Spanish American War 1898. America Becomes an Empire.
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America Becomes an Empire
The Spanish-American War (April-July 1898) was a brief, intense conflict that effectively ended Spain's worldwide empire and gained the United States several new possessions in the Caribbean and the Pacific. Preceded by a naval tragedy, the destruction of USS Maine at Havana, Cuba, the Spanish-American War featured two major naval battles, one in the Philippines and the other off Cuba, plus several smaller naval clashes.
The Navy also provided essential support for U.S. Army and Marine Corps forces ashore. The war made public heroes of a number of U.S. Navy officers, and marked the beginning of an extremely dynamic period in the Navy's history.
At 9:40 on the evening of 15 February, a terrible explosion on board Maine shattered the stillness in Havana Harbor. Later investigations revealed that more than five tons of powder charges for the vessel's six and ten-inch guns ignited, virtually obliterating the forward third of the ship. The remaining wreckage rapidly settled to the bottom of the harbor. Most of Maine's crew were sleeping or resting in the enlisted quarters in the forward part of the ship when the explosion occurred. Two hundred and sixty-six men lost their lives as a result of the disaster: 260 died in the explosion or shortly thereafter, and six more died later from injuries. Captain Sigsbee and most of the officers survived because their quarters were in the aft portion of the ship.