The American Revolution was a transatlantic event that involved virtually every
court in Europe. France's role in the conflict is well-known, but Spain, too,
played a vital part in helping to create the United States.
Spain was an ally of France and long an enemy of Great Britain. It was more due
to these relationships, than a great affinity for the struggling new republic,
that prompted Spain to officially enter the war against Great Britain in 1779.
At the time of the American Revolution, almost all of the modern-day United
States west of the Mississippi, was a part of Spain, as was Mexico. Louisiana
was in Spanish territory and its governor was a young nobleman named, Bernardo
In the early years of the Revolution, Galvez provided aid to the American cause
by allowing tons of supplies to be shipped up the Mississippi to patriot forces
in the north. With Spain's official entry into the war in 1779, Galvez raised a
patchwork army of Creoles, Indians, free African Americans and his own Spanish
regulars and marched on British-held forts at Baton Rouge and Natchez. A year
later, he engaged the British at Mobile, and a year after that at Pensacola, in
western Florida. In each case, Galvez was able to force the British from their
These victories diluted British strength in the south when Great Britain needed
it most—just as it was bringing the campaign into the southern colonies.
For his heroics, Galvez was memorialized in Texas, where the city of Galveston
honors him with its name.