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Juan de Onate

Queen Elizabeth Ist

"Queen Elizabeth Ist"

Juan de Onate

Short Biography of the life of Juan de Onate - Spanish Conquistador and Explorer
The following biography information provides basic facts about the life Juan de Onate:

  • Nationality - Spanish

  • Lifespan - 1550 - 1630
  • Family - Father was Don Cristobal de Onate
  • Education - Well educated befitting his noble family
  • Career - Spanish Conquistador and Explorer
  • Famous for : Establishing the colony of New Mexico for Spain

Facts, Timeline & History about the life of Juan de Onate - Spanish Conquistador and Explorer
The following are additional facts and a timeline about the life and history of Juan de Onate:

  • 1550: Juan de Onate was born in the New World in Zacatecas, Mexico
  • His family was of the Spanish nobility and his father Don Cristobal de Onate had travelled to the New World as a Spanish soldier and settled in the new country
  • Juan de Onate was well educated and raised in a family who were soldiers, explorers and the first of the Spanish colonists
  • Juan de Onate married Isabel de Tolosa Cortes Moctezuma, granddaughter of Hernando Cortes (the Spanish conqueror of Mexico and the Aztec Empire) and great granddaughter of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma Xocoyotzin
  • Juan de Onate and Isabel had a son and a daughter
  • Juan de Onate spent his early life leading campaigns against the Chichimec Indians He also conducted searches for silver. During this time he played a major role in spreading Catholicism and establishing missions in the newly conquered territory
  • 1595: In 1595 Juan de Onate received instructions fro King Philip II of Spain to continue his work further and colonize the region of the upper Rio Grande and New Mexico
  • Three years passed in preparing for the exploration and new colonists to accompany the expedition
  • 1598: The expedition started in January with 175 soldiers, their families and new settlers. They also took over 5,000 head of cattle and sheep in preparation of their colonisation plans
    • The expedition of Juan de Onate explored the territory of Mexico, Texas, and New Mexico. The road across this land is referred to as El Camino Real
    • Hopes and expectations were high - the colonists expected to find gold or silver
  • 1598: April 30 Juan de Onate made a formal declaration of possession of New Mexico
  • 1598: July Juan de Onate established the headquarters of the New Mexico colony at the first Spanish capital of San Juan de los Caballeros at the Tewa village of Ohke
  • 1598: Juan de Onate holds a festival to give thanks for a safe passage across the Rio Grande River - it is referred to as the first Thanksgiving feast in America - 23 years before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock
  • The colonists searched in vain for silver and soon became disillusioned with the expedition leading to desertion, and dissent. Don Juan de Onate proved to be a proud, arrogant and strict leader - dissenting  colonists and Indians were dealt with harshly
  • New expeditions and explorations continued still hoping to find silver or gold
  • 1601 June 23 - Don Juan de Onate encounters Plains Apache at the Canadian River whilst searching for the Seven Cities of Gold (Cibola)
  • Meanwhile the conditions at the colony proved intolerable - lack of food, no silver and troubles with the natives led to widespread desertion - only a few of the original colonists remained
  • News of conditions in the colony reached New Spain
  • 1605: The government initiate an inquiry into the situation in New Mexico and the treatment of the Indians by Juan de Onate
  • At the same time Oņate launched his last major expedition, from the Zuni pueblos to the Colorado River and down it to the Gulf of California
  • 1605: Juan de Onate starts his final expedition from the Colorado River to the Gulf of California
  • 1605 April 16: Juan de Onate visits El Morro inscribing his name on Inscription Rock. This rock is the site of ancient Native American petroglyphs
  • 1606: King Philip III of Spain orders Juan de Onate  to Mexico City until allegations against him could be investigated but Juan de Onate does not receive the orders
  • 1608: Juan de Onate is removed as governor and sent to Mexico City to be tried for mistreatment of the Indians and abuse of power
  • 1613: Don Juan de Onate finally faced charges and was fined, banished from New Mexico permanently, and banished from Mexico City for four years
  • He eventually went to Spain where the king gave him the position of a mining inspector
  • 1626: Juan de Onate died in Spain on  June 3, 1626
The Age of Exploration
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