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Spanish–American War

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Spanish–American War
Part of the Philippine Revolution
and the Cuban War of Independence
Infobox collage for Spanish-American War.jpg
(clockwise from top left)
DateApril 21, 1898 [b] – August 13, 1898
(3 months, 3 weeks and 2 days)
Result American victory
  • Treaty of Paris of 1898
  • Founding of the First Philippine Republic and beginning of the Philippine–American War
  • Territorial
    Spain relinquishes sovereignty over Cuba; cedes Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippine Islands to the United States. $20 million paid to Spain by the United States for infrastructure owned by Spain.
    United States United States
    Cuban revolutionaries [a]
    Philippine revolutionaries [a]


    Commanders and leaders
    • 206,000 [d] (Caribbean)
    • 55,000 troops (Philippines)
    Casualties and losses


    • 385 killed [5]
    • 1,662 wounded [6]
    • 11 prisoners [7]
    • 2,061 dead from disease [8] [9]
    • 1 cargo ship sunk [10]
    • 1 cruiser damaged [8]


    • 700–800 killed [11]
    • 700–800 wounded [11]
    • 40,000+ prisoners [8] [12]
    • 15,000 dead from disease [13]
    • 6 small ships sunk [8]
    • 11 cruisers sunk [8]
    • 2 destroyers sunk [8]

    The higher naval losses may be attributed to the disastrous naval defeats inflicted on the Spanish at Manila Bay and Santiago de Cuba. [14]

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    The Spanish–American War ( Spanish: Guerra hispano-estadounidense or Guerra hispano-americana; Filipino: Digmaang Espanyol-Amerikano) was an armed conflict between Spain and the United States in 1898. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the internal explosion of USS Maine in Havana Harbor in Cuba, leading to U.S. intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. The war led to the U.S. emerging as predominant in the Caribbean region, [15] and resulted in U.S. acquisition of Spain's Pacific possessions. That led to U.S. involvement in the Philippine Revolution and ultimately to the Philippine–American War. [16]

    The main issue was Cuban independence. Revolts had been occurring for some years in Cuba against Spanish rule. The U.S. later backed these revolts upon entering the Spanish–American War. There had been war scares before, as in the Virginius Affair in 1873. But in the late 1890s, American public opinion swayed in support of the rebellion due to reports of concentration camps (death estimates range from 150,000 to 400,000 people) set up to control the populace. [17] [18] Yellow journalism exaggerated the atrocities and exploited the explosion on the Main to further increase public fervor, and to sell more papers. [19]

    The business community had just recovered from a deep depression and feared that a war would reverse the gains. Accordingly, most business interests lobbied vigorously against going to war. [20] President William McKinley ignored the exaggerated yellow press and sought a peaceful settlement. [21] However, after the United States Navy armored cruiser USS Maine mysteriously exploded and sank in Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898, political pressures from the Democratic Party pushed McKinley into a war that he had wished to avoid.

    On April 20, 1898, McKinley signed a joint Congressional resolution demanding Spanish withdrawal and authorizing the President to use military force to help Cuba gain independence. [22] In response, Spain severed diplomatic relations with the United States on April 21. On the same day, the U.S. Navy began a blockade of Cuba. [23] Both sides declared war; neither had allies.

    The ten-week war was fought in both the Caribbean and the Pacific. As U.S. agitators for war well knew, [24] U.S. naval power would prove decisive, allowing expeditionary forces to disembark in Cuba against a Spanish garrison already facing nationwide Cuban insurgent attacks and further wasted by yellow fever. [25] The invaders obtained the surrender of Santiago de Cuba and Manila despite the good performance of some Spanish infantry units, and fierce fighting for positions such as San Juan Hill. [26] Madrid sued for peace after two Spanish squadrons were sunk in the battles of Santiago de Cuba and Manila Bay, and a third, more modern, fleet was recalled home to protect the Spanish coasts. [27]

    The result was the 1898 Treaty of Paris, negotiated on terms favorable to the U.S. which allowed it temporary control of Cuba and ceded ownership of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippine islands. The cession of the Philippines involved payment of $20 million ($610 million today) to Spain by the U.S. to cover infrastructure owned by Spain. [28]

    The defeat and loss of the Spanish Empire's last remnants was a profound shock to Spain's national psyche and provoked a thorough philosophical and artistic reevaluation of Spanish society known as the Generation of '98. [27] The United States gained several island possessions spanning the globe, which provoked rancorous debate over the wisdom of expansionism. [29]

    Historical background

    Spain's attitude towards its colonies

    The combined problems arising from the Peninsular War (1807–1814), the loss of most of its colonies in the Americas in the early 19th-century Spanish American wars of independence, and three Carlist Wars (1832–1876) marked the low point of Spanish colonialism. [30] Liberal Spanish elites like Antonio Cánovas del Castillo and Emilio Castelar offered new interpretations of the concept of "empire" to dovetail with Spain's emerging nationalism. Cánovas made clear in an address to the University of Madrid in 1882 [31] [32] his view of the Spanish nation as based on shared cultural and linguistic elements – on both sides of the Atlantic – that tied Spain's territories together.

    Cánovas saw Spanish imperialism as markedly different in its methods and purposes of colonization from those of rival empires like the British or French. Spaniards regarded the spreading of civilization and Christianity as Spain's major objective and contribution to the New World. [33] The concept of cultural unity bestowed special significance on Cuba, which had been Spanish for almost four hundred years, and was viewed as an integral part of the Spanish nation. The focus on preserving the empire would have negative consequences for Spain's national pride in the aftermath of the Spanish–American War.

    American interest in the Caribbean

    In 1823, the fifth American President James Monroe (1758–1831, served 1817–1825) enunciated the Monroe Doctrine, which stated that the United States would not tolerate further efforts by European governments to retake or expand their colonial holdings in the Americas or to interfere with the newly independent states in the hemisphere. The U.S. would, however, respect the status of the existing European colonies. Before the American Civil War (1861–1865), Southern interests attempted to have the United States purchase Cuba and convert it into a new slave state. The pro-slavery element proposed the Ostend Manifesto proposal of 1854. Anti-slavery forces rejected it.

    After the American Civil War and Cuba's Ten Years' War, U.S. businessmen began monopolizing the devalued sugar markets in Cuba. In 1894, 90% of Cuba's total exports went to the United States, which also provided 40% of Cuba's imports. [34] Cuba's total exports to the U.S. were almost twelve times larger than the export to her mother country, Spain. [35] U.S. business interests indicated that while Spain still held political authority over Cuba, it was the US that held economic power over Cuba.

    The U.S. became interested in a trans-isthmus canal in either Nicaragua or Panama and realized the need for naval protection. Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan was an exceptionally influential theorist; his ideas were much admired by future 26th President Theodore Roosevelt, as the U.S. rapidly built a powerful naval fleet of steel warships in the 1880s and 1890s. Roosevelt served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897–1898 and was an aggressive supporter of an American war with Spain over Cuban interests.

    Meanwhile, the "Cuba Libre" movement, led by Cuban intellectual José Martí until he died in 1895, had established offices in Florida. [36] The face of the Cuban revolution in the U.S. was the Cuban "Junta", under the leadership of Tomás Estrada Palma, who in 1902 became Cuba's first president. The Junta dealt with leading newspapers and Washington officials and held fund-raising events across the US. It funded and smuggled weapons. It mounted an extensive propaganda campaign that generated enormous popular support in the U.S. in favor of the Cubans. Protestant churches and most Democrats were supportive, but business interests called on Washington to negotiate a settlement and avoid war. [37]

    Cuba attracted enormous American attention, but almost no discussion involved the other Spanish colonies of the Philippines, Guam, or Puerto Rico. [38][ page needed] Historians note that there was no popular demand in the United States for an overseas colonial empire. [39]

    Path to war

    Cuban struggle for independence

    The first serious bid for Cuban independence, the Ten Years' War, erupted in 1868 and was subdued by the authorities a decade later. Neither the fighting nor the reforms in the Pact of Zanjón (February 1878) quelled the desire of some revolutionaries for wider autonomy and, ultimately, independence. One such revolutionary, José Martí, continued to promote Cuban financial and political freedom in exile. In early 1895, after years of organizing, Martí launched a three-pronged invasion of the island. [40]

    The plan called for one group from Santo Domingo led by Máximo Gómez, one group from Costa Rica led by Antonio Maceo Grajales, and another from the United States (preemptively thwarted by U.S. officials in Florida) to land in different places on the island and provoke an uprising. While their call for revolution, the grito de Baíre, was successful, the result was not the grand show of force Martí had expected. With a quick victory effectively lost, the revolutionaries settled in to fight a protracted guerrilla campaign. [40]

    Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, the architect of Spain's Restoration constitution and the prime minister at the time, ordered General Arsenio Martínez-Campos, a distinguished veteran of the war against the previous uprising in Cuba, to quell the revolt. Campos's reluctance to accept his new assignment and his method of containing the revolt to the province of Oriente earned him criticism in the Spanish press. [41]

    The mounting pressure forced Cánovas to replace General Campos with General Valeriano Weyler, a soldier who had experience in quelling rebellions in overseas provinces and the Spanish metropole. Weyler deprived the insurgency of weaponry, supplies, and assistance by ordering the residents of some Cuban districts to move to reconcentration areas near the military headquarters. [41] This strategy was effective in slowing the spread of rebellion. In the United States, this fueled the fire of anti-Spanish propaganda. [42] In a political speech President William McKinley used this to ram Spanish actions against armed rebels. He even said this "was not civilized warfare" but "extermination". [43] [44]

    Spanish attitude

    A Spanish satirical drawing published in La Campana de Gràcia (1896) criticizing U.S. behavior regarding Cuba by Manuel Moliné. Upper text reads (in old Catalan): "Uncle Sam's craving", and below: "To keep the island so it won't get lost".

    The Spanish government regarded Cuba as a province of Spain rather than a colony.[ citation needed][ clarification needed] Spain depended on Cuba for prestige and trade, and used it as a training ground for its army. Spanish Prime Minister Antonio Cánovas del Castillo announced that "the Spanish nation is disposed to sacrifice to the last peseta of its treasure and to the last drop of blood of the last Spaniard before consenting that anyone snatch from it even one piece of its territory". [45] He had long dominated and stabilized Spanish politics. He was assassinated in 1897 by Italian anarchist Michele Angiolillo, [46] leaving a Spanish political system that was not stable and could not risk a blow to its prestige. [47]

    US response

    The eruption of the Cuban revolt, Weyler's measures, and the popular fury these events whipped up proved to be a boon to the newspaper industry in New York City. Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World and William Randolph Hearst of the New York Journal recognized the potential for great headlines and stories that would sell copies. Both papers denounced Spain but had little influence outside New York. American opinion generally saw Spain as a hopelessly backward power that was unable to deal fairly with Cuba. American Catholics were divided before the war began but supported it enthusiastically once it started. [48] [49]

    The U.S. had important economic interests that were being harmed by the prolonged conflict and deepening uncertainty about Cuba's future. Shipping firms that had relied heavily on trade with Cuba now suffered losses as the conflict continued unresolved. [50] These firms pressed Congress and McKinley to seek an end to the revolt. Other American business concerns, specifically those who had invested in Cuban sugar, looked to the Spanish to restore order. [51] Stability, not war, was the goal of both interests. How stability would be achieved would depend largely on the ability of Spain and the U.S. to work out their issues diplomatically.

    An American cartoon published in Judge, February 6, 1897: Columbia (representing the American people) reaches out to the oppressed Cuba (the caption under the chained child reads "Spain's 16th Century methods") while Uncle Sam (representing the U.S. government) sits blindfolded, refusing to see the atrocities or use his guns to intervene (cartoon by Grant E. Hamilton).

    While tension increased among the Cubans and Spanish Government, popular support of intervention began to spring up in the United States. Many Americans likened the Cuban revolt to the American Revolution, and they viewed the Spanish Government as a tyrannical oppressor. Historian Louis Pérez notes that "The proposition of war in behalf of Cuban independence took hold immediately and held on thereafter. Such was the sense of the public mood." Many poems and songs were written in the United States to express support of the "Cuba Libre" movement. [52] At the same time, many African Americans, facing growing racial discrimination and increasing retardation of their civil rights, wanted to take part in the war. They saw it as a way to advance the cause of equality, service to country hopefully helping to gain political and public respect amongst the wider population. [53]

    President McKinley, well aware of the political complexity surrounding the conflict, wanted to end the revolt peacefully. He began to negotiate with the Spanish government, hoping that the talks would dampen yellow journalism in the United States and soften support for war with Spain. An attempt was made to negotiate a peace before McKinley took office. However, the Spanish refused to take part in the negotiations. In 1897 McKinley appointed Stewart L. Woodford as the new minister to Spain, who again offered to negotiate a peace. In October 1897, the Spanish government refused the United States' offer to negotiate between the Spanish and the Cubans, but promised the U.S. it would give the Cubans more autonomy. [54] However, with the election of a more liberal Spanish government in November, Spain began to change its policies in Cuba. First, the new Spanish government told the United States that it was willing to offer a change in the Reconcentration policies if the Cuban rebels agreed to a cessation of hostilities. This time the rebels refused the terms in hopes that continued conflict would lead to U.S. intervention and the creation of an independent Cuba. [54] The liberal Spanish government also recalled the Spanish Governor-General Valeriano Weyler from Cuba. This action alarmed many Cubans loyal to Spain. [55]

    The Cubans loyal to Weyler began planning large demonstrations to take place when the next Governor General, Ramón Blanco, arrived in Cuba. U.S. consul Fitzhugh Lee learned of these plans and sent a request to the U.S. State Department to send a U.S. warship to Cuba. [55] This request lead to USS Maine being sent to Cuba. While Maine was docked in Havana, an explosion sank the ship. The sinking of Maine was blamed on the Spanish and made the possibility of a negotiated peace very slim. [56] Throughout the negotiation process, the major European powers, especially Britain, France, and Russia, generally supported the American position and urged Spain to give in. [57] Spain repeatedly promised specific reforms that would pacify Cuba but failed to deliver; American patience ran out. [58]

    USS Maine dispatch to Havana and loss

    Though publication of a U.S. Navy investigation report would take a month, this Washington D.C. newspaper [59] was among those asserting within one day that the explosion was not accidental.

    McKinley sent USS Maine to Havana to ensure the safety of American citizens and interests, and to underscore the urgent need for reform. Naval forces were moved in position to attack simultaneously on several fronts if the war was not avoided. As Maine left Florida, a large part of the North Atlantic Squadron was moved to Key West and the Gulf of Mexico. Others were also moved just off the shore of Lisbon, and others were moved to Hong Kong too. [60]

    At 9:40 P.M. on February 15, 1898, Maine sank in Havana Harbor after suffering a massive explosion. While McKinley urged patience and did not declare that Spain had caused the explosion, the deaths of 250 out of 355 [61] sailors on board focused American attention. McKinley asked Congress to appropriate $50 million for defense, and Congress unanimously obliged. Most American leaders believed that the cause of the explosion was unknown. Still, public attention was now riveted on the situation and Spain could not find a diplomatic solution to avoid war. Spain appealed to the European powers, most of whom advised it to accept U.S. conditions for Cuba in order to avoid war. [62] Germany urged a united European stand against the United States but took no action. [63]

    The U.S. Navy's investigation, made public on March 28, concluded that the ship's powder magazines were ignited when an external explosion was set off under the ship's hull. This report poured fuel on popular indignation in the US, making the war inevitable. [64] Spain's investigation came to the opposite conclusion: the explosion originated within the ship. Other investigations in later years came to various contradictory conclusions, but had no bearing on the coming of the war. In 1974, Admiral Hyman George Rickover had his staff look at the documents and decided there was an internal explosion. A study commissioned by National Geographic magazine in 1999, using AME computer modeling, stated that a mine could have caused the explosion, but no definitive evidence was found. [65]

    Declaring war

    Illustrated map of the Guardia Civil showing the Kingdom of Spain and its remaining colonial possessions in 1895 ( Caroline and Mariana Islands, as well as Spanish Sahara, Morocco, Guinea and Guam are not included.)

