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Anza, Juan Bautista de (07 July 1736–19 December 1788), military commander, explorer, and governor, was born in the presidio of Fronteras, Sonora, Mexico, the son of Juan Bautista de Anza, commandant of the post since 1719, and María Rafaela Becerra Nieto; his grandfather was commandant of Janos presidio, Chihuahua. Anza’s father was killed in combat in 1739, but Anza continued in the family tradition, and on 1 December 1752 entered the militia at Fronteras. On 1 July 1755 he was promoted to lieutenant at Fronteras, and, after participating in Indian campaigns in Sonora, he rose in 1760 to the rank of captain and commander of the presidio at Tubac (in present-day Arizona). On 24 June 1761 he married Ana María Pérez Serrano of Arizpe, Sonora, but no children were born of the union....

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Berkeley, Sir William (03 July 1606–09 July 1677), royal governor and captain general of Virginia, was born in or near London, the son of Sir Maurice Berkeley, a well-connected gentleman of distinguished family. He was the brother of John, first Baron Berkeley of Stratton, a colonial proprietary. He entered Queen’s College, Oxford, in February 1623 and received his B.A. in July 1624 from St. Edmund Hall, Oxford. Five years later, he completed his M.A. at Merton College, Oxford. A charming, intelligent, well-connected gentleman, Berkeley became a favorite of King Charles I and was created a member of the Privy Chamber. In 1632 he was appointed a Commissioner of Canadian affairs and executed the office with distinction. He authored a number of notable plays, among them ...

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Buade, Louis de (22 May 1622–28 November 1698), French soldier and courtier, was born at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the son of Henri de Buade and Anne Phélypeaux de Pontchartrain, aristocrats. On his father’s side he was descended from the old nobility of the sword and on his mother’s from the ascending nobility of the robe. His father, comte de Frontenac, baron (later comte) de Palluau, and colonel of the Régiment de Navarre, was highly regarded by Louis XIII, who stood as godfather to the infant Louis at his baptism....

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Gage, Thomas (1719 or 1720–02 April 1787), soldier and the last royal governor of Massachusetts, was born in Firle, Sussex, England, the son of Thomas Gage, first Viscount Gage of the Irish peerage, who had for political reasons abandoned his family’s traditional Roman Catholicism and joined the Church of England, and Benedicta or Beata Maria Theresa Hall, an heiress who gained notoriety for her alleged promiscuity. The year of Gage’s birth traditionally has been given as 1721, but the fact that he entered school in 1728 suggests that he was actually born in 1719 or early 1720. Gage spent much of his early childhood at his mother’s family seat in Gloucestershire. During his eight years at the Westminster school (1728–1736), Gage associated with a number of youths who would later achieve military and political prominence....

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Gayoso de Lemos, Manuel (30 May 1747–18 July 1799), Spanish army officer, governor of the Natchez district, and governor general of Louisiana, was born in Oporto, Portugal, the son of Manuel Luis Gayoso de Lemos y Sarmiento, a Spanish consul general, and Theresa Angelica Amorín y Magallanes. Educated in England, he developed a capacity for languages and diplomacy. He entered the army’s Lisbon Infantry Regiment as a cadet in 1771 and began a slow rise in rank....

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Hunter, Robert ( October 1666–31 March 1734), British army officer and royal governor of Virginia, New York and New Jersey, and Jamaica, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of James Hunter, an attorney, and Margaret Spalding. Lacking land or inherited wealth, Robert Hunter chose a military career. In the November 1688 Glorious Revolution, Hunter formed part of the dragoon bodyguard that escorted Princess Anne from London as she fled her father, James II. An ardent Whig, Hunter continued to serve William III in Cardross’s Dragoon Regiment, Colonel John Hill’s Regiment, the Royal Scots Dragoons, and Colonel Charles Ross’s Irish Dragoons. In the War of the Spanish Succession (1702–1713) Hunter was aide-de-camp to commander in chief John Churchill, duke of Marlborough, a close relationship that brought Hunter into contact with the most influential men in Great Britain. Under Marlborough, Hunter rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, saw active duty at the battles of Blenheim and Ramillies in 1704 and 1706, and was instrumental in securing the 1706 surrender of the city of Antwerp....

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Johnstone, George (1730–24 May 1787), naval officer and first governor of British West Florida, was born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, the son of Sir James Johnstone, Laird of Westerhall, and Barbara Murray. After entering the Royal Navy in 1743, Johnstone fought in King George’s War before his promotion to lieutenant in 1749. Johnstone was undoubtedly brave but also, wrote a superior, “incapable of subordination.” He faced two courts-martial and fought at least one duel during the French and Indian War....

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Lane, Sir Ralph (1528– October 1603), soldier and colonial governor, was the son of Sir Ralph Lane of Orlingbury, Northamptonshire, England, and Maud Parr, daughter of William, Lord Parr of Horton. Lane’s place of birth is unknown. Lane was educated at the Middle Temple in 1554 and was elected to Parliament in 1558 and 1563. He went to court in 1563 and, as a client of the earl of Leicester, was an equerry to Queen Elizabeth by 1568. He served in the force sent to quell the northern rebels in 1569....

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Bienville. Engraving by John Chester Buttre. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-100821).

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Le Moyne, Jean-Baptiste (baptized 23 Feb. 1680–07 March 1767), French soldier, explorer, and governor of colonial Louisiana, was born in Montréal, New France, the son of Charles Le Moyne, sieur de Longueuil et de Châteauguay, a provincial nobleman, and Catherine Thierry Primot. Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne inherited the title ...

