Slave trade in Cuba began earlier and lasted longer than anywhere else in the Americas - 1521 to the late 1870's. In 1868, a Creole farmer began a revolt for racial equality, freedom of speech and association. Spain spent ten years putting down the insurgency. The independence movement grew and in 1895 Spain sent 200,000 soldiers who put tens of thousands of Cubans in concentration camps. Many died of starvation, disease and exposure. The American public demanded President William McKinley intervene for peace. On FEBRUARY 15, 1898, the U.S.S. Maine blew up in Havana Harbor. President McKinley approved the Resolution of Congress: "Whereas the abhorrent conditions which have existed for more than three years in the island of Cuba, so near our own borders, have shocked the moral sense of the people of the United States, have been a disgrace to Christian civilization, culminating, as they have, in the destruction of a United States battle ship, with 266 of its officers and crew, while on a friendly visit in the harbor of Havana, and cannot longer be endured." McKinley continued: "Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives...That the people of the island of Cuba are and of right ought to be free."