The conflict had its origins in the Cuban battle for independence from Spain, which began in February 1895 and lasted until the end of the century. Humanitarian concern for the plight of the Cuban people was added to the usual American sympathy for a colonial people fighting for their independence in Cuba.
Why did the United States of America become engaged in the Spanish-American War?
During Cuba’s war for independence, the United States kept a close eye on the situation. The United States had millions of dollars in investments in Cuban firms, and there were a large number of American residents living in the country. The United States also conducted business with Cuba.
Because of this struggle, along with the Spanish-American trade dispute of the 1890s, the country’s productive potential had been reduced by two-thirds. Close to 20 percent of the city’s estimated prewar population of 1,800,000 had perished, and the outlook for those who survived was gloomy to say the very least. Cubans lacked financial resources and were highly indebted.
Despite the fact that the United States agreed not to invade Cuba after winning the war, it did expect Cuba to allow extensive American participation in Cuban affairs after winning the war. As a consequence of the conflict, the United States gained control of the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippine Islands.
Dissatisfied with the corrupt and inefficient Spanish administration, a lack of political representation, and high taxes, Cubans in the eastern provinces banded together under the leadership of wealthy planter Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, whose declaration of independence in October 1868, known as the Grito de Yara (“Cry of Yara”), signaled the beginning of the country’s independence from the United States.
When it came to the Spanish-American War, the Philippines and Cuba were the two most important battlegrounds. At the heart of the conflict was the Battle of Manila Bay (May 1, 1898), in which US Commodore George Dewey destroyed the Spanish Pacific fleet, as well as the Battle of Santiago de Cuba (July 1898), in which US troops defeated the Spanish forces after fierce battle.
The fact that Cuban revolutionaries had been fighting for their freedom for many years before the Spanish-American War is another fascinating detail about the conflict. A major factor in Cuba’s political situation imploding was the outbreak of the Cold War. Cubans participated in the Ten Years War, which lasted from 1868 to 1878. In 1895, Cuban insurgents led by Jose Mart rose up against the government.
The origins of the Spanish-American War
The Ten Years’ War begins on October 10, 1868, when Cuban plantation owner Carlos Manuel Cespedes frees his slaves and declares a state of revolt against Spain, sparking the Cuban Revolution. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the rebels’ ultimate aim becomes clear: Cuban independence and liberty.