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Spain and Mexico



The beginning of our

history starts here...






File:Flag of Spain.svg




Current Flag of Spain



The flag of Spain consists of three horizontal stripes. The top and bottom stripes are equal-sized and red; while the middle yellow stripe is double the size of the red stripes. Towards the left side of the yellow stripe is the country's coat of arms. The coat of arms consists of a crowned shield, quartered and guarded on each side by the crowned Pillars of Hercules - representing Gibraltar and Cueta. Each quarter displays badges of the original Spanish kingdoms. In the centre of the shield is the emblem of the reigning Spanish royal Family, House of Bourbon, which is a blue oval with a red-edged border containing three fleur de lies. At the bottom of the shield is a pomegranate representing Grenada. Wrapped around the pillars is a red scroll with the motto 'Plus Ultra' written on it. The motto translates to 'there is more beyond'.

Red and yellow are traditional Spanish colors and originate from the coat of arms of the original Spanish kingdoms. No other countries used the red and yellow colors at that time. See the Spanish flag description for their meaning.

The current Spanish flag was adopted on December 19, 1981. The closest variation of the current Spanish flag can be traced back to 1785 when Carlos III ruled Spain. At this time the kingdom wanted a flag that was different from the Bourbon flags of the two France and the Two Sicilies, which were the other principal Bourbon kingdoms. Red and yellow were used in the national flag until the monarchy was removed in 1931. The new republic adopted a flag of red, yellow and purple horizontal stripes. The former flag was reinstated in 1936. The main changes to the Spanish flag over the years has been modifications to the coat of arms.





Basque Country

France: Lapurdi, Benafarroa, Zuberoa

Spain: Bizkaia, Araba, Gipuzkoa, Nafarroa


The Moors: Following the decline of the Roman Empire, in the 5th century AD, the Visigoths came to control the peninsula.  Part of the Visigothic legacy to Spanish civilization was the introduction of the institution of monarchy.  Several centuries later, in 711, the Visigothic kingdom in Spain was invaded by Muslims.  Aside from a nucleus of resistance which was maintained in the north, the Muslim victory was complete by the year 718.


Early Origins: Spain, which is presently a state that includes the Balearic and Canary Islands and is in southwestern Europe, was originally settled by the Iberians.  In the first millennium BC, the Celts, who were from central Europe, invaded and began to mingle with the native Iberians.  Later, Greeks and Carthaginians colonized the coasts; however, they were replaced by the Romans by the 3rd century BC.


The Visigoths: In 420, the Visigoths captured Spain from the Vandals and returned it to Rome.  Unfortunately, 18 years later the Suevi overran the peninsula.


Regions of Spain: Aragon, a region of northeastern Spain in the Iberian peninsula, has a proud cultural heritage and its own unique language.  In 1137, the regions of Aragon and Catalonia united to form the Crown of Aragon, whose illustrious line of kings led to the re-conquest of the eastern peninsula from the Muslims.  The Crown of Aragon extended its Mediterranean empire with the recapture of Mallorca in 1229 and Sicily in 1282 and it remained an important power throughout the Middle Ages.  Sephardic Jews settled in Galicia as well as in other countries. It is said that the Sephardic Jews are descendants of the Judah and Levi tribes and that there was a time in history that half of the Jewish population in Europe was sephardic. The Jewish splendor reached its peak in the 12th century and began to decline in the 14th century. By 1391, mass killings, persecutions and conversions were being threaten by the government and the Catholic church. In 1469, King Ferdinand of Aragon married Isabella of Castile and this union brought together the two most powerful kingdoms of Spain to create a united Spanish nation. In 1478, the King and Queen got permission from Pope Sixtus IV to name inquisitors throughout their domain. Their objective was to protect Catholicism as the true faith. They immediately began establishing permanent trials and developing bureaucracies to carry out investigations in most cities and communities in their empire. In 1481, the Vatican established the Holy Inquisition in Spain and its first auto-de-fé (act of faith) took place in Seville. The auto-de-fé involved a Catholic Mass; prayer; a public procession of those found guilty; and a reading of their sentences. The ritual took place in public squares and lasted several hours with ecclesiastical and civil authorities in attendance. Artistic representations of the auto-de-fé usually depict torture and the burning at the stake. The defendant at the trial had no access to what witnesses would be called against him. No more than 2% of the hundreds of thousands that were persecuted were ever executed. The event itself was an ecclesiastical organized public ceremony. The primary motivation of the trial was to obtain reconciliation and forgiveness of convicted offenders. These trials were ideological and racial persecutions, mainly towards relapsed conversos. For the next 11 years millions of Spanish Jews were forced to convert to the Christianity.

