The Spanish American war, called Guerra

Hispano-Estadounidense in Spanish was fought between

Spain and America from April 25 to August 10, 1898 .

The war was fought in some of the last remaining colonies

of Imperial Spain : Cuba, the Philippines and Puerto Rico .





Crucible of Empire:

The Spanish American War


The war arose out of the indignation of Americans of Spain's

brutal suppression of an independence struggle in nearby

Cuba, fanned by sensational stories published by American

newspapers and belief in some quarters of Americas manifest

destiny to continue to expand and join in the grab for

colonies as the European powers were doing . The still

unsolved explosion of the USS Maine on February 15, 1898

in Havana while protecting American interest brought clamors

for war from many Americans, who felt the Spanish were

behind the explosion . On April 11, 1898 , the American

Congress passed a resolution recognizing the independence

of Cuba .


Spain for her part , viewed Cuba as an integral part of Spain

and the American demand for Spain to withdrawal from Cuba

after centuries of rule there since the discovery by Columbus

to be unacceptable and declared war on America on April 23,

1898 .



Even though the war was of a short duration , it had many

important consequences for America, Spain and the world .



Many historians regard the Spanish American War and the

year 1898 as a sharp dividing line for America . Before

America was regarded as a country of rising economic power,

but a second rate military power. After the war and its new

found holding in the Americas and Asia, America became a

respected member of the Imperialists club, not without

serious misgivings about this at home . How can a

democracy be an empire ?


The war, which was so short in duration and lopsided with

American victories, makes the outcome seem inevitable. But

it could have turned out differently. If the Spanish had

marshaled their naval strength as Admiral Cervera wanted

and stayed in Spanish home waters ( with the repaired

battleship Pelayo and armored cruiser Carlos V ) under the

protection of powerful shore batteries and drawn the

American Navy to them, the Spanish might have had a better

outcome . If General Weyler  had been in charge of Spanish

operation in eastern Cuba instead of the

incompetent Linares, he may have been able to drag the war

out long enough for yellow fever and malaria to decimate the

American troops as it was starting to do after the surrender

of Santiago de Cuba . And what of Spain ? True to the law of

unintended consequences found itself stronger economically

after the war. Modern industries sprang up . It no longer had

the huge drain of the colonies and the endless Cuban

rebellion which cost hundred of thousands of Spanish lives .

Politically,however, the loss of the did destabilize the

country . One aspect of the war that many Americans didn't

understand was, that for the Spanish, the war was about

maintaining honor, not winning the war. To not fight at all

and give up its five hundred year old colonies would have

had disastrous consequences in Spain, maybe have even 

led to civil war .


Index of

Causes of the

Spanish American War



for War


Comparisons of

the Navies


Comparisons of

the Armies


The Battle of Manila Bay and

other actions in the Philippines


The Spanish American War

in Cuba


Peace and



Time Line of the

Spanish American War


Audio books on the

Spanish American War


Test yourself on the

   Spanish American War


Spanish American War



Early films about the

Spanish American War




Causes of the

Spanish American War

©  Thomas Zimmerman 2008





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