Spanish-American War

Spanish-American War, the 1898 conflict between the US and Spain, during which the US removed Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines from Spain, annexing the last 3. During the war, US consular officials in Canada reported on Spanish espionage, Canadian opinion, movements of ships and Spanish efforts to purchase coal. Spain upgraded posts in Halifax, Québec City and Victoria and redeployed consuls previously based in the US. The staff at Spain's legation in Washington moved to Toronto and Montréal, where it engaged in espionage and public relations. Canadian shipping profited from suppliers and passengers anxious to avoid attacks by the Spanish Navy. Canadian vessels, financed through the Bank of Montreal, ran US blockades around Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Canadian opinion was largely sympathetic to the US, and Canadian support helped the US. Spanish spies based in Montréal had to leave Canada, but the US agents who had stolen the incriminating evidence did not. While media pressure forced Spaniards from Canada, Canadian officials exchanged information with American agents. Spain could not buy coal for its navy, despite middlemen willing to circumvent the Canadian embargo against sales to belligerents; the US Navy had no such difficulty.

Yet British neutrality laws prevented Canadians from serving in either belligerent's armed forces. The Montréal-based Beaver Line's Lake Ontario could not ferry troops to Cuba, and Halifax sheltered the Spanish vessel, San Ignacio de Loyola.

Despite Canadian support for the US war effort, Canadian trade with Puerto Rico subsequently declined, and the US refused to soften its stand on the ALASKA BOUNDARY DISPUTE. However, Sudbury benefited as foreign navies, impressed by the effectiveness of nickel alloys in protecting the US Navy from Spanish fire, offered new markets.