Episode 037: Kathleen DuVal, Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

Independence Lost

What battle proved to be the turning point of the American War for Independence?

If you answered Saratoga, you are in general agreement with most scholars of the American Revolution.

General John Burgoyne’s surrender to the Continental Army on October 17, 1777 demonstrated to France that Americans had what it took to defeat the British Army.

France entered the war on the behalf of the United States.

And with France came Spain.

Today, we explore the consequences of Spanish involvement in the War for American Independence with Kathleen DuVal, professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution.


About the Show

Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.

It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Each episode features a conversation with an historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.

Episode Summary

duval_kathleen_02In this episode, Kathleen DuVal, professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution, leads us on an exploration of how the American Revolution and its War for Independence took place in the Gulf Coast region.

During our exploration, Kathleen reveals information about the Gulf Coast, its geography, the European powers involved in the region, and the cultural diversity of its inhabitants; Details about the Battle of Pensacola (1781); And, How and why the Battle of Pensacola stands as another important turning point in the American War for Independence.

Kathleen also shares what the British loss of Pensacola meant for the peoples living in the Gulf Coast.

What You’ll Discover

  • How Kathleen came to study the American Revolution in the Gulf Coast region
  • The geography that defined the Gulf Coast during the American Revolution
  • How the French and Indian War altered the political landscape in the Gulf Coast region
  • Information about the different peoples who lived in the Gulf Coast after the French and Indian War
  • Why the Gulf Coast colonies did not rebel against Great Britain
  • Why most colonists in the Gulf Coast liked being a part of the British Empire
  • How the British and Spanish tried to secure the service of Native American warriors during the American War for Independence
  • The Battle of Pensacola
  • Information about British General John Campbell and Spanish General Bernardo de Gálvez
  • Why the British loss at the Battle of Pensacola played an important role in British imperial policy making
  • What the British loss of West Florida meant for the British and Native American peoples who lived there
  • Overview of the story of James and Isabella Bruce, British West Florida residents
  • How Spanish victory in the Gulf Coast affected negotiations of the Treaty of Paris, 1783
  • How the Native Americans of the Gulf Coast region felt and reacted when they discovered that the British ceded a lot of their land to the United States in the Treaty of Paris, 1783
  • Information about how the Native American peoples of the southeast confederated to slow the migration of white Americans into their lands
Bernardo de Gálvez


Links to People, Places, and Publications

“A New and Accurate Map of East and West Florida, drawn from the best Authorities.”


Time Infinity


Time Warp Question

In your opinion what might have happened if the British had not lost Pensacola? How would the history of the American Revolution and the United States have been different?


Questions, Comments, Suggestions

Do you have a question, comment, or suggestion?

Get in Touch! Send me an e-mail, tweet, or leave a comment.



Enjoy the Podcast?

Why Not Subscribe?

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Google Podcasts | Listen to Stitcher


Ratings & Reviews

If you enjoy this podcast, please give it a rating and review.

Positive ratings and reviews help bring Ben Franklin's World to the attention of other history lovers who may not be aware of our show

Click here to rate & review on iTunes | Click here to rate & review on Stitcher


More from this show