2011-11-30, Mark Santiago, The Spanish Army in the American Revolution

President Ross Ramsey returned after Thanksgiving to call the meeting to order at 12:16 and lead the Pledge of Allegiance.  Barbara Rose Farber gave thanks in her invocation, and Earl Phillips led the singing of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”  After our few minutes of fellowship we found that Charles Tharp was the mystery greeter, and President Ross introduced visiting Rotarian Guy Floyd.  Members introduced their guests including June Briggs, Elsa Baker, Paul Harris Fellow Bob Brack, Lauren Adee of NMSU Athletics Marketing, the Rev. Philip George and former member Vivian Steinborn. 

Ross RamseyThere were a bunch of happy dollars and announcements.  Matt Holt told us of an opportunity to help with the Dress the Child project on Sunday at 5:30 at Kohl’s; his daughter Megan just moved back to the States, and she and her family were here on their way to Panama City, Florida.  Bill Harty honored Eagle Scout Jacob Makens, a student guest from Mayfield.  Harry Hansen talked about the great Aggie game last night, and the excellent rendition of the national anthem.  Ivan Stubbs was happy about the MVCHS state football championship, and Richelle Ponder (and President Ross) reminded us that Mayfield would be playing Cleveland for the AAAAA state championship at 1:00 on Saturday at the Field of Dreams.  Barbara Rose is heading to Vegas.  Jim Parks also thought the Aggie game was great, and he was happy to have visited two sons in Colorado Springs, catching an Air Force football game, and a hockey game.  Curt Coleman, unlike Jim, had nothing to say.  Chris Dulany reminded us of the holiday happy hour at Double Eagle the following day at 5:30. 

President Ross welcomed Jacob Makens from Mayfield and Rafael Ulivarri from Oñate, who gave their talks last week.  The two remaining students then introduced themselves to the club.  Haley BloomquistHaley Bloomquist is a senior at Mayfield.  Her parents work with Janet Green, in the Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management department at NMSU.  She plans to major in biology or biochemistry at NMSU, and after graduate school, pursue a career in pharmaceutical or laboratory sales.  She carries a 3.89 grade point, which she hopes will land her in the top 10% of her class.  She participated in volleyball until her second knee surgery, and sings in the varsity choir, whose holiday concert will be next Friday at First Presbyterian Church. 

Carly BrackCarly Brack, a senior at Mesilla Valley, introduced her father, Judge Bob Brack, then told us a little about herself.  Her favorite class now is AP English, mostly because it is not AP calculus.  Her favorite class of all time has been psychology, which she hopes to make a career after college at one of Azuza Pacific, Colorado State, or Northern Arizona.  She is involved in many school activities, including National Honor Society and also participation on the volleyball team.  

The Program

November program chair Ted Shelton told us that our originally scheduled speaker was unable to come due to a death in her family, and that Rotarian Mark Santiago had most graciously agreed to speak today on the role of the Spanish Army in the American Revolution, a topic about which he has written three books.  

Mark SantiagoMark began by talking about the origin of the dollar sign, which is taken directly from a Spanish coat of arms showing two columns superimposed on an “S”; Americans wanted to emulate Spanish money as the Spanish milled dollar was the strongest and most desired currency in the world. 

The Spanish got involved in the American Revolution because it was against the British as they had in the Seven Years War (that we call the French and Indian War) on the side of France against Britain.  In that conflict, the British took Havana and Manila from the Spanish, and accepted the trade of Florida in exchange for returning those important ports.  Charles II of Spain set about returning the Spanish empire to pre-eminence over the British Empire.  Major areas of conflict included the Caribbean, and the drainage of the Mississippi River, particularly the important cities of Saint Louis and New Orleans.  The Spanish had a regular army of about 83,000 soldiers, backed up by a “disciplined militia,” similar to our National Guard, and ”urban militias,” irregular units of locals, similar to the minutemen of Massachusetts and surrounding areas during the American Revolution.  These urban militias were recruited because of the size and dispersion of Spanish Empire in relation to the relatively small size of the regular Spanish Army.  The Spanish also engaged several foreign regiments, among them Swiss and Irish.  Free black units called “pardos” and “morenos,” the latter being of mixed blood, were engaged in the Caribbean and New Mexico. 

Mexico had a relatively small army of five thousand, compared to a population of 13 million.  Much of that army was deployed defending the far northern border, approximating the current Mexican-American border.  A line of “presidios” (forts) were located throughout this northern area in places like San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, El Paso, Santa Fe, and San Antonio.  Mark noted that, in the opinion of the Spanish, Santa Fe was not at the end of the world, but that you could see it from there.  El Paso was a much larger frontier town (population 8,000-10,000) than Santa Fe was at this time. 

American armies were aided by Spanish supplies to Gen. George Rogers Clark’s troops in their key battle in Vincennes, Indiana, and Spanish forces were engaged in such places as Michigan, Illinois, Alabama and Florida.  A failed effort was made to retake Gibraltar from the British during this time.  Interestingly, General George Washington’s army at Yorktown was paid with funds brought there by the Spanish.  Mark could have continued, but the time grew short and the program ended. 

After the Program

The 50/50 drawing was won by student Jacob Makens, and Treasurer Paulina Salopek reported that $51 was raised for the El Caldito Soup Kitchen.  President Ross led the recitation of the Four-Way Test and adjourned the meeting. 

<prior week   following week>

Guests of Rotarians

Guest    Host
June Briggs Dinus Briggs
Elsa Baker Walt Baker
Bob Brack Carly Brack (club)
Lauren Adee Chris Dulany
Philip George John Pickett
Vivian Steinborn Paulina Salopek

Visiting Rotarian

Rotarian Home Club
Guy Floyd Rio Grande

Student Guests

Student School
Jacob Makens Mayfield
Haley Bloomquist Mayfield
Rafael Ulivarri Oñate
Carly Brack Mesilla Valley


Rotarian Date Club
Mark Santiago 11/9 Online
Don Dresp 11/23 Rio Grande

December Birthdays of Rotarians

George Miller December 5
John Strebler December 5
Ivan Stubbs December 6
Rich Gregory December 12
Robert Seaton December 17
David McCollum December 20
Henry Broekhoff December 22
Jim Bullock December 29
Ron Salak December 30
Janet Green December 30
Bill Wheeler December 31
Kim Hakes December 31

December Wedding Anniversaries

Harry & Kathy Hansen December 20 36 years
Charles & Linda Tharp December 21 53 years
John & Susan Pickett December 23 45 years

December Club Anniversaries

Earl Phillips December 7 23 years
Craig Tharp December 12 10 years
Keith Houser December 13 5 years
Wanda Mattiace December 27 21 years

Submitted by Bill Harty Bill Harty