Vasco De Balboa

First conquistador to see the Pacific Ocean

Biography

Born in Spain in 1475, explorer and conquistador he helped establish the town of Darién on the Isthmus of Panama, becoming interim governor. In 1513, he led the first European expedition to the Pacific Ocean, but news of the discovery arrived after the king had sent Pedro Arias de Ávila to serve as the new governor of Darién. Ávila, reportedly jealous of Balboa, had him beheaded for treason in 1519.
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The map above is the routes Balboa traveled

Places Discovered

Pacific Ocean, and claimed it and all of its shores for Spain.

Accomplishments

He convinced colonists to move to the western side of the Gulf of Uraba. They established the town of Darién on the Isthmus of Panama, which is a small strip of land that connects Central America and South America. Balboa became the interim governor of the settlement.


Personality

Adventurous and a leader

Purpose

In 1513, Balboa led an expedition from Darién to search for a new sea reportedly to the south and for gold. He hoped that if he was successful, he would win the favor of Ferdinand, the king of Spain. While he didn't find the precious metal, he did see the Pacific Ocean, and claimed it and all of its shores for Spain.


Cool Fact

The news of the discovery arrived after the king had sent Pedro Arias de Ávila to serve as the new governor of Darién. The new governor was reportedly jealous of Balboa and ordered him to be arrested on charges of treason. After a brief trial, Balboa was beheaded on January 12, 1519, in Acla, near Darién, Panama.


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