D. Pedro Robledo

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Pedro Robledo

Birthdate: (60)
Birthplace: Maqueda, Toledo, Spain
Death: May 21, 1598 (60)
Paraje de Robledo (Radium Springs), Nuevo México (Note: The first of the Colonists to die in New Mexico on the trail east of the Rio del Norte, and a great bluff still called "Robledo". )
Place of Burial: On the trail east of Rio Del Norte, New Mexico, New Spain
Immediate Family:

Son of Alejo Robledo; Alejo Robledo; Alejo Robledo; Alejo Robledo and Unknown
Husband of Catalina López
Father of Luisa López Robledo; Diego Robledo; Alonso Robledo; Pedro Robledo, II; Francisco Robledo and 2 others

Occupation: Immigration about 1576 (Age 38 years) Nueva Espana Member 1598 Onate yes
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About D. Pedro Robledo

Pedro Robledo born 1538 in Carmena, Maqueda, España died May 21,1598 in Paraje de Robledo (now Radium Springs), Nuevo México

Pedro immigrated from Spain to the New World about 1576. He was an early settler of New Mexico, arriving with Oñate's expedition on August 18, 1598.


  1. Catalina Lopez

Children of Pedro and Catalina Lopez:

  1. Luisa Lopez Robledo, born at Maqueda, Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
  2. Francisca Robledo, born at Maqueda, Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
  3. Pedro II Robledo, born at Tepalcatepec (Michoacán)
  4. Alonso Robledo, born at Cimapan, Baja California, New Spain
  5. Diego Robledo, born at Maqueda, Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
  6. Francisco Robledo, born at Valladolid or Zamora, New Spain

Pedro Robledo is the son of Alejo Robledo.


The varied birthplaces of his sons show how much this family had wandered all over New Spain before reaching New Mexico.

Pedro Robledo was a sixty year old Alférez (lieutenant) when he joined Oñate's party in 1598. He was a native of Maqueda (near Madrid and Toledo), the son of Alejo Robledo. He is described as of good stature and completely gray. In the muster-roll of 1597, he stated that he had been born at the place of El Carmen of "El Carneros," who had lived in Toledo. With him were his wife, daughters and four sons who were already soldiers.

On May 21, 1598, Pedro Robledo, one of the eldest members of the group, died unexpectedly, shortly after the Oñate party entered into New México. Robledo, a sixty-year-old officer was an unusual participant in the expedition. Not too many gray-haired officers existed 400 years ago. Nonetheless, Robledo believed he could successfully participate in this venture because he had four strong sons, ranging in age from eighteen to twenty-seven, to help him carry out his duties along the trail. Unfortunately, the journey became too much for him.

His sons took the news very hard. In fact, most of the colonists mourned his loss. Pedro Robledo was the first of the expedition to pass away. He was buried on 21 May 1598 on the trail east of Rio del Norte. As a tribute to Robledo, the group named the spot where they camped the Paraje de Robledo (the Robledo Campsite). The Spanish referred to the site by that name through the end of the colonial period. To this day the mountain that overlooks the campsite is still known as Robledo Mountain.

The day after Robledo's funeral, Oñate left the main group with an escort of approximately sixty people. This small group went ahead to help make travel for the main caravan less hazardous. With Oñate, went the two Zaldívar brothers, Father Cristóbal de Salazar, Father Alonso Martínez, the four Robledo brothers, and other soldiers, some of who brought their wives and children. Oñate's young son, Cristóbal, may have also accompanied his father on this excursion. This group intended to ride ahead of the wagon train to help establish good relations with the Indians, acquire grain, and to scout out the perfect site for the group's first settlement. However, accomplishing these goals was more difficult then any of them anticipated.

Pedro's family continued north with the colony to be among the founders of San Gabriel de los Caballeros. His widow, Catalina López, had journeyed with him from Toledo to New Spain over 22 years ealier (about 1597). Their sons were Diego, Alonso, Pedro and Francisco. Two of their known daughters were already married when they arrived in New México. They were Luisa, wife of Bartolomé Romero and Francisca, wife of Juan de Tapiz.

His family members were among the Loyalists who stayed on in New Mexico to raise their families.

