Narciso Claveria

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A portrait of Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa, Governor-General of the Philippines (1844-1849) (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Museo del Prado)

Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa (2 May 1795 – 20 June 1851)[1] was the Governor-General of the Philippines from 16 July 1844 to 26 December 1849.

Biography

Clavería was the son of María de Jesús de Zaldúa y Murrieta and Antonio Clavería y Portu.[2] Like his father, he pursued a military career.[3] He entered the Army on 22 November 1801 at the age of six.[4] He was a distinguished gunner, and on 9 January 1807 he became a knight cadet at the Colegio de Artillería.[5]

He began his military career during the Spanish War of Independence (1807–1814).[6] He was promoted to lieutenant of the Artillery Cadet Company in 1809; to lieutenant in 1811; and appointed as assistant commander general of artillery in 1812.[7] He continued his military services, even participating in the First Carlist War (1833–1840), where he received promotions and decorations.[8] He was eventually promoted to lieutenant general in 1844.[9] At the same time, he was appointed as Governor-General of the Philippines, succeeding Francisco de Paula Alcalá de la Torre.[10] He arrived in Manila on 13 July 1844.[11]

As Governor-General

Throughout his term, Clavería made significant reforms in the governance of the archipelago. It is said that he was more interested in the welfare of the archipelago rather than his personal fortune.[12] José Montero y Vidal remarked that Clavería "combined... qualities rare in the government of a country, for to his considerable culture and love for work, he added the most exquisite courtesy and unimpeachable honesty."[13]

He is most well-known for order that all natives should adopt a surname of their own. This stemmed from his observation during his tour of the provinces in the archipelago, during which he noticed that natives in general do not have an individual surname which distinguishes them and their families from others.[14] As a result, he promulgated a decree on 21 November 1849 that ordered provincial governors to have the natives and their families assigned a particular surname.[15] They are to choose their surname from a list called the Catalogo Alfabetico de Apellidos, which was written by Clavería himself.[16]

He also made numerous reforms, many of which were a result of his observations after visiting many provinces within the archipelago.[17] He promulgated a decree on 5 October 1847 which stipulated that there should be elections for the position of gobernadorcillos and other local positions.[18] He reformed the office of alcalde-mayor, and instituted a systematic division of provincial jurisdictions.[19] He revised the boundaries of the provinces of Albay, Camarines, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Nueva Vizcaya, and Laguna; separated Masbate and Ticao from the province of Albay; and created the province of Abra.[20]

In consultation with the Manila Archbishop José Seguí, OSA, he corrected the Philippine calendar in a decree of 16 August 1844.[21] Prior to his correction, the calendar that was used in the archipelago is based on the European one, which is one day behind from that of its Asian neighbors.[22] This was first noticed by Antonio Pigafetta, the chronicler during the expedition of Ferdinand Magellan.[23] However, even with Pigafetta's observation, subsequent conquistadores who arrived in the archipelago continued to base the date of the day on the calendar used by Spain.[24] Clavería decided to make the correction in order for the archipelago to observe the same date as its Southeast Asian neighbors and China.[25]

He founded a casino, the Sociedad de Recreo or Recreation Association. His proposed for the establishment of a military library, which was then approved. Other reforms and actions that he undertook are the following: the regulation of the mining industry; and the creation of a public security corps.[26]

He also undertook expeditions against the Moros, which led to the conquest of the island of Balanguingui in the Sulu Archipelago.[27] The island is said to be the place of origin of many Moro pirates.[28] During the expedition, steamships were used for the first time by the colonial military.[29]

For his exemplary management of the colony, he was granted by Queen Isabella II, through a royal decree of 29 July 1848, the title of Count of Manila and Viscount of Clavería.[30]

However, he resigned from his post due to his health condition.[31] He ended his term as Governor-General on 26 December 1849, and was replaced by Antonio María Blanco.

After his term

He went back to Spain soon after, and was appointed as senator for life on 12 November 1850.[32] However, he died on 26 June 1851 due to a lingering illness which he contracted during his stay in the Philippines.[33]

Trivia

The town of Claveria in the province of Cagayan is named after Governor-General Clavería, who established the area on after the inhabitants of the town petitioned to him during his visit that they will be turned into an independent town from Pamplona.[34]

References

  1. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa," accessed 5 February 2021, http://dbe.rah.es/biografias/26643/narciso-claveria-y-zaldua
  2. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  3. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  4. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  5. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  6. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  7. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  8. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  9. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  10. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  11. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  12. Catalogo, viii.
  13. Catalogo, viii.
  14. "Decree of 21 November 1849," in Catalogo Alfabetico de Apellidos (Manila: National Archives of the Philippines), x, https://issuu.com/filipinasheritagelibrary/docs/catalogo_alfabetico_de_apellidos?e=18015266/13622223
  15. "Decree of 21 November 1849," x.
  16. "Decree of 21 November 1849," x.
  17. Catalogo, viii.
  18. Catalogo, viii.
  19. Catalogo, viii-ix.
  20. Catalogo, viii-ix.
  21. Catalogo, ix.
  22. Catalogo, ix.
  23. Catalogo, ix.
  24. Catalogo, ix.
  25. "Philippines skipped."
  26. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  27. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  28. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  29. José Montero y Vidal, “Events in Filipinas, 1841-1872,” in The Philippine Islands 1493-1898, trans. Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson, vol. 52 (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1906), 208.
  30. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  31. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  32. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  33. Real Academia de la Historia, "Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa."
  34. Municipality of Claveria, Cagayan, "Brief History of Claveria," accessed 5 February 2021, https://www.claveriacagayannorth.gov.ph/history-of-claveria/

External links

Citation

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