How long did it take mail to get between Madrid and Mexico?

How long did it take mail to get between Madrid and Mexico?

Spain administered its main colony Mexico from across the Atlantic. Ships crossed regularly between Cadiz or Seville and Vera Cruz (both capital cities are inland). At the time of Mexican independence, the transport link with Spain had been in place for three hundred years. It moved materials of such importance as communications between the king and viceroy.

How long did it take mail to get between Madrid and Mexico, and did it get faster over time? Information about how often Spanish ships traveled the Spain-Mexico route would also be welcome.

It looks like around 7-8 weeks ship time. See update below. (Inserted new info at top, ahead of the background info on the avisos ships and routes.)

--- UPDATE --- Finally found actual info on the travel time for the avisos. This book concerning the HMS Centurion actually lists the transit time for the avisos San Lorenzo as 41 days. This put the ship at Puerto Rico. Leaving there on Jan 31st, detained by British on Feb 3rd, and after rescue and various engagements reaches Santiago Cuba on Feb 12, after 12 more days. Then it apparently took two more weeks (inland Travel?) before the message was finally delivered to the Governor of Cuba, Juan de Prado,on Feb 26th 1762, informing him that Spain and Britain were at war. So 53 days travel time to Cuba, plus a couple more weeks delivery time. (And this just got us to Havana.)

Now, some background about the mail service.First of all, the correspondence between Spain and Mexico was carried by specialized vessels called avisos:

The communication between the Spanish government and the Viceroys in America was carried out by small and fast vessels called avisos that operated under the directions of the Secretariship of State. Initially, these ships were intended to announce in America and Spain the departure of the Flota, and the Galleons, respectively. However, they ended up carrying with them all the colonial correspondences. On 20 July 1718, the Crown established that an annual number of eight avisos would have to be employed to carry the colonial correspondence. Two years later, on 31 May 1720, the Consulado de Cadiz and the Crown signed an agreement.22 The Consulado agreed to add another eight vessels to work as avisos every year. By the 1730s, the avisos arrived at Buenos Aires, Cartagena de Indias and Havana on a monthly basis.

from Mobilizing resources for war: the British and Spanish intelligence systems…

Later, we see that the use of these packet-boats is reconfirmed:

Charles III in 1764 established monthly mail packet boats between Corunna and Havana and these were permitted to transport goods to the extent of half their cargo Every two months a similar packet boat went to Buenos Ayres and there were American post routes connected with it In 1765 came the great advance.

from: The Spanish Colonial System By Wilhelm Roscher

We can also learn a little more concerning the avisos because a couple of them have been found off the coast of Florida:

Ships thought to have wrecked off the Jupiter coast during the 1600s include the San Miguel Archangel and the San Francisco y San Antonio. Both ships were avisos, Spanish courier ships weighing 60 tons or less. The avisos were well-armed, but speed was their best defense, which allowed them to outrun larger, better-armed vessels. Avisos were primarily used to transport correspondence to and from the Spanish throne, but were known to carry goods and valuables.


Now we can compare this size to that of the ships most often thought of when we think Spanish fleet, the Galleon

… while galleons were mostly under 500 tons, although the Manila galleons were to reach up to 2,000 tons.

I did find a little more describing the actual route generally followed by the trade fleet:

The ships departed from Seville (later from Cadiz) and sailed down the coast of Africa to the Canary Islands, where they stopped for supplies. They then turned west to take advantage of the trade winds and, after sailing about a month or more, entered the Caribbean southeast of Puerto Rico. Here the convoy split into two fleets: the Tierra Firme (Spanish name for the South American mainland) and the New Spain. The New Spain fleet sailed on to the port of Veracruz in New Spain (present day Mexico).

(and for the return voyage)

The two fleets met up in Havana and made preparations for the return trip to Spain. When they left Havana, the combined fleet sailed along the east coast of Florida and rode the Gulf Stream-a strong, warm ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico and flows north along the east coast of the United States- north as far as Cape Canaveral before heading east towards Spain.

above from this National Park Service site

Columbus's first voyage across the Atlantic to the New World in 1492 took more than two months. Crossing times did improve over time, but by the 1700s, sailing ships still needed six weeks or more to make the crossing.

Making an allowance for the overland transport of messages, it would be reasonable to estimate that mail would take at least 8 weeks / 2 months to travel from Madrid to Mexico.

However, we should also remember that through the age of sail, crossing times would also have been greatly effected by the weather, so an estimate of two months would still only be an average. As noted in this article,

An immigrant who made the journey in 1750 reported that it could take between eight and 12 weeks, while another who arrived in 1724 reported that the journey took six weeks and three days.

There were three distinct components to mail latency between the imperial and the viceregal capitals: road travel to and from the ports, the sea voyage, and most variably, the wait for a mail ship to depart. I estimate travel times here in a worst case, an average case for the late imperial period, and a best case. These figures only apply to mail that actually arrived; some of it is still on the ocean floor!

According to Ignacio Rivas Ibáñez, Spanish royal mail in the peninsula traveled at 105 miles per day, which would require several changes of horse along the way. According to Google, the present road distance from Madrid to Cadiz is 404 miles and from Veracruz to Mexico City, 246 miles. Let's presume these roads are of similar length to those in use in the imperial period and that the same kind of inland messenger system was used on both sides of the Atlantic; rounding up, the land transits took about 4 and 3 days. Because the horse and road components were pretty constant, they would not have varied much over time.

Carlos Venegas attributes to Chaunu the finding that mail ships in the 1504-1650 period took an average of 75 days to cross from Cádiz to Veracruz, including stops (outbound: Santo Domingo and San Juan; inbound: La Habana). These were relatively light and long ships, built for speed rather than capacity. I intuit that a variability of 50% is reasonable, so these early voyages would have taken from 60 to 90 days. Towards the end of the imperial period, technology and routes had improved a bit, reducing these figures by, let's say, 10%: 54 to 81 days, the mean being 68 days.

The wait for the next departure of a mail ship is the only factor that increased investment could substantially speed up. When there were eight imperial mail ships (also according to Ibáñez), four were on the New Spain route. Presume that one was in maintenance at a given time, putting three in service. Worst case, the crossings took 90 days and with three days in each port, the whole circuit could take 186 days. Presuming that these three ships were kept more or less evenly timed, a departure would take place about every 62 days. According to H.H. Bancroft, after the 1730s departures happened monthly, making the average wait in the late imperial period about 15 days.

  • Worst case: 4 + 62 + 90 + 3 = 159 days
  • Late empire average case: 4 + 15 + 68 + 3 = 90 days
  • Best case: 4 + 0 + 54 + 3 = 61 days

Writing this answer would not have been possible without Brian Z's reference to the ships' frequency and user2448131's contribution that they were called avisos. Thank you both.

Pacific Mail Steamship Company

The Pacific Mail Steamship Company was founded April 18, 1848, as a joint stock company under the laws of the State of New York by a group of New York City merchants. Incorporators included William H. Aspinwall, Edwin Bartlett (American consul at Lima, Peru and also involved with the Panama Railroad Company), [1] Henry Chauncey, Mr. Alsop, G.G. Howland and S.S. Howland.

Pacific Mail Steamship Company
Footnotes / references

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Spain's attitude towards its colonies Edit

The combined problems arising from the Peninsular War (1807–1814), the loss of most of its colonies in the Americas in the early 19th-century Spanish American wars of independence, and three Carlist Wars (1832–1876) marked the low point of Spanish colonialism. [28] Liberal Spanish elites like Antonio Cánovas del Castillo and Emilio Castelar offered new interpretations of the concept of "empire" to dovetail with Spain's emerging nationalism. Cánovas made clear in an address to the University of Madrid in 1882 [29] [30] his view of the Spanish nation as based on shared cultural and linguistic elements—on both sides of the Atlantic—that tied Spain's territories together.

Cánovas saw Spanish colonialism as more "benevolent" than that of other European colonial powers. The prevalent opinion in Spain before the war regarded the spreading of "civilization" and Christianity as Spain's main objective and contribution to the New World. The concept of cultural unity bestowed special significance on Cuba, which had been Spanish for almost four hundred years, and was viewed as an integral part of the Spanish nation. The focus on preserving the empire would have negative consequences for Spain's national pride in the aftermath of the Spanish–American War. [31]

American interest in the Caribbean Edit

In 1823, the fifth American President James Monroe (1758–1831, served 1817–25) enunciated the Monroe Doctrine, which stated that the United States would not tolerate further efforts by European governments to retake or expand their colonial holdings in the Americas or to interfere with the newly independent states in the hemisphere. The U.S. would, however, respect the status of the existing European colonies. Before the American Civil War (1861–1865), Southern interests attempted to have the United States purchase Cuba and convert it into a new slave state. The pro-slavery element proposed the Ostend Manifesto proposal of 1854. Anti-slavery forces rejected it.

After the American Civil War and Cuba's Ten Years' War, U.S. businessmen began monopolizing the devalued sugar markets in Cuba. In 1894, 90% of Cuba's total exports went to the United States, which also provided 40% of Cuba's imports. [32] Cuba's total exports to the U.S. were almost twelve times larger than the export to her mother country, Spain. [33] U.S. business interests indicated that while Spain still held political authority over Cuba, it was the US that held economic power over Cuba.

The U.S. became interested in a trans-isthmus canal in either Nicaragua or Panama and realized the need for naval protection. Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan was an exceptionally influential theorist his ideas were much admired by future 26th President Theodore Roosevelt, as the U.S. rapidly built a powerful naval fleet of steel warships in the 1880s and 1890s. Roosevelt served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897–1898 and was an aggressive supporter of an American war with Spain over Cuban interests.

