Gutiérrez de Humana, Antonio (unknown–ca. 1601)

By: H. Allen Anderson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: August 2, 2020

Antonio Gutiérrez de Humaña was second in command of the illegal expedition of Francisco Leyva de Bonilla in 1594. Despite warnings from the governor that if they went inland they were committing treason, the party entered New Mexico from Nueva Vizcaya and spent about a year among the upper Rio Grande pueblos, making Bove (San Ildefonso) their headquarters. In 1595 the Spaniards traveled from there by way of Cicuyé (Pecos) to the northeast, probably crossing the present Panhandle, and entered Quivira, a large Wichita settlement believed to have been on the Arkansas River in present Kansas. During their wanderings they sighted several herds of buffalo. According to the statement of Jusepe Gutiérrez, a Mexican Indian who was with the party, Humaña murdered Bonilla three days after leaving Quivira and assumed command. A few days later the expedition reached a larger stream, possibly the Platte. Sometime after the murder, Jusepe and five other Indians deserted the party and retraced their steps toward New Mexico. On the way, four were lost and a fifth was killed. Jusepe was taken captive by Apache and Vaquero Indians and kept for a year. At the end of that period, hearing that there were Spaniards in New Mexico, he made his way to Cicuyé and in 1599 was found at Picuris by Juan de Oñate, who secured his services as a guide and interpreter. Nothing else is known with certainty concerning Humaña and the remaining members; some historians speculate that they may have reached the Mississippi River. When Oñate arrived at Quivira in the summer of 1601, he learned that hostile Indians had attacked and wiped out Humaña and nearly all his followers on their return journey, by setting fire to the grass, at a place subsequently called La Matanza on the High Plains.

Herbert Eugene Bolton, ed., Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542–1706 (New York: Scribner, 1908; rpt., New York: Barnes and Noble, 1959). Charles W. Hackett, ed., Historical Documents Relating to New Mexico, Nueva Vizcaya, and Approaches Thereto, to 1773 (3 vols., Washington: Carnegie Institution, 1923–37). Charles W. Hackett, ed., Pichardo's Treatise on the Limits of Louisiana and Texas (4 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1931–46). George P. Hammond and Agapito Rey, eds., Don Juan de Oñate: Colonizer of New Mexico, 1595–1628 (Santa Fe: Patalacio, 1927; rpt., Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1953). George P. Hammond and Agapito Rey, The Rediscovery of New Mexico, 1580–1594 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1966).

  • Exploration
  • Explorers (Spanish)

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

H. Allen Anderson, “Gutiérrez de Humana, Antonio,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 10, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 2, 2020