Francisco de Ibarra

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Francisco de Ibarra

Francisco de Ibarra (1539 June 3, 1575) was a Basque explorer, founder of the city of Durango, and governor of the Spanish province of Nueva Vizcaya, in present-day Durango and Chihuahua.

A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, governor may be the title of a politician who governs a constituent state and may be either appointed or elected. The power of the individual governor can vary dramatically between political systems, with some governors having only nominal or largely ceremonial power, while others having a complete control over the entire government.

Nueva Vizcaya was the first province in the north of New Spain to be explored and settled by the Spanish. It consisted mostly of the area which is today the states of Chihuahua and Durango in Mexico.

Durango State of Mexico

Durango, officially Free and Sovereign State of Durango, is a state in northwest Mexico. With a population of 1,632,934, Durango has Mexico's second-lowest population density, after Baja California Sur. The city of Victoria de Durango is the state's capital, named after the first president of Mexico, Guadalupe Victoria.

Biography

Francisco de Ibarra was born about 1534 in Eibar, Gipuzkoa, in the Basque Country of Spain. He went to Mexico as a young man, and upon the recommendation and financing of his uncle, conquistador and wealthy mine owner Diego de Ibarra, Francisco was placed at the head of an expedition to explore northwest from Zacatecas in 1554. The young Ibarra noted silver in the vicinity of present-day Fresnillo, but passed it by. He explored further and founded towns at San Martín and Avino, where the silver mines made him a mine owner in his own right. [1] Ibarra's expedition to Zacatecas was later documented by Spanish historian Baltasar Obregón, who traveled with Ibarra in 1554.

Eibar Municipality in Basque Country, Spain

Eibar is a city and municipality within the province of Gipuzkoa, in the Basque Country of Spain. It is the head town of Debabarrena, one of the comarcas of Gipuzkoa.

Gipuzkoa Province of Spain

Gipuzkoa is a province of Spain and a historical territory of the autonomous community of the Basque Country. Its capital city is Donostia-San Sebastián. Gipuzkoa shares borders with the French department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques at the northeast, with the province and autonomous community of Navarre at east, Biscay at west, Álava at southwest and the Bay of Biscay to its north. It is located at the easternmost extreme of the Cantabric Sea, in the Bay of Biscay. It has 66 kilometres of coast land.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1562, Ibarra headed another expedition to push farther into northwest Mexico. In particular, he was searching for the fabled golden city of Copala (also called Cibola). He did not find the mythical treasure, but explored and conquered what is now the Mexican state of Durango. Ibarra was appointed governor of the newly formed province of Nueva Vizcaya (New Biscay) in 1562, and the following year he founded the city of Durango to be its capital. [2] :29,53-4

The Seven Cities of Gold is a myth that was popular in the 16th century. It is also featured in several works of popular culture. According to legend, the seven cities of gold could be found throughout the pueblos of the New Mexico Territory. The cities were Hawikuh, Halona, Matsaki, Quivira, Kiakima, Cibola, and Kwakina. While there have always been mentions of a seventh city, no evidence of a site has been found.

In 1564, Ibarra, following rumors of rich mineral deposits, crossed the Sierra Madre Occidental to conquer what is now southern Sinaloa. Prospectors discovered silver veins in the new territory, and in 1565, de Ibarra founded the towns of Copala and es:Pánuco (Sinaloa).

Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range

The Sierra Madre Occidental is a major mountain range system of the North American Cordillera, that runs northwest–southeast through northwestern and western Mexico, and along the Gulf of California. The Sierra Madre is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges (cordillera) that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western 'backbone' of North America, Central America, South America and West Antarctica.

Sinaloa State of Mexico

Sinaloa, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Sinaloa, is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, compose the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 18 municipalities and its capital city is Culiacán Rosales.

Copala, Sinaloa human settlement in Mexico

Copala, formerly known as San José de Copala, is a four-century-old silver-mining town in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. The town is in the municipality of Concordia.

Soldiers under Ibarra's direction explored north from Durango in 1567, and founded the town of Santa Bárbara in present-day Chihuahua to mine the silver they found there.

Santa Bárbara, Chihuahua City in Chihuahua, Mexico

Santa Bárbara is a city and seat of the municipality of Santa Bárbara, in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. As of 2010, the city of Santa Bárbara had a population of 8,765, up from 8,673 as of 2005.

Chihuahua (state) State of Mexico

Chihuahua, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Chihuahua, is one of the 31 states of Mexico. It is located in Northwestern Mexico and is bordered by the states of Sonora to the west, Sinaloa to the southwest, Durango to the south, and Coahuila to the east. To the north and northeast, it has a long border with the U.S. adjacent to the U.S. states of New Mexico and Texas. Its capital city is Chihuahua City.

Francisco de Ibarra died on 3 June 1575 in Pánuco, Sinaloa, one of the silver-mining cities that he founded. [3]

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Fresnillo Place in Zacatecas, Mexico

Fresnillo /fres'nijo/, founded in 1554 by Francisco de Ibarra, is the second largest city in Zacatecas state, north central Mexico and the seat of Fresnillo municipality. As a rail and highway junction, Fresnillo is the center of a rich mining area known especially for silver, and the location of one of the world's richest silver mines, the Mina Proaño or Fresnillo Mine, which belongs to the Peñoles mining company. It has a mining school, and agriculture and cattle raising are other important economic activities. Fresnillo is also the municipal seat of the municipality of the same name which surrounds it. The municipality had a population of 196,538 and an areal extent of 4,947 square kilometres (1,910 sq mi).

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References

  1. P. J. Bakewell (1971) Silver Mining and Society in Colonial Zacatecas 1546–1700, Cambridge: University Press, p. 28–29.
  2. John Francis Bannon (1970). The Spanish Borderlands Frontier, 1513-1821. Histories of the American frontier (1 ed.). Albuquerque: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. p. 308. ISBN   0030851696. OCLC   5685684.
  3. José Ignacio Gallegos (1960) Durango Colonial, 1563–1821, Mexico City: Editorial Jus, p. 78.