Volume III, 2003
Dr. Michael Francis
The participation of other countries is generally absent from most American recollections of the Revolutionary War. The stories of the War of Independence generally invoke images of the young colonies rebelling against the British monarchy, but how could a small strip of colonies break away from Britain unaided? Acknowledgement is given to the French, if only briefly, for their presence at the Battle of Yorktown, but Americans tends to forget that France was the first ally of the United States. Even less attention is given to another European county that aided the war effort. Although rarely mentioned in textbooks, Spain played an important role in America's War of Independence.
As a major colonial power in the Americas, Spain did not enter the war because its King believed that the British colonies had an inherent right to independence. However if the United States gained its independence, British colonial boundaries would be pushed further away from Latin America. The war also provided a renewed opportunity to reclaim lands lost to Great Britain, including Florida, Minorca and most importantly, the Rock of Gibraltar. American independence frequently seemed to hinge on possession of Gibraltar. Perhaps if Britain had not held on to it so tightly, the war could have ended differently.
Coble, Allison, ""If the Spanish Would But Join" The Forgotten Implications of Spanish Involvement in the American Revolution" (2003). All Volumes (2001-2008). Paper 98.