- About the Exhibit
- Empires and Revolutions: 1613–1825
- Trade with Spanish America: 1825-1900
- Cultural Encounters: 1825-1900
- Political Encounters: 1850-1930
- An Hispano Landscape: 1900–45
Spanish-Cuban-American War (1895-98)
On January 29, 1895, Jose Martí—poet, journalist, and leader of the Cuban Revolutionary Party in New York—sent written orders to Cuba to begin a military uprising against the Spanish colonizers. Thus started the second Cuban war for independence. Martí left for Cuba the next day. On May 19th he died in battle at Dos Ríos, Cuba.
Martí’s call to action and his subsequent death galvanized support for the revolution in New York and in Florida, especially among cigar workers. By 1898, the conflict was devastating the island but neither side could marshal the resources to win.
U.S. leaders debated what to do. Most believed the island was too important to American economic and political interests to risk a free Cuba, or a Cuba ruled by another foreign power. The explosion of the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana’s harbor, the leak of a letter written by the Spanish minister insulting President McKinley, and goading by New York’s English-language press moved Congress and the president towards entering the Spanish-Cuban war.