Luis Martínez-Fernández

Luis Martínez-Fernández, Ph.D.

Dr. Luis Martínez-Fernández is a historian, university professor, author, consultant and public speaker, whose fields of expertise include Latin America, the Caribbean, education, and Latino / Hispanic politics, culture, and society.

Born in Havana, Cuba and raised in Lima, Peru and San Juan, Puerto Rico, he holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in History from the University of Puerto Rico and a Ph.D. in History from Duke University.

He is recognized as one of the most prolific and influential scholars in the field of Caribbean Studies. His publications include articles in Cuban Studies, Slavery and Abolition, Latin American Research Review, The Americas, Caribbean Studies, History Today, and in numerous anthologies and edited volumes. 

His books include: Fighting Slavery in the Caribbean, Revolutionary Cuba: A History, widely acclaimed as the most comprehensive and systematic study on the subject ever written, and Key to the New World: A History of Early Colonial Cuba, winner of the 2018 Florida Book Awards' Bronze Medal for Nonfiction and the 2019 International Latino Book Awards Gold Medal for History. 

Martínez-Fernández served as trustee of the College Board (2009-2015) and in numerous professional, editorial, and community boards, among them the Cuban Studies journal, the South Atlantic Humanities Center, the Community Advisory Board of WMFE (Central Florida's NPR station), and the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Historical Society of Central Florida. In 2005 he founded the annual Latin American Cultural Festival of Orlando.

In March 2019,  he joined the Board of Directors of the National Council for History Education and assumed the role of Board Secretary. He also serves on the International Board of Advisors of United Planet.

He writes a weekly nationally syndicated column for Creators Syndicate.


  • Ph.D. in Latin American History from Duke University (1990)
  • M.A. in History from University of Puerto Rico (1985)
  • B.A. in History from University of Puerto Rico (1982)

Research Interests

Latin America, the Caribbean, Cuba and Puerto Rico, Latinos in the United States

Recent Research Activities

Working on a collection of essays with the working title "All History Is Contemporary History: Essays on Culture, Politics, and the Unimaginable Events of 2019-2021."

Selected Publications


  • Key to the New World: A History of Early Colonial Cuba, Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2018.
  • Revolutionary Cuba: A History. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2014; eBook edition by Florida Scholarship Online, 2015; updated paperback edition, 2016.
  • Frontiers, Plantations, and Walled Cities: Essays on Society, Culture, and Politics in the Hispanic Caribbean, 1800-1945. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2010.
  • Encyclopedia of Cuba: People, History, Culture. Co-edited with Louis A. Pérez, Jr., D.H. Figueredo, and Luis González. 2 vols. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003. Served as Senior Editor and authored the Introduction and fifty-three entries.
  • Protestantism and Political Conflict in the Nineteenth-Century Hispanic Caribbean. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2002.
  • Fighting Slavery in the Caribbean: The Life and Times of a British Family in Nineteenth-Century Havana. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe Publishers, 1998; reissued by Routledge as ebook, 2014.
  • Torn between Empires: Economy, Society, and Patterns of Political Thought in the Hispanic Caribbean, 1840-1878. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994; reprint 2012.
  • Historia de Puerto Rico: cuaderno de ejercicios y actividades. (4 eds.), San Juan: Editorial Librotex/Publicaciones Puertorriqueñas, 1986-1993.
  • El Partido Nuevo Progresista: trayectoria hacia el poder y orígenes sociales de sus fundadores, 1967-1968. Río Piedras: Editorial Edil, 1986.

Edited Collections

Edited Editions

  • Editor and author of "Introduction: The Many Lives and Times of Humboldts Political Essay on the Island of Cuba inAlexander von Humboldt, The Island of Cuba: A Political Essay. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener, 2001, 1-18.


