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NAVA, PEDRO DE (17?–18?). Pedro de Nava, commander in chief of the Provincias Internas, was born to a noble family in the Canary Islands, most likely in the early to middle 1730s. A military calling led him to enlist on December 1, 1753, as a cadet in the Spanish infantry. Subsequently, he served in the Canary Island militia and in the infantry regiment of León. Don Pedro received appointment as commandant of the Caracas Battalion on August 5, 1781, and in the same year achieved the rank of colonel. His promotion to brigadier was conferred on January 14, 1789. In March 1790 he was appointed the successor of Juan de Ugalde, commandant general of the Eastern Provinces of the Provincias Internas. Nava sailed from Venezuela by way of Puerto Rico and Cuba and arrived in New Spain on August 3. In the fall of 1790 Nava was dispatched to the north of New Spain by Viceroy Conde de Revilla Gigedo II. His initial efforts as commandant general centered on the difficult task of achieving peaceful relations with Indians, especially the Lipan Apaches. Don Pedro governed the Eastern Provinces, with the aid of Ramón de Castro, for about two years; and then under royal orders, drafted in September 1792, the Provincias Internas was once again to be separated from the Viceroyalty of New Spain and made a unified administrative entity under the command of Pedro de Nava.

Nava served as commander in chief of the unified Interior Provinces for ten years (1793–1802). Although his obligations included an immense administrative unit, stretching from the Californias to Louisiana, his attention was slowly directed toward protecting Texas from Anglo-American filibusters-most notably Philip Nolan. In all, Nolan made four entries into Texas during Nava's tenure as commandant general. His early forays were carried out with Nava's knowledge and indeed with his approval. However, in 1800 Nava declared Nolan to be a dangerous foreigner and ordered his detention should he reenter Texas. On his fourth expedition, Nolan was overtaken and surrounded by Spanish forces from Nacogdoches under the command of Manuel Múzquiz. On March 21, 1801, Nolan was killed by a cannonball in the northern Hill Country, probably near the site of present Blum. In the following year Nava was relieved of command by Commandant General Nemecio Salcedo y Salcedo.


Luis Navarro García, Don José de Gálvez y la Comandancia General de las Provincias Internas del Norte de Nueva España (Escuela de Estudios Hispano-Americanos de Sevilla, 1964). Maurine T. Wilson and Jack Jackson, Philip Nolan and Texas: Expeditions into the Unknown Land, 1791–1801 (Waco: Texian Press, 1987).

Donald E. Chipman


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Donald E. Chipman, "NAVA, PEDRO DE," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 26, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.