Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     A groundbreaking new work is FROM ACROSS THE SPANISH EMPIRE: SPANISH SOLDIERS WHO HELPED WIN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR, 1776-1783 [ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA, LOUISIANA, NEW MEXICO, AND TEXAS MILITARY ROSTERS] by Leroy Martinez. The author focuses on a little-known aspect of the Revolutionary War--namely, Spain’s role in aiding and supporting the British colonies in their struggle to gain independence from Great Britain. He also sheds light on the fact that the American Revolution was part of a bigger war going on outside the Thirteen Colonies.

     As early as 1776, Spain, utilizing the agency of merchant, Diego de Gardoqui, in Bilbao, furnished money, medicine, muskets, munitions, and other military supplies to the struggling American colonies. (For his endeavors, Gardoqui later became Spain’s first ambassador to the United States.) That same year, the king ordered Bernardo Galvez, the Spanish governor in New Orleans, to provide secretly intelligence about the British. The king also required all males in New Spain, who were over the age of eighteen, to become members of the militia in the Southwest and to drive out the British, wherever they were found outside the Thirteen Colonies. One such action, for example, resulted in Spain wresting a fort from British control in the Honduras in 1779.

     In conjunction with the alliance of King Carlos III with Louis XVI, the French king, Spain declared war on Great Britain in 1779. As a result, Bernardo de Galvez (for whom Galveston, Texas, is named) commenced campaigns that ultimately resulted in the ouster of the British from the Mississippi Valley and West Florida. During 1779-1782, Spanish ranchers in Texas provided up to 15,000 head of cattle, as well as hundreds of horses, mules, and bulls, to support Galvez’s soldiers; some of the cattle were also sent to the Continental troops at Valley Forge. In 1784, the U. S. Congress formally cited Galvez and Spain for their aid. Congress went even further in 2014 when they bestowed American citizenship on Galvez in recognition of his efforts.

     Money also played an important part in Spain’s aiding the colonies. In 1780, the king ordered a one-time voluntary donation of two pesos per Spaniard and one peso per Native American throughout Spain’s empire in the New World. Almost one million pesos were raised, half of which was forwarded to the American Continental Army. When funds were not available to pay the French troops under the Comte de Grasse, private citizens in Cuba supplied payment.

     To help researchers put things in perspective in the Revolutionary era, Martinez furnishes a list of Spanish governors, a map of Spanish presidios (forts) in the future United States, a glossary of Spanish terms appearing in the records, and a chronology of events highlighting Spain’s involvement during the Revolutionary period. In addition, he includes several maps and illustrations of individuals, military uniforms, original documents, and artifacts.

     For the first time, Martinez identifies the men (which included some French, Indian, Irish, American or English, and perhaps a smattering of other nationalities) who either fought for or aided in some way the War for Independence. Separate chapters list those who served in Arizona, California, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas. Besides names on rosters, the author often provides information like the man’s military unit, rank, date, and the source. Additional details may include age, place of origin, military actions in which the individual participated, and other details. Names of approximately 7,500 males appear in the records.

     Genealogists will be glad to learn that descendants of these men may quality for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution or its related lineage organizations. Since it is a groundbreaking publication, many researchers will be interested in FROM ACROSS THE SPANISH EMPIRE: SPANISH SOLDIERS WHO HELPED WIN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR, 1776-1783 [ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA, LOUISIANA, NEW MEXICO, AND TEXAS MILITARY ROSTERS].

     The 271-page has soft covers with colorful pictures, maps, illustrations, glossary, and a full-name index. To the book's price of $29.95, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy; for UPS, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order #8350) may be purchased by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (for phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website ).

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