On this date in 1898, a peace treaty, called the Treaty of Paris, was signed between the United States and the Spanish formally ending the hostilities known as the Spanish-American war. The origins of this war are dubious at best. Tensions had been building between the belligerents due to reports of Spanish atrocities in Cuba and elsewhere, and finally exploded with the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor. While no real evidence existed that implicated the Spanish in this alleged attack, popular option made compromise impossible. The United States demanded that Spain abandon Cuba; a demand that was summarily rebuffed. Madrid declared war, as did the United States.
What followed was a 10 week conflict that can hardly be called much of a war. It was one sided on all fronts, in favor of the United States. Superior numbers in most battles aided the United States. In the end, Spain was ejected from many islands, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippians.
While the main issue was ostensibly Cuban freedom, it is difficult to accept this as the actual cause. The results of the war are too in line with the Monroe Doctrine and the expansionist policies of the United States at the time. Unconfirmed reports, coupled with an unconfirmed attack to create a situation where the predatory nature of the United States at that time could be sated. Much like the Mexican-American War 50 years before, the United States saw this as an opportunity to expand their holdings against an ailing foe.