Tale of Four Governors

by Joseph Myers, Ph.D.

Four governors served on the Spanish frontier in the 1770s; they are listed below by their date of birth and birthplace (a peninsular if born in European Spain; a criollo if born in New Spain with Spanish ancestry). Three served in Alta California and one in New Mexico.

One of the four, Neve, rose to the second most powerful position in New Spain (today’s Mexico). The intriguing question is how? In order to answer this question, it is necessary to look not only at the governors, but at the cast of characters that presided over them, and take a cursory look at the financial situation of New Spain in the 1760s through the 1780s.



1. Criollo Fernando Xavier de Rivera y Moncada (1725 – 1781); born in Campostella northwest of Mexico City. He died at age 56 in the Yuma uprising.




2. Peninsular Felipe de Neve (1727 – 1784); born in Bailén, Spain. He died at age 57 on a trip from Arispe to Chihuahua.

3. Peninsular Pedro Fages (1734 – 1794); born in Catalonia, Spain. He died in Mexico City at about age 60.

cropped-signature3_1_-252x60.jpg4. Criollo Juan Bautista de Anza (1736-1788); born near Fronteras, south of modern day Douglas, Arizona. He died in Arispe (in modern day Sonora) unexpectedly at age 52.

The Seven Years’ War was fought in Europe between 1756 and 1763. France was on the losing side and as a result relinquished vast holdings in America including the Louisiana Territory. Spain and Great Britain were the benefactors. For Spain, the issues were what to do with all their new territory, as well as how to prevent the British from making inroads into their territory. Like all the major powers at the end of the war, Spain was out of money. Great Britain had furnished money during the war to their allies on the continent but did not provide many troops; instead she sent troops to the colonies during what was called the French-Indian War. This war started in 1754 and coincided more of less with the Seven Years’ War. After the war, Great Britain tried to raise money by imposing taxes on the colonies which ended badly for them. The colonists rebelled. Unlike the thirteen colonies which each had its own governor, New Spain was governed by a single officer of the crown, called the viceroy. He resided in Mexico, the capital (today’s Mexico City). Having a single authority and a single religion made Spain’s task somewhat easier. About half way through the war, in 1759 Carlos III ascended the Spanish throne. His mother was Italian and he had already put in time as King of Sicily. In Spain, he relied heavily on councilors for advice. 1759 was the same year that Juan Bautista de Anza was promoted to presidio commander at Tubac (Arizona) at age 23.

At the end of the war in 1763, Joaquin de Montserrat had already been viceroy in Mexico for three years, serving from 1760 to 1766. He had his share of difficulties as he was in charge in 1761 when smallpox killed some 15,000 Indians in the capital and 80,000 in today’s Puebla. Three years later he could not have been happy when Visitador General Jose de Galvez was sent by the crown. Galvez arrived in the capital in 1764 with nearly unlimited powers. He was a lawyer and came from a powerful family; his brother would become viceroy in New Spain in 1783, followed by his nephew in 1784. One of his first actions was to send the Marques de Rubi out to inspect the frontier and make recommendations on how to improve on expenditures being made. Rubi spent two arduous years on this assignment; at Tubac he was favorably impressed with Anza. Galvez also dove into mining laws and attempted reforms there to bring in more revenues. Not helping New Spain on the financial side, Carlos III was worried enough about the British threat to his holdings that in 1768 he authorized some 10,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry at the expense of the crown to beef up defenses in New Spain. In 1766, Carlos Francisco de Croix, marques de Croix arrived as viceroy (1766-1771) and replaced Montserrat. Meanwhile in Spain, councilor Pedro Abarca y Bolea, Count of Aranda was arguing successfully for Carlos III to get rid of the Jesuits. In less than a year, on May 20, 1767 viceroy Croix received orders from Spain to arrest and expel all the Jesuits, and to seize their property. Conveniently for the crown, Jesuit holdings were extensive and represented a good deal of wealth. Viceroy Croix, along with his nephew Teodoro de Croix and the Visitador General Jose de Galvez, drew up plans for a “secret mission.” A group of Spanish officers was selected by careful winnowing to carry out their secret mission.

