This Day In History: 02/15/1898 - The Maine Explodes

This Day In History: 02/15/1898 - The Maine Explodes

The USS Maine explosion started the Spanish American War, Galileo was born, the teddy bear was introduced and inspired by Teddy Roosevelt, and the Canadian flag changed in This Day in History video. The date is February 15th. The USS Maine was blown up in Cuba's Havana harbor.


"The Charbor Chronicles"

Once again, it should be reiterated, that this does not pretend to be a very extensive history of what happened on this day (nor is it the most original - the links can be found down below). If you know something that I am missing, by all means, shoot me an email or leave a comment, and let me know!


Feb 15, 1898: The Maine explodes

A massive explosion of unknown origin sinks the battleship USS Maine in Cuba's Havana harbor, killing 260 of the fewer than 400 American crew members aboard.

One of the first American battleships, the Maine weighed more than 6,000 tons and was built at a cost of more than $2 million. Ostensibly on a friendly visit, the Maine had been sent to Cuba to protect the interests of Americans there after a rebellion against Spanish rule broke out in Havana in January.

An official U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry ruled in March that the ship was blown up by a mine, without directly placing the blame on Spain. Much of Congress and a majority of the American public expressed little doubt that Spain was responsible and called for a declaration of war.

Subsequent diplomatic failures to resolve the Maine matter, coupled with United States indignation over Spain's brutal suppression of the Cuban rebellion and continued losses to American investment, led to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in April 1898.

Within three months, the United States had decisively defeated Spanish forces on land and sea, and in August an armistice halted the fighting. On December 12, 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed between the United States and Spain, officially ending the Spanish-American War and granting the United States its first overseas empire with the ceding of such former Spanish possessions as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

In 1976, a team of American naval investigators concluded that the Maine explosion was likely caused by a fire that ignited its ammunition stocks, not by a Spanish mine or act of sabotage.








Feb 15, 1965: Canada adopts maple leaf flag

In accordance with a formal proclamation by Queen Elizabeth II of England, a new Canadian national flag is raised above Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the capital of Canada.

Beginning in 1610, Lower Canada, a new British colony, flew Great Britain's Union Jack, or Royal Union Flag. In 1763, as a result of the French and Indian Wars, France lost its sizable colonial possessions in Canada, and the Union Jack flew all across the wide territory of Canada. In 1867, the Dominion of Canada was established as a self-governing federation within the British Empire, and three years later a new flag, the Canadian Red Ensign, was adopted. The Red Ensign was a solid red flag with the Union Jack occupying the upper-left corner and a crest situated in the right portion of the flag.

The search for a new national flag that would better represent an independent Canada began in earnest in 1925 when a committee of the Privy Council began to investigate possible designs. Later, in 1946, a select parliamentary committee was appointed with a similar mandate and examined more than 2,600 submissions. Agreement on a new design was not reached, and it was not until the 1960s, with the centennial of Canadian self-rule approaching, that the Canadian Parliament intensified its efforts to choose a new flag.

In December 1964, Parliament voted to adopt a new design. Canada's national flag was to be red and white, the official colors of Canada as decided by King George V of Britain in 1921, with a stylized 11-point red maple leaf in its center. Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed February 15, 1965, as the day on which the new flag would be raised over Parliament Hill and adopted by all Canadians.

Today, Canada's red maple leaf flag is one of the most recognizable national flags in the world.









Feb 15, 1776: Nova Scotia governor sends word of potential American invasion

From Halifax, Canada, on this day in 1776, Governor Francis Legge reports to British headquarters in London that traitorous elements in Cumberland, Nova Scotia, have contacted American General George Washington. Washington received a letter from the Nova Scotians, in which they expressed their sympathy for the American cause, on February 8. They invited General Washington and the Continental Army to invade Nova Scotia at his earliest possible convenience.

Legge found himself in a precarious position. He had alienated many of his constituents through a zealous anti-corruption probe. Now he reported that Nova Scotia had spawned a nascent revolutionary movement. Some of those whom Legge accused of corruption in his drive to clean up colonial politics had allies in the imperial capitol who were insisting that he explain himself in person.

