Spanish-American War (1898) Photos of Cuba | Student Handouts
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Photos of Cuba
Spanish-American War Era (1898)
Click on an image to enlarge it. These antique photographic images are of Cuba, Cubans, the Cuban landscape, and the U.S. military occupation of the country as a result of the Spanish-American War of 1898. The images come from the massive 1899 two-volume set Our Islands and Their People. The photographs are simply stunning and incredibly rare.  Each image is accompanied by a thorough description.  Please note that several of the captures use archaic Spanish spelling (e.g., "La Puenta" for "La Punta"). For our free educational materials on this period in history, click here.
Spanish Earthworks and Wire Trocha
Peace Hath Her Victories
Scene of the Battle at La Guasimas
La Puenta Fortress
Interior of Atares Castle
Turret and Powder Magazine, Atares Castle
TOMB OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS: One of the most famous works of art in existence, situated under the dome of Havana's Cathedral.  Columbus is being carried by the kings of Aragon, Castile, Leon, and Navarre.  Columbus died in Spain in 1506.  He was first buried in Valladolid, Spain, then in Seville, Spain.  In 1542 his remains were taken to eastern Hispaniola (the island of Santo Domingo, in the area now called the Dominican Republic).  The French (who had taken over Santo Domingo) moved the remains to Havana, Cuba, in 1795.  It was not until after the Spanish-American War that the remains of Christopher Columbus were finally returned to Spain, where the tomb resides in the Cathedral of Seville.  This image is extremely rare in that it shows the tomb as it existed in Havana just prior to its return to Spain.
SCENE ON THE IMPERIAL ROAD, SUBURBS OF HAVANA: This photograph was taken in the outskirts of Marianao, and represents natives on their way to the fields to test the powers of their respective game birds.
Surrender Tree
Plaza and Christopher Columbus Monument in Cardenas, Cuba
Tomb of Christopher Columbus
Squad of Havana Volunteers
Havana's Imperial Road
El Templete
Field before Atares
Cuban Cockfight
Fisherman and Quarters near Batabano
Street Scene in Guanabacoa
Scene at Suburban Town of Quemado
Harvesting Sponges at Batabano
Greek Sponge Fishers, Batabano, Cuba
Sixth Missouri Volunteers
Residence of the Alcalde of Nueva Gerona, Cuba
Native Wood-turner's Shop in Santa Fe, Cuba
Residence of Former Alcalde at Nueva Gerona, Isle of Pines, Cuba
Native Huts near Santa Fe
HAVANA POLICEMAN: A characteristic photograph of a representative of the new native police of Havana, with uniform, arms and accoutrements.
Publisher's Preface
Type of Spanish Blockhouse
Major-General Joseph Wheeler
Havana Policeman
Hangman's Tree
Major-General Joseph Wheeler
Inn at Santa Fe
Havana Public School
Coasting Vessels Moored in Vicinity of Old Pirates' Rendezvous, Isle of Pines
Street Scene in Marianao, Cuba
U.S. Army of Occupation in Havana, Cuba
Cuban Insurgents
Unloading Coffee for Transport
Desolate Home
Insurgent Officers
Cabanas Fortress
American Soldiers Resting in a Cuban Village
Bathing Pools near La Puente
Cuban Coffee Planter
Wreck of the U.S.S. Maine
Spanish Cavalry
Court of a Spanish Gentleman's Residence at Havana, Cuba
Governor-General's Palace in Havana, Cuba
U.S.S. Maine Wreckage
CUBAN OX CART: Showing method of fastening the yoke to the horns of the oxen and arrangement of ropes in the noses of the animals.
ATARES CASTLE, HAVANA: Showing the principal entrance and drawbridge, in the center of which Colonel Crittenden, the famous Kentuckian, was shot.
THE CATHEDRAL OF HAVANA: This is the oldest church in Havana, having been built in 1724. The architecture is of the pronounced Spanish type and very antique. More than ordinary interest attaches to this cathedral from the fact that it contains the tomb of Christopher Columbus.
CUSTOM HOUSE AT HAVANA: Merchandise from the United States undergoing inspection by the Customs officials.
Morro Castle
Insurgent Camp in the Vicinity of the Lopez Rendezvous
Cuban Ox Cart
Atares Castle, Havana
Cathedral of Havana
Custom House at Havana
FALUCAS, OR PLEASURE BOATS, IN HAVANA HARBOR: These boats are used to convey passengers from the larger ships to the docks and for the accommodation of pleasure seekers. There are upwards of 500 of these falucas, as they are styled, in Havana Harbor.
AUDITORIUM OF TACON THEATRE: The interior finish of this theater is most superb, exceeding in elegance the famous playhouses of Paris. The decorations and embellishments are in silver and gold, the effect of which under the influence of the electric lights is gorgeous in the extreme.
RECOJIDAS JAIL, HAVANA: This is the celebrated jail in which Evangelina Cisneros was imprisoned at the time of her rescue. In the upper left hand corner will be seen the aperture through which she escaped to the street. The picture also shows a group of women prisoners at the jail entrance.
