The Defence Minister, Margarita Robles, attended the inauguration at the Naval Museum of the temporary exhibition “From the Caribbean to the English Channel. The Spanish Navy in American Independence”, with which it seeks to recover and spread the common past of more than 300 years that links Spain and the United States.
The exhibition, in which important lending institutions participate, can be visited until February 8, 2023, and is the first temporary exhibition organised by the Naval Museum since its remodelling and reopening in 2020.
“From the Caribbean to the English Channel” brings together 104 pieces that allow you to go through the main episodes of the conflict and spread the role of its main protagonists, “because the history of the United States of America is written in capital letters with the Ñ of Spain”, assured Eva García, president of Legacy and honorary curator of the Naval Museum.
Robles has been interested in the different expeditions of the Spanish Navy that participated in the war, in the historical context of the reign of Carlos III and also in the American colonies, stopping before the historical document of the unanimous declaration of independence.
She has also stopped before the portrait of George Washington and a phrase he wrote about the decisive importance of Franco-Spanish naval power in the chances of victory: “The truth of the position depends exclusively on naval events. If France and Spain united, and obtained a decisive superiority by sea…”.
Likewise, he has shown interest in the figure and curious portrait of Luis de Córdoba, one of the “great Spanish sailors (such as José de Mazarredo or José Solano y Bote, among others), who contributed to the victory of the Thirteen Colonies, as well as the recovery for Spain of Menorca and Florida”, explained the Admiral Chief of the Navy General Staff, Admiral General Antonio Martorell.
During the tour of the exhibition, they explained the Spanish naval victory in Menorca, the island was recovered and that day was established as the Military Easter, as well as the deed of Bernardo de Gálvez, who captured the British forts of Baton Rouge, Manchac and Natchez with a multi-ethnic force far inferior to the British troops.
Finally, Robles described the exhibition as “spectacular” and congratulated the entire team that has made it possible, hoping that now the citizens will go see it to learn about that part of the history of Spain and its barely recognised link with the United States and spread.
Distributed into 4 thematic areas, the exhibition starts from the first Spanish presence in North America in the 16th century, to continue with a contextualisation of the reign of Carlos III and the situation of the Royal Navy in the 18th century when the independence episode took place.
A third part covers the main war events in which Spain participated and, finally, the exhibition closes with an analysis of the results obtained after the signing of the peace agreement and the cultural imprint left by Spain on North American lands.
Along with the works from the Naval Museum collections, the 43 pieces on loan from other institutions stand out, including the National Library of Spain, the General Archive of the Indies, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando or the Museum Prado National. The exhibition has been curated by Berta Gasca and Inés Abril.
The Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral General Teodoro López Calderón, the Secretary General of the CNI, Esperanza Casteleiro, and the Chief of the Air Force Staff, Air Force General Javier Salto, attended the inauguration, among other authorities civilian and military.
The Naval Museum is a state-owned cultural entity, located on the first floor of the General Headquarters of the Navy on Paseo del Prado, Madrid.