Fortunately for Legge, little notice was taken of his subjects' letter to Washington. The Continental Congress decided on February 16 to allow General Washington to investigate the expediency and practicability of an Expedition to Nova Scotia, but cautioned that Washington should by no means accept the plan proposed for the destruction of the Town of Halifax. After Benedict Arnold retreated in May 1776 from his six-month long siege of Quebec, which included the disastrous attack Quebec on December 31, 1775, the Continental Army gave up its hope that Canada would join the rebellion. Still, Governor Legge received orders to return to London in February 1776 and departed Halifax in May.

Although Canada ceased to be a direct military target, it continued to play an important role as a haven for Loyalists and slaves fleeing from Patriots less concerned with other peoples' liberties than their own. On December 18, 1778, a force of New Jersey and New York Loyalists, The King's Orange Rangers, traveled to Liverpool, Nova Scotia, to help in its defense against Patriot privateers, privately owned ships that used pirate tactics to disrupt British shipping. The Rangers remained until August 23, 1783. Nova Scotia ultimately attracted 30,000 American Loyalists, one-tenth of which were fleeing African slaves. Of the slaves, one third eventually resettled in Sierra Leone. White Loyalists moved to Canada to flee the abuse of Patriot neighbors, African slaves came to British Canada in order to gain freedom from their Patriot owners.













Feb 15, 1942: Japan celebrates major victory in the Pacific

In one of the greatest defeats in British military history, Britain's supposedly impregnable Singapore fortress surrenders to Japanese forces after a weeklong siege. More than 60,000 British, Australian, and Indian soldiers were taken prisoner, joining 70,000 other Allied soldiers captured during Britain's disastrous defense of the Malay Peninsula.

On December 8, 1941--the day after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor--the Japanese moved against British-controlled Malay, steamrollering across Thailand and landing in northern Malay. The Japanese made rapid advances against British positions, capturing British airfields and gaining air superiority. British General A.E. Percival was reluctant to leave Malay's roads and thus was outflanked again and again by the Japanese, who demonstrated an innovative grasp of the logistics of jungle warfare. The Allies could do little more than delay the Japanese and continued to retreat south.

By January, the Allied force was outnumbered and held just the lower half of the peninsula. General Tomoyuki Yamashita's 25th Army continued to push forward, and on January 31 the Allies were forced to retreat across the causeway over the Johor Strait to the great British naval base on the island of Singapore, located on the southern tip of the peninsula. The British dynamited the causeway behind them but failed to entirely destroy the bridge.

Singapore, with its big defensive guns, was considered invulnerable to attack. However, the guns, which used armor-piercing shells and the flat trajectories necessary to decimate an enemy fleet, were not designed to defend against a land attack on the unfortified northern end of the island.

On February 5, Yamashita brought up heavy siege guns to the tip of the peninsula and began bombarding Singapore. On February 8, thousands of Japanese troops began streaming across the narrow waterway and established several bridgeheads. Japanese engineers quickly repaired the causeway, and troops, tanks, and artillery began pouring on to Singapore. The Japanese pushed forward to Singapore City, capturing key British positions and splitting the Allied defenders into isolated groups.

On February 15, Percival--lacking a water supply and nearly out of food and ammunition--agreed to surrender. With the loss of Singapore, the British lost control of a highly strategic waterway and opened the Indian Ocean to Japanese invasion. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called it the "worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history." Many thousands of the 130,000 Allied troops captured died in Japanese captivity.

Later in the war, Lord Louis Mountbatten, the supreme Allied commander in Southeast Asia, made plans for the liberation of the Malay Peninsula, but Japan surrendered before they could be carried out.

Here's a more detailed look at events that transpired on this date throughout history:


On this day in history, the U.S. battleship Maine blew up in Havana Harbor, killing 260 crew members and resulting in an escalation of tensions with Spain. The cause of the catastrophe was unclear, but, goaded by inflammatory articles by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, the public demanded a declaration of war with Spain. “Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!” became a rallying cry for action.

USS Maine entering Havana harbor on January 25, 1898

On April 11, 1898, President McKinley asked the Congress for permission to use force in Cuba. Senator Henry M. Teller of Colorado proposed an amendment to the declaration, proclaiming that the U.S. “hereby disclaims any disposition of intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control over said island except for pacification thereof, and asserts its determination, when that is accomplished, to leave the government and control of the island to its people.”

