Ampíes, Juan de (?–1533)

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Ampíes, Juan de (?–1533)

Juan de Ampíes (d. 8 February 1533), Spanish conquistador. Ampíes played an important role in the process whereby Spain established itself in the New World. In 1511 he became the first royal factor on the island of Hispaniola. An advocate of a peaceful Conquest, he defended the the original inhabitants of the Los Gigantes Islands (today Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire) and was partly responsible for their being declared indios guaitiaos (friendly Indians). When the Cumaná peoples who inhabited the coastal region of northeastern Venezuela put to death the missionaries who had come to evangelize the area, Ampíes opposed the use of retaliatory measures against them. When the first peaceful colonizing activities were undertaken with conquered peoples considered to be friendly—activities that were consistent with the doctrines promoted by Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas—Ampíes was assigned in 1520 to populate Los Gigantes with a group of Caquetío Indians. He later established contact with the inhabitants of the South American mainland and was able to gain their confidence.

In 1526 Ampíes bought some slaves on Hispaniola and then freed them making use of a commercial expedition to return them to their homelands. This gesture led to the organization of an expedition under the leadership of his son, whose object was to create a permanent settlement on the mainland. The result was the founding of Coro on 26 July 1527. Because of an agreement with the House of Welser banking firm, however, Ampíes had to abandon the settlement of Coro in 1528 and limit his authority and jurisdiction to the island territories.

See alsoConquistadores .


See the translation by Jeannette Johnson Varner of the classic eighteenth-Century work by José Oviedo y Baños, first historian of the province of Venezuela, titled The Conquest and Settlement of Venezuela (1987). More specific is Demetrio Ramos Pérez, La fundación de Venezuela: Ampíes y Coro, una singularidad histórica (1978).

Additional Bibliography

Mira Caballos, Esteban. "La primera utopía americana: Las reducciones de indios de los jerónimos en La Española, 1517–1519." Jahrbuch für Geschichte Lateinamerikas 39 (2002): 9-35.

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