About the Production

Chaz Mena, actor and Florida Humanities Council Scholar, enacts the role of Bernardo de Gálvez in a one-man stage performance that was written and researched by the actor himself. Filmed before a live television studio audience, the program includes an introduction and afterword by David Hartman.

Chaz Mena as Bernardo de GálvezThrough reenactment of the events leading up to the eventual surrender of the British at the crucial Battle of Pensacola, Mena introduces you to Bernardo de Gálvez the man. Intertwined with archival photographs, the program tells the often unfamiliar story of one of the most significant engagements of the American Revolution – pitting Spain, allied with the Americans, against the British.

In 1781, having swept across the coast from New Orleans, the brilliant Spanish military strategist Bernardo de Gálvez and his army descended on the British at Pensacola. The Spanish victory at Pensacola resulted in the return of Florida to Spain. With the Gulf Coast and all of Florida securely in the hands of the Spanish, George Washington could concentrate his efforts on the eastern front.

Today, the quiet landscape of the Historic North Hill neighborhood in Pensacola carpets the battlefield of the 18th century. In backyards and parks, and under modern streets, archaeological remains of complex defensive earthworks provide the physical documentation of the military operation that is so eloquently recounted by Gálvez in his diary.

Mena's riveting performance brings Bernardo de Gálvez to life. The vibrant account of Pensacola's and Florida's role in the American fight for independence is one that stirs the imagination.

 



WSRE, PBS for the Gulf Coast
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