How did the Spanish-American war begin

The Spanish-American War 1898

The American battleship U.S.S. Maine was destroyed by an explosion in the port of Havana on February 15, 1898. 260 people lost their lives in the process. The US blamed the Spaniards for the incident, which was never resolved. Because of the suppression of the Cuban uprising 1895-98 the American public was already anti-Spanish. Many have already called for intervention in the Cuban-Spanish conflict.

The USA declared war on Spain on April 25, 1898. The US Navy immediately took action in both the Pacific and the Atlantic. Commodore Dewey destroyed the Spanish Pacific fleet in the port of on May 1st, 1898 Manila. American troops and local rebels captured the Philippine capital in August.

Under pressure from American settlers and fearing that the islands could be used by other powers as a base in the Pacific, the USA annexed it on July 6, 1898 Hawaii.

Units of the American Atlantic Fleet blocked the port of Santiago (Cuba) in May while invading forces led by Major General William Shafter landed at Daiquirí near Santiago. The Lieutenant Colonel was also on the march on Santiago Theodore Roosevelt involved. While the land forces were advancing on Santiago, the Navy destroyed the small Spanish fleet in Santiago. The Cuban capital capitulated on July 17th, 1898. A few days later, US troops landed Puerto Ricowhere they overcame the Spanish resistance faster than in Cuba. On August 13th, 1898 the guns stopped.

The brunt of the war had borne the American fleet, which was numerically and technically superior to the Spanish. However, to force a decision, the Americans also needed a powerful land army. Before 1898, the peacetime strength of the US Army was only 28,000 men. For the war, the army was increased to around 225,000 men, but afterwards the US was forced to permanently enlarge and modernize its army in order to meet the requirements of the new imperial policy that it began after the war.

December 10th, 1898 Treaty of Paris (text)

  • Spain surrendered sovereignty Cuba on.
  • Spain entered Puerto Rico and Guam to the USA.
  • The US bought the Philippines for $ 20 million.

Dead: 10.000 (Spain: 5,000 / USA: 5,000)

The Filipinos rejected American rule because they had already declared themselves independent on June 12, 1898. Emilio Aguinaldo and his followers led one Guerrilla warfare against the Americans. In 1902 the last freedom fighters surrendered and the United States set up a civilian government under William Howard Taft.

Cuba became an independent republic on May 20th, 1902.

  • Joseph Smith: The Spanish-American War. Conflict in the Caribbean and the Pacific 1895-1902. London, New York 1994.
  • John Tebbel: America's Great Patriotic War with Spain. Mixed Motives, Lies and Racism in Cuba and the Philippines, 1898-1915. Manchester Center, Vermont 1996.
  • The Crisis of 1898. Colonial Redistribution and Nationalist Mobilization. Ed. Angel Smith and Emma Dávila-Cox. New York et al. 1999.


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