In particular, did Spain formally declare war on the US first?

Britannica (without sources):

April 24, 1898

Spain declares war on the United States.

April 25, 1898

The United States declares war on Spain


On April 23, Spain reacted to the blockade by declaring war on the U.S.[citation needed]

It is easy to find the US declaration of war of April 25, 1898.

But I've not been able to find any Spanish declaration of war.

Did Spain formally declare war on the US before April 25? (In particular, on either April 24 or April 23?)

  • 2
    I found one WP page that stated Spain declared war on the 23rd, but no reference so far.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 2:45

1 Answer 1


Spain formally declared war first on April 23 1898. Documentos presentados á las Cortes en la legislatura de 1898 (Google Books):

El estado de guerra existente entre España y los Estados Unidos determina la caducidad del Tratado de Paz y Amistad de 27 de Octubre de 1795, del Protocolo de 12 de Enero de 1877 y de todos los demás acuerdos, pactos y convenios que hasta el presente han regido entre los dos Países. ...

23 de Abril de 1898.

(See also Dipublico text version.)


The state of war existing between Spain and the United States terminates the treaty of peace and friendship of the 27th October, 1795, the protocol of the 12th January, 1877, and all other agreements, compacts, and conventions that have been in force up to the present between the two countries. ...

April 23, 1898.

  • 2
    The wording backs up another reference I found that stated that Spain actually considered the ultimatum the US issued on April 20th as a joint resolution of Congress (which included authorization for the President, as Commander-In-Chief, to use force) to have been a US Declaration of War.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 14:03
  • 2
    @T.E.D. Hmm, It's almost as if the whole war might have been based on misunderstandings and misinformation. Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 11:28
  • 3
    @RBarryYoung - I'd disagree with that. A better reading would be that the US Congress purposely sent over an ultimatum that Spain could never agree to, specifically to induce Spain into being the first to declare war. This kind of tactic was neither the first time the US Congress employed it (see Mexican American war) nor the first time any other country employed it. Its kind of an international version of gaslighting.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 12:28
  • Isn't that the basis of most wars, @RBarryYoung?
    – FreeMan
    Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 14:07
  • 1
    @FreeMan - Honestly, I think in most wars one side wanted to take the other's ish (or smack around their leadership), and went about finding a way to get that to happen. For instance, I think the leadership of both sides in the current Russia/Ukraine conflict understand each other quite well. Its just that one side wants Ukraine to exist and would like as much of its territory as possible, and the other doesn't want that.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 14:12

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