The Expulsion from Spain: In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovers the Americas and the era of colonization by Europe begins. 1492 is also the year of the Spanish Inquisition. Shortly after the Moors were driven out of Granada, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain expelled all the Jews from Castile, Catalonia, Aragon, Galicia, Majorca, Minorca, the Basque provinces, the islands of Sardinia and Sicily, Valencia and Andalucia putting an end to the largest and most distinguished Jewish settlement in Europe. In 1497, King Manuel of Portugal expelled all the Jews from his country. The expulsion was prompted only in part by the greed of the king and the intensified nationalism of the people who had just brought the crusade against the Muslim Moors to a glorious close.  The real motive was the religious zeal of the Church, the Queen, and the masses. The official reason given for driving out the Jews was that they (the Jews) encouraged the Marranos (the secret Jews) to persist in their Jewishness and thus would not allow them to become good Christians.  By doing the total expulsions, the Sephardic Jews had no choice but to settled in the outskirts of Spain and Portugal. The Jewish people feared for their future and told their children to keep silence about their Jewish blood and religion to avoid punishment and death.


The Concept of the Calendar: The Gregorian calendar, the calendar most often used today, is a correction of the Julian (Julius Caesar) calendar, which began in 45 BC. Leap years had been miscalculated in the Julian calendar and gained a day about every 134 years. By the year 1582, the calendar was 10 days behind the solar year. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII issued a papal bull, modifying the calendar to correct the problem. He declared that the day following the fourth of October that year would become the fifteenth of October. Other adjustments were made in the calendar to prevent future leap-year miscalculations. Spain adopted the new system in 1582, and the Spanish territories in the New World rapidly followed Spain's example. The Gregorian calendar was adopted in the viceroyalty of Mexico in 1583.


What's in a Hispanic Surname


In ancient times, people had only one name but as populations grew many individuals were given the same names and it became difficult to know who was being talked about. In order to reduce the confusion, individuals with the same name were differentiated form one another by various characteristics.



Physical characteristics:

Any physical characteristic could become associated with an individual.

"Juan el Gordo" (John the fat) as opposed to "Juan Delgado" (thin John)

"Juan Gran" (Big John) different from "Juanito" (little John)

"Juan Rubio" (blonde) as opposed to "Juan Moreno" (dark-skinned)

"Juan Blanco" (white) as opposed to "Juan Negron" (black or very dark skinned)



The practice of identifying individuals with their parents, especially their fathers was almost universal. In Spain, as in other lands, a short hand method of showing one's parentage was developed by adding an es, as, is or os (common to Portuguese surnames) or an ez, az, is, oz (common to Spanish surnames) to the end of the father's name.


Examples: Juan, hijo de Rodrigo became: Juan Rodrigues (in Portugal) and Juan Rodriguez (in Spain)


These surnames are now called patronymic surnames and some typical examples are: Mendez (son of Mendo), Alvarez (son of Alvaro), Gonzalez (son of Gonzalo), Ortiz (son of Ortun), Ibañez (son of Iban), Jimenez (son of Ximena).


Occupation (what our ancestors may have done for a living):

It was logical to associate an individual with his occupation and this became a source of many Hispanic surnames. Names like "Carillero" (cart maker), "Molina" (miller), "Marrero" (hoe maker) "Guerrero" (warrior/soldier) "Torrero" (bullfighter) "Escudero" (squire) "Escobedo" (sweeper)


Geographical location:

While patronymic surnames are the most common Hispanic surnames, geographical surnames comprise the greatest number of individual Hispanic surnames. The many towns, villages, fortresses, hills, bodies of water, valleys, mountains, and regions were a very rich source of surnames.


Examples: Ricardo living in the town of Lugo, might be called "Ricardo de Lugo" or if he lived in or near caves, "Ricardo de las Cuevas". Names like "Vasco" (Basque) or "Vasquez" (son of a Basque) might indicate nationality as well as place of birth. Surnames like "Ebro", "Duero" and "Sosa" refer to the names of rivers. "Torre" and "Torres" refer to towers and "Castillo" to a castle, "Cuesta" and "Llanos" refer to a hill and a valley. "del Mar" to the sea, "Costa" and "Acosta" to the coast, etc.


