June 21, 1779
Spain declared war on Britain on June 21, 1779, and Bernardo de Galvez, Spanish governor of Louisiana, wasted no time invading West Florida as soon as he could. At the time, West Florida included more than half of present-day Alabama and had just two towns of significant size: Pensacola and Mobile, its ports on the Gulf of Mexico. Galvez laid siege to Mobile’s Fort Charlotte in March 1780. The fort had 304 defenders, while Galvez had almost 2,000 attackers. Spanish artillery smashed breaches in Fort Charlotte’s walls, and Elias Durnford, the fort’s commandant, surrendered on the 13th day of the siege. For the next year, Spanish forces attacked the Pensacola garrison and Britain’s Native American allies in Mobile. Pensacola surrendered to Galvez in May 1781, ending British rule in West Florida.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.