Irala, Domingo Martínez de [key], d. 1556 or 1557, first governor of Paraguay. Of Basque origin, he accompanied Pedro de Mendoza on his expedition to La Plata in 1535. As the first governor in America elected by a free vote of the colonists, he founded in Asunción the first cabildo in America. Under his administration, the city was a center for further colonization and a point of departure for Peru. From 1539, when he moved the inhabitants of Buenos Aires to Asunción, until his death (with a short interruption when Cabeza de Vaca was governor), he ruled forcefully. Churches and public buildings were erected, towns were established, and the native popultion was subjugated and distributed among the colonists in encomiendas.
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