Tejano History

Padilla, Juan De

Tejanos |

       PADILLA, JUAN DE (?–1544). Fray Juan de Padilla came to the New World from his native Andalucia in Spain, where he had been a soldier before joining the Franciscan order. The exact date of his arrival is not known, but his signature did appear on a letter from the New World dated October 19, 1529. He was among the friars selected to sail from Tehuantepec to the Orient as part of an expedition organized by Hernando Cortés, but the ships proved unseaworthy. Subsequently, Padilla labored among the Indians at Ponzitlán and Tuchpán. Some sources record him as being at Matatlan and Hueytlapa missions at Tulancingo and at Zapotlán in Jalisco in 1531–32. Padilla was one of the two ordained priests chosen to accompany Fray Marcos de Niza on the Coronado expedition in 1540. After Coronado's capture of Cíbola (or Háwikuh), the westernmost Zuñi pueblo, in July, Padilla, in the company of Pedro de Tovar, visited the Moqui (Hopi) villages in Arizona. In August he accompanied the advance guard under Capt. Hernando de Alvarado to the Cicuye (Pecos) and Taos pueblos and the buffalo plains beyond. Padilla was among the select party that journeyed in 1541 with Francisco Vázquez de Coronado to Quivira, the Wichita village in present Kansas. Among other things, he reportedly conducted a service of thanksgiving in Palo Duro Canyon. When the disillusioned Coronado declared his intention to return to New Spain in the spring of 1542, Padilla chose to remain in New Mexico and return to Quivira to continue missionary efforts among the plains tribes. With him were two lay brothers, Luis de Escalona and Juan de la Cruz, who worked in the New Mexico pueblos and reportedly were martyred. Three blacks, one of whom was accompanied by his family; a Portuguese soldier named Andrés do Campo; and several Indian converts from the monastery of Zapotlán likewise volunteered to remain with Padilla. Leaving Escalona at Cicuye, Padilla and his companions set out for the buffalo plains. 


Full article on the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas Online

   Courtesy of the Texas State Historical Association.