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A World Power

Western Educators, Shooters & Troopers

The Capture of the Philippines, Wake Island, Guam, and Puerto Rico

The Philippines
The Philippino War took place when the Philippine
Islands were not granted their independance after the
Spanish-American War.  The war lasted from 1899
until 1902, when President Teddy Roosevelt officially
proclaimed the war over on July 4th.  This war was
the first for the United States after becoming a world
power from its victory over Spain.
The Philippine Forces
Mr. Antonio Ortega is a veteran and survivor of the
Bataan Death March.  He had many stories to tell
about the Philippines, its history, and his life as a
World War II Philippino Scout.  Sadly he passed
away in May 2010 in the Philippines. 
Mr. Antonio Ortega and his son Raymond
Wake Island

On 4 July 1898, American forces en route to the Philippines hoist the U.S. flag over Wake Island, which was vacant at the time.  After the war on 17 January 1899, Wake Island was annexed as empty territory by the United States. 

The Chamorros, Guam's indigenous people, first populated the island approximately 4,000 years ago.  The island has a long history of European colonialism.  It was discovered by Ferdinand Magellan during a Spanish expedition on March 6, 1521.  The first colony was established in 1668 by Spain with the arrival of settlers including Padre San Vitores, a Catholic missionary.  For over two centuries Guam was an important stopover for the Spanish Manila Galleons that crossed the Pacific annually.  The island was controlled by Spain until 1898. 
On 20 June 1898, a U.S. fleet commanded by Captain Henry Glass, consisting of the armored cruiser USS Charleston and three transports carrying troops to the Philippines, entered Guam's Apra Harbor.  Captain Glass had opened sealed orders that instructed him to proceed to Guam and capture it.  Charleston fired a few cannon rounds at Fort Santa Cruz without receiving return fire.  Two local officials, not knowing that war had been declared and believing the firing had been a salute, came out to Charleston to apologize for their inability to return the salute.  Glass informed them that the U.S. and Spain were at war.  The following day, Glass sent Lt. William Braunersruehter to meet the Spanish Governor to arrange the surrender of the island and the Spanish garrison there.  Some 54 Spanish infantry were captured and transported to the Philippines as prisoners of war.  No U.S. forces were left on Guam, but the only U.S. citizen on the island, Frank Portusach, told Captain Glass that he would look after things until U.S. forces returned.  Guam was formally ceded to the United States as part of the Treaty of Paris.

Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico, which means "rich port" in Spanish, comprises an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands, the largest of which are Vieques, Culebra, and Mona.  Originally populated for centuries by indigenous aboriginal peoples known as Taínos, the island was claimed by Christopher Columbus for Spain during his second voyage to the Americas on November 19, 1493.  Under Spanish rule, the island was colonized and the indigenous population was forced into slavery.  The Taínos were nearly wiped out due to European infectious diseases.  The remaining population was emancipated by King Charles I in 1520.  Spain possessed Puerto Rico for over 400 years, despite attempts at capture of the island by France, the Netherlands, and England. 

In May 1898, Lt. Henry H. Whitney of the United States Fourth Artillery was sent to Puerto Rico on a reconnaissance mission, sponsored by the Army's Bureau of Military Intelligence.  He provided maps and information on the Spanish military forces to the U.S. government prior to the invasion.  On May 10, U.S. Navy warships were sighted off the coast of Puerto Rico.  On May 12, a squadron of 12 U.S. ships commanded by Rear Adm. William T. Sampson bombarded San Juan.  During the bombardment, many government buildings were shelled.  On June 25, the USS Yosemite blockaded San Juan harbor.  On July 25, General Nelson A. Miles, with 3,300 soldiers, landed at Guánica, beginning the Puerto Rican Campaign.  The troops faced resistance early in the invasion.  The first skirmish between the American and Spanish troops occurred in Guánica.  The first organized armed opposition occurred in Yauco in what became known as the Battle of Yauco.  This encounter was followed by the Battles of Fajardo, Guayama, Guamaní River Bridge, Coamo, Silva Heights and finally by the Battle of Asomante.  Spain, under the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1898, ceded the island to the United States.

W E S T - Southern California's home to the Spanish-American War 1898 -