The Battle of San Juan Hill, also known as the Battle for the San Juan Heights, was a major battle of the Spanish–American War fought between an American force under the command of William Rufus Shafter and Joseph Wheeler against a Spanish force led by Arsenio Linares y Pombo. The battle proved to be one of the most significant battles of the war and, along with the Siege of Santiago, a decisive engagement in deciding the fate of the United States Army campaign in Cuba. The American forces, outnumbering the Spanish defenders 16-to-one, charged upon the heights and dispersed the Spanish after suffering heavy casualties.
Tensions between Spain and the United States worsened over Spanish behavior during their efforts to quell the Cuban War of Independence, with many Americans being agitated by exaggerated reports of Spanish atrocities against the Cuban population. In January 1898, fearing the fate of American interests in Cuba due to the war, the cruiser USS Maine was dispatched to protect them.