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America's Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay Was Paid for in U.S. Marine Blood

Meanwhile, around June 22 to June 25, an American expeditionary force of about 16,000 men had landed east of Santiago without opposition. A week later, the historic battles of El Caney and San Juan Heights ended in victory for U.S. forces, and opened up the approaches to Santiago itself.

Santiago Surrenders; Peace Deal Signed

On the morning of July 3, a demand was sent to the city’s commander, Arsenio Linares, to surrender the town or suffer bombardment. After several days of negotiations, Linares surrendered the city on July 15.

Less than a week after the surrender of Santiago, Guantànamo Bay was used as a staging area for the invasion of Puerto Rico. This was the last important episode for Guantànamo Bay in the Spanish-American War. The conflict ended on August 12, 1898, with the signing of the peace protocol and an armistice.

The American base at Guantànamo Bay was not formalized by lease agreement between the United States and Cuba until five years later, when in 1903 it was acquired as a coaling and naval station.

In 1903, George F. Elliott was appointed Brigadier General Commandant of the Marine Corps, relieving Maj. Gen. Charles Heywood. Elliott was the only commandant to receive his early training at West Point, and retired with the rank of major general in 1910.

This article by A.B. Feuer originally appeared on Warfare History Network.

Image: Flickr