STREET ADJACENT TO RECOJIDAS JAIL: This is the street down which Miss Cisneros was driven by her rescuers to the home of Don Carlos Carbonel.
Falucas, or Pleasure Boats, in Havana Harbor
Col. Hardeman and Staff, 6th Missouri Volunteers
Auditorium of Tacon Theatre
Recojidas Jail, Havana
Street Adjacent to Recojidas Jail
Evangelina Betancourt Cisneros
THE DUNGEON UNDER ATARES CASTLE: The apartment on the left was formerly used as a place of torture and the doorway on the right enters the death chamber. In the foreground are shown various instruments of torture, together with the dead wagon used by the Spaniards.
PUENTES GRANDES, A SUBURB OF HAVANA: Showing four-ox team such as is used in all the districts of Cuba. Where the ascent is very pronounced an additional ox team is placed in the rear of the cart, being trained to assist by pushing.
STREET SCENE IN CERRO, SUBURBS OF HAVANA: A quaint village among the hills near the Almendares River. It is remarkable for its tortuous streets and antiquated houses, many of which are in ruins.
TEAMING ON THE IMPERIAL ROAD NEAR HAVANA: Photograph shows five-mule-tandem hitched to lumber cart. Lines are used only on the wheel animal, the leaders instinctively obeying his movements.
JUVENILE TYPES, SUBURBS OF HAVANA: Native boys near the village of Cerro, playing "chuck the rock," similar to the American game of "duck the rock." It is contrary to popular custom in Cuba for children of both sexes to play together, as is evinced by the attitude of the little girl who watches the game from behind the barred window casement.
SCENE AT BATABANO, SOUTH COAST OF HAVANA PROVINCE: Batabano is the center of the sponge-fishing industry of the West Indies. In this quaint little seaport, the streets are in some instances replaced by canals, like those of Venice. The photograph shows one of these watery thoroughfares, together with the gondola-like conveyances of the natives.
Dungeon under Atares Castle
Puentes Grandes, a Suburb of Havana
Street Scene in Cerro, Suburbs of Havana
Teaming on the Imperial Road near Havana
Juvenile Types, Suburbs of Havana
Scene at Batabano, South Coast of Havana Province, Cuba
HEAD WATERS OF THE RIO ALMENDARES: Showing source and works of Havana's excellent water supply.
ANCIENT CHATALET ON THE ALMENDARES: An extreme outpost of the Imperial forces during the Cuban-Spanish war, the owner of this chatalet was on one occasion besieged in his stronghold by a detachment of insurgents and for a period of two months was unable to make his escape with his family.
WHERE THE HEROES OF THE MAINE LIE BURIED: A spot in the beautiful "Campo Santo," just west of Havana, that will always be held profoundly sacred in the hearts of the American people. In the center of the cross to the right is a tablet bearing the inscription, "A las victimes del Maine," being a tribute of respect from a prominent Havana club.
SUBURBAN RAILWAY SERVICE OF HAVANA: Showing interior and occupants of first-class passenger coach. The figure in white on the left is the conductor. The second- and third-class coaches differ only in the character of the seats, those of the former being of wood, and of the latter plain benches.
VIEW OF THE INTERIOR, NEAR THE MOUNTAINS: The range of mountains extending through the central portion of the Island of Cuba presents many extraordinarily beautiful views, and will afford delightful summer resorts for the inhabitants after they shall have recovered from the effects of war. Rich plantations of sugar cane nestle in the valleys, while coffee trees and other tropical products grow on the mountain sides.
Head Waters of the Rio Almendares
Ancient Chatalet on the Almendares River
Sponge Fishing Fleet in the Harbor of Batabano
Where the Heroes of the Maine Lie Buried
Suburban Railway Service of Havana
View of the Cuban Interior near the Mountains
CEMETERY IN THE SUBURBS OF HAVANA: The graves shown in the photograph were rented for a term of years. If at the expiration of the period the lease was not renewed, the bodies were exhumed and thrown into a great open pit in a remote corner of the grounds. This practice has recently been abolished by the American authorities.
INTERIOR COURT OF JAIL AT NUEVA GERONA, ISLE OF PINES (ISLA DE LA JUVENTUD): The figure leaning against the pillar is Dr. Fernando Plazaolo, the present Mayor of Nueva Gerona. Immediately to his right is the entrance to the cell in which Evangeline Cisneros was imprisoned.
RUINS OF SPANISH FORT, NUEVA GERONA, ISLE OF PINES (ISLA DE LA JUVENTUD): Destroyed by insurgents during the late Spanish-Cuban war.
MANUFACTURING A NEW PLOW: The implement is made entirely of wood, fashioned from a single piece of timber, and has but one handle. It is the plow in common use all over Cuba.
