The Founding of the Order of Granaderos de Galvez
The History of the Founding Chapter of the Granaderos y Damas de Galvez
The Order of Granaderos de Galvez was founded in 1975 by Mr. Charles E. Barrera and Mr.
Henry Guerra, of San Antonio, TX. Mr. Barrera, a local businessman, was a Canary Island
Descendant and president of several civic and historical organizations. Mr. Guerra was a
well-know local radio personality.
As members of the Bicentennial Commission, Mr. Guerra and Mr. Barrera extended an
invitation for Consul General Erik I. Martel, the first Consul General from Spain to be assigned
in Houston since 1821, to be their guest at the U.S. Bicentennial Celebration in San Antonio.
Consul Martel accepted the invitation.
From their early conversations the three gentlemen conceived the idea of founding The Order
of Granaderos de Galvez to educate the public of the great contributions that Spain and
General Galvez gave the American colonies during the American Revolution. Another idea was
that of sponsoring an annual Fourth of July ceremony in San Antonio. Consul General Martel
gave his full support to the idea of an American organization, which would honor General
Bernardo de Galvez, the unsung hero.
Mr. Guerra could not join Mr. and Mrs. Barrera in September 1975 when they went to Madrid,
Spain where they spent several days researching the military uniforms and other data
pertinent to Galvez and his era. The Barreras were interviewed by newspapers and television
reporters regarding their efforts to present to the public the help Spain had given the American
Colonist. The also gave several interviews on the Granaderos presentation of the eighteenth
century Spanish soldiers marching in the Bicentennial Parade in San Antonio.
Mr. and Mrs. Barrera were very grateful the Spanish Admiral Ignacio Martel, father of the
Consul General, who at his sons request, had facilitated introductions to the members of the
Spanish Government, military and press. Back in the United States, the Barreras began
speaking on Galvez before meetings of the many organizations of which they were either
president or members and finally succeeded in forming a small nucleus of The Granaderos de
Mr. Charles E. Barrera founded the first chapter in San Antonio, Texas, becoming the
Supreme Governor General and Commander of The Order of Granaderos de Galvez. The
charter members were Ventura G. Perez, Adolfo Herrera, Henry de Leon, Manual Borrego, and
In 1977, Dr Shirley Abbott founded the second chapter in El Paso, Texas followed by a chapter
in Galveston, founded by Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Baker and a chapter in Houston founded in
1978 by Mr. and Mrs. Antonio J. Renazco. To date, the organization has expanded to include a
chapter in Jacksonville Florida, founded by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Milam, and a chapter in St.
Augustine, Florida founded by Mrs. Rita Stark and chapter in Washington, DC founded by
Hector Diaz. All chapters are dedicated in their efforts to carry the goals of the Order, making
people aware of the Spanish contribution to the success of the American War of Independence.
In November 1978, King Juan Carlos of Spain granted the first audience to the Granaderos y
Damas de Galvez. Mr. Charles Barrera had worked toward this for many months, beginning
with a trip he undertook to Madrid in February 1978.
To honor Barreras contributions, King Juan Carlos appointed Charles Barrera as Honorary
Vice Consul of Spain in San Antonio in June 1979. One month later, the King awarded him the
highest decoration that is bestowed upon a civilian, La Ecomienda de la Orden del Merito Civil.
To quote from a letter written by the former Consul General Erik Martel to Mrs. Barrera dated
November 13, 1981: To summarize, Charles gave his all for the Granaderos and anything I
can say in this respect or anything we, who are honored by belonging to the Order today can
do, will always be little.
By Angela Salinas Fernandez