Military exploits:

Another source of Hispanic surnames were military exploits. It must be remembered that in ancient Spain, military service was pretty much the only way to move up in society. Surnames like "Guerra" (war), "Guerrero" (warrior/soldier), "Tirado" (marksman), "Alonso" (ready for battle), "Bravo or Bravura" (brave/fierce), "Valiente" (brave). All exemplify some martial quality. Other surnames may refer to rank such as "Sargento" (sergeant), "Teniente" (lieutenant), "Reyes" (king), "Alferez" (ensign), "Piloto" (navigator).



A person's character was often a source of surnames, "Cruel" (cruel) and "Malo" (bad) are two negative surnames that have persisted to the present. However, in most cases, it was the positive character surnames that persisted such as "Amado/Amada" (loved ones), "Julia" (youthful), "Guzman" (good man), "Clemente" (merciful), "Adorno" (ornament) and "Alegria" (happiness).


Religious events and figures:

The Catholic church was very influential in Spain making most Spaniards and other Hispanics to this day, very loyal Catholics. It goes without saying that the Church was a great contributor of Hispanic surnames. Names like "Rosario" (Rosary), "de la Cruz" (of the cross), "Santa Maria" (St. Mary), "Santana" (St. Ann), "Obispo" (Bishop), "Iglesias" (Churches), "Santos" (Saints), "Hostos" (Hosts), "Salvador" (savior), "San German" (St. Germain), "del Carmen" (Carmelite), etc. These represent only a small portion of the surnames made possible by the church.


There are a small number of surnames which signify national origin or ethnic group. Names like "Gallego" (Galicia), "Navarro" (from Navarra), "Aragonese" (Aragonian), "Turco/Turcos" (Turkish), "Aleman" (German), "Franco" (Frank/French), "Vasco" (Basque), "Godo/Godos" (Goth, German, probably Visigoth), "Corso'Corzo" (Corsican), "Gitano" (gypsy) and "Catalano" (Catalonian).



There are a few other sources of Hispanic surnames, such as animals in names like "Garcia" (like a fox), and "Aguila/Aguilar" (eagle/eagle like) or objects like "Candelaria" (Candelabra/Chandelier), "Lucero" (source of light), "Calderon" (kettle), "Nieves" (snow).


Human nature being what it is, the surnames were shortened and rules were developed for their proper use. The patronymic method, coming from the male parent) of naming one's offspring, made it difficult to trace a lineage beyond one's grandfather. Thus the patronymic surnames became permanent family names and were passed down directly to their offspring. This made it possible for Juan Alvarez to call his son Emilio Alvarez or his daugther Maria Alvarez and eventually made it easier to trace one's lineage beyond the grandparents.


Later, the convention of giving both parent's surnames to one's offspring made it even easier to prove or trace one's lineage. A typical Spanish person now had a surname which described both parents and was constructed as follows: Juan whose father's surname was Santiago, and his mother's surname was Avila might be called, "Juan de Santiago y Avila". His sister Juana would be similarly until she married someone named Alvarez and had to change her name to "Juana de Santiago y Avila de Alvarez".


The tendency for humans to shorten everything extended to our surnames but did not result in a great deal of confusion. The custom of carrying both parent's surnames only changed slightly as the example from above illustrates. Juan de Santiago y Avila would now be Juan Santiago Avila and his married sister would be Juana Santiago Avila de Alvarez and in more recent time, she might be Juana Santiago Alvarez or perhaps Juana Santiago Avila-Alvarez.


Names like "de Castilla" became "Castilla" and "de la Cuesta" became "Cuesta". These rules can make it fairly easy to trace one's ancestors to the 1700's, 1600's and even the 1400's. Farther back, however, it gets tricky.


Surname Garza

(Alternate Surname Spelling: de la Garza, de Garza, Garzo, Garzn)


The surname of Garza was founded in Spain: Galicia and Gipuzkoa. There are two possibilities of the Garza origin:

The first one is that the surname is Gallego (Galicia), de San Juan de Tor, in Monforte de Lemos (Lugo), Spain. Back then garza could have been used as a nickname to a person who was thin and with long legs.

