Results of the Spanish-American War

Results of the Spanish-American War

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The conclusion of the Spanish-American War ushered in a new era for American foreign policy, which comprised the following:

  • An ongoing debate between imperialist and anti-imperialist forces
  • A commitment to govern the Philippines, where an insurrection broke out among natives who desired full independence
  • The need to bring the army and navy up to world-class levels; the creation of a true two-ocean navy would also necessitate the development of a canal across Central America
  • The emergence of Theodore Roosevelt as a major figure on the American scene.


On April 25, 1898 the United States declared war on Spain following the sinking of the Battleship Maine in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. As a result Spain lost its control over the remains of its overseas empire -- Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines Islands, Guam, and other islands.


Beginning in 1492, Spain was the first European nation to sail westward across the Atlantic Ocean, explore, and colonize the Amerindian nations of the Western Hemisphere. At its greatest extent, the empire that resulted from this exploration extended from Virginia on the eastern coast of the United States south to Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America excluding Brazil and westward to California and Alaska. Across the Pacific, it included the Philippines and other island groups. By 1825 much of this empire had fallen into other hands and in that year, Spain acknowledged the independence of its possessions in the present-day United States (then under Mexican control) and south to the tip of South America. The only remnants that remained in the empire in the Western Hemisphere were Cuba and Puerto Rico and across the Pacific in Philippines Islands, and the Carolina, Marshall, and Mariana Islands (including Guam) in Micronesia.

Following the liberation from Spain of mainland Latin America, Cuba was the first to initiate its own struggle for independence. During the years from 1868-1878, Cubans personified by guerrilla fighters known as mambises fought for autonomy from Spain. That war concluded with a treaty that was never enforced. In the 1890's Cubans began to agitate once again for their freedom from Spain. The moral leader of this struggle was José Martí, known as "El Apóstol," who established the Cuban Revolutionary Party on January 5, 1892 in the United States. Following the grito de Baire, the call to arms on February 24, 1895, Martí returned to Cuba and participated in the first weeks of armed struggle when he was killed on May 19, 1895.

The Philippines Islands

The Philippines too was beginning to grow restive with Spanish rule. José Rizal, a member of a wealthy mestizo family, resented that his upper mobility was limited by Spanish insistence on promoting only "pure-blooded" Spaniards. He began his political career at the University of Madrid in 1882 where he became the leader of Filipino students there. For the next ten years he traveled in Europe and wrote several novels considered seditious by Filipino and Church authorities. He returned to Manila in 1892 and founded the Liga Filipina, a political group dedicated to peaceful change. He was rapidly exiled to Mindanao. During his absence, Andrés Bonifacio founded Katipunan, dedicated to the violent overthrow of Spanish rule. On August 26, 1896, after learning that the Katipunan had been betrayed, Bonifacio issued the Grito de Balintawak, a call for Filipinos to revolt. Bonifacio was succeeded as head of the Philippine revolution by Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy, who had his predecessor arrested and executed on May 10, 1897. Aguinaldo negotiated a deal with the Spaniards who exiled him to Hong Kong with 400,000 pesos that he subsequently used to buy weapons to resume the fight.

Puerto Rico

During the 1880s and 1890s, Puerto Ricans developed many different political parties, some of which sought independence for the island while others, headquartered like their Cuban counterparts in New York, preferred to ally with the United States. Spain proclaimed the autonomy of Puerto Rico on November 25, 1897, although the news did not reach the island until January 1898 and a new government established on February 12, 1898.

United States

U.S. interest in purchasing Cuba had begun long before 1898. Following the Ten Years War, American sugar interests bought up large tracts of land in Cuba. Alterations in the U.S. sugar tariff favoring home-grown beet sugar helped foment the rekindling of revolutionary fervor in 1895. By that time the U.S. had more than $50 million invested in Cuba and annual trade, mostly in sugar, was worth twice that much. Fervor for war had been growing in the United States, despite President Grover Cleveland's proclamation of neutrality on June 12, 1895. But sentiment to enter the conflict grew in the United States when General Valeriano Weyler began implementing a policy of Reconcentration that moved the population into central locations guarded by Spanish troops and placed the entire country under martial law in February 1896. By December 7, President Cleveland reversed himself declaring that the United States might intervene should Spain fail to end the crisis in Cuba. President William McKinley, inaugurated on March 4, 1897, was even more anxious to become involved, particularly after the New York Journal published a copy of a letter from Spanish Foreign Minister Enrique Dupuy de Lôme criticizing the American President on February 9, 1898. Events moved swiftly after the explosion aboard the U.S.S. Maine on February 15. On March 9, Congress passed a law allocating fifty million dollars to build up military strength. On March 28, the U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry finds that a mine blew up the Maine. On April 21 President McKinley orders a blockade of Cuba and four days later the U.S. declares war.

The War

Following its declaration of war against Spain issued on April 25, 1898, the United States added the Teller Amendment asserting that it would not attempt to exercise hegemony over Cuba. Two days later Commodore George Dewey sailed from Hong Kong with Emilio Aguinaldo on board. Fighting began in the Phillipines Islands at the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1 where Commodore George Dewey reportedly exclaimed, "You may fire when ready, Gridley," and the Spanish fleet under Rear Admiral Patricio Montojo was destroyed. However, Dewey did not have enough manpower to capture Manila so Aguinaldo's guerrillas maintained their operations until 15,000 U.S. troops arrived at the end of July. On the way, the cruiser Charleston stopped at Guam and accepted its surrender from its Spanish governor who was unaware his nation was at war. Although a peace protocol was signed by the two belligerents on August 12, Commodore Dewey and Maj. Gen. Wesley Merritt, leader of the army troops, assaulted Manila the very next day, unaware that peace had been declared.

In late April, Andrew Summers Rowan made contact with Cuban General Calixto García who supplied him with maps, intelligence, and a core of rebel officers to coordinate U.S. efforts on the island. The U.S. North Atlantic Squadron left Key West for Cuba on April 22 following the frightening news that the Spanish home fleet commanded by Admiral Pascual Cervera had left Cadiz and entered Santiago, having slipped by U.S. ships commanded by William T. Sampson and Winfield Scott Schley. They arrived in Cuba in late May.

War actually began for the U.S. in Cuba in June when the Marines captured Guantánamo Bay and 17,000 troops landed at Siboney and Daiquirí, east of Santiago de Cuba, the second largest city on the island. At that time Spanish troops stationed on the island included 150,000 regulars and 40,000 irregulars and volunteers while rebels inside Cuba numbered as many as 50,000. Total U.S. army strength at the time totalled 26,000, requiring the passage of the Mobilization Act of April 22 that allowed for an army of at first 125,000 volunteers (later increased to 200,000) and a regular army of 65,000. On June 22, U.S. troops landed at Daiquiri where they were joined by Calixto García and about 5,000 revolutionaries.

U.S. troops attacked the San Juan heights on July 1, 1898. Dismounted troopers, including the African-American Ninth and Tenth cavalries and the Rough Riders commanded by Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt went up against Kettle Hill while the forces led by Brigadier General Jacob Kent charged up San Juan Hill and pushed Spanish troops further inland while inflicting 1,700 casualties. While U.S. commanders were deciding on a further course of action, Admiral Cervera left port only to be defeated by Schley. On July 16, the Spaniards agreed to the unconditional surrender of the 23,500 troops around the city. A few days later, Major General Nelson Miles sailed from Guantánamo to Puerto Rico. His forces landed near Ponce and marched to San Juan with virtually no opposition.

Representatives of Spain and the United States signed a peace treaty in Paris on December 10, 1898, which established the independence of Cuba, ceded Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States, and allowed the victorious power to purchase the Philippines Islands from Spain for $20 million. The war had cost the United States $250 million and 3,000 lives, of whom 90% had perished from infectious diseases.


The expansion of Spain’s territory took place under the Catholic Monarchs Isabella of Castile, Queen of Castile and her husband King Ferdinand, King of Aragon, whose marriage marked the beginning of Spanish power beyond the Iberian peninsula. They pursued a policy of joint rule of their kingdoms and created the initial stage of a single Spanish monarchy, completed under the eighteenth-century Bourbon monarchs. The first expansion of territory was the conquest of the Muslim Kingdom of Granada on January 1, 1492, the culmination of the Christian Reconquest of the Iberian peninsula, held by the Muslims since 711. On March 31, 1492, the Catholic Monarch ordered the expulsion of the Jews in Spain who refused to convert to Christianity. On October 12, 1492, Genoese mariner Christopher Columbus made landfall in the Western Hemisphere. [10]

Even though Castile and Aragon were ruled jointly by their respective monarchs, they remained separate kingdoms so that when the Catholic Monarchs gave official approval for the plans for Columbus’s voyage to reach "the Indies" by sailing West, the funding came from the queen of Castile. The profits from Spanish expedition flowed to Castile. The Kingdom of Portugal authorized a series of voyages down the coast of Africa and when they rounded the southern tip, were able to sail to India and further east. Spain sought similar wealth, and authorized Columbus’s voyage sailing west. Once the Spanish settlement in the Caribbean occurred, Spain and Portugal formalized a division of the world between them in the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas. [11] The deeply pious Isabella saw the expansion of Spain's sovereignty inextricably paired with the evangelization of non-Christian peoples, the so-called “spiritual conquest” with the military conquest. Pope Alexander VI in a 4 May 1493 papal decree, Inter caetera, divided rights to lands in the Western Hemisphere between Spain and Portugal on the proviso that they spread Christianity. [12] These formal arrangements between Spain and Portugal and the pope were ignored by other European powers.

General principles of expansion

The Spanish expansion has sometimes been succinctly summed up as "gold, glory, God." The search for material wealth, the enhancement of the conquerors' and the crown's position, and the expansion of Christianity. In the extension of Spanish sovereignty to its overseas territories, authority for expeditions (entradas) of discovery, conquest, and settlement resided in the monarchy. [13] Expeditions required authorization by the crown, which laid out the terms of such expedition. Virtually all expeditions after the Columbus voyages, which were funded by the crown of Castile, were done at the expense of the leader of the expedition and its participants. Although often the participants, conquistadors, are now termed “soldiers”, they were not paid soldiers in ranks of an army, but rather soldiers of fortune, who joined an expedition with the expectation of profiting from it. The leader of an expedition, the adelantado was a senior with material wealth and standing who could persuade the crown to issue him a license for an expedition. He also had to attract participants to the expedition who staked their own lives and meager fortunes on the expectation of the expedition’s success. The leader of the expedition pledged the larger share of capital to the enterprise, which in many ways functioned as a commercial firm. Upon the success of the expedition, the spoils of war were divvied up in proportion to the amount a participant initially staked, with the leader receiving the largest share. Participants supplied their own armor and weapons, and those who had a horse received two shares, one for himself, the second recognizing the value of the horse as a machine of war. [14] [15] For the conquest era, two names of Spaniards are generally known because they led the conquests of high indigenous civilizations, Hernán Cortés, leader of the expedition that conquered the Aztecs of Central Mexico, and Francisco Pizarro, leader of the conquest of the Inca in Peru.

Caribbean islands and the Spanish Main

Until his dying day, Columbus was convinced that he had reached Asia, the Indies. From that misperception the Spanish called the indigenous peoples of the Americas, "Indians" (indios), lumping a multiplicity of civilizations, groups, and individuals into a single category of The Other. The Spanish royal government called its overseas possessions "The Indies" until its empire dissolved in the nineteenth century. Patterns set in this early period of exploration and colonization were to endure as Spain expanded further, even as the region became less important in the overseas empire after the conquests of Mexico and Peru. [16]

In the Caribbean, there was no large-scale Spanish conquest of indigenous peoples, but there was indigenous resistance. Columbus made four voyages to the West Indies as the monarchs granted Columbus vast powers of governance over this unknown part of the world. The crown of Castile financed more of his trans-Atlantic journeys, a pattern they would not repeat elsewhere. Effective Spanish settlement began in 1493, when Columbus brought livestock, seeds, agricultural equipment. The first settlement of La Navidad, a crude fort built on his first voyage in 1492, had been abandoned by the time he returned in 1493. He then founded the settlement of Isabela on the island they named Hispaniola (now divided into Haiti and the Dominican Republic).

