Presidio del Norte

By: Julia Cauble Smith

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: April 30, 2019

Presidio del Norte was the name given to both the eighteenth-century fort and the settlement on the south side of the river at La Junta de los Ríos (the fort was also called Presidio del Norte de la Junta de los Ríos and Presidio de Belén). The fort and settlement occupied the site of present Ojinaga, Chihuahua. In 1747 three Spanish entradas, each with an interest in building a presidio, visited the junction of the Rio Grande and the Río Conchos, at La Junta. On November 10 the viceroy ordered Governor Pedro de Rábago y Terán of Coahuila to reestablish the six abandoned missions and to establish a presidio to protect the missionaries and converts. Capt. José de Idoyaga was also sent to help build the presidio. Capt. Fermín Vidaurre surveyed the needs of La Junta and recommended the building of a presidio and the rebuilding of the missions.

Despite the Spanish interest in building a presidio at La Junta in 1747, it was not built until Capt. Alonso Rubín de Celis arrived on December 24, 1759. The presidio was built between San Francisco de los Julimes and Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe pueblos. It 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. The name was shortened to Presidio del Norte. In November 1865 the garrison and the settlement were renamed Ojinaga for Manuel Ojinaga, governor of Chihuahua, who was executed by the French.

Howard G. Applegate and C. Wayne Hanselka, La Junta de los Ríos del Norte y Conchos (Southwestern Studies 41 [El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1974]). Barry Wade Hutcheson, The Trans-Pecos: A Historical Survey and Guide to Historic Sites (M.A. thesis, Texas Tech University, 1969).

  • Exploration
  • Missions, Presidios, and Camps
  • Religion
  • Catholic
  • Architecture
  • Missions
  • Presidios
  • Pueblos
Time Periods:
  • Spanish Texas

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

Julia Cauble Smith, “Presidio del Norte,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 07, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 30, 2019

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