The Spanish legacy in the United States is the result of over three centuries of exploration and settlement, and the presence of a culture influenced by the viceroyalty of New Spain established in Mexico. Many of the initiatives of the Spanish Crown left their mark on US culture, economy, religion and art, as well as in place names. The Spanish contribution to the Independence of the United States of America and the discovery and exploration of the Pacific – an early example of globalization – are also an aspect of this legacy. Visitors to the collections exhibited here will find a series of examples that reflect this continuing historical legacy.
The Spanish legacy in the US commemorations which started in 2013 with the Anniversary of the arrival to Florida, will culminate in 2015 with the 450th Anniversary of the founding of Saint Augustine in Florida by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés.
Furthermore, the enhancement of the figure of Bernardo de Galvez offers a historic opportunity to make the Spanish legacy known in the United States.
In 2013 we celebrated the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León to Florida. His arrival contributed to the formation of the singularity and identity of the United States. SPAIN arts & culture, the official promoter of Spanish culture in the United States, has been the sponsor in charge of the celebrations in collaboration with two other important institutions: Viva Florida 500 and the Spain-Florida Foundation 500 Years. Both institutions coordinated the official celebrations, organized exhibitions and a multitude of activities.
Viva Florida 500 is a state-wide initiative directed by the Florida Department of State. Its objective is to remember the 500 years of history since the arrival of Ponce de Leon. Building on the success of the different commemorations, Viva Florida continues to promote cultural and historical experiences.
La Fundación España-Florida 500 years was created in order to seize this historic opportunity and to highlight the important contributions of Spain to Florida and the U.S in general.
The ‘Imagining la Florida’ exhibition took place in the summer of 2013 at the Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College in Miami, FL.
In 2013 we also celebrated the discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa and the third centenary of the birth of Fray Junipero Serra, founder of the Franciscan Missions of California.
The Huntington Library in Los Angeles showed from August 2013 until January 2014the first major exhibition about the life and legacy of this major figure in the history of California. The exhibition has been organized to coincide with the anniversary of 300 years of the birth of Father Junipero Serra, known as the founder of California’s set of 21 missions that link San Diego to the north of San Francisco.