    After Maine was destroyed, New York City newspaper publishers Hearst and Pulitzer decided that the Spanish were to blame, and they publicized this theory as fact in their papers. [66] They both used sensationalistic and astonishing accounts of "atrocities" committed by the Spanish in Cuba by using headlines in their newspapers, such as "Spanish Murderers" and "Remember The Maine". Their press exaggerated what was happening and how the Spanish were treating the Cuban prisoners. [67] The stories were based on factual accounts, but most of the time, the articles that were published were embellished and written with incendiary language causing emotional and often heated responses among readers. A common myth falsely states that when illustrator Frederic Remington said there was no war brewing in Cuba, Hearst responded: "You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war." [68]

    However, this new " yellow journalism" was uncommon outside New York City, and historians no longer consider it the major force shaping the national mood. [69] Public opinion nationwide did demand immediate action, overwhelming the efforts of President McKinley, Speaker of the House Thomas Brackett Reed, and the business community to find a negotiated solution. Wall Street, big business, high finance and Main Street businesses across the country were vocally opposed to war and demanded peace. [20] After years of severe depression, the economic outlook for the domestic economy was suddenly bright again in 1897. However, the uncertainties of warfare posed a serious threat to full economic recovery. "War would impede the march of prosperity and put the country back many years," warned the New Jersey Trade Review. The leading railroad magazine editorialized, "From a commercial and mercenary standpoint it seems peculiarly bitter that this war should come when the country had already suffered so much and so needed rest and peace." McKinley paid close attention to the strong anti-war consensus of the business community, and strengthened his resolve to use diplomacy and negotiation rather than brute force to end the Spanish tyranny in Cuba. [70]

    The American transport ship Seneca, a chartered vessel that carried troops to Puerto Rico and Cuba

    A speech delivered by Republican Senator Redfield Proctor of Vermont on March 17, 1898, thoroughly analyzed the situation and greatly strengthened the pro-war cause. Proctor concluded that war was the only answer. [71]: 210 Many in the business and religious communities which had until then opposed war, switched sides, leaving McKinley and Speaker Reed almost alone in their resistance to a war. [72] [73] [74] On April 11, McKinley ended his resistance and asked Congress for authority to send American troops to Cuba to end the civil war there, knowing that Congress would force a war.

    Spanish Vessels captured up to evening of May 1, 1898

    On April 19, while Congress was considering joint resolutions supporting Cuban independence, Republican Senator Henry M. Teller of Colorado proposed the Teller Amendment to ensure that the U.S. would not establish permanent control over Cuba after the war. The amendment, disclaiming any intention to annex Cuba, passed the Senate 42 to 35; the House concurred the same day, 311 to 6. The amended resolution demanded Spanish withdrawal and authorized the President to use as much military force as he thought necessary to help Cuba gain independence from Spain. President McKinley signed the joint resolution on April 20, 1898, and the ultimatum was sent to Spain. [22] In response, Spain severed diplomatic relations with the United States on April 21. On the same day, the U.S. Navy began a blockade of Cuba. [23] On April 23, Spain reacted to the blockade by declaring war on the U.S. [75]

    CHAP. 189. - An Act Declaring that war exists between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Spain on April 25 1898.

    On April 25, the U.S. Congress responded in kind, declaring that a state of war between the U.S. and Spain had de facto existed since April 21, the day the blockade of Cuba had begun. [23]

    The Navy was ready, but the Army was not well-prepared for the war and made radical changes in plans and quickly purchased supplies. In the spring of 1898, the strength of the U.S. Regular Army was just 25,000 men. The Army wanted 50,000 new men but received over 220,000 through volunteers and the mobilization of state National Guard units, [76] even gaining nearly 100,000 men on the first night after the explosion of USS Maine. [77]


    The last stand of the Spanish Garrison in Cuba by Murat Halstead, 1898

    The overwhelming consensus of observers in the 1890s, and historians ever since, is that an upsurge of humanitarian concern with the plight of the Cubans was the main motivating force that caused the war with Spain in 1898. McKinley put it succinctly in late 1897 that if Spain failed to resolve its crisis, the United States would see "a duty imposed by our obligations to ourselves, to civilization and humanity to intervene with force." [78] Intervention in terms of negotiating a settlement proved impossible—neither Spain nor the insurgents would agree. Louis Perez states, "Certainly the moralistic determinants of war in 1898 has been accorded preponderant explanatory weight in the historiography." [79] By the 1950s, however, American political scientists began attacking the war as a mistake based on idealism, arguing that a better policy would be realism. They discredited the idealism by suggesting the people were deliberately misled by propaganda and sensationalist yellow journalism. Political scientist Robert Osgood, writing in 1953, led the attack on the American decision process as a confused mix of "self-righteousness and genuine moral fervor," in the form of a "crusade" and a combination of "knight-errantry and national self- assertiveness." [80] Osgood argued:

    A war to free Cuba from Spanish despotism, corruption, and cruelty, from the filth and disease and barbarity of General 'Butcher' Weyler's reconcentration camps, from the devastation of haciendas, the extermination of families, and the outraging of women; that would be a blow for humanity and democracy.... No one could doubt it if he believed – and skepticism was not popular – the exaggerations of the Cuban Junta's propaganda and the lurid distortions and imaginative lies pervade by the "yellow sheets" of Hearst and Pulitzer at the combined rate of 2 million [newspaper copies] a day. [81]

    In his War and Empire, [24] Prof. Paul Atwood of the University of Massachusetts (Boston) writes:

    The Spanish–American War was fomented on outright lies and trumped up accusations against the intended enemy. ... War fever in the general population never reached a critical temperature until the accidental sinking of the USS Maine was deliberately, and falsely, attributed to Spanish villainy. ... In a cryptic message ... Senator Lodge wrote that 'There may be an explosion any day in Cuba which would settle a great many things. We have got a battleship in the harbor of Havana, and our fleet, which overmatches anything the Spanish have, is masked at the Dry Tortugas.

    In his autobiography, [82] Theodore Roosevelt gave his views of the origins of the war:

    Our own direct interests were great, because of the Cuban tobacco and sugar, and especially because of Cuba's relation to the projected Isthmian [Panama] Canal. But even greater were our interests from the standpoint of humanity. ... It was our duty, even more from the standpoint of National honor than from the standpoint of National interest, to stop the devastation and destruction. Because of these considerations I favored war.

    Pacific theater


    The Pacific theatre of the Spanish–American War

    In the 333 years of Spanish rule, the Philippines developed from a small overseas colony governed from the Viceroyalty of New Spain to a land with modern elements in the cities. The Spanish-speaking middle classes of the 19th century were mostly educated in the liberal ideas coming from Europe. Among these Ilustrados was the Filipino national hero José Rizal, who demanded larger reforms from the Spanish authorities. This movement eventually led to the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonial rule. The revolution had been in a state of truce since the signing of the Pact of Biak-na-Bato in 1897, with revolutionary leaders having accepted exile outside of the country.

    Lt. William Warren Kimball, Staff Intelligence Officer with the Naval War College [83] prepared a plan with war with Spain including the Philippines on June 1, 1896 known as "the Kimball Plan". [84]

    On April 23, 1898, a document from Governor General Basilio Augustín appeared in the Manila Gazette newspaper warning of the impending war and calling for Filipinos to participate on the side of Spain. [e]

    The first battle between American and Spanish forces was at Manila Bay where, on May 1, Commodore George Dewey, commanding the U.S. Navy's Asiatic Squadron aboard USS Olympia, in a matter of hours defeated a Spanish squadron under Admiral Patricio Montojo. [f] Dewey managed this with only nine wounded. [91] [92] With the German seizure of Tsingtao in 1897, Dewey's squadron had become the only naval force in the Far East without a local base of its own, and was beset with coal and ammunition problems. [93] Despite these problems, the Asiatic Squadron destroyed the Spanish fleet and captured Manila's harbor. [93]

    Following Dewey's victory, Manila Bay was filled with the warships of Britain, Germany, France, and Japan. [93] The German fleet of eight ships, ostensibly in Philippine waters to protect German interests, acted provocatively – cutting in front of American ships, refusing to salute the United States flag (according to customs of naval courtesy), taking soundings of the harbor, and landing supplies for the besieged Spanish. [95]

    With interests of their own, Germany was eager to take advantage of whatever opportunities the conflict in the islands might afford. [96] There was a fear at the time that the islands would become a German possession. [97] The Americans called Germany's bluff and threatened conflict if the aggression continued. The Germans backed down. [96] [98] At the time, the Germans expected the confrontation in the Philippines to end in an American defeat, with the revolutionaries capturing Manila and leaving the Philippines ripe for German picking. [99]

    Spanish artillery regiment during the Philippine Campaign

    Commodore Dewey transported Emilio Aguinaldo, a Filipino leader who led rebellion against Spanish rule in the Philippines in 1896, from exile in Hong Kong to the Philippines to rally more Filipinos against the Spanish colonial government. [100] By June 9, Aguinaldo's forces controlled the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Bataan, Zambales, Pampanga, Pangasinan, and Mindoro, and had laid siege to Manila. [101] On June 12, Aguinaldo proclaimed the independence of the Philippines. [102] [103]

    Group of Tagalog Filipino revolutionaries during the Spanish-American War of 1898

    On August 5, upon instruction from Spain, Governor-General Basilio Augustin turned over the command of the Philippines to his deputy, Fermin Jaudenes. [104] On August 13, with American commanders unaware that a peace protocol had been signed between Spain and the U.S. on the previous day in Washington D.C., American forces captured the city of Manila from the Spanish in the Battle of Manila. [g] [100] [106] This battle marked the end of Filipino–American collaboration, as the American action of preventing Filipino forces from entering the captured city of Manila was deeply resented by the Filipinos. This later led to the Philippine–American War, [107] which would prove to be more deadly and costly than the Spanish–American War.

