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World of 1898: International Perspectives on the Spanish American War

Chronology of Cuba in 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.


H.H. Garnet (US) calls for invasion of Cuba to free slaves.


Abolition of slaves in Cuba occurred in 1886.


U.S. foreign policy is influenced by Alfred T. Mahan who wrote The Influence of Sea Power upon history, 1660-1783 which advocated the taking of the Caribbean Islands, Hawaii, and the Philippine Islands for bases to protected 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.


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.

29 March

Antonio Maceo returned from exile to Cuba to support the revolution.

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.

19 May

José Martí died in battle during a Spanish ambush at Dos Ríos, Cuba.

12 June

U.S. President Grover Cleveland proclaimed U.S. neutrality in the Cuban Insurrection.


The Cuban Revolutionary Party (Cuban Junta), under the direction of chief policy leader Tomás Estrada Palma, was formed to encourage and to support the Cuban insurgency and to campaign for U.S. recognition of the Cuban belligerency.


16 February

Spanish general Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau instituted a policy of reconcentration (reconcentración) to control Cuban insurgents. The policy forced the population to move to central locations under Spanish military jurisdiction as the entire island was placed under martial law.

28 February

The U.S. Senate recognized Cuban belligerency when it passed overwhelmingly 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.

March 2

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

August 9

Great Britain foiled Spain's attempt to organize European support for Spanish policies in Cuba.

December 7

U.S. President Grover Cleveland declared that the U.S. might take action in Cuba if Spain failed to resolve the 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.


January 19

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.

March 4

Inauguration of U.S. President William McKinley.

August 8

Anarchist Miguel Angiolillo Assassinated Spanish Prime Minister Antonio Cánovas del Castillo at Santa Agueda, Spain. Práxides Mateo Sagasta became prime minister of Spain.

October 31

Captain General Ramón Blanco y Erenas replaced General Valeriano Weyler as governor-general of Cuba.


January 1

Spain granted limited autonomy to Cuba.

February 8

Enrique Dupuy de Lôme resigned as Ambassador of Spain in the United States.

February 9

New York Journal published the confidential letter of Spanish Ambassador Dupuy de Lôme critical of President McKinley. This letter's revelation was one of the incidents to push Spain and the United States towards war.

February 12

General Máximo Gómez issued a call to various Cuban autonomist groups for formation of a united effort against Spain.

February 14

Luís Polo de Bernabé named Minister of Spain in Washington.

February 15

Explosion sank the battleship U.S.S. Maine in Havana harbor.

March 4

Spanish naval squadron for Cuba was organized in Cádiz, Spain.

March 5

Spanish government called for the removal of U.S. Counsel General Fitzhugh Lee from Havana; United States refused request.

March 9

U.S. Congress approved a credit of $50,000,000 for national defense.

March 13

General Máximo Gómez repelled the Spanish attack in the Cuban insurrectionist (mambí) campaign at Majagua, Cuba.

The Spanish squadron under Don Fernando Villaamil, a deputy in the Spanish Cortes (Congress) and Naval Captain, left Cádiz, Spain. It stoped in San Vicente, Cape Verde Islands (Portuguese territory).

March 17

Senator Redfield Proctor (Vermont) pushed Congress and the U.S. business community toward war with Spain. He had traveled at his own expense in February 1898 to Cuba to investigate the effects of the reconcentration policy and returned to report on his findings before the Senate.

March 19

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

March 20

Máximo Gómez rejected offer of Spanish Captain General Ramón Blanco of an alliance of the Cuban Liberation army and the Spanish forces against a United States invasion.

March 28

U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry published its findings that the U.S.S. Maine was destroyed by mine.

March 29

The United States Government issued an ultimatum to the Spanish Government to leave Cuba. Spain rejected the ultimatum on April 1, 1898.

April 2

Cuban revolutionaries under Colonel J.P. Quijano defeated Spanish forces at Chambas (Morón), Cuba.

April 4

The New York Journal in a press run of 1 million copies dedicated to the war in Cuba and called for the immediate entry of the U.S. into war with Spain.

April 5

U.S. Consul General in Cuba Fitzhugh Lee is recalled to Washington for instructions.

April 8

The Spanish armored cruisers Infanta María Teresa and Cristóbal Colón commanded by Rear Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topéte departed Cádiz, Spain.

April 10

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

April 11

The President of the United States William McKinley requested authorization from the U.S. Congress to intervene in Cuba, to stop the war between Cuban revolutionaries and Spain.

April 12

Spanish Brigadier General Joaquin Vara del Rey y Rubio returned to Santiago de Cuba to take command of his troops in anticipation of a conflict between Spain and the United States.

April 13

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

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

April 15

The commanders of Spanish forces, under Captain General Ramón Blanco called a council of war in Havana but only generals in western Cuba met since those in eastern Cuba were under attack by the mambises.

April 19

The U.S. Congress by a vote of 311 to 6 in the House and 42 to 35 in the Senate adopted the Joint Resolution for war with Spain which included the Teller Amendment, named after Senator Henry Moore Teller (Colorado) which disclaimed any intention of 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. President McKinley signed the resolution on April 20, 1898 and the ultimatum was forwarded to Spain.

