The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932 Page: 248
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
and active as Francisco de Urdifiola, and it is even more sur-
prising that so much of this meager information was tainted with
error. A fictitious Francisco de Urdifiola almost supplanted the
real man and it was only by dint of the most patient, thorough and
critical examination of the documentary evidence that Sefior Robles
was able to recover the authentic Urdifiola. There were two major
"myths" concerning Urdifiola which Sefior Robles explodes. The
first one concerned a certain "Francisco de Urdifiola el Viejo" (the
Elder) who was supposed to be the father of "Francisco de Urdifiola
el Mozo" (the Younger), the subject of the present biography.
According to tradition, Francisco el Viejo had been very active in
fighting Indians, discovering mines, and founding settlements north
of Zacatecas about the middle of the century. With the vast for-
tune accumulated by his father, Francisco el Mozo, according to
tradition, was able to attain great prominence as a conquistador
and frontier magnate. The story of the two Urdifiolas has been
accepted by modern historians of colonial New Spain, yet Sefior
Robles proves conclusively that the hero of his study was born in
the Basque province of Guipizcoa, that he came to America shortly
after 1572 as a poor boy, and that his father, Juan de Urdifiola,
never came to America.
The second myth represented the conquistador as a cruel, blood-
thirsty individual who murdered his wife and her paramour. Im-
mediately after Captain Urdifiola had been selected by the viceroy
to undertake the conquest of New Mexico, the Audiencia of
Guadalajara charged him with these murders. -Ie was arrested,
his property confiscated, and his commission to colonize New
Mexico was cancelled. Spanish legal procedure moved with its
customary slowness and it was not until after the lapse of six years
that the accused man was acquitted. Despite his acquittal,
Francisco de Urdifiola, due particularly to a curious epic poem
which was written many years later, has been represented in tradi-
tion as an inhuman monster. This, Sefior Robles proves, was not
true. He shows that the charge was trumped up by Urdifiola's
enemy Juan Bautista de Lomas y Colmenares, a disappointed
applicant for a commission to colonize New Mexico. Lomas y
Colmenares was aided in his plot by a relative who was an oidor
in the Audiencia of Guadalajara, which judicial body preferred the
charge against Urdifiola. Finally, the evidence shows that
Urdifiola's wife died a natural death. In support of the con-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932, periodical, 1932; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101092/m1/252/: accessed January 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.