This Internet Museum represents an attempt to display, in a user-friendly manner, an assemblage of Spanish colonial military artifacts reposing in dozens of private and public collections in southeastern North America. It also represents an ongoing effort to interpret the temporal placement, historic deployment, geographic distribution, and manufacturing and stylistic attributes of the examples here exhibited.
My name is John Powell. As an instructor of history dedicated to the interrelated fields of museum studies, military history, and North American colonial military material culture analysis, interpretation and preservation, it is my privilege and duty to both actively conduct research related to my profession as well as to share the knowledge resulting from that research with you. What is presented on these pages comprises the open exhibition of an evolving research effort whose ultimate goal is the publication of an illustrated reference text related to the information and artifact typologies presented here in concise and facilitated form.
While this site includes illustrations and descriptions of other materials, the emphasis of this study and this site is specifically focused upon the identification and interpretation of Spanish colonial military uniform-related artifacts. These buttons, buckles, hasps, fasteners, plates and insignia are all that remain of the uniforms and accouterments that were worn and used by the peninsular, provincial, and local militia forces comprising Spain's colonial military establishment. These men, who served and sacrificed to defend their nation's interests under often brutally hostile conditions, ultimately colonized a continent and assisted in the creation of a culture whose indelible influences remain dominant throughout much of the New World to the present day. The uniform goods that they lost or discarded through time bear testimony to who, what, where, and when these men were, and a more complete interpretation of these artifacts will serve to augment the body of knowledge collectively compiled to assist us in our understanding of the past and the people of that past who provided us with our present and future.
This undertaking could not progress without the contributions, input, cooperation, and invaluable assistance of professional institutions and many individuals from the public and private sectors whose diverse backgrounds and pursuit of equally diverse vocations and areas of interest have served to greatly enrich this effort. Many of these are gratefully thanked in the acknowledgments that appear at the bottom of each presentation content section of this site. Other contributors are not yet mentioned but will be given full recognition as the work continues and the site grows and improves in terms of its content's variety, accuracy, and overall interpretive quality. To each and all of these individuals and institutions, the endeavor represented here and I mutually owe an inestimable debt of gratitude.
As previously mentioned, this evolving effort is dependent upon the assistance and cooperation of many individuals and institutions. In no case will a contributor's trust and confidence be compromised, nor will any specific site-related data be released or published without permission. Therefore, if you possess information or collection materials relevant to this study, please respond to this request to share your knowledge, input, comments, criticisms, corrections, and/or access to relevant artifact-related materials by writing to or contacting me by electronic mail at the following address:
This endeavor embodies an effort to achieve the following goals and accomplish the following objectives:
To identify Spanish colonial military clothing and uniform-related artifacts utilized in the study region from the era of Spanish exploration and settlement through the formative period of European military uniform development during and following the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) until the end of the Spain's colonial tenure in North America in 1821;
To classify those artifacts by type and to assign to each redundantly occurring typology a nomenclature (name) based on the physical, temporal, distributional, and use-related attributes of that typology;
To accumulate distribution data pertaining to each artifact classification category;
To interpret, as comprehensively as possible, by whom, when, where, how, and the circumstances under which these materials were made and subsequently used;
To exhibit the materials forming the basis of this study in illustrative form for review by members of the professional, public, and private sectors; and
To publish information related to this effort in the form of articles, this Internet site, and, ultimately, a reference book in which the results of this study's findings will be compiled, correlated, and synthesized.