USS Maine, a second-class battleship built between 1888 and 1895, was sent to Havana in January 1898 to protect American interests during the long-standing revolt of the Cubans against the Spanish government. In the evening of 15 February 1898, Maine sank when her forward gunpowder magazines exploded. Nearly three-quarters of the battleship's crew died as a result of the explosion.
While the cause of this great tragedy is still unsettled, contemporary American popular opinion blamed Spain, and war followed within a few months. Maine's wreck was raised in 1912 to clear the harbor and to facilitate an investigation into the cause of her sinking. Her remains were subsequently scuttled in deep waters north of Havana.
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