Martín de Ursúa

Martín de Ursúa (or Urzúa) y Arizmendi (Spanish pronunciation: [maɾˈtin de uɾˈsu.a]; February 22, 1653 – February 4, 1715), Count of Lizárraga and of Castillo,[1] was a Spanish Basque conquistador in Central America during the late colonial period of New Spain. Born in Olóriz, Navarre,[2] he is noted for leading the 1696–97 expeditionary force which resulted in the fall of the last significant independent Maya stronghold, Nojpetén, located on an island in Lake Petén Itzá in the northern Petén Basin region of present-day Guatemala. He served as governor of the Yucatán until 1708, when he was named Governor-General of the Philippines.[2] Around the time that he was named to that post, he was made a knight of the Order of Santiago.[2] He died in Manila in 1715.[3]

Ursúa arrived in Mexico around 1680 and initially served as a lawyer in Mexico City, until 1692. He used this period to cement relationships with colonial officials in Yucatán.[4] In 1692 he was appointed to be governor of Yucatán, with his term to begin in 1698.[5] By 1694 he had been appointed as alcalde ordinario (a Spanish colonial official) of Mexico City.[4] Ursúa took office in Yucatán four years earlier than planned, becoming acting governor on 17 December 1694.[6]

Family tree

Martín de Ursúa was from a line of distinguished and successful noblemen that was extremely well connected politically and that intermarried with other influential noble families to form a kinship network that was spread across Europe and the Americas:[7]

General Pedro de Ursúa y Arizmendi
Diego Egües y Beaumont
Governor and Captain General of Nueva Granada
Pedro de Ursúa y Arizmendi de Egües
Count of Jerena
Pedro de Ursúa,
Abbot of Pamplona
Martín de Ursúa y Arizmendi
Juana Bolio y Ojeda (criolla)

See also


  1. ^ Jones 1998, pp. 113–114.
  2. ^ a b c Jones 1998, p. 113.
  3. ^ Jones 1998, p. 114.
  4. ^ a b Jones 1998, p. 118.
  5. ^ Jones 1998, pp. 118–119.
  6. ^ Jones 1998, p. 119.
  7. ^ Jones 1998, pp. 113–115.


Jones, Grant D. (1998). The Conquest of the Last Maya Kingdom. Stanford, California, USA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804735223.
Preceded by
Domingo Zabálburu de Echevarri
Governor General of the Philippines
Succeeded by
José Torralba

1653 (MDCLIII)

was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar, the 1653rd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 653rd year of the 2nd millennium, the 53rd year of the 17th century, and the 4th year of the 1650s decade. As of the start of 1653, the Gregorian calendar was

10 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.


1715 (MDCCXV)

was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar, the 1715th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 715th year of the 2nd millennium, the 15th year of the 18th century, and the 6th year of the 1710s decade. As of the start of 1715, the Gregorian calendar was

11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

Baztan, Navarre

Baztan is a municipality from the Chartered Community of Navarre, northern Spain. It is located 58 km (36 mi) from Pamplona, the capital of Navarre. It is the largest municipality in Navarre, with around 376.8 km2 and just over 8,000 inhabitants.

Cusco School

The Cusco School (Escuela Cuzqueña) or Cuzco School, was a Roman Catholic artistic tradition based in Cusco, Peru (the former capital of the Inca Empire) during the Colonial period, in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. It was not limited to Cuzco only, but spread to other cities in the Andes, as well as to present day Ecuador and Bolivia.There are high amount of Cusco School's paintings preserved, currently most of them are located at Cusco, but also currently there are in the rest of Peru and in museums of Brazil, England and United States.

Diego de Egües y Beaumont

Diego de Egües y Beaumont (Sevilla, c. 1612 – Bogotá, December 25, 1664), was a Spanish soldier, noble and colonial governor. He is famous for his command of Spanish forces in the naval action of the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife

He was the eldest son of Martín de Egües, judge of the Casa de Contratación de Indias and later the Royal Chancery of Valladolid, and Juana Verdugo de la Cueva (or Anne).

