Biography of Jerónimo de Alderete (1518-1556)

Spanish conquistador born in Olmedo in 1518 and died on the island of Taboga (Panama) in 1555. He/She conquered for Spain Peru and Chile, and he/she was appointed Governor of the latter country to the death of Pedro de Valdivia.

Nothing is known of his youth, but was studying laws, perhaps at the University of Valladolid, it was legal. He/She received the habit of Knight of the order of Santiago and was a servant of the King Carlos V. He/She participated in the conquest of the Peru and, subsequently, Pedro de Valdivia appointed him his Lieutenant, when he/she was awarded the conquest of Chile, then called Nueva Extremadura. The Crown also gave him the post of Treasurer of the Royal Treasury.

Valdivia broke with the conquering vanguard to Chile, and left in the Peru Alderete to continue recruiting men and joined him in the port of Arica, which happened in 1540. He/She participated as well in the passage of the Atacama desert and the first fighting in Chile, and became the right arm of Valdivia in the penetration through the Valley of Copiapo, Coquimbo, and the Valley of the Mapocho, Santiago of the new end was founded on February 12, 1541. He/She fought the Mapuche in the Bío-Bío River and embarked on the fleet of Pastene who explored the southern coast of Chile. In 1550, Valdivia thought send Alderete to Spain with the relationship of their conquests, but had to postpone it because of the immediate conquest of Arauco.

In April 1552 he/she ordered to found the city of Villarrica, which Valdivia, "is the discover the North Sea", a place located on the shore of Lake Mallauquen. The Governor of Chile again communicated his desire to send to court to Alderete, because in his opinion was the person that would put the first flag of the Emperor in the Strait of Magellan. Subsequently, by letter of 26 October 1552, reported that he/she had sent to Alderete, 'servant and Treasurer of success [...] one of the preeminent people who with me came to this earth and which have good successful serve, thus in the discovery, conquest and population of it, as in the Peru against Gonzalo Pizarro, who took you in my company on that day".

Alderete traveled to Spain with the memorials of Valdivia and earned for himself the land of fire and the islands of the States. He/She set out on the return journey and arrived in Panama. After the death of Valdivia in combat, the monarch appointed him Governor of Chile, but died in the Panamanian island of Taboga in 1555. Then, the viceroy of Peru Hurtado de Mendoza instead appointed his son García Hurtado de Mendoza.


Chronicle of the Kingdom of Chile, Madrid: library of Spanish authors, 1960.

OVALLE, ALONSO DE: Historical relation of the Kingdom of Chile, Santiago de Chile: Chilean literature, 1969 Institute.