José Castro

José Castro

Overview
José Antonio Castro was acting governor of Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

 in 1835-1836, and Commandante General of the Mexican
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 army in Alta California at the time of the 1846 Bear Flag Revolt and the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848.

Castro was born in Monterey, California
Monterey, California
The City of Monterey in Monterey County is located on Monterey Bay along the Pacific coast in Central California. Monterey lies at an elevation of 26 feet above sea level. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 27,810. Monterey is of historical importance because it was the capital of...

, the son of Jose Tiburcio Castro, who was a soldier, member of the diputacion (legislature), administrator of secularized Mission San Juan Bautista
Mission San Juan Bautista
Mission San Juan Bautista was founded on June 24, 1797 in what is now the San Juan Bautista Historic District of San Juan Bautista, California. Barracks for the soldiers, a nunnery, the Jose Castro House, and other buildings were constructed around a large grassy plaza in front of the church and...

, and grantee of Rancho Sausal
Rancho Sausal
Rancho Sausal was a Mexican land grant in the Salinas Valley, in present day Monterey County, California given in 1834 by Governor José Figueroa to José Tibúrcio Castro. An additional grant was made by Governor Pío Pico in 1845. The name is Spanish for "willow grove"...

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Encyclopedia
José Antonio Castro was acting governor of Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

 in 1835-1836, and Commandante General of the Mexican
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 army in Alta California at the time of the 1846 Bear Flag Revolt and the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848.

Biography


Castro was born in Monterey, California
Monterey, California
The City of Monterey in Monterey County is located on Monterey Bay along the Pacific coast in Central California. Monterey lies at an elevation of 26 feet above sea level. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 27,810. Monterey is of historical importance because it was the capital of...

, the son of Jose Tiburcio Castro, who was a soldier, member of the diputacion (legislature), administrator of secularized Mission San Juan Bautista
Mission San Juan Bautista
Mission San Juan Bautista was founded on June 24, 1797 in what is now the San Juan Bautista Historic District of San Juan Bautista, California. Barracks for the soldiers, a nunnery, the Jose Castro House, and other buildings were constructed around a large grassy plaza in front of the church and...

, and grantee of Rancho Sausal
Rancho Sausal
Rancho Sausal was a Mexican land grant in the Salinas Valley, in present day Monterey County, California given in 1834 by Governor José Figueroa to José Tibúrcio Castro. An additional grant was made by Governor Pío Pico in 1845. The name is Spanish for "willow grove"...

. Jose Castro's first public office was as secretary to the Monterey ayuntamiento (town council).

In 1830, Castro was arrested for his opposition to the Mexican governor of Alta California. By 1835 he was the First Member (Vocal Primero) of the legislature and acting governor. Along with Juan Bautista Alvarado
Juan Bautista Alvarado
Juan Bautista Valentín Alvarado y Vallejo was a Californio and twice Governor of Alta California from 1836 to 1837, and 1838 to 1842.-Early years:...

, he was a vocal opponent of Mexican governors and sought a semi-independent status for Alta California. He was a chief participant in the overthrow of Governor Nicolás Gutiérrez
Nicolás Gutiérrez
Lieutenant Colonel Nicolás Gutiérrez was a twice acting governor of Alta California in 1836 from January to May and July to November.Gutierrez served two abbreviated terms in less than a year as acting governor of Alta California in 1836...

 in 1836, becoming Commandante General and Governor, as president of the legislature.

When Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo
Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo
Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo was a Californian military commander, politician, and rancher. He was born a subject of Spain, performed his military duties as an officer of Mexico, and shaped the transition of California from a Mexican district to an American state...

 became Commandante General, Castro became Lieutenant-Colonel of militia in 1837-38. Once again he was appointed First Member of the Diputacion as well as Prefect of the Monterey District. In 1839, Castro was granted, by Alvarado, Rancho San Justo
Rancho San Justo
Rancho San Justo was a Mexican land grant in present day San Benito County, California given in 1839 by Governor Juan B. Alvarado to José Antonio Castro. The lands of the rancho include current day Hollister.-History:...

, one of three ranchos attached to Mission San Juan Bautista, after the secularization
Secularization
Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward non-religious values and secular institutions...

 of Mission property by the Mexican government in 1835.

In 1840, Castro arrested and transported foreigners in California to San Blas
San Blas, Baja California Sur
San Blas is a small rural community located in the municipality of La Paz in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur .Every year, the community has a celebration to hail the return of gray whales to its waters on 24 and 25 February. Another community that celebrates the whales' arrival yearly is...

. In 1844-45, he became a leader of the revolt against Governor Manuel Micheltorena
Manuel Micheltorena
Manuel Micheltorena was a Brigadier General of the Mexican Army, Adjutant-General of the same, Governor, Commandant-General and Inspector of the Department of the California...

, once again becoming Commandante General of California, checking John C. Frémont
John C. Frémont
John Charles Frémont , was an American military officer, explorer, and the first candidate of the anti-slavery Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. During the 1840s, that era's penny press accorded Frémont the sobriquet The Pathfinder...

's movements, and leading Californio
Californio
Californio is a term used to identify a Spanish-speaking Catholic people, regardless of race, born in California before 1848...

 forces against the Americans. Departing for Mexico in August 1846, where he resided in Sinaloa
Sinaloa
Sinaloa officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sinaloa is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 18 municipalities and its capital city is Culiacán Rosales....

, he returned to California in 1848. By 1853, he returned to Mexico where he was appointed governor and military commander of Baja California
Baja California
Baja California officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is both the northernmost and westernmost state of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1953, the area was known as the North...

.

Castro never surrendered his Mexican citizenship nor military rank. In February 1860, Governor Castro was assassinated by the bandit Marguez.

Legacy


Castro Street and the Castro District in San Francisco are named for him.

The Jose Castro House
Jose Castro House
Jose Castro House, now known as the Castro-Breen Adobe, in San Juan Bautista, California, USA, is a historic adobe home built by José Castro in 1840, Commandant General of Alta California....

 (built 1840) in San Juan Bautista is now a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

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