Spanish-American War for Kids
For Kids: Remember the Maine!
In April, 1898, the United States declared war on Spain.
There were many reasons for the Spanish-American war, but there were three big ones: .
Cuba had been fighting Spain for quite a while for independence. Cuba's fight with Spain was starting to affect US interests in Cuba. The United States stepped in to help Cuba achieve independence from Spain to protect US interests.
Yellow Journalism, or exaggerated news stories about the conditions in Cuba and how horrible people were being treated inflamed the American public. Americans had gone through the Civil War not that long ago. Freedom was on people's minds.
Sinking of the U.S.S. Maine - There was a mysterious explosion that blew up an American battleship, the U.S.S. Maine, at peaceful anchor in the Havana harbor in Cuba. Over 250 American sailors died.
You can overlook quite a bit trying to avoid a war. But it is difficult to overlook an action such as blowing up and sinking an American battleship at peaceful anchor in harbor. The press went wild - Remember the Maine! United States declared war on Spain.
The war lasted about two years. Over 3,000 American military died in this war. Less than 400 of them died in combat. The rest died from disease, mostly yellow fever and typhoid.
The United States declared victory when both sides decided to quit. In the peace treaty, Spain gave the United States the Philippines, and the islands of Guam and Puerto Rico. The United States gave Spain $20,000,000 (twenty million US dollars) to cover their losses.
The Results: The United States emerged as a world power. That was new. Cuba gained independence from Spain. The United States gained possession of key locations, where they could build strong military bases - in the Philippines, in Guam, and in Puerto Rico.