Study Guide

The Spanish-American War Timeline

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Oct 10, 1868

Ten Years War

The Ten Years War in Cuba begins, launching the first phase of the Cuban war for independence from Spain.

Dec 19, 1873

Henry H. Garnet Speaks Out

African-American abolitionist Henry H. Garnet calls for a U.S. invasion of Cuba to free slaves.

Dec 19, 1885

Our Country Published

Josiah Strong writes Our Country, which calls for Anglo-Saxons to spread their superior institutions and values to "inferior races" in the American West. Civilizing "savages," he says, would be both good for the uncivilized peoples and for the American economy.

Oct 7, 1886

Cuba Ends Slavery

Slavery is officially abolished in Cuba.

Mar 1, 1887

Touch Me Not Published

Filipino José Rizal publishes Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not). His story of Spanish colonial injustice awakens national consciousness among Filipinos.

Jan 5, 1892

Cuban Revolutionary Party Formed

Cuban José Martí forms El Partido Revolucionario Cubano (Cuban Revolutionary Party) while living in the United States.

Jul 7, 1892

The Katipunan Formed

Andrés Bonifacio forms the Katipunan, a secret brotherhood committed to winning Filipino independence through armed revolution against Spain.

Dec 19, 1893 - Dec 19, 1897

The Great Depression

The United States suffers from a severe economic depression.

Jun 1, 1893

Turner Announces Frontier Closed

At the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, historian Frederick Jackson Turner delivers a speech in which he announces the closing of the western frontier.

Feb 24, 1895

Cuban War for Independence II

The second phase of the Cuban war for independence from Spain begins with the Grito de Baire, which declares, "Independencia o muerte." (Independence or death.)

Apr 10, 1895

Martí Returns

José Martí returns to Cuba to fight for independence. His Cuban Revolutionary Party founded in New York continues to work tirelessly for revolution, inspired by Martí.

May 19, 1895

Martí Dies

José Martí is killed in a Spanish ambush at Dos Ríos, Cuba.

Jun 12, 1895

U.S. Neutral in Cuba

U.S. President Grover Cleveland proclaims U.S. neutrality in the Cuban war against Spain.

Jan 1, 1896

Cuba Gains

Cuban Generals Antonio Maceo and Máximo Gómez successfully invade Spanish holdings in the West.

Feb 16, 1896

Cuba Martial Law

Spanish generals place the entire island of Cuba under martial law.

Feb 28, 1896

U.S. Supports Cuba

The U.S. Senate recognizes the Cuban effort to gain independence and calls for support for the movement.

Mar 2, 1896

U.S. Recognizes Cuba

The U.S. House of Representatives calls for the recognition of the Cuban independence movement.

Aug 26, 1896

Filipino War for Independence

The Filipino war for independence from Spain begins.

Nov 1, 1896

McKinley Elected President

Republican William McKinley defeats Democrat William Jennings Bryan in the presidential election.

Dec 7, 1896

Cleveland Declares Cuban Intent

U.S. President Grover Cleveland declares that the U.S. may take action in Cuba if Spain fails to resolve the crisis there.

Jan 19, 1897

Anti-Spanish Sentiment

The New York Journal reports on the execution of a Cuban rebel by a Spanish firing squad. Through sensational stories like these, major American newspapers help strengthen anti-Spanish sentiment in the United States.

Mar 4, 1897

McKinley Inauguration

William McKinley is inaugurated as President of the United States.

Jan 1, 1898

Cuba Home Rule

Spain grants limited autonomy to Cuba. Cubans establish a home-rule government.

Jan 25, 1898

Maine Arrives

The United States battleship Maine arrives in Havana harbor.

Feb 9, 1898

De Lôme Letter

The New York Journal publishes the De Lôme letter, critical of President McKinley, pushing the United States to consider war against Spain.

Feb 15, 1898

Maine Sinks

An explosion sinks the battleship Maine in Havana harbor. 266 U.S. crewmen are killed.

Mar 17, 1898

Proctor Pleads War

Republican Senator Redfield Proctor from Vermont returns from a trip in Cuba to report on his observations. He calls for Congress and the U.S. business community to declare war against Spain.

Mar 20, 1898

Gómez Rejects Spain

Máximo Gómez, the leader of the Cuban Liberation Army, rejects an offer form Spain to ally against the United States.

Mar 28, 1898

Spanish Mine Blamed

U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry releases a report pronouncing that a Spanish mine caused the explosion of the Maine.

Mar 29, 1898

Ultimatum to Spain

The United States issues an ultimatum to the Spanish government to leave Cuba. Spain rejects it.

Apr 4, 1898

Press Calls for Intervention

The New York Journal prints one million copies of an issue covering the war in Cuba and calls for the United States to intervene against Spain.

Apr 11, 1898

McKinley Asks for War

President McKinley asks Congress for a declaration of war against Spain.

Apr 13, 1898

Congress Intervenes

The U.S. Congress agrees to intervene in Cuba, but without recognizing the Cuban insurrection government.

Apr 19, 1898

Teller Amendment

The U.S. Congress votes for war with Spain. In its declaration of war, Congress issues the Teller Amendment, which disclaims any intention of the U.S. to annex Cuba and promises to leave the island as soon as the war is over.

Apr 25, 1898

U.S. Declares War

The Spanish-American War is formally declared.

