Juan de Esquivel

Juan de Esquivel (b. Seville, Spain - d. Jamaica, 1523) was a Spanish officer involved with the Colon family's government of the West Indies, particularly Jamaica.

Map of Jamaica in 1528


Christopher Columbus visited Jamaica during his second voyage (1494) from Spain, although a storm forced him to land there on his fourth (1503) voyage, at what is today known as "Don Christopher's Cove". Taking the new lands in the name of the Spanish Crown, he was nominated governor of said lands. Returning from this last voyage, Colon applied to the Spanish king to confirm his title and rights pertaining to the West Indies, but was unsuccessful.

Colon's son, Diego Colon, having inherited his father's titles, applied to the "Consejo de Indias" (Council of the Indies) in Seville for restoration of Christopher's privileges. The "Consejo" recognized Diego as hereditary viceroy of lands discovered by his father.

Upon Diego's arrival at Hispaniola, he learned that the King appointed Alonso de Ojeda as governor of Jamaica. In 1509, Diego appointed Juan de Esquivel, one of his officers, to capture Jamaica. Esquivel founded Sevilla Nueva, however some accounts describe the settlement of Melilla but him and his men a year earlier. Furthermore, some argue Esquivel built Oristan (today's Savannah-la-Mar). He died after 14 years in 1523 (some accounts place his death at 1519), being succeeded by his deputy: Francis de Garay.[1]

Friar Bartolomé de las Casas wrote Spanish authorities about his conduct during the Higüey massacre of 1502.[2] According to Bryan Edwards, he was "one of the few Castilians...distinguished for generosity and humanity". The island was populated by natives: Arawaks and Tainos. Although Esquivel or his men could not find gold in the island, they developed the colony towards producing cotton. Feuding between the Spanish Crown and Diego Columbus meant Michel de Passamonte would be sent to replace him.[3][4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Mordehay Arbell, 2000. The Portuguese Jews of Jamaica. Canoe Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-976-8125-69-9.
  2. ^ Floyd, Troy (1973). The Columbus Dynasty in the Caribbean, 1492-1526. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 57–58, 71, 79, 109, 129–130.
  3. ^ Thibault Ehrengardt, 2015. The History of Jamaica from 1494 to 1838. pp. 28–35. ISBN 979-10-94341-01-8.
  4. ^ Cynric R. Williams, 1827. A Tour Through the Island of Jamaica: From the Western to the Eastern End in the Year 1823. Hunt and Clarke. pp. 207–209.

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