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Tomás Estrada Palma

Estrada Palma, Tomás (tōmäsˈ esträˈħä pälˈmä) [key], 1835–1908, Cuban revolutionist and first president (1902–6) of Cuba. An active participant in the Ten Years War (1868–78), he became a general (1876) and was captured by the Spanish (1877). Released and exiled, he spent some time in the United States, where he helped win support for the Cuban cause. As president he strove to balance the republic's economy and set Cuba on the road to material progress, but he was unable to stop the excessive graft and spoils sought by the revolution's military and political participants. He was reelected (1906) by the conservatives; the liberals charged fraud, and a revolt broke out under José Miguel Gómez. Estrada Palma sought aid from the United States but, refusing the American compromise, resigned.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Cuban History: Biographies

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