    Spanish infantry troops and officers in Manila

    The U.S. had sent a force of some 11,000 ground troops to the Philippines. On August 14, 1899, Spanish Captain-General Jaudenes formally capitulated and U.S. General Merritt formally accepted the surrender and declared the establishment of a U.S. military government in occupation. The capitulation document declared, "The surrender of the Philippine Archipelago." and set forth a mechanism for its physical accomplishment. [108] [109] That same day, the Schurman Commission recommended that the U.S. retain control of the Philippines, possibly granting independence in the future. [110] On December 10, 1898, the Spanish government ceded the Philippines to the United States in the Treaty of Paris. Armed conflict broke out between U.S. forces and the Filipinos when U.S. troops began to take the place of the Spanish in control of the country after the end of the war, quickly escalating into the Philippine–American War.


    On June 20, 1898, a U.S. fleet commanded by Captain Henry Glass, consisting of the protected cruiser USS Charleston and three transports carrying troops to the Philippines, entered Guam's Apra Harbor, Captain Glass having opened sealed orders instructing him to proceed to Guam and capture it. Charleston fired a few rounds at Fort Santa Cruz without receiving return fire. Two local officials, not knowing that war had been declared and believing the firing had been a salute, came out to Charleston to apologize for their inability to return the salute as they were out of gunpowder. Glass informed them that the U.S. and Spain were at war. [111]

    The following day, Glass sent Lieutenant William Braunersruehter to meet the Spanish Governor to arrange the surrender of the island and the Spanish garrison there. Some 54 Spanish infantry were captured and transported to the Philippines as prisoners of war. No U.S. forces were left on Guam, but the only U.S. citizen on the island, Frank Portusach, told Captain Glass that he would look after things until U.S. forces returned. [111]

    Caribbean theater


    The Spanish armored cruiser Cristóbal Colón, which was destroyed during the Battle of Santiago on July 3, 1898
    Detail from Charge of the 24th and 25th Colored Infantry and Rescue of Rough Riders at San Juan Hill, July 2, 1898, depicting the Battle of San Juan Hill

    Theodore Roosevelt advocated intervention in Cuba, both for the Cuban people and to promote the Monroe Doctrine. While Assistant Secretary of the Navy, he placed the Navy on a war-time footing and prepared Dewey's Asiatic Squadron for battle. He also worked with Leonard Wood in convincing the Army to raise an all-volunteer regiment, the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry. Wood was given command of the regiment that quickly became known as the " Rough Riders". [112]

    The Americans planned to capture the city of Santiago de Cuba to destroy Linares' army and Cervera's fleet. To reach Santiago they had to pass through concentrated Spanish defenses in the San Juan Hills and a small town in El Caney. The American forces were aided in Cuba by the pro-independence rebels led by General Calixto García.

    Cuban sentiment

    For quite some time the Cuban public believed the United States government to possibly hold the key to its independence, and even annexation was considered for a time, which historian Louis Pérez explored in his book Cuba and the United States: Ties of Singular Intimacy. The Cubans harbored a great deal of discontent towards the Spanish government, due to years of manipulation on the part of the Spanish. The prospect of getting the United States involved in the fight was considered by many Cubans as a step in the right direction. While the Cubans were wary of the United States' intentions, the overwhelming support from the American public provided the Cubans with some peace of mind, because they believed that the United States was committed to helping them achieve their independence. However, with the imposition of the Platt Amendment of 1903 after the war, as well as economic and military manipulation on the part of the United States, Cuban sentiment towards the United States became polarized, with many Cubans disappointed with continuing American interference. [113]

    Land campaign

    From June 22 to 24, the Fifth Army Corps under General William R. Shafter landed at Daiquirí and Siboney, east of Santiago, and established an American base of operations. A contingent of Spanish troops, having fought a skirmish with the Americans near Siboney on June 23, had retired to their lightly entrenched positions at Las Guasimas. An advance guard of U.S. forces under former Confederate General Joseph Wheeler ignored Cuban scouting parties and orders to proceed with caution. They caught up with and engaged the Spanish rearguard of about 2,000 soldiers led by General Antero Rubín [114] who effectively ambushed them, in the Battle of Las Guasimas on June 24. The battle ended indecisively in favor of Spain and the Spanish left Las Guasimas on their planned retreat to Santiago.

    Charge of the Rough Riders

    The U.S. Army employed Civil War–era skirmishers at the head of the advancing columns. Three of four of the U.S. soldiers who had volunteered to act as skirmishers walking point at the head of the American column were killed, including Hamilton Fish II (grandson of Hamilton Fish, the Secretary of State under Ulysses S. Grant), and Captain Allyn K. Capron, Jr., whom Theodore Roosevelt would describe as one of the finest natural leaders and soldiers he ever met. Only Oklahoma Territory Pawnee Indian, Tom Isbell, wounded seven times, survived. [115]

    Receiving the news of the surrender of Santiago

    Regular Spanish troops were mostly armed with modern charger-loaded, 7 mm 1893 Spanish Mauser rifles and using smokeless powder. The high-speed 7×57mm Mauser round was termed the "Spanish Hornet" by the Americans because of the supersonic crack as it passed overhead. Other irregular troops were armed with Remington Rolling Block rifles in .43 Spanish using smokeless powder and brass-jacketed bullets. U.S. regular infantry were armed with the .30–40 Krag–Jørgensen, a bolt-action rifle with a complex magazine. Both the U.S. regular cavalry and the volunteer cavalry used smokeless ammunition. In later battles, state volunteers used the .45–70 Springfield, a single-shot black powder rifle. [115]

    On July 1, a combined force of about 15,000 American troops in regular infantry and cavalry regiments, including all four of the army's "Colored" Buffalo soldier regiments, and volunteer regiments, among them Roosevelt and his " Rough Riders", the 71st New York, the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry, and 1st North Carolina, and rebel Cuban forces attacked 1,270 entrenched Spaniards in dangerous Civil War-style frontal assaults at the Battle of El Caney and Battle of San Juan Hill outside of Santiago. [116] More than 200 U.S. soldiers were killed and close to 1,200 wounded in the fighting, thanks to the high rate of fire the Spanish put down range at the Americans. [117] Supporting fire by Gatling guns was critical to the success of the assault. [118] [119] Cervera decided to escape Santiago two days later. First Lieutenant John J. Pershing, nicknamed "Black Jack", oversaw the 10th Cavalry Unit during the war. Pershing and his unit fought in the Battle of San Juan Hill. Pershing was cited for his gallantry during the battle.

    The Spanish forces at Guantánamo were so isolated by Marines and Cuban forces that they did not know that Santiago was under siege, and their forces in the northern part of the province could not break through Cuban lines. This was not true of the Escario relief column from Manzanillo, [120] which fought its way past determined Cuban resistance but arrived too late to participate in the siege.

    After the battles of San Juan Hill and El Caney, the American advance halted. Spanish troops successfully defended Fort Canosa, allowing them to stabilize their line and bar the entry to Santiago. The Americans and Cubans forcibly began a bloody, strangling siege of the city. [121] During the nights, Cuban troops dug successive series of "trenches" (raised parapets), toward the Spanish positions. Once completed, these parapets were occupied by U.S. soldiers and a new set of excavations went forward. American troops, while suffering daily losses from Spanish fire, suffered far more casualties from heat exhaustion and mosquito-borne disease. [122] At the western approaches to the city, Cuban general Calixto Garcia began to encroach on the city, causing much panic and fear of reprisals among the Spanish forces.

