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Spanish captain's arrival triggers construction of Presidio del Norte


On this day in 1759, Capt. Alonso Rubín de Celis reached La Junta de los Ríos, at the site of present Ojinaga, Chihuahua, where he began construction of Presidio del Norte. The junction of the Río Grande and the Río Conchos was the site of eight pueblos, the largest of which was Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe; the Spanish had sought since 1747 to build a presidio there, but not until Rubín de Celis arrived did construction begin. The long-awaited fort was completed by July 22, 1760, and its soldiers fought off an Indian attack the same day. The presidio was abandoned in the fall of 1766 and moved to Julimes on the Río Conchos. In 1772 the king ordered the reestablishment of the presidio at La Junta, and by 1773 the fort was back at its original site. Almost a century later, in November 1865, the garrison and the settlement were renamed Ojinaga for Manuel Ojinaga, governor of Chihuahua, who was executed by the French.

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