With the arrival of July 4, national fervor will come to a head across the United States in honor of the patriots who declared and fought for independence against Great Britain, tributes that often forget the aid provided by London’s great rival at the time, Spain.
Like France, Britain’s greatest enemy in Europe, the Kingdom of Spain positioned itself at the side of the American revolutionaries as soon as the conflict broke out, providing them with supplies from the ports of Bilbao, Havana and New Orleans in what was then Spanish Louisiana.
“The fate of the ... (13) colonies is very important to us and we are going to do everything we can for them under the circumstances,” Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Moñino said in 1777.
In addition to providing supplies to the rebels, Spain and its colonies also contributed fighters and strategists to the revolutionary cause, one of the most curious cases being that of Jordi Ferragut, a Spanish merchant captain who arrived in North America in 1775 and joined the American Revolution as a lieutenant in the South Carolina navy.
After the war, George Farragut, as he had come to call himself, settled permanently in the new United States, where he married and has several children, including U.S. Civil War hero David Farragut, to whom a square in Washington, D.C. is dedicated.
The governor of Spanish Louisiana, Count Bernardo de Galvez, managed to collect more than 500,000 silver pesos to finance the American and French troops in the decisive 1781 battle of Yorktown, which proved to be the death knell for the British army.
Thus, with men, supplies and - above all - the brotherhood that comes from facing a common enemy, Spain contributed to the creation of what is today the world’s premier economic power and on July 4 will celebrate the 237th anniversary of its independence.
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