Virginius Affair

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Virginius Affair

Virginius Affair, a confrontation that resulted in the summary execution in 1873 of 53 Americans at the hands of Spanish authorities in Cuba. The Virginius, a Cubanowned vessel traveling under the American flag, regularly carried arms to revolutionaries in Cuba. While it was on such a mission in October 1873, a Spanish cruiser captured the Virginius and took it to Santiago, where the executions took place. Subsequent negotiations between Washington and Madrid resulted in an $80,000 reparation award to the families of those executed, but the Spanish commander responsible was not punished; he was instead promoted to a higher rank.

See alsoCuba: The Colonial Era (1492–1898) .


Charles E. Chapman, A History of the Cuban Republic: A Study in Hispanic-American Politics (1927).

Philip S. Foner, A History of Cuba and Its Relations with the United States, vol. 1 (1962).

Ramiro Guerra y Sánchez, Guerra de los diez años, 1868–1878, 2 vols. (1972).

Additional Bibliography

Allendesalazar, José Manuel. Apuntes sobre la relación diplómatica hispano-norteamericana, 1763–1895. Madrid: Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, 1996.

Botero, Rodrigo. Ambivalent Embrace: America's Troubled Relations with Spain from the Revolutionary War to the Cold War. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001.

Bradford, Richard H. The Virginius Affair. Boulder: Colorado Associated University Press, 1980.

                                      Thomas M. Leonard

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Virginius Affair

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