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Surname: Gardoqui Given Name: Diego María de Sex: M
Place of Birth: Bilbao, Bizkaia, España Date of Birth: 11/12/1735 Order: Caballero Supernumerario del Orden de Carlos III
Place of Death: Date of Death: Cause of Death:
Race or Tribe: Vizcaíno Residence: Bilbao; Madrid; New York City Title: Hijo de José de Gardoqui; Marido de Brigida Josefa de Orueta y Uriarte; Ministro de Su Majestad a los Estados Unidos; Director del Ramo de Comercio y Minas en el Consejo del Real y Supremo de Indias
Place of Service: Madrid; New York City Burial Place: Translation: Basque - Fernery (from "garo"- fern, and "toki" - place)
Notes: Diego de Gardoqui, the fourth of eight children, was the financial intermediary between the Spanish Court and the Colonies during the Revolutionary War, meeting with John Jay on various occasions. The mercantile business of "José de Gardoqui e Hijos" in Bilbao (of which Diego was one of three sons in a partnership with their father) supplied the patriots with 215 bronze cannon - 30,000 muskets - 30,000 bayonets - 51,314 musket balls - 300,000 pounds of powder - 12,868 grenades - 30,000 uniforms - and 4,000 field tents during the war. After the Revolution he became Spain's envoy to the United States. He arrived in New York in the Spring of 1785. In the summer of 1786, he and Jay, who was Secretary for Foreign Affairs under the Articles of Confederation, worked up a treaty in which the United States would receive a commercial treaty with Spain in exchange for giving up its claims to free navigation of the Mississippi. Although Jay backed the treaty, congress never ratified it.

Gardoqui continued as Spain's Minister to the United States until his death in 1798. He attended Washington's inaugural address and pronounced it "an eloquent and appropriate address." In honor of the inauguration, Gardoqui decorated the front of his house on Broadway in New York City, near Bowling Green "with two magnificent transparent gardens, adorned with statues, natural size, imitating marble. . . . There were also various flower-pots, different arches with foliage and columns of imitation marble, and on the sky of these gardens were placed thirteen stars, representing the United States of America--two of which stars showed opaque, to designate the two States which had not adopted the Constitution."

In the early years after the Revolutionary War when congress and the president resided in New York City, Gardoqui's house was also the meeting place of the first Catholic dignitaries representing their countries. There Mass was said for the congregation comprised of such men as representatives of France, Spain, and Portugal, as well as Charles Carroll, his cousin Daniel, and Thomas Fitzsimmons, Catholic members of Congress, officers and soldiers of the foreign contingent, merchants and others. Diego de Gardoqui laid the cornerstone of St. Peter's, the first permanent structure for a Catholic church erected in the State of New York, on October 5, 1785. The church first opened on November 4, 1786.

Since Spain was in control of the Louisiana Territory, Gardoqui worked to protect the King's interests on the Mississippi River. Various factions in Kentucky were frustrated with congress' refusal to allow them statehood. Gardoqui worked with John Brown and General James Wilkinson in 1788 to procure a treaty between Kentucky and Spain concerning navigation on the River. In the end, of course, Kentucky joined the United States and there was no separate treaty. Gardoqui also worked with Colonel George Morgan and Benjamin Harrison in 1788 and 1789. They had been attempting to buy land in Illinois from the United States government with no success. Morgan and Gardoqui worked out an agreement whereby 15 million acres west of the Mississippi, south from its junction with the Ohio, and north of the St. Francis River would be deeded to American settlers. Morgan was to be the commander of the colony, subject to the king of Spain. Settlers would have religious freedom and some degree of autonomy. The new colony was to be called "New Madrid." However, the Spanish governor at New Orleans, although somewhat in favor of the project, refused to allow self government and required that all settlers be Catholic, and the settlement never saw fruition as a Spanish colony.

On July 7, 1794 during the Council of State held in Philadelphia Diego de Gardoqui made the following statement:
"The worst misfortune that could befall Spain would be that the new dominion (the United States) should unite with England to work in common accord against the Spanish monarch."

George Washington said of Gardoqui on August 10, 1790, "... no man in his most Catholic Majesty's dominions could be more acceptable to the Inhabitants of these States."

Diego María de Gardoqui died in 1798.

To see the statue of Diego de Gardoqui by Luis Antonio Sanguino on Logan Square in Philadelphia, given to the city by King Juan Carlos of Spain as part of the United States Bicentennial celebration, click on: On the "search" page locate and click on "Diego de Gardoqui" and then click on "individual" to view the statue.

Event Relationship [4 Records]

Event ID: 7105 Relationship: Baptized Event Date: 11/13/1735    
Event ID: 7568 Relationship: Father Event Date: 04/15/1769    
Event ID: 7573 Relationship: Father Event Date: 09/28/1773    
Event ID: 7574 Relationship: Father Event Date: 09/13/1772    
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