|Died||21 May 1617 (aged 60–61)|
|Commands held||Navy of the Tierra Firme|
Navy of the Guard
Navy of the Ocean Sea
Luis Fajardo y Ruíz de Avendaño, KOC (c. 1556 – 21 May 1617), known simply as Luis Fajardo, was a Spanish admiral and nobleman who had an outstanding naval career in the Spanish Navy. He is considered one of the most reputable Spanish militaries of the last years of the reign of Philip II and the reign of Philip III. He held important positions in the navy and carried out several military operations in which he had to fight against English, Dutch, French and Barbary in the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. It is known for the conquest of La Mamora in 1614.
Because he belonged to a noble family, he had several appointments such as Adelantado de Murcia, Knight of the Order of Calatrava and Commander of Almuradiel.
He was the illegitimate son of Luis Fajardo y de la Cueva, 2nd Marquis of Los Vélez, Grandee of Spain and 1st Marquis de Molina. His mother was Ana Ruiz de Avendaño y Alarcón, a neighbor of Vélez-Blanco and a native of Villapalacios, in La Mancha.
Due to his illegitimate status, he initially did not have the same social status as the other children his father had previously had with his only deceased wife, Leonor Fernández de Córdoba. But later he managed to ascend socially, due to the military prestige he obtained during his naval career and the support of his influential paternal family, the House of Los Vélez. On the maternal side, Luis was the only son and heir of his mother.
Later he achieved the recognition of his father, for the good relationship he had with him and the rest of his paternal family. This allowed him to have marital ties with a noble woman. He married Luisa de Tenza, Lady of Espinardo, with whom he had three children. The marriage ties of his descendants, which he managed, also reinforced his social position, as well as that of his children, gaining large possessions for his family in Murcia.
His eldest son was Alonso Fajardo de Tenza, who became governor and captain general of the Philippines in 1616. His second son was Juan Fajardo de Tenza, who accompanied his father in some military operations and also became an admiral, and was governor of Galicia. He also had a daughter named Mencía Fajardo de Tenza, who in 1609 married Juan Antonio Usodemar Narváez, lord of the village of Alcantarilla, a fact that initially did not please her father. In addition to the three children he had with Luisa, he had an illegitimate son named Luis with a single woman. Little is known about this son, except that he accompanied his brother Alonso to the Philippines.
Luis Fajardo was born around 1556 in Murcia, twenty-three years after the death of his father's only wife, Leonor. From a very young age he entered the military career, accompanying his father along with his brother Diego to suppress the Alpujarras Revolt (1568–1571). At the beginning of 1569 he was the standard-bearer of the army led by his father, and in June of that year he was commissioned to defend Oria and Cantoria from the Moorish attack on the marquesado.