Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ALVARADO, Pedro de (al-vah-rah'-do), one of the conquerors of Spanish America, born in Badajoz, Spain, toward the end of the 15th century; died in New Galicia in 1541. In 1518 he sailed with his four brothers for Cuba, whence he accompanied Grijalva in his exploring expedition along the coast of the American continent. Grijalva was so delighted with the aspect of the country that he called it New Spain, and sent Alvarado back to Cuba to report to Governor Velasquez what they had seen and heard, for the first time, about the immense empire of Montezuma. In February 1519, he accompanied Cortes, and took an active part in all the incidents of the conquest of Mexico. Cortes, while engaged in the battle against Narvaez, left the city of Mexico under charge of Alvarado, who by his cruelty and rapacity caused an insurrection, and narrowly escaped with his life. In the famous retreat of the night of 1 July 1520 (La noche triste), Alvarado distinguished himself, and to commemorate his bravery an enormous ditch over which he leaped to escape from the hands of the enemy is called to this day " E1 salto de Alvarado." On his return to Spain he was received with great honor by Charles V. and appointed governor of Guatemala, which he had conquered in 1523. He married a daughter of the illustrious house of La Cueva, from which the dukes of Albuquerque are descended, and returned to America accompanied by a host of adventurers. Guatemala became highly prosperous under his government. Having authority to extend his conquests, he headed an expedition of 500 men to capture Quito, and homed near Cape San Francisco, whence he marched into the interior; but among the Andes he met the forces of Pizarro, prepared to resist his advance. Disclaiming any intention to interfere with his countryman's rights, he received 120,000 pieces of eight as an indemnification for his outlay and losses, and returned peaceably to Guatemala. Visiting Spain soon afterward, he appeased the emperor's displeasure at this affair, obtained the governorship of Honduras, and then fitted out from Guatemala a new expedition of discovery, consisting of 12 large ships, two galleys, 800 soldiers, 150 horses, and a large retinue of Indians. Sailing W. and N. W. along the Mexican coast, he was driven by stress of weather into the port of Los Pueblos de Avalos, in Michoacan. Here a messenger from the Spaniards of the interior asked his assistance in putting down a revolt of the Chichimecas of New Galicia. Helanded with a portion of his force, made a rapid march to the encampment of his countrymen, and with them attacked the Indians, who were strongly posted in the mountains. The Spaniards were defeated and put to flight, and Alvarado was killed by the falling of his horse. The expedition was then abandoned.
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