Spanish American War
The Spanish American war was a conflict that took place in 1898 between the United States and Spain. The war ended Spanish colonial rule in America and also resulted into the US acquisition of territories in the western pacific and Latin America. The origin of the Spanish American war can be traced back to the Cuban struggle for independence from Spain, which started in February 1895.
In order to bring to a halt the repressive colonial rule that had been administered by Spain, American journalists began publishing newspaper content that showcased Spain as being brutal. This move enabled American sympathy for the rebels to significantly rise. As a result, there was a growing demand for US intervention. In fact, the need for intervention of The United States was further enhanced by the unexplained sinking of the USS Maine in Havana on February 1898.
On April 9th, Spain announced an armistice and hastened its new plan to grant Cuba limited powers of self government. However, this was shortchanged when the US Congress issued resolutions that declared Cuba’s right to independence, demanded that Spain’s armed forces be withdrawn from the island, and authorized the American president to use force in securing that withdrawal. At the same time, US denounced its plant to annex Cuba.
On April 24th, Spain declared war on the United States just a day before the latter also took a similar step. One thing that worked against the Spanish forces in this war is that they had not prepared themselves for the formidable power of US troops. American troop’s first attack was launched in Manila Bay in the Philippines on May 1st 1898, whereby Spanish fleet was destroyed with troops on board. By August, the US troops had occupied Manila.
The next batch of American troops to be deployed comprised of regular troops and volunteers that included General William Shafter, Theodore Roosevelt and the 1st Volunteer Cavalry known as the Rough Riders. This group landed on the east coast of Santiago then advanced further into the city. The fighting that followed was fierce such that Spanish ships were almost grounded with US heavy fire. This led to the surrender of Santiago on July 17th, bringing the war to an end.
When the Treaty of Paris was signed in December 10th 1898, Spain renounced its entire claim to Cuba, Puerto Rico and Guam became part of the United States of America and sovereignty of the Philippines was officially transferred to the US at a cost of about $20 million. This war was a turning point in the history of the two antagonistic powers. The defeat of Spain in the war tarnished the country’s overseas colonial adventures; instead it embarked on a two-decade economic development plan. America on the other hand, came out of the war a super power with overseas possessions that are scattered in far-flung areas. Besides, the part played by America in the war also gave it a new stake in international politics that would soon enable it to serve a determining role in the affairs of Europe.
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