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World of 1898: International Perspectives on the Spanish American War



10 October

Carlos M. Céspedes issued the Grito de Yara and initiated the Ten Years' War in Cuba (1868-1878), the independence movement that served as the forerunner of the 1895 Insurrection and the Spanish American War.



Publication in Berlin, Germany, of Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) by José Rizal, the Philippines' most illustrious son, awakened Filipino national consciousness.


U.S. foreign policy is influenced by Alfred T. Mahan who wrote The Influence of Sea Power upon history, 1600-1783, which advocated the taking of the Caribbean Islands, Hawaii, and the Philippine Islands for bases to protect U.S. commerce, the building of a canal to enable fleet movement from ocean to ocean and the building of the Great White fleet of steam-driven armor-plated battleships.


5 January

José Julián Martí y Pérez formed El Partido Revolucionario Cubano (Cuban Revolutionary party). This Cuban political party was organized first in New York City and Philadelphia and soon spread to Tampa and Key West, Florida.

3 July

La Liga Filipina, a political action group that sought reforms in the Spanish administration of the Philippines by peaceful means, was launched formally at a Tondo meeting by José Rizal upon his return to the Philippines from Europe and Hong Kong in June 1892. Rizal's arrest three days later for possessing anti-friar bills and eventual banishment to Dapitan directly led to the demise of the Liga a year or so later.

7 July

Andrés Bonifacio formed the Katipunan, a secret, nationalistic fraternal brotherhood founded to bring about Filipino independence through armed revolution, at Manila. Bonifacio, an illiterate warehouse worker, believed that the Liga was ineffective and too slow in bringing about the desired changes in government, and decided that only through force could the Philippines problem be resolved. The Katipunan replaced the peaceful civic association that Rizal had founded.


24 February

Cuban independence movement (Ejército Libertador de Cuba) issued in the Grito de Baire, declaring Independencia o muerte (Independence or death), as the revolutionary movement in Cuba began. It was quelled by Spanish authorities that same day.

10 April

José Martí and Máximo Gómez Baez returned to Cuba to fight for independence; Gómez was to serve as military leader of the new revolution. The Cuban Revolutionary Party (El Partido Revolucionario Cubano) in New York worked tirelessly for revolution, inspired by José Martí and maintained by various voices for Revolution.

12 June

U.S. President Cleveland issues proclamation of neutrality in the Cuban Insurrection.


16 February

Spain begins reconcentration policy in Cuba.

28 February

The U.S. Senate recognized Cuban belligerency with overwhelming passage of the joint John T. Morgan/Donald Cameron resolution calling for recognition of Cuban belligerency and Cuban independence. This resolution signaled to President Cleveland and Secretary of State Richard Olney that the Cuban crisis needed attention.

2 March

The U.S. House of Representatives passed decisively its own version of the Morgan-Cameron Resolution which called for the recognition of Cuban belligerency.

9 August

Great Britain foils Spain's attempt to obtain European support for Spanish policies in Cuba.

26 August

Grito de Balintawak begins the Philippine Revolution.

7 December

President Cleveland says that the United States may take action in Cuba if Spain fails to resolve crisis there.


William Warren Kimball, U.S. Naval Academy graduate and intelligence officer, completed a strategic study of the implications of war with Spain. His plan called for an operation to free Cuba through naval action, which included blockade, attacks on Manila, and attacks on the Spanish Mediterranean coast.


19 January

Both William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer's New York World, through its sensational reporting on the Cuban Insurrection, helped strengthen anti-Spanish sentiment in the United States. On this date the execution of Cuban rebel Adolfo Rodríguez by a Spanish firing squad, was reported in the article "Death of Rodríguez" in the New York Journal by Richard Harding Davis. On October 8, 1897, Karl Decker of the New York Journal reported on the rescue of Cuban Evangelina Cisneros from a prison on the Isle of Pines.

4 March

U.S. President William McKinley inaugurated.


Theodore Roosevelt was appointed assistant U.S. Secretary of the Navy. Emilio Aguinaldo was elected president of the new republic of the Philippines; Andrés Bonifacio was demoted to the director of the interior.

25 April

General Fernando Primo de Rivera y Sobremonte became governor-general of the Philippines, replacing General Camilo García de Polavieja; his adjutant was Miguel Primo de Rivera y Orbaneja, his nephew.

8 August

Spanish Prime Minister Antonio Cánovas is assassinated prompting change in government.

1 November

Philippine revolutionary constitution approved creating Biak-na-Bato Republic.

