Sanchez, Francisco [Chamuscado] (ca. 1512–1582)

By: John G. Johnson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: July 1, 1995

Francisco Sánchez, a captain in the Spanish army, born about 1512, was called Chamuscado because of his flaming red beard. He was the military leader of the Rodríguez-Sánchez expedition, which left the Spanish outpost of Santa Bárbara on June 6, 1581, to search for Indian settlements beyond the jurisdiction of Nueva Vizcaya. The expedition crossed the Rio Grande, probably at La Junta de los Ríos, and visited Jumano settlements at a site near that of present Presidio. A controversy arose because Chamuscado left behind two unprotected priests, at their insistence, who were almost immediately murdered. There is also a scholarly controversy over who was the actual leader, Rodríguez or Sánchez. Sánchez died on the return trip, sometime between January 31 and April 15, 1582, in Mexico at a place called El Xacal, near the site of modern Julimes, Chihuahua.

Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). Father Zephyrin Englehardt, O.F.M, "El yllustre Señor Xamuscado," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 29 (April 1926). George P. Hammond and Agapito Rey, The Rediscovery of New Mexico, 1580–1594 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1966). J. Lloyd Mecham, "Supplementary Documents Relating to the Chamuscado-Rodríguez Expedition," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 26 (January 1926).
  • Exploration
  • Explorers (Spanish)

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

John G. Johnson, “Sanchez, Francisco [Chamuscado],” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 14, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995