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Oct 10, 1868
The Ten Years War in Cuba begins, launching the first phase of the Cuban war for independence from Spain.
Dec 19, 1873
African-American abolitionist Henry H. Garnet calls for a U.S. invasion of Cuba to free slaves.
Dec 19, 1885
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
Slavery is officially abolished in Cuba.
Mar 1, 1887
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 José Martí forms El Partido Revolucionario Cubano (Cuban Revolutionary Party) while living in the United States.
Jul 7, 1892
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 United States suffers from a severe economic depression.
Jun 1, 1893
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
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
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
José Martí is killed in a Spanish ambush at Dos Ríos, Cuba.
Jun 12, 1895
U.S. President Grover Cleveland proclaims U.S. neutrality in the Cuban war against Spain.
Jan 1, 1896
Cuban Generals Antonio Maceo and Máximo Gómez successfully invade Spanish holdings in the West.
Feb 16, 1896
Spanish generals place the entire island of Cuba under martial law.
Feb 28, 1896
The U.S. Senate recognizes the Cuban effort to gain independence and calls for support for the movement.
Mar 2, 1896
The U.S. House of Representatives calls for the recognition of the Cuban independence movement.
Aug 26, 1896
The Filipino war for independence from Spain begins.
Nov 1, 1896
Republican William McKinley defeats Democrat William Jennings Bryan in the presidential election.
Dec 7, 1896
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
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
William McKinley is inaugurated as President of the United States.
Jan 1, 1898
Spain grants limited autonomy to Cuba. Cubans establish a home-rule government.
Jan 25, 1898
The United States battleship Maine arrives in Havana harbor.
Feb 9, 1898
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
An explosion sinks the battleship Maine in Havana harbor. 266 U.S. crewmen are killed.
Mar 17, 1898
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
Máximo Gómez, the leader of the Cuban Liberation Army, rejects an offer form Spain to ally against the United States.
Mar 28, 1898
U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry releases a report pronouncing that a Spanish mine caused the explosion of the Maine.
Mar 29, 1898
The United States issues an ultimatum to the Spanish government to leave Cuba. Spain rejects it.
Apr 4, 1898
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
President McKinley asks Congress for a declaration of war against Spain.
Apr 13, 1898
The U.S. Congress agrees to intervene in Cuba, but without recognizing the Cuban insurrection government.
Apr 19, 1898
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
The Spanish-American War is formally declared.
May 1, 1898
In a decisive battle, the U.S. Navy destroys a Spanish fleet in Manila Bay in the Philippine Islands.
May 19, 1898
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
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
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
The first U.S. troops disembark from San Francisco for the Philippine Islands.
Jun 6, 1898
U.S. troops bombard Santiago de Cuba, destroying many Spanish ships and fortifications.
Jun 11, 1898
Congress agrees to annex Hawaii. The McKinley administration argues, "We must have Hawaii to help us get our share of China."
Jun 13, 1898
Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders regiment leave Tampa, Florida, headed for Santiago de Cuba.
Jun 14, 1898
The McKinley administration decides not to return the Philippine Islands to Spain.
Jun 15, 1898
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 in Cuba and Puerto Rico.
Jul 1, 1898
The Battles of El Caney and San Juan Hill rage in Cuba.
Jul 8, 1898
The United States annexes Hawaii.
Jul 16, 1898
The Spanish army in Santiago de Cuba surrenders to the United States.
Jul 26, 1898
United States troops invade Puerto Rico.
Aug 12, 1898
A ceasefire is announced, halting the Spanish-American War.
Nov 1, 1898
Teddy Roosevelt is elected Governor of New York.
Dec 10, 1898
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 forces leave Cuba. United States military occupation of Cuba begins.
Dec 19, 1899
Emilio Aguinaldo declares himself president of the new Philippine Republic, but United States authorities refuse to recognize this new government.
Feb 4, 1899
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
The Treaty of Paris officially ends the Spanish-American War.
Dec 19, 1899
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
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
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
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
U.S. forces capture Emilio Aguinaldo, the leader of the Philippine Republic. Later, he declares allegiance to the United States.
Sep 6, 1901
Anarchist Leon Czolgosz assassinates President William McKinley in Buffalo, New York. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt becomes President of the United States.
May 20, 1902
United States military occupation of Cuba ends.
Jul 4, 1902
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
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
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
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.