U.S. Marines Land In Guantanamo Bay
On June 10, 1898, U.S. Marines landed at Guantánamo Bay.
For the next month, American troops fought a land war in Cuba that resulted in the end of Spanish colonial rule in the Western Hemisphere. Cuban rebels had gained the sympathy of the American public while the explosion and sinking of the U.S.S. Maine, widely blamed on the Spanish despite the absence of conclusive evidence, further boosted American nationalistic fervor.
Popular demand for intervention in the Cuban-Spanish conflict led Congress to pass resolutions demanding the withdrawal of Spanish armed forces from Cuba, authorizing U.S. aid to effect this, and promising American support for Cuban self-rule. Spain declared war against the United States on April 24, 1898, and the United States promptly replied with a counter-declaration.
Guantánamo Bay (Spanish: Bahía de Guantánamo) is a bay located in Guantánamo Province at the southeastern end of Cuba ( [show location on an interactive map] 19°54′N 75°9′W / 19.9°N 75.15°W / 19.9; -75.15). It is the largest harbor on the south side of the island and is surrounded by steep hills creating an enclave cut off from its immediate hinterland. In Britain in the 18th Century it was known as Cumberland Bay.
The United States assumed territorial control over Guantánamo Bay under the 1903 Cuban-American Treaty, which granted the United States a perpetual lease of the area. The current Cuban government considers the U.S. presence in Guantánamo to be illegal and the Cuban-American Treaty to have been procured by the threat of force in violation of international law.
The Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, established in 1898, surrounds the southern portion of the bay. Since 2002 the base has hosted a detainment camp for people detained by Americans from the Middle East and from around the world, but specifically not for captives taken in Iraq, who qualify for POW status. President Barack Obama has given orders that the Guantanamo Bay detention camp be shut down.