Historical Evidence on Spanish-American War

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Historical Evidence on Spanish-American War

Two months after the sinking of the Battleship Maine in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898, the United States declared war on Spain whose aftermath was the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. Moreover, the war saw Spain lose control over its overseas colonies, namely Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba, Wake Islands, Hawaii, Samoa and the Philippines Islands. The war spanned for four months in 1898 with 306,760 troops taking part while the casualties amounted to 2,446 (Linderman 82). Further, America consolidated power by seizing all Spain’s possessions.

The events that led to the war included a three year fighting by Cuban revolutionaries against Spanish colonial rule. The fight caught the attention of the United States, who felt that it was causing political and economic instability in the region (Peceny 422). Public outrage, especially from the press coupled with mysterious sinking of a United States battleship Maine in Havana harbor precipitated U.S. military intervention in Cuba thereby sparking the war. On 11th of April, 1898, the then U.S president, William McKinley requested Congress to authorize an end to the fighting in Cuba between the Spanish government and Cuban rebels thus establishing a stable government that would maintain peace and stability in the region (Golay 96). 

On April 20, 1898, the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolve recognizing Cuba as an independent state thereby calling for the Spanish government to surrender its control of the island in addition to authorizing the president to use military intervention to guarantee Cuba independence. The Spanish government could not take the U.S. government’s ultimatum and thus severed the diplomatic relations between the two countries. This saw McKinley instigate a naval blockade of Cuba and asked for 125,000 military troops. The aftermath was a declaration of war by Spain on the same day thus the U.S. Congress passed a vote to go to war against Spain (Nofi 81).

On May 1, the first battle took place in Manila Bay where the Spanish naval force in defense on Philippines was defeated. On June 10, the battle was taken to Guantanamo Bay and Santiago thereafter. By July 26, the French ambassador in Washington, at the behest of the Spanish government started talks with American government to reach a truce, which happened in August 12. The two governments signed the Treaty of Paris to end the war thereby forcing Spain to cede Puerto Rico and Guam to the U.S. and guaranteed independence to Cuba (Bradford 132). Moreover, Spain was forced to sell the Philippines to the U.S for $20 million. The U.S. annexed the State of Hawaii, which later saw the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani. Hawaii was seen as a strategic base for protection of the U.S. interests in Asia thus following a Congress joint resolution, Hawaii was added to the U.S. states (Vargas 921). 

The aftermath of the war saw Spain end her colonial rule in the Western Hemisphere thereby leaving the U.S as the only predominant force in the Caribbean region. Moreover, the war sparked a wave of protests from anti-imperialists who thought the U.S. had become hypocritical for criticizing European empires while she took some from Spain. Further, invasion of Cuba sparked another war against the United States, which lasted for ten weeks and resulted in 4,000 deaths of Americans. However, the war led to the emergency of the United States as world power in diplomacy and international relations.

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