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Pedro de Zurilla

ZURILLA, Pedro de (thee-reel'-yah), Spanish soldier, born in Seville about 1500; died near Asuncion, Paraguay, in 1541. He early entered military service, fought in Italy, and joined Pedro de Mendoza's expedition to the river Plate, assisting in the foundation of Buenos Ayres, 2 February, 1535, and serving as one of Juan de Ayolas's lieutenants in the expedition that explored Parana and Paraguay rivers. He participated in founding Asuncion, 15 August, 1536, and was a member of the common council of the new city. When Ayolas resumed the march forward, Zurilla commanded the rear-guard, and later was despatched to the ships that had been left in charge of Domingo de Irala, with the sick and to obtain supplies. But the soldiers refused to accompany him to rejoin his chief, and when news was received of Ayolas's death he was the first to propose the election of Irala as commander-in-chief. After the arrival of the new governor, Alvar Nuriez Cabeza de Vaca, in 1542, when difficulties arose between the latter and Irala, Zurilla advised a compromise, and induced Irala to accept Cabeza de Vaca's offers to make the former deputy governor. After assisting Irala in subduing the Ouaycurus, he was detached in 1544 against the Cacove Indians, whom he defeated in several encounters, and built the fortress of San Juan in their territory. While he marched against the Xarayes, who had rebelled, the Cacoves stormed the fort of San Juan, and, joining forces with the Xarayes, attacked Zurilla. The latter retreated about eighty miles from Asuncion, where he resisted the Indians till the arrival of succor, dying a few days later from the wound of a poisoned arrow.

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