14-15 December

Spain reacted quickly to the Biak-na-Bato Republic and sought negotiations to end the war. With Pedro Paterno, a noted Filipino intellectual and lawyer, mediating, Aguinaldo representing the revolutionists and Governor-General Fernando Primo de Rivera representing the Spanish colonial government, the Pact of Biak-na-Bato was concluded. The Pact paid indemnities to the revolutionists the sum of 800,000 pesos, provided amnesty, and allowed for Aguinaldo and his entourage voluntary exile to Hong Kong.


1 January

Spain grants limited autonomy to Cuba.

8 February

Spain's ambassador to the U.S., Enrique Dupuy de Lôme, resigned.

9 February

Pulitzer-owned New York Journal publishes Spanish Minister Enrique Dupuy de Lóme's letter criticizing President McKinley.

14 February

Luís Polo de Bernabé named Minister of Spain in Washington.

15 February

U.S.S. Maine explodes in Havana Harbor.

3 March

Governor-General of the Philippine Islands Fernando Primo de Rivera informed Spanish minister for the colonies Segismundo Moret y Prendergast that Commodore George Dewey had received orders to move on Manila.

9 March

U.S. Congress passes Fifty Million Bill to strengthen military.

17 March

U.S. Senator Redfield Proctor (R-Vt.) influences Congress and U.S. business community in favor of war with Spain.

19 March

The battleship U.S.S. Oregon left the port of San Francisco, California on its famous voyage to the Caribbean Sea and Cuban waters.

28 March

Report of U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry finds U.S.S. Maine explosion caused by a mine.

29 March

The United States Government issued an ultimatum to the Spanish Government to terminate its presence in Cuba. Spain did not accept the ultimatum in its reply of April 1, 1898.


Governor-General of the Philippine Islands Fernando Primo de Rivera, in a surprise move, was replaced by Governor-General Basilo Augustín Dávila in early April. Upon his departure from the Philippines, the insurgent movement renewed revolutionary activity due mainly to the Spanish government's failure to abide by the terms of the Pact of Biak-na-Bato.

4 April

The New York Journal issued a million copy press run dedicated to the war in Cuba. The newspaper called for the immediate U.S. entry into war with Spain.

10 April

Spanish Governor General Blanco in Cuba suspended hostilities in the war in Cuba.

11 April

The U.S. President William McKinley requested authorization from the U.S. Congress to intervene in Cuba, with the object of putting an end to the war between Cuban revolutionaries and Spain.

13 April

The U.S. Congress agreed to President McKinley's request for intervention in Cuba, but without recognition of the Cuban Government.

The Spanish government declared that the sovereignty of Spain was jeopardized by U.S. policy and prepared a special budget for war expenses.

19 April

The U.S. Congress by vote of 311 to 6 in the House and 42 to 35 in the Senate adopted the Joint Resolution for war with Spain. Included in the Resolution was the Teller Amendment, named after Senator Henry Moore Teller (Colorado) which disclaimed any intention by the U.S. to exercise jurisdiction or control over Cuba except in a pacification role and promised to leave the island as soon as the war was over.

20 April

U.S. President William McKinley signed the Joint Resolution for war with Spain and the ultimatum was forwarded to Spain.

Spanish Minister to the United States Luís Polo de Bernabé demanded his passport and, along with the personnel of the Legation, left Washington for Canada.

21 April

The Spanish Government considered the U.S. Joint Resolution of April 20 a declaration of war. U.S. Minister in Madrid General Steward L. Woodford received his passport before presenting the ultimatum by the United States.

A state of war existed between Spain and the United States and all diplomatic relations were suspended. U.S. President William McKinley ordered a blockade of Cuba.

Spanish forces in Santiago de Cuba mined Guantánamo Bay.

22 April

U.S. fleet left Key West, Florida for Havana to begin the Cuban blockade at the principal ports on the north coast and at Cienfuegos.

23 April

President McKinley called for 125,000 volunteers.

24 April

Spanish Minister of Defense Segismundo Bermejo sent instructions to Spanish Admiral Cervera to proceed with his fleet from Cape Verde to the Caribbean, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

President of the Cuban Republic in arms, General Bartolomé Masó issued the Manifiesto de Sebastopol and reiterated the mambí motto "Independencia o Muerte".

25 April

War was formally declared between Spain and the United States.

26 April

Willaim R. Day became U.S. Secretary of State.

29 April

The Portuguese government declared itself neutral in the conflict between Spain and the United States.

30 April

The Spanish Governor General Blanco ordered hostilities resumed with the Cuban insurrectionists.

