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Pere d'Alberní i Teixidor
Pedro de Alberni
|Preceded by||Diego de Borica|
|Succeeded by||José Joaquín de Arrillaga|
|Born||January 30, 1747|
Tortosa, Catalonia, Spain
|Died||March 11, 1802 55) (aged|
Don Pedro de Alberni or Pere d'Alberní i Teixidor [ˈpeɾə ðəlβəɾˈni j təʃiˈðoɾ] in Catalan (Tortosa, January 30, 1747 – Monterrey, New Spain, March 11, 1802) was a Spanish soldier who served the Spanish Crown for almost all his life. He spent most of his military career in colonial Mexico. He is notable for his role in the exploration of the Pacific Northwest in the 1790s, and his later term as ninth Spanish governor of Alta California in 1800.
Don, abbreviated as D., is an honorific prefix primarily used in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and the Philippines.
Catalan is a Western Romance language derived from Vulgar Latin and named after the medieval Principality of Catalonia, in northeastern modern Spain. It is the only official language of Andorra, and a co-official language of the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencia. It also has semi-official status in the Italian comune of Alghero. It is also spoken in the eastern strip of Aragon, in some villages of Region of Murcia called Carche and in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of France. These territories are often called Països Catalans or "Catalan Countries".
Tortosa is the capital of the comarca of Baix Ebre, in Catalonia, Spain.
Pedro de Alberni was born on January 30, 1747, to a noble and wealthy family of Tortosa, Catalonia, Spain. His father, Jaume d'Alberní i Antolí, was notary public and Honourable Citizen of Barcelona who had married Maria Inés Teixidor on June 24, 1728. The couple had five sons and two daughters. In accordance to Catalan civil law, the oldest brother, Josep Antoni, was named heir to the Alberni estate, including the right to use the title of notary public. The remaining siblings received a small amount of money. For this reason, the rest of the brothers joined the military service. One brother, Gerònim, went to the Regiment of Córdoba; the other two, Joan Bautista and Jaume Pascual, joined the Foreign Volunteer Regiment. One of the sisters became a nun. Pedro joined Spain's Second Regiment of the Light Infantry on July 17, 1762 to fight as a cadet in the campaign of Portugal during the Seven Years' War when he was only fifteen years old. He remained with this regiment for five years, after which he joined the Free Company of Volunteers of Catalonia (Compañía Franca de Voluntarios de Cataluña), an independent military unit composed of Miquelets (Catalan irregular troops).
Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately under royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy. Nobility possesses more acknowledged privileges and higher social status than most other classes in society. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be largely honorary, and vary by country and era. As referred to in the Medieval chivalric motto "noblesse oblige", nobles can also carry a lifelong duty to uphold various social responsibilities, such as honorable behavior, customary service, or leadership positions. Membership in the nobility, including rights and responsibilities, is typically hereditary.
Catalonia is an autonomous community on the northeastern corner of Spain, designated as a nationality by its Statute of Autonomy Catalonia consists of four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. The capital and largest city is Barcelona, the second-most populated municipality in Spain and the core of the sixth most populous urban area in the European Union. It comprises most of the territory of the former Principality of Catalonia. It is bordered by France (Occitanie) and Andorra to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the east, and the Spanish autonomous communities of Aragon to the west and Valencia to the south. The official languages are Catalan, Spanish, and the Aranese dialect of Occitan.
Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1767, the Company was sent on a transatlantic journey to the colony of New Spain. The objective of the mission was to defend the Inner Northern Provinces of New Spain (Provincias Internas del Norte de Nueva España) from the natives' insurgences. These provinces ran from modern day Guanajuato to New Mexico and from Sonora to Texas.
In history, a colony is a territory under the immediate complete political control and occupied by settlers of a state, distinct from the home territory of the sovereign. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception.
The Viceroyalty of New Spain was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire, established by Habsburg Spain during the Spanish colonization of the Americas. It covered a huge area that included territories in North America, South America, Asia and Oceania. It originated in 1521 after the fall of Mexico-Tenochtitlan, the main event of the Spanish conquest, which did not properly end until much later, as its territory continued to grow to the north. It was officially created on 8 March 1535 as a Kingdom, the first of four viceroyalties Spain created in the Americas. Its first viceroy was Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, and the capital of the kingdom was Mexico City, established on the ancient Mexico-Tenochtitlan.
