1842-08-25: Micheltorena Arrives; Ends Alvarado’s governorship

Thursday, August 25, 1842: Brigadier General Manuel Micheltorena arrived in San Diego. He was the last of the governors to be appointed by President Antonio López de Santa Anna in Mexico City. His arrival ended Alvarado's governorship which began December 7, 1836.  During his term Alvarado bestowed 28 land grants totaling over a quarter of a million acres.

Alvarado willingly turned over responsibility to Micheltorena.

Fink, Augusta. Monterey: The Presence of the Past. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1972.. p. 78. 





"On one of his trips south, Capt. Fitch's trading ship put into Mazatlán and he learned about a new governor for California, Gen. Manuel Micheltorena, who had fought with Gen. Santa Anna in Texas, and had arrived at Tepic, near the port of San Blas, with a military force of convicts and some regular soldiers, who, presumably, were along to guard the convicts. "California," wrote Capt. Fitch, "will be in a devil of a mess after their arrival." The relative peace in California was about to come to an end. The cen­tral government of Mexico had begun to fear the growing domination of California affairs by foreigners and had decided to re-establish its authority over the distant provinces. Micheltorena was given extraordinary powers and even allowed to "select" the convicts for his "army." It was accompanied by the usual female camp followers.

The new governor and his army, beset by desertions, embarked at Mazatlán in four ships. The general arrived at San Diego on August 25, 1842. With him were Col. Agustín Zamorano, in a dying condition, and Capt. Nicanor Estrada, both of whom had played such leading roles in the rebellions in Southern California. The ships arrived separately over a period of nine days. Many of the convicts died on the long sea voyage and others were seasick or disgruntled. None of the reports agree as to how many actually reached here, the estimates ranging all the way from 300 to 600."

Pourade, Richard F. The Silver Dons – The History of San Diego 1833-1865 . Copley Press. c 1963. 


"Others took note, as well. In 1845, with war between the United States and Mexico still a year off, Alta California was ruled by the unpopular Gov. Manuel Micheltorena. His predecessor, Juan Alvarado, mounted an insurrection. Taking Micheltorena's side was none other than John Sutter.     Alvarado's forces prevailed, driving Micheltorena back to Mexico in a one-day battle that cost no lives — but not before throwing Sutter and his right-hand man, John Bidwell, into a prison near the Mission San Fernando. They were soon released. Bidwell headed north through Placerita Canyon and observed the gold mining operations, vowing to hunt for the metal upon his return to Sutter's Fort. When he reached his destination he would meet a new arrival — James Marshall."

Published in: on August 25, 1842 at 1:34 am  Leave a Comment