Gonzalo Méndez de Canço
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|Gonzalo Méndez de Canço|
|7th Governor of la Florida|
|Preceded by||Domingo Martínez de Avendaño|
|Succeeded by||Pedro de Ibarra|
Tapia de Casariego, Asturias, Spain
|Died||March 31, 1622
Tapia de Casariego
|Spouse(s)||Magdalena de Luazes Lugo|
|Profession||Admiral and Political|
Gonzalo Méndez de Canço (or "de Cancio") (c. 1554 - March 31, 1622) was a Spanish Admiral and the seventh Governor of Florida (1596–1603), but he was best known for having introduced the cultivation of corn from Florida to Asturias, which turned out to be very important to that province.
Gonzalo Méndez de Canço y Donlebún was born in 1554 at Tapia de Casariego, parish of San Esteban de Tapia, Asturias, Spain. He was the son of the celebrated couple, Diego de Canço (or "de Cancio") Donlebún and Maria Mendez de San Julián y Villaamil, descendants of a family of hidalgos. From his childhood nothing is known, but at 17 he was already serving with his own ships in the race for the Indies in the company of Captain General Pedro Sancho Osorio, relative. In his service to the king, he arrived at his own expense to build three shi's. The first was a ship called "The Apostle Santiago" serving protection missions for Spanish merchants going to or coming from Americas. During one of these trips, returning from Mexico to Europe this ship was lost at the height of the islands of Madeira. Not daunted by this he ordered the construction of a ship similar to the first one named as "Our Lady of Encontrela" in which he became captain. He went to the mainland with this ship, but this also missed the entrance to the port of Nombre de Dios (Panama). The third ship was called "Virgin of the Conception" and was equipped with thirteen pieces of artillery and other munitions of war. Noboa Francisco Feijoo, Captain General of the Tierra Firme fleet, he was appointed captain of infantry of the flagship of the Navy. On this trip Cancio showed his worth as a sailor and soldier. First, on 22 August of that year, he discovered a French vessel and captured it. The next day, amid a storm that lashed the ocean, he saved the gold and silver from one of the ships of the fleet which was going down. Francisco de Noboa will then amount to Cancio to admiral of the fleet from the islands Third to Spain. In the following years he worked as captain of his own ships under orders from Alonso de Bazán, Francisco Osorio and Pardo Coloma in missions both in Spain and America. He served under the command of Alonso de Bazán and three times he was commissioned to make levies for the Navy in Galicia and Asturias. In 1593 the king made him captain of infantry of the galleon or frigate and appointed him Captain General Francisco Coloma. In 1595 the king gave him a new appointment, the admiral of the fleet commanded by Pedro Tello. For his skills as a sailor and senior services to the Crown, the King appointed him in 1592 regular sea captain with thirty thousand farthings salary.
Defeat of Sir Francis Drake
On May 10, 1595 he left Havana treasure fleet bound for Sevilla full of gold and silver. While crossing the channel of the Bahamas they were surprised by a storm which scattered the vessels. The captain, where he was General Asturian D. Sancho Pardo Osorio with three hundred men and two million ducats in silver, was isolated and treeless, and must anchor in Puerto Rico. All silver was unloaded and placed in the Morro fortress, sending a ship to Spain with the news. Immediately the King ordered General D. Pedro Tello de Guzman and Gonzalo Mendez de Cancio, who was appointed Admiral (August 19, 1595), five to go to pick up the silver frigates. It was feared that the news reached the ears of the pirates and these would assault Puerto Rico. As well would happen.
Shortly before reaching the islands of Guadeloupe and Dominica, 8 November, the fleet of Guzman and Cancio met two English pirate ships that will see the Spanish Armada fled. While the general Guzman chasing one of the pirate ships, Admiral Alonso did the same with the other-the Francis-giving in a short time range. After several exchanges of gunfire, Cancio addresses the enemy ship, capturing it with around 26 English. They confessed to Admiral astur the whole pirate fleet of John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake -27 ships with 2,500 men aboard, was sitting in Guadeloupe by watering and preparing for an assault landing craft Puerto Rico and grab the treasure.
