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Bobadilla, Francisco de (?–c. 1502)

Bobadilla, Francisco de (?–c. 1502)

Francisco de Bobadilla (d. ca. 1502), governor and judge of the island of Hispaniola. Bobadilla was probably from an Aragonese family, although the date and place of his birth are uncertain. Appointed on 21 May 1499, he was given authority superseding that of Christopher Columbus. The purpose of the royal appointment was to end instability and strife in the colony. Arriving in Santo Domingo on 23 August 1500, Bobadilla might have seen the executed enemies of Columbus while disembarking. He had Columbus jailed upon his return from an expedition into the interior in September 1500. It was Bobadilla's intention to send him to the Spanish court for trial, where a powerful group rejecting the pretensions of the Italian explorer was active.

As planned, both Columbus and his brother Bartholomew were returned under arrest to Spain. The crown, however, convinced that Bobadilla had exceeded the authority of his instructions, freed the Columbus brothers soon after their arrival in Spain. Bobadilla, disgraced for acting too strongly against Columbus, embarked for Spain in 1502. Unfortunately, that June his fleet was caught in a powerful hurricane in which almost all the ships were lost and much of the documentation involving the early administration of the island destroyed. The historian Oviedo characterized Bobadilla as "honest and religious."

See alsoColumbus, Bartholomew; Columbus, Christopher.


J. Marino Inchaustequi, Francisco de Bobadilla: Tres homónimos y un enigma colombino decifrado (1964).

Additional Bibliