Posted by Murrisk on April 27, 2002 at 04:04:32:
In February 1898 the US cruiser Maine blew up in the harbour of Santiago, Cuba, probably from spontaneous combustion of unstable cordite. This problem plagued naval ships up to the end of the First World War. Maybe Bowser could explain the chenistry to us. A Commission of Enquiry was set to determine the cause of the loss, however, the US government without waiting for the Commission's conclusions, declared war on Spain on April 25, 1898. A US fleet attacked a Spanish squadron in Manilla port on May 1st, troops were subsequently landed and Manilla capitulated on August 13. The Philippines were occupied. Within a short period the US was fighting Phillippine insurgents and the US was engaged in its first southeast Asian war. The 4th Cavalry, in which at least one Castlebar man served, was deployed to defend Manila.
On July 3rd the Spanish naval forces based in Cuba were destroyed and two weeks later Santiago capitulated. Under the terms of the peace Cuba was recognized as independent. Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines were taken as protectorates. As a result of this war the US became a Power with strategic obligations requiring a fleet larger than she had ever possessed.