Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Battle of Manila Bay, 1 May 1898

Before dawn on 1 May 1898, Commodore George Dewey's flagship Olympia led seven U.S. Navy cruisers and gunboats into Manila Bay. By 8 AM that morning Dewey's Asiatic Squadron had located and destroyed virtually the entire Spanish naval force in the Philippines. Damage to the American ships was negligible, and their crews suffered no fatalities and few injuries.

The Battle of Manila Bay was a singular demonstration of the daring and decisive application of sea power. In a few hours, Dewey had eliminated any threat that the Spanish Navy might pose to U.S. Far Eastern commerce and placed Spain's centuries-long rule of the Philippines in grave jeopardy. A few days later, with the capture of Cavite arsenal, he also gained a repair and refueling base, essential for maintaining his squadron under wartime conditions thousands of miles from home.