Spanish explorations of other islands in the Caribbean and what turned out to be the mainland of South and Central America occupied them for over two decades. Columbus had promised that the region he now controlled held a huge treasure in the form of gold and spices. Spanish settlers found relatively dense populations of indigenous peoples, who were agriculturalists living in villages ruled by leaders not part of a larger integrated political system. For the Spanish, these populations were there for their exploitation, to supply their own settlements with foodstuffs, but more importantly for the Spanish, to extract mineral wealth or produce another valuable commodity for Spanish enrichment. The labor of dense populations of Tainos were allocated to Spanish settlers in an institution known as the encomienda, where particular indigenous settlements were awarded to individual Spaniards. There was surface gold found in early islands, and holders of encomiendas put the indigenous to work panning for it. For all practical purposes, this was slavery. Queen Isabel put an end to formal slavery, declaring the indigenous to be vassals of the crown, but Spaniards' exploitation continued. The Taino population on Hispaniola went from hundreds of thousands or millions –- the estimates by scholars vary widely -- but in the mid-1490s, they were practically wiped out. Disease and overwork, disruption of family life and the agricultural cycle (which caused severe food shortages to Spaniards dependent on them) rapidly decimated the indigenous population. From the Spanish viewpoint, their source of labor and viability of their own settlements was at risk. After the collapse of the Taino population of Hispaniola, Spaniards took to slave raiding and settlement on nearby islands, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica, replicating the demographic catastrophe there as well.

Dominican friar Antonio de Montesinos denounced Spanish cruelty and abuse in a sermon in 1511, which comes down to us in the writings of Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas. In 1542 Las Casas wrote a damning account of this genocide, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies. It was translated quickly to English and became the basis for the anti-Spanish writings, collectively known as the Black Legend. [18]

The first mainland explorations by Spaniards were followed by a phase of inland expeditions and conquest. In 1500 the city of Nueva Cádiz was founded on the island of Cubagua, Venezuela, followed by the founding of Santa Cruz by Alonso de Ojeda in present-day Guajira peninsula. Cumaná in Venezuela was the first permanent settlement founded by Europeans in the mainland Americas, [19] in 1501 by Franciscan friars, but due to successful attacks by the indigenous people, it had to be refounded several times, until Diego Hernández de Serpa's foundation in 1569. The Spanish founded San Sebastián de Uraba in 1509 but abandoned it within the year. There is indirect evidence that the first permanent Spanish mainland settlement established in the Americas was Santa María la Antigua del Darién. [20]

Spaniards spent over 25 years in the Caribbean where their initial high hopes of dazzling wealth gave way to continuing exploitation of disappearing indigenous populations, exhaustion of local gold mines, initiation of cane sugar cultivation as an export product, and importation of African slaves as a labor force. Spaniards continued to expand their presence in the circum-Caribbean region with expeditions. One was by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba in 1517, another by Juan de Grijalva in 1518, which brought promising news of possibilities there. [21] [22] Even by the mid-1510s, the western Caribbean was largely unexplored by Spaniards. A well-connected settler in Cuba, Hernán Cortés received authorization in 1519 by the governor of Cuba to form an expedition of exploration-only to this far western region. That expedition was to make world history.


It wasn’t until Spanish expansion into modern-day Mexico that Spanish explorers were able to find wealth on the scale that they had been hoping for. Unlike Spanish expansion in the Caribbean, which involved limited armed combat and sometimes the participation of indigenous allies, the conquest of central Mexico was protracted and necessitated indigenous allies who chose to participate for their own purposes. The conquest of the Aztec empire involved the combined effort of armies from many indigenous allies, spearheaded by a small Spanish force of conquistadors. The Aztec empire was a fragile confederation of city-states [ citation needed ] . Spaniards persuaded the leaders of subordinate city-states and one city-state never conquered by the Aztecs, Tlaxcala, to join them in huge numbers, with thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of indigenous warriors. The conquest of central Mexico is one of the best-documented events in world history, with accounts by the expedition leader Hernán Cortés, many other Spanish conquistadors, including Bernal Díaz del Castillo, indigenous allies from the city-states altepetl of Tlaxcala, Texcoco, and Huexotzinco, but also importantly, the defeated of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital. What can be called the visions of the vanquished, indigenous accounts written in the sixteenth century, are a rare case of history being written by those other than the victors. [23] [24] [25]

The capture of the Aztec emperor Moctezuma II by Cortés was not a brilliant stroke of innovation, but came from the playbook that the Spanish developed during their period in the Caribbean. The composition of the expedition was the standard pattern, with a senior leader, and participating men investing in the enterprise with the full expectation of rewards if they did not lose their lives. Cortés’s seeking indigenous allies was a typical tactic of warfare: divide and conquer. But the indigenous allies had much to gain by throwing off Aztec rule. For the Spaniards’ Tlaxcalan allies, their crucial support gained them enduring political legacy into the modern era, the Mexican state of Tlaxcala. [26] [27]

The conquest of central Mexico sparked further Spanish conquests, following the pattern of conquered and consolidated regions being the launching point for further expeditions. These were often led by secondary leaders, such as Pedro de Alvarado. Later conquests in Mexico were protracted campaigns with less spectacular results than the conquest of the Aztecs. The Spanish conquest of Yucatán, the Spanish conquest of Guatemala, the conquest of the Tarascans/Purépecha of Michoacan, the war of Mexico's west, and the Chichimeca War in northern Mexico expanded Spanish control over territory and indigenous populations. [28] [29] [30] [31] But not until the Spanish conquest of Peru was the conquest of the Aztecs matched in scope by the victory over the Inca empire in 1532.

In 1532 at the Battle of Cajamarca a group of Spaniards under Francisco Pizarro and their indigenous Andean Indian auxiliaries native allies ambushed and captured the Emperor Atahualpa of the Inca Empire. It was the first step in a long campaign that took decades of fighting to subdue the mightiest empire in the Americas. In the following years, Spain extended its rule over the Empire of the Inca civilization.

The Spanish took advantage of a recent civil war between the factions of the two brothers Emperor Atahualpa and Huáscar, and the enmity of indigenous nations the Incas had subjugated, such as the Huancas, Chachapoyas, and Cañaris. In the following years the conquistadors and indigenous allies extended control over Greater Andes Region. The Viceroyalty of Perú was established in 1542. The last Inca stronghold was conquered by the Spanish in 1572.

Peru was the last territory in the continent under Spanish rule, which ended on 9 December 1824 at the Battle of Ayacucho (Spanish rule continued until 1898 in Cuba and Puerto Rico).


[Chile] has four months of winter, no more, and in them, except when there is a quarter moon, when it rains one or two days, all the other days have such a beautiful sunshine.

Chile was explored by Spaniards based in Peru, where Spaniards found the fertile soil and mild climate attractive. The Mapuche people of Chile, whom the Spaniards called Araucanians, resisted fiercely. The Spanish did establish the settlement of Chile in 1541, founded by Pedro de Valdivia. [32]

Southward colonization by the Spanish in Chile halted after the conquest of Chiloé Archipelago in 1567. This is thought to have been the result of an increasingly harsh climate to the south, and the lack of a populous and sedentary indigenous population to settle among for the Spanish in the fjords and channels of Patagonia. [33] South of the Bío-Bío River the Mapuche successfully reversed colonization with the Destruction of the Seven Cities in 1599–1604. [32] [34] This Mapuche victory laid the foundation for the establishment of a Spanish-Mapuche frontier called La Frontera. Within this frontier the city of Concepción assumed the role of "military capital" of Spanish-ruled Chile. [35] With a hostile indigenous population, no obvious mineral or other exploitable resources, and little strategic value, Chile was a fringe area of colonial Spanish America, hemmed in geographically by the Andes to the east, Pacific Ocean to the west, and indigenous to the south. [32]

New Granada

Between 1537 and 1543, six [ citation needed ] Spanish expeditions entered highland Colombia, conquered the Muisca Confederation, and set up the New Kingdom of Granada (Spanish: Nuevo Reino de Granada). Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada was the leading conquistador with his brother Hernán second in command. [36] It was governed by the president of the Audiencia of Bogotá, and comprised an area corresponding mainly to modern-day Colombia and parts of Venezuela. The conquistadors originally organized it as a captaincy general within the Viceroyalty of Peru. The crown established the audiencia in 1549. Ultimately, the kingdom became part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada first in 1717 and permanently in 1739. After several attempts to set up independent states in the 1810s, the kingdom and the viceroyalty ceased to exist altogether in 1819 with the establishment of Gran Colombia. [37]


Venezuela was first visited by Europeans during the 1490s, when Columbus was in control of the region, and the region as a source for indigenous slaves for Spaniards in Cuba and Hispaniola, since the Spanish destruction of the local indigenous population. There were few permanent settlements, but Spaniards settled the coastal islands of Cubagua and Margarita to exploit the pearl beds. Western Venezuela’s history took an atypical direction in 1528, when Spain’s first Hapsburg monarch, Charles I granted rights to colonize to the German banking family of the Welsers. Charles sought to be elected Holy Roman Emperor and was willing to pay whatever it took to achieve that. He became deeply indebted to the German Welser and Fugger banking families. To satisfy his debts to the Welsers, he granted them the right to colonize and exploit western Venezuela, with the proviso that they found two towns with 300 settlers each and construct fortifications. They established the colony of Klein-Venedig in 1528. They founded the towns of Coro and Maracaibo. They were aggressive in making their investment pay, alienating the indigenous populations and Spaniards alike. Charles revoked the grant in 1545, ending the episode of German colonization. [38] [39]

Río de la Plata and Paraguay

Argentina was not conquered or later exploited in the grand fashion of central Mexico or Peru, since the indigenous population was sparse and there were no precious metals or other valuable resources. Although today Buenos Aires at the mouth of Rio de la Plata is a major metropolis, it held no interest for Spaniards and the 1535-36 settlement failed and was abandoned by 1541. Pedro de Mendoza and Domingo Martínez de Irala, who led the original expedition, went inland and founded Asunción, Paraguay, which became the Spaniards' base. A second (and permanent) settlement was established in 1580 by Juan de Garay, who arrived by sailing down the Paraná River from Asunción, now the capital of Paraguay. [40] Exploration from Peru resulted in the foundation of Tucumán in what is now northwest Argentina. [41]

End of era of exploration

The spectacular conquests of central Mexico (1519-21) and Peru (1532) sparked Spaniards' hopes of finding yet another high civilization. Expeditions continued into the 1540s and regional capitals founded by the 1550s. Among the most notable expeditions are Hernando de Soto into southeast North America, leaving from Cuba (1539-42) Francisco Vázquez de Coronado to northern Mexico (1540-42), and Gonzalo Pizarro to Amazonia, leaving from Quito, Ecuador (1541-42). [42] In 1561, Pedro de Ursúa led an expedition of some 370 Spanish (including women and children) into Amazonia to search for El Dorado. Far more famous now is Lope de Aguirre, who led a mutiny against Ursúa, who was murdered. Aguirre subsequently wrote a letter to Philip II bitterly complaining about the treatment of conquerors like himself in the wake of the assertion of crown control over Peru. [43] An earlier expedition that left in 1527 was led by Pánfilo Naváez, who was killed early on. Survivors continued to travel among indigenous groups in the North American south and southwest until 1536. Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was one of four survivors of that expedition, writing an account of it. [44] The crown later sent him to Asunción, Paraguay to be adelantado there. Expeditions continued to explore territories in hopes of finding another Aztec or Inca empire, with no further success. Francisco de Ibarra led an expedition from Zacatecas in northern New Spain, and founded Durango. [45] Juan de Oñate expanded Spanish sovereignty over what is now New Mexico. [46] He is a controversial figure in the current era, with an equestrian statue commemorating him removed from public display in 2020. [47]

Factors affecting Spanish settlement

Two major factors affected the density of Spanish settlement in the long term. One was the presence or absence of dense, hierarchically organized indigenous populations that could be made to work. The other was the presence or absence of an exploitable resource for the enrichment of settlers. Best was gold, but silver was found in abundance.

The two main areas of Spanish settlement after 1550 were Mexico and Peru, the sites of the Aztec and Inca indigenous civilizations. Equally important, rich deposits of the valuable metal silver. Spanish settlement in Mexico “largely replicated the organization of the area in preconquest times” while in Peru, the center of the Incas was too far south, too remote, and at too high an altitude for the Spanish capital. The capital Lima was built near the Pacific coast. [48] The capitals of Mexico and Peru, Mexico City and Lima came to have large concentrations of Spanish settlers and became the hubs of royal and ecclesiastical administration, large commercial enterprises and skilled artisans, and centers of culture. Although Spaniards had hoped to find vast quantities of gold, the discovery of large quantities of silver became the motor of the Spanish colonial economy, a major source of income for the Spanish crown, and transformed the international economy. Mining regions in both Mexico were remote, outside the zone of indigenous settlement in central and southern Mexico Mesoamerica, but mines in Zacatecas (founded 1548) and Guanajuato (founded 1548) were key hubs in the colonial economy. In Peru, silver was found in a single silver mountain, the Cerro Rico de Potosí, still producing silver in the 21st century. Potosí (founded 1545) was in the zone of dense indigenous settlement, so that labor could be mobilized on traditional patterns to extract the ore. An important element for productive mining was mercury for processing high-grade ore. Peru had a source in Huancavelica (founded 1572), while Mexico had to rely on mercury imported from Spain.

