Spain and the Independence of the United States: An Intrinsic Gift

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UNM Press, 2004 - History - 330 pages
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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.


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My interest in this book had to do with research pertaining to George Washington, his beloved jackasses and early mule production in the colonies....unfortunately, most of what Mr. Chavez relates regarding the jacks in inaccurate. Yes, the players mentioned and their correspondence is factual, however, two jackasses, not mules were sent on separate ships. One, who arrived in Gloucester, MA on September 26, 1785, on a ship named the Ranger is the jack that GW named "Royal Gift". Quality mule production had become almost an obsession with Washington. For Mr. Chavez, from the first page of this book to say that the king would have sent mules is asinine at best. Mules are the get of a female horse and a male donkey and as a hybrid are sterile, so the whole of the information regarding these animals and the transaction borders on the ridiculous. I will also add that when the book was published, I actually called Mr. Chavez and spoke with him. He told me that he had conducted his research in Spain and we made an agreement to share our documentation so he could back up what is in the book. I sent him mine (Bill of Lading, etc), and I never heard from him, I cannot say how factual the rest of the book is based on the inaccuracies from the onset and his reluctance to provide documentation as promised. 

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h sur l'Infant gabriel et Franklin

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About the author (2004)

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.

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