"The Untold Histoy" is a podcast by The Hispanic Council with the collaboration of the Secretaría General de Política de Defensa and will initially feature 10 episodes in both English and Spanish. In it, every two weeks, the feats of unknown Spanish characters who have contributed to shape the history of the United States will be told.
The podcast will tell in an entertaining and educational way the lives of illustrious characters in the history of Spain in the United States, giving priority to figures little known today as Felipe de Neve, founder of Los Angeles, or Pedro Menendez de Aviles, founder of the oldest city in the U.S.: St. Augustine (Florida).
Season 2: Episode 10: Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra
Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra was a descendant of Spaniards who was born in Lima, in 1743. At 18 years, he went to Spain to get a position at the Naval School of Cadiz. After his graduation, the sailor insisted on returning to his native America, which he achieved by 1773 as a member of a exploratory mission in the Pacific American Coast.
The expedition was attacked three times: First by scurvy, then by insubordination and lastly by Indians. This made Heceta, the leader of the exploration, to begin the return trip. Bodega y Quadra, however, insisted on advancing and he went on with the exploration on a single ship, reaching Alaska, and founding two new ports before going south for the winter.
Season 2: Episode 9: Salvador Fidalgo
Salvador Fidalgo joined the Real Colegio de Guardiamarinas in Cádiz in the year 1770. He graduated five years later as a midshipman. He was chosen as a member of the cartography team of Vicente Tofiño, author of the first atlas of the ports of Spain which probably gave him the necessary expertise for the work he would do in Nueva España.
In 1778, he was promoted to ship lieutenant, and he was sent to the naval station of San Blas, in the Mexican Pacific coast. Afterwards, he would never return to his homeland. He was destined to travel, explore, found, and give Spanish names to places further to the north than any of his countrymen had ever gone.
Season 2: Episode 8: Jorge and David Farragut
Those who have read Julio Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea will remember Commodore Farragut, one of the central characters of the novel, who was a seasoned and brave marine. This fearless and experienced seaman is inspired by the first Admiral of the US Navy, David Farragut. David was originally baptized as James Farragut, and he was the son of Jorge Farragut, a Menorcan maritime merchant who sailed a modest vessel along the route between Veracruz, Mexico and New Orleans.
Both the father and the son would be important marines with key roles in the War of Independence, in the case of Jorge, and the US Civil War for David.
Season 2: Episode 7: Bernardo de Gálvez
Bernardo de Gálvez is not only one of the most notable Spaniards of the 18th century, he is also one of the main figures of the earliest history of the United States of America. It is not by chance how his portrait hangs on one of the walls of the US Capitol in Washington DC. He has also been named US Honorary Citizen, a merit that he shares with 6 people like Winston Churchill or Mother Teresa.
In 1776, De Galvez was sent to America as interim governor of Louisiana and from that position he began a decisive collaboration to the independence of the United States.
Season 2: Episode 6: Manuel de Montiano
The fight for the rights of the black people is, nowadays an issue of key importance in the public agenda but is not something new. In the 60s of the previous century, the Civil Rights Movement in the United States constituted one of the biggest social advancements of the country. Before that movement, from 1861 to 1865 the United States had suffered the Civil War; the conflict that ceased slavery. But the first milestone in the fight for the emancipation of black people took place in 1514, when the Spanish crown had already approved mixed marriages, that blessed people from any race in the entirety of the American territories.
All we have just told is in perfect sync with the story of Manuel de Montiano, the person in charge of the first free black slaves in North America. Since 1738, our protagonist dedicated the Fort of Saint Teresa of Mosé to receiving and sheltering the slaves that managed to escape, offering a new and free life as subjects of the Spanish King.
Season 2: Episode 5: Hernando de Soto
When a North American of the early 20th century heard “De Soto”, he was likely thinking about a car, because Hernando de Soto ceded his name to an automobile company. His story is a great odyssey which, though it did not end with huge economic, military, or strategic gains, was a huge achievement given the vast size of the territory discovered after a rout that is estimated in near 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles).
He was a man of action, which forced his hand into the exploration of unknown lands. His expeditionary baptism took place in 1523, when he accompanied Francisco Fernández de Córdoba to Nicaragua, founding the cities of Granada and Nueva León. He is also known for being the first European to see the Mississippi River, a scene that is remembered in one of the eight paintings in the Capitol Rotunda (Washington, DC).