Vicente de Zaldívar

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Vicente de Zaldívar
Bornc. 1573
Diedbefore 1650
Zacatecas [1]
Spouse(s)María de Oñate
ChildrenNicolas de Zaldívar y Oñate
Parent(s)Vicente de Zaldívar, Sr.
Magdalena de Mendoza y Salazar
Relatives Cristóbal de Oñate (paternal great-uncle)
Juan de Oñate (paternal uncle & second cousin)
Juan de Zaldívar (brother)

Vicente de Zaldívar (c. 1573-before 1650) was a Spanish soldier and explorer in New Mexico. He led the Spanish force which perpetrated the Acoma Massacre at the Acoma Pueblo in 1599. He led or participated in several expeditions onto the Great Plains.

New Mexico State of the United States of America

New Mexico is a state in the Southwestern region of the United States of America; its capital and cultural center is Santa Fe, which was founded in 1610 as capital of Nuevo México, while its largest city is Albuquerque with its accompanying metropolitan area. It is one of the Mountain States and shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and Arizona; its other neighboring states are Oklahoma to the northeast, Texas to the east-southeast, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua to the south and Sonora to the southwest. With a population around two million, New Mexico is the 36th state by population. With a total area of 121,592 sq mi (314,920 km2), it is the fifth-largest and sixth-least densely populated of the 50 states. Due to their geographic locations, northern and eastern New Mexico exhibit a colder, alpine climate, while western and southern New Mexico exhibit a warmer, arid climate.

Acoma Massacre 1696 massacre of Acoma Puebloans by Spanish soldiers

The Acoma Massacre refers to the brutal punitive expedition by Spanish conquistadors at Acoma Pueblo in January 1599 that resulted in the deaths of around 800 Acoma men, women and children during a three-day battle. Of the remaining Acoma who survived the attack, many were either enslaved or otherwise severely punished.

Acoma Pueblo Native American pueblo in New Mexico

Acoma Pueblo is a Native American pueblo approximately 60 miles (97 km) west of Albuquerque, New Mexico in the United States. Four villages make up Acoma Pueblo: Sky City, Acomita, Anzac, and McCartys. The Acoma Pueblo tribe is a federally recognized tribal entity. The historical land of Acoma Pueblo totaled roughly 5,000,000 acres (2,000,000 ha). The community retains only 10% of this land, making up the Acoma Indian Reservation. Acoma Pueblo is a National Historic Landmark.


Early life

Vicente de Zaldívar was born circa 1573. [2] The Zaldivar and Oñate families of Zacatecas and New Mexico were prominent and intertwined. His father, Vicente de Zaldívar, Sr., served in the Chichimeca War of 1550-1590 and other wars alongside his uncle (thus Vicente's great-uncle), Cristóbal de Oñate. [3] His mother was Magdalena de Mendoza y Salazar. [2] He had a brother, Juan de Zaldívar. [2] Juan de Oñate, the founder of the Spanish colony of New Mexico in 1598, was their uncle and second cousin. [2] [3]

The Chichimeca War (1550–90) was a military conflict waged by Spain against the Chichimeca Confederation established in the lowlands of Mexico, called La Gran Chichimeca located in the West North-Central Mexican states. The region is now called the Bajío. It was recorded as the Spanish Empire's longest and most expensive war campaign against any indigenous people in the Americas. The result of the forty-year war was a Spanish Empire military and economic defeat.

Cristóbal de Oñate was a Spanish Basque explorer, conquistador and colonial official in New Spain. He is considered the founder of the contemporary city of Guadalajara in 1531, as well as other places in Nueva Galicia.

Juan de Zaldívar was a Spanish soldier and explorer. He was an early colonizer of New Mexico. He was killed by Native Americans.


In 1595, Zaldívar was appointed Sargento mayor by his uncle, Juan de Oñate, in their colonization of New Mexico for the Spanish Crown. [2] [3] They arrived in New Mexico in 1598. [2]

Sargento mayor was a rank immediately below that of maestre de campo in the Spanish tercios of the 16th and 17th centuries. Initially second in rank to a coronel ("colonel") in a colunella, the sargento mayor became second in rank to the maestre de campo after the creation of the tercios in 1534. He took care of the tactical training, security and lodging of the troops of the tercio. He also transmitted the orders of the maestre de campo or the capitán general to subordinate officers.

