Capitán y Conquistador de Florida Vasco Porcallo Manuel de Figueroa

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Capitán y Conquistador de Florida Vasco Porcallo Manuel de Figueroa

Spanish: Capitán y Conquistador de Florida Vasco Rodriguez Treviño
Birthdate: (76)
Birthplace: Caceres, Extremadura, Spain
Death: Died in Puerto Principe, Cuba
Immediate Family:

Son of Gutierre Porcallo de Sotomayor and María Aldonza Manuel de Figueroa
Husband of Leonor de Zúniga; Elvira "Tinína" López de Mendoza; Catalina Velasquez and María de la Cerda
Father of María Manuel de Figueroa y Mendoza; Lorenzo Gomez Juarez de Figueroa; Vasco Porcallo de Figueroa; Capitan Cristobal Porcallo Manuel de Figueroa; Francisco Juarez de Figueroa y Mendoza and 8 others
Brother of Alonso Sotomayor; María Gutierrez Valverde and María de Mendoza y Porcallo

Occupation: led conquest of Tampico, Conquistador, Explorer
Managed by: Private User
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About Capitán y Conquistador de Florida Vasco Porcallo Manuel de Figueroa

Regarding allegation that Vasco Porcallo was never in Mexico:

Vasco Porcallo was the conqueror of Tampico, a vassal state of the Aztecs. Hernan Cortes had requested his services during the conquest. However, Porcallo's conduct regarding the natives was so egregious that charges were brought against him.

I've added a source from PARES, a document from Hernan Cortes asking the Spanish court to essentially pardon Porcallo.  (

The document was not catalogued in the archives until 1551. The text reads:

"Sobrecédula al presidente y oidores de la Audiencia de México, sobre otra anterior que ordena que no se remuevan ni quiten a Vasco Porcallo, mientras que esté ausente, ciertos pueblos de indios que tiene en esa tierra, y que le fueron dados por Don Hernando Cortés, en renumeración de sus servicios."

(Entry submitted by Rosa Martha Villarreal)


Encomendero; regidor y alcalde de PPE en diversos años.

Los veteranos en 14 de junio de 1911 solicitaron que a la calle de Santa Rosa se le nominara Vasco Porcallo, lo cual fue aprobado por el Ayuntamiento de PPE en la Sesión

del 20 de junio de 1911.

En 1544 visitó Puerto Príncipe el obispo fray Diego de Sarmiento Sotomayor, religioso cartujo que llegó con la expedición de Hernando de Soto.

"En su informe, dado en La Habana el 25 de julio de 1544

al Reino manifiesta que:

En 30 de marzo vine a esta villa del Puerto del Príncipe,

que visité. Hay 14 vecinos. En la comarca vive Vasco

Porcallo de Figueroa, la más calificada persona de esta

isla, de linaje y hacienda. Tiene en esta villa casadas 2

hijas mestizas con dos de los principales de ella, y desde

su cabaña,que por mar y por tierra dista de aquí 100

leguas, viene siempre a residir aquí parte del año. Es

generoso y animoso, y es mucha parte para sustentar esta villa y la de Sancti Spíritus. Todos le respetan como a

padre, por sus buenas obras." Cultura y Costumbre 2005:27

Tuvo otras dos hijas doña Teresa de la Cerda y Sotomayor, casada con el capitán Esteban de Lagos Mexías, doña Leonor de la Cerda y Sotomayor, también esposa de un hombre principal en Puerto Príncipe, citadas por el obispo De Sarmiento como mestizas

Cultura y Costmbre 2005.

Vasco Porcallo de Figueroa (1) was born in about 1484, or in 1494, in Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain. In 1522,

He stated at a trial that he was 28 years old, which, if true, would mean that he was born in 1494. He sailed to Española with Nicolás de Ovando, the newly appointed governor general of the Indies, arriving there on April 15, 1502. More than one source includes the report that he, Porcallo, fled Spain to escape the law, having murdered a cousin over a family inheritance. Historia de Familias Cubanas also states that, before he sailed to Española, he servido [served] in Spain and Italy. From all these statements is appears more than likely that the 1484 date is closer tothe truth.

