Mexico City

During the American Revolution, New Spain (currently Mexico, Honduras,Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica) supplied gunpowder and millions of pesos for the war effort against England. From his palace (currently in the Plaza del Zócalo), Viceroy Martín de Mayorga organized an impressive collection that extended to the remotest regions of the territory. Landowners, merchants, soldiers, farmers, even Indians from the poorest missions, contributed to the effort; their donations would leave the port of Veracruz destined for Cuba or New Orleans, as well as the allied French fleet.

Bernardo de Gálvez’s victorious campaigns and the support he received from his uncle José, Secretary of the Indies, raised him to the pinnacle of his career.In 1785, after the death of his father Matías, he became viceroy of New Spain. During his term he worked for the well-being of the people, improved the city’s public facilities, and began construction of the castle of Chapultepec. Today, it houses the Museo de Historia Nacional (Museum of National History), where three of the six original portraits of Gálvez still in existence are displayed. The tombs of Bernardo and Matías lie in the Church of San Fernando, in the Franciscan convent from which Fray Junípero Serra and other friars departed to found missions in the regions of Sonora and California.

José Manuel Guerrero Acosta
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