Garay, Juan de (1528–1583)

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Garay, Juan de (1528–1583)

Juan de Garay (b. 1528; d. March 1583), conquistador, explorer, and governor of Río de la Plata (1578–1583). Born in Vizcaya, Garay arrived in Peru at the age of fourteen in the company of his uncle. He soon joined in the conquest of Tucumán (northern Argentina), settling first in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, where he served as one of the city's regidores (coun-cilmen). In 1568 he moved to Asunción, where, awaiting the confirmation of his kinsman Ortiz de Zárate as governor, he was named alguacil mayor (chief constable). A dynamic, intrepid, and peripatetic leader, Garay founded the city of Santa Fé in 1573. During his lifetime he engaged in several military campaigns against the Charrúa along the lower Río de la Plata and against the Guaraní in Paraguay. He was also involved in putting down uprisings of discontented settlers in Santa Fé and Asunción.

After the death of Zárate in 1576, Garay, as his lieutenant, became acting governor and captain-general of the Río de la Plata. From Asunción, he organized an expedition of approximately sixty families who reestablished the city of Buenos Aires in 1580. He also headed an expeditionary force that explored south to the region of present-day Mar del Plata. Three years later, Garay was killed in a Querandí Indian attack while attempting to return to Buenos Aires to reinforce troops accompanying the newly arrived governor of Chile.

See alsoConquistadores .


Enrique Udaondo, Diccionario biográfico colonial argentino (1945), pp. 357-365.

Additional Bibliography

Di Tella, Torcuato S. Historia argentina: Desde los orígenes hasta 1830. Buenos Aires: Editorial Troquel, 1994.

                                        Susan M. Socolow