Meanwhile, the "Cuba Libre" movement, led by Cuban intellectual José Martí until he died in 1895, had established offices in Florida. [34] The face of the Cuban revolution in the U.S. was the Cuban "Junta", under the leadership of Tomás Estrada Palma, who in 1902 became Cuba's first president. The Junta dealt with leading newspapers and Washington officials and held fund-raising events across the US. It funded and smuggled weapons. It mounted an extensive propaganda campaign that generated enormous popular support in the U.S. in favor of the Cubans. Protestant churches and most Democrats were supportive, but business interests called on Washington to negotiate a settlement and avoid war. [35]

Cuba attracted enormous American attention, but almost no discussion involved the other Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico, also in the Caribbean, or of the Philippines or Guam. [36] Historians note that there was no popular demand in the United States for an overseas colonial empire. [37]

Cuban struggle for independence Edit

The first serious bid for Cuban independence, the Ten Years' War, erupted in 1868 and was subdued by the authorities a decade later. Neither the fighting nor the reforms in the Pact of Zanjón (February 1878) quelled the desire of some revolutionaries for wider autonomy and, ultimately, independence. One such revolutionary, José Martí, continued to promote Cuban financial and political freedom in exile. In early 1895, after years of organizing, Martí launched a three-pronged invasion of the island. [38]

The plan called for one group from Santo Domingo led by Máximo Gómez, one group from Costa Rica led by Antonio Maceo Grajales, and another from the United States (preemptively thwarted by U.S. officials in Florida) to land in different places on the island and provoke an uprising. While their call for revolution, the grito de Baíre, was successful, the result was not the grand show of force Martí had expected. With a quick victory effectively lost, the revolutionaries settled in to fight a protracted guerrilla campaign. [38]

Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, the architect of Spain's Restoration constitution and the prime minister at the time, ordered General Arsenio Martínez-Campos, a distinguished veteran of the war against the previous uprising in Cuba, to quell the revolt. Campos's reluctance to accept his new assignment and his method of containing the revolt to the province of Oriente earned him criticism in the Spanish press. [39]

The mounting pressure forced Cánovas to replace General Campos with General Valeriano Weyler, a soldier who had experience in quelling rebellions in overseas provinces and the Spanish metropole. Weyler deprived the insurgency of weaponry, supplies, and assistance by ordering the residents of some Cuban districts to move to reconcentration areas near the military headquarters. [39] This strategy was effective in slowing the spread of rebellion. In the United States, this fueled the fire of anti-Spanish propaganda. [40] In a political speech President William McKinley used this to ram Spanish actions against armed rebels. He even said this "was not civilized warfare" but "extermination". [41] [42]

Spanish attitude Edit

The Spanish government regarded Cuba as a province of Spain rather than a colony. [ citation needed ] [ clarification needed ] Spain depended on Cuba for prestige and trade, and used it as a training ground for its army. Spanish Prime Minister Antonio Cánovas del Castillo announced that "the Spanish nation is disposed to sacrifice to the last peseta of its treasure and to the last drop of blood of the last Spaniard before consenting that anyone snatch from it even one piece of its territory". [43] He had long dominated and stabilized Spanish politics. He was assassinated in 1897 by Italian anarchist Michele Angiolillo, [44] leaving a Spanish political system that was not stable and could not risk a blow to its prestige. [45]

US response Edit

The eruption of the Cuban revolt, Weyler's measures, and the popular fury these events whipped up proved to be a boon to the newspaper industry in New York City. Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World and William Randolph Hearst of the New York Journal recognized the potential for great headlines and stories that would sell copies. Both papers denounced Spain but had little influence outside New York. American opinion generally saw Spain as a hopelessly backward power that was unable to deal fairly with Cuba. American Catholics were divided before the war began but supported it enthusiastically once it started. [46] [47]

The U.S. had important economic interests that were being harmed by the prolonged conflict and deepening uncertainty about Cuba's future. Shipping firms that had relied heavily on trade with Cuba now suffered losses as the conflict continued unresolved. [48] These firms pressed Congress and McKinley to seek an end to the revolt. Other American business concerns, specifically those who had invested in Cuban sugar, looked to the Spanish to restore order. [49] Stability, not war, was the goal of both interests. How stability would be achieved would depend largely on the ability of Spain and the U.S. to work out their issues diplomatically.

While tension increased among the Cubans and Spanish Government, popular support of intervention began to spring up in the United States. Many Americans likened the Cuban revolt to the American Revolution, and they viewed the Spanish Government as a tyrannical oppressor. Historian Louis Pérez notes that "The proposition of war in behalf of Cuban independence took hold immediately and held on thereafter. Such was the sense of the public mood." Many poems and songs were written in the United States to express support of the "Cuba Libre" movement. [50] At the same time, many African Americans, facing growing racial discrimination and increasing retardation of their civil rights, wanted to take part in the war. They saw it as a way to advance the cause of equality, service to country hopefully helping to gain political and public respect amongst the wider population. [51]

President McKinley, well aware of the political complexity surrounding the conflict, wanted to end the revolt peacefully. He began to negotiate with the Spanish government, hoping that the talks would dampen yellow journalism in the United States and soften support for war with Spain. An attempt was made to negotiate a peace before McKinley took office. However, the Spanish refused to take part in the negotiations. In 1897 McKinley appointed Stewart L. Woodford as the new minister to Spain, who again offered to negotiate a peace. In October 1897, the Spanish government refused the United States' offer to negotiate between the Spanish and the Cubans, but promised the U.S. it would give the Cubans more autonomy. [52] However, with the election of a more liberal Spanish government in November, Spain began to change its policies in Cuba. First, the new Spanish government told the United States that it was willing to offer a change in the Reconcentration policies if the Cuban rebels agreed to a cessation of hostilities. This time the rebels refused the terms in hopes that continued conflict would lead to U.S. intervention and the creation of an independent Cuba. [52] The liberal Spanish government also recalled the Spanish Governor-General Valeriano Weyler from Cuba. This action alarmed many Cubans loyal to Spain. [53]

The Cubans loyal to Weyler began planning large demonstrations to take place when the next Governor General, Ramón Blanco, arrived in Cuba. U.S. consul Fitzhugh Lee learned of these plans and sent a request to the U.S. State Department to send a U.S. warship to Cuba. [53] This request lead to USS Maine being sent to Cuba. While Maine was docked in Havana, an explosion sank the ship. The sinking of Maine was blamed on the Spanish and made the possibility of a negotiated peace very slim. [54] Throughout the negotiation process, the major European powers, especially Britain, France, and Russia, generally supported the American position and urged Spain to give in. [55] Spain repeatedly promised specific reforms that would pacify Cuba but failed to deliver American patience ran out. [56]

USS Maine dispatch to Havana and loss Edit

McKinley sent USS Maine to Havana to ensure the safety of American citizens and interests, and to underscore the urgent need for reform. Naval forces were moved in position to attack simultaneously on several fronts if the war was not avoided. As Maine left Florida, a large part of the North Atlantic Squadron was moved to Key West and the Gulf of Mexico. Others were also moved just off the shore of Lisbon, and others were moved to Hong Kong too. [58]

At 9:40 P.M. on February 15, 1898, Maine sank in Havana Harbor after suffering a massive explosion. While McKinley urged patience and did not declare that Spain had caused the explosion, the deaths of 250 out of 355 [59] sailors on board focused American attention. McKinley asked Congress to appropriate $50 million for defense, and Congress unanimously obliged. Most American leaders believed that the cause of the explosion was unknown. Still, public attention was now riveted on the situation and Spain could not find a diplomatic solution to avoid war. Spain appealed to the European powers, most of whom advised it to accept U.S. conditions for Cuba in order to avoid war. [60] Germany urged a united European stand against the United States but took no action. [61]

The U.S. Navy's investigation, made public on March 28, concluded that the ship's powder magazines were ignited when an external explosion was set off under the ship's hull. This report poured fuel on popular indignation in the US, making the war inevitable. [62] Spain's investigation came to the opposite conclusion: the explosion originated within the ship. Other investigations in later years came to various contradictory conclusions, but had no bearing on the coming of the war. In 1974, Admiral Hyman George Rickover had his staff look at the documents and decided there was an internal explosion. [63] A study commissioned by National Geographic magazine in 1999, using AME computer modeling, stated that a mine could have caused the explosion, but no definitive evidence was found. [63]

Declaring war Edit

After Maine was destroyed, New York City newspaper publishers Hearst and Pulitzer decided that the Spanish were to blame, and they publicized this theory as fact in their papers. [64] They both used sensationalistic and astonishing accounts of "atrocities" committed by the Spanish in Cuba by using headlines in their newspapers, such as "Spanish Murderers" and "Remember The Maine". Their press exaggerated what was happening and how the Spanish were treating the Cuban prisoners. [65] The stories were based on factual accounts, but most of the time, the articles that were published were embellished and written with incendiary language causing emotional and often heated responses among readers. A common myth falsely states that when illustrator Frederic Remington said there was no war brewing in Cuba, Hearst responded: "You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war." [66]

However, this new "yellow journalism" was uncommon outside New York City, and historians no longer consider it the major force shaping the national mood. [67] Public opinion nationwide did demand immediate action, overwhelming the efforts of President McKinley, Speaker of the House Thomas Brackett Reed, and the business community to find a negotiated solution. Wall Street, big business, high finance and Main Street businesses across the country were vocally opposed to war and demanded peace. [18] After years of severe depression, the economic outlook for the domestic economy was suddenly bright again in 1897. However, the uncertainties of warfare posed a serious threat to full economic recovery. "War would impede the march of prosperity and put the country back many years," warned the New Jersey Trade Review. The leading railroad magazine editorialized, "From a commercial and mercenary standpoint it seems peculiarly bitter that this war should come when the country had already suffered so much and so needed rest and peace." McKinley paid close attention to the strong anti-war consensus of the business community, and strengthened his resolve to use diplomacy and negotiation rather than brute force to end the Spanish tyranny in Cuba. [68] Historian Nick Kapur argues that McKinley's actions as he moved toward war were rooted not in various pressure groups but in his deeply held "Victorian" values, especially arbitration, pacifism, humanitarianism, and manly self-restraint. [69]

A speech delivered by Republican Senator Redfield Proctor of Vermont on March 17, 1898, thoroughly analyzed the situation and greatly strengthened the pro-war cause. Proctor concluded that war was the only answer. [70] : 210 Many in the business and religious communities which had until then opposed war, switched sides, leaving McKinley and Speaker Reed almost alone in their resistance to a war. [71] [72] [73] On April 11, McKinley ended his resistance and asked Congress for authority to send American troops to Cuba to end the civil war there, knowing that Congress would force a war.

