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Spanish-American War Timeline
Timeline Description: The Spanish-American War was a brief war between Spain and the United States in 1898. The U.S. victory results in the U.S. taking control of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines, while Cuba was permitted to be an independent nation.

Date Event
February 1895 Cuba fights for independence from Spain.

As Cuba struggles to win its freedom from Spain, American newspapers publish sensational stories about the Spain's brutality toward the Cubans. Some Americans begin to call for the U.S. to get involved in the fight.
February 15, 1898 The U.S.S. Maine is sunk off the coast of Havana.

The battleship the U.S.S. Maine explodes and sinks in a Havana harbor. The cause was not known, but many blame Spain.
April 9, 1898 Spain announces an armistice with Cuba.

Spain agrees to an armistice, which will halt the fighting with Cuba. However, Spain only agrees to allow Cuba to have limited self-government and the U.S. Congress gives President William McKinley the right to use force against Spain.
April 11, 1898 President McKinley reluctantly asks Congress to declare war on Spain.

Even though McKinley hoped to avoid war, he asks Congress to declare war on Spain. McKinley is pressured by American newspapers that call him a weak president for not standing up to Spain.
April 20, 1898 Congress passes the Teller Amendment.

Congress responds to McKinley's war speech with the Teller Amendment. The amendment, which McKinley signs, says that the U.S. cannot annex Cuba.
April 24, 1898 Spain declares war against the United States.

Although they are not ready for a war with the U.S., Spain declares war on the United States. The U.S. declares war against Spain the next day.
May 1, 1898 The Spanish Pacific fleet is destroyed in the Battle of Manila Bay.

In the first battle of the war, the U.S. destroys Spain's fleet of ships in the Battle of Manila Bay. Four hundred Spanish sailors are killed, while only six Americans are wounded.
July 1, 1898 Teddy Roosevelt leads the Rough Riders at San Juan Hill.

U.S forces attack Spain on the southern coast of Cuba. Spanish troops at San Juan Hill and Kettle Hill are overwhelmed by U.S. troops, including the Rough Riders, led by Teddy Roosevelt. The win permits the U.S. to launch a siege of Santiago de Cuba.
July 17, 1898 The Spanish fleet in the Caribbean is destroyed in the Battle of Santiago.

After a relatively easy fight with Spain, the U.S. and Spain agree to stop fighting and sign a cease-fire agreement. The war unofficially comes to an end.
August 12, 1898 Spain and the U.S. sign a cease-fire agreement.

After a relatively easy fight with Spain, the U.S. and Spain agree to stop fighting and sign a cease-fire agreement. The war unofficially comes to an end.
August 13, 1898 U.S. troops capture Manila in a mock battle.

U.S. and Spanish troops stage a mock battle in the Philippine capital of Manila. It was predetermined that Spain would surrender and allow the U.S. to take control of the Philippines.
December 10, 1898 The U.S. and Spain sign the Treaty of Paris.

The Spanish-American War officially ends when the U.S. and Spain sign the Treaty of Paris. The U.S. takes possession of Guam, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico for $20 million.
January 3, 1899 The Philippines declares itself an independent republic.

The Philippines rejects U.S. rule and declares itself an independent republic, beginning the Philippine-American war. After the U.S. defeats the Philippines, revolution leader Emilio Aguinaldo is captured and forced to pledge allegiance to the American government.
1900 The Foraker Act establishes the structure of government in Puerto Rico.

After the U.S. takes possession of Puerto Rico, it is necessary to set up a government. The Foraker Act calls for elements including a governor, a House of Representatives, and a Supreme Court.
1902 U.S. withdraws from Cuba.

The Treaty of Paris calls for Cuba to be independent from the U.S and the U.S. helped free the country from Spain. American troops withdraw from Cuba, although Cuba will experience years of turbulent leadership in the decades to come.