Remember the “Maine”, popular song in 1898 which included the line “Avenge then the loss of our brave sailor laddies.”

Nevertheless, the occupation of Cuba by U.S. troops continued for several years after the war was over. The hegemony of the U.S. was formalized by the Platt Amendment, introduced by Senator Orville Platt (R-Connecticut). Senator Platt also influenced the decision to annex Hawaii and occupy the Philippines. Approved on May 22, 1903, the Platt Amendment allowed the United States “the right to intervene for the preservation of Cuban independence, the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty…” This amendment also permitted the United States to lease or buy lands for the purpose of the establishing naval bases (the main one was Guantánamo Bay) and coaling stations in Cuba. It barred Cuba from making a treaty that gave another nation power over its affairs, going into debt, or stopping the United States from imposing a sanitation program on the island.

The Platt Amendment supplied the terms under which the United States intervened in Cuban affairs in 1906, 1912, 1917, and 1920. By 1934, rising Cuban nationalism and widespread criticism of the Platt Amendment resulted in its repeal on May 29, 1934 as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor policy toward Latin America. The United States, however, retained its lease on Guantánamo Bay, where a naval base was established.


Mrs. Abby Fisher

On June 10, 2003, The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation External in Dearborn, Michigan, opened a lunch-style restaurant, Mrs. Fisher’s Southern Cooking. This restaurant was created and named in honor of Abby Fisher who made a remarkable journey from enslaved plantation cook to upscale caterer and cookbook author after migrating West to California.

Mrs. Fisher’s Southern Cooking External . Courtesy of The Henry Ford Museum

Abby Fisher’s cookbook, What Mrs. Fisher Knows about Old Southern Cooking, Soups, Pickles, Preserves, Etc. was a pioneering work. It was one of the first cookbooks to provide detailed instructions and precise measurements. Fisher wanted to ensure that even a novice cook would have success using her recipes. Her cookbook was one of the first by an African-American, and the oldest known cookbook by a formerly enslaved person. Her signature recipes combined foods and spices from Africa with American foods.

Fisher was born in 1831 on a plantation in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Her father, Andrew James, was the French-speaking owner of the plantation and her mother, Abbie Clifton, a domestic enslaved person there. Fisher developed her culinary talents and her distinctive southern flavors as an enslaved cook on the plantation.

After the Civil War and freedom, Fisher and her husband made their way West with four of their eleven children. It was their hope that the West would offer more opportunities than the South. She eventually settled in San Francisco where she established both a prosperous upscale catering business and a pickle/preserve manufacturing business. The San Francisco Mechanics’ Institute External Fair awarded her both a bronze and a silver medal. The Sacramento State Fair awarded her the “Diploma,” the highest prize possible.

Mrs. Fisher never learned to read or write. In spite of this, she was commissioned by the Women’s Institute of San Francisco and Oakland to compile her recipes. With the support and encouragement of her clients and friends, she dictated her recipes. Her cookbook was published by the Women’s Co-operative Printing Union External . It contains 160 recipes. Included are familiar favorites: sweet potato pie, lemon sherbet, fried chicken and corn bread African-inspired dishes: corn fritters, black-eyed peas, okra gumbo, and jambalaya and others that reflect a time gone by: green turtle, mock turtle, terrapin stew and calf’s head. Mrs. Fisher also provides recipes to improve health, examples include: Blackberry Syrup for Dysentery in Children Tonic Bitters to strengthen and produce appetite and Pap for Infant Diet.

What Mrs. Fisher knows about old southern cooking, soups, pickles, preserves, etc., by Mrs. Abby Fisher. San Francisco: Women’s Co-operative Printing Office, 1881. Rare Book Selections. Rare Book & Special Collections Division

Mrs. Fisher passed away between the 1910 and the 1920 census. But thanks to her ingenuity and spirit, we know of her extraordinary journey from an enslaved cook to a free, prize winning, successful entrepreneur and author. Her life reminds us of the many enslaved people who traveled West as free people. They created all Black towns or settled in existing communities and became important contributing citizens. Unfortunately, their experiences are often omitted from traditional stories of how the West was settled.

