Antonio Valdés y Bazán (Burgos, 1744 - Madrid, 1816), native of Burgos and uncle of Cayetano Valdés y Flores, attained the rank of Guardiamarina at Cádiz after having been admitted to the Order of Malta, where he reached the rank of "Baylio," Grand Cross and Commander.  He had a brilliant career in the Spanish Navy.  Already with the rank of Squadron-Leader, he was named Inspector-General for 1782 and on the death of Castejón became Navy Minister, in which rôle he expended significant effort on improving the scientific education of young officers, the organization of the Navy, and the condition of the arsenals; he also promoted numerous maritime expeditions, among them that of Malaspina, whose decisions he always supported.  He then took charge of the State Secretariat and of the Universal Office of the Indies; under Charles IV he rose to the rank of Captain-General of the Navy. Valdés resigned from the Ministry in November 1795, a few days before the arrest of Malaspina, but the sovereign maintained his place at the heart of the Council of State.  In 1799 he published a treatise on the state of the navy which raised the ire of Godoy; following this, Valdés withdrew to Burgos and not until the reign of Fernando VII was he recalled to Court.

For furtJanuary 3, 2006s ilustre: el Baylío Don Antonio Valdés, Burgos, Hijos de Santiago Rodríguez, s.d. pp. 34 e segg.

F. de P. PAVÍAa, Galería Biográfica de los Generales de marina, jefes y personajes notables que figuraron en la misma desde 1700 a 1868, Madrid, López, 1873, 4 voll; v. sub voce.

Image courtesy of the Centro di Studi Malaspiniani, Mulazzo, Italy.  Biographical and bibliographical notes by Dario Manfredi (Italian version), translated by John Black.

Updated: December 20, 2005