Friday, June 24, 2011

The Spanish/Tejano Contribution to the American Revolution

The Spanish/Tejano Contribution to the American Revolution
The 4th of July and why we should celebrate


Dan Arellano

In all of the wars that this great country has been involved in Americans of Mexican/Spanish descent have always been amongst the first to fight, the most to die, the last to leave but unfortunately the ones least appreciated. With all of the anti-Hispanic hate legislation being passed across the country it is more important now than ever to remind others of the contributions of our ancestors to the development of this country. After WWII it was Senator Dennis Chavez from New Mexico that describes our plight best of all “When we march off to war we are Americans, but upon our return we are merely Mexicans.”

In 1779 General George Washington sends a courier with a letter to the then Governor of Spanish Louisiana, Bernardo de Galvez requesting aid and assistance in fighting the British. A voluntary contribution was collected from the Tejano citizens of Texas which we believe to have been approximately 10,000 pesos. Galvez also orders that cattle be rounded up and driven north to feed the armies of George Washington. 100 years before the famous Goodnight and Chisholm Trails Tejano Vaqueros, Tejano Rancheros and Mission Indians were driving cattle up El Camino Real all the way to Louisiana and continuing further north. Many of these vaqueros were to remain and fight against the British in the army of Don Bernardo de Galvez. Galvez, of which Galveston Texas and Galveston Bay are named after, was successful in defeating the British in key battles including the Battle of New Orleans, Pensacola and Mobile Alabama. Don Bernardo was successful in preventing access to the Mississippi River thus preventing the British the use of the river to supply their troops

Many Americans believe that they alone were responsible for the defeat of the British during the War of Independence, but that is not so. While Bernardo de Galvez was planning his assault on Pensacola word is received on April 18, 1781 that his father Don Matias de Galvez Captain General of Guatemala had received the surrender of all British forces in Honduras. These forces were prevented from joining the British armies already in America. Don Jose de Galvez Field Marshal of the Spanish Army and later Visitor General of New Spain had commissioned his brother Don Matias to engage and defeat all British forces from the area of the Gulf of Honduras, which he executed with a splendid military victory. Although he did not participate in the war against the British, Antonio Miguel Joaquin de Galvez rose to the rank of Military Commander to the port of Cadiz and oversaw the shipment of supplies and aid to the American colonists

There were other Spaniards that contributed to the American Revolution but I believe there was no other family that contributed more than the Galvez family, especially Don Bernardo de Galvez.

Ref: Bernardo de Galvez Spanish Hero of the American Revolution by G. Roland Vela Muzquiz

Acacia Press 2006

No comments:

Post a Comment