Florida and the Spanish-American War of 1898

In 1898, national attention focused on Florida as the Spanish-American War began.

Florida was only 90 miles from the island of Cuba and was home to a large Cuban immigrant population. Cuban-Americans in Florida raised money and awareness in support of the war, and United States troops gathered in port cities around Florida.

Company D Florida volunteers at dinner (1898)

The port city of Tampa served as the primary staging area for the United States troops bound for the war in Cuba.

The arrival of over 30,000 troops, including Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders cavalry unit, changed Tampa from a small town into a city.

This unit provides an introduction to Florida’s involvement in the Spanish-American War through photographs, lesson plans and exercises. It connects teachers and students to resources from the State Library and Archives as well as other sites that help foster a deeper understanding of that pivotal and often overlooked chapter of American and Florida history.