de Ulloa, Antonio

Antonio de Ulloa was born on January 12, 1716 in Seville.

Ulloa enlisted with the Spanish Navy in 1733. In 1735, he was sent to Ecuador as a member of the French Geodesic Mission. The mission, led by Pierre Bouguer, was organized by the French Academy of Sciences to measure a degree of the meridian at the equator. He stayed in Ecuador for 9 years until 1744, during this stint; he discovered platinum with his partner, Jorge Juan. In 1745, he returned to Spain. However, while enroute to Spain, his ship was overtaken by the British and he was taken prisoner to England. Because he was a member of the Royal Society of London, he was able to use the influence of other powerful members of the organization to negotiate his quick release and return to Spain. From 1758 to 1764 he served as governor of Huancavelica, Peru and the general manager of the quicksilver mines in the area.

He established the first museum of natural history and metallurgical laboratory in Spain. He also established the observatory of Cadiz. Ulloa served as the first Spanish governor of West Louisiana. His term began on March 5, 1766 and ended in defeat in 1768 when the French colonial citizens refused to acknowledge his rule.

He served the remainder of his working years in the Spanish Navy achieving the Lieutenant General rank in 1779. In 1784, published Relación histórica del viaje á la América Meridiona, a book detailing the geography, natural history and inhabitants of South America. In 1826, with Jorge Juan, he co-authored Noticias secretas de América detailing early religious sects in Spanish America. Ulloa died at Isla de Leon, Cádiz on July 3, 1795.