Villagrá, Gaspar Pérez de (1555–1620)

views updated

Villagrá, Gaspar Pérez de (1555–1620)

Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá (b. 1555; d. 1620), soldier and chronicler. Born in New Spain, Villagrá was one of the few early creoles to study at the University of Salamanca. After his return to New Spain he was appointed procurador general (solicitor general) and captain in Juan de Oñate's 1596 conquest and colonization expedition to New Mexico, where Villagrá participated in many operations, including the battle of Ácoma (1599). After a visit to Spain, Villagrá published his epic poem Historia de la Nueva México (1610), which related the history of the Oñate expedition. Although sometimes marked by hyperbole and heroic vision, Villagrá's Historia remains valuable today as an eyewitness account of the conquest of New Mexico.

His literary achievement notwithstanding, shortly afterward he was found guilty of executing two deserters in New Mexico and forcibly bringing dozens of Ácoman women to convents in Spain, for which he was banished from the province for six years and from Mexico City for two years. In 1620, en route from Spain to fill a bureaucratic position in Guatemala, Villagrá died at sea.

See alsoNew Spain, Viceroyalty of .


Ralph Emerson Twitchell, Captain Don Gaspar de Villagrá: Author of the First History of the Conquest of New Mexico by the Adelantado Don Juan de Oñate (1924).

Gaspar Pérez De Villagrá History of New Mexico, translated and edited by Gilberto Espinosa (1933).

Additional Bibliography

Weber, David J., Jerry R. Craddock, John Herman Richard Polt, Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá, and Vicente de Zaldívar. Zaldívar and the Cattle of Cíbola: Vicente de Zaldívar's Report of His Expedition to the Buffalo Plains in 1598: A Bilingual Edition. Dallas, TX: William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University, 1999.

                                      Aaron Paine Mahr

About this article

Villagrá, Gaspar Pérez de (1555–1620)

Updated About content Print Article