Pedro de Castañeda de Nájera

Brief Biography: 
Pedro de Castañeda de Nájera was the author of one of the few first hand reports of the Expedition and by far the longest. He was born in 1515 perhaps in the city of Baeza (in the Jaén province). Because the conde who had Castañeda's report lived in the province of Jaén, the Baeza choice has plausibility. He was twenty-five when he went on the Expedition. Prior to the Expedition, he was with Guzmán in Culiacán and in all likelihood joined the Expedition as it passed through Culiacán. He served in the company of don Diego de Guevara. After the return to New Spain, Castañeda again took up residence in Culiacán. He apparently was married but the identity of his wife is unknown. In most historical works he is referred to as Castañeda de Nájera or even simply Castañeda. However, his name was listed as Pedro de Nájera on the Expedition's muster roll. Because there was another prominent contemporary of his also called Pedro de Nájera, the Castañeda was used to distinguish the two individuals.
Gender: 
Male
Date of Birth: 
1515
AGE-1540: 
25
Age Set: 
25-35
Birthplace
Country of Origin: 
Spain
Place of Birth (modern province/state/region): 
Jaén
Place of Birth (City/Town): 
?Baeza
Died on the Expedition?: 
No
Last Known Location: 
Culiacán, Mexico
European Social Status: 
Commoner
Position on Expedition: 
Horseman
Post Expedition Occupation: 
Farm owner
Residence After Expedition: 
Culiacán, Mexico
Married: 
Yes
Ability to sign name: 
Yes
References-Documentary: 

1530-1540

López-Portillo y Weber, La Conquista de La Nueva Galicia [p.135: Nájera, Pedro de, de Baeza];

?Garmendia Leal, Fundadores [p.106-07: otros pobladores, 1529-1556; Dejamos en San Miguel Culiacán: a Pedro de Álvarez de Castilla la Vieja; don Pedro de Tovar, hermano de don Sancho regidor de la villa de Sahagún; Diego López, veinticuatro de Sevilla; Pedro de Nájera de Baeza];

?Boyd-Bowman, Indice geobiográfico, II:6097 [in México 1530, fundador San Miguel/Nueva Galicia 1532]

1540-1550

1540, Feb: Muster in Flint & Flint, Documents, Document 12 [2 horses, a chainmail jacket, native arms, in don Diego de Guevara's company (Pedro de Nájera in Muster)]

