In a news article from July 8, 2014, in the New York Post comes the news that Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, the Viscount of Gálvez, 1746-1786, has been granted citizenship by the Congress of the United States of America.
Well, honorary citizenship, anyway.
The Viscount “played an integral role in the Revolutionary War and helped secure the independence of the United States,” says the resolution granting him citizenship. His troops helped pin down British forces and block supply efforts, which earned him recognition from Gen. George Washington and the Continental Congress.
And now, the current Congress of the United States has recognized him, too.
“Honorary” citizenship has only been given to seven people, including Winston Churchill and more prominent Revolutionary heroes like the Marquis de Lafayette and Count Casimir Pulaski. Gálvez, for whom Galveston, Texas is named, is the first Spanish speaker to receive this honor.
And what does this have to do with heraldry, you ask? As a Viscount, Gálvez was, of course, armigerous. (Just as the other honorary Americans named above were.)
There does seem to be a little confusion about his coat of arms. While the images above come from a postage stamp issued by Spain and honoring him, showing a coat of arms, an armorial portrait of him …
… show a much more complex coat of arms.
Why the difference in these two depictions? I suspect it’s just that the folks who issued the stamp were trying to keep it comparatively simple; they did only have so much space available, after all. The portrait, on the other hand, is far more likely to show his complete coat of arms, including some quarterings with family connections on the shield.
But now we can add another individual to the ranks of armigerous Americans - Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid.
If you’d like to know more about Gálvez and his new honorary citizenship, the article on the site of the Post can be found at http://nypost.com/2014/07/08/soldier-dead-200-years-gets-american-citizenship/