Man May Get US Citizenship —200 Years After Death

Bill could grant Bernardo de Galvez only the eighth such honor
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2014 8:13 AM CDT
Bernardo de Galvez.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – A hero of the American Revolution who gave Galveston, Texas, its name may finally become an American. Some 200 years after he died, a bill that would give Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid honorary citizenship will be considered by the House Judiciary Committee this week, the New York Post reports. If the bill—authored by Republican Jeff Miller and co-sponsored by the entire Florida delegation—is passed, Gálvez will be just the eighth person to get the designation from Congress and, it appears, the first Spanish-speaker. As for why Florida is pushing the move, Miller notes that "capturing Pensacola was key to defeating the British forces, and it was achieved in large part due to the efforts of Gálvez." (Miller's chief of staff notes, however, "this is clearly an honorary situation" and has nothing to do with the current immigration debate.)

Some background: As governor of Spanish Louisiana, Gálvez backed the Americans even before Spain officially entered the war; he supplied US forces with weapons and medicine, and later led a 7,500-strong army that emerged victorious in Baton Rouge, Natchez, Mobile, and the Siege of Pensacola, a nearly two-month-long fight that snatched the last British naval base on the Gulf Coast from them. Voxxi points out Gálvez helped draft the Peace of Paris, which ended the war, in 1783, and his efforts earned him recognition from George Washington. But the Los Angeles Times noted in May that Gálvez's citizenship isn't a foregone conclusion: Mother Teresa is one of seven to have been conferred it thus far; Anne Frank didn't make the cut.

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