Thursday, 29 March 2012 - 2:35pm
(Tallahassee, FL) - Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward, along with Honorary Vice Consul to Spain, Maria Davis last week accepted one of the State of Florida’s highest awards on behalf of Revolutionary War Hero and Pensacola historical figure Bernardo de Gálvez.
Hayward was joined by other representatives from Pensacola historical, archaeological, and cultural organizations in accepting the award, presented by Florida Governor Rick Scott, and Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner in Tallahassee on March 22.
Bernardo de Gálvez, who was a highly decorated Spanish military leader, served as Governor of Louisiana in 1777, and in the fall of 1779, began an eastward campaign originating in New Orleans to drive British forces from the Mississippi River Valley and from the Gulf Coast. After taking Baton Rouge, Natchez, and Mobile, Gálvez set his sights on Pensacola, a vital port and British stronghold on the Gulf Coast.
The Battle of Pensacola was one of the most significant engagements of the American Revolution. Gálvez commanded a diverse army of approximately 7,500 troops against heavily manned British fortifications. On May 10, 1781, the British surrendered to Gálvez, which allowed American Revolutionary forces a clear western front, and enabled General George Washington to concentrate his efforts against the British along the Eastern seaboard.
“On behalf of the citizens of the City of Pensacola, first settled by the Spanish in 1559, it is my honor to accept the 2012 Great Floridian Award on behalf of Bernardo de Gálvez,” said Hayward.
“Not only a decorated officer for the Spanish military and political leader for the Spanish colonial empire, Gálvez played an integral role in the Revolutionary War along the Gulf Coast. By defeating a British assault on New Orleans, then continuing east and winning the battles of Fort Charlotte in Mobile, Alabama, and then Fort George in Pensacola, Gálvez freed the Gulf territories from British control, and helped pave the way for our nation's independence,” Hayward continued.
“As a proud Pensacolian, it is a privilege to represent the Gálvez family and his legacy in accepting this award,” said Hayward.
The Great Floridian Program is designed to recognize and record the achievements of Floridians, living and deceased, who have made major contributions to the progress and welfare of this state. Nominations are presented to the Governor, who passes along his top pics to the Secretary of State for final designation.
Gálvez joins other Great Floridians including inventor Thomas Edison, former U.S. Senator Bob Graham, and Publix founder George Washington Jenkins.