Eslava y Lazaga, Sebastián de (1685–1759)

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Eslava y Lazaga, Sebastián de (1685–1759)

Sebastián de Eslava y Lazaga (b. January 1685; d. 21 June 1759), military figure and viceroy of the New Kingdom of Granada (1740–1749). Born in Navarra, he studied at the Real Academia Militar in Barcelona and entered active military service. He reached the rank of lieutenant general of the royal armies.

Philip V named Eslava, brother of Rafael de Eslava, former president of the Audiencia of Santa Fe (1733–1737), the first viceroy of the reconstituted viceroyalty of New Granada in 1738. Unlike his predecessor, Jorge de Villalonga (1719–1724), Eslava put the colony on a firm footing. He disembarked at Cartagena de Indias in April 1740 and, because of the hostilities with England, stayed there throughout his tenure. English Admiral Edward Vernon's failed attempt to capture Cartagena (1741) made heroes of Eslava and the naval commander Blas de Lezo, a judgment widely supported by modern Colombian historiography. The pressures of wartime rule, however, took their toll; in 1742 the viceroy began to lobby the crown for reassignment. He subsequently declined the promotion to viceroy of Peru in favor of returning to Spain. Eslava served with distinction in New Granada until his appointment as captain-general of Andalusia and the arrival of his replacement, José Alonso Pizarro (1749–1753). He served as minister of war from 1754 to 1759.

See alsoGranada, Spain; New Granada, Viceroyalty of.


Eslava apparently left no relación de mando (end-of-tenure report), but an important defense of his administration by Antonio de Verástegui can be found in Germán Colmenares, ed., Relaciones e informes de los gobernantes de la Nueva Granada, vol. 1 (1989). See also Sergio Elías Ortiz, Nuevo Reino de Granada: El virreynato, pt. 1, 1719–1753, in Historia extensa de Colombia, vol. 4, pt. 1 (1970).

Additional Bibliography

Gallup-Diaz, Ignacio. "The Spanish Attempt to Tribalize the Darien, 1739–50." Ethnohistory 49 (Spring 2002): 281-317.

Ramos Gómez, Luis J. "Los intentos del virrey Eslava y del presidente Araujo en 1740 para obtener préstamos del comercio del Perú desplazado a Quito y la requisa de 100,000 pesos en 1741." Revista de Indias 63 (September-December 2003): 649-673.

                                        Lance R. Grahn