Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

A Spanish navigator and explorer, born in Saragossa, 1541; died in Santa Cruz, Solomon Islands , 18 October, 1596.

Little is known of his early years, but about 1558 he went to Lima upon invitation of his uncle, Lope García de Castro, who was then Viceroy of Peru. At that time the Spaniards were well aware that the Pacific offered an extensive field for exploration and discovery, and García de Castro, wishing to explore that vast region, equipped an expedition of two ships at the head of which he placed his nephew Mendaña. The expedition set out from Callao in November, 1567. In the course of about a year they discovered several islands of Oceanica, and returned to Peru in 1568. Mendaña's travels did not awaken much interest at first, so he gave an elaborate and glowing description of the archipelago to which he gave the name of Solomon Islands, as it was supposed that here King Solomon had obtained the gold with which he had adorned the temple at Jerusalem. These reports of the wealth of the islands, some years later, caused the fitting out of a second expedition for the purpose of colonizing them. By order of Philip II, Mendaña was placed in command, and the expedition sailed 11 April, 1595. Several groups of islands were discovered, among them the Marquesas Islands which he so named in honour of the wife of García de Mendoza, Marquis of Cañete, who was at the time Viceroy of Peru. The explorer Cook, in 1774, gave the name of Nukahiva to this group, that being the native name of the largest island of the archipelago. The expedition continued westward, visiting several other groups of islands, but Mendaña died before he reached the end of the voyage. Before his death, he delegated his powers to his wife in whom he had great confidence and who was with him on the voyage. The widow, a very resolute woman, took charge, and led the expedition into Manila, where they arrived safely in February, 1596. Mendaña left notes describing both of his voyages which were collected after his death by the historian Pedro Guérico de Victoria under the title of "Derrotero de Mendaña de Neyra". The manuscript is now in the National Library in Paris.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
12 for the Lord is a judge who is utterly impartial.13 He ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 34:2-3, 17-18, 19, 23
2 I will praise Yahweh from my heart; let the humble hear and ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 18:9-14
9 He spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
6 As for me, my life is already being poured away as a libation, and the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 23rd, 2016 Image

St. John of Capistrano
October 23: St. John was born at Capistrano, Italy in 1385, ... Read More