On April 19, while Congress was considering joint resolutions supporting Cuban independence, Republican Senator Henry M. Teller of Colorado proposed the Teller Amendment to ensure that the U.S. would not establish permanent control over Cuba after the war. The amendment, disclaiming any intention to annex Cuba, passed the Senate 42 to 35 the House concurred the same day, 311 to 6. The amended resolution demanded Spanish withdrawal and authorized the President to use as much military force as he thought necessary to help Cuba gain independence from Spain. President McKinley signed the joint resolution on April 20, 1898, and the ultimatum was sent to Spain. [20] In response, Spain severed diplomatic relations with the United States on April 21. On the same day, the U.S. Navy began a blockade of Cuba. [21] On April 23, Spain reacted to the blockade by declaring war on the U.S. [74]

On April 25, the U.S. Congress responded in kind, declaring that a state of war between the U.S. and Spain had de facto existed since April 21, the day the blockade of Cuba had begun. [21]

The Navy was ready, but the Army was not well-prepared for the war and made radical changes in plans and quickly purchased supplies. In the spring of 1898, the strength of the U.S. Regular Army was just 25,000 men. The Army wanted 50,000 new men but received over 220,000 through volunteers and the mobilization of state National Guard units, [75] even gaining nearly 100,000 men on the first night after the explosion of USS Maine. [76]

Historiography Edit

The overwhelming consensus of observers in the 1890s, and historians ever since, is that an upsurge of humanitarian concern with the plight of the Cubans was the main motivating force that caused the war with Spain in 1898. McKinley put it succinctly in late 1897 that if Spain failed to resolve its crisis, the United States would see "a duty imposed by our obligations to ourselves, to civilization and humanity to intervene with force." [77] Intervention in terms of negotiating a settlement proved impossible—neither Spain nor the insurgents would agree. Louis Perez states, "Certainly the moralistic determinants of war in 1898 has been accorded preponderant explanatory weight in the historiography." [78] By the 1950s, however, American political scientists began attacking the war as a mistake based on idealism, arguing that a better policy would be realism. They discredited the idealism by suggesting the people were deliberately misled by propaganda and sensationalist yellow journalism. Political scientist Robert Osgood, writing in 1953, led the attack on the American decision process as a confused mix of "self-righteousness and genuine moral fervor," in the form of a "crusade" and a combination of "knight-errantry and national self- assertiveness." [79] Osgood argued:

A war to free Cuba from Spanish despotism, corruption, and cruelty, from the filth and disease and barbarity of General 'Butcher' Weyler's reconcentration camps, from the devastation of haciendas, the extermination of families, and the outraging of women that would be a blow for humanity and democracy. No one could doubt it if he believed—and skepticism was not popular—the exaggerations of the Cuban Junta's propaganda and the lurid distortions and imaginative lies pervade by the "yellow sheets" of Hearst and Pulitzer at the combined rate of 2 million [newspaper copies] a day. [80]

In his War and Empire, [22] Prof. Paul Atwood of the University of Massachusetts (Boston) writes:

The Spanish–American War was fomented on outright lies and trumped up accusations against the intended enemy. . War fever in the general population never reached a critical temperature until the accidental sinking of the USS Maine was deliberately, and falsely, attributed to Spanish villainy. . In a cryptic message . Senator Lodge wrote that 'There may be an explosion any day in Cuba which would settle a great many things. We have got a battleship in the harbor of Havana, and our fleet, which overmatches anything the Spanish have, is masked at the Dry Tortugas.

In his autobiography, [81] Theodore Roosevelt gave his views of the origins of the war:

Our own direct interests were great, because of the Cuban tobacco and sugar, and especially because of Cuba's relation to the projected Isthmian [Panama] Canal. But even greater were our interests from the standpoint of humanity. . It was our duty, even more from the standpoint of National honor than from the standpoint of National interest, to stop the devastation and destruction. Because of these considerations I favored war.

Philippines Edit

In the 333 years of Spanish rule, the Philippines developed from a small overseas colony governed from the Viceroyalty of New Spain to a land with modern elements in the cities. The Spanish-speaking middle classes of the 19th century were mostly educated in the liberal ideas coming from Europe. Among these Ilustrados was the Filipino national hero José Rizal, who demanded larger reforms from the Spanish authorities. This movement eventually led to the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonial rule. The revolution had been in a state of truce since the signing of the Pact of Biak-na-Bato in 1897, with revolutionary leaders having accepted exile outside of the country.

Lt. William Warren Kimball, Staff Intelligence Officer with the Naval War College [82] prepared a plan for war with Spain including the Philippines on June 1, 1896 known as "the Kimball Plan". [83]

On April 23, 1898, a document from Governor General Basilio Augustín appeared in the Manila Gazette newspaper warning of the impending war and calling for Filipinos to participate on the side of Spain. [e]

The first battle between American and Spanish forces was at Manila Bay where, on May 1, Commodore George Dewey, commanding the U.S. Navy's Asiatic Squadron aboard USS Olympia, in a matter of hours defeated a Spanish squadron under Admiral Patricio Montojo. [f] Dewey managed this with only nine wounded. [90] [91] With the German seizure of Tsingtao in 1897, Dewey's squadron had become the only naval force in the Far East without a local base of its own, and was beset with coal and ammunition problems. [92] Despite these problems, the Asiatic Squadron destroyed the Spanish fleet and captured Manila's harbor. [92]

Following Dewey's victory, Manila Bay became filled with the warships of other naval powers. [92] The German squadron of eight ships, ostensibly in Philippine waters to protect German interests, acted provocatively—cutting in front of American ships, refusing to salute the American flag (according to customs of naval courtesy), taking soundings of the harbor, and landing supplies for the besieged Spanish. [94]

With interests of their own, Germany was eager to take advantage of whatever opportunities the conflict in the islands might afford. [95] There was a fear at the time that the islands would become a German possession. [96] The Americans called Germany's bluff and threatened conflict if the aggression continued. The Germans backed down. [95] [97] At the time, the Germans expected the confrontation in the Philippines to end in an American defeat, with the revolutionaries capturing Manila and leaving the Philippines ripe for German picking. [98]

Commodore Dewey transported Emilio Aguinaldo, a Filipino leader who led rebellion against Spanish rule in the Philippines in 1896, from exile in Hong Kong to the Philippines to rally more Filipinos against the Spanish colonial government. [99] By June 9, Aguinaldo's forces controlled the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Bataan, Zambales, Pampanga, Pangasinan, and Mindoro, and had laid siege to Manila. [100] On June 12, Aguinaldo proclaimed the independence of the Philippines. [101] [102]

On August 5, upon instruction from Spain, Governor-General Basilio Augustin turned over the command of the Philippines to his deputy, Fermin Jaudenes. [103] On August 13, with American commanders unaware that a peace protocol had been signed between Spain and the U.S. on the previous day in Washington D.C., American forces captured the city of Manila from the Spanish in the Battle of Manila. [g] [99] [105] This battle marked the end of Filipino–American collaboration, as the American action of preventing Filipino forces from entering the captured city of Manila was deeply resented by the Filipinos. This later led to the Philippine–American War, [106] which would prove to be more deadly and costly than the Spanish–American War.

The U.S. had sent a force of some 11,000 ground troops to the Philippines. On August 14, 1899, Spanish Captain-General Jaudenes formally capitulated and U.S. General Merritt formally accepted the surrender and declared the establishment of a U.S. military government in occupation. The capitulation document declared, "The surrender of the Philippine Archipelago." and set forth a mechanism for its physical accomplishment. [107] [108] That same day, the Schurman Commission recommended that the U.S. retain control of the Philippines, possibly granting independence in the future. [109] On December 10, 1898, the Spanish government ceded the Philippines to the United States in the Treaty of Paris. Armed conflict broke out between U.S. forces and the Filipinos when U.S. troops began to take the place of the Spanish in control of the country after the end of the war, quickly escalating into the Philippine–American War.

Guam Edit

On June 20, 1898, a U.S. fleet commanded by Captain Henry Glass, consisting of the protected cruiser USS Charleston and three transports carrying troops to the Philippines, entered Guam's Apra Harbor, Captain Glass having opened sealed orders instructing him to proceed to Guam and capture it. Charleston fired a few rounds at Fort Santa Cruz without receiving return fire. Two local officials, not knowing that war had been declared and believing the firing had been a salute, came out to Charleston to apologize for their inability to return the salute as they were out of gunpowder. Glass informed them that the U.S. and Spain were at war. [110]

The following day, Glass sent Lieutenant William Braunersruehter to meet the Spanish Governor to arrange the surrender of the island and the Spanish garrison there. Some 54 Spanish infantry were captured and transported to the Philippines as prisoners of war. No U.S. forces were left on Guam, but the only U.S. citizen on the island, Frank Portusach, told Captain Glass that he would look after things until U.S. forces returned. [110]

Cuba Edit

Theodore Roosevelt advocated intervention in Cuba, both for the Cuban people and to promote the Monroe Doctrine. While Assistant Secretary of the Navy, he placed the Navy on a war-time footing and prepared Dewey's Asiatic Squadron for battle. He also worked with Leonard Wood in convincing the Army to raise an all-volunteer regiment, the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry. Wood was given command of the regiment that quickly became known as the "Rough Riders". [111]

The Americans planned to destroy Spain's army forces in Cuba, capture the port city of Santiago de Cuba, and destroy the Spanish Caribbean Squadron (also known as the Flota de Ultramar). To reach Santiago they had to pass through concentrated Spanish defenses in the San Juan Hills and a small town in El Caney. The American forces were aided in Cuba by the pro-independence rebels led by General Calixto García.

Cuban sentiment Edit

For quite some time the Cuban public believed the United States government to possibly hold the key to its independence, and even annexation was considered for a time, which historian Louis Pérez explored in his book Cuba and the United States: Ties of Singular Intimacy. The Cubans harbored a great deal of discontent towards the Spanish government, due to years of manipulation on the part of the Spanish. The prospect of getting the United States involved in the fight was considered by many Cubans as a step in the right direction. While the Cubans were wary of the United States' intentions, the overwhelming support from the American public provided the Cubans with some peace of mind, because they believed that the United States was committed to helping them achieve their independence. However, with the imposition of the Platt Amendment of 1903 after the war, as well as economic and military manipulation on the part of the United States, Cuban sentiment towards the United States became polarized, with many Cubans disappointed with continuing American interference. [112]

Land campaign Edit

From June 22 to 24, the Fifth Army Corps under General William R. Shafter landed at Daiquirí and Siboney, east of Santiago, and established an American base of operations. A contingent of Spanish troops, having fought a skirmish with the Americans near Siboney on June 23, had retired to their lightly entrenched positions at Las Guasimas. An advance guard of U.S. forces under former Confederate General Joseph Wheeler ignored Cuban scouting parties and orders to proceed with caution. They caught up with and engaged the Spanish rearguard of about 2,000 soldiers led by General Antero Rubín [113] who effectively ambushed them, in the Battle of Las Guasimas on June 24. The battle ended indecisively in favor of Spain and the Spanish left Las Guasimas on their planned retreat to Santiago.

The U.S. Army employed Civil War–era skirmishers at the head of the advancing columns. Three of four of the U.S. soldiers who had volunteered to act as skirmishers walking point at the head of the American column were killed, including Hamilton Fish II (grandson of Hamilton Fish, the Secretary of State under Ulysses S. Grant), and Captain Allyn K. Capron, Jr., whom Theodore Roosevelt would describe as one of the finest natural leaders and soldiers he ever met. Only Oklahoma Territory Pawnee Indian, Tom Isbell, wounded seven times, survived. [114]

Regular Spanish troops were mostly armed with modern charger-loaded, 7mm 1893 Spanish Mauser rifles and using smokeless powder. The high-speed 7×57mm Mauser round was termed the "Spanish Hornet" by the Americans because of the supersonic crack as it passed overhead. Other irregular troops were armed with Remington Rolling Block rifles in .43 Spanish using smokeless powder and brass-jacketed bullets. U.S. regular infantry were armed with the .30–40 Krag–Jørgensen, a bolt-action rifle with a complex magazine. Both the U.S. regular cavalry and the volunteer cavalry used smokeless ammunition. In later battles, state volunteers used the .45–70 Springfield, a single-shot black powder rifle. [114]

On July 1, a combined force of about 15,000 American troops in regular infantry and cavalry regiments, including all four of the army's "Colored" Buffalo soldier regiments, and volunteer regiments, among them Roosevelt and his "Rough Riders", the 71st New York, the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry, and 1st North Carolina, and rebel Cuban forces attacked 1,270 entrenched Spaniards in dangerous Civil War-style frontal assaults at the Battle of El Caney and Battle of San Juan Hill outside of Santiago. [115] More than 200 U.S. soldiers were killed and close to 1,200 wounded in the fighting, thanks to the high rate of fire the Spanish put down range at the Americans. [116] Supporting fire by Gatling guns was critical to the success of the assault. [117] [118] Cervera decided to escape Santiago two days later. First Lieutenant John J. Pershing, nicknamed "Black Jack", oversaw the 10th Cavalry Unit during the war. Pershing and his unit fought in the Battle of San Juan Hill. Pershing was cited for his gallantry during the battle.

