An informal look at Spain's contribution to the colonial freedom war in America

Since arriving in Spain seven years ago, I have sought out the Spanish ancestors (led by Governor Francisco Bouligny – Louisiana Governor Bernardo de Galvez) to draw attention to how little we Americans know about the vital importance of helping Spain. our English War of Independence.

The following are from my own research and discussions with other interested American Americans, both in Spain and the United States. The intention is to share this information with Americans who offer short term furnished apartments for tourist and business use in my company ( and have increased SAR membership and DAR.

I hope the reader will catch the desire for further knowledge and spread the word to try to fill this gap in a very important part of our nation's history.


At the end of the Spanish Succession War, the 1713-14
Great Britain was owned by Gibraltar and Menorca. Over the next 50 years there were numerous European wars and constant power struggles, involving both Russia and Poland.

However, the real starting point for this commentary was the seven-year war between 1756 and 1763. In the final year, Spain made an alliance with France through the Bourbon Third Family Compact, sharing its defeat with Britain

With the Treaty of Paris of 1763, Spain lost Florida, which extended the Gulf Coast to the vast expanse of Louisiana. Portugal lost Uruguay.

France lost all of Canada and India and transferred all of its territory to Great Britain to the area east of the Mississippi River. New Orleans and the vast Louisiana area, however, Louis Louis felt better about handing over Bourbon to Spain.

The size of the area was huge! It included parts of Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Following the treaty, Britain was too belligerent to bear much of this destruction and returned the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique to France and Cuba to Spain. In the Caribbean, however, it retained its lumbering and trading rights and activities.

III. The king of Spain was a far-sighted and energetic ruler, and he embraced this defeat and began to build his naval and military forces by the time he and Britain were at war again.

At the same time, it has carried out economic and administrative reforms that have led to economic revival in both Spain and the US economy.


When did Spain have time, why did you form an alliance with France to support the colonies?

Spain wanted to return to control Gibraltar and Menorca, Florida, Jamaica and the Bahamas, and control navigation on the Mississippi River. It also eliminated British facilities on the east coast of Mexico and Honduras.

To achieve this, III. Carlos and his ministers decided on a policy of division and domination. In other words, by promoting the struggle of the "rebellious English colonies", British money, fleets and troops can be tied up in North America, while Spanish forces have led the British directly to secession from the Caribbean.

As history has shown, Spain's partition and rule strategy proved particularly useful for "refilling English colonists" to achieve victory and their own independence.


According to the writers, the history of Spain's history is told through the most interesting insights to those who were traced back to III. Carlos chose to achieve his goals.

Jose Monnino y Redodo, Conde de Floridablanca: Secretary of State – Perhaps the most important non-warrior, if not a person, is all that. III. Charles began the time needed to rebuild the Navy and the military. Unlike France, which in 1776 openly declared war on Britain in support of the rebellious English colonies, Floridablanca kept Spain from declaring war on Britain until 1779. That is, only when Spain was ready.

He pursued hard the goal of liberating Britain from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, until the signing of peace in 1783. It was only after returning to Gibraltar and capturing Jamaica that it did not achieve its purpose.

Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea, Conde de Aranda: Minister of Spain in France. Following Floridablanca's insistence, he was the only Spanish representative to conduct official affairs with the American Commission, led by Benjamin Franklin, and only in Paris. In fact, in 1777, an American commissioner was denied entry to northern Spain to defend Spain's "neutrality" against the British.

The close relationship between Aranda and the American Commission made him return to their cause and became very American. He put so much pressure on Madrid to prevent the declaration of Spain's war in Britain years before his boss, Conde de Floridablanca, said Spain was ready for it.

Diego Maria de Garoqui Aniquibar: Basque – Gardoqui e Hijos bank manager in Bilbao. He spoke English and is one of the few non-governmental actors on the issue.

Through her bank, financial aids and supplies such as blankets, shoes and stockings, and medications were brought to the colonies through New Orleans. He secretly equipped American private figures, such as John Paul Jones, who had come to Bilbao and northern Spanish ports to intercept the remains of their captives on British merchant ships.

In 1785 he became Spain's first ambassador to the United States.

In a sense, Spain's contribution to the American Revolution could be called the "family of Macharavianla connection."

Three members of the Galvez family were born in that small Spanish mountain town, just off the mainland of the southern Mediterranean, not far from Malaga.

Jose de Galvez – Minister of the Council of India, older brother, Matias and nephew, patron saint of Bernardo de Galvez. Jose took overall responsibility for Spain's war activities in America, and Floridablanca, through the Secretary of State, persuaded III. Carlos that Spain's priority in America must be to defeat the British along the Gulf Coast in Florida and Florida. up the Mississippi River before focusing his efforts on the Caribbean campaign.

Matias de Galvez, brother of Jose and father of Bernardo de Galvez. Like other members of his family, he rose to prominence in the military rankings and was appointed captain of Guatemala in 1779, where British timber-cutting, illicit trade and smuggling significantly reduced Spain's Central American revenues.