Ovando's mission in Española was to subdue the indigenous Taino Indians, which he achieved within five years by either killing or enslaving practically the entire Indian population. Porcallo enthusiastically assisted Ovando in this work and for this he was given considerable land and quantities of Indians. In 1511, with Diego de Velázquez de Cuéllar, Porcallo passed to the conquest of the island of Cuba, where he founded the towns of Puerto Príncipe, Sancti Spiritus, San Juan de los Remedios, and Trinidad. He owned a country property called La Sabana, located in either Trinidad or near Remedios, where he made a great fortune from his plantations and mines worked by his siboneye slaves.

Obispo [bishop] Diego Sarmiento wrote in 1544: In this district [Puerte Príncipe], Vasco Porcallo de Figueroa, the most qualified person in this island, lives off linaje [lineage] and country property. He has in this village two mestiza [mixed blood] daughters who are married to two of the most important men of the town and from his home [in Remedios], a hundred leagues distant, always comes to spend part of the year here. He is generous and brave and es muchaparte [does much ???] to sustain this village and that of SanctiSpiritus. All respect him like a father for his good works.

He was, however, and with good reason, hated and feared by the siboneyes. He traveled the countryside, raiding their towns and making slaves of those he caught. He, thus, became the most powerfuland rich encomendero [???], capturing thousands of siboneyes, selling the youths, feeding the old and weak to his dogs, and sending the young Indians to work on his country properties.

Due to the cruelty of Porcallo and others like him, most of the Indian population was exterminated, many siboneyes preferring to commit suicide than to work for their Spanish masters. In 1522, Porcallo's treatment of his Indians was questioned by a court alarmed at the reports of murders, mutilations, and other outrages, which had come to their ears.

Porcallo denied none of the charges and added that he had once killed twelve Indians, cutting off their testicles, which he then forced them to eat, before burning them "as an example to the others". With few Indians left to work the fields, the Spaniards were forced to look for African slaves, and in 1530, Vasco Porcallo brought to his country property the first black slaves, eight men, twelve women, and twelve children.

He lived extravagantly in Trinidad and aided various expeditions leaving Cuba for new discoveries and conquests. He gave Pánfilo de Narváez "certain stores" before Narvaez set out on his ill fated voyage to Florida in 1527, and, on June 7, 1538, when Hernando de Soto arrived as the new Governor of Cuba with a commission to sail to and claim Florida for the Spanish crown, Porcallo again offered his support, giving Soto provisions and Andalusian horses bred on his property La Sabana. Soto was so well pleased that he offered Porcallo the position of second in command of the expedition, to which Porcallo agreed, and he caused the vessels to be well provisioned, giving a great many hogs and loads of caçabe bread.

With two of his sons, and with the rank of teniente general de la Armada [deputy general of the Armada], Porcallo accompanied adelantado Soto, arriving at the bay of Espiritu Santo (now Tampa Bay) on May 31,1539. It was a magnificent expedition, but Porcallo remained inFlorida for only a short time - returning to Cuba due to his age. Other writers see the reason for his return a little differently.

Fidalgo de Elvas, an unknown Portuguese, wrote that, as the principal object of Vasco Porcallo de Figueroa in coming to Florida had been to get slaves for his plantation and mines, finding, after some incursions, that no seizures could be made, because of dense forest and extensive bogs, he determined to go back to Cuba; and in consequence of that resolution, there grow up such a difference between him and Soto, that neither of them treated nor spoke to the other kindly. Still, with words of courtesy, he asked permission of him to return, and took his leave.

Rodrigo Ranjel wrote that Vasco Porcallo, upon his return from a raid, had something of a clash with the governor and it was accepted as a good settlement that Vasco Porcallo should return to Cuba to look after the affairs of the government there, and to provide the governor and his army, when it should be necessary, with what they might have need.

