Juan de Contreras

Brief Biography: 
Despite the facts that Juan de Contreras was in New Spain probably as early as 1530, that he was a member of Viceroy Mendoza's personal guard, and served as Vázquez de Coronado's head groom, we don't know where in Europe he came from or how old he was. We do know that he was an interpreter in Mexico City prior to his service on the Expedition as well as after. He may have also worked as an escribano. It is curious that in the 1540 muster Contreras is listed among the general horsemen and not in Vázquez de Coronado's company. Perhaps he became the head groom after the muster was conducted.
Gender: 
Male
Title (Y/N): 
No
Died on the Expedition?: 
No
Last Known Location: 
Mexico City
Position on Expedition: 
Horseman
Within Viceroy Mendoza's Sphere: 
Yes
Pre-Expedition Occupation: 
Interpreter
Mendoza Guard
Post Expedition Occupation: 
Scribe
Interpreter
Residence After Expedition: 
Mexico City
Ability to sign name: 
Yes
References-Documentary: 

Pre 1530:

?Millares Carlo y Montecón, Indice y extractos, I:1750 [Nov. 13, 1528, vecino of Veracruz, owed money by Juan Xuárez]

1530-1540:

AGI, México, 203, N.13 [1531: informaciones, Lope de Samaniego, alcaide de las atarazanas de México] [Alonso Rodríguez de Paradinas, teniente de Lope de Samaniego] [Contreras is witness on behalf of Samaniego];

?Millares Carlo y Montecón, Indice y extractos, Martín Castro, scribe, II:2472 [fol. 619v: January 8, 1538, Poder granted by Juan de Contreras, estante en México, to Juan de Aviña, Bernardo González y Francisco Ramírez for collection of a 19-peso debt from Francisco Parrado (could this be Francisco de Parada?)]

?AGI, Pasajeros, L.2, E.5617 = Boyd-Bowman, Indice geobiográfico, II:5172 [Juan de Contreras, hijo de Hernando Esteban y de Angela Rodríguez, vecino de Lepe, a Nueva España, December 13, 1538];

AGI, Justicia, 259, pieza 2 [visita a don Antonio de Mendoza] [copies of documents from September 19, 1539 (footman) and Jan. 11, 1540 (horseman) list Contreras as member of Mendoza’s personal guard]    

1540-1550:

1540, Feb: Muster in Flint & Flint, Documents, Document 12 [3 horses, native arms]    

AGI, Justicia, 258, pieza 1, “Relacion de los salarios” [fol. 807r:a Johan de Contreras por ynterprete del aUdiençia rreal...Aug. 1, 1543 - Aug. 1, 1546...vecino de México...dc pesos];

AGI, Justicia, 267, N.3, “Proceso de Francisco Vázquez” [Contreras, interpreter for the audiencia, vecino of México, was de oficio witness] [went to Quivira] [could sign his name-no signature on copy] [witness Vázquez de Coronado : says Contreras was head groom] = AGI, Justicia, 1021, N.2, Pieza 4 [Información];

AGI, Justicia, 202, N.2, R.1 [Gaspar Suárez con el fiscal, indios, México,1552; a witness in April 1552 in México is Francisco Gutiérrez, vecino y conquistador de México, about 60 years old, can sign but no signature on copy; in May 1552 Domingo Martín is also a witness, conquistador, more than 50 years old, can sign but no signature on copy; in June 1544 interpreter of the real audiencia is Juan de Contreras; also in June 1544 a witness is Margarida López, portuguese, wife of Juan Navarro];

?Chávez Hayhoe, Guadalajara en el siglo XVI [p. 113-15: the 63 founders of the fourth Guadalajara (1542) included an Andrés del Campo de Mendoza, portugués; a Juan de Contreras, montañés; a Diego Hernández, andaluz; an Hernando Martín, andaluz; a Juan Muñoz, andaluz; Melchor Pérez de la Torre, extremeño; Juan de Saldívar, vizcaíno; Pedro Sánchez Mejía, andaluz: Pedro Sánchez, andaluz; a Juan de Villareal, vizcaíno]

?AGI, Justicia, 339, N.1, R.1, “Residencia … Francisco Vázquez de Coronado”  [25 years old; knew Vázquez de Coronado in Spain and Nueva España; no mention of Tierra Nueva; signed with pajo-no signature on copy] [he heard it said that Vázquez de Coronado suffered injuries and spent a lot (is this our expeditionary? not if he "heard it said" and would he not know more as page to Vázquez de Coronado?]

