For Kids: Who was Bernardo de Galvez and why is he important?
The colonials were looking for any help they could get during the Revolutionary War. Galvez was the governor of Spanish Louisiana, the vast territory that Spain had received from France as a result of the French and Indian War. Spanish Louisiana reached from the Mississippi River west to the Rocky Mountains and north from New Orleans all the way to Canada. Galvez allowed shipments of weapons and food and fabric and other goods to travel up the Mississippi River to safely reach the Continental Army, the Americans. Obviously, this was an enormous help to the colonial cause.
Galvez was not thanked by the Second Continential Congress for his enormous help in any big way, not during the war and not after, mostly because he was not a patriot or a supporter of the American cause. He was Spanish and loyal to the Spanish king. It served Spain's interest to help the colonists in their fight against the British. In 1779, three years before the Revolutionary War was over, Spain declared war on England. The British found themselves fighting on two fronts - at home against Spain and in the colonies against the colonists.
Galvez made a huge difference to the outcome of the colonial effort. The colonists might have won anyway, but then again, perhaps not. Having a flow of supplies was critical to the health of Washington's Continental army. Having Britain fighting on two front certainly helped as well.
It was not until recent times, in 2014, that Galvez received official recognition from the United States for his efforts during the Revolutionary War. Congress made Galvez an honorary US citizen. This assured his place in the history books, with attention at last for his help in our fight for independence from Britain. As the Smithsonian entitled their article about Galvez: "The Little Remembered Ally Who Helped America Win the Revolutionary War."