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FERNANDEZ, Juan, Spanish soldier, born in Seville in 1490; died in 1538. He accompanied Hernando Cortes when the latter conquered Mexico, and also served under Pizarro, but quitted his service and entered that of Pedro Alvarado. Fernandez was an experienced pilot, having frequently made the voyage between Peru and Panama, and Alvarado gave him the command of the fleet, ordering him to explore the coast from Puerto Viejo to the territory governed by Pizarro, and to take possession of it in due form. After fulfilling this mission he was sent to Nicaragua in search of the troops that Alvarado had left in Panama. He was to keep near the coast with his fleet while Alva rado marched by land upon Quito. Diego de Almagro, who belonged to the party of Pizarro, wrote immediately to Rivera, and to his partisans of Pachacama, to arrest and hang Fernandez, whom he considered a deserter from their own party.
Shortly afterward Alvarado penetrated into the heart of the country, crossing the Andes by a perilous march. Alvarado subsequently agreed to renounce all his claims and cede his ships to his rival on receipt of one hundred thousand dollars, and Fernandez was thus obliged to enter the service of his former commander, who pardoned him, and in 1535 appointed him captain of a galleon, in which he made two voyages to Spain. He was still discontented under Pizarro, and left him again in 1537, taking service as pilot under Antonio Quesada, governor of Hispaniola. The following year he was appointed adjutant, and accompanied Antonio de Sedeno, who had been ordered by the governor to reduce to submission the Island of Trinidad. Instead of fulfilling their mission, they disembarked on the continent in order to discover the province of Mera, which was said to be rich in mines of gold and silver. The parties penetrated into the country for some distance, but, after several fights with the Indians, were forced to turn back. Sedefio died in October 1578, and Fernandez was then proclaimed commander, but survived him but a few days.
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