Carlos Maunel Do Cespedes, president of the revolutionary republic of Cuba, born in Baya-mo, April 18, 1810. His education commenced in the Dominican convent of his native city, and was completed at the university of Havana, in which city he was admitted to the bar. Before entering upon the practice of his profession he travelled in Europe, and a previously acquired knowledge of several languages enabled him to study advantageously the customs and institutions of other countries. During his stay in Spain some remarks offensive to his country and countrymen, by a Spanish military officer, led to a duel in which his opponent was killed. When in Madrid. Cespedes was implicated with (Jen. Prim in a conspiracy for the overthrow of the government, in consequence of which he was forced to leave the country. On his return to his native city in 1844 his talents and popularity soon gained for him a large legal practice, and his influence and his outspoken censure of the Spanish colonial system at once rendered him a subject of suspicion to Spanish officials.
The revolutionary expeditions of Lopez, and the uprisings of Aguero and others in Camaguey, were warmly sympathized in by Cespedes, in consequence of which he was put in prison, then forced to leave Bayamo, and reside in Manzanillo and subsequently in Baracoa. When the revolutionary movement broke out in 1868, he was chosen its supreme chief. One of his first acts was to liberate the numerous slaves upon his valuable sugar estate Demajagua; and on Oct. 10, 1808, at the head of a few poorly armed followers, he proclaimed the independence of Cuba on the field of Yara, a place rendered historic 300 years before by the execution of the Cuban cacique Hatuey by the Spaniards. On the formal organization of the republic of Cuba at Guimaro, in the Central department of the island, on April 10, 1869, Cespedes was elected president under the constitution then adopted.