Cayetano Pignatelli, 3rd Marquis of Rubí

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Cayetano Pignatelli, 3rd Marquis of Rubí, 9th Baron of Llinars,[1] (12 October 1730 - ?), was a Spanish nobleman and military figure who played an important role in determining Spanish policy towards Texas and Mexico. He abandoned the east Texas colonies in the 18th century.

Early life[edit]

Rubí was born in Barcelona. He was the son of Francisco Pignatelli y de Aymerich, a lieutenant general of the Kingdom of Aragon and ambassador to France and María Francisca Rubí Corbera y Saint Climent, 2nd Marchioness of Rubí and Baronessa of Llinas. The marquis of Rubí was the nephew of the 6th Prince of Belmonte, Don (Giuseppe) Antonio Pignatelli y Aymerich, and of Doña Marianna, Countess of Althann, lady in waiting to Empress Elizabeth, consort of Emperor Charles VI and mother of Empress Maria Theresa.


Rubí, who had achieved the high rank of field marshal and knight commander in the Order of Alcántara, arrived at Veracruz on 1 November 1764, as part of the expedition of Juan de Villabla, who had been sent to New Spain to organize regular army and colonial militia units. On August 7 of the following year, King Charles III appointed Rubí inspector of frontier presidios and commissioned him to remedy economic abuses and other urgent matters. When notified of his commission, Rubí went to Mexico City in mid-December 1765, and remained in the capital until March 1766, when he received his instructions from Viceroy Cruillas.

Inspection tour[edit]

In the latter half of the eighteenth century frontier conditions in northern New Spain had deteriorated to such an extent as a result of Indian depredations, management of presidios etc., that the Spanish crown found it necessary to order an examination of the entire frontier with the view of relocating presidios and making whatever other adjustments might be necessary to prevent further abandonment of the frontier settlements. The Marques de Rubi was given the assignment of investigating this problem. He began his investigation in 1766. Royal engineers Nicolas de La Fora and Joseph de Urrutia assisted Rubi by drawing plans of presidios and drafting maps of the area traversed.

On March 12 Rubí set out on his inspection, traveling first to Querétaro and then to Zacatecas. On April 14 he was joined at Durango by Nicolás de Lafora, his engineer and mapmaker, who kept a diary of the tour, as did Rubí himself.[2] Rubí began his inspection tour in New Mexico, moved to Sonora, and then traveled eastward to Coahuila. He crossed the Rio Grande in July 1767 and proceeded to San Luis de las Amarillas Presidio (San Sabá) by way of the upper Nueces River, where he visited the largely failed missions at El Cañón. He left San Sabá on August 4 and reached San Antonio de Béxar on August 24, 1767. From San Antonio, Rubí traveled to Los Adaes and began his inspection there on September 14. Subsequently, he also inspected the presidios at El Orcoquisac and La Bahía before leaving Texas at Laredo in November 1767. In all, Rubí's inspection of the northern frontier from the Gulf of California to Louisiana occupied him for twenty-three months, during which he traveled an estimated 7,600 miles. Born on October 12, 1730

As a result of his inspection, Rubí recommended that Spain reorganize its frontier defenses along a cordon of fifteen presidios, each about 100 miles apart, that would stretch from the Gulf of California to the mouth of the Guadalupe River in Texas. Above this "real" frontier, which closely approximated the present international boundary between the United States and Mexico, Rubí advised that only San Antonio and Santa Fe be maintained, and he urged the complete abandonment of East Texas. Finally, because of their perfidy and duplicity, Rubí recommended a war of extermination against the Lipan Apaches. He was back in Mexico City by February 1768, and he filed his official report on April 10.

New Regulations for Presidios[edit]

More than four years passed before a royal order commonly known as the New Regulations for Presidios was issued. As a result of the Rubi recommendations, a new line of defense was established, uniform fortification plans were prescribed, and numerous changes were made in regulations governing military personnel. The new line of fortifications was to be composed of some fifteen presidios situated at about 40 league (or 120 mile) intervals extending from the Gulf of California on the west to the Gulf of Mexico on the east along what is now approximately the northern boundary of Mexico. The order implementing the realignment of the Presidios of the Frontier Line was published on September 10, 1772.

The New Regulations had enormous impact on Texas. They called for the abandonment of all missions and presidios in Texas except for those at San Antonio and La Bahía; the strengthening of San Antonio by designating it the new capital of Texas; the removal of soldiers and settlers in East Texas; and the implementation of a new Indian policy aimed at establishing good relations with the northern nations at the expense of the Apaches. With respect to East Texas, Rubí's recommendations were enacted in 1773 but were soon vitiated by the return of settlers to the region and the founding of Nacogdoches in 1779.

Later life[edit]

After he sailed from Veracruz in July 1768, the remainder of Rubí's life is largely obscure. He was summoned to court in 1769 to defend his proposals, and he was in Barcelona in April 1772. When Carlos III died in 1788, Rubí may have accepted retirement at about the age of sixty-three.

Additional information[edit]


  1. ^ in full, Spanish: Don Cayetano María Pignatelli Rubí Corbera y Saint Climent, tercer marqués de Rubí, barón de Llinas, caballero de la Orden de Alcántara
  2. ^ Discovery of a copy of the heretofore unknown diary of Rubí came in 1989, when it was found in a volume of bound documents acquired by the Barker Texas History Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
Spanish nobility
Preceded by
María Francisca Rubí
Marquis of Rubí
Succeeded by
Marianna Pignatelli
Baron of Llinars