Biography of José de Gálvez y Gallardo (1729-1786)

Lawyer and Spanish politician, born in Macharaviaya, small village of Malaga, located in the area of La Axarquia, January 2, 1720 and died on June 17, 1787 in the town of Aranjuez Madrid.

He was baptized on January 7 following by the beneficiary Alonso of Carrion and Cáceres in the modest local church. He/She was the second son of four incurred stems from the marriage of Antonio de Galvez and Carvajal and Antonia Gallardo, who married 1 July 1716. Although hidalgos origins, the Galvez family enjoyed little fortune, situation that worsened with the death of the father, forcing children to work as shepherds of goats and sheep to help the maintenance of the House.

Awake genius and early intelligence, the small, who served as an altar boy in the local church, drew the attention of the Bishop of Malaga, Diego González de Toro and Villalobos, during an episcopal visit to the small village, which stopped to confirm to a group of children. This episode was decisive in the future of José de Gálvez, the prelate gave him a scholarship so start ecclesiastical studies, and could thus enter the Seminary of Malaga the year 1733. Also the new Malaga Bishop, fray Gaspar de Molina y Oviedo, protected it though Gálvez José decided on legal studies and left the Church. Thus began a stage dark in the life of this character, because not found record of their studies in any Spanish University, although most of his biographers are decanted by become licensed by Alcala de Henares or Salamanca, after a brief stay in Granada.

The appointment of fray Gaspar de Molina y Oviedo as President of the Council of Castile, one of the most important positions of the monarchy, facilitated the entrance of José in the Bourbon administration. Installed in Madrid, he/she worked as a lawyer from the city of Malaga before the Court, a charge from which defended various lawsuits. It would be later named lawyer of the Royal councils. In those early years of Madrid he/she married María Magdalena Grimaldo and childless widow, in 1750 remarried a year with Luisa Lucía Romet and Richelin, Spanish Lady of French parents, which facilitated its entry into the Gallic circles of the Court, where he/she had opportunity to collaborate with several ambassadors and diplomats. The early death of his second wife in 1753 earned him, in addition to important contacts, a large fortune, which strengthened its position in the Court. In 1751 he/she was appointed Governor of Zamboanga, Philippine Islands, with a salary of 1,500 pesos, who never exercised, and in 1762 he/she was appointed counsel for House of the Prince of Asturias. Later went on to collaborate with the Minister Jerónimo Grimaldi, who appointed him private Secretary, position which he/she combined with the general of the Regalia of room tax, which allowed the young lawyer relate to important houses of the nobility, as the Marquis of the yellow, Viceroy of Mexico. This rapid rise is completed with his appointment as Mayor of House and Court in 1764, and the following year as visitor general of the Viceroyalty of new Spain. At the time of his appointment, Gálvez had forty five years and a well earned reputation for skillful, hardworking and good knowledge of the Bourbon administration. In addition, is it interested in American problems, as evidenced by the memorial sent to Carlos III the title discourse and reflections of a vassal of the decline of our Spanish Indies, dated around 1760.

Gálvez José embarked in Cadiz from April 26, 1765 heading to new Spain. In addition to general visitor, Carlos III had named him an honorary member of the Council of the Indies. He/She carried with him several instructions in which course of action the main objectives of the visit (hacendisticas reforms, development of new regulations, amendments of errors, dismissal of corrupt officials, etc.), as well as the method that was going to be used. The King ordered him to be forceful in his performances, but always maintaining good relations with the viceroy, charge that the Marqués de Cruillas (1760-1766) held. However, landed in Veracruz April 26, 1765, clashes between both authorities soon appear, so the visitor is aligned with other official sent from the Peninsula to reform the defense of the new Spain, the Commander general Juan de Villalba, inspector general system of all the veteran troops and militia of infantry and cavalry. These conflicts continued until the appointment of a new viceroy, the Marquis de Croix (1766-1771), although they did not stop Galvez to swathe the reforms that had ordered. As well, it performed a program of enormous significance in different areas of the administration of the Viceroyalty, which include its reforms of the State incomes (ramos of alums, leatherwork, excises, taxes, salinas, third, playing cards, sealed paper, parties roosters, beads, tiles, Indians, Spears and half annata), since he/she always sought the increase of revenues of the Crown. Two of the most important innovations had as protagonists to the tobacconist from tobacco and the mining (rebate price the Quicksilver and the Foundation of the Royal School of mining), although the presence of Galvez was felt in other numerous issues, from the registry of the Manila Galleon and personal inspection of the fair of Jalapa, customs reformshealth and safety of cities, sharing land, Foundation of ports, neighborhoods and towns, etc. We must highlight the help of effective, as the Secretary Francisco Machado, that allowed to enhance their performances during the visit.

