Manuel Antonio Flores

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Manuel Antonio Flores Maldonado, Viceroy of New Spain

Manuel Antonio Flores Maldonado Martínez Ángulo y Bodquín (in full, Manuel Antonio Flores Maldonado) (ca. 1722, Seville, Spain – March 20, 1799, Madrid) was a general in the Spanish navy and viceroy of New Granada (1776 - November 26, 1781) and New Spain (August 17, 1787 to October 16, 1789).

Early career[edit]

Flores entered the royal navy of Spain, where he commanded various ships of war fighting pirates, in both the Mediterranean and in Spanish possessions in America. He distinguished himself for his valor as well as his knowledge, and was made a knight of the military Order of Calatrava. He became commandant of the Naval Department at el Ferrol, a major naval base, shipbuilding center and arsenal in northwestern Spain. He served in that position for four years (1771–75).

Flores was named viceroy of New Granada, and sailed to take up the position on December 3, 1775. He served in this capacity for 11 years and 5 months. He was well liked in New Grenada. He resigned in 1787, citing ill health. However, his resignation was apparently motivated by dissatisfacton of José de Gálvez, Minister of the Indies, and Archbishop Antonio Caballero y Góngora of Bogotá.

As Viceroy of New Spain[edit]

In 1787 he was named viceroy of New Spain and president of the Audiencia of Mexico. He arrived in Veracruz on July 18, 1787 and took possession of his new offices in Mexico City on August 17.

In office, he raised three new battalions of volunteers, those of Mexico, Nueva España, and Puebla. He refused to share his authority with Francisco Mangino, who had been named superintendent of New Spain (1787). He sent 50,000 pesos annually to New York, on orders of the Crown, for businesses there.

He intervened in a dispute between missionaries and the military governor of California. He arranged that the sons of the largest landowners of the colony be given high positions in the colonial army. In 1788 he arranged with the Spanish government to bring in 11 German miners from Dresden to teach Mexican miners recent technical advances in metallurgy.

During his administration the Real Estudio Botánico opened. On April 28, 1788, the distinguished Mexican historian and Jesuit Francisco Javier Alegre died in exile in Bologna. On June 4, 1788, the expedition of Esteban José Martínez sailed from San Blas, Nayarit, in the Princesa to explore the North Pacific coast. This expedition sailed as far as the Bering Strait. On August 12, 1788, Lorenzo de Zavala was born in Yucatán. He was later vice-president of the independent Republic of Texas.

King Charles III died on December 14, 1788, after a long reign. The sumptuous obsequies after his death cost the treasury of New Spain a great deal. Viceroy Flores was personally very affected, because Charles III had been his protector.

The Audiencia informed the Crown of Flores's failing health, and he was ordered to step down because of it. He was granted six months' additional pay to cover his expenses on the return to Spain. He returned there on October 16, 1789, where he was awarded the Cross of the Order of Charles III and named honorary captain general of the navy. He died in Madrid on March 20, 1799.

References[edit]

  • (Spanish) "Flores, Manuel Antonio," Enciclopedia de México, v. 5. Mexico City: 1987.
  • (Spanish) García Puron, Manuel, México y sus gobernantes, v. 1. Mexico City: Joaquín Porrua, 1984.
  • (Spanish) Orozco L., Fernando, Fechas Históricas de México. Mexico City: Panorama Editorial, 1988, ISBN 968-38-0046-7.
  • (Spanish) Orozco Linares, Fernando, Gobernantes de México. Mexico City: Panorama Editorial, 1985, ISBN 968-38-0260-5.
Government offices
Preceded by
Manuel de Guirior
Viceroy of New Granada
1776 - 1787
Succeeded by
Juan de Torrezar Díaz Pimienta
Preceded by
Alonso Núñez de Haro y Peralta
Viceroy of New Spain
1787 - 1789
Succeeded by
Juan Vicente de Güemes Padilla Horcasitas