12 Surprising Facts About the Spanish American War
The Spanish American War in 1898 lasted three months, two weeks, and four days. The war was between Spain and the United States. Spain declared war on the U.S. because it supported Cuba’s wishes to be an independent country.
William McKinley, the US president at the time, wanted to avoid war. However, public and political influence, as well as the sinking of US Navy ships off the coast of Cuba, stood in the way of peace. Spain rejected the ultimatum to surrender the control of Cuba, and that’s when the Spanish American War officially began.
On December 10, 1898, the U.S. and Spain signed the Treaty of Paris. It guaranteed the independence of Cuba and forced Spain to cede Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States of America.
Keep reading to discover a dozen intriguing tidbits of information on the Spanish American War!
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12 Interesting Spanish American War Facts
Now, let’s dive into our list of interesting facts about the Spanish American War.
1. It Has Had a Lasting Impact
Major battles took place between the United States and Cuba in the Spanish colonies of Cuba and the Philippines. Even though the war didn’t last long, it had a major impact. Many people believe it’s the reason that Cuba is still a communist country to this day.
It was a bloody but quick war that the United States won. The history of conflict between the United States and Cuba started here.
2. Cuban Revolutionaries Fought for Independence for a Long Time
Another interesting fact about the Spanish American War is that Cuban revolutionaries had been fighting for their independence for many years. The war was the trigger that made the political situation in Cuba implode.
Cubans fought the Ten Years War between 1868 and 1878. In 1895, Cuban rebels rose up with Jose Martí. Americans supported the Cuban rebels and were interested in intervening.
3. It Started With the Sinking of the Battleship Maine
In 1898, when conditions in Cuba worsened, U.S. President William McKinley sent a battleship from Maine to Cuba to protect U.S. citizens living in Cuba.
On February 15, 1898, a huge explosion on the battleship Maine caused it to sink in Havana Harbor. Although the cause of the explosion was unknown, the United States blamed Spain because it wanted to go to war.
4. The US Had To Go to War
Another interesting fact about the Spanish American War is that U.S. President McKinley resisted going to war as much as he could. He held the war off for a few months but eventually, the pressures were too much and the war was inevitable. But what many didn’t know is that war wasn’t something that the United States wanted or encouraged; they felt they had to go to war so that they could help Cuba on their way to independence.
5. The Spanish American War Had a Major Impact on the Presidio
Eleven days after the war began, the US Navy defeated the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay in a strike led by Commodore George Dewey. Not knowing about Dewey’s success, President McKinley ordered troops to plan a campaign against the capital of Manila.
The Presidio of San Francisco base was best-suited to stage this campaign. Soldiers from the United States volunteered to train at the Presidio before their journey to the Philippines.
6. The Philippines Was Seeking Independence
Because the United States had issues with the Philippines, their first action was to attack Spanish battleships in the Philippines so that they couldn’t go to Cuba. On May 1, 1898, the Battle of Manila Bay occurred. The United States Navy defeated the Spanish Navy and took full control of the Philippines.
After the U.S. defeated Spain, Spain ceded the colony of the Philippines. However, in February of 1899, fighting broke out between the U.S. and the Filipinos. The Philippines was seeking independence, not to change colonial rulers.
The Philippine-American War lasted three years and resulted in the deaths of over 4,000 US troops and more than 20,000 Filipino soldiers. Up to 200,000 Filipino civilians died from disease, famine, and violence due to this war. The United States won the Philippine-American war.
7. The Rough Riders Fought in the Spanish American War
During the Spanish American War, the United States needed more soldiers. Some of the volunteers included ranchers, cowboys, and outdoorsmen. They earned the nickname “Rough Riders” and were led by Theodore Roosevelt, the future president of the United States.
8. The Battle of San Juan Hill Was a Game Changer
The United States Army arrived in Cuba and began to fight Spain. One of the most famous events was the Battle of San Juan Hill. A tiny Spanish force on San Juan Hill held off a large U.S. force, and many American soldiers were gunned down. A group of Rough Riders charged and gained the advantage the U.S. needed to take down the enemy.
9. The War Ended When the U.S. Won
After the arduous Battle of San Juan Hill, United States forces moved to the city of Santiago. The soldiers on the ground besieged the city while the Navy destroyed Spanish warships in the Battle of Santiago. The Spanish army surrendered on July 17, 1898.
10. The Two Parties Agreed To Stop Fighting
With the Spanish defeated, the two parties finally agreed to stop fighting on August 12, 1898. They signed the Treaty of Paris on December 19, 1898. As part of the treaty, Cuba gained the independence it craved, and the U.S. took control of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippine Islands for $20 million.
11. Lombard Gate Is a Memorial for Lost Lives
The Presidio’s main entrance is ornamented with army insignia on two sandstone pillars. The gate was built in 1896 and now represents the victory that the United States had over Spain. Lombard Gate is visited by many veterans and family members who pay their respects to the lives lost during the war.
12. San Francisco National Cemetery Is a Landmark
Another landmark in San Francisco is the national cemetery. The graveyard gradually accumulated more land because of burials from abandoned forts and the casualties of the Spanish American War, as well as the Philippine-American conflict. It’s now 28 acres. The hero of the Philippine insurrection and the commander of Cuban forces are buried there.
Travel To Learn and Practice Spanish
These interesting facts about the Spanish American War show you how fascinating history can be. Hispanic countries are full of wisdom, wonder, and culture. Are you ready to travel for an unforgettable and educational experience?
An incredible reason to learn Spanish is to become a translator or interpreter and travel while you work! Spain, the United States, and many countries in Latin America are looking for interpreters and translators. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, interpreters and translators are among the top five fastest-growing occupations, and the opportunities in these fields are expected to increase by 46% by 2022. Why not learn Spanish and advance your career?
There’s no better time than now! Sign up for a free trial class at Homeschool Spanish Academy before your trip to Latin America or Spain and get on the path toward reaching your goals.
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