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Document Number: AJ-071
Author: Mendoza, Antonio de, 1492?-1552
Title: A Letter Written by the Most Honorable Lord Don Antonio de Mendoza, Vice-Roy of Nueva Espanna, to the Emperors Maiestie
Source: Bandalier, Adolph Francis (editor). The Journey of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca and His Companions from Florida to the Pacific 1528-1536. Translated from His Own Narrative by Fanny Bandelier. (New York: A.S. Barnes & Company, 1905). Pages 195-202.
Pages/Illustrations: 9 / 0
Citable URL: www.americanjourneys.org/aj-071/

Author Note

Antonio de Mendoza was viceroy of New Spain in Mexico from 1535 to 1549. He was born in Granada, Spain, about 1480, and died while still in the service of the Spanish Empire in Lima, Peru in 1552. A forward-thinking man, interested in education, he brought the first printing press to Mexico in 1535. Eager for the exploration and expansion of New Spain to continue, he was responsible for sending out the expeditions of Marco (see AJ-072), Coronado (see AJ-086), Ulloa (see AJ-113), and Cabrillo (see AJ-001).

The Expedition, 1539

When Cabeza de Vaca arrived in Mexico City in 1536, his reports of the lands north of the Spanish settlements piqued the Spanish authorities’ interest (see AJ-070). In this brief document written from Mexico in October 1539, Mendoza informs the King of Spain that he has sent Father Marco northward to investigate Cabeza de Vaca’s report and find traces of the famed Cibola, rumored to be filled with gold.

Document Note

The original of this document is lost, but it was published in Richard Hakluyt’s Divers voyages touching the discovery of America and the islands adjacents, collected and published by Richard Hakluyt in the year 1582. The present document is taken from The Journey of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca and His Companions... translated by Fanny Bandelier (New York: A.S. Barnes & Company, 1905).

Other Internet and Reference Sources

A useful timeline of the years 1527-1547 that shows the relationships between the travels of Narvaez, Cabeza da Vaca, DeSoto, Ulloa, and Coronado is available from the University of Arizona at http://southwest.library.arizona.edu/jour/front.1_div.4.html.

The Estavanico Society, which maintains a web site devoted to the African explorer who accompanied Cabeza de Vaca and later Marco, has much background information at http://www.estevanico.org/.

Antonio de Mendoza, first viceroy of New Spain, by Arthur Scott Aiton (Durham, N.C., Duke university press, 1927) remains the standard English-language biography.

Viceroy Mendoza’s instructions to Marco are printed in Narratives of the Coronado Expedition, 1540-1542 edited and translated by George P. Hammond and Agapito Rey (Albuquerque, The University of New Mexico Press, 1940) along with other pertinent documents.

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