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Luis Lanchero
Born unknown
Died 1562
Tunja, New Kingdom of Granada
Nationality Castilian
Other names Luis Lancheros
Occupation Conquistador
Years active 1533-1559
Employer Spanish Crown
Known for Spanish conquest of the Muzo
Foundation of Muzo, Boyacá
Religion Catholic
Spouse(s) unnamed
Children 1 daughter

Luis Lanchero, also known as Luis Lancheros (?, Castile - 1562, Tunja, New Kingdom of Granada) was a Spanish conquistador who is known as the founder of the town of Muzo, Boyacá, the most important emerald settlement of Colombia. This achievement came twenty years after many unsuccessful attempts to submit the Muzo to the Spanish rule. Lanchero arrived in the New World in 1533 and died impoverished in Tunja in 1562.


Sacco 1527 Sant-Angelo

Luis Lanchero participated in the Sack of Rome in 1527


Muzo, founded by Lanchero, is world famous for its production of emeralds

Luis Lanchero was born in Castile in a noble family. As a young man, he was employed in the guard of Spanish king Carlos V in which role he participated in the Sack of Rome in 1527.[1] In 1533, searching for adventure, Lanchero left Europe for what later would become Venezuela in a conquest expedition led by Jerónimo Ortal, also spelled as Hortal.[2] There, Luis Lanchero joined the expedition by Nikolaus Federmann towards the Colombian Andes, reaching the newly founded capital of the New Kingdom of Granada in 1538.[1] He became encomendero of Susa.[2]

When in 1539 Hernán Pérez de Quesada took over the governance of Bogotá from his elder brother and founder Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, he organised various expeditions in search of valuables and above all the quest for El Dorado. While not really satisfied with the presence of Luis Lanchero, he was sent towards the territories of the Muzo in western Boyacá in the first months of 1540.[3] The expedition into Muzo territories was difficult because of the terrain and to fight the lack of food, some horses were slaughtered.[4] After two unsuccessful attempts to submit the more than 10,000 bellicose Muzo, Lanchero marched through Panche territory in the south, the western portion of the current department of Cundinamarca back towards Bogotá.[3][4]

In early 1559, fifteen years after the discovery of the rich emerald deposits by Diego Martínez, Lanchero returned to Muzo terrain and passed through Maripí to found Villa de la Santísima Trinidad de los Muzos, today known as Muzo, on February 20, 1559.[5][6][7] On this expedition, Lanchero was accompanied by conquistador Pedro de Ursúa.[8] Muzo was first unsuccessfully founded as Tudela.[9] During the battles against the Muzo, Lanchero was hurt by an arrow in his chest.[8][10] In 1560, Lanchero handed the reign of Muzo over to the encomenderos, leading to successive battles over the rich emerald grounds.[11] On October 17, 1560, Lanchero also passed the control of Curipí to the encomienda.[12] After Miguel Diez de Armendariz took control of the area, Lanchero lost all his possessions.[12]

Luis Lanchero died in Tunja in 1562, leaving a wife and one daughter.[1]

Conquest by Luis LancheroEdit

Muzo, Colombia (aerial view)

Muzo was founded on February 20, 1559 by Luis Lanchero, accompanied by Pedro de Ursúa

bold is founded
Department Date Year Notes Map
Coper Boyacá 1540 [13]
Colombia - Boyaca - Coper
Pauna Boyacá 1540-41 [14]
Colombia - Boyaca - Pauna
Quipama Boyacá 24 April 1541 [15]
Colombia - Boyaca - Quipama
Maripí Boyacá 1559 [16]
Colombia - Boyaca - Maripi
Muzo Boyacá 20 February 1559 [6][7]
Colombia - Boyaca - Muzo


Encomiendas of Luis Lanchero on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 (Spanish) Luis Lanchero - Banco de la República
  2. 2.0 2.1 Rodríguez Freyle, 1979 (1638), p.56
  3. 3.0 3.1 (Spanish) Description of the conquest of the Muzo
  4. 4.0 4.1 Tequia Porras, 2008, p.35
  5. Uribe, 1960, p.2
  6. 6.0 6.1 (Spanish) Official website Muzo
  7. 7.0 7.1 (Spanish) Muzo Patrimonio Histórico y Cultural para Colombia y el Mundo
  8. 8.0 8.1 Tequia Porras, 2008, p.37
  9. Puche Riart, 1996, p.100
  10. De Piedrahita, 1688, Chapter VI
  11. Tequia Porras, 2008, p.46
  12. 12.0 12.1 Tequia Porras, 2008, p.52
  13. (Spanish) Official website Coper
  14. (Spanish) Official website Pauna
  15. (Spanish) Official website Quipama
  16. (Spanish) Official website Maripí


fernández de piedrahita, Lucas. 1688. VI. Historia general de las conquistas del Nuevo Reino de Granada.

Puche riart, Octavio. 1996. La explotación de las esmeraldas de Muzo (Nueva Granada), en sus primeros tiempos - The exploitation of the emeralds of Muzo (New Kingdom of Granada), the first period. 3; .

rodríguez freyle, Juan, and Darío Achury valenzuela. 1979 (1859) (1638). El Carnero - Conquista i descubrimiento del nuevo reino de Granada de las Indias Occidentales del mar oceano, i fundacion de la ciudad de Santa Fe de Bogota. Fundacion Biblioteca Ayacuch.

Tequia porras, Humberto. 2008. Asentamiento español y conflictos encomenderos en Muzo desde 1560 a 1617 - Spanish settlement and encomienda conflicts in Muzo from 1560 to 1617 (M.A.). Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.

Uribe, Sylvano e.. 1960. Las esmeraldas de Colombia. Boletín de la Sociedad Geográfica de Colombia XVIII. 1-8. XVIII; .

Further readingEdit

acosta, Joaquín. 1848. Compendio histórico del descubrimiento y colonización de la Nueva Granada en el siglo décimo sexto - Historical overview of discovery and colonization of New Granada in the sixteenth century. Beau Press.

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