Juan Bautista Alvarado

Juan Bautista Valentín Alvarado y Vallejo (February 14, 1809 – July 13, 1882)[1] was a Californio and Governor of Las Californias from 1837 to 1842. In 1836, he led a coup that seized Monterey and declared himself governor, backed by other northern Californios, with help from Capt. Isaac Graham and his "Tennessee Rifles". Alvarado declared independence for California but, after negotiations with the territorial Diputación (Legislature), was persuaded to rejoin Mexico peacefully in exchange for more local autonomy. As part of the agreement, in 1837 he was appointed governor of Las Californias, and served until 1842.

Juan Bautista Alvarado
Governor of Las Californias
In office
Preceded byNicolás Gutiérrez
Succeeded byManuel Micheltorena
Personal details
BornFebruary 14, 1809
Monterey, California
DiedJuly 13, 1882 (aged 73)
San Pablo, California
Spouse(s)Dona Martina Castro

Early years

Alvarado was born in Monterey, Alta California, to Jose Francisco Alvarado and María Josefa Vallejo. His grandfather Juan Bautista Alvarado accompanied Gaspar de Portolà as an enlisted man in the Spanish Army in 1769. His father died a few months after his birth and his mother remarried three years later, leaving Juan Bautista in the care of his grandparents on the Vallejo side, where he and Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo grew up together. They were both taught by William Edward Petty Hartnell, an English merchant living in Monterey.

In 1827 the eighteen-year-old Alvarado was hired as secretary to the territorial legislature. In 1829 he was briefly arrested along with Vallejo and another friend, José Castro, by soldiers involved in the military revolt led by Joaquín Solis. In 1831 he built a house in Monterey for his mistress, Juliana Francisca Ramona y Castillo, whom he called "Raymunda", to live in (or, more likely, her sister, Maria Reymunda Castillo [2]). Over the years, the pair had a total of at least two illegitimate daughters whom he recognized (Estefana del Rosario, b 1834,[3] and Maria Francisca de la Asencion born 1836 [4] ) and perhaps several more he did not recognize, but he never married their mother. During this period Alvarado began drinking heavily. One of his daughters claimed that Raymunda had refused to marry Alvarado because of his excessive drinking.

Supports secularization

Alvarado supported secularization of the Spanish missions in California. He was appointed by José María de Echeandía to oversee the turn over of Mission San Miguel, even though Echeandía was no longer governor. The new governor Manuel Victoria rescinded the order and sought to have Alvarado and Castro arrested. The pair fled and were hidden by their old friend Vallejo, who had become adjutant at the Presidio of San Francisco. However, Victoria was unpopular and Echeandía overthrew his rule and replaced him with Pío de Jesús Pico near the end of 1831. Secularization of the missions resumed in 1833.

In 1834 Alvarado was elected to the legislature as a delegate and appointed customs inspector in Monterey. Governor José Figueroa granted Rancho El Sur, two square leagues of land, or about 9,000 acres (3,600 ha), south of Monterey, to Alvarado on October 30, 1834.

Independence movement

After Figueroa's death in September 1835, Nicolás Gutiérrez was appointed as interim governor in January 1836. He was replaced by Mariano Chico in April, but Chico was very unpopular. His intelligence agents told him that yet another Californio revolt was brewing, and so he fled back to Mexico, claiming he planned to gather troops against the independent Californios. Instead, however, Mexico reprimanded him for abandoning his post. Gutierrez, the military commandant, re-assumed the governorship, but like the Mexican governors before him, the Californios forced him, too, to flee. As senior members of the legislature, Alvarado and Castro, with political support from Vallejo and backing from a group of Tennesseans led by Capt. Isaac Graham, staged a revolt in November 1836 and forced Gutierrez out of the country.

Alvarado's Californio coup wrote a constitution and adopted a new flag—a single red star on a white background, but neither were used after Alvarado made peace with Mexico.

Governor Alvarado

Alvarado, at age 27, was then appointed governor, but the city council of Los Angeles protested. Alvarado, Castro, and Graham went south and negotiated a compromise after three months, avoiding a civil war.[5] However, the city council of San Diego then voiced its disagreement with Alvarado's revolt. This time, the Mexican government was involved and there were rumors that the Mexican Army was ready to step in. Alvarado was able to negotiate another compromise to keep the peace.

