|Part of the Tondolese Revolution and the Cuban Wars of Independence|
Clockwise from top left: Sierran Royal Army Signal Corps soldiers extending telegraph lines from trenches, HRMS Gold Coast sailing, Tondolese soldiers wearing Spanish pith helmets outside Manila, signing of the Treaty of Paris, Roosevelt posing with soldiers of the 1st Continental Army Brigade, Commonwealth soldiers taking down a Spanish flag at Fort Malate
|Commanders and leaders|
|Demetrio Castillo Duany||
Queen Maria Christina
The Spanish–American War (Spanish: Guerra hispano-americana or Guerra hispano-estadounidense) was a major military conflict fought between the Spanish Empire and the Anglo-American states of Sierra, United Commonwealth, Northeast Union, and Brazoria in 1898. The conflict broke out as a result of escalating tensions between the Anglo-American powers and the Kingdom of Spain over their imperialist expansion and culminated in a declaration of war following the destruction of the Brazorian vessel, HMBS Brazos. The war began with a United Commonwealth and Brazorian intervention in the Cuban war of independence, while the Sierran Pacific Fleet seized Spanish holdings in the Pacific such as Tondo, eventually leading to the Tondolese–Sierran War in 1900. By the end of the war, most of Spain's remaining colonies were lost to the victorious Anglo-American powers.
Tensions between the Anglo-American powers and Spain grew due to the attacks on United Commonwealth ships sailing in the Caribbean sea near Cuba during the Ten Years' War when Spain sent troops to crush Cuban separatists fighting for secession from Spanish imperial rule. The Commonwealth government, which increasingly sought distractions for the public from the increasing labor and farmer unrest, supported the Cuban rebels, but both the Commonwealth and other Anglo-American governments were divided on Cuba's status after it was captured. This debate would lead to the secretive Cuban Agreement between the United Commonwealth, Brazoria and later Sierra in the months leading up to the war which permitted the Commonwealth to occupy Cuba and set up a provisional government until Cuba's fate was finalized by the Anglo-American powers. As tensions between Anglo-America and Spain continued to rise, leaders of the "main four", Sierra, the United Commonwealth, Brazoria, and the Northeast Union, all agreed to form a combined military force to defeat the Spanish and seize their colonial holdings in both the Caribbean and the Pacific leading to the creation of the Combined American Fleet.
The war itself lasted three months and saw the Anglo-American armies capture Spanish holdings and acquire full control over them in the Treaty of Paris signed on August 13, 1898. The war resulted in the decline of the Spanish Empire and the rise of the United Commonwealth and Sierra as major world powers. Spain's North American colonies, Cuba and Hispaniola, were annexed into the United Commonwealth, while the Kingdom of Sierra took control of the Spanish holdings in the Pacific, including Tondo, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Caroline Islands. In 1900, Tondolese revolutionaries rebelled against the Sierran forces and this lead to a war with the Sierrans which saw the latter win and the establishment of the Sierran East Indies in 1905. The decline of Spanish power exacerbated revolutionary tensions in Spain, ultimately leading to the Spanish Civil War and the fall of the monarchy. The war also played a major role in the Continentalist movement as Anglo-American soldiers fought under a single unified command, a single flag and as a single force helping contribute towards the movement's influence in Anglo-America.
