Juan de Samaniego y Xaca

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Juan de Samaniego y Xaca
16th Spanish Governor of New Mexico
In office
Preceded by Hernando de Ugarte y la Concha
Succeeded by Juan Manso de Contreras
Personal details
Born unknown
Estella, Navarra (Spain)
Died unknown
Profession Military and Governor of New Mexico

Juan de Samaniego y Díez de Ulzurrun Xaca ("Jaca") y Roncal, better known just as Juan Samaniego y Jaca, was a prominent Spanish military who served as Governor of New Mexico between 1653 and 1656. He realized several expeditions against some Amerindian people who attacked, kidnapped and took as prisoners to people of other native peoples, in order of liberate these people.


Juan de Samaniego y Díez de Ulzurrun Xaca y Roncal was born in Estella, Navarra (Spain). He was son of Lorenzo de Samaniego y Jaca and Catalina Díez de Ulzurrun y Roncal. Eventually, Juan de Samaniego earned the title of nobleman after verify notability of his four grandparents (his paternal grandparents were Martín de Samaniego and Inés de Jaca, while his maternal grandparents were Martín Díez de Ulzurrun y Margarita Roncal). So, he joined the Order of San Juan de Jerusalén in 1637.

He joined to Spanish Army in his youth. There he had a distinguished military career, joining the Knights Hospitaliers, a leading religious-military order.

In 1663, the Viceroy Francisco Fernández de la Cueva appointed Juan de Samaniego y Jaca as Governor of Santa Fe de Nuevo México.

However, during his New Mexico administration, Franciscans denounced Samaniego exposing 17 complaints against him.

During his administration in New Mexico, Samaniego had troubles with some Amerindian peoples, who attacked and kidnapping people of some places of New Mexico. So, in sometime, the Apaches attacked the Jumano village, kidnapping women and twenty local children. To rescue them, Samaniego sent an expedition led by Juan Domínguez de Mendoza to the Apache village. The expedition was successful and punished the Apache. [1]

The following year, Navajos attacked Jemez Pueblo killing nineteen people and taking other thirty-five. Samaniego sent a military expedition against them led again by Dominguez de Mendoza. The Spanish troops entered the Navajo village while they celebrated a ceremonial, killed several natives and abducted other 211 people. Then, the Spanish militaries freed the people kidnapped by the Navajos. [2]

This caused him to be threatened by Friar Antonio de Ibargary since Samaniego had punished Native Americans without consulting the priests.

Later, Samaniego sent an expedition of exploration to the Nueces River, directed Diego de Guadalajara Bernardo de Quirós.

Juan de Samaniego y Jaca was replaced by Juan Manso de Contreras in 1656 in the New Mexico government. Samaniego was established in Parral, Chihuahua (modern Mexico) where he became in attorney of Valerio Cortés del Rey, his former financial backer during his politic administration in New Mexico. [1]


  1. ^ a b New Mexico Office of the State Historian: Juan de Samaniego y Jaca. Posted by Rick Hendricks Retrieved in June 17, 2014, to 23:45pm.
  2. ^ Blackhawk, Ned (2006). Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West. first Harvard University Press. Page 29.