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Balboa, facts about Balboa, Vasco de Nunez

Balboa, Vasco Nunez de (1475?-1519), a Spanish explorer, crossed what is now the Isthmus of Panama and became the first European to reach the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic.

Balboa, facts about Balboa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balboa, facts about Balboa

Vasco Nunez de Balboa, a Spanish explorer, was the first European to reach the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean. He arrived there in 1513.

With a party of about 190 Spaniards and 800 Indians, Balboa first sighted the Pacific on September 25, 1513. Four days later, the party reached the Pacific coast at the Gulf of San Miguel. Balboa named the sea the Mar del Sur (South Sea) and claimed it and the coasts it touched for Spain.

Balboa was born in Jerez de Los Caballeros, in western Spain. In the early 1500s, he settled on the island of Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic). An unsuccessful farmer, Balboa was soon in debt. To escape his creditors in 1510, he hid in a cask on board a ship. The ship was taking soldiers to a colony on the Colombian coast. When they arrived, they found that Indians had driven away most of the colonists. Balboa suggested that the expedition should move to Panama, where they founded a settlement called Darien. Balboa took command and became temporary governor.

Indians told Balboa about the sea to the west. When he heard that the king was sending a new governor to Darien, Balboa set off to find the sea. Following his discovery, he was made governor of the South Sea and Coiba. His success was resented by Darien's new governor, who managed to have Balboa's governorship taken away.

He also prevented Balboa from leaving Darien, and finally arrested and executed him on unjust charges of treason.

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