Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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LASTRA, Francisco de la (las'-trah), Chilian soldier, born in Santiago, 4 October, 1777; died there, 13 May, 1852. He was sent to Spain to pursue his studies, and served in the navy of that country till 1807. He returned to Chili in 1811, enlisted in the revolutionary army, and was appointed political and military governor of Valparaiso. He organized in that port the militia and naval reserve, and also established arsenals for its defence. In March, 1814, he was chosen supreme director of the state, which place he held till July, when he was deposed in consequence of the treaty of Lircai with the Spanish. After the defeat of Rancagua, 2 October, 1814, Lastra was taken prisoner and sent to the island of Juan Fernandez, where he suffered many privations. He was liberated after the victory of Chacabuco, re-entered the service, and, after attaining the rank of colonel, was for the second time appointed in 1817 governor and general commander of the navy of Valparaiso. He was nominated councillor of state in January, 1823, and a few days afterward intendant of the province of Santiago, in which place he reconciled the parties that, threatened the tranquillity of the country. In the same year he was commissioned by the government to arrange and organize the navy. In 1825 he was appointed for the third time governor of Valparaiso, and attained the rank of general of brigade. In 1829 he was charged with the general inspection of the army, and soon afterward appointed minister of war and the navy. He then retired from public life till 1839, and in 1841 became a member of the court of appeals. In 1843 he was elected deputy to congress, and one year afterward appointed councillor of state, which place he held till his death.
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