Hernán Venegas Carrillo

Hernán Venegas Carrillo Manosalvas (c.1513 – 2 February 1583) was a Spanish conquistadorfor who participated in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca and Panche people in the New Kingdom of Granada, present-day Colombia. Venegas Carrillo was mayor of Santa Fe de Bogotá for two terms; in 1542 and from 1543 to 1544.

José Torralba

José Torralba Rios (1653-1726) was a Spanish oidor and licentiate who served as the 36th Governor-General of the Philippines. He is the eighth Governor-General of the Philippines from the Real Audiencia of Manila.

Kan Ekʼ

Kan Ekʼ (sometimes spelt Canek) was the name or title used by the Itza Maya kings at their island capital Nojpetén upon Lake Petén Itzá in the Petén Department of Guatemala. The full title was Aj Kan Ekʼ or Ajaw Kan Ekʼ , and in some studies Kan Ekʼ is used as the name of the Late Postclassic (c. 1200 to 1697) Petén Itza polity.The earliest known use of the title comes from a Maya stela at the archaeological site of Yaxchilan and dates to the mid 8th century AD. The name is recorded in inscriptions at widely spaced Maya cities including Seibal, Motul de San José and Chichen Itza. When Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés crossed Petén in the early 16th century, he met with an Itza king identified by the name Kan Ekʼ. The Itza were not contacted again until the early 17th century when Franciscan friars were initially welcomed by the current Aj Kan Ekʼ before being expelled. This was followed by several incidents in which attempts to interact with the Itza resulted in the slaughter of the Spanish and their Maya converts, resulting in a long lull before attempts were resumed with a new Kan Ekʼ in the closing years of the 17th century. These culminated in a bloody battle, after which the last Kan Ekʼ was captured; he spent the rest of his life under arrest in the colonial capital of the Captaincy General of Guatemala.

Lacandola Documents

The term "Lacandola Documents" is used by Philippine Historiographers to describe the section of the Spanish Archives in Manila which are dedicated to the genealogical records (cuadernos de linaje) of the "Manila aristocracy" from the period immediately following European colonial contact. As of 2001, only one bundle of twelve folders (containing eleven distinct sets of documents) remains in the archive, the rest having been lost, misplaced, or destroyed by various events such as the Japanese Occupation of Manila during World War II. The surviving bundle is labeled "Decendientes de Don Carlos Lacandola" (Descendants of Don Carlos Lakandula), and scholars use the term "Lacandola Documents" as an informal shortcut.Scholars specializing in the noble houses of Rajah Matanda, Rajah Sulayman, and Lakandula mostly use these documents in conjunction with the Archivo General de Indias (General Archive of the Indies) in Seville, Spain in studying the genealogies of these "noble houses." Other primary sources frequently referred to by historiographers are the Silsila or Tarsilas of Sulu, Maguindanao, and Brunei, and local records (usually Catholic parish registers) of towns where descendants of the three houses may have moved.

List of conquistadors

The following is a list of conquistadors.

List of people from the Basque Country

This is a list of notable Basque people. For this purpose, people considered are those hailing from the extended Basque Country (includes the Basque Autonomous Community, the French Basque Country and Navarre).

In particular

born or resident in the Basque Country, unless self-identifying as not Basque (e.g. people self-identifying as Spanish or French rather than Basque.)

people born outside the Basque Country of Basque ancestry that either speak Basque or self-identify as being of Basque stock.This list does not contain people outside the Basque Country who happen to have one or more Basque surnames. For people of Basque ancestry in general, please see People with Basque ancestors.

