The reenactment of the Pensacola battle will take place tomorrow next to the town’s main church. :: SUR
One of the most important battles of the American War of Independence will be reenacted tomorrow, the 5th of July, next to the church in Macharaviaya.
The dramatisation will highlight the heroic act of the town’s most illustrious figure, General Bernardo de Gálvez. The protagonist courageously defeated the British troops in a two-month siege, in the Pensacola Bay of Florida, in 1781.
For the last six years Macharaviaya, a tranquil town of the Axarquia, has been celebrating American Independence Day, with what feels like the same eagerness and spirit as the Americans do. The reenactment is one way to remember this noble figure, who, with his great feat, contributed to the independence of the country from British rule. His defeat also led to the retaking of Florida for Spain.
While everyone else seemed hesitant, including the Havana admiral who was supposed to be in charge of the siege, Gálvez took it upon himself to lead. Gálvez, with his brig, managed to encourage other vessels to enter the bay. This is how he became prisoner to the English General Campbell and afterwards recaptured Florida for Spain. He was also recognised for his legendary act on his coat of arms. Carlos III added the motto “Only I” to his coat as a tribute to the epic act.
Tomorrow, in his hometown, this important battle will take place, thanks to continuous collaboration with the Granaderos, Damas de Gálvez and Torrijos 1831 associations. Dressed in typical clothing from this era, the actors will begin the reenactment at 9pm. This year, as a novelty, there will be a new script and a light show that should give the performance a touch of realism.
After the dramatisation, residents and visitors can enjoy a wide range of dishes from both sides of the pond. One shouldn’t miss the mead, an alcoholic beverage that was very popular during the time period, even though its origins trace back to ancient times.
Just as Americans celebrate the 4th of July in the United States, there will be an authentic American-style barbecue with fireworks afterwards, as well as an outdoor dance. Musical performances, projected documentaries and a market of handcrafted goods are to be added to the list of events.
Visitors and residents who would like to dress up in costume can walk away with prizes, and there will also be prizes given out to those who are involved in the reenactment.
In some ways, Macharaviaya also organises this festival to pay tribute to its own history. During the 18th century, Macharaviaya came to life and experienced its golden age, to the point that it was known by many as “Little Madrid.” This prestige was owed mainly to the noble Gálvez family, given that they clearly had influence over the Court.
The bourgeois family carried out numerous projects throughout the town that can still be visited today. This is the case of the present Jacinto church, built in 1505, and later restored during the golden age by this wealthy family. It was also used as a family burial place. The dimensions of this church surprise visitors, especially considering the size of the town.
Members of the family lineage also financed less glamorous projects, which were still of great importance to the residents. One example was the hydraulic engineering project, which addressed a historical problem for the town. On Real de Málaga street, one can visit an information plaque that tells the history of the town during its most prosperous era.
The Gálvez family also had a monopoly in the selling of playing cards in America, which led to the building of a factory in the town for distribution. Even though this building no longer exists, one can still visit the street that is named after it.
This Axarquía town has not only been home to the prosperous bourgeois family, but other famous people as well, including Salvador Rueda. This writer was born near the village of Benaque in a “poor house”, as he himself once defined it.
The building was restored and now serves as a museum about the nineteenth century author. Benaque is a quiet village, with its own temple, the church Virgen del Rosario. The tower of this church stands out as being an old minaret from the sixteenth century, which was once part of a mosque. This minaret still contains some conserved frescos on its walls.