Spanish American War

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Text of Spanish American War

  • 1.Junhel Dalanon, DDM, MAT

2. US Helps Cuba

  • One year before the historic Cry of Pugad Lawin, a revolution broke out in Cuba -another Spanish Colony that rose against the rampant abuses of the Spaniards. It became independent in 1898 after three years of revolt, with the help of United States. The Americans were supportive of the Cubans for various reasons:
  • First- the US is a free country and Advocated democracy and freedom. 2nd- the US wants to protect its huge economic interest in Cuba, in the amount of $50,000,000. 3rd- a lot of stories reached the United States about Spanish maltreatment of Americans living in Cuba and this greatly angered the US citizens.
  • Finally, since Cuba was located very near the US it was deemed covered by the protective mantle of the Monroe Doctrine.

3. US Interests in the Philippines

  • At that time, acting Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt, wanted a war to erupt between the US and Spain so he could strengthen and expand the US Navy, he immediately put his plan into place. On February 25, 1896, he ordered Commodore George Dewey to make Hong Kong the headquarters of the American Asiatic Squadron. He also directed Dewey to attack Manila Bay and destroy the Spanish fleet, the moment hostilities between Spain and US break out.

4. Spanish-American War

  • Spain did not relish American intervention in its affairs. However, with the Philippine and Cuban revolutions going on, it could not afford to add the Americans to its enemy list, especially since the United States had more advanced technology and weaponry. In the face of Spains declining power, it tried to repair its rift with the US in order to avoid a disastrous war. On February 15, 1898, how ever a fateful event accrued in Cuba. The American warship Maine was blown up in Havana harbour, resulting in the death of its 260 officers and crewmembers. Although it was not proven that the Spaniards had sunk the Maine, the Americans called for war against Spain. Roosevelt was one of many US officials who considered the destruction of the Maine as act of treason and supported the declaration of war.


  • On April 25, 1898, the United Sates declared war against Spain, and only after short period, the war ended with the Treaty of Paris signed on December 10, 1898. The treaty conferred ownership of the Spanish colonies of Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines to the United States. In turn, the U.S. paid Spain US$ 20 million.

6. Battle of Manila Bay

  • George Dewey, then a Commodore United States Navys Asiatic Squadron was waiting in Hong Kong when He received a cable from the then secretary of Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, stating that the war had begun between the US and Spain. Dewey sailed from Hong Kong on board his flagship Olympia with six other heavily armed ships. He brought with him a report on the location of the Spanish ships in Corregidor and Manilaat dawn of May 1, 1898. Dewey entered Manila Bay almost undetected. When he saw the Spanish ships, which were under the command of General Patricio Montoya, he ordered his men to fire.


  • The battle began at 5:41 in the morning and by 12:30 of the same day, the Spaniards were raising the white flag in surrender. Although The Spanish ships outnumbered those of the Americans; the weapons of the Americans were far more superior to those of the Spaniards. The battle proved to be too costly for the Spaniards, who lost 167 men and had 214 others wounded. As for the Americans, no ships were destroyed, and no soldier was killed or injured. The Battle of Manila Bay is considered one of the easiest encounters ever won in world history.

8. The Siege of Manila

  • By June 1898, General Emilio Aguinaldo had captured the whole of Luzon and was ready to storm Manila with the help of Gregorio del Pilar, Artemio Recarte, Antonio Montenegro, Pantaleon Garcia, and many other able generals. At that time, the term Manila referred to the walled city of Intramuros. Aguinaldos men surrounded the walls of Intramuros. Nearby areas like Tondo, Sta. Cruz, San Juan, and Caloocan were likewise secured. The Spaniards stubbornly hoped for the arrival of reinforcements from the Spanish mainland, but none ever came. Aguinaldo on the other hand, was firmly convinced that it just was a matter of days before the Spaniards surrendered. Therefore, he started planning for the declaration of Philippine independence.