AGN, Instituciones Coloniales, GD72, Real Audiencia, Mercedes, vol.2, exp.712, 1544 [fol. 288v:March 1544, Juan de Contreras, interprete del real audiencia, is directed to go to the pueblo of Atonalcostla to mark planting fields]

?APSM, “Bautismos de Españoles, 1536-1746” [fol. 189r: 8 July 1547,  Juan de Contreras and wife baptize María];

1550-1560:

?APSM, “Bautismos de Españoles, 1536-1746” [II:fol. 5r: 23 July 1552, Juan de Contreras and Leonor baptize Juan];

?AGI, Contaduría, 664, 1557 [corregidores: Juan de Contreras, corregidor of Amatlan y Cocautepeque (Cozautepec?), 260 pesos]

1560-1570:

Actas de Cabildo, Tomo IV, Book 7, p.86 [19 Oct. 1562 - Juan de Contreras, vecino of Mexico City, granted 1/2 solar in the barrio of La Trinidad, next to solar of Gaspar Rodríguez and in front of la calle real];

?AGI, Contratación, 472, N.3, R.1 [Property of Juan González, Antequera, 1562; in December 1562, a Juan Contreras is lieutenant alcalde mayor of the port of Guatulco and its province; according to González’s will, he owes 110 pesos to a Diego Díaz, vecino of Oaxaca; during the almoneda in March 1563, a Juan Gallego buys unas cerraduras and for the church 2 pedazos de servilletas; an Andrés Hernández buys unas alforjas; In February 1563, a Diego Díaz (probably the same one who was owed money above) is alcalde ordinario of Oaxaca (and he still is in 1567, as the case continues); he was also in business with Juan González (he can sign, but no signature on copy); in 1566, a Juan Gallego is mayordomo of the church of Guatulco, he can sign but no signature on copy]

?AHJO, Teposcolula, Criminal, 1, exp.25 [August 1563: Alonso de Canseco is Alcalde Mayor of the province of Teposcolula and juez de comisión; Juan López de Compostela is one of many Spanish witnesses to an investigation of the cacique for mistreatment of indios Contreras signs (same signature as AHJO, Teposcolula, Criminal, 1, exp. 14, 1567]);

?AHJO, Teposcolula, Criminal, 1, exp.14 [1567: escribano is Juan de Contreras, he signs (signature copied twice; same as AHJO, Teposcolula, Civil, 1, exp. 60)];

?AHJO, Teposcolula, Criminal, 1, exp.20 [June 1568: Juan de Contreras, escribano de su magestad; estando en el dicho pueblo de Achiutla en poder de don Tristán de Luna y Arellano que es encomendero del dicho pueblo Juan, negro, mi esclavo…the alcaldes took Juan prisoner and put him in jail; Francisco Pinelo Farfán is Alcalde Mayor; Contreras signs the complaint (same signature as AHJO, Teposcolula, Criminal, 1, exp. 14, 1567]);

?Catálogo, Resumen e Índices [1567, Gregorio de Lora, vecino, otorga poder general a Tristán de la Loa, vecino, y a Julián Tello, procurador de la Real Audiencia, vecino. Firmó. Testigos: Pedro de Cañamares, Juan de Contreras y Andrés de Morales, vecinos y estantes;

1570-1580:

?Catálogo, Resumen e Índices [México, 14 agosto 1570, Antonio de Paz y doña Isabel de Cuevas, su mujer, vecinos, de mancomún, traspasan a Melchor Muñoz, vecino, una heredad que Juan Antonio de Covarrubias, vecino, les vendió en términos de Tepozotlan [continues ...] Antonio de Paz, doña Isabel de Cuevas, Melchor Muñoz y Juan Antonio de Covarrubias firmaron. Testigos: Nicolás de Morales, Juan de Contreras y Alonso de Castañeda, vecinos]

?AHJO, Teposcolula, Civil, 1, exp. 60 [1570, Coixtlahuaca: Juan de Contreras, escribano; Pedro de Salinas, regidor of the pueblo (signature Juan de Contreras and Cristóbal Pérez)];

?AGI, Contaduría, 679 [in October 1578, a Juan de Contreras pays quintos on 12 marcos de plata; in October 1578, a Juan de Contreras pays diezmos on 6 marcos de plata]

?Acuña, Relaciones Geográficas: Antequera [3:46: Los Peñoles…[August 1579]…estos dos [pueblos]…confinan con Tamazola, encomendado en Juan Alonso de Contreras]

?AGI, Indiferente General, 2056, N.67 [1575: license for Catalina de Cuevas, vecina of Trujillo, wife of Juan de Contreras, estante in Veracruz, with her children and a criada to go to live with her husband; husband is old and infirm];

?Enciso Contreras, Testamentos [p.332: source- AGI, Contratación, 220A, N.1, R.5, Goods of Miguel de Corral Ahumada, resident in the mines of San Martín, 1578; Llerena, mines of Sombrerete, 27 March 1576-Miguel is writing his will, witness-Juan de Contreras, vecino and estante; 14 Feb. 1577, Llerena, among the goods was a letter from Francisco Rodríguez]

1580-1590:

?Aizpuru, Indices y catálog, Luis Sánchez, escribano, #599 (1582, "Proceso", interpreter), Auto, Baltasar Dorantes de Carranza, 8 Aug. 1582] [a Juan de Contreras, interpreter at San Juan Teotihuacán; signed and rubric]

?AGN, Instituciones Coloniales, GD110, Real Audiencia, Tierras, vol.2735, segundo parte, exp.15, 1588-89 [fol.10: Tlacotalpan, Veracruz; Contreras, Juan de; alcalde mayor of Tlacotlalpa requesting from marqués Alvaro Manrique de Zuniga 5 sitios de estancia for large livestock on the outskirts of the pueblos Solcuautla and Minchapa toward Guazpaltepec, where the land is vacant and the Indians won't be harmed; marqués will allow deposition of witnesses and wants a picture of the area [photo of map: title-Colquatla, Tlacotalpa, ramo-Tierras, leg. 2735, part 2, exp. 15, fol.8, negative #1936, catalog # 1936]; Contreras is vecino of Tuztla del estado del marqués del Valle; Miguel Hernández, will be interpreter of Muyvica, lengua Mexicana (Mexican language-probably Nahuatl, 1589; pueblo of Çolquautla, province of Guaçaqualco (?)]

