Mariano Ricafort Palacin

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Mariano Ricafort Palacín y Abarca (18th century – 19th century)[1] was the Governor-General of the Philippines from 14 October 1825 to 23 December 1830.[2]


Ricafort was from a noble family in Huesca, Spain. His father is José Ricafort y Abarca, an advocate of the Royal Council; while his mother is Juana Palacín y Aysa, who belonged to an aristocratic family.[3] He was a member of the military who participated in numerous campaigns.[4] Such include the 1793 campaign in Roussillon, the War of the Oranges (1801), an expedition that invaded Portugal, and the Peninsular War (1811).[5] He was assigned as a brigadier in Alto Perú in 1816, during which he incurred a severe wound in his left leg.[6] He was then imprisoned by independence forces, but he was taken care of under the orders of General José de San Martín.[7] He eventually returned to Spain due to his health.[8]

As Governor-General

He was appointed as Governor-General in 1825, replacing Juan Antonio Martínez.[9] He brought with him a portrait of King Ferdinand VII, which the king himself gave for the archipelago.[10] The municipal council of Manila decided to accord the portrait honors as if the king himself visited the archipelago.[11] From 19 to 25 December, festivities were conducted.[12] However, this led to the royal government considering the expenditures incurred because of the festivities an unwarranted use of funds.[13]

He implemented the Good Government Ordinance in April 1826.[14] He reminded the provincial governors in a circular letter dated June 1824 to observe Article 26 of the ordinance which forbids them to hinder in any way the trade in the products of their provinces, whether by Spaniards, natives, or mestizos.[15] He ordered an expedition to Jolo, Sulu in 1827, which led to the burning of settlements on the shores of Illana Bay.[16]

He introduced numerous agricultural reforms. He removed taxes on native farmers who are growing coffee, cacao, cinnamon, tea, and mulberry trees.[17] He ordered in 1825 and 1826 that the gobernadorcillos should furnish to agriculturists idle natives within their jurisdictions to work on the estates and be paid daily wages.[18] He also ordered on 30 October 1827 that all complaints in relation to farm laborers should be settled by magistrates as promptly and simply as possible, and that no native laborer be imprisoned because of a civil debt.[19]

Other reforms and orders made by Ricafort are the following: the establishment of a mint in Manila; the imposition of penalties on those who will sing obscene songs, blasphemers, gamblers, beggars, and parents "who brought up their children in evil ways;" the organization of a general domiciliary visitation of Manila and a creation of a list of citizens; the implementation of standards for weights and measures; and the formation of a military commission which has the power to execute evildoers.[20]

He also ended the Dagohoy rebellion, which has been ongoing since 1744.[21] He sent expeditions in May 1827 and April 1828, which led to the surrender of the rebels.[22]

During his term, a royal decree dated 8 June 1826 ceased the secularization of parishes and ordered the return of the parishes under the administration of the religious orders.[23] The naval bureau in Manila was reestablished, which was under the administration of Pasqual Enrile.[24] Enrile reorganized all branches of the naval service, constructed several cruisers and other vessels, and created port-captains for Iloilo, Capiz, Cebu, and Pangasinan.[25]

It was during his term that the colonial government purchased Malacañan Palace.[26] The palace was sold to the colonial government by the owner Colonel Jose Miguel Fomento's testamentary executors upon his death in 1825, paid from proceeds of a tax collected from the Chinese.[27]

After his term as Governor-General

Ricafort was succeeded by Enrile as Governor-General in 1830.[28] He returned to Spain a year after. He was then appointed in various positions: member of the Council of the Indies, and Captain General of Cuba (1831-1836), Galicia (1837) and the Canary Islands (1840).[29]


  1. Real Academia de la Historia, "Mariano Ricafort," accessed 1 February 2021,
  2. Carlos Quirino, Old Manila, ed. María Eloísa G. Parco-de Castro, 2nd ed. (Quezon City: Vibal Foundation, 2016), 295.
  3. Quirino, Old Manila, 295.
  4. Quirino, Old Manila, 295.
  5. Quirino, Old Manila, 295.
  6. Quirino, Old Manila, 295; Real Academia de la Historia, "Mariano Ricafort."
  7. Real Academia de la Historia, "Mariano Ricafort."
  8. Quirino, Old Manila, 295.
  9. Quirino, Old Manila, 295.
  10. José Montero y Vidal, "Events in Filipinas, 1801-1840," in The Philippine Islands 1493-1898, trans. Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson, vol. 51 (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1906), 49.
  11. Montero y Vidal, "Events in Filipinas, 1801-1840," 49.
  12. Montero y Vidal, "Events in Filipinas, 1801-1840," 49.
  13. Montero y Vidal, "Events in Filipinas, 1801-1840," 49-50.
  14. Quirino, Old Manila, 295.
  15. Montero y Vidal, "Events in Filipinas, 1801-1840," 50.
  16. Quirino, Old Manila, 295; Montero y Vidal, "Events in Filipinas, 1801-1840," 50.
  17. Quirino, Old Manila, 295.
  18. Montero y Vidal, "Events in Filipinas, 1801-1840," 52.
  19. Montero y Vidal, "Events in Filipinas, 1801-1840," 52.
  20. Montero y Vidal, "Events in Filipinas, 1801-1840," 54-5.
  21. Montero y Vidal, "Events in Filipinas, 1801-1840," 51.
  22. Montero y Vidal, "Events in Filipinas, 1801-1840," 51.
  23. Montero y Vidal, "Events in Filipinas, 1801-1840," 50.
  24. Montero y Vidal, "Events in Filipinas, 1801-1840," 50.
  25. Montero y Vidal, "Events in Filipinas, 1801-1840," 50.
  26. Quirino, Old Manila, 295.
  27. Malacañan Palace: A Quick Guide (Manila: Presidential Museum and Library), 4.
  28. Quirino, Old Manila, 295.
  29. Real Academia de la Historia, "Mariano Ricafort."



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