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cuba history .org - History of Cuban Nation

Destruction of The Maine Armored Cruiser

The Cuban struggle for independence had captured the American imagination for years and newspapers had been agitating for intervention with sensational stories of Spanish atrocities against the native Cuban population, intentionally sensationalized and exaggerated. Americans believed that Cuba's battle with Spain resembled America's Revolutionary War.

This continued even after Spain replaced Weyler and changed its policies and American public opinion was very much in favour of intervening in favour of the Cubans.

In January 1898, a riot by Cuban Spanish loyalists against the new autonomous government broke out in Havana leading to the destruction of the printing presses of four local newspapers for publishing articles critical of Spanish Army atrocities.

The US Consul-General cabled Washington with fears for the lives of Americans living in Havana.

Battleship USS Maine enter in Havana

In response the battleship USS Maine was sent from Key West, Florida, to Havana, Cuba, berthing at the Havana Quay on January 25 of 1898.

Explosion on board the Maine occurred in the Havana Harbor

Three weeks later, on February 15th at 9:40 p.m., an explosion on board the Maine occurred in the Havana Harbor. Later investigations revealed that more than 5 long tons (5.1 t) of powder charges for the vessel's 6 and 10 in (150 and 250 mm) guns had detonated, virtually obliterating the forward third of the ship. The remaining wreckage rapidly settled to the bottom of the harbor.

Most of the Maine's crew were sleeping or resting in the enlisted quarters in the forward part of the ship when the explosion occurred. Two hundred and sixty-six men lost their lives as a result of the explosion or shortly thereafter, and eight more died later from injuries.

Captain Charles Sigsbee and most of the officers survived because their quarters were in the aft portion of the ship. Altogether, there were only 89 survivors, 18 of whom were officers. On 28 March, the US Naval Court of Inquiry in Key West declared that a naval mine caused the explosion.

The explosion was a precipitating cause of the Spanish-American War that began in April 1898. Advocates of the war used the rallying cry, "Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!" The episode focused national attention on the crisis in Cuba but was not cited by the William McKinley administration as a casus belli, though it was cited by some who were already inclined to go to war with Spain over their perceived atrocities and loss of control in Cuba.

Destruction of the War Ship Maine according The New York Journal

April 25 of 1898, as a result of pressures of public opinion in the United States following the explosion of Maine, the United States declared the war to Spain. The United States invaded with troops to Cuba in June 20 of 1898. After the Spanish fleet was sinked in the outskirts of Santiago de Cuba and of several battles in the surroundings of Santiago de Cuba (helped by Cuban troops under General Calixto García's command), and also in Puerto Rico and Philippines, Spain entered in negociations of peace.

July 16 of 1898 Spain signed a treaty of peace in Santiago de Cuba. This was followed of a formal treaty signed in Paris in December 10 of 1898 that it finished the Spanish dominance of Cuba. It's to notes that the total duration of the Hispanic-American war was for only 3 single months.

The treaty of Paris put an end to the conflict between Spain and the United States. In its Article 1: "Spain renounces all right of sovereignty and property of Cuba. In attention to that this Island, when it is evacuated by Spain, will be occupied by the United States. The United States, while its occupation lasts, they will take on it and they will complete the obligations that for the fact of occupying it imposes them the International Law, for the protection of lives and properties."

This treaty resulted in that The Republic of Cuba was formally instituted May of 1902, 20 and its constitution integrated the amendment Platt, authorizing the North American intervention in the matters of the country and the installation of two naval bases in Cuba, in compensation of privileges customs officers.