Felipe de Neve
|4th Governor of the Californias|
|Preceded by||Fernando Rivera y Moncada|
|Succeeded by||Pedro Fages|
Bailén, Province of Jaén (Spain)
|Died||November 3, 1784|
|Occupation||Explorer and Governor of California|
Felipe de Neve y Padilla (1724 - 1784) was a Spanish soldier who served as the 4th Governor of the Californias, from 1777 to 1782. Neve is considered one of the founders of Los Angeles and was instrumental in the foundation of San Jose and Santa Barbara.
Born in Bailen, Spain, Neve was the son of Mary D. Padilla y Costilla and Felipe de Neve Noguera Castro y Figueroa and was born into one of the well-respected families of Andalucia. Neve entered the military in 1744 at about 16 years of age. Neve served as a soldier in Cantabria, Flanders, Milan, and Portugal before arriving in New Spain. During his time as a major he administered the colleges of Zacatecas, Mexico.
Neve was appointed as acting Governor of Las Californias on October 18, 1774 by Viceroy Antonio Maria de Buareli y Ursua. For the first two years of his appointment, Neve was based in Loreto, Baja California and later moved to Monterey California.
It was during Neve's administration that Lieutenant José Joaquín Moraga is credited with building the Presidio of San Francisco, after the site was selected by Juan Bautista de Anza in 1776. Moraga is also known as the founder of El Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, the present day city of San Jose, California. On 29 November 1777, Moraga founded San José on orders from Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa, the Spanish Viceroy of New Spain. It was the first Spanish colonial pueblo in the northern region of Las Californias Province, which became its own Alta California Province in 1804. The city served as a farming community to support the Presidio of San Francisco and the Presidio of Monterey.
In 1781, later in Neve's tenure, he founded the Pueblo de Los Ángeles. Governor Neve had applied to Viceroy Bucareli for permission to establish a settlement (pueblo) near the Los Angeles River (Río de Porciúncula), where Father Juan Crespí had met local Tongva Indians. With the viceroy's approval, de Neve was granted authority from The Crown, Charles III of Spain, to found and establish the second pueblo in upper Las Californias, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula (The Pueblo of Our Lady Queen of the Angels of the Porciúncula River), the present day city of Los Angeles, California. Neve is credited with being one of the first urban planners because he personally drew the plans for the pueblo. Neve traveled north to inspect the Presidio and mission of San Francisco and the mission of Santa Clara and issued several reports on recent happenings in the Californias and recommendations for establishments, including the recommendation for the site of the city of Los Angeles. “The site had been scheduled for a mission since 1769 when Franciscan Father Juan Crespi first saw it and named it Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles de la Porciuncula for the river on which it was located.”
In 1781, Neve issued the "Reglamento para el gobierno de la provincia de Californias (Regulations for the Government of the Province of the Californias), the first rules regarding governance of secular pueblos like Los Angeles.
The location of the site was already inhabited by Native Americans who Father Crespi described as “very docile and friendly.” The town was called Yabit and the attitude of the Natives towards the foreigners did not change over time. Neve arrived to the site in 1779 where he selected three dozen boys and girls for conversion to Christianity and acted as the godfather to twelve of the children. Neve also selected a young married couple, renamed them as Felipe de Neve and Phelipa Theresa de Neve and remarried them.
Governor de Neve had applied to Viceroy Bucareli for permission to establish a settlement (pueblo) near the Los Angeles River (Río de Porciúncula), where Father Juan Crespí had met local Tongva Indians. The area chosen is described below:
“The habitable spots which border the Camino Real from San Diego to Monterey with sufficient pro- portion of waters for developing cultivation are the river Santa Ana at 28 leagues from San Diego, has abundant water and it is not difficult to draw it out as it proves, at seven leagues is the river San Gabriel with much water and lands for large planting, and to raise water not proven very difficult. One league distant from the Mission of this name, which does not use its waters because they obtain abundant and suf- ficient water for lands from the various springs which flow at the foot of the mountains. At 3 leagues from the Mission is the river of Porsincula [sic] with much water easy of access for both banks and beautiful lands in which we can make use of all.” 
With the Viceroy's approval, de Neve was granted authority from The Crown, Charles III of Spain, to found and establish the second pueblo in upper Las Californias, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula (The Pueblo of Our Lady Queen of the Angels of the Porciúncula River), the present day city of Los Angeles, California was founded on September 4, 1781. Of the sixteen families Neve planned on moving to the newly established pueblo, only eleven families made it. Throughout the journey some stayed back or became too ill to travel.
During Neve's tenure as governor, he quarreled constantly with the missionaries' leader, padre Junípero Serra, over the secularization of the Missions and the redistribution of land to the Mission Indian neophytes and soldiers. During his tenure four missions were founded: Mission San Francisco de Asís also called Mission Dolores (29 June 1776), Mission San Juan Capistrano (1 November 1776), Mission Santa Clara de Asís (12 January 1777) and Mission San Buenaventura (31 March 1782). Neve was given orders to establish a presidio at Santa Barbara and other pueblos with the goal of obtaining land and water for cultivation purposes. The presidio also served as a campaign to convert Yumi Indians or force those who did not want to convert out of the area.
Felipe de Neve recited the Cross of the Order of San Carlos and was made a Brigadier General. Governor de Neve's success as provincial governor won him a promotion in 1783 to succeed Teodoro de Croix as Commandante General of the Provinicas Internas, a position that had authority over al the northern provinces, including Las Californias. He held the position of Comandante General of the Frontier Provinces until his death on November 3, 1784 in hacienda Nuestra Señora del Carmen de Pena Blanca, Chihuahua, Mexico.
A 7½ foot cast broke state of Felipe de Neve by Henry Lion was installed in 1932 at La Plaza Park in the El Pueblo District of Los Angeles, California, by the City of Los Angeles. The statue is mounted on a 4-foot boulder and includes a bronze plaque with the following inscription:
"Felipe de Neve (1728-84): Spanish Governor of the Californias 1775-82. In 1781, on orders of King Carlos III of Spain, Felipe de Neve selected a site near the ricer Porciuncula and laid out of the town of El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, one of two Spanish Pueblos he founded in Alta California." 
The pueblo was proclaimed a city on May 23, 1835 by the Mexican Congress.
De Neve Drive in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles is named after him.
The Felipe de Neve Branch Library of the Los Angeles Public Library is located in Lafayette Park in Westlake, Los Angeles is dedicated to him.