Maya city

Maya cities were the centres of population of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization of Mesoamerica. They served the specialised roles of administration, commerce, manufacturing and religion that characterised ancient cities worldwide. Maya cities tended to be more dispersed than cities in other societies, even within Mesoamerica, as a result of adaptation to a lowland tropical environment that allowed food production amidst areas dedicated to other activities. They lacked the grid plans of the highland cities of central Mexico, such as Teotihuacán and Tenochtitlan. Maya kings ruled their kingdoms from palaces that were situated within the centre of their cities. Cities tended to be located in places that controlled trade routes or that could supply essential products. This allowed the elites that controlled trade to increase their wealth and status. Such cities were able to construct temples for public ceremonies, thus attracting further inhabitants to the city. Those cities that had favourable conditions for food production, combined with access to trade routes, were likely to develop into the capital cities of early Maya states.The political relationship between Classic Maya city-states has been likened to the relationships between city-states in Classical Greece and Renaissance Italy. Some cities were linked to each other by straight limestone causeways, known as sacbeob, although whether the exact function of these roads was commercial, political or religious has not been determined.


Nojpetén (also spelled Noh Petén, and also known as Tayasal) was the capital city of the Itza Maya kingdom of Petén Itzá, located on an island in Lake Petén Itzá in the modern department of Petén in northern Guatemala. The island is now occupied by the modern town of Flores, the capital of the Petén department, and has had uninterrupted occupation since pre-Columbian times. Nojpetén had defensive walls built upon the low ground of the island; they may have been hastily constructed by the Itza at a time when they felt threatened either by the encroaching Spanish or by other Maya groups.

Peten Itza kingdom

The Peten Itza kingdom was a kingdom centered on the island-city of Nojpetén on Lake Peten Itza.

Quito School

The Quito School (Escuela Quiteña) is a Latin American artistic tradition that constitutes essentially the whole of the professional artistic output developed in the territory of the Royal Audience of Quito — from Pasto and Popayán in the north to Piura and Cajamarca in the south — during the Spanish colonial period (1542-1824). It is especially associated with the 17th and 18th centuries and was almost exclusively focused on the religious art of the Catholic Church in the country. Characterized by a mastery of the realistic and by the degree to which indigenous beliefs and artistic traditions are evident, these productions were among of the most important activities in the economy of the Royal Audience of Quito. Such was the prestige of the movement even in Europe that it was said that King Carlos III of Spain (1716–1788), referring to one of its sculptors in particular, opined: "I am not concerned that Italy has Michelangelo; in my colonies of America I have the master Caspicara".

Spanish conquest of Guatemala

The Spanish conquest of Guatemala was a protracted conflict during the Spanish colonization of the Americas, in which Spanish colonisers gradually incorporated the territory that became the modern country of Guatemala into the colonial Viceroyalty of New Spain. Before the conquest, this territory contained a number of competing Mesoamerican kingdoms, the majority of which were Maya. Many conquistadors viewed the Maya as "infidels" who needed to be forcefully converted and pacified, disregarding the achievements of their civilization. The first contact between the Maya and European explorers came in the early 16th century when a Spanish ship sailing from Panama to Santo Domingo was wrecked on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in 1511. Several Spanish expeditions followed in 1517 and 1519, making landfall on various parts of the Yucatán coast. The Spanish conquest of the Maya was a prolonged affair; the Maya kingdoms resisted integration into the Spanish Empire with such tenacity that their defeat took almost two centuries.Pedro de Alvarado arrived in Guatemala from the newly conquered Mexico in early 1524, commanding a mixed force of Spanish conquistadors and native allies, mostly from Tlaxcala and Cholula. Geographic features across Guatemala now bear Nahuatl placenames owing to the influence of these Mexican allies, who translated for the Spanish. The Kaqchikel Maya initially allied themselves with the Spanish, but soon rebelled against excessive demands for tribute and did not finally surrender until 1530. In the meantime the other major highland Maya kingdoms had each been defeated in turn by the Spanish and allied warriors from Mexico and already subjugated Maya kingdoms in Guatemala. The Itza Maya and other lowland groups in the Petén Basin were first contacted by Hernán Cortés in 1525, but remained independent and hostile to the encroaching Spanish until 1697, when a concerted Spanish assault led by Martín de Ursúa y Arizmendi finally defeated the last independent Maya kingdom.

