Of Basque descent, he was a lieutenant general before becoming the 104th Governor of and the 78th Governor of the under Spanish colonial rule. He also had a political career in Spain. In 1840 he was briefly Minister of War.
On his return to Spain in 1860 he was made a senator, but he died the same year.
He did extensive infrastructure work in One example was the bridge known as General Norzagaray"s Grand Bridge, which crossed the Los Frailes stream. Arsenals were constructed, and a cavalry was created.
Norzagaray authorized establishments of houses of foreign currency exchange on June 18, 1857, just two months after his ascendancy to governor. He ordered local administration reforms in September 1858 and reorganized the infantry in September 1859.
They were given the Escuela Municipal, which is the only primary school in Manila, on October 1, 1859.
In 1858 he established a botanical garden, the Jardín Botánico, on the site now known as Mehan Garden. He sent Philippine troops to Cochinchina, southern Vietnam, in 1858 in a joint campaign with the French. The expedition raised hopes of increasing Philippine trade in Asia, however, Spain and its colony gained little long-term benefit from the four-year campaign.
At the Siege of Tourane, the Spanish navy was represented by the armed despatch vessel El Cano, only one of the initial 13 warships used during the campaign.
The transport included a marine artillery battery and 1,000 troops drawn from the Spanish garrison of the, mostly Tagalogs and Visayans. lieutenant was put under the command of the French Admiral Charles Rigault de Genouilly.
The combined Franco-Spanish force was forced to evacuate Tourane, giving way to the Vietnamese. The same force was used in the Siege of Saigon, which was put under the same French admiral, and garnered a victory for the combined Franco-Spanish force.
In 1860, most of the Spanish forces under the command of Admiral Bernardo Ruiz de Lanzarote were withdrawn on French request.
France went on to develop a colony in Vietnam. The town of Norzagaray, which was formerly known as Casay, was named in his honor. During his term, he separated Casay from Angat and made the former a distinct town.