Carlos Benites Franquis de Lugo

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Carlos Benites Franquis de Lugo
15ºGovernor of the Spanish Colony of Texas
In office
Preceded by Manuel de Sandoval
Succeeded by Prudencio de Orobio y Basterra
Personal details
Born 1691
Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain
Died Unknown
Mexico or Spain
Spouse(s) Ángela de Alarcón y Ocaña
Profession Political

Carlos Benites Franquis de Lugo, (1691–?) was a Spanish governor of Texas between 1736-1737. Despite being sent to Texas to collaborate with Manuel de Sandoval in the administration of that province, he instead filed criminal charges against Manuel de Sandoval and sent him to prison. He then reduced the number of guards watching the missions from three to one per mission. Ultimately, his economic mismanagement of Texas led the province to near bankruptcy. While implementing the first "dula" for the distribution of river waters and granted lands to retired soldiers and widows of military, Franquis de Lugo was arrested and accused of arrogant behavior. After he stepped down as governor (September 1737), he was found not guilty in his trial and became an officer of the garrison of Veracruz, Mexico.


Early years[edit]

Carlos Benites Franquis de Lugo was born in La Orotava, Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain) in 1691. When he was young, he moved to Havana, Cuba, where he married Ángela de Alarcón y Ocaña. Later, in 1736 Philip V appointed him governor of the province of Tlaxcala, Mexico. However, when Franquis arrived in Mexico, he learned that the office of governor of Tlaxcala was not yet vacant. It was still being held by his predecessor. Because Franquis could not take office, the Viceroy, Archbishop Vizarrón appointed him governor ad interim of Texas to collaborate with Manuel de Sandoval in order to help him improve its administration in that province.

On September 26, 1736, Franquis came to San Antonio. Franquis refused to show his Spanish credentials. From the beginning he rejected the Civil and Religious Authorities in the area. In 1737, Franquis, deposed Sandoval of his charge, filing Criminal Charges against Him. Acccused, of seven counts of Official Misconduct, he was later sent to Prison. In doing so, Franquis replaced Sandoval in the government of Texas.[1]

Governor of Texas[edit]

Upon taking office, Franquis' economic mismanagement led the province to near bankruptcy [1] and he became the enemy of almost every missionary and presidio official in a wide area extending between Saltillo and Texas.[2] Franquis ordered the Friars to reduce the number of guards established in each the mission, passing them of three to one, in spite that the soldiers were very important to the missions because they contributed to maintenance of the "discipline" and "daily tasks" of "returning the runaways". On April 1737, the governor removed all the mission guards. On June 8, 1737, San Francisco mission was abandoned and the 230 Native Americans who worked there recovered their freedom, while the other religious establishments had lost many Native American workers (between them the San Juan Capristano mission, where most of the workers abandoned the mission). Although the Viceroy ordered Franquis restore the mission guards, he decided to ignore the order.[3] However, accusations were issued against him because he had taking the Native Americans from the missions to places located outside of their lands, so they fled to the woods and informed the unconverted Native Americans of place (the Native Americans workers of the missions had been convert to Christianity) about the violence with which the governors treated them.[4]

Shortly after he arrived to San Antonio, he conceded three lots of land to widows of military members and another two to military veterans.[5] For instance, he implemented the first "dula" (a piece of land that following a turn receives an irrigation of a ditch) for the distribution of rivers. This suggests the involvement by the Canarian governor in the institutionalization of the distribution of water during the early years of colonization.[6]

Shortly thereafter, an investigation took place about the Franquis de Lugo´s administration, which ended on July 9, 1737.[1]

Last years[edit]

After the investigation, Franquis was arrested and accused of arrogant behavior. In September 1737 he stepped down as governor and retired to San Juan Bautista, California, where he defected and settled in Mexico City.

Franquis was found not guilty in his trial. A little later, he settled in Veracruz, Mexico, and he became an officer of the garrison of that city. Finally, he returned to the regiment of Savoy in Spain. The place and date on which he died are not known. However, it is thought that he died in Mexico or Spain.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Robert Bruce Blake (November 26, 2008). "Handbook of Texas Online - FRANQUIS DE LUGO, CARLOS BENITES". Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved September 29, 2010. 
  2. ^ Weddle, Robert S. (1998). San Juan Bautista: Gateway to Spanish Texas. Page 211.
  3. ^ Chipman, Donald E.; Joseph, Harriett Denise (2010). Spanish Texas, 1519–1821: Revised Edition. Pages 143-144. The University of Texas Press.
  4. ^ Reed Swanton, John (1942). Source Material on the History and Ethnology of the Caddo Indians. Page 67. University of Oklahoma Press.
  5. ^ De la Teja, Jesús F. (1995). San Antonio de Béxar: A Community on New Spain's Northern Frontier. Page 35. University of New Mexico Press.
  6. ^ Bienmesabe. Presencia canaria en el sur de Estados Unidos (In Spanish: Bienmesabe. Canarian presence in South of United States). Accessed September 29, 2010 at 15:00.