In 1767, the year the Jesuits were expelled, none of our four “governors” were actually governors yet. Captain Rivera was the oldest of the four; he was now age forty-two and had been presidio commander at Loreto (in the Baja) for sixteen years. Jesuits had built some twenty three missions on the Baja and Gaspar de Portolá was assigned to rounding up the Baja Jesuits. Rivera was much loved by the Jesuits and his assignment was to assist in shipping the Jesuits back to Spain.

Neve’s prestigious family and knew the King personally, serving as a member of the Royal Bodyguards. He had been in New Spain only three years and was sent to Zacatecas, southeast of the bustling mining center at Durango, to round up the Jesuits. Zacatecas was an old silver producing area where Onate had derived his wealth before leading colonists to settle New Mexico in 1598. Neve was a hard worker, diligent, and wrote copiously about the Zacateca area and the Jesuit holdings. His hard work paid off in his subsequent assignment as governor of the Californias.

Fages was only two years older than Anza and was brand new on the frontier in 1767; he had only recently arrived in New Spain and was assigned to fighting Indians in Sonora. He seems to have had limited involvement in the Jesuit expulsion.

Anza was the youngest of the four and in 1767 had been presidio commander at Tubac (in today’s Arizona) for eight years; he was assigned to arrest Jesuits on the Sonoran northern frontier including modern day Arizona. Being a criollo, it is likely Jesuits had taught him to read and write in Spanish, while Basque was surely his native tongue. Writing must have always been a chore for him, and it had to be difficult emotionally to round up his former friends and mentors.

Arrests and seizures were to be made at dawn June 25, 1767 – hardly a month after the orders arrived in the capital. Each officer moved in advance to the area to be ready. Anza had been on an expedition against the Apache, and probably slept in the saddle getting to his assigned spot on time. Following the arrests, many areas in Mexico had uprisings that had to be trampled by force.

Once this assignment had been carried out, the crown feared English and Russian designs on Alta California, and in 1769, Galvez was ordered to establish a Spanish foothold there. Under the leadership of Portolá, he sent two expeditions by land and three ships by sea to begin settlement efforts. Franciscan Father Serra, Fages and Rivera were all part of this expedition; Anza and Neve were not involved. Serra was “father presidente” in charge of the 15 padres assigned to set up new missions in California. He died there in 1784 and was beatified in 1988. Some historians view the expedition as co-led by Portolá and Father Serra.

Visitador General Galvez was under a lot of pressure to put the California settlements into motion and seemed to suffer what might today be termed a nervous breakdown; he reportedly became demented, returned to the Mexico mainland, and while at Arispe in March 1770 wrote these words: “Jose de Galvez, mad in this world.” If he was really “mad,” he recovered and returned to Spain, where he served as head of the Minister of the Indies from 1775 to 1787. Following is a brief summary of the lives of our four future governors. They are presented in the order they served as governor.

1. Fages:  Like Rivera, he was on the Portola expedition in 1769 and placed in charge of the sea wing of the expedition. Possibly because he was a peninsular, he was selected as the 1st governor of Alta, CA (1770 – 1774). He was born in Catalonia, Spain and had been 2nd in command of the Catalonian volunteers at age 33. Possibly he knew Galvez in Spain, as Galvez had fought in Italy and Portugal. A professional soldier, Fages left Spain in 1767 to fight Indians in Sonora. He has been portrayed as hot-tempered, but he had to have been a rugged individual and an outstanding horseman. In Alta California, he had a soldier of exceptional talent under him. The officer, Ortega, got along with the Indians and surprisingly Father Serra liked this officer (unusual because Serra did not seem to like any of the four governors). Fages viewed Ortega as a threat: “This subaltern is succeeding too well and is too much talked about for my authority not to suffer from him.” When Father Serra journeyed to Mexico City in 1773 and petitioned the viceroy for a replacement for Fages (hoping for Ortega), the viceroy instead selected Rivera, getting him to come out of his semi-retirement to become the 2nd governor of Alta California (1774-1777; the appointment was made in late 1773 but he did not arrive in Alta California until 1774). Fages eventually went back to Mexico City, married, and returned to military service on the frontier. He ended up serving a long second term as governor of California from 1782-91.

