Luis de Carabajal Y Cueva - First Sojourn in New Spain

First Sojourn in New Spain

Shortly thereafter, motivated by financial losses and marital problems, Carvajal sailed for New Spain in his own ship as second in command of the Spanish Indies fleet. Upon his arrival he was appointed mayor of Tampico. In the fall of 1568, mayor Carvajal rounded up 77 Englishmen marooned on the Tamaulipas coast by John Hawkins, who had lost some of his ships in a fight with the Spanish fleet at Veracruz.

When this exploit was reported to Viceroy Martín Enríquez de Almanza, he was so impressed that he commissioned Carvajal a captain, sending him to open a road between Pánuco province and the Mazapil mines. Later he was sent to chastise hostile Indian bands at the mouth of the Río Bravo (Rio Grande). He claimed to have punished the natives responsible for the massacre of 400 castaways from three ships wrecked on the coast en route to Spain — presumably the Padre Island shipwrecks of 1554. During the campaign, he crossed the lower Rio Grande into what is now Texas, becoming the first Spanish subject to do so.

He was accused of using his authority to trade in Indian slaves, and was summoned to Mexico City to defend himself. He soon left there for Spain, where in March 1579 he proposed to the Council of the Indies to develop all the ports from the Río Pánuco to Santa Elena on the Atlantic coast; to settle the area between Tampico and the mines of Mazapil and Zacatecas; and to extend exploration and settlement across Mexico "from sea to sea."

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