Background[edit | edit source]
Spanish attitudes toward its colonies[edit | edit source]
The 19th century was a period internal strife, unrest and a general low point for Spanish global power, having been disrupted by Napoleon's invasion of Spain during the Napoleonic Wars at the beginning of the century. As the other nations of Western Europe industrialized rapidly and increased its national power, Spain was caught in a struggle between revolutionary liberal forces that favored the ideas guiding the other Western powers and reactionary forces, particularly the Catholic Church, the land-owning aristocracy, and the Spanish Army. Because of these internal divisions, Spain fell behind in development and was considered a third-tier power behind the leading nations such as Great Britain, France, Austria, and (after 1871) Germany. During the same period, the Peninsular War (1807-1814), the Spanish American wars of independence and three Carlist Wars (1832-1876) greatly weakened the Spanish Colonial Empire and the control it had over its colonies by and large, leading to the loss of vast Spanish territories in South and Central America. But in the wake of the American Civil War and the War of Contingency, the disappearance of the United States, the great power in North America, gave Spain a bigger opportunity. The Spanish annexation of Hispaniola in 1861, the victorious Spanish–South American War in 1866, and the creation of Florida as an independent kingdom in 1868 with a Spanish aristocrat as its monarch, King Antonio, represented a brief resurgence of Spanish colonial power in the Americas. The successes of the 1860s, along with the the "Restoration Monarchy" of Kings Alfonso XII and his successor Alfonso XIII during the middle of the 1870s, which emerged as a military reaction over the liberal modernists, allowed a brief revitalization of the Spanish Empire as well as the improvement of the economy in both the colonies and in Spain. However, by the 1880s, economic mismanagement and inefficiency, along with overspending on a bloated military that was necessary to put down colonial rebellions, made maintaining the Spanish Empire more difficult.
The turbulence the empire was facing saw liberal Spanish elites like Antonio Cánovas del Castillo and Emilio Castelar offer new interpretations of the concept of "empire" to deal with Spain's emerging nationalist movement. The issue was made clear by Cánovas in an 1882 address at the University of Madrid where he desired his view of the Spanish nation as one that is based on shared cultural and linguistic elements – on both sides of the Atlantic – that tied Spain's territories together. Cuba and other territories in the Americas in particular were seen in Spain as an integral part of the Spanish nation, not just colonial territories.
Anglo-American interests in the Caribbean[edit | edit source]
Anglo-American views of European colonialism were by in large negative and most supported opposing the spread of the expansionist European colonial empires, but were divided on the methods on how to confront the issue of New Imperialism. Chancellor James Hogg of Brazoria was the most vocal opponent of European colonialism in Anglo-America and lead an effort to form a foreign policy to confront the European empires and prevent them from spreading into Latin America and/or regaining lost colonies in the region under the guise of defending the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Anglo-American nations. This lead to the creation of the Hogg Doctrine and became the guiding policy of Brazoria towards dealing with European imperialism. In accordance with the doctrine, Hogg stressed the need to support anti-Imperialist forces in Latin America resisting European colonialism and sought to establish anti-colonial governments if possible such as in Cuba. The United Commonwealth, under the near-absolute rule of Federalist Party, sought to distract the public from the increasing economic problems with foreign expansionism which it was hoped would also improve the economy, with Cuba and Hispaniola being seen as within the country's sphere of influence.
Anglo-American companies had extensive economic interests in Latin America, particularly in Cuba, with the majority of Cuban exports going to North America rather than to Spain. This was especially true in the United Commonwealth and Brazoria, to a lesser extent in the Northeast Union, while Sierra's economic interests were more in the Pacific and in Central American "banana republics." The circulation of printed newspapers and an increase in literacy contributed to growing public awareness of the Cuban and Tondolese revolutionary wars. The former received massive coverage in the first three countries while the latter became well known in Sierra. The writings of Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, a Northeast Union Navy officer and influential naval theorist, led the United Commonwealth, Brazoria, and Sierra to engage in a naval arms race during the late 1880s and early 1890s, and there was support in some areas for a war that would demonstrate the power of the new fleets. It was believed among the Continental political class that Cuba would naturally gravitate towards becoming a state of the Commonwealth, while Sierran elite opinion was in favor of expansion to Tondo.
Prelude to war[edit | edit source]
Anglo-American path to war[edit | edit source]
In the decades since the middle of the 19th century, the Anglo-American press gave negative coverage to Spain, portraying the Spanish as brutal tyrants, while giving positive coverage to Cuban and other rebels fighting against Spanish rule, comparing such leaders as Cuban general Máximo Gómez to those that fought in the American Revolution. Public opinion in Brazoria and the United Commonwealth was strongly in favor of Cuban independence and anti-Spanish, in Sierra it was more mixed but generally pro-Cuban, with a bigger focus on the Tondolese Revolution in the Pacific because of Sierran connections to Asia, while in the Northeast Union both public and media opinion was strongly anti-war. In the build up to the War of 1898 each country had its own internal political dynamics that would lead it to chose to go to war with Spain.