Mexico reneged on the agreement, however, and appointed Carlos Antonio Carrillo, who was very popular among the southerners, governor on December 6, 1837. This time, civil war broke out and after several battles, Carrillo was forced out. Mexico finally relented and recognized Alvarado as governor.

Alvarado married Doña Martina Castro on August 24, 1839 in Santa Clara, but didn't attend his own wedding having his half-brother, Jose Antonio Estrada, stand in for him. Though he claimed to be detained in Monterey on official business, it was rumored he was actually drunk and unable to function. After the wedding, Alvarado lived with his bride in Monterey, but continued on with mistress, Raymunda, who lived nearby.

The process of secularization of the missions was in its final stages, and it was at this time that Alvarado parceled out much of their land to prominent Californios via land grants. Though he took no land for himself, he did however, trade his Rancho El Sur to John B.R. Cooper in exchange for Rancho Bolsa del Potrero which he subsequently sold back to Cooper. He purchased Rancho El Alisal near Salinas in 1841 from his former tutor William Hartnell.

In April 1840 a report of a planned revolt against Alvarado by a group of foreigners, led by former ally Isaac Graham, caused the governor to order their arrest and deportation to Mexico City for trial. They were eventually, however, acquitted of all charges in June 1841. Also in 1841, political leaders in the United States were declaring their doctrine of Manifest Destiny, and Californios grew increasingly concerned over their intentions. Vallejo conferred with Castro and Alvarado recommending that Mexico send military reinforcements to enforce their military control of California.

Tensions between Northern and Southern California

In response, Mexican president Antonio López de Santa Anna sent Brigadier General Manuel Micheltorena and 300 men to California in January 1842. Micheltorena was to assume the governorship and the position of commandant general. In October, before Micheltorena reached Monterey, American Commodore Thomas ap Catesby Jones mistakenly thought that war had broken out between the US and Mexico. He sailed into Monterey Bay and demanded the surrender of the Presidio of Monterey. Micheltorena's force was still in the south and the Monterey presidio was undermanned. Alvarado reluctantly surrendered, and retired to Rancho El Alisal. The next day Commodore Jones learned of his mistake, but Alvarado declined to return and instead referred the commodore to Micheltorena.

Micheltorena eventually made it to Monterey, but was unable to control his troops, a number of which were convicts. This fomented rumors of a revolt, and by 1844, Alvarado became associated with the malcontents and an order was made by Micheltorena for his arrest. His detention was short-lived, as Micheltorena was under orders to organize a large contingent in preparation for war against the US. All hands would be required for the task.

This turned out to backfire on him, as on November 14, 1844, a group of Californios led by Manuel Castro revolted against Mexican authority. José Castro and Alvarado commanded the troops. There was no actual fighting. A truce was negotiated and Micheltorena agreed to dismiss his convict troops. Micheltorena later reneged on the deal and fighting broke out this time. The rebels won the Battle of Providencia in February 1845 at the Los Angeles River and Micheltorena and his troops left California.

Pío Pico was installed as governor in Los Angeles and José Castro became commandant general. Later, Alvarado was elected to the Mexican Congress. He prepared to move to Mexico City, but Pico declined funding for the transfer, and relations between northern and southern California deteriorated further.

John C. Frémont arrived in Monterey at the beginning of 1846. Afraid of foreign aggression, Castro assembled his militia, with Alvarado second in command, but Frémont went north to Oregon instead. An unstable political situation in Mexico strained relations among the Californios and it seemed that civil war would break out between north and south.

During and after the Mexican-American War

On July 7, Commodore John D. Sloat occupied Monterey, declaring to the citizenry that the Mexican–American War had begun. Pico, Castro, and Alvarado set aside their differences to focus on the American threat, but by the end of August, Pico and Castro fled to Mexico, and Alvarado was captured. Following his release, Alvarado spent the remainder of the war on his estate in Monterey.

After the war, Alvarado was offered the governorship but declined, instead retiring to his wife Martina's family estate at Rancho San Pablo in 1848.[6] Alvarado did not participate in the California Gold Rush, instead concentrating his efforts on agriculture and business. He opened the Union Hotel on the rancho in 1860, but his businesses were mostly unsuccessful. After Martina's death in 1876, Alvarado wrote his Historia de California.[7] He died on his ranch in 1882 and is buried at Saint Mary Cemetery in Oakland.