Royal License

According to records dealing with Pedro Robledo's request for a license to travel to New Spain, Robledo declared he was married and had children and that he was struggling in Spain to make a living. He wanted to take his family to Mexico City in New Spain where his "primos hermanos," Miguel de Sandoval and Catalina Sánchez, resided.

In a document dated 10 November 1574, Villa de Torrijos (about 20 miles from Maqueda), Pedro Robledo declared he was married legitimately within the Catholic Church with Catalina López and had these children: Ana, Diego, Luis and Lucía. Again he mentioned his cousins in Mexico City, Miguel de Sandoval and Catalina Sánchez.

The Original Documents in Spanish can be found in Beyond Origins, Vol. 4 Researchers: Charles Martínez y Vigil (extraction and photocopies) and José Antonio Esquibel (summary).

On a recent trip to Spain, Charles Martínez y Vigil uncovered records pertaining to the request for license to travel to the New World relating to Pedro Robledo and Catalina López (ONMF: 93). These records consist of 19 pages and are dated 1574. In these records, Pedro Robledo is identified as a "vecino de lugar de Carmena." Carmena was in the jurisdiction of Maqueda. Robledo declared he was married and had children and that he was struggling in Spain to make a living. He wanted to take his family to México City in New Spain where his "primos hermanos," Miguel de Sandoval and Catalina Sánchez, resided. Sandoval and Sánchez are repeatedly refered to as "personas muy ricas" who had written to him many times encouraging Robledo and his family to come live with them.

In a document dated 10 November 1574, Villa de Torrijos (about 20 miles from Maqueda), Pedro Robledo declared he was married legitimately within the Catholic Church with Catalina López and had these children: Ana, Diego, Luis and Lucía. Again he mentioned his cousins in México City, Miguel de Sandoval and Catalina Sánchez. Robledo presented three witnesses on his behalf, Alexo Pérez and Luis Martín, vecinos del lugar de Carmena, and Sebastián López de Alcabon [?], vecino of Torrijos.

In the testimony of the witnesses, it is mentioned that the lugar de Carmena is located within the lands of the Duque de Maqueda. Alexo Pérez, age 30, confirmed that Pedro and his wife were legitimately married and named their children as Diego, Ana, Lucía and Luis. He decribed Robledo and his wife as "gente honrrada y principal." Pérez further stated that Miguel de Sandoval and Catalina Sánchez were natives of the same area of Maqueda and were cousins of Pedro Robledo. This document has two signatures. The first is difficult to read, but is presumably that of Pedro Robledo. The second signature clearly reads "Cata López." The handwriting for both signatures is similar and may indicate that the document was a copy.

Luis Martín, age 25, declared that for all of his life he had known Pedro Robledo. The rest of his testimony corresponds with that of Alexo Pérez, as does the testimony of Sebastián López de Alcabon [?].

We learn from other related documents that Pedro Robledo had a nephew in his care. This nephew, named Luis, was orphaned as a child and became a ward of Robledo. In 1574, Luis was 16 years old. Pedro sought license to be granted for him to go to New Spain with his family. Testimony was collected from several people to confirm the relationship between Pedro and his ward. On 7 December 1574, in the lugar de Carmena, jurisduction of Maqueda, Pedro Robledo declared that his nephew, Luis, had lived with him for the past 10-12 year, and brought four witnesses to testify to this. The witnesses were Juan de la Cadena y Vega, Juan de la Casa, and Martín de Ysasaga, and Pedro López (son of Fancisco López de Sto [? -Santo?]), each of whom declared they were not related to Pedro Robledo.

Juan de la Cadena y Vega, age 28, vecino de Carmena, declared that he knew Pedro Robledo and his nephew Luis. He further stated that Luis was an orphan and had lived in the care of Robledo since he was a child.

Juan de la Casa, over 50 years old, also a vecino de Carmena, provided the same testimony, as did Martín de Ysasago, age 30.

Pedro López, 50 years old, son of Francisco López de Sto [? -Santo?], vecino de Carmena, provided the same testimony and added that the nephew had been in Robledo's care for the past 10-11 years.