Alarmed by the news, Cancio three or four gunshots fired warning to Guzman who was in pursuit of another English ship, to go as soon as possible to give notice to Puerto Rico, an island at which they arrived on 13 November.
Wasting no time, the governor organized the defense of the island. Only had 400 regular soldiers, 300 sailors from Sancho Pardo Osorio, the 500 that came with Bryce and Guzman and 300 armed civilians. These forces were divided by the most strategic points. A Méndez de Cancio is charged the fort of El Morro, Santa Elena and Morrill.
On November 22 the pirate fleet appears off Point Escambrón where Bryce is at the forefront of Morrillo artillery. The first shots were produced with such good fortune that one of the bullets fired by Cancio shattered mizzenmast of Defiance, Drake's flagship. A second shot was in his cabin, killing several of his captains, who were meeting in assembly. Sir John Hawkins died as a consequence of this action.
Francis Drake was now the sole head of the pirate fleet. To protect against the missiles of the Asturian Admiral, Drake then ordered that the boats take shelter on the island of Cabras. Much of the following day dedicated hackers to probe the waters in search of the best places for landing. The inability to force the channel leading to the port and the city of San Juan moved to Drake to send 30 boats at 10 pm with 1,500 men. Its goal is to burn the five Spanish frigates lying in the harbor, setting fire to three ships. Two of these fires were quickly extinguished by crews of Spanish, but the third frigate burned, illuminating the four sides of the harbor.
This prompted the plans Cancio, who from the Morro and then from the battery of Santa Elena, to your liking and shelled relentlessly English barges, making blow to several of them. The frigates with guns and soldiers with their muskets contributed equally in this task. In that fight night were destroyed nine barges and 400 dead pirates. The Spanish, meanwhile, had to deplore the arrest of three of them, killing some forty men and the loss of the frigate Magdalena.
Seeing that he could not take the island, Drake opted the next day by hoisting sails and let the waters of Puerto Rico, but the Spaniard still managed to plunge of other four ships of Almirante "and ourselves to hard difficulty, we saved", recognizes the English captain Thomas Maynard, chronicler of the expedition.
For the Spanish was a victory over the English pirates. To Francis Drake was a humiliating defeat. In his long life of misdeeds commanding pirate fleets, but was defeated twice when he tried to attack Spanish cities located in the Caribbean, and twice Asturias.
After the danger, and Guzman Cancio sailed on 20 December with the four frigates survivors and the two million pesos in silver, coming to Spain without incident.
Governor of Florida
As of March 22,1596 opening a new stage in the life of Gonzalo Mendez de Canço. At that time Philip II appointed him Governor and Captain General of Florida. Preceding him, among others, were Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and Pedro Menéndez de Márquez. Cancio is the seventh Spaniard governor of Florida.
Accompanied by his wife, Dona Magdalena de Luazes Lugo, and his son Antonio, Cancio Méndez moved in May 1597 to its new destination, arriving at St. Augustine, capital of the colony, on 2 June. The location of St. Augustine, don't like Cancio. The city stood on the sand, and was surrounded by marshlands. The place was barren and unproductive, making it difficult to develop agriculture and trade.
With vision, the governor, regarded as a person of strong character and ambitious projects, thought it prudent to establish another settlement elsewhere whose land was suitable for the development of agriculture, which would supply the capital of Florida. From the information received, the best place to start the new colony was to Tama, a region located on the banks of the confluence of the Altamaha and Ocumulgee in the current state of Georgia. As was three hundred soldiers, he believed he could establish a colony Tama married soldiers and send expeditions into the area and contact New Mexico.
To gather firsthand information on that vast region commissioned a soldier and two monks to visit Tama. On his return they notified her that the area was very fertile and rich, both plant and silver mining.
