The day the US wanted to bomb Spain

Okay, it hasn't been lately. But it's not that long ago either. Yes, the idea haunted the White House halls. The United States has not yet thought of bombing Spain and entering the Canary Islands. The background was the famous Cuban War in the late 19th century.

It was in 1896. The United States Department of the Navy formed a task force. The idea? Outline the invasion plan. It was determined what should be done to organize the invasion of Cuba. The Pacific force commanded by William Kimball would go to the Strait of Gibraltar instead of the Philippine Islands. There he would join the Atlantic flotilla. Both would occupy an enclave of the Canary Islands together. From there they would attack Spanish trade.

The day the United States wanted to bomb Spain is not that far.
The day the United States wanted to bomb Spain is not that far.
The tension in the air … and in the sea

It was the first official proposal from the United States to speak of conquering Spanish territory. The historian Amós Farrujia Coello reports in a study published in 2014 in the «Revista de Historia Canaria». Some goals: «Blocking the waters of Cuba and Puerto Rico, cutting off the telegraph cable. Destruction of the warehouses and arsenals of Havana and San Juan by bombing the two cities. The sending of reinforcements to the rebels on the two islands and the simultaneous expulsion of the outstanding troops in the Mediterranean and Asia to conquer the Canary Islands. All this to later use as a basis for further maneuvers against the Spanish Navy in their own waters and against their trade.

The tension with the United States was already evident at that time. The magazine "Blanco y Negro" reminded on its pages of the "Virginius" incident of 1873. It was an American steamer loaded with weapons and ammunition for the Cuban independence movement. He was captured by Spain.

Some American experts thought the operation was risky. For example, the president of the American Naval War College, Henry Clay Taylor. He assured that this action against Spain was a ruthlessness that implied a lack of protection of the Pacific.

Roosevelt on the attack

Others, such as Theodore Roosevelt, Under-Secretary of the Navy in those years, strongly agreed. He would be president in a few years.

In April 1898, several North American ships were sighted north of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The entire archipelago was reinforced with peninsula troops.

Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete already warned of the danger in a letter. He refused to go to America and preferred to protect the Spanish coasts. But orders were imposed. The result was a failure.

This defeat contributed to Cavite's in the Philippines. It put Spain in a situation of great tension, which was at risk of bombing its coasts. The day the United States wanted to bomb Spain was closer than ever.

There was a period of great tension on the Spanish coasts.
There was a period of great tension on the Spanish coasts.

In the Canary Islands, they seemed to be convinced that the Americans would not dare to conquer islands so far from their bases without first conquering Cuba. Nevertheless, they sent reinforcements from Madrid. The captain general of the archipelago declared the state of war in his region and voided the constitutional guarantees.

Finally, in July President William Mckinley announced his decision not to land in the Canary Islands. The Times newspaper maintained its hypothesis that Spain would lose the archipelago if it did not accept the terms of the United States at the Paris Peace Conference. In July, Spanish President Práxedes Mateo Sagasta justified the surrender. He believed that not only the Canary Islands, but also the Balearic Islands and the Peninsula were at risk. «This threat weighed on Spain during the peace negotiations. In fact, the United States was considering taking action in this third theater, "Farrujia Coello defends.

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