9. The Philippine Revolutionary Government 10. Malolos Congress

  • Emilio Aguinaldo issued a decree on July 18, 1898 asking for the election of delegates to the revolutionary congress, another decree was promulgated five days later, which declared that Aguinaldo would appoint representatives of congress because holding elections is not practical at that time. He appointed 50 delegates in all (but this number fluctuated from time to time). In accordance with these two decrees, Aguinaldo assembled the Revolutionary Congress at the Brasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan on September 15, 1898.


  • The atmosphere was festive and the Pasig Band played the national anthem. After Aguinaldo had read his speech congressional elections were held among the delegates present. The following were among the most important achievements of the Malolos Congress:
    • 1. In September 29, 1898, ratified the declaration of Philippine independence held at Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898
    • 2. Passage of a law that allowed the Philippines to borrow P 20 million from banks for government expenses
    • 3. Establishment of the UniversidadLiteratura de Filipinasand other schools
    • 4. Drafting of the Philippine Constitution
    • 5. Declaring war against the United States

12. Malolos Constitution

  • A committee headed by Felipe Calderon and aided by Cayetano Arellano, the constitution was drafted, for the first time by representatives of the Filipino people and it is the first republican constitution in Asia. The constitution was inspired by the constitutions of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil, Belgium and France. After some minor revisions (mainly due to the objections of Apolinario Mabini), the final draft of the constitution was presented to Aguinaldo. This paved the way to launching the first Philippine Republic. It established a democratic, republication government with three branches - the Executive, Legislative and the Judicial branches. It called for the separation of church and state. The executive powers were to be exercise by the president of the republic with the help of his cabinet. Judicial powers were given to the Supreme Court and other lower courts to be created by law. The Chief justice of the Supreme Court was to be elected by the legislature with the concurrence of the President and his Cabinet.

13. First Philippine Republic

  • The first Philippine Republic was inaugurated in Malolos, Bulacan on January 21, 1899. After being proclaimed president, Emilio Aguinaldo took his oath of office. The constitution was read article by article and followed by a military parade. Apolinario Mabini was elected as a prime minister. The other cabinet secretaries were: Teodoro Sandico, interior; Baldomero Aguinaldo, war; Gen. Mariano Trias, finance & war; Apolinario Mabini, foreign affairs; Gracio Gonzaga for welfare, Aguedo Velarde, public instruction; Maximo Paterno, public works & communication; and Leon Mara Guerrero for agriculture, trade & commerce.

14. Philippine National Anthem

  • Aguinaldo commissioned Julian Felipe, a composer from Cavite province was asked to write an an instrumental march for the proclamation of independence ceremony. The original title was " Marcha Filipina Magdalo ". This was later changed to " Marcha Nacional Filipina ". The lyrics was added in August 1899 based on the poem titled " Filipinas " by Jose Palma. The original lyrics was written in Spanish, then to English (when the Flag Law was abolished during the American period) then later, was translated to Tagalog, which underwent another change of title to Lupang Hinirang , the Philippine National Anthem.

15. Filipino-American Hostilities

  • Emilio Aguinaldo agreed to hold a peace conference between Filipino and American leaders. The conference lasted from January 9 to 29 in 1899. It ended without definite results, because the Americans were actually just biding time, waiting for more reinforcements to arrive from the US. Hostilities finally exploded between the Filipinos and Americans on February 4, 1899 in San Juan. An American soldier named Robert Grayson, saw 4 armed Filipino men on San Juan Del Mote Bridge and ordered them to stop, but they ignored him. This prompted Grayson to fire at the men, who immediately fired back. The following day MacArthur ordered his troops to openly engage the Filipinos in battle. The Filipino American War was on. From San Juan, American soldiers marched on to Pasig and nearby areas. In a matter of days, they were able to overrun Guadalupe, Pateros, Marikina, and Caloocan.


  • General Antonio Luna and his men showed great heroism when they attacked Manila on the night of February 24, 1899. They burned the living quarters of the Americans in Tondo and Binondo, and reached as far as Azarraga Street (now Claro M. Recto Avenue), where they met by formidable American troops. Luna was forced to retreat to Polo, Bulacan two days later. When American reinforcements arrived in the Philippines, General Elwell Otis immediately attacked the n