Thanks VS Ungratefulness of the U.S to Spain
The Fathers of North American Independence, if they appreciated the help of Spain. From George Washington, Jefferson or John Adams, to the French General Rochambeau they recognized that they were saved and achieved victory thanks to Spanish help
+ Spain and Independence U.S
Grateful during the war and after the war, later ungrateful and forgetting the help received
The aid from Havana was decisive in the final battle. And that much-needed help came from the island of Cuba, when everything seemed lost. An unofficial collection raised a huge amount of money that reached Yorktown. Arms, ammunition, equipment and total control of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi.
The Fathers of the U.S recognized him
The recognition of the decisive Spanish aid to its independence and that this aid came to the North American army, when it was most needed
Why is this story so unknown?
A little known fact to most Hispanics and North Americans. There was clear recognition from the U.S Nation Fathers but this soon passed. After a few decades everything was forgotten.
A historical and economic debt that, although he subsequently recognized, has not yet been paid.
“We should not be ashamed to recognize, what our Independence owes to the molasses of the Caribbean”
(John Adams, Founding Father and President of the USA)
Money from Cuba
“The joy was enormous when we received the money from Havana”
(French General Rochambeau)
The success of the Spanish in West Florida is a very important blow that has a favorable influence on our affairs in other areas.
(General George Washington)
From the first moments of the North American uprising, there was close contact between Spain, the US Congress and its main leaders. This allowed Hispanics to supply weapons, cannons, medicines, tents and even the fabrics for the uniforms of the Washington army.
Spanish aid also came at the decisive moment, when the American army was bankrupt and unable to buy supplies.
Both George Washington’s army and that of French General Rochambeau were saved by Spanish aid. Discontent among the troops caused many Americans to leave the army just before the decisive Battle of Yorktown.
Ladies of Havana
“We send this money so that the children of American mothers are not born slaves”
Note from the Ladies of Havana in Cuba. These lines accompanied the money given to the French for the American patriots
When the Count of Grasse couldn’t get money in Haiti, he sent a ship to Havana to ask for it.
The army of George Washington and that of the French General Rochambeau depended on obtaining this money. This money meant victory or defeat.
The Governor of Cuba was not authorized to give a large sum even though the French army was from an allied country. A collection between merchants and neighbors, led by the Ladies of Havana, some of whom gave their jewels, soon got the money.
The money was loaded onto the French ship, which quickly left Cuba. She was escorted by another ship of the line with 100 guns and headed for Yorktown, resolving the dire situation. This fact changed the course of the war and the English defeat.
The American Fathers of the Nation recognized him
The U.S. Congress with Gálvez
Thanking you for your great contribution to the Independence of the Country
The North American Congress thanked Bernardo de Gálvez for the great services rendered to the independence of his nation. And it even reached an agreement whereby a painting with the Portrait of Bernardo de Gálvez should be represented at the meeting place of the representatives of the Country in homage to their support for the Independence of the Nation. The shame for Americans is that it took 250 years for this portrait to be put in the agreed place.
Diego de Gardoqui with Washington
First official ambassador of Spain in La Victoria
In the year 1789 a parade of the Victory of the 13 colonies was carried out, after the proclamation of George Washington as President of the United States.
He attended the event in the Galveston brig, which was so decisive in the victory of the Battle of Pensacola, by entering the bay at the head of the fleet, led by Bernardo de Gálvez. He participated in the American Independence parade with Jorge Washington in a place of honor, in gratitude for the great help given to the cause by Spain.
He was present in the front row at George Washington’s swearing-in as the first U.S. president. In the moment after the President was sworn in, 15 cannon shots of salvos were fired from the Galveston ship anchored in the harbor. The only foreign warship.
On his visit to Spain (1779), on his trip to Paris, he took the opportunity to analyze the country, and learn everything possible. In addition to appreciating and enjoying good customs such as cups of chocolate, good wine and sausages, he traveled the Camino de Santiago in reverse, from Galicia to the Basque Country.
Upon arriving in Bilbao, which he, astonished, defined as “The Republic of Bilbao”, he visited his friend Diego de Gardoqui. Not surprising because at that time the Basque Country still had customs with Castile. that would take almost 50 years to disappear. Gardoqui, who would be the first Spanish ambassador to the new country after its independence, was the one who, through his company, supplied the North American army with cannons, muskets, gunpowder, ammunition, medical supplies, tents and even cloths to make the uniform. George Washington’s Army.
