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Anza, Juan Bautista de (1736–1788)

Anza, Juan Bautista de (1736–1788)

Juan Bautista de Anza (b. 1736; d. 19 December 1788), military officer, governor of New Mexico (1778–1788). One of the most effective instruments of the Bourbon Reforms on the northern frontier of New Spain, Anza was born at the presidio of Fronteras (Sonora), where his father, a member of the landowning-military-merchant elite, served as commander. While captain at Tubac (present-day southern Arizona), young Anza led an exploring party overland to southern California in 1774, and in 1775–1776, by the same route, he escorted the colonists who founded San Francisco. Appointed governor in 1777, Anza rode personally with the combined Hispano-Indian force that defeated Cuerno Verde, the Comanches' leading war chief, in New Mexico in 1779. His diplomacy resulted in treaties and alliances, first with the Comanches in 1786, and then with the Utes, Jicarilla Apaches, and Navajos. A generation of relative peace ensued, with steady growth of the Hispanic population and unprecedented territorial expansion. Anza died in Arizpe (Sonora).

See alsoBourbon Reforms .


Herbert E. Bolton, Outpost of Empire (1931), and Alfred B. Thomas, Forgotten Frontiers: A Study of the Spanish Indian Policy of Don Juan Bautista de Anza, Governor of New Mexico, 1777–1787 (1932).

Additional Bibliography

Garate, Donald T. Juan Bautista de Anza: Basque Explorer in the New World. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2003.

                                       John L. Kessell

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