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Montejo, Francisco de

Francisco de Montejo (fränthēs´kō dā mōntā´hō), c.1479–c.1548, Spanish conquistador. He served in Cuba under Diego Velásquez, later commanded a vessel in the expedition of Juan de Grijalva, and joined Hernán Cortés in the conquest of Mexico. Montejo was commissioned to conquer the Maya of Yucatán, but failed in his attempt (1527–28) to take the peninsula from the east. He proceeded to Mexico, subdued (1530) Tabasco, and then conducted (1531–35) a campaign from the west. At first partially successful, he encountered increasingly fierce Maya resistance, and his men, exhausted and finding no booty, deserted. Forced to withdraw from the peninsula, he retired again to Mexico, a disillusioned and impoverished man. In 1540 he entrusted the conquest to his son, Francisco de Montejo, who by 1542 effectively subdued the western part of the peninsula, founding Campeche, Mérida, and other settlements. After a general Native American uprising had been quelled, he finally conquered the eastern portion in 1546.

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