Juan de Prado Mayera Portocarrero y Luna

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Juan de Prado Mayera Portocarrero y Luna (1716 - c. 1770) was a Spanish colonial governor of Cuba between 1761 and 1762, when he lost Havana in the British expedition against Cuba.

Biography[edit]

Born at León, Spain, he was the second son of the Marquis of Acapulco, and had a career in the Army, where he became mariscal de campo.

In mid-1760, Juan de Prado was named Governor and Captain General of the Island of Cuba by King Charles III of Spain but did not take possession of his office until February, 1761. He was ordered to strengthen the island’s fortresses against an expected attack by the British, as Spain had entered the Seven Years' War that year, on the side of France.

On February 7, 1761, the first works to fortify the heights of La Cabaña, overlooking the bay, and the main fortress el Morro, were begun.
That same year, the city was hit by an epidemic of yellow fever that caused numerous victims among the urban population. The work force was so decimated that work on the fortifications was practically paralyzed.

On June 6, 1762, a powerful English invasion force under George Keppel, 3rd Earl of Albemarle began the siege of Havana. Juan de Prado took command of the defense, but the city was finally taken on 13 August.

Juan de Prado and the surviving Spanish troops were transported to Spain. On his arrival, the Madrid government caused him to be tried by a court-martial. He was convicted of incompetency and lack of energy in the defence of Havana, and was sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to ten years' imprisonment. He died in prison at Vitigudino.

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