2. Rivera:  He was born in Compostela, northwest of Mexico City in 1725; in 1742 he joined the military at age 17 and at age 26 became the presidio commander at Loreto (he became commander in 1751, the same year as the Pima uprising when Anza joined the military at age 17). In 1769, Rivera led the first land party to the San Diego area, going north from Loreto in the Baja. Portolá and Father Serra followed with the second land expedition. Rivera was a criollo and surely had as much difficulty writing as Anza; whatever the reason, he was passed over for the governorship of California in 1770 when Fages, a pennisular was selected. Following this snub, Rivera subsequently went into semi-retirement on a farm in Guadalajara. One biographer characterized him as a colossus of a man who knew how to command his soldados and make them love him…unintelligent, given to whim, easily offended, quick-tempered, niggardly, intransigent, he was an unbalanced man, the victim of his own inhibitions and prey to the obsessive idea the Indians were going to kill him…

3. Neve:  He was born in Spain in 1727 (he was nine years older than Anza). He arrived in New Spain in 1764, a year after France departed. His arrival was the same year that the Visitador General Jose de Galvez and Teodoro, the Caballero de Croix (the nephew of the viceroy) arrived. Neve was well educated and positioned, and his first assignment was to assist the Marques de Rubi in the formation of the provincial Cavalry of Queretaro (Queretaro was an important city just northeast of the capital; the Franciscans had a college there and it was their headquarters as well). Neve was expected to command the cavalry, build it up and train them. He tried a military draft but his efforts set off a riot; at Patzcuaro he was actually rushed by a mob. Rubi inspected the frontier per the orders of Galvez, from today’s Arizona to New Mexico and Texas over about two years. Anza as commander at Tubac impressed Rubi with his honesty and diligence.

Following expulsion of the Jesuits, Neve spent seven years (1767 – 1774) at the silver rich region of Zacatecas documenting the College of San Luis Gonzaga (Jesuit property), and its wealth and activities. The document went to Viceroy Bucareli and on to Spain on January 27, 1774. Bucareli soon rewarded him with the position of governor of California. For three years, he served as governor at Loreto (in the Baja California) and then in 1777 he replaced Rivera, who had replaced Fages. This made him technically the 3rd governor of Alta California and in actuality he was the first governor of the combined Californias (1777-1782).

The viceroy after the Marques de Croix was Antonio Maria de Bucareli y Ursua (1771-1779). Spain and Britain were now at peace and one of his first actions was cost cutting, reducing the 10,000 man infantry and 6,000 man cavalry that had been sent in 1768. When he appointed Neve to Governor of the Californias, he wrote to Father Serra Dec 25, 1776: “….I have liked that officer (Neve) since I first knew him in Spain. He will earn your affection by establishing the missions you want, as I have instructed him to do…..”

It was noted than when he first arrived, everywhere he went Neve left a few mules, a few horses, and a great many promises….Serra wrote Bucareli March 1, 1777 and thanked god “….for having sent us at Monterey a Governor who has made up his mind to embrace your ideas and carry out your orders….”  Father Serra judged him incorrectly though – within six months Neve revealed his true self as the missions’ implacable enemy.

