We have located a number of books and several online resources that provide information on the role of the Spanish and Hispanic Americans in the Revolutionary War. Most are out-of-print and only available as used copies, which we have been able to find at Barnes & Noble and AbeBooks.
The Journal of Don Francisco Saavedra de Sangronis, 1780-1783 by Francisco Morales-Padron (Editor), Aileen M. Topping (Translator). Don Francisco writes clearly to us across oceans of time, telling us of his pivotal and largely unknown role in aiding the North Americans. He traveled from Santo Domingo, where he was stationed as an agent for King Carlos III, to Havana to assist in arranging the emergency collection of funds for the French Navy and the Battle of Yorktown in 1781.
Professor Thomas Chávez researched Spain and the Independence of the United States: An Intrinsic Gift in the Spanish archives in Sevilla and Madrid, using extensive primary material. This excellent and scholarly book provides comprehensive and in-depth study of the Spanish in the American Revolutionary War, and also reviews the Spanish battles with the British Empire throughout Central America. Professor Chávez is the former director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque, and the former curator and director of the Palace of the Governors Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe.
Spanish Observers and the American Revolution, 1775-1783 by Light Townsend Cummins features two Spanish agents who resided in Philadelphia during the war, Juan de Miralles and Francisco Rendón. Both men befriended a number of prominent North Americans, including George and Martha Washington. Professor Cummins analyzes the aid provided through trade with Havana, which enabled the rebels to access the hard currency and supplies that they desperately needed.
We have several additional recommendations in Spanish, most of which are out-of-print. We’ve had wonderful experiences finding and purchasing from booksellers in Spain and the United Kingdom at AbeBooks.com
España ante La Independencia de los Estados Unidos Volumes 1 and 2 by Dr. Juan F. Utrilla Yela is an important resource. Published originally in 1925, the first volume provides an excellent analysis of the Spanish assistance, and the second volume contains copies of primary documents, typed, so you don’t have to struggle through 18th century script (not easy, trust us). Copies are available at AbeBooks.com from booksellers in Spain.
To learn more about the role of the Spanish Basques in smuggling supplies to the North Americas, read La compania comercial “Gardoqui e Hijos 1760 – 1800” sus relaciones políticas y económicas con Norteamérica (1770-1780) by Natividad Rueda. An excellent article on this topic is also featured in the Catalogue of the Legacy exhibition noted below.
While much has been written about Bernardo de Gálvez, books by John Walton Caughey, Bernardo de Gálvez in Louisiana 1776-1783 and James Alton James, Oliver Pollock: The Life and Times of an Unknown Patriot, provide details on Gálvez’ extensive role in aiding the North American rebels.
Our recommended online resources are:
Legacy: Spain and the United States in the Age of Independence 1763 – 1848. This exhibit graced the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in 2008, and covers 85 years of history of Spain and the United States, including the Revolutionary War period. The bilingual Catalogue of the exhibition is a beautifully illustrated collection of articles by leading scholars, including Reyes Calderón, who is very knowledgeable about the Spanish Basque contribution to supplying the North Americans.
We wish all of the contributions of the Spanish and Hispanic Americans were as well publicized as that of Bernardo de Gálvez. Among the many excellent resources on Gálvez is the Asociación Cultural Bernard de Gálvez, which features several pages on Gálvez and the Spanish in the American Revolutionary War.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us!