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Historical Background

By rebeccasooklal May 06, 2013 819 Words
Before 1850, Cuba was governed by Spain. However, the United States wanted to acquire Cuba for the following reasons. Firstly for commercial reason that is, Cuba would be a good market for American goods. Secondly, a slave state, planters form the Southern States of the United States wanted to acquire Cuba so that it would be made into a state where slavery could be continued. Thirdly, a military base, many Americans felt that Cuba could be used as a military base to protect Florida since that island was located only 149km away from the United States. Lastly, some Americans wanted to end Spanish rule in Cuba, they felt that the United States should replace Spain as the main country to govern Cuba. Before 1860, the United States made two attempts to acquire Cuba. They were, the United States gave money and weapons to Nascio Lopez to invade Cuba, however, these attempts were unsuccessful. Secondly, in 1854, the United States President James Polk offered Spain $113 million to purchase Cuba. The United States stated that if Spain referred they would invade Cuba. However the Spanish government refused to sell Cuba to the United States. Between 1861 - 1865 American interest in Cuba decreased as a civil war (fighting within a country) began in the United States over the issue of slavery. American businessmen carried out a lot of trade with Cuba in the following ways: firstly, the United States supplied items example clothing and tools. Secondly, the American businessmen invested a lot of money in the sugarcane, tobacco and railway industry. Thirdly, the Cuban businessmen exported sugar and tobacco to the United States. Before 1895, Cuba was governed by Spain. However many Cubans wanted to gain independence from Spain for the following reason, the Spanish imposed high taxes on the Cuban people. The Cuban did not like how Spain governed their country. Spain was the least important of Cuba’s export customer since Spain did little trading with Cuba. By 1895, the United States was Cuba’s most important trade partner. In 1895 a Cuban Hose Marti began the fighting the Spanish in Cuba. He was supported by the Americans for the following reason, the Americans were shocked at the treatment of Cuban prisoners in prison camps operated by the Spanish. The United States felt that the lives of American citizens who lived in Cuba were in danger and the United States was willing to invade Cuba to protect the Americans. Some Americans felt that Cuba could be used as a military base to protect Florida. In 1898, the United States President William Mckinley sent an American warship the USS Maine to Cuba to protect American lives. However, the ship was destroyed and American sailors died on the ship. This gave the United States the opportunity to declare war on Spain. In 1898 this war was called the Spanish American War. The Spanish American War began in 1898 and involved the United States waging war against Spain. The warfare between both countries occurred in the Pacific Ocean. The United States was able to defeat the Spanish and gained the following Spanish colonies in the Pacific Ocean such as Guam and the Phillippines. The United States also gained Spanish colonies in the Caribbean example Cuba, Puerto Rico. The Phillippines, Guam, Puerto Rico became American territories but not States of the United States. The United States decided to follow the Teller Amendment as it related to Cuba. This stated that the United States would leave the government and control of Cuba to its people. However an American army would remain in Cuba until a Cuban government was formed. Spain will also be paid $20 million for the loss of all four colonies. The treaty of Paris (1898) was an agreement which was made between Spain and the United States in Paris France. This treaty states that the United States would select an American governor to look after the affairs of Cuba. In 1898 after the United States acquired Cuba they did the following; they appointed an American military governor to look after the affairs of Cuba .However, the government of Cuba would be made of Cubans. The Americans carried out social improvements in Cuba example new schools were built, the University of Havana was reopened, roads, railways and ports were built, new improvements in health as people were vaccinated for malaria and yellow fever and Cuban prisoners were released from the Spanish camps. The Plat Amendment gave Cubans the right to select a governor for the country. This was done through a general election. Between 1902 -1934 there were seven Presidents in Cuba and the country experienced a lot of political instability allowing the Americans turned Cuba into an American playground, there was an increase in social evils example gambling and prostitution. The number of night clubs and casinos increased. American businessmen even owned a lot of Cuban sugarcane estates and factories.

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