The U.S. battleship Maine exploded in Havana Harbor at 9:40 p.m. on February 15, 1898. Within six days of the explosion a U.S. naval court of inquiry was convened to establish the cause of the explosion. One month later the court found that the ship, in all probability, was destroyed by an underwater mine that ignited parts of the forward magazines. The act had been done by unknown persons. Relations between the United States and Spain were tense during a period of Cuban colonial rebellion and Spanish repression. On April 25, 1898, the United States declared war on Spain and “Remember the Maine” became a familiar call to arms. Between 1910 and 1912 the wreck of the Maine was raised from Havana Harbor and the Navy briefly reexamined the case, essentially rubber-stamping the 1898 findings.


Spontaneous Combustion National Geographic Commanding Officer American Warship Naval Surface Warfare 
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© Edward J. Marolda 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dana Wegner

There are no affiliations available

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