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Spanish-American War

Spanish-American War (1898), fought between the United States and Spain, initially over the conduct of Spanish colonial authorities in Cuba. Strong anti-Spanish feeling was fomented in the United States by stories of the cruel treatment meted out to Cuban rebels and the hardships suffered by U.S. business interests. Though President Grover Cleveland took no action, his successor, President William McKinley, had promised to recognize Cuban independence. He succeeded in obtaining limited self-government for the Cubans, but an explosion aboard the U.S. battleship Maine (1898), from which 260 died, was blamed on the Spanish. McKinley sent an ultimatum, some of whose terms were actually being implemented when Congress declared war on Apr. 25 (Spain had declared war the previous day). On May 1 Admiral George Dewey destroyed the Spanish fleet in Manila harbor. What remained was trapped in the harbor at Santiago, Cuba, and destroyed on July 3 by U.S. forces that had already shattered Spanish land forces in several battles, including the Battle of San Juan Hill (July 1), famed for the charge of the Rough Riders, led by Theodore Roosevelt, up Kettle Hill. Santiago surrendered on July 17. General Nelson A. Miles occupied Puerto Rico, and on Aug. 13 troops occupied Manila. The Treaty of Paris (Dec. 10, 1898) ended Spanish rule in Cuba. The United States gained the islands of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines, thus acquiring an overseas empire with accompanying world military power and responsibilities.

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