Spanish and native tactics and technology differed greatly. The Spanish viewed the taking of prisoners as a hindrance to outright victory, whereas the Maya prioritised the capture of live prisoners and of booty. The indigenous peoples of Guatemala lacked key elements of Old World technology such as a functional wheel, horses, iron, steel, and gunpowder; they were also extremely susceptible to Old World diseases, against which they had no resistance. The Maya preferred raiding and ambush to large-scale warfare, using spears, arrows and wooden swords with inset obsidian blades; the Xinca of the southern coastal plain used poison on their arrows. In response to the use of Spanish cavalry, the highland Maya took to digging pits and lining them with wooden stakes.

Spanish conquest of Petén

The Spanish conquest of Petén was the last stage of the conquest of Guatemala, a prolonged conflict during the Spanish colonisation of the Americas. A wide lowland plain covered with dense rainforest, Petén contains a central drainage basin with a series of lakes and areas of savannah. It is crossed by several ranges of low karstic hills and rises to the south as it nears the Guatemalan Highlands. The conquest of Petén, a region now incorporated into the modern republic of Guatemala, climaxed in 1697 with the capture of Nojpetén, the island capital of the Itza kingdom, by Martín de Ursúa y Arizmendi. With the defeat of the Itza, the last independent and unconquered native kingdom in the Americas fell to European colonisers.

Sizeable Maya populations existed in Petén before the conquest, particularly around the central lakes and along the rivers. Petén was divided into different Maya polities engaged in a complex web of alliances and enmities. The most important groups around the central lakes were the Itza, the Yalain and the Kowoj. Other groups with territories in Petén included the Kejache, the Acala, the Lakandon Chʼol, the Xocmo, the Chinamita, the Icaiche and the Manche Chʼol.

Petén was first penetrated by Hernán Cortés with a sizeable expedition that crossed the territory from north to south in 1525. In the first half of the 16th century, Spain established neighbouring colonies in Yucatán to the north and Guatemala to the south. Spanish missionaries laid the groundwork for the extension of colonial administration in the extreme south of Petén from 1596 onwards, but no further Spanish entry of central Petén took place until 1618 and 1619 when missionaries arrived at the Itza capital, having travelled from the Spanish town of Mérida in Yucatán.

In 1622 a military expedition set out from Yucatán led by Captain Francisco de Mirones and accompanied by Franciscan friar Diego Delgado; this expedition was a disaster, and the Spanish were massacred by the Itza. In 1628 the Manche Chʼol of the south were placed under the administration of the colonial governor of Verapaz within the Captaincy General of Guatemala. The Manche Chʼol unsuccessfully rebelled against Spanish control in 1633. In 1695 a military expedition tried to reach Lake Petén Itzá from Guatemala; this was followed in 1696 by missionaries from Mérida and in 1697 by Martín de Ursúa's expedition from Yucatán that resulted in the final defeat of the independent kingdoms of central Petén and their incorporation into the Spanish Empire.

Spanish conquest of Yucatán

The Spanish conquest of Yucatán was the campaign undertaken by the Spanish conquistadores against the Late Postclassic Maya states and polities in the Yucatán Peninsula, a vast limestone plain covering south-eastern Mexico, northern Guatemala, and all of Belize. The Spanish conquest of the Yucatán Peninsula was hindered by its politically fragmented state. The Spanish engaged in a strategy of concentrating native populations in newly founded colonial towns. Native resistance to the new nucleated settlements took the form of the flight into inaccessible regions such as the forest or joining neighbouring Maya groups that had not yet submitted to the Spanish. Among the Maya, ambush was a favoured tactic. Spanish weaponry included broadswords, rapiers, lances, pikes, halberds, crossbows, matchlocks and light artillery. Maya warriors fought with flint-tipped spears, bows and arrows and stones, and wore padded cotton armour to protect themselves. The Spanish introduced a number of Old World diseases previously unknown in the Americas, initiating devastating plagues that swept through the native populations.

