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Bernardo de Gálvez

Spanish Hero of the American Revolution

By Gonzalo M. Quintero Saravia

616 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 46 halftones, 2 maps, 3 graphs, 23 tables, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-4079-2
    Published: May 2018
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-4080-8
    Published: March 2018

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Although Spain was never a formal ally of the United States during the American Revolution, its entry into the war definitively tipped the balance against Britain. Led by Bernardo de Gálvez, supreme commander of the Spanish forces in North America, their military campaigns against British settlements on the Mississippi River—and later against Mobile and Pensacola—were crucial in preventing Britain from concentrating all its North American military and naval forces on the fight against George Washington’s Continental army. In this first comprehensive biography of Gálvez (1746@–86), Gonzalo M. Quintero Saravia assesses the commander’s considerable historical impact and expands our understanding of Spain’s contribution to the war.

A man of both empire and the Enlightenment, as viceroy of New Spain (1785@–86), Gálvez was also pivotal in the design and implementation of Spanish colonial reforms, which included the reorganization of Spain’s Northern Frontier that brought peace to the region for the duration of the Spanish presence in North America. Extensively researched through Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. archives, Quintero Saravia’s portrait of Gálvez reveals him as central to the histories of the Revolution and late eighteenth-century America and offers a reinterpretation of the international factors involved in the American War for Independence.

About the Author

Gonzalo M. Quintero Saravia, S.J.D., Ph.D., is the author of several books on eighteenth-century Spanish American history and a former Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.
For more information about Gonzalo M. Quintero Saravia, visit the Author Page.


“Drawing on archives in Spain, Mexico, the US, and Great Britain, Quintero Saravia expands knowledge of Gálvez’s role in campaigns against Apache Indians in Mexico and of the period Gálvez spent in Iberia between military service in New Spain (1769–72) and as governor of Louisiana (1776–85).”--Choice

“This is an important book and anyone interested in colonial American history, and particularly in what happened in eighteenth-century Louisiana, will find it required reading.”--Arkansas Historical Quarterly

“Quintero Saravia’s biography of Bernardo de Gálvez is a meticulous and expertly researched study of a major figure in Spanish history that sheds light on the Spanish empire, military history, and the international imperial rivalries that intersected with the American Revolution.”--David Narrett, University of Texas at Arlington

"In this first full biography of Bernardo de Gálvez, Gonzalo Quintero Saravia helps us understand this governor and general whose portrait hangs in the halls of Congress and who has been named an honorary citizen of the United States. The book’s extensive research, trenchant analysis, vast connection-drawing, and deep context all work to open for the reader a world vital for understanding American history in this era yet all but unknown to American readers, including most historians."--Kathleen DuVal, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill