Spanish-American War, war waged against Spain by the United States in 1898, to liberate Cuba from Spanish rule. The war grew out of the Cuban struggle for independence.
A strong reaction to this conflict developed in the United States on both humanitarian and economic grounds. In 1897 Spain attempted to compromise by granting Cuba partial autonomy and abolishing the system of prison camps. The insurgents, however, pressed for independence. On February 15, 1898, the U.S. battleship Maine, sent to the port of Havana to protect U.S. citizens and property, was sunk by an explosion. The cause was unknown, but reports pointed to sabotage. Both the United States and Spain declared war.
On May 1 the Spanish fleet anchored in Manila Bay, in the Philippines, was destroyed by U.S. naval forces; on July 1 U.S. troops penetrated the outer defenses of the city of Santiago de Cuba, Cuba; and on July 3 a Spanish naval squadron was destroyed while attempting to cross the U.S. blockade of Santiago harbor. On July 18 the Spanish government requested a settlement. Spain relinquished Cuba and ceded the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam to the United States.
In 1969 it was determined that a defective boiler caused the explosion on the Maine.
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