Luis Antonio Argüello

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Luis Antonio Argüello
Mexico 13th Governor of Alta California
In office
1822–1825
Preceded by Pablo Vicente de Solá
Succeeded by José María de Echeandía
Personal details
Born (1784-06-21)June 21, 1784
Yerba Buena (San Francisco), Alta California
Died March 27, 1830(1830-03-27) (aged 45)
Yerba Buena (San Francisco), Alta California
Spouse(s) María Angela Berreyesa, Maria Soledad Ortega de Argüello
Profession Explorer, politician, soldier
Religion Roman Catholic

Luis Antonio Argüello (Spanish pronunciation: [luˈis anˈtonjo arˈɣweʎo]) (June 21, 1784– March 27, 1830) was the first Californio (native-born) governor of Alta California (thirteenth in all), and the first during Mexican rule.[1]

Luis Antonio Argüello was the only governor to serve under the First Mexican Empire (of 1821-1823). He also served as acting governor under the subsequent provisional government, which preceded the First Mexican Republic (of 1824–1864).

Biography[edit]

Argüello was born in Yerba Buena (present day San Francisco), Alta California, to José Darío Argüello and Maria Ygnacia Moraga, members of one of the most distinguished and influential families in early California history. His father founded the Pueblo de Los Angeles, and served as Governor of Alta California and later of Baja California.

In August, 1806, Argüello succeeded his father as Commandant of California with the rank of lieutenant. In 1821, he launched an exploration of Northern California to investigate the rumors of "Foreigners" setting up a base. This expedition has come to be popularly known as The Last Spanish Expedition in California.[2] Argüello published his expedition diary, titled The Diary of Captain Arguello: The Last Spanish Expedition in California, October 17 - November 17, 1821. A Russian-American_Company while catching sea otters on the northern shores of the San Francisco Bay had commandant Argüello shot a cannon at the trappers' baidarkas, dispersing the Aleut and Alutiiq trappers from the Bay.[3] There were numerous sea otter populations to hunt and a lack of Spanish military posts above San Francisco Bay made it hard for Argüello to stop this northern activate, and the possibility of them trading with the Spanish Missions.[3]


His brother was Santiago Argüello, who was commandant of the Presidio of San Diego and alcalde (mayor) of Pueblo de San Diego. His sister Concepción Argüello (1791-1857) was noted for her romance with Nikolai Rezanov (1764-1807), a Russian promoter of the colonization of Alaska and California.

Grave of Luís Antonio Argüello at Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores) cemetery, San Francisco.

Argüello and his second wife Maria Soledad Ortega de Argüello inherited his parents 35,240-acre (142.6 km2) Spanish Rancho land grant of 1795 named Rancho de las Pulgas, encompassing present day San Mateo, Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City, Atherton, and Menlo Park. Though Luis never actually lived there, his widow and children settled there after his death.

Josefa Arguello was on of his daughters, she married Eulogio de Celis, their son Eulogio F. de Celis became a predominant landowner in the San Fernando Valley.

Luis Antonio Argüello died in Yerba Buena (San Francisco) in 1830, and is buried at the Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores) cemetery there.

Governor[edit]

In 1822 William Edward Petty Hartnell persuaded Argüello to grant him the right to do business in any port in Alta California, whereas other foreigners were restricted to Monterey and San Diego.

Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo was served as the personal secretary to the new Governor Luis Argüello, when news of Mexico's independence reached Monterey. Argüello enrolled Vallejo as a cadet in the Presidio company in 1824. After being promoted to corporal, Argüello appointed Vallejo to the diputación, the territorial legislature. He was promoted to alférez (equal to a modern army second lieutenant).


In 1823 he granted Rancho Los Corralitos 15,440-acre (62.5 km2) in present-day Santa Cruz County, California to José Amesti. "Los Corralitos" means "the little corrals" in Spanish. The grant extended along Corralitos Creek north of Watsonville, and encompassed present-day Corralitos and Amesti.[4]

In 1823 Rancho Llano de Buena Vista, means "Good View Plain". 8,446-acre (34.18 km2) in the Salinas Valley was given by Argüello to José Mariano Estrada a lieutenant of the Mexican Artillery and in-law of Argüello.[5] [6]

In 1823 Argüello gave a land grant of Rancho San Pablo17,939-acre (72.60 km2), in present-day Contra Costa County, California to Francisco María Castro (1775 - 1831), a former soldier at the San Francisco Presidio and one-time alcalde of the Pueblo of San José.[7] The San Pablo grant covered what is now Richmond, San Pablo, and Kensington in western Contra Costa County.[8]

In 1823 Argüello gave a land grant of Rancho Las Cienegas a size of 4,439-acre (17.96 km2) in present-day Los Angeles County, California to Francisco Avila [9]

