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Ana Francisca de Borja y Doria


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Ana Francisca Hermenegilda de Borja y Doria, condesa de Lemos (16401706) was the wife of Peruvian Viceroy Pedro Antonio Fernandez de Castro, conde de Lemos. During his absence from the capital from June 7, 1668 to November 12, 1668, she was governor of the colony. She thus became the first female governor of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

She was born into the House of Borja . She was a niece of Francisco de Borja y Aragon, poet and viceroy of Peru from 1615 to 1621, and related to other famous members of the House of Borgia, including Pope Calixtus III, Pope Alexander VI, and Saint Francis Borgia.

She was the daughter of Francisco Diego Pascual de Borja y Aragon y Centelles, 8th duque de Gandia, and of Artemisa Maria Ana Teresa Gertrudis, princesa de Doria de Melfi. Her second marriage, on July 20, 1664, was to her cousin, Pedro Antonio Fernandez de Castro Andrade y Portugal, 8th conde de Villalba, 10th conde de Lemos, 7th marques de Sarria. By this marriage she became the condesa (countess) de Lemos. Her husband was named viceroy of Peru on June 12, 1667, under the authority of Mariana of Austria, regent for her son Charles II of Spain.

The Count and Countess of Lemos arrived in Peru at the port of Callao on November 9, 1667. They were received by the Spanish of the colony with much pomp. The viceroy took possession of his office on November 21, 1667.

On June 7, 1668, Viceroy Pedro Antonio Fernandez de Castro sailed from Callao for Islay, Arequipa and Puno, leaving his wife in charge of the government of Peru, as gobernadora (female governor). This was an official appointment. The royal decree by which the count held the position of viceroy provided that in his absence from the capital, the government would be entrusted to his wife. She was not a figurehead; she exercised real authority and ran the business of the colony during her husband's absence, making decisions and issuing decrees. Her authority was recognized by the Audiencia of Lima. She met with them and other officials on July 5, 1668.

News of the July 11, 1668 attack on Portobelo, Panama by the English pirate Henry Morgan arrived in Lima on the following August 31st. In response, Countess Lemos sent supplies and military equipment in aid of the defenders and readied the colonial navy to guard against pirates off the Peruvian coast. Pirates did attack the port of Callao during her period in office.

The viceroy returned and resumed his office on November 12, 1668. The countess had been governor of Peru for five months and five days.

She had two children before leaving Spain, and three children in Lima. By virtue of the different locations of birth, the first two were Peninsulares and the later three were Criollos. Her fourth child, Rosa Francisca, was born September 18, 1669 and named for Blessed Rose of Lima.

The countess had much influence in the Court of Spain, and because of that, with the papacy. She continued the work of her uncle, Viceroy Francisco de Borja y Aragon, to achieve the beatification and canonization of St. Rose. Beatification was conferred on February 12, 1668. The official celebration was held on April 15 of that year, in the Basilica of San Pedro, and the official communication arrived in Lima on January 18, 1669.

The count and countess sent a sculpture of St. Rose to the Vatican. Melchiore Caffa was the sculptor. On the occasion of her beatification, her wooden coffin was replaced by one of silver, at the expense of the countess. At the request of Spanish regent Mariana of Austria, on August 11, 1670 Rose was named patron of the Spanish possessions in the Americas and the Philippines. She and Francis Borgia were canonized on April 12, 1671 by Pope Clement X. Rose was the first native-born American to become a Catholic saint.

Viceroy Count Lemos died December 6, 1672. The countess and her children left Peru on June 11, 1675. She died in 1706.


Mugaburu, Josephe and Francisco, Diario de Lima (1640-1694). Imprenta C. Vasquez, 1935.

Extracto del ensayo La Condesa de Lemos Primera Gobernante del Peru de Gabriela Lavarello de Velaochaga (Peru)publicado en el Boletin de Nueva York,en el ano 2005

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ana Francisca de Borja y Doria

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