The second possibility is that it could be a variation of the surname Garcia. There is a heraldry Garza house in Gipuzkoa and in the Basque language, the meaning of garza=llama which has nothing to do with the meaning in the Spanish language. (I'm not sure whether llama means "named/called" or "flame").


In 2004, I came across the family tree of Pedro Garza de Castillón provided by Luis García Arias. Luis lived in Monforte de Lemos, Lugo, Spain which is 3 kilometers from Pazo de Tor, the birthplace of the Garza surname. (Please note that the website: from which this information was obtained, does not exists in its entirety. It has changed since 2004 and does not have the information  of Pedro Garza de Castillón. I do have a hard copy of the document that was posted back in 2004):



"Near Monforte about 3 kilometers, there is a path named Pazo de Tor and its oldest resident carry the surname Garza. Lineage of great gentlemen, according to historians. What stood out the most was that its coat of arms, have a garza which is also the symbol for García, and the 6 roundels which are in the coat of arms for Castro. Here is a brief genealogy of the Garza's from Pazo de Tor:


Pedro Garza de Castillón (the old man, lord of the house of Tor, lived in the XIII-XIV century) had a son:  Men Garza de Castillón who married Maria Sánchez de Taboada, they had a son: Pedro Garza de Castillón (el mozo, aka Pedro de Tor who was a famous knight and gentleman of the Count of Lemos. The Counts of Lemos carried the surname of Castro who lived in Castroxeriz, Burgos). He married Emilia Vázquez de Quiroga y Valcarcel (daughter of García Rodríguez de Valcarcel y Balboa). They had a son: Diego de Quiroga Garza de Taboada y Temes who married Maria Sánchez de Somoza and they had a son Francisco de Quiroga Garza y Somoza who married Elvira López de Lemos y Valcarcel. They had a son: Lope Sánchez de Quiroga Garza Taboada y López de Lemos who married Maria Alvarez de Castro y Somoza (from the home county of Lemos). They had a son: Francisco Garza de Quiroga Taboada y Alvarez de Castro (a distinguish gentleman) who married Leonor Sarmiento de Sotomayor and they had a son: Lope Garza de Quiroga Sarmiento Taboada, who married Anastasia de Sotomayor Ribadeneira de Temes Camba Mariño de Goyanes y Aguiar". 


Due to this, there are 2 different coat of arms (See below-Spanish Heraldry):

(1) Garza of Galicia

(2) Garza of Gipuzkoa


The definition of Garza in Galician and in Basque have no relation.

Garza in Galician means "Heron; of the Herons". Garza or Gartz which is the derivative of Garza in Basque means "Agarra" to grab or "El oso" the bear.


In Arandiga, providence of Zaragoza (Spain), this surname is very abundant as well. Garza also appears in an Italian Hebrew list of 1650 in Italy.



We now know that the surname Garza is of Jewish roots and that we are probably the descendants of the Sephardic Jews from Spain known as the Crypto-Jews. The sephardic people left us a long list of Jewish last names. These last names were in combination of colors, natural elements, animals, job titles or the region/place which they were from. By having these last names and by them using the first and last letter of the word "Eretz" which in Hebrew means Land or Land of Israel, the Jewish lineage would not be lost.

            Examples: Hernández = hijo de Hernando
                            Pérez = hijo de Fares
                            Martínez = hijo de Martín
                            Suárez = Salvación de Israel

The Spaniards use the suffix E-Z. These were the Jews who were migrating from Spain to the Latin America countries and were evading the Inquisition. Other Jews would use their fathers job titles as their last names. And still others would simply converted by adopting new last names given to them by the parish, example: Salvador or Santa Cruz.

The Garza surname was brought to Mexico by the forefather Marcos Alonzo Garza del Alcon who was born in Lepe, Huelva Spain, between 1540 and 1550 and came to New Spain to serve in the military. In 1585, he married Juana de Treviño and in the time period of 1596 and 1603, his whole family ended up in Nuevo Leon. The surname Garza continues to be rare in Spain; however, it is very popular in northern Mexico and south of Texas.


