Why didn\"t Spain fight in the American Revolutionary War? i would have thought that they would have actually assisted the colonies, and also then taken benefit of your post-war weak to add North America to their empire.

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Spain was not a bystander to the American Revolutionary War, return that reality is rarely pointed out in cursory historical surveys. Spain\"s an ideas to assist the American homesteaders was thrust by a desire to gain back the soil it had lost come Britain and, with other European powers, make incremental gains versus British possessions in other parts that the world. Although some dreamers in Spain possibly envisioned its eventual possession the the entire brand-new World, i have discovered no evidence that together an idea guided its assistance to the American colonists.

Spain was no a bystander to the American Revolutionary War

France and also Spain to be at that time both under Bourbon kings, luigi XVI and also Carlos III, respectively, whose American possessions had been significantly reduced by the 1763 treaty of Paris that ended the 7 Years\" (the French and Indian) War. In ~ the start of the American war of Independence, American commissioners were sent to Europe through the continent Congress to seek support for their cause. John Jay, American representative in Spain, uncovered success. American promised both France and Spain the repair of lot of the land they had lost to the brother in America. In April 1779, Spain committed to helping the Americans.

Financial Support

This aid did no consist the Spanish troops to fight together Americans, yet it was extensive nevertheless. The Spanish and also French kings provided huge loans and outright contributions of money to the Americans. Spain laundered this money, together we would say today, through a fictitious exclusive trading company, Roderique Hortalez and also Company, operation out that the Lesser Antilles, which sent out both money and also war material directly to the Americans. The money assisted support the Americans\" brand-new currency, the Continental, and likewise made it possible for the americans to lug in international military officers, such together Augustus von Steuben, Casimir Pulaski, and also Thaddeus Kosciuszko, come fight because that them.

Land Battles

Spain started a military project of the own against the brother in Florida and also Louisiana. Indigenous 1779 with 1782, the Spanish branch of Louisiana, Don Bernardo de Gàlvez, performed a collection of armed forces actions versus the brother to retake forts the Spain had earlier lost come the British, succeeding in the Mississippi river Valley, and also at Baton Rouge, Natchez, Mobile, and Pensacola. In 1782, Spain also succeeded in wresting back the Bahamas from the British.

Naval Support

A an extremely substantial kind of Spain\"s support for the Americans affiliated a strategy of involvement Britain\"s other European rivals in tie up brother naval sources by engaging them somewhere else than in Britain\"s American colonies. Spain walk this, because that example, versus Gibraltar and Minorca, and in addition to France sent a fleet into the English Channel to menace the british coast and tie up an ext British ships. Most of the European naval powers, including Spain, united against Britain\"s effort to interrupt your trade v America. With both France and Spain (and Holland) indirectly in the fray, Britain\"s navy was outmatched and could not efficiently concentrate that is military force in America. Spanish pearl joined v French pearls in the navy blockade of the British military at Yorktown in 1781, staying clear of General Cornwallis\"s resupply by the british navy, resulting in his surrender.


Thomas E. Chàvez, Spain and the self-reliance of the unified States: one Intrinsic Gift (Albuquerque: college of new Mexico Press, 2002).

Light Townsend Cummins, Spanish Observers and also the American Revolution, 1775-1783 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State university Press, 1991).

Winston De Ville, ed., Yo Solo: The fight Journal that Bernardo de Gàlvez during the American Revolution (New Orleans: Polyanthos, 1978).

David French, The British way in Warfare, 1688-2000 (London: unexpected Hyman, 1990).

Images:\"Prise de Pensacola,\" Illus. In: Recueil d\"estampes representant les différents événements de la Guerre qui a procuré l\"indépendance aux Etats Unis de l\"Amérique ... / Nicolas Ponce. Paris : Ponce et Godefroy, <1784?>, Prints and also Photographs Division, Library that Congress.

\"El Ecsmo Senor Conde De Galves,\" Museo Nacional de Historia, Castillo de Chapultepec, Mexico.

Detail native A. R. Mengs\" 1761 portrait of Carlos III, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid.

About the Author


Historian john Buescher is an author and also professor who formerly headed Tibetan language broadcasts at Voice the America. His Ph.D. Is native the university of Virginia and he has published extensively on the history of Tibetan and also Indian Buddhism and on the history of 19th-century American spiritualism.


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