Vasco Núñez de Balboa
Vasco Núñez de Balboa was a Spanish governor, a conquistador and a renowned explorer who was born in Jerez de Los Caballeros (Anderson et al., 2008). He was of the Lord Mason lineage who was of the Balboa Empire that is found in Spain’s northwestern parts. The Lady de Badajoz was his mother while the nobleman commonly referred to as the Nuño Arias de Balboa was his father.
Despite less knowledge of his childhood, it is known that he was the last born of his family’s four sons and in his adolescent, he was a page and Squire to Don Pedro de Portocarrero who was the lord of Moguer. Vasco Núñez de Balboa got motivated by the knowledge of the discoveries of his master Christopher Columbus voyages to the universe. This made him launch his initial voyage along with Juan de la Cosa on Rodrigo de Bastida’s exploration to the Americans.
Among his achievement in exploration is that he is best known for being the first European from the New World to ever lead an expedition that lead to a European seeing or reaching the pacific. In the year 1513, he made it in crossing the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean (Ober, 2010). He had traveled to the new world in the year 1500 and after carrying out some expedition, he ended on the island of Hispaniola. He is known to have established the settlement of the Santa Maria La Antigua del Darién in 1510 that is found in the today’s Panama that later became the initial stable European establishment on the American mainland.
Additionally, as he was acting as the interim governor of Darién in the year 1511, the Spaniards dealt with the native inhabitants in their region fiercely so as to acquire the gold and other riches as they had learned from the Indians that a wealthy empire was in the south of Spain (Petrie, 2007). In the year, 1513, he is known to have sent an expedition comprised of 190 Spaniards and a population of Indians southwards to the Isthmus of Panama and in the same year he also climbed the peak of a mountain to have a sight of the Pacific Ocean which was later referred as the Mar del Sur or the South sea by the Spaniards.
As a result of this his expeditions, King Ferdinand II named him as the governor of the Panama and the Coiba provinces but still remained under the authority of the Pedro Arias Dávila who was commonly referred to as Pedrarias who returned to Darién after the return of Balboa in mid-1514.
Anderson, C. L. G., & Alfaro, R. J. (2008). Life and letters of Vasco Núñez de Balboa: Including the conquest and settlement of Darien and Panama, the odyssey of the discovery of the South sea, a description of the splendid armada to Castilla del Oro, and the execution of the adelantado at Acla. Place of publication not identified: Kessinger.
Ober, F. A. (2010). Vasco Nuñez de Balboa. United Kingdom: Dodo Press.
Petrie, K. (2007). Vasco Núñez de Balboa. Edina, MN: Abdo Pub.