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A war between Spain and the United States, fought in 1898. The war began as an intervention by the United States on behalf of Cuba. Accounts of Spanish mistreatment of Cuban natives had aroused much resentment in the United States, a resentment encouraged by the yellow press (see yellow journalism). The incident that led most directly to the war was the explosion of the United States battleship Maine in the harbor of Havana, Cuba, an incident for which many Americans blamed Spain (see Remember the <i>Maine</i>). The United States won the war easily. The best-remembered incidents in the Spanish-American War were the charge of the Rough Riders, led by Theodore Roosevelt, in the Battle of San Juan Hill in Cuba, and the Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines, at which Admiral George Dewey said, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.” The United States acquired Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines in the war and gained temporary control over Cuba.
Note: The victory of the United States in the Spanish-American War made the country a world power, with territories spread across the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Hawaii, which had been an independent kingdom, was annexed by the United States in the same period.