Hispanic Heritage
Bernardo de Galvez - Friend of American Freedom

Bernardo de Galvez - Friend of American Freedom
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.9

     challenging words:    mid-1700s, vice-king, well-fed, restoration, strategist, hailed, helping, bullying, viceroy, leadership, cavalry, authority, courageous, military, eastward, artillery
     content words:    American Revolution, New World, New Spain, Louisiana Purchase, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Indian Wars, New Orleans, Carlos III, North America

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Bernardo de Galvez - Friend of American Freedom
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     Most everyone knows the heroes of the American Revolution. If you heard only their first names, you could probably guess who each one was. Let's see...there was the great George, of course, and Thomas, Paul, Patrick, Benjamin, and...Bernardo?? It's true Bernardo de Galvez, a Spaniard, was a hero of the U.S. War of Independence.
2     Galvez was born in 1746 into a noble family in Spain. He came from a long line of men who were trusted officers of the crown. As boys in his family usually did, he went to military school. By the age of 16, Bernardo had made a name for himself in the royal army. He became a captain.
3     In the mid-1700s, Spain's holdings in the New World were large. They included Mexico and islands in the Gulf. They spread out over the southern half of what is now the U.S. In his early twenties, Galvez served in this large area known as New Spain. Soon, he was given command of Spanish forces in the western region. His task was to subdue the Apaches who preyed on Spanish settlements in the area. He was wounded twice in these battles.
4     Galvez spent the next few years studying military science. He became an expert strategist and leader of men. In 1777, he was named governor of the Spanish territory of Louisiana. (Most of this vast land would later become part of the U.S. as the Louisiana Purchase.) Galvez had long been interested in Spain's New World neighbors, the thirteen British colonies of America. He admired the rebels who stood up to British bullying. He exchanged letters with leaders like Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry.
5     At the time, Spain was in conflict with Britain. Spain resented the fact that it had lost territories to its old rival in the French and Indian Wars of the mid-1700s. Galvez had secret orders to help the rebels in their battle with Britain. Galvez's new position gave him authority over the port of New Orleans. He had his forces stop British vessels from sailing up the Mississippi. Instead, traveling up and down the great river were Spanish and U.S. vessels. They carried supplies, arms, and money to U.S. patriot forces. France, another friend of the American rebels, sent ships as well.

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