The House of Herrera: A Profile of One of Spain’s Most Prominent Families

Julio Herrera Velutini
4 min readDec 21, 2021

The Herrera Family rose to prominence in the 14th century, establishing a venerable legacy of Spanish nobility. Notably distinguished as lords, landowners, merchants, and conquerors, the family latterly ventured into the banking industry, exerting influence in Spain, the Canary Islands, Latin America, England, and Germany. The House of Herrera was established in deference to the responsibilities and trust warranted over centuries of partnerships.

Famed since the 1500s for acts of bravery that earned the family numerous titles and conquests, the House of Herrera is imbued with values and traditions that endure to this day. It has exerted a strong political and military influence for generations.

The family played a key role in the development of finance, fashion, and commerce over the course of seven centuries, shaping the future of the industries across Spain, Latin and North America, and, more recently, the United Kingdom and beyond. The House of Herrera was a major influence on Caribbean and Latin American history, particularly the Latin American real estate and banking industries.

Here is what you need to know about this illustrious lineage:

Famous Estates That Have Belonged to the House of Herrera

The Hacienda de La Vega in Caracas, Venezuela, is one of the House of Herrera’s first family properties in Latin American. It is also one of Venezuela’s oldest haciendas. The estate remains within the Herrera von Uslar family, serving as an important public monument.

Castle of Gleichen, Castle of Freudenthal, and Uslar-Gleichen Castle in Germany.

Castle St Barbara Teguise in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, the island’s oldest fortification. Castle St Barbara was built by Don Sanco de Herrera in the 16th century on the instruction of King Felipe II. It was constructed to protect Lanzarote’s historic capital, Teguise, against invaders.

Castle of Ampudia in Palencia, Spain. Created in the gothic style, this noble fortress was built in the 15th century by descendants of Pedro Garcia Herrera. Shaped in a distinctive trapezoid flanked by four square turrets, today the Castle of Ampudia houses a priceless collection of antiques and objects d’art.

Noble Members of the House of Herrera

The Herrera Dynasty incorporates a diverse mix of nationalities, comprising several eminent families. The House of Herrera left its mark throughout Europe and Latin America for more than six centuries. Extensively influencing international trade, the House of Herrera was largely responsible for pioneering Latin America’s first banking system, the family’s long-standing influence acknowledged by the highest levels of trust, which it nurtured over subsequent generations.

Born in 1390, Pedro Garcia de Herrera y Rojas, son of Hernan de Herrera, Lord of Ampudia I, was a Castilian nobleman who served as Marshal of Castile. He is the family’s first notable antecedent.

His son, Diego Garcia de Herrera y Ayala, born circa 1417, is credited with conquering the Canary Islands. Diego Garcia de Herrera y Ayala laid the foundations for the House of Herrera, elevating the family’s stature; establishing the social influence it retains to this day; and earning himself the moniker King of the Canaries in the process.

Agustin de Herrera y Rojas Ayala, a descendent of Diego Garcia de Herrera y Ayala, was the first Herrera to receive the title Count of Lanzarote, an honor created for him by King Philip II in 1548. Subsequently, Agustin de Herrera y Rojas Ayala’s title was elevated to Marquis of Lanzarote in 1567 in recognition of services rendered to the monarchy.

The King later commissioned him to conquer Latin American territories on behalf of the Spanish Crown. Agustin de Herrera y Rojas Ayala became a trusted member of the Royal council. This elevated the family to one of the richest and most influential in the Caribbean and South America.

Juan Sarmiento de Herrera y Fernandez Pachego, Agustin’s son, was the first Herrera to be born in Latin America. He resided there all of his life, dedicating himself to the orderliness of the La Vega and Montalban territories and haciendas, which were gifted to him by his father.

Other Notable Members of the House of Herrera

Other prominent members of the Herrera family include Francisco Carlos Herrera y Ascanio, Captain and Master of the Field, who resided in Carbobo, Valencia; Martin Eugenio de Herrera y Rada, Knight of the Order of Charles III, who lived in Havana, Cuba, and Santo Domingo; and Jose de Herrera Manrique de Lara of Havana, Cuba, who married Carolina Uslar, granddaughter of the German General, Johan Von Urslar, who fought for the independence of Latin America.

Born in 1906, Jose Herrera Von Uslar Gleichen was the Marquis of Lanzarote and Count of Palomar. A lawyer by profession, he studied in the United States and Venezuela. In 1936, he cofounded the National Action Movement. The organization was created to fight against communism, extremism, dissolution, and civil unrest, opposing the propagation of Marxist-Leninist ideology in Venezuela.

Orders and Symbols of House Herrera

Orders held by Herrera family members include: Marquisate of Lanzarote, Marquisate of Herrera and Vallehermoso, Conde de Palomar, Marquisate of Torre Casa, Marques de Fuerteventura, and Marques de Herrera

Members of the House of Herrera have adopted several symbols through the generations, including de Herrera de Sarmiento y Rojas y Ayala, the Lanzarote Coat of Arms, the Herrera Coat of Arms, the Uslar Coat of Arms, the Gleichen Coat of Arms, and the Velutini Coat of Arms.

--

--

Julio Herrera Velutini

Many companies investing in South American markets have tapped Velutini’s expertise for their boards.