Montejo, Francisco de (1479–1553)

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Montejo, Francisco de (1479–1553)

Francisco de Montejo (b. 1479; d. 1553), conquistador, important associate of Hernán Cortés, and conqueror of Yucatán and Honduras. Born in Salamanca, Montejo came to America in about 1514 and served as a conquistador under Pedro Arias de Ávila, Diego de Velásquez, and Juan de Grijalva (in 1518) before joining Cortés as one of the latter's most important lieutenants. On the eve of the conquest of Mexico, Cortés sent Montejo to Spain to represent him before Charles V in order to legalize the expedition. After several years Montejo accomplished his mission, and in return Cortés rewarded him with a large share of the booty of the Conquest, including the encomienda (landed estate) of Atzcapotzalco in the valley of Mexico.

In 1526 the crown granted Montejo the title of governor-captain-general adelantado (gobernador capitán general adelantado) and the right to conquer Yucatán and Honduras. Montejo undertook the conquest of Yucatán the same year, but failed because of Maya resistance. He then passed the Yucatán expedition on to his son, Franciso Montejo y León (1507–1565), whose 1537 expedition also failed. That same year, Montejo succeeded in conquering Honduras. The family's third attempt in Yucatán succeeded in 1542. In 1548 the crown, as part of an attempt to reduce the power of the original conquistadores throughout America, stripped Montejo of his political offices and enco-miendas in Yucatán and Honduras. In 1551 he returned to Salamanca, Spain, where he died two years later.

See alsoConquistadores; Cortés, Hernán.


Robert S. Chamberlain, The Conquest and Colonization of Yucatán, 1517–1550 (1948).

Robert S. Chamberlain, The Conquest and Colonization of Honduras, 1502–1550 (1953).

Juan Francisco Molina Solís, Historia del descubrimiento y conquista de Yucatán, 2 vols. (1896).

Additional Bibliography

Clendinnen, Inga. Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517–1570. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Montell, Jaime. México: El inicio, 1521–1534. México, D.F.: Editorial Joaquín Mortiz, 2005.

                                       Robert W. Patch

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Montejo, Francisco de (1479–1553)

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