Researching the American Revolution

Your source for information on the American War of Independence



Spain’s involvement in the American Revolution was significant, though often overlooked in favor of the more direct French assistance to the American cause. The Spanish government, under King Charles III, was not an immediate ally to the colonies when war broke out in 1775, as their official position was one of neutrality. However, motivated by a desire to weaken their British rivals and regain territories lost during the Seven Years’ War, Spain clandestinely provided much-needed supplies, financial aid, and military equipment to the Continental Army through the Company of Havana, even before the formal declaration of war against Britain in 1779.

Upon Spain’s official entry into the war, they opened up a second front in Europe. They initiated a global war that strained Britain’s naval resources, thereby easing pressure on the American colonies. Spanish forces, led by General Bernardo de Gálvez, Governor of Louisiana, were instrumental in combating the British in the Gulf Coast region. Gálvez’s troops successfully captured key British posts in Baton Rouge, Natchez, and Mobile, culminating in the vital Siege of Pensacola in 1781, which effectively ended British influence in the region and kept the Mississippi River open for American use. While Spain did not directly ally with the American rebels in a manner akin to France, their contribution to the colonial cause was undeniably significant, offering an essential counterweight to British power during the pivotal years of the American Revolution.

Diaries and Memoirs

Worcester, Donald E. (1950) “Miranda’s Diary of the Siege of Pensacola, 1781,” Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 29: No. 3, Article 3. Available at:

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

Other Primary Sources

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

Davenport, Frances G., and Charles Oscar Paullin, eds. European Treaties Bearing on the History of the United States and Its Dependencies. 4 vols. Clark, N.J: Lawbook Exchange, 2004.

Secondary Sources

Adkins, Roy, and Leslie Adkins. Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege in British History. S.l.: Viking, 2018.

Chartrand, René. Gibraltar, 1779-83: The Great Siege. Campaign 172. Oxford ; New York: Osprey, 2006.

DuVal, Kathleen. Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution. First edition. New York: Random House, 2015.

Falkner, James. Fire over the Rock: The Great Siege of Gibraltar, 1779-1783. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England: Pen & Sword Military, 2009.

Ferreiro, Larrie D. Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France & Spain Who Saved It. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.

Glickstein, Don. After Yorktown: The Final Struggle for American Independence, 2015.

McGuffie, T.H. The Siege of Gibraltar – 1779-1783. Philadelphia: Dufour Editions, 1965.

Quintero Saravia, Gonzalo M. Bernardo de Gálvez: Spanish Hero of the American Revolution. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2018.

Russell, Jack. Gibraltar Besieged 1779-1783. London: Heinemann, 1965.

Raab, James W. Spain, Britain, and the American Revolution in Florida, 1763-1783. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co, 2008.

Serna, Pierre, Antonino De Francesco, and Judith A. Miller, eds. Republics at War, 1776-1840: Revolutions, Conflicts, and Geopolitics in Europe and the Atlantic World. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Thomson, Buchanan Parker. Spain, Forgotten Ally of the American Revolution. North Quincy, Mass: Christopher Pub. House, 1976.

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