In 1898 a war broke out between Spain and America, it was a war that had far reaching consequences for both countries involved. While this was a short lived war the fact that it had a huge impact on the countries involved means that you would think many know the history of this conflict, but that is not the cause.
There were many mitigating circumstances that accumulated in Spain and America ending up in battle. Rather than talk about the battles of the war, today you will get to find out the causes of the Spanish American War and how they created animosity between these two large nations.
Causes of the Spanish American War
Spain was already feeling damaged by the fact that it had seen a huge decline in its authority over the South Americas after the losses incurred in the Spanish American wars of independence.
This loss of authority effectively meant that the Spanish Empire that once was did not exist anymore, or at best was on a rapid decline to nonexistence. The only colony left under Spanish rule was Cuba; the issue was that the Cubans had been pushing for decades to have independence from their colonial rulers.
America watched on at the movements in Cuba as they started to grow their own interests in the Caribbean in an attempt to increase their power base.
It seems the Americans had watched Britain’s rise to world power and the largest Empire the world had ever known and concluded that having authority of the seas means gaining authority overall. This meant they wanted more control over places in the Caribbean and Hawaii so they had more sea bases for controlling the oceans around the United States.
Spain was adamant in holding on to Cuba as it was a financially strong income generator for Spain as well as having been a part of Spain for four hundred years, the Americans had other plans.
The Americans were starting to lose patience over the whole Cuba affair because they were losing shipping and economic interests as trade with Cuba fell. The US also had heavy economic interests in Cuban sugar which was seeing a nose dive in financial income.
It was not war that America wanted initially; it was more the whole Cuba situation resolved so they could get back to the usual economic fortunes that America was used to.
To try and resolve the situation diplomatically both countries engaged in political conversation, the conversations went well and it was agreed that Cuba would gain its autonomy on 1st January 1898.
Only 11 days after Cuba gained its autonomy riots erupted when Spanish officers took a dislike to the Newspaper publications about Spain. The Americans took this as the opportunity to send USS Maine to protect Americans in Havana.
When USS Maine landed in port a huge explosion blew up the ship and killed some 266 American sailors. After review it was deemed the explosion was external thus making it an act of war. American Navy investigators said that it was clear the explosion was set on the outside of the hull and blew up the powder magazines.
Media in America straight away blamed the Spanish and Politicians in America set aside $50 million then declared war on the Spanish.