Navarro, (Félix) Martín Antonio (1738–1793)

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Navarro, (Félix) Martín Antonio (1738–1793)

Martín Antonio (Félix) Navarro (b. 20 November 1738; d. 26 May 1793), treasurer, contador and first intendant of Louisiana. Born in La Coruña, Galicia, Spain, Navarro accompanied the first Spanish expedition to Louisiana on 5 September 1765 and remained there for the next twenty-two years. During the war against Great Britain, Navarro oversaw supplies and munitions for Governor Bernardo de Gálvez's victorious expeditions against Baton Rouge (1779), Mobile (1780), and Pensacola (1781).

In 1780 Navarro became the first intendant in Louisiana; on 29 August of that year he wrote "Political Reflections on the Current Condition of the Province," recommending increased population and free trade. Consequently, the crown approved a new commercial code in 1782 permitting Louisiana direct trade with France and the Spanish West Indies as well as with designated ports in Spain. When Navarro granted licenses to Panton, Leslie, and Company to trade, critics protested his giving such rights to foreigners. In 1784 he and Governor Esteban Miró went to Pensacola and Mobile, where they met with the Creek, Choctaw, Alibamone, and Chickasaw Indians and drew up tariff arrangements for the pelt trade. Navarro left Louisiana on 10 May 1788 and returned to Spain. The following year he was appointed special commissioner of the crown and visited factories throughout Europe. His report concluded that Spain could manufacture most of the goods traded in Louisiana. Navarro died intestate in Madrid. The total value of his estate was 3,711,330 reales de vellon. His daughter Adelaide and her husband Louis Demarest used their share to build Frances Plantation near present day Franklin, Louisiana. Two governors of Louisiana are descendants.

See alsoGálvez, Bernardo de; Louisiana.


Brian E. Coutts, "Martín Navarro: Treasurer, Contador, Intendant, 1766–1788" (Ph.D. diss., Louisiana State University, 1981); "Flax and Hemp in Spanish Louisiana, 1777–1783," in Louisiana History 26 (Spring 1985): 129-139; and "Boom and Bust: The Rise and Fall of the Tobacco Industry in Spanish Louisiana, 1770–1790," in The Americas 42 (January 1986): 289-310.

Additional Bibliography

Din, Gilbert C. The Spanish Presence in Louisiana, 1763–1803. Lafayette: Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1996.

Montero de Pedro, José. The Spanish in New Orleans and Louisiana. Gretna Pelican Pub., 2000.

                                        Brian E. Coutts

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Navarro, (Félix) Martín Antonio (1738–1793)

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