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Spain and the Independence of the United StatesSpain and the Independence of the United States

An Intrinsic Gift

Thomas E. Chavez

Narrated by J. D. Rowlett

Available from Audible

Book published by University of New Mexico Press

The role of Spain in the birth of the United States is a little known and little understood aspect of U.S. independence. Through actual fighting, provision of supplies, and money, Spain helped the young British colonies succeed in becoming an independent nation. Soldiers were recruited from all over the Spanish empire, from Spain itself and from throughout Spanish America. Many died fighting British soldiers and their allies in Central America, the Caribbean, along the Mississippi River from New Orleans to St. Louis and as far north as Michigan, along the Gulf Coast to Mobile and Pensacola, as well as in Europe.

Based on primary research in the archives of Spain, this book is about United States history at its very inception, placing the war in its broadest international context. In short, the information in this book should provide a clearer understanding of the independence of the United States, correct a longstanding omission in its history, and enrich its patrimony. It will appeal to anyone interested in the history of the Revolutionary War and in Spain's role in the development of the Americas.

Thomas E. Chavez 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.


“There may be similar coverage of this subject somewhere out there, but until you find it, Tom Chavez's extensively researched work will do nicely.”

Southwest BookViews

“Based on archival materials in Spain and the US as well as printed primary and numerous secondary resources, this volume deserves reading by historians of late-18th-century Spain, Spanish America, and the American Revolution.”


“The sweep of this book and the depth of secondary and archival research on which it rests are impressive. Chávez succeeds in his goal of placing the North American aspects of the war into their full Atlantic-Caribbean context.”

The Journal of Military History

“The amount and scope of Spain's participation in our Revolution —treasure, troops, ships, and strategy, all described in detail by the author —will suprise most who read this book.”

The Journal of America's Military Past

“Chavez ably shows that America owes its independece to liberal applications of Spanish silver and the lives of Spanish subjects. It is a neglected aspect of our history and Tom Chavez challenges us to look beyond our New Mexico-centric thinking and appreciate the important role Spain played in shaping world history.”

New Mexico Magazine

“Our United States of America has been waiting a long time for someone to write a full-fledged, fully documented book on Spain's role in the American Revolution that is based on original documents in Spanish archives and published in English! ... Chavez's excellent book adds a new dimension to the history of the American Revolution, one that gives Spain long overdue credit for its manifold contributions to American independence. ”

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

“Chavez's book will become the launching point for most future research about his subject... it is a worthy contribution to the field.”

Journal of American History

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