AGI, Contratación, 197, N.21, R.19 [1546, Pánuco, "Relación de los pesos de oro que el Dr. Castañeda enbio cobrado de Pánuco bienes de Francisco de Villegas y otros difuntos;" document is prepared in the ciudad de México; Antonio de Villadiego, vecino of Pánuco reported in 1546 in Mexico City, that Dr. Castañeda asked him to deliver gold, money and letters concerning the bienes difuntos in Pánuco that the Dr. had collected from doña Catalina de Mexía, widow of Francisco Barron, now wife of Pedro de Trejo; this is the report Mexía gave him; in Santiago de los Valles, 20 Abril 1546, reported by Gonzalo Bernaldo; on 20 Abril Mexía is ordered to deliver whatever gold, money and letters she has regarding the bienes de difuntos of Francisco de Villegas, Juan Rodríguez, and anyone else; the juez de residencia informs Tello de Sandoval that there are many cases of bienes de difuntos from Santiago and the provincia; 28 May 1545 Tello de Sandoval demands that those handling these bienes report in person to him in Mexico City; 22 June 1545, Santistevan, del puerto de la provincia de Pánuco, it was publicly proclaimed that information regarding the bienes de difuntos will be collected and any frauds or negligence corrected; 1 Oct 1545, that Mexía, as wife of Francisco Barron and vecina of Santistevan must produce information and pay 1000 pesos that belong to the estate of Francisco Villegas, in Compostela and Santisteban; Mexía reports she is doing the best  she can, since she is only the wife, and that her husband also dealt with Tonalá and Jalisco; all the items in a chest she delivers, the cofre es de flandes de dos palmos mas o menos; items seem to pertain to Villegas, Francisco Guillén, a frenchman (whose albacea was Juan Rodríguez who is evidently dead), but also IOUs, wills and cartas de pago; gold de Jalisco; she reports also bienes from Francisco Guillén Frances; her late husband was the albacea for Francisco Guillén and delivers an inventory of Guillén's effects; has an inventory taken in Compostela; among her late husband's papers she has 2 conocimientos against Cristóbal de Oñate; un mandamiento de Francisco Vázquez Coronado contra Francisco de Villegas de contia de 200+ pesos de oro apedimiento de Francisco Pilo acesonario de Pedro de Sosa; carta de pago de Hernando Bermejo-7 tomines; una carta from Juan Pastor; mandamiento contra Melchior Díaz; there are 2 inventories of goods of Francisco de Villegas: one in Santistevan (more pages) and the other in Compostela; a poder from Diego Rodríguez to a Pero Martín; 2 conocimientos from Juan Pérez; carta de pago from Miguel Sánchez; conocimiento from Juan Gallego, escribano; carta de pago from Lope de Samaniego [therefore have to be before early 1540];  carta de pago from Juan Gallegos; conocimiento contra Francisco Cornejo con un poder; 2 cartas de pago and a poder from an Alonso Martín; quenta de Francisco Cornejo; desembargo y mando de Cristóbal de Oñate; poder from Juan Rodríguez para el frances [probably meaning Guillén]; from Juan Rodríguez 2 petitions, a letter; another letter from Juan Ruíz; conocimiento from Pedro de Najara; carta from Francisco Pilo; a conocimiento from Maese Miguel; an embargo by Francisco Vázquez de Coronado against the goods of Francisco de Villegas; the delivery was witnessed and signed by Juan de Gallegos in Santisteban; 11 Feb 1547 Mexía's husband makes a probanza in Mexico City regarding the bienes de difuntos of Francisco de Villegas, Francisco Guillén, frances and Juan Rodríguez, all deceased and her deceased 1st husband; Barron lived in Santiago de los Valles; witnesses included: Francisco de Godoy, 30+, native of Ubeda, vecino of Mexico City, saw Barron collect the bienes of Guillén in Nueva Galicia, signed-no signature; February 1547 statement of Pedro de Trexo, current husband of Catalina Mexía"por razón de las costas e gastos e menoscabos de la hacienda del dicho Francisco Barrón que por su ausencia hubo y por su salario que de derecho le viene se retuvieron en ???? poder dozientos pesos de oro que corre para ayuda a lo dicho aunque es mucho mas lo que gasto e perdio en la dicha jornada [to travel from México to Nueva Galicia]" he presents an interrogatorio in which the first question asks if the witnesses are aware that Francisco Barrón collected bienes de difuntos in Nueva Galicia (Guadalajara y Compostela); he resided in Santiago de los Valles (Oxitipán) "que esta desta ciudad [México] ochenta leguas and "partió y fue con [los recaudos y escrituras] a la dicha Nueva Galicia;" he spent more than six months there collecting bienes; Francisco Guillén had gone to Nueva Galicia to collect bienes, but "estar la tierra alzada y de guerra...murió el dicho Francisco Guillén y dexo por su albacea a Francisco Barrón;"]

1550-1560

González-Leal, Relación Secreta  [p. 92-95: Vecinos de la provincia de Culiacán: Pedro de Nájera, vecino, es casado, es fundidor y gana su vida a ello];

Papeles de Nueva España, “Suma de visitas”  [p.97: Najara, Pedro de, Caytanito en Culiacán: Estos son 4 estancias que se llaman Caytanito, Badato y Acobito, Termuribito, que estan en el Rio de la Pascua y 20 leguas de la villa; no estan estos indios bien pacificos. Caytanito tiene 8 indios y Guadato 20 y Acobito 10 y Termuribato 11 no sirven ni dan cosa alguna];

