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

The exhibition titled 'Recovered Memories. Spain, New Orleans and the Support for the American Revolution' shines a light on the Spanish Crown's support for the independence of the United States.

Iberdrola is collaborating with the Louisiana State Museum to explore Spain and Louisiana shared history in a new exhibition that will be open to the public at the Cabildo in Jackson Square, New Orleans, until 8 July 2018. The display features 200 historical items, including maps, outfits, works of art and all kinds of objects that reveal 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 shows Spain's support for American colonies both before and after the US War of Independence, as well as introducing 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]


The first of the four rooms occupied by Recovered Memories places 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 explain 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 remind 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 focuses 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 is a prominent part of.


Prominent among the works on display are 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 are 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 come 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 displays 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.


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 is 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 is 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 reaffirms 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)