Antequera y Castro, José de (1693–1731)

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Antequera y Castro, José de (1693–1731)

José de Antequera y Castro (b. 1693; d. 5 July 1731), governor of Paraguay (1721–1725) and leader of an anti-Jesuit uprising. In 1724 Antequera led Paraguayan forces into battle against a Jesuit-trained Guaraní militia from the missions who sought to remove him from office. Born in Panama, Antequera was the son of a Spanish bureaucrat. Educated first by Jesuits, he earned his licentiate in arts and doctorate in law in Charcas and Lima and went to Spain to seek employment. He became a member of the Order of Alcántara and secured an appointment for several years as protector of the Indians for the Audiencia of Charcas, where his father had once been a judge (oidor). As acting prosecutor (fiscal) in 1720, he took sides in a feud between Paraguayans and Jesuits that reached the audiencia. He undertook a judicial review of an unpopular governor, Diego de los Reyes y Balmaceda, an ally of the Jesuits, and simultaneously got the audiencia to name him next governor of Paraguay, a common but technically illegal combination, although the viceroy confirmed the appointment.

After Antequera arrived in Paraguay in 1721, he removed Reyes from office, took a Paraguayan mistress, and befriended an opponent of the Jesuits, José de Ávalos y Mendoza. In retaliation, the Jesuits had the viceroy reinstate Reyes, although he never again served. In 1722 the Jesuits helped Reyes flee to Corrientes, infuriating Paraguayans and from there threatening Antequera. The latter insisted that the Jesuits accept him as governor. Antequera argued that the dispute was a matter of justice, not government, and that the audiencia, not the viceroy, had jurisdiction. The audiencia agreed until 1724, when an aggressive viceroy, José de Armendáriz, challenged the Charcas judges. He ordered an army of mission Guaranis led by Baltasar García Ros, lieutenant governor of Buenos Aires, to depose Antequera, but 3,000 Paraguayans with Antequera destroyed the smaller Guarani force in August 1724 at the Tebicuary River. They then expelled the Jesuits from Asunción.

Antequera's victory made his position untenable. The viceroy, the Jesuits, officials in Buenos Aires, and the new bishop of Paraguay, José de Palos, opposed him. His former colleagues in Charcas cut him adrift, and in 1725 he fled to Córdoba, where Franciscans sheltered him, and then moved to Charcas. He was apprehended and sent to Lima. From 1726 to 1731, he was jailed at the viceregal court, where he prepared his defense. Renewed rebellion in Paraguay in 1730 caused the viceroy to demand that the Audiencia of Lima find Antequera guilty of heresy and treason, and the judges complied. They ordered his execution and that of his principal lieutenant, Juan de Mena. The sentence was so unpopular that it provoked a riot in Lima, and the viceroy's troops shot Antequera on his way to the gallows. Four decades after Antequera's death, King Charles III, who had expelled Antequera's Jesuit enemies from Spain in 1767, posthumously exonerated Antequera. In Asunción, Antequera's legacies were the spirit of rebellion and José Cañete, his natural son and father of the noted jurist Pedro Vicente Cañete. Antequera's memory is honored by streets named for him in Asunción and Lima.

See alsoJesuits; Paraguay: The Colonial Period.


Colección general de documentos que contiene los sucesos tocantes á la segunda época de las conmociones de los Regulares de la Companía en el Paraguay y señaladamente la persecución que hicieron a don Josef de Antequera y Castro (1769).

James Schofield Saeger, "Origins of the Rebellion of Paraguay," in Hispanic American Historical Review 52, no. 2 (1972): 215-229, and "Institutional Rivalries, Jurisdictional Disputes, and Vested Interests in the Viceroyalty of Peru: José de Antequera and the Rebellion of Paraguay," in The Americas: A Quarterly Review of Inter-American Cultural History 32, no. 1 (1975): 99-116.

Adalberto López, The Revolt of the Comuneros, 1721–1735: A Study in the Colonial History of Paraguay (1976).

Additional Bibliography

Barba, Enrique M. "El fin de Antequera: su justificación," Investigaciones y Ensayos, 29 (July-Dec. 1980), pp. 15-26.

Romero, Roberto A. La revolución comunera del Paraguay: su doctrina política. Asunción: Impr. Leguizamón, 1995.

                               James Schofield Saeger