Luis de Mendoza

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Luis de Mendoza was a Spanish mariner and explorer. A treasurer of the navy for the discovery of the Spice Islands, Mendoza was the initial captain of the ship Victoria during the Magellan-Elcano First Circumnavigation of the World. He was killed by a Magellan loyalist when he and two other ship captains tried to overthrow Magellan in the failed Easter rebellion at the port of San Julián.

Main article: Juan de Cartagena's Mutiny

A tension between Cartagena and Magellan surfaced when the ships anchored in the port of San Julián, Argentina on 1 April 1520. When Magellan decided to wait out the winter and resume the search for a passage in spring, the disputes between the two became more tense. Cartagena did not attend the mass which Magellan organized ashore.

A mutiny began the following morning. Cartagena defended that they should return to Spain after having suffered many hardships and seeing only a few possibilities of success. On 1 April 1520, Cartagena, with the aid of Gaspar de Quesada was able to seize San Antonio, but Magellan got wind of what they did. The next morning, Magellan sent a boat to the revolted ships and demanded that they should be beached and careened. The boat stayed alongside the San Antonio and pointed guns at its sailors. However, San Antonio’s lieutenant said that they would only take commands from the true admiral of the fleet, which was Cartagena.

As soon as Magellan knew that there was an open mutiny against him, he ordered his chief constable Ambrosio Fernandes to take the necessary measures to repress it. Six well-armed, stalwart men accompanied him to Mendoza's ship Victoria. His alguacil, Gonzalo de Espinosa, also approached the Victoria in a skiff, and announced that he had a message for the captain, Luis Mendoza. Espinosa was allowed aboard, and into the captain's chambers, based on his claim that he had a confidential letter. There, Espinosa stabbed Mendoza in the throat with his poignard, killing him instantly. At the same time, the disguised marines came aboard the Victoria to support the alguacil. Soon, several corpses laid on the deck and the brave fellows were in complete possession of the ship.

Magellan observed how Fernandes killed the traitor Mendoza and ordered the Trinidad to drop down alongside the Victoria. As on as Magellan was on board, he commanded six of the chief offenders to be brought out and hung at yardarms. Mendoza's body was hoisted by the feet on one of the masts for it to be seen by the crews of other ships.

The rest of the mutineers were eventually subdued. Mendoza’s co-conspirators in the mutiny, Quesada and Cartagena, were beheaded and abandoned in a remote island, respectively.




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