Francisco de Montejo


Francisco de Montejo

Francisco de Montejo y Alverez (c. 1479 in Salamanca – c. 1553 in Spain) was a Spanish conquistador in Mexico and Central America.

Francisco de Montejo was born in Salamanca, Spain, in 1479 to Juan de Montejo and Catalina Alverez de Tejeda. He left Spain in 1514, and arrived in Cuba in time to join Grijalva's expedition along the coast of Yucatan and the Gulf of Mexico. There he had the rank of Captain, and command of 4 ships. On his return to Cuba, he joined with Hernan Cortes and as part of that expedition, helped found the city of La Villa Rica de Vera Cruz (today Veracruz) in Mexico. Cortes then sent him as an envoy back to Spain in 1519 to report on the expedition. While in Spain Montejo married Beatriz de Herrera.

In December 1526 the Spanish King, Carlos I, issued a royal decree naming Montejo Adelantado and Capitan General of Yucatan. He returned to Yucatan in 1528, and attempted to conquer it along the east coast (Tulum, Chetumal) but was driven back by the ferocity of the resistance of the Maya living along this coast. In 1530 he decided to try conquering Yucatan from the west, and began by pacifying what is today the modern Mexican state of Tabasco. From 1531-1535 he tried unsuccessfully to conquer western Yucatan, with some successes but in 1535 his forces were driven from Yucatan. In 1533, Montejo received a royal decree giving him permission to conquer Puerto Caballos and Naco in Honduras. This put him in conflict with Pedro de Alvarado, who had received a similar decree in 1532. This only became an issue after Alvarado declared he had conquered and pacified the province of Honduras in 1536. Alvarado continued as Governor of Honduras until 1540, although he was recalled to Spain in 1537.

In 1540, the Spanish King awards the Governorship of Honduras to Montejo, and he travels to Gracias a Dios to install an administration loyal to him.

It would fall to Montejo's son, Francisco de Montejo, El Mozo (born 1508, died 1565), to conquer Yucatan. He founded the city of Campeche in 1541, and Merida in 1542. In 1546, the elder Montejo assumed the title of Governor and Captain General of Yucatan. However, by 1550 complaints about him caused him to be recalled to Spain where he died in 1553.

Montejo was survived by his epynomous son, and a daughter, Catalina Montejo y Herrera.

References

*Chamberlain, Robert Stoner (1953) "The Conquest and Colonization of Honduras"
*Chamberlain, Robert Stoner (1948) "The Conquest and Colonization of Yucatan"


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