Diego de Montemayor

Diego de Montemayor (c. 1530 – 1611)[1] was a Spanish conquistador, explorer, officer, and the governor of Nuevo Reino de León.

Diego de Montemayor
Governor of Nuevo Reino de León
In office
Preceded byLuis de Carabajal y Cueva
Succeeded byDiego de Montemayor "el Mozo"
Personal details
Bornc. 1530
Málaga, Granada, Crown of Castile
Died1610 (aged 79–80)
Monterrey, Viceroyalty of New Spain
Spouse(s)Inés Rodríguez
María de Esquivel
Juana Porcallo y de la Cerda
ChildrenDiego de Montemayor "el Mozo"
Estefanía de Montemayor
Inés Rodríguez de Montemayor

Early lifeEdit

Historians dispute his date of birth, place of birth, and the identity of his parents. However, Antonio Morales Goméz and Carlos Pérez Maldonado have stated, without proving it, that Montemayor was born in the year 1530.[2] In the Catalogo de Pasajeros a Indias, a certain "Diego de Montemayor" appears to have sailed toward New Spain from Sevilla, he is described to be a resident of Málaga, son of Juan de Montemayor and Mayor Hernández, and the husband of Inés Rodríguez.[2]

Founding of MonterreyEdit

Montemayor is credited with the founding of Monterrey, the capital of the northeastern Mexican state of Nuevo León, on September 20, 1596. The establishment was officially called Ciudad Metropolitana de Nuestra Señora de Monterrey ("Metropolitan City of Our Lady of Monterrey," partly to curry favor from the Viceroy of the time, the Gaspar de Zúñiga y Acevedo, Count of Monterrey. Montemayor's founding was the third effort. The two previous ones bore the names Santa Lucia and San Luis Rey de Francia and were headed by Alberto del Canto, the future arch-enemy of Montemayor, and the second by Luis de Carabajal y Cueva. Montemayor brought forty people with him from Saltillo to populate Monterrey; nine married couples, three men without families, fourteen boys, four girls, and one Indian named Domingo Manuel.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Montemayor served as governor of Nuevo León from 1588 to 1610 after he reconquered the province. He may have been married three times. His probable first wife was Inez Rodríguez, who came with him from Spain to the New World in 1548;[4] then second María de Esquivel, and third Juana Porcalla de la Cerda. Montemayor had three children, one from each of his wives. His children were Inez, Diego, and Estefanía.[5][6]

During the Chichimeca War in 1550, Montemayor was often away from his third wife, Juana Porcallo de la Cerda, and her attention soon focused on Alberto del Canto, only a few years her elder. When Montemayor later confronted her about the ongoing affair, an argument ensued, he drew his sword and killed her. Montemayor fled into the wilderness to the north, but was eventually cleared of all charges (perhaps because a law at the time allowed a man to kill his unfaithful wife). His daughter with Juana Porcallo, Estefanía, later married Alberto del Canto and had three children with him, though the two separated in 1596. Estefanía moved back to Monterrey with her father, and her children took the last name of Montemayor. Montemayor never met his vow to kill Alberto del Canto.[7]

He died about 1611 in Monterrey, and is believed to be buried in the place where the Convento de San Francisco previously was, in the city of Monterrey.

On the television series Finding Your Roots, it was revealed that Montemayor is the paternal 11th-great-grandfather of Mexican journalist Maria Hinojosa.


  1. ^ Encicloregia de la Dirección de Cultura del Municipio de Monterrey (online)[1] Archived 2009-08-31 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b del Hoyo, Eugenio (2005). Historia del Nuevo Reino de León (1577-1723). Fondo Editorial de NL. ISBN 9709715070.
  3. ^ Jones, Oakah L. Los paisanos: Spanish settlers on the Northern frontier of New Spain
  4. ^ Bermudez Plata, Cristobal. Catalogo de Pasajeros a Indias, Volumen III (1539-1559), FHL Microfilm #277578
  5. ^ Raphael, Davis T. The Conquistadores and Crypto-Jews of Monterrey.
  6. ^ Del Hoyo, Eugenio. Historia del Nuevo Reino de Leon (1577-1723)
  7. ^ Duaine, Carl. With All Arms, 1987

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