Guanajuato, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Guanajuato, is one of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, are the 32 federal entities of Mexico. It is divided into 46 municipalities and its capital city is Guanajuato. The largest city in the state is León.
On May 2, 1767, the Company sailed from Cádiz, Spain, to Cuba, and then to Veracruz, New Spain. Composed of 98 soldiers under the command of Captain Agustí Callis and three other officials: Pere Fages, Estevan de Vilaseca and the Alberni, they arrived at their destination on August of that same year. After Veracruz, the Company moved to Guaymas, Sonora, where they arrived in April 1768, after having crossed Mexico City, Tepic and San Blas. The trip took almost one year from Barcelona, where they had departed, to Guaymas.
Cádiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the Province of Cádiz, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia.
Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometers (42,800 sq mi). The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometers (40,543 sq mi), and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.
Guaymas is a city in Guaymas Municipality, in the southwest part of the state of Sonora, in northwestern Mexico. The city is 117 km south of the state capital of Hermosillo, and 242 miles from the U.S. border. The municipality is located on the Gulf of California and the western edge of the Sonoran Desert and has a hot, dry climate and 117 km of beaches. The municipality’s formal name is Guaymas de Zaragoza and the city’s formal name is the Heróica Ciudad de Guaymas.
Shortly after their arriving in Guaymas, the company, under the command of Colonel Domingo Elizondo were sent to fight against the rebel natives of Pima and Seri, and participate in a campaign in Cerro Prieto. After successfully finishing this campaign, Alberni and the rest of the company were sent to Mexico City and Guadalajara. After that, Alberni was commander in the province of Nayarit for seven years.
Domingo Elizondo was a Spanish soldier from Navarre who lived in the late 18th century.
The Pima are a group of Native Americans living in an area consisting of what is now central and southern Arizona. The majority population of the surviving two bands of the Akimel Oʼodham are based in two reservations: the Keli Akimel Oʼotham on the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) and the On'k Akimel Oʼodham on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC).
The Seri are an indigenous group of the Mexican state of Sonora. The majority reside on the Seri communal property, in the towns of Punta Chueca and El Desemboque on the mainland coast of the Gulf of California. Tiburón Island (Tahejöc) and San Esteban Island were also part of their traditional territory. They were historically seminomadic hunter-gatherers who maintained an intimate relationship with both the sea and the land. They are one of the ethnic groups of Mexico that has most strongly maintained their language and culture throughout the years after contact with Spanish and Mexican cultures.
In 1772, the company was divided between the First Free Company of Volunteers of Catalonia, which remained under the command of Captain Callis, and the Second, which was under the command of Pedro Fages. Fages and a detachment of 25 traveled to Alta California in 1769 as part of the Portola expedition, under the command of Gaspar de Portola. The detachment remained in Alta California, stationed at the Presidio of Monterey, and Fages was appointed to succeed Portola as military governor in 1770. When Callis died in 1782, Alberni was named Captain of the First Company.
Pedro Fages was a Spanish soldier, explorer, first Lieutenant Governor of the Californias under Gaspar de Portolá, and second (1770–74) and fifth (1782–91) Governor of Alta California.
Alta California, known sometimes unofficially as Nueva California, California Septentrional, California del Norte or California Superior, began in 1804 as a province of New Spain. Along with the Baja California peninsula, it had previously comprised the province of Las Californias, but was split off into a separate province in 1804. Following the Mexican War of Independence, it became a territory of Mexico in April 1822 and was renamed "Alta California" in 1824. The claimed territory included all of the modern US states of California, Nevada and Utah, and parts of Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.
In 1789, the Viceroy of New Spain Manuel Antonio Flórez, ordered the First Company of the First Free Company of Volunteers of Catalonia, under Alberni, to prepare to move to San Blas for onward transportation to Nootka Sound, on Vancouver Island, to reinforce the fortified post that had been established by Esteban José Martínez in May 1789. Martínez had sent a request for two hundred infantry, but before any reinforcements could be sent Martínez abandoned Nootka Sound, in October 1789, due to the crisis that arose after Martínez seized some British and American ships that were trading in the region and, some time later, killed Callicum, a close relative of the Nuu-chah-nulth chieftain Maquinna. Before the abandonment of Nootka was known, the King of Spain issued the Royal Order of April 14, 1789, requiring the establishment at Nootka to be maintained. In 1790, therefore, Nootka was reoccupied by an expedition under the command of Francisco de Eliza. Alberni's soldiers sailed with Eliza. At Nootka, they rebuilt and enlarged the artillery battery called Fort San Miguel.
