Manuel Muñoz (Governor of Spanish Texas)

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Manuel Muñoz
28ºGovernor of the Spanish Colony of Texas
In office
Preceded by Rafael Martínez Pacheco
Succeeded by José Irigoyen
Personal details
Born March 19, 1730
Matamoros (Castile-La Mancha), Spain
Died July 28, 1798
San Antonio, Texas
Spouse(s) María Gertrudis de Cipiran
Profession Colonel and Political
Religion Christian

Manuel Muñoz (1730– July 27, 1798) was a soldier, colonel and governor of Texas between 1790 and 1798.

Early life[edit]

Muñoz was born in 1730, probably in Matamoros, a city of Castile-La Mancha, Spain. He joined the Royal Spanish Army in his youth where he ascended the ranks, serving as Captain in the Spanish Army. In 1759, Manuel temporarily settled in Texas as the first commander of the newly formed "Presidio del Norte". The following year, when the Presidio was attacked by Apache Native Americans, Muñoz aided in the repelling of the attack. Later, in 1775, he participated in the war between the troops of Colonel Hugo Oconór and the American Indians, commanding the troops of Nueva Vizcaya. Due to his leadership during the war, Muñoz was appointed Lieutenant Colonel in 1777 and Colonel in 1780. In the 1770s and 1780s, Muñoz won several stalls along the Rio Grande and did businesses with the Mescalero Apaches and carried out several campaigns against the renegades of the border.[1]

Texas Governor[edit]

In 1790, Muñoz became governor of Texas. In 1792, at the same time that the Count of Sierra investigated his management, Muñoz served as Acting governor.[1] The following year, Munoz fulfilled the Decree of Secularization of the Mission San Antonio de Valero and in 1792 he did the same with the decree of "partial secularization" directed to the other four Spanish missions that were carried out in San Antonio.[1][2]

Muñoz supervised trade among the settlers and the Native Americans and investigated illicit trade among the Spanish and French of Louisiana that existed before his term. In addition, he regulated the work of the Amerindians in their work on the churches and priestly quarters and declared that these works could only be carried out with permission from the commander general. He also "checked the mission and presidio accounts".[3]

Native Americans gained greater autonomy: Munoz converted Native Americans who had acquired the Christian religion into independent owners of lands, upending social structure based on race that had been established by the Spanish. In addition, the sacred ministry was the only one institution in which the missionaries could work "and placed the common property of the mission Indians". This property "was supervised by the alcalde", a Spanish politician figure who administrated the Spanish municipalities. In 1793, he founded the mission Refugio.[1]

In 1795, Muñoz rose to Colonel in the Army.[3] The Crown ordered him to avoid the entrance of people from the then United States (East of the modern United States) to Texas. They believed the government of United States wanted to send people to Texas to promote a rebellion against the government.[4]

However, in 1796, Muñoz fell ill and asked King Philip IV for permission to resign as governor. While Muñoz awaited the king's decision, Juan Bautista Elguézabal was selected to help Muñoz. In January 1797, Muñoz received news that the governor of Coahuila, (Mexico), Manuel Antonio Cordero y Bustamante, had been chosen by the king as his successor. However, at that moment, Bustamante was commanding a war against the Apaches and he could not attend to his duties as governor, so Munoz continued governing Texas "until further notice".[1][3] In March of that year, Cordero sent a letter saying that he had been appointed lieutenant governor of Nuevo Santander, and that therefore he could not govern Texas.[1] Finally, a year and a half later, in June 1798 José Irigoyen was appointed interim governor, but also did not serve. Elguézabal finally took the position. Muñoz died on July 27, 1798, in San Antonio.[1][3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Handbook of Texas Online – Muñoz, Manuel. Posted by Marion A. Habig, O.F.M., on November 26, 2008. Accessed on October 9, 2010
  2. ^ Bremer, Thomas S. (2004). Blessed with Tourists: The Borderlands of Religion and Tourism in San Antonio. University of North Carolina Press.
  3. ^ a b c d Phares, Ross (1976). The Governors of Texas. Pages 41 - 42. Firebird Press.
  4. ^ Campbell, Randolph B. (2003). Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State. Oxford University Press, New York.