The “Our Views” editorial concerning the visit of the French frigate Hermione included the statement “Louisiana was not among the 13 Colonies that participated in the American Revolution.” This is a common and profoundly incorrect version of history.
During the American Revolution, Louisiana was a colony of Spain. Beginning in 1762, the king of Spain recruited displaced Acadians to settle in Louisiana. By the time the American Revolution began, the population of Louisiana included a large number of Acadians. Spain recruited men for its local regular army from this population and organized the rest of the male citizens into militia regiments.
Spain declared war on Britain in 1779 and supported the American Revolution with money, supplies and combat troops. Gen. Bernardo Gálvez led an army of Spanish regulars and Louisiana militia in a series of decisive battles against the British. Victories at Baton Rouge, Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida, forced the British off the Gulf of Mexico and secured America’s southern border.
Louisianians, including Acadians, formed the majority of this combat force. Today, descendants of these soldiers of Spain qualify for membership in the Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution. Just this year, in recognition of his and Louisiana’s contribution to the American Revolution, Gálvez was made an honorary citizen of the United States.