Alvarado's adobe house, at the foot of Alvarado Street in downtown Monterey, survives as a California Historical Landmark. The former settlement of Alvarado (now part of Union City) was named after him, as was Alvarado Street in San Francisco's Noe Valley. Portions of the Rancho San Pablo adobe are incorporated into the current City of San Pablo government campus and Alvarado Park within Wildcat Canyon Regional Park is named in his honor.


  1. ^ "Governor Juan Alvarado". City of San Pablo. Archived from the original on 2017-02-01. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  2. ^ San Carlos Borromeo Baptism #02872 Huntington Library Early California Population Project, requires log-in
  3. ^ San Carlos Borromeo Baptism #0398 Huntington Library Early California Population Project, requires log-in
  4. ^ San Carlos Borromeo Baptism #4004 Huntington Library Early California Population Project, requires log-in
  5. ^ Hubert Howe Bancroft (1886). History of California: 1825-1840. The History Company. p. 478. Archived from the original on 2018-03-16.
  6. ^ A. F. Bray (1936-12-12). "Rancho San Pablo". Contra Costa Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2006-12-27.
  7. ^ Alvarado, Juan Bautista (1 January 1876). "Historia de California,". Archived from the original on 28 September 2015 – via Open WorldCat.

See also

Alvarado (surname)

Alvarado is a Spanish surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Maria (Mar) Alvarado (born 2004), Mexican Model and Dancer

Treavor Alvarado (born 1990), American Actor, Director, DJ, Music Producer, and DP

Angela Alvarado (born 1964), American actress and director, wife of Robi Rosa

Atilano Cruz Alvarado (born 1901), saint of the Cristero War

Carlos Alvarado-Larroucau (born 1964), writer

Gonzalo de Alvarado y Contreras, 16th-century Spanish conquistador

Isai Alvarado (born 1985), American professional Super Smash Bros. player

Jorge de Alvarado (died 1540s), y Contreras, conquistador

José Alvarado (baseball) (born 1995), Venezuelan baseball pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays

Juan Bautista Alvarado (1809–1882), governor of Alta California (1836–1837, 1838–1842)

Juan Velasco Alvarado (1910–1977), ruler of Peru

Pete Alvarado (1920-2003), American animator

Pedro de Alvarado (died 1541), Spanish conquistador and governor of Guatemala

Rudecindo Alvarado (1792-1872), Argentine general

Trini Alvarado (born 1967), actress

Alvarado Street

Alvarado Street is a north–south thoroughfare in Los Angeles, California in the United States. The street was named after California governor Juan Bautista Alvarado.

Carlos Antonio Carrillo

Carlos Antonio Carrillo (24 December 1783 – 23 February 1852), was Governor of Alta California from 1837 to 1838. He took his oath as governor in Pueblo de Los Angeles, present day Los Angeles, on December 6, 1836. He was also the great-grandfather of actor Leo Carillo.

Carrillo was a Californio, one of the first children born at the Presidio of Santa Barbara (established 1782). His father, José Raimundo Carrillo, was a soldier who came north with the Portolá expedition in 1769 and served at the Presidio of Santa Barbara for twelve years.

From 1797 to 1825 Carlos Antonio served in the military at Monterey and Santa Barbara. As Alta California's delegate to the Mexican Congress of the Union, Carrillo pursued Alta California judicial reform, but his ideas were rejected.

In 1836, Carrillo joined the rebellious Juan Bautista Alvarado in demanding a more autonomous Alta California, but internal dissension doomed the effort. In 1837, Carlos was appointed to replace Alvarado as governor, but Alvarado was able to reclaim the Governorship a year later.

José María Alvarado

José María Alvarado (1813–1846) was the son of Juan Bautista Alvarado (a soldier and cousin to the governor by the same name) and María Raimunda Yorba.

Juan Alvarado

Juan Alvarado may refer to:

Juan Bautista Alvarado (1809–1882), Californio and Governor of Alta California

Juan Carlos Alvarado (born 1968), Christian pop singer

Juan David Alvarado, El Salvador Anglican bishop

Juan José Alvarado (1798–1857), Supreme Director of Honduras from 15 April 1839 to 27 April 1839

Juan Velasco Alvarado (1910–1977), Peruvian general and the 58th President of Peru

List of Governors of California before 1850

For the Governors of California since 1850, see List of Governors of California.