1 May

Opening with the famous quote "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley" U.S. Commodore George Dewey in six hours defeated the Spanish squadron, under Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasarón, in Manila Bay, the Philippines Islands. Dewey led the Asiatic Squadron of the U.S. Navy, which had been based in Hong Kong, in the attack. With the cruisers U.S.S. Olympia, Raleigh, Boston, and Baltimore, the gunboats Concord and Petrel and the revenue cutter McCulloch and reinforcements from cruiser U.S.S. Charleston and the monitors U.S.S. Monadnock and Monterey the U.S. Asiatic Squadron forced the capitulation of Manila. In the battle the entire Spanish squadron was sunk, including the cruisers María Cristina and Castilla, gunboats Don Antonio de Ulloa, Don Juan de Austria, Isla de Luzón, Isla de Cuba, Velasco, and Argos.

"The message to García". U.S. Army Lieutenant Andrew S. Rowan, through the assistance of the U.S. government, the Cuban Delegation in New York, and the mambises in Cuba, made contact with General Calixto García in Bayamo to seek his cooperation and to obtain military and political assessment of Cuba. This contact benefitted the Cuban Liberation Army and the Cuban Revolutionary Army and totally ignored the Government of the Republic in arms.

2 May

The U.S. Congress voted a war emergency credit increase of $34,625,725.

General Máximo Gómez opens communication with U.S. Admiral Sampson.

4 May

A joint resolution was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives, with the support of President William McKinley, calling for the annexation of Hawaii.

10 May

Secretary of the Navy John D. Long issued orders to Captain Henry Glass, commander of the cruiser U.S.S. Charleston to capture Guam on the way to Manila.

11 May

Charles H. Allen succeeded Theodore Roosevelt as assistant secretary of the navy.

President William McKinley and his cabinet approve a State Department memorandum calling for Spanish cession of a suitable "coaling station", presumably Manila. The Philippine Islands were to remain Spanish possessions.

18 May

Prime Minister Sagasta formed the new Spanish cabinet. U.S. President McKinley ordered a military expedition, headed by Major General Wesley Merritt, to complete the elimination of Spanish forces in the Philippines, to occupy the islands, and to provide security and order to the inhabitants.

19 May

Emilio Aguinaldo returned to Manila, the Philippine Islands, from exile in Hong Kong. The United States had invited him back from exile, hoping that Aguinaldo would rally the Filipinos against the Spanish colonial government.

24 May

With himself as the dictator, Emilio Aguinaldo established a dictatorial government, replacing the revolutionary government, due to the chaotic conditions he found in the Philippines upon his return.

25 May

First U.S. troops were sent from San Francisco to the Philippine Islands. Thomas McArthur Anderson (1836-1917) commanded the vanguard of the Philippine Expeditionary Force (Eighth Army Corps), which arrived at Cavite, Philippine Islands on June 1.

27 May

U.S. Navy, under Admiral William Thompson Sampson and Commodore Winfield Scott Schley, formally blockaded the port of Santiago de Cuba.

28 May

General William Rufus Shafter, U.S. Army, received orders to mobilize his forces in Tampa, Florida for the attack on Cuba.


U.S. business and government circles united around a policy of retaining all or part of the Philippines.

3 June

First contact of the commanders of the U.S. Marines and leaders of the Cuban Liberation Army, aboard the armored cruiser U.S.S. New York at which the revolutionary forces provided detailed information for the campaign.

9 June

U.S. Admiral William Thompson Sampson sailed to Guantánamo Bay.

10 June

U.S. Marines land at Guantánamo, Cuba.

11 June

McKinley administration reactivated debate in Congress on Hawaiian annexation, using the argument that "we must have Hawaii to help us get our share of China."

12 June

Philippines proclaim independence. German squadron under Admiral Diederichs arrives at Manila.

13 June

The Rough Riders sailed from Tampa, Florida bound for Santiago de Cuba.

14 June

McKinley administration decided not to return the Philippine Islands to Spain.

15 June

Anti-war American Anti-Imperialist League assembles. Admiral Cámara's squadron received orders to relieve Spanish garrison in Philippines.

Congress passed the Hawaii annexation resolution, 209-91. On July 6, the U.S. Senate affirmed the measure.

American Anti-Imperialist League was organized in opposition to the annexation of the Philippine Islands. Among its members were Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, William James, David Starr Jordan, and Samuel Gompers. George S. Boutwell, former secretary of the treasury and Massachusetts senator, served as president of the League.

