USS Maine (ACR-1)

the USS Maine was a battle ship II. Rank (originally classified as tank cruisers) of the US Navy under the command of captain Charles D. Sigsbee. Their explosion 1898 in the port of Havanna is considered as the cause to the Spanish-American war.

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(see also article Spanish-American war)

USS Maine
Wrack der USS Maine im Hafen von Havanna
wreck of the USS Maine in the port of Havanna

in the years 1897/1898 was the USS Maine for the keeping of US-American interests inwaters of the then Spanish colony Cuba assigned. After unrests in Havanna the ship ran into the port of the Cuban capital and went in one of US military for port section surely held before anchors. Due to the nature of their stay in the sense of the gunboat politics and of thealready strained relationship between the USA and Spain the Maine was wartime equipped with the full existence of propellants and sharp shells.

Here the USS Maine exploded to 15. February 1898 around 21:40 clock and sank with destroyed foredeck due to. It tore 266 menthe crew also into death. Against the opinion of most officers of the Navy department, who accepted an accident, like it on the ships New York, Oregon, Philadelphia, bad clay/tone, Cincinnati and Atlanta , went the government of the USA had already happened at that timeof a Spanish terrorist attack with a mine or a torpedo against the ship out. A first commission of inquiry in March 1898 explained after the hearing of witnesses and the investigation of the ship, the USS Maine by a torpedo was destroyed, the witnesses was howeveron secrecy obligated and the details of the investigation remained likewise secret. The “Maine incident in such a way specified” gave the cause for the war to the USA against Spain (see Spanish-American war).

Depending upon political adjustment there were different at that time in the USA, in Spain and on CubaTheories for the cause of the explosion:

  • The “Maine” was torpediert by the Spaniards, in order to disturb co-operation between movement of independence and the USA.
  • The “Maine” was torpediert by the Cuban movement of independence, in order to provoke the USA to a war with Spain.
  • The “Maine”is by a boiler fire, which spread to the ammunition depot, explodes.
  • The “Maine” was blown up on instruction of the US Government, in order to have a pretext for the war with Spain.

A further commission of inquiry of US Navy and Regierung in the years 1911/1912 confirmed allegedly thatSuspicion of a terror notice. (Before its death an engineer, who was involved in the investigation briefly, explained 1976 that all explosion holes pointed outward.) the investigation of the ship and the salvage of the 70 dead sailors still in the wreck the Maine in the harbor basin with sheet pile walls becamesurrounded and drying-put. To conclusion of the investigations the wreck was dragged and sunk into international waters before Havanna. The torn off foredeck was destroyed in the course of the investigations.

A third commission of inquiry in the years 1974 and 1975 found after renewed evaluation of the 1911/1912 made photo andafter material tests then no more reference points for a mine or a torpedo explosion. Rather one proceeded now from an internal explosion in the front ammunition chambers of the Maine.

Further investigations and material experiments in the years 2000 and 2001 finally confirmed this acceptance. One goes now of itout that it came in the front coal shelter to a spontaneous self inflammation of the coal. By this over hours undiscovered fire (coal fire) in the coal shelter the steel bulkhead was so strongly heated up to the ammunition shelter lying beside it that the black powder storing there caught fire and those thereto the explosion brought likewise deposited shells. This led to the explosion of further, neighbouring ammunition chambers and thus to the total loss of the Maine.

Still 1987 used the US president Ronald Reagan in a speech before US cadet the old war call of 1898: “Remember the Maine “- “thinks of those Maine


of the pleasures of the Maine are buried 229 men at the American national cemetery Arlington. Their grave field is marked by a saved mast of the Maine. The front mast was saved likewise and for memory of the Maine in the park thatNaval academy in Maryland set up.

technical data

  • class: Keel-laying
  • Would Main-disgust-eat: 17. October 1888 on threw in Brooklyn
  • launching of a vessel: 18. November 1889
  • setting into service: 17. September 1895
  • construction costses: 2,5 million US$
  • length: 96.99 meters
  • width: 17.39 meters
  • of crew: 374
  • water displacement: 6,689 of clay/tone
  • armament: 4x of 25.4 cm cannons in twin towers, 6 x 15 cm in cheese mats
  • the whereabouts: to 15. February 1898 in the port of Havanna (Cuba) exploded, 1912 elevated and as wreck 5.5 km before the Cuban coast on 1.000 m sea depth sinks.


  • PhiipS. Foner. The Spanish Cuban American was and the Birth OF American Imperialism 1895-1902. 2 volumes. New York/London 1972 (much investigation with many sources particularly detailed from US-American archives)
  • Rickover, Hyman George. How the Battleship Maine which destroyed. Washington, 1976

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