The seizure of the English ships sparked the Nootka Controversy, which almost led to a war between Spain and England over the issue of sovereignty in the Pacific Northwest. Spain had sent a number of expeditions to the region, starting with the 1774 voyage of Juan Pérez, in order to reinforce the Spanish claim to the entire west coast of North America.
In October 1789 Juan Vicente de Güemes, 2nd Count of Revillagigedo replaced Flores as the Viceroy of New Spain and Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra became commandant of the San Blas naval department, responsible for all naval operations north of Mexico. Together they organized the expedition to reoccupy Nootka Sound. On 7 December 1789 Revillagigedo ordered the First Company of the Catalan Volunteers to move to San Blas. The company consisted of about 80 soldiers when at full strength and was under the command of Captain Pedro de Alberni, who had just been appointed in Guadalajara. The soldiers began their march from Guadalajara on 1 January 1790. They sailed from San Blas with the Eliza expedition. The squadron was made up of three ships: the Concepción, under the command of Eliza, the San Carlos, under the command of Salvador Fidalgo, and the Princesa Real , under the command of Manuel Quimper. They left San Blas on February 3, 1790, and arrived at Nootka Sound on April 5.
During the trip to Nootka Sound, Alberni was confined to his cabin on the Concepción for 70 days as a result of a dispute with a high ranking Spanish officer. In the course of this disagreement, he defended the rights of his men, demanding they be adequately clothed and armed, as well as to be paid all of the back-pay owed them. Probably for that reason, he would not be appointed as Governor of California later on.
When Alberni arrived at Nootka he had to rebuild the artillery battery fortification that had been dismantled after Martínez left. The reconstruction of the battery was difficult. It was built on top of a rocky island—tall but small. Embrasures had to be built to support the guns. It then took four days to emplace eight large cannons. Later, six smaller cannons were also emplaced. The battery did not have enough space for the remaining eight large cannon Eliza had brought, so they were stored ashore.
Alberni built barracks, a house for the commanding officers, a house for the captain, ovens, furnaces, an infirmary, and cultivated various fruits and vegetables to provide food supplies for the garrison. He was the first European to cultivate a vegetable garden in the modern-day British Columbia. He also made a registry of recorded temperatures, created a dictionary of 630 native words with their equivalents in Spanish, and brewed beer using conifer bark in an attempt to prevent scurvy. In short, he built, organized, and administrated the fort and land defenses of the Nootka settlement for the well-being of its inhabitants and the travelers that arrived at its port. Many of his men from the Catalan Company participated in exploration expeditions in Alaska and Juan de Fuca Strait, along with Spanish explorers from other companies.
All the data that Alberni compiled was later used by José Mariano Mociño, a New Spain-born naturalist, and the author of Noticias de Nootka (Spanish for "News from Nootka"), who was in the Bodega-Quadra expedition of 1792 and with Alessandro Malaspina in 1791 on his grand scientific voyage. According to Mociño, Alberni gained the esteem and respect of those around him, including the natives, whom he flattered with a poem, dedicated to their chief, Maquinna, with music of the Mambrú, a Spanish song, adapted from the French song Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre , originally from the War of the Spanish Succession. The lyrics of the song go:
Macuina, Macuina, Macuina,
He's a great prince, friend of us
Spain, Spain, Spain
Is friend of Macuina and Nootka
This song became so popular in the region, that José María Narváez heard it from the natives in the other side of Nootka Island and near Point Grey (Narváez arrived at what today is the city of Vancouver, one year before the English captain George Vancouver). Alberni's sojourn at Nootka coincided with a period of major activity of Spanish explorers and travelers from other nations in the region.
Once Alberni had accomplished his task, and after having been in the fort for two years, he received the order to return with his company to the Maritime Department of San Blas. He was given, by royal order through the Viceroy of New Spain Revillagigedo, the title of Governor and Commander of Arms of Fort San Miguel in Nootka Island.
In July 1792 he was named lieutenant-colonel, and after his assignment in Nootka, he was sent to the Castle of San Juan de Ulúa for eight months, in Veracruz, as commander of the fort and as Lieutenant-Colonel of the King for the Plaza de Veracruz. After that, Alberni was sent to Guadalajara for two years.
In April 1796, by order of the Viceroy of New Spain Miguel de la Grúa Talamanca y Branciforte, marqués de Branciforte, he and his company of 72 men returned to California to take care of the Spanish military garrisons of Monterey, Santa Bárbara, San Diego and San Francisco. In 1800 he was appointed the Interim Governor of California and commander of the four military garrisons that Spain had in California (Monterey, Santa Bárbara, San Diego and San Francisco), until a new governor was assigned. He remained in California until his death.
Alberni died of dropsy at the age of 55 in Monterey, Alta California, on March 11, 1802. He was buried at the Royal Chapel of San Carlos in Monterey, California. Today, his remains probably lie under the highway that was built nearby, because his tomb was never found. Alberni's will, dated December 16, 1801, leaves everything to his wife, Juana Vélez, a native of Tepic, México. The only daughter they had predeceased him. Sergeant Joaquín Tico from the Volunteers of Catalonia was executor of his will.
Alberni was a person with a strong, courageous, diplomatic character, who knew how to manage problems, even in difficult times. There are numerous places named after him in both Canada and Spain:
Gaspar de Portolá y Rovira (1723–1786) was a Spanish soldier and administrator in New Spain. As commander of the Spanish colonizing expedition on land and sea that established San Diego and Monterey, Portolá expanded New Spain's Las Californias province far to the north from its beginnings on the Baja California peninsula. Portolá's expedition also was the first European to see San Francisco Bay. The expedition gave names to geographic features along the way, many of which are still in use.
Nootka Sound is a sound of the Pacific Ocean on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, in the Canadian province of British Columbia, historically known as King George's Sound. It separates Vancouver Island and Nootka Island. It played a historically important role in the maritime fur trade.
Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra was a Spanish naval officer born in Lima, Peru. Assigned to the Pacific coast Spanish Naval Department base at San Blas, in the Viceroyalty of New Spain, this navigator explored the Northwest Coast of North America as far north as present day Alaska.
Dionisio Alcalá Galiano was a Spanish naval officer, cartographer, and explorer. He mapped various coastlines in Europe and the Americas with unprecedented accuracy using new technology such as chronometers. He commanded an expedition that explored and mapped the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia, and made the first European circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. He reached the rank of brigadier and died during the Battle of Trafalgar.
Tomás de Suría (1761–1844) was a Spanish artist and explorer. He accompanied Alessandro Malaspina during his expedition to the Pacific States of the United States from 1789 to 1795.
Spanish claims to the West Coast of North America date to the papal bull of 1493, and the Treaty of Tordesillas. In 1513, this claim was reinforced by Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the first European to sight the Pacific Ocean, when he claimed all lands adjoining this ocean for the Spanish Crown. Spain only started to colonize the claimed territory north of present-day Mexico in the 18th century, when it settled the northern coast of Las Californias (California).
Esteban José Martínez Fernández y Martínez de la Sierra, or simply Esteban José Martínez (1742–1798) was a Spanish navigator and explorer, native of Seville. He was a key figure in the Spanish exploration of the Pacific Northwest.
Francisco de Eliza y Reventa was a Spanish naval officer, navigator, and explorer. He is remembered mainly for his work in the Pacific Northwest. He was the commandant of the Spanish post in Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island, and led or dispatched several exploration voyages in the region, including the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia.
The Free Company of Volunteers of Catalonia was a military company of the Spanish Army serving in the Spanish colonial empire.
José María Narváez was a Spanish naval officer, explorer, and navigator notable for his work in the Gulf Islands and Lower Mainland of present-day British Columbia. In 1791, as commander of the schooner Santa Saturnina, he led the first European exploration of the Strait of Georgia, including a landing on present-day British Columbia's Sunshine Coast. He also entered Burrard Inlet, the site of present-day Vancouver, British Columbia.
Fort San Miguel was a Spanish fortification at Yuquot on Nootka Island, just west of north-central Vancouver Island. It protected the Spanish settlement, called Santa Cruz de Nuca, the first colony in British Columbia.
José Joaquín de Arrillaga was an officer of Basque origin born in Aia, Spain, who went on to become seventh (1792-1794) and tenth (1800–1814) governor of Alta California.