The Spanish forces at Guantánamo were so isolated by Marines and Cuban forces that they did not know that Santiago was under siege, and their forces in the northern part of the province could not break through Cuban lines. This was not true of the Escario relief column from Manzanillo, [119] which fought its way past determined Cuban resistance but arrived too late to participate in the siege.

After the battles of San Juan Hill and El Caney, the American advance halted. Spanish troops successfully defended Fort Canosa, allowing them to stabilize their line and bar the entry to Santiago. The Americans and Cubans forcibly began a bloody, strangling siege of the city. [120] During the nights, Cuban troops dug successive series of "trenches" (raised parapets), toward the Spanish positions. Once completed, these parapets were occupied by U.S. soldiers and a new set of excavations went forward. American troops, while suffering daily losses from Spanish fire, suffered far more casualties from heat exhaustion and mosquito-borne disease. [121] At the western approaches to the city, Cuban general Calixto Garcia began to encroach on the city, causing much panic and fear of reprisals among the Spanish forces.

Battle of Tayacoba Edit

Lieutenant Carter P. Johnson of the Buffalo Soldiers' 10th Cavalry, with experience in special operations roles as head of the 10th Cavalry's attached Apache scouts in the Apache Wars, chose 50 soldiers from the regiment to lead a deployment mission with at least 375 Cuban soldiers under Cuban Brigadier General Emilio Nunez and other supplies to the mouth of the San Juan River east of Cienfuegos. On June 29, 1898, a reconnaissance team in landing boats from the transports Florida and Fanita attempted to land on the beach, but were repelled by Spanish fire. A second attempt was made on June 30, 1898, but a team of reconnaissance soldiers was trapped on the beach near the mouth of the Tallabacoa River. A team of four soldiers saved this group and were awarded Medals of Honor. The USS Peoria and the recently arrived USS Helena then shelled the beach to distract the Spanish while the Cuban deployment landed 40 miles east at Palo Alto, where they linked up with Cuban General Gomez. [122] [123]

Naval operations Edit

The major port of Santiago de Cuba was the main target of naval operations during the war. The U.S. fleet attacking Santiago needed shelter from the summer hurricane season Guantánamo Bay, with its excellent harbor, was chosen. The 1898 invasion of Guantánamo Bay happened between June 6 and 10, with the first U.S. naval attack and subsequent successful landing of U.S. Marines with naval support.

On April 23, a council of senior admirals of the Spanish Navy had decided to order Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete's squadron of four armored cruisers and three torpedo boat destroyers to proceed from their present location in Cape Verde (having left from Cádiz, Spain) to the West Indies. [124]

The Battle of Santiago de Cuba on July 3, was the largest naval engagement of the Spanish–American War and resulted in the destruction of the Spanish Caribbean Squadron. In May, the fleet of Spanish Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete had been spotted in Santiago harbor by American forces, where they had taken shelter for protection from sea attack. A two-month stand-off between Spanish and American naval forces followed.

When the Spanish squadron finally attempted to leave the harbor on July 3, the American forces destroyed or grounded five of the six ships. Only one Spanish vessel, the new armored cruiser Cristóbal Colón, survived, but her captain hauled down her flag and scuttled her when the Americans finally caught up with her. The 1,612 Spanish sailors who were captured, including Admiral Cervera, were sent to Seavey's Island at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, where they were confined at Camp Long as prisoners of war from July 11 until mid-September.

During the stand-off, U.S. Assistant Naval Constructor, Lieutenant Richmond Pearson Hobson had been ordered by Rear Admiral William T. Sampson to sink the collier USS Merrimac in the harbor to bottle up the Spanish fleet. The mission was a failure, and Hobson and his crew were captured. They were exchanged on July 6, and Hobson became a national hero he received the Medal of Honor in 1933, retired as a Rear Admiral and became a Congressman.

US withdrawal Edit

Yellow fever had quickly spread among the American occupation force, crippling it. A group of concerned officers of the American army chose Theodore Roosevelt to draft a request to Washington that it withdraw the Army, a request that paralleled a similar one from General Shafter, who described his force as an "army of convalescents". By the time of his letter, 75% of the force in Cuba was unfit for service. [125]

On August 7, the American invasion force started to leave Cuba. The evacuation was not total. The U.S. Army kept the black Ninth U.S. Cavalry Regiment in Cuba to support the occupation. The logic was that their race and the fact that many black volunteers came from southern states would protect them from disease this logic led to these soldiers being nicknamed "Immunes". Still, when the Ninth left, 73 of its 984 soldiers had contracted the disease. [125]

Puerto Rico Edit

On May 24, 1898, in a letter to Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge wrote, "Porto Rico is not forgotten and we mean to have it". [126]

In the same month, Lt. Henry H. Whitney of the United States Fourth Artillery was sent to Puerto Rico on a reconnaissance mission, sponsored by the Army's Bureau of Military Intelligence. He provided maps and information on the Spanish military forces to the U.S. government before the invasion.

The American offensive began on May 12, 1898, when a squadron of 12 U.S. ships commanded by Rear Adm. William T. Sampson of the United States Navy attacked the archipelago's capital, San Juan. Though the damage inflicted on the city was minimal, the Americans established a blockade in the city's harbor, San Juan Bay. On June 22, the cruiser Isabel II and the destroyer Terror delivered a Spanish counterattack, but were unable to break the blockade and Terror was damaged.

The land offensive began on July 25, when 1,300 infantry soldiers led by Nelson A. Miles disembarked off the coast of Guánica. The first organized armed opposition occurred in Yauco in what became known as the Battle of Yauco. [127]

This encounter was followed by the Battle of Fajardo. The United States seized control of Fajardo on August 1, but were forced to withdraw on August 5 after a group of 200 Puerto Rican-Spanish soldiers led by Pedro del Pino gained control of the city, while most civilian inhabitants fled to a nearby lighthouse. The Americans encountered larger opposition during the Battle of Guayama and as they advanced towards the main island's interior. They engaged in crossfire at Guamaní River Bridge, Coamo and Silva Heights and finally at the Battle of Asomante. [127] [128] The battles were inconclusive as the allied soldiers retreated.

A battle in San Germán concluded in a similar fashion with the Spanish retreating to Lares. On August 9, 1898, American troops that were pursuing units retreating from Coamo encountered heavy resistance in Aibonito in a mountain known as Cerro Gervasio del Asomante and retreated after six of their soldiers were injured. They returned three days later, reinforced with artillery units and attempted a surprise attack. In the subsequent crossfire, confused soldiers reported seeing Spanish reinforcements nearby and five American officers were gravely injured, which prompted a retreat order. All military actions in Puerto Rico were suspended on August 13, after U.S. President William McKinley and French Ambassador Jules Cambon, acting on behalf of the Spanish Government, signed an armistice whereby Spain relinquished its sovereignty over Puerto Rico. [128]

Shortly after the war began in April, the Spanish Navy ordered major units of its fleet to concentrate at Cádiz to form the 2nd Squadron, under the command of Rear Admiral Manuel de la Cámara y Livermoore. [129] Two of Spain's most powerful warships, the battleship Pelayo and the brand-new armored cruiser Emperador Carlos V, were not available when the war began—the former undergoing reconstruction in a French shipyard and the latter not yet delivered from her builders—but both were rushed into service and assigned to Cámara's squadron. [130] The squadron was ordered to guard the Spanish coast against raids by the U.S. Navy. No such raids materialized, and while Cámara's squadron lay idle at Cádiz, U.S. Navy forces destroyed Montojo's squadron at Manila Bay on 1 May and bottled up Cervera's squadron at Santiago de Cuba on 27 May.

During May, the Spanish Ministry of Marine considered options for employing Cámara's squadron. Spanish Minister of Marine Ramón Auñón y Villalón made plans for Cámara to take a portion of his squadron across the Atlantic Ocean and bombard a city on the United States East Coast—preferably Charleston, South Carolina—and then head for the Caribbean to make port at San Juan, Havana, or Santiago de Cuba, [131] but in the end this idea was dropped. Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence reported rumors as early as 15 May that Spain also was considering sending Cámara's squadron to the Philippines to destroy Dewey's squadron and reinforce the Spanish forces there with fresh troops. [132] Pelayo and Emperado Carlos V each were more powerful than any of Dewey's ships, and the possibility of their arrival in the Philippines was of great concern to the United States, which hastily arranged to dispatch 10,000 additional U.S. Army troops to the Philippines and send two U.S. Navy monitors to reinforce Dewey. [132]

On 15 June, Cámara finally received orders to depart immediately for the Philippines. His squadron, made up of Pelayo (his flagship), Emperador Carlos V, two auxiliary cruisers, three destroyers, and four colliers, was to depart Cádiz escorting four transports. After detaching two of the transports to steam independently to the Caribbean, his squadron was to proceed to the Philippines, escorting the other two transports, which carried 4,000 Spanish Army troops to reinforce Spanish forces there. He then was to destroy Dewey's squadron. [133] [131] [134] Accordingly, he sortied from Cádiz on 16 June [135] and, after detaching two of the transports for their voyages to the Caribbean, passed Gibraltar on 17 June [133] and arrived at Port Said, at the northern end of the Suez Canal, on 26 June. [136] There he found that U.S. operatives had purchased all the coal available at the other end of the canal in Suez to prevent his ships from coaling with it [137] and received word on 29 June from the British government, which controlled Egypt at the time, that his squadron was not permitted to coal in Egyptian waters because to do so would violate Egyptian and British neutrality. [136] [131]

Ordered to continue, [138] Cámara's squadron passed through the Suez Canal on 5–6 July. By that time, the United States Department of the Navy had announced that a U.S. Navy "armored squadron with cruisers" would assemble and "proceed at once to the Spanish coast" [138] and word also reached Spain of the annihilation of Cervera's squadron off Santiago de Cuba on 3 July, freeing up the U.S. Navy's heavy forces from the blockade there. Fearing for the safety of the Spanish coast, the Spanish Ministry of Marine recalled Cámara's squadron, which by then had reached the Red Sea, on 7 July 1898. [139] Cámara ' s squadron returned to Spain, arriving at Cartagena on 23 July. Cámara and Spain's two most powerful warships thus never saw combat during the war. [131]

With defeats in Cuba and the Philippines, and its fleets in both places destroyed, Spain sued for peace and negotiations were opened between the two parties. After the sickness and death of British consul Edward Henry Rawson-Walker, American admiral George Dewey requested the Belgian consul to Manila, Édouard André, to take Rawson-Walker's place as intermediary with the Spanish government. [140] [141] [142]

Hostilities were halted on August 12, 1898, with the signing in Washington of a Protocol of Peace between the United States and Spain. [143] After over two months of difficult negotiations, the formal peace treaty, the Treaty of Paris, was signed in Paris on December 10, 1898, [144] and was ratified by the United States Senate on February 6, 1899.

