The Spanish-American War was a conflict between the United States and Spain that ended Spanish colonial rule in the Americas and resulted in U.S. acquisition of territories in the western Pacific and Latin America. ## Causes of the war The war was primarily caused by disputes over Cuba. The United States had long been interested in Cuba, which lies only 90 miles south of Florida. When a revolution broke out in Cuba in 1895 against Spanish rule, the U.S. paid close attention. Yellow journalism in the U.S., which sensationalized and sometimes fabricated events, stirred up public opinion in favor of the Cuban rebels. The explosion of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor in February 1898, which killed 260 U.S. sailors, was a turning point. Although the cause of the explosion was never definitively determined, U.S. newspapers used the event to pressure the government into war. ## Timeline of the Spanish-America War **The War:** The war began on April 25, 1898. The U.S. Navy was superior to the Spanish fleet, and it blockaded Cuba and attacked the Philippines, which was then a Spanish colony. U.S. ground forces, including the Rough Riders (a volunteer cavalry regiment led by Theodore Roosevelt), landed in Cuba and fought a series of engagements that pushed the Spanish back. The Spanish fleet was destroyed in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba on July 3, 1898. **Treaty of Paris:** The war ended when Spain signed the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. Under the terms of the treaty, Cuba became an independent country, and the United States gained control of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. **Significance:** The Spanish-American War marked the emergence of the U.S. as a world power. The U.S. gained an empire, albeit reluctantly, and began to play a more active role in international affairs. The war also had significant consequences for Spain, marking the end of its colonial empire and accelerating its focus on internal affairs.