Educating the public on Spain’s forgotten role in the war for American Independence
HOUSTON TEXAS CHAPTER
What we do
BERNARDO DE GÁLVEZ
The Order of the Granaderos y Dámas de Gálvez works to educate people about Spain’s contribution to
our war for independence, namely by bringing attention to the valiant feats of Bernardo de Gálvez.
He was a man whose dedication to his King and to the ideals of freedom propelled heroic leadership and the
accomplishment of uncanny deeds that could potentially have been exceedingly costly to him and to his country.
He masterminded and financed clandestine shipments of critical supplies and information to the
colonists well before Spain declared war against England. Later, he amassed an army and led them to victory in five major Revolutionary War battles. This secured supply lines and protected American armies against
additional attacks. He fed his troops with cattle from Texas, and he was gracious in victory and greatly admired by the people he governed.
A larger-than-life-size, bronze, equestrian statue of General Bernardo de Gálvez is in the works to be erected in Galveston, Texas. It will be located across Seawall Boulevard, and very near the entrance to Galveston’s famous Pleasure Pier, which receives more than 5 million visitors a year.
At this time, the Bernardo de Gálvez Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution and the Granaderos y Damas de Gálvez are seeking funds to develop this section of Menard Park, which will become the Bernardo de Gálvez Plaza.
The project budget is $700,000, and to date over $75,000 has been raised through generous donations from individuals and grants from cultural and educational foundations.
Our idea would be to name the plaza for a major corporate or private donor, as in XYZ Corporation Bernardo de Gálvez Plaza. In addition, based on levels of donations, individuals and families will be recognized with engraved paving bricks, granite plaques and bronze plates. There are other features of the plaza, such as park benches, loggia, and arbors, which will also require sponsorship.
The Bernardo de Gálvez Statue Plaza project oﬀers an opportunity to connect residents of the Gulf Coast, who may not realize their heritage as descendants of patriots who fought for American independence, with early revolutionary war patriots who lived in this area. The monument and permanent explanatory entablatures will help fill in omissions in our history by commemorating Spain’s contribution toward removing the British from the Gulf Coast during The Revolution, and it will fittingly honor the accomplishments of Gálvez in the city that bears his name. The project will also raise awareness of the multi-ethnic army of Spaniards, Mestizos, Creoles, Indians, and free Africans that Gálvez assembled. Thus, a monument to Gálvez represents the nation’s motto of “E Pluribus Unum” (out of many, one) by honoring the Spanish war hero, and by recognizing the area’s multi-cultural ties to the American Revolution!
This important community development project combines visual arts, public education, preservation of park space, and a patriotic honoring of our ethnically diverse ancestors. It would also be a fitting memorial to Gálvez and to Spain for their contribution to the American Revolution!
Gálvez the Unsung Hero of the American Revolution - Let's Make Him Sing!
By Marec Béla Steffens, librettist of the Gálvez Opera Project
Have a look at the life of Bernardo de Gálvez. He was fighting the Apache in Texas. Fighting the Moors in Africa. The Portuguese in Europe. The British all around the Gulf of Mexico. A crucial contributor to American independence. The namesake of Galveston. The man who established the tradition of Texas cattle drives. His life is crying to become an opera, isn’t it?
Reading about Gálvez is a sheer pleasure. Characteristic scenes, colorful speech, striking anecdotes left, right, and center. And think of the people around him:
All these characters will be part of the Gálvez opera. Their various ethnic backgrounds will be a feast for the composer. And a formidable composer we have: it is Mary Carol Warwick who has nine operas brought to stage so far, including several commissioned by Houston Grand Opera. Two of her operas are bilingual, English-Spanish. Her works are performed not only in the U.S. and in Canada, but also in Europe and in Singapore. She is intrigued by the libretto and already had several working sessions with Marec.
We will do a showcase performance when part of the music is ready. Stay tuned!
