Figueroa, José (?–1835)

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Figueroa, José (?–1835)

José Figueroa (d. 1835), governor of Alta California (1833–1835). General Figueroa was one of the most important Mexican governors of the territory. In 1833 he initiated a new emancipation of a limited number of Indian converts living in Franciscan-run missions. That same year he also established Indian towns at three sites in the southern part of the territory—the San Juan Capistrano mission, the Las Flores rancho, and the San Dieguito rancho—with the hope of creating stable Indian villages with formal municipal governments. This scheme, however, failed when the Spanish government secularized the missions.

Figueroa also cooperated in implementing the secularization of the missions ordered by the Valentín Gómez Farías government by way of a bill signed on 17 August 1833, working with local politicians to craft the secularization decree to benefit the elite of the territory. On 9 August 1834, Figueroa approved the secularization plan. Prominent Californios received appointment as mayordomos of the former missions, many using their positions to enrich themselves. Most of the converts still living in the missions were not legally emanicipated.

After Figueroa died in office in 1835, a period of political chaos followed, and in 1836 local politicians seized control of the government.

See alsoMissions: Spanish America .


David J. Weber, The Mexican Frontier, 1821–1846: The American Southwest Under Mexico (1982).

Additional Bibliography

Jackson, Robert H. New Views of Borderlands History. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998.

Teja, José F. de la, and Ross Frank. Choice, Persuasion, and Coercion: Social Control on Spain's North American Frontiers. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005.

                                     Robert H. Jackson

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Figueroa, José (?–1835)

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