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In the Spanish Louisiana, Governor Bernardo de Gálvez organized Spanish free blackmen into two militia companies to defend New Orleans during the American Revolution. They fought in the 1779 battle in which Spain took Baton Rouge from the British. Gálvez also commanded them in campaigns against the British outposts in Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida, he recruited slaves for the militia by pledging to free anyone who was seriously wounded and promised to secure a low price for coartación (buy their freedom and that of others) for those who received lesser wounds. During the 1790s, Governor Francisco Luis Héctor, baron of Carondelet reinforced local fortifications and recruit even more free blackmen for the militia. Carondelet doubled the number of free blackmen who served, creating two more militia companies—one made up of black members and the other of pardo (mixed race). Serving in the militia brought free blackmen one step closer to equality with whites, allowing them, for example, the right to carry arms and boosting their earning power. However actually these privileges distanced free blackmen from enslaved blacks and encouraged them to identify with whites.

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