Pedro Fages
Pere Fages Beleta (1734 – 1794), nicknamed L'Ós (The Bear), was a soldier, explorer, and the second Spanish military Governor of Las Californias
Las Californias
The Californias, or in — - was the name given by the Spanish to their northwestern territory of New Spain, comprising the present day states of Baja California and Baja California Sur on the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico; and the present day U.S. state of California in the United States of...

 Province of New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

 from 1770 to 1774, and the Governor of Las Californias from 1782 to 1791.


Fages was born in Guissona
Guissona is a town and municipality located in the North of the comarca of Segarra, in the province of Lleida, Catalonia, Spain. With 6,145 inhabitants Guissona is the principal municipality in the Northern half of Segarra and the second most populated in the county after Cervera...

, Lerida province, Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

, Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. In 1767, Lieutenant Fages left Spain with the Free Company of Volunteers of Catalonia
Free Company of Volunteers of Catalonia
The Free Company of Volunteers of Catalonia was a military company of the Spanish Army serving in the Spanish colonial empire.-Origins:...

 for New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

, to serve under Domingo Elizondo
Domingo Elizondo
Domingo Elizondo was a Spanish soldier of Basque origin who lived in the late 18th century and whose main field of action was New Spain. He fought against the Seris and the Pimas in Sonora in México and Southern Arizona in the United States, between 1767 and 1771. He published a book about his...

 in Sonora
Sonora officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 72 municipalities; the capital city is Hermosillo....

. In 1769, Fages was selected by Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 José de Gálvez
José de Gálvez
José de Gálvez y Gallardo, marqués de Sonora was a Spanish lawyer, a colonial official in New Spain and ultimately Minister of the Indies . He was one of the prime figures behind the Bourbon Reforms...

 to lead the shipborn portion of the Gaspar de Portolà
Gaspar de Portolà
Gaspar de Portolà i Rovira was a soldier, governor of Baja and Alta California , explorer and founder of San Diego and Monterey. He was born in Os de Balaguer, province of Lleida, in Catalonia, Spain, of Catalan nobility. Don Gaspar served as a soldier in the Spanish army in Italy and Portugal...

 led expedition
Portola expedition
250px|right|Point of San Francisco Bay DiscoveryThe Portolá Expedition was led by Gaspar de Portolá from July 14, 1769 to January 24, 1770. It was the first recorded Spanish land entry and exploration of present day California, United States...

 to found San Diego, California. Fages sailed from the Baja California Peninsula
Baja California Peninsula
The Baja California peninsula , is a peninsula in northwestern Mexico. Its land mass separates the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California. The Peninsula extends from Mexicali, Baja California in the north to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur in the south.The total area of the Baja California...

 town of La Paz
La Paz, Baja California Sur
La Paz is the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur and an important regional commercial center. The city had a 2010 census population of 215,178 persons, but its metropolitan population is somewhat larger because of surrounding towns like el Centenario, el Zacatal and San Pedro...

 on January 10, 1769, aboard the San Carlos, and arrived at San Diego Bay
San Diego Bay
San Diego Bay is a natural harbor and deepwater port adjacent to San Diego, California. It is 12 mi/19 km long, 1 mi/1.6 km–3 mi/4.8 km wide...

 on April 29 with scurvy-ridden troops, after sailing over 200 mi (320 km) off course because of cartography errors. Fages accompanied the 1769 and 1770 land expeditions to locate Monterey Bay
Monterey Bay
Monterey Bay is a bay of the Pacific Ocean, along the central coast of California. The bay is south of San Francisco and San Jose, between the cities of Santa Cruz and Monterey....

. During this time he was promoted to captain.

After Portolà left California in 1770, Pedro Fages served as the somewhat independent military governor of California Nueva (New California), which was later to become Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

, headquartered in Monterey
Monterey, California
The City of Monterey in Monterey County is located on Monterey Bay along the Pacific coast in Central California. Monterey lies at an elevation of 26 feet above sea level. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 27,810. Monterey is of historical importance because it was the capital of...

. During this time, Fages explored by land San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay is a shallow, productive estuary through which water draining from approximately forty percent of California, flowing in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from the Sierra Nevada mountains, enters the Pacific Ocean...

, San Pablo Bay
San Pablo Bay
San Pablo Bay is a tidal estuary that forms the northern extension of San Francisco Bay in northern California in the United States. Most of the Bay is shallow; however, there is a deep water channel approximately in mid bay, which allows access to Sacramento, Stockton, Benicia, Martinez, and...

, the Carquinez Strait
Carquinez Strait
The Carquinez Strait is a narrow tidal strait in northern California. It is part of the tidal estuary of the Sacramento and the San Joaquin rivers as they drain into the San Francisco Bay...

, the San Joaquin River
San Joaquin River
The San Joaquin River is the largest river of Central California in the United States. At over long, the river starts in the high Sierra Nevada, and flows through a rich agricultural region known as the San Joaquin Valley before reaching Suisun Bay, San Francisco Bay, and the Pacific Ocean...

