Tejanos Since 1712

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Col. Juan N. Seguin


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Hispanic Perspective

On American History

Hispanic Contribution to American History:

The contribution that Hispanics have made to the history of the united states of America have been omitted from our school books and, for that matter from all other media. As far as the American society at large knows, Hispanics had little or nothing to do with the Development of our beloved country. Most references of Hispanics in our history books lack emphasis as to the importance or significance of the impact the event had on our American history. My research via the internet has revealed that the contributions Hispanics have made to the history and development of our USA have been colossal and often pivotal or decisive as to the outcome of numerous events in the history of our country. Following are some history of this great country.


Let us start from the beginning or the so called discovery of the Americans. The name Christopher Columbus is not the name of the person who is given the credit for the discovery. The real name he was born with is Cristoforo Colombo, an Italian name. Upon moving to spain he changed his name to Cristobal Colon, Which was the name he had when he made the discovery on behalf of the King and Queen of Spain. A brief note here, introduced to Europe by the Original Hispanic country, Spain 1492.


The next phase in the development of our country is the exploration period. What is found here is that most of these explorations were in fact Spanish explorers. Names like Alva Nunez Cabeza de Vaca exploring  the Mississippi river in 1500's hernando de soto, pedro De Alvarado, Valsco Nunez de Balboa, Juan and Silvestre ponce  de leon, to name a few, made immense contributions to the mapping and paving the way for America to expand westward. Out of the 50 states in the USA .at least 31 states. Were explored or colonization by Hispanics started as early as the 1500's The Spanish were building presidios, missions and colomies in our American southwest as early as 1540. The Spanish introduced the horses to the SW Region during this same period. The oldest continuous US Settlement is ST. Agustine, Florida, founded by Spain in 1556, 51 years before Jamestown.


The next period in our American History is the colonization of the original 13 colonies culminating with the Revolutionary War. I'll make the history of the colonization of the 13 colonies brief, as I believe that, part of our wonderful American history is fairly well known, and comes under the contention that it's common Knowledge I will however. Mention that my research did reveal many Spaniards were among the English that settled in the 13 original colonies.

Revolutionary War

The American revolutionary war is a complete different story. This part of our American history almost totally omits any and all contributions Hispanics made to the American war for independence. The Contribution and levels of involvement the Spanish made to the revolutionary War of the United States of America is highly impressive and in numerous cases decisive.  The Spanish contribution to the American War of Independence were in three major parts The first part was that, the Spanish provided asylum for American Ships in ports in the southern portions of the United States, at that time Spanish Territory. This asylum included payments for needed repairs to American ships. The second part was, that during the whole duration of the war numerous financial donations and loans were provided to the colonial army. The Spanish financed over 80% of the American War of Independence.

The third part, in my view the most impressive, was the use of the Spanish Armed forces in fightimg and conquering the English held forts and possessions in the gulf of Mexico such as Florida and other ports. Bernardo Galvez the governor of Louisiana created an army from Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico which captured fort Manchac forcing the surrender of fort panmure in Nachez thus controlled the travel into the Mississippi River. This control of the Mississippi River totally disrupted, If not eliminated, all  communications of the British Army to the north. Other very significant battles of Galvez's army was the Battle of mobil in March 1780 and the Battle of Baton Rouge in 1781. The complete control of the southern part of the United States denied the British Army the ability to attack or supply their armies to the north. Additionally, this control of the southern approach also provided the Continental Army the ability to receive supplies mostly from Spain and France.

The other battles I will mention are what most historians call Pivotal, decisive imperative for victory and  definitive in the defeat of the British Army by the American Revolutionary Army. The first is the Battle Of Pensacola, in which the british were defeated by a force made up of Spanish and French troops. During this battle there were no colonial army troops involved. This battle gave an end to the Revolutionary War in the south on May 1781. The Other battle we all know about is the battle of Yorktown in which the British were defeated thus ending the war. What is not generally known or for the most part not known at all, is that French troops as well as troops from Galvez's army made up of most Spanish, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban soldiers were major combatants in the battle. Galvez's Army suffered over 4000 casualties in this battle.