Establishment of early settlements

The Spanish founded towns in the Caribbean, on Hispaniola and Cuba, on a pattern that became spatially similar throughout Spanish America. A central plaza had the most important buildings on the four sides, especially buildings for royal officials and the main church. A checkerboard pattern radiated outward. Residences of the officials and elites were closest to the main square. Once on the mainland, where there were dense indigenous populations in urban settlements, the Spanish could build a Spanish settlement on the same site, dating its foundation to when that occurred. Often they erected a church on the site of an indigenous temple. They replicated the existing indigenous network of settlements, but added a port city. The Spanish network needed a port city so that inland settlements could be connected by sea to Spain. In Mexico, the Hernán Cortés and the men of his expedition founded of the port town of Veracruz in 1519 and constituted themselves as the town councilors, as a means to throw off the authority of the governor of Cuba, who did not authorize an expedition of conquest. start of the conquest of central Mexico once the Aztec empire was toppled, they founded Mexico City on the ruins of the Aztec capital. Their central official and ceremonial area was built on top of Aztec palaces and temples. In Peru, Spaniards founded the city of Lima as their capital and its nearby port of Callao, rather than the high-altitude site of Cuzco, the center of Inca rule. Spaniards established a network of settlements in areas they conquered and controlled. Important ones include Santiago de Guatemala (1524) Puebla (1531) Querétaro (ca. 1531) Guadalajara (1531-42) Valladolid (now Morelia), (1529-41) Antequera (now Oaxaca(1525-29) Campeche (1541) and Mérida. In southern Central and South America, settlements were founded in Panama (1519) León, Nicaragua (1524) Cartagena (1532) Piura (1532) Quito (1534) Trujillo (1535) Cali (1537) Bogotá (1538) Quito (1534) Cuzco 1534) Lima (1535) Tunja, (1539) Huamanga 1539 Arequipa (1540) Santiago de Chile (1544) and Concepción, Chile (1550). Settled from the south were Buenos Aires (1536, 1580) Asunción (1537) Potosí (1545) La Paz, Bolivia (1548) and Tucumán (1553). [49]

Ecological conquests

The Columbian Exchange was as significant as the clash of civilizations. [50] [51] Arguably the most significant introduction was diseases brought to the Americas, which devastated indigenous populations in a series of epidemics. The loss of indigenous population had a direct impact on Spaniards as well, since increasingly they saw those populations as a source of their own wealth, disappearing before their eyes. [52]

In the first settlements in the Caribbean, the Spaniards deliberately brought animals and plants that transformed the ecological landscape. Pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, and chickens allowed Spaniards to eat a diet with which they were familiar. But the importation of horses transformed warfare for both the Spaniards and the indigenous. Where the Spaniards had exclusive access to horses in warfare, they had an advantage over indigenous warriors on foot. They were initially a scarce commodity, but horse breeding became an active industry. Horses that escaped Spanish control were captured by indigenous many indigenous also raided for horses. Mounted indigenous warriors were significant foes for Spaniards. The Chichimeca in northern Mexico, the Comanche in the northern Great Plains and the Mapuche in southern Chile and the pampas of Argentina resisted Spanish conquest. For Spaniards, the fierce Chichimecas barred them for exploiting mining resources in northern Mexico. Spaniards waged a fifty-year war (ca. 1550-1600) to subdue them, but peace was only achieved by Spaniards’ making significant donations of food and other commodities the Chichimeca demanded. "Peace by purchase" ended the conflict. [53] In southern Chile and the pampas, the Araucanians (Mapuche) prevented further Spanish expansion. The image of mounted Araucanians capturing and carrying off white women was the embodiment of Spanish ideas of civilization and barbarism.

Cattle multiplied quickly in areas where little else could turn a profit for Spaniards, including northern Mexico and the Argentine pampas. The introduction of sheep production was an ecological disaster in places where they were raised in great numbers, since they ate vegetation to the ground, preventing the regeneration of plants. [54]

The Spanish brought new crops for cultivation. They preferred wheat cultivation to indigenous sources of carbohydrates: casava, maize (corn), and potatoes, initially importing seeds from Europe and planting in areas where plow agriculture could be utilized, such as the Mexican Bajío. They also imported cane sugar, which was a high-value crop in early Spanish America. Spaniards also imported citrus trees, establishing orchards of oranges, lemons, and limes, and grapefruit. Other imports were figs, apricots, cherries, pears, and peaches among others. The exchange did not go one way. Important indigenous crops that transformed Europe were the potato and maize, which produced abundant crops that led to the expansion of populations in Europe. Chocolate (Nahuatl: chocolate) and vanilla were cultivated in Mexico and exported to Europe. Among the foodstuffs that became staples in European cuisine and could be grown there were tomatoes, squashes, bell peppers, and to a lesser extent in Europe chili peppers also nuts of various kinds: Walnuts, cashews, pecans, and peanuts.

The empire in the Indies was a newly established dependency of the kingdom of Castile alone, so crown power was not impeded by any existing cortes (i.e. parliament), administrative or ecclesiastical institution, or seigneurial group. [55] The crown sought to establish and maintain control over its overseas possessions through a complex, hierarchical bureaucracy, which in many ways was decentralized. The crown asserted is authority and sovereignty of the territory and vassals it claimed, collected taxes, maintained public order, meted out justice, and established policies for governance of large indigenous populations. Many institutions established in Castile found expression in The Indies from the early colonial period. Spanish universities expanded to train lawyer-bureaucrats (letrados) for administrative positions in Spain and its overseas empire.

The end of the Habsburg dynasty in 1700 saw major administrative reforms in the eighteenth century under the Bourbon monarchy, starting with the first Spanish Bourbon monarch, Philip V (r. 1700-1746) and reaching its apogee under Charles III (r. 1759-1788). The reorganization of administration has been called "a revolution in government." [56] Reforms sought to centralize government control through reorganization of administration, reinvigorate the economies of Spain and the Spanish empire through changes in mercantile and fiscal policies, defend Spanish colonies and territorial claims through the establishment of a standing military, undermine the power of the Catholic church, and rein in the power of the American-born elites. [57]

Early institutions of governance

The crown relied on ecclesiastics as important councilors and royal officials in the governance of their overseas territories. Archbishop Juan Rodríguez de Fonseca, Isabella's confessor, was tasked with reining in Columbus's independence. He strongly influenced the formulation of colonial policy under the Catholic Monarchs, and was instrumental in establishing the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) (1503), which enabled crown control over trade and immigration. Ovando fitted out Magellan's voyage of circumnavigation, and became the first President of the Council of the Indies in 1524. [58] Ecclesiastics also functioned as administrators overseas in the early Caribbean period, particularly Frey Nicolás de Ovando, who was sent to investigate the administration of Francisco de Bobadilla, the governor appointed to succeed Christopher Columbus. [59] Later ecclesiastics served as interim viceroys, general inspectors (visitadores), and other high posts.

House of Trade

The crown established control over trade and emigration to the Indies with the 1503 establishment the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) in Seville. Ships and cargoes were registered, and emigrants vetted to prevent migration of anyone not of old Christian heritage, (i.e., with no Jewish or Muslim ancestry), and facilitated the migration of families and women. [60] In addition, the Casa de Contratación took charge of the fiscal organization, and of the organization and judicial control of the trade with the Indies. [61]

Assertion of royal control in the early Caribbean

The politics of asserting royal authority to oppose Columbus resulted in the suppression of his privileges and the creation of territorial governance under royal authority. These governorates, also called as provinces, were the basic of the territorial government of the Indies, [62] and arose as the territories were conquered and colonized. [63] To carry out the expedition (entrada), which entailed exploration, conquest, and initial settlement of the territory, the king, as sovereign, and the appointed leader of an expedition (adelantado) agreed to an itemized contract (capitulación), with the specifics of the conditions of the expedition in a particular territory. The individual leaders of expeditions assumed the expenses of the venture and in return received as reward the grant from the government of the conquered territories [64] and in addition, they received instructions about treating the indigenous peoples. [65]

After the end of the period of conquests, it was necessary to manage extensive and different territories with a strong bureaucracy. In the face of the impossibility of the Castilian institutions to take care of the New World affairs, other new institutions were created. [66]

As the basic political entity it was the governorate, or province. The governors exercised judicial ordinary functions of first instance, and prerogatives of government legislating by ordinances. [67] To these political functions of the governor, it could be joined the military ones, according to military requirements, with the rank of Captain general. [68] The office of captain general involved to be the supreme military chief of the whole territory and he was responsible for recruiting and providing troops, the fortification of the territory, the supply and the shipbuilding. [69]

Provinces in the Spanish Empire had a royal treasury controlled by a set of oficiales reales (royal officials). The officials of the royal treasury included up to four positions: a tesorero (treasurer), who guarded money on hand and made payments a contador (accountant or comptroller), who recorded income and payments, maintained records, and interpreted royal instructions a factor, who guarded weapons and supplies belonging to the king, and disposed of tribute collected in the province and a veedor (overseer), who was responsible for contacts with native inhabitants of the province, and collected the king's share of any war booty. The treasury officials were appointed by the king, and were largely independent of the authority of the governor. Treasury officials were generally paid out of the income from the province and were normally prohibited from engaging in personal income-producing activities. [70]

Beginning in 1522 in the newly conquered Mexico, government units in the Spanish Empire had a royal treasury controlled by a set of oficiales reales (royal officials). There were also sub-treasuries at important ports and mining districts. The officials of the royal treasury at each level of government typically included two to four positions: a tesorero (treasurer), the senior official who guarded money on hand and made payments a contador (accountant or comptroller), who recorded income and payments, maintained records, and interpreted royal instructions a factor, who guarded weapons and supplies belonging to the king, and disposed of tribute collected in the province and a veedor (overseer), who was responsible for contacts with native inhabitants of the province, and collected the king's share of any war booty. The veedor, or overseer, position quickly disappeared in most jurisdictions, subsumed into the position of factor. Depending on the conditions in a jurisdiction, the position of factor/veedor was often eliminated, as well. [71]

The treasury officials were appointed by the king, and were largely independent of the authority of the viceroy, audiencia president or governor. On the death, unauthorized absence, retirement or removal of a governor, the treasury officials would jointly govern the province until a new governor appointed by the king could take up his duties. Treasury officials were supposed to be paid out of the income from the province, and were normally prohibited from engaging in income-producing activities. [72]

Spanish law and indigenous peoples

The protection of the indigenous populations from enslavement and exploitation by Spanish settlers were established in the Laws of Burgos, 1512–1513. The laws were the first codified set of laws governing the behavior of Spanish settlers in the Americas, particularly with regards to treatment of native Indians in the institution of the encomienda. They forbade the maltreatment of natives, and endorsed the Indian Reductions with attempts of conversion to Catholicism. [73] Upon their failure to effectively protect the indigenous and following the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire and the Spanish conquest of Peru, more stringent laws to control conquerors' and settlers' exercise of power, especially their maltreatment of the indigenous populations, were promulgated, known as the New Laws (1542). The crown aimed to prevent the formation of an aristocracy in the Indies not under crown control.

