Luna y Arellano, Tristán De (c. 1500–1573)

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Luna y Arellano, Tristán De (c. 1500–1573)

Tristán De Luna y Arellano (b. ca. 1500/10; d. 16 September 1573), soldier and governor of La Florida (1559–1561). Born in Aragón, Luna came to New Spain with Hernán Cortés around 1530, returned to Spain, and came back to New Spain in 1535. In 1558 Luna, a veteran of the Coronado expedition to the American Southwest as well as of military exploits in Oaxaca, received a charter to establish a colony on the Gulf coast. Planned and outfitted in Mexico, the expedition of eleven vessels, five hundred soldiers, and a thousand colonists and servants (including Mexican natives) sailed from San Juan de Ulúa on the Gulf coast of Mexico on 11 June 1559 for the port of Ochuse (Pensacola Bay).

A hurricane sank most of the ships with their supplies before they could be offloaded. The colony quickly fell into disarray, a process hastened by Luna's illness, which at times incapacitated him. Colonists and scouting parties sent into the interior to seek food and shelter from native peoples were largely unsuccessful. In March 1561, Luna was relieved of the governorship and ordered to Spain; the colony was withdrawn.

See alsoCortés, Hernán .


Charles Hudson, Marvin T. Smith, Chester B. De Pratter, and Emilia Kelley, "The Tristán de Luna Expedition, 1559–1561," in First Encounters: Spanish Explorations in the Caribbean and the United States, 1492–1570, edited by Jerald T. Milanich and Susan Milbrath (1989).

Herbert I. Priestley, ed. and trans., The Luna Papers: Documents Relating to the Expedition of Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano for the Conquest of La Florida in 1559–1561, 2 vols. (1928; repr. 1971).

Robert S. Weddle, Spanish Sea: The Gulf of Mexico in North American Discovery, 1500–1685 (1985), esp. pp. 251-284.

Additional Bibliography

Flint, Richard, and Shirley Cushing Flint. The Coronado Expedition to Tierra Nueva: The 1540–1542 Route across the Southwest. Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado, 1997.

                                    Jerald T. Milanich