Below is a list of the Governors of early California (1769–1850), before its admission as the 31st U.S. state. First explored by Gaspar de Portolá, with colonies established at San Diego and Monterey, California was a remote, sparsely-settled Spanish province of New Spain. In 1822, following the Mexican independence, California became part of Mexico.

In 1836, a coup led by Californios Juan Bautista Alvarado and Jose Castro eventually resulted in Alvarado becoming governor. That conflict ended in 1838, when the central government of Mexico recognized Alvarado as California Governor. The territorial diputación (legislature) approved the appointment.

Another disputed governorship occurred in 1844, settled when another Californio, Pio Pico, became the last Governor of Mexican California. In 1846, the "Bear Flag Revolt" in Sonoma declared California an independent republic—the "Bear Flag Republic". No government was formed, however, and the revolt did not have time to spread very far because, than a month later, California came under U.S. military protection at the outset of the Mexican–American War. California was ceded to the U.S. in 1848, and was admitted as the 31st U.S. state on September 9, 1850. Peter Burnett, the last governor of the post-war military territory, became its first state governor after admission.

Manuel Jimeno Casarin

Manuel Jimeno Casarin (1815-1853) served as secretary of state under Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado and Governor Micheltorena, was a senior member of the State Assembly, and occasionally acting governor. He was married to María de las Angustias, the daughter of José de la Guerra y Noriega. Jimeno, who lived in Monterey, also was given land grants Rancho Salsipuedes (1840) in Santa Cruz County and Rancho Santa Paula y Saticoy (1843) in Ventura County and Rancho Jimeno (1844) in what is now Colusa County and Yolo County, California. Unlike many land grants holders, Jimeno was not required to show any use or development of the land and apparently he did not use the land, either for agriculture or ranching. He died in 1853 during a visit to Mexico.

Nicolás Gutiérrez

Lieutenant Colonel Nicolás Gutiérrez was twice acting governor of the northern (Alta) part of Las Californias in 1836, from January to May and July to November.Gutiérrez served two short terms as acting governor of Alta California in 1836, during a very turbulent period in the history of Mexican California. The Siete Leyes reforms to Mexico's government had combined Alta California and the Baja California peninsula into a single departamento under the older Spanish-era name of Las Californias. His term began on January 2, 1836, succeeding acting (ad interim) governor José Castro, and Gutiérrez served as governor ad interim until the arrival of official appointee Mariano Chico. Chico, however, was dismissed for abandoning his post, and Gutiérrez returned to the job in July.

Gutierrez himself was ousted in a coup led by Californios Juan Bautista Alvarado and José Castro, assisted by a group of foreigners led by Isaac Graham, on November 5, 1836. The battle was short and surrender was secured after the firing of just one artillery round at the governor's residence in Monterey. Gutierrez and his cadre of officers were detained at Cabo San Lucas on the English brig Clementine before returning to Mexico.

Olivas Adobe

The Olivas Adobe in Ventura, California is an adobe structure built in 1841 by Raymundo Olivas on the north bank of the Santa Clara River about a mile from the estuary where it flows into the Santa Barbara Channel.Olivas received, in recognition of his service at the Presidio of Santa Barbara, approximately 2,250 acres (9 km2) as part of land grant from Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado in 1841, which he named Rancho San Miguel. The land had originally been part of grazing area for the cattle herds of Mission San Buenaventura but was appropriated during the secularization of the missions lands.

Olivas built the adobe home in 1841, and expanded it in 1849 to two stories, making it the only such building in the area. He and his wife and their 21 children lived here until 1899. It later became Max Fleischmann's hunting lodge (of yeast and margarine fame). After his death, his foundation donated the land and the house to the City of Ventura.The Olivas Adobe is registered as California Historical Landmark #115 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Rancho Cañada de los Alisos

Rancho Cañada de los Alisos was a 10,668-acre (43.17 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day Orange County, California given by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado to Jose Antonio Fernando Serrano in 1842, and enlarged by a second grant by Pio Pico in 1846. The name means "Glen of the Alders" in Spanish, after the native White Alder (Alnus rhombifolia) trees growing there. The rancho included the present day cities of Lake Forest (formerly El Toro), and the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro—Orange County Great Park site in Irvine.

