Welcome Guest! Log In

The Forgotten Governor

Fernando de Rivera and the Opening of Alta California

John Wills

Be the first to review this product

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.00" x 9.00"
  • ISBN: 78-1-63413-727-0
  • Publication Date: 2015-12-08
  • Langdon Street Press

Availability: In stock

Available Formats


The Forgotten Governor

Double click on above image to view full picture

In 1768, Spain selected Don Fernando de Rivera to lead the Portolá expedition into Alta California. From that point until his death thirteen years later, Rivera was involved in every aspect of California’s settlement: bringing settlers into the state, serving as military governor for several years, assisting in founding missions and presidios, putting down an Indian revolt.

But Rivera was a controversial figure. Embroiled in conflicts with Father Serra and Juan Bautista de Anza, and even at one point excommunicated from the Catholic Church for violating church sanctuary, Rivera’s contributions are neither widely known nor appreciated.

The Forgotten Governor: Fernando de Rivera and the Opening of Alta California, the first biography ever of Rivera, tells the story of a man whose contributions deserve a prominent place in the public memory. In addition to providing the first biography of Rivera, the book provides an overview of early Spanish California history for the general reader.

You're reviewing: The Forgotten Governor

"Combining primary source materials from the archives of Spain, Mexico, and California, the book's rich narrative immerses the reader in this long-forgotten world using diaries, letters, and the accounts of eyewitnesses ... Read this book if yhou want to understand California's beginnings in a language and ... style that make the story accessible to anyone interested in the true history of the American West."— Greg Bernal-Mendoza Smestad, historian and Californio

John Wills

John Wills is a professional economist who has written extensively in the area of taxation. This, his first historical biography, was triggered by his discovering a copy of the rare diary of Fernando de Rivera on the general circulation shelves of the library at the California State University at San Jose. (It has since been removed to a special collection!) Mr. Wills is at work on his second book, on Russian–Spaniard relations in early California. Mr. Wills and his wife live in the San Francisco Bay area. They have two children.