April 20

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

April 21

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

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

Spanish forces in Santiago de Cuba mined Guantánamo Bay.

The Spanish authorities in Cuba issued manifestos and other notices to the population and to the Spanish Army that a state of war existed with the United States.

April 22

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.

April 23

US President McKinley called for 125,000 volunteers.

April 24

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".

U.S. warships captured the Spanish merchant ships Saturnino, Cándida and Catalina on the high seas.

April 25

A formal declaration of war recognized between Spain and the United States.

The Spanish concentrated troops at Santiago de Cuba and deployed them to various locations in that province.

General Pando and the Autonomista Delegates returned to Havana from Santa Cruz del Sur following a breakup of the meeting with the Council of the Mambí Government.

April 26

General Calixto García Íñiguez informed Delegate Tomás Estrada Palma in Cuba that his army was occupying the towns abandoned by the Spanish army.

April 27

U.S. ships, the monitor Puritan, and the armored cruisers New York and Cincinnati bombarded the Spanish fortifications on Matanzas Bay.

Cuban forces of the Division of Santiago de Cuba attacked the Spanish battalion La Constitución near San Luis and Palma Soriano.

April 28

Cuban Lieutenant General Calixto García occupied the city of Bayamo, Cuba and established his General Headquarters there. His forces had already occupied the towns of Jiguaní, Baire, and Santa Rita, evacuated by the Spanish troops. The mambises maintained the offensive in Oriente Province, Cuba.

President Masó issued a manifesto calling for Cuban revolutionaries to unite with Autonomistas and Spanish of good faith to sustain a creole government.

April 29

Cuban forces attacked Spanish positions at Mao and Alto Songo, Cuba.

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

U.S. Navy ships mined the entrance to Cienfuegos Bay and bombarded the Spanish defenses there.

April 30

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

U.S. naval forces under Colonel Dorst attempted to disembark on the beach of La Herradura, Pinar del Río, Cuba, but were forced to retreat before the heavy fire of the Spanish forces under the command of General Hernández de Velazco.

May 1

"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.

May 2

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

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

May 4

Spanish forces turned back the U.S. attack at Pinar del Río.

May 9

Cuban revolutionaries and Spanish troops fought in the Sierra Maestra Mountains, near Cabreco and Aldea.

May 10

Tomás Estrada Palma, representing the Government of the Republic of Cuba in arms, communicated to President McKinley that General in Chief Máximo Gómez and Lieutenant General Calixto García would cooperate in land and sea activities with the U.S.

May 11

U.S. Navy bombarded Cárdenas, Cuba.

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

May 14

U.S. forces cut the underwater cable at Cienfuegos.

May 18

Spanish Prime Minister Sagasta formed a new cabinet.

May 19

The Spanish fleet under the command of Admiral Pascual Cervera entered the port of Santiago de Cuba. These Spanish ships included the armored cruisers Infanta María Teresa, Almirante Oquendo, Cristóbal Colón, and Vizcaya, and the destroyer Furor , and the torpedo boat Plutón.

May 27

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

May 28

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

May 31

U.S. naval squadron bombarded the fortifications at Santiago de Cuba. The Spanish armored cruiser Cristóbal Colón returned the fire.

June 3

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.

June 6

The U.S. squadron bombarded Santiago de Cuba with over 2000 shells, causing severe damage to various Spanish ships and fortifications. General Miles in Tampa received the final plans for the joint U.S./Cuban Liberation Army attack.

June 9

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

June 10

600 U.S. Marines landed at Guantánamo with assistance of Colonel Enrique Thomas of the Cuban forces.

June 11

McKinley administration reactivated debate on Hawaiian annexation. Debate in Congress "we must have Hawaii to help us get our share of China."

June 13

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

June 15

U.S. Congress passed the Hawaii annexation resolution, 209-91. Three weeks later the Senate affirmed measure.

June 20

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.

June 21

Cuban forces under General Castillo Duany and Colonel González Clavel cleared the coast near Santiago, with the collaboration of the U.S. naval squadron, to facilitate U.S. troop landing.

June 22

U.S. forces, 6000 soldiers under Lawton, Bates, Rafferty and Wheeler and under the general command of General Shafter, landed at Daiquiri, Cuba.

A rift occurred between Spanish Captain General Blanco and his Chief of Staff General Pando in Havana as Blanco refused Pando's request to send 10,000 troops to reinforce Santiago against the invasion.

June 24

U.S. troops under General Joseph Wheeler defeated superior Spanish forces at the battle of Las Guásimas, Cuba.

June 25-26

U.S. and Cuban troops, including 3,000 Cuban soldiers from El Aserradero, disembarked at Siboney, Cuba. The Cubans were led by generals Calixto García, Rabí, Lora and Portuondo Tamayo, accompanied by U.S. General Ludlow.

June 27

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

General Henry Martin Duffield, commanding 3,000 soldiers, disembarked at Daiquirí, Cuba, bringing to a total 22,000 U.S. and Cuban soldiers at Santiago de Cuba. The Spanish forces numbered some 8,000 soldiers.

July 1

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.