Rancho Cucamonga

Rancho Cucamonga was a 13,045-acre (52.79 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day San Bernardino County, California given in 1839 to dedicated soldier, smuggler and politician, Tiburcio Tapia by Mexican governor Juan Bautista Alvarado. The grant formed parts of present-day Rancho Cucamonga and Upland. It extended easterly from San Antonio Creek to what is now Hermosa Avenue, and from today's Eighth Street to the mountains.

Rancho Las Mariposas

Rancho Las Mariposas was a 44,387-acre (179.63 km2) Mexican land grant in Alta California, located in present-day Mariposa County, California.

It was granted in 1844 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena to Juan Bautista Alvarado. The grant takes its name from Mariposa Creek, which was named for the monarch butterflies (butterfly = "mariposas" in Spanish) in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

The grant was west of Yosemite, in the foothills of the western Sierra Nevada. It encompasses the present day city of Mariposa, and the former towns of Agua Fria and Ridleys Ferry on the Merced River.

Rancho Rincon de Los Esteros

Rancho Rincón de Los Esteros was a 6,353-acre (25.71 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day Santa Clara County, California.

It was given by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado in 1838 to Ignacio Alviso. The name means Estuaries Corner or Estuaries Bend.

The rancho was located within the present day Santa Clara County, on the southern shore of San Francisco Bay between the Guadalupe River and Coyote Creek outflows into the Bay.

Rancho Rincon del Diablo

Rancho Rincon del Diablo was a 12,653-acre (51.20 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day San Diego County, California given in 1843 to Juan Bautista Alvarado. The name means "the devil's corner" or "the devil's lurking place". The rancho lands include the present day city of Escondido and Rincon Del Diablo.

Rancho San Jose

Rancho San Jose was a 22,340-acre (90.4 km2) Mexican land grant in northeastern Los Angeles County given in 1837 by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado to Ygnacio Palomares and Ricardo Vejar. Today, the communities of Pomona, LaVerne, San Dimas, Diamond Bar, Azusa, Covina, Walnut, Glendora, and Claremont are located in whole or part on land that was once part of the Rancho San Jose.

Rancho San Miguel (Olivas)

Rancho San Miguel was a 4,694-acre (19.00 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day Ventura County, California given in 1841 by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado to Felipe Lorenzana and Raymundo Olivas. The grant encompassed the area of present-day City of Ventura not within Rancho Ex-Mission San Buenaventura, with the Santa Clara River marking its southern boundary.

Rancho Vallecitos de San Marcos

Rancho Vallecitos de San Marcos was a 8,975-acre (36.32 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day northern San Diego County, California given in 1840 by Governor Juan Alvarado to Jose María Alvarado. The name means little valleys of St. Mark. The grant was located between Rancho Rincon del Diablo of Alvardo's father, Juan Bautista Alvarado on the east and Rancho Buena Vista on the west, and encompassed present day San Marcos.

Ranchos of Orange County

The County of Orange was established in 1889 by founders William Spurgeon and James McFadden. The City of Santa Ana became the county seat the same year. Prior to its formation, the Orange County lands were part of Los Angeles County.

Further back in history, California lands were organized into Spanish land grants or "Ranchos". In the case of Orange County, there is record of José Antonio Yorba and Juan Pablo Peralta (nephew) being granted Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana in 1810, year of the commencement of the war of Mexican Independence. Santiago de Santa Ana is recorded as the only Orange County land grant given under Spanish Rule.

Other surrounding land grants in Orange County were granted and recorded after 1821, that is, after the war of Mexican Independence and by the Mexican government. Some modern day cities in Orange County retain the names of the Mexican land grants as agreed upon in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Sutter's Gold

Sutter's Gold is a 1936 fictionalized film version of the aftermath of the discovery of gold on Sutter's property, spurring the California Gold Rush of 1849. Edward Arnold plays John Sutter. The supporting cast includes Lee Tracy, Binnie Barnes, Katherine Alexander, Montagu Love, and Harry Carey as Kit Carson. The film was directed by James Cruze.

The film is based on the novel "L'Or; la merveilleuse histoire du général Johann August Suter" by Blaise Cendrars (Paris, 1925); ISBN 1417910755.

Under Spain
Under Mexico
Under U.S. military
U.S. state
(since 1850)

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