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Spanish-American War

William McKinley

Spanish-American War: William McKinley was the 25th American President who served in office from March 4, 1897 to September 14, 1901. One of the important events during his presidency was the Spanish-American War.

Definition and Summary of the Spanish-American War
Summary and definition:
The Spanish-American War lasted for just over three and a half month conflict between Spain and the United States from April 25, 1898 – August 12, 1898. The Spanish-American War was caused by the strict Spanish policies in Cuba resulting in the struggle for Cuban independence from Spain which led to U.S. intervention in Cuba.

The Spanish-American War was a victory for the United States and fought in the Caribbean islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico and the western pacific islands of the Philippines and Guam. The conflict was resolved by the 1898 Treaty of Paris which allowed temporary American control of Cuba and ceded indefinite colonial authority over Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippine islands from Spain.

Spanish-American War for kids: Background History
The acquisition of island of Spanish owned Cuba, only ninety miles off the shore from Florida, had long been a goal of expansionists in the United States. The Spanish victory over Cuba in the Ten Years War (1868–1878) foreshadowed the Cuban rebellion that erupted between 1894-1898. During the Cuban rebellion Spain sent over an army to subdue the rebels and many Americans were highly  sympathetic to the Cuban cause.

Spanish-American War for kids: American Public Opinion
American public opinion was fuelled by anti-Spanish propaganda led by journalists such as William Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer who used sensationalist 'yellow journalism' to emphasize the cause of the 'underdog' against the system and criticize Spanish administration of Cuba.

Spanish-American War for kids: President McKinley
Republican President William McKinley, wished to prevent war, and hoping to settle the Cuban question by peaceful diplomacy, proposed an armistice in Cuba. However, a series of incidents during the first months of 1898 intensified American feelings against Spain, the most important being the sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine. These events, together with pressure applied by the public, the newspapers and the Democrats led to the Spanish-American War. The United States first sent the ultimatum to Spain demanding the Spanish surrender control of Cuba. Madrid responded by declaring war on America and Washington in turn declared war on Spain. The Spanish-American War began on April 25, 1898. In less than four months it ended in victory for the United States on August 12, 1898.

Causes of the Spanish-American War
The causes of the Spanish-American War were as follows:

Demands by Cuban patriots for independence from Spanish rule

The establishment of the 'reconcentrado' policy (concentration camp system) by the Spanish in Cuba

American investments in Cuba, especially shipping and the sugar trade,  suffered during the Cuban rebellion

William Randolph Hearst's Publication of the stolen letter (de Lôme letter), written by the Spanish minister in Washington, which insulted the President

Anti-Spanish Public opinion, fuelled by sensationalist journalism

The influence of the American policy of Expansionism and the strong dislike of old Imperialism

Spanish-American War Facts and Timeline for kids
Interesting Spanish-American War Facts and Timeline for kids are detailed below.

1868: Spanish victory over Cuba in the Ten Years War (1868–1878)

April 10, 1892: The Cuban Revolutionary Party, led by José Martí, was officially proclaimed

1894: The Cuban War of Independence (1894-1898) begins

12 June, 1895: President Cleveland issues a proclamation of neutrality during the Cuban rebellion

1896: Spanish General Valeriano Weyler (the "Butcher") arrives in Cuba and establishes the 'reconcentrado' policy (concentration camp system)

1896: The rural population in Cuba was forcibly confined to towns. Thousands of Cubans died from disease and starvation

26 Aug, 1896: Grito de Balintawak begins the Philippine Revolution

1897: General Weyler had relocated more than 300,000 into the "reconcentration camps" Weyler resigned his post in late 1897 and returned to Spain.

19 Jan, 1897: Anti-Spanish sentiment in the United States is fuelled in the U.S. by Joseph Pulitzer's New York World newspaper and William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal

March, 1897: Theodore Roosevelt was appointed assistant U.S. Secretary of the Navy.

1 Nov, 1897: The revolutionary constitution in the Philippines created the Biak-na-Bato Republic. Spain makes concessions ending the revolution.