In the United Commonwealth the one-party dominant state controlled by the Federalists was becoming increasingly aggressive as a way to distract the public from the growing economic and social unrest, as well as to solidify the Commonwealth's place among the ranks of the Great Powers by demonstrating its military capability. The panic of 1893 increased the country's massive wealth inequality and exacerbated the tensions between the populist farmers and urban working class on one side, and the East Coast bankers and politicians on the other. Continental President Levi P. Morton entered office in 1893 and was seeking a way to unite the country as well as to expand its influence abroad as an emerging industrial and military power. In addition, he and his party were funded by the forces of big finance and big industry, which had extensive economic dealings in Latin America. Morton formed a close alliance with Brazorian Chancellor James Hogg, whose country had become an industrial powerhouse in the years after the War of Contingency in 1868 and was experiencing similar societal problems to the United Commonwealth. Furthermore, as Brazoria became an economy oriented towards shipping and foreign trade from the mid-1880s, the ruling National Party wanted to expand the country's interests to the Caribbean and Latin America as well, where Brazorian business interests, like those in the United Commonwealth, had close connections with the local economy. The President of the Northeast Union, Alton B. Parker of the Liberal-Republicans, stood out among the leaders of the "big four" powers of Anglo-America as initially being opposed to antagonizing Spain. He and most of the Northeastern government were opposed to foreign interventionism, but their Secretary of the Navy, Theodorus Roosevelt, was in favor of imperial expansion and supported the acquisition of territory in the Caribbean at the expense of the Spanish. The rearmament programs of the United Commonwealth Navy, the Brazorian Navy, and the Northeast Union Navy up to the 1890s reached a point where it formed a larger combined force than the Spanish Navy in the Caribbean. With the outbreak of the Cuban revolt of 1895, the Anglo-American press reported on Spanish brutality during General Valeriano Weyler's pacification campaign, and Theodorus Roosevelt worked tirelessly to both agitate for war and establish a joint naval force that could fight the Spanish. His efforts would lead to the creation of the Combined American Fleet immediately after the war broke out.
In Sierra, the Royalist Party undertook policies of expanding Sierran power into the Pacific and entering the naval arms race. Prime Minister Joseph Starling oversaw the annexation of Hawaii in 1893 and the construction of a naval forward base at Pearl Harbor, increasing the Sierran Royal Navy's projection capability. A naval armament program since the 1880s led to the construction modern warships such as the protected cruiser HRMS San Diego, which was one of the most advanced warships in the world when it entered service in 1895. King Louis I of Sierra was a strong supporter of imperialism, believing that the kingdom was destined to play a larger role in the world, similarly to the European powers. Sierra had extensive trade and relations with China, Korea, Japan, and Tondo in East Asia, and when the Tondolese Revolution began in 1896, the revolutionaries received positive coverage in the Sierran media similar to the Cuban rebels in the Brazorian and Continental press. As a result, Sierran–Spanish relations also deteriorated. The Sierran press was less focused on the struggle in Cuba and more so on the unrest in Tondo, and when the Cuban rebels received coverage the Sierran media was sympathetic, but Cuban atrocities against captured Spanish soldiers were also discussed. Sierran business interests were less interested in war than those in the United Commonwealth and Brazoria, but Joseph Starling and King Louis were in favor of the idea of acquiring Tondo and formed the leadership of the pro-war faction in the Royalist Party.
Spanish response[edit | edit source]
Cuba was considered extremely important to Spain for prestige, being seen as an integral part of the Spanish nation. It also provided some economic benefits. Spanish Prime Minister Antonio Cánovas del Castillo announced that Spain would fight "to the last drop of Spanish blood" to defend its territories in the Caribbean. However, he was assassinated in 1897 by an anarchist, and his loss created a power vacuum in Spanish politics as he had been a dominant political figure in 1890s Spain. This further contributed to the Spanish government feeling the need to defend its prestige and project an image of strength.