Twenty-seven clandestine gun running expeditions sail from Tampa to Cuba.
Spanish General Valeriano Weyler places an embargo on all shipments of United States tobacco to Cuba.
Mascotte and Olivette, steamships from the Plant Line are dispatched to Havana to beat the embargo deadline.
Feb. 15
--USS Maine--which had been ordered to Havana to protect American interests, explodes in Havana Harbor, killing 260 sailors. (the cause of the explosion is never determined.)
March 22
--Henry Plant writes to Secretary of War Russell Alger to point out the importance of defending Tampa. Plant suggests Egmont and Mullet Keys as good sites for coastal defense positions, although they had not been recommended by the Endicott Board.
March 25
--Secretary Alger orders the Chief of Engineers to plan on defenses for the two sites.
April 14
--Tampa is selected, along with Mobile and New Orleans as a mobilization point for United States troops. Tampa is also chosen as a supply base.
April 20
--The United States Congress passes a joint resolution against Spain, recognizing Cuban independence.
April 24
--Spain declares war on the US.
April 25
--President McKinley declares war on Spain.
May 1
--Commodore George Dewey decisively defeats the larger but unprepared Spanish Fleet in the Battle of Manila Bay.
--Troops pour into Tampa, filling the first encampment at Tampa Heights and spilling over into camps at De Soto Park, Palmetto Beach, Fort Brooke, Port Tampa, Ybor City. By June 25,000 troops were stationed in and near Tampa.
June 1
--the Rough Riders cavalry unit under the command of Col. Leonard Wood and his second in command Lt. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt arrive in Tampa.
June 15
--annexation of Hawaii.
June 21
--Guam surrenders.
June 24
--first major land battle of the war at Las Guasimas won decisively by the Americans with Col. Leonard Wood, now a regimental commander, and Col. Theodore Roosevelt leading the Rough Riders.
--Major General William Rufus Shafter, a Civil War veteran, directs the war from his "cockpit" at the Tampa Bay Hotel.
July 1 & 2
--battles of El Caney and San Juan Heights.
July 3
--Spanish fleet at Santiago is destroyed; July 17--Santiago surrenders.
July 25
--Puerto Rico invaded.
July 26
--Spain sues for peace.
August 12
--Armistice signed.
August 13
--Manila occupied by American troops.
December 10
--Treaty is signed in Paris, ending the war.
November 1898 to March 1899
--site is cleared for Fort De Soto on Mullet Key. Pourings are started in March for the mortar battery. Shortly after, funds are allocated for another battery of 3-inch, 15-pounder rapid-fire guns.
The Turn of the Century
--The end of the Spanish-American War finds the United States with influence on the global stage, a world power with military responsibilities, owning Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines with Cuba, nominally independent, having ceded Guantanamo Bay for a naval base under the terms of the constitution overseen by the United States Cuba and Puerto Rico are strategically significant for the defense of the Panama Canal, which is begun in 1904. The Philippines are considered important to establish trade with China, which Great Britain and the United States are attempting to begin.

Ref: Tampa Bay History Center, 225 S Franklin St., Tampa FL 33602.
Carruth, Gorton, Abridged Edition of the Encyclopedia of American Facts and Dates, New York: Harper & Row, 1991.
The 1995 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia
Information compiled by Barbara Rowell, volunteer at Historic Fort De Soto
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