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Ruy Diaz Melgarejo

DIAZ MELGAREJO, Ruy, Spanish soldier, born in Seville, Spain, at the beginning of the 16th century" died about 1585. After six years of service in the Spanish army in Italy, he went with Governor Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca to the Rio de la Plata, in the expedition that sailed on 1 November 1540. He remained by Cabeza de Vaca until 24 April 1544, when he was deposed through a conspiracy of the royal officers, and Captain Martinez de Irma was appointed in his place. Diaz Melgarejo protested against these proceedings, and was subsequently put into prison, notwithstanding he was related to Irala. When Cabeza de Vaca sailed for Spain, Diaz was left at Asuncion, where he began to organize, in company of his relative Diego de Abreu, a party called the loyalists. When, in 1547, Irma set out toward Peru. he left Fernando Mendoza acting as governor at Asuncion. Mendoza tried, in 1549, to have his authority confirmed, but was thwarted by the election of Abreu, through the exertions of Ruy Diaz. After Abreu had punished Mendoza with death, for attempting to assassinate him, and to avoid h'ala's indignation, he fled to the woods, where Diaz kept him company for seven years, until emissaries of Felipe Caceres killed Abreu, and Diaz was then imprisoned. Soon afterward Diaz escaped from prison, through the influence of his brother-in-law Irala, and set out with a companion for Brazil, but a tribe of Tupi Indians caught them. His companion served as food for them, but Diaz was saved through the affection of an Indian woman, and finally arrived at San Vicente, where he married. But he soon discovered an intimacy between his wife and a lover, and, killing them both, fled to Asuncion. He set out for San Vicente with some Spaniards and a few Portuguese, among whom were the Goes brothers, who were the first to import cattle. They arrived in 1555 at Asuncion, where Irala, who sent them to conquer and settle the territory of Guayra, with the few remaining partisans of Abreu, welcomed them. Diaz resisted heroically, in the City of Guayra, the fierce attacks of the natives in 1560, and, after several years of continuous struggles, was appointed governor of that City. In 1570 Alonso Riguelme, a nephew of Cabeza de Vaca, was appointed to replace Diaz in his command; but his credentials were disregarded, his family imprisoned, and Riguelme himself was put in chains. Soon after this, Diaz was commissioned to take Riguelme and Felipe de Caceres to Spain. They sailed from Asuncion in 1573. Unfavorable weather forced their ship to enter the Brazilian port of San Vicente, and when Diaz was ready to proceed on his voyage he had to go to the assistance of the new governor, Ortiz de Zarate, against the Charrua Indians. During the term of office of this governor and of his successor Garay, Diaz made new and successful expeditions, which gave him the name of " Invincible Captain." He founded, in 1576, Villarrica del Espiritu Santo, and in 1580 of Santiago de Jerez, or Nueva Vizcaya.

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