Although he was influenced by the English vision of the country “Black Legend”, he could not deny the great Spanish help to the Independence of the 13 English colonies of North America.
Jefferson and Patrick Henry
They also thank the Spanish Crown. They especially appreciated the help provided by Bernardo de Gálvez
The fathers of the North American Homeland asked Spain for help and it defeated the English in the Gulf of Mexico, seizing all their territories in the area and the Mississippi River.
Portrait of Thomas Jefferson, one of the so-called fathers of the American country
He was the Third President of the U.S and drafter of the Declaration of Independence
These phrases by Thomas Jefferson summarize the importance he gave to the Hispanic language and history.
“Spanish is the most important thing for an American, our connection with Spain is already important and it will be more and more every day”
“Besides this, the old part of American History, is written mainly in Spanish”
Jefferson considered that the new country would be the continuation of the work of Spain in North America. For this reason, he was a supporter and an enthusiastic student, always interested in knowing the Hispanic History of America, the travels of the Hispanic explorers, Hernando del Soto, Ponce de León, Cabeza de Vaca, etc. During his life he gathered a large library of topics Hispanic.
He recommended to his relatives not only to know Hispanic History, but even to learn the Spanish language. He considered it essential to interact with the rest of America, from the North to Patagonia. Loyally in love with the book Don Quixote by Cervantes, he had two copies, one in Spanish and the other in English. To his daughters every night, he read 10 pages of Don Quixote.
Contacts by letter
There was correspondence with the Fathers of Independence from the first years of the war. Gálvez responded to his letters and received his emissaries as Captain Gibson’s expedition that returned to Philadelphia with abundant weapons and gunpowder.
The work of Spain to close the Mississippi to the English, made it easier for the patriots to receive supplies and seize areas of the interior.
Between the years 1777 and 1778 Patrick Henry wrote several letters of thanks to the Governor of Louisiana (Gálvez).
In 1779 the patriots glimpsed victory when Spain officially entered the war. Jefferson wrote to Gálvez thanking and celebrating the Spanish military successes against the English
Gálvez with George Washington
The Spanish ambassador also to the right of the first President of the U.S on the day of the Victory Parade through the streets of New York
Statue of Bernardo de Gálvez, Viceroy of New Spain
General Bernardo de Gálvez Governor of Louisiana and later Viceroy of New Spain has an equestrian statue in Washington.
In gratitude for the services rendered by Spain to North American Independence. Spain occupied a place of honor. Bernardo de Gálvez’s help was decisive for Washington’s army.
Active Spanish espionage
Spy network and support for the North American rebels
At all times there were contacts between the North American rebels and Spain
The analysis of the correspondence between the American leaders and Spain reflects the numerous times in which they asked for help and were reciprocated. There were also numerous letters of thanks to Spain, for the great services rendered to the North American cause.
French General Rochambeau
The French General Rochambeau thanks the Spanish Minister Aranda for the decisive help in the battle of Yorktown
The great fear of the French general was that George Washington would run out of soldiers. He saw that the figures that the patriots gave him did not coincide with what he saw. The American soldiers refused to go to Yorktown because of the long delay in the payment of their salaries. The defections had already begun.
Decisive help in the face of the danger of disintegration of the US Army
The French General Rochambeau was aware that the help from Spain that arrived from Havana was vital for the allied armies. He received news from George Washington announcing that he had no money and his army was crumbling. He then he requested money from the Count of Grasse, but he did not have it either.
The Washington army suffered protests over delayed salaries and poor supplies, beginning to disintegrate.
For its part, the French army did not have supplies and also suffered from delays since the French coffers were empty. The same situation suffered the French fleet. A dramatic situation that could lead to defeat at the Battle of Yorktown.
Miralles dies alongside Washington
On April 19, 1780, Miralles arrived, arrived at the Norristown camp (Pennsylvania). He was received with all honors. During the trip, bad weather in a particularly harsh winter made him ill and he arrived exhausted. Washington lodged her in his own home. George Washington’s own wife would care for him until her death. Despite the care of the General’s own physician and his wife Marta, he would no longer get out of bed and die on April 28, 1780.
George Washington had military honors paid to him at his funeral, highlighting the great services he had performed to Spain and America.
