On May 8th, 1781, a shell penetrated the magazine in the Queen’s Redoubt. The explosion of the magazine killed nearly 100 English defenders of the fort. The Queen's Redoubt was one of the three strong points that the British had built for the defense of Pensacola against a Spanish attack. After the explosion, the Spanish were quick to attack and occupy the position.
Campbell, the English commander, soon surrendered Pensacola to Bernardo de Galvez (pictured). With that surrender, the British lost their last foothold in Western Florida and were cleared from the Gulf of Mexico.
Although often forgotten, the Spanish declared war on England as well as France during the American Revolution. However, due to their American colonies, they did not recognize the United States. None the less, her contribution was important. Spain blockaded Gibraltar and caused the English to send much of its fleet to aide in its defense. Spain and England were also involved in a series of clashes throughout the Caribbean. In fact, the last battle of the American revolution was not fought at Yorktown, but in the Bahamas.
However, from the view point of the nascent United States, there is little doubt that clearing the English from West Florida and Louisiana was of critical significance. Had the English retained a toe hold on the Gulf, it is possible they would have eventually seized control of New Orleans. Had that happened the western boundary of U.S. expansion may have ended up being the Mississippi River. Who knows, maybe it would have been Jackson getting chopped to pieces as he was assaulting the entrenched British defenders of New Orleans in 1814.
Lafayette and Comte de Grasse have received their due in the history books. This post is a reminder of the forgotten Bernardo de Galvez. It can be argued that, in its own way, his victory at Pensacola was as important as Yorktown.