The United States gained Spain's colonies of the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico in the treaty, and Cuba became a U.S. protectorate. [144] The treaty came into force in Cuba April 11, 1899, with Cubans participating only as observers. Having been occupied since July 17, 1898, and thus under the jurisdiction of the United States Military Government (USMG), Cuba formed its own civil government and gained independence on May 20, 1902, with the announced end of USMG jurisdiction over the island. However, the U.S. imposed various restrictions on the new government, including prohibiting alliances with other countries, and reserved the right to intervene. The U.S. also established a de facto perpetual lease of Guantánamo Bay. [145] [146] [147]

The war lasted 16 weeks. [148] John Hay (the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom), writing from London to his friend Theodore Roosevelt, declared that it had been "a splendid little war". [149] [150] The press showed Northerners and Southerners, blacks and whites fighting against a common foe, helping to ease the scars left from the American Civil War. [151] Exemplary of this was the fact that four former Confederate States Army generals had served in the war, now in the U.S. Army and all of them again carrying similar ranks. These officers included Matthew Butler, Fitzhugh Lee, Thomas L. Rosser and Joseph Wheeler, though only the latter had seen action. Still, in an exciting moment during the Battle of Las Guasimas, Wheeler apparently forgot for a moment which war he was fighting, having supposedly called out "Let's go, boys! We've got the damn Yankees on the run again!" [152]

The war marked American entry into world affairs. Since then, the U.S. has had a significant hand in various conflicts around the world, and entered many treaties and agreements. The Panic of 1893 was over by this point, and the U.S. entered a long and prosperous period of economic and population growth, and technological innovation that lasted through the 1920s. [153]

The war redefined national identity, served as a solution of sorts to the social divisions plaguing the American mind, and provided a model for all future news reporting. [154]

The idea of American imperialism changed in the public's mind after the short and successful Spanish–American War. Due to the United States' powerful influence diplomatically and militarily, Cuba's status after the war relied heavily upon American actions. Two major developments emerged from the Spanish–American War: one, it firmly established the United States' vision of itself as a "defender of democracy" and as a major world power, and two, it had severe implications for Cuban–American relations in the future. As historian Louis Pérez argued in his book Cuba in the American Imagination: Metaphor and the Imperial Ethos, the Spanish–American War of 1898 "fixed permanently how Americans came to think of themselves: a righteous people given to the service of righteous purpose". [155]

Aftermath in Spain Edit

The war greatly reduced the Spanish Empire. Spain had been declining as an imperial power since the early 19th century as a result of Napoleon's invasion. The loss of Cuba caused a national trauma because of the affinity of peninsular Spaniards with Cuba, which was seen as another province of Spain rather than as a colony. Spain retained only a handful of overseas holdings: Spanish West Africa (Spanish Sahara), Spanish Guinea, Spanish Morocco and the Canary Islands. With the loss of the Philippines, Spain's remaining Pacific possessions in the Caroline Islands and Mariana Islands became untenable and were sold to Germany [156] in the German-Spanish Treaty (1899).

The Spanish soldier Julio Cervera Baviera, who served in the Puerto Rican Campaign, published a pamphlet in which he blamed the natives of that colony for its occupation by the Americans, saying, "I have never seen such a servile, ungrateful country [i.e., Puerto Rico] . In twenty-four hours, the people of Puerto Rico went from being fervently Spanish to enthusiastically American. They humiliated themselves, giving in to the invader as the slave bows to the powerful lord." [157] He was challenged to a duel by a group of young Puerto Ricans for writing this pamphlet. [158]

Culturally, a new wave called the Generation of '98 originated as a response to this trauma, marking a renaissance in Spanish culture. Economically, the war benefited Spain, because after the war large sums of capital held by Spaniards in Cuba and the United States were returned to the peninsula and invested in Spain. This massive flow of capital (equivalent to 25% of the gross domestic product of one year) helped to develop the large modern firms in Spain in the steel, chemical, financial, mechanical, textile, shipyard, and electrical power industries. [159] However, the political consequences were serious. The defeat in the war began the weakening of the fragile political stability that had been established earlier by the rule of Alfonso XII.

Teller and Platt Amendments Edit

The Teller Amendment was passed in the Senate on April 19, 1898, with a vote of 42 for versus 35 against. Subsequently, the House of Representatives passed the amendment with a vote of 311 for versus 6 against allowing President William McKinley to sign the resolution. [160] The Teller Amendment, which was enacted on April 20, 1898, was a promise from the United States to the Cuban people that it was not declaring war to annex Cuba, but to help it gain its independence from Spain. The Platt Amendment was a move by the United States' government to shape Cuban affairs without violating the Teller Amendment. [161]

The U.S. Congress had passed the Teller Amendment before the war, promising Cuban independence. However, the Senate passed the Platt Amendment as a rider to an Army appropriations bill, forcing a peace treaty on Cuba which prohibited it from signing treaties with other nations or contracting a public debt. The Platt Amendment was pushed by imperialists who wanted to project U.S. power abroad (in contrast to the Teller Amendment which was pushed by anti-imperialists who called for a restraint on U.S. rule). The amendment granted the United States the right to stabilize Cuba militarily as needed. [162] In addition, the Platt Amendment permitted the United States to deploy Marines to Cuba if its freedom and independence was ever threatened or jeopardized by an external or internal force. [162] The Platt Amendment also provided for a permanent American naval base in Cuba. [162] Guantánamo Bay was established after the signing of the Cuban–American Treaty of Relations in 1903. Thus, despite that Cuba technically gained its independence after the war ended, the United States government ensured that it had some form of power and control over Cuban affairs.

Aftermath in the United States Edit

The U.S. annexed the former Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam. [162] The notion of the United States as an imperial power, with colonies, was hotly debated domestically with President McKinley and the Pro-Imperialists winning their way over vocal opposition led by Democrat William Jennings Bryan, [162] who had supported the war. The American public largely supported the possession of colonies, but there were many outspoken critics such as Mark Twain, who wrote The War Prayer in protest. Roosevelt returned to the United States a war hero, [162] and he was soon elected governor of New York and then became the vice president. At the age of 42 he became the youngest person to become president after the assassination of President McKinley.

The war served to further repair relations between the American North and South. The war gave both sides a common enemy for the first time since the end of the Civil War in 1865, and many friendships were formed between soldiers of northern and southern states during their tours of duty. This was an important development, since many soldiers in this war were the children of Civil War veterans on both sides. [163]

The African-American community strongly supported the rebels in Cuba, supported entry into the war, and gained prestige from their wartime performance in the Army. Spokesmen noted that 33 African-American seamen had died in the Maine explosion. The most influential Black leader, Booker T. Washington, argued that his race was ready to fight. War offered them a chance "to render service to our country that no other race can", because, unlike Whites, they were "accustomed" to the "peculiar and dangerous climate" of Cuba. One of the Black units that served in the war was the 9th Cavalry Regiment. In March 1898, Washington promised the Secretary of the Navy that war would be answered by "at least ten thousand loyal, brave, strong black men in the south who crave an opportunity to show their loyalty to our land, and would gladly take this method of showing their gratitude for the lives laid down, and the sacrifices made, that Blacks might have their freedom and rights." [164]

Veterans Associations Edit

In 1904, the United Spanish War Veterans was created from smaller groups of the veterans of the Spanish–American War. Today, that organization is defunct, but it left an heir in the Sons of Spanish–American War Veterans, created in 1937 at the 39th National Encampment of the United Spanish War Veterans. According to data from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the last surviving U.S. veteran of the conflict, Nathan E. Cook, died on September 10, 1992, at age 106. (If the data is to be believed, Cook, born October 10, 1885, would have been only 12 years old when he served in the war.)

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) was formed in 1914 from the merger of two veterans organizations which both arose in 1899: the American Veterans of Foreign Service and the National Society of the Army of the Philippines. [165] The former was formed for veterans of the Spanish–American War, while the latter was formed for veterans of the Philippine–American War. Both organizations were formed in response to the general neglect veterans returning from the war experienced at the hands of the government.

To pay the costs of the war, Congress passed an excise tax on long-distance phone service. [166] At the time, it affected only wealthy Americans who owned telephones. However, the Congress neglected to repeal the tax after the war ended four months later, and the tax remained in place for over 100 years until, on August 1, 2006, it was announced that the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS would no longer collect the tax. [167]

Postwar American investment in Puerto Rico Edit

The change in sovereignty of Puerto Rico, like the occupation of Cuba, brought about major changes in both the insular and U.S. economies. Before 1898 the sugar industry in Puerto Rico was in decline for nearly half a century. [ citation needed ] In the second half of the nineteenth century, technological advances increased the capital requirements to remain competitive in the sugar industry. Agriculture began to shift toward coffee production, which required less capital and land accumulation. However, these trends were reversed with U.S. hegemony. Early U.S. monetary and legal policies made it both harder for local farmers to continue operations and easier for American businesses to accumulate land. [168] This, along with the large capital reserves of American businesses, led to a resurgence in the Puerto Rican nuts and sugar industry in the form of large American owned agro-industrial complexes.

