Spanish-American War (Part 1: Timeline)

1893: Historian Frederick Jackson Turner of the University of Wisconsin, gives speech at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The speech, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” lays the ground for the “Turner thesis” of American history. The idea presents the frontier as the catalysis of American history; American economic power and, indeed, the American democracy depend on the “free land” of the frontier. He also declared that the first period of American history was over, with vanishing of the former frontier.

1895: The War of Cuban Independence begins on 24 February. The Spanish send 100,000 troops to fight in Cuba. On May 19, military leader Jose Marti is killed in action and becomes a martyr for the Cuban people. American journalists like William Randolph Hearst, wrote sympathetically of the Cubans. On September 17, the battleship USS Maine is commissioned.

1896: Philippine Revolution begins on August 26.

1897: On March 4, William McKinley is inaugurated as President of the United States. On June 19, Stewart Woodford is appointed U.S. minister to Spain. The Spanish Prime Minister, Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, is assassinated on August 8. On October 4, Práxedes Mateo Sagasta becomes Prime Minister of Spain. He recalls General Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau from Cuba on October 31. Throughout the year Cuban Major General Calixto Ramón García Iñiquez captures Spanish forts in Cuba.

1898: Spain allows Cuba to have limited political autonomy on January 1. On January 12 riots occur, Consul-General Fitzhugh Lee views these as a threat to American interest and asks for a ship to be sent to Havana. On January 25 the USS Maine arrives in Havana. On February 9 the DeLome Letter, a Spanish diplomat’s letter critical of President McKinley is published, the diplomat is recalled to Spain. The Maine explodes in the port of Havana on February 15. On February 24, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt telegraphs Admiral George Dewey to be ready for war. On March 8, Congress authorizes $50 million for a war fund. McKinley sends a demand to the Spanish to end the war in Cuba, on March 26. U.S. minister to Spain, Woodford, demands the Spanish give Cuba independence on 30 March. The next day the Spain turn down the demand. The House of Representatives, on April 1, authorises the use of $22.6 for naval vessels. On April 7, many European ambassadors appeal to McKinley to maintain peace with Spain. However, on April 11, McKinley asks Congress to authorise a war. Five days later the military begins to mobilise, the Teller Amendment, placing conditions on the U.S. military presents in Cuba, passes Congress. On the 19 of April Congress declares that Cuba is independent, on the 25 the U.S. retroactively declares war to April 22. On April 22, the U.S. Navy set up a blockade of Cuba and took a Spanish ship. Throughout the rest of the year America fights the Spanish in their global empire, including the capturing of Guam and Puerto Rico, and war in the Philippines. On 29 September, Spanish and American peace commissioners meet for the first time. On the 18 of October, the U.S. takes formal possession of Puerto Rico. On November 28, Spain agrees to the ceding of the Philippines. The December 10 Treaty of Paris formally ends the Spanish-American War.

1899: Philippine-American War (Philippine Insurrection) begins on the 4 of February.

1901: McKinley’s second inauguration occurs on the 4 of March with Theodore Roosevelt as Vice-President. On September 6 Leon Czolgosz shots President McKinley, who dies on the 14. Roosevelt becomes President.

1902: On the 4 of July, Roosevelt declares the Philippines pacified.



Musicant, I. (1998). Empire by Default: The Spanish-American War and the Dawn of the American Century. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

PBS (1999). Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War. Retrieved from

The Spanish American War Centennial Website Staff (2012). Spanish American War Chronology. Retrieved from