By Bob Jamison

          We’ll see it again in 2011 for it is currently being reconstructed in Malaga, Spain. If she could speak it would be a story of heroism and extreme importance in the great battle of The American Revolution against the British.

          To emphasize the significance of this ship to the City of Galveston itself, it has been reported the oak trees that were killed on Broadway street in Galveston by Hurricane Ike, that some timbers from these trees will be sent to Spain to be a part of this great ship construction. That hurricane killed hundreds of trees there due to salt water surge tides over the island. This was a sad occasion for the loss of the beautiful drive down Broadway but it pales in comparison to the 1900 storm that killed thousands of people in Galveston.

          Bernado de Galvez, Count of Galvez, a Spanish military leader, general of Spanish forces in New Spain, governor of Louisiana, governor of Cuba, viceroy or New Spain and became a hero fighting on the side of The Colonies in the American Revolution. The City of Galveston was named in his memory and that famous ship The Galveztown was followed by the new spelling of the city.

          Galvez was born in a mountain village in the province of Malaga, Spain on July 23, l746. Coincidentally, it is the same later birth place of famed artist Pablo Picaso. Galvez achieved great promise in the studies of military science and his heroic victories over the Apache Indians in New Spain (Mexico) in 1762. He received several serious wounds but continued his remarkable career. This brought him back to Spain and was then transferred to Pau, France with the Cantabria regiment. He became fluent in the French language which ultimately prepared him as governor of Louisiana.  

          Even before Spain officially joined the cause of The American Revolution by declaring war against England on June 21, 1779, Galvez led American forces through New Orleans on the way to reclaim Florida from the British. He carried out a masterful military campaign and defeated the British colonial forces at Manchac, Baton Rouge, and Natchez in 1779. The he recaptured Mobile from the British at the Battle of Fort Charlotte. Of great importance was victory over the British on May 9, 178l, when he attacked and took by land and sea Pensacola, Florida; the British capital of West Florida.

          Galvez recognized the importance for France and Spain to advance the cause of the American revolutionaries and was among those who drafted the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1783) that ended the American Revolutionary War in favor of the colonies. The treaty also regained East and West Florida from the British for Spain. Galvez was dutifully recognized for his efforts by George Washington.

          The Galveztown was the ship commanded by the Malaga hero Bernado de Galvez to capture the important port of Pensacola and others. Its reconstruction will take two years. During that time and afterwards, it will be the center of exhibitions and conferences that certainly might be a formidable remembrance of Galvez himself and indeed, the City of Galveston.

          Hopefully, someday near the year 2011 we might see a magnificent fighting lady, the good ship Galveztown sailing into the port of our own Galveston, Texas.