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Manuel Maria De Salcedo ( 1776 - 1813 )  Category ( Historical_Figures ) [suggest a correction]

Manuel Maria de Salcedo is famous for having served as a governor of Spanish Texas and the leader of the Spanish Army in Texas. His tenure and the years that followed were those of great turmoil in Texas and other parts of what is now the American Southwest. He was born in Malaga Spain, in 1776, to a prominent family. He enrolled in the Royal Academy of Ocana when he was seven years old, and graduated from the Royal Seminary of Nobles when he was seventeen. His father, who was a military man, encouraged Salcedo to join the army, where he attained the rank of lieutenant. He once even served under his father's command. When his father was offered the position of governor of Spanish Louisiana, in 1801, young Salcedo came with him to New Orleans. While there he met and married Maria Guadalupe Prietto y la Ronde. She was a Louisiana native of French and Spanish ancestry. Within one year of their marriage, however, the couple was compelled to leave Louisiana, since Napoleon sold the entire territory to the United States for fifteen cents per acre.

Salcedo and his wife resettled in Spain. Within several years, Salcedo was asked to return to North America to serve as the governor of Spanish Texas, which was, at that time, almost total wilderness. Despite the relative inconvenience of living in what then amounted to a wasteland, Salcedo accepted the position and brought his wife and young daughter with him. Upon arrival he discovered that he would have many difficult and unique responsibilities, not the least of which was a power struggle between himself and his superior, who happened to be his uncle. His uncle had nothing but contempt for the Anglo-American frontiersmen who wished to settle in Texas. However, Salcedo saw things differently, and attempted to make welcome any settlers who would swear allegiance and demonstrate their loyalty to Spain. Additionally, the province was perpetually cash poor, presenting a number of difficulties for the governor. At one point he had to ask settlers to donate money to help pay the local troops, who protected the population from outsiders, bandits, and Indians.

In 1810, while he was away touring and inspecting other areas of Texas, a priest, Father Miguel Hidalgo, fomented and started a revolution in Mexico, with the goal of luring Texans in to support his efforts, and eventually the support of the United States. Upon Salcedo's return, he realized he would have to work fast to protect Texas and other Spanish interests from the likes of Hidalgo. He closed borders and confined residents to their homes. In November of 1810 he received word that Hidalgo and others were planning to soon invade Texas. Salcedo, still cash-strapped and with limited forces, was informed that he would have to defeat the invaders. The next month he sent his wife and daughter away from San Antonio, to help insure their safety. By January, Salcedo was overthrown by Juan Bautista de las Casas. Salcedo was imprisoned, but still working for his community and king, and managed to convince his captors that he was in the right. By doing so he was able to secure vital documents detailing the movements of Hidalgo's army. Within a year, Salcedo was in charge of the Spanish army in Texas. However, he suffered a series of debilitating defeats, and surrendered in April of 1813. While he was promised that he would only do prison time, he was seized, held overnight, and executed the following day.

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