    Battle of Tayacoba

    Lieutenant Carter P. Johnson of the Buffalo Soldiers' 10th Cavalry, with experience in special operations roles as head of the 10th Cavalry's attached Apache scouts in the Apache Wars, chose 50 soldiers from the regiment to lead a deployment mission with at least 375 Cuban soldiers under Cuban Brigadier General Emilio Nunez and other supplies to the mouth of the San Juan River east of Cienfuegos. On June 29, 1898, a reconnaissance team in landing boats from the transports Florida and Fanita attempted to land on the beach, but were repelled by Spanish fire. A second attempt was made on June 30, 1898, but a team of reconnaissance soldiers was trapped on the beach near the mouth of the Tallabacoa River. A team of four soldiers saved this group and were awarded Medals of Honor. The USS Peoria and the recently arrived USS Helena then shelled the beach to distract the Spanish while the Cuban deployment landed forty miles east at Palo Alto, where they linked up with Cuban General Gomez. [123] [124]

    Naval operations

    The Santiago Campaign (1898)
    Crewmen pose under the gun turrets of Iowa in 1898.

    The major port of Santiago de Cuba was the main target of naval operations during the war. The U.S. fleet attacking Santiago needed shelter from the summer hurricane season; Guantánamo Bay, with its excellent harbor, was chosen. The 1898 invasion of Guantánamo Bay happened between June 6 and 10, with the first U.S. naval attack and subsequent successful landing of U.S. Marines with naval support.

    On April 23, a council of senior admirals of the Spanish Navy had decided to order Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete's squadron of four armored cruisers and three torpedo boat destroyers to proceed from their present location in Cape Verde (having left from Cádiz, Spain) to the West Indies. [125]

    The Battle of Santiago de Cuba on July 3, was the largest naval engagement of the Spanish–American War and resulted in the destruction of the Spanish Caribbean Squadron (also known as the Flota de Ultramar). In May, the fleet of Spanish Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete had been spotted by American forces in Santiago harbor, where they had taken shelter for protection from sea attack. A two-month stand-off between Spanish and American naval forces followed.

    When the Spanish squadron finally attempted to leave the harbor on July 3, the American forces destroyed or grounded five of the six ships. Only one Spanish vessel, the new armored cruiser Cristóbal Colón, survived, but her captain hauled down her flag and scuttled her when the Americans finally caught up with her. The 1,612 Spanish sailors who were captured, including Admiral Cervera, were sent to Seavey's Island at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, where they were confined at Camp Long as prisoners of war from July 11 until mid-September.

    During the stand-off, U.S. Assistant Naval Constructor, Lieutenant Richmond Pearson Hobson had been ordered by Rear Admiral William T. Sampson to sink the collier USS Merrimac in the harbor to bottle up the Spanish fleet. The mission was a failure, and Hobson and his crew were captured. They were exchanged on July 6, and Hobson became a national hero; he received the Medal of Honor in 1933, retired as a Rear Admiral and became a Congressman.

    US withdrawal

    Yellow fever had quickly spread among the American occupation force, crippling it. A group of concerned officers of the American army chose Theodore Roosevelt to draft a request to Washington that it withdraw the Army, a request that paralleled a similar one from General Shafter, who described his force as an "army of convalescents". By the time of his letter, 75% of the force in Cuba was unfit for service. [126]

    The Spanish Asia-Pacific Rescue Squadron leaving the Bay of Ferrol. Leading the way is battleship Pelayo.

    On August 7, the American invasion force started to leave Cuba. The evacuation was not total. The U.S. Army kept the black Ninth U.S. Cavalry Regiment in Cuba to support the occupation. The logic was that their race and the fact that many black volunteers came from southern states would protect them from disease; this logic led to these soldiers being nicknamed "Immunes". Still, when the Ninth left, 73 of its 984 soldiers had contracted the disease. [126]

    Puerto Rico

    On May 24, 1898, in a letter to Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge wrote, "Porto Rico is not forgotten and we mean to have it". [127]

    In the same month, Lt. Henry H. Whitney of the United States Fourth Artillery was sent to Puerto Rico on a reconnaissance mission, sponsored by the Army's Bureau of Military Intelligence. He provided maps and information on the Spanish military forces to the U.S. government before the invasion.

    The American offensive began on May 12, 1898, when a squadron of 12 U.S. ships commanded by Rear Adm. William T. Sampson of the United States Navy attacked the archipelago's capital, San Juan. Though the damage inflicted on the city was minimal, the Americans established a blockade in the city's harbor, San Juan Bay. On June 22, the cruiser Isabel II and the destroyer Terror delivered a Spanish counterattack, but were unable to break the blockade and Terror was damaged.

    Spanish troops before they departed to engage the American forces at Hormigueros, Puerto Rico
    A monument in Guánica, Puerto Rico for the U.S. Infantry soldiers who lost their lives in the Spanish–American War 1898

    The land offensive began on July 25, when 1,300 infantry soldiers led by Nelson A. Miles disembarked off the coast of Guánica. The first organized armed opposition occurred in Yauco in what became known as the Battle of Yauco. [128]

    This encounter was followed by the Battle of Fajardo. The United States seized control of Fajardo on August 1, but were forced to withdraw on August 5 after a group of 200 Puerto Rican-Spanish soldiers led by Pedro del Pino gained control of the city, while most civilian inhabitants fled to a nearby lighthouse. The Americans encountered larger opposition during the Battle of Guayama and as they advanced towards the main island's interior. They engaged in crossfire at Guamaní River Bridge, Coamo and Silva Heights and finally at the Battle of Asomante. [128] [129] The battles were inconclusive as the allied soldiers retreated.

    A battle in San Germán concluded in a similar fashion with the Spanish retreating to Lares. On August 9, 1898, American troops that were pursuing units retreating from Coamo encountered heavy resistance in Aibonito in a mountain known as Cerro Gervasio del Asomante and retreated after six of their soldiers were injured. They returned three days later, reinforced with artillery units and attempted a surprise attack. In the subsequent crossfire, confused soldiers reported seeing Spanish reinforcements nearby and five American officers were gravely injured, which prompted a retreat order. All military actions in Puerto Rico were suspended on August 13, after U.S. President William McKinley and French Ambassador Jules Cambon, acting on behalf of the Spanish Government, signed an armistice whereby Spain relinquished its sovereignty over Puerto Rico. [129]

    Cámara's squadron

    Shortly after the war began in April, the Spanish Navy ordered major units of its fleet to concentrate at Cádiz to form the 2nd Squadron, under the command of Rear Admiral Manuel de la Cámara y Livermoore. [130] Two of Spain's most powerful warships, the battleship Pelayo and the brand-new armored cruiser Emperador Carlos V, were not available when the war began — the former undergoing reconstruction in a French shipyard and the latter not yet delivered from her builders — but both were rushed into service and assigned to Cámara's squadron. [131] The squadron was ordered to guard the Spanish coast against raids by the U.S. Navy. No such raids materialized, and while Cámara's squadron lay idle at Cádiz, U.S. Navy forces destroyed Montojo's squadron at Manila Bay on 1 May and bottled up Cervera's squadron at Santiago de Cuba on 27 May.

    During May, the Spanish Ministry of Marine considered options for employing Cámara's squadron. Spanish Minister of Marine Ramón Auñón y Villalón made plans for Cámara to take a portion of his squadron across the Atlantic Ocean and bombard a city on the United States East Coast – preferably Charleston, South Carolina – and then head for the Caribbean to make port at San Juan, Havana, or Santiago de Cuba, [132] but in the end this idea was dropped. Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence reported rumors as early as 15 May that Spain also was considering sending Cámara's squadron to the Philippines to destroy Dewey's squadron and reinforce the Spanish forces there with fresh troops. [133] Pelayo and Emperado Carlos V each were more powerful than any of Dewey's ships, and the possibility of their arrival in the Philippines was of great concern to the United States, which hastily arranged to dispatch 10,000 additional U.S. Army troops to the Philippines and send two U.S. Navy monitors to reinforce Dewey. [133]

    Cámara's squadron in the Suez Canal in July 1898. His flagship, the battleship Pelayo, can be seen in the foreground.