Spanish Heraldry

(The coat of arms---I have found 3 Garza's Coat of Arms)





Galicia: Garza o Garzo Coat of Arms

De San Juan de Tor. Partido judicial de Monforte de Lemos (Lugo). Una rama pasó a Chile

(Armas: Escudo partido-1° de azur, una garza de oro y 2° en plata, seis roeles de azur puestos en dos palos ó

Escudo partido 1° en campo de azur, una garza de oro y 2° en campo de plata, seis roeles de azur puesto en 2 palos)






Other Region: Garza Coat of Arms

(En azur, una cruz recortada, de gules, acompanada de cuatro lises de oro)





 Basque: Garza coat of Arms

(En plata un roble de sinople frutado de oro, y un oso de su color natural empinado al tronco.  Bordura de gules con ocho aspas de oro)





"One cannot bear the Garza coat of arms legally, unless one can prove to the satisfaction of the Spanish Ministry of Justice that one is a direct descendant of the original owner of those arms".

Heraldry first appeared in Spain at about the beginning of the eleventh century and its origin was the same as other European countries, the need for Knights and Nobles to distinguish themselves from one another on the battle field, in joust and tournaments.  There really was no other reason, although there are varying opinions.  The fact that Knights wore armor from head to toe and were often in a leadership position made it essential to be able to see who was where on the battle field.

The design of the arms were pretty much up to the owner.  Originally, anyone could bear arms.  Later, it became more of a practice for the nobility.  In Spain, however, it was not difficult to be ennobled.  The Spanish nobility, unlike their European counterparts, was based almost entirely on military service. It was through these military services that the commoners would join the ranks of nobility.

The "Coat" of Arms was actually the loth cape or coat that the Knights wore over their armor to protect them from the sunlight.  This garment was often decorated with the arms exactly as they were on the shield.  Most people refer to the shield as the "Family Crest".  This is incorrect.  The crest is a symbol used in English heraldry and is generally placed on top of the helmet in the achievement. (The entire coat of arms with supporters, etc.).  The Spanish achievement is generally simple.  It is composed of the shield, a cape which can be simply drawn or ornate, a helmet (optional) or a Crown if for a member of the Nobility and a motto (optional).   The most important thing was what was placed on the shield.

The shields of heraldic art were patterned, as mentioned above, on the shields used in battle or tournaments.  The shields became obsolete in the 14th century when plated armor replaced chain mail, and the strong bow and cannon appeared on the battlefield. Shields continued to be used in tournaments until tournaments fell from favor after the death of Emperor Maximilian I in 1519, and they were discredited by the accident in 1559 which cost the life of King Henry II of France.

To date, there have been 3 styles of shields used in Spain throughout the centuries: 12th Century, 15th Century and 19th Century. 

A shield has three basic things: metals, colors and furs. Shields are sometimes of one metal, color or fur and sometimes of more than one; in the latter case the shield is divided by a line or lines cutting through or across it in a particular direction. By doing so, one part of the shield is with a metal and the other part is with a color. 

There are 2 metals: Gold and Silver. In the Spanish Heraldry these 2 metals represent several things.

(1) Gold (substitute in color = yellow)

From the precious stones-the topaz;

From the planets-the Sun;

From the twelve signs of the Zodiac-Leo;

From the elements-fire;

From the days of the week-Sunday;

From the months of the year-July;

From the trees-the cypress;

From the flowers-the sunflower;

From the avians-the rooster;

From the quadruped animals-the lion;

From the aquatic animals-the dolphin. 


Gold signifies riches, strength, purity and constancy.

(2) Silver (substitute in color = white)

From the precious stones-the pearl;

From the planets-the Moon;

From the twelve signs of the Zodiac-Cancer;

From the elements-water;

From the days of the week-Monday;

From the months of the year-January and February;

From the trees-the palm-tree;

From the flowers-the white lilly;

From the avians-the dove;

From the quadruped animals-the ermine. 


Silver signifies innocence, whiteness, and virginity.

There are five Spanish heraldic colors:

(1) Azure signifies blue

(2) Gules signifies red

(3) Sable signifies black

(4) Vert signifies green

(5) Purpure signifies purple


There are two Spanish heraldic furs: 

(1) Ermine

(2) Vair

Furs covered or adorned the shields.




                        File:Flag of Mexico.svg                    

Current Flag of Mexico



The flag of Mexico consists of three equal sized vertical stripes - the left stripe is green; the middle is white; and the right stripe is red. In the middle of the Mexican flag and white stripe is the country's national coat of arms.


The stripes on Mexico's flag are believed to represent the following: the green stripe represents hope; the white represents or symbolizes religion; and the red represents independence and the unity of the nation. Mexico's coat of arms depicts an ancient Aztec legend that tells a tale of God telling a band of wandering Aztec Indians that when they came across an eagle eating a snake while perched on a nopal cactus growing out of a rock surrounded by water, they were to create their home. This spot eventually became Mexico City. This scenario with the eagle eating a snake is depicted on the Mexican coat of arms.

