Two of the ships were seized by US authorities in early January, but the proceedings went ahead.
, 1895–98) was the last of three liberation wars that Cuba fought against Spain, the other two being the Ten Years' War (1868–1878) and the Little War (1879–1880).The final three months of the conflict escalated to become the Spanish–American War, with United States forces being deployed in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippine Islands against Spain.On April 1 and 11, 1895, the main Mambi leaders landed on two expeditions in Oriente: Major General Antonio Maceo along with 22 members near Baracoa, and José Martí, Máximo Gómez and 4 other members in Playitas.Around that time, Spanish forces in Cuba numbered about 80,000, of which 20,000 were regular troops and 60,000 were Spanish and Cuban volunteer militia.After some time of consolidation in the three eastern provinces, the liberation armies headed for Camagüey and then Matanzas, outmaneuvering and deceiving the Spanish Army several times. Arsenio Martínez-Campos y Antón, who had gained victory in the Ten-Year War, and killed his most trusted general at Peralejo.
Campos tried the same strategy he had employed in the Ten Years' War, constructing a broad belt across the island, called the trocha, about 80 km long and 200 m wide.
In Oriente, the most important ones took place in Santiago, Guantánamo, Jiguaní, San Luis, El Cobre, El Caney, Alto Songo, Bayate, and Baire.
The uprisings in the central part of the island, such as Ibarra, Jagüey Grande, and Aguada, suffered from poor coordination and failed; the leaders were captured, some of them deported and some executed.
The rebels believed they had to take the war to the western provinces of Matanzas, Havana and Pinar del Rio, where the island's government and wealth were located.
The Ten-Year War had failed because it had not managed to proceed beyond the eastern provinces.
With the abolition of slavery in October 1886, freedmen joined the ranks of farmers and the urban working class.