Buffalo hunting. Food and resources were scarce in the young colony of New Mexico. On September 15, 1898, Zaldivar and his guide, Jusepe Gutierrez, led a group of 60 men onto the Great Plains to determine whether Bison, the American buffalo, could be domesticated. Departing from Pecos Pueblo, Zaldivar journeyed 57 leagues eastward, about 250 kilometres (160 mi), probably to the Canadian River valley. There he found huge herds of buffalo. Zaldivar and his men constructed a large corral in which they attempted to capture several thousand buffalo. The buffalo were recalcitrant and killed three horses and wounded 40 more. Zaldivar then captured a number of buffalo calves, but all of them quickly died. Failing in the attempt to domesticate buffalo, Zaldivar focused instead on hunting and returned to the Spanish settlements with 80 arobas, about 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb) of buffalo fat. He proclaimed buffalo meat superior to the beef of Spanish cows. Zaldivar and his men arrived back at the Spanish settlements on November 8, 1598. [4] [5]

Jusepe Gutierrez ,) was a Native American guide and explorer. He was the only known survivor of the Umana and Leyba expedition to the Great Plains in 1594 or 1595. In 1599 he guided Vicente de Zaldivar and in 1601 Governor Juan de Oñate on expeditions to the plains.

Great Plains broad expanse of flat land west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada

The Great Plains is the broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe, and grassland, that lies west of the Mississippi River tallgrass prairie in the United States and east of the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. and Canada. It embraces:

Bison genus of mammals

Bison are large, even-toed ungulates in the genus Bison within the subfamily Bovinae.

Acoma. After his brother and other Spaniards were killed by Native Americans at Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico on December 4, 1598, Zaldívar was promoted to Maestre de Campo, second in command to Oñate. [2] In January 1599, Zaldívar avenged his brother's death in an attack on Acoma, culminating in the Acoma Massacre in which hundreds of Acomans were killed or enslaved. [2] Poet Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá subsequently wrote a poem about his victory. [3]

Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá Spanish explorer

Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá (1555–1620) was a captain and legal officer in the Juan de Oñate expedition that first colonized Santa Fe de Nuevo México in 1598. Between 1601 and 1603, he served as the Alcalde mayor of the Guanacevi mines in what is now the Mexican state of Durango. He is better known for his authorship of Historia de la Nueva México, published in 1610.

Jumano War. Zaldívar was maestro de campo in the expedition to Quivira in 1601. [3] During that process, he encountered the Jumano people and served in the Jumano War of 1601. [3]

Quivira is a place named by explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1541, for the mythical "Seven Cities of Gold" that he never found. The location of Quivira is believed by most authorities to be in central Kansas near present-day Lyons extending northeast to Salina. The Quivirans were the forebears of the modern day Wichita Indians and Caddoan tribes, such as the Pawnee or Arikara. The city of Etzanoa, which flourished between 1450 and 1700, is thought to be part of Quivira.

Later life. Zaldívar received the Order of Santiago in 1626. [2]

Personal life

Zaldívar married María de Oñate, who was his cousin (Juan de Oñate's daughter). [2] They had an only son, Nicolas de Zaldívar y Oñate, who was later appointed Adelantado. [3] [6]


Zaldívar died by 1650. [2]

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  1. "Juan and Vicente de Zaldivar,", accessed 30 Mar 2019
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Chipman, Donald E. (June 15, 2010). "ZALDIVAR, VICENTE DE". Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Hickerson, Nancy P. (Winter 1996). "The Servicios of Vicente de Zaldívar: New Light on the Jumano War of 1601". Ethnohistory. 43 (1): 127–144. doi:10.2307/483346. JSTOR   483346. (Registration required (help)).
  4. Kenner, Chrles L. (1969), A History of New Mexican-Plains Indian Relations, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, pp. 98-99.
  5. "Southwest Crossroads: Expedition to the Buffalo Plains, 1898," , accessed 26 Mar 2019
  6. Simmons, Marc (1993). The Last Conquistador: Juan de Onate and the Settling of the Far Southwest. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 189. ISBN   0-8061-2338-9.