TGSA Famous Ancestors of Northeastern Mexico Series

Descendants of María Inés RODRÍGUEZ and Baltazar Castaño de SOSA

ALTERNATE NAMES: Baltasar Sosa; Balthazar Castaño de Sosa; Baltazar Juan Castaño de Sosa; María Inés Rodríguez de Montemayor

NOTE: It is important to point out at this point that there is a significant difference of opinion whether María Inés Rodríguez was a daughter of Diego de Montemayor or not. This write-up here assumes that she is de Montemayor’s daughter. The Descendant Report for Diego de Montemayor includes María (not María Inés) Rodríguez as his daughter without a husband or children.

DNA: María Inés Rodríguez’s mt-DNA haplogroup is K2a8.

ABOUT MARÍA INÉS RODRÍGUEZ and BALTAZAR CASTAÑO DE SOSA: Baltazar Castaño de Sosa was born in Abrates, Santarem, Portugal in 1537. He was the son of Baltazar Francisco Méndez de Sosa and Inés Magdalena Castanho. He married María Inés Rodríguez de Montemayor, daughter of Diego de Montemayor and his first wife Inés Rosero Rodriguez, who was a cousin to Luís Carvajal. As an early explorer/colonist of the New World, he, his family and his descendants played key roles in the history of the Caribbean, Mexico, Nuevo León, Northern Mexico, and South Texas. His story cannot easily be told without understanding the roles that the Iberian New Christians in general and Luís de Carvajal in particular also played in this history.

According to some estimates, after the Spanish Massacre of 1391 there was a major shift in demographics when more than half of the country's Jews were forcibly converted to Catholicism and given new Spanish names to replace their Jewish ones. Over the next century, many of these New Christians or Conversos fled to Portugal where they believed that the political climate was safer for them. However, after the Spanish Edict of Expulsion of 1492 and the Inquisition that followed, the Portuguese enacted their own edicts in 1496 and 1497, suffered the Lisbon massacre in 1506, and established their own Portuguese Inquisition in 1536. Many of the Portuguese New Christians found it in their best interests to immigrate further out, some to the Americas and Nueva España. Probable among these were the de Sosa family and Luís Carvajal de la Cueva.

Luís Carvajal de la Cueva was born about 1537. His family although New Christians, was well-connected to the Portuguese nobility. He first settled in Jamaica and then in Tampico, Mexico making it his headquarters. Through his royal connections, in 1582 Luís de Carvajal was appointed governor of the New Kingdom of León, a vast newly created province that was later to be known as Nuevo Leon.

The de Sosa family (also thought to be New Christians) had followed the same pattern of immigration as Luís Carvajal, through Jamaica, then Mexico City, and finally Tampico. Baltazar Castaño de Sosa and his probable brother Gaspar Castaño de Sosa appear to be closely connected to Governor Luís Carvajal as they both served in his ranks - Baltazar as an important official on the City of Saltillo's Council of Captains and Gaspar as second in command to the governor, serving in the Villa de Almaden area (now Monclova).

When Governor Carvajal was arrested and tried by the Spanish Inquisition in Mexico City for not disclosing the many Judaizers (New Christians who had returned to Judaism) in his family, Captain Gaspar Castaño de Sosa assumed leadership of Villa de Almaden. On July 27, 1590, soon after the governor's arrest and without royal permission, he organized 170 Almaden colonists including women and children into an ill-fated expedition to New Mexico. The reason for this sudden exit is unknown but it may have been because it was rumored that he himself was secretly leading Jewish services. Gaspar Castaño de Sosa was caught, arrested by order of the king, brought back to Mexico City where he was tried and found guilty of leading an unauthorized expedition and exiled to the Philippines. His sentence was eventually reversed, but by that time, he had died aboard a ship in the South China Seas, a victim of a slave revolt.

Baltazar Castaño de Sosa was never implicated by association with his brother Gaspar's perceived misdeeds. By all indications he led an exemplary life as one of the original founders, community leader, and eventually Alcalde of the City of Saltillo. He and his wife Doña Inés Rodríguez had several sons and a daughter named María who is thought to have married Juan Navarro. None of their children took the de Sosa surname, most preferring to use their mother's Rodríguez name instead. The exception was their son Lucas García. It is not known why he chose the García surname but perhaps it was because his father Baltazar may have had a brother named García Méndez Castaño de Sosa.

According to the chronicler Alonso de León, in 1596 Don Baltazar and Doña Inés and their sons joined Diego de Montemayor as original founders of the new City of Monterrey, but other sources say that Don Baltazar died in 1595. He is not listed on the Saltillo census of 1604.

Diego Rodriguez (1567-1727), one of the sons of Don Baltazar and Doña Inés, had held positions of authority in Saltillo before coming to Monterrey such as Director of Water Rights and Procurador (City Attorney). He married Sebastiana de Farías Treviño and they had five daughters. Don Diego was instrumental in moving the site of the city of Monterrey to the south side of the main springs after a disastrous flood in 1611. When the Montemayor father and son governors died within a year of each other, Don Diego was left in charge of the government of Nuevo León until the new governor was appointed. He suffered many financial and health hardships and died having lost everything except for his mining interests and his encomienda of Indians.

Another of Baltazar Castaño de Sosa's sons, Lucas García was known for his mastery of the local Indian languages and was nicknamed Capitán Paz because of his peace-making skills. He married Juliana Quintanilla Treviño, and they had several children who used the surname García Quintanilla.

In addition, some historians name early Monterrey settlers Antonio Rodríguez and Alfonso Rodríguez, as sons of Don Baltazar and Doña Inés Rodríguez.

In Mexico and the United States, there are undoubtedly thousands of biological descendants of Baltazar Castaño de Sosa and Doña Inés Rodriguez who are unaware of this unique lineage since they unexpectedly carry the surname of their son Lucas García.

This Descendant Report extracted by Crispín Rendón from his personal database in September 2022 consists of 9 generations and 57,410 descendants and spouses.

With All Arms by Carl Laurence Duaine, revised and edited by his son Laurence A. Duaine.

The Conquistadores and Crypto-Jews of Monterrey by David T. Raphael.

Intro by TGSA
DNA association & Descendant Report by Crispín Rendón

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