Vasco De Balboa

First European to see the Pacific Ocean

About Vasco De Balboa

Vasco De Balboa was born in Jerez de los Caballeros, Spain in 1475. He was kind and just wanted to live his dream of being a European explorer.

Balboas expeditions

in 1492, Balboa joined an expedition to South America in 1501. One year later Balboa found himself on the island of Hispaniola trying without success to make a living as a pig farmer. It seems that the native Indian population worshipped the pig as a god and neither they nor the Spanish settlers would eat an animal thought to be a god, no matter how tasty. Several years later, in 1510, Balboa enjoyed a change in fortune when he became acting governor of Darien. From there he led expeditions into Panama, conquering some Indians while allowing other, more friendly, Indians to open gambling casinos. In 1511 friendly Indians told Balboa of a land called Tubanama where he could find much gold. The Indians told him this land was located across the mountains near a great sea. Hoping to please King Ferdinand of Spain with an exciting discovery, in early September 1513, Balboa led an expedition from Darien. The Panama Canal was temporarily closed due to a strike by native workers, so Balboa and his 190 Spanish followers were forced to take the difficult land route. After a three week journey, during which the expedition lost all radio contact with their home base, Balboa found the great sea he had longed to see: the Pacific Ocean. That was his greatest accomplishment.