Fernandez De Retana, Juan
FERNÁNDEZ DE RETANA, JUAN (1652–1708). Juan Fernández de Retana, Spanish military commander on the frontier of northern New Spain and son of Juan Fernández de Retana and María Martínez de Mendivil, was born in the village of Nanclares de Gamboa in the province of Alava in northern Spain, where he was baptized on February 27, 1652. His parents were poor Basque pastoralists who apparently did not have much of an estate. Fernández married María Ruiz Lucuriaga in Nanclares in 1670. According to baptismal registers there, the couple had two sons and four daughters between 1672 and 1683, which would have been unremarkable if Fernández had not migrated to the viceroyalty of New Spain sometime before May 1676, when his signature appears in Mexico City records. Between 1676 and 1684 he was a merchant-freighter hauling goods between Mexico City and the northern silver-mining communities of Zacatecas and Parral. In New Spain he always claimed he was single and had no family, and there is no record of his returning to Spain before his wife's death in 1684.
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