HISTORICAL NOTES: Forget the Maine

On the night of Feb. 15, 1898, the U.S. battleship Maine mysteriously exploded and sank in Havana Harbor, where it had gone to protect American lives during the Cuban revolt against Spanish rule. Out of 354 men aboard the Maine, 260 died. Though the Spanish denied any responsibility, jingoistic U.S. newspapers charged that a Spanish mine had caused the explosion. "Destruction of the Maine was the work of an enemy," charged William Randolph Hearst's newly founded New York Journal as it offered a $50,000 reward for conviction of whoever had done the...

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