Spanish-American War, the War between the United States and Spain in 1898. It began as an American intervention to assist the Cubans in winning their independence from Spain, but became a move toward the United States establishing itself as a colonial power. With its defeat, Spain lost the last remnants of its once great colonial empire—Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippine Islands. The United States emerged as a major power with far-flung colonial possessions.
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The American Civil War was a four-year armed conflict between northern and southern sections of the United States.