USS Maine

USS Maine

USS Maine history:

Warships have always been a fundamental weapon when it comes to waging war and having a good navy is vital for conflicts. But in the case of the Maine, she was the ship that caused a conflict: the Spanish-American War, a sinking that remains controversial to this day.

This battleship was designed with the aim of modernizing the United States Navy, in a period when more powerful battleships were needed. The construction of her took place in the shipyards of New York and was authorized in 1886, finally being launched on November 18, 1889 and commissioned on September 17, 1895. She was 324 feet long, 57 feet wide, had a tonnage of 6,682, and a 12-inch belt armor, becoming the largest ship built to date in the United States shipyards.

This ship was commissioned for the army on September 17, 1895, and began to serve as part of the North Atlantic Squadron, covering the entire east coast of the United States and part of the Caribbean, participating in military exercises on several occasions. In Cuba (at that time a territory of Spain) a conflict had been taking place since 1895 with the aim of obtaining its independence, the Maine sailed from Key West to Havana in January 1898, with the aim of protecting the interests of the United States, since trade with Cuba was important. 3 weeks later, while it was in the port of Havana, a violent explosion took place on February 15 at 9:40 p.m., destroying the front part of the ship while the rest sank: of the 355 crew members, 261 lost their lives. 

This tragedy immediately led to investigations by both the US and Spanish authorities, however, for the US press it was not an accident, but rather that Spain sank the ship, mobilizing public opinion. The sinking served as one of the causes of the ultimatum of the United States to Spain, which would lead to conflict and its defeat. Several subsequent investigations determined that the cause of the sinking was the explosion of the gunpowder from the cannons in the weapons depot, a force of more than 5 tons of gunpowder that destroyed the ship. The ship was finally refloated in 1912 after hard work that allowed the remains of 66 sailors to be recovered and given a proper burial, while what remained of the ship was towed away and sunk.