The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War (Hispanic Division, Library of Congress)
1898 HOME > Introduction > Mambises


The plural for mambí, Cuban guerrilla fighter during the Ten Years' War (1868-1878) and the Independence War of 1895. They were widely viewed as heroes by the Cuban people for their willingness to sacrifice comfort to attain the independence of their country. They were noteworthy also for urging slaves to join the struggle. It was the mambises and their tactics that drove General Valeriano Weyler to adopt his inhumane and unpopular Reconcentración policy.

No one knows precisely the origin of the word "mambí." One explanation is that it comes from the maja, a Cuban snake, but there are many other theories as well.

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