The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 477
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E. Chivez, Americans might now more easily learn, as newscaster Paul Harvey
would say, "the rest of the story."
A decade ago, Eric Beerman, noted historian of Madrid, Spain, wrote a splen-
did, similarly titled book, Espaia y la Independencia de Estados Unzdos (Madrid,
Spain: Editorial MAPFRE, 1992) in honor of the Columbian Quincentennial,
but the book was written in Spanish, and relatively few Americans can read and
understand Spanish, so its readership has been limited. The book by Chivez,
however, is in English, and it is a welcome addition that will serve to enlighten
English-speaking Americans about the vital role of Spain in the winning of
Chavez delved deeply into the archives of Spain and elsewhere to document
and write astonishing information that brings new light and fresh air into the
history of the American Revolution. In the very first paragraph of the preface,
Chivez postulates that Spain helped the United States to achieve its indepen-
dence from England, a fact not well known in the United States although it has
been known and documented in Spain since at least 1925.
In twelve succeeding chapters, Chivez proves his point by describing in con-
siderable detail how Spain, even before its formal declaration of war against Eng-
land on June 21, 1779, covertly sent great amounts of money, arms,
ammunition, medicine, blankets, shoes, uniforms and other supplies to the
Americans. Then, against a backdrop of complex, diplomatic maneuvering, he
vividly relates the brilliant Spanish military campaigns in North America after
war was officially declared. Indeed, Spanish forces fought and defeated the
British in the midsection of North America from St. Joseph (now in Michigan)
to Natchez, Baton Rouge, and Manchac; at Mobile and Pensacola; in Central
America; and in the Bahamas. By these actions, the Spanish diverted British
manpower that could have been directed toward George Washington and his
Interwoven in the pages of the book is the grand story of Gen. Bernardo de
Gilvez, who commanded the Spanish forces that defeated the British in battles
along the Mississippi River, in British West Florida, and the Bahamas, while hold-
ing open the Mississippi River, which served as a veritable lifeline of supply to
the American forces under George Washington and George Rogers Clark.
A bonus feature of the book is the thirty-one-page section of plates, many in
color, of significant Spanish memorabilia that relate to the American Revolution.
Chavez's excellent book adds a new dimension to the history of the American
Revolution, one that gives Spain long overdue credit for its manifold contributions
to American independence. With this book, all Hispanics everywhere can rightful-
ly identify with the American Revolution and learn that their Hispanic forebears,
too, lent an important hand in the winning of American independence from
whence came the freedom and opportunity that we still enjoy in our nation today.
I strongly recommend that all thoughtful Americans read this fine book.
Hopefully, its information will be incorporated soon into history textbooks and
encyclopedias and become common knowledge.
Karnes City, Texas
ROBERT H. THONHOFF
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/545/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.