Queen Isabel was the first monarch that laid the first stone for the protection of the indigenous peoples in her testament in which the Catholic monarch prohibited the enslavement of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. [74] Then the first such in 1542 the legal thought behind them was the basis of modern International law. [75]

The Valladolid debate (1550–1551) was the first moral debate in European history to discuss the rights and treatment of a colonized people by colonizers. Held in the Colegio de San Gregorio, in the Spanish city of Valladolid, it was a moral and theological debate about the colonization of the Americas, its justification for the conversion to Catholicism and more specifically about the relations between the European settlers and the natives of the New World. It consisted of a number of opposing views about the way natives were to be integrated into colonial life, their conversion to Christianity and their rights and obligations. According to the French historian Jean Dumont The Valladolid debate was a major turning point in world history “In that moment in Spain appeared the dawn of the human rights”. [76]

The indigenous populations in the Caribbean became the focus of the crown in its roles as sovereigns of the empire and patron of the Catholic Church. Spanish conquerors holding grants of indigenous labor in encomienda ruthlessly exploited them. A number of friars in the early period came to the vigorous defense of the indigenous populations, who were new converts to Christianity. Prominent Dominican friars in Santo Domingo, especially Antonio de Montesinos and Bartolomé de Las Casas denounced the maltreatment and pressed the crown to act to protect the indigenous populations. The crown enacted Laws of Burgos (1513) and the Requerimiento to curb the power of the Spanish conquerors and give indigenous populations the opportunity to peacefully embrace Spanish authority and Christianity. Neither was effective in its purpose. Las Casas was officially appointed Protector of the Indians and spent his life arguing forcefully on their behalf. The New Laws of 1542 were the result, limiting the power of encomenderos, the private holders of grants to indigenous labor previously held in perpetuity. The crown was open to limiting the inheritance of encomiendas in perpetuity as a way to extinguish the coalescence of a group of Spaniards impinging on royal power. In Peru, the attempt of the newly appointed viceroy, Blasco Núñez Vela, to implement the New Laws so soon after the conquest sparked a revolt by conquerors against the viceroy and the viceroy was killed in 1546. [77] In Mexico, Don Martín Cortés, the son and legal heir of conqueror Hernán Cortés, and other heirs of encomiendas led a failed revolt against the crown. Don Martín was sent into exile, while other conspirators were executed. [78]

Indigenous peoples and colonial rule

The conquest of the Aztec and Inca empires ended their sovereignty over their respective territorial expanses, replaced by the Spanish Empire. However, the Spanish Empire could not have ruled these vast territories and dense indigenous populations without utilizing the existing indigenous political and economic structures at the local level. A key to this was the cooperation between most indigenous elites with the new ruling structure. The Spanish recognized indigenous elites as nobles and gave them continuing standing in their communities. Indigenous elites could use the noble titles don and doña, were exempt from the head-tax, and could entail their landholdings into cacicazgos. [79] These elites played an intermediary role between the Spanish rulers and indigenous commoners. Since in central and southern Mexico (Mesoamerica) and the highland Andes indigenous peoples had existing traditions of payment of tribute and required labor service, the Spanish could tap into these existing to extract wealth. There were few Spaniards and huge indigenous populations, so utilizing indigenous intermediaries was a practical solution to the incorporation of the indigenous population into the new regime of rule. By maintaining hierarchical divisions within communities, indigenous noblemen were the direct interface between the indigenous and Spanish spheres and kept their positions so long as they continued to be loyal to the Spanish crown. [80] [81] [82] [83] [84]

The exploitation and demographic catastrophe that indigenous peoples experienced from Spanish rule in the Caribbean also occurred as Spaniards expanded their control over territories and their indigenous populations. The crown set the indigenous communities legally apart from Spaniards (as well as Blacks), who comprised the República de Españoles, with the creation of the República de Indios. The crown attempted to curb Spaniards' exploitation, banning Spaniards' bequeathing their private grants of indigenous communities' tribute and encomienda labor in 1542 in the New Laws. In Mexico, the crown established the General Indian Court (Juzgado General de Indios), which heard disputes affecting individual indigenous as well as indigenous communities. Lawyers for these cases were funded by a half-real tax, an early example of legal aid for the poor. [85] A similar legal apparatus was set up in Lima. [86]

The Spaniards systematically attempted to transform structures of indigenous governance to those more closely resembling those of Spaniards, so the indigenous city-state became a Spanish town and the indigenous noblemen who ruled became officeholders of the town council (cabildo). Although the structure of the indigenous cabildo looked similar to that of the Spanish institution, its indigenous functionaries continued to follow indigenous practices. In central Mexico, there exist minutes of the sixteenth-century meetings in Nahuatl of the Tlaxcala cabildo. [87] Indigenous noblemen were particularly important in the early period of colonization, since the economy of the encomienda was initially built on the extraction of tribute and labor from the commoners in their communities. As the colonial economy became more diversified and less dependent on these mechanisms for the accumulation of wealth, the indigenous noblemen became less important for the economy. However, noblemen became defenders of the rights to land and water controlled by their communities. In colonial Mexico, there are petitions to the king about a variety of issues important to particular indigenous communities when the noblemen did not get a favorable response from the local friar or priest or local royal officials.

Works by historians in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have expanded the understanding of the impact of the Spanish conquest and changes during the more than three hundred years of Spanish rule. There are many such works for Mexico, often drawing on native-language documentation in Nahuatl, [88] [89] Mixtec, [90] and Yucatec Maya. [91] [92] For the Andean area, there are an increasing number of publications as well. [93] [94] The history of the Guaraní has also been the subject of a recent study. [95]

Council of the Indies

In 1524 the Council of the Indies was established, following the system of system of Councils that advised the monarch and made decisions on his behalf about specific matters of government. [96] Based in Castile, with the assignment of the governance of the Indies, it was thus responsible for drafting legislation, proposing the appointments to the King for civil government as well as ecclesiastical appointments, and pronouncing judicial sentences as maximum authority in the overseas territories, the Council of the Indies took over both the institutions in the Indies as the defense of the interests of the Crown, the Catholic Church, and of indigenous peoples. [97] With the 1508 papal grant to the crown of the Patronato real, the crown, rather than the pope, exercised absolute power over the Catholic Church in the Americas and the Philippines, a privilege the crown zealously guarded against erosion or incursion. Crown approval through the Council of the Indies was needed for the establishment of bishoprics, building of churches, appointment of all clerics. [98]

In 1721, at the beginning of the Bourbon monarchy, the crown transferred the main responsibility for governing the overseas empire from the Council of the Indies to the Ministry of the Navy and the Indies, which were subsequently divided into two separate ministries in 1754. [57]


The impossibility of the physical presence of the monarch and the necessity of strong royal governance in The Indies resulted in the appointment of viceroys ("vice-kings"), the direct representation of the monarch, in both civil and ecclesiastical spheres. Viceroyalties were the largest territory unit of administration in the civil and religious spheres and the boundaries of civil and ecclesiastical governance coincided by design, to ensure crown control over both bureaucracies. [99] Until the eighteenth century, there were just two viceroyalties, with the Viceroyalty of New Spain (founded 1535) administering North America, a portion of the Caribbean, and the Philippines, and the viceroyalty of Peru (founded 1542) having jurisdiction over Spanish South America. Viceroys served as the vice-patron of the Catholic Church, including the Inquisition, established in the seats of the viceroyalties (Mexico City and Lima). Viceroys were responsible for good governance of their territories, economic development, and humane treatment of the indigenous populations. [100]

In the eighteenth-century reforms, the Viceroyalty of Peru was reorganized, splitting off portions to form the Viceroyalty of New Granada (Colombia) (1739) and the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata (Argentina) (1776), leaving Peru with jurisdiction over Peru, Charcas, and Chile. Viceroys were of high social standing, almost without exception born in Spain, and served fixed terms.

Audiencias, the high courts

The Audiencias were initially constituted by the crown as a key administrative institution with royal authority and loyalty to the crown as opposed to conquerors and first settlers. [101] Although constituted as the highest judicial authority in their territorial jurisdiction, they also had executive and legislative authority, and served as the executive on an interim basis. Judges (oidores) held "formidable power. Their role in judicial affairs and in overseeing the implementation of royal legislation made their decisions important for the communities they served." Since their appointments were for life or the pleasure of the monarch, they had a continuity of power and authority that viceroys and captains-general lacked because of their shorter-term appointments. [102] They were the "center of the administrative system [and] gave the government of the Indies a strong basis of permanence and continuity." [103]

Their main function was judicial, as a court of justice of second instance —court of appeal— in penal and civil matters, but also the Audiencias were courts the first instance in the city where it had its headquarters, and also in the cases involving the Royal Treasury. [104] Besides court of justice, the Audiencias had functions of government as counterweight the authority of the viceroys, since they could communicate with both the Council of the Indies and the king without the requirement of requesting authorization from the viceroy. [104] This direct correspondence of the Audiencia with the Council of the Indies made it possible for the Council to give the Audiencia direction on general aspects of government. [101]

Audiencias were a significant base of power and influence for American-born elites, starting in the late sixteenth century, with nearly a quarter of appointees being born in the Indies by 1687. During a financial crisis in the late seventeenth century, the crown began selling Audiencia appointments, and American-born Spaniards held 45% of Audiencia appointments. Although there were restrictions of appointees' ties to local elite society and participation in the local economy, they acquired dispensations from the cash-strapped crown. Audiencia judgments and other functions became more tied to the locality and less to the crown and impartial justice.

During the Bourbon Reforms in the mid-eighteenth century, the crown systematically sought to centralize power in its own hands and diminish that of its overseas possessions, appointing peninsular-born Spaniards to Audiencias. American-born elite men complained bitterly about the change, since they lost access to power that they had enjoyed for nearly a century. [102]

Civil administrative districts, provinces

During the early era and under the Habsburgs, the crown established a regional layer of colonial jurisdiction in the institution of Corregimiento, which was between the Audiencia and town councils. Corregimiento expanded "royal authority from the urban centers into the countryside and over the indigenous population." [105] As with many colonial institutions, corregimiento had its roots in Castile when the Catholic Monarchs centralize power over municipalities. In the Indies, corregimiento initially functioned to bring control over Spanish settlers who exploited the indigenous populations held in encomienda, in order to protect the shrinking indigenous populations and prevent the formation of an aristocracy of conquerors and powerful settlers. The royal official in charge of a district was the Corregidor, who was appointed by the viceroy, usually for a five-year term. Corregidores collected the tribute from indigenous communities and regulated forced indigenous labor. Alcaldías mayores were larger districts with a royal appointee, the Alcalde mayor.

As the indigenous populations declined, the need for corregimiento decreased and then suppressed, with the alcaldía mayor remaining an institution until it was replaced in the eighteenth-century Bourbon Reforms by royal officials, Intendants. The salary of officials during the Habsburg era were paltry, but the corregidor or alcalde mayor in densely populated areas of indigenous settlement with a valuable product could use his office for personal enrichment. As with many other royal posts, these positions were sold, starting in 1677. [105] The Bourbon-era intendants were appointed and relatively well paid. [106]

Cabildos or town councils

Spanish settlers sought to live in towns and cities, with governance being accomplished through the town council or Cabildo. The cabildo was composed of the prominent residents (vecinos) of the municipality, so that governance was restricted to a male elite, with majority of the population exercising power. Cities were governed on the same pattern as in Spain and in the Indies the city was the framework of Spanish life. The cities were Spanish and the countryside indigenous. [107] In areas of previous indigenous empires with settled populations, the crown also melded existing indigenous rule into a Spanish pattern, with the establishment of cabildos and the participation of indigenous elites as officials holding Spanish titles. There were a variable number of councilors (regidores), depending on the size of the town, also two municipal judges (alcaldes menores), who were judges of first instance, and also other officials as police chief, inspector of supplies, court clerk, and a public herald. [108] They were in charge of distributing land to the neighbors, establishing local taxes, dealing with the public order, inspecting jails and hospitals, preserving the roads and public works such as irrigation ditchs and bridges, supervising the public health, regulating the festive activities, monitoring market prices, or the protection of Indians. [109]

After the reign of Philip II, the municipal offices, including the councilors, were auctioned to alleviate the need for money of the Crown, even the offices could also be sold, which became hereditary, [110] so that the government of the cities went on to hands of urban oligarchies. [111] In order to control the municipal life, the Crown ordered the appointment of corregidores and alcaldes mayores to exert greater political control and judicial functions in minor districts. [112] Their functions were governing the respective municipalities, administering of justice and being appellate judges in the alcaldes menores ' judgments, [113] but only the corregidor could preside over the cabildo. [114] However, both charges were also put up for sale freely since the late 16th century. [115]

Most Spanish settlers came to the Indies as permanent residents, established families and businesses, and sought advancement in the colonial system, such as membership of cabildos, so that they were in the hands of local, American-born (crillo) elites. During the Bourbon era, even when the crown systematically appointed peninsular-born Spaniards to royal posts rather than American-born, the cabildos remained in the hands of local elites. [116]

Frontier institutions – presidio and mission

As the empire expanded into areas of less dense indigenous populations, the crown created a chain of presidios, military forts or garrisons, that provided Spanish settlers protection from Indian attacks. In Mexico during the sixteenth-century Chichimec War guarded the transit of silver from the mines of Zacatecas to Mexico City. As many as 60 salaried soldiers were garrisoned in presidios. [117] Presidios had a resident commanders, who set up commercial enterprises of imported merchandise, selling it to soldiers as well as Indian allies. [118]

