Luis Unzaga: the man from Malaga who proposed the name of the United States

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Nothing less than a Spanish citizen, from Malaga, can boast of having coined for the first time in history in the name of the United States when George Washington reveals to his right hand, Joseph Reed – creator of the American flag – that Luis Unzaga had awarded him the title of General of the United States.

Unzaga was not just anybody, he was nothing less than the governor of Louisiana and a great defender of the independence of the American country.

A military man from a young age

There were several researchers from the city of Malaga itself, Frank Cazorla, Rosa García Baena and José Luis Polo Rubio, those who discovered a detail in the biography of the Spanish military man. That detail was a letter that Luis de Unzaga sent to George Washington where the name of the country was mentioned for the first time.

Unzaga was born in Malaga on April 6, 1717, entered the militia at the age of 13 Spanish and with 23 he had already embarked to America to fight against the British Empire in Caribbean waters. After the war, Unzaga gradually climbed positions until he became the governor of Louisiana, where he maintained close contact with people such as Kings Carlos III and Carlos IV, and a close relationship with George Washington, one of the founders of the United States. .

In the biography of the three Malaga students, ‘Governor Luis de Unziaga. Forerunner in the birth of the USA and liberalism ‘, It is detailed how by means of letters, the governor of Louisiana and Washington coined what would be the name of a finally united nation.

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A network of great contacts

Luis de Unzaga was one of those characters that is little recognized in our history. He pioneered free trade among Mississippi River merchants, in addition to establishing the dollar as a cross-border currency that would later become the official currency of the country.

A whole network of contacts that was working during his life and that earned him the nickname of ‘the Conciliator’. The letter discovered by the Malaga researchers testifies to the great regard that Washington had for Unzaga when describing his proposal to his faithful friend Joseph Redd: «He gives me the title of ‘General de los Estados Unidos Americanos’, which is a tolerable step towards declaring himself our ally in positive terms» explicaba la carta de Luis de Unzaga a Washington.

From that moment on, the president changed the well-known formula of the 13 United States to that of the United States of America.

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