The testimonies were written by Alonso Durán, Public Scribe appointed by the Duque de Maqueda, Don Bernardino de Cárdenas with approval from the King and his Royal Council.

The information above comes from documents found in the Archivo General de Indias, Seville, in a collection referred to as "Indiferente." It is likely that there are related documents still to be located in the AGI collection known as Contratación. It was at the Casa de Contratación that people with license to pass to the New World presented themselves and were accounted for before getting on a ship for the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.

Researchers: Charles Martínez y Vigil (extraction and photocopies) and José Antonio Esquibel (summary).


Stanley Hordes, in his fascinating and scholarly book titled To the End of the Earth, A History of the Crypto-Jews of New México, pgs. 115-116, raises the possibility that Pedro Robledo may have come from a family of conversos. Robledo was born in Carmena, Maqueda, Spain, but spent much of his life in Toledo, Spain before moving to New Spain in 1574.

The records from the Church at Carmena, Maqueda, were destroyed in the Spanish Civil War, so little is known about his ancestry. There were a number of Robledo families living the old Jewish quarter of Toledo in the mid 1600's, but connecting Pedro to these families is close to impossible.

Title of Hidalgo

A question has always existed as to whether any of the original colonists of 1598 were ever granted the title that they were promised as part of the contract for settling New Mexico. This title is namely, that of "Hijo-dalgo" or Hidalgo. Part of the doubt as to whether this title was ever granted was that no documentation had surfaced confirming the grant of title.

José Esquibel recently uncovered a list of papers that had belonged to Francisco Gómez Robledo (ONMF: 35). This list of papers was mentioned in BONM Volume 3. Among those papers were papers that had belonged to Francisco's father, Francisco Gómez (ONMF: 35 ). Among those was a "Cédula Real de un Caballero Hidalgo." This confirmed that the senior Francisco Gómez was granted this title, but just exactly how that title was worded remained unknown.

Recently, Charles Martínez y Vigil found in the New Mexico State Archives a book entitled, History of New Mexico by Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá. This edition was translated by Gilberto Espinosa and published by the Quivira Society in 1933. In the Appendices are numerous papers written to or about Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá. Apparently these are all part of a collection of Villagrá's personal papers, though no mention is made of the source, these can all be assumed to be located in Spain.

In Appendix E of this book is found the following:

Title of Caballero and Hijo-dalgo in favor or Captain Gaspar de Villagra and his Descendants. 1603.

Don Juan de Oñate, governor and captain general, adelantado, discoverer and pacifier of the kingdoms and provinces of New Mexico and the adjoining and neighboring regions, in the name of the king, our lord:

To you, honored sir, brave and discreet, Captain Gaspar de Villagra, procurador general of the army, judge advocate [for juez asesor] of the church, of the council of war, head and agent of the royal hacienda:

Whereas the majesty of Caesarean and royal liberality is evidenced in no better way than by fitly rewarding those who deserve its benefits, honors, and dignities, that they may on the one hand receive proper remuneration and recognition for their virtues and deserts, and on the other hand that others may, with hope of such rewards, take notice and aspire with greater fervor and increasing virtue to like recompense, lending similare service; and although it be true that virture is its own reward, yet it is always fittingly followed by such remuneration as its glory, honor, and excellence entitles it to. But especialy is this proper when great princes by their decree and order approve and honor them.

For the above reasons, considering the many and good services you have rendered to the king, our lord, and the outstanding virtures of your person, and their just deserts; the noble and exemplary habits of your life, your great experience in many affairs, your god judgment, industry, and skill, your ability in war, all of which virtues you are endowed with, as I well know, having witnessed them on many occasions, in peace as well as in war. And so, fittingly to reward your efforts and labors and that you may enjoy the privileges which pertain to hijos-dalgo, and so be known, having complied with your duty, and in furtherance of what his majesty has promised to the pacifiers and conquerors of these kingdoms, newly affirmed and renewed in a royal degree referred to the secretary, Juan Ibarra, which is as follows:

Don Philip, by the grace of God, king of Castile and Aragon, [etc.].