    On 15 June, Cámara finally received orders to depart immediately for the Philippines. His squadron, made up of Pelayo (his flagship), Emperador Carlos V, two auxiliary cruisers, three destroyers, and four colliers, was to depart Cádiz escorting four transports. After detaching two of the transports to steam independently to the Caribbean, his squadron was to proceed to the Philippines, escorting the other two transports, which carried 4,000 Spanish Army troops to reinforce Spanish forces there. He then was to destroy Dewey's squadron. [134] [132] [135] Accordingly, he sortied from Cádiz on 16 June [136] and, after detaching two of the transports for their voyages to the Caribbean, passed Gibraltar on 17 June [137] and arrived at Port Said, at the northern end of the Suez Canal, on 26 June. [138] [138] There he found that U.S. operatives had purchased all the coal available at the other end of the canal in Suez to prevent his ships from coaling with it [139] and received word on 29 June from the British government, which controlled Egypt at the time, that his squadron was not permitted to coal in Egyptian waters because to do so would violate Egyptian and British neutrality. [138] [132]

    Ordered to continue, [140] Cámara's squadron passed through the Suez Canal on 5–6 July. By that time, the United States Department of the Navy had announced that a U.S. Navy "armored squadron with cruisers" would assemble and "proceed at once to the Spanish coast" [140] and word also reached Spain of the annihilation of Cervera's squadron off Santiago de Cuba on 3 July, freeing up the U.S. Navy's heavy forces from the blockade there. Fearing for the safety of the Spanish coast, the Spanish Ministry of Marine recalled Cámara's squadron, which by then had reached the Red Sea, on 7 July 1898. [141] Cámara's squadron returned to Spain, arriving at Cartagena on 23 July. Cámara and Spain's two most powerful warships thus never saw combat during the war. [132]

    Making peace

    Jules Cambon, the French Ambassador in the US, signing the memorandum of ratification on behalf of Spain

    With defeats in Cuba and the Philippines, and its fleets in both places destroyed, Spain sued for peace and negotiations were opened between the two parties. After the sickness and death of British consul Edward Henry Rawson-Walker, American admiral George Dewey requested the Belgian consul to Manila, Édouard André, to take Rawson-Walker's place as intermediary with the Spanish Government. [142] [143] [144]

    Hostilities were halted on August 12, 1898, with the signing in Washington of a Protocol of Peace between the United States and Spain. [145] After over two months of difficult negotiations, the formal peace treaty, the Treaty of Paris, was signed in Paris on December 10, 1898, [146] and was ratified by the United States Senate on February 6, 1899.

    The United States gained Spain's colonies of the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico in the treaty, and Cuba became a U.S. protectorate. [146] The treaty came into force in Cuba April 11, 1899, with Cubans participating only as observers. Having been occupied since July 17, 1898, and thus under the jurisdiction of the United States Military Government (USMG), Cuba formed its own civil government and gained independence on May 20, 1902, with the announced end of USMG jurisdiction over the island. However, the U.S. imposed various restrictions on the new government, including prohibiting alliances with other countries, and reserved the right to intervene. The U.S. also established a perpetual lease of Guantánamo Bay.


    The war lasted ten weeks. [147] John Hay (the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom), writing from London to his friend Theodore Roosevelt, declared that it had been "a splendid little war". [148] [149] The press showed Northerners and Southerners, blacks and whites fighting against a common foe, helping to ease the scars left from the American Civil War. [150] Exemplary of this was the fact that four former Confederate States Army generals had served in the war, now in the U.S. Army and all of them again carrying similar ranks. These officers included Matthew Butler, Fitzhugh Lee, Thomas L. Rosser and Joseph Wheeler, though only the latter had seen action. Still, in an exciting moment during the Battle of Las Guasimas, Wheeler apparently forgot for a moment which war he was fighting, having supposedly called out "Let's go, boys! We've got the damn Yankees on the run again!" [151]

    The war marked American entry into world affairs. Since then, the U.S. has had a significant hand in various conflicts around the world, and entered many treaties and agreements. The Panic of 1893 was over by this point, and the U.S. entered a long and prosperous period of economic and population growth, and technological innovation that lasted through the 1920s. [152]

    The war redefined national identity, served as a solution of sorts to the social divisions plaguing the American mind, and provided a model for all future news reporting. [153]

    The idea of American imperialism changed in the public's mind after the short and successful Spanish–American War. Due to the United States' powerful influence diplomatically and militarily, Cuba's status after the war relied heavily upon American actions. Two major developments emerged from the Spanish–American War: one, it firmly established the United States' vision of itself as a "defender of democracy" and as a major world power, and two, it had severe implications for Cuban–American relations in the future. As historian Louis Pérez argued in his book Cuba in the American Imagination: Metaphor and the Imperial Ethos, the Spanish–American War of 1898 "fixed permanently how Americans came to think of themselves: a righteous people given to the service of righteous purpose". [154]

    The war greatly reduced the Spanish Empire. Spain had been declining as an imperial power since the early 19th century as a result of Napoleon's invasion. The loss of Cuba caused a national trauma because of the affinity of peninsular Spaniards with Cuba, which was seen as another province of Spain rather than as a colony. Spain retained only a handful of overseas holdings: Spanish West Africa ( Spanish Sahara), Spanish Guinea, Spanish Morocco, and the Canary Islands.

    The Spanish soldier Julio Cervera Baviera, who served in the Puerto Rican Campaign, published a pamphlet in which he blamed the natives of that colony for its occupation by the Americans, saying, "I have never seen such a servile, ungrateful country [i.e., Puerto Rico] ... In twenty-four hours, the people of Puerto Rico went from being fervently Spanish to enthusiastically American.... They humiliated themselves, giving in to the invader as the slave bows to the powerful lord." [155] He was challenged to a duel by a group of young Puerto Ricans for writing this pamphlet. [156]

    Culturally, a new wave called the Generation of '98 originated as a response to this trauma, marking a renaissance in Spanish culture. Economically, the war benefited Spain, because after the war large sums of capital held by Spaniards in Cuba and the United States were returned to the peninsula and invested in Spain. This massive flow of capital (equivalent to 25% of the gross domestic product of one year) helped to develop the large modern firms in Spain in the steel, chemical, financial, mechanical, textile, shipyard, and electrical power industries. [157] However, the political consequences were serious. The defeat in the war began the weakening of the fragile political stability that had been established earlier by the rule of Alfonso XII.

    The Teller Amendment, which was enacted on April 20, 1898, was a promise from the United States to the Cuban people that it was not declaring war to annex Cuba, but to help it gain its independence from Spain. The Platt Amendment was a move by the United States' government to shape Cuban affairs without violating the Teller Amendment. [158]

    The U.S. Congress had passed the Teller Amendment before the war, promising Cuban independence. However, the Senate passed the Platt Amendment as a rider to an Army appropriations bill, forcing a peace treaty on Cuba which prohibited it from signing treaties with other nations or contracting a public debt. The Platt Amendment was pushed by imperialists who wanted to project U.S. power abroad (in contrast to the Teller Amendment which was pushed by anti-imperialists who called for a restraint on U.S. rule). The amendment granted the United States the right to stabilize Cuba militarily as needed. In addition, the Platt Amendment permitted the United States to deploy Marines to Cuba if its freedom and independence was ever threatened or jeopardized by an external or internal force. The Platt Amendment also provided for a permanent American naval base in Cuba. Guantánamo Bay was established after the signing of the Cuban–American Treaty of Relations in 1903. Thus, despite that Cuba technically gained its independence after the war ended, the United States government ensured that it had some form of power and control over Cuban affairs.

    The U.S. annexed the former Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam. The notion of the United States as an imperial power, with colonies, was hotly debated domestically with President McKinley and the Pro-Imperialists winning their way over vocal opposition led by Democrat William Jennings Bryan, who had supported the war. The American public largely supported the possession of colonies, but there were many outspoken critics such as Mark Twain, who wrote The War Prayer in protest. Roosevelt returned to the United States a war hero, and he was soon elected governor of New York and then became the vice president. At the age of 42 he became the youngest man to become president after the assassination of President McKinley.

    The war served to further repair relations between the American North and South. The war gave both sides a common enemy for the first time since the end of the Civil War in 1865, and many friendships were formed between soldiers of northern and southern states during their tours of duty. This was an important development, since many soldiers in this war were the children of Civil War veterans on both sides. [159]

    The African-American community strongly supported the rebels in Cuba, supported entry into the war, and gained prestige from their wartime performance in the Army. Spokesmen noted that 33 African-American seamen had died in the Maine explosion. The most influential Black leader, Booker T. Washington, argued that his race was ready to fight. War offered them a chance "to render service to our country that no other race can", because, unlike Whites, they were "accustomed" to the "peculiar and dangerous climate" of Cuba. One of the Black units that served in the war was the 9th Cavalry Regiment. In March 1898, Washington promised the Secretary of the Navy that war would be answered by "at least ten thousand loyal, brave, strong black men in the south who crave an opportunity to show their loyalty to our land, and would gladly take this method of showing their gratitude for the lives laid down, and the sacrifices made, that Blacks might have their freedom and rights." [160]

    In 1904, the United Spanish War Veterans was created from smaller groups of the veterans of the Spanish–American War. Today, that organization is defunct, but it left an heir in the Sons of Spanish–American War Veterans, created in 1937 at the 39th National Encampment of the United Spanish War Veterans. According to data from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the last surviving U.S. veteran of the conflict, Nathan E. Cook, died on September 10, 1992, at age 106. (If the data is to be believed, Cook, born October 10, 1885, would have been only 12 years old when he served in the war.)

