In 1768, Spain selected Don Fernando de Rivera to lead the Portolá expedition into Alta California. From that point until his death thirteen years later, Rivera was involved in every aspect of California's settlement: bringing settlers into the state, serving as military governor for several years, assisting in founding missions and presidios, putting down an Indian revolt.
But Rivera was a controversial figure. Embroiled in conflicts with Father Serra and Juan Bautista de Anza, and even at one point excommunicated from the Catholic Church for violating church sanctuary, Rivera's contributions are neither widely known nor appreciated.
The Forgotten Governor: Fernando de Rivera and the Opening of Alta California, the first biography ever of Rivera, tells the story of a man whose contributions deserve a prominent place in the public memory. In addition to providing the first biography of Rivera, the book provides an overview of early Spanish California history for the general reader.