The current Mexican flag was adopted on September 16, 1968. Mexico gained independence from Spain on September 21, 1821, and at that time introduced a basic flag of green, white and red diagonal stripes. The Mexican coat of arms - which represents the 1325 founding of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlán (on the site occupied by Mexico's modern capital, Mexico City) - was added in 1823. The coat of arms has changed several times since then and this has resulted in several modifications to the Mexican flag.




File:Coat of arms of Nuevo Leon.svg


The coat of arms of Nuevo León is made up of four squares that form of a cross. Above, six bees represent the hard-working nature of local inhabitants. In the upper left section is the Sun next to La Silla Hill and, in the foreground, an orange. In the upper right-hand square is a crowned lion ready to attack. On the lower left-hand side is San Francisco convent and, on the right, five smoking chimneys, which represent state industry. Various indigenous weapons may also be seen; bows and arrows on the left, and on the right are Spanish arms with cannons, arquebuses and halberds. In the lower part of the coat of arms is the motto Sempre Ascendens, which means rising up in search of the best. In 1582, the King of Spain, Felipe II, granted Luis Carvajal y de la Cueva authorization to colonize these lands.




File:Coat of arms of Tamaulipas.svg



The coat of arms of Tamaulipas represents the economic activities of the state. Cornstalks and animals represent agriculture and livestock. The boat and the dock that appear on the lower half of the coat of arms represent fishing and industry. Cerro de Bernal, a well-known natural peak, is also shown in the lower part of the shield. The smaller shield in the top section represents the family coat of arms of José Escandón y Helguera, Count of Sierra Gorda, who colonized the state. The name of the state of Tamaulipas comes from the Huastec word Tamaholipa. Tam means in or place of. Although those who have studied the meaning of this word have varying opinions, the most common definitions are the Place where people pray a lot and the Place of the high mountains.




Sephardim are those Jews associated with the Iberian Peninsula. We are descendants from the Jews, known as Crypto-Jews, that choose to remain hidden since the Spanish and Mexican Inquisitions but practice secret Jewish rites in private. These Sepharad (Safarditas) meaning Spain or from Spain are found in Northern Mexico, Monterrey Nuevo León as well as in South Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

1519: Hernán (Hernando) Cortés sailed from Havana and landed in Mexico. The first Sephardic Jews arrived in New Spain (México) with him

1520-1521: Montezuma died and Cortés conquered Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire after a three month siege

1524: The Consejo de las Indias (Council of Indies) was established by the King of Spain. The Franciscan friars arrived

1530: The Bishopric of Mexico was created and Tequila was invented

1535: The Viceroyalty of New Spain was established

1545: Catholic Church sets guidelines for recording sacraments


By 1571, The Tribunal of the Inquisition had been established in Mexico City and in 1574 and 1575, a few auto-de-fé were executed but none was process for Judaizing.

The history of Monterrey is very unique. It had 3 different founders and thus differs from other cities in México. Its roots come from the Sephardic Jewish culture. The story is always the same for the Jewish people. Always running away from extermination. It was not enough for the Inquisition to force them to convert to Christians but the fact that there was Jewish blood meant a different treatment. After being expelled from Spain and Portugal, many Jews decided to come to México. During that time, the Northeast of México was not suitable to colonize. The Chichimecas and the Apaches prevented any attempt to conquer its land.


Alberto del Canto of Portuguese Jewish decent, was the founder of Saltillo and in 1575, he became the first mayor of that city. Later he would be the first founder of the city of Monterrey (1577). Alberto was one of the main enemies of the Chichimecas. He took numerous prisoners to work as slaves in the mines of Saltillo, San Gregorio (Cerralvo) and Santa Lucia (Monterrey). In 1579, he was arrested and jailed under the Inquisition for slavery but escaped and was able to hide out and live with the same Chichimecas that he was charged with enslaving until his assigned captor died and the charges were dropped. Alberto had been Diego Montemayor's (the 3rd founder of Monterrey) wife lover. Diego killed his wife upon learning of the affair and vowed to kill Alberto; however, he never killed Alberto. In 1585, he (Alberto) married his daughter Estefania and was the father of his 3 grandchildren (Diego, Miguel and Elvira). In 1596, Estefania and Alberto separated of which time Don Diego had permanently established Monterrey. Many of the grandchildren of Alberto married the grandchildren of Marcos Alonzo de la Garza.


