When the Spanish-American War took place in 1898, Spain had a number of strengths and weaknesses compared to the United States.
In the far-flung colonies in which the war was fought, the Spanish already had a military presence. They did not need to take the time to raise, mobilize, and transport their fighting forces since they were mostly already in place. Furthermore, the Spanish military forces in Cuba and the Philippines were more battle-tested since they had been fighting insurrections there for some time. This also meant that they were familiar with the terrain and had military fortifications in place.
The Spanish navy was severely outdated compared to that of the US Navy. Most of their ships were decades old, whereas the United States had a more modern fleet. Even though both sides had not fought a significant naval battle in recent years, the US Navy had been actively drilling and practicing maneuvers for some time and was therefore better prepared.
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