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Jose de Garro


Marcos Jose de Garro Senei de Artola (nicknamed "El Santo," ("The Saint"); born 1623 in Mondragon, Guipuzcoa - 1702, San Sebastian, Guipuzcoa) was a Spanish military man who served in many positions in the colonial administration of the Spanish Empire. He served as governor of Tucuman from 1675-1678, governor of Buenos Aires from 1678-1682 and governor of Chile from 1682-1692. In Spain, he was military commander of the garrison at Gibraltar and Captain General of the Basque Country, a charge which he held until his death in 1702. In the colonies, his nickname was "El Santo" ("The Saint") for his religious piety. He is most well-known for his successful attack on the competing Portuguese settlement at Colonia del Sacramento, constituting the first Spanish capture of the town.

As a youth, Garro enlisted in the Spanish Army and participated in campaigns in Catalonia and Portugal, until he reached the rank of colonel of a tercio. His career in Spain then suffered a setback: according to historian Diego Barros Arana, "Due to a violent altercation with a General who had rank of Grandee in Spain, Garro was subjected to the vengeance of a powerful enemy. Preferring instead to live away from the Court, he requested a post in the Indies and obtained the governorship of the province of Tucuman." Diego Barros Arana: "A consecuencia de un violento altercado con cierto General, que tenia el rango de grande de Espana, Garro se vio expuesto a las venganzas de un enemigo poderoso. Prefiriendo por esto mismo vivir lejos de la Corte, solicito un destino en las Indias y obtuvo el de gobernador de la provincia de Tucuman."

For four years, from 1675 to 1678, Garro served as governor of the isolated province of Tucuman, dependent to the Real Audiencia de Charcas and part of the Viceroyalty of Peru. During his tenure, he organized three punitive expeditions to Chaco, with no major consequences except the foundation of Fort El Pongo to the east of Jujuy to protect that city. After this, Garro was promoted to become the governor of Buenos Aires, a province of the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata.

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