Spanish-American War

The Spanish American war was fought on two fronts, in the Asia-Pacific region and in the Caribbean which is much closer to the United States. The two islands in dispute in the Pacific region were the Philippines and the small island of Guam.

Events Leading Up to the War

1868 Cuba begins its war for independence from Spain, this is best known as the Ten Years War.
1872 Three Filipino priests are executed by Spain’s colonial authorities by means of garrote, charging with them subversion. The three are Mariano Gomez, Jose Apolonio Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora. Their deaths further inflamed the hearts of the Filipino’s desire for independence.
1873 Abolitionist Henry H. Garnett asks the United States to invade Cuba in order to help set the slaves free.
1886 Oct 7. Cuba officially abolishes slavery.
1887 Feb. Noli Me Tángere (Touch Me Not) is published by Philippine national hero Jose Rizal. The book points out the injustices that Filipinos have endured under Spanish colonialism, thus awakening the Filipino’s desire for independence.
1892 Jan 5. While living in the United States, the Cuban Revolutionary Party is formed by José Martí. The party is better known as El Partido Revolucionario Cubano.

Jul 7. Across the Pacific in the Philippines, a secret brotherhood is formed by Filipino hero, Andres Bonifacio. This is known as the Katipunan. The aim was to gain independence from Spain through armed revolution.

1893 A severe economic depression plagues the United States.
1895 Feb 24. Cuba moves to its second phase for independence from Spain. This is known as the Grito de Baire, the battle cry is “Independencia o muerte”, which translated to “independence or death.”

Apr 10. Returning from exile, José Martí comes back to Cuba to continue working towards independence from Spain.

May 19. Martí is killed during a battle against Spanish troops at the Battle of Dos Ríos.

Jun 12. The United States remains neutral in Cuba’s war against Spain.

1896 Jan 1. General’s Máximo Gómez and Antonio Maceo of Cuba are successful in capturing Spanish interests in the west.

Feb 28. The Cuban effort to gain independence is recognized and supported by the Senate of the United States. A few days later, March 2, the House of Representatives recognizes the independence movement in Cuba.

Aug 26. The war for independence in the Philippines begin, it is led by Andres Bonifacio.

1897 Oct 6. Práxedes Mateo Sagasta, the new Prime Minister of Spain is inaugurated in Madrid, recalls General Valeriano Weyler from Cuba and ends the “campos de reconcentración” (concentration camps) in Cuba.
1898 Jan 25. The USS Battleship Maine reaches Havana Harbor.

Feb 15. More than 266 men are killed aboard the Maine when it explodes inexplicably while at port.

Feb 25. In anticipation of war, Theodore Roosevelt, then Asst. Secretary of the Navy, orders Commodore George Dewey to proceed to Hong Kong in preparation to launch an attack against the Spanish fleet situated in the Philippines.

Spanish-American War

1898 Apr 21. The United States starts a blockade of Cuba, officially going to war against Spain.

Apr 23. Spain declares war on the U.S.

May 1. Admiral Dewey and his Asiatic Squadron fights the Spanish fleet in the Battle of Manila Bay.

May 11. A squadron of US Navy ships enter the port of Cardenas to engage Spanish gunboats in the Battle of Cardenas.

May 12. Warships from the US Navy begin the Bombardment of San Juan, Puerto Rico, in an attempt to weaken Spanish fortifications in that island.

Jun 10. US Marines, numbering nearly 647, make landfall that becomes known as the Invasion of Guantanamo Bay.

Jun 20. In the Capture of Guam, Captain Harry Glass, commander of the USS Charleston captures Guam without shedding any blood. This makes the island the first American possession in the Pacific region.

Jun 24-Jul 3. Cuba becomes a battleground for numerous incursions between Spanish and American forces, these include the Battles of Las Guasimas, Manzanillo, Tayacoba, the Aguadores, El Caney, San Juan and Kettle Hill, and Santiago de Cuba.

July 8. Admiral Dewey and the US Naval fleet occupy Isla Grande in Manila Bay.

July 17. Santiago finally surrender after the Siege of Santiago, nearly 34,000 prisoners from Spain are taken by General Shafter.

Aug 9. The surrender of Puerto Rico takes place.

Aug 12. A ceasefire brings an end to the Spanish-American war.

Aug 13. The surrender of Manila takes place. 10,000 US troops are sent to occupy the Philippines.

Oct 1. The peace process begins at the Paris Peace Conference.

Dec 10. Spain cedes the islands of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the US, and receives $20 million for doing so.