Understanding of Galvez with the viceroy Croix was evident on the occasion of the measures that accompanied the expulsion of the company of Jesus in New Spain. The Jesuits were gathered in the early morning of June 25, 1767 and sent to the port of Veracruz, except those who worked in the far frontiers, that made it a year later. Troops, commanded by those close to the Malaga visitor, occupied churches, farms and Jesuit buildings, which went to a background of temporalities, deposit that funded companies illustrated, but which also sold many properties of the order to various traders and miners. Like other Bourbon officials, Galvez considered the Jesuits a threat and an obstacle to the realization of the reforms, so pursued to its members, supporters and doctrines, and led a punitive expedition that toured several cities in the center of Mexico, whose neighborhood, exalted by the economic and social consequences of other Bourbon reforms, were holding parentspreventing them from approaching the banishment.

The number of convicted of this punitive expedition of Galvez was notable (85 to the maximum penalty and other 854 to banishment and whipping), which broke a more negotiating tradition of the viceroys with local conflicts. Criticisms, which were swift, rose with the poor results in a second expedition of the general visitor to the most North-Western territories of the Viceroyalty (Guadalajara, Nayarit, California and Sonora), where Galvez thought find great wealth and pacify a former area of war with the Indians with his mere presence. The results were adverse, because although it got some achievements (the Foundation of the maritime Department of San Blas in Nayarit, the increase of actual control in the border areas and the implementation of several economic projects, which would later be fulfilled), the expectations created by Galvez did not correspond to many expenses. Their ideas of development and governance of these border regions were collected in the Plan for the erection of the Government and General command comprising provinces of Sinaloa, Sonora and Nueva Vizcaya (1768), and the California peninsula whose main measure (general headquarters) was launched after his election as Minister of Indian. The most important result of this expedition of Gálvez was the Organization of the expedition Santa, sent to San Diego and Monterrey to curb Russian advances in the North Pacific. Organized with two boats, under the command of captains Juan Pérez and Miguel de el Pino, and two land lots, under the command of the Governor Gaspar de Portolà fray Junípero Serra, the expedition arrived at San Diego in 1769, and initiated the colonization of Alta California. Maritime Day preparations were carried out in the port of San Blas in Nayarit, founded by José de Gálvez in the course of his visit to the Northwest.

The titanic effort of the visitor made him fall sick, and almost led him to the doors of death, which said his return to Mexico through Chihuahua, Zacatecas and Queretaro. During the illness, Galvez, victim of a transient madness, starred in several delicious episodes, as it happened in the mission and town of Arizpe (Sonora), where he/she presided over a Final judgement and proclaimed Dios Padre, San José and the Bishop Juan de Palafox. We must remember that Northwest expedition, both in the punitive campaign in Michoacan, and the shoal the viceroy Marqués de Croix transferred to the visitor all its authority and powers, so performances by José Gálvez multiplied in number and covered from the economics and politics to religious life and customs. Despite the criticism in New Spain, Gálvez had the support of Carlos III and some of his ministers, being named Toga Minister of the Council of the Indies by Royal order of January 23, 1768.

