Today, December 10, 1898: Treaty of Paris Ends Spanish-American War

On October 10, 1868, Cuban estate and sugar mill owner, Carlos Manuel Cespedes issued the Grito de Yara (The Cry of Yara). He set his slaves free and called for the right of self-government of Cuba. He is credited with initiating the Cuban Ten Years War.

In 1887, Philippine born José Rizal published Noi Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) in Germany. His publication is credited with bringing the issue of national consciousness to the Philippines. At the time, Spain controlled the Philippines.

In 1890, Alfred T. Mahan, published The Influence of Sea Power upon history, 1600-1783. His piece is credited in launching a change in US foreign policy. Mahan advocated the US take possession of the Caribbean Islands, Hawaii and the Philippines and then build military bases on them to protect American commerce. Mahan also advocated building a canal through the lower part of Central America to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and made trade and naval movement easier. He also advocated building a large fleet of armor-plated steam-driven battleships.

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On January 5, 1892, José Julián Marti y Pérez created the Cuban Revolutionary Party in New York City. The movement spread from New York to Philadelphia, then Tampa, Key West and on to Cuba.

On July 3, 1892, the political action group known as La Liga Filipina formed by Rizal upon his return to the Philippines. The group originally sought reforms of the Spanish administration ruling the Philippines by peaceful means. Three days later, Rizal was arrested the La Liga Filipina group died off a year later.

On July 7, 1892, another more radical group known as the Katipunan was formed by Andrés Bonifacio. This group pushed for an armed revolution against the Spanish rulers of the Philippines.

On February 24, 1895, the Ejército Libertador de Cuba, a movement calling for Cuban independence from Spain declared independence. However, the Spanish military squelched the rebellion on the same day.

On April 10, 1895, a new insurrection arises in Cuba over Spanish rule.

On June 12, 1895, US President Grover Cleveland declares that the US will remain neutral concerning the Cuban independence rebellion.

On February 16, 1896, Spanish General Weyler initiates the infamous Reconcentration Policy because of the rebellion. Everyone living in rural areas are ordered to move into specified locations in fortified cities. Hundreds of thousands of Cuban citizens are sent to concentration camps. Over 400,000 Cuban citizens died in the concentration camps, mostly due to disease. Anyone not following Weyler’s Reconcentration Policy is shot and killed. With most of the country’s farmers moved off their lands, food became scares and famine swept the Cuban island.

On February 28, 1896, President Cleveland and Secretary of State Richard Olney became aware that the situation in Cuba needed their attention when the US Senate passed the John T. Morgan/Donald Cameron Resolution. The resolution called for the recognition of Cuban independence and the rebellion taking place a mere 90 miles from the Florida coast.

On March 2, 1896, the US House overwhelmingly passed their own version of the Morgan/Cameron Resolution calling for the formal recognition of the Cuban rebellion and call for independence.

During the next few months, Spain tries to get other European countries to support their hard-handed policies in Cuba

On August 9, 1896, Great Britain foils Spain’s attempt to gain support for their actions in Cuba.

On August 26, 1896, the Philippine Revolution against Spain erupts.

On December 7, 1896, President Cleveland announces that they US may get involved in Cuba if Spain does not resolve the crisis on the island nation. Cleveland’s decision was partially based upon a strategic study by US Naval Intelligence Officer William Warren Kimball. His study stated that the US needed to take military action against Cuba. He recommended establishing a naval blockade around Cuba, attacking the Spanish held positions in Manilla, Philippines and attacking Spain along their Mediterranean coast.

In January 1897, New York newspapers began running news of the rebellion in Cuba and the harshness of the Spanish rulers. The articles created strong anti-Spanish sentiment in many influential areas of the US.

On March 4, 1897, William McKinley was sworn as President of the US. A short time later, he appointed Theodore Roosevelt as his Assistant Secretary of the Navy. In the Philippines, Emilio Aguinaldo was elected president of the newly independent nation.

On August 8, 1897, Antonio Cánovas, Prime Minister of Spain was assassinated, causing a major change in the Spanish government.

On November 1, 1897, the Baik-ua-Bato Republic is officially formed with the approval of the new Philippine Constitution.

On January 1, 1898, Spain grants limited self-government rights to Cuba.

On February 8, 1898, the New York Journal publishes a letter from Enrique Dupuy de Lómés, Spanish Minister, in which he highly criticized McKinley. The USS Maine is sent to Cuba in hopes that its presence will stop the Spanish from further aggression.

On February 15, 1898, the USS Maine, anchored in the Havana Harbor explodes.

On February 25, 1898, Roosevelt cables Commodore Dewey and instructs him to prepare to launch an attack on the Philippines in case the US goes to war with Spain.

On April 11, 1898, President McKinley approves the motion from Congress to declare war with Spain.

On April 24, 1898, Spain declares war with the US. The Spanish-American War officially begins.

On May 1, 1898, the Battle of Manila Bay takes place. At dawn, Commodore Perry’s fleet spotted the Spanish Pacific Fleet located at Manila Bay. At 5:40am, Manila time, Perry gave permission for his fleet to open fire on the Spanish warships. In a mere two hours, the Spanish Pacific Fleet was destroyed. Several Spanish ships remained unharmed and their captains refused to surrender, and fighting resumed later in the day. By early afternoon, the remaining Spanish ships surrendered to Dewey. The Battle of Manila Bay resulted in the destruction of the Spanish fleet and nearly 400 Spanish troops killed. Dewey’s forces suffered less than 10 casualties.

On July 3, 1898, the Battle of Santiago de Cuba took place between American and Spanish navies. The Spanish Caribbean fleet was destroyed. Spain suffered over 300 dead, around 151 wounded and 1,720 captured. American forces suffered 1 dead and 1 wounded

On July 17, 1898, the Spanish rulers at Santiago, Cuba surrendered to the American forces.

On August 12, 1898, after the overwhelming defeats in the Philippines and Cuba, Spain signs an armistice with the US.

On this day, December 10, 1898, the US and Spain sign the Treaty of Paris, officially ending the short-lived Spanish-American War. Terms of the treaty forced Spain to denounce all rights to Cuba and allowed for an independent Cuba. Spain also ceded Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States and gave up the rest of their holdings in the West Indies. The treaty also resulted in Spain celling their rights to the Philippines to the US for $20 million.

On December 23, 1898, control of the Guam was turned over to the US Navy.


Sources for the above includes: The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War; The Spanish American War (1898-1901); Topics in Chronicling America – Major Events of the Spanish American War; Treaty of Paris of 1898; Treaty of Paris; Treaty of Paris Ends Spanish-American War; January 1899: Senate Debate over Ratification of the Treaty of Paris; February, 1896: Reconcentration Policy

Dave Jolly

R.L. David Jolly holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and an M.S. in Biology – Population Genetics. He has worked in a number of fields, giving him a broad perspective on life, business, economics and politics. He is a very conservative Christian, husband, father and grandfather who cares deeply for his Savior, family and the future of our troubled nation.

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