Bernardo de Galvez
1748 Born at Malaga, Spain
1764 At the age of 16 years, Bernardo was made a cadet in the Walloon guards, and during the next three years served in France as a subaltern in the regiment of Cantabria.
1775 Was with Gen. O’Reilly in the unsuccessfull expedition against Algiers, where he won the rank of brigadier.
1776 Comes to Louisiana, is made a colonel of the regiment of Louisiana and appointed second in command of the provincial forces.
1777 Through the influence of his uncle he was appointed provisional governor of Louisiana to succeed Gov. Unzaga, beginning his duties on Feb. 1, 1777, when 29 years of age. Don Bernardo’s mission in Louisiana is to promote commerce but fight smuggling, cultivate friendship with the Indians and, most important, watch the English in West Florida. To strengthen his position he will promote immigration and re-organize the military.
1777 April 17 Galvez issues a proclamation permitting the inhabitants of the colony to trade with the United States, and three days later another proclamation gives the liberty to export their products to any port of France. He reduces the duty about one-half and during his administration the trade of the province, which has been previously controlled by the English, is largely diverted into French and American channels.
1777 July 17 Bernardo de Galvez reissues O’Reilly’s tariff on foods while war between England and its North American colonies disrupts shipping.
1777 Intensive Spanish colonization begins under the direction of Bernardo de Galvez. The English have been encouraging similar colonization of British West Florida, which extends north and west of Lake Pontchartrain, since it had acquired that territory from Spain in at the Treaty of Paris in 1763. Knowing that the British Crown still has its expansionist eye on Spain’s newly acquired Louisiana territory and New Spain (Mexico) to the west, Galvez brings several hundred refugees from the Canary Islands, at the King’s expense, gives each family land, cattle, farm implements, and money for four years and provides a church for each settlement. These settlers, called Islenos or Islanders, name one settlement Valenzuela dans La Fourche on Bayou Lafourche. They are later joined by Acadians and others. The post is believed to have been on site of Belle Alliance Plantation, 841 acre grant to Don Juan Vives, early Spanish physician, officer in the Galvez Expedition.
1778 Fortifications around New Orleans, including Spanish Fort which guards Bayou St. John, are rebuilt by Galvez to protect the city from attack.
1778 Governor Bernardo de Galvez appoints Commandant Pierre Philippe de Marigny to parcel land on the bayou Terre-aux-Bouef Land of Oxen, in St. Bernard Parish for Canary Islanders. Later Creole planters bought large estates on the bayou.
Gilbert St. Maxent is charged with settling Islenos at Galveztown and Valenzuela.
1779 September 21 Galvez captures Baton Rouge from English with Col. Gilbert St. Maxent. Fort New Richmond is a new fort with earthen walls encircled by a palasade and a ditch nine feet deep and 18 feet wide. It garrisons 400 English regulars, 150 settlers and blacks, 13 cannons. By the end of 1779 Galvez has driven the British troops out of West Florida. For a while, the bayous and rivers that form Ascension Parish¼s borders ceased to be an international boundary.
At the expense of Spanish King Carlos III of Spain a poem by Julien Poydras is printed. La Prise du Morne du Baton Rouge par Monseigneur de Galvez praises the young governor for his capture of Baton Rouge from the British.
1779 Early this year Governor Bernardo de Galvez sends Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Bouligny with nearly five hundred Spanish and Canary Island colonists to establish a settlement on the lower Bayou Teche in the Attakapas Country. These Spanish colonists named their settlement New Iberia, for their own Iberian Peninsula.
1779 The first structure for a market in New Orleans is planned by the Spanish somewhere on the levee. Previously an informal marketplace was located on the riverside of the Place d¼Armes.
1781 The greatest achievement of Gov. Galvez was the conquest of West Florida. After the Revolutionary War he recommends free trade for Louisiana with all the ports of Europe and America, but the proposition was too liberal for the Spanish ministry to accept.
1781 His father, Don Mathias de Galvez, was appointed captain-general of Guatamala in 1781 and about two years later became Viceroy of Mexico. An uncle Don Josef de Galvez, was a great favorite of Charles III, who appointed him secretary of state and president of the Council of the Indies, a position that conferred on him a power only slightly less than that of the king’s.
1784 An investigation into the actions of Bouligny and Reggio in the San Malo trial was conducted under Estaban Rodriguez Miro and Captain-General Galvez in Cuba. Galvez ruled that the Reggios court was not inferior to Miro’s as governor. Reggio was found to have acted properly. Galvez however told Miro that the Cabildo had acted improperly toward Cirilo de Barcelona over the church slave Baptiste.
1785 Early in 1785 Galvez is appointed captain-general of Cuba, Louisiana and the Floridas, and upon the death of his father was made Viceroy of Mexico.
1785 Jose de Evia completes a survey of the Gulf Coast (Jose de Evia Y Sus Reconocimientos Del Golfo De Mexico 1783-1796) for the Governor of New Spain, Bernardo de Galvez which results in more accurate maps of the region. The information is not published until 1799 as the Carta Esferica que comprehende las costas del Seno Mexicano by the Deposito Hidrografico de Marina of the Spanish Admiralty but is still a vast improvement over previous maps.
1786 November 30 Bernardo Galvez resigns October 15, 1786 and dies a month later at Tacubaza, aged 38.