This past Saturday, October 21, the Jeremiah Lee Mansion unveiled a new plaque commemorating Spanish merchant Diego de Gardoqui and the aid that Spain provided to the patriots during the American Revolution. The plaque was sponsored by Iberdrola, a company with a mission to spread the word about the role that Spain played in colonial victory. The ceremony was attended by several members of the company as well as the Consul General of Spain in Boston, Ana Durán de la Colina, and executive director of the Marblehead Museum, Lauren McCormack.
The Jeremiah Lee Mansion, one of Marblehead’s prized historic landmarks, holds a special significance in the story of Spain’s aid to America. Jeremiah Lee, a successful colonial merchant, was a good friend of Diego de Gardoqui. At Lee’s request, Gardoqui was instrumental in convincing the Spanish king to send crucial aid in the form of troops and supplies to the revolutionary forces. Although most Americans may consider the French as the main allies to the colonies during the Revolutionary War, it was Spain that actually sent the first shipment of European weapons to the American front in 1775. Through funding projects like the plaque at the Lee Mansion, the Iberdrola Company hopes to get more people aware of this important contribution.
The eye-catching plaque now resting at the front of the Jeremiah Lee Mansion includes a likeness of Gardoqui, as well as a short blurb. McCormack and Iberdrola historian Jose-Manuel Guerrero collaborated to briefly summarize his accomplishments, including his work during the war and his service as the first Spanish ambassador to the United States afterwards. Among the crowd at the ceremony was Marblehead’s Glover’s Regiment, who fired some celebratory volleys.