The Royal Gazette of New York describes the ceremony:
“The mourning procession occupies a mile. For the coffin, six field officers and four artillery officers in full uniform. A Spanish priest officiates services in the Roman Catholic rite. The grave is next to the Morristown church. ”
“The ceremony presided over by a visibly moved George Washington had all the characteristics of the burial of a hero of the country, with all the military honors.”
George Washington would say the following words:
“In this country he has been universally esteemed”
Why such recognition to Miralles?
The Spanish merchant and agent Miralles was the Spanish representative to George Washington.
Miralles informed him of the possibilities of aid from Spain and the importance of closing the Gulf of Mexico to the English troops. So it would later be Spain would seize East Florida and control the entire Mississippi basin. Thanks to the territories controlled by Spain and mainly through this river, Spanish aid came to the North American patriots.
He collaborated with him, in very decisive moments. He died of illness in Morristown, in one of his encounters during a harsh winter. In Morristown, at the most difficult moment of the war for the rebels, there was Miralles. It was precisely on that trip that he became ill. At the precise moment when George Washington’s soldiers were deserting for lack of supplies or others were leaving the army when their enlistment time was up. Miralles gave him hope and confirmed the Spanish help.
He informed her that Spanish aid would continue. From 1777 to 1783, the 13 colonies did not stop receiving aid.
Oblivion and the invasion of New Spain begins
This treaty like none of the treaties made with the U.S were never fulfilled. The US Congress modified the treaties to their liking, to later invade the territories first of Spain and later of Mexico. Mexico lost half of its territory.
Curiously what John Adams was grateful for, the son soon forgot. John Quincy Adams. This Adams representing the United States (U.S.) signed an agreement with Luis de Onís on behalf of Spain. This Treaty was the lesser evil for Spain. The Americans had already invaded the lands of Florida and they also wanted Texas. His expansionist ambition had no limits.
Spain, in order to keep Texas, had to give up the Floridas and the distant lands of Oregon. Even so, Spain was relatively happy and considered it a lesser evil by maintaining all the neighboring territories of New Spain.
After the agreement there was a stage of tranquility, in which Hispanicism began to be known and spread throughout the new country. The Spanish Dollar was an international currency that continued to be legal in the U.S until 1857, so it favored travel to Europe. In the 1820s, some North Americans traveled to Spain, as they considered themselves in a certain way continuators of Spain’s work in America.
Jay treatise (oblivion)
Before total peace had been signed, some had already forgotten their ally Spain, leaving it practically out of the final agreement. The American ambassador in Madrid John Jay, (1779-1782), soon began his work of forgetting the aid received.
He managed to turn the authorities of Spain against.
Although he was criticized by Jefferson, he was supported by Congress. He is considered one of the Fathers of the American Nation.
Spain would be forgotten in the history books of the United States. Only a few Americans later learned the truth about history and the decisive help provided by Spain to her country.
Recognizing the work of Spain
Especially in the 19th century, there was a great interest in everything Hispanic. American travelers visited different places in Spain, published their discoveries, customs or were inspired by its literature. A whole cultural trend emerged.
The studies carried out by Irving Washington from Madrid (1826), on Columbus supposed a great diffusion in U. S on the history and Hispanic culture. Fascinated by the Discoverer and the rich history of Spain.
Alexander Slidell Mackenzie
The importance of knowing the roots, history and the Spanish language led Alexander to visit Barcelona (1826), of which he came to speak of the Ramblas as a place where you can see all kinds of individuals. He wrote a book entitled “A Year in Spain for a Young American”
These two writers popularized and spread among North American writers and artists an interest in getting to know Spain, visiting different parts of the country.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Another North American who appeared in Madrid in 1826 and met Irving Washington. He began to write based on Spanish literature. Another one who fell before the enchantment of the rich History of Spain, writing among others a famous book on the Castles of Spain.
American journalist and poet. Author of the book “Spanish Explorers” (1893), he praised the exploits. of explorers and conquerors going so far as to say “The most extensive, and prolonged feat of all Humanity”, something superhuman accomplished by a nation of heroes.
Passionate about Hispanic history, he traveled much of the ancient territory of Mexico held by the U.S and emphasized the work of miscegenation in the face of Anglo-Saxon racism.
He also regrets that the Spanish explorers have not been recognized, being something very valuable and special, which is unparalleled, for lack of knowledge of their historical acts.
