Juan de Oñate

Juan de Oñate Biography

Conquistador Juan de Oñate established the colony of New Mexico for Spain. During his governorship, he vainly sought the mythical riches of North America.


Born in Zacatecas, Mexico in 1550, Juan de Oñate’s request to conquer and govern New Mexico was approved in 1595. In 1598, he crossed the Rio Grande at El Paso. From there, he sent out small parties in all directions to search for a treasure that did not exist. In a last attempt to recover his prestige, he led an expedition west to the Colorado River and south to the Gulf of California, but he still found no gold. He resigned in 1607.

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