Ávila, Alonso de (c. 1539–1566)

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Ávila, Alonso de (c. 1539–1566)

Alonso de Ávila (b. c. 1539; d. 3 August 1566), leader of the so-called Cortés Conspiracy of 1565–1566. Ávila was a leading light of the second, native-born generation of encomenderos in Mexico. Less economically secure than their fathers, they grew increasingly resentful of the royal policies that progressively limited their power. They sought a champion in Martín Cortés, the conquistador's son and second marqués del Valle, who arrived in Mexico in 1563. Cortés soon clashed with the viceroy, Luis de Velasco, and his pretensions to political influence increased when Velasco's death left an undersized, three-man audiencia as the highest authority in the colony.

In October 1565, Alonso de Ávila, Gil González Dávila (his older brother), and several other members of the colonial elite began actively plotting the overthrow of the government. They planned to assassinate the audiencia judges and other high officials and to proclaim Cortés king. But the marqués wavered, refusing explicitly to endorse the conspiracy. His indecision, along with the general indiscretion and ineptitude of the conspirators, allowed the audiencia to strike first. On 16 July 1566, the audiencia arrested the Ávila brothers and Cortés. After a brief trial, Alonso and Gil were condemned to death—a sentence clearly intended to deter any future conspirators. Both brothers were beheaded in Mexico City's central Plaza.

See alsoGonzález Dávila, Gil .


Fernando Benítez, The Century After Cortés, translated by Joan Mac Lean (1965).

Lesley Bird Simpson, Many Mexicos (1966), esp. pp. 119-126.

Jorge Ignacio Rubio Mañé, El Virreinato, vol. 2, Expansión y defensa: Primera parte (1983), pp. 3-21.

                                       R. Douglas Cope