On the seventeenth century a Samurai arrived on Novogalaic territory, leaving his mark on this area forever. His name?
Luis de Encío.
Around 1620, a traveler arrived in the Kingdom of Nueva Galicia who, with a cautious walk, roamed the streets of the capital, the city of Guadalajara. This gentleman, of course, drew attention because of his clothing and bearing, he had a dignified appearance because of his blood but felt humble, nevertheless, because he was in a foreign land, he knew himself strange but not completely unknown since America, a melting pot of various cultures, also saw his lands filled with the arrival of merchants from the East. Some of them disembarked from the ships of their original homeland and others migrated on the ships of explorers such as Don Sebastián Vizcaíno (1548-1624) who was the first Spanish ambassador to Japan, having arrived on the islands in 1611.
The gentleman who had arrived a few years after the Vizcaino’s journey was Japanese and descended from an ancient family of samurai. He descended from the Fukuchi or Fukuji lineage and was a contemporary of the samurai Hasekura Tsunenaga who in those years made a diplomatic trip to Spain and Rome as Ambassador. There are hypotheses that Fukuchi traveled with Tsunenaga on the journey made by the latter’s delegation from Acapulco (January 25, 1614), entering Mexico City on March 24 and departing from Veracruz to Spain in the Flotilla of the Admiral Antonio de Oquendo. It is in this period when the diplomatic corps returned that Fukuchi decided to remain in Nueva Galicia.
The Fukuchi lineage (福地) was native to the village of this name and there are those who make them descend from the Bai aristocrats, native to Shuri in Okinawa. Be that as it may, the Japanese nobleman remained in Novogalaic territory to the end of his days.
During the period in which Fukuchi lived, trade was buoyant and there were attractive trade routes for those who wanted to venture into these activities. The Chinese, the Indians, the Peruleros (Merchants that traded between Seville, Peru, the New Spain and possibly Portugal) and many others which made a dynamic society. Exquisite and rare materials were bought and sold and this naturally appealed to our protagonist.
During these years, several characters stood out in the kingdom of Nueva Galicia who also wanted their part of the wealth that moved through the commercial routes, there were those who set up shops and others such as the Peruleros acted as intermediaries selling and buying merchandise on behalf of their principals customers. Among these merchants was Diego de Porres-Baranda, from Burgos, Spain who founded a rich mayorazgo in Nueva Galicia, echoing the ancient opulence that his pasts as lords of the House of Baranda once had. Other well-known names were Francisco de Mendoza and one in particular, active and experienced in commerce, would be of capital importance to Fukuchi: Captain Francisco de Reynoso., Rodrigo’s and my tenth grandfather.
Reynoso, as described in the manuscript of the cantor Diego Flores de la Torre, was a perulero and at that time he was a resident of Nueva Galicia. Reynoso had entered the Novogalaic society well: he married Mariana de Padilla-Dávila y Medina, daughter of the conqueror Sancho de Padilla-Dávila and Isabel de Medina y Mesa, both from main families. During his life he was a “Capitán a guerra” (literally meaning War Captain, a military high rank), mayor and ordinary of the city of Guadalajara and Culiacán, officer of the Treasury of His Majesty The King of Spain, alderman and a long etcetera but what was important for Fukuchi is that he was also a skilled merchant who he knew how to recognize opportunities.
Reynoso approached Fukuchi and extended his hand in friendship, both would also be business partners. Fukuchi adopted the name of Luis de Encío to facilitate his communication and social integration, and in addition to that, he converted to Christianity. On an unknown date he married an indigenous lady named Catalina de Silva with whom he had only one daughter: Margarita de Encío.
Fukuchi and Reynoso traded beer and coconut wine mainly as well as objects brought from the East. They soon created a commercial partnership and set up a store with the unusual term that Reynoso would cover the full cost and as a sign of confidence would give half of the store to Fuckuchi on the condition that he pay what Reynoso would recover the capital he invested once the store began to be profitable. This trust was endorsed for the second time with the opening of another store but this time, Luis de Encío, already in a better economic position, paid what was his due and was now the majority shareholder.
Once the relationship was consolidated, they both got their fortune. A few years later another Japanese from Okinawa arrived in Nueva Galicia who took a Castilianized name and surname: Juan de Páez. Juan de Páez, also a merchant, would join them making a close friendship. Juan got married around 1635 with Margarita de Encío, Luis’s only daughter.
These family relationships are confirmed by Margarita in her will. Margarita de Encío testified on April the 2nd, 1656 before the notary Diego Pérez de Rivera declaring herself the daughter of Luis de Encío and Catalina de Silva. In the will, she also declares that she was a member of the Brotherhood of the Santísimo Sacramento (Holy Sacrament) that was founded in the Holy Cathedral Church of the city of Guadalajara and that she was married to Juan de Páez, having Andrés de Páez as legitimate children (b. 5. Dec. 1639 SM Guadalajara), María de Encío (b. 5. Dec. 1639 SM Guadalajara), Josefa, Juana and Petrona. Her last daughter, Francisca de Páez, was baptized on September 28, 1657, a year after Margarita’s testament, so it naturally does not appear in her will.
Luis de Encío or Fukuchi as he had been known before, died in 1666 at the age of 71 in the city that received him: Guadalajara. He did not live his last years with the same prosperity with which he began in Nueva Galicia. His fortune had diminished due to the misfortune of having entered into a company contract with Captain Miguel de Pinedo y Carbajal, whose relatives squandered the committed capital, causing him great losses. After this unfortunate episode, Margarita and Juan de Páez took care of the old Samurai with affection and care.
Nueva Galicia was not only a melting pot of Spaniards, indigenous people, mestizos and Africans; There were also Orientals like Páez and Encío who contributed to its economic development.
Sources and recommended literature:
- Archivo de Instrumentos Públicos de Guadalajara, Jalisco. Protocolo del Escribano Diego Pérez de Rivera.
- The Portuguese Slave Trade in early modern Japan: Merchants, Jesuits and Japanese, Chinese and Korean Slaves. Lúcio de Sousa. 2018.
- Los japoneses que se quedaron en México en el siglo XVII. Acerca de un samurai en Guadalajara. Eikichi Hayashiya. Universidad de Guadalajara. 2003.
- Japoneses en Guadalajara: blancos de honor durante el seiscientos mexicano. Thomas Calvo. 1983.
- The making of Asian America: a history. Erika Lee. 2015.
- Poder, Religión y Sociedad en la Guadalajara del Siglo XVII. Thomas Calvo. 2015.
*This article is part of my book “La Casa de Reynoso: Estudio de un linaje castellano” written early in 2018 based on my research and then published as an article in Spanish language on tiafgs.com on the 6th of January, 2020 at 22:28, EST.