Gutierre de Miranda

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Gutierre de Miranda
04º Governor of La Florida
In office
5 September 1576/1589 – 1577/1592
Preceded by Hernando de Miranda
Succeeded by Rodrigo del Junco and Pedro Menéndez de Márquez
Personal details
Born Unknown
Profession captain and governor

Gutierre de Miranda was the captain and governor of Castillo de San Marcos (1577–80) and governor of Florida (1589–1592). He was brother of former Governor Hernando de Miranda and brother-in-law of next governors of Florida Pedro Menéndez de Márquez.[1]


In 5 September 1776, (or 1589, according the sources[2]) Miranda was appointed governor of Florida. Under his tenure, Florida's economy was very low and the population of the province was sustained with little food. In addition, there were native revolts against the settlers.[3] He left the governor's office in 1592. Gutierre de Miranda has a sizable estate in the area that included well-bred horses.[4]

In 1577, Gutierre de Miranda was appointed Governor and Captain of Castillo de San Marcos (a new fortress built in St. Augustine, Florida) [5] by Pedro Menéndez de Márquez and king Philip II.[6] From that moment, Gutierre de Miranda traveled to Florida and settled him in Santa Elena.

Pedro Menéndez Marquez, governor at the time of Florida, soon decided to give certain politic rights to Miranda, among which were to convert him in the interim governor of Santa Elena, but this election could not take place then. In 1578, Captain Tomás Bernaldo de Quirós was appointed acting governor of that city. Between 1577 and 1580, the Governor of San Marcos, Miranda, and acting governor of Santa Elena, Captain Bernaldo de Quiros, along with the governor of Florida, Pedro Menendez Marques, attacked and subjected to several indigenous groups who had participated in the destruction of the first city of Santa Elena. In November 1580, Gutierre de Miranda took the post of commander in Santa Elena and he built a large ranch near the city.

According anthropologist Chester B. DePratter, on October 14, 1586, Gutierre de Miranda, after learning the news (through a letter from Menéndez Márquez[1]) that Francis Drake might have intended to attack Florida, informed to king about the Santa Elena state and he said he planned to go help Santa Elena, as soon as the wind would allow sailing. So, He began work at the Fort Castillo de San Marcos[1][5] and enhanced it with curtain walls, bunkers and new weapons platforms.[5]

However, according Historians John E. Findling and Frank W. Thackeray, was actually after an effective attack and burning of Saint Augustine by Captain Francis Drake in 1586, where Gutierre Miranda began building of Castillo de San Marcos, in order to try to protect the city against future attacks. [note 1][7] He start to build it in April 6, 1586.

For other hand, Pedro Menéndez Marqués and Gutierre de Miranda, reduced the power of the citizens of Florida. He Investigated reports of corsairs off coasts of Florida. In addition, he built, maintained and defended structures and Florida cities.

Based on its range of governor, Miranda asked King a grant of land to build, a farm and raise cattle. So, Miranda obtained two cattles and several larger lots of lands for that the cattle could graze on it. In addition, the king also gave permission to Miranda to have two African slaves in Florida, being he free of charges.

Gutierre de Miranda was in Spain when the decrees were issued. On July 13, 1579, King Philip ordered Miranda to recruit fifty soldiers in the province to protect Florida's strengths. However, when in September 1578 the king sent to Florida hundred soldiers so that they reinforce the province, nearly fifty of them drowned when the Santiago el Menor galleon, which carrying them, sank near the port of San Augustine. In late June 1579, Pedro Menéndez Marqués sent to Rodrigo del Junco for he request fifty more soldiers to replace the soldiers who had died in the Santiago el Menor or seemed to have proven to be "useless", as well as other soldiers of the boat. Some of the soldiers who enlisted in the army of Miranda wanted to bring their wives with them, and some women already married in Florida, would also travel with Miranda. King Philip allowed these women to move to Florida on February 9, 1580. Also that day Gutierre de Miranda also gave permission to take an African slave from Santa Elena to the Fort, to serve as a drummer there.[1]

