Adelantado of the South Sea

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Adelantado of the South Sea

Adelantado of the South Sea, Vasco Núñez de Balboa (1475–1519), Spanish explorer who claimed the Pacific Ocean for the Spanish crown. An enterprising youth, Balboa had sailed for the Caribbean in 1500 to trade in pearls. After several business failures, he fled to Darién, Panama, where the Spanish attempted to establish permanent settlements. Balboa got along well with the natives of the region and emerged as the natural leader of his Spanish colleagues. In 1513, while searching for a wealthy tribe, he sighted the Pacific Ocean and descended to its shores to claim it for Spain. In reward, he was named governor of Darién and Adelantado of the South Sea. In 1519, however, Pedro Arias de Ávila (Pedrarias), representing jealous rivals, replaced Balboa as governor and had him beheaded.

See alsoÁvila, Pedro Arias de; Balboa, Vasco Núñez de; Darién.


Kathleen Romoli, Balboa of Darién: Discoverer of the Pacific (1953).

Charles L. G. Anderson, Life and Letters of Vasco Núñez de Balboa (1941; repr. 1970).

Frederick W. Turner, "Visions of the Pacific," in Southwest Review 70 (1985): 336-349.

Additional Bibliography

García Rodríguez, Ariadna. "Vasco Núñez de Balboa y geopsiquis de una nación." Revista Iberoamericana. 67:196 (July-September 2001): 461-473.

                                    Michael L. Conniff

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Adelantado of the South Sea

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