The Battle of Santiago de Cuba, 1898

On february 15th, 1898, an explosion causes the USS Maine to sink down, while docked in Habana port for a courtesy visit. Cuba was a spanish colony on these days. This incident triggers a belicose campaign by the "yellow" press that ends up in the war between the USA and Spain. Thus, the decadence of Spain as a colonial power would lead the U.S. into its first imperialist war. The backbone of the north american navy were 4 recently built armored ships: The Indiana, Massachusets, Oregon and Iowa, with a highly better artillery and armor than the spanish ships, although they were slower. Two more armored cruisers, Brooklyn and New York completed the american fleet in this battle. Spanish ships were modern, lightweight and fast, to be able to reach overseas positions rapidly. The spanish fleet reached the Santiago de Cuba bay, sailing from Spain, but they were blocked soon by the american fleet. On july 3rd, at 9:30, Admiral Cervera, on board of Infanta María Teresa, leaves Santiago bay, after Teresa on a row, Vizcaya, Cristobal Colón and Oquendo, ending with the two small destroyers Furor (Commanded by Villamil) and Plutón. At 9:35 Teresa starts firing at Brooklyn, following spanish plan of opening a way out westward to avoid the enemy fleet. Brooklyn flees from Teresa but fire from the Indiana and Oregon sinks Teresa down. One by one, the narrowness of the bay does not allow more, the spanish ships goes off the Santiago bay and receive the concentrated fire of US armored ships. Only Colón reaches to flee, (it did not even have the main artillery mounted), but when the good quality coal is used up, the Colón losses speed and its commander decides to drive ashore and open valves, 48 miles away from Santiago. Four hours have passed and the spanish fleet in the Atlantic has been anihilated. Spanish death toll raised up to 332, 197 wounded. In the US side, 1 man died and some was wounded.