1 Jan, 1898: Spain grants limited autonomy to Cuba

January, 1898: USS Maine sent to Cuba

Feb 8, 1898: Enrique Dupuy de Lome, Spain's ambassador to the U.S., resigns

Feb 9, 1898: William Randolph Hearst publishes Dupuy du Lome's letter insulting President McKinley.

15 Feb, 1898: U.S.S. Maine explodes and is sunk in Havana Harbor, Cuba

19 March, 1898: The U.S.S. Oregon warship leaves the port of San Francisco to Cuba.

  • The U.S.S. Oregon was one of the most renowned ships of the American Navy

  • The battleship is famous for the run from San Francisco around Cape Horn to take part in the Battle of Santiago during which Cervera's fleet was destroyed

Feb 25, 1898: Theodore Roosevelt cables Commodore Dewey with a plan to attack the Philippines, if war with Spain breaks out

4 April, 1898: Hearst's New York Journal issues a million newspapers calling for the immediate U.S. entry into war with Spain.

20 April, 1898: President McKinley issues an ultimatum to Spain demanding Cuban independence

April 20, 1898: The Teller Amendment is passed which placed a condition on the United States military's presence in Cuba whereby the U.S. could not annex Cuba but only leave the "control of the island to its people."

23 April, 1898: President McKinley calls for 125,000 volunteers

April 24, 1898: Spain declares war on the US

April 25, 1898: US declares war on Spain

May 1, 1898: Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines. U.S. Commodore George Dewey in defeats the Spanish fleet, under Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasarón

May 10, 1898: Secretary of the Navy, John D. Long, issues orders to Captain Henry Glass, commander of the cruiser U.S.S. Charleston to capture Guam on the way to Manila.

11 May, 1898: Charles H. Allen succeeds Theodore Roosevelt as assistant secretary of the navy

May 25, 1898: First U.S. troops were sent to the Philippine Islands

May 29, 1898: The Rough Riders, the nickname of the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, sailed from Tampa, Florida bound for Santiago de Cuba. The Rough Riders were under the command of Colonel Leonard Wood and the former assistant secretary of the United States Navy, Theodore Roosevelt was second in command

10 June, 1898: U.S. Marines, under Admiral William Thompson Sampson land at Guantanamo, Cuba.

20 June, 1898: Spanish authorities surrender Guam to Captain Henry Glass on the U.S.S. Charleston

June 24, 1898: US victory for the Rough Riders at the Battle of Las Guasimas in Cuba

July 1, 1898: The Battle of San Juan Hill, the most famous battle of the War. The Rough Riders were led to victory under the command of Theodore Roosevelt

July 3, 1898: Battle of Santiago in which Spain's Caribbean fleet was destroyed.

July 7, 1898: The Annexation of  Hawaii

July 17, 1898: Spanish forces under General Toral capitulated to U.S. forces at Santiago de Cuba. The City of Santiago surrendered to General William Shafter. U.S. General Leonard Wood was named military governor of Santiago de Cuba.

July 30, 1898: General Shafter instructed to return troops immediately to the United States to prevent an outbreak of yellow fever.

Aug 12, 1898: Spain signs armistice (truce, peace agreement) that ended all hostilities between Spain and the United States in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines

Aug 13, 1898: US troops capture Manila. General Wesley Merritt established a military government in the city

Dec 10, 1898: The Treaty of Paris is signed and the United States annexes Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines. Spain renounces all rights to Cuba and allows an independent Cuba. Spain also ceded Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States, gave up its possessions in the West Indies, and sold the Philippine Islands for $20,000,000.

1 Jan, 1899: Spanish forces left Cuba

Jan 23, 1899: The Philippines declares itself an independent republic, led by Emilio Aguinaldo. Emilio Auginaldo was captured in March 1901

April 12, 1900: The Foraker Act was passed in which some elements of self-government was allowed in Puerto Rico.

March 2, 1901: The Platt Amendment outlined the role of the U.S. in Cuba and the Caribbean. The Cuban-American Treaty leased to United States the southern portion of Guantanamo Bay, where a U.S. Naval Station had been established in 1898

1902: US withdraws from Cuba

US American History
1881-1913: Maturation Era

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