Gaspar de la Cerda, 8th Count of Galve

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Gaspar de la Cerda
Conde de Galve
Gaspar de la Cerda Sandoval Silva y Mendoza.jpg
Viceroy of New Spain
In office
November 20, 1688 – February 26, 1696
Monarch Charles II
Preceded by Melchor Portocarrero
Succeeded by Juan Ortega
Personal details
Born 11 June 1653
Madrid, Spain
Died March 12, 1697(1697-03-12) (aged 43)
El Puerto de Santa María, Spain
Religion Catholic

Gaspar Melchor Baltasar de la Cerda Silva Sandoval y Mendoza, 8th Count of Galve, Lord of Salcedón and Tortola (in full, Spanish: Don Gaspar Melchor Baltasar de la Cerda Silva Sandoval y Mendoza, Conde de Galve y Señor de Salcedón y Tortola) (11 June 1653 - 12 March 1697) was viceroy of New Spain from November 20, 1688 to February 26, 1696.

As viceroy of New Spain[edit]

Cerda Sandoval Silva was only 35 years old when he was named viceroy of New Spain, in May 1688. He arrived in Veracruz in the middle of October. On the road from there to Mexico City he met with his predecessor, Melchor Portocarrero, 3rd Count of Monclova, on November 8, 1688. He arrived at Chapultepec on November 11 and took the oath of office before the Audiencia on November 20, 1688. His solemn entry into Mexico City was December 4, 1688, but his term of office is dated from the earlier swearing-in ceremony.

Shortly after his arrival, the viceroy received a message from the governor of New Mexico that three Frenchmen from the French colony in the Seno Mexicano (Texas) had arrived in New Mexico. The viceroy ordered the governor of Coahuila to take a detachment of soldiers, a geographer and an interpreter to march to the coast to confront the French. After many days march through desert, the governor arrived in the Bay of San Bernardo, where he found the French in the process of constructing a fort. The French held five Spanish prisoners, two of which the Spanish force was able to free. From these ex-prisoners, the governor learned that the French were very interested in colonizing this region.

Also in 1689 the viceroy raised funds from the archbishop and the bishops of the colony to send a fleet from the Pacific port of Acapulco in search of pirates marauding in the southern ocean. He also took steps to fight intruders on the Gulf coast, in Tabasco and Campeche. These were Englishmen cutting precious woods to send to Jamaica and Europe. There were only a few English, supervising Mayans who were doing the actual cutting. The Indian workers were well paid in aguardiente and money.

There were heavy rains in the year 1689, and Cerda Sandoval was diligent in maintaining the drainage works.

In compliance with a royal order of April 1691, Viceroy Cerda Sandoval established schools to teach Spanish to the natives, with considerable success. In the larger populations these were separate schools for boys and for girls, and in the smaller populations, a single school for both sexes.

During his government, the viceroy had to deal with Indian revolts among the Tarahumaras in Nueva Vizcaya, and also among the Indians of Texas. The latter were of a generally peaceful disposition, and had indicated their desire to submit to the Spanish and convert to Christianity. The governor of Coahuila had established a presidio among them, and also a mission. However, the mistreatment received from the Spanish soldiers and the Spanish and Mestizo colonists caused the Indians to revolt. The soldiers and missionaries were forced to abandon their posts. The governor of Coahuila y Texas was able to pacify the Indians without bloodshed.

Riots of 1692[edit]

In 1692 there was a severe drought, causing a shortage of food. The natives attributed this disaster to the earlier appearance of a comet. There was no maize in the capital and many people were hungry. On 8 June 1692 a crowd gathered in front of the viceregal palace. They threw stones and set the archives on fire. Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora was able to save most of the documents, at the risk of his life. Some nearby houses and shops were also burned.

The viceroy, who had fled to the convent of San Francisco el Grande, was informed by individuals he trusted of the names of the ringleaders of the rioting. The viceroy ordered them apprehended and hanged without trial. Five men, all Spaniards, were hanged.

In 1693, Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora published El Mercurio Volante, the first newspaper in New Spain.

In 1695, with English help, the viceroy attacked the French who had established a base on the island of Española. They were obliterated and 81 cannons were captured. In the same year Cerda Sandoval founded the Presidio at Panzacola,Florida.

Also in 1695, during an epidemic, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the great Mexican poet, died in Mexico City.

Later life[edit]

In September 1695 Cerda Sandoval asked to return to Spain. He tried to turn over the government of the colony to Manuel Fernández de Santa Cruz, bishop of Puebla, on January 21, 1696. The bishop did not accept, citing his health and his responsibilities as bishop. Shortly thereafter Juan Ortega y Montañés, bishop of Michoacán, did accept the office.

Cerda Sandoval returned to Spain, where he died March 12, 1697, in Santa María.

Additional information[edit]

Gutiérrez Lorenzo, María Pilar. De la Corte de Castilla al virreinato de México: el conde de Galve (1653-1697). Madrid: Excelentísima Diputación Provincial, 1993.

Taiano C., Leonor, "Críticas, acusaciones, encomios y justificaciones: escritos en contra y a favor del Conde de Galve". Virreinatos. México: Grupo Editorial Destiempos, 2013, pp. 600-633.


  • García Purón, Manuel (1984). México y sus gobernantes (in Spanish) 1. Mexico City: Joaquín Porrua. 
  • Orozco Linares, Fernando (1985). Gobernantes de México (in Spanish). Mexico City: Panorama Editorial. ISBN 968-38-0260-5. 
  • Orozco Linares, Fernando (1988). Fechas Históricas de México (in Spanish). Mexico City: Panorama Editorial. ISBN 968-38-0046-7. 
  • Hobbs, Nicolas (2007). "Grandes de España" (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 October 2008. 
Government offices
Preceded by
The Count of Monclova
Viceroy of New Spain
Succeeded by
Juan Ortega
Spanish nobility
Preceded by
Catalina de Mendoza
Count of Galve
Succeeded by
Gregorio de Silva