Sunday, February 15, 2009

Today In History: Remember the Maine!

On this date in 1898, at 9:40PM, the battleship USS Maine blew up in Havana harbor. While the actual source of the explosion is unknown, it was the detonation of her forward magazines that destroyed the ship and killed two hundred and sixty-six of her crew.

Being in the harbor of a foreign empire with whom relations were, at best, strained when the sinking occurred, the Maine incident was quickly seized upon as a casus belli and America soon had her splendid little war, going almost overnight from a country that had only recently pacified her own hinterlands to a globe-spanning colonial empire with possessions stretching from Puerto Rico to the Philippines.


J.R.Shirley said...

There have been four major investigations, if you include the most recent by National Geographic. The two favorite culprits for the initial detonation are spontaneous coal bunker fire and external mine.

Anonymous said...

"Died of a theory."

For some reason, my coal bunker never takes fire spontaneously, but apparently every other one ever stocked did. It's probably the reason Titanic did not slow down.

Regardless of ignition (which I personally suspect to be journalistic), it's careless powder storage that lit up the sky. The passage doors to the barbette must be closed. And from Hood to Mary Rose Oakar, the battleship set just never learned.

Anonymous said...

No blood for coal!

wv: hyahy

Yeah, it's kinda like that.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how that whole colonial empire thingee is turning out for America.

Tam said...

I think we generally decided it sucked and gave most of it back.

It's more fun to sell people Coca-Cola than it is to set up colonial governments.

Anonymous said...

Oh really, just which "colonies" did Spain get back from us?

Tam said...

You know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

I never heard anybody say,

Underneath the starry flag
Civilize 'em with Coca-Cola.

Have you heard this one: Funston, having captured Aguinaldo, points to a hoop-sight and says "Your problem is that your men don't know what this is for.

Aguinaldo: "Well, what is it for?" Those were the days.

Anonymous said...

Say brusher, seems like your lot are one with Nineveh and Tyre. Bet it stings to watch big dumb Americans go nation-building and actually, you know, build nations.

Know our secret? We don't enjoy it.

wv: essen. I was there once.

Tam said...


Oh, heh.

Thank you Santa. I promise I'll be good this year...