1898: Remembering the Maine one more time

On this day in 1898, the USS Maine exploded in Havana harbor. Not much later, President McKinley called on the US Congress to declare war on Spain. McKinley tried to keep a distance from the terrible situation in Cuba and the long and bloody war of independence. However, everything changed after that explosion, which caught the interest of newspapers and their readers in the US.

And so started the 4-month Spanish American War that changed Cuba forever. It also made a national hero out of Theodore Roosevelt. After the quick victory over Spain, President McKinley selected Mr. Roosevelt as his running mate in 1900. A year into his second term, TR assumed the presidency when McKinley was assassinated.

And Cuba? The island became an independent country in 1902, and you know the rest of the story.

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1 thought on “1898: Remembering the Maine one more time”

  1. 1898 was not so long ago . . . at least in my family. I heard oral accounts from eyewitnesses of the Maine explosion. My father’s mother and aunt (born in early 1870’s) remembered hearing the explosion of the Maine and seeing the fireball in the sky. Those two women lived with us when I was a small child and I heard the story many times in my early years. My father’s sister, who also lived with us, (born in 1895 ) remembers her father –my grandfather who died in 1927 and I never got to meet — saying to her in 1899: “You’ll need to learn English now. There are going to be a lot of Americans here in Cuba from now on . . .” All of this goes to show how brief Cuba’s existence as an independent democratic republic really was. Castro, Inc. has been in power for 65 years. The Cuban republic was in existence for a mere 56. And, sad to say, I now belong to a small and dwindling number of Cubans who can remember life B.C., before Castro.

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