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Rivera, Pedro de (?–1744)

Rivera, Pedro de (?–1744)

Pedro De Rivera (d. 1744), reformer of Mexico's northern frontier military system. In 1724 Pedro de Rivera was the commander of the garrison of San Juan de Ulua, the fort that guarded the port of Veracruz. In that year Viceroy Juan de Acuña Casafuerte commissioned Rivera to inspect the twenty-three presidios in northern New Spain and in particular to report on fiscal irregularities in their administration. The members of presidio garrisons received a flat salary from which they had to buy their own horses, equipment, and uniforms. The administration in Mexico City had been receiving reports of graft by presidio commanders. The commanders were charging inflated prices not only for the three types of necessities mentioned but also for other items.

Rivera inspected the presidios in 1724 and submitted suggestions that were implemented in 1729 as a comprehensive reglamento for the garrisons. The new set of rules reduced the number of presidios from 23 to 19, and the size of the garrisons from 1,006 to 734 soldiers. The reglamento also lowered the salary of most common soldiers. The reduction in the number of presidios and soldiers decreased the government's expenditures for frontier defense from 444,883 pesos prior to Rivera's inspection to 381,930 pesos following it. However, his reforms did not improve frontier security, and in the face of continued hostility from tribes beyond Spanish control, the number of presidios and soldiers and the amount of government expenditures grew during the eighteenth century.

See alsoNew Spain, Colonization of the Northern Frontier; Presidio.


Max L. Moorhead, The Presidio: Bastion of the Spanish Borderlands (1975).

Additional Bibliography

Naylor, Thomas H., and Charles W. Polzer, compilers and editors. Pedro de Rivera and the Military Regulations for Northern New Spain, 1724–1729: A Documentary History of His Frontier Inspection and the Reglamento de 1729. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1988.

Smith, Fay Jackson. Captain of the Phantom Presidio: A History of the Presidio of Fronteras, Sonora, New Spain, 1686–1735, Including the Inspection by Brigadier Pedro de Rivera, 1726. Spokane, WA: A. H. Clark, 1993.

                                    Robert H. Jackson

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