Marec Béla Steffens is a German writer and librettist who lived in Houston in 2005 and in 2011-16. He has published five books of fairy-tales in German. The manuscript for his next one, again illustrated by his wife Krystyna, was accepted by his German publisher and will have an English edition has well.
Opera scenes on two of his original libretti were performed in the final round of opera competitions in London (Genesis Opera Project) and at Rheinsberg Castle near Berlin. A children’s opera on Marec’s libretto, likewise with music by German composer Mario Wiegand, was world premiered in Kassel. “Two Cells in Seville” (working title), a chamber opera with Marec’s original libretto and music by his father Walter Steffens, will be world premiered by the Round Top Theatre Forum in cooperation with the Greenbriar Consortium in Houston (1 Nov. 2016) and in Round Top TX (5 Nov. 2016).
Parts of the Gálvez opera libretto were read in Houston, San Antonio, and Washington DC.
Marec’s contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fundraising has started. Donations are tax-deductible.
Here an important Links:
The Order of Granaderos de Gálvez was founded in 1975 by Mr. Charles E. Barrera and Mr. Henry Guerra, of San Antonio, TX. Mr. Barrera, a local businessman, was a Canary Island Descendant and president of several civic and historical organizations. Mr. Guerra was a well-know local radio personality.
As members of the Bicentennial Commission, Mr. Guerra and Mr. Barrera extended an invitation for Consul General Erik I. Martel, the first Consul General from Spain to be assigned in Houston since 1821, to be their guest at the U.S. Bicentennial Celebration in San Antonio. Consul Martel accepted the invitation. From their early conversations the three gentlemen conceived the idea of founding The Order of Granaderos de Gálvez to educate the public of the great contributions that Spain and General Gálvez gave the American colonies during the American Revolution. Another idea was that of sponsoring an annual Fourth of July ceremony in San Antonio. Consul General Martel gave his full support to the idea of an American organization, which would honor General Bernardo de Galvez, the unsung hero.
The organization was founded during the Bicentennial of the United States in 1976 to research and understand the pivotal, yet unpublicized role of Spain -- and the contributions of her King and her people -- to the colonists’ victory in the American Revolution.
In this endeavor, our organization labors to teach about this important, but forgotten, aspect of American history, and we do so primarily by illuminating the accomplishments of General Bernardo De Gálvez of Spain, a great hero of our country’s war for independence. We also perpetuate the memory of the Spanish soldiers who fought during the American Revolution. We encourage research into the battles fought by Gálvez’ troops and foster preservation of documents and relics of battles in which they took part, and we encourage the publication of the individual service records of the soldiers and patriotic citizens who participated in achieving the independence of the United States.
“I grew up as a Hispanic boy in East Houston. In school I learned all about the Boston Tea Party, about Paul Revere, and all that happened up north in the thirteen colonies. But they never told me about Gálvez or the pivotal role of Spain and the Gulf Coast in the American Revolution. I’m so proud that today I know we were part of it, and a big part at that!”
John Espinosa, Governor, Houston Chapter, Los Granaderos y Damas de Gálvez
The mission of the organization is to inform the public about Spain’s substantial, although generally little known, contributions to the success of the American Revolution.
Our Organization works to preserve the memory of Bernardo de Gálvez' troops by research and battle reenactments
The Granaderos y Dámas de Gálvez serves as color Guard at important civic events in 18th Century costume.
We educate the public about the pivotal role of Spain in the American Revolution. Toward this end, we focus on the heroic feats of Count Bernardo de Gálvez
Connect With Us
The Granaderos y Dámas de Gálvez is also a social organization which, in addition to our travel, meets regularly to hear developments on academic research on the Revolution and to enjoy tapas, delicious meals, and strong camaraderie. We have been invited to special audiences with the King and Queen of Spain, and we continue to foster a strong friendship between Spain and the United States. For more information contact us at: email@example.com
We invite you to join!
Educating the public on Spain’s forgotten role in the war for American Independence
© 2016 Granaderos y Dámas de Gálvez, Houston Texas Chapter. All rights reserved.