Havana & Madrid: 1872. 213 [i.e., 413]pp. plus twenty-four original photographs; earlier map tipped in at rear. Folio. Contemporary tree calf, lacking morocco spine labels. Joints starting, corners bumped and lightly worn, boards slightly scuffed. First few leaves loosening. Very minor scattered foxing and toning, but generally quite clean internally. About very good. Item #1635
Apparent second edition of this work on the Cuban revolutionary struggles which began in 1868, known as the Ten Years' War. Led by Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, a sugar planter, Cuba declared independence from Spain on October 10, 1868. Over the next few months, having failed to reason with the revolutionary government, Spain began a fierce and violent war of repression which was still ongoing when this work was published in 1870 and then 1872. Though the author claims a desire to do "justice to all" in the introduction, the work is clearly pro-Spain, with the opening photograph of an allegorical painting over which is printed "Cuba Siempre Española," depicting Spain as a matronly woman standing atop a rock while soldiers salute her and dead peasants lay at her feet. Most of the photographs show scenes in Cuba such as "Vista del Castillo del Morro, Habana"; "Vista del Teatro de Villanueva, Habana"; "Vista del Teatro de Tacony del Louvre, Habana"; "Vista del Fuerte 'España' Antes Torre de Zarragoitia - Bayamo", and several more. Other photographs are portraits of Spanish Cuban officials, while one depicts a volunteer regiment and another handsome image shows four men -- one of them Black -- standing together in a studio portrait titled "Defensores de la Integridad Nacional."
The final portrait is of the author. Don Gil Gelpi y Ferro wrote several works on the history of Cuba and Hispanic territories, including a "Segunda Parte" to the present work which was published in 1889. Printed in Havana, this copy has a small printed slip pasted over the imprint, altering it to that of Cárlos Bailly-Bailliere in Madrid. Rare on the market, and scarce institutionally. We locate only a handful of copies of the present edition, though none noting the Madrid paste-over imprint.