Today in Texas History – February 15

From the Annals of Our Wars of Aggression –  In 1898, the battleship USS Maine exploded in Cuba’s Havana harbor, killing 260 of the American crew members aboard. The Maine was one of the first modern battleships weighing in at more than 6,000 tons and was built at a cost of more than $2 million.  The Maine had been sent to Cuba to protect the interests of Americans there after a rebellion against Spanish rule broke out in Havana in January. A U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry found that the ship had been blown up by a mine but did not directly place blame on Spain.  The yellow press quickly worked up a war fever among Americans who held Spain responsible for the loss.  Spain’s rather brutal suppression of the Cuban rebellion contributed to a march towards war.

Texas played a part in the war as it was in San Antonio’s Menger Hotel that Teddy Roosevelt recruited his Rough Riders who became famous for the attack on San Juan Hill.

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