The Spanish-American War was fought between the United States and Spain in 1898. Cuba, still under Spanish domination, had since the 1860's been attempting to liberate herself from Spain. By the late 1800's the independence movement was resulting in riots, which had begun to threaten the people and property of the US that were resident. Spain by this time had been brutally suppressing the revolutionary movement, incarcerating 100,000 Cubans. Because of the deteriorating political situation, Spain actually agreed for the US to display a show of force by sending the battleship USS Maine into Havana harbor; after the ship mysteriously blew up, the US government blamed Spain for the event and declared war.
The war marked the end of Spain's empire in the New World, and the emergence of the United States as an empirical power. Not only did the US lay claim to all of the Spanish interests in the Caribbean, it also claimed the Philippines in the Pacific, which had also been under Spanish dominion.