Complaints against Gutierre de Miranda[edit]

Domingo González de León noted that when Gutierre de Miranda arrived in Santa Elena took the fields, which the soldiers and (after the died of the soldiers of Fort San Felipe) the Spanish settlers worked. So, Miranda planted corn and sold it to soldiers in a high price. Taking advantage of the soldiers could not fish near the fort, and they were fishing somewhere away from her, and fishing without nets (which they refused to do because they had to continue to protect the fort against possible French and Amerindian attacks) , Miranda decided to sell the fish he fished through their networks at expensive prices. Moreover, he forbade them to leave the fort to hunt. Also Miranda obtained grapes, figs, pomegranates, melons grown by soldiers, without having to pay for them. Priests decried the behavior of members of the government, so they clashed with each other, to the point that, according to Domingo González de León, De Miranda threatened to hang a priest with the ruins of Fort San Felipe, when he defended a soldier who had not paid in ten years.

Furthermore, according to Gonzalez, Gutierre de Miranda, when he hired people to do some work, such as shoemakers, blacksmiths and carpenters often not paid him. Even González even stated that on one occasion, when a tailor demanded his compensation, Miranda cut off his head.

Furthermore, according to Gonzalez, Gutierre de Miranda was not limited to physical punishment, but he also made personal attacks on personal honor of the soldiers and their wives in order to strengthen its control over the military of Florida.

Once, when one of his soldiers visited his pig pen and went to collect firewood Miranda took with him most of his troops, despite the complaints of the soldier, and followed him. This made him criticize and, as punishment, the soldier went outside for a month, day and night, and no soldier could talk to him or do anything for him because if they made it, they would be considered traitors. Also, before entering the church, Miranda came to humiliate his wife in front of all the other soldiers, ordering their respect and obedience, while she was on her knees, in order, according to Gonzalez, being feared by the other soldiers.

In addition, after Miranda had been declared a married woman (who knew Gonzalez) and she refused him, the governor decided to destroy their marriage of ten years, promoting the idea in her husband was she who had declared, in order that he physically mistreated and murdered to her. However, the man did not do any harm to his woman, and, nevertheless, he was jailed for Miranda, who presented false documents against him. Although the prisoner was placed under surveillance, he escaped from jail and return home, thus suffering a second capture by Miranda´s troops, killing your dog by the way, who was defending his master, and brought back to prison.

Miranda forced Amerindians take wood to the houses without paying anything. He showed a lot of tyranny against American Indians and soldiers.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Gutierre de Miranda married Mariana Manrique. She, like her husband, also liked to give to assert their social position as spose of the governor.[1]


  1. ^ Although the Fort over time would be destroyed, in 1668 by the English pirate Robert Searles, this would be rebuilt from the government of Francisco de la Guerra y de la Vega (who ruled between 1664 and Florida 1671).[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Witness to Empire and the Tightening of Military Control: Santa Elena's Second Spanish Occupation, 1577-1587. Retrieved in July 20, 2014, to 01:47pm.
  2. ^ U.S. States F-K.
  3. ^ A History of Colonial South Carolina, by Anne Blythe Meriwether Accessed at 18:00 of September 9, 2010.
  4. ^ Timeline of Horse, by Beverley Davis. Accessed September 9, 2010 at 16:45.
  5. ^ a b c Chester B. DePratter (November 26, 2008). "The Second Spanish Occupation: 1577 - 1587". Santa Elena history. Retrieved September 9, 2010. 
  6. ^ Margaret Davis Cate (November 26, 1930). "OUR TODAYS AND YESTERDAYS BY MARGARET CATE BOOK". Castal georgia genealogy. Retrieved September 9, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Events that Changed America Through the Seventeenth Century. Edited by John E. Findling,Frank W. Thackeray. Pages 49 and 50.