?Aizpuru, Indices y catálog, Diego Xuárez, escribano, #2519, #2520, #2523 (1582, "Declaración", alguacil);

?Aizpuru, Indices y catálog, Salgado, escribano, #213 (Médico, 1582, "obligación")

?AHMP, Actas, Vol. 12, Document 70, Asunto 32 [fol.63v:August 19, 1586, Merced de un solar a Gerónimo de Escalante en la cuarta cuadra junto a la iglesia de la Vera Cruz en la calle rumbo a Santiago linda con los solares del canonigo Alonso de Leyva y con los de Juan de Contreras];

?AHMP, Actas, Vol. 12, Document 70, Asunto 35 [fol.64f:August 19, 1586, Merced de un solar a Juan de Contreras en el barrio de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios y de la Vera Cruz. Dicho solar se localiza a la cuarta cuadra de la iglesia de la Vera Cruz rumbo a los molinos linda con los solares de Gerónimo de Escalante and con solar de Antonio Ruiz];

?AGN Instituciones Coloniales, GD110, Real Audiencia, Tierras, vol.2974, exp.53, 1587 [fol.8: Contreras, Juan de; regarding the possessions and bienes of Leonor Martinez, menor, he is tutor; Puebla; husband of María del Campos, daughter of Pablos Martin; Hernán Alonso suegra of María de Campos from a second marriage; second marriage with Diego de Espiña; Pablos Martín su suegro por tutora de María e Leonor sus hijos; avía contraydo matrimonio con el dicho Juan de Contreras; Bartolomé Martín Leonor's brother in charge of her; Sebastián Thomellum, marido of Francisca de Campos (daughter of Pablos Martín, deceased) vs. María de Campos, su suegra muger del dicho difunto  Diego del Espina sus segundo marido regarding the tutela y curaduria of Leonor de Campos, minor and daughter of Pablos Martín; Bartolomé Martín is Leonor's brother and Juan de Contreras is husband of María de Campos (daughter of Pablos Martín); Leonor Martínez del Campos; 6 Feb. 1587, Mexico; Contreras is vecino of Puebla];

1590 On:

?Aguirre Carrasco, ed., Testimonio [p. 72-73: 1592, debt of 1, 325 pesos is owed to Melchor de Covarrubias by Juan de Cuéllar and Francisco Gutiéres, mercaderes y vecinos de México, for 150 arrobas de grana (cochineal) that he had sold them; debt of 1,160 pesos is owed to Covarrubias by Alonso Hernández and Miguel Hernández for 20 arrobas de grana (cochineal) that he had sold them; debt of 640 pesos is owed to Covarrubias by Juan de Cuéllar, Juan de Contreras, and Francisco Gutiérrez, according to a promissory note; debt of 2,000 pesos is owed to Covarrubias by Bartolomé Serrano, vecino de Cholula; Juan de Contreras had also been commissioned to collect a debt for Covarrubias]

Other Info:

?Méndez Venegas, Emigrantes a América, #302 [1575: Extremadura, associated with García Pérez and Pedro Peñas in Mexico City]

Relatives:

?AGN, Instituciones Coloniales, GD58, Real Audiencia, Indios, vol.3, exp.175, 1590 [fol. 40v: Juan de Contreras, mestizo, Chiconautla, Mexico; taking the vara from him [no actual entry];

?AGN, Instituciones Coloniales, GD51, Gobierno Virreinal, General Parte, vol.4, exp.61 [fol.21: Juan de Contreras, mestizo, Chiconautla, Mexico; taking the vara from him];

?AGN, Instituciones Coloniales, GD51, Gobierno Virreinal, General de parte, vol.4, exp.61 [1590: November 1590: a Juan de Contreras, mestizo, has previously been named teniente de corregidor del pueblo de Chiconautla; a Cristóbal de Rama complains that this was illegal because Contreras had been “amitisevado publicamente” and had been punished an penalized; the viceroy orders that the vara of justice be taken back from Contreras (this could be our Juan de Contreras’ son)];

?Himmerich, Encomenderos, 254 [Juan de Valdivieso from Valdivieso: Burgos or Aguayo: Santander; held estancias with Alonso de Contreras, Burgos] [Alonso de Contreras: w/Narváez, w/Guzmán, 3 sons, 1 was García de Contreras, parents: García de Contreras and María de Lerma, Burgos] [Pablo Retamales: son, Melchor de Contreras, wife Inés de Contreras, 1536 she married Diego de Escobedo from Sevilla]