Texas and the American Revolution
Robert H. Thonhoff*
A LL TOO OFTEN, WHEN AMERICANS THINK OF THE AMERICAN REVOLU-
tion, they think only in terms of the events that occurred in the thir-
teen English colonies. Important as they were, they do not tell the whole
story. An oft-neglected part of it concerns the role of Spain in the Ameri-
can Revolution.' A generally unknown sidebar to that story is the unique
and interesting way that Texas-its soldiers, ranchers, and cattle-con-
tributed to the winning of the war for independence." Overlooked by
most historians much too long, the contribution of Spain, Texas includ-
ed, was vital in the winning of American independence over two hun-
dred years ago.
If the average Texan or American were asked what was going on in
Texas during the American Revolution, the answer would probably be
that nothing was happening. But Spanish archival records indicate that
there was far more activity in Texas than is generally acknowledged
among the public and in textbooks."
One of the most interesting and significant records, for example, is
the muster roll for the company of cavalry stationed at Presidio San An-
tonio de Bexar on the Fourth ofJuly, 1776. While fifty-six Americans af-
fixed their signatures to the Declaration of Independence at the old
State House in Philadelphia, eighty-two Texans were listed on the
* Robert H Thonhoff is a retired schoolteacher and a former Karnes County judge. He
spends much of his free time researching, writing, and speaking on Spanish Texas history. This
paper was presented as his presidential address at the March 1995 annual meeting of the TSHA
In San Antonio
' Spain engaged Great Britain not only on the North American continent during the Ameri-
can Revolution but also in such far-flung places as Nicaragua, the West Indies, Bermuda, the
Azores, Cape Verde Islands, Senegal, off the British coast, Gibraltar, Minorca, Capetown, and
even India. The best book thus far on Spain's role in the winning of American independence is
Eric Beerman, Espai~a y la Independencza de Eviados Unzdos (Madrid Editorial MAPFRE, 1992).
z For a detailed portrayal of the role that Texas played in the winning of the American Revolu-
tion, see Robert H. Thonhoff, The Texas Connection with the Amercan Revolution (Burnet, Tex.:
Eakin Press, 1981).
' The Bexar Archives records, in the Center for American History at the University of Texas at
Austin (cited hereafter as CAH), provide a wealth of information on life and times in Spanish
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101216/. Accessed July 22, 2014.