The other frontier institution was the religious mission to convert the indigenous populations. Missions were established with royal authority through the Patronato real. The Jesuits were effective missionaries in frontier areas until their expulsion from Spain and its empire in 1767. The Franciscans took over some former Jesuit missions and continued the expansion of areas incorporated into the empire. Although their primary focus was on religious conversion, missionaries served as "diplomatic agents, peace emissaries to hostile tribes . and they were also expected to hold the line against nomadic nonmissionary Indians as well as other European powers." [119] On the frontier of empire, Indians were seen as sin razón, ("without reason") non-Indian populations were described as gente de razón ("people of reason"), who could be mixed-race castas or black and had greater social mobility in frontier regions. [120]

Early evangelization

During the early colonial period, the crown authorized friars of Catholic religious orders (Franciscans, Dominicans, and Augustinians) to function as priests during the conversion of indigenous populations. During the early Age of Discovery, the diocesan clergy in Spain was poorly educated and considered of a low moral standing, and the Catholic Monarchs were reluctant to allow them to spearhead evangelization. Each order set up networks of parishes in the various regions (provinces), sited in existing indigenous settlements, where Christian churches were built and where evangelization of the indigenous was based. Hernán Cortés requested Franciscan and Dominican friars be sent to New Spain immediately after the conquest of Tenochtitlan to begin evangelization. The Franciscans arrived first in 1525 in a group of twelve, the Twelve Apostles of Mexico. Among this first group was Toribio de Benavente, known now as Motolinia, the Nahuatl word for poor. [121] [122]

Establishment of the church hierarchy

After the 1550s, the crown increasingly favored the diocesan clergy over the religious orders. The diocesan clergy) (also called the secular clergy were under the direct authority of bishops, who were appointed by the crown, through the power granted by the pope in the Patronato Real. Religious orders had their own internal regulations and leadership. The crown had authority to draw the boundaries for dioceses and parishes. The creation of the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the diocesan clergy marked a turning point in the crown's control over the religious sphere. The structure of the hierarchy was in many ways parallel to that of civil governance. The pope was the head of the Catholic Church, but the granting of the Patronato Real to the Spanish monarchy gave the king the power of appointment (patronage) of ecclesiastics. The monarch was head of the civil and religious hierarchies. The capital city of a viceroyalty became of the seat of the archbishop. The region overseen by the archbishop was divided into large units, the diocese, headed by a bishop. The diocese was in turn divided into smaller units, the parish, staffed by a parish priest.

In 1574, Philip II promulgated the Order of Patronage (Ordenaza del Patronato) ordering the religious orders to turn over their parishes to the secular clergy, a policy that secular clerics had long sought for the central areas of empire, with their large indigenous populations. Although implementation was slow and incomplete, it was an assertion of royal power over the clergy and the quality of parish priests improved, since the Ordenanza mandated competitive examination to fill vacant positions. [123] [124] Religious orders along with the Jesuits then embarked on further evangelization in frontier regions of the empire.


The Jesuits resisted crown control, refusing to pay the tithe on their estates that supported the ecclesiastical hierarchy and came into conflict with bishops. The most prominent example is in Puebla, Mexico, when Bishop Juan de Palafox y Mendoza was driven from his bishopric by the Jesuits. The bishop challenged the Jesuits' continuing to hold Indian parishes and function as priests without the required royal licenses. His fall from power is viewed as an example of the weakening of the crown in the mid-seventeenth century since it failed to protect their duly appointed bishop. [125] The crown expelled the Jesuits from Spain and The Indies in 1767 during the Bourbon Reforms.

Holy Office of the Inquisition

Inquisitional powers were initially vested in bishops, who could root out idolatry and heresy. In Mexico, Bishop Juan de Zumárraga prosecuted and had executed in 1539 a Nahua lord, known as Don Carlos of Texcoco for apostasy and sedition for having converted to Christianity and then renounced his conversion and urged others to do so as well. Zumárraga was reprimanded for his actions as exceeding his authority. [126] [127] When the formal institution of the Inquisition was established in 1571, indigenous peoples were excluded from its jurisdiction on the grounds that they were neophytes, new converts, and not capable of understanding religious doctrine.

Demographic impact of colonization

It has been estimated that over 1.86 million Spaniards emigrated to Latin America in the period between 1492 and 1824, with millions more continuing to immigrate following independence. [128]

Native populations declined significantly during the period of Spanish expansion. In Hispaniola, the indigenous Taíno pre-contact population before the arrival of Columbus of several hundred thousand had declined to sixty thousand by 1509. The population of the Native American population in Mexico declined by an estimated 90% (reduced to 1–2.5 million people) by the early 17th century. [ citation needed ] In Peru, the indigenous Amerindian pre-contact population of around 6.5 million declined to 1 million by the early 17th century. [ citation needed ] The overwhelming cause of the decline in both Mexico and Peru was infectious diseases, such as smallpox and measles, [129] although the brutality of the Encomienda also played a significant part in the population decline. [ citation needed ]

Of the history of the indigenous population of California, Sherburne F. Cook (1896–1974) was the most painstakingly careful researcher. From decades of research, he made estimates for the pre-contact population and the history of demographic decline during the Spanish and post-Spanish periods. According to Cook, the indigenous Californian population at first contact, in 1769, was about 310,000 and had dropped to 25,000 by 1910. The vast majority of the decline happened after the Spanish period, during the Mexican and US periods of Californian history (1821–1910), with the most dramatic collapse (200,000 to 25,000) occurring in the US period (1846–1910). [130] [131] [132]

Spanish American populations and race

The largest population in Spanish America was and remained indigenous, what Spaniards called "Indians" (indios), a category that did not exist before the arrival of the Europeans. The Spanish Crown separated them into the República de Indios. Europeans immigrated from various provinces of Spain, with initial waves of emigration consisting of more men than women. They were referred to as Españoles and Españolas, and later being differentiated by the terms indicating place of birth, peninsular for those born in Spain criollo/criolla or Americano/Ameriana for those born in the Americas. Enslaved Africans were imported to Spanish territories, primarily to Cuba. As was the case in peninsular Spain, Africans (negros) were able buy their freedom (horro), so that in most of the empire free Blacks and Mulatto (Black + Spanish) populations outnumbered slave populations. Spaniards and Indigenous parents produced Mestizo offspring, who were also part of the República de Españoles. [ citation needed ]

Early economy of indigenous tribute and labor

In areas of dense, stratified indigenous populations, especially Mesoamerica and the Andean region, Spanish conquerors awarded perpetual private grants of labor and tribute particular indigenous settlements, in encomienda were in a privileged position to accumulate private wealth. Spaniards had some knowledge of the existing indigenous practices of labor and tribute, so that learning in more detail what tribute particular regions delivered to the Aztec empire prompted the creation of Codex Mendoza, a codification for Spanish use. The rural regions remained highly indigenous, with little interface between the large numbers of indigenous and the small numbers of the República de Españoles, which included Blacks and mixed-race castas. Tribute goods in Mexico were most usually lengths of cotton cloth, woven by women, and maize and other foodstuffs produced by men. These could be sold in markets and thereby converted to cash. In the early period for Spaniards, formal ownership of land was less important than control of indigenous labor and receiving tribute. Spaniards had seen the disappearance of the indigenous populations in the Caribbean, and with that, the disappearance of their main source of wealth, propelling Spaniards to expand their regions of control. With the conquests of the Aztec and Inca empires, large numbers of Spaniards emigrated from the Iberian peninsula to seek their fortune or to pursue better economic conditions for themselves. The establishment of large, permanent Spanish settlements attracted a whole range of new residents, who set up shop as carpenters, bakers, tailors and other artisan activities.

Sugar and slavery

The early Caribbean proved a massive disappointment for Spaniards, who had hoped to find mineral wealth and exploitable indigenous populations. Gold existed in only small amounts, and the indigenous peoples died off in massive numbers. For the colony's continued existence, a reliable source of labor was needed. That was of enslaved Africans. Cane sugar imported from the Old World was a high value, a low bulk export product that became the bulwark of tropical economies of the Caribbean islands and coastal Tierra Firme (the Spanish Main), as well as Portuguese Brazil.


Silver was the bonanza the Spaniards sought. Large deposits were found in a single mountain in the viceroyalty of Peru, the Cerro Rico, in what is now Bolivia, and in several places outside of the dense indigenous zone of settlement in northern Mexico, Zacatecas and Guanajuato. [133] In the Andes, Viceroy Francisco de Toledo revived the indigenous rotary labor system of the mita to supply labor for silver mining. [134] [135] [136] In Mexico, the labor force had to be lured from elsewhere in the colony, and was not based on traditional systems of rotary labor. In Mexico, refining took place in haciendas de minas, where silver ore was refined into pure silver by amalgamation with mercury in what was known as the patio process. Ore was crushed with the aid of mules and then mercury could be applied to draw out the pure silver. Mercury was a monopoly of the crown. In Peru, the Cerro Rico's ore was processed from the local mercury mine of Huancavelica, while in Mexico mercury was imported from the Almadén mercury mine in Spain. Mercury is a neurotoxin, which damaged and killed human and mules coming into contact with it. In the Huancavelica region, mercury continues to wreak ecological damage. [137] [138] [139]

Development of agriculture and ranching

To feed urban populations and mining workforces, small-scale farms (ranchos), (estancias), and large-scale enterprises (haciendas) emerged to fill the demand, especially for foodstuffs that Spaniards wanted to eat, most especially wheat. In areas of sparse population, ranching of cattle (ganado mayor) and smaller livestock (ganado menor) such as sheep and goats ranged widely and were largely feral. There is debate about the impact of ranching on the environment in the colonial era, with sheep herding being called out for its negative impact, while other contest that. [140] With only a small labor force to draw on, ranching was an ideal economic activity for some regions. Most agriculture and ranching supplied local needs, since transportation was difficult, slow, and expensive. [141] Only the most valuable low bulk products would be exported.

Agricultural export products

Cacao beans for chocolate emerged as an export product as Europeans developed a taste for sweetened chocolate. Another major export product was cochineal, a color-fast red dye made from dried bugs living on cacti. Also cochineal is technically an animal product, the insects were placed on cacti and harvested by the hands of indigenous laborers. It became the second-most important export product from Spanish America after silver.

During the Napoleonic Peninsular War in Europe between France and Spain, assemblies called juntas were established to rule in the name of Ferdinand VII of Spain. The Libertadores (Spanish and Portuguese for "Liberators") were the principal leaders of the Spanish American wars of independence. They were predominantly criollos (Americas-born people of European ancestry, mostly Spanish or Portuguese), bourgeois and influenced by liberalism and in some cases with military training in the mother country.

In 1809 the first declarations of independence from Spanish rule occurred in the Viceroyalty of Peru. The first two were in the Alto Perú, present-day Bolivia, at Charcas (present day Sucre, May 25), and La Paz (July 16) and the third in present-day Ecuador at Quito (August 10). In 1810 Mexico declared independence, with the Mexican War of Independence following for over a decade. In 1821 Treaty of Córdoba established Mexican independence from Spain and concluded the War. The Plan of Iguala was part of the peace treaty to establish a constitutional foundation for an independent Mexico.

These began a movement for colonial independence that spread to Spain's other colonies in the Americas. The ideas from the French and the American Revolution influenced the efforts. All of the colonies, except Cuba and Puerto Rico, attained independence by the 1820s. The British Empire offered support, wanting to end the Spanish monopoly on trade with its colonies in the Americas.

In 1898, the United States achieved victory in the Spanish–American War with Spain, ending the Spanish colonial era. Spanish possession and rule of its remaining colonies in the Americas ended in that year with its sovereignty transferred to the United States. The United States took occupation of Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico continues to be a possession of the United States, now officially continues as a self-governing unincorporated territory.

