Don Pedro De Tovar

Don Pedro De Tovar


Don Pedro De Tovar was a wealthy captain in the expedition. Pledging 13 horses, a full coat of mail, and an assortment of native accouterments and weapons.


Tovar was one of the first settlers of Guadalajara along with Nuño de Guzmán in 1531. Tovar was also one of the founders of Culiacan, and eventually succeeded Melchior Diaz after his death, in the encomienda. Later he was named alcalde mayor of new Galicia in 1549 for 2 years by Viceroy Mendoza. His money comes mainly from his family ties, especially with his brother Sancho de Tovar, the regidor of Sahagún. Tovar’s importance comes into play mainly in his role as a leader under Coronado. Upon finding no gold at Zuni, Coronado sent a small party of soldiers under Tovar to explore Hopi (Tusayan). Tovar led his men quickly and quietly into the region. They came upon a village and had an interaction with the natives. The natives drew lines in the dirt and said not to cross. They attempted to negotiate peace until a native attacked one of the Spaniards horses. After which they killed/routed many of the armed Indians that greeted them. The village responded with a quick peace offering of presents, which Tovar ordered his men to collect. They then retreated and set up headquarters near the village, which they eventually began to trade with. Tovar was not commissioned to go any farther along the river he was following at this point, and instead rode back to deliver his information to Coronado. Tovar was a well respected member of the expedition and became someone that Coronado relied heavily upon throughout the expedition.

Sources Primary:

“Muster Roll of the Expedition.” Narratives of the Coronado Expedition, 1540- 1542, by George Peter Hammond and Agapito Rey, University of New Mexico Press, 1940, pp. 88–88.

[Mentions the names and all items pledged to the expedition]

Sources Secondary:

Winship, George Parker. “‘How Don Pedro De Tovar Discovered Tusayan.’” Southwest Crossroads- Letter to Captain Ben C. Cutler, Headquarters, Navajo Expedition, Fort Canby, NM, January 23, 1864, Kit Carson’s Letters,

[Description of Tovar’s miniature expedition into Tusayan]

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Francisco Vázquez De Coronado.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 5 Nov. 2018,

[Source of the photo of Coronado’s route, since there are no pictures of Tovar]

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