The Nootka Crisis, also known as the Spanish Armament, was an international incident and political dispute between the Spanish Empire, the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the fledgling United States of America triggered by a series of events that took place during the summer of 1789 at Nootka Sound in present-day British Columbia, Canada. Spanish coastguards seized some British commercial ships engaged in the fur trade at an uncolonized coastline area to which Spain claimed ownership. Britain rejected the Spanish claims and used its greatly superior naval power to threaten a war and win the dispute. Spain, a rapidly fading military power, was unable to depend upon its longtime ally, France, which was in the throes of the French Revolution.
Juan Carrasco was a Spanish naval officer, explorer, and navigator. He is remembered mainly for his work in the Pacific Northwest during the late 18th century. He was second in command of the 1791 voyage of José María Narváez, the first European exploration of the Strait of Georgia.
Princess Royal was a British merchant ship that sailed on fur trading ventures in the late 1780s, and was captured at Nootka Sound by Esteban José Martínez of Spain during the Nootka Crisis of 1789. Called Princesa Real while under the Spanish Navy, the vessel was one of the important issues of negotiation during the first Nootka Convention and the difficulties in carrying out the agreements. The vessel also played an important role in both British and Spanish exploration of the Pacific Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. In 1790, while under Spanish control, Princesa Real carried out the first detailed examination of the Strait of Juan de Fuca by non-indigenous peoples, finding, among other places, the San Juan Islands, Haro Strait, Esquimalt Harbour near present-day Victoria, British Columbia, and Admiralty Inlet.
La Princesa was a Spanish frigate or corvette built at the Spanish Navy base at San Blas and launched in 1778. She is sometimes called a frigate and sometimes a corvette. At the time a corvette was similar to a frigate in that both were three-masted, ship-rigged warships, but corvettes were slightly smaller and had a single deck instead of two. The exact specifications of La Princesa are not known. La Princesa was designed with storage enough to sail for a year without having to restock. She was built for durability rather than speed. Like La Favorita, a similar corvette stationed at San Blas, La Princesa was heavily used, serving for over three decades, playing an important role in the exploration of the Pacific Northwest as well as the routine work of provisioning the missions of Alta California. During her 1779 voyage the Princesa carried six four-pounder cannons and four three-pounders, and had a crew complement of 98. The Princesa carried 26 cannons in 1789 when Esteban José Martínez took control of Nootka Sound.
Sutil was a brig-rigged schooner built in 1791 by the Spanish Navy at San Blas, New Spain. It was nearly identical to Mexicana, also built at San Blas in 1791. Both vessels were built for exploring the newly discovered Strait of Georgia, carried out in 1792 under Dionisio Alcalá Galiano, on Sutil, and Cayetano Valdés y Flores, on Mexicana. During this voyage the two Spanish vessels encountered the two British vessels under George Vancouver, HMS Discovery and HMS Chatham, which were also engaged in exploring the Strait of Georgia. The two expeditions cooperated in surveying the complex channels between the Strait of Georgia and Queen Charlotte Strait, in the process proving the insularity of Vancouver Island. After this first voyage Sutil continued to serve the San Blas Naval Department, making various voyages to Alta California and the Pacific Northwest coast.
The Mexicana was a topsail schooner built in 1791 by the Spanish Navy at San Blas, New Spain. It was nearly identical to the Sutil, also built at San Blas later in 1791. Both vessels were built for exploring the newly discovered Strait of Georgia, carried out in 1792 under Dionisio Alcalá Galiano, on the Sutil, and Cayetano Valdés y Flores, on the Mexicana. During this voyage the two Spanish vessels encountered the two British vessels under George Vancouver, HMS Discovery and Chatham, which were also engaged in exploring the Strait of Georgia. The two expeditions cooperated in surveying the complex channels between the Strait of Georgia and Queen Charlotte Strait, in the process proving the insularity of Vancouver Island. After this first voyage the Mexicana continued to serve the San Blas Naval Department, making various voyages to Alta California and the Pacific Northwest coast.
Santa Cruz de Nuca, was a Spanish settlement and the first European colony in British Columbia. The settlement was founded in 1789 and abandoned in 1795, with its far northerly position making it the "high-water mark" of verified Northerly Spanish settlement along the North American West coast. The colony was first established with the Spanish aim of securing the entire West coast of the continent from Vancouver island southwards, for the Spanish crown.