Roldán, Francisco (?–1502)

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Roldán, Francisco (?–1502)

Francisco Roldán (d. 1502), a native of Donjimeno, Spain; appointed alcalde mayor (chief justice) in Hispaniola by Christopher Columbus. Poverty and the harsh, inept government of Bartholomew and Diego Columbus led to discontent among the Spanish settlers. In 1497 they rallied to the sympathetic Roldán, who rebelled with some ninety men, a number perhaps greater than those reliably loyal to the Columbus brothers. Withdrawing to the interior of the island, the rebels pursued lives of idleness, rape, and pillage. When Christopher Columbus returned to Hispaniola in 1498, having been absent for two years, he found the colony in chaos; after weighing the gravity of the situation, he acceded to the rebels' demands in 1499. In addition to amnesty, each was to have an allotment of Indian labor, which, with some modifications, became known as a repartimiento and, eventually, as encomienda. Roldán, once again loyal to Columbus, assisted in subduing other revolts. He was lost at sea in 1502.

See alsoColumbus, Christopher; Hispaniola.


Roldán's activities are covered in Troy Floyd, The Columbus Dynasty in the Caribbean, 1492–1526 (1973). See also Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of Central America, vol. 1 (1882); and Carl Ortwin Sauer, The Early Spanish Main (1966).

Additional Bibliography

Deagan, Kathleen A., and José María Cruxent. Columbus' Outpost among the Taínos: Spain and America at La Isabela, 1493–1498. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002.

                                      William L. Sherman

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Roldán, Francisco (?–1502)

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