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José Darío Argüello

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José Darío Argüello
Interim Governor of Alta California
In office
Preceded byJosé Joaquín de Arrillaga
Succeeded byPablo Vicente de Solá
Governor of Baja California
In office
Personal details
Santiago de Querétaro, New Spain
Died1828 (age 75)
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
SpouseMaría Ygnacia Moraga
ProfessionPolitician, soldier

José Darío Argüello (1753–1828) was a Querétaro-born Californio politician, soldier, and ranchero. He served as interim Governor of Alta California and then a term as Governor of Baja California.


José Darío Argüello was born in 1753 in Santiago de Querétaro, New Spain (present day Mexico).

Argüello enlisted in the Mexico regiment of dragoons, serving as a private, and later sergeant of the presidial company of Altar, Sonora. In 1781 he was promoted to alférez (sub-lieutenant) and commandant for what was to become the Presidio of Santa Barbara in Alta California.

Founding Los Angeles

Under orders from Governor Felipe de Neve, Argüello led the first ten Los Angeles Pobladores families and their livestock overland to settle. Military commander Fernando Rivera y Moncada led the guard, until killed during a civil resistance uprising by Quechan Indians near Yuma Crossing.

Argüello and the settlers continued onward to Mission San Gabriel in today's San Gabriel Valley. They founded the Pueblo de Los Angeles beside the Los Angeles River on September 4, 1781. This became present day Los Angeles, California.[1]

Presidio commandant

He continued on to Santa Barbara when the Presidio of Santa Barbara was founded in 1782. In 1787, Argüello was appointed lieutenant and commandant of the Presidio of San Francisco, serving until 1791 and again from 1796 to 1806. In between he was commandant of the Presidio of Monterey, from 1791 to 1796.[2]

Rancho de las Pulgas

In 1795, Governor Diego de Borica issued Argüello a Spanish land grant, the Rancho de las Pulgas (Ranch of the Fleas). This rancho was the largest grant on the San Francisco Peninsula consisting of 35,260 acres (142.7 km2).[3] It was in present-day San Mateo County, and encompassed contemporary San Mateo, Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City, Atherton and Menlo Park.[4][5][6]


Alta California

After the death of Governor José Joaquín de Arrillaga, Argüello was appointed acting governor of Alta California from 1814 to 1815 while he remained in Santa Barbara.

Baja California

In 1815, Argüello was appointed governor of Baja California, serving until 1822. He died in Guadalajara, Jalisco, in 1828.


Argüello married Maria Ygnacia Moraga. Their daughter, Maria Concepción (María Jesús Argüello), is the subject of an early California love story, portrayed in the Russian rock opera Juno and Avos.[7]

Two of their sons came to public service in Alta California also: Luis Antonio Argüello, California's first native-born governor (1822–1825); and Santiago Argüello, who was commandant of the Presidio of San Diego and alcalde (mayor) of Pueblo de San Diego. Other children: Teniente José Darío Argüello, Joaquín Máximo Argüello; Gervasio Argüello and Ana Gertrudis Rudecinda Argüello.[8] José Darío Argüello died in 1828, at the then quite elderly age of 75, in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.




  1. ^ genealogy.com José Darío Argüello
  2. ^ "californiamilitaryhistory.org, Arguello". Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  3. ^ "Menlo Park History:Early days in Menlo Park". City of Menlo Park. 2002. Archived from the original on 4 May 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  4. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Rancho de las Pulgas
  5. ^ "smdailyjournal.com The Arguellos and Rancho de las Pulgas, August 04, 2008". Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  6. ^ supreme.justia.com, Arguello v. United States 59 U.S. 539 (1855)U.S. Supreme Court
  7. ^ nps.gov, National Parks, Concepcion Arguello & Nikolai Petrovich Rezanov: A Presidio Love Story
  8. ^ schwaldfamily.org, José Darío Argüello
  9. ^ geni.com José Darío Argüello
  10. ^ ancestry.com osé Darío Argüello

Further reading[edit]