(956) 727-0977 heritage@webbheritage.org

The Webb County Heritage Foundation and Ms. Toni L. Ruiz will present, for the first time in Laredo, an exhibit entitled “A Tale of Three Treaties: The Story that Changed the World,” a unique collection of historical documents and artifacts examining the Treaties of Peace of 1783 and the contributions of Spain and France to America’s independence. The public is invited to an opening reception on January 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Villa Antigua® Border Heritage Museum at 810 Zaragoza St. A gallery talk by exhibit curator, Dr. Charles Chamberlain will take place that evening at 7 p.m.
The Treaty of Paris of 1783 stands alongside the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution as one of the documents that has had the most profound effects in shaping and defining the United States of America and its relationship with other preeminent countries at the time. The Treaty officially ended the American Revolutionary War and recognized American independence in the eyes of Great Britain and the world, thus concluding Great Britain’s colonial empire in North America. It also re-defined the landscape and boundaries of the United States by expanding U.S. territory to nearly twice its previous size, therefore opening the door to tremendous economic growth for the United States and securing its role as a key player on the global stage.
Included in the exhibit will be documents and artifacts on loan from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York and the Louisiana State Museum.
The exhibit will also give special recognition to the contributions of Revolutionary War hero General Bernardo de Gálvez, Viceroy of New Spain who served as colonial governor of Cuba and the Louisiana territory (encompassing 13 of our present states) and Commander in Chief of the allied fleet in the Caribbean.
On the diplomatic front, Gálvez was among those who drafted the terms of the Peace of Paris in 1783 that ended the war between Britain and Spain, returned the Floridas to Spain and finalized the boundaries for today’s State of Florida.
Gálvez earned the respect of many revolutionary luminaries. He corresponded with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry, and was invited by George Washington to ride at his side as he marched in the American victory Parade in Philadelphia on July 4, 1783. In 1784 the U.S. Congress cited General Gálvez and the Spanish government for their aid during the Revolution. For his heroics, Gálvez is memorialized in Texas, where the city of Galveston (Gálveztown) honors his name.
The exhibit will be on display from January 26 to March 31. Museum hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.