James Bryce Bryce.

The book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 15) online

. (page 24 of 83)
Online LibraryJames Bryce BryceThe book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 15) → online text (page 24 of 83)
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With two minor exceptions it was to
be over thirty years after the purchase
of Alaska before the United States was
again to acquire more territory. These
two exceptions were so insignificant that
probably not one American citizen out of



ten knew of them at the time of their
occurrence. .

In 1869 Congress authorised the estab-
lishment of a naval station in the Pacific,
so the flag was raised over the Midway
Islands, half way across the Pacific. As
with the other islands in those waters
which we have acquired, they were mere
" bird roosts " in the middle of the ocean,
so barren that no other country had ever
thought it worth while to annex them.
Later, the building of a harbour for a
naval station was abandoned, but the
Midways continued being charted as
" American possessions," though only
gulls inhabited them.

In 1903 a cable station was established

on Sand Island, one of the group, about

a mile and a half long and three quarters

of a mile wide. Here are

Midway stationed about twenty em-
Islands in r ., , ,

the Pacific ployees of the cable company,
their Chinese servants and a
surgeon of the United States Navy with
a handful of marines. Every three
months a supply ship calls. During the
intervals between these exciting visits
the modern Crusoes bathe in the surf,
fish, play tennis and occasionally cultivate
vegetables in a garden, the soil for which
has been brought over from Hawaii. Yet
remote as they are from all civilisation,
the cable keeps them in touch with the
big current events of the outside world.
Indeed, when the first hostilities of the
Russo-Japanese War broke out the boys
on Sand Island knew it before we did,
for the messages passed through their
hands on their way eastward.

Three years after hoisting the flag over
the Midways we became interested in
the Samoan Islands, also called Navi-
gators' Islands, so named by the French
sea explorer, De Bougainville, who dis-
covered them in 1768, because of the skill
of the natives in building and handling
small sea craft.

There are thirteen islands in this group,
situated some hundreds of miles east of
the northern part of Australia, but only

four of them are large enough to
lamoan be worth considering. These
Islands have an area of a little over 1300

square miles. The biggest of
them is Savaii, though the capital of
Samoa, Apia, is on the island of Upolu,
the second in size. The natives are


closely related in race to the Hawaiians ;
they are of that copper bronze hue which
distinguishes the races of Oceanica from
the more murky Malays and East In-
dians. And, again like their cousins the
Hawaiians, they are gentle and pleasure

Though discovered by a Frenchman,
the French Government never attempted
to plant a colony in Samoa. In 1839
Charles Wilkes, an officer in the United
States Navy, was sent to visit the islands
and make a survey and during his stay
he incidentally made a sort of treaty
with the native ruler. Thirty-three years
later the native king agreed to allow the
United States Navy to establish a coaling
station in the harbour of Pago Pago, on
the island of Tutuila. This cession was
afterwards confirmed by a regular treaty,
signed at Washington in 1878, which also
gave certain commercial rights and extra-
territorial consular jurisdiction. Great
Britain and Germany also acquired simi-
lar concessions.

Owing to the inability of the native
king to maintain order and guarantee
the rights of foreign residents, it was
necessary several times for
International the three powers interested
Complications to make joint intervention.
In 1889 Germany took ad-
vantage of one of these disturbances to
attempt to dethrone the king entirely and
put in his place a successor subservient to
German interests, thus giving Germany
practical control of all the islands. The
United States and Great Britain pro-
tested, but Germany persisted in her

The warships of the three powers in
South Pacific waters began gathering in
the harbour of Upolu and at any moment
open hostilities seemed likely. But just
then one of the most destructive hurri-
canes known to the whites in Samoa
swept down and spread disaster among
the ships and the towns and villages
ashore. The German ships suffered
most ; one went to pieces in the surf and
the German sailors were struggling in
the turbulent waters ; many of them were
drowning. At that moment the Samoans,
forgetting their anger against the Ger-
mans as a nation, formed rescuing parties
on the beach and with heroic efforts saved
scores of German sailors and officers


from being pounded to death in the tre-
mendous surf.

