Francisco José de Ovando, 1st Marquis of Brindisi

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Francisco José de Ovando

Marquis of Brindisi
Governor-General of the Philippines
In office
July 20, 1750 – July 1754
MonarchPhilip V
Prime MinisterMarquis of Ensenada
Preceded byJuan de Arrechederra
Succeeded byPedro Manuel de Arandía
Royal Governor of Chile
In office
June 28, 1745 – March 26, 1746
MonarchPhilip V
Prime MinisterMarquis of Ensenada
Preceded byJosé Manso de Velasco
Succeeded byDomingo Ortíz de Rosas
Personal details
Caceres, Spain
DiedDecember 9, 1755(1755-12-09) (aged 61–62)
At sea, Spain
ProfessionBrigadier General

Francisco José de Ovando y Solís Rol de La Cerda, 1st Marquis of Brindisi (Spanish: Francisco José de Ovando y Solís Rol de La Cerda, primer Marqués de Brindisi) (c. 1693 – December 9, 1755) was a Spanish soldier who served as governor of Chile.

Early life[edit]

Francisco José de Ovando was born in the city of Caceres[1] in Extremadura. In 1710, at the age of seventeen, he joined the Spanish Army as a cadet, and in 1717 he transferred to the naval infantry, as a member of which he participated in the capture of Sicily in July 1718, during the War of the Quadruple Alliance.

After a period of several years in which he returned to administrative work within the Spanish Army, he returned to the navy in 1728 as a lieutenant in charge of the frigate Génova. Two years later, he was commissioned to study naval construction at Cádiz. In 1731, he was given the command of the frigate Guipúzcoa, which as part of the fleet under Admiral Cornejo, took part in the attack to Livorno.

Capture of Brindisi[edit]

He was promoted to Captain in 1733 and took command of the frigate Galga,[2] which as part of the fleet of the Marquis of Clavijo captured Naples during the War of the Polish Succession. In 1734 he was sent to capture the castle of Brindisi near Tarento. In that opportunity, he personally landed and led a force composed of 200 men from his ship and 100 naval infantry to capture the fortress. After the battle he sailed back to Naples, where he was personally congratulated by the Infante Don Carlos for his outstanding valor and performance in battle, and was rewarded with the title of Marquis of Brindisi[2] (in most literature he appears credited as Marquis of Ovando, which is simply a corruption of his title and his last name), was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and was given the command of the Man-of-war El León, of seventy cannons.

In 1736, Ovando took command of the frigate San Cayetano, which he sailed to Veracruz to join the Windward Fleet (Spanish: Flota de Barlovento), and was sent to the Antilles to root out smugglers and European traders, mainly British and Dutch, who were violating the monopoly of the Spanish Main.[1] In 1740 he participated, with his ship Dragón, in the defense of Cartagena de Indias from the British attack of Admiral Vernon.

The Spanish Prime Minister Marquis of Ensenada promoted Ovando in 1743 to Fleet Commander, charging him with the inspection of all the fortresses, harbors and arsenals in the Viceroyalty of Peru[3] as inspector and commander-in-chief of the Southern Seas' Fleet (3).

As Governor of Chile[edit]

Francisco José de Ovando was appointed interim Governor of Chile by his predecessor José Antonio Manso de Velasco, who had been promoted to Viceroy of Peru and whom he had travelled to Valparaíso to escort back to Peru. He took over his position on July 28, 1745 and remained there until March 26 of the following year, when his successor, Domingo Ortíz de Rosas, arrived.[1] He immediately returned to his fleet command on board of the ship San Fermín and departed to chart the Juan Fernández Islands.

Other notable acts undertaken during his government were the creation, on March 11, 1747, of the first University in the colonial territory of Chile: the Royal University of San Felipe (Real Universidad de San Felipe), of which the first rector was Tomás de Azúa e Iturgoyen. [1] This university would eventually become today's University of Chile.

As Governor-General of the Philippines[edit]

He arrived in Manila on July 20, 1750 and immediately had trouble with the Audiencia and archbishop. He also dealt with Moros. His term ended in July 1754 and died at sea in 1755 on his way back to Acapulco.[4] The town of Obando in the province of Bulacan, which he founded on May 14, 1753, was named after him. [5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Medina, José Toribio. Diccionario Biográfico Colonial de Chile (PDF) (in Spanish).
  2. ^ a b Gómez, Santiago. Historial del navío "Galga" (in Spanish).
  3. ^ Somodevilla, Zenón de (1743). Instrucciones al marqués de Ovando (in Spanish). AGI, Lima, Legajo 1.489.
  4. ^ Blair and Robertson. 1901. Vol 17
  5. ^ Source:


Spanish nobility
Preceded by
New title
Marquis of Ovando
Succeeded by
Alonso de Ovando
Government offices
Preceded by
José Manso de Velasco
Royal Governor of Chile
Succeeded by
Domingo Ortíz de Rosas
Preceded by
Juan de Arrechederra
Governor-General of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Pedro Manuel de Arandía