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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Antonio Rodriguez, L.A. Founding Father

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Filipino Antonio Miranda Rodriguez, the 12th founding father of ‘Pueblo de Los Angeles’ established in 1781

Filipino Antonio Miranda Rodriguez was 50 years old when he arrived in Los Angeles in 1781. He was with his 11-years old daughter Juana Maria.

Antonio Rodriguez was part of the 12 original founders of Los Angeles in 1781.

The Spanish government sent people to establish what was first called “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Ángeles” (The town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels).

Just like Texas, L.A. was “Nueva Filipinas.” The Philippines (Filipinas) was Spain’s model for establishing a thriving colony. The “Nueva Pueblo” (new town) was to be a Spanish civilian settlement in America.

While in Baja California, Antonio and his daughter Jauna fell ill with smallpox. Their arrival in Los Angeles was delayed. It was perhaps one reason his name was not recorded as one of the first arrivals.

The likely reason Rodriguez’s name was not included in the “11 Founders” was that he was reassigned to another city.

The names of the eleven founders of Los Angeles

Manuel Camero, Mulatto
José Fernando de Velasco y Lara, Spaniard
Antonio Mesa, Black
José Cesario Moreno, Mulatto
José Antonio Navarro, Mestizo
Luis Manuel Quintero, Black
Pablo Rodriguez, Indian
José Antonio Basilio Rosas, Indian
Alejandro Rosas, Indian
José Maria Vanega, Indian
Antonio Clemente Felix Villavicencio, Spaniard

The 12th founder of Los Angeles was a Filipino 

Antonio Rodriguez’s name was not listed as one of the eleven founders of the El Pueblo. However, The Los Angeles Almanac mentions his name as the twelfth founder of California.

The obvious reason Antonio Miranda Rodriguez was not listed as one of the founders was that he did not settle in Los Angeles, but in Santa Barbara

As one of the pobladores (colonists), Antonio and his daughter contracted smallpox in Baja California, delaying their arrival to Los Angeles.

Reassignment to Santa Barbara

When he and his daughter finally arrived in Alta California (Upper/New California), it was discovered Rodriguez was a skilled gunsmith. As such, he was reassigned to Santa Barbara Presidio in 1782.

Although Antonio Rodriguez was a widow living in Sonora, he lived the rest of his life in Santa Barbara, California. [Chronology of Filipinos in American]

Early Filipino settlers of Louisiana.

The 9.5 acres Los Angeles Plaza Historic District in downtown Los Angeles represents a rare, intact, and diverse group of historic and cultural significance during the founding years of the city. (PHOTO Via El Pueblo LA)

Antonio Miranda Rodriguez in Santa Barbara

Rodriguez was reassigned a year after to the newly built presidio in Santa Barbara. He worked in the armory, a crucial part of the defense installation.

El Presidio Real de Santa Bárbara was a military installation built by Spain in 1782. Its purpose was to defend the Second Military District in California.

Filipino Antonio Miranda Rodriguez who was supposed to settle in Los Angeles as one of its poblador (founder). He was transferred to the newly built Royal Presidio of Santa Barbara in 1782.

Early history of Filipino immigrants in the USA.

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