Whether the behaviour of the natives
on this occasion softened the officials of
the German Government in Berlin is
not known, but at any
rate Germany did waive
Samoan Islands what she considered her
claims against the Samoan
kingdom and returned to the old agree-
ment with Great Britain and the United
States. But the partnership did not
work out well. Finally, in 1898, it was
agreed to divide the islands between the
United States and Germany, giving to
each exclusive control over the territory
assigned to it. To the United States
fell six of the islands, including the
valuable harbour of Pago Pago. This
arrangement was agreed to by the
natives in 1900.

As there are only a few thousand
inhabitants in our Samoan possession, not
much attention has ever been given to its
government. The naval officer in com-
mand of the station acts as Governor, but
he allows himself to be guided and lim-
ited by the native customs and habits of
life. The soil is rich; cotton, sugar,
coffee and cocoanuts are grown, but are
not in sufficient quantities to create an
important trade.

The other islands continued in the pos-
session of the Germans and the British,
until the beginning of the present great
war, when Great Britain ousted the Ger-
mans and took their territory as a war

The Hawaiian Islands were acquired
during the war with Spain, but there had
been talk of annexation for many years
before that. Here we find the
Hawaiian P ecunar situation of a small
Islands country attempting to become
the dependency of a big nation
and being refused. Captain Cook dis-
covered them during the Revolutionary
War and he was killed there in a skir-
mish with the natives on the beach. The
Kanakas, as they prefer to call them-
selves, however, are not warlike but like
the Samoans are gentle and kind.

The Hawaiian Islands, or, as Cook
called them after his patron, the Earl of
Sandwich, the Sandwich Islands, are
situated almost in the middle of the
Pacific, The soil and the lava beds cov-

ering a greater part of the islands, give
evidence of their volcanic origin and
some of the largest active volcanoes in
the world may be seen there. Kilauea,
on the largest island, Hawaii, has a crater
three miles across and seven hundred feet

Among the young Hawaiian chiefs
who visited Cook aboard his ship was
one who was destined to play an impor-
tant part in the history of his country.
It was on this occasion that he made the
acquaintance of Vancouver, one of
Cook's officers, and the two became
warm friends.

Years later Vancouver returned at the
head of another expedition and gave the
young Kanaka chief a supply of rifles and
ammunition. With these mu-
Political nitions he conquered the rest
Development o f the islands and had him-
self proclaimed sole king as
Kamehameha I. Having established his
power, he began to welcome white men
to settle and to introduce not only the
material implements of civilisation, but
its educational institutions as well. There
have been four other rulers after him by
the same name, all of them as enlightened
as the first. One of them, Kamehameha
III, invited the British Government to
assume control over the islands, but this
protectorate lasted only a short time. In
1843 the independence of Hawaii was
restored through an international agree-
ment between Great Britain, the United
States and France. David Kalakaua, the
last native king, died in 1891, while on a
visit to San Francisco, after which his
sister was proclaimed Queen, under the
title of Liliuokalani.

By this time the white settlers, the first
of whom had been missionaries, had be-
come an important element of the popula-
tion. Two years after her accession they
instituted a revolution which resulted in
the Queen being deposed and a republic
was set up, under a white man, Sanford
B. Dole, as President. Immediately
afterward an attempt was made by the
American element to have the islands
annexed to the United States, but Grover
Cleveland, then President, would not con-
sider the scheme and in this stand he was
supported by Congress. So the Hawai-
ian Republic continued independent for
some years longer, though the annexa-



tionists still persisted in attempting to
have their hopes realised.

Then came the war with Spain. It was
suddenly found necessary to transport
troops and war supplies to the Philippines
and to facilitate this ob-
t?the U Annexed ject a convenient coaling
United States station somewhere in the
Pacific was needed. Hon-
olulu, the chief harbour of Hawaii, an-
swered all the requirements, but it could
not well be used without violating the
neutrality of the Hawaiian Government.
So the standing offer of annexation was
accepted, and on August 12, 1898, the
Hawaiian flag was lowered and the
American flag rose in its place. The na-
tive Hawaiians made no opposition, but
it was reported that not one Kanaka was
present in the big crowd that thronged
the street before the Palace while the
ceremony of raising the flag was go-
ing on.

