Grijalva, Juan de (c. 1489–1527)

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Grijalva, Juan de (c. 1489–1527)

Juan de Grijalva (b. c. 1489; d. 1527), conquistador who first learned of the Aztec Empire and a nephew of Pánfilo de Narváez. Grijalva was born in Cuéllar and came to the Caribbean as a youth. He accompanied Diego Velázquez, and later his uncle, on their first expeditions to Cuba in 1511, and subsequently resided in prominence on the island. In 1518, Governor Velázquez dispatched him to expand upon the discoveries made by Francisco Fernández De Córdoba along the coast of Yucatán. His fleet discovered Cozumel, the Grijalva and Banderas rivers, and San Juan de Ulúa. After his force was attacked at the latter site by a number of natives in canoes, he decided not to attempt to colonize and returned to Cuba, an action that greatly displeased Velázquez. The first Spaniard to learn of the Aztec Empire, Grijalva reported its existence to Velázquez, but he did not accompany Cortés. He was killed in battle against natives near Villahermosa.

See alsoConquistadores .


Hugh Thomas, Conquest of Mexico (1993).

Additional Bibliography

Miranda, Leocésar. Diego Velázquez, de Cuéllar, colonizador y primer gobernador de la isla de Cuba. Santiago de Cuba: Ediciones Santiago, 2004.

                                              John E. Kicza