José Castro

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For other people named José Castro, see José Castro (disambiguation).
José Castro
Jose Castro.jpg
Mexico 20th Governor of Alta California
In office
Appointed by José Figueroa
Preceded by José Figueroa
Succeeded by Nicolas Gutierrez
Personal details
Born 1808
Monterey, California
Died February 1860
Profession Soldier
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Allegiance Mexico
Service/branch Mexico Mexican Army
Rank Tnte corl.gif Lieutenant Colonel

José Antonio Castro (1808 – February 1860) was acting governor of Alta California in 1835-1836,[1] and Commandante General of the Mexican army in Alta California at the time of the 1846 Bear Flag Revolt and the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848.


José Castro was a Californio, born in Monterey, California. His father José Tiburcio Castro was a soldier, member of the diputacion (Alta California legislature),[1] administrator of secularized Mission San Juan Bautista, and grantee of Rancho Sausal. José Castro's first public office was as secretary to the Monterey ayuntamiento (town council).

In 1830, Castro was arrested for his opposition to the Mexican governor of Alta California. By 1835 he was the First Member (Vocal Primero) of the legislature and acting governor.[1] Along with Juan Bautista Alvarado, he was a vocal proponent of California-born governors and sought a semi-independent status for Alta California.[2] He was a chief participant in the overthrow of Governor Nicolás Gutiérrez in 1836,[2] becoming Commandante General and Governor,[1] as president of the legislature.

When Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo became Commandante General, Castro became Lieutenant-Colonel of militia in 1837-38. Once again he was appointed First Member of the Diputacion as well as Prefect of the Monterey District. In 1839, Castro was granted, by Alvarado, Rancho San Justo, one of three ranchos attached to Mission San Juan Bautista, after the secularization of Mission property by the Mexican government in 1835.

In 1840, Castro arrested about 100 foreigners living in California and transported them to San Blas, an action that caused an international diplomatic incident known as the "Graham Affair". In 1844-45, he became a leader of the revolt against Governor Manuel Micheltorena, once again becoming Commandante General of California, checking John C. Frémont's movements, and leading Alta California forces against the Americans.[2] Departing for Mexico in August 1846, where he resided in Sinaloa, he returned to California in 1848. By 1853, he returned to Mexico where he was appointed governor and military commander of Baja California.

Castro never surrendered his Mexican citizenship nor military rank. In February 1860, Governor Castro was assassinated by the bandit Marguez.


The Jose Castro House (built 1840) in San Juan Bautista is now a National Historic Landmark. Castro Street and the Castro District in San Francisco are named for him.


  1. ^ a b c d Killea; Lucy Lytle (October 1966). "Journal of San Diego History". San Diego Historical Society. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Grafe, Ernest. "Intrigue and Confrontation The Castros of California" (PDF). Grafe. Retrieved 16 June 2010.