Back to the Viceregal capital, already recovered from their affections, Galvez won permission to leave Mexico, so embarked on Veracruz on 29 November 1771. Had passed six years from his appointment as inspector general, during which had survived numerous jobs, expeditions and a serious illness. Already on the Court, he/she joined the Council and House of Indies, surpassing investigations opened into his conduct in the Viceroyalty. On February 26, 1774 he/she was appointed member of the General Board of trade, currency and mines, as well as court Superintendent of Regalia, which shows the real support to American efforts. A year later, on February 23, 1775, he/she contracted nuptials on the third occasion, this time with María de la Concepción Valenzuela, an orphan of the counts de Puebla de los Valles, of twenty-five years of age, who was born María Josefa de Galvez and Valenzuela, only daughter of the politician, died childless. This marriage was the entrance of Galvez in the nobility, which United social prestige to its already wide and bright political career and his high fortune, since his new wife brought to the marriage a pension of six hundred ducats.

In 1776, after his death the Secretary Julián de Arriaga, the Ministry of marine and Indian was divided in two. In front of the latter, Carlos III elected Pedro CASTEJÓN, while it named José de Gálvez as head of the Indian Ministry, under whose command they were civil, military, economic, and Ecclesiastical Affairs of America and the Philippines. During the exercise of his office, who became until his death in 1787, it passed numerous reforms in America. Other Royal titles held were: Governor pro tempore of the Council of the Indies, with voting in the Council of the Chamber since 1776, and State Councillor (1780). During the first year as the Secretary adopted two far-reaching measures for the administrative division of America: the headquarters of the provinces internal of the new Spain (1776), and the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata, which brought together the provinces of Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Paraguay and Alto Peru. The main objectives of these novelties were the economic development, the settlement and the defense of the territory, purposes that were also in the implementation of the system of mayors in America and the Philippines, which abolished the mayors and system divisions.

Another important measure was the adoption of regulations and tariffs for the free trade of Spain to Indies (1778), whose main objective was to develop commercial secured traffic between Spain and overseas territories in order to revitalize agriculture, industry and navigation. With the decree expanding the liberalizing policy of his predecessor, Arriaga, and enabled, in addition to Montevideo and Buenos Aires - already previously liberalised-, seven major ports (Havana, Cartagena, Valparaiso, Concepcion, Arica, Callao and Guayaquil) and other thirteen children (Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, Montecristo, Santiago de Cuba, Trinidad, Margarita, Campeche, Holy Tomás de Castilla, Omoa, Santa Marta, river of the axePortobello and Chagres). The Peninsular ports that remain open to American traffic, as well as Seville and Cadiz, were Barcelona, Malaga, Cartagena, Alicante, Santander, Gijon, La Coruña, Almeria, Los Alfaques of Tortosa, Palma de Mallorca and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. In addition to this great trading system, Gálvez promoted the creation of the Royal Philippines company and adopted additional measures to boost the construction of vessels and the development of local industries; It also pursued the smuggling and drafted a new regulation on the slave traffic.

During his tenure, several scientific expeditions to the Americas and the Pacific, including the botanical of Ruizand Pavón, Mutis and Sessé and Mociño, who reported numerous naturalist information and improved maps and routes from the Atlantic and Pacific were approved. The desire of knowledge also prompted another important institution: the Archivo General de Indias. José de Gálvez, on his return from the visit New Spain, turned to Simancas (Valladolid) to find documentation about the prelate Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, Viceroy of Mexico and Bishop of Puebla, which had held a crude polemic with the Jesuits. Malaga's planned then to organize a file where are quaternions and catalogasen documents that have relationship with the overseas territories, company that culminated with the election of the House of la Lonja (Seville) for this purpose and with the consignment of bundles from Simancas (Valladolid) in 1785. This great documentary set would be added other repertoires from different cities, while the Ordinances were not approved until 1790. Less successful was another initiative of Gálvez: the drafting of a new collection of laws of the Indies, revised and annotated, it replaced to the then existing, published in 1680.

