Luis de Unzaga

Luis de Unzaga y Amézaga (1721–1790), also known as Luis Unzaga y Amezéga, was a Spanish governor of Louisiana from late 1769 to mid-1777, as well as a Captain General of Venezuela and Cuba.

Luis de Unzaga
4th Spanish governor of Louisiana
In office
MonarchCharles III
Preceded byAlejandro O'Reilly
Succeeded byBernardo de Gálvez
1st Captain General of Venezuela
In office
MonarchCharles III
Succeeded byPedro de Nava
69th Governor of Cuba
In office
MonarchCharles III
Preceded byJuan Manuel de Cagigal y Monserrat
Succeeded byBernardo Troncoso Martínez del Rincón
Personal details
Luis de Unzaga y Amézaga

Málaga, Spain
Málaga, Spain
Spouse(s)Marie Elizabeth de St. Maxent
Military service
Allegiance Viceroyalty of New Spain
 Kingdom of Spain
Branch/serviceSpanish Army
Years of service1770–1785
RankCaptain General
Battles/warsSeven Years' War


Unzaga was born in Málaga, Spain, the son of a well-known Basque family. He served in the Italian war of 1735 and went to Havana in 1740, where he was appointed lieutenant governor of Puerto Principe, Cuba and later of Santiago de Cuba. During the Seven Years' War he defended Havana against a British siege, in 1762.

Unzaga accompanied Alejandro O'Reilly to New Orleans in 1769 to put down the Rebellion of 1768 by French and German colonists objecting to the cessation of Louisiana to Spain via the Treaty of Fontainebleau (1762). Following the formal establishment of the cabildo (council), Unzaga became governor on December 1, 1769.[1] In 1770, he married Marie Elizabeth de St. Maxent, second daughter of Gilbert Antoine de St. Maxent, the wealthiest man in Louisiana.

Unzaga was noted for allowing open trade. During the summer of 1776, he secretly helped the Americans by privately delivering five tons of gunpowder from the king's stores to Captain George Gibson and Lieutenant Linn of the Virginia Council of Defense. The gunpowder moved up the Mississippi under the protection of the flag of Spain and was used to thwart British plans to capture Fort Pitt.

From June 17, 1777, to December 10, 1782, Unzaga served as Captain General of Venezuela. In 1783 he became governor of Cuba, where one of his first actions was ordering a halt to the unrestrained cutting of cedar trees.


Preceded by
Alejandro O'Reilly
Spanish Governor of Louisiana
1769 1777
Succeeded by
Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, Count of Gálvez
Preceded by
José Carlos de Agüero
As Governor of Venezuela
Captains General of Venezuela
1777 1782
Succeeded by
Pedro de Nava
Preceded by
Juan Manuel de Cagigal y Monserrat
Spanish Governor of Cuba
1782 1785
Succeeded by
Bernardo Troncoso Martínez del Rincón
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