We are going to try to reconstruct a biography about Andrés López de Galarza, the founder of Ibagué (see: Ibagué Foundation), or better, enrich the common data about it.
Ibagué Foundation, history, is a document that I had hosted on a free server and decided to move to Ibague.info to centralize the information we have produced and which is still dispersed. I hope this article is very useful for those who wish to know more about Ibagué:
To explore the documents related to the history of Ibagué Tolima, to put them in chronological order and to give them an air of seriousness and coherence, respecting the sources is the purpose of this series of articles.
It is easy to affirm what everyone takes for granted, that Ibague was founded on October 14, 1550 by Andrés López de Galarza (1). Do you know who was the first chronicler to affirm it? Fray Pedro Aguado, in his “Recopilación historial” (1572), “seventh book”. The aforementioned chronicler in turn read a manuscript (lost) of Father Medrano (Archive of the Royal Hearing) to verify his assertions.
On June 2, 1550, the residents of Santafé and Tocaima managed to get the order issued to “pacify the Valley of Spears, move to other provinces … and populate a town of Spaniards in the vicinity of those provinces.” The interests that mediated in this mission weigh heavily the commercial, due to the discovery of gold and silver mines in the region, the peace of the territory (peace means in this context, subdue the aborigines) and the respective Catholic indoctrination of its native inhabitants .
To the valley of the spears the natives called Combayma. The expedition arrives at Metaima, place near its destiny, where they are received by the Ilobone and Otaque caciques; there it remains 3 days. Then cross the Tolima River (Combeima) and toured the area.
Initially settled in what could correspond geographically to Cajamarca (formerly San Miguel). This is what Father Aguado tells us.
At the table that bathed the Anaime and Bermellón rivers, territory inhabited by the people of Cacique La Embiteme. Apparently the name Ibagué was given in memory of another cacique in the area. It is said that its meaning may have had associations with the courage of the aforementioned character.
Regarding the siege of the Pijaos, nothing tells us such an illustrious chronicler. A second chronicler, Fray Pedro Simón, in 1627, ignoring the work of Aguado on the subject Ibagué, writes the «Historical News of Las Conques de Tierra Firme»; we assume at a distance, in time and space, that he consulted the archives of the respective council. Well, said Mr. said that the captain (and greater justice) Andrés López de Galarza (2) left to conquer the population of the Valley of the Lanzas (3), he liked a place located on a plateau where the Ibague cacique owned a hamlet (4) and there he founded the city, which was then called Ibague del Valle de las Lanzas.
Arguing certain discomforts, he moves it to the current site (seven leagues from the primitive village), a task that was fully accomplished on February 7, 1551. What type of motivation did you have to move the foundation? Security problems, bellicosity of neighboring Indians, difficulty to cultivate corn, very steep lands to raise cattle, etc.
What were the legal formalities to found a city? Normally an act where it was recorded that Captain X, in the name of his majesty declared a city founded, ceremonies were performed, the main square was demarcated, a site for the church was assigned, a plot for the houses of the Cabildo and finally he named the Cabildo and a regiment. As a complementary act the new town was drawn, awarding the lots for the residents.
The buildings, including the church, were bahareque and straw buildings.
Only until the year of 1553 (between October and November of that year) Captain López de Galarza sent a copy to Spain of the probanza (document where several witnesses certify an event) of “the merits of Captain Andrés López de Galarza where that I pacified and populated the province of the Valley of the Lanzas and founded the city of Ibague.
However, there is no founding document attached thereto. Only until 1556, it is requested to transfer the original probanza. Ten witnesses of the deed signed, among which were: Francisco de Trejo, first Mayor of second vara of Ibague encomendero de Oyaima; Gonzalo de Ortega, mayor, ordinary judge and encomendero of Tolima and Anaime; Gaspar Hernández, Regulator of Ibague; Pedro Gallego, Alguacil Mayor and encomendero of Combeima and Biracaima; Miguel de Oviedo, encomendero de Toche y Combeima; Father Francisco Antonio Gonzales Candis, clergyman and chaplain of the expedition.
Why wait three years to legalize papers? Let’s say that entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs always run their risks; Andres Lopez invested about $ 6,000 pesos of his funds and the rewards and benefits derived from the usufruct were terribly low.
On August 3, 1555, the King of Spain contributed 500 gold ducats (in assets of the deceased) for the erection of the village church.
The Real Cédula, dated in the town of Valladolid on August 30, 1555, requests information from the Real Audiencia of Santafé about the new town of Ibagué, to give it the title of city. This in terms of administrative acts referring to the beginnings of the city.
Regarding the city’s patron for a long time (San Bonifacio), the implementation of his cult is more confusing. Nominally he is the Catholic Saint for May 14 (the connection is not well understood if the date of the founding of Ibague is taken into account, which occurred on the 14th but of the month of October) (5). According to a document of 1732 mentioned by Mr. Cuartas Coymat, it was a May 14 … “day that was conquered and reduced to our Catholic Santafé …”
1 Leading a group of 93 Spaniards, according to Aguado; 75 soldiers on foot according to Juan Friede (Documentary Sources for the History of the New Kingdom of Granada, Volume I, pages 41-61, quoted by CUARTAS Alvaro).
2 Who before had been accountant of the royal treasury of Santafé.
3 Inhabited by quarrelsome cannibals of the Pijao tribe. One of their characteristic weapons were the spears (which the laymen in these matters imagine as a well-turned stick with a metallic surface (iron) sharpened in the end, our chroniclers deny us, saying that they were generally pieces of bamboo finished in point). 4 Contrary to the collaborationist policy of the Metaima Indians who gave shelter and food to the Spaniards. 5 According to the saints of the Catholic Church, it belongs to St. Callistus. See http://www.churchforum.org.mx/santoral/Octubre/1410.htm for more information.
To see bibliography and original text in Spanish