APL Colloquium

October 11, 2019

Colloquium Topic: The Hispanic Assistance to the American Revolution

The American Revolution has been studied from many angles ever since it took place almost two centuries and a half ago.  However, the Hispanic participation and contributions to the process are still relatively unknown to this day, even though they were important factors in its triumph.  This talk gives an overview of the many instances in which diplomatic and logistical assistance, and direct combat involvement by Hispanics helped a nascent United States achieve its dream of becoming independent from Britain.  Follow General Bernardo de Gálvez as he attacks, defeats, and captures a whole British army; see how Admiral Córdoba inflicts the biggest convoy loss in British history in one single stroke; and how Rear-Admiral Lángara put out of action a Royal Navy fleet twice the size of his own.  Find out how Spanish silver from Havana, Cuba and the Viceroyalty of the New Spain paid for the Battle of Yorktown, which finally consolidated the independence of the United States.  Those and many other instances of Hispanic assistance to the Revolution will be presented and discussed during the talk.

Colloquium Speaker: Héctor L. Díaz

Born in Puerto Rico, Héctor L. Díaz has always had a passion of history ever since he was growing up in his native island.  At present, he works as an analyst for the Department of Defense, where he has been employed since 1982.  Mr. Díaz has researched the contributions of Hispanics to the American Revolution since 1984, when he found out about them while on a trip to Yorktown Battlefield Park in Virginia.  From that moment on, and after much investigation, he started writing articles and giving talks on the subject, and ended up founding The Hispanics in History Cultural Organization Inc. in 1993, which spreads the word on Hispanic historical highlights in world history.  The organization also fields a re-enactment group which revives the Hispanic troops that fought in the Revolution and that has traveled all over the United States for its presentations.

In Maryland, he researched and authored a resolution recognizing the participation of Hispanics in the process of American independence, which was adopted by the State’s Legislature, as Senate Joint 2, on April 8, 1997. The resolution is now included in the history texts and courses taught in the State.

Mr. Díaz has given talks on this subject in, among others; the University of Texas; the University of Puerto Rico; the National Security Agency; the National Park Service; the National Archives; Mt. Vernon, home of George Washington; Ferry Farm, boyhood home of George Washington; Montpelier Mansion, Maryland; and the Embassy of Spain in Washington DC.

Mr. Díaz’s academic credentials include a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico, with minors in History and languages. Mr. Díaz speaks five languages.