1846 After Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821, it addressed the problem of its northern region. The sparsely-settled area was subject to harassment from Comanche, Navajo and Apache tribes who felt they had some right to the land just because they were there first. Mexico thought attracting settlers from the United States might help. They tempted Americans with promises of cheap land grants, if the new settlers became Mexican citizens, spoke Spanish and converted to Catholicism.
Immigrants from the U.S. poured into the Mexican province of Tejas. Most came from slave states. By the early 1830s, the 5,000 Mexicans in the province were overwhelmed by the 20,000 settlers and their 5,000 slaves.
1898 The USS Maine was anchored in Havana Harbor in February 1898 when a huge explosion sank the battleship, killing 266 of its 350 crewmen. The Maine had been sent to Cuba to protect American persons and property purportedly endangered by the island country’s struggle for independence from Spain. The conflict had been ongoing since 1895.
William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal had been agitating for military action. Lurid stories about alleged Spanish atrocities in Cuba sold newspapers. Hearst dispatched famed artist Frederic Remington to report. Remington found little to report. “Everything quiet. There is no trouble here. There will be no war. Wish to return,” he cabled to his employer in 1897. Hearst responded, “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”