1560-1570

AGI, Contratación, 473, N.1, R.1, exp. 9 [Bienes de Juan (Jover) de Aragón, Guadalajara, May 1567; in April 1566, a Miguel de Tórres is a witness twice in Culiacán, so is a Pedro de Tórres, both vecinos of Culiacán; another witness (to a declaration by the alcaldes and regidores) is Pedro de Nájera, vecino of Culiacán, he also signs as a witness to an accounting of the property of Juan de Aragón; during the almoneda in Culiacán Martín de Estepa buys 3 fisnos? and more than 10 achuelos and 6 pairs of worn out shoes and una frezada and a alnylla de grana and some boots and un obillo de hilo and un talabarte bellaco and a gineta bit and espuelas de gorrión and 2 petacas and 2 pairs of scissors, for all of which he presented two IOUs totalling 12.5 pesos; a Pedro Martín buys 8 varas of anje? and 17 obillos de ballesta and 1 frezada and 7 panes de carbón and a capa, in June 1565 Martín serves as a witness en las minas de las vírgenes, provincia de Culiacán; in another almoneda in July 1565 in Culiacán, don Pedro de Tovar buys 14 libras de canela and an espada; an Hernán González, along with two other men, buys 9.5 varas de tocasa? de estas mynas, he also signs for a witness (no signature); Pedro de Nájera buys cierto azafrán for 3 pesos and 2 tomines];

AGI, Guadalajara, 46, N.8 [1566 [información de oficio y parte, cabildo de San Miguel de Culiacán, November 12]; witness and vecino de San Miguel de Culiacán: Pedro de Nájara, 51 years old, can sign name (no signature in copy), vecino of San Miguel (gives the longest, most detailed testimony by far); Cristóbal de Tapia (with Guzmán in conquest of Culiacán) (from Río de Yaquimí onward Vázquez de Coronado took possession of the land) (entraron en tupira en el tiempo que francisco Vázquez de Coronado fue gobernador) (don Pedro de Tovar presently holds encomienda of Río de Petatlán); Vezino de la villa de san / myguel testigo presentado e Jurado preguntado / por el tenor e forma del pedimyento dixo que lo / que save es que este testigo a que Resyde / en la dicha vylla de san myguel e proVinÇia de Culiacán Veynte e quatro años mas or menos / Tiempo e que puede haber Veynte e seis años / que Residiendo este testigo en los Terminos de la Çiu- / dad de guadalajara que es en este Reyno salio con / Francisco Vázquez de coronado Para la Jornada de / Çibola e al tiempo que paso por la dicha Villa / al tiempo que llegado al Rio de petatlan oyo / dezir como el dicho francisco Vázquez de Coronado gober- / nador hizo encomyenda de todos los yndios e / naturales del (del) dicho Rio en Álvaro de aRoyo / e Cristóbal de tapia Vezinos de esta villa e conquys- / tadores y pasando adelante llegados al / Rio de yaquimi de la otra parte del Rio de Çinaloa / vydo que se hizierad Çiertas diligencias Por el dicho / gobernador e autos e pregonado que (h)era di- / xeron que alli Partia termynos con la dicha / Villa de san(t) myguel e su proVinÇia porque / desde que nuño de Guzmán gobernador Con- / quysto este Reyno dio por terminos a esta pro- / Vynçia hasta el dicho Rio de yaquimi porque / lo havian conquystado Los Conquistadores / De esta proVinÇia hasta ally e de que es- / te testigo Volvyo de la Jornada e poblo en / la dicha villa que ha los dichos veynte e quatro / años; he said that diego López y estevan / martyn y luys Hernández e Joan martyn e pedro / de quyntamylla estos a Çinaloa in order to get encomiendas from Francisco de Ibarra];

Tello, Libro Segundo [p.135: poblador antiguo of Guadalajara, de Baeza (convincing)]

other info:

?AGI, Patronato, 61, N.1, R.3 [Leonor Vaca, widow of Juan de Ojeda, contador in Galicia, was with Garay, Cristóbal Doli, Honduras, Nuño Guzmán; 1557, Compostela; image 46: Guadalajara, 1557, Francisco Cornejo, vecino, 40 +/- years old, hearsay mostly, mentions Castañeda with Juan de Oñate and Pedro de Plasencia with Ojeda when he was wounded in the barrancas of the Rio Grande after conquering Guadalajara];

relatives:

?AGI, Patronato 65, N.2, R.3 [Méritos, April 1563, fol. 2v, a son, Juan de Leyba, participated in "la pacificación e alcamiento de la nueva galizia provincia de Jalisco;" he and a brother "fueron a la guerra e armada que se hizo para la Florida;" witnesses: Antonio de Oliver; Juan de Moscoso who sent along with Juan de Nájera with Mendoza to put down the uprising in Jalisco; Gerónimo de Medina:went to Jalisco in the company of Chirinos]