The Spanish-American War was fought between the United States and Spain, and it ultimately ended Spain's status as a colonial power in the New World. Following the war, the United States emerged as a world power with considerable territorial claims extending from the Caribbean to Southeast Asia. The conflict has been called "a war for dominion over the world's third largest economy" by historian Paul Johnson.
The war began on April 25, 1898, when the USS Maine exploded near Havana, Cuba. The disaster killed 266 people, including 46 members of the U.S. Navy. It was believed that the explosion was caused by an internal bomb, but this theory was later disproved when the cause of the blast was determined to be due to enemy action. This incident prompted the United States to go to war with Spain.
The main issue behind the outbreak of the war was control of the Caribbean island of Cuba. In 1869, the United States annexed Cuban territory through the Treaty of Paris, which ended the first Spanish-American War. However, the new treaty left open the question of sovereignty over Cuba itself. The United States maintained this position until 1902, when President Theodore Roosevelt announced the establishment of a military base on the island called Guantanamo Bay. This move was intended to protect American interests in the region while notifying Spain that if it did not agree, then the United States would go ahead with its plans.
The Spanish-American War was a struggle between the United States and Spain in 1898 that ended Spanish colonial power in the Americas and resulted in the United States gaining territory in the western Pacific and Latin America. The war began on April 25, when the USS Maine was destroyed in Havana, Cuba, causing a diplomatic incident that led to the outbreak of the war. Over the next six months, both nations would engage in naval operations around the world, with American forces ultimately defeating Spain in what is now known as the First World War.
Spain was initially not involved in the conflict, but once it became clear that this was not going to be a brief affair that did not involve its colonies, King Carlos I declared war on the United States on April 24, 1898. However there were countries who were opposed to the war including: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. All of these countries had large populations of Americans living within their borders and so they wanted to avoid another war like the Mexican War which had ended ten years earlier.
However, not all Americans supported the war. Many believed that the need for expansion into the new world had been fulfilled after the American Civil War and didn't see the need for further territorial gains.
The United States' engagement in the Spanish-American War was motivated principally by imperialist ambitions. The United States desired to extend its political, economic, and social influence to other regions of the world, and the Spanish-American War aided in this effort.
The conflict began when the U.S. Navy intercepted a letter from the American consul in Havana warning that Spain was planning to expel it from Cuba. President William McKinley decided that this was a good opportunity for America to show its strength and declared war on Spain.
There were also financial incentives for going to war. The government wanted money to fund its military activities and expand its welfare system so people would support the war effort. A company called the Cuban Sugar Association also contributed money into a fund that helped those who lost their jobs due to the war. This association's goal was to get the U.S. to protect the interests of Cuban sugar producers since they had no choice but to give up their business due to the presence of a rival nation (Spain).
Finally, the United States went to war to secure control over a large region of the world for itself. The war ended with the Treaty of Paris, which ceded control of Puerto Rico to the United States, as well as Guam, Manila Bay, and parts of South America to the country.