4. Anza:  Like Rivera, he was a criollo. He was born near Fronteras just south of modern day Douglas, AZ in 1736. His father was from the Basque region of Spain and came to the new world at age 19. He owned silver mines and ranches in northern Sonora and today’s Arizona. Anza Sr. was eventually appointed as presidio commander at Fronteras and was killed by Apaches when Anza was about four years old. Anza’s maternal grandfather was also a presidio commander at Janos, southwest of modern day El Paso. With all this military background, it is not surprising that Anza joined the military at age 17 during the Pima uprising; he must have impressed his superiors as he was in put in charge of the Tubac presidio in 1759, at age 23. After the Jesuits were expelled in 1767, he spent the next seven years from 1767 to 1774 in relative obscurity, fighting Indians on the frontier. He did distinguish himself as a good military leader during this period. Like his father, he also requested permission to explore a land route to Alta California. Jesuit Father Kino in the late 1600s made a number of attempts to get to Alta California. It seems everyone wanted to go there.

In 1774 Anza received orders from the viceroy to determine if a land route from Tubac to Alta California was possible and he succeeded in this venture. Then in 1775 he received additional orders to recruit and conduct roughly 250 colonists from New Spain and ultimately settle San Francisco. Today,the trail they traversed is known as the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. Successful again in this venture, he was promoted to Governor of New Mexico (Santa Fe) in 1778 where he served for the next decade.

In Alta California in 1776, Anza and Rivera feuded like a couple of school boys. There had been an Indian uprising at San Diego in late 1775, while Anza was on the trail with his colonists, and when he arrived at San Gabriel mission in early 1776, he rode with Rivera to San Diego to punish the offenders. It did not take long for Anza to get disgusted with the inactivity of Rivera and the two ended up feuding over the orders to found San Francisco. Rivera shortly got in trouble with the Franciscans over an “illegal” arrest of a ringleader of the Indian revolt, and was excommunicated. He appeared to have been deathly afraid of the large number of Indians, and some deemed him mad. After his governorship, he was authorized to round up colonists to settle Los Angeles. He drafted them in a similar fashion as Anza, and conducted them along the Gila River route in Arizona. At Yuma, he sent the colonists ahead with an escort and proceeded to camp east of the Indian villages. Possibly as a result of the soldiers and settler’s horses and cattle destroying their crops, the Quechen Indians revolted. Rivera was killed by the Indians in 1781 at the Colorado River in what is termed the “Yuma Massacre.”

Father Serra was in a unique position as head of the missions in California and was acquainted with all four governors; he did not appear to have high regard for any of them. Following is a glimpse of how he viewed them in selected letters written to his colleagues and superiors. He was greatly troubled by Fages. Here is one of his tirades against Fages, writing: “He (Fages) did not like the corporal (Ortega) and his men treating the Indians kindly so replaced them. Nov 30 he was back at Monterey….soldiers continued to desert….as he drank the milk that belonged to the little Indians of the missions and chewed on his stolen figs, he pondered how to explain the desertions to the Viceroy…..of course it was the fault of the twelve Franciscans, and especially their prefect who urges them to disobey Captain Fages…..” Serra was able to convince the viceroy in 1773 on his trip to Mexico City to recall Fages.

Regarding Rivera, Serra had returned to Alta CA from his trip to Mexico City in 1774 with a few colonists for the new region and wrote:  “To the carpenter and the blacksmith whom I brought from Guadalajara and their wives, the regulations grant a full ration; they also have the right to buy provisions for their children from the Crown store. Well would you believe that the Commandant (Rivera) had the ration of these unfortunate artisans made up of nothing but maize, without ever any bacon, butter or meat? That he reduced their wives’ rations by three-fourths? And that he forbade the storekeeper Juan Soler to sell them an ounce of butter or ham for their poor children? Yet he has so much maize on hand that he piles it up in the patio of the Presidio for want of room in the storehouse; and he has packing cases full of ham that he will not allow to be opened-until the day when it has to be thrown, spoiled, into the bay.”

