Diego de Montemayor (1530–1611) was a Spanish explorer, officer, and the second governor of Nuevo Leon. He was born in Spain, probably in Málaga or Old Castile, to Juan Montemayor and Mayor Hernández.
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, mostly of Jewish descent — nine married couples, three men without families, fourteen boys, four girls, and one Indian named Domingo Manuel.
Montemayor served as governor of Nuevo León from 1588 to 1610 and was likely of Sephardic Jewish descent. He was married three times. His wives were Inez Rodríguez, who came with him from Spain to the New World in 1548, María de Esquivel, and Juana Porcalla de la Cerda. Montemayor had three children, one from each of his wives. His children were Inez, Diego, and Estefanía.
During the Chichimeca War in 1550, Montemayor was often away from his third wife, Juana Porcalla 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 Porcalla, 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.
He died about 1611 in Monterrey, and is believed to be buried in the Convento de San Francisco in Monterrey.
- ^ Encicloregia de la Dirección de Cultura del Municipio de Monterrey (online)
- ^ Contreras, Joseph. In the shadow of the giant: the Americanization of modern Mexico.
- ^ Jones, Oakah L. Los paisanos: Spanish settlers on the Northern frontier of New Spain
- ^ Hordes, Stanley M. To the ends of the earth: A history of the crypto-Jews in New Mexico
- ^ Farias, George. The Farias chronicles: a history and genealogy of a Portuguese/Spanish family.
- ^ Bermudez Plata, Cristobal. Catalogo de Pasajeros a Indias, Volumen III (1539-1559), FHL Microfilm #277578
- ^ Raphael, Davis T. The Conquistadores and Crypto-Jews of Monterrey.
- ^ Del Hoyo, Eugenio. Historia del Nuevo Reino de Leon (1577-1723)
- ^ Duaine, Carl. With All Arms, 1987
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