Spanish-American War

The Rise of Japan

East Asia 1898.063

Spanish-American War

The Rise of Japan, the Spanish-American War, and the Boxer Rebellion (30 June 1898)

Historical Map of East Asia & the Western Pacific

In response to American support of Cuban revolutionaries, Spain declared war on the United States in April 1898. However the Spanish were ill-prepared for the war, and the US swiftly defeated them in both the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Notes

Treaty Ports

Treaty ports - the small unlabelled circles on the map - were towns opened to foreign trade by unequal treaties in China, Japan, and Korea. Foreigners operating within treaty ports enjoyed extraterritoriality, being subject to their home country's laws. Unlike concessions such as Hong Kong, these territories were not directly leased by the foreign powers and did not have sizable foreign garrisons.

Only treaty ports that were opened by treaty and used are shown on the maps. Treaty ports are also not generally shown in places which are already covered by concessions or under occupation. Treaty ports are not shown after the 1911 Chinese Revolution, although they continued on into the 1940s.

Yangtze River

By the terms of the Treaty of Tientsin (1858), foreign vessels including warships had the right to free navigation on the Yangtze River. In practical terms, this right extended only as far as Yichang until 1900, when advances in steam navigation allowed access as far inland as Chongqing.

Main Events

Spanish-American War begins

On 21 April 1898, the Kingdom of Spain severed relations with the United States of America, after which the US Navy began a blockade of Spanish Cuba. Two days later, Spain declared war on the US. The US Congress responded on 25 April with its own declaration of war, affirming that the two countries had been at war since the 21st.

Battle of Manila Bay

The United States Asiatic Squadron, under Commodore George Dewey and sailing from Hong Kong with orders to eliminate the Spanish Pacific Squadron, entered Manila Bay in the Spanish Philippines under cover of darkness on the night of 30 April 1898. At dawn, it located the unprepared Spanish fleet anchored off the Cavite naval station, opening fire at 5:40am. The Americans sunk all seven enemy cruisers, suffering only one damaged cruiser in return, ending Spanish naval power in the Pacific.

Landing at Cavite

Following the US victory at Manila Bay, Commodore George Dewey landed a force of Marines at nearby Cavite, Spanish Philippines. With the support of the USS Olympia, the Marines completed the destruction of the Spanish fleet and batteries, establishing a guard for the protection of the Spanish hospitals. They were soon joined by Filipino revolutionaries and, from 30 June 1898, US infantry arriving from San Francisco.

British seizure of Weihaiwei

After the Japanese withdrawal from Weihaiwei, China, on 23 May 1898, forces of the United Kingdom moved in to occupy the port to counterbalance the Russian control of Port Arthur on the other side of the Gulf of Zhili. In response to British pressure, the Qing government of China agreed to lease the territory on 1 July.

Philippines declare independence

On 19 May 1898, Filipino nationalist Emilio Aguinaldo arrived in Cavite, Philippines, aboard the USS McCulloch from exile in Hong Kong. In the afternoon of 12 June, he and his followers unfurled the National Flag of the Philippines, proclaiming the independence of the islands from Spain.

Capture of Guam

The USS Charleston - an US Navy cruiser under the command of Captain Henry Glass - arrived off the shore of Spanish-controlled Guam, escorting three transports with the intention of seizing the island by force. The Spanish garrison, neglected and unaware until then that Spain was at war with the United States, surrendered the following day.

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