The work as Secretary of Indias includes other measures to defend the borders, retrieve the American possessions lost with the English, legal reforms and pacification of uprisings (the most important was the Tupac Amaruin the Peru), implementation of enlightened institutions, sending a visitor general to the Viceroyalty of Peru, promoter of the mining, etc., so vast that it would be impossible to summarize work. Again came criticism in America and Spain, and repeated accusations of favouring his countrymen and relatives at the expense of other top candidates, although the Crown followed favoring it until his death, as tax revenues rose significantly during its secretariat, especially thanks to the mining and trade. We must remember its entry into the order created by Carlos III in 1775 and the granting of four thousand strong pesos annually in perpetuity to him and his descendants on the merits of the Real body of mining in New Spain. All its services to the Crown, in addition to money, would be rewarded with the appointment of Marqués de Sonora and Viscount of Sinaloa in 1785, and with the permission create a Majorat (April 10, 1787), which went to his only daughter, and his death, the daughter of his nephew Bernardo, called Matilda of Galvez and Saint-Maxent.

The services provided by Gálvez covered other bureaucratic areas, apart from the Americans. Thus, he/she acted as notary in the marriage contracts from the wedding of infante Gabriel, with María Victoria, daughter of the Queen of Portugal, and the Princess Charlotte, with the Prince, also lusitano, D. Juan. Carlos III, in addition to the rewards already mentioned, authorized him to sign with stamp orders, notices, certificates, patents and Royal offices, media firm orders and trades, and only the whole signing important documents.

Gálvez José died on June 17, 1787 in the town of Aranjuez and was buried in the Church of Sevilla. The Testament, written two months before his death, appointed heir his daughter María Josefa, who bequeathed, in addition to the Majorat and a lifetime pension of 6,000 pesos, several actions of the Royal company of the Philippines and the Bank of San Carlos, many houses and farms in the city and province of Malaga, most in Macharaviaya and its surroundings. Gálvez's love for his homeland resulted in the implementation of numerous reforms and the Foundation of agencies to boost the local economy and the education of youth Malaga, as the Royal School's nautical of San Telmo, the Consulate of the sea, shipping company, the Montepio de Viñeros, schools of first letters, factory of naipes Macharaviaya, the Rural Bank, etc. As good illustrated, Gálvez was concerned about infrastructures and urban planning in the province and as well, prompted the construction of the aqueduct of San Telmo, the roads of Antequera and Velez, Malaga Mall, the rehabilitation of the port and the construction of the Cathedral, which could not be terminated due to the fact that funds were diverted for the independence of the United States. Finally, it also improved the Temple of Macharaviaya, in whose family cemetery his remains were transferred in 1791. As a prize to their efforts, the city of Malaga would appoint him mayor for life and, later, perpetual.

From a modest location, Gálvez was able to become one of the most powerful politicians of the Spanish enlightenment, which contributed decisively to implement in Spanish America. He/She was a hardworking and sagacious, man but also ambitious and despotic, he/she ordered the Mexican rebels executed and persecuted viciously servers that did not meet their mandates. It amended the errors of the corrupt of vigorously, but he/she favoured nepotism with his relatives. In addition, intervened effectively in the rise of his powerful family: his brother Matías chose the career of arms and was appointed Governor of the Canary Islands and Viceroy of Mexico; another brother, Antonio, also military, became Commander of the Bay of Cádiz; a third, Miguel, the followers of José, was Ambassador to Russia and Prussia; and his nephew Bernardo, son of Matthias, also agreed to the Viceroyalty of new Spain succeeding his father. José Gálvez, head of this singular clan of Malaga, known as nobody springs of the Bourbon administration in Spain and America, although he/she always dreamed of retiring to the small village of Macharaviaya. On one occasion, sick on the roads of Sonora, wrote his own epitaph: "Gálvez José, mad for the world, unhappy for it. Pray to God to be happy on the other".


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