Hawaii is now organised as a territory
of the United States. All the natives,
both white and Kanaka, were immediately
given all the privileges of citizenship. In
1914 the population was estimated at
200,000, but of this number only about
25,000 are pure natives. About 45,000
are whites, but the Japanese and Chinese,
chiefly represented by the labourers im-
ported to work the big sugar plantations,
number fully 100,000, or half of the total
population. Were the islands again given
their independence and all residents were
given the vote, we should see a Mongo-
lian nation in the middle of the Pacific.

In none of our outlying territories did
annexation have such marked results as
in Hawaii. Business expanded rapidly,
Americans came to settle in great num-
bers, and to-day Honolulu has all the
appearance of an American city, in which
the Kanakas are themselves a foreign
element. The chief product is sugar;
fifty million dollars worth is shipped to
the United States every year. Other im-
portant resources are pineapples, coffee,
rice, tobacco, cotton and rubber.

Had Spain kept step with modern ideas
of colonial administration, it is probable
the United States would still be strictly
a continental power. We come now to
the circumstances which led to the colo-
nial expansion of the United States.

Cuba is the largest and the most west-


erly of the Antilles, as the West Indies

are sometimes called. It is a large

island, with some adjacent smaller ones,

about 750 miles in length, and

0^1 * nowhere much over sixty miles
and its . , , , . J

History m breadth, with an area about

the same as the State of Pennsyl-
vania. Columbus landed here during his
first voyage and named it Juana, but the
native name, Cuba, survived. In 1511
the first Spanish colony was founded
and within ten years it had become the
base of all the naval and military opera-
tions against Mexico. Gradually the
original Indian population died, or was
killed, and in its place came the Span-
iards and their imported African slaves.
What made the Spanish element espe-
cially strong later, both in Cuba and
Porto Rico, was the arrival of the thou-
sands who were expelled from the South
and Central American colonies and Mex-
ico as they gained their independence
from Spain.

Porto Rico, spelled Puerto Rico by the
Spaniards, meaning " rich port," is an
island about one hundred miles in length
with an average width of about thirty-five
miles, lying eastward from Cuba. A
range of mountains traverses the island
from east to west, averaging 1500 feet
in height, though in one place it rises
to a peak 3000 feet above sea level. In
area it is about three times the size of
Rhode Island. As the population was
always small, the Spaniards were able to
rule it with an iron hand. Here, as in
Cuba, the original population is extinct,
but its effacement was accomplished
almost entirely by one grand massacre,
superintended by the famous Ponce de
Leon. The present population, therefore,
numbering about 1,200,000, is made up
of about the same elements as is that of

These two were the last of the Span-
ish possessions in America. The Cubans
had made many attempts to free them-
selves from Spanish rule, but all had
been repressed with such severity that
the whole world was shocked. The
position of Cuba naturally caused the
disorders and their barbarous suppres-
sion to be more offensive to the Amer-
ican people than to others.

The Spaniards objected to the atti-
tude of American citizens who did not


hesitate to show sympathy for the cause
of the insurgents. The

C , Uba f n nr StrUg " Cuban revolutionary juntas
gles for -x- \r i 1 ,.1

Independence m -^ ew York and other
American cities had little
difficulty in raising money to buy arms
and ammunition which were smuggled
across in American steamers with Amer-
ican crews. This had been going on for
years. During the administration of
President Grant such a filibustering ves-
sel, the Vir gin ius } was captured and the
crew immediately shot. It required all
the persuasive powers of Hamilton Fish,
who was then Secretary of State, to pre-
vent President Grant from taking drastic
action at the time.

Finally, in 1896, General Weyler, the
" iron administrator " of Spanish colo-
nies, was appointed Governor-General of
Cuba and he set about suppressing the
smouldering insurrection. lie attempted
to force all the rural population of the
affected districts to concentrate within
the towns, so that they might not supply
the insurgents with food from their
farms and plantations. Fully half of the
non-combatants, many of them women
and children, who were thus confined
within the " reconcentrado " camps died
of hunger. Nor was the main object
accomplished, for the insurgents won
victory after victory, driving the Span-
ish soldiers within the towns and cities.
Meanwhile photographs of
Intervention the starying women and chil-

