Álvarez de Pineda, Alonso (?–1520)

views updated

Álvarez de Pineda, Alonso (?–1520)

Alonso Álvarez de Pineda (d. 1520), sailor. Little is known about Álvarez de Pineda, except that he was captain-general of the first European expedition to navigate systematically the entire coastline of the Gulf of Mexico from the Florida Keys to the Yucatán Peninsula. The voyage resulted in a hand-drawn map showing the peninsula of Florida as part of the mainland, not an island, as had been believed. The voyage also located the mouth of the Mississippi River (Río del Espíritu Santo), with its great discharge of fresh water.

Made in 1519, the voyage was sponsored by the governor of Jamaica, Francisco de Garay, who sought knowledge of the lands between those Juan Ponce de León had reached in 1513 (west of the Florida Peninsula) and the region west of Cuba (Yucatán and Central America). He also hoped to find a passage to the "South Sea" (the Pacific Ocean), discovered by Vasco Núñez de Balboa. Álvarez de Pineda was most likely slain by Huastec warriers upon whose land he had encroached on the shore of the Pánuco river.

See alsoExplorers and Exploration: Spanish America .


An early (ca. late 1530s) navigational guide that must have incorporated Álvarez de Pineda's information is Paulino Castañeda, Mariano Cuesta, and Pilar Hernández, Transcripción, estudio y notas del "Espejo de navegantes" de Alonso Chaves (1983). See also Robert S. Weddle, Spanish Sea: The Gulf of Mexico in North American Discovery, 1500–1685 (1985), esp. pp. 95-108.

                           Jerald T. Milanich

About this article

Álvarez de Pineda, Alonso (?–1520)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article