A Flag Flies for Cuban Annexation

In May 1850, The Sun newspaper hoisted a never-before-seen Cuban flag from its building in lower Manhattan, timing it to coincide with the launching of a privately-organized military expedition to Cuba by the anti-Spanish separatist Narciso López. Sympathetic New Yorkers outfitted and accompanied López on his three attempts to liberate the island by force. The Spanish eventually executed López and his men, but the cause attracted supporters like the political writer John O’Sullivan, who believed that Anglo-Saxon Americans were destined to rule the North American continent (he coined the term “Manifest Destiny”), and Jane Cazneau, who edited The Sun and the bilingual Cuban separatist paper La Verdad from theSun building.
 
The 1840s and ‘50s were the high point of a campaign by many Cubans and North Americans to convince the U.S. to annex Cuba by peaceful or military means. Presidents Polk and Pierce tried unsuccessfully to purchase the valuable island but chose not to risk war with Spain by attempting annexation.

La Verdad (1848–53), March 1, 1849. Reproduction. New-York Historical Society. New York’s newspapers gave prominent play to López and other filibusters. Cuban émigrés such as Miguel Teurbe Tolón started papers like La Verdad and El Filibustero and lobbied prominent publishers to support their cause against Spain. Spaniards in New York returned journalistic fire through their paper La Crónica.
La Verdad (1848–53), March 1, 1849. Reproduction. New-York Historical Society.
N. Orr Co., Interior View of the N. Y. Sun Printing Establishment. Editorial Room. Reproduction. New-York Historical Society. The Sun reported to its readers that Narciso López had taken with him on his expedition a “flag of free Cuba,” and its facsimile would fly from The Sun’s building so that “freemen in beholding it may know that an oppressed and noble people are ready, under the flag, to strike, as our fathers did, for liberty.” 
N. Orr Co., Interior View of the N. Y. Sun Printing Establishment. Editorial Room. Reproduction.New-York Historical Society. 
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