, and surrounding areas; and earned his nickname l'ós while hunting bear
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern...

s near San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo, California
San Luis Obispo is a city in California, located roughly midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on the Central Coast. Founded in 1772 by Spanish Fr. Junipero Serra, San Luis Obispo is one of California’s oldest communities...

. Fages quarreled with Father Junípero Serra
Junípero Serra
Blessed Junípero Serra, O.F.M., , known as Fra Juníper Serra in Catalan, his mother tongue was a Majorcan Franciscan friar who founded the mission chain in Alta California of the Las Californias Province in New Spain—present day California, United States. Fr...

, president of the Alta California missions, and was replaced in 1774 by Fernando Rivera y Moncada
Fernando Rivera y Moncada
Fernando Javier Rivera y Moncada was a soldier from New Spain who served in the Baja California peninsula and upper Las Californias, participating in several early overland explorations. Fernando Rivera y Moncada served as a Spanish Miilitary Governor from 1774-1777. -Biography:Rivera was born...


In 1777 Fages returned to Sonora
Sonora officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 72 municipalities; the capital city is Hermosillo....

 to fight the Apaches, where he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. In 1781 he successfully quelled the Quechan
The Quechan are a Native American tribe who live on the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation on the lower Colorado River in Arizona and California just north of the border with Mexico...

 (Yuma) Indian revolt and temporarily reopened the Colorado River
Colorado River
The Colorado River , is a river in the Southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, approximately long, draining a part of the arid regions on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. The watershed of the Colorado River covers in parts of seven U.S. states and two Mexican states...

 crossing of the Anza trail
Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail
thumb|325px|MAP: [[Juan Bautista de Anza]] National Historic Trail routes in [[Arizona]] and [[California]].The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail is a National Park Service unit in the United States National Historic Trail and National Millennium Trail programs...

 at Yuma, Arizona
Yuma, Arizona
Yuma is a city in and the county seat of Yuma County, Arizona, United States. It is located in the southwestern corner of the state, and the population of the city was 77,515 at the 2000 census, with a 2008 Census Bureau estimated population of 90,041....

. The Quechan's successfully re-closed the trail for the next 50+ years after he and his troops departed.

Fages married Eulalia Callis June 3, 1780 in Mexico City. She was born October 4, 1758 in Barcelona, Spain and journeyed to Mexico City with her mother and brother to join her father Agustín Callis, the original captain of the Free Company of Volunteers of Catalonia. Eulalia loved fashion and believed in charity. At Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo
Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo
Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo, also known as the Carmel Mission, is a Roman Catholic mission church in Carmel, California. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and a U.S...

, she gave away her clothing after seeing the lack of clothing worn by the Indians.

Pedro Fages was appointed Governor of Las Californias in 1782, replacing Felipe de Neve
Felipe de Neve
Felipe de Neve was a Spanish governor of Las Californias, an area that included present-day California , Baja California and Baja California Sur . His tenure as governor was from 1775 to 1782...

. He returned to Monterey, which had replaced Loreto
Loreto, Baja California Sur
Loreto was the first Spanish settlement on the Baja California Peninsula. It served as the capital of Las Californias from 1697 to 1777, and is the current seat of the municipality of Loreto in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur...

 as the capital of the Californias in 1777. Fages was promoted to colonel in 1789, and resigned his governorship in 1791. Pedro Fages moved back to Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, where he died in 1794.

Fictional portrayals

Pedro Fages appears as a minor character in the 1955 film Seven Cities of Gold
Seven Cities of Gold (film)
Seven Cities Of Gold is a 1955 historical adventure film directed by Robert D. Webb and starring Anthony Quinn, Richard Egan and Michael Rennie. It tells the story of the 18th. Century Franciscan priest, Father Junípero Serra and the founding of the first missions in what is now present day...

, which presents a fanciful and historically inaccurate account of the founding of Spanish California. Lieutenant Fages is played by Mexican actor Victor Junco
Víctor Junco
Víctor Mortimer Junco was a Mexican film actor. He appeared in 140 films between 1935 and 1988.-Selected filmography:* The Devil Is a Woman * Ash Wednesday -External links:...

. In the credits, Fages' name is misspelled as "Faces."

Governor Fages and his wife make a brief appearance in the Isabel Allende
Isabel Allende
Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean writer with American citizenship. Allende, whose works sometimes contain aspects of the "magic realist" tradition, is famous for novels such as The House of the Spirits and City of the Beasts , which have been commercially successful...

 novel Zorro
Zorro (novel)
Zorro is a 2005 mock biography and the first origin story of the pulp hero Zorro, written by Chilean author Isabel Allende. It is a prequel to the events of the original Zorro story, Johnston McCulley's 1919 novella The Curse of Capistrano...

Pere Fages is the protagonist of the historical novel La última conquista (2005) by Ramón Vilaró and is a secondary character in Los acasos (2010) by Javier Pascual.
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