The first encounter with the Yucatec Maya may have occurred in 1502, when the fourth voyage of Christopher Columbus came across a large trading canoe off Honduras. In 1511, Spanish survivors of the shipwrecked caravel called Santa María de la Barca sought refuge among native groups along the eastern coast of the peninsula. Hernán Cortés made contact with two survivors, Gerónimo de Aguilar and Gonzalo Guerrero, six years later. In 1517, Francisco Hernández de Córdoba made landfall on the tip of the peninsula. His expedition continued along the coast and suffered heavy losses in a pitched battle at Champotón, forcing a retreat to Cuba. Juan de Grijalva explored the coast in 1518, and heard tales of the wealthy Aztec Empire further west. As a result of these rumours, Hernán Cortés set sail with another fleet. From Cozumel he continued around the peninsula to Tabasco where he fought a battle at Potonchán; from there Cortés continued onward to conquer the Aztec Empire. In 1524, Cortés led a sizeable expedition to Honduras, cutting across southern Campeche, and through Petén in what is now northern Guatemala. In 1527 Francisco de Montejo set sail from Spain with a small fleet. He left garrisons on the east coast, and subjugated the northeast of the peninsula. Montejo then returned to the east to find his garrisons had almost been eliminated; he used a supply ship to explore southwards before looping back around the entire peninsula to central Mexico. Montejo pacified Tabasco with the aid of his son, also named Francisco de Montejo.

In 1531 the Spanish moved their base of operations to Campeche, where they repulsed a significant Maya attack. After this battle, the Spanish founded a town at Chichen Itza in the north. Montejo carved up the province amongst his soldiers. In mid-1533 the local Maya rebelled and laid siege to the small Spanish garrison, which was forced to flee. Towards the end of 1534, or the beginning of 1535, the Spanish retreated from Campeche to Veracruz. In 1535, peaceful attempts by the Franciscan Order to incorporate Yucatán into the Spanish Empire failed after a renewed Spanish military presence at Champotón forced the friars out. Champotón was by now the last Spanish outpost in Yucatán, isolated among a hostile population. In 1541–42 the first permanent Spanish town councils in the entire peninsula were founded at Campeche and Mérida. When the powerful lord of Mani converted to the Roman Catholic religion, his submission to Spain and conversion to Christianity encouraged the lords of the western provinces to accept Spanish rule. In late 1546 an alliance of eastern provinces launched an unsuccessful uprising against the Spanish. The eastern Maya were defeated in a single battle, which marked the final conquest of the northern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula.

The polities of Petén in the south remained independent and received many refugees fleeing from Spanish jurisdiction. In 1618 and in 1619 two unsuccessful Franciscan missions attempted the peaceful conversion of the still pagan Itza. In 1622 the Itza slaughtered two Spanish parties trying to reach their capital Nojpetén. These events ended all Spanish attempts to contact the Itza until 1695. Over the course of 1695 and 1696 a number of Spanish expeditions attempted to reach Nojpetén from the mutually independent Spanish colonies in Yucatán and Guatemala. In early 1695 the Spanish began to build a road from Campeche south towards Petén and activity intensified, sometimes with significant losses on the part of the Spanish. Martín de Urzúa y Arizmendi, governor of Yucatán, launched an assault upon Nojpetén in March 1697; the city fell after a brief battle. With the defeat of the Itza, the last independent and unconquered native kingdom in the Americas fell to the Spanish.


Ursúa, Ursua, Urzúa or Urzua is a Basque surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa (1717–1779), Spanish military officer, governor of Cuba, viceroy of New Spain

Domingo Vega Urzúa, also known as Americo, Chilean musician

María José Urzúa, Chilean actress

Martín de Ursúa y Arizmendi, count of Lizárraga (1653–1715), Spanish conquistador during the final conquest of the Maya in 1697

Pedro de Ursúa (1526–1561), Spanish conquistador in the 16th century

Pedro Verdugo de Albornoz Ursúa (1657–1720), Spanish noble and academician


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.