard Confederates cause trouble for occupying forces during the 1920s.
As alcohol is still prohibited in most of the occupied States, Cuban smugglers make fortunes as run runners. Where most of the former Confederate States are hot beds for resentment against the Federal soldiers, Cuba begins to grow prosperous once again thanks to a booming tourist industry and high demand for coffee and sugar.
1921: Five years after the end of the Great War, Cuba is the first of the former Confederate States readmitted to the Union.
1927: Gambling legalized in Cuba. Casinos of extralegal origins operate within the State for decades.
1930s: Parts of the mob move from Chicago and New York to Havana, start takeover of the gambling industry. In the decade, Havana quickly earns the nickname of Sin City. The only city to rank lower on the morality scale was that of Santiago, just outside of a major naval and Marine Corps base at Guantanamo.
1940s: Throughout the decades of the 1940s and 1950s, a small war was waged against corruption. As the mob families of Havana grew in wealthy and influence, they soon began to purchase State Assemblymen, mayors, governors and even a Senator. In the two decades, Cuban law enforcement and the FBI chipped away at mob power.
1961: Disneyworld opened in Jacksonville. The institution is welcomed by Cubans and lauded as a first step in cleaning up the State’s image as Cuba begins to lose Tourist revenue to Florida and the Bahamas Territory.
1962: Castro Enterprises founded. La Habana resort opened the following year. It was the first non-mafia owned Casino in Havana in decades. La Habana extended beyond gambling to numerous forms of entertainment suited for all ages. It was a model for the family-friendly model Las Vegas would adopt in the 1990s.
1965: Guantanamo Launch Center opened. It becomes the center of American manned space exploration.
1970s: Cuba’s image cleaned up. Corruption is largely eradicated and those mobsters not imprisoned went legitimate. Despite the decrease in crime and corruption, a new vice strikes the city in the form of cocaine. Havana becomes the Cocaine Capital of America.
1980s: Elder Americans begin to migrate out of large northern cities for retirement homes in Cuba, in an attempt to escape winter. The influx of retired persons creates a greater demand in the housing industry and drives prices upwards.
1990s: Biotech boom revolutionizes the Cuban economy. For the first time in its history the island does not depend upon cash crops or tourism for a large source of its revenue. As with the influx of retirees, the influx of high-paid professionals further drives up housing costs. With an aging population in the major cities, Cuba develops one of the highest quality medical systems in the Union, with the medical center of the University of Cuba ranking #1 in the United States.
State of Cuba
Statehood: July 14, 1851
Area: 110,861 km2
Crops: Sugar, coffee, tobacco, tropical fruit
Resources: Timber, oil
Industry: Tourism, medical, biotechnology