Camargo, Diego de (unknown–ca. 1520)

By: Robert S. Weddle

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

Although he never visited Texas, Diego de Camargo is often said to have commanded an expedition for Francisco de Garay to establish a colony at the mouth of the Rio Grande. The colony was attempted not at the Rio Grande, however, but at the Río Pánuco, in the future Mexican state of Vera Cruz. The expedition commander, according to Bernal Díaz del Castillo, was not Camargo but Alonso Álvarez de Pineda. Camargo was an unheralded sailor on Juan de Grijalva's 1518 voyage to the southern Gulf of Mexico and, according to Díaz, a Dominican friar. Early in 1520 he sailed from Jamaica as captain of a ship carrying supplies to the Pánuco settlement already begun by Álvarez de Pineda. Shortly after his arrival, the Huastec Indians rebelled, killing all the Spaniards except those who were able to get aboard Camargo's vessels and escape to Hernán Cortés's settlement of Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz. Álvarez de Pineda was among those slain in the uprising. Wounded, as were most of his men, Camargo died after reaching Villa Rica. Most of those who survived the Huastec attack and the voyage were pressed into Cortés's forces for the final assault on the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán.

Bernal Díaz del Castillo, Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España (Madrid, 1632; rpt., Mexico City: Porrúa, 1955). Alonso García Bravo, Probanza de méritos y servicios (MS, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, 1561). Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas, Historia general de los hechos de los castellanos en las islas y Tierra-firme de el Mar Océano (10 vols., Asunción, Paraguay: Guaranía, 1944).
  • Exploration
  • Explorers (Spanish)

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

Robert S. Weddle, “Camargo, Diego de,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 03, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995