José Manso de Velasco, 1st Count of Superunda

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The Count of Superunda

Conde de Superunda.jpg
Portrait of Manso de Velasco as Viceroy of Peru, 1746
30th Viceroy of Peru
In office
MonarchFerdinand VI
Prime MinisterMarquis of Ensenada
Preceded byJosé Antonio de Mendoza
Succeeded byManuel de Amat
Royal Governor of Chile
In office
November 1737 – June 1744
MonarchPhilip V
Preceded byManuel de Salamanca
Succeeded byFrancisco José de Ovando
Personal details
Torrecilla en Cameros, Spain
DiedMay 6, 1767(1767-05-06) (aged 78–79)
Granada, Spain
ChildrenDiego Manso de Velasco
ProfessionBrigadier General

José Antonio Manso de Velasco y Sánchez de Samaniego, KOS (Spanish: José Antonio Manso de Velasco y Sánchez de Samaniego, primer Conde de Superunda) (1688 – May 6, 1767) was a Spanish soldier and politician who served as governor of Chile and viceroy of Peru.

As Governor of Chile[edit]

Statue of Governor José Antonio Manso de Velasco in the city of Rancagua.

Manso de Velasco served as governor of Chile from November 1737 to June 1744, during which time he stood out for his numerous projects. His tenure saw the construction of the first public food market in Santiago, irrigation canals on the Maipo River as well as breakwaters on the Mapocho River, the rebuilding of Valdivia (destroyed by an earthquake), and the celebration of an armistice with the indigenous Mapuche people, signed in the "Parlement of Tapihue".

In addition, he founded a large number of Chilean cities listed here with their current names, their given names, and their date of founding:

His efficiency and diligence recommended him to a higher post, and Ferdinand VI named him viceroy of Peru in 1745, making him the first governor of Chile to be elevated in such a manner.

As Viceroy of Peru[edit]

Manso de Velasco was the viceroy of Peru during the reign of Ferdinand VI of the House of Bourbon, holding the office from 1745 to October 12, 1761. He succeeded José Antonio de Mendoza, 3rd Marquis of Villagarcía and was replaced by Manuel de Amat y Juniet. The most important event of his tenure was the great earthquake of 1746.

Lima earthquake[edit]

On October 28, 1746 at around 10:30 at night, a major earthquake struck Lima and vicinity, resulting in one of the highest number of deaths for such an event in the area. Witnesses differ on the duration of the event, with reports ranging from 3 to 6 minutes. The intensity of the quake is today estimated at X or XI on the Mercalli intensity scale. The aftershocks, by the hundreds, continued for the following two months.

In Lima, the destruction was severe. Of 60,000 inhabitants, 1,141 were reported to have died. Only 25 houses remained standing. In Callao, a tsunami of nearly 17 meters in height penetrated up to 5 kilometers inland leaving only 200 survivors out of a population of 5,000. The fact that the earthquake struck at night probably contributed to the casualties, as many people were caught asleep in their homes. In the wake of the disaster, the population was gripped by hunger and fear.

As a result of this earthquake, building practices were modified, with the adobe style abandoned for quincha (wattle and daub) construction techniques, which resulted in more flexible structures that were more resistant to disruptive seismic activity.

On February 10, 1747 he founded the city of Bellavista.[1] On May 30, 1755 the cathedral of Lima was begun.

Portrait of Antonio Manso de Velasco in the Museo Histórico Nacional of Chile

Last days[edit]

The aged and tired Manso de Velasco asked for permission to return to Spain for his retirement, and received a positive answer from the crown in 1761. However, his trip home took him through the port of Havana in the then-Captaincy General of Cuba, just at a time when the colony was under attack from the English. The attackers laid siege to the port, and Manso de Velasco, nominally the highest-ranking military officer in the area, found himself named the "Chief of the War Council" by the Governor of Cuba. Thus, at age 74, he led the defense of the fortified city. Unfortunately, the troops under his command were poorly trained and their equipment was inferior, leading to a Spanish surrender after only 67 days.

Captured by the English, he was eventually brought to Cadiz in Spain. There, due to his position as "Chief of the War Council", he was held responsible for the inglorious defeat in Cuba, and court martialed. His sentence was a "100 year suspension from military service" and confinement to the city of Granada, where he finally died in 1767.


  1. ^ Kuethe, Allan J.; Andrien, Kenneth J. (May 12, 2014). "Clerical Reform and the Secularization of the Doctrinas de Indios". The Spanish Atlantic World in the Eighteenth Century. Cambridge University Press. p. 173. Retrieved April 20, 2015.

External links[edit]

Spanish nobility
Preceded by
New title
Count of Superunda
Succeeded by
Diego Manso de Velasco
Government offices
Preceded by
Manuel de Salamanca
Royal Governor of Chile
Succeeded by
Francisco José de Ovando
Preceded by
José Antonio de Mendoza
Viceroy of Peru
Succeeded by
Manuel de Amat