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The Careaga family is often noted for its philanthropic and developmental efforts across the United States. Along with being one of the more important historical links between Castilian Spain and the New World, the Careaga family has been particularly distinguished in California due to its consistent participation in the gradual development of the state. Today, a small portion of the family have also settled on the American East Coast (particularly Kentucky, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida),and the Midwest (Minnesota and Illinois), while others can be found in Spain's Basque provence. Ironically, few can be found in Mexico despite this being their main point of immigration from Spain.[1] The earliest Careaga, Sinforiano Careaga, was a Spanish nobleman descended from the famous Captain Juan de Careaga (of the Vizcayan Armada)[2] and later sent to Mexico as a military man by the King of Spain.[3] A descendant of his, Colonel Satornino Careaga, was the first of the family to travel to Monterey, California.[4] He was a member of Captain Muñoz's command who risked his life and suffered great pains to protect an exposed and seemingly doomed San Jose Mission. He was survived by two sons, Ramon Francis Careaga and Juan B. Careaga. Along with a mutual friend, Daniel Harris, the brothers bought approximately 18,000 acres (73 km2) of land formerly belonging to the De la Guerra family (early Spaniards who figured prominently in the state history). Later, in the division, Harris took some 7,500 acres (30 km2) while the Careaga brothers held 10,500.[5] This land was later split again in a settlement between Juan's only progeny and the five children of Ramon F Careaga I.[6] It was on Ramon Careaga's land that oil from the Orcutt Oil Field was first discovered in the Santa Maria Valley.[7] There are several ancestors of Ramon F Careaga that still receive minor oil royalties, but since 1931, the Ramon F Careaga III lineage[8] was not compensated, due to his selling the rights back to his mother, Cora.[9] The land was all sold away in a forced settlement initiated by lawsuit from Charles Careaga in 1962, that finally finished with the death of Albert Careaga in 1992.[10] The Careaga Ranch/Los Flores Preserve is currently owned and utilized by Steve Lyons and the Santa Barbara Land Trust.

Alternate Name Spellings[edit]

The alternate spellings of the esteemed surname is "Kareaga," "Carreaga," or "Cariaga." It is derived from the Spanish "kare" (lime) and "aga" (place), thus seems to refer to a "limy place." Several medieval estates of the family's continue to exist in Spain today, including two located in Markina-Xemein and Murelaga. The family coat of arms is distinguishable by its gold and silver tones as well as two wolves of saber.[11]


Further reading[edit]

  • Valdes, Ambrosio Carrera: Revolucion Chilena, Segunda Edicion (1888) Available only through Google Books

External links[edit]