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Spanish American War History

The Spanish colonised, annexed and plundered most of the West Indies and Central and South America shortly after Columbus discovered America, destroying the Aztec and Inca empires in the process. The Pope divided the globe in two giving the Portuguese the Eastern part and the Spanish the Western part on the condition they spread the Catholic faith. Portuguese influence stretched from Brazil to East Timor. Spanish influence stretched from the Philippines to Argentina. The Spanish founded many major cities (all ports) including Havana, Mexico City (built directly on top of the old Aztec Capital of Tenochitilan), Lima, Santiago, and Buenos Aires. Veracruz linking Mexico to Spain and Acapulco linking the Philippines to Mexico.

England and French offered little opposition to Spain at this time as their populations were only 8 million against the 24 million of Spain. Now Britain and France are more populace than Spain largely due to the large number a Spaniards who emigrated to Latin America. England only become strong through piracy of Spanish Galleons. England being an Island couldn't be attacked by land so the Spanish sent an Amarda which was destroyed by a chance storm, which was lucky because the English army was very weak most resources being diverted to the navy. There afterwards Spanish power was greatly weakened and the English, Dutch (who revolted against Spanish rule), and French were able to establish colonies in the Americas.

The Spanish Empire lasted until the early 1800's when the turmoil caused by the American and French revolutions lead to revolts. The American Revolution showed Independence was possible and the French Revolution lead to the occupation of Spain thus weakening Spanish rule. Simon Bolivar lead a revolt in New Granada now Columbia (which then included Panama), Venuzuela, Peru, Equador, and Bolivia which lasted from 1810-24. This was aided by another revolt in Argentina from 1810-16, which spread to Chile and Peru. This later revolt was triggered by a British raid on Buenos Aires in 1806 which the Spanish did nothing to prevent and Napolean deposing the Spanish King Ferdinand VII in favour of his brother Joseph Bonaparte. There was a third revolt in New Spain (Mexico) from 1810-1814 against the occupying French forces. The revolt was lead by priest to gain more freedoms for the native Indians. A war between Argentina and Brazil from 1825-27 lead to the independence of Uruguay from Argentina as Brazil didn't want Argentina on it's side of the Rio de la Plata River, and Argentina wouldn't let Brazil occupy this territory. Cuba, Puerto Rica and the Philippines remained under Spanish because they were islands and the revolutionary forces didn't possess a navy and then fragmented into weak individual countries.

There were hopes that all the Spanish speaking countries could form a united government but ethnic and geographical differences prevented this, particularly with the limited transport network of this period which relied on the sea. After all some counties bordered the West Indies and others bordered the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean. Argentina and Brazil are virtually 100% Spanish where as most of the other counties are about 20% Spanish, 40% Native and 40% Mixed. Some like Chile and Paraguay have larger native populations, and others have some Africans who were brought over as slaves.

Hawaii was colonized by Polynesians about one thousand year ago and discovered by Captain Cook in 1778 during the American Revolution and came under British Influence but maintained it's native King. New England missionaries and American Sugar Planters gained influence there and it become a Republic from 1872 - 1893 and was annexed by U.S. on August 12 1898. Many immigrants from Japan, China and Korea were brought in by American companies to work on the Plantations and in the Sugar Mills, now few pure blood Hawaiians remain. It became the 50th State of the U.S. on August 21 1959, and is the only American state to have the British Union Jack in it's Flag.

The Spanish had many plans for a canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, one near the present site but lacked the technology to implement them. The Spanish in general did little development in their colonies. Following the revolts the local countries were too small and under-developed to handle such a project. America however was interested particularly after the 1848 Gold discovery in California and it's subsequent colonization. Many European countries were also interested. In 1880 a French Company founded by the builder of the Suez Canal began work on a canal but it's finances and level of technology proved insufficient for this much more challenging task. The company went bankrupt in 1889. The Americans tried to persuade the Colombian government to let them lease land to build a canal on but were unsuccessful so engineered a revolt that lead to the creation of Panama in 1903 who gave them a land lease in perpetuity. This was later changed to until the year 2000. Construction of the Canal lasted from 1905-14. This period can be judged as the time the United States changed from a isolationist non-imperial power to a major world power with the acquisition of the Hawaii, the Philippines (and a naval base in the Pacific), Cuba (occupied from 1898-1902) and Puerto Rica; opening of the Canal; entry into the Great War; massive Industrialisation; and acceptance of large numbers of immigrants from Europe.