On Tuesday, October 5th, 2021, a plaque honoring Spanish martyrs who gave their lives during the American Revolutionary War was unveiled at Fort Greene Park. The tribute took place as part of Hispanic Heritage Month, which commemorates Hispanic contributions to U.S. history and culture.
Iberdrola, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Government of Spain and the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute collaborated to restore the plaque.
The plaque honors the 126 Spanish soldiers and sailors known to have been in Brooklyn on prison ships during the American Revolution.
Over 11,500 men and women died of overcrowding, contaminated water, starvation, and disease aboard sixteen British prison ships in nearby Wallabout Bay. These brave patriots represented all thirteen colonies and at least thirteen different nationalities.
The plaque honors the faithful soldiers who gave their lives for the cause and remembers the strong bonds of trust and friendship between Spain and the United States since the beginning of the history of this country.
The plaque was unveiled by NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff, joined by Consul General of Spain in New York, Caridad Batalla; Queen Sofía Spanish Institute Executive Director, Patrice E. Degnan; Queen Sofía Spanish Institute President and CEO of the Board of Directors, David Askren; Daughters of the American Revolution Manhattan Chapter Vice-Regent, Linda Rhodes Jones; Avangrid (Iberdrola Group) Chief of CEO Staff, Manuel González Igual; Denise Felipe-Adams, Special Assistant to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams; New York City Council Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo; NYC Parks Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Martin Maher; and community members.
“On behalf of Iberdrola and Avangrid, we are proud to help restore this Memorial Plaque, honoring the lives of Spanish soldiers who fought and died for the cause of American Independence and recognizing the common ties that have joined the United States and Spain over the centuries,” said Manuel González Igual, Chief of CEO Staff of Avangrid.
“Place and period markers are so important. Without them the stories of those who came before us, making Freedom possible for all of us, would never be told. It is my pleasure to support these organizations, and my distinct honor to remember the Spanish who gave their lives in the American Revolution. To do so during Hispanic heritage month brings everything full circle to me. Today’s unveiling is one of the many reasons I am so proud to call Brooklyn home,” said NYC Council Majority Leader, Laurie A. Cumbo.
This restored plaque replaces the original, which was gifted by King Juan Carlos of Spain to Fort Greene Park in 1976 to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the United States’ independence. The original plaque can be found in the park’s visitor center.