Interior Provinces of New Spain
Founder of the
Presidio San Agustin de Tucson
August 20, 1775
Hugh O'Conor was born in Ireland in 1734 during a time in Irish history when England dominated the existence of the Irish people. To escape the oppression of English rule, O'Conor left his homeland at the age of 16 to serve in the Spanish military. Many Irishmen of this time opted to serve under the Spanish government in return for Spain's promise to assist Ireland in ousting the English from Irish soil. These patriots were known as the Wild Geese and were subject to death by hanging if captured by the English.
Hugh O'Conor became a successful and respected military officer serving in Spain, the Caribbean and New Spain of Mexico. Although O'Conor would never touch the soil of his homeland again, he found delight and comfort in his adopted country of Spain and its provinces. Hugh O'Conor became known as Hugo O'Conor, "The Red Captain". Whether his nickname was derived from his battles with the Apache and Comanche Indians, his red hair, or the red coat he wore, Hugo O'Conor served Spain and its Allies, the Pima and other Native Americans, with dignity and conviction. On August 20, 1775, O'Conor, Commandant Inspector General of the Interior Provinces of New Spain, founded Tucson's presidio near the Pima Indian village called San Agustin de Tucson.
Before he died at the age of 44, O'Conor had risen to the rank of Brigadier General and Governor of the Yucatan, and was considered a brilliant military strategist by his superiors.