Mariscal de campo Juan de Zaldívar Oñate y Mendoza

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Juan de Zaldívar Oñate y Mendoza

Birthdate: (29)
Birthplace: Zacatecas, Reino de Nueva Galicia, Reino de Nueva España
Death: December 4, 1598 (29)
Acoma Pueblo, Provincia de Nuevo México, Reino de Nueva España (Killed by the Acoma Indians)
Immediate Family:

Son of Tte. Cap. Gral. Vicente de Zaldivar y Oñate and Magdalena Mendoza Salazar
Brother of Ana de Zaldívar y Oñate; Capitán Cristóbal de Zaldívar Mendoza; Sargento Mayor Vicente de Zaldívar Oñate Mendoza; Ruy Díaz de Mendoza y Zaldívar; Catalina Zaldívar Mendoza and 1 other

Occupation: Second in Command, maese del campo (field marshal)
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Mariscal de campo Juan de Zaldívar Oñate y Mendoza

ZALDÍVAR, JUAN DE (ca. 1570–1598). Juan de Zaldívar, Spanish soldier and explorer, was born on the mining frontier of northern Mexico about 1570. His parents were Vicente de Zaldívar, the elder, and Magdalena de Mendoza y Salazar. The Zaldívar and Oñate families of Zacatecas were charter members of a "silver aristocracy" that had discovered and developed mines at Zacatecas in the late 1540s. Over time, these families had entered into such complex marriage alliances that Juan de Oñate, the future colonizer of New Mexico, was both uncle and second cousin of Juan de Zaldívar and his brother, Vicente de Zaldívar, the younger. The Spanish crown granted Juan de Oñate a contract to settle New Mexico in September 1595, and he began the immediate recruitment of military officers and civilian settlers. The future governor chose his young kinsman, Juan de Zaldívar, as his maestre de campo and second in command. Circumstances beyond Oñate's control delayed final approval by the king's agent of preparations for the expedition until January 1598. From Santa Bárbara, situated near the headwaters of the Río Conchos in southern Chihuahua, Oñate's expedition advanced on a direct route to the Rio Grande, where it arrived, to the southeast of the site of modern Ciudad Juárez, on April 30. Continuing upriver, Oñate arrived at "El Paso," the ford in the river, on May 4. Accompanied by Juan de Zaldívar, Oñate spent several days on both banks of the river acquiring provisions and calming the fear of nearby Indians. By July 11 the Oñate colony had advanced up the Rio Grande to a site north of present Santa Fe, where its members established the first capital at San Juan de los Caballeros. On December 4, 1598, Juan de Zaldívar and twelve other Spaniards died in an Indian revolt atop the great rock at Acoma. The subsequent siege of the sky pueblo by Zaldívar's brother, the trial of the Acomas, and the drastic punishment inflicted upon them was prompted, at least in part, by a desire to avenge the death of Oñate's kinsman and maestre de campo.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Herbert Eugene Bolton, ed., Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542–1706 (New York: Scribner, 1908; rpt., New York: Barnes and Noble, 1959). Donald E. Chipman, "The Oñate-Moctezuma-Zaldívar Families of Northern New Spain," New Mexico Historical Review 52 (October 1977). George P. Hammond and Agapito Rey, eds., Don Juan de Oñate: Colonizer of New Mexico, 1595–1628 (Santa Fe: Patalacio, 1927; rpt., Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1953). Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá, Historia de la Nueva México, 1610; trans. Gilberto Espinosa as A History of New Mexico (Los Angeles: Quivira Society, 1933; rpt., Chicago: Rio Grande Press, 1962). Marc Simmons, The Last Conquistador: Juan de Oñate and the Settling of the Far Southwest (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991).

Donald E. Chipman

From the Muster Roll of the Oñate Expedition

On January 8, 1598, inside the church at the pueblo of the mines of Todos Santos, Juan de Frías Salazar, commissary general. . . held the review and drew up a list of the people that Don Juan de Oñate presented and said that he had recruited for the expedition. The roll was as follows: Maese de Campo Don Juan de Zaldívar, son of Vicente de Zaldívar, a native of the city of Zacatecas, well built, chestnut-colored beard, 28 years of age, appeared with his arms and with all the rest that he had declared, except an harquebus, which he said he had given to a soldier.

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Mariscal de campo Juan de Zaldívar Oñate y Mendoza's Timeline

Zacatecas, Reino de Nueva Galicia, Reino de Nueva España
December 4, 1598
Age 29
Acoma Pueblo, Provincia de Nuevo México, Reino de Nueva España