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Spanish American War (1898)
Latin American Freedom Fighters, Part 1 - The Roots of War



Latin American Freedom Fighters, Part 1 - The Roots of War
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.79

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    all-too, autonomy, domination, exploitation, guerillas, Poet-warrior, robust, yoke, corruption, Calixto, quash, self-rule, exile, fanned, indigenous, Gomez
     content words:    Spanish Empire, Under Spanish, In Europe, Young Filipino, Jose Rizal, Propaganda Movement, Emilio Aguinaldo, Ten Years, Carlos Manuel, Cuban War


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Latin American Freedom Fighters, Part 1 - The Roots of War
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     It was said that the sun never set on the Spanish Empire. Spain's lavish realm once stretched around the globe. But fortunes come and go. Wars and corruption had depleted Spain's wealth. She had lost most of her rich colonies. The economic climate at home was gloomy. Spain held on grimly to the last bits and pieces of her grand realm.
 
2     The colonies, small as they were, provided markets for the sale of Spanish goods. They brought in revenue through heavy taxes levied by the Spanish crown. They were also a cheap source of raw materials and labor. In fact, Spain extracted much slave labor from the populations of her exotic holdings.
 
3     In the tropical islands, farming was big business. The native residents were forced to work as slaves on the vast plantations. Under Spanish rule, living conditions for slaves and most natives were harsh. Great numbers of the indigenous peoples died of disease and starvation during the colonial period. Spanish settlers then imported great numbers of slaves from Africa. These imports blended into the native population.
 
4     Some of the mixed population of the islands had found a middle ground under Spanish rule. They served the Spanish overlords as merchants and farmers. This trade class prospered. Some could even afford to send their sons to school in Spain. In Europe, these students saw their homes and cultures through the eyes of the world.
 
5     The young students observed that citizens of Spain lived at a standard far above that of their native lands. The people of their homelands had long been like oxen under Spain's yoke. Other people in the world lived free from domination. Other nations benefited from their own labor and resources. Several of these nations had once been part of the Spanish Empire. Having thrown off Spanish bonds, they enjoyed freedom and self-rule. The students sought to bring their new point of view to their people.

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