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Quiz about A Timeline of the SpanishAmerican War
Quiz about A Timeline of the SpanishAmerican War

A Timeline of the Spanish-American War Quiz

The sequence of events in 1898

The Cuban War of Independence had been going since 1895 while America watched with interest. But after a riot by Spanish loyalists in Havana in early 1898, concerns were raised about the safety of Americans in the city. Do you recall what happened next?

An ordering quiz by reedy. Estimated time: 3 mins.
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3 mins
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Quiz #
Sep 13 23
# Qns
Avg Score
8 / 15
Last 3 plays: piet (15/15), Guest 24 (11/15), gme24 (9/15).
Mobile instructions: Press on an answer on the right. Then, press on the question it matches on the left.
(a) Drag-and-drop from the right to the left, or (b) click on a right side answer, and then click on its destination box to move it.
What's the Correct Order?Choices
(February 15)
The USS Maine explodes in Havana's harbour
(April 19)
US Navy implements a blockade of Cuba
(April 22)
Spain capitulates to the United States at Santiago
(April 25)
The Battle of Santiago de Cuba
(May 1)
Spanish troops surrender Manila in a "mock battle"
(May 12)
The island of Guam is surrendered to US occupation
(June 10)
Congress recognizes independence of Cuba
(June 21)
US blockade of San Juan Bay (Puerto Rico)
(July 1)
The United States and Spain are (both) officially at war
(July 3)
US troops land at Guantánamo Bay (Cuba)
(July 17)
Spain and the United States sign the Treaty of Paris
(July 25)
US troops invade Puerto Rico
(August 12)
Armistice protocols are agreed upon
(August 13)
The Battle of San Juan Hill (Cuba)
(December 10)
The Battle of Manila Bay (Philippines)

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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The USS Maine explodes in Havana's harbour

Since 1895, Spain had been fighting the War of Cuban Independence, with the neighbouring United States keeping a close eye on developments. When the Philippines also began to fight against their Spanish colonial rulers in 1896, the US government secretly offered to purchase Cuba from the pressured Spanish, to no avail.

On January 12th, 1898, a riot by Cuban Spanish loyalists in Havana led to concerns about the safety of Americans living in the city, and the armoured cruiser "USS Maine" was dispatched to Havana to protect US interests. It arrived on January 25th.

On February 15th, an explosion ripped through the "Maine," killing 268 sailors and sinking the ship in the harbour. An inquiry by the US Navy in March ruled that the ship had been scuttled by a mine, but other Naval officers suggested that a spontaneous fire in a coal bunker caused the explosion. Even after the ship was raised in 1911, no definitive conclusion on the cause of the tragedy was determined.

Either way, the timing of the event was suspicious enough that fingers were pointed at Spain and yellow journalism in the US fired up anti-Spanish sentiment and the two nations moved closer to war. "Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!" became the rallying cry for action.
2. Congress recognizes independence of Cuba

President William McKinley made various efforts to keep things from escalating, beginning with efforts to convince the Spanish government to just give Cuba their independence, and when that didn't work, he tried to broker an armistice between the Spanish and the Cuban insurrectionists.

With these unsuccessful efforts, McKinley made a request of Congress on April 11th:

" authorize and empower the President to take measures to secure a full and final termination of hostilities between the government of Spain and the people of Cuba, and to ensure in the island the establishment of a stable government, capable of maintaining order and observing its international obligations, ensuring peace and tranquillity and the security of its citizens as well as our own, and to use the military and naval forces of the United States as may be necessary for these purposes."

On April 19th, Congress passed a joint resolution recognizing Cuban independence, and giving President McKinley the go-ahead for military action, with an amendment made on April 20th that said that the US could not annex Cuba after the fact.
3. US Navy implements a blockade of Cuba

After the American declaration recognizing Cuban independence and the demand for the Spanish to withdraw, the Spanish were quick to cut official ties with the US. And within a couple of days, McKinley ordered the Navy to establish a blockade of Cuba. The American ships sailed on the 22nd, arriving the morning of April 23rd to position the fleet at the northern part of the island.

It would take until June 28th for the commander of the North Atlantic Squadron, Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, to fully implement the blockade around the island.
4. The United States and Spain are (both) officially at war

With the arrival of the US fleet and the beginning of the blockade of Cuba, Spain officially declared war on the United States (on April 23rd). Two days later, Congress voted to return the favour, and on April 25th, the two countries were officially in a state of war with each other.

