The Spanish-American War was a conflict between Spain and the United States of America that took place from April to August 1898. The war began as a result of US intervention in Cuban independence struggles against Spain, which had been ruling Cuba since 1762. In February 1898, tensions between the two countries reached their peak when the battleship USS Maine exploded while anchored in Havana Harbor, killing more than 260 crew members and sparking public outrage in the U.S., leading to calls for war with Spain.
In April 1898, President William McKinley declared war on Spain following its refusal to relinquish control over Cuba and other territories it held overseas. During this brief but intense period of military engagement known as "the Splendid Little War" by some historians due to its relatively short duration and limited losses suffered by both sides, U.S. forces managed to gain several strategic victories across multiple fronts throughout Latin America, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and Manila Bay (in the modern-day Philippines). By mid-August 1898, an armistice agreement was signed ending hostilities between Spain and the US; this subsequently led to peace negotiations that resulted in ceding ownership of all disputed islands—including Puerto rico-to the United States under what is now referred to as the Treaty of Paris (1898).
The outcome of the Spanish-American War changed history forever. Not only did it lead directly or indirectly to subsequent conflicts such as World Wars I and II, but it also marked a turning point whereupon great powers would increasingly come into contact with each other through proxy wars fought around the globe rather than engaging one another militarily head-on—something we still witness today whenever major international disputes arise among nations vying for supremacy or regional dominance worldwide.