May 1, 1898

Navy Destroys Spanish Fleet

In a decisive battle, the U.S. Navy destroys a Spanish fleet in Manila Bay in the Philippine Islands.

May 19, 1898

Aguinaldo Returns

Emilio Aguinaldo returns to the Philippine Islands. The United States had invited him back from exile, hoping that Aguinaldo would rally the Filipinos against the Spanish colonial government.

May 24, 1898

Aguinaldo Head

Responding to the poor conditions he discovered in the Philippines upon his return, Emilio Aguinaldo appoints himself head of a dictatorial government.

May 24, 1898

U.S. Meets Cubans

The commanders of the U.S. Marines and leaders of the Cuban Liberation Army meet. Cuban forces provide detailed information for the U.S. campaign against Spain.

May 25, 1898

Troops Disembark

The first U.S. troops disembark from San Francisco for the Philippine Islands.

Jun 6, 1898

Santiago de Cuba

U.S. troops bombard Santiago de Cuba, destroying many Spanish ships and fortifications.

Jun 11, 1898

McKinley Wants Hawaii

Congress agrees to annex Hawaii. The McKinley administration argues, "We must have Hawaii to help us get our share of China."

Jun 13, 1898

Rough Riders

Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders regiment leave Tampa, Florida, headed for Santiago de Cuba.

Jun 14, 1898

U.S. Keeps Philippines

The McKinley administration decides not to return the Philippine Islands to Spain.

Jun 15, 1898

Imperialist Opposition

The American Anti-Imperialist League is organized to oppose the annexation of the Philippine Islands. Members include Republican Senator George Hoar, businessman Andrew Carnegie, humorist Mark Twain, and American philosopher William James.

Jul 1, 1898

U.S. Troops Arrive

U.S. troops arrive in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Jul 1, 1898

Cuban Battles

The Battles of El Caney and San Juan Hill rage in Cuba.

Jul 8, 1898

Hawaii Annexation

The United States annexes Hawaii.

Jul 16, 1898

Spain Surrenders

The Spanish army in Santiago de Cuba surrenders to the United States.

Jul 26, 1898

U.S. Invades Puerto Rico

United States troops invade Puerto Rico.

Aug 12, 1898

Spanish-American War Over

A ceasefire is announced, halting the Spanish-American War.

Nov 1, 1898

Theodore Roosevelt Elected Governor

Teddy Roosevelt is elected Governor of New York.

Dec 10, 1898

Treaty of Paris Ends War

The Treaty of Paris formally ends war between the United States and Spain. Spain renounces its rights to Cuba, acknowledges Cuban independence, cedes Puerto Rico and the island of Guam to the U.S., and sells the Philippines to the U.S. for $20,000,000.

Dec 19, 1899

Spanish Leave

Spanish forces leave Cuba. United States military occupation of Cuba begins.

Dec 19, 1899

Aguinaldo President

Emilio Aguinaldo declares himself president of the new Philippine Republic, but United States authorities refuse to recognize this new government.

Feb 4, 1899

Philippine War on U.S.

Responding to the killing of three Filipino soldiers by U.S. troops in Manila, the Philippine Republic declares war on the United States.

Apr 11, 1899

War Officially Over

The Treaty of Paris officially ends the Spanish-American War.

Dec 19, 1899

Open Door Policy

Secretary of State John Hay announces the Open Door policy, which demands that European powers controlling portions of China grant equal access to the United States. The policy calls for the free movement of goods but not people.

Dec 19, 1899

White Man’s Burden

British writer Rudyard Kipling pens a poem that urges the United States to take up the "white man's burden" of imperialism.

Nov 1, 1900

McKinley Reelected

William McKinley is reelected president, defeating his two-time opponent, William Jennings Bryan. Theodore Roosevelt is elected as McKinley's vice president.

Feb 1, 1901

Platt Amendment

The United States Senate enacts the Platt Amendment, which amends the Cuban Constitution to give the U.S. the right to intervene in Cuban affairs and access to naval bases on the island.

Apr 23, 1901

Aguinaldo Capture

U.S. forces capture Emilio Aguinaldo, the leader of the Philippine Republic. Later, he declares allegiance to the United States.

Sep 6, 1901

McKinley Dead

Anarchist Leon Czolgosz assassinates President William McKinley in Buffalo, New York. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt becomes President of the United States.

May 20, 1902

U.S. Exits Cuba

United States military occupation of Cuba ends.

Jul 4, 1902

Philippine War Ends

President Theodore Roosevelt declares the end of the war in the Philippines. After three years of warfare, at least 4,200 U.S. soldiers, 20,000 Filipino soldiers, and 200,000 Filipino civilians are dead. Filipino nationalists will continue to fight against U.S. forces occupying the islands for the next 13 years.

Dec 19, 2019

The New Empire Published

Brooks Adams, a grandson of John Quincy Adams, writes The New Empire, which predicts the rise of the U.S. as an economic power that would soon "outweigh any single empire, if not all empires combined."

Jul 15, 1913

Battle of Bud Bagsak

Several hundred Moro—or Muslim Filipino—guerilla fighters and 14 Americans die in the Battle of Bud Bagsak, the last major battle of the Philippine-American War.

Apr 22, 1915

Philippines Independent

After several years of continued fighting between Filipinos and American colonial forces, the United States grants the Philippines self-government and vows to give the islands full independence.

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