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Vasco Nunez De Balboa

ZEVALLO y BALBOA, Miguel  - A Stan Klos Biography

BALBOA, Vasco Nuñez de, Spanish discoverer, born in Xeres de los Caballeros, Extremadura, Spain, in 1475; died in Castilla de Ore, Darien, in 1517. He was a bankrupt nobleman who escaped from his creditors to Hispaniola and afterward joined an expedition under Martin Fernandez do Enciso, one of Ojeda's lieutenants, to the latter's Darien colony of San Sebastian. After meeting with misfortune through shipwreck and hostile natives, and learning of the destruction and abandonment of the colony, they finally founded a town, which they called Santa Maria de la Antigua de Darien.

 

Enciso forbade his men to trade with the natives, and was deposed by Balboa, who claimed that they were no longer within the boundaries of Ojeda's province, and hence owed his lieutenant no obedience. The settlement split into factions, and finally Enciso and Zamudio, the latter as Balboa's representative, were sent to Spain to lay their grievances before the king.

 

In the meanwhile Balboa explored the country, gained the good will of the natives by his treatment of them, and was told of a sea that lay southward, and of a land where gold abounded (Peru). He was now commissioned as governor of Antigua by Admiral Diego Columbus; but, hearing from Spain that the king inclined to side with Enciso, he determined to discover the new sea of which he had heard, and so atone for his faults.

 

He left Antigua for this purpose on 1 September 1513, and after laboring on for many days amid tangled forests, up rugged heights, fighting the natives continually, until the explorers were exhausted, footsore, and famished, they ascended a mountain on the morning of the 25th, whence he saw the new sea. Balboa named it "Mar del Sur," and took possession of it and all its coasts in the name of his royal master and mistress. Three days later he reached the beach at a place still known by the name he gave it, the gulf of San Miguel.

 

After a short voyage of exploration and the collection of tribute from neighboring tribes, he set out for home, and reached Antigua in safety in January 1514, after what must be considered a wonderful exploit when we take into account his small force and the almost insurmountable difficulties of the route.

 

But Balboa's exploit was in vain. A new governor, Pedrarias, arrived at Antigua in the following June and his predecessor was put on trial on various charges, He was acquitted of the most serious, but was sentenced to pay a large fine. Soon after this the king of Spain, hearing of Balboa's great discovery, gave him a special commission to explore the shore of the "southern sea," and made him governor of Panama and Coyba. Pedrarias withheld this commission at first, but, becoming reconciled to Balboa, finally allowed him to begin preparations for his voyage, and promised him his daughter in marriage.

 

Vessels were built, though with difficulty, on the Pacific side of the isthmus, and Balboa, after making a few unimportant discoveries, sent his friend Garabito to investigate a rumor that Pedrarias had been superseded. The rumor was untrue, and Garabito, proving a false friend, told the governor that Balboa had no idea of marrying his daughter, but intended to found for himself a government on the shores of the Pacific.

 

Pedrarias was enraged at this, enticed Balboa within his grasp, and secured his conviction on a charge of treason, together with charges on which he had previously been acquitted. The next day Balboa with four of his companions was executed, protesting to the last his innocence and loyalty. See Quintana's "Vidas de Españioles celebres" (3 vols., 1807-'34); Irving's "Voyages and Discoveries of the Companions of Columbus" (New York, 1831); and Winsor's "Narrative and Critical History of America" (Boston, 1884).

 

 

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia by John Looby, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

BALBOA, Vasco Nunez de, Spanish discoverer, born in Xeres de los Caballeros, Extremadura, Spain, in 1475; died in Castilla de Ore, Darien, in 1517. He was a bankrupt nobleman who escaped from his creditors to Hispaniola and afterward joined an expedition under Martin Fernandez do Enciso, one of 0jeda's lieutenants, to the latter's Darien colony of San Sebastian. After meeting with misfortune through shipwreck and hostile natives, and learning of the destruction and abandonment of the colony, they finally founded a town, which they called Santa Maria de la Antigua de Darien. Enciso forbade his men to trade with the natives, and was deposed by Balboa, who claimed that they were no longer within the boundaries of Ojeda's province, and hence owed his lieutenant no obedience. The settlement split into factions, and finally Enciso and Zamudio, the latter as Balboa's representative, were sent to Spain to lay their grievances before the king. In the meanwhile Balboa explored the country, gained the good will of the natives by his treatment of them, and was told of a sea that lay southward, and of a land where gold abounded (Peru). tie was now commissioned as governor of Antigua by Admiral Diego Columbus; but, hearing from Spain that the king inclined to side with Enciso, he determined to discover the new sea of which he had heard, mid so atone for his faults, lie left Antigua for this purpose on I September 1513, and after laboring on for many days amid tangled forests, up rugged heights, fighting the natives continually, until the explorers were exhausted, foot-sore, and famished, they ascended a mountain on the morning of the 25th, whence he saw the new sea. Balboa named it "Mar del Sur," and took possession of it and all its coasts in the name of his royal master and mistress. Three days later he reached the beach at a place still known by the name he gave it, the gulf of San Miguel. After a short voyage of exploration and the collection of tribute from neighboring tribes, he set out for home, and reached Antigua in safety in January 1514, after what must be considered a wonderful exploit when we take into account his small force and the almost insurmountable difficulties of the route. But Balboa's exploit was in vain. A new governor, Pedrarias, arrived at Antigua in the following June and his predecessor was put on trial on various charges, He was acquitted of the most serious, but was sentenced to pay a large fine. Soon after this the king of Spain, hearing of Balboa's great discovery, gave him a special commission to explore the shore of the "southern sea," and made him governor of Panama and Coyba. Pedrarias with held this commission at first, but, becoming reconciled to Balboa, finally allowed him to begin preparations for his voyage, and promised him his daughter in marriage. Vessels were built, though with difficulty, on the Pacific side-of the isthmus, and Balboa, after making a few unimportant discoveries, sent his friend Garabito to investigate a rumor that Pedrarias had been superseded. The rumor was untrue, and Garabito, proving a false friend, told the governor that Balboa had no idea of marrying his daughter, but intended to found for himself a government on the shores of the Pacific. Pedrarias was enraged at this, enticed Balboa within his grasp, and secured his conviction on a charge of treason, together with charges on which he had previously been acquitted. The next day Balboa with four of his companions was executed, protesting to the last his innocence and loyalty. See Quintana's "Vidas de Espafioles celebres" (3 vols., 1807-'34); Irving's "Voyages and Discoveries of the Companions of Columbus" (New York, 1831); and Winsor's "Narrative and Critical History of America" (Boston, 1884).

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

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