Jacinto de Barrios y Jáuregui entered the service of the Spanish king about 1718 and rose from ensign to lieutenant colonel of cavalry in campaigns against the Italians. After appointment as governor and captain-general of Texas in 1751, he arrived in Los Adaes in June of that year. Events of his administration included the founding of the San Agustín de Ahumada Presidio on the site of Joseph Blancpain's arrest; the moving of the San Xavier missions and San Francisco Xavier Presidio to the San Marcos River; the recommending of the Apache expedition of Diego Ortiz Parrilla; the sending of Bernardo de Miranda to investigate the rumored silver in the Hill Country north of San Antonio; and the founding of Santa Cruz de San Sabá Mission and the San Sabá Presidio (see SAN LUIS DE LAS AMARILLAS PRESIDIO).
In the summer of 1756 Ángel de Martos y Navarrete was appointed governor of Texas, and Barrios received the governorship of Coahuila, but the appointments were interchanged to permit Barrios to remain in Texas until 1759 to complete the founding of San Agustín de Ahumada Presidio and a civil settlement nearby. Barrios made a great deal of money by making the fur trade with the Bidais, Orcoquizas, and other Indian groups a strict personal monopoly; he bought goods from the French in Natchitoches and sold them the furs. These actions contributed to his being the governor of Texas most criticized for contraband trade with the French in Louisiana. He served two terms as governor of Coahuila after leaving Texas.