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Juan de Garay

Juan de Garay (1528 1583) was a Spanish Basque conquistador.

Garay was born in Orduna, in the Basque Country. He worked and fought for the Spanish Empire, first in the Viceroyalty of Peru, and then at the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata. He was governor of Asuncion (present day Paraguay) and founded a number of cities in Argentina, many near the Parana River area, as well as the second foundation of Buenos Aires, in 1580.

In 1543 he sailed to Peru with his uncle Pedro de Zarate in Viceroy Blasco Nunes Vela's first expedition. In 1561 he participated in the foundation of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. In 1568 he moved to Asuncion were he attained political stature. The governor of Asuncion sent him on April 1573, with a company of eighty men, on an expedition to the Parana River, during which he founded the city of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz. In 1576 he was appointed governor of Asuncion. As governor, he attempted to avoid bloodshed by bringing justice and civilization to the natives. For this end he founded Indian villages and established local governments with laws.

In 1580, already at the rank of Capitan General of the Viceroyalty, he performed the second foundation of the important city on the banks of the Rio de la Plata, which was first founded by Pedro de Mendoza in 1536 under the name of Nuestra Senora del Buen Ayre, but was later destroyed by the natives. Garay founded Buenos Aires a second time on July 11 in the year 1580. He landed on the bank of the River Plate and in the present Plaza de Mayo, he carried out the second foundation of Buenos Aires calling the city Santisima Trinidad and its port Santa Maria de los Buenos Ayres. This city continued after that to become the capital of Argentina.

Later, he went on an expedition in search for the legendary City of the Caesars (1581-1582).

Juan de Garay died near the Rio de la Plata, while travelling from Buenos Aires to Santa Fe on March 20, 1583, his group of 40 men, a Franciscan and some women entered the area of an unknown lagoon and decided to spend the night on the banks of the Carcarana River, near the ancient Sancti Spiritus Fort. His group was ambushed by Querandies Indians killing Garay, a Franciscan, a woman and twelve of the soldiers. Juan de Garay had a daughter, Jeronima de Contreras, who married Hernando Arias de Saavedra, the governor of Rio de la Plata.


On his doubtful birth place


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