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Spanish Governors

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The Spanish era in California spanned 1769 through 1821. There were 12 different governors in that period:

1768-9 Jul 1770: Don Gaspar de Portolá
Don Gaspar de Portolá (1723-?) was born in Balageur, Spain. He entered the military at 11, becoming an ensign in the dragoons. He served in battles in Italy and Portugal. He was appointed Governor of the Californias by Visitador-General José de Gálvez in 1767 with the objective of blocking English and Russian expansion into California. He expelled the Jesuits from the Baja California missions they developed over a 72-year period (the Jesuits were not as closely connected with Spain as the Franciscans). Then, when Gálvez proposed an expedition into Alta California he volunteered to lead it. He led the parties that colonized San Diego and Monterey. When he left the governor's office he returned to Mexico until 1784 when he returned to Spain to retire.
1770-1774: Felipe de Barri
Actual power through 1774 was in the hands of the military commander Pedro Fages who is sometimes listed as the governor during this period.
1774-1777: Fernando Rivera y Moncada
1777-1782: Felipe de Neve
Felipe de NeveLifespan (1728-1784). He first governed from Loreto 1775 to 3 Feb 1777, then from Monterey after that. Governor de Neve was largely responsible for the establishment of the pueblo that has today become the city of Los Angeles. And, he is credited with being one of the first urban planners as he personally drew up the plans for the pueblo before actually establishing it.
1782-1791: Pedro Fages
Lifespan (1730-1794)
1791-1792: José Antonio Roméu
Lifespan (1742?-1792)
1792-1794: José Joaquin de Arrillaga
Lifespan (1750-1814) Died 24 July 1814 at Mission Soledad
Appointed permanent Lieutenant Governor until he again became Governor
1794-1800: Diego de Borica
Lifespan (1742-1800)
Retired, left Monterey 16 Jan 1800; died in Durango on 19 Jul
1800: Pedro de Alberni (acting after Borica retired)
1800-1814: José Joaquin de Arrillaga 26 March 1804
Lifespan (1750-1814) Died 24 July 1814 at Mission Soledad
Was made and served as Governor of Alta California only 26 March 1804
1814-1815: José Dario Arguello
Lifespan (1754-1827?)
Governed from Presidio of Santa Barbara
1815-1822: Pablo Vicente de Solá (held over until 1822)
Lifespan (1761-1826?)


  • The Governors of California at http://www.notfrisco.com/calarchive/governors.html
  • Spanish Governors of Alta California at http://users.dedot.com/mchs/spgovernors.html
  • Portolá Biography: California Missions by Sunset Editors. (September 1979) Sunset Pub Co

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Related Index :: Mission Founding Order :: Nicknames :: Blessed Serra Bio :: Padre Lasuén Bio :: Calif Spanish Governors :: Calif Mexican Governors :: Calif Military Governors :: Mission Presidents-General :: Secularization :: Chumash Indians :: Spanish Settlement :: El Camino Real :: Dana Acobe :: Stories :: Property :: Measurements :: Find Mission Plans :: Mission Materials :: Jorgensen Paintings :: Calif Missions Museum :: Earthquakes

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