Admiral Dewey's defeat of the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay on May 1, 1898 ignited impassioned nationalistic feelings in Spain. Spanish Admiral Manuel de la Cámara y Libermoore's squadron received orders to relieve the Spanish garrison in the Philippine Islands. His fleet consisted of the battleship Pelayo, the armored cruiser Carlos V, the cruisers Rápido and Patriota, the torpedo boats Audaz, Osado, and Proserpina, and the transports Isla de Panay, San Francisco, Cristóbal Colón, Covadonga, and Buenos Aires.

18 June

U.S. Secretary of the Navy John D. Long ordered Commodore William T. Sampson to create a new squadron, the Eastern Squadron, for possible raiding and bombardment missions along the coasts of Spain.

20 June

Spanish authorities surrendered Guam to Captain Henry Glass and his forces on the cruiser U.S.S. Charleston.

The main U.S. force appeared off Santiago de Cuba, with more than 16,200 soldiers and various material in 42 ships. A total of 153 ships of the U.S. forces assembled off of the harbor.

Lieutenant General Calixto García (Cuba) and Admiral Sampson and General Shafter (US) met in El Aserradero (south coast of Oriente Province, Cuba) to complete the general strategy of the campaign. Cuban forces occupied positions west, northwest and east of Santiago de Cuba.

22 June

U.S. General Shafter's troops land at Daiquirí, Cuba.

27 June

Lieutenant General Calixto García requested that Tomás Estrada Palma and the Cuban Committee ask President McKinely to recognize the Cuban Council of Government.

1 July

U.S. and Cuban troops took El Viso Fort, the town of El Caney, and San Juan Heights. Spanish General Vara del Rey died in the fighting. San Juan Hill was taken at the same time, with the help of the Rough Riders under Teddy Roosevelt and Leonard Wood at the battle on Kettle Hill. These victories opened the way to Santiago de Cuba. General Duffield, with 3,000 soldiers, took the Aguadores Fort at Santiago de Cuba. Spanish General Linares and Navy Captain Joaquín Bustamante died in battle.

2 July

Admiral Cervera and the Spanish fleet prepared to leave Santiago Bay.

3 July

The Spanish fleet attempt to leave the bay was halted as the U.S. squadron under Admiral Schley destroyed the Spanish destroyer Furor, the torpedo boat Plutón, and the armored cruisers Infanta María Teresa, Almirante Oquendo, Vizcaya, and Cristóbal Colón. The Spanish lost all their ships, 350 dead, and 160 wounded.

7 July

U.S. President McKinley signed the Hawaii annexation resolution, following its passage in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.

8 July

U.S. acquired Hawaii.

15 July

Spanish forces under General Toral capitulated to U.S. forces at Santiago de Cuba.

17 July

Santiago surrenders to U.S. troops.

18 July

The Spanish government, through the French Ambassador to the United States, Jules Cambon, initiated a message to President McKinley to suspend the hostilities and to start the negotiations to end the war. Duque de Almodóvar del Río (Juan Manuel Sánchez y Gutiérrez de Castro), Spanish Minister of State, directed a telegram to the Spanish Ambassador in Paris charging him to solicit the good offices of the French Government to negotiate a suspension of hostilities as a preliminary to final negotiations.

U.S. General Leonard Wood was named military governor of Santiago de Cuba.

Clara Barton of the Red Cross cared for wounded soldiers at Santiago de Cuba.

25 July

General Wesley Merritt, commander of Eighth Corps, U.S. Expeditionary Force, arrived in the Philippine Islands.

26 July

French Government contacted the United States Government regarding the call for suspension of hostilities at the request of the Spanish Government.

28 July

Duque de Almodóvar del Río called for the U.S. annexation of Cuba.

U.S. officials instruct General Shafter to return troops immediately to the United States to prevent an outbreak of yellow fever.

30 July

U.S. President McKinley and his Cabinet submitted to Ambassador Cambon a counter-proposal to the Spanish request for ceasefire.

2 August

Spain accepted the U.S. proposals for peace, with certain reservations regarding the Philippine Islands. McKinley called for a preliminary protocol from Spain before suspension of hostilities. That document was used as the basis for discussion between Spain and the United States at the Treaty of Peace in Paris.

11 August

U.S. Secretary of State Day and French Ambassador Cambon, representing Spain, negotiated the Protocol of Peace.

12 August

Peace protocol that ended all hostilities between Spain and the United States in the war fronts of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines was signed in Washington, D.C.

13 August

Manila falls to U.S. troops.

14 August

Capitulation was signed at Manila and U.S. General Wesley Merritt established a military government in the city, with himself serving as first military governor.

President of the Governing Council of the Republic of Cuba Bartolomé Masó called for elections of Revolutionary Representatives to meet in Assembly.

15 August

U.S. General Arthur MacArthur appointed military commandant of Manila and its suburbs.

