‘El Desastre’ Spain in Defeat, 1898

Laura Rodriguez finds that, in spite of the devastating outcome for Spain of the Cuban conflict of 1898, there were some positive consequences.

Around 600,000 Spanish, Cuban, Filipino and American lives were lost before Spain and the United States signed the peace treaty in Paris on December 10th, 1898, that formally put an end to the war between the two countries over Cuba and the Philippines.

The consequences of the ‘splendid little war’, as the US ambassador to London,John Hay, called it, were enormous. The United States won its first overseas possessions, and in less than three months had acquired Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines, driving Spain out of the Western Hemisphere. American public opinion was divided over what to do with its new empire, but the expansionists defeated the anti-imperialists and the country shed its isolationist skin establishing a new identity as a world superpower - an awkward position for a nation founded on rebellion against the colonial tyranny of the Old World.

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