The Spanish American War
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The Spanish American war of 1898 was fought by the United States and Spain. The war was fought over the independence of Cuba from Spain. Many Americans supported Cuba and wanted the United States to send help. In 1898 Pres. William McKinley sent the US battleship Maine to Cuba to help protect Americans in Cuba. A huge explosion caused the Maine to sink in Cuban waters. Americans blamed Spain for the explosion and public pressure was unrelenting until Pres. McKinley attacked Spanish battleships in the Philippines to prevent them from going to Cuba. The United States needed soldiers to help fight in the war. The "Rough Riders" volunteer calvery led by Theodore Roosevelt, the future president of the United States, included cowboys and ranchers. The Spanish army surrendered on July 17 and a peace treaty was signed in December of 1898. Cuba gained its independence and Spain gave up control of the Philippine islands, Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States. The oldest overseas US naval base, Guantanamo Bay, was formed in 1903 in Cuba.