Paragraphs extracted from his book: “The Spanish Pioneers” – (“Spanish explorers of the 16th century”)
Forerunner of Human Rights
“The Spanish Legislation concerning Indians everywhere was incomparably more extensive, more comprehensive, more systematic and more humane, than that of Great Britain, than those of the colonies and of the United States all combined”
The first advanced culture
“Back in 1575, a century before there was a printing press in English America, many books in 12 different Indian dialects had been printed in Mexico City.”
“And 3 Spanish Universities had almost a century of existence, when Harvard was founded”
“The number of men educated in schools, among the explorers, is surprising by the number”
“Heroism and Intelligence ran hand in hand at the beginning of the colonization of the New World”
Unaware of his exploits
“The reason we have not done justice to Spanish explorers is simply because we have been misinformed”
“The exploration of the Americas by the Spanish was the greatest, and the most wonderful series of valiant feats that history records”
They spread the culture
“Not only were the Spanish the first conquerors of the New World and its first colonizers, but also its first civilizers”
“They built the first cities, opened the first churches, schools, and universities, set up the first printing presses, and published the first books.”
“They wrote the first dictionaries, histories and geographies, and they brought the first missionaries”
He always defended the Hispanic and considered its elements as part of the roots of the U.S. In his work “Hispanic elements in our nationality” (1883) he made it very clear, remembering that the population of Santa Fé, in New Mexico, had turned 333 years since its founding. He also fought the Spanish Black Legend, highlighting that:
“There was no more tyranny, cruelty and superstition in the Spanish exploits than in the Anglo-Saxon ones.”
This rich heir already knew to a large extent the Spanish language, since he had studied it since he was a child. He dedicated himself to collecting the best Spanish art, especially from painters. He created the institution “Hispanic Society of America” (1904). His mission: “promoting the study of Spanish and Portuguese languages, literature and history” specifically focuses on the study of the Hispanic World (Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Latin America and the Philippines). It has a Library and Museum, and it lasts to this day.
He met the Spanish painter Sorolla, and offered him to exhibit in New York. Sorolla sold a large part of his paintings. He made him a member of the newly created Hispanic Society of America and commissioned him 14 large murals known as “The provinces of Spain”, which can be seen in the institution today.
Relations with the new parents of the new country of North America were always especially friendly and curious
One subject that George Washington was passionate about was raising animals and especially obtaining mules for his Mount Vernon ranch. However, the best specimens of donkeys were considered Spanish donkeys, that is why their export to other countries was prohibited, under pain of death.
King Carlos III of Spain was aware of George Washington’s hobby of raising animals, and sent him two donkeys as a gift. One of them made it and acted as a stud.
Pending Unpaid Debt
The Fathers of the New North American Homeland had very good words and all kinds of praise for Spain and her great help. But later they only recognized a part of that financial aid. And nothing was paid for that help. According to International Law, this debt does not prescribe. Therefore this debt is pending.
A gigantic aid worth almost 1,000,000 Reales of the time.
To which must be added 1,000,000 pesos collected by Las Damas de la Habana. Plus the money collected in the collections in the churches and missions of New Spain (California, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Colorado etc)
Not only cash, Spain also accepted promissory notes. And an aid in military equipment, more than 30,000 muskets and bayonets, half a million rounds, several hundred bronze cannons, more than 10,000 hand grenades, a quarter of a million pounds of gunpowder. Even the uniforms of the American army were thanks to shipments from Spain (about 30,000) and added fabrics to make more, as well as more than 4,000 tents.
There is evidence of these shipments of military materials, letters preserved in the National Archives and in the Archives of the North American Congress. For instance:
Very Mr. Mio. Of the 2,000,000 Tornese pounds destined by both Courts for aid to the English Colonies of America, they are currently being sent:
216 guns, 209 gun carriages, 27 mortars, 29 mounts, 12,826 bombs, 51,134 rounds, 300 thousands of gunpowder, 30,000 rifles with their bayonets, 4,000 tents, 30,000 full dresses (uniforms)
Spain prepared a convoy under the command of Admiral Solano and transferred 11,000,000 soldiers to America. This Spanish contribution has not gone down in history, and all the fame of the aid has been taken by the 5,000 French soldiers who were in Yorktown.
President Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
“We Americans owe a lot to Spain”
President John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
“One of the great omissions of the North Americans in what refers to our past, has been their total ignorance of the influence, development and explorations of the Spanish”
The Fathers of the Nation of the U.S, the Continental Congress and even the current president have recognized both the historical and economic debt, but it has only remained in words, without any real compensation.
The Invoice of its Independence as a new North American Nation was paid by Spain