1885: Washington Street Showing First Stone Church and Williams General Store-Nicodemus Historic District. In Nicodemus Historic District, Nicodemus, Graham County, KS. Documentation compiled after 1933. Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey. Prints & Photographs Division Early Area Homestead-Nicodemus Historic District. In Nicodemus Historic District, Nicodemus, Graham County, KS. Documentation compiled after 1933. Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey. Prints & Photographs Division


First Official Inquiry and Declaration of War

An official U.S. court of inquiry was set up soon after the loss of the Maine to investigate the cause. Its findings, which did not assign blame, revealed in March that the sinking was caused by an underwater mine, which had led to the explosion of the forward magazines.

Under pressure from all sides, the pro-peace William McKinley finally saw war with Spain as inevitable (for a number of reasons, though the Maine was the most visible instigating event). President McKinley asked Congress for a resolution of war, which was declared on April 25.


Footnotes

48 Herring, From Colony to Superpower: 214–321 Jennifer K. Elsea and Matthew C. Weed, “Declarations of War and Authorizations for the Use of Military Force: Historical Background and Legal Implications,” Report RL31133, 18 April 2014, Congressional Research Service: 4. On the USS Maine’s assignment in the Caribbean, see Gould, The Presidency of William McKinley: 70–72.

49 Herring, From Colony to Superpower: 319.

50 Ibid., 299–309, quotation on p. 304.

51 Congressional Record, Senate, 56th Cong., 1st sess. (9 January 1900): 704.

52 For a take on the ideology behind anti-imperialism, see Robert L. Beisner, Twelve Against Empire: The Anti-Imperialists, 1898–1900 (New York: McGraw Hill Book Company, 1968).

53 For a comprehensive look at the intersection of race, immigration, and empire, see Matthew Frye Jacobson, Barbarian Virtues: The United States Encounters Foreign Peoples at Home and Abroad, 1876–1917 (New York: Hill and Wang, 2000).

54 Jacobson, Barbarian Virtues: 234.

55 Congressional Record, House, 55th Cong., 2nd sess. (11 June 1898): 5787.

58 Ibid., 5792. For a similar Clark quote, see “House Scene Recalls Champ Clark’s Vision,” 28 February 1908, Detroit Free Press: 2.

59 Congressional Record, Senate, 56th Cong., 1st sess. (9 January 1900): 705, 708 Peter W. Stanley, A Nation in the Making: The Philippines and the United States, 1899–1921 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974): 164.

60 Congressional Record, Senate, 56th Cong., 1st sess. (9 January 1900): 711.


This Day in History: Feb 15, 1898: The Maine explodes

A massive explosion of unknown origin sinks the battleship USS Maine in Cuba's Havana harbor, killing 260 of the fewer than 400 American crew members aboard.

One of the first American battleships, the Maine weighed more than 6,000 tons and was built at a cost of more than $2 million. Ostensibly on a friendly visit, the Maine had been sent to Cuba to protect the interests of Americans there after a rebellion against Spanish rule broke out in Havana in January.

An official U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry ruled in March that the ship was blown up by a mine, without directly placing the blame on Spain. Much of Congress and a majority of the American public expressed little doubt that Spain was responsible and called for a declaration of war.

Subsequent diplomatic failures to resolve the Maine matter, coupled with United States indignation over Spain's brutal suppression of the Cuban rebellion and continued losses to American investment, led to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in April 1898.

Within three months, the United States had decisively defeated Spanish forces on land and sea, and in August an armistice halted the fighting. On December 12, 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed between the United States and Spain, officially ending the Spanish-American War and granting the United States its first overseas empire with the ceding of such former Spanish possessions as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

In 1976, a team of American naval investigators concluded that the Maine explosion was likely caused by a fire that ignited its ammunition stocks, not by a Spanish mine or act of sabotage.


Remember the Maine!

On February 15, 1898, an explosion of unknown origin sank the battleship U.S.S. Maine in the Havana, Cuba harbor, killing 266 of the 354 crew members. The sinking of the Maine incited United States’ passions against Spain, eventually leading to a naval blockade of Cuba and a declaration of war.

U.S.S. Maine. c1897. Detroit Publishing Company. Prints & Photographs Division

Ostensibly on a friendly visit, the Maine had been sent to Cuba to protect the interests of Americans there after riots broke out in Havana in January. An official U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry reported on March 28 that the ship, one of the first American battleships and built at a cost of more than two million dollars, had been blown up by a mine without laying blame on any person or nation in particular, but public opinion in the United States blamed the Spanish military occupying Cuba anyway. Subsequent diplomatic communications failed to resolve the matter, leading to the start of the Spanish-American War by the end of April.

