Andrés do Campo, a Portuguese soldier and gardener and a member of the Coronado expedition, accompanied Fray Juan de Padilla to Quivira Province and fled southward after the Franciscan friar was slain by natives in 1542. Campo eventually reached Pánuco and Mexico City. Few facts are verifiable concerning him and his wilderness journey. It is said that he fled the scene of Padilla's martyrdom at the friar's urging that he save the two Indian lay-brothers, for his was the only horse. Yet various accounts indicate that he traveled separately from the Indians.
Campo, from all accounts, might have told a story of wilderness survival to rival that of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. His journey, which finally ended in Mexico City, may have taken several years, perhaps only one. The contemporary chronicler Francisco López de Gómara relates that Campo was seized by natives-seemingly the same ones who slew Padilla-and kept a slave for ten months. In his trek, beginning in the area of Kansas, he crossed extensive plains, spanning what is now Oklahoma and Texas, and traversed the "prickly pear country." He at last came upon the Sierra Madre Oriental in the Mexican state of Nuevo León, crossed the mountains in search of the "North Sea" (Gulf of Mexico), and came to Pánuco. His presence in Mexico was reported in March 1547. A conspiracy of silence, probably stemming from official desire to avoid unauthorized expeditions, seems to have shrouded Campo's journey. It has been alleged that Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza "must have sworn him to silence." Yet the story was known in many different places.
A notation on the so-called "De Soto" map of Alonso de Santa Cruz is believed to derive from Campo; it makes mention of the "great herds of cattle" (buffalo) found between the Río Solo (Rio Grande) and Quivira. As early as 1547 officials in Mexico City were pondering a new expedition to Quivira over Campo's route, which was much shorter than the one taken by Coronado. In 1560 Viceroy Luis de Velasco, intending to send large droves of horses and cattle to Tristán de Luna y Arellano's colony in Florida, planned to utilize part of the route "followed by the Portuguese [Campo] through the prickly pear country."
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Herbert Eugene Bolton, Coronado: Knight of Pueblos and Plains (New York: Whittlesey; Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1949). Angelico Chávez, Coronado's Friars (Washington: Academy of American Franciscan History, 1968).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Robert S. Weddle,
“Campo, Andrés do,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 14, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
December 1, 1994
Most Recent Revision Date:
July 28, 2020
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: