Bucareli y Ursua, Antonio Maria de (1717–1779)

By: Donald E. Chipman

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa, forty-sixth viceroy of New Spain, was born in Seville on January 24, 1717, the son of Luis Bucareli, Marqués de Vallehermoso, and Ana Ursúa Laso de la Vega, Condesa de Gerena. There is no record or indication of his having married. At age fifteen, he answered a military calling by enlisting as a cadet in the brigade of Royal Carabineers. His military service included campaigns in Italy and Portugal, and he rose to the rank of lieutenant general while serving as inspector of coastal fortifications in Granada.

In 1766 Bucareli entered colonial administration as governor and captain general of Cuba, and his excellent record there earned him appointment as viceroy of New Spain in 1771. His relatively long (eight-year) tenure as chief executive, during which he established himself as one of the colony's better viceroys, coincided with significant changes on the northern frontier. The New Regulations for Presidios, flowing from the Marqués de Rubí's inspection, were first printed in Mexico in 1771 and issued in Spain the next year. In 1773 Spanish settlers were compelled to leave East Texas and the capital of Texas was transferred to San Antonio–although the viceroy permitted the Adaesaños (occupants of Los Adaes) to return the following year. The entire northern frontier was reorganized into the Provincias Internas in 1776. And Nacogdoches was permanently settled in 1779, after the failure of Bucareli, a settlement named in part for the viceroy.

In his final years as viceroy, Bucareli was often at loggerheads with Teodoro de Croix, commandant general of the Provincias Internas. The two men differed over the placement of presidios along a line from the Gulf of California to Matagorda Bay; they disagreed over the requisite number of troops and attendant expenses required for frontier defenses; and they lacked accord on the most appropriate response to massive Indian attacks on frontier settlers and their possessions.

Controversy surrounded Antonio María de Bucareli to the time of his death. He was under investigation for his handling of sensitive ecclesiastical matters in Puebla when he died in Mexico City on April 9, 1779. However, in recognition of his distinguished service to the crown, Charles III waived posthumous residencia (judicial review) proceedings against the deceased viceroy–a rare concession made to colonial administrators and their estates.

Bernard E. Bobb, The Viceregency of Antonio María Bucareli in New Spain, 1771–1779 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1962). Alfred Barnaby Thomas, trans., Teodoro de Croix and the Northern Frontier of New Spain, 1776–1783 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1941).
Time Periods:
  • Spanish Texas

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

Donald E. Chipman, “Bucareli y Ursua, Antonio Maria de,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 07, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/bucareli-y-ursua-antonio-maria-de.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994

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