Puriales History

Since the beginning of the colonization of the island, there are references of the presence of the Spaniards in the area. The proximity of Baracoa, the place where the Spaniards settled for the first time, a mighty river where there may have been gold, fertile land, an abundant aboriginal population and the magnificent conditions for the transfer of boats, represented an enormous attraction for the establishment of the Spaniards in this territory. 

Archaeological discoveries made in the area of El Palmar de Puriales show vestiges of a great activity of the colonizers. Remains of slabs from the period, buttons, bottles, coins, and a clay cup have been found in an aboriginal site near the place, which shows a transculturation of the aboriginal culture with the Spanish and, although the site is located in the depths of the territory in relation to the coasts; the existence of this "Cup", a unique object in Cuba allows us to affirm that the Spanish population in the place lasted a long time making it possible for some of its objects to be reproduced by the Indians in their ceramic culture.

Colonial Settlements

Since the beginning of the colonization of the island, there are references of the presence of the Spaniards in the area. The proximity of Baracoa, the place where the Spaniards settled for the first time, a mighty river where there may have been gold, fertile land, an abundant aboriginal population and the magnificent conditions for the transfer of boats, represented an enormous attraction for the establishment of the Spaniards in this territory. 

Archaeological discoveries made in the area of El Palmar de Puriales show vestiges of a great activity of the colonizers. Remains of slabs from the period, buttons, bottles, coins, and a clay cup have been found in an aboriginal site near the place, which shows a transculturation of the aboriginal culture with the Spanish and, although the site is located in the depths of the territory in relation to the coasts; the existence of this "Cup", a unique object in Cuba allows us to affirm that the Spanish population in the place lasted a long time making it possible for some of its objects to be reproduced by the Indians in their ceramic culture. 

Corsairs and Pirates

Although assaults by corsairs and pirates into the area were not frequent, there are references to at least 2 incursions into the town of Baitiquiri: 

"English pirates appeared in 1747 in Baitiquiri, with no unpleasant consequences for the population". 

"...in 1774 English pirates assault and steal animals from the Baitiquiri hacienda..." Chronologies. Regino Eladio Botti. 

Everything seems to indicate that they were looking to replenish themselves with food and continue their course, since they did not harm the population either. 

Cimarrones Palenques 

The intricate and inaccessible mountains of the Bridabana area protected black slaves who fled their masters' estates and became Maroons. This made it possible for some slave palenques to be located on the hillside of this territory, in Totenemos, Sierra del Purial and Caujerí. 

One of the most important black maroons in this eastern region was Ventura Sánchez Donatién, better known as "Cobas" who, together with his slaves, unleashed a panic among the Spanish owners and authorities. In March 1817 the hacienda Sabanalamar, was burned by the beaten of Quibiján and Puriales, to refuse their wholesaler to trade with them. The palenque of Totenemos was the most prosperous community of cimarrones slaves in this territory until in 1848 it was assaulted and destroyed by squads of rancheadores commanded by Miguel Pérez. 

Wars for Independence 

There is no reference to the fact that on the eve of the war of 1868 a demonstration was organized against colonial rule in the territory by some of its inhabitants, but it did serve as a refuge for expeditionaries and patriots who arrived and passed through these contours. 

Special connotation had the presence in the zone of the guerrilla of Policarpo Pineda, El Indio Rustán, that to the shelter of the intricate mountains and the exuberant existing vegetation developed actions that put in check the colonialist troops. 

This area was also the scene of Antonio Maceo's and Máximo Gómez's campaign to extend the war to the Guantánamo region, obtaining resounding victories and a wide recognition of popular support. 

In 1878 transcendental events of the war take place: the Zanjón Pact and its virile response led by General Antonio Maceo in the Baraguá Mangoes, on March 15, 1878, where Maceo protests to the Spanish General Arsenio Martínez Campos and expresses his decision to continue the war; which he does immediately above all in the Cuban High East. 

Perhaps the clearest example of revolutionary intransigence in this area was the combat of La Criolla, two months later.