At the same time, the inclusion of Puerto Rico into the U.S. tariff system as a customs area, effectively treating Puerto Rico as a state with respect to internal or external trade, increased the codependence of the insular and mainland economies and benefitted sugar exports with tariff protection. In 1897, the United States purchased 19.6 percent of Puerto Rico's exports while supplying 18.5 percent of its imports. By 1905, these figures jumped to 84 percent and 85 percent, respectively. [169] However, coffee was not protected, as it was not a product of the mainland. At the same time, Cuba and Spain, traditionally the largest importers of Puerto Rican coffee, now subjected Puerto Rico to previously nonexistent import tariffs. These two effects led to a decline in the coffee industry. From 1897 to 1901, coffee went from 65.8 percent of exports to 19.6 percent while sugar went from 21.6 percent to 55 percent. [170] The tariff system also provided a protected market place for Puerto Rican tobacco exports. The tobacco industry went from nearly nonexistent in Puerto Rico to a major part of the country's agricultural sector. [ citation needed ]

The Spanish–American War was the first U.S. war in which the motion picture camera played a role. [171] The Library of Congress archives contain many films and film clips from the war. [172] In addition, a few feature films have been made about the war. These include

  • The Rough Riders, a 1927 silent film
  • A Message to Garcia, 1936 , a 1997 television miniseries directed by John Milius, and featuring Tom Berenger (Theodore Roosevelt), Gary Busey (Joseph Wheeler), Sam Elliott (Buckey O'Neill), Dale Dye (Leonard Wood), Brian Keith (William McKinley), George Hamilton (William Randolph Hearst), and R. Lee Ermey (John Hay)
  • Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War, a 1999 television documentary from PBS
  • The Spanish–American War: First Intervention, a 2007 docudrama from The History Channel
  • Baler, a 2008 film about the Siege of Baler
  • Los últimos de Filipinas ("The Last Ones of the Philippines"), a 1945 Spanish biographical film directed by Antonio Román
  • Amigo, 2010
  • 1898, Our Last Men in the Philippines, a well-acclaimed 2016 film about the Siege of Baler

United States Edit

The United States awards and decorations of the Spanish–American War were as follows:

Wartime service and honors Edit

Postwar occupation service Edit

Spain Edit

  • Army Cross of Military Merit/Cruces del Mérito Militar—Spain issued two Crosses of Military Merit including one for fighters with a red badge and a red ribbon with a white stripe, and one for non-fighters with a white badge and a white ribbon with a red stripe. An example of the Silver Cross of Military Merit with the red emblem for fighters was issued on July 18 of 1898 for good behavior on the 11th of May in defense of the fortress of El Faro and the Pueblo de Jagua on May 11 in the Battle of Cienfuegos. [173]
  • Army Operations Medal/Medalla Para Ejercito de Operaciones, Cuba [174]
  • Medal for Volunteers/Medalla Para Los Volunatrios, Cuban Campaign, 1895–1898 [174]
  • Army Operations Medal for Vaolr, Discipline and Loyalty, Philippines, 1896–1898 [174]
  • Army Medal for Volunteers/Medalla Para Los Voluntarios, Philippines, Luzon Campaign, 1896–1897 [174]

Other countries Edit

The governments of Spain and Cuba issued a wide variety of military awards to honor Spanish, Cuban, and Philippine soldiers who had served in the conflict.

Footnotes Edit

  1. ^ ab Unrecognized by the primary belligerents.
  2. ^ The US declared war on Spain on April 25, 1898, but dated the beginning of the war retroactively to April 21
  3. ^ Number is the total for all Cuban rebels active from 1895 to 1898. [2]
  4. ^ Some historians prefer alternative titles, e.g.:
    • Louis A. Pérez (1998), The war of 1898: the United States and Cuba in history and historiography, UNC Press Books, ISBN978-0807847428 , archived from the original on April 24, 2016 , retrieved October 31, 2015
    • Benjamin R. Beede (1994), The War of 1898, and US interventions, 1898–1934: an encyclopedia, Taylor & Francis, ISBN978-0824056247 , archived from the original on May 27, 2016 , retrieved October 31, 2015
    • Thomas David Schoonover Walter LaFeber (2005), Uncle Sam's War of 1898 and the Origins of Globalization, University Press of Kentucky, ISBN978-0813191225 , archived from the original on May 7, 2016 , retrieved October 31, 2015
    • Virginia Marie Bouvier (2001), Whose America?: the war of 1898 and the battles to define the nation, Praeger, ISBN978-0275967949 , archived from the original on May 14, 2016 , retrieved October 31, 2015
  5. ^

1. This is the English language text of the document as published by the supporting source cited, possibly as translated from the original Spanish or Tagalog. In 1898, Spanish, Tagalog, and English were official languages in the Spanish colonial Philippines. [84] 2. In the Spanish colonial Philippiines, the term Filipino was reserved for full-blooded Spaniards born in the Philippines (insulares). Full-blooded Spaniards born in the Spanish peninsula were termed peninsulares. The Filipinos that we know today were then termed indios. [85] [86]

The text of the document as published in the cited source was as follows:


Fellow Spaniards,

Hostilities between Spain and the United States have broken out.

The moment has come for us to show the world that we are more than courageous to triumph over those, who, feigning to be loyal friends, took advantage of our misfortunes and capitalized on our nobility by making use of the means civilized nations consider as condemnable and contemptible.

The Americans, gratified with their social progress, have drained off our patience and have instigated the war through wicked tactics, treacherous acts, and violations of human rights and internal agreements.

Fighting will be short and decisive. God of victories will render this victory glorious and complete as demanded by reason and justice to our cause.

Spain, counting on the sympathies of all nations, will come out in triumph from this new test, by shattering and silencing the adventurers of those countries which, without cohesiveness and post, offer to humanity shameful traditions and the ungrateful spectacle of some embassies within which jointly dwell intrigues and defamation, cowardice and cynicism.

A US squadron, manned by strangers, by ignorant undisciplined men, is coming into the Archipelago for the purpose of grabbing from us what we consider to be our life, honor freedom. It tries to inspire (motivate) American sailors by saying that we are weak, they are encouraged to keep on with an undertaking that can be accomplished namely of substituting the Catholic religion with Protestantism, they consider you as a people who impedes growth they will seize your wealth as if you do not know your rights to property they will snatch away from you those they consider as useful to man their ships, to be exploited as workers in their fields and factories.

Useless plans! Ridiculous boastings!

Your indomitable courage suffices to hold off those who dare to bring it to reality. We know you will not allow them to mock the faith you are professing, their feet to step on the temple of the true God, incredulity to demolish the sacred images you honor you will not allow the invaders to desecrate the tombs of your forefathers to satisfy their immodest passions at the expense of your wives and daughters' honor you will not allow them to seize all the properties you have put up through honest work in order to assure your future you will not allow them to commit any of those crimes inspired by their wickedness and greed, because your bravery and patriotism suffice in scaring them away and knocking down the people who, calling themselves civilized and cultured, resort to the extermination of the natives of North America instead of trying to attract them to live a civilized life and of progress.

Filipinos! Prepare yourself for the battle and united together under the glorious Spanish flag, always covered with laurels, let us fight, convinced that victory will crown our efforts and let us reply the intimations of our enemies with a decision befitting a Christian and patriot, with a cry of "Long live Spain!"

Manila, April 23, 1898

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Phil Green told jurors that Deuman killed the girl during the oral rape, and then he considered scenarios throughout the evening to suggest she died of an accidental cause.

He didn’t call 911, but told Maitland on the telephone that their daughter wasn’t breathing, wasting valuable time which could have saved her life.

Scene: Ten members of the same family lived in this mobile home in Suttons Bay, Michigan, on land belonging to Chippewa Indians

Green said yesterday: 'This was a very difficult case for anyone to have to hear.

'This is about as heinous as it gets. That’s a tragic reality here. He did do it.

'A beautiful 15-week-old baby girl lost her life, lost her future, because of his need for sexual gratification.'

He applauded the baby's mother Natasha for testifying on behalf of the prosecution, despite 'having to endure a loss no one should ever have to endure'.

According to Michigan Live, he told jurors: 'This was no accident. She couldn’t roll over, much less crawl.

'She certainly wasn’t capable of overcoming the obstacles on her bed, the pillows, to end up on the floor. Even if (she did), how is she going to suck that condom up?'

Finally, he said: 'It’s hard to imagine anything more objectionable than the oral rape of a 15-week-old baby.'

Jurors also heard from witnesses who, as children, claimed they also were sexually abused by Deuman.

The defense attorney argued that his client was a proud father and that the mobile home they shared with ten other people was an 'accident waiting to happen.'

He said prosecutors unfairly portrayed his client as an 'unbridled sex fiend'.

Questions on providing an email address to WIPO for communications under the Madrid System

Applicants, in the international application, new holders, in a request for the recording of a change in ownership, and representatives, appointed as such in the international application, in a request for recording or in a separate communication, must indicate their own email address.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt postal services worldwide in various degrees. Further, in some cases, guidance from local health authorities has affected WIPO’s ability to send postal communications. Nevertheless, WIPO has never stopped sending electronic communications to its users.

In September 2020, the Assembly of the Madrid Union decided to make email a required indication and privilege electronic communication to prevent that applicants and holders, or their representatives, miss receiving time sensitive communications, such as notifications of provisional refusal, and fail to react on time, which could result in loss of rights.

Email address becomes a required indication in:

  • international applications received by the Office of origin on or after February 1, 2021
  • requests for recording of change in ownership received by WIPO or by the Office concerned, when presented through an Office, on or after February 1, 2021 and,
  • requests to record the appointment of a representative made on or after February 1, 2021, in an international application, in a request for recording or in a separate communication.

Yes, you, as the applicant, and your representative, if you appoint one, have to provide your respective email address in the international application. The same applies if you are the new holder, in a request for the recording of a change in ownership, and you appoint a representative.

While WIPO needs your full contact details (including email address), WIPO will communicate with your representative. However, WIPO will communicate with you in the following few situations:

  • where the appointment of your representative is irregular or cancelled, at your request or at the request of your representative, communications will be sent to you until a representative is appointed
  • six months before the expiry of the renewal due date, an unofficial notice will be sent to you and your representative, reminding both of you of the exact date of expiry of the international registration
  • in case of non-renewal of the international registration, the notification of such non-renewal will be sent to you and your representative.

No, this would be against the Regulations under the Madrid Protocol because the applicant or holder must indicate his or her own email address. There are further practical and legal considerations to take into account. For example, if the appointment of the representative is cancelled, WIPO would send all communications to the email address the applicant or holder has indicated as his or her own. This could have negative implications for the former representative if the applicant has indicated the email address of the former representative as his or her own and rights are lost as a result.

WIPO will continue to send communications by postal services to applicants, holders or representatives who have not indicated an email address because they were not required to do so before the date of entry into force of the new requirement (i.e., before February 1, 2021). It will also send communications by postal services when an electronic communication fails to reach its intended recipient.

No, WIPO will not make your email address available to the public. WIPO will not display your email address on the Madrid System online information services (e.g., Madrid Monitor, Madrid Real-time Status) nor publish it in the WIPO Gazette of International Marks.

If you are the applicant, WIPO will send an irregularity notice to you or your representative (if any), and you will have three months from the date of the notification of the irregularity by WIPO to indicate your email address to WIPO. If you do not indicate it within that period, your international application will be considered abandoned.

If you are the new holder in a request for the recording of a change in ownership, WIPO will send an irregularity notice to you or your representative (if any), and you will have three months from the date of the notification of the irregularity by WIPO to indicate your email address to WIPO. If you do not indicate it within that period, WIPO will not record you as the new holder and the request will be considered abandoned.

If you are the representative, WIPO will not record your appointment as your request will be irregular. WIPO will inform you as well as the applicant or holder of this fact and will send all relevant communications only to the applicant or holder until you are duly appointed. The applicant or holder may appoint you as representative in a new communication meeting the prescribed requirements.

An irregular appointment made in an international application or in a request for recording, will prevent the recording of the appointment, but it will not prevent the international registration or the change in ownership, as the case may be, from being recorded in the International Register.

