Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »


Geoffrey Pivateau

REGIDOR. The regidor served as an official on the ayuntamiento, the Spanish town council, which functioned as the primary component of Spanish municipal administration. The council, known also as the cabildo, was composed of regidors, the alcalde, and assorted other city officials. The number of regidors ranged from four to twelve, depending on the size of the municipality. Spanish law provided for the annual election of regidors, but elections were often not held. Although some regidors were popularly elected, the offices were often sold to the highest bidder, and the proceeds went to the royal government, not to the local municipality. Regulations required regidors to be landholders in the town in which they served. They could not involve themselves in areas where there might be a conflict of interest.

The duties of regidors did not appear formally stated, for tradition played a large role in their activities. In general they acted as town councilmen. One of their prime functions was to select the alcalde ordinario, who not only served on the ayuntamiento, but also functioned as the town's chief executive and local judge. Although the regidors were subordinate in authority to the alcalde, they shared equal votes on the council. The members raised taxes and supervised local agriculture. They also looked after police and security matters. Additionally, the regidors performed a judicial function, for the ayuntamiento served as the first court of appeal of an alcalde's decision. The oldest regidor served as chief assistant to the alcalde and acted in his place during the alcalde's absence.

A royal decree of 1793 provided suggestions for the division of responsibilities between the regidors. Under this plan, each was given authority over a distinct aspect of public life, such as prisons or weights and measures. In the villa of San Fernando de Béxar the regidors divided their administrative duties in accord with the decree. The Spanish Constitution of 1812 further formalized the officeholding requirements and set a term of two years, but did not fundamentally change the position. During the latter part of the colonial era and under Mexico, regidors performed their duties in the traditional manner, relatively untouched by political changes in the central government.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Geoffrey Pivateau, "REGIDOR," accessed November 17, 2018,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox