Armiñán, Benito de (ca. 1780–unknown)

Type: Biography

Updated: March 16, 2021


Benito Armiñán, Spanish regular army officer and interim governor of Texas, was born in Spain and entered the Spanish army as a cadet in 1791. He first came to the Americas in the Cantábria Regiment in the 1790s, when he was stationed in Hispaniola during the Haitian Revolution. He returned to Spain in time to be captured by the English in 1805, and, having been released on parole that he would not take up arms against England, he was assigned to combating smugglers and bandits in Andalusia. Holding the rank of captain, he fought in a number of engagements during the Peninsular War in the infantry regiment of Extremadura, including the French siege of Tarifa, after which he was promoted to colonel. In February 1813 he embarked with the Extremadura Regiment for New Spain, as part of the Spanish effort to reinforce royalist forces fighting the rebellion for independence. Placed at the disposal of Commandant General Joaquín de Arredondo, in August 1813 Armiñán and his command fought at the battle of Medina, which restored royalist control of Texas following the short-lived first Texas republic. Scholars, beginning with Carlos Castañeda, have maintained that Armiñán’s term as governor began at the death of Cristóbal Domínguez in October 1814. A careful examination of the records reveals that on Domínguez’s appointment to second-in-command of the Provincias Internas de Oriente in December 1813, Arredondo appointed Armiñán interim governor of Texas, a position he held until July 1815. During his unhappy tenure in the province, he confronted the devastation left behind by the failed independence movement, increasing American Indian hostilities, and lack of financial, logistical, and medical support for the province’s military forces. Replaced by Mariano Varela as governor, he marked his command to Nuevo Santander, where he continued to support Arredondo’s efforts to wipe out the remnants of the insurgency. As military governor of the District of Huasteca, in 1817 he was defeated in battle by Francisco Xavier Mina, during the latter’s failed invasion in support of Mexican independence. He ended his time in New Spain as intendant of Puebla before returning to Spain about the time of Mexican independence. Documentation suggests that he was married and a father, but specifics of his personal life of the place and date of his death have not been found.

Archivo General de la Nación de México, Mexico City. Bexar Archives, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas, Vol. 6 (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). Bradley Folsom, Arredondo: Last Spanish Ruler of Texas and Northeastern New Spain (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2017).

Categories:

  • Military
  • Politics and Government
  • Government Officials

Time Periods:

  • Spanish Texas

Places:

  • Central Texas
  • San Antonio

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Armiñán, Benito de,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 27, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/arminan-benito-de.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 16, 2021

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