Collage of Hispanic leaders from the past

Hispanic Figures in America's Wars

From Spanish colonists in the Americas to Mexicans who suddenly found themselves Americans in the wake of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to wealthy Creole planters in the deep South, Hispanics both played an important role in and were shaped by America’s early military conflicts. The term Hispanic is used to refer to any person who has at least one ancestor from Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central or South America.

Consider the impact of Spanish Governor Bernardo de Gálvez, whose military aid and leadership at places like Mobile and Pensacola helped bolster the Patriot cause during the Revolution. Think about the service of Jorge Farragut (also known as Jordi Ferragut Mesquida), father of Civil War Vice Admiral David G. Farragut, who as an experienced seaman helped defend pivotal ports from the threat of the British during both the Revolution and War of 1812. Look to the nearly 10,000 Hispanics that took up arms for both sides throughout the course of the Civil War, including Joseph H. De Castro who was the first Hispanic to be awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863 — two other Hispanic soldiers would be awarded the honor by the war’s end. Hispanic figures were — and continue to be — a force, helping to weave the fabric of our American story.

Explore some of the contributions that Hispanic figures made to America’s first 100 years. 

Bernardo de Galvez

Gálvez was born in the small village of Macharaviya in the province of Málaga, Spain on July 23, 1746. He studied military science at the Academy of...

Joseph H. De Castro

Joseph H. De Castro made history as the first Hispanic to earn the Medal of Honor— the United States’ highest military decoration for valor in combat...

Hispanic Impact on Early American History

Celebrating Hispanic Women

Maria Ruíz de Burton

Maria Ruíz de Burton was a ‘Renaissance Woman’ of her time, excelling in politics, writing, and activism throughout the 19th century. Born on July 3

Lola Sánchez

Maria Dolores “Lola” Sánchez was one of the most unsuspecting Confederate spies of the Civil War. Born in the 1844, she was from one of Florida's