Treaty of Paris 1898

In April, 1898, Spanish-American War broke out. This was initially caused over Spanish colonial rule in Cuba. Cuban people wanted to get rid of the Spanish rule and American public sympathized with them. The U.S. government initially remained neutral and did not want be a part of the conflict.

But then in February, 1898, a US battleship called Maine was sunk while stationed in the Havana Harbor. Hundreds of American sailors died in the incident. Although the cause of the explosion and sinking could not be determined, American press blamed Spain and so did the American public opinion. This led the US government to declare war against Spain. The war was fought in many Spanish colonies including Cuba, Philippines and Puerto Rico.

The War and Outcome

Before the 19th century, Spain had once been the most powerful naval power in the Atlantic. This had changed by the end of the 19th century. The U.S. navy with superior ships and better artillery weapons destroyed two of the most important fleets of Spain. American land forces also defeated Spanish forces in Cuba as well as Philippines. In Puerto Rico, a number of battles were fought between the two sides. Ultimately, Spain lost control of all three of its colonies and finally agreed to negotiate for peace. This finally led to the Treaty of Paris.

When and where was the treaty signed?

The Treaty of Paris was signed in Paris, France. It was signed on December 10, 1898.

Representatives on both sides

The American government was represented by William R. Day, William P. Frye, Cushman Kellogg Davis, George Gray and Whitelaw Reid. William R. Day was the head of American delegation.

The Spanish government was represented by Eugenio Montero Rios, Buenaventura de Abarzuza, Jose de Garnica, Rafael Cerero, Wenceslao Ramirez de Villa and Jules Cambon.

What did the treaty say?

Since the Americans were victorious in the war, they had the upper hand in the treaty and Spain had to agree to American terms. The treaty stated that Cuba would return to being under the control of Cubans and that Spain would be responsible for the $400 million debt liability of Cuba. The treaty further stated that Spain would cede the entire Philippines to American in exchange for $20 million. Spain also agreed to give up the control of Guam and Puerto Rico to US control.

Aftermath of the Treaty

The treaty greatly diminished the power of the Spanish empire. With the defeat in war and the signing of the Treaty of Paris, Spain lost most of its overseas colonial territories. On the other hand, America arose as a new colonial and imperial power with the benefits gained through the war and the treaty.

By gaining control of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines, America began its expansion as a new empire. This expansion greatly helped in the economic growth of USA. Another consequence of the treaty was the Philippine-American War which started in 1899. The war was fought between the Philippine revolutionaries who were struggling for independence and the US which had taken colonial control of Philippines.

A Treaty of Peace Between the United States and Spain: Message from the President of the United States, Transmitting a Treaty of Peace Between the … Paris, on December 10, 1898 (Classic Reprint)

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