Argüello was Governor at the time of the Chumash Revolt of 1824. Nearly a month after the initial revolt on February 21, 1824, a company of 100 Mexican soldiers, cavalrymen and priests, as well as a four-pound cannon, arrived at La Purisima Mission in the morning, intent on violently crushing the rebellion. Argüello, had had enough chaos in his country's new territory, and so had given the orders for the Chumash rebellion to be quelled with bloodshed, if necessary.[10][11]

In 1824 Rancho Bolsa de San Cayetano was a 8,896-acre (36.00 km2) land granted in present day Monterey County, California near Monterey Bay by Argüello to Ygnacio Ferrer Vallejo[12] [13][14]

Rancho Bolsa de San Cayetano was a 8,896-acre (36.00 km2) Mexican land grant in present day Monterey County, California given in 1824 by Governor Luís Antonio Argüello to Ygnacio Ferrer Vallejo, and confirmed to his eldest son, José de Jesús Vallejo, by Governor José Figueroa in 1834.[1] The name means "pocket of St. Cayetano". Pocket usually refers to land surrounded by slough - in this case the Elkhorn Slough. The grant was bordered on the west by Monterey Bay.

Rancho Moro Cojo, that became part of Rancho Bolsa Nueva y Moro Cojo, in present day Monterey County, California was granted by Governor Luís Antonio Argüello in 1825.

Antonio Maria Osio married Dolores Argüello, sister of Luis Antonio Argüello. In 1838, Osio settled in Monterey. In 1839, Governor Alvarado granted Osio, Angel Island (California), on the condition that Osio would set aside part of the island for a fort. However, Osio never took up residence there.

Francisco de Paula Marín a Spaniard who became influential in the early Kingdom of Hawaii. Was a confidant of Hawaiian King Kamehameha I. Marín acted as a jack-of-all-trades, sometimes even acting as a physician, probably without any formal education, and is credited with introducing many agricultural products. Marín wrote to governor Luis Antonio Argüello about moving to Alta California, but was told his multiple wives would not be welcome in California.[15]

The 1840 rebuilt Mission San Francisco Solano circa 1910, last of the 21 missions
Stylized portrayal of the original Mission San Francisco Solano

In Argüello's tenure one new mission was founded: Mission San Francisco Solano (California) on July 4, 1823 by Father Jose Altimira. This was the last of the 21 missions founded as the Mexican secularization act of 1833 put an end to the missions. Mission San Francisco Solano was also the northernmost mission and the only one started after Mexico gained independence from Spain. The Argüello wanted a robust Mexican presence north of the San Francisco Bay to keep the Russians who had established Fort Ross on the Pacific coast from moving further inland and down the coast. General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo later closed the mission in 1834-1835, he took the roof titles for his own home, others joined in taking parts of the buildings and it turned to ruins, later was completely torn down. In need of a church for the town he made, in 1840 Vallejo had a small chapel built were the original parish church was.

Legacy[edit]

In World War II, the United States liberty ship SS Luis Argüello was named in his honor.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Governors of California". San Diego Historical Society. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  2. ^ Argüello, Luis Antonio; Vivian C. Fisher; Arthur Quinn (1992). The Diary of Captain Luis Antonio Argüello 1821: The Last Spanish Expedition in California. Berkeley: : The Friends of Bancroft Library, University of California. OCLC 26943462. 
  3. ^ a b Owens, Kenneth N. Frontiersman for the Tsar: Timofei Tarakanov and the Expansion of Russian America. Montana: The Magazine of Western History 56, No. 3 (2006), pp. 3-21+93-94.
  4. ^ Diseño del Rancho Los Corralitos
  5. ^ Ogden Hoffman, 1862, Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Numa Hubert, San Francisco
  6. ^ Hoover, Mildred B.; Rensch, Hero; Rensch, Ethel; Abeloe, William N. (1966). Historic Spots in California. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-4482-9. 
  7. ^ Ogden Hoffman, 1862, Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Numa Hubert, San Francisco
  8. ^ Diseño del Rancho Rancho San Pablo
  9. ^ Ogden Hoffman, 1862, Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Numa Hubert, San Francisco
  10. ^ Blackburn, Thomas. "The Chumash Revolt of 1824: A Native Account". The Journal of California Anthropology (Malki Museum) 2 (2): 223–227. JSTOR 27824841
  11. ^ Leffingwell, Randy (2005). California Missions and Presidios: The History & Beauty of the Spanish Missions. Voyageur Press, Inc., Stillwater, MN. ISBN 0-89658-492-5.
  12. ^ Ogden Hoffman, 1862, Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Numa Hubert, San Francisco
  13. ^ Diseño del Rancho Bolsa de San Cayetano
  14. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Rancho Bolsa de San Cayetano
  15. ^ Donald Cutter (1980). "The Spanish in Hawaii: Gaytan to Marin". Hawaiian Journal of History 14 (Hawaii Historical Society). pp. 20–25. hdl:10524/474. 

External links[edit]