Proposed dren in the reconcentrado
camps were being published
in American magazines and newspapers
and popular indignation grew. Then,
to add to the strain, the Spanish Minis-
ter to Washington wrote an insulting
letter concerning President McKinley to
a friend, which was intercepted and pub-
lished. The diplomat immediately re-
signed and left the country, but the bit-
terness roused by his letter remained.
The climax, for which Spain was prob-
ably not to blame, served to rouse Amer-
ican anger into action. The American
battleship Maine, lying in Havana Har-
bour on a friendly visit, was blown up
at her moorings and 266 of her officers
and men were killed. For two months
after this incident the Government in
Washington managed to restrain the
impulsive desire of the people to put an

immediate end to Spanish rule in Cuba.
R The commission sent to in-

the" 1 r vestigate the cause of the dis-
Maine" aster to the Maine reported,
" the Maine was blown up
from the outside." This only served to
increase the general feeling in favour of
some drastic action. On April 20, 1898.
the Spanish Minister was dismissed and
war was declared.

In ships and guns the Spanish navy
was about equal to ours, and there was
considerable anxiety for the safety of
American seaports. The Spanish fleet,
under Admiral Cervera, had been seen
steaming westward from the Cape de
Verde Islands. The American fleet,
under Admiral Sampson, sailed to Cuba
to blpckade Cuban ports and to meet the
Spanish ships. While the American peo-
ple waited to hear of a naval battle in
Cuban waters, a cable from Hong Kong
gave the unexpected news of a naval en-
gagement in which an American fleet
under Commodore George Dewey had
destroyed a Spanish fleet at Manila, and
that consequently the Philippine Islands
had been taken.

There had been no discussion regard-
ing the Philippines ; each newspaper an-
nouncing the victory spelled the name of
the islands in a different way.

Known" Th . ere was a rush for g e g ra -
Philippines phies and encyclopedias and
books regarding this unex-
pected prize. The only book ever written
on the Philippines seemed to be by an
obscure German professor by the name
of Blumentritt, and even he had never
seen the islands.

Yet the Philippines cover more land
surface than all New England and New
York combined, and include over three
thousand islands, of which only a little
over half have as yet been named. Here,
too, as in Cuba, there was the same story
of Spanish misrule, and resulting insur-
rections. The islands had been visited
and discovered by Magellan, in the
service of Spain, in 1521, but it was not
until fifty years later that Miguel Lopez
de Legaspi arrived, with a force of about
four hundred men, and began their com-
plete conquest, sometimes by trickery and
assumed friendship, sometimes by hard

Luzon, the largest of the islands, is



only a few hundred miles from the coast
of Asia. Around Manila, in the south,
the climate is truly tropical, but in the
mountainous regions of northern Luzon
the temperature is cooler, with an occa-
sional frost in the higher altitudes.. Min-
danao, in the south, is another large
island. Between Mindanao and Borneo
lie the islands of the Sulu archipelago,
also included in the Philippines.

When Legaspi came he found a popu-
lation of pure Malay origin, with the ex-
ception of certain tribes in northern
Luzon, which seemed to show
Chinese admixture. It is sup-
Filipinos posed that centuries before
Magellan came, Chinese pirate
junks had raided this coast of the China
Sea and some of their crews may have
been wrecked here. Even the Malays
were perhaps not the original inhabitants,
for in the interior there were, and are
still, wild tribes of semi-dwarfs, the
Negritos ; black as African negroes, with
kinky hair and speaking an entirely dif-
ferent dialect. These were probably the
original natives, driven inland by the

The most advanced of the Malays were
the Tagalogs, a peaceful people engaged
in agriculture and trading, chiefly on the
island of Luzon. These people readily
allowed themselves to be converted to
Christianity by the friars who accom-
panied the Spanish conquerors. In the
south, however, in the island of Min-
danao, was another tribe of Malays
whom the Spaniards were never able to
conquer completely. These evidently
came later, after the Mohammedan re-
ligion had penetrated the East Indies,
for they are all fanatical adherents of
the Prophet, with the fierce courage that
that religion seems to impart to its fol-
lowers. They are called Moros.

Just before Dewey's victory in Manila

Bay there had been an insurrection of the

Tagalogs on the island of Luzon, under

Emilio Aguinaldo. This up-

Sflippine risin S had been . subdued,
Insurrection partly with promises of re-
forms and partly by a pay-
ment of a large sum of money to the
insurgent leaders. After this agreement
Aguinaldo and his fellow leaders sailed
for Hong Kong. Almost immediately
after the battle of Manila Bay, Dewey

and the American consul at Hong Kong
made arrangements with Aguinaldo to re-
turn to the Philippines. Some rifles and
ammunition which were found in the
captured naval arsenal in Manila Bay
were turned over to him and he began
at once to organise a new insurrection,
to support the Americans. This he did
with much success ; the Filipinos drove
the Spaniards within the walls of Manila
and captured all their detached garrisons
in the island of Luzon.