It quickly defeated and stopped British activities along the Gulf of Mexico in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. It is important that it plays a key role in Spain's "Divide and Regulate" policy and has prevented British strategists from concentrating their efforts against the colonial rebellion or the Caribbean campaign.

He was named "Nueva Espana Viceroy" for his achievements and died in the Mexican office. He was later followed by his son Bernardo, who also died in that office in 1786 at the age of 40.

After his uncle Bernardo de Galvez's highly successful military career at Nueva Espana, which included fighting Native American Indians and expelling a Spanish Jesuit priest from the same western part of the North American continent. In 1776 he was made governor of Louisiana.

The diplomatic, financial and military exploitation of the British between 1776 and 1783 against the British in the Mississippi River Valley along the Gulf of Florida, and his contribution to the British defeat at Yorktown, were all Spain's most secure and important contributions. the American Revolution.

Spain had stockpiled weapons, bullets and clothing in New Orleans as early as 1775, before the colonies' declaration of independence. Transported up the inland waterways of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, some of these supplies may eventually reach George Washington troops on the East Coast.

Together with Virginia-based Irish-American merchant and agent Oliver Pollock, Bernardo handed over successful American campaigns led by George Rogers Clark against the British in the Allegania area (now Pennsylvania and Ohio). And thanks to Bernardo's war activities, it was the only British attack with the colonists along the western borders.

By the end of the war, Pollock went bankrupt and lost his lands, buying goods from Spain to support the neighboring United States. In the post-war years, Bernardo helped get the congress back.


The Spanish forces fought under the command of Bernardo de Galvez, where no American colonial representative was present.

When the Spanish wars of 1779 were announced, Bernardo immediately set out from New Orleans to defeat the British. Just over 90 miles off the Mississippi River, they beat them first on Fort Bute in Manchac and then on to Baton Rouge
1780 – His team captures the British fortress in what is now St Louis, Missouri.
1781 – A Spanish-led French militia from St. Louis wins winter victory over St. Louis Josephs on Lake Michigan !!

1780 – The Mobile Battle. It was three months from the time Galvez left New Orleans for his victory.

Last year, a hurricane drowned 400 people on the road. He delayed his arrival in the port again, and his two ships entered the port. On the eve of the attack, he had finally received confirmation from Havana, just before his original team had manually unloaded the stranded ships and placed their supplies and cannons within a mile.

Eventually, about 800 people gathered against the 200 British defenders. However, while preparing for the attack, the 1100 British forces from Pensacola were behind in three leagues, so we can't say for sure that he had an advantage!

Francisco Bouligny, the Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana under Galvezus, was acquainted with the British commander and met with him to attempt an early surrender. However, the gentleman replied that honor obliges him not to surrender without a fight.

Battle and surrender took place in one day!

Luckily for Galvez, when he heard the surrender, the Pensacola Force commander simply went home.

Thanks to this success III. Carlos Bernardo de Galvez was named "Major General for the Spanish Operation in America".

1781 – The Battle of Pensacola – Despite Bernardo's intention to move directly from Mobile to the port, he was unable to do so for a year due to a lack of support from Havana and another hurricane that disrupted the move.

Unlike Mobile, where he supported his own teams in Pensacola, Galvez also had the Spanish Navy from Havana. While he was the general commander, he eventually had to nominate and insult the Navy commanders to enter the harbor and enlist the enemy. The reason for this was that their own Admiral's ship circled the approach and eventually refused to enter the harbor.

Therefore, Bernardo alone entered the harbor on Galvezton's ship from the British fortress and set up a beachhead. Seeing this, the smaller Navy ships jumped into the harbor and the real task of preparing to attack the fort began. Like mobile phones, his teams had to handle the cannons and their supplies in place.

At this point there were 3,500 men, and when joined with a Spanish and French fortified fleet from Havana, it reached a total of 7,000 men.

On the second day of the bombing, a Spanish squadron attacked and destroyed its weaponry in external defense, killing about 150 people. Francisco Bouligny seems to have led the first accusations of deadly strikes and demolished British colors

For this success, Bernardo de Galvez received the title "Conde de Galvez" and permission to put the silhouette of the Galvezton ship and the words "Yo Solo" (alone) on the weapon coat of arms.

A little later, in 1781, Bernardo rebelled in Natchez on the Mississippi River and carried out mopping operations on the surface of Florida.

October 1781 – Battle of Yorktown, Virginia. Although Spanish forces were not there, Strategic Captain Bernardo, Captain Francisco de Saavedra, planned and supported the presence and assistance of the French fleet and army for George Washington's troops. In Yorktown, under the command of Lord Cornwallis, the British army handed over this French-American joint force.

It can be said that the hero who did not sing this part of the Revolutionary War is the same:
Captain Francisco de Saavedra de Sangronis. He was born in Seville. Like Jose de Galvez, he trained in theology in a monk's life, but turned to the military, and III. He was called to Carlos' yard.

In 1776 he served at the Spanish Embassy in Portugal.

Following the declaration of the wars against England in Spain, Saavedra was sent to Havana as the "Royal Commissioner of the Madrid Court" in 1780 and placed on the Spanish governing body under Jose de Galvez. "The Indian Council".