In the twentieth century, there have been a number of films depicting the life of Christopher Columbus. One in 1949 stars Frederic March as Columbus. [142] With the 1992 commemoration (and critique) of Columbus, more cinematic and television depictions of the era appeared, including a TV miniseries with Gabriel Byrne as Columbus. [143] Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) has Georges Corroface as Columbus with Marlon Brando as Tomás de Torquemada and Tom Selleck as King Ferdinand and Rachel Ward as Queen Isabela. [144] 1492: The Conquest of Paradise stars Gerard Depardieu as Columbus and Sigorney Weaver as Queen Isabel. [145] A 2010 film, Even the Rain starring Gael García Bernal, is set in modern Cochabamba, Bolivia during the Cochabamba Water War, following a film crew shooting a controversial life of Columbus. [146] A 1995 Bolivian-made film is in some ways similar to Even the Rain is To Hear the Birds Singing, with a modern film crew going to an indigenous settlement to shot a film about the Spanish conquest and end up replicating aspects of the conquest. [147]

For the conquest of Mexico, a 2019 an eight-episode Mexican TV miniseries Hernán depicts the conquest of Mexico. Other notable historical figures in the production are Malinche, Cortés cultural translator, and other conquerors Pedro de Alvarado, Cristóbal de Olid, Bernal Díaz del Castillo. Showing the indigenous sides are Xicotencatl, a leader of the Spaniards' Tlaxcalan allies, and Aztec emperors Moctezuma II and Cuitlahuac. [148] The story of Doña Marina, also known as Malinche, was the subject of a Mexican TV miniseries in 2018. [149] A major production in Mexico was the 1998 film, The Other Conquest, which focuses on a Nahua in the post-conquest era and the evangelization of central Mexico. [150]

The epic journey of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca has been portrayed in a 1991 feature-length Mexican film, Cabeza de Vaca. [151] The similarly epic and dark journey of Lope de Aguirre was made into a film by Werner Herzog, Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972), starring Klaus Kinsky. [152]

The Mission was a 1996 film idealizing a Jesuit mission to the Guaraní in the territory disputed between Spain and Portugal. The film starred Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, and Liam Neeson and It won an Academy Award. [153]

The life of seventeenth-century Mexican nun, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, renowned in her lifetime, has been portrayed in a 1990 Argentine film, I, the Worst of All [154] and in a TV miniseries Juana Inés. [155] Seventeenth-century Mexican trickster, Martín Garatuza was the subject of a late nineteenth-century novel by Mexican politician and writer, Vicente Riva Palacio. In the twentieth century, Garatuza's life was the subject of a 1935 film [156] and a 1986 telenovela, Martín Garatuza. [157]

For the independence era, the 2016 Bolivian-made film made about Mestiza independence leader Juana Azurduy de Padilla is part of the recent recognition of her role in the independence of Argentina and Bolivia. [158]

Results of the Spanish-American War - History

"The war of the United States with Spain was very brief.
Its results were many, startling, and of world-wide meaning."

--Henry Cabot Lodge

This presentation provides resources and documents about the Spanish-American War, the period before the war, and some of the fascinating people who participated in the fighting or commented about it. Information about Cuba, Guam, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Spain, and the United States is provided in chronologies, bibliographies, and a variety of pictorial and textual material from bilingual sources, supplemented by an overview essay about the war and the period. Among the participants and authors featured are such well-known figures as Presidents Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt, as well as Admiral George Dewey and author Mark Twain (United States), together with other important figures such as Antonio Maceo and José Martí (Cuba), Román Baldorioty de Castro and Lola Rodríguez de Tió (Puerto Rico), José Rizal and Emilio Aguinaldo (Philippines), and Antonio Cánovas del Castillo and Ramón Blanco (Spain).

What territories did the United States acquire as a result of the Spanish-American War?

5) Which explains why U.S. imperialists wanted to acquire the Philippines?

A. Acquiring the territory would give the United States more power in world affairs. [Acquiring the Philippines was an important part of America's plan to become a world power.]

6) Which of these territorial acquisitions brought well-established agricultural production into the United States?

A. Puerto Rico. [America invested in Puerto Rico's agriculture and this led to a resurgence in the sugar and nuts industry.]

7) Which of the following territories did the United States acquire as a result of the Spanish-American War?

B. Puerto Rico. [The U.S. also acquired Guam and the Philippines.]

B. Guam, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico

Guam, Philippines, Puerto Rico

the Philippines reveled against the USA when they got rid of the Spanish.

Guam, the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico

cant fully remember if Spain was there :/

The Treaty of Paris (1898) officially ended the Spanish-American War. The United States acquired Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines as territories. Cuba technically gained its independence, but United States soldiers remained in the country for years, commonly intervening in the new nation's politics.

C. They never lost any homelands/soil.

your answer will most likely be a.

the speaker of ,’i want politician to make more of an effort for lgbt rights’, will be served well by joining an interest group.

an interest group is one that aims at influencing public policy on reasons derived by a common interest .in this case, lgbt rights are rights for the gay society which is a special group of individuals with specific interest concerning their relationship with other individuals. hope this !


4) The Roosevelt Corollary says:
A) That Europe could no longer expand and colonize North America.
B) That America would support Latin American countries economically.
C) That America could intervene in Latin American countries to prevent further European involvement.
D) America would send troops to help in the Boxer Rebellion.
My Answer

5) The Roosevelt Corollary expanded what previous document?
A) The Teller amendment
B) The Monroe Doctrine
C) The Open Door Policy
D) Washington’s Farewell Address
My Answer

6) What was the stick in Roosevelt’s “Speak softly carry a big stick” policy?
A) The Navy
B) The Army
C) The Marines
D) The Calvary
My Answer

7) Roosevelt wanted an “ open door policy” with China because
A) He feared a Chinese invasion.
B) He wanted to trade with China.
C) He wanted other countries to leave China.
D) He wanted China to be an independent country.
My Answer

8) Which President pushed for the building of Panama Canal?
A) Woodrow Wilson
B) William Taft
C) Teddy Roosevelt
D) William McKinley
My Answer

9) American imperialism can BEST be described as
A) A search for new markets and raw materials
B) Desire to expand American borders
C) Desire to conquer and rule other countries
D) Make the world safer
My Answer

10) Yellow Journalism contributed to the start of what war?
A) World War I
B) Franco Prussian War
C) The Boxer Rebellion
D) Spanish American War
My Answer

Can someone please check my answers?

1 - We gained control over both Cuba and Puerto Rico. Both would be correct. This is a bad question.
2 & 3 - correct
4 - None of the answers is correct. Roosevelt said we could intervene to help European nations' legitimate claims in Latin America. A is not, in any case, correct.
5 - correct
6 - incorrect
7 & 8 - correct
9 - no
10- correct

The History of U.S. Intervention And The 'Birth Of The American Empire'

Journalist Stephen Kinzer's book, True Flag, explains how the Spanish-American War launched an ongoing debate about America's role in the world. Kinzer has also been writing about President Trump.

Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. As we look ahead to what President Trump plans for the future, it's also helpful to look back to applicable lessons history has for us. My guest is looking in both directions. He's a columnist for The Boston Globe and its former Latin American correspondent, and has served as The New York Times bureau chief in Nicaragua, Germany and Turkey. He's written several books about American military interventions in foreign countries and their unintended consequences, countries including Iran, Nicaragua, Vietnam and Guatemala.

In Kinzer's new book, he writes that every argument over America's role in the world grows from the debate over the Spanish-American War in 1898, the debate over whether the U.S. should intervene in other countries and expand into their territories. The Spanish-American War ended in a treaty that required Spain to hand over to the U.S. its colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines. Kinzer's book is called "The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain And The Birth Of American Empire."

Stephen Kinzer, welcome to FRESH AIR. Since you've written so much about American foreign policy and American intervention around the world, I was wondering what your reaction was when you heard Donald Trump use the term America first in his inaugural address.

STEPHEN KINZER: All foreign policy decisions by the United States come down to one word, all choices boiled down to one word and it is intervention. Where are we going to intervene in the world? How, with what tools? How long will we stay? How do we make the decisions about where, how and why to do it? Trump is going to face these very same questions, and he's facing them maybe in different areas of the world than his predecessors, but the issues remain the same.

During his campaign, Trump suggested that he was on both sides of the intervention debate. We had several points where he said he was tired of regime change, wars, they were too expensive, they create enemies. We need to concentrate on rebuilding the United States. On the other hand, he has also waived his saber and made threatening remarks about various countries and parts of the world.

So he actually, to me, is an extreme representation of the divided American soul. Both of these instincts coexist within us. We're imperialists, but we're also isolationists. We want every country in the world to have its own right to shape its own destiny, but we also know so much about the world that we want to help them. At different moments, our foreign policy is shaped one way or another depending on which of these instincts comes out more fully at a specific time or in the face of a specific crisis.

So I don't think that Trump really has thought through in his mind this great question of whether the United States should be intervening in other countries, whether that's a good policy, or whether we ought to avoid that.

GROSS: The phrase America first that Trump used in his inaugural address has a lot of historical resonance. It was a famous phrase, it was - there was a movement before World War II, and it was the people who did not want America to intervene in the war. There were a lot of people who were in that movement against joining World War II for various reasons, but the chief spokesperson for that America first movement was Charles Lindbergh, who was an anti-Semite. And he said things like the British and the Jewish races, for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war. And regarding the Jews, he said their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.

I was wondering if you thought that Trump was unaware of that connection to America first, to that phrase, to that movement, the anti-Semitism that was a part of it, if he was using that term intentionally or if he was just, like, unaware that it had that resonance.

KINZER: That's a question I can't answer, but it's certainly a question I've asked myself. I don't think that Trump has necessarily posited the isolationism of the pre-World War II era as his model. I don't think he really has a model that's that coherent. I do feel though that it was a mistake, and it's a little bit chilling to think that he would have used that phrase America first without realizing the negative implications. And if he did realize it, I think maybe it's even worse. You wonder which is worse, that he's ignorant of the whole thing, or that he's knowledgeable and is intentionally using it. I think we're going to be finding that out soon enough.

GROSS: You're a columnist for The Boston Globe now. And on December 23, you wrote Democracy is in retreat around the world, from Poland and Turkey to Russia and the U.S., voters have placed their faith in authoritarian leaders. Would you describe Trump as an authoritarian leader?

KINZER: Certainly by American standards he seems to be one of the most personalistic leaders we've ever had, more so than any leader in our lifetimes.

GROSS: I'm not sure I'm familiar with the term personalistic.

KINZER: I see a personalistic leader as a person who is more focused on himself and what he wants than on institutions. This, I think, is something that's to fear about Trump. Does he fully understand the concepts of the divisions of power and checks and balances and the idea that we are a government of laws and not a government of people? A personalistic leader to me is one who places himself above institutions and thinks that he has solutions that go beyond those that are legally acceptable within our American tradition. I worry about that. I hope that we're not entering into a time when we're going to follow the lead of some other countries in the world, where checks and balances are not so strong, and that have moved directly towards autocracy.

I was recently in Turkey, for example, where this process is underway. And I remember that when I lived in Turkey, I had come to the conclusion that Turkish democracy was deeply-enough rooted so that one individual was not going to be able to turn that into an authoritarian state - I was wrong. Now, I believe that about the U.S. now, that our democracy is too strongly rooted for any one leader to shake it profoundly. But I've just been wrong once, so I'm a little concerned about whether I might be wrong this time as well.

GROSS: You're concerned that there are authoritarian leaders getting elected in different parts of the world. What are your concerns about what that can lead to?

KINZER: I fear that we move toward a populism in which only the interests of a majority are taken into consideration, and anybody who's not a part of that majority because he or she can't vote in the 51 percent is ignored. That's a very important piece of democracy. Democracy is not just for those who won the election, it's also to protect everyone else. And I wonder if that view is deeply-enough rooted in the Trump White House as I would like.

GROSS: Donald Trump has said that he's going to make great deals with other countries 'cause he knows how to make deals, and you've pointed out that business deals are very different from diplomacy. What are some of the differences you see?

KINZER: In diplomacy you're looking for something very different from what you're looking for in a legal or a business negotiation, which are the kinds in which Trump has been involved. In a business or a legal negotiation, you want to get the most you can. You want the other guy to get as little as possible. If you come out of the room with 80 percent and he leaves with 20, you won, and if you can get 90, you won even more, but diplomacy is not like that. Diplomatic agreements only succeed when everybody goes away from the table feeling that they got something. That means that nobody can go away thinking they got everything.

I hope we're able to make this transition. I hope Trump is able to make this transition in his own mind. Winning may be your goal in a business negotiation, but to win in diplomacy you have to be sure that the others around the table also win. You don't have to do that if you want to win in a business or legal negotiation. So I fear that some fundamental principles of diplomacy are in conflict with some of the business practices that Trump has used. That's fine as long as he can make the transition. I'm still waiting for the first indication that he can.

GROSS: So you've been a journalist for many years, both at newspapers and also writing journalistic books of history that have a lot to do with American intervention in other parts of the world. Donald Trump on Saturday in front of the CIA referred to journalists as among the most dishonest people on Earth. What do you see as the possible effects of that? I mean, he clearly sees the press as his enemy and has really been fighting the press. Do you remember anything like that in your lifetime or looking back in history in America? Do you see anything like that?

KINZER: I thought I had the answer until you said in America.

KINZER: No, I have seen things like this. I mentioned I was just in Turkey. One of the guys I wanted to have lunch with, who I had lunch with the last time I was in Turkey, couldn't attend because he's in jail. He was a columnist for a newspaper that the new leader decided was on the other side from him. So it's quite troubling.

