Seat of the Map of War


Newspaper map showing the North Atlantic and Caribbean theater of the Spanish-American War.

A high-resolution image is available for purchase. Email me for inquiries.

After the Civil War, the United States largely neglected its navy, but the establishment of the Naval College in 1884 and Benjamin Harrison’s Naval Bill in 1890 began to shift the trend. These acts, prompted by the development of rival navies in South America, did much to modernize the fleet and allow for strategic planning in the case of an eventual war with Spain. The catalyst was Cuba, who had made several attempts to overthrow its Spanish colonial government, the retributions for which did much to color American perception against Spain. The explosion of the USS Maine in Havana’s harbor lit the powder keg of war. “Remember the Maine, to hell with Spain!” became a rallying cry, and war was declared in April, 1898.

Despite significant action in the Pacific over the ten week conflict, the map shows only the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean to the coast of Spain. The reader, following naval movements in the paper, would cut out the ships along the bottom and move them throughout the ocean, mimicking the course of the war. Numerically, the fleets of each belligerent looks nearly equal. But Spain had undergone a period of naval modernization earlier than the Americans, and their ships were generally outmatched. Defeats of squadrons in Santiago de Cuba and Manila Bay coupled with losses at Santiago de Cuba and Manila effectively wrecked the country’s fighting capacity, leading to the loss of their last significant overseas possessions and signaling the end of the Spanish Empire in the Pacific and Caribbean.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1898

Author: Washington Evening Star

Sheet Width (in): 20

Sheet Height (in): 14.25

Condition: C

Condition Description: The map has nice color, but several defects. Closely trimmed margins and a section missing from the bottom of the map, plus old tape repairs on verso for edge tears.