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Dorantes de Carranza, Andres (ca. 1500–ca. 1550)

Donald E. Chipman Biography Entry

Andrés Dorantes de Carranza, early Spanish explorer, a native of the southwestern Castilian town of Gibraleón, was the son of Pablo Dorantes. Like many young Spaniards faced with bleak economic prospects in Spain, he sought his fortune in the New World. He enlisted in 1527 as a captain in the ill-starred expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez. After the expedition was compelled to travel along the Gulf Coast in crude barges, one boat was placed under the joint command of Dorantes and Alonso Castillo Maldonado. After a month at sea, disaster struck in early November on the Texas coast. The horsehide vessel bearing Dorantes ran aground and broke up on or near the western extremity of Galveston Island. Among the survivors were Dorantes, his slave Estevanico, Castillo, and Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. In March 1536, after considerable peregrination, the survivors contacted Spanish countrymen north of Culiacán. The governor of Nueva Galicia, Nuño de Guzmán, provided horses and clothing and dispatched his guests to Mexico City for an audience with Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza. The viceroy asked Dorantes to assist in a follow-up expedition; Dorantes declined, but did sell his slave, Estevanico, to Mendoza. Dorantes apparently hoped that he and Cabeza de Vaca would be granted a royal license to colonize Texas and New Mexico. His attempt to return to Spain miscarried when the ship's poor condition forced its return to Veracruz harbor. Perhaps viewing the experience as an ill omen, Dorantes remained in New Spain. He married the widow of Francisco de Valdés, María de la Torre, who controlled the encomiendas of Asala and Jalazintgo. After María's death, Dorantes married Paula Dorantes, widow of Antonio Gómez de Corona. He fathered more than fourteen children in New Spain. He died in the 1550s.

Baltasar Dorantes de Carranza, Sumaria relación de las cosas de Nueva España (Mexico City: Imprenta del Museo Nacional, 1902). Harbert Davenport, ed., "`The Expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez,' by Gonzalo Fernández Oviedo y Valdez," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 27–28 (October 1923-October 1924). Robert S. Weddle, Spanish Sea: The Gulf of Mexico in North American Discovery, 1500–1685 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1985).


  • 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.

Donald E. Chipman, “Dorantes de Carranza, Andres,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 21, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994

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