Thursday, February 21, 2008


1898. The U.S. battleship Maine blows up in Havana Harbor, February 15, in an explosion that kills 258 sailors and two officers, precipitaitng a Spanish-American War that lasts for 112 days.

1898. A joint resolution of Congress, April 19, recognizes Cuban inependence, authorizes the president to demand Spanish withdrawal from the island, and disclaims any intention to annex Cuba.

1898. Congress passes a Volunteer Army Act, April 22. A Volunteer Cavalry--the "Rough Riders"--is organized by Col. Leonard Wood of the Army Medical Corps and Theodore Roosevelt.

1898. The first shots of the Spanish-American War are fired April 22; Spain declares that a state of war exists April 24.

1898. The Battle of Manila Bay, May 1, begins at 5:40 in the morning when Commander Dewey says to the captain of his flagship, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley." By the time a cease-fire is ordered at 12.30 in the afternoon, all 10 ships in the Spanish squadron have been destroyed with a loss of 381 men, while eight Americans have been slightly wounded and none killed.

1898. San Juan, Puerto Rico, is bombarded May 12 by the commander-in-chief of the North Atlantic Squadron.

1898. Leading U.S. intellectuals meet at Faneuil Hall, Boston, June 15, and form an Anti-Imperialist League to oppose annexation of the Philippines in face of imperialist sentiment fired by the Battle of Manila.

1898. A joint resolution proposing annexation of the Hawaiian Islands has been introduced in the House, May 4. President McKinley signs the measure July 7, and Hawaiian sugar planters gain free access to U.S. markets.

1898. The Battle of San Juan Hill, July 1 to 2, ends in victory for U.S. forces under General Hamilton S. Hawkins, whose infantry take the hill after a charge by Col. Roosevelt and the Rough Riders.

1898. The Battle of Santiago Bay, July 3, ends with 180 Spaniards dead and 1,800 captured, while the Americans have lost only one man and sustained one wounded casualty.

1898. A peace protocol is signed with Spain, August 12, and the Treaty of Paris formally ends the war December 10. Spain withdraws from Cuba and cedes Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the U.S., which pays $20 million for the Philippines.

1898. Cuba gains her independence from Spain which loses her last dominions in the Americas.

1898. "J'Accuse!" headlines the Paris newspaper over an open letter by novelist Emile Zola. His attack forces a new trial of Capt. Freyfus, who has been sent to the penal colony called Devil's Island off the coast of French Guiana. It is revealed that the documents that convicted Dreyfus were forged by two other officers.

1898. Louisiana adopts a new constitution with a "grandfather clause" restricting permanent voting registration to whites and those blacks whose fathers and grandfathers were qualified to vote as of January 1, 1867, a clause that virtually disenfranchises blacks. Race riots and lynchings sweep the South.

1898. Canada's Klondike yields more than $10 million worth of gold.

1898. The Supreme Court establishes the right of the courts to decide the reasonablenes of U.S. railroad rates.

1898. French physical chemist Marie Curie and her husband Pierre isolate radium, the first radioactive element.

1898. Gideons International has its beginnings at Boscobel, Wis., where traveling salesmen John H. Nicholson and Sam Hill share a room at the Central Hotel and decide to form an association of Christian businessmen (excluding those in the liquor trade) and professional men to "put the word of God into the hands of the unconverted."

1898. William Randolph Hearst publishes special editions of his New York Journal from his private yacht anchored in Havana Harbor. He has sent cowboy painter Frederic Remington to Cuba earlier and when Remington cabled that everythingwas quiet and that there would be no war, had replied, "You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war." Journal stories inflame U.S. opinion ("Remember the Maine!" and the paper's circulation reaches 1.6 million May 2.

1898. Russian actor-producer Konstantin Stanislavski founds the Moscow Art Theater. Stanislavski's "method" will revolutionize acting with infusions of genuine emotion.

1898. More U.S. troops in the Spanish-American War die from eating contaminated meat than from battle wounds. The deaths raise a public outcry for reform of the meat packing industry.

Trelawny of the Wells. Arthur Wing Pinero. British. 1898. Play. Actress becomes engaged to an aristocrat. When she returns to the stage, he becomes an actor, too.

"The Open Boat." Stephen Crane. American. 1898. Story. Escape from a sinking ship. Three survive. One dies, just as he is about to reach safety.

The Turn of the Screw. Henry James. American/British. 1898. Novel. Governess vs. children who are malevolently inspired by two ghosts.

"The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky." Stephen Crane. American. 1898. Story. Gunfighter faces a sheriff who has no gun. Realizes that the old days are over.

The War of the Worlds. H.G. Wells. British. 1898. SciFi. Invasion of England by Martians. Radio dramatization caused panic in 1938 in the U.S.

La Gioconda. Gabriele D'Annunzio. Italian. 1898. Play. Model for brilliant sculptor. He leaves his wife for her, believing that she is the real inspiration for his art.

"J'accuse" ("I Accuse"). Emile Zola. French. 1898. Letter. Open letter to the president of France denouncing the Dreyfus affair.

"The Ballad of Reading Gaol." Oscar Wilde. British. 1898. Poetry. Story of a man condemned to die, based on the author's experiences in prison.


Ed LaVarnway said...

I enjoy your blog very much, but want your readers to know that the quote about Hearst's message to Remington is probably apocryphal. The story came from James Creelman another Hearst reporter, who wasn't there at the time. Also Hearst later denied it. Even so, it does capture the spirit of the time. We retell it at our museum too!
Ed LaVarnway
Executive Director
Frederic Remington Art Museum

RayS said...

Thank you.