1579 was the first official date against Judaizing. King Felipe II had trusted Luis Carvajal y de la Cueva (also of Portuguese Jewish decent), to establish peace and Christianity with the Indians of Nuevo León. Carvajal was a devoted Catholic but his passion and true devotion was that of Judaism. Luis Carvajal y de la Cueva became the second founder of Monterrey (1583) and brought with him a shipload of Jews to settle his Mexican colony. Several other Jewish families who were running away from México City's Inquisition, settled in Monterrey as well. In an inhospitable place like this, it would be difficult to be found. This was short lived though. Luis Carvajal was taken to México City and accused of being a Jew. He died in prison. His sentenced, being a Jew. Many people left Monterrey and lived in Villa de Saltillo or other areas that were not attached by the Indians. In February 24, 1590, Luis Carvajal el Mozo (nephew of Luis Carvajal y de la Cueva), was reconciled by the Inquisition after being sentenced to life imprisonment in a psychiatric hospital in Mexico City. In February 9, 1595, he relapsed and testified against his mother and sisters. In one of his judicial sessions, he was shown an autobiography book, whom he recognized as his with the words, "En el nombre del Señor de los Ejércitos". During the auto-de-fé of February 8, 1596, it is said that he was "grilled" from 9:30am to 2:00pm. During this torture, he turned in at least 121 persons but later withdrew that confession. To avoid future tortures, he jumped out of his hospital rooms' window. He later died during the auto-de-fé of December 8, 1596, where he was burned at the stake along with 8 of his families and friends.


The third founder of Monterrey was Diego de Montemayor (Sept. 20, 1596). He brought forty people with him from Saltillo to populate Monterrey, mostly of Jewish descent--nine married couples, three men without families, fourteen boys, four girls, and one Indian named Domingo Manuel. He served as governor from 1588 to 1610 and was likely of Sephardic Jewish decent. Since then, Jewish families have settled and lived there permanently. Diego (also known as Don Diego) was married three times. His wives were Inez Rodriguez, who came with him from Spain to the New World in 1548, Maria de Esquivel, and Juana Porcalla de la Cerda. Montemayor had three children, one from each of his wives. His children were Inez, Diego, and Estefania. During the Chichimeca War in 1550, Montemayor was often away from his third wife, Juana Porcalla de la Cerda, and her attention soon focused on Alberto del Canto, only a few years her elder. When Montemayor later confronted her about the ongoing affair, an argument ensued, he drew his sword and killed her. Montemayor fled into the wilderness to the north, but was eventually cleared of all charges (perhaps because a law at the time allowed a man to kill his unfaithful wife). His daughter with Juana Porcalla, Estefania, later married Alberto del Canto and had three children with him, though the two separated in 1596. Don Diego died about 1611 in Monterrey.



Timeline: Mexico and United States


1810: September 16, 1810, independence from the Spanish crown was declared by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in Dolores Guanajato with "El Grito de Dolores" which began the fight for independence

1820: The Inquisition was suppressed

1821: Spain formally recognized Mexico's independence on August 24, 1821. "El Grito de Dolores" has become emblematic of Mexican independence, therefore, Mexico celebrates its independence day on September 16th.

1835-1836: Settlers from the United States led Texas to independence

1845: The United States annexed Texas

1846-1848: Mexico and the United States fought a war, which ended when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in 1848

1859: Benito Juarez proclaimed the Reform Laws, which separated church and state

1862: French invasion began with support of Mexican conservatives

1864: Maximilian arrived in Mexico and became its Emperor

1866-1867: French troops were withdrawn from Mexico

1876-1880: Porfirio Diaz ruled Mexico

1884-1911: Porfirio Diaz ruled Mexico

1910-1920: Many Mexicans immigrated to the United States during the Revolutionary period. The U.S. Department of State warned all Americans to withdraw from Mexico and set up border patrols. Relations between the United States and Mexico were strained due to a conflict over control of the oil industry



Here are some of the customs that the Crypto-Jews from Monterrey left us:





Heraldry Ancient and Modern, S. T Aveling 1892 (Book)

Diccionario Heraldico: Apellidos y Nombres Propios, Lander Muñoz


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