    The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) was formed in 1914 from the merger of two veterans organizations which both arose in 1899: the American Veterans of Foreign Service and the National Society of the Army of the Philippines. [161] The former was formed for veterans of the Spanish–American War, while the latter was formed for veterans of the Philippine–American War. Both organizations were formed in response to the general neglect veterans returning from the war experienced at the hands of the government.

    To pay the costs of the war, Congress passed an excise tax on long-distance phone service. [162] At the time, it affected only wealthy Americans who owned telephones. However, the Congress neglected to repeal the tax after the war ended four months later, and the tax remained in place for over 100 years until, on August 1, 2006, it was announced that the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS would no longer collect the tax. [163]

    Postwar American investment in Puerto Rico

    The change in sovereignty of Puerto Rico, like the occupation of Cuba, brought about major changes in both the insular and U.S. economies. Before 1898 the sugar industry in Puerto Rico was in decline for nearly half a century[ citation needed]. In the second half of the nineteenth century, technological advances increased the capital requirements to remain competitive in the sugar industry. Agriculture began to shift toward coffee production, which required less capital and land accumulation. However, these trends were reversed with U.S. hegemony. Early U.S. monetary and legal policies made it both harder for local farmers to continue operations and easier for American businesses to accumulate land. [164] This, along with the large capital reserves of American businesses, led to a resurgence in the Puerto Rican nuts and sugar industry in the form of large American owned agro-industrial complexes.

    At the same time, the inclusion of Puerto Rico into the U.S. tariff system as a customs area, effectively treating Puerto Rico as a state with respect to internal or external trade, increased the codependence of the insular and mainland economies and benefitted sugar exports with tariff protection. In 1897 the United States purchased 19.6 percent of Puerto Rico's exports while supplying 18.5 percent of its imports. By 1905 these figures jumped to 84 percent and 85 percent, respectively. [165] However, coffee was not protected, as it was not a product of the mainland. At the same time, Cuba and Spain, traditionally the largest importers of Puerto Rican coffee, now subjected Puerto Rico to previously nonexistent import tariffs. These two effects led to a decline in the coffee industry. From 1897 to 1901 coffee went from 65.8 percent of exports to 19.6 percent while sugar went from 21.6 percent to 55 percent. [166] The tariff system also provided a protected market place for Puerto Rican tobacco exports. The tobacco industry went from nearly nonexistent in Puerto Rico to a major part of the country's agricultural sector[ citation needed].

    In film and television

    The Spanish–American War was the first U.S. war in which the motion picture camera played a role. [167] The Library of Congress archives contain many films and film clips from the war. [168] In addition, a few feature films have been made about the war. These include

    Military decorations

    US Army "War with Spain" campaign streamer

    United States

    The United States awards and decorations of the Spanish–American War were as follows:

    Wartime service and honors

    Postwar occupation service

    Cross of Military Merit for Combat in Cuba


    • Army Cross of Military Merit/Cruces del Mérito Militar - Spain issued two Crosses of Military Merit including one for fighters with a red badge and a red ribbon with a white stripe, and one for non-fighters with a white badge and a white ribbon with a red stripe. An example of the Silver Cross of Military Merit with the red emblem for fighters was issued on July 18 of 1898 for good behavior on the 11th of May in defense of the fortress of El Faro and the Pueblo de Jagua on May 11th in the Battle of Cienfuegos. [169]
    • Army Operations Medal/Medalla Para Ejercito de Operaciones, Cuba [170]
    • Medal for Volunteers/Medalla Para Los Volunatrios, Cuban Campaign, 1895 - 1898 [170]
    • Army Operations Medal for Vaolr, Discipline and Loyalty, Philippines, 1896 - 1898 [170]
    • Army Medal for Volunteers/Medalla Para Los Voluntarios, Philippines, Luzon Campaign, 1896 - 1897 [170]

    Other countries

    The governments of Spain and Cuba issued a wide variety of military awards to honor Spanish, Cuban, and Philippine soldiers who had served in the conflict.

    See also



    1. ^ a b Unrecognized by the primary belligerents.
    2. ^ The US declared war on Spain on April 25, 1898, but dated the beginning of the war retroactively to April 21
    3. ^ Number is the total for all Cuban rebels active from 1895 to 1898. [2]
    4. ^ 196,000 in Cuba and 10,000 in Puerto Rico. [4]
    5. ^
      Text of the document which appeared in the Manila Gazette on April 23, 1898

      Further Notes:

      1. This is the English language text of the document as published by the supporting source cited, possibly as translated from the original Spanish or Tagalog. In 1898, Spanish, Tagalog, and English were official languages in the Spanish colonial Philippines. [85]
      2. In the Spanish colonial Philippiines, the term Filipino was reserved for full-blooded Spaniards born in the Philippines (insulares). Full-blooded Spaniards born in the Spanish peninsula were termed peninsulares. The Filipinos that we know today were then termed indios. [86] [87]

      The text of the document as published in the cited source was as follows:


      Fellow Spaniards,

      Hostilities between Spain and the United States have broken out.

      The moment has come for us to show the world that we are more than courageous to triumph over those, who, feigning to be loyal friends, took advantage of our misfortunes and capitalized on our nobility by making use of the means civilized nations consider as condemnable and contemptible.

      The Americans, gratified with their social progress, have drained off our patience and have instigated the war through wicked tactics, treacherous acts, and violations of human rights and internal agreements.

      Fighting will be short and decisive. God of victories will render this victory glorious and complete as demanded by reason and justice to our cause.

      Spain, counting on the sympathies of all nations, will come out in triumph from this new test, by shattering and silencing the adventurers of those countries which, without cohesiveness and post, offer to humanity shameful traditions and the ungrateful spectacle of some embassies within which jointly dwell intrigues and defamation, cowardice and cynicism.

      A US squadron, manned by strangers, by ignorant undisciplined men, is coming into the Archipelago for the purpose of grabbing from us what we consider to be our life, honor freedom. It tries to inspire (motivate) American sailors by saying that we are weak, they are encouraged to keep on with an undertaking that can be accomplished; namely of substituting the Catholic religion with Protestantism, they consider you as a people who impedes growth; they will seize your wealth as if you do not know your rights to property; they will snatch away from you those they consider as useful to man their ships, to be exploited as workers in their fields and factories.

      Useless plans! Ridiculous boastings!

      Your indomitable courage suffices to hold off those who dare to bring it to reality. We know you will not allow them to mock the faith you are professing, their feet to step on the temple of the true God, incredulity to demolish the sacred images you honor; you will not allow the invaders to desecrate the tombs of your forefathers; to satisfy their immodest passions at the expense of your wives and daughters' honor; you will not allow them to seize all the properties you have put up through honest work in order to assure your future; you will not allow them to commit any of those crimes inspired by their wickedness and greed, because your bravery and patriotism suffice in scaring them away and knocking down the people who, calling themselves civilized and cultured, resort to the extermination of the natives of North America instead of trying to attract them to live a civilized life and of progress.

      Filipinos! Prepare yourself for the battle and united together under the glorious Spanish flag, always covered with laurels, let us fight, convinced that victory will crown our efforts and let us reply the intimations of our enemies with a decision befitting a Christian and patriot, with a cry of "Long live Spain!"

