United States remembers Spain's forgotten hand in American's independence

The 'Recovered Memories. Spain and Support for the American Revolution' exhibition could be visited in Washington from 26 September to 18 November.

The Iberdrola group took to Washington Recovered Memories. Spain and Support for the American Revolution, an exhibition that highlights the significant contribution made by the Spanish monarchy to the birth and creation of the United States.

This collection was opened on 26 September by the Spanish embassy in the United States and Iberdrola, in an event which had the presence of the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Spanish Embassy, Cristina Fraile, and the CEO of AVANGRID — the American subsidiary of Iberdrola —, James P. Torgeson, among others. The exhibition was opened to the public until 18 November at the former residence of the ambassadors of Spain.

 Exhibition catalogue [PDF]


Curated by José Manuel Guerrero, Recovered Memories consists of a selection of around 100 pieces — including works of art, documents, maps, clothes, holograms, etc. — all of which serve to emphasise the relevant role played by the Spanish Crown during the American War of Independence between the years 1775 and 1783.

The most important of these include the painting Gálvez's March. Conquest of Baton Rouge, 1779, by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau, together with sketches; original portraits of relevant figures from the Spanish colonial period, such as Bernardo de Gálvez, Marianne Celeste Dragon and Ignacio de Balderes — which were the relevant figures from the Spanish colonial period — and the suit worn by Spanish diplomat Diego de Gardoqui.

These pieces are on loan from a variety of museums, archives, libraries and institutions, such as those of Louisiana or Missouri, in the USA, and from the Military, Archaeological, Cultural and Natural Science Museums of Spain. Furthermore, there is a range of unique items loaned by private collections and works from the Iberdrola group art collection.


The exhibition is structured around four galleries:

  • The first focuses on discovering what the Spain of Charles III, a power during the Century of Enlightenment, was like, and also concentrating on the Spanish footprint in North America.
  • The second space illustrates the decisive contribution made by the Spanish towards achieving the independence of the United States.
  • The pieces exhibited in the third room examine the second front opened by Spain in the South against Great Britain after the declaration of war in 1779.
  • The fourth room, Recovering Memory: Spaniards in the United States, depicts how decades after the United States gained their independence, many Spaniards emigrated to the new country in search of a better way of life. It also includes a section dedicated to the birth of electric light.


The exhibition which reached Washington is a follow-on of the exhibition entitled Recovered Memories. Spain, New Orleans and Support for the American Revolution, which was housed in the Cabildo of New Orleans between 21 April and 8 July.

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. Furthermore, prominent among the works on display were those by Spanish painters such as Francisco de Goya, with his El Columpio (The Swing) from the Museo del Prado, as well as paintings by Joaquín Sorolla, Luis Paret and Ignacio Zuloaga.

 Exhibition catalogue [PDF]


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 and 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 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 in May 2017 at its headquarters in Bilbao titled La memoria recobrada. Huellas en la historia de los Estados Unidos.

Recovered Memories. Spain and Support for the American Revolution reaffirms our company's commitment towards the promotion and dissemination of both art and culture. It also emphasises Iberdrola's close links with the United States, where the Iberdrola group has successfully consolidated itself as one of the leading companies in the energy sector and promotes cultural activities focused on art and history that highlight the close relationship between both countries.