Texas History

The Next period I'll address, is the Hispanic contributions to Texas History. What is common knowledge is that Texas gained its independence by defeating the Mexican army. We all know about the Alamo, that's where all the Mexicans in the World attacked and Killed all the defenders in the Alamo such as David Crocket, Jim Bowie and Col. Travis. What is not commonly known is that there were six Mexican-Texans who died defending the Alamo. An other little known fact is that during the battle of San Jacinto, a regiment of Mexican Texans commanded by Col. Juan Seguin fought on the side of Sam Houston. The battle cry for those Mexican Texans was  Recuerden el Alamo, Recuerden  goliad  meaning of course, Remember the Alamo, Remember Goliad.  Three other major Hispanic contributors  to Texas history, that merit a place of honor in our history books are Lorenzo de Zavala, Jose Antonio Navaro, and Jose Francisco Ruiz. Out if 59 men who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence these three Texas freedom fighters of Mexican descent all signed the Texas Declaration of Independence  at the Washington at the Brazos convention .  Lorenzo de Zavala went on to become the first Vise President of the Republic of Texas. The other two, Navaro and Ruiz, were the only two native Texans who affixed their names to this very significant document in the history of our great state,


The contributions Hispanics made during all the wars in American history  have also been somewhat excluded from our history books. During the American Civil War over 10,000 Hispanics fought on both sides of the war. Both the south and the north had complete units made up of Hispanic soldiers. The last battle fought during the civil war was fought in south Texas. The confederate forces of the battle was the 3rd Regiment of Texas Calvary commanded by Col. Santos Benavides. His entire regiment consisted of  nothing but Hispanic soldiers. Over 200,000 Hispanics were mobilized for WW 1, most of them were Mexican Americans. David B. Barkeley, a Hispanic soldier from Texas, won the Medal of Honor posthumously. More Medal of Honor have been awarded to Hispanics than any other identifiable group in the US. Hispanics have been awarded 42 Medals of Honor in all and are recognized as the most decorated group, per capita, in the battle field.  In the Viet Nam war Hispanics accounted for 25% of the Casualties while representing only 4.5% of the Population in the nation.

The Local Hispanic scene is also something to talk about. Hispanics have been and continue to be very impressive contributors in our community. The Army at Fort Hood has always been a major factor to our community. There have been two Hispanic Fort Hood Commanders, General Richard Cavazos and General Mark Cisneros. The other major influence to our community has been Central Texas College. The founding dean of the college was Doctor Luis Morton, A Mexican American from Loredo, Texas Mr. Raul Villaronga was the mayor for the city of Killeen for six years and Sara Flores is currently a city councilwoman. Last, but not least the current District Attorney of Bell County is Mr. Henry Garza. Temple, Texas has Mrs. Patsy Luna as a city councilwoman. The list of contemporary Hispanic notables is too long for me to list them all. However each community should be able to come up with there own impressive list.

The Hispanic Heritage month is designed to celebrate the Hispanic contribution to our American society. It is meant to make all citizens, Hispanic and non-Hispanic alike, aware of the Hispanic  culture and history, thus bridging any culture barriers to harmony and peace within our society. This article has been written with the before mentioned intent. The Tragedy of September 11th has heightened all Americans sense of patriotism and need for harmony and peace. When I say all Americans, of course I am including Hispanic Americans. I would like to see that the information I have provided in this article will make those Americans of Hispanic descent just  a little more proud to be American. The  other side of the coin of course is for all non-Hispanic Americans at-large to join us in this pride of Americanism, As written, Hispanics have been contributing to the history of our nation, the good old USA, since day one in October 1492. We continued to do more than our share in the development, defending, protecting and loving our country. Let us all make it our goal to one day make this type of information common knowledge to All Americans hoping the results to be a more ideal America where justice for all really means for all.

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© 2002 -- 2016 Jose (Joe) Landez League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Director, Distric XVII.

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