Madrid's orders from Saavedra were aimed at persuading the Havana "General War Committee" to support the attacks of Bernardo de Galvez on the west coast of the Gulf of Florida. Convincing them, he oversaw the preparation of an expedition of 3,500 troops, with a French contingent of 4 frigates and 750, to reinforce Bernardo de Galvez's attack on Pensacola.

Following Pensacola, Saavedra became Bernardo's chief strategist and main liaison with the French forces. In fact, the French requested that they be transferred to the staff of their naval commander, Comte Francois-Joseph-Paul de Grasse. He played a major role in the development of French strategies in the Caribbean. He obtained permission from Bernardo de Galvez to free the French fleet from the Caribbean campaign and sailed north to Virginia. In addition, Santo Domingo and Havana raised funds to pay for the French fleet and army to participate in the US Independence Climate Battle in Yorktown.

After Yorktown, Saavedra served as Matias de Galvez's Nueva Espana Viceroy as a strategist to defeat the British in the Caribbean. The plan for an amphibious attack on British Jamaicans was relatively similar in size to the major amphibious invasions of World War II.

Years later, he became one of Spain's national heroes when he organized and led resistance to the Napoleonic forces during Spain's occupation.

Spain signed a peace agreement with Great Britain on 20 January 1783,

What could have been:

If Britain had returned to Gibraltar in 1777, Spain might have withdrew support from France when it declared war on the colonies in 1776. III. However, King George did not respond to the negotiations at the time.

Two years later, in 1779, Gibraltar was again at the negotiating table, but this time III. King Carlos felt that protecting the Gulf of Spain and the Caribbean was, under British leadership, more important than peace with Britain and Gibraltar. return.

Financial contribution of Spain:

In III. In addition to the weapons, dust, bullets, clothing and blankets that Carlos sent to the colonies, Spain provided an impressive amount of money and credit.

In May 1776, Roderique Hortalez et Cie was founded in Paris by Spain and France. Each country has invested one million livr ($ 750,000) in ammunition and supplies. Subsequently, a credit facility of 7,730,000 livars ($ 5,797,500) was opened. Later, another three million livres ($ 2.25 million) was provided, which the colonies repaid with tobacco, indigo, potash and rice.

Bilbao bankers Gardoqui e Hijos sent Bilbao alone about 70,000 pesos ($ 2 million).

As I mentioned earlier, Saavedra's strategist funded the French fleet and 5,000 troops in Yorktown, first raising 100,000 pesos ($ 3 million) in Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo, Spain. He then sailed to Havana, where he found a shipment of one million pesos from Mexico, waiting for it to be delayed. As a result, in two days he raised and sent 500,000 pesos ($ 15 million) locally to catch up with the French fleet that had already flown to Virginia! Five days later, the original one million pesos ($ 30 million) arrived and sent it! Much of this was authorized by the words of Saavedra and Jose de Galvez's signature!

Sonora Mexico contributed $ 126,480 for Nueva EspaƱa, New Mexico and $ 672,600.

Toldeo Spain: 500,000 reales ($ 1,775,000). And in the small town of Malaga, 200,000 copper reales ($ 37,500).

Monetary impact of Spain's contribution:

Not surprisingly, the amount of Spanish currency flowing into these colonies influenced the new American currency – and its appearance. Spain has used the Hercules pillars for centuries to symbolize the close rule of Gibraltar. Greek columns usually cover the royal shield and are loosely packed. The colonists labeled the Spanish currency as an "S" with two vertical lines on what has become today's US dollar sign.

The word "dollar" itself came from the German line of Hapsburg's "Thaler" and became the English word for the Spanish peso through Spain and the Spanish colonies. The colonists were accustomed to this word and made a name for their new currency, although they spelled it out and dropped the dollar.

In 1775, one year before the Declaration of Independence, the first issue of continental paper money stipulated that banknotes should be paid "in Spanish ground dollars or their value in gold or silver".

The American rhyme that teaches children the value of money: "Two bits, four bits, six bits, one dollar" comes from the Spanish "Eight Pieces" – a coin that can be physically divided into 8 equal parts or bits. The two bits from 8 are the same as the American "quarter", or 25 cents.

In summary:

With the French Alliance to support the rebellious English colonies, Spain wanted to control Gibraltar, Menorca, Florida, Jamaica and the Bahamas and the mouth of the Mississippi River. In addition, British facilities on the east coast of Mexico and Honduras had to be closed.

Eventually, the colonies won their independence and achieved all Spain's goals, except the capture of Jamaica and the return of Gibraltar.

In recognition of:

In October 2006, the daughters of the American Revolution placed a table in the garden of Casa de Americas in Madrid in recognition of Spain's contribution to American independence. Two nights later, the United States Naval League's Madrid Council ( presented the highest prize, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of all Spanish military forces, the statue of Admiral Farragut, with thanks and recognition for Spain's contribution to American independence.

The commander graciously accepted the award and, in response, noticed that when Spain was big and the needy were needed, Spain provided support and today, when these roles were reversed, Amistad still exists.