BONDAS, GERARDO

fl 1808 from Spain


Spanish sailor. Bondas, a primer piloto particular in the merchant marine, was a surprise choice in April 1808, when he was sent to Puerto de la Soledad (Port Louis) in command of the brig Nuestra Señora de Belén taking over from Bernardo BONAVÍA as comandante gobernador of the Spanish settlement at Puerto de la Soledad. This may have been due to a dearth of executive branch officers in the Montevideo naval command at the time, as Bondas was not a career naval officer nor did he belong to the Cuerpo de Pilotos of the Spanish navy. Another factor may have been his acquaintance with the Falklands, having been sent there in 1796, during ALDANA's governorship, in command of the brig Carmen y Ánimas, when she was nearly wrecked following a severe gale, and once again in 1805, during Antonio LEAL's governorship, when, in command of the brig Nuestra Señora de Belén, he assisted in salvaging goods from the wrecked San Agustín. It seems likely that he made other unrecorded voyages to Puerto de la Soledad with stores and to carry out the routine yearly cruises round the islands. On 10 March 1808 he sailed once again from Montevideo in command of the brig Nuestra Señora de Belén to take up his appointment as governor for the first of two terms that ran consecutively until he was relieved by Pablo GUILLÉN MARTÍNEZ on 8 January 1810. One of his first tasks was to check with Bonavía the latter's all important report to the viceroy on livestock in the colony, particularly the number of cattle and horses. Well aware of the momentous events that were taking place around the River Plate and in the Iberian Peninsula, Bondas maintained the continuity of Spanish presence in the Falklands reporting regularly to the viceroy in Buenos Aires on all aspects of the colony's administration. On 1 July 1809 Bondas submitted to Viceroy Santiago de Liniers the prescribed report on the colony's defences, stating that the gun carriages which Bonavía had reported as useless had been turned into firewood and the mountings into forge iron. Significantly, shortly after leaving the governorship of Puerto de la Soledad, Bondas was appointed an alférez de fragata in the Spanish Navy.

Authors

Andrew David & Carlos Novi