Gálvez, José de [key], 1720–87, Spanish colonial administrator. Appointed as a governor in the Philippines in 1750, he later became visitor general to New Spain (1765–72), holding more power than the viceroy there during most of his tenure. He waged war against the northern Native Americans, thus opening the way for expansion of the realm. By the development of defenses he made New Spain more secure against foreign enemies. After his return to Spain (1772), Gálvez became the leading spirit of the Council of the Indies, minister general of the Indies (1775), and councilor of state. He was responsible for two ordinances that profoundly affected the colonial policy of Spain—that of 1778, which established restricted free trade to replace the narrow mercantile policy of earlier days, and that of 1786, which made sweeping changes in colonial administration and set up a system of intendancies modeled on the French. He was rewarded for his services with the title marqués de la Sonora. His influence advanced the fortunes of his brother, Matías de Gálvez, and of his nephew, Bernardo de Gálvez, both of whom became viceroys of New Spain during the 1780s.
See H. I. Priestly, José de Gálvez (1916).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Latin American History: Biographies