Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ESCOBAR, Maria de (escobar'), Spanish colonist, born in Truxillo about the end of the 15th or the beginning of the 16th century; died in Cuzco, Peru, about 1560. She was the wife of Diego de Chaves, one of the companions of Pizarro, and one of the few officers who had the courage to protest against the execution of Atahualpa in 1533. Maria followed her husband to Peru, shared the fatigues and dangers of the Spaniards, and introduced the cultivation of wheat and barley into the conquered country. The first experiment was tried on a small scale near Cuzco with a few grains brought by her from Spain, and in a few years there was sufficient grain to furnish seed for all the colonists of the different provinces. Maria taught the Indians personally how to cultivate the grain, and after the death of her husband in Lima about 1540, Pizarro granted her a fine piece of land near Lima together with the Indians upon it. The grateful colonists resolved to clear the land and cultivate it for her during ten years, but it seems that they soon forgot their promise, as Maria is said to have died very poor in Cuzco.
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