      Manila, April 23, 1898

      Your general


    6. ^ The American squadron consisted of nine ships: Olympia (flagship), Boston, Baltimore, Raleigh, Concord, Petrel, McCulloch, Zapphire, and Nashan. The Spanish squadron consisted of seven ships: Reina Cristina (flagship), Castilla, Don Juan de Austria, Don Antonio de Ulloa, Isla de Luzon, Isla de Cuba, and Marques del Duero. The Spanish ships were of inferior quality to the American ships; Castilla was unpowered and had to be towed into position by the transport ship Manila. [89] [90]
    7. ^ Article 3 of the peace protocol provided: "The United States will occupy and hold the city, bay, and harbour of Manila, pending the conclusion of a treaty of peace which shall determine the control, disposition, and government of the Philippines." [105]

    Source citations

    1. ^ Clodfelter 2017, p. 256.
    2. ^ Clodfelter 2017, p.  308.
    3. ^ Karnow 1990, p. 115
    4. ^ Clodfelter 2017, pp.  254–255.
    5. ^ "America's Wars: Factsheet." Archived July 20, 2017, at the Wayback Machine US Department of Veteran Affairs. Office of Public Affairs. Washington DC. Published April 2017.
    6. ^ "America's Wars: Factsheet." Archived July 20, 2017, at the Wayback Machine US Department of Veteran Affairs. Office of Public Affairs. Washington DC. Published April 2017.
    7. ^ Marsh, Alan. "POWs in American History: A Synoposis" Archived August 6, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. National Park Service. 1998.
    8. ^ a b c d e f Clodfelter 2017, p. 255.
    9. ^ "America's Wars: Factsheet." Archived July 20, 2017, at the Wayback Machine US Department of Veteran Affairs. Office of Public Affairs. Washington DC. Published April 2017.
    10. ^ See: USS Merrimac (1894).
    11. ^ a b Keenan 2001, p. 70.
    12. ^ Clodfelter describes the U.S. capturing 30,000 prisoners (plus 100 cannons, 19 machine guns, 25,114 rifles, and various other equipment) in the Oriente province and around Santiago. He also states that the 10,000-strong Puerto Rican garrison capitulated to the U.S. after only minor fighting.
    13. ^ Tucker 2009, p.  105.
    14. ^ Keenan 2001, p.  70.
    15. ^ "Milestones: 1866–1898 - Office of the Historian". Retrieved April 4, 2019.
    16. ^ Some recent historians prefer a broader title to encompass the fighting in Cuba and the Philippine Islands.
    17. ^ "Concentration camps existed long before Auschwitz".
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    Further reading

    • Auxier, George W. (1939). "The Propaganda Activities of the Cuban Junta in Precipitating the Spanish-American War, 1895-1898". The Hispanic American Historical Review. 19 (3): 286–305. doi: 10.2307/2507259. JSTOR  2507259.
    • Auxier, George W. "The Cuban question as reflected in the editorial columns of Middle Western newspapers (1895–1898)" (PhD dissertation, Ohio State University, 1938) complete text online
    • Barnes, Mar. The Spanish–American War and Philippine Insurrection, 1898–1902: An Annotated Bibliography (Routledge Research Guides to American Military Studies) (2010)
    • Benton, Elbert Jay. Internationa l law and diplomacy of the Spanish–American war (Johns Hopkins UP, 1908) online free
    • Berner, Brad K. The Spanish–American War: A Historical Dictionary (Scarecrow Press, 1998).
    • Berner, Brad K., ed. The Spanish–American War: A Documentary History with Commentaries (2016), 289pp; includes primary sources
    • Bradford, James C. ed., Crucible of Empire: The Spanish–American War and Its Aftermath (1993), essays on diplomacy, naval and military operations, and historiography.
    • Cirillo, Vincent J. Bullets and Bacilli: The Spanish–American War and Military Medicine (2004)
    • Corbitt, Duvon C. (1963). "Cuban Revisionist Interpretations of Cuba's Struggle for Independence". The Hispanic American Historical Review. 43 (3): 395–404. doi: 10.2307/2510074. JSTOR  2510074.
    • Cosmas, Graham A. An Army for Empire: The United States Army and the Spanish–American War (1971), organizational issues
    • Crapol, Edward P. "Coming to Terms with Empire: The Historiography of Late-Nineteenth-Century American Foreign Relations," Diplomatic History 16 (Fall 1992): 573–97;
    • Cull, N. J., Culbert, D., Welch, D. Propaganda and Mass Persuasion: A Historical Encyclopedia, 1500 to the Present. "Spanish–American War". (2003). 378–379.
    • Daley, L. (2000), "Canosa in the Cuba of 1898", in Aguirre, B. E.; Espina, E. (eds.), Los últimos días del comienzo: Ensayos sobre la guerra, Santiago de Chile: RiL Editores, ISBN  978-956-284-115-3
    • DeSantis, Hugh. "The Imperialist Impulse and American Innocence, 1865–1900," in Gerald K. Haines and J. Samuel Walker, eds., American Foreign Relations: A Historiographical Review (1981), pp. 65–90
    • Dirks, Tim. "War and Anti-War Films". The Greatest Films. Retrieved November 9, 2005.
    • Dobson, John M. Reticent Expansionism: The Foreign Policy of William McKinley. (1988).
    • Feuer, A. B. The Spanish–American War at Sea: Naval Action in the Atlantic (1995) online edition
    • Field, James A. (1978). "American Imperialism: The Worst Chapter in Almost Any Book". The American Historical Review. 83 (3): 644–668. doi: 10.2307/1861842. JSTOR  1861842.
    • Flack, H.E. Spanish–American diplomatic relations preceding the war of 1898 (Johns Hopkins UP, 1906) online free
    • Foner, Philip, The Spanish–Cuban–American War and the Birth of American Imperialism, 1895–1902 (1972), A Marxist interpretation
    • Freidel, Frank. The Splendid Little War (1958), well illustrated narrative by scholar ISBN  0-7394-2342-8
    • Fry, Joseph A. "From Open Door to World Systems: Economic Interpretations of Late-Nineteenth-Century American Foreign Relations," Pacific Historical Review 65 (May 1996): 277–303
    • Fry, Joseph A. "William McKinley and the Coming of the Spanish–American War: A Study of the Besmirching and Redemption of an Historical Image," Diplomatic History 3 (Winter 1979): 77–97
    • Funston, Frederick. Memoirs of Two Wars, Cuba and Philippine Experiences. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911 online edition
    • Gould, Lewis. The Spanish–American War and President McKinley (1980) excerpt and text search
    • Grenville, John A. S. and George Berkeley Young. Politics, Strategy, and American Diplomacy: Studies in Foreign Policy, 1873–1917 (1966) pp 239–66 on "The breakdown of neutrality: McKinley goes to war with Spain"
    • Hamilton, Richard. President McKinley, War, and Empire (2006).
    • Hard, Curtis V. (1988). Ferrell, Robert H. (ed.). Banners in the Air: The Eighth Ohio Volunteers and the Spanish–American War. Kent State University Press. ISBN  978-0873383677. LCCN  88012033.
    • Harrington, Peter, and Frederic A. Sharf. "A Splendid Little War." The Spanish–American War, 1898. The Artists' Perspective. London: Greenhill, 1998.
    • Harrington, Fred H. (1935). "The Anti-Imperialist Movement in the United States, 1898-1900". The Mississippi Valley Historical Review. 22 (2): 211–230. doi: 10.2307/1898467. JSTOR  1898467.
    • Herring, George C. From Colony to Superpower: US Foreign Relations Since 1776 (2008), the latest survey
    • Hoganson, Kristin. Fighting For American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish–American and Philippine–American Wars (1998)
    • Holbo, Paul S. (1967), "Presidential Leadership in Foreign Affairs: William McKinley and the Turpie-Foraker Amendment", The American Historical Review, 72 (4): 1321–1335, doi: 10.2307/1847795, JSTOR  1847795.
    • Keller, Allan. The Spanish–American War: A Compact History (1969)
    • Killblane, Richard E., "Assault on San Juan Hill," Military History, June 1998, Vol. 15, Issue 2.
    • LaFeber, Walter, The New Empire: An Interpretation of American Expansion, 1865–1898 (1963)
    • Leeke, Jim. Manila and Santiago: The New Steel Navy in the Spanish–American War (2009)
    • Linderman, Gerald F. The Mirror of War: American Society and the Spanish–American War (1974), domestic aspects
    • Maass, Matthias. "When Communication Fails: Spanish–American Crisis Diplomacy 1898," Amerikastudien, 2007, Vol. 52 Issue 4, pp 481–493
    • May, Ernest. Imperial Democracy: The Emergence of America as a Great Power (1961)
    • McCartney, Paul T. American National Identity, the War of 1898, and the Rise of American Imperialism (2006)
    • McCook, Henry Christopher (1899), The Martial Graves of Our Fallen Heroes in Santiago de Cuba, G. W. Jacobs & Co.
    • Mellander, Gustavo A.(1971) The United States in Panamanian Politics: The Intriguing Formative Years. Daville, Ill.: Interstate Publishers. OCLC  138568.
    • Mellander, Gustavo A.; Nelly Maldonado Mellander (1999). Charles Edward Magoon: The Panama Years. Río Piedras, Puerto Rico: Editorial Plaza Mayor. ISBN  1-56328-155-4. OCLC  42970390.
    • Miles, Nelson Appleton (2012). Harper's Pictorial History of the War with Spain;. HardPress. ISBN  978-1-290-02902-5.
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    Reference materials