U.S.S. Maine Was Sunk
Have you ever played the game Battleship? To
sink your opponent's ships you have to guess where the ships lie
on a grid of numbers and letters. It isn't easy to sink a
battleship just by guessing, even in a game.
if you already knew that your battleship had sunk, but had to
guess who sank it? That is what happened to the United States on
February 15, 1898, when an explosion sank the U.S.S. Maine in
The U.S.S. Maine was one of the first
American battleships and cost more than $2 million to build. The
ship had been sent to Cuba after riots broke out in Havana. The
Maine was sent to protect American interests there. Americans
were shocked when the ship exploded and sank and 266 of the
354-crew members were killed.
After an official
investigation, the U.S. Navy reported that the ship had been
blown up by a mine. The Navy did not blame any person or country
for the explosion. Who was to blame? Spain controlled Cuba at
the time. So, was it Cuba, or Spain, or was it an accident? Many
people in the United States blamed Spain (Today, however, many
historians believe a malfunction in the ship caused the
explosion). The relationship between Spain and the U.S. became
so strained that they could no longer discuss the situation. By
the end of April, the Spanish-American War had begun.