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Title: Presidio  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Pueblo de Los Ángeles, Spanish Texas, History of California, Juan Leal, The Californias
Collection: Spanish Architecture, Spanish Forts in the United States
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The Goliad presidio in Texas.
The Canada presidio in New Mexico.
The Terrenate presidio in Arizona.
The San Diego presidio in California.

A presidio (from the Spanish, presidir, meaning "to preside" or "to oversee") is a fortified base established by the Spanish in areas under their control or influence.

The fortresses were built to protect against pirates, hostile native Americans, and colonists from enemy nations. Later in western North America, with independence, the Mexicans garrisoned the Spanish presidios on the northern frontier and followed the same pattern in unsettled frontier regions like the Presidio de Sonoma, at Sonoma, California and the Presidio de Calabasas, in Arizona.

In western North America, a rancho del rey or king‍ '​s ranch would be established a short distance outside a presidio. This was a tract of land assigned to the presidio to furnish pasturage to the horses and other beasts of burden of the garrison. Mexico called this facility "rancho nacional".[1]


  • Mediterranean 1
  • United States 2
  • Mexico 3
  • References 4



North Africa:


United States

South Carolina:[2]



  • The Presidio San Augustin, founded in 1565, which developed into the city of St. Augustine, ceded to Great Britain in 1763 and regained 20 years later
  • The Presidio San Mateo, founded in 1565 on the ruins of Fort Caroline, captured and destroyed by the French in 1568
  • The Presidio Ais, founded in 1565 on the Indian River Lagoon, abandoned after one month
  • The Presidio Santa Lucia, founded in 1565 near Cape Canaveral, abandoned four months later
  • The Presidio San Antonio de Padua, founded in 1566 at Calos, capital of the Calusa, abandoned in 1569
  • The Presidio Tocobago, founded in 1567 on Tampa Bay, destroyed by the Tocobagos within ten months
  • The Presidio Tequesta, founded in 1567 on the site of what is now Miami, abandoned in 1568
  • The Presidio Santa Maria de Galve, founded in 1696, near Fort Barrancas at present-day Naval Air Station Pensacola; captured by French in 1719, and the Spanish returned 3 years later. (See below, both Presidio Isla Santa Rosa Punta de Siguenza and Presidio San Miguel de Panzacola, which were established in the same general vicinity.)
  • The Presidio Bahía San José de Valladares, founded in 1701 on St. Joseph Bay, captured by French in 1718. (See below, Presidio Bahía San Josė de Nueva Asturias.)
  • The Presidio San Marcos de Apalachee, founded in 1718 at the existing port of San Marcos, which developed into the town of St. Marks, ceded to Great Britain in 1763 and regained 20 years later
  • The Presidio Bahía San José de Nueva Asturias, founded in 1719 on St. Joseph Point, abandoned in 1722
  • The Presidio Isla Santa Rosa Punta de Siguenza, founded in 1722 on Santa Rosa Island, abandoned in 1755
  • The Presidio San Miguel de Panzacola, founded in 1755, which developed into the city of Pensacola, ceded to Great Britain in 1763 and regained 20 years later



New Mexico:









  1. ^ Ranchos of California: Extracts from: Grants of land in California made by Spanish or Mexican authorities, by Cris Perez Boundary Determination Office State Lands Commission Boundary Investigation Unit August 23, 1982. Berkeley Library website.
  2. ^ a b c Childers, Ronald Wayne (2004). "The Presidio System in Spanish Florida 1565-1763". Historical Archaeology 38 (3): 24–32. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
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