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Wreck of USS Maine in Havana, circa 1900. The USS Maine, a US Navy steamship, entered Havana Harbour, Cuba, in January 1898. It had been sent to Cuba to quell local unrest and protect American interests. A few weeks later, on 15 February 1898, an explosion sunk the ship, killing 266 of the crew. It was claimed that a naval mine had caused the ship's stored explosives to ignite, but the cause of the explosion has caused controversy ever since. The sinking of this ship was one of the factors that led to the Spanish-American War, which was fought over Spain's American colonies from April to August 1898. Following the war, US forces occupied Cuba until 1902.
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