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Iowa History Daily: July 3 - The Original USS Iowa

Iowa History Daily: On July 3, 1898, the Battleship Iowa (BB-4) played an important role in the Battle of Santiago Bay as the Spanish-American War raged. The first battleship named for Iowa, the ship served a distinguished career in the late-1800s American Navy.

Starting in the 1880s, the US Navy undertook a program to start modernizing. Focused on creating ‘steam and steel’ vessels. Congress christened the fourth battleship in the series the ‘USS Iowa.’ At 362’ 6” long and featuring 14” of armor, the hefty new ship weighed over 11,000 tons and featured steam-powered engines capable of putting out 11,000 horsepower.

After launching on March 28, 1896, the ship spent time with the Atlantic squadron, and soon arrived off the coast of Cuba to help blockade Havana. After a brief trip to Puerto Rico to shell San Juan, the USS Iowa returned to Cuba and helped pin the Spanish fleet in Santiago Harbor.

Across June of 1896, American troops fought to gain the heights above Santiago, the Spanish fleet prepared to attack. On July 3, the Spaniards finally made their move. The modernized American Navy proved up to the task, and the combined power of four armored cruisers and two destroyers proved too much for the outmatched Royal Spanish Navy. A decisive battle of the Spanish-American War, the original USS Iowa proved a key part of the US fleet. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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