No, this will not affect the date of your international registration, provided WIPO has sufficient information to contact you or your representative by any possible means (e.g., a telephone number) and provided you remedy this irregularity before the expiry of the given time limit.

You can search for your international registration or pending application on Madrid Monitor. The image of an envelope to the left of your international registration or pending application indicates that WIPO is still sending postal communications because neither you nor your representative has indicated an email address.

You can use an online form in Contact Madrid to indicate or change your email address. Users can indicate their email address and list their international registrations. For pending applications, users can indicate the corresponding WIPO reference number, which appears in all communications from WIPO. WIPO will process the request and reach out to users to ask further information or to confirm the validity of the request.

A decade-long search for a treasure hidden deep in the Rocky Mountains that led to multiple people’s deaths is over, the man who hid the treasure announced.

Forrest Fenn, a New Mexican art dealer, revealed on Sunday that his famed treasure was found, according to a post on his website that he confirmed to NBC News.

The treasure, placed in a 13th-century Romanesque bronze chest, was hidden between 2009 and 2010 with an estimated $2 million of gold, jewelry and gems, the 89-year old said.

Tucked “somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe,” the bounty was either in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming or Montana, but Fenn did not specify in his announcement where exactly it was found.

“It was under a canopy of stars in the lush, forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains and had not moved from the spot where I hid it more than 10 years ago,” Fenn wrote.

The art dealer left searchers nine clues in his memoir to help them find the treasure and said the hunt was meant to get people outside and explore nature. But the hints weren’t enough to keep many of them safe. In the decade between its hiding and discovery, multiple people died in their search.

“I congratulate the thousands of people who participated in the search and hope they will continue to be drawn by the promise of other discoveries,” Fenn wrote.

Spanish Colonization Summary & Analysis

But along with the Spaniards came diseases to which the New World natives had no immunities.

What followed was one of the greatest tragedies in human history as smallpox, influenza, and other communicable diseases ravaged the native populations, killing millions. Yes, a lot

The Spanish never set out to destroy the people of the New World—after all, their goal was to use native labor for their own ends—and almost immediately a debate arose in Spain concerning the rights of natives. This was the first time any European nation had consciously debated the rights and status of non-Christians. 

The traffic of Europeans to the Americas was not a one-way street. The so-called Columbian Exchange brought European goods and ideas to the New World—including the horse, which was not native to the Western Hemisphere—and returned new plants and animals to the Old World, including potatoes, corn, tomatoes and other crops. The world was forever changed by the new horizons opened by Spain's intrepid explorers, despite the misdeeds of Spanish rule in America.

Spanish conquistadors, who were primarily poor nobles from the impoverished west and south of Spain, were able to conquer the huge empires of the New World with the help of superior military technology, disease (which weakened indigenous resistance), and military tactics including surprise attacks and powerful alliances with local tribes.

Once an area had been conquered, it was partitioned into encomiendas, or grants of land. More importantly, the native people themselves were parceled out to the conquistadors, who were given title to the land and its people in return for a promise to teach the natives Christianity. This system was heavily abused, and Native Americans throughout the Americas were reduced to a condition of virtual slavery.

However, due to natural attrition and harsh misrule, the population of native laborers soon became too small for the voracious Spanish, so they began to import African slaves to work in sugar plantations and silver mines. The introduction of African traditions to the Native American and mestizo cultures already in existence made for a social mixture richer than in almost any other part of the world, although racism continued to play a dark role in the New World. 

Colonial society was hierarchical, based upon on the amount of non-Spanish blood a person possessed. A complicated system, called the casta, delineated over 100 separate names for groups containing certain levels of Native American and African blood. Jobs, government positions, titles to land, and almost everything else in the Americas functioned according to this system with those at the top getting preference over those lower on the list. 

Of course, discrimination and repression were features of Spanish colonial rule throughout its history.

Spain's government in Madrid tried hard to govern the New World, despite its distance from Europe. Using a system of viceroyalties and audencias, royal courts of appeals, the Spanish Monarchy was able to exercise control over Spanish settlers, even when they didn't want any sort of interference from the central government. 

The Crown was entitled to one-fifth of all mining profits, and this huge income helped Spain to become the largest and most powerful empire in Europe by 1600. Religion was mixed with politics to create a hybrid system in what would become the American Southwest: Dominican, Franciscan, and Jesuit missionaries were often left in charge of large areas in what is now Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and, later, California. 

With its goal of bringing the Catholic religion to the New World, Spain was also able to use the existing church governments for its own political uses. Today, religion and politics continue to mix in Latin America.

The often-heavy handed rule from Madrid and the new ideas of liberty and freedom coming out of the American and French Revolutions brought about the wars of Independence in the early-19th century. Simón Bolívar—the Great Liberator—and José de San Martin led the fight for independence, although this was not a fight for indigenous rights, or on behalf of the poor. Those who fought for South American independence were called criollos, American-born descendants of Spaniards, and they continued to rule the many new nations of Spanish America for generations. 

The Spanish left a legacy of cruelty and exploitation in their wake, but they also managed to open the world and increase cultural exchanges to a level never before seen in human history.

How long did it take mail to get between Madrid and Mexico? - History

Stagecoach History

"Typical stage of the Concord type used by express companies on the overland trails.
Buffalo Soldiers guard from atop, ca. 1869."
[Picture from the Library of Congress]

Capt. John Silas, Pioneer Stage and Rail Man

The first Concord stagecoach was built in 1827. Costing $1200 - $1500, these coaches weighed more than two thousand pounds. Abbot Downing Company employed leather strap braces under their stagecoaches which gave a swinging motion instead of the jolting up and down of a spring suspension. The company manufactured over 40 different types of carriages and wagons at the wagon factory in Concord, New Hampshire. Abbot Downing Company disbanded in 1847. They merged again in 1865, when Lewis Downing, Jr., and J.S. and E.A. Abbott Company formed the Abbott-Downing Company. They continued to manufacture coaches, wagons, and carriages under that company's name until 1919. Most of the time, the Abbot-Downing Company employed about 300 people. All were men except for one: from 1865 to 1895 Marie F. Putnam stitched leather seats and trim for every stagecoach that rolled out of the Concord factory, including those purchased by Wells Fargo & Company. For the entire 30 years, she was the company's only female employee.

Each coach was given a number by the Abbot-Downing factory. The Concord Coaches had a reputation for being sturdy, roomy, and comfortable. At the front and back of the stagecoach were leather 'boots' where baggage, mail and valuables were stored during the journey, with the remainder of the luggage being placed on top of the coach. Sometimes, even passengers sat atop the coach, but most chose to endure the rugged trip inside, if it wasn't too crowded. If it was, a single stagecoach would hold nine passengers inside, and a dozen or more on the roof. The windows of a stagecoach had leather roll-down curtains, and three leather-covered seats that offered little legroom. Most travellers had about fifteen inches to squeeze themselves into if the coach carried a capacity of nine passengers. The one stuck in the middle usually had the worst of it, because there was no back support. Instead, they had to hold onto leather straps that hung from the ceiling. The average speed was only eight miles an hour.

A sample fare schedule posted at Lincoln, New Hampshire:
- 1st class: $7.00 (rode all the way)
- 2nd class: had to walk at bad places on the road
- 3rd class: same as above, but also had to push at hills

During the Civil War, when sectional tensions were tearing the United States apart, stagecoaches provided regular transportation and communication between St. Louis, Missouri in the East and San Francisco, California in the West.

Although the Pony Express is often credited with being the first fast mail line across the North American continent from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast, the Butterfield Stage predated the Pony Express by nearly three years. Butterfield Overland Stage began rolling on September 15, 1858, when the twice-weekly mail service began. A Butterfield Overland Concord Stagecoach was started in San Francisco and another Overland Stage in Tipton, Missouri where they ran over the better roads. As the going got rougher, the passengers and mail were transferred to "celerity wagons" designed for the roughest conditions. Each run encompassed 2,812 miles and had to be completed in 25 days or less in order to qualify for the $600,000 government grant for mail service.

The last American chapter in the use of the stage coaches took place between 1890 and about 1915. In the end, it was the motor bus, not the train, that caused the final disuse of these horse-drawn vehicles. After the main railroad lines were established, it was frequently not practical to go to a place of higher elevation by rail lines if the distance was short. By 1918 stage coaches were only operating in a few mountain resorts or western National Parks as part of the "old west" romance for tourists.
[Source: Excerpted from and other various sources

Capt. Silas St. John - Pioneer mail stage and railroad man on the frontier in the early 1850's

Stagecoach Decorum
While today's travelers may be put off by the increased security hassles of air travel post 9-11, consider what travelers had to put up with during the days when stagecoaches rumbled across Arizona. In the late 19th century, travelers on the Butterfield Stage line discovered the discomfort of close quarters, dusty trails and lonely stage stations, as well as the threat of Indian attacks and outlaw robbers. But as hard as travel was in those days, the Old West still had a code of etiquette for stagecoach passengers. Here are some of the rules of stagecoach travel during the 1870s:

• When a driver asked a passenger to get out and walk, one was advised to do so, and not grumble about it.

• If the team of horses ran away, it was better to sit in the coach because most passengers who jumped were seriously injured.

• Smoking and spitting on the leeward side of the coach was discouraged.

• Drinking spirits was allowed, but passengers were expected to share.

• Swearing was not allowed, and neither was sleeping on your neighbor's shoulder.

• Travelers shouldn't point out spots where murders had occurred, especially when "delicate" passengers were aboard.

• Greasing one's hair was discouraged because dust would stick to it.

And according to the Omaha Herald in 1877, "Don't imagine for a moment you are going on a picnic. Expect annoyance, discomfort, and some hardships. If you are disappointed, thank heaven."
[Source: From "Arizona Highways", contributed by Sara Hemp]

A Brief History of the Bozeman Trail

Gold Fever! The '49ers were among the first in the West to be infected with that contagion when they took the California Trail to the goldfields of the Sierra Nevada. Next were men like John Merin Bozeman who came to Colorado in the Pikes Peak gold rush, which began in 1859 and lasted throughout the early 1860s. Perhaps he even painted "Pikes Peak or Bust," on a wagon cover, as did many at that time.

Born in 1835 in Pickens County, Ga., Bozeman grew up at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains where placer mining was common. Believing that gold was the hope for a brighter future, his father left his home, wife and five children for the California goldfields in 1849. He took the route across the Isthmus of Panama, but died on May 14, 1852 aboard the Clarissa Andrews before reaching California. As it took 40 days to make the trip up the west coast, the body of 33-year-old William Bozeman was thrown overboard.

Perhaps influenced by his father's example, John Bozeman left his wife and three young daughters behind in 1860 to join a group of 15 men going to the goldfields in Colorado. The diggings there were less profitable than he had hoped, so he ventured on to the next hub of activity, heading north to Montana Territory. By then, some Pikes Peak veterans had discovered rich placer deposits along the banks of Grasshopper Creek near Bannack. Bozeman, however, did not arrive until June 1862 when that rush was nearly over.

