Luis de Unzaga

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


He was born in Malaga, 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 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.

He accompanied Alejandro O'Reilly to New Orleans in 1769 to put down the Rebellion of 1768 by French and German colonists objecting to the turnover 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, out of 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.

He served as Captain General of Venezuela from June 17, 1777, to December 10, 1782.

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