While Bryce was making plans for the colonization of Tama, an Native American chief named Juanillo promoted in September 1597 an uprising against the Spanish. Some chiefs of the tribe, whose vast territory stretched from the Altamaha River, (Georgia) to Port Royal, (South Carolina), were concerned about the spread of Christianity. What bothered them most was that the Franciscan missionaries forbade polygamy, divorce, dancing, games and tribal wars, which weakened as the Indians Juanillo making them lose their old courage and skill. Juanillo's hatred against missionaries was so great that on the morning of September 13, 1595 cold-blooded killer Corpa as he entered Tolomato mission. The next day Juanillo calls to other Native American leaders in the area by getting expelled from their lands to the Spanish, all of them committing murder in the first end to the other missionaries who roamed the region. The rebellion became widespread in the province of Guale. Most of the missions in this area is attacked by Indians and five Franciscans were killed.
In early October came the news of the rebellion in St. Augustine Gonzalo Méndez de Cancio, who was sick in bed, he organized a relief patrol directed personally. In Guale is only burned churches and missionaries killed and maimed. Bryce could not give the deserved punishment for being Indian rebels hiding in the mountains, having to content himself with burning their villages and raze their crops. On this trip could only get a prisoner who told him about the death of the religious.
Canço achieved in May 1598 to rescue the father, Francisco Dávila-only missionary survivor of the massacre of Juanillo, who was a slave in the town of Tulufina, not far from Tolomato. The rebellion ended when an expedition of the Spanish Indian allies, led by Chief Asao, assaults Juanillo camp killing him with 24 of its main supporters. The deaths came the calm to Florida.
In May 1600 a delegation of Indian chiefs occurred in St. Augustine before the Governor swearing allegiance to the king of Spain. Cancio accepted the new submission in exchange for no more lifting up against the Spanish, among other conditions (Others sources, however, indicate that the rebellion caused by Méndez de Cancio was actually suppressed by his successor, a Basque named Pedro de Ibarra, who treated with kindness and intelligence to the indígenas and managed to consolidate peace and progress). In 1603 the governor Spaniard visited the territory of the glial, checking the affection of the natives and taking new oaths of allegiance.
During his tenure, Cancio made four trips exploring his territory and subjecting the Indian chiefs of the provinces of Potano, Timuena, Apalachee, Cicale, Mosquitos and the chieftain of Yúfera, the chief of Ocona-bordered territory or province Tama region. Bryce also got the chief of Santa Elena in South Carolina to resubmit to the Spanish.
In a report completed in January 1600, the governor Spaniard finds that promoted the intensive cultivation of corn, providing tools and seeds to settlers and Indians and building a mill to grind the grain. Fostered the creation of farms and plantations. When the hospital destroyed by fire San Augustine, he built and equipped at his expense the Hospital of Santa Barbara. He also ordered construction in the province of San Pedro, Florida a large church for the Indians could attend the liturgies. His replacement as governor of Florida prevented him from implementing his ambitious projects Tama.
In February 1603, the King appointed a new governor of Florida, Pedro de Ibarra; Cancio then returned to their homeland. Two packets in his luggage contained maize seeds, giving a major boost to the cultivation of wheat in Asturias. The rest of his life was spent with Gonzalo Méndez de Canço in his house at Casariego, performing, among other roles, those of Mayor of Castropol and Captain of Militia. He died on March 31, 1622 in his birthplace.
- http://leodegundia.blogspot.com/2008/01/marinos-y-soldados-1-parte.html. El rincón de Leodegundia: Marinos y soldados. 1º parte (In Spanish) (Translate:Corner´Leodegundia:Marines and soldiers. 1st part). Tuesday, January 08, 2008.
- "Méndez de Cancio, Gonzalo. Vivir en Asturias (Live in Asturias) (In Spanish)". Vivir en Asturias. November 26, 2008. Retrieved May 22–26, 2010.
- http://www.euskonews.com/0256zbk/kosmo25602.html Vascos en el descubrimiento, exploración y conquista de La Florida (Basques in the discovery, exploration and conquest of Florida), by Gorka Rosain Unda.
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