Bernardo de Gálvez

Spanish Hero of the American Revolution

By Gonzalo M. Quintero Saravia

616 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 46 halftones, 2 maps, 3 graphs, 23 tables, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-4079-2
    Published: May 2018
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-4080-8
    Published: March 2018

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Awards & distinctions

2019 Distinguished Book Award in Biography, Society for Military History

Although Spain was never a formal ally of the United States during the American Revolution, its entry into the war definitively tipped the balance against Britain. Led by Bernardo de Gálvez, supreme commander of the Spanish forces in North America, their military campaigns against British settlements on the Mississippi River—and later against Mobile and Pensacola—were crucial in preventing Britain from concentrating all its North American military and naval forces on the fight against George Washington’s Continental army. In this first comprehensive biography of Gálvez (1746@–86), Gonzalo M. Quintero Saravia assesses the commander’s considerable historical impact and expands our understanding of Spain’s contribution to the war.

A man of both empire and the Enlightenment, as viceroy of New Spain (1785@–86), Gálvez was also pivotal in the design and implementation of Spanish colonial reforms, which included the reorganization of Spain’s Northern Frontier that brought peace to the region for the duration of the Spanish presence in North America. Extensively researched through Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. archives, Quintero Saravia’s portrait of Gálvez reveals him as central to the histories of the Revolution and late eighteenth-century America and offers a reinterpretation of the international factors involved in the American War for Independence.

About the Author

Gonzalo M. Quintero Saravia, S.J.D., Ph.D., is the author of several books on eighteenth-century Spanish American history and a former Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.
For more information about Gonzalo M. Quintero Saravia, visit the Author Page.


“Drawing on archives in Spain, Mexico, the US, and Great Britain, Quintero Saravia expands knowledge of Gálvez’s role in campaigns against Apache Indians in Mexico and of the period Gálvez spent in Iberia between military service in New Spain (1769–72) and as governor of Louisiana (1776–85).”--Choice

“This is an important book and anyone interested in colonial American history, and particularly in what happened in eighteenth-century Louisiana, will find it required reading.”--Arkansas Historical Quarterly

“Quintero Seravia’s excellent biography of Gálvez should serve to enlighten those who wish to learn more about this historical figure that played such a crucial role in the American Revolution.”--H-Net Reviews

“Gonzalo M. Quintero Saravia's biography unwraps an exciting and complex life story of the Spaniard Bernardo de Gálvez with an ambitious scope that changes our understanding of the American Revolution. . . . A significant contribution.”--Missouri Historical Review

“In tracing the experiences of this one individual, Saravia is able to glean several important insights into the eighteenth-century Iberian Atlantic world. . . .Readers across several subfields are sure to benefit from his re-introduction of a significant figure in the history of the revolutionary Atlantic world.”--Journal of American History

“For anyone seeking to know more about the Spanish dimensions of the American Revolution, Quintero Saravia’s Bernardo de Gálvez should be required reading. Rarely has a historian treated the subject so thoroughly or with so much erudition. The result is an important addition to scholarship on the American founding, one that situates the revolution in the wider continental and hemispheric context where it belongs.”--William and Mary Quarterly