a war in 1898 between the US and Spain, which the US started because it wanted Cuba to be independent from Spain and because the US battleship Maine was mysteriously destroyed by an explosion near Havana, Cuba. After Spain was defeated, Cuba became independent, and the US took control of the islands of the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Theodore Roosevelt, who later became president, first became famous through his military success in this war, when he led a group of men called the Rough Riders.
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Advanced Learner's Dictionary.
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