Mendoza Caamaño y Sotomayor, José Antonio de (c. 1668–1746)

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Mendoza Caamaño y Sotomayor, José Antonio de (c. 1668–1746)

José Antonio de Mendoza Caamaño y Sotomayor (Marqués de Villagarcía; b. ca. March 1668; d. 14 December 1746), viceroy of Peru (1736–1745). A grandee of the illustrious Mendoza family who had served Philip V as Spanish ambassador to Venice and as viceroy of Cataluña, Villagarcía took office in Lima on 4 January 1736. Described as a person of limited intelligence and little administrative ability with a certain pious perversity because of his great pleasure in presiding over the autos de fe of the Lima inquisition, Villagarcía's overweaning task as viceroy was that of bolstering the Pacific fleet and shoring up coastal defenses against the onslaughts of British naval forces. In 1742 he subdued a serious Indian uprising led by Juan Santos (Apu Inca) in Jauja and Tarma. So great were his military expenditures that Villagarcía ran up a debt of almost 3 million pesos, most of which was unpaid salaries for soldiers, sailors, and militiamen.

In Lima the contentious Villagarcía was constantly at odds with the town council (cabildo), merchant guild (consulado), royal treasury officials, and the Jesuits, and in the interior, with provincial administrators (corregidores). Besides his successful defense of Peru during the War of Jenkins's Ear, his other principal achievement was eliminating the practice at the University of San Marcos of awarding university degrees for gifts of money rather than for academic merit. Accused of mismanagement he was summarily relieved of office on 12 July 1745. He died off Cape Horn on a vessel taking him back to Spain.

See alsoPeru: From the Conquest Through Independence; War of Jenkins's Ear (1739–1748).


Manuel De Mendiburu, Diccionario histórico-biográphico del Perú, vol. 7 (1937). See also Villagarcía's report on his tenure in office in Memorias de los virreyes que han gobernado el Perú (1859).

Additional Bibliography

Fisher, John Robert. Bourbon Peru. Liverpool, England: Liverpool University Press, 2003.

Marks, Patricia H. Deconstructing Legitimacy: Viceroys, Merchants, and the Military in Late Colonial Peru. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007.

Pearce, Adrian John. Early Bourbon Government in the Viceroyalty of Peru, 1700–1759. Liverpool, England: University of Liverpool, 1998.

                                      John Jay TePaske

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Mendoza Caamaño y Sotomayor, José Antonio de (c. 1668–1746)

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