His most difficult opponent was Neve, who openly opposed the authority of the Franciscans. Serra wrote: “In violation of the Law of the Indies, he (Neve) began taking over and making use of newly converted Christians against the will of the padres…” Serra protested Neve’s treatments against Indians accused of stealing livestock, citing an “order to castrate them, rip them open, hang them and slaughter them en masse, as his soldiers have done many times over….” In Neve, Serra found a worthy opponent….

Neve had a distinct advantage over the others. A peninsular and former Sgt Major of the cavalry at Queretaro, Felipe de Neve was also well known in Spain and was personally esteemed by the King; he also enjoyed the confidence of Masonic circles at Court. Morally he believed the ends justified the means, and was characterized as a Febronian (believed in the “god-state” all rights). The Febronians of Madrid persuaded Charles III to put Neve in charge of drawing up the reglamento and appoint him governor with the ultimate aim of bringing the missions under government. As a result of the unbridled power of Neve, father Serra was in a difficult position and the two had a serious quarrel; Serra unable to sleep had a revelation – “be as wise as the serpent and as simple as the dove” – this vision guided his subsequent dealings with Neve.

Regarding Anza, in 1774 when Serra returned to Alta California from Mexico he met Anza on his exploratory expedition along the coast. Serra had already advised the viceroy about the benefit of Anza making an exploratory trip to establish a land route through Arizona to supply the needs of Alta California, so he was surely impressed by what he had heard of Anza. On the coast, Serra loaned Anza an arrobe (about 25 pounds) of chocolate. However, his views changed with time. A few years later, he wrote to the Rev Father Guardian, after the Guardian had asked about the mules, cows and horses supposedly left by Anza at each mission:  “He left absolutely nothing anywhere. He even forgot to speak to me again about the arrobe of chocolate which cost me 50 pesos and which I ceded to him to get him out a difficulty in 1774. And if I speak of it again to you, it is that there may be no more talk about my having kept for myself everything Anza brought us!”

Behind the scenes in New Spain, there was always an issue with a shortage of money. It is impossible to understand the difficulties the viceroy’s faced in administering without considering finances, even though silver was being sent back to Spain every year. According to one estimate, government revenue in New Spain in 1763 was only 6 million pesos. Confiscating Jesuit property and selling it off, as well as the lottery of 1769 and other measures, resulted in a doubling of revenue to 12 million pesos by 1773, and it reached about 19 million pesos by 1783. In spite of the austerity measures, Viceroy Croix somehow managed to get the crown to increase his salary from 40,000 pesos to 60,000 per year. And it was his bright idea to institute the lottery in 1769. As viceroy, Croix had to borrow some 400,000 pesos from a wealthy silver baron, Pedro Terreros, 1st count of Regla. Recall that the viceroy after Croix was Bucareli (1771 – 1779); he had to borrow another 800,000 pesos from the count of Regla. It is not clear how the money was repaid.

An interesting sidelight about the wealth of the count of Regla: He married in 1755 and spent some 50,000 pesos on a lavish two day celebration in Mexico City; his wife’s family reportedly spent another 16,000 pesos. Combined, the money spent on the two day event was more money than the viceroy earned in a year. As part of his vows, Pedro Terreros also pledged to build a convent for nuns and to supply funding for a mission at San Saba Texas, which his Franciscan cousin Father Terreros, would be placed in charge of. The intent of the missions was to get the Lipan Apache to settle down and become Christians but the Comanche were not about to let this happen. In 1758 thousands of Comanche and their allies, in what must represent one of the largest Indian armies ever in the southwest, rode into the new mission and martyred the priests and destroyed the mission.  Anza as governor of New Mexico twenty years later had as his major priority the assignment to deal with the powerful Comanche.

The death of Bucareli in Mexico City in 1779 precipitated a series of events that caused some degree of turmoil in New Spain. Martin de Mayorga replaced him for the next four years as viceroy (1779-1783). He expected to retire in Spain but did not make it out of Mexico. Rumors suggested he was poisoned by the next viceroy, Matias de Galvez y Gallardo (Matias was the brother of Visitor general Jose Galvez).

