Bruno Mauricio de Zabala

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Bruno Mauricio de Zabala
Zabala's birthplace

Bruno Mauricio de Zabala y Gortázar (1682–1736) was a Spanish soldier and colonial administrator. He was born in the slum of Zabala (then located outside the walls of Durango, but now a part of the town) in the province of Biscay. The house of his birth has been preserved to this day, and one of its walls bears two plaques commemorating his exploits in the New World.

In 1717 Zabala was named capitán general of the Río de la Plata, where he suppressed piracy and confronted the Portuguese, who sought to claim the River Plate for themselves. In 1724 to contend with these rivals, Zabala constructed a fortress. This settlement, which would evolve into the city of Montevideo, became the center of Spanish control over the Banda Oriental, and later the capital of Uruguay.