José Basco y Vargas

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The Most Illustrious

The Count of la Conquista de Islas Batanes

José Basco y Vargas.jpg
53rd Governor-General of the Philippines
In office
July 1778 – November 1787
MonarchCharles III of Spain
Preceded byPedro de Sarrio
Succeeded byPedro de Sarrio
Personal details
José Basco y Vargas

c. 1733
Málaga, Granada, Spain
Died1805 (aged 71–72)
Spanish East Indies
Military service
AllegianceFlag of Spain.svg Kingdom of Spain
RankUS-O7 insignia.svg

José Basco y Vargas,1st Count of the Conquest of Batanes Islands (Spanish: José Basco y Vargas, primer conde de la conquista de las islas Batanes (1733–1805) was a naval officer of the Spanish navy who served as the 53rd governor of the Philippines under the Spanish Empire, from 1778 to 1787. He was one of the most economic minded governors-general that served in Spanish ruled Philippines.

Governor General of the Philippines[edit]

He established the Sociedad Económica de los Amigos del País, or the Economic Society of Friends of the Country, which revived the tabacco industry in the Spanish Philippines. He established the basis for the takeoff of the agriculture of Philippine export with a tolerance policy towards the theoretically illegal activity of foreign retailers, mainly the English and North Americans who went to Manila to complete their product shipments. He also made the colony independent by freeing it from the control of New Spain and other Pacific Islands including the Philippines. Hoping to free the Philippines form Mexican and Chinese trade, Basco established reforms including incentivizing the production of cotton, spices, sugarcane, and mining, as well as rewarding scientific reforms. [1]

In 1782, Basco sent an expedition to undertake the formalities of acquiring the consent of the Ivatans to become subjects of the king of Spain. On June 26, 1783, Joseph Huelva y Melgarjo became the first governor of Batanes. The new province was named Provincia de la Concepcion and Governor General Basco was named “Conde de la Conquista de Batanes” and the capital town, Basco, was named after him. By January 21, 1789, King Carlos III granted in prize to his numerous services the title of Count of Conquista of the Batanes Islands; grace to which he added to the appointments of Squad leader and Governor of Cartagena. Basco was replaced by Pedro de Sarrio on November 22, 1787.


Preceded by
Pedro de Sarrio
Spanish Governor - Captain General of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Pedro de Sarrio