The Axarquía village of Macharaviaya celebrated American Independence Day on Saturday, the evening before the actual date itself, in honour of its most famous son, Bernardo de Gálvez. De Gálvez was a Spanish soldier who played a key role in the Battle of Pensacola during the American War of Independence and went on to be governor of Louisiana and Viceroy of New Spain.
In an event that combined live re-enactments in Macharaviaya and recorded virtual sections with speakers in the USA, participants were able to join in via YouTube for 90 minutes of celebrations, which included revelations about the village’s most illustrious resident.
Michael Henderson, an American who has recently carried out research about one of his ancestors, Agnes Matthieu, a slave who was freed by order of De Gálvez, spoke about his research.
The ceremony was presented by Alfonso Duluc and Viqui Arbizu from New York’s Little Spain Market, which is owned by the Spanish Michelin star chef José Andrés, and located between Malaga and Bernardo de Gálvez streets in Manhattan.
The event was attended by Spanish journalist resident in the US Guillermo Fesser, author of Conoce a Bernardo de Gálvez (Meet Bernardo de Gálvez), published in 2017, who was named guest of honour.
"[The book] is a work that demonstrates the deep Hispanic roots of this country in which I live," said the Madrid writer, who said he felt like "just another Macharatungo" (person from Macharaviaya).
"I have you inmy heart"
Teresa Valcarce, who lives in Washington DC, but was born in Ferrol (Galicia) and has family from Malaga, also spoke. She was presented with the Order of Civil Merit Award in October 2017 for getting a portrait of Bernardo de Gálvez placed in the US Senate in 2014.
"I really want to go to Macharaviaya, I hope it can be next year, I have you in my heart," she said.
In a message recorded from the Gálvez family’s crypt in Macharaviaya’s San Jacinto church, mayor Antonio Campos said, "Hopefully next year we can celebrate all together here.”
The event ended with Miguel Ríos's 'Himno a la Alegría' (A Song of Joy).