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Biographies Unit Biographies

Bernardo de Gálvez 1746–1786
Spanish Leader During the American Revolution

Bernardo de Gálvez was the governor of the Spanish colony of Louisiana when the Revolutionary War began in 1776. Gálvez helped the Patriots by keeping British armies and supplies out of the Mississippi River. He also gave the United States army ammunition and food.

When Spain joined the war, Gálvez prepared a series of military attacks against British forts in West Florida. As he gathered supplies, a hurricane destroyed his ships. Gálvez decided to attack by land instead of water. His army drove the British further east.

Gálvez prepared another fleet of ships to attack the British at Pensacola in present-day Florida. A second hurricane scattered this fleet. Gálvez did not give up. A fleet from the Spanish Royal Navy joined Gálvez's fleet for the attack. The commander of the royal fleet refused to enter Pensacola Bay even though he was in authority. Gálvez led the charge instead. His forces captured Pensacola. By winning these battles, he made sure the British could not attack the Patriots from the south and west.

Comprehension Check

What did Gálvez do during the Revolutionary War?

Critical Thinking

What qualities do you think helped Gálvez continue when a hurricane destroyed his first fleet?