Whereas the viceroy Don Luis de Velasco by virtue of a royal decree of the king, our lord, may he live in glory, entered into a contract with Don Juan de Oñate, for the discovery, pacification, and settlement of the provinces of New Mexico, which is in New Spain, and among other things he granted to him what is contained in one of the chapters of the instructions on new discoveries and settlements in the Indies, which is as follows:

That those who bind themselves to settle and shall have settled in thse lands and have complied with their agreement, in order to honor their persons and their descendants, and that a glorious memory may remain of them as the original settlers, we declare them and their legitimate descendants hijos-dalgo de solar (of the lands owned by them) that in the settlements they establish and in any other part of the Indies they may be hijos-dalgo and persons of noble lineage and as such may be considered and known and enjoy all the benefits, privileges, and immunities thereto pertaining and do all things that hijos-dalgo and caballeros may in the kingdoms of Castile, according to the privileges, laws, and customs of Spain.

With reference to the petition of Don Juan de Onate, I have been requested to grant him the grace to approve the above, notwithstanding the limitations made therein by the Count of Monterey, and I have considered it proper to apply said prerogative to those who served five years in the conquest with the proviso that if any have died before serving five years in the conquest then their sons and descendants shall enjoy said prerogatives; for the present I order that all those who may have gone to serve me in said conquest, pacification, and settlement, and according and in conformity with said chapter, and remained five years in said conquest, and all those who in said conquest died, they and their sons and descendants shall be guaranteed all the preeminences, prerogatives, exemptions, and liberties, according to and as conceded them and set forth in said chapter, entirely and completely, failing in nothing.

I order the infantes, prelates, dukes, marquises, counts, knights, priors of the Orders, prefects and sub-prefects, alcaldes of the castles and walled towns and of my council, presidents and judges, alcaldes, sheriffs of my houshold and of the court, and the judges of this kingdom and the seigniories of the Indies, isles and tierra firma of the ocean, and other persons of every character or quality and condition, to guard, comply with, and execute this my franchise and grace that it may have the full force of law, as though it were executed and promulgated by the courts, and that it may be announced in such parts and places as convenient.

Given at San Lorenzo, July 8, 1602.

I, the King

I, Juan de Ibarra, secretary to the king, have done this, his command.

By virtue of the above, I declare you, the said Captain Gaspar de Villagra, as such a pacifier and conqueror of those kingdoms, and having served the royal crown of Castile like a most noble soldier and prudent captain, for which you merit the enjoyment of those liberties and privileges, exemptions and immunities by which hijos-dalgo de solar are recognized and held, fully and to all effects, in favor of yourself, your sons, descendants, and successors.

Given and sealed with the seal of my arms in the villa of San Gabriel of the province of New Mexico, on October 1, 1603.

Juan de Oñate

By command of the governor,

Juan Martinez de Montoya, secretary

The above shows that the title of "Caballero Hidalgo" was in fact bestowed upon certain people. Whether it was given to every settler, or to only a few of those who were loyal to Oñate is hard to say. Only the above for Villagrá and the other in the possession of Francisco Gómez Robledo have come to light. Gerónimo Márquez was one of Oñate's loyal officers, and was also banished from New Mexico along with Villagrá. And then there was the senior Pedro Robledo who died along the trip in 1598, and his own son, Pedro Robledo II who died at Ácoma. All of these may have also been given this title.

Robledo Mountain

Pedro Robledo died where Radium Springs, Doña Ana County, New Mexico is today. The Robledo mountain range by Ft. Selden is named for this ancestor. It was at this point that travelers would leave the Rio Grande and enter the Jornada del Muerto.


AGI, Sevilla, Indiferente, 2055, N.77.

The Origins of New México Families, pg. 93

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D. Pedro Robledo's Timeline

Maqueda, Toledo, Spain
Age 36
Manchegos, Toledo, Reino de Castillo, España.
Age 37
Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha, España
Age 39
Reino de Nueva España
Age 40
Tepalcatepec, Provincia de Michoacán, Reino de Nueva España
Age 43
Maqueda (near Toledo), Espania
Age 54
Maqueda, Toledo, La Mancha, Reino de Castilla, España
May 21, 1598
Age 60
Nuevo México