List of Spanish governors of New Mexico

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Spanish Governor of New Mexico
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg
ResidenceSanta Fe
AppointerKing of Spain
FormationNovember 1598; 423 years ago (1598-11)
First holderJuan de Oñate
Final holderFacundo Melgares
AbolishedJanuary 1822; 200 years ago (1822-01)
SuccessionMexican Governors of New Mexico
Map of the province of Nuevo México in 1824

Spanish Governors of New Mexico were the political chief executives of the province of Santa Fe de Nuevo México (New Mexico) between 1598, when it was established by an expedition by Juan de Oñate, and 1822, following Mexico's declaration of independence. New Mexico became a territory of the United States beginning in 1846, and a state in 1912.


In 1598, Juan de Oñate pioneered 'The Royal Road of the Interior Land', or El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, between Mexico City and the Tewa village of 'Ohkay Owingeh', or San Juan Pueblo, founding the Nuevo México Province under the authority of Philip II. He also founded the settlement (a Spanish pueblo) of San Juan on the Rio Grande near the Native American Pueblo. In 1610, Pedro de Peralta, then governor, established the settlement of Santa Fe in the region of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the Rio Grande. Missions were established for conversions and agricultural industry under the authority of the governor. The territory's Puebloan peoples resented the Spaniards denigration and prohibition of their traditional religion, and their encomienda system's forced labor. In 1680, the Pueblo Revolt occurred, and a final resolution included additional protections from Spanish efforts to eradicate their culture and religion, the issuing of substantial communal land grants to each Pueblo, and a public defender of their rights and for their legal cases in Spanish courts.

In January 1822, the last Governor under the Spanish regime, Facundo Melgares, lost the title of governor and was now called géfe político (political chief) and géfe militar (military chief).[1] Subsequently, Melgares became the first Mexican Governor of New Mexico, serving until July 5, 1822 when he was succeeded by Francisco Xavier Chavez, though he would hold office for just five months.


The following is a list of governors of the Province of New Mexico under the Viceroyalty of New Spain:[2]

1st stage (1598-1680)[edit]

The political chiefs (géfe políticos) or governors were:[3]

Name Start End Notes
Juan de Oñate 1598 1610 Conquistador, explorer and administrator of New Spain.
Son of explorer and conquistador Cristóbal de Oñate.

Initiated NM Indian slaving through encomienda system. Allowed colonists to seize "orphaned" Native children, including from their parents.[4]

Cristóbal de Oñate (son of Juan de Oñate) November 1610 1610
Pedro de Peralta 1610 1613
Bernardino de Ceballos 1613 1618
Juan Álvarez de Eulate 1618 1625
Felipe de Sotelo Osorio 1625 1630 Employed Indians to capture Indians from competing tribes for slave trade in New Mexico.[5]
Francisco Manuel de Silva Nieto 1630 1632
Francisco de la Mora Ceballos 1632 1635
Francisco Martínez de Baeza 1635 1637
Luis de Rosas 1637 spring 1641 Exploited Indian slaves in sweatshop manufacturing of textiles to export to Mexico.[6]

Imprisoned and killed when his government ended

Juan Flores de Sierra y Valdés Spring 1641 Autumn 1641 Died in office
Francisco Gomes 1641 1642 Acting
Alonso de Pacheco de Herédia 1643 1643
Fernando de Argüello 1644 1647
Luis de Guzmán y Figueroa 1647 1649
Hernando de Ugarte y la Concha 1649 1652
Juan de Samaniego y Xaca 1652 1656
Juan Manso de Contreras 1656 1659 Issued a "death sentence against the entire Apache nation and others of the same ilk," but allowed Spanish settlers to hold captured Indians as indentured servants.[4]
Bernardo López de Mendizábal 1659 1660 Collected Indians as slaves and stole their livestock, clothing, salt, sleeping mats, and other items to gift to authorities in Mexico.[4]
Diego Dionisio de Peñalosa Briceño y Berdugo 1661 1664
Tomé Dominguez de Mendoza 1664 1664
Juan Durán de Miranda 1664 1665
Fernando de Villanueva 1665 1668
Juan de Medrano y Mesía 1668 1671
Juan Durán de Miranda 1671 1675
Juan Francisco Treviño 1675 1679 His policies against the Pueblo Indians gave rise to their revolt.

2nd stage: Governors and Pueblo leaders during the revolt[edit]

From 1680 until 1692, the Pueblo people revolted against Spanish domination and lived under their own rulers. The political chiefs or governors and Pueblo leaders were:[7]

Spanish Governors Start End Notes
Antonio de Otermin 1679 1680 Titular governor until 1683
Domingo Gironza Petriz Cruzate 1683 1686
Pedro Reneros de Posada 1686 1689
Domingo Gironza Petriz Cruzate 1689 1691
Pueblo Leaders Start End Notes
Popé 1680 1685
Luis Tupatu 1685 1692

3rd stage (1688-1822)[edit]

The political chiefs (géfe políticos) or governors were:[3]

Name Start End Notes
Diego de Vargas 1688 (titular)
1691 (effective)
1691 (titular)
1697 (effective)
He placated the Pueblo revolt through a peace treaty with them.
Pedro Rodríguez Cubero 1697 1703
Diego de Vargas 1703 1704
Juan Páez Hurtado 1704 1705
Francisco Cuervo y Valdés June 1705 August 1707 Provisional
Jose Chacón Medina Salazar y Villaseñor 1707 1712
Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollon 1712 1715
Felix Martínez de Torrelaguna 1715 1716 Acting
Antonio Valverde y Cosío 1716 1716 Acting
Juan Páez Hurtado 1716 1717 Acting
Antonio Valverde y Cosío 1718 1721 Interim
Juan Estrada de Austria 1721 1723
Juan Domingo de Bustamante 1723 1731
Gervasio Cruzat y Gongora 1731 1736
Enrique de Olavide y Michelena 1736 1738
Gaspar Domingo de Mendoza 1739 1743
Joaquín Codallos 1743 1749
Tomás Vélez Cachupín 1749 1754
Francisco Antonio Marín del Valle 1754 1760
Mateo Antonio de Mendoza 1760 1760 Acting
Manuel de Portillo y Urrisola May 10, 1760 1762
Tomás Vélez Cachupín 1762 1767
Pedro Fermín de Mendinueta 1767 1777
Francisco Trevre 1777 1777 Acting
Juan Bautista de Anza 1778 1788
Fernando de la Concha 1789 1794
Fernando Chacón 1794 1804
Joaquín del Real Alencaster 1804 1807
Alberto Maynez 1807 1808
José Manrique 1808 1814
Alberto Maynez 1814 1816
Pedro María de Allande 1816 1818
Facundo Melgares 1818 1822

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Twitchell 2007, p. 185.
  2. ^ New Mexico Commission of Public Records – New Mexico Governors Under the Administration of the Spanish Crown Archived 2012-02-27 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b New Mexico Governors.
  4. ^ a b c Reséndez, Andrés (2016). The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America. New York: Houghton Mifflin. p. 121. ISBN 9780544947108.
  5. ^ Reséndez, Andrés (2016). The other slavery : the uncovered story of Indian enslavement in America. New York: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 119–120. ISBN 978-0-547-64098-3. OCLC 913924416.
  6. ^ Reséndez, Andrés (2016). The other slavery : the uncovered story of Indian enslavement in America. New York: Houghton Mifflin. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-547-64098-3. OCLC 913924416.
  7. ^ Pueblo Indian Revolt.