USS Maine Battleship, 1895

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USS Maine (ACR-1), was the United States Navy's second "modern" battleship. She is best known for her catastrophic loss in Havana harbor. Maine had been sent to Havana, Cuba, to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban revolt against Spain. On the evening of February 15th, 1898, she suddenly exploded, and swiftly sank, killing nearly three quarters of her crew. Though then, as now, the etiology and responsibility for her sinking were unclear, popular opinion in the United States blamed Spain, and the sinking (popularized in the phrase Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain!) was one of the precipitating events of the Spanish–American War. Her sinking remains the subject of speculation, with various authors proposing that she sank due to the results of an undetected fire in one of her coal bunkers, that she was the victim of a naval mine, and that she was deliberately sunk for the purposes of driving the United States into a war with Spain. The cause of the explosion that sank the ship remains a mystery.

 

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