Today we celebrate our nation’s birthday and a special shout out to the members of our armed forces who protect us and our freedoms.
To our brothers and sisters be they the Connors in the Carolinas, or Wades in Washington State, or Lopez or Brown overseas, or Fernandez, Lee, Milian, and Perez here, or Cerdan in Oklahoma,
Role Played by Hispanics in the Achievement of American Independence
Did you know that the States of Florida and Maryland have passed resolutions honoring the “Role Played by Hispanics in the Achievement of American Independence?”
On June 27, 1776 King Carlos III of Spain gave 4 million reales de Vellon to help finance our war of independence. By the end of 1777, over 100,000 pounds, plus pesos plus livres were given by the Spanish crown to help finance the war.
Thousands of Hispanics fought against the British in what is now the United States of America. Victories at Baton Rouge, Natchez, Mobila (now Mobile), San Carlos de Panzacola (now Pensacola) diverted British forces and resources from the Revolutionary war effort. Louisiana Governor, Bernardo de Galvez (Galveston is named after him) led the troops and also defeated and captured the Maryland Loyalist regiment, the Pennsylvania Loyalists, British 60th Foot (Royal Americans) British 16th Foot and German Waldeck Regiment.
There were over nine thousand troops comprised of men from Spain, Cuba, Mexico, Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Costa Rica which included freed blacks and native Americans. At Mobile and Pensacola, Cubans from Regimiento de la Habana, El regimiento de el Principe, Regimiento de Navarra, Regimiento de Espana, El Regimiento Hiberico, and El Batallon Moreno de la Habana (comprised of freed slaves) fought bravely.
The actions of those men were important in the Patriot’s efforts in the Carolinas and Georgia and also in the final victory at Yorktown Virginia.
Victory at Yorktown
Historian Stephen Bonsal calls the contribution of 500,000 pounds tournois collected by Cuban ladies in Havana over a six hour period the “foundations over which the building of American independence was erected.”
The gift came at the time the revolutionary forces were in desperate shape, without supplies. General George Washington celebrated in an uncharacteristic manner; by the displaying emotion. Why the gift? “So the American mothers’ sons are not born as slaves” was the stated purpose.
The gift was used to pay and replenish Washington’s forces and pay for Lafayette’s forces. During the Chesapeake Campaign, the French Fleet outlasted the British Fleet and assured victory at Yorktown, when General Cornwallis without reinforcements surrendered.
The “Ladies of Havana’s” gift and additional funds provided by the Spanish crown and colonists in Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico contributed significantly to our victory.
During the War
Juan de Miralles, established in Havana, Cuba shipped supplies from Cuba directly to Baltimore, Charleston and Philadelphia. His death, at General Washington’s side was deeply mourned.
The Spanish kept the British from using the Mississippi. Valuable supplies were ferried to our Patriots from New Orleans to Philadelphia. There were conflicts as far west as St. Louis, Missouri.
Coronel Jose Manuel Cagigal, from Havana, fought in Pensacola and also attacked Nassau in the Bahamas.
The word “dollar” is an anglicized pronunciation of the Spanish “dobals” (the pieces of eight coin). The $ sign is borrowed from Spain.
Father Junipero Serra, he of the missions in California, collected monies from the parishioners throughout the West to assist the revolutionary cause.