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GRIJALVA, Juan de (gre-hahl'-bah), Spanish adventurer, born in Cuellar, Spain, in the latter part of the 15th century ; died in Nicaragua, 21 January 1527. His uncle, Velasquez, the governor of Cuba, gave him command of a flotilla, consisting of four vessels, to explore Yucatan, which Fernandez de Cotdora had just discovered, and he sailed from Havana, 1 May, 1518. After a successful fight with Indians at the place where Cordova had been defeated, he continued his route westward, keeping close to the land. The farther he advanced the more cultivated and populous the land appeared, and, some one having exclaimed that he seemed to be in a new Spain, that name was given to the entire country. He afterward penetrated into the country for a short distance, ascending the River of Tabasco, which is still called after his name, and then continued his course along the coast. He traded with the inhabitants, and learned that he was indebted for his friendly reception to the orders of a powerful monarch, named Montezuma. The sight of such rich countries had inspired Grijalva with the desire of taking possession of them, but he was restrained by the orders of Velasquez, who had expressly enjoined him not to make any settlement. Nevertheless he decided to despatch a vessel to Cuba, with an account of his discoveries and with the precious metals he had collected. After sailing still farther to the north, he returned to Havana, where he arrived on 10 November Noticing preparations in a neighboring harbor for a new expedition, he thought that he was to be given command; but Velasquez reproached him bitterly for not planting colonies. The command of the new expedition was given to Cortes. Grijalva afterward settled in Nicaragua, and was slain during an uprising of the Indians in the valley of Ulancha.
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