Now, there aren't all the levers to push in the United States that there are in other countries to restrict journalism. On the other hand, I feel that journalism really is the last redoubt now. We have in Washington, particularly on foreign policy issues, a broad consensus that embraces the liberals, the conservatives, the Democrats, the Republicans, the think tanks, most of the mainstream press. You need some people out here banging their spoon on the highchair and providing an alternative view. That's actually something healthy for democracy. I didn't think I'd ever have to argue that principle before. It seems to me fairly self-evident.

Nonetheless, there is a tendency in personalistic leaders - if I can use that word - like the one we have in Turkey and the Philippines and what we may be having now in the United States to believe that the damage that criticism does to institutions outweighs the positive benefits of having people outside government making their independent judgments.

GROSS: So you mentioned a journalist in Turkey who you had recently had lunch with who's now in prison. Are you concerned that journalists in America will be punished in some way, perhaps, in prison?

KINZER: I wonder if there's a use for libel laws that can be stretched by a court system that's imposed slowly from Washington. If these libel laws can be interpreted in ways that restrict honest criticism, that is a way to do what we've actually seen done in other areas in our society over recent decades. And that is begin to eliminate some of the pillars of democracy, not by destroying them overnight, but just by eating away at them so that the facade of institutions remains, but the core has been lost. So we don't know how far this can go, and I think that is the question that is deeply disturbing many Americans, myself included.

GROSS: If you're just joining us, my guest is Stephen Kinzer who's written several books about American intervention in other countries and the unintended consequences of those interventions. His new book is about the Spanish-American War and how we took over from Spain Guam, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Cuba. The book is called "The True Flag." We'll be back after a break. This is FRESH AIR.

GROSS: If you're just joining us, my guest is journalist Stephen Kinzer who has written several books, and they're all about, like, American foreign intervention in other countries. So we're talking about Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Philippines. And this is just after annexing Hawaii. So you call the Spanish-American War the birth of American Empire. Americans don't think of themselves as ever having been an empire, so why are you using that word?

KINZER: In 1898, as you point out, the United States burst from being a continental empire, if you want to call it that, within North America to taking territory overseas for the first time in those countries that you mentioned. This was a huge turning point for the United States, and everybody that studies American history is aware of this episode.

But what I had never realized and what is the subject of this new book is that we made this decision after a huge national debate. This was not something that just came naturally. The entire country was caught up in a huge debate from 1898 all the way through about 1901 over the question shall we begin going out on this new career? Shall we not stop at the borders of North America and become a country that tries to influence the rest of the world? We certainly have become that country, but what was never clear to me - and that's the discovery that's at the center of this book - is that every major American political and intellectual figure took sides in this debate. It shook the whole country.

And the themes that we have been debating for more than 100 years all came up for the first time during this debate. Shall we project our power in ways that try to spread our ideas of how to make successful countries or are those ideas not really applicable to other countries and do these interventions only create enemies and weaken us as well as devastating the target countries?

GROSS: That's a very familiar debate to anyone living today (laughter). So let's talk about the people on either side. Like, Teddy Roosevelt was vice president under President McKinley who got us into the Spanish-American War. He was certainly for intervention, but Andrew Carnegie the industrialist who was at the time the richest man in the country - he was against it which surprised me. Why was he against intervention?

KINZER: The anti-imperialist league that emerged at the end of 1898 and became the epicenter for all opposition to American expansion abroad really comprised quite a fascinating variety of leaders. So you did have Andrew Carnegie, the richest man in America. But at the same time in the same group, you had Samuel Gompers, who was the leading labor leader of that period and Jane Addams, the social reformer. These are people who would've detested much of what Carnegie had to say in other areas. You also had William Jennings Bryan, the leader of the Democratic Party.

You had Grover Cleveland, the former president, Booker T. Washington. So quite a wide variety of anti-imperialists. As for Andrew Carnegie, he was a great believer in the principles of America. And in his famous article denouncing American expansion, he wrote, with what face shall we hang in the school houses of the Philippines our own Declaration of Independence and yet deny independence to them? The United States paid $20 million to Spain to buy the Philippines.

Andrew Carnegie offered to pay the U.S. Treasury $20 million to buy the Philippines so he could set the Philippines free and give them independence. So you have this very wide coalition of anti-imperialists, which later was greatly enriched by literary figures led by Mark Twain. You had great titanic figures, who I've just mentioned on the anti-imperialist side. Then on the imperialist side you have William Randolph Hearst, the publisher, Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, the Mephistopheles, who was manipulating all this from behind the scenes.

So with figures this great, you realize, as it became clear to me as I was writing this book, that only once in American history at the time of the founding fathers have so many brilliant Americans come together to argue so articulately a question so fraught with meaning for all humanity.

GROSS: My impression is that beneath the surface of the moral arguments for and against expansionism and intervention, beneath all that is the idea of, like, Americans really wanted an adventure. Like, war seemed exciting and this was an opportunity for business. I mean, there were already American fruit and sugar businesses, plantations in Cuba and business wanted to keep that.

And business wanted new markets. I mean, even the farmers were having a hard time because they were producing more than they could sell in America. They wanted more markets. They saw these Spanish territories as being, you know, a possible answer to that. So to what extent where, like, adventure and business really at the heart of the expansionist agenda?

KINZER: It's definitely true that for some of these people, and Theodore Roosevelt was a perfect exemplar of this, there is a desire for adventure. These kids grew up hearing stories from Grandpa about what it was like fighting in the Civil War. They wanted to have an adventure of their own. And Teddy Roosevelt definitely believed that war was the only condition of life that was worth living, that peace was only for (unintelligible) jellyfish who had no place in the great American nation.

He wanted to go out and fight. Even when he sent his sons to fight in World War I, he wrote that he hoped they'd come back missing a few limbs. The business factor was also huge back in 1898 and has continued to be. As I was going through old newspapers at the time this debate was going on, I could see that one theme constantly reappears.

And that's the theme of what was then called glut. So American farmers and American industrialists had so mastered the techniques of mass production that we were producing far more than we could consume. This was having trouble inside the United States. It was causing riots. There were labor leaders being shot down on the street by Pinkertons. We thought, as one of our secretaries of the Treasury wrote, we might even be on the brink of revolution.

We had to have an outlet to sell our products. And newspapers were filled with articles about how much money Americans could make if we could get the Chinese to wear cotton clothing, to use nails, to eat beef instead of rice. There were tremendous material motivations behind American expansion abroad.

GROSS: My guest is journalist Stephen Kinzer. His new book is called "The True Flag." After we take a short break, we'll talk about how fake news helped start the Spanish-American War. And Maureen Corrigan will review Ayelet Waldman's new memoir about using micro doses of LSD for her mood disorder. I'm Terry Gross, and this is FRESH AIR.

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross back with Stephen Kinzer who's written a series of books about American intervention in other countries and the unintended consequences. His new book, "The True Flag," focuses on the Spanish-American War in 1898, which ended with America taking over the Spanish colonies Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Philippines and Guam.

Kinzer says the debate over America's role in the world goes back to that 1898 debate over whether the U.S. should go to war and expand into new lands. Kinzer is a columnist for The Boston Globe and a former New York Times bureau chief. in Nicaragua, Germany and Turkey.

So we were talking about the both sides of the debate over intervention and expansion in the U.S. at the time of the Spanish-American War. The megaphone for the pro-intervention pro-expansion side was the William Randolph Hearst newspaper. And Hearst had inflammatory headlines, and what we would today call fake news, that helped lead Americans to the Spanish-American War. Give us some examples of the inflammatory headlines and fake news.

KINZER: It really is true that the Hearst campaign to bring us into war in 1898 has chilling implications for what's happening today. First of all, Americans are very compassionate people. We hate the idea that people are suffering anywhere. Our leaders know this, as do our newspaper editors. And whenever we want to push a project for intervention somewhere else, the first step is to point out how people are suffering there. We still use that today - a picture of a girl who has acid thrown in her face trying to go to school in Afghanistan makes people say we should go bomb Afghanistan, we should get rid of those horrible people.

The same thing was happening in 1898. The Hearst paper - the New York Journal - was full of stories about the evils and the horrors in Cuba, some written by reporters who hadn't even gotten to Cuba. They'd write their first stories while they were on the boat, and some of these stories are hugely evocative. You're looking at stories with pictures about the protruding ribs of starving people and how reporters have actually watched these people die in front of their own eyes, written by reporters who haven't even gotten to Cuba yet.

Perhaps even more dramatically, after the USS Maine - our warship - was destroyed in Havana Harbor, the headline over the New York Journal was sinking of the Maine was the work of an enemy. And there are about 20 some headlines and a giant diagram showing how the Spanish mine was attached to the USS Maine under the waterline, and it even shows the cords that connect that mine to the detonator on shore. In fact there was no mine, there was no detonator. Seventy years later the Navy convened a review board, and it concluded that that explosion had been an accident.

GROSS: So we do go to war with Spain. What was the consequences for the U.S. just in terms of the number of soldiers who were killed or injured on the American side and on the other sides?

KINZER: Tens of thousands of Americans were sent to fight in the Philippines. We never expected this. I think it was only the anti-imperialists who warned if we go to the Philippines and say we're ruling you now, they will rebel. And what are we going to do then? Are we going to shoot them down because they are fighting for their independence? If so, one senator said, we'll have to take that picture by John Trumbull of the battle of the Revolutionary War that hangs in the Capitol and turn it to face the wall, and replace it with a painting of American soldiers shooting down Filipinos fighting for their independence.

Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos were killed in that conflict, civilians mostly, but also insurgent fighters. I think that war, which was a huge episode in the history of U.S.-Asian relations but which we Americans have essentially forgotten, was a loss of innocence for the United States. We began to realize that, yes, we're going to have to go to faraway places and do bad things, but it must be for a good cause.

Interestingly enough, just within the last few months, we've had this crack up with the president of the Philippines. And although it wasn't so widely reported in the American press, when he had his press conference announcing that he didn't want the Philippines to be allies with the United States anymore, he waved around photographs of a pit filled with Filipino civilians who had just been killed by American soldiers more than a hundred years earlier. So it shows you how that episode really resonates in the minds of the Filipinos. And to take it one step further, it tells you that although we Americans forget the results of our interventions and go on to the next one, the people in the target countries don't forget.

GROSS: Once we won the Spanish-American War and got Cuba, the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico, we had to figure out, well, what does that mean for the United States? Does the United States want to colonize them? Does the United States want to add them as states? Like, what does the country do with this new territory? Tell us a little bit about the debate over that.

KINZER: The United States took control over former Spanish colonies in the Western Hemisphere and over the Philippines and Guam as a result of a treaty, the treaty of Paris that was signed at the end of 1898. That treaty had to be ratified by the U.S. Senate, and that debate lasted 32 days. It's the founding debate in the history of American imperialism versus anti-imperialism. So there is where you get the great conflicts over what should be America's future. You have a great argument over the idea of the consent of the governed. This was what the anti-imperialists kept saying. Our Constitution tells us that all legitimate governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed. We talk about we the people. Lincoln spoke about government of, by and for the people. How can we then go out and impose our will on other people?

So here was the reply. President McKinley gave it actually in a speech in Boston, and I think this is a trope or an idea that still resonates in our minds. He was talking about why we should invade the Philippines even though many Filipinos didn't want us to. That could be applied to Vietnam or Nicaragua or Afghanistan and many other countries. Here's what McKinley said - did we need their consent to perform a great act for humanity? We had it in every aspiration of their minds, in every hope of their hearts. And one of the senators during this debate also added - the rule of liberty applies only to those who are capable of self-government. We govern the Indians without their consent. We govern territories. We govern our children without their consent. We cannot fly from our world duties. These are the arguments that we're still having today, and that is what led to the great split that first emerged in the American psyche in 1898 and still divides us.

GROSS: So you were talking about the Senate debate over the Treaty of Paris, the treaty that ended the Spanish-American War. It was a very tight debate. Explain the outcome of that debate and the treaty.

KINZER: The treaty was ratified by just one vote more than the necessary two-thirds majority. The next step for the anti-imperialists was to go to the Supreme Court. They argued that the Constitution applied to everyone governed by Americans. Therefore, it would also apply to Filipinos. It would apply to Cubans. This was a series of cases known as the insular cases, and they were decided by one vote - by a 5-4 margin. The majority view was that if those possessions are inhabited by alien races differing from us in religion, customs, laws and modes of thought, administration of government and justice may be for a time impossible.

