'The last sunset of the 'Maine'', 1898. The USS 'Maine', a pre-dreadnought battleship, exploded and sank in Havana harbour, Cuba, on 15 February 1898, with the loss of 274 of her crew. The ship had been deployed to Cuba to protect American interests during a popular uprising against Spanish colonial rule on the island. Popular opinion in the United States was outraged by the sinking, which was blamed on a Spanish mine. In April 1898, after the United States demanded Spain's withdrawal from Cuba and imposed a naval blockade of the island, Spain declared war, beginning the Spanish-American War. A print from Our Country in War and Relations with All Nations, by Murat Halstead, The United Subscription Book Publishers of America, 1898.