And with this new state of affairs, the United States began to move against Spanish interests and holdings in more than one location, not limiting itself to just the ongoing Cuban conflict.
5. The Battle of Manila Bay (Philippines)

The first battle of the Spanish-American War occurred on the other side of the world from where it began. With the declaration of war on April 25th, the American Asiatic Squadron, under the command of Commodore George Dewey, departed Hong Kong for Manila to engage the Spanish flotilla, under the command of Rear Admiral Patricio Montojo.

The American ships arrived at Manila Bay just after midnight on the night of April 30th, and the first battle of the conflict began shortly after 5 a.m. on May 1st. With more modern ships and superior firepower, it did not take long for the US Navy ships to decimate the Spanish flotilla.

But with a city and garrison filled with Spanish troops (albeit already in conflict with a Philippine uprising), no attempt was made to make a landing (yet).
6. US blockade of San Juan Bay (Puerto Rico)

With his blockade of Cuba begun, Rear Admiral William T. Sampson took a squadron of ten warships to Puerto Rico, expecting to head off a Spanish fleet that was reportedly steaming there from the Cape Verde Islands under the command of Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete. Unbeknownst to Sampson, the Spanish fleet had already made it to Santiago Bay on Cuba's southern shore. When the American ships arrived at San Juan Bay on May 12th, they found an empty harbour and they began the bombardment of San Juan's fortifications.

While the blockade was in place, there were a few efforts by Spanish ships to run the blockade over the course of the conflict, with some successful efforts in getting in much-needed supplies.
7. US troops land at Guantánamo Bay (Cuba)

In spite of efforts by Cuban insurgents, the Spanish still controlled the key sites of Guantánamo City, the port of Caimanera and the railroad connecting the two cities. This became the chosen target for the US Expeditionary Force to make their landing, as a highly valued strategic site. The Guantánamo garrison, under the command of General Felix Pareja, was about 5,000 strong.

Before landing on June 10th, the US Navy deployed a ship on June 6th, scouting for a likely site to establish a naval base. They encountered some resistance, but their superior firepower pushed the Spanish gunboats back. Three days later, the First Battalion of Marines arrived, 650 men, ready to land. On the 10th, they landed unopposed and occupied a site above the village on Fisherman's Point, which they designated Camp McCalla.

But it did not remain calm and quiet, as the Spanish forces in the area moved in to attack the camp. Fighting continued for three days, with the American troops getting support from the Cuban insurgents, before they were able to push out into their own attack.

As a point of note, a war correspondent accompanied the Marines -- author Stephen Crane, who wrote "The Red Badge of Courage," amongst other stories.

With this beachhead established, and Guantánamo Bay under American control, and the garrison at Guantánamo City penned in and cut off, Major General William R. Shafter landed with a force of 17,000 infantry between June 22nd and 25th with the goal of advancing on the Spanish stronghold at Santiago.
8. The island of Guam is surrendered to US occupation

Guam had been a Spanish possession since 1688, but all that was on the island in 1898 was a small garrison and a governor. When a small group of American ships arrived on June 20th while en route from Honolulu to Manila, the Spanish on the island of Guam had not yet heard that they were at war.

Captain Henry Glass landed on the 21st and accepted the surrender of the island from Governor Juan Marina. The contingent of 56 soldiers and officers were taken into custody without incident, and the American flag was raised over the island.
9. The Battle of San Juan Hill (Cuba)

After landing at Guantánamo Bay, the US force moved inland towards Santiago. Before engaging in the subject battle at San Juan Hill, around 1,700 Americans and Cubans attacked Las Guasimas de Sevilla on June 24th. The Spanish numbers were slightly less than those of the combined attackers, but it was not really a straight up fight, as the Spanish were fighting a rearguard action while retreating towards the aforementioned San Juan Heights .

A week later on July 1st, a much larger force (numbering over 8,000), under the command of General William Rufus Shafter, assaulted the San Juan Heights under heavy fire, eventually taking the hill with significant casualties (144 killed, 1,024 wounded, 72 missing) compared to the Spanish (58 killed, 366 wounded, 41 captured) from their much smaller force of just over 500.

