Pedro Menéndez Márquez

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Pedro Menéndez de Márquez
03ºGovernor of La Florida
In office
1577 – 9 July 1594[1]
Preceded by Gutierre de Miranda
Succeeded by Domingo Martínez de Avendaño
Personal details
Born 1499
Asturias, Spain
Died 1600
Spouse(s) María Solís
Profession explorer, conquistador and governor

Pedro Menéndez Márquez (1499 - 1600) was an explorer, Spanish conquistador and governor of Spanish Florida. He was a nephew of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, cousin-in-law of Diego de Velasco, brother-in-law of also former governors of Florida Hernando and Gutierre de Miranda [2] and nephew or cousin (or, by some accounts, the illegitimate son) of Juan Menéndez Márquez (therefore, he was also second cousin or relative of Francisco Menéndez Márquez). All them were governors of Florida.

Early career[edit]

Pedro Menéndez Márquez was the son of Marquis Alonso "El Mozo" and of Maria Alonso Arango "La Moza". He had four siblings: Alonso, Juan, Catalina and Elvira Menéndez Marqués.[3] Menéndez Márquez began serving with his uncle Pedro Menéndez de Avilés in about 1548. He sometimes served as maestre on his uncle's ships. As Pedro Menéndez de Avilés was preparing his expedition to found a colony in Florida, he appointed Pedro Menéndez Márquez as second-in-command of the fleet of ships sailing from Asturias. After the establishment of St. Augustine and the expulsion of the French from Fort Caroline, Menéndez Márquez was given command of the ships returning to Spain for supplies and dispatched to carry the news to Spain. Although Menéndez Márquez was not the first to bring the news of Menéndez de Avilés' success to Phillip II, the king awarded him 300 ducats. Menéndez Márquez then loaded supplies for the new colony and sailed for Florida, but other ships in Menéndez de Avilés fleet were prevented from leaving Spain.[4]

Governor of Cuba and Florida[edit]

For a brief period around 1571, Menéndez Marquéz served as lieutenant governor of Cuba under Menéndez de Avilés, who was governor of Cuba, but usually absent from there.[5][6]

In 1573 Pedro Menéndez Márquez explored the Chesapeake Bay[7] and in 1575, Menendez Marquez lived already in Florida. It was over this year[8] when he brought the first group of Franciscans to Florida, a group formed by nine people.[7][8]

In 1576 the King appointed Pedro Menéndez Márquez as the governor of Florida.[1] In October of that year, he sent to Santa Elena, a military force commanded by who was appointed Governor of Santa Elena, Gutierre de Miranda. Menéndez Márques anticipated that the Indians might attack any force that tried to return to Santa Elena, so he and Miranda took from St. Augustine a strong prefabricated. He and his 53 men were able to erect it in.[9]

Menéndez Márquez successfully suppressed the rebellion of the Guale Indians that had been provoked by his predecessor and restored or strengthened Spanish outposts. He also had to deal with new French attempts to establish themselves along the coast north of Santa Elena. English raiding in the Caribbean and the establishment of an English colony at Roanoke caused further concern for Menéndez Márquez, and in May, 1586, Sir Francis Drake attacked and destroyed St. Augustine and the fort at the town[10] (although Menéndez Marqués, has evacuated the city some days earlier after receiving warning from Hispaniola[11]). All this combined with the failure to find the Colony of Roanoke made Menéndez Márquez abandoned the colony at Santa Elena and Parris Island to reinforce and rebuild St. Augustine.[10] So, Menéndez Márquez ordered his soldiers to build a new fort, Castillo de San Marcos (I),[7][12] and brought the Spanish settlers again to the land, to settle them there.[12]

In 1580, Menendez Marquez discovered Coquina on Anastasia Island.[13] In 1587, he returned to Santa Elena and ordered his soldiers to destroy the Saint Augustine infrastructure and the second Fort San Marcos.[12]

