Biography of Pedro de Castro y Figueroa Salazar (¿-1741)

Spanish colonial administrator born in San Julián de Cela (La Coruña) in date unknown and died in the city of Mexico from August 22, 1741. He was Duke of the conquest, Marqués de Royal grace and thirty ninth viceroy of new Spain.

Spanish held the post of sergeant major of infantry guards when Felipe V granted him the title of Marquis of Gracia Real on October 4, 1729, in honor of his merits in support of the new monarchy. Carlos III, King of the two Sicilies, on the other hand, gave the of Duke of the conquest in 1735, after the battle of Bitouto, when he exercised the functions of gentleman of his camera and his Supreme Council of war. He became Lieutenant Colonel of the Royal guards infantry and field marshal in the Spanish army, up to the grade of captain-general. She wore the habit of Knight orders of Santiago and San Genaro, encomienda in the Calatrava and Commander in the Alcantara. It was part of the nucleus of the new nobility elevated by the Bourbon dynasty.

He married to Bernarda de Azcárraga and Abaunza, a native of Madrid, which widowed before being appointed viceroy and had three sons: Bernardo, who inherited their titles; Pedro, who accompanied him to new Spain and Josefa.

The King appointed don Pedro de Castro, Viceroy of new Spain in Royal Decree of May 26, 1739, but had to delay his departure until April 6, 1740, when he sailed across the Atlantic, armed enemy-infested. The journey was full of incidents. Had divided the expedition in two Dutch ships, the viceroy and helpers in one and the rest of the family in another, to go unnoticed. In the first part of the navigation ensued a fierce storm but later, to leave Puerto Rico, pursued them two English frigates, forcing Pedro and his family to transfer enough risk to a light sloop that was able to escape, while the largest boat was captured and taken to Jamaica. On June 30 the sloop with the viceroy on board arrived at Veracruz.

Surrounded by honors and with the usual ceremonial, he undertook the journey to the capital. In Guadeloupe hailed it the Royal Court and the tribunals, who accompanied him to the city of Mexico. As he had lost all his credentials during the forced transfer to the sloop, the Real deal was give by sufficient documents that work in the virrey-arzobispo power, after which Pedro de Castro took office immediately.

The situation of new Spain was of great concern, for the news of the war and the English presence in all seas. One of his first actions was to reinforce the defenses of Veracruz and San Juan de Ulúa, important strategic point. Realized that general Oglethorp had attacked San Agustín, who defended heroically, but to Portobelo and other near Cartagena forts had fallen into the power of Admiral Vernon. To meet the needs of the defence of the coasts, it mobilized civilians to organize the so-called "Crown army".

It dealt with the State in which they were mines and desaguó those of Zacatecas, who were in full swing. He also managed to normalize the remission of "located" which were sent to the General captaincy of America and the Philippines, from boxes of Mexico. He later ordered to clean the port of Veracruz, where he was visiting, reviewing the works of the fortress, when he became ill of pernicious fevers and a hemorrhagic dysentery that forced him to return to the capital, where he died August 22, 1741. Not missed who attributed his death to the disgust that had caused the reprimand of Felipe V, because to escape the English preferred to be a lap dog rather than take care of the actual documentation.

Temporarily took over in the governorate of new Spain Real audience, until the arrival of the new viceroy, the count of Fuenclara.


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M. Ortuño