American Spanish war in 1898, Spain Loses Colonies

Last Updated: 07 Dec 2022
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It is quite difficult to make a conclusion on the particular incident that lost 258 American sailors on board the battleship USS Maine, not because of the complexity of the incident but because of the lack of sufficient findings of the case. Even some writers address the incident as “The USS Maine mysteriously blew up. ” The USS Maine was sent to Havana harbor with a mission to protect US citizens in Cuba. According to Phillip Oppenheim “The Spanish immediately apologized” but “what evidence there was pointed to an accidental explosion in the Ship’s magazine” (p. 101).

The findings however was, the cause of the tragedy was an accidental explosion as a result of spontaneous combustion in the coalbunker near the powder magazine. This finding was particularly concluded by Hyman G. Rickover, a US Navy Admiral and a scientist, published in 1976. Hyman’s findings may be convincing, but then Reckover’s findings according to a wikipedia article have been disputed by US Naval History Center (Wikipedia).

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My conclusion on the Cuba incident was the USS Maine was intentionally blown up either by some pro Spanish group such as the “Spanish Voluntarios” or by Cuban independence fighter in order to spark the war between the United State and Spain. Citing Captain Sigsbee, the commanding officer of the Maine, Evelina Gleaves Cohen pointed out Captain Sigbee’s message reporting that the USS Maine was destroyed by a Mine. Sigbee’s message stated, “I surmise that her berth was one planted previous to her arrival, perhaps long ago” (Cohen, p. 63).

It would be reasonable to believe in the survivor’s account as they have witnessed in detail what exactly had happened. It was intentional as the mine could not be there if it was not planted for that purpose. The only thing that maybe difficult to establish was who were behind this incident. Nonetheless, it serves its purpose. The Origin of the War The origin of Spanish American war cannot be attributed to the so called “Cuba incident” as the USS Maine were sent to protect US citizens from the hostilities that were orchestrated by pro Spanish Voluntarios which gave the United States a basis to launch in the warship USS Maine.

According to Wikipedia article, the war started after Spain rejected the American demand to resolve peacefully the Cuban struggle for independence. The explosion of the USS Maine may have ignited the already smoking conflict but it was the interest of the United States on Spain’s overseas territories that led to them to participate in the Cuban political struggles (Wikipedia). The USS Maine According to Oppenheim the USS Maine “sailed provocatively into Havana harbor…” (p. 101).

An internet article entitled Increasing Spanish-Cuban tensions: Late 19th Century, mentioned that when the conflict broke out in Cuba in 1895, Spain sent 200,000 troops under the infamous general Weyler, also known as “the Butcher,” to squash the insurrection. Weyler imprisoned large number in concentration camps under the harsh and inhuman condition causing prisoners rapid death especially from disease. This outraged portions of the US public that called out for immediate action which the provoked the US to issue an ultimatum to the Spanish authorities.

With Spain’s refusal to oblige, the US congress passed a declaration of was against Spain prior to the destruction of the USS Maine (The Spanish American War 1898-1901). Consequences of the Confrontation The consequences of the confrontations on the Spanish authorities were enormous as most of their remaining ships were destroyed aside from many lives that were lost in the battle. But most importantly, Spain losses all its overseas colonies including their most treasured possession, Cuba. It also marked the collapsed of Spain’s power.

However, the consequences of war on the United States were rather positive. The United States became a world power after it acquired the Spanish colonies (Spanish American War). What loosing Cuba meant for Spain? Basically, it seemed that politically and economically Cuba does not really have such importance for Spain than any of their colonies in Asia and all other part of the world. Perhaps the importance of Cuba for Spain was that it was during the Cuban rebellion that led to war against the United States, which eventually led to the loss of the remaining overseas colonies of Spain.

Cuba was the last image of Spanish greatness and pride thus Spain was determined to keep the country under their control despite pressure from the United States to grant independence to the beleaguered colony. What other Colonies were lost by Spain The American victory against Spain enables the United States to acquire Spanish colonies such as the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico. The Philippines was acquired by the United States after the Spanish forces in the Philippines surrendered manila to Admiral George Dewey in battle of Manila Bay (Spanish American War).

The American forces needed the support of Filipino rebels particularly of Emilio Aguinaldo before finally subduing the Spanish forces in the Philippines. After American victory in the Philippines, Spain lost Guam to the United States with out a fight. Spanish Authorities in Guam According to the internet article Spanish American War were unaware that the war had started until American warship arrived in Guam on June 20, surprised; the authorities surrendered the island without a fight. Another colony that Spain lost to the United States due to their defeat in the war was Puerto Rico.

According to the article, the invasion of Puerto Rico began on afternoon of July 21 from the Guantanamo bay. The invasion was spearheaded by battleship Massachusetts, Dixie, Gloucester, Colunbia and Yale, under the command of Captain of Frances J. Higginson with 3,500 U. S Army troops. Although the US Army encountered pierce resistance but they subsequently over power the Spanish Forces depending the country. Other colonies lost by Spain through treaty and sale to the United States were Hawaiian Islands, The Guantanamo Bay, the Virgin Islands, and part of the Samoan Archipelago. Conclusion

The Spanish American war was the classic encounter between the declining super and the rising world power. The war seemed to be that turned over of power by the exiting world power to the United States as the emerging world power. But the lesson that the war may have taught Spain, and the United States was that war was not only a means for settling disputes, but it was also an expression of unsatisfied cravings for more. The Spanish American War (1898-1901) tp://www. sparknotes. com/history/american/pishamerican/section1. html Spanish American war http://www. conservapedia. com/Spanish-American_War

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