Matias de Galvez (1783 – 1784) served only 1 ½ years with few distinguishing accomplishments. He did authorize the newspaper Gaceta de Mexico be “restarted” in November, 1783. Amazingly it appears the government controlled the news and so few people could read and write in the capital that there was little need for a newspaper. Tubac, where Anza was at on the frontier did not get a printing press until the 1850s, when Americans arrived.

On the death of Mayorga, there was a short stint with Viceroy Vicente Herrera before the son of Matias, Bernardo de Galvez became viceroy (1784 – 1786). He served only two years and died in the capital at age 40. He had served the crown well fighting the Comanche in the region around Chihuahua, and engineered a number of victories in Louisiana along the Mississippi River against the British during the Revolutionary War. He was honored by the Americans for his important role, and rode on the right side of George Washington in a parade on the 4th of July. But the ever suspicious crown worried he might incite Mexicans to rebel like the Americans had and his position was undermined. Again it was rumored he was poisoned by his enemies. Poisoning seems to have been a popular way to get rid of an opponent.

Back on the frontier in Arispe, Teodoro de Croix, nephew of the previous Viceroy Croix, was promoted to the position of Viceroy of Peru in February, 1783. He had served as the 1st commandant general of the Internal Provinces of the North for seven years. In that position, he had absolute control over today’s Texas and New Mexico and shared responsibility for Alta California with the viceroy. It was his poor decision to try and found missions at today’s Yuma, AZ among the Yuma Indians (today known as the Quechan Nation) without military support. This resulted in the Yuma Massacre in 1781 when four padres were martyred. Ex-governor (and now Captain) Rivera was also killed, along with many soldiers and settlers. Was it a poor decision to found missions without military support by Croix, or was it due to the fact he had few funds at his disposal? At any rate he departed for Peru, and Neve was promoted from Governor of the California’s to be the 2nd commandant general of the Internal Provinces of the North. Thinking about the promotion, it was not terribly surprising since Neve impressed his superiors by spending much of his time in Monterey writing up a new set of rules on how to govern the province (the reglamento). Between his extensive correspondence in Zacatecas from 1767 to 1774 and now his comprehensive reglamento, he had a huge advantage over the other governors since all this correspondence went to the viceroy and ultimately to the king. Obviously, Croix, the viceroy, and the crown were very favorably impressed by his efforts as governor, resulting in his promotion.

Anza meanwhile in New Mexico was writing very little and impressing his superiors only mildly; he was chasing and subduing the Comanche, the Navajo, the Hopi and improving defenses against the Indians. Spanish for him was a second language and writing had to be difficult. He had a secretary in New Mexico which probably helped somewhat. Anza beefed up defenses in New Mexico and relocated the rural farmers into the villages. Not every one liked his heavy handed treatment and some local citizens rebelled. They traveled to Arispe, and complained to Croix, shortly before his assignment to Peru. Anza received a mild rebuke and was told to “tone it down.”

Once Neve arrived in Arispe, all hell broke loose for Anza. Settlers in New Mexico traveled down to Arispe for a second time and complained directly to Neve. He surely viewed Anza just like Fages had viewed his subordinate: “This subaltern is succeeding too well and is too much talked about for my authority not to suffer from him.” Neve forbade Anza to take any credit for the expeditions to California or for subduing the Indians. Anza had hoped to get a promotion to head up Nueva Vizcaya but it did not happen. Fortunately for Anza, Neve suffered from ill health and died after just two years in his position on a trip from Arispe to Chihuahua, in 1784. There is no evidence of any foul play and Neve was in very poor health, but one has to wonder – Anza’s permanent residence for many years was in Arispe; did he have friends there that might have aided Neve in his journey to the next world?

