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View of several battleships approaching a harbor and a heavily populated hillside.

Entry of North Americans into Guánica Bay

After the Spanish surrendered in Manila and Santiago de Cuba, the U.S. military launched a campaign in Puerto Rico. General Nelson Miles (pictured nearby) planned to disembark in the eastern town of Fajardo but changed his strategy, perhaps to surprise the Spanish forces. At daybreak on July 25, 1898, the USS Gloucester steamed through the southern bay of Guánica, firing over the sleepy town. The USS Massachusetts, Columbia, Dixie, and Yale followed, with 3,415 troops. 

Possibly based on a black-and-white photograph, this painting uses a bird’s-eye view to heighten the menacing lines of the heavily armed steel vessels. Smaller boats assist disembarking troops while soldiers set up camp on the sandy shores of the Barrio Carenero. Despite this ominous portrayal, U.S. forces encountered scant Spanish resistance in Guánica and the south of Puerto Rico, where discontent against Spain ran high. In less than three weeks, the United States occupied the island.

Unidentified artist
Before 1950
Watercolor on canvas
99.1 × 149.9 cm (39 × 59 in.)
Collection of Aldarondo and López-Bras, LLC, Attorneys at Law