Meanwhile the American volunteer

armies were being mobilised ; at Tampa,

Florida, and at San Francisco. By this

time the Spanish Atlan-

rf S tne Ctl n tic fleet had been discov -
Spanish Fleet ere d in hiding in the har-
bour of Santiago de Cuba,
almost completely concealed by the rocky
ledges surrounding it. The Spanish ad-
miral realised the superior training and
equipment of the American navy. An
attempt to " bottle up " the Spanish fleet
by sinking an old collier in the harbour
entrance failed. A force of seventeen
thousand Americans was landed in Cuba
before Santiago, under the immediate
command of General Wheeler. The
Spaniards made no determined resistance,
except at San Juan Ridge, and by July
2 they had been driven within the walls
of the city by the combined Cuban and
American forces.

On July 3 the Spanish fleet made a
dash out of the harbour, and the long
expected naval engagement took place.
The result was decisive ; with the loss
of one man the American ships reduced
the Spanish fleet to a heap of junk on
the nearby beach, and Cervera, with
76 of his officers and 1600 of his men,
was captured. Two weeks later the
24,000 Spanish soldiers in Santiago,
under General Torral, surrendered. The
force that had been sent to Porto Rico
was equally successful. There remained
now only the Spanish army in Manila.

Several transports had meanwhile been
sent out across the Pacific. They first
stopped at Guam, an island in the La-
drones, a few hundred miles this side
of the Philippines. There is a story to
the effect that when the Charleston,
which was convoying the transports,
sailed into Guam Harbour and began fir-
ing at a rocky ridge, where the fortifi-


cations were supposed to be, the Spanish
comandante came out and apologised for
not having the powder with which to
answer the salute. At any rate, he im-
mediately surrendered the island, no
larger than a Texas cattle ranch.

By the beginning of August the Amer-
ican force landed below Manila was con-
sidered strong enough to begin opera-
tions, in co-operation with the
Manila Filipinos, who had surrounded
Captured the city. On August 13 the
American ships bombarded the
fortifications, the land forces attacked,
and a few hours later the Spaniards sur-
rendered. The American soldiers
marched into Manila. The Filipinos at-
tempted to follow, but General Merritt,
in command of the American forces, or-
dered them to remain outside. Rather
sullenly they obeyed.

The day before a peace protocol had
been signed with Spain. Had Manila
held out twenty-four hours longer, until
news of the peace protocol could have
reached the Governor-General, develop-
ments there might have been different.

A commission was now sent to Paris
to arrange a treaty of peace with the
Spanish representatives. Spain surren-
dered Cuba and Porto Rico, and the
Philippines were given up for a cash con-
sideration of twenty million dollars.
Now the question of what was to be done
with the foreign territories captured
from Spain arose.

Regarding Cuba, the way was clear
enough. At the time war was declared
Congress had passed a resolution de-
claring that the American nation had no
intention of annexing Cuba, and that the
Cubans " ought by right to be free and
independent." But a government could
not be organised in a day, especially by
a people who had had no experience in

At first the army remained in control.
Gradually the Cuban revolutionary army
was disbanded. Railways, bridges and
public buildings injured during the war
were repaired or rebuilt under
RuiT C supervision. Hundreds _ of
in Cuba schools were opened, the cities
were thoroughly cleansed and
sewers were constructed. In June, 1900,
the people in the cities and larger towns
were allowed to elect their own munici-

pal governments. In July the American
military governor, Leonard Wood, sum-
moned a constitutional convention, which
drafted a constitution modelled largely
after that of the United States.

Meanwhile, on March 2, 1901, the
American Congress passed a resolution,
known as the Platt Amendment from its
author, Senator O. H. Platt, of Connect-

Online LibraryJames Bryce BryceThe book of history. A history of all nations from the earliest times to the present, with over 8,000 illustrations (Volume 15) → online text (page 24 of 83)