Anza returned to Sonora in 1787 and was placed in charge of the military on the frontier there. This was a position of limited power compared to the governorships of the provinces. He died just before Christmas in 1788 at only age 52. With so many rumors of poisoning of high level officials, one also has to wonder – did Neve have friends in Arispe that aided Anza on his journey to the next world? He is buried under the floor of the church in Arispe; perhaps someday we will learn what he died of.

One last tidbit of information about Viceroy Croix, now in Peru. He was expecting to marry the daughter of the 2nd count of Jala in Mexico (City) in 1785, but the engagement was broken and instead she married the 2nd count of Regla, Pedro Ramon Terreros. Recall his wealthy father had loaned viceroy Croix 400,000 pesos, and another 800,000 pesos to viceroy Bucareli. The 1st Count of Regla had died just four years earlier, amassing his fortune in the New World between 1728 and 1781. He had a residence in Mexico just blocks from the Cathedral, and knew the viceroys well. In New Spain, it never hurt to be a peninsular, and have money and friends in high places!

Now back to Fages for the penultimate chapter in this story. In 1780, he married at age 46 in Mexico. He had little time with his new wife of age 23 though, as he was called back into service on the frontier and was sent to punish the Quechen Indians at Yuma after the 1781 uprising. He traveled the route along the Gila River in Arizona that Anza used with the expedition six years earlier. When he arrived at Yuma, the Indians had little appetite for a fight and scattered. Fages rode back and forth along the Camino del Diablo (a very difficult stretch of desert along today’s international boundary between Sonora and Arizona). Eventually he teamed up with Neve back in California and the two with soldiers were headed to Yuma to try once again to subdue the Yuma Indians. A courier caught them enroute, with the news that Neve would replace Croix at Arispe, and should head south down the Baja. Fages was ordered to Monterey for another stint as governor (1782-1791).

By this time Serra was growing old and died soon (1784), so there were fewer fireworks between the two during this second term Fages brought his wife and son from Mexico City to Monterey but she hated the remoteness. At one point she kicked him out of their bed but he did not seem to mind. She later learned that her husband was sleeping with an Indian servant from Yuma. He moved back to Mexico in 1791 and died there after 1794.

This brings us to the end of the tale of the four governors. It is evident that Neve enjoyed a number of major attributes over his fellow governors. He was born in Spain so this gave him an immediate advantage over Anza and Rivera, both criollos. We know that he personally knew and favorably impressed Viceroy Bucarelli back in Spain. He was well educated and wrote prodigiously assignment at Zacatecas (1767-1774), he wrote up extensive documents about the Jesuit missions and their holdings. In California, he tackled the task of writing up a lengthy reglamento, describing how the California’s should be governed going forward. He was responsible for the founding of Los Angeles and with approval and assistance from Teodoro Croix, arranged for settlers to be brought in – not only by the route Anza had pioneered, but also from Baja California in a double pronged effort which succeeded. His dealings with Anza after his promotion can only be explained by a well founded fear that Anza represented a threat to him, and he was not about to allow a criollo to rise to any position of power if he could help it. He appears to have been a very capable individual. Neve was obviously intelligent and a hard worker. He was in Arispe only a short time before drafting instructions for several presidio commanders on the frontier to mount a multi-pronged expedition against the Apache. The instructions were accurate and quite comprehensive.

This is somewhat surprising when one considers what a brief time he had been in his new assignment when he put together his plan for this vast and remote desert region.

The most surprising part of this story though is really how far a criollo like Anza, born and educated on the frontier, was able to rise in a very caste oriented system in the New World.

1.Internet descriptions about Rivera, Fages and Neve by Michael Hardwick.
2. Internet’s Wikipedia; good sources for the viceroys.
3. Felipe de Neve by Edwin A Beilharz, 1971.
4. The Silver King (First Count of Regla) by Edith Boorstein Couturier, 2003.
5. The Last of the Conquistadors (Junipero Serra) by Omer Englebert, 1956
6. Forgotten Frontiers (Anza’s Indian Policies in NM) by Alfred Barnaby Thomas, 1932.