USS Maine Entering Havana Harbor, Dated 1898
Weighing 6,682 tons and manned by a crew of 354 officers and men, the MAINE earned her place in history on February 15, 1898 when she exploded and sank in Havana Harbor with the loss of 260 lives. The subsequent inquiry concluded that she had been deliberately sunk by a Spanish torpedo or mine and her loss was considered a major factor in precipitating the Spanish American war.
This painting by Michel Grebyem has significant historical appeal as it was painted in 1898 shortly after the explosion and depicts the MAINE steaming past Morro Castle into Havana with her peacetime dress of white topsides and buff colored upper works, a combination that would soon change throughout the Navy to battleship grey.
U.S. Fleet at San Juan
When the armored battleship MAINE was blown up, supposedly by a Spanish mine, in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898, the United States seized the opportunity to dislodge Spain from her last remaining footholds in the Caribbean, Cuba and Puerto Rico.
The U.S. Navy had three battleships on the east coast, IOWA, INDIANA, and MASSACHUSETTS as well as the older TEXAS and two armored cruisers. Reinforced by the battleship OREGON which made a spectacular 13,000 mile dash from the Pacific, this battle fleet engaged the Spanish fleet at Santiago Bay on July 3rd and won an overwhelming victory, successfully eliminating Spanish sea power in the Caribbean.
The following week, as shown in this historical Michel Grebyem painting, the triumphant battle fleet steamed into San Juan, Puerto Rico opposed only by limited shore batteries. This brought to a close the hostilities and wiped out the last vestige of Spanish influence in Central and Latin America.
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