Theodore Roosevelt was the
Assistant Secretary of the Navy when the battleship U.S.S Maine was
sunk in Havana Harbor. After the United
States declared war on Spain in April 1898, initiating the Spanish American
War, Roosevelt resigned his position and joined the military. Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt recruited
volunteers to serve in the newly organized 1st United States Volunteer Calvary,
which soon earned the nickname, “Rough Riders”.
In June 1898, Roosevelt and the Rough Riders camped in Tampa before they
disembarked to Cuba. Famed for their
charge up Cuba’s San Juan Hill, the Rough Riders were brave men who were
determined to achieve an independent Cuba, a goal that Tampa’s Cuban immigrants
had long sought.