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USS Maine, circa 1896. USS Maine was a US Navy steamship commissioned in 1895. She was sent to Cuba in January 1898 to quell local unrest and protect American interests. On 15 February 1898, an explosion sank 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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