Description The Spanish–American War (Spanish: Guerra hispano-estadounidense or Guerra hispano-americana; Filipino: Digmaang Espanyol-Amerikano) was a conflict fought between Spain and the United States in 1898. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the internal explosion of the USS Maine in Havana harbor in Cuba leading to United States intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. American acquisition of Spain's Pacific possessions led to its involvement in the Philippine Revolution and ultimately in the Philippine–American War.
Revolts had been occurring for some years in Cuba against Spanish rule. The U.S. later backed these revolts upon entering the Spanish–American War. There had been war scares before, as in the Virginius Affair in 1873. In the late 1890s, US public opinion was agitated by anti-Spanish propaganda led by newspaper publishers such as Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst which used yellow journalism to call for war. The business community across the United States had just recovered from a deep depression, and feared that a war would reverse the gains. They lobbied vigorously against going to war.
The US Navy battleship Maine was mysteriously sunk in Havana harbor; political pressures from the Democratic Party pushed the administration of Republican President William McKinley into a war that he had wished to avoid. Spain promised time and time again that it would reform, but never delivered. The United States sent an ultimatum to Spain demanding that it surrender control of Cuba. First Madrid declared war, and Washington then followed suit.
The main issue was Cuban independence; the ten-week war was fought in both the Caribbean and the Pacific. US naval power proved decisive, allowing expeditionary forces to disembark in Cuba against a Spanish garrison already facing nationwide Cuban insurgent attacks and further wasted by yellow fever. Numerically superior Cuban, Philippine, and US forces obtained the surrender of Santiago de Cuba and Manila despite the good performance of some Spanish infantry units and fierce fighting for positions such as San Juan Hill. Madrid sued for peace with two obsolete Spanish squadrons sunk in Santiago de Cuba and Manila Bay and a third, more modern fleet recalled home to protect the Spanish coasts.
The result was the 1898 Treaty of Paris, negotiated on terms favorable to the US which allowed it temporary control of Cuba and ceded ownership of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippine islands. The cession of the Philippines involved payment of $20 million ($575,760,000 today) to Spain by the US to cover infrastructure owned by Spain.
The defeat and collapse of the Spanish Empire was a profound shock to Spain's national psyche, and provoked a thorough philosophical and artistic revaluation of Spanish society known as the Generation of '98.[ The United States gained several island possessions spanning the globe and a rancorous new debate over the wisdom of expansionism. It was one of only five US wars (against a total of eleven sovereign states) to have been formally declared by Congress.