  • Weekly nationally syndicated opinion columns published by Creators Syndicate (since September 2020).
  • Guest commentary on Puerto Rico’s political crisis, Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Advisor, July 24, 2019, 3.
  • "My Good Friend Roosevelt." History Today 69:2 (February 2019), 22-24.
  • Regularly published opinion columns in the Globe Post (February 2019 to August 2020).
  • "Marriage between Slaves: Analyzing Legal Documents from Spain and the United States." Social Education 82:3 (May/June 2013): 138-142.
  • “Revisiting the Seven Threads in the Labyrinth of the Cuban Revolution.” Cuba in Transition 25: Papers and Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting, Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy: 2015 (2016), 96-107.
  • "Far beyond the Line: Corsairs, Privateers, Buccaneers, and Invading Settlers (1520-1670)." Revista de Indias 75:263 (January-April 2015), 7-38.
  • "Beyond La Nina, La Pinta, and La Santa Maria: The Invention and Mental Mapping of A New World." Social Education 77:1 (January-February 2013), 7-13.
  • "Trauma and Conflict: New Perspectives on Cuban Exile and Emigration to South Florida since 1959." Ibero-Americana Pragensia Supplementum 31 (2012), 93-106.
  • "La diáspora en la frontera: reflexiones sobre los retos y oportunidades para estudiar el Orlando puertorriqueño." El Centro Journal 22:1 (Spring 2010), 32-55.
  • "1492: First Encounters, the Invention of America, and the Columbian Exchange." Revista Brasileira do Caribe 6:11 (2005), 13-31.
  • "Geography, Will It Absolve Cuba?" History Compass (online journal by Blackwell Publishing), 2 (2004) LA 066, 1-20.
  • "Political Culture in the Hispanic Caribbean and the Building of U.S. Hegemony, 1868-1945." Revista Mexicana del Caribe 11 (2001), 7-55.
  • "Crypto-Protestants and Pseudo-Catholics in the Nineteenth-Century Hispanic Caribbean." Journal of Ecclesiastical History 51:2 (April 2000), 347-365.
  • "Marriage, Protestantism, and Religious Conflict in Nineteenth-Century Puerto Rico." Journal of Religious History 24:3 (October 2000), 263-278.
  • "Why Study the Past?: A Historian Reflects." Hopscotch 2:2 (Fall 2000), 64-69.
  • "The Birth of the American Empire as Seen Through Political Cartoons (1896-1905)." Magazine of History 12:3 (Spring 1998), 48-54.
  • "Life in a 'male city': Native and Foreign Elite Women in Nineteenth-Century Havana." Cuban Studies 25 (1995), 27-49. Reprinted in an expanded version as "The 'Male City' of Havana: The Coexisting Logics of Colonialism, Slavery, and Patriarchy in Nineteenth-Century Cuba" in Women and the Colonial Gaze. Eds. Tamara L. Hunt and Micheline R. Lessard. Hampshire, UK: Palgrave, 2002, 104-116.
  • "The Havana Anglo-Spanish Mixed Commission for the Suppression of the Slave Trade and Cuba's Emancipados." Slavery & Abolition 16:2 (August 1995), 205-225.
  • "The Sword and the Crucifix: Church-State Relations and Nationality in the Nineteenth-Century Dominican Republic." Latin American Research Review 30:1 (Winter 1995), 69-93.
  • "Political Change in the Spanish Caribbean during the United States Civil War and Its Aftermath." Caribbean Studies 27:1-2 (January-June 1994), 37-64.
  • "The Sweet and the Bitter: Cuban and Puerto Rican Responses to the Mid-Nineteenth-Century Sugar Challenge." New West Indian Guide 67:1 & 2 (May 1993), 47-67. Reprinted in Caribbean Slavery in the Atlantic World. Eds. Verene A. Shepherd and Hilary McD. Beckles. Kingston: Ian Randle, 2000, 506-517.
  • "Caudillos, Annexationism, and the Rivalry between Empires in the Dominican Republic, 1844-1874." Diplomatic History 17:4 (Fall 1993), 571-597.
  • "'Don't Die Here': The Death and Burial of Protestants in the Hispanic Caribbean, 1840-1885." The Americas 49:1 (July 1992), 23-47.
  • "El anexionismo dominicano y la lucha entre imperios durante la Primera República, 1844-1861." Revista/Review Interamericana 22:1-2 (Spring-Summer 1992), 168-190.