Rafael Farto wrote that a few days after the expedition arrived in the bay of Espiritu Santo, they were attacked by a large group of Indians and Porcallo, ahead of his men, turned them back, becoming the hero of the day. Soon after, however, he collapsed in a fit of trembling and, although he was only forty five years of age, being obese and suffering badly from gout, he decided to return immediately to Cuba.

On his return, Porcallo passed most of the time at La Sabana until 1550, when he died, at fifty six years of age, in Puerto Príncipe, where he was buried beneath the main altar of the parish church.

In some genealogical trees, he appears married to Elvira de Mendoza, Spanish, according to others, to a young Indian princess called Tinima, the daughter of cacique [chief] Camagüebax. His many children include Elvira, Leonor, Teresa, Gomez Juan de Figueroa, María, Vasco, Cristóbal, and Lorenzo Gómez Juarez de Figueroa. He had many more children than these eight, and José Barreiro wrote that Porcallo took dozens of Indian wives and spawned a generation of more than a hundred mestizos.

Children of Vasco Porcallo de Figueroa and Tinima, Elvira de Mendoza, and others:

i Elvira Lasso de la Vega [7th great grandmother of Perucho]

ii Leonor de la Cerda (2) was born in Puerto Príncipe. She married Luis Diaz de Lagones, and they had three children, Cristóbal Porcallo, Inés de Mendoza, and María Manuel. Leonor then married Gonzalo de Lagos y de la Jardina, alcalde ordinario [magistrate] de Bayamo. They had no children.

iii Teresa de la Cerda Sotomayor y Casenda was born in Puerto Príncipe and married Capitán Esteban de Lagos Mexias (2), in Puerto Príncipe. He was regidor [councilman] and alcalde ordinario [magistrate] de Bayamo, son of Garcia de Lagos, also regidor and alcalde ordinario de Bayamo, and Francisca Pérez. They had eight children, Gonzalo de la Cerda, Lorenzo Lasso de la Vega, Ana de Lagos, García Mejía de la Cerda, María de Mendoza, Elvira de Lagos, Teresa de Lagos, and Esteban de Mendoza also called Esteban de la Cerda. Teresa made her will in Bayamo, in 1627, in which she "declara querer ser enterrada en lasepultura de su padre" [stated her wish to be buried in the sepulcher of her father].

iv Gomez Juan de Figueroa

v Maria Porcallo de Figueroa was born in Puerto Príncipe and married Capitán Juan de Argote, a native of Andalusia, in San Salvador de Bayamo. He was born in about 1472, and died after 1562. Some historians say that Juan was born in Bayamo, the son of an Indian chief and that he was raised by Vasco Porcallo de Figueroa (1). María and Juan had a daughter, Juana Manuel de Figueroa y Argote.

vi Vasco Porcallo de Figueroa (2) was born in Puerto Príncipe, and was regidor [councilman] and alcalde ordinario [magistrate] de Puerto Príncipe. In 1539, que era muy joven [though he was very young], he accompanied his father and older brother, Lorenzo, on the expedition to Florida undertaken by Hernando de Soto. He returned to Cuba with his father before long.

vii Cristobal Porcallo de Figueroa was capitán de infanteria en la Habana and en la villa de Puerto Príncipe.

viii Lorenzo Gomez Juarez de Figueroa was capitán de infanteria and teniente de gobernador de los territories colonizados por su padre [captain of infantry and lieutenant governor of the territories colonized by his father]. Pasó a La Florida con el Adelantado Hernandez de Soto y tambien estuvo en el Peru cuando la rebelion de Pizarro [He went to Florida with the Adelantado Hernandez de Soto and was also in Peru at the time of the rebellion of Pizarro]. He is mentioned briefly in a narrative of de Soto's expedition based on the diary of Rodrigo Ranjel who writes: On the 17th of March [1540?] they left Capachequi and at nightfall came to White Spring. ... The next day they came at nightfall to the river Toa where they made two bridges; and the horse belonging to Lorenzo Juarez, son of VascoPorcallo was drowned.

Fueron hijos suyos, probablemente, [They were his children, probably] Juan and Francisca, and sin duda [without a doubt], Francisco and Alonso Xuárez de Figueroa.


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