Amongst the American soldiers were the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry - a.k.a. the "Rough Riders" - under the command of future US President Theodore Roosevelt.
10. The Battle of Santiago de Cuba

With the American victory at San Juan Hill, they were knocking on the door of Santiago de Cuba, where a force of 10,000 Spanish soldiers were garrisoned and the Spanish fleet was at anchor, held within the bay by the blockade.

Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete elected to try to take his fleet and breach the blockade, planning to make the effort on the morning of Sunday, July 3rd when he expected many Americans would be having their religious services. But his ageing fleet was no match for the newer and better-equipped US fleet. Cervera's effort was a disaster, with all of his ships being sunk without any losses to the Americans.

With this decisive victory, all that remained was to take Santiago, itself. Thus began the Siege of Santiago.
11. Spain capitulates to the United States at Santiago

Two weeks of artillery assaults and a stranglehold on any resupply to Santiago City finally broke the Spanish, and they capitulated, agreeing to terms on July 16th with all the Spanish troops being marched out on the 17th. The terms of the 'surrender' (the Spanish wouldn't actually use that term) ceded Santiago City, along with Guantanamo City and San Luis, to the US.

From this point, fighting on the island of Cuba essentially ended, even though the Spanish still had control of Havana and other areas. Plans were considered for an attack on Havana, but many of the troops were suffering with malaria, yellow fever and dysentery. While they were being looked after, about half of the force at Santiago was repurposed to the next target: Puerto Rico.
12. US troops invade Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico's San Juan harbour had been blockaded since the earliest days of the conflict, but the majority of the American efforts in the Caribbean had been focused on Cuba. With the victory at Santiago de Cuba, the US turned their eyes on Puerto Rico, and Major General Nelson A. Miles landed near Guánica on the southwest coast on July 25th.

Over the next three weeks, the Americans advanced, facing stiff Spanish and Puerto Rican resistance, achieving control of about half of the island by the time hostilities were ceased on August 13th. In that time span, casualties were minimal, with only 20 killed and 364 wounded on both sides, combined.
13. Armistice protocols are agreed upon

With the war having been very one-sided, with American victory after victory (the Spanish had some triumphs, but they were few and far between), and with their fleets destroyed in all the naval engagements, the Spanish sued for peace, through the Belgian Ambassador as intermediary. Hostilities were officially ended on August 12th with the signing (in Washington) of a Protocol of Peace between the United States and Spain.

Unfortunately for a few combatants, news of the accord would come a little too late.
14. Spanish troops surrender Manila in a "mock battle"

Word of the signed armistice had not reached Manila yet, when the commander of the Spanish garrison in Manila suggested a unique course of action to his American counterpart. Governor-General of the Philippines Fermín Jáudenes communicated a plan to stage a 'mock battle' that would allow the Americans to take over Manila, while specifically not allowing the Philippine insurgents to participate, in a way to 'save face' by not capitulating to the 'inferior force' that they had been fighting for three years.

Even with the plan, there were casualties, as not everyone was in on the full details of the arrangement. Philippine troops (under the command of Emilio Aguinaldo) tried to get in on the action when the Americans moved in, and casualties occurred.

Thus, in spite of the official cessation of hostilities signed the previous day in Washington, the final 'battle' of the Spanish-American War happened on August 13th, at a cost of 68 killed and 103 wounded on both sides. The American forces, led by Major General Wesley Merritt and Commodore George Dewey, occupied Manila without allowing a joint occupation with the Philippine Revolutionary forces... which led to another conflict for the Americans soon afterwards: the Philippine-American War.
15. Spain and the United States sign the Treaty of Paris

The terms of the Paris Treaty (1898) were not favourable to the Spanish. They were forced to cede Puerto Rico, Guam, and Manila to the Americans, while also forsaking all claims to Cuba. The Americans did not take over Cuba, but withdrew and left the Cubans to form their own post-colonial government. In addition to these concessions, the Spanish also chose to turn over the entirety of their claim on the Philippines to the Americans for the price of $20 million.

These terms were defined after two months of hard negotiations, and the agreement still needed to be ratified by the respective governments. In Spain, their legislature rejected the treaty, but Queen Maria Christina, who had the authority in spite of what the legislature wanted, signed agreement. In the US, Congress ratified the treaty by a one-vote margin. The treaty came into effect on April 11, 1899.
Source: Author reedy

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