Book Sections/Chapters

  • Forthcoming “The Greater Caribbean World.” Chapter in The Cambridge History of America and the World. Series Ed. Mark Bradley (New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming in 2020).
  • "The Cuban Revolution." Chapter in Legacies of Revolution. Ed Peter Furtado. London: Thames & Hudson, 2020.
  • “Part XI: Puerto Rico in the Twenty First Century.” Section introduction and selection and introduction to ten new readings. The Puerto Ricans: A Documentary History. Eds. Kal Wagenheim, Olga Wagenheim and Luis Martínez-Fernández. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers, new expanded and revised edition, 2020.
  • “Annexation of Dominican Republic.” In Oxford Bibliographies in African American Studies. Ed. Gene Jarrett. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
  • “Preface to the Paperback Edition: A Necessary Revisit.” In Revolutionary Cuba: A History. Paperback edition. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2016.
  • "Sugar and Revolution: Cuba 1952-2002." Chapter in Handbook on Cuban History, Literature and the Arts: New Perspectives on Historical and Contemporary Social Change. Eds. Mauricio Font and Araceli Tinajero. Boulder, CO, Paradigm Publishers, 2014, 65-78.
  • "Rise of the American Mediterranean." Chapter in The Caribbean: A History of the Region and Its People. Eds. Stephan Palmié and Francisco Scarano. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011, 303-316.
  • "The Cuban Revolution." Chapter in A Companion to Latin American History. Ed. Thomas H. Holloway. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 2007, 365-385.
  • "The Forging of Creole Cuba: Race, Gender and Society in the Sixteenth-Century," Chapter in Caribe/Caribes: Criollización y Procesos de Cambio. Ed. Josef Opartrný. Prague, Editorial Karolinum, 2006, 49-63.
  • "La frontera y la plantación: reflexiones sobre dos claves para empezar a entender las culturas cubana y caribeña." Cuaderno no. 9 of the Association of European Historians of Latin America (AHILA): Visitando la isla: temas de historia de Cuba. Eds. Josef Opatrný and Consuelo Naranjo Orovio. Madrid/Frankfurt: AHILA/Iberoamericana/Vervuert, 2002, 149-159.
  • "El '98 antes del '98: el expansionismo norteamericano en el Caribe Hispano durante la segunda mitad del siglo XIX." Article in 1898: enfoques y perspectivas. Ed. Luis González Vales. San Juan: Academia Puertorriqueña de la Historia, 1997, 381-401.
  • "La Fortaleza y la Ciudadela: la transformación del Senado y de la política puertorriqueña durante la administración de Luis A. Ferré, 1969-1972." Chapter in: Senado de Puerto Rico, Senado de Puerto Rico, 1917-1992: ensayos de historia institucional. San Juan: Senado, 1992, 239-267.

Miscellaneous Publications

  • "Faith in Cuba: Protestantism." Entry in Cuba. Ed. Alan West-Durán. Farmington Hills, MI: Charles Scribners Sons, 2011.
  • "Bay of Pigs." Entry in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2008.
  • "The Cuban Revolution." Entry in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World. Ed. Peter N. Steams. 4 vols. New York, 2008.
  • "Puerto Rico in the Whirlwind of 1898: Conflict, Continuity, and Change." Magazine of History 12:3 (Spring 1998), 24-29.
  • "Dominican Republic." Entry in The Encyclopedia of U.S. Foreign Relations. 4 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, vol. II, 27-32.


Second Place, General (Online) Column, Columnist Contest of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, June 2021.

Admitted to the Academy of Cuban History in Exile, November 2020.

International Latino Book Awards, Gold Medal, September 2019.

Featured Writer, Orlando Book Festival, May 2019.

Featured Writer, Word of South Festival of Literature and Music, Tallahassee, April 2019.

Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, CAH, 2019.

Florida Book Awards, Bronze Medal, General Nonfiction, for Key to the New World, 2018.

UCF Competitive Sabbatical Award, 2017-2018.

UCF Research Incentive Award, 2017.

UCF Scroll and Quill Honor Society, member, 2016- .

Honorable Mention, International Latino Book Awards for Revolutionary Cuba, Best History Books in English category, June 2015.

Featured author, Miami Book Fair International, November 2014.

El Josco Education Award, Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida, October 2013.

Finalist, Quijote Award for Excellence, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Orlando, 2005.

Best of Reference award by the New York Public Library, Encyclopedia of Cuba, 2004.

Best Reference Source awarded to Encyclopedia of Cuba by Library Journal, 2003.

Booklist Editors’ Choice, Encyclopedia of Cuba among best reference books, 2003.


No courses found for Fall 2022.

No courses found for Summer 2022.

Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
11030 HIS4150 History and Historians Mixed-Mode/Reduce Seat-Time(M) Th 01:30 PM - 02:45 PM Unavailable
No Description Available
10894 LAH3470 History of the Caribbean Mixed-Mode/Reduce Seat-Time(M) Th 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM Unavailable
No Description Available
10943 LAH4461 History of Puerto Rico Mixed-Mode/Reduce Seat-Time(M) Tu 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM Unavailable
No Description Available

Updated: Jan 13, 2022