And concessions ought to be made so that ultimately our own theories may be carried out and that the blessings of free government may be ultimately extended to them. The chief justice who wrote the dissent wrote (reading) the idea that this country may acquire territories anywhere upon Earth and hold them as mere colonies or provinces is wholly inconsistent with the spirit and genius as well as with the words of the Constitution.

GROSS: So the justice who wrote the majority decision saying that it was OK for America to not grant constitutional rights to people in other territories that it rules - the person who wrote that decision, the justice who wrote it was a justice who had signed onto the Plessy vs. Ferguson decision that legalized segregation. That said, you know, separate but equal is fine.

KINZER: Absolutely. And I think there is a connection between the two. If you believe that not all people living in the United States are entitled to the same rights under the Constitution, it's not much of a step to say, well, neither are Filipinos or other people in countries that we rule. So this is also a tie between the abolitionist movement and the anti-imperialist movement. So many of the original anti-imperialists in America and the period around 1898 had been titans in the abolitionist movement and in trying to promote reconstruction.

They believed that every abolitionist was a natural anti-imperialist because if you didn't believe in holding slaves, in holding people against their will, you certainly couldn't believe in holding countries without their will. The opposite was also true. If you believed that separate but equal was fine and segregation was a benefit, then it was an easy jump to say actually denying rights to people in other countries who are ruled by the U.S. is also all right. So you, again, see this very divided soul that takes us in two different directions at the same time. Even though they're opposite, we're trying to reconcile them.

GROSS: So is it fair to say that racism is among the reasons America was able to justify to itself ruling other people and not giving them constitutional rights, full constitutional rights?

KINZER: Absolutely. There's no doubt that when we say, as it was argued back in 1898, some people are ready for self-government. Others are not and need our help. What we're really saying is white people can govern themselves, and others are not capable of it.

GROSS: I think we'd better take a break here. If you're just joining us, my guest is journalist Stephen Kinzer. He's written extensively lots of books about American intervention in other countries and the unintended consequences of it. His new book is called "The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain And The Birth Of American Empire." And it's about the Spanish-American War and America's acquisition of the territories it won in that war - Cuba, Puerto Rican, Guam and the Philippines. We'll be back after a break. This is FRESH AIR.

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR, and if you're just joining us, my guest is journalist Stephen Kinzer, a former New York Times reporter who's now a columnist for The Boston Globe. He's the author of several books about American intervention in other countries and the unintended consequences. His new book is called "The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain And The Birth Of American Empire," and it's about the great debate over the Spanish-American War in 1898. We won the war against Spain and took over the territories that they had - Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines. So what's the status now of Guam and Puerto Rico and how does that relate to the era we're talking about, the era of the Spanish-American war?

KINZER: We've twisted ourselves into pretzel-like shapes over many years trying to explain what is Puerto Rico and what is Guam compared to the United States? And we do this because we can't use the word colony. We can't call them colonies, so they have to be dependencies, territories, commonwealth, free-associated state. We've gone through a whole vocabulary - a whole lexicon of vocabulary in order to get through this difficult minefield.

Both Guam and Puerto Rico are fully owned possessions of the United States. Final decisions about their politics are made in Washington. Puerto Rico has a little more self-government than Guam. Guam is a major American military base. It was a jumping off point for the U.S. war in Vietnam, and it still remains a key asset for the United States in the Pacific. If we want to project military power around the South Pacific, we need Guam. But the larger question is do we really still want to be projecting military power there and in other parts of the world?

Cuba is a country that we owned, but where a rebellion pushed our influence out. Puerto Rico had not had a revolutionary movement when we took it over, and there never was a serious revolutionary movement there. So now the debate over statehood of territory or independence in Puerto Rico is still going on. It dominates politics as it has for more than 100 years. And American possession of Puerto Rico like American possession of Guam just like our position in so many other countries in the world is a legacy of interventions from far away that we now have to find ways of dealing with.

GROSS: So there's a lot of connections between the arguments over the Spanish-American war, the outcome of it, and where we are today. So looking at some of the lessons you think America learned or should have learned from that era, if you had the opportunity to talk to President Trump and tell him based on what you know of that period of American history, here's some of the lessons that apply to today, what would you tell him?

KINZER: First of all, the United States has not discovered a magical formula for prosperity and security that applies to all countries. We cannot implant our ideals and values everywhere else. Second, many of our interventions are planned to achieve short-term objectives. And we have the military power to achieve those, but we don't go in with realistic goals and exit strategies. We - it becomes very hard to leave. Sometimes we never leave. So the idea that you're going to have a quick intervention and pull out when it's finished is something like a unicorn. It's one of those beautiful ideas that never materializes.

Interventions aimed at peacekeeping also often deteriorate because people in those countries see what side we're on. Peacekeepers naturally tend to one side or another. That's why we had "Black Hawk Down." That's why we had the attack on our Marine barracks in Lebanon. It's because peacekeepers are not seen as peacekeepers by many of the people on the ground.

The argument that the U.S. intervenes to defend freedom is also rarely matching the facts on the ground. Many people in the world who find out America's coming to save them have some reason to wonder if they're going to be saved like we saved Iraq and Afghanistan and Vietnam and Nicaragua and Iran and Guatemala and so many others. These interventions multiply our enemies. They're hugely expensive at times - at a moment in our history when we need great investment inside the United States. They weaken our moral authority. And they bring revenge on to the United States.

It used to be that we were protected in our physical homeland because we're so far away from our enemies. But - and now, as we've found, that's no longer true. So we need to question some of the subsidiary assumptions that undergird our foreign policy. U.S. is always virtuous. Our influence in the world is always benign. We have to intervene abroad because the risks of not acting are too great. We have universal ideals. We have to act unilaterally when circumstances dictate.

We don't see the world as a big spectrum of forces and beliefs and cultures and interests. We just see good and evil, and we rush to take the side of good. We - we're always a teaching nation. Maybe it's time for us to pull back a bit and see if there aren't some things we could learn from the rest of the world instead of always trying to teach it.

GROSS: Is there an American intervention abroad that you consider to be a just one? For example, World War II?

KINZER: World War II certainly had justice on its side. I don't consider that a real American intervention since it was such a global cause. But there have been interventions that have worked out relatively well. They particularly go back to the time when we.

GROSS: So you're saying World War II isn't even what you're talking about?

KINZER: Yes, that's what I'm saying.

KINZER: Let me make another observation then about World War II. Was World War II a hugely important moment in American history? Of course. Did it shape the world we live in? Yes. But sometimes I wonder why there's such an unending flood of books and movies and video games and TV programs about World War II. I think the reason is that World War II shows us as we want to think that we are. We fought for a good cause, we liberated people from brutal tyranny, and then we went home and left them freedom.

Now, in many other places in the world, we did the opposite. We crashed into a country that was reasonably democratic and left it under tyranny. But that doesn't sound right to us. That doesn't seem like the story we want to believe about ourselves. So those episodes fade away and become footnotes to history, whereas those that come out well are celebrated eternally as the perfect epitome of who we are and what we do.

GROSS: Stephen Kinzer, I want to thank you so much for talking with us.

KINZER: It's always good to be with you.

GROSS: Stephen Kinzer is the author of the new book "The True Flag" and a columnist for The Boston Globe. After we take a short break, Maureen Corrigan will review a new memoir by Ayelet Waldman about taking microdoses of LSD to treat her mood disorder. This is FRESH AIR.

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Destruction of the Spanish fleet

On the evening of April 30, Dewey passed into the Boca Grande, a wide channel into Manila Bay that was less used than the Boca Chica, the main shipping corridor that ran north of Corregidor Island. This allowed him to avoid the Spanish batteries on Corregidor that oversaw Boca Chica. Dewey addressed concerns about mines in the channel by leading the advance in the USS Olympia, and at midnight he passed El Fraile, a small fortified island, from which two shots were fired at him. He was also shelled by the the batteries at Cavite.

When Dewey sighted the Spanish fleet to the south, he ordered his supply ships and the USS Hugh McCulloch out into the bay and advanced in column with the USS Olympia, USS Baltimore, USS Raleigh, USS Petrel, USS Concord, and USS Boston at 400-yard (366-metre) intervals. About 5:40 am , when he was within 5,500 yards (roughly 5,000 metres) of the Spanish force, Dewey issued a command to Capt. Charles Gridley of the USS Olympia: “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.”

The American ships made repeated east-to-west passes along the Spanish line, unloading their port batteries and gradually decreasing their distance to 2,000 yards (1,829 metres). At 7:00 am the Spanish flagship attempted to come out and engage at short range, but it was driven back by the American fire. The Spanish squadron was now in very bad condition, but the seriousness of its plight was not fully known to the American commander. At 7:35 am Dewey withdrew, gave his men breakfast, and had a consultation of commanding officers. Before he re-engaged at 11:16 am the Reina Cristina and Castilla had broken into flames. Thus, the remainder of the action consisted of silencing the shore batteries at Cavite and completing the destruction and demoralization of the smaller Spanish ships, a task that passed to the USS Petrel. Dewey took possession of Cavite, paroled its garrison, and awaited the arrival of a land force to capture Manila.

The Philippine-American War, 1899–1902

After its defeat in the Spanish-American War of 1898, Spain ceded its longstanding colony of the Philippines to the United States in the Treaty of Paris. On February 4, 1899, just two days before the U.S. Senate ratified the treaty, fighting broke out between American forces and Filipino nationalists led by Emilio Aguinaldo who sought independence rather than a change in colonial rulers. The ensuing Philippine-American War lasted three years and resulted in the death of over 4,200 American and over 20,000 Filipino combatants. As many as 200,000 Filipino civilians died from violence, famine, and disease.

The decision by U.S. policymakers to annex the Philippines was not without domestic controversy. Americans who advocated annexation evinced a variety of motivations: desire for commercial opportunities in Asia, concern that the Filipinos were incapable of self-rule, and fear that if the United States did not take control of the islands, another power (such as Germany or Japan) might do so. Meanwhile, American opposition to U.S. colonial rule of the Philippines came in many forms, ranging from those who thought it morally wrong for the United States to be engaged in colonialism, to those who feared that annexation might eventually permit the non-white Filipinos to have a role in American national government. Others were wholly unconcerned about the moral or racial implications of imperialism and sought only to oppose the policies of President William McKinley ’s administration.

After the Spanish-American War, while the American public and politicians debated the annexation question, Filipino revolutionaries under Aguinaldo seized control of most of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon and proclaimed the establishment of the independent Philippine Republic. When it became clear that U.S. forces were intent on imposing American colonial control over the islands, the early clashes between the two sides in 1899 swelled into an all-out war. Americans tended to refer to the ensuing conflict as an “insurrection” rather than acknowledge the Filipinos’ contention that they were fighting to ward off a foreign invader.

There were two phases to the Philippine-American War. The first phase, from February to November of 1899, was dominated by Aguinaldo’s ill-fated attempts to fight a conventional war against the better-trained and equipped American troops. The second phase was marked by the Filipinos’ shift to guerrilla-style warfare. It began in November of 1899, lasted through the capture of Aguinaldo in 1901 and into the spring of 1902, by which time most organized Filipino resistance had dissipated. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed a general amnesty and declared the conflict over on July 4, 1902, although minor uprisings and insurrections against American rule periodically occurred in the years that followed.

The United States entered the conflict with undeniable military advantages that included a trained fighting force, a steady supply of military equipment, and control of the archipelago’s waterways. Meanwhile, the Filipino forces were hampered by their inability to gain any kind of outside support for their cause, chronic shortages of weapons and ammunition, and complications produced by the Philippines’ geographic complexity. Under these conditions, Aguinaldo’s attempt to fight a conventional war in the first few months of the conflict proved to be a fatal mistake the Filipino Army suffered severe losses in men and material before switching to the guerrilla tactics that might have been more effective if employed from the beginning of the conflict.

The war was brutal on both sides. U.S. forces at times burned villages, implemented civilian reconcentration policies, and employed torture on suspected guerrillas, while Filipino fighters also tortured captured soldiers and terrorized civilians who cooperated with American forces. Many civilians died during the conflict as a result of the fighting, cholera and malaria epidemics, and food shortages caused by several agricultural catastrophes.

Even as the fighting went on, the colonial government that the United States established in the Philippines in 1900 under future President William Howard Taft launched a pacification campaign that became known as the “policy of attraction.” Designed to win over key elites and other Filipinos who did not embrace Aguinaldo’s plans for the Philippines, this policy permitted a significant degree of self-government, introduced social reforms, and implemented plans for economic development. Over time, this program gained important Filipino adherents and undermined the revolutionaries’ popular appeal, which significantly aided the United States’ military effort to win the war.

Watch the video: Causes and Results of the Spanish American War (July 2022).


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