Europe 1898: Britain's Splendid Isolation
At the close of the Nineteenth Century, Britain was still Europe's foremost power but was facing ever greater competition from the other nations as its lead in industrialization was eroded. The United States had already overtaken Britain economically and was now asserting itself in the Pacific and Caribbean, while recent German industrial and population growth had turned it into the most powerful nation on the continent. However Britain's vast empire meant its most frequent disputes were with France and Russia, its biggest competitors in Africa and Asia.
1 Aug 1894–17 Apr 1895 First Sino-Japanese War▲
First Sino-Japanese War
15 Feb 1897–21 Dec 1898 Cretan intervention▲
In early February 1897 Greek forces landed in Ottoman-ruled Crete in support of an ethnic Greek rebellion on that island. To restore order, the Great Powers of Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia formed an International Squadron and blockaded and occupied Crete. After overseeing the withdrawal of Greek and Ottoman troops, the squadron ultimately decided to resolve the crisis by establishing a new Cretan State under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire.
21 Apr–13 Aug 1898 Spanish-American War▲
After the USS Maine mysteriously exploded in Havana harbor, in the restive Spanish colony of Cuba, the United States declared war on Spain. In the ten-week Spanish-American War, the US defeated Spain in both the Caribbean—where it invaded Cuba and Puerto Rico—and the Pacific—where it defeated the Spanish fleet off Manila. As a result, the Spanish ceded Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the US.
19 Sep–3 Nov 1898 Fashoda Incident▲
In mid-September 1898 British general Sir Herbert Kitchener led five gunboats and 1,500 troops up the White Nile to Fashoda (Kodok), where he encountered the much smaller French garrison of Captain Jean-Baptiste Marchand. Although both commanders behaved with politeness and restraint, the news of this standoff over Fashoda—claimed by Britain as part of the Egyptian Sudan and by France due to both occupation and its 1894 treaty with the Congo Free State—inflamed Anglo-French rivalries and triggered an international crisis. Eventually France backed down, peacefully ending the crisis by ordering its forces to withdraw from the region in early November.