12 September

The U.S (General Wade, General Butler and Admiral Sampson) and Spanish Military Commission (Generals Segundo Cabo and González, Admiral Vicente Manterola, and Doctor Rafael Montoro) met in Havana, Cuba, to discuss the evacuation of Spanish forces from the island.

13 September

The Spanish Cortes (legislature) ratified the Protocol of Peace.

15 September

The inaugural session of the Congress of the First Philippine Republic, also known as the Malolos Congress, was held at Barasoain Church in Malolos, province of Bulacan, for the purpose of drafting the constitution of the new republic.

16 September

The Spanish and U.S. Commissioners for the Peace Treaty were appointed. U.S. Commissioners were William R. Day (U.S. Secretary of State), William P. Frye (President pro tempore of Senate, Republican-Maine), Whitelaw Reid, George Gray (Senator, Democrat- Delaware), and Cushman K. Davis (Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Republican-Minnesota). The Spanish Commissioners were Eugenio Montero Ríos (President, Spanish Senate), Buenaventura Abarzuza (Senator), José de Garnica y Diaz (Associate Justice of the Supreme Court), Wenceslao Ramírez de Villa Urrutia (Envoy Extraordinary), and Rafael Cerero y Saenz (General of the Army).

William R. Day resigned as U.S. Secretary of State and was succeeded by John Hay.

22 September

When Major General Calixto García and his Cuban forces arrived in Santiago de Cuba, General Leonard Wood formally recognized his efforts in the war since General Shafter had failed to recognize the Cuban leader's participation in the capitulation of Santiago.

26 September

Commission established under U.S. General Grenville Dodge to investigate mismanagement by U.S. War Department.

1 October

The Spanish and United States Commissioners convened their first meeting in Paris to reach a final Treaty of Peace.

25 October

McKinley instructed the U.S. peace delegation to insist on the annexation of the Philippines in the peace talks.

10 November

In accord with the Assembly of Representatives of the Revolution, a commission of Major General Calixto García, Colonel Manuel Sanguily, Dr. Antonio González Lanuza, General José Miguel Gómez and Colonel José R. Villalón met to seek support for needs of the Liberation Army and to establish a Cuban government. The U.S. did not recognize this commission. The U.S. instead stated that the U.S. had declared war on Spain and all of its possessions because of the destruction of the battleship U.S.S. Maine and other acts against the United States.

26 November

Captain General Ramón Blanco y Erenas resigned as Governor General of Cuba.

28 November

The Spanish Commission for Peace accepted the United States' demands in the Peace Treaty.

29 November

The Philippine revolutionary congress approved a constitution for the new Philippine Republic.

10 December

Representatitves of Spain and the United States signed the Treaty of Peace in Paris. Spain renounced all rights to Cuba and allowed an independent Cuba, ceded Puerto Rico and the island of Guam to the United States, gave up its possessions in the West Indies, and sold the Philippine Islands, receiving in exchange $20,000,000.

21 December

President McKinley issued his Benevolent Assimilation Proclamation, ceding the Philippines to the United States, and instructing the American occupying army to use force, as necessary, to impose American sovereignity over the Philippines even before he obtained Senate ratification of the peace treaty with Spain.

23 December

Guam placed under control of U.S. Department of the Navy.


1 January

Emilio Aguinaldo was declared president of the new Philippine Republic, following the meeting of a constitutional convention. United States authorities refused to recognize the new government.

Spanish forces left Cuba.

17 January

U.S. claims Wake Island for use in cable link to Philippines. U.S. Commander Edward Taussig, U.S.S. Bennington, landed on the island and claimed it for the United States.

21 January

The constitution of the Philippine Republic, the Malolos Constitution, was promulgated by the followers of Emilio Aguinaldo.

4 February

The Philippine Insurrection began as the Philippine Republic declared war on the United States forces in the Philippine Islands, following the killing of three Filipino soldiers by U.S. forces in a suburb of Manila.

6 February

U.S. Senate ratified the Treaty of Paris by a vote of 52 to 27.

19 March

The Queen regent of Spain, María Cristina, signed the Treaty of Paris, breaking the deadlock in the Spanish Cortes.

11 April

The Treaty of Paris was proclaimed.

2 June

Spanish forces at Baler, Philippine Islands, surrender to U.S.


23 March

Led by General Frederick Funston, U.S. forces captured Emilio Aguinaldo on Palanan, Isabela Province. Later, he declared allegiance to the United States.



War ended in the Philippines, with more than 4,200 U.S. soldiers, 20,000 Filipino soldiers, and 200,000 Filipino civilians dead.