Legacy: Spain and the United States in the Age of Independence, 1763–1848

September 27, 2007 - February 10, 2008

“Legacy: Spain and the United States in the Age of Independence, 1763–1848,” highlights the relationship between Spain and the United States over an eighty-five¬-year period that was marked by transformative events in the Americas and Europe. The 1763 Treaty of Paris, which ended the French and Indian War in America, dramatically changed the political landscape in this country.

Terms of the treaty left two major European competitors with significant colonial holdings on the continent: Great Britain to the east of the Mississippi River, and Spain to the west. This geographic bifurcation set the stage for future conflicts, negotiations, border shifts, intrigue, pacts, alliances, and battles (fought domestically and abroad) between these two countries, the young American republic, the French, and the indigenous Native American nations.

The portraits, maps, documents, and treaties in this exhibition illustrate moments of significant political and economic intersection between Spain and the United States. “Legacy” highlights the crucial Spanish contributions to the American cause during the Revolutionary War; details the subsequent diplomatic relationships focused on territorial rights and boundaries; and reveals the presence and influence of Hispanic culture in Florida, Louisiana, California, and the Southwest in the formative and early years of the American republic.

Organized by the National Portrait Gallery, Sociedad Estatal para la Acción Cultural Exterior de España (SEACEX), Smithsonian Latino Center, and the Fundación Consejo España-Estados Unidos.This exhibition has been made possible by a generous grant from The Walt Disney Company. Additional support has been provided by BBVA, Grupo Barceló, Iberdrola, and Iberia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, the Ministry of Culture of Spain, and the Embassy of Spain in the United States also contributed to the realization of this project.