Pedro de Rábago y Terán was an experienced administrator and military captain on the northern frontier of New Spain. He served from August 1744 to June 1754 as governor of Coahuila and as captain of Presidio de San Francisco (at the site of present Monclova). In the late 1740s, Rábago, on orders of the viceroy of New Spain, was a participant in one of three coordinated expeditions to La Junta de los Ríos. The entradas were to determine the best site for a presidio in the vicinity of the six missions at La Junta, which had largely been abandoned because of Apache attacks. After reconnoitering the area in the final months of 1747, on January 1, 1748, Rábago recommended that the new presidio be located on either bank of the Rio Grande at its junction with the Río Conchos. After the death of Capt. Miguel de la Garza Falcón, who had been appointed to investigate the murders of Father José de Ganzabal and the soldier Juan José Ceballos at the San Xavier missions in Texas, Rábago was appointed captain of Presidio del Sacramento on November 13, 1753. The remainder of his brief unexpired term as governor of Coahuila was completed by a lieutenant. From his new post, Rábago was to proceed to San Xavier and complete the commission entrusted to Garza Falcón, but his orders were not delivered to Monclova until May 1, 1754. Upon his arrival at San Xavier on August 11, he found deplorable conditions at San Francisco Xavier de Gigedo Presidio, where his nephew, Felipe de Rábago y Terán, had served so ineptly as commander that the two remaining missions were in their final throes. Don Pedro soon recommended that the neophytes be transferred to San Antonio and that the soldiers and missionaries be reassigned to new missions already under consideration in Apachería. In late 1754 and early 1755 the new commander explored the San Saba and Llano river country, an area previously reconnoitered in 1753 by Lt. Juan Galván and Father Miguel de Aranda. Upon returning to San Xavier, where conditions had deteriorated even further, Rábago without viceregal authority ordered the transfer of the presidio and missions, on August 23, 1755. At the new location on the San Marcos River he was reprimanded by the viceroy for his actions, but was not ordered to return to San Xavier. The aging commander, victim of an epidemic that struck the new mission sites, died on the San Marcos River in early 1756.
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Vito Alessio Robles, Coahuila y Texas en la época colonial (Mexico City: Editorial Cultura, 1938; 2d ed., Mexico City: Editorial Porrúa, 1978). Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). Robert S. Weddle, The San Sabá Mission (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1964).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Donald E. Chipman,
“Rabago y Teran, Pedro de,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 27, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
April 30, 2019
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