In some ways the American Revolution was a world war. Shortly after the French joined the American cause, the Spanish also joined the Americans. Spain claimed the land west of the Mississippi River and, like the French, saw the British as rivals they hoped to defeat.
In early 1781, a Spanish raiding party left St. Louis (in the present-day state of Missouri). They journeyed to the small British outpost called Fort St. Joseph (in the present-day city of Niles, Michigan).
When they arrived on February 12, 1781, they discovered that there were no British troops at Fort St. Joseph. The Spaniards took a few English traders prisoner and gathered some loot before heading back to St. Louis. They were in Niles for one day.
It is unclear what the Spaniards hoped to gain by their action. However, this is the only place in Michigan where four flags (French, British, Spanish and American) once flew. To this day, Niles is still known as the “Four Flags City.”
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