Restos del U.S.S. Maine, Habana. William Henry Jackson, photographer, c1900. Detroit Publishing Company. Prints & Photographs Division

The Spanish-American War is notable as the first U.S. war documented by the motion picture camera. The Edison Manufacturing Company, for example, sent cameraman William Paley to Key West, Florida, where he filmed Burial of the “Maine” Victims on March 27, 1898. In late March he also filmed the Wreck of the Battleship “Maine” in the Havana harbor, and in late April and early May of that year he filmed, in Florida, military preparations for the war. A special “War Extra,” issued on May 20, 1898, as a supplement to the Edison Manufacturing Company catalog, promised that these motion pictures “would be sure to satisfy the craving of the general public for absolutely true and accurate details regarding the movements of the United States Army getting ready for the invasion of Cuba.”

Burial of the “Maine” Victims. William Paley and Karl Decker, camera & production United States: Edison Manufacturing Co., c1898. The Spanish-American War in Motion Pictures. Motion Picture, Broadcasting, & Recorded Sound Division.


The Sinking of the USS Maine: February 15, 1898


On February 15, 1898, at 9:40 p.m., the battleship USS Maine exploded then sank in Havana Harbor, killing about 260 of the 355 men on board. This international disaster, which was blamed on Spain, became an important catalyst for the Spanish-American War.

At the time, Cuban guerillas were engaged in a brutal fight for independence from Spain. Riots in Havana in January 1898 prompted the United States, which supported Cuba for both humanitarian and imperialistic reasons, to send the Maine to Havana as a show of strength. The ship, commanded by Captain Charles Sigsbee, arrived on January 25 and sat quietly in the harbor for the next few weeks.


But on the night of February 15, two explosions rocked the ship, sinking the Maine. The casualties were predominantly among the enlisted men, as they were quartered in the forward part of the ship, where the explosions occurred.

Although there was no hard evidence that the sinking was caused by the Spanish, a sizeable portion of the American public began clamoring for retribution almost immediately, spurred on by “yellow press” accounts that focused on sensationalism more than fact. “Remember the Maine!” quickly became a rallying cry.

An official U.S. court of inquiry was set up soon after the loss of the Maine to investigate the cause. Its findings, which did not assign blame, revealed in March that the sinking was caused by an underwater mine, which had led to the explosion of the forward magazines. Under pressure from all sides, the pro-peace William McKinley finally saw war with Spain as inevitable (for a number of reasons, though the Maine was the most visible instigating event). President McKinley asked Congress for a resolution of war, which was declared on April 25.


In later years, two other major investigations into the loss of the Maine were completed. A second official investigation in 1911 came to the same conclusion as in 1898: the Maine had sunk as the result of a mine. However, an investigation led by Admiral Hyman Rickover concluded in 1976 that the explosions were caused by a coal-bunker fire adjacent to one of the ship’s magazines. Disagreement and speculation on the cause of the sinking continues to this day.


This Day In History: The USS Maine Exploded In Cuba’s Havana Harbor

This day in history, February 15, 1898, the USS Maine exploded and sunk in Cuba’s Havana Harbor, killing 260 Americans on board.

Built as one of America’s first battleships, the USS Maine had been sent to Cuba to protect the interests of Americans there after a rebellion against Spanish rule broke out in Havana that January.

An official U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry ruled that March that the ship was blown up by a mine, without directly placing the blame on Spain. Much of Congress and the American public expressed little doubt that Spain was responsible for the explosion and called for a declaration of war.

Following the explosion, diplomatic failures to resolve the matter, in addition to the United States’ resentment over Spain’s brutal suppression of the Cuban rebellion and continued losses to American investment, led to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in April 1898.

Within three months, the United States had decisively defeated Spanish forces on land and sea, and in August an armistice halted the fighting.

On December 12, 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed between the United States and Spain, officially ending the Spanish-American War and granting the United States its first overseas empire. Spain ceded Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States.

In 1976, naval investigators made the determination that the USS Maine exploded because of a fire that ignited the battleships ammunition stock.


Watch the video: Born in USA TNO