Alvarado, Hernando de (unknown–unknown)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: February 25, 2021

Hernando de Alvarado, captain of artillery on the Coronado expedition, saved the life of his commander during the storming of Hawiku pueblo. On August 29, 1540, he commanded a side expedition commissioned to explore the region to the east and the north for eighty days and to investigate the reports of cows or buffalo. Alvarado's command passed the Acoma pueblo, the land of the Tiguex Indians, and at the Pecos pueblo acquired El Turco as a guide to the cow herds. El Turco's tales of gold and silver caused the group to lose interest in cows, but the Spaniards continued until buffalo herds had been sighted, thus becoming the first known Europeans to visit the High Plains.

After rejoining Coronado at Tiguex, where hehad moved for the winter at Coronado's suggestion, Alvarado went back to Pecos to demand some gold bracelets that El Turco reported had been taken from him at the time of his capture. No bracelets were found, and, feeling he had been deceived by the American Indians of Pecos, Alvarado seized the American Indian governor and his aide and put them in chains. This seizure of the American Indian chief in violation of Spanish assurances of friendship caused the American Indians to cease cooperation.

Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of Arizona and New Mexico, 1530–1888 (San Francisco: History Company, 1889; facsimile ed., Albuquerque: Horn and Wallace, 1962). Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–1958; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). Frederick Webb Hodge and Theodore H. Lewis, eds., Spanish Explorers in the Southern United States, 1528–1543 (New York: Scribner, 1907; rpt., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1984).

  • Exploration
  • Explorers (Spanish)
Time Periods:
  • Spanish Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Alvarado, Hernando de,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 25, 2021

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