In May 1863, a new deposit was found at Alder Gulch, about 75 miles east of the earlier strike at Bannack. Word spread fast and the miners left the Grasshopper Creek strike and rushed to the new diggings. Soon the hillsides along Alder Gulch were covered with miners’ tents, brush shelters and crude log cabins and when it came time to file the official document naming the new town, they called it Virginia City.

But Bozeman had changed careers. The steady stream of prospectors moving into the area led him to think that, instead of mining gold, he could make more money mining the miners. So, joining forces with local mountain man John Jacobs, he entered the guiding business. Bozeman was a promoter and Jacobs a seasoned guide who knew the lay of the land, the rivers, water holes and mountains. Together, they searched for a shortcut to the Montana goldfields from the Oregon Trail in what is now Wyoming.

An ancient route

The route they chose was a well-used corridor that Indian tribes had followed for centuries. By the 1860s it was also known to white explorers, trappers and traders. In 1859-1860, Capt. William F. Raynolds of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers led an expedition that explored the region in an effort to locate four possible wagon routes through northern Wyoming and southern Montana. Officials in the War Department hoped to build a network of roads that would open the area to white settlement. Raynolds’ guide was Jim Bridger, the former trapper, now guide and Army scout, who had lived in the Rockies for 40 years and understood well the topography of the West.

​Raynolds reported that there was a belt of country 20 miles wide that was quite suitable for a wagon road, writing in part, “I doubt not it will become the great line of travel into the valley of the Three Forks [in Montana]. Being immediately at the base of the mountains, this strip is watered by the numerous streams, which rise in the hills, but soon disappear in the open country below, while the upheaval of the mountain crest is so uniform in direction that a comparatively straight road can be laid out close to their foot.”

The 500-mile-long corridor avoided both mountains and deserts and thus eliminated perhaps six weeks of travel time through rougher country. Good grass and water for the oxen or mules that pulled the wagons and fresh game and firewood for the travelers were available as well.

Previously, gold seekers from the East either took steamboats to Fort Benton at the head of navigation on the Missouri River and traveled 250 miles southwest to Alder Gulch, or they took the Oregon Trail to Fort Hall in Idaho Territory, turned north, and traveled about 275 miles to the Montana gold diggings.

Bozeman’s route saved distance by traveling a diagonal, leaving the Oregon Trail at Deer Creek Crossing near present day Glenrock, Wyo. From there, they turned north through the Powder River Basin, which is bordered on the south by the North Platte, on the north by the Yellowstone River, on the west by the Bighorn Mountains and on the east by the Black Hills.

They then headed west toward the headwaters of the Tongue River, passing what are now the communities of Big Horn and Dayton, Wyo. From there they continued northwest, entering the Yellowstone Valley and progressing on through southern Montana to the goldfields at Virginia City.

A first attempt, 1863

The only drawback—and it proved to be a big one—was the danger from Indian attack. The trail crossed through prime buffalo-hunting grounds that had been promised to the Lakota Sioux under the terms of the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie. The Lakota, together with their allies the Arapaho and Northern Cheyenne, would violently resist this incursion onto their land.

The first of several emigrant trains began traveling up the trail not long after Bozeman and Jacobs had finished marking the route. A train of 46 wagons with 89 men, 10 women and several children left Deer Creek on July 6, 1863. Bozeman led the group, accompanied by Jacobs and another guide, Rafael Gallegos. They had traveled just 150 miles when they were confronted by a large party of Northern Cheyenne and Sioux warriors, who warned them to turn back or be killed. The disgruntled group retreated to the main emigrant road after learning that a military escort was unavailable to escort them safely to the goldfields. This incident occurred on Rock Creek, four miles north of present Buffalo, Wyo.

Bozeman and nine men forged ahead, however, risking their lives to follow the new thoroughfare. They rode through the nights and slept during the days, avoiding any further conflict with the Indians. After 21 days they safely reached the Gallatin Valley by way of what is now known as Bozeman Pass, between present Livingston and Bozeman, Mont. Bozeman’s bravery in pressing on to Virginia City through the shorter route earned him great deal of respect with the emigrants and was the main reason the trail was named for him.

The Townsend Train, 1864

A year later, four trains with a total of 450 wagons and 1,500 people traveled the Bozeman Cutoff to the Montana goldfields. This journey was basically without incident, except for the Townsend group.

The 150-wagon Townsend Train left Deer Creek late in June, according to historian Robert Murray. On the morning of July 9, they saw a large group of warriors approaching at a cottonwood grove on Soldier Creek, a short way west from the trail’s crossing of Powder River. Guides John Richard, Jr. and Mitch Boyer spoke with the Indians, and found they were on their way to raid the Crows. Captain Townsend gave the Indians food, but refused to let them travel along with the train.

When one of the emigrants turned up missing, Townsend sent a small force out to look for him. They found that the Indians had killed the man, and a fight followed. However, the emigrants had the upper hand as they were well armed with repeating Henry and Spencer rifles. Three emigrant men and thirteen Indians were killed in the battle, but the train then continued on to its destination without further incident.

Story’s Texas cattle

According to historian Susan Badger Doyle, the true emigration period of the Bozeman Trail lasted only from 1863-1866. Doyle observed that the emigrants didn't necessarily have the perception that the Indians would make their journey hazardous. She wrote that “the trail was yet another form of Manifest Destiny: they came out, they conquered, and they imposed their way of life. Most seemed to believe that the land was their due right and that the Indians would be overrun and would either disappear or be pushed aside.”

In 1866, Nelson Story, who had become wealthy prospecting in the Montana goldfields, sought a way to provide beef for the burgeoning mining camps. He bought cattle in Texas and despite the threat of Indian attacks, drove his herd of 3,000 head north on the Bozeman Trail. He was accompanied by a wagon train hauling groceries into the Gallatin Valley. Though the country was full of Indians, Story’s party moved forward unmolested.

However, trouble arose when they arrived at the construction site of Fort Phil Kearny near present Story, Wyo. Col. Henry B. Carrington was in command at the fort, one of the three forts being built that year to protect travelers on the trail.

Carrington demanded that Story’s party halt there because he could not guarantee their safety. One dark night Story and his cowboys rounded up his cattle and left. After only one minor skirmish with the hostile tribes, Story’s group reached Montana with all wagons and the herd intact.

Doyle also notes that by 1866, the trail became primarily a military transportation road. The tribes’ resistance to the presence of the forts and to military travel on the road became known as Red Cloud’s War, named for the Oglala Lakota Sioux war leader.

As for Bozeman, after only one season of guiding he retired from the business. He settled at the gate of the Gallatin Valley, founding Bozeman, Mont., in 1864. Three years later he was killed while traveling along the Bozeman Trail.

He and his business partner, Thomas Cover left Bozeman for Fort C.F. Smith on April 19, 1867 to see if they could land a government contract for flour from their flour mill in Bozeman. On the way an unexpected encounter with five Piegan Indians ended with Bozeman killed and Cover wounded. Cover made his way back to the town of Bozeman and reported his partner’s death. Some inconsistencies in Cover’s accounts, however, have led some historians to wonder if Cover himself might have killed his partner. Three years later, Bozeman’s body was relocated to Bozeman where it was buried in Sunset Hills Cemetery in Bozeman, Mont.

On Nov. 6, 1868, Red Cloud signed a treaty with the U.S. government that guaranteed the closure of the forts. After the Army departed, the Indians burned the forts, and the Bozeman Trail was officially closed. The route was used again in 1876, however, when troops under Gen. George Crook marched into the Powder River Basin three separate times on campaigns to subdue the Cheyenne and Lakota Sioux.

Today, the Bozeman Trail corridor is still a major north-south travel route, with an interstate highway replacing the wagon and horseback trails. Those who travel the trail can still see the grand, surrounding country and imagine how lush, pristine and full of promise the environment must have appeared to travelers who saw a new horizon on each day of their journey.

Ruts of the wagon road, located on public land near the Fetterman Monument in northern Wyoming can be viewed easily and provide contemporary evidence of the early day travel. There are also markers and historical interpretative signs at many other sites along the trail route.


Doyle, Susan Badger. "Reflections,” in Promise: Bozeman's Trail to Destiny, edited by Serle Chapman and Susan Badger Doyle, 147-151. Park City, Utah: Pavey Western Publishing, 2004.

Hebard, Grace Raymond and E. A. Brininstool, The Bozeman Trail: Historical Accounts of the Blazing of the Overland Routes into the Northwest, and the Fights with Red Cloud's Warriors, vol. 1, 1922. Reprint, Glendale, Calif.: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1960.

New identities

For once, then, all the hyperbole is justified. These are without doubt some of history's greatest stories and some of history's most remarkable deeds. Many were dreadful and appalling - as were their consequences. Travelling in the traditional societies of the Americas, nearly 500 years on from the Conquest, I have often felt pessimistic about the fate of all these cultures, as they fight against the long aftermath of those events and the onset of global culture. Their encoded identities, built up over millennia, are being scrubbed away so rapidly, in just a generation or two. History, as we all know, leaves many wounds.

. some of history's greatest stories and some of history's most remarkable deeds.

Some wounds never heal, but with time some do. The Conquista was at once one of the most significant events in history, and one of the most cruel and devastating. However, in history, there is no going back. Blame or regret are pointless. All we can do is try to understand.

Aztec Eagle Warrior, Mexico City © History also works in mysterious ways. Out of the debris of the past, new identities are shaped out of what is at hand, and in some magical way they carry on the encoded memories in societies and civilisations, as well as in people. Something gets handed down, almost in the manner of genetics. At the beginning of the third millennium, the past still lives on in today's generation, forming new worlds out of the debris of the old, and the remorseless march of history.

On a personal level, I have a final admission to make. Perversely, perhaps, I finished these journeys with a grudging admiration for the likes of Mansio. The brutality of the Pizarros was at times beyond belief. However, there is no doubt that they were men of their time. Trudging in their footsteps with a good sort, like Cieza de Leon, as companion in my rucksack, I could not help but admire their amazing courage, nerve and endurance. Of course they knew they had the technological edge over what were in essence Bronze Age civilisations, which had, by an accident of history, come through to the 16th century. Nonetheless one was constantly amazed by their superhuman strength of will. 'Many nations have excelled others and overcome them', wrote Pedro de Cieza de Leon, looking back on these incredible events:

Inca terracing at Ollantaytambo © 'The few have conquered the many before. They say Alexander the Great, with 33,000 Macedonians, undertook to conquer the world. So with the Romans too. But no nation has with such resolution passed through such labours, or such long periods of starvation, or covered such immense distances as the Spanish have done. In a period of 70 years they have overcome and opened up a new world, greater than the one of which we had knowledge, exploring what was unknown and never before seen. ' - Pedro de Cieza de Leon