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Le Moyne, Pierre (baptized 20 July 1661–09 July 1706), French soldier, explorer, and governor of colonial Louisiana, was born at Ville-Marie de Montréal, New France, the son of Charles Le Moyne, sieur de Longueuil et de Châteauguay, a provincial nobleman, and Catherine Thierry Primot. The early life of Pierre Le Moyne, known as the sieur d’Iberville, is veiled in obscurity. It is known that he was groomed for naval duty by his influential father through service aboard his father’s ship. In 1683 he was entrusted with Governor Le Febvre de La Barre’s dispatches for the French Crown. It was also in that year that Jeanne-Geneviève Picoté de Belestre’s guardians brought a paternity suit against Iberville, claiming that the young Canadian officer was responsible for her pregnancy. The Conseil Souverain, Canada’s court of last resort, concurred with the plaintiffs and ordered Iberville to support the child until its fifteenth birthday....

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Miró, Esteban Rodríguez (1744–04 June 1795), Spanish army officer and governor of Louisiana and West Florida, was born in Reus, Catalonia, Spain, to Francisco Miró and Mariana de Miró y Sabater, a middle-class family with ties to the lower nobility. He entered the Zamora Regiment in 1760 as a cadet during the Seven Years’ War and served in the Spanish invasion of Portugal in 1762. About 1765 he went to Mexico in the Corona Regiment, serving as an adjutant and rising in rank to lieutenant. He returned to Spain by the early 1770s. He participated in General ...

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Moore, James (1650–1706), politician, soldier, and explorer, emigrated from Barbados to Carolina in 1675. Sometime in the 1670s he married Margaret Berringer, stepdaughter of Carolina governor Sir John Yeamans; they had ten children. He acquired land grants in the Goose Creek region of Carolina and settled his family there. In 1684 he imported thirty-seven indentured servants to Carolina, for whom he obtained headright grants, thereby adding to his landholding. In addition to his plantations, Boochawee Hall and Wassamassaw, Moore was an Indian trader and a trader in Indian slaves. In 1690 he explored the Appalachian Mountains in northwestern Carolina in search of gold and silver....

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Nicholson, Francis (12 November 1655–05 March 1728), colonial governor and soldier, was born in the parish of Downholme, in Yorkshire, England. While his parentage and early years remain obscure, a supposition developed among his contemporaries that he was the illegitimate son of Charles Paulet, who bore the titles of Lord St. John and, later, duke of Bolton and who became his patron. From Nicholson’s writings it is known that he had some local schooling, probably prior to becoming a page to Lady St. John during his teenage years. At twenty-three he joined the King’s Holland Regiment as an ensign and served in Flanders. By July 1680 Nicholson was in Tangier, a lieutenant in the King’s Own Regiment. There he developed a reputation for being a strict drillmaster and loyal adherent to King Charles II. Appointed an aide-de-camp to Colonel Percy Kirke, deputy governor of Tangier, he served as an envoy to the emperor of Morocco and as a courier. For exemplary service, he was brevetted captain....

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Robertson, James (29 June 1717–04 March 1788), British general and royal governor of New York, was born at “Newbigging,” the family estate near Burntisland, Scotland, the son of George Robertson, a laird, and Christian Dundas. Little is known of his childhood. Robertson enlisted in the British army as a common soldier, very unusual for a future general. In 1739 he became an officer. During 1747 he married Ann White; they had one child. Slowly rising in rank, he gained the ...

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Sharpe, Horatio (1718–09 November 1790), military officer and governor, was born in Hull, Yorkshire, England, the son of William Sharpe and Margaret Beake, whose father was principal secretary of Maryland, 1714–1732. Nothing is known of Horatio’s childhood, but he apparently was well educated. His brother John Sharpe served as guardian to the minor ...

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Shute, Samuel (12 January 1662–15 April 1742), British army officer and colonial governor of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, was born in England, the son of Benjamin Shute and Patience Caryl, daughter of the Reverend Joseph Caryl, the noted Nonconformist minister and a brother of Lord Barrington. Shute was educated by the Puritan ...

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Tryon, William (08 June 1729–27 January 1788), British army officer and governor of North Carolina and New York, was born in Surrey, England, the son of Charles Tryon, the owner of a landed estate, and Lady Mary Shirley. The wealth and aristocratic connections that Tryon enjoyed from birth enabled him to advance both militarily and politically despite a lack of formal education. In 1751 he obtained commissions first as a lieutenant and then as a captain in the First Regiment of Foot Guards. Six years later, he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. Tryon’s marriage to Margaret Wake in 1757 enhanced both his wealth and his political influence. They had one child together. (From an affair with one Mary Stanton, Tryon had another child, whom he supported during the remainder of his life and provided for in his will.)...

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Ulloa, Antonio de (12 January 1716–05 July 1795), Spanish naval officer and governor of Louisiana, was born in Seville, Spain, the son of Bernardo de Ulloa y Sousa, an economist, and Josefa de la Torre Guiral. He was educated by private tutor. In 1733 he joined the Guardias Marinas, an elite naval unit....

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Warren, Sir Peter (10 March 1703–29 July 1752), British admiral and politician, was born in Warrenstown, County Meath, Ireland, the son of Michael Warren, a country gentleman, and Catherine Aylmer. As Catholics, both Peter’s father and his maternal grandfather, Sir Christopher Aylmer, were Jacobites. Seeking government preferment, young Peter embraced Anglicanism and entered the British navy as a seaman in 1716. Here, his own abilities and family interest promised a speedy advance. His uncle Matthew, Lord Aylmer, Lord of the Admiralty, and Aylmer’s son-in-law, Admiral Sir John Norris, actively promoted Warren’s career. By 1727 he was captain of the ...