Diego de Borica

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Diego de Borica
7th Governor of the Californias
In office
Preceded byJosé Joaquín de Arrillaga
Succeeded byPedro de Alberní y Teixidor
Personal details
Born12 November 1742
Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
Died19 August 1800(1800-08-19) (aged 57) [1]
Durango, New Spain

Diego de Borica (1742–1800) was a Basque colonial Governor of the Californias, from 1794 to 1800.[2][3]


Diego de Borica y Retegui was born in Vitoria-Gasteiz to a family holding ties with the one of Fermin Lasuén. In 1780 Diego de Borica married Maria Magdalena de Urquidi, a Mexican-Basque and direct descendant of one of the founders of Durango, Mexico.[2]

Military advance as governor[edit]

As the governor, Diego de Borica and Father Fermín Lasuén determined that five more missions were needed in 1795 along El Camino Real.[4] Borica sent expeditions from four different missions to find suitable new settlements that were no more than one day's travel as military escorts were necessary.[5] By August 1796, Borica notified Viceroy Miguel de la Grúa Talamanca that no increase in troops was necessary. The first missionary site selected in 1796 was Mission San José near the pueblo of the same name.[4]

During Borica's tenure as governor, five missions were founded: Mission San José (June 11, 1797]), Mission San Juan Bautista (June 24, 1797), Mission San Miguel Arcángel (July 25, 1797), Mission San Fernando Rey de España (September 8, 1797) and Mission San Luis Rey de Francia (June 13, 1798).

In 1795, Borica gave José Darío Argüello a Spanish land grant known as Rancho de las Pulgas. This rancho was the largest grant on the San Francisco Peninsula spanning 35,260 acres (14,270 ha).[6]

In 1797, Borica ordered the construction of a battery to protect the cove east of Point Medanos. The location initially was named "Bateria San Jose" and was chosen because the promontory overlooked San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz Island. Borica provisioned the unit with five brass cannons.[7]

On orders from Viceroy La Grúa Talamanca, Borica established a school grounds at the center of Villa de Branciforte in 1797. Also in 1797, he granted José María Verdugo's retirement.[8] Verdugo was the grantee of Rancho San Rafael.

In 1795 Borica gave a land grant of Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio, "Ranch of Our Lady of Refuge" in present day Santa Barbara County, California to José Francisco Ortega. (in 1813 the grant again confirmed by Governor José Joaquín de Arrillaga, also again by Mexican Governor José Figueroa to Antonio María Ortega.[9]

Before stepping down as governor, Borica recommended reappointing José Joaquín de Arrillaga to organize military defenses for California.[10]

Intellect, concerns, and initiatives[edit]

Borica was a member of the Royal Basque Society (1779-1793) and well under the influence of the Enlightenment's ideas of progress (cf. circumstances in the Basque districts back in Europe), showing a concern for the welfare of his subjects. However, his attempts to establish settlements in California—for which purpose he thought of Catalans—and launch the economic development of California were largely foiled by the Spanish Crown's failure to back up his effort.[2]

At a time when the publications of the Royal Basque Society encouraged sheep raising and wool growing, Borica fostered maximum autonomy for the Californian missions by spreading sheep among the ranchers, engaging even personally in that pursuit. He was successful during his office, but by the time of California's detachment from Mexico, flocks had diminished significantly.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ruiz de Gordejuela Urkijo, Jesus. "Diego Borica Retegui". EuskoMedia Fundazioa. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Douglass, William A.; Bilbao, Jon (1975). Amerikanuak: Basques in the New World. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. p. 192. ISBN 0-87417-625-5. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  3. ^ Richard F. Pourade. "Governors of California: Spanish 1769-1822". The History of San Diego. San Diego History Center. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  4. ^ a b Ralph Wright (September 28, 1998). "More California Mission History: San José". California's Missions. Archived from the original on 2008-06-25. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  5. ^ "Mission San José". Mission Tour. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  6. ^ "Menlo Park History:Early days in Menlo Park". City of Menlo Park. 2002. Archived from the original on 4 May 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  7. ^ National Park Service (2010). "Bateria de Yerba Buena, 1797". U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  8. ^ Manuel P. Servin (Winter 1973). "California's Hispanic Heritage: A View Into the Spanish Myth". The Journal of San Diego History. 19 (1). Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  9. ^ actcards.califa.org, Rancho Refugio
  10. ^ Field, Maria Antonia (2010). "California Under Spanish Rule". Chimes of Mission Bells. [S.l.]: General Books. ISBN 978-1-153-59541-4. Retrieved 27 September 2010.