Ripperda, Juan Maria Vicencio, Baron de (unknown–1780)

By: Robert H. Thonhoff

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

The Barón de Ripperdá, Spanish governor of the province of Texas from 1770 to 1778, was born of nobility in Madrid. He entered the military service in 1743 and rose to the rank of colonel of cavalry in 1761. He arrived in Mexico from Spain in 1769 with a royal appointment as governor of Texas. During his several months' stay in Mexico City, he courted and married Mariana Gómez de Parada Gallo y Villavicencio, a native of Guadalajara. Shortly after the wedding, on October 22, the couple departed for Texas. On February 4, 1770, the baron assumed his new charge at the San Antonio de Béxar Presidio, where he and his wife decided to establish residence in the casas reales or government buildings, on the east side of the Plaza de las Islas, opposite the church of San Fernando. Six children were born to them there. In 1773, as a result of the Royal Regulations of 1772, the capital of the province of Texas was officially moved from Los Adaes, where it had been since 1722, to San Antonio. Several East Texas missions were ordered abandoned, and Ripperdá supervised the forced evacuation of Adaesaño settlers from their East Texas homeland to San Antonio and its environs in a migration similar to the expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia a few years earlier. In 1774 these people were permitted to establish a settlement called Bucareli near the Trinity River. During his administration, Ripperdá faced many challenges and difficulties, especially with hostile Indians. One of his special achievements was the construction of the tiny fort called El Fuerte de Santa Cruz del Cíbolo as an outpost to protect the ranches between Béxar and La Bahía. Although appointed governor of Comayuga (Honduras) in 1776, Ripperdá and his family remained in Texas until 1778. On June 28, 1779, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general by the king. He spent eleven months in Mexico before going to Honduras, where he died on October 21, 1780.

Herbert Eugene Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1915; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970). Fritz Leo Hoffman, The First Three Years of the Administration of Juan María, Barón de Ripperdá, Governor of Texas, 1770–1778 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1930). Juan Agustín Morfi, History of Texas, 1673–1779 (2 vols., Albuquerque: Quivira Society, 1935; rpt., New York: Arno, 1967). Robert S. Weddle and Robert H. Thonhoff, Drama and Conflict: The Texas Saga of 1776 (Austin: Madrona, 1976).
Time Periods:
  • Spanish Texas

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

Robert H. Thonhoff, “Ripperda, Juan Maria Vicencio, Baron de,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995

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