José Joaquín Moraga

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José Joaquín de la Santísima Trinidad Moraga (August 22, 1745 – 1785) (usually known as José Joaquín Moraga) was a soldier in the army of New Spain, and member of an early expedition to Alta California. Moraga is also credited with the founding of El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, today's city of San Jose, California.


José Joaquín Moraga was born on August 22, 1745 at Mission Los Santos Ángeles de Guevavi in the northern frontier region of the Viceroyalty of New Spain (in present-day southern Arizona).

Moraga was second in command to Juan Bautista de Anza in the 1776 overland colonizing expedition from the region of Alta California which would become part of southern Arizona and northern Mexico, to what is now San Francisco, California. When de Anza returned south to the established base in 1777, Moraga was left in charge of efforts to build housing for the colonists and a military headquarters, the Presidio of San Francisco.

Moraga founded the Pueblo of San José on orders from Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa, Spanish Viceroy of New Spain. The pueblo was founded in honor of Saint Joseph on November 29, 1777 as the first official civilian settlement in Alta California.

Moraga died in San Francisco in 1785 and was buried in the floor in front of the altar in Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores) in 1791.[1]


Moraga's son Gabriel Moraga, born in the northern frontier region of the Viceroyalty of New Spain (in present-day southern Arizona), also became a Spanish soldier in Alta California and led expeditions exploring the San Joaquin Valley in the early years of the 1800s.

The town of Moraga, California is named after Joaquín Moraga, grandson of José Joaquín Moraga and the grantee of Rancho Laguna de los Palos Colorados.[2] His home, the Moraga Adobe, is located there.


  1. ^ José Joaquín Moraga at Find a Grave
  2. ^ Clyde Arbuckle (1986). Clyde Arbuckle's History of San Jose. Smith McKay Printing. ISBN 978-99966-2-522-0.