New Orleans remembers Spain's forgotten hand in America's independence

With the exhibition titled 'Recovered Memories. Spain, New Orleans and the Support for the American Revolution', Iberdrola has contributed to spread the Spanish Crown's support for the independence of the United States.

Iberdrola has collaborated with the Louisiana State Museum to explore Spain and Louisiana shared history in a new exhibition that remained open to the public between the 21 April 2018 until 8 July 2018 at the Cabildo in Jackson Square, New Orleans. The display featured 200 historical items, including maps, outfits, works of art and all kinds of objects with the aim of revealing Spain's influence in the development of New Orleans, its support for the revolution of the Thirteen Colonies, and the enduring legacy Spain left in US culture.

The exhibition showed Spain's support for American colonies both before and after the US War of Independence and, furthermore, it introduced some of the Spanish figures who most significantly influenced this new emerging country. A chronological journey through the relationship between Spain and the United States, from the Spanish Enlightenment under the reign of Charles III of Spain to the European and American revolutions and the technological breakthroughs of the early 20th century.

 Exhibition catalogue (Spanish version) [PDF]


On their second state visit to the United States, their majesties King Felipe and Queen Letizia visited the show, accompanied by the Chairman of Iberdrola, Ignacio Galán, and Spain's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell. Curator José Manuel Guerrero Acosta led their majesties and state authorities through the exhibition.

Curator led their majesties through the exhibition.Curator led their majesties through the exhibition.


The first of the four rooms occupied by Recovered Memories placed the visitor in the historical context of Spain at the end of the 18th century; a time of reforms and transformations in every sense, spurred by the enlightened figure of Charles III.

The next two spaces explained the details regarding the economic and military aid provided by Spain, as well as the battles in which Spain's participation was crucial for independence to succeed. They also reminded visitors of the characters who took centre stage in decisive episodes, such as Bernardo de Gálvez, Diego María de Gardoqui and Francisco de Saavedra.

The last room focused on Spain's strong social, cultural and business presence in the United States from the late 19th century to the present day, which our company's activity was a prominent part of.


Prominent among the works on display were those by Spanish painters such as Francisco de Goya, with his El Columpio (The Swing) from the Prado Museum, as well as paintings by Joaquín Sorolla, Luis Paret and Ignacio Zuloaga. Also on display were original portraits of important governors during the Spanish colonial period, such as Bernardo de Gálvez and Antonio de Ulloa; historical objects, such as the British flag captured after the defeat of Great Britain at the Battle of Baton Rouge in 1779; period garments, such as those worn by the Spanish diplomat Diego de Gardoqui, naval models and other historical objects and documents.

These works came from different museums, archives, libraries and institutions, such as Spain's National Prado Museum, National Library, Army Museum and the Bank of Spain, as well as from the American Museums of Louisiana and Denver and Washington's National Park Service. The exhibition also displayed a range of unique items loaned by private collections and works from the art collection owned by the Iberdrola group.

The opening ceremony of Recovered Memories. Spain, New Orleans and the Support for the American Revolution in Orleans was attended by the CEO of Avangrid, James P. Torgerson; the Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, Billy Nungesser; and the Spanish Consul General, Enric Panés, among other important figures. The ceremony took place inside the recently refurbished Cabildo building, which was the seat of the Spanish administration during the colonial period and which now belongs to the State Museum of Louisiana.


Bajo dos banderas (Under two flags) is composed of 12 stories that tell different episodes of Spain in the War of Independence of the United States. The work, edited by Zenda and coordinated by the writer Arturo Pérez-Reverte, has brought together a dozen of the most important writers of the Spanish literary scene of today, Juan Eslava Galán, Espido Freire, Agustín Fernández Mallo, Susana Fortes, Luz Gabás, Juan Gómez -Jurado, Emilio Lara, Cristina López Barrio, José María Merino, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Clara Sánchez and Lorenzo Silva.

The stories by the eminent authors who accompany the reader on this journey invite us to remember Spain's vital role in key episodes

These authors drew their inspiration from the exhibition Recovered memories. Spain, New Orleans, and the support for the American Revolution. Besides, the cover of the book is a fragment of the work The March of Gálvez, a painting by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau which is part of that exhibition.

The book, sponsored by Iberdrola, has a prologue written by Ignacio Galán, the company's chairman, who says that "the stories by the eminent authors who accompany the reader on this journey invite us to remember Spain's vital role in episodes that, while pivotal, are largely unknown."

This compendium of stories, which have already been published on the Zenda website, are not on sale in bookshops. The electronic version is available free of charge. Printed copies of the book will be given out as prizes in literary competitions and prize draws organised on this digital platform for readers and writers.


Organising this exhibition is further proof of Iberdrola's contribution to fostering knowledge on both sides of the Atlantic about a historic event that is still less well-known than it deserves to be among the general public. It was also an opportunity to remind us of the important role played by some of Spain's key figures in the definition of the young American nation. In this sense, this exhibition was a continuation of a previous display that our company organised last year at its headquarters in Bilbao titled La memoria recobrada. Huellas en la historia de los Estados Unidos.

Recovered Memories. Spain, New Orleans and the Support for the American Revolution reaffirmed our company's commitment to the United States, where we not only carry out significant industrial activity, but strive to promote cultural activities focused on art and history that highlight the close relationship between both countries.


 See the exhibition in 360º (available in Google Chrome)

 See the exhibition in 360º (available in Google Chrome)

 See the exhibition in 360º (available in Google Chrome)

 See the exhibition in 360º (available in Google Chrome)

 See the exhibition in 360º (available in Google Chrome)