Although Menéndez Márquez knew that Roanoke was gone by 1589, he planned on establishing a Spanish outpost on Chesapeake Bay to block future English settlements in the area. However, Menéndez Márquez was appointed to organized the treasure fleets in Havanna, and did not return to Florida.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Pedro Menéndez Márquez married María Solís. According to some sources, they had a son, Martin Menendez, who was governor of the states of Flanders, mayor and alderman of the town of Avilés. However, according to others, they had no children. Except after they moved to Spain. they loved each other with their 3 kids. But sadly, in the end he divorced her.[14] He then moved on and married a young girl, Maria de Salazar. She was only 14, and died giving birth.

Pedro Menéndez Márquez arranged for his nephew, Juan Menéndez Márquez, to marry his niece, María Menéndez de Posada. Juan became Royal Treasurer for Spanish Florida, and the Menéndez Márquez family, descended from Juan and María, remained prominent in official and economic affairs in Spanish Florida for more than a century.[15]

According to Marquez, when he ruled Florida he got half of his salary through their status as Situado and the other half of the fruit he grew and sold. However, according to Domingo González de León, Marquez only used the excuse that he got money from selling fruit to take money from the cash box whenever he wanted. In addition, apparently, Marquez and his nephews showed strange behavior with women in Florida, as was to chase them from their homes to the streets or taking them to a desert island, outside the Fort, where they were all day, eating and drinking, so as doing all what they wanted do with the women.[2]


  1. ^ a b U.S. States F-K.
  2. ^ a b Witness to Empire and the Tightening of Military Control: Santa Elena's Second Spanish Occupation, 1577-1587. Retrieved in July 20, 2014, to 01:47pm.
  3. ^ Aviles. Familia del adelantado Pedro Menéndez de Avilés (In Spanish: Aviles. Family of Pedro Menendez de Aviles advance). Accessed September 17, 2010.
  4. ^ Lyon: 73, 88, 144-145, 161n1, 163-164
  5. ^ El Explorador. Periódico Digital Espeleológico (In Spanish: The Explorer. Digital Newspaper Speleological). Accessed September 17, 2010.
  6. ^ Willis, Fletcher Johnson. The History of Cuba (Complete). Library of Alexandria. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c Coloquio: Revista cultural (cultural magazine). The Hispanic Role in America. A chronology. Compiled by Dr. Juan M. Perez.
  8. ^ a b The First Catholics of the United States. Written by David Arias. Pages 37 and 38.
  9. ^ Santa Elena history: The Second Spanish Occupation: 1577 - 1587. Accessed September 9, 2010.
  10. ^ a b c Pickett: 94-95, 202-204
  11. ^ Historic Dates: June 6, 1586 – Drake’s Raid. Retrieved in july 21, 2014, to 0:16pm.
  12. ^ a b c Charlesfort-Santa Elena Port Royal, South Carolina. Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary. American Latino Heritage.
  13. ^ Exploring Florida: A Timeline of St. Augustine 1512–1886.
  14. ^ Galeó Hispavista: Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. Pag. 4 (In Spanish). Accessed September 17, 2010.
  15. ^ Bushnell:118, 120


  • Bushnell, Amy Turner (1991). "Thomas Menéndez Márquez: Criolla, Cattleman, and Contador/Tomás Menéndez Márquez: Criolla, Ganadero y Contador Real". In Ann L. Henderson and Gary L. Mormino. Spanish Pathways in Florida/Caminos Españoles en La Florida. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press. pp. 118–139. ISBN 1-56164-003-4. 
  • Lyon, Eugene (1976). The Enterprise of Florida: Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and the Spanish Conquest of 1565-1568 (Second (1990) paperkack ed.). Gainesville, Florida: The University Presses of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-0777-1. 
  • Pickett, Margaret F.; Dwayne W. Picket (2011). The European Struggle to Settle North America: Colonizing Attempts by England, France and Spain, 1521 to 1608. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-5932-2. Retrieved 13 October 2013.