Cemetery in the Suburbs of Havana, Cuba
Interior Court of Jail at Nueva Gerona
Fisher Folk and Their Homes at Batabano
Exterior of Jail at Nueva Gerona
Ruins of a Spanish Fort at Nueva Gerona
Manufacturing a New Plow
BIRDSEYE VIEW OF NUEVA GERONA, ISLE OF PINES (ISLA DE LA JUVENTUD): This photograph was taken from the Custom House, and includes the principle portion of the town, showing character of houses and their surroundings.
PORTION OF SANTA FE, ISLE OF PINES (ISLA DE LA JUVENTUD): Showing location of town in the midst of densely wooded valley, and surrounded by forest-clad foothills.
Early Home of Evangelina Cisneros, Nueva Gerona, Isle of Pines (Isla de la Juventud), Cuba
Birdseye View of Nueva Gerona, Isle of Pines (Isla de la Juventud), Cuba
Cart Pulled by a Pair of Oxen
Suburban Habitations and Native Types, Santa Fe, Isla de la Juventud
Portion of Santa Fe, Isla de la Juventud
American Army of Occupation Entering the Suburbs of Havana
VOTARIES OF THE COCKPIT: The bird shown in the photograph is known as a "patogallo" (pato-gallo, literally "duck-rooster"), partaking both of the nature of a chicken and a goose, used in cockfighting. Attention is called to its sharpness of beak and length of legs, one of its toes being shown protruding from between the fingers of its master. This species of game fowl is the most formidable known, and one of them has been known to whip half a dozen ordinary fighting birds in rapid succession.
NATIVE OF SANTA FE: Showing popular method of carrying burdens in Isle of Pines (Isla de la Juventud).
BRIDGE ACROSS THE SANTA FE RIVER, ISLE OF PINES (ISLA DE LA JUVENTUD), NEAR THE TOWN OF SANTA FE: This photograph shows the mode of traveling adopted by our artist, Mr. W.B. Townsend, in the Isle of Pines, together with his guide, assistant and outfit. Senor Bloy Lopez, the guide, was a leader of the insurgents on the island, and has the marks of twenty machete wounds on different parts of his body, received in the various battles and combats in which he took part.
A CARIB "AUNTIE," ISLE OF PINES (ISLA DE LA JUVENTUD): There is little, if any, social distinction in the islands on account of color. The races associate together, and even intermarry, without losing caste or social position.
Votaries of the Cockpit
Native of Santa Fe
Native Baker on His Rounds
Bridge across the Santa Fe River, Isle of Pines
A Carib "Auntie," Isle of Pines
The Prado, Havana, Cuba
MAGNESIUM SPRING NEAR SANTA FE: This is the largest of the mineral springs. Its waters are used expressly for drinking purposes. The springs which supply the bathing pools are located close at hand.
FAMOUS MAGNESIUM CREEK, NEAR SANTA FE: The beautiful stream flows through a perfect tangle of tropical foliage. Its waters are marvelously clear and partake of the same medicinal qualities as the springs upon the bank.
GREEK FISHING BOAT, OFF ISLE OF PINES (ISLA DE LA JUVENTUD): The boat is loaded with the products of the island, principally yuca, which is one of the most valuable articles of commerce. The man on the left was preparing breakfast of fish and rice over a charcoal fire when Mr. Townsend took the picture.
A TYPICAL SANTA FE RESIDENCE: These houses are constructed of concrete and adobe, roofed over with red tiling. The photograph shows native woman indulging in a cigarette while washing clothes.
CUSTOM HOUSE AT NUEVA GERONA, ISLE OF PINES (ISLA DE LA JUVENTUD): Showing how all kinds of merchandise is shipped in sacks with straw padding. Also the various types found on the island, from the fair-complected Spaniard to the ebony-skinned negro.
Magnesium Spring near Santa Fe, Cuba
Famous Magnesium Creek, near Santa Fe
Greek Fishing Boat, off Isla de la Juventud
A Typical Santa Fe Residence
Natives Coaching Their Game Birds
Custom House at Nueva Gerona, Isle of Pines
BAHIA DEL CERRO (BAY OF THE HILLS): This place derives its name from its proximity to the interior foot-hills with which it is connected by a river of considerable size. It was formerly a favorite landing-place of the pirates and Buccaneers during the period of their dominance in the West Indian seas.
BUCCANEERS' COVE, ISLE OF PINES (ISLA DE LA JUVENTUD): A noted resort of Buccaneers. Showing, also, the interior range of mountains, to whose influence the salubrity and healthfulness of the climate are largely due.
Bahia del Cerro (Bay of the Hills)
Native Charcoal Vendor
Buccaneers' Cove, Isle of Pines (Isla de la Juventud)
Noonday in a Havana Suburb
Ox-cart and Group of Natives in Outskirts of Marianao, Cuba
Sugar Mill and Employees near Havana
Police Holdover, or Common Jail, in Havana
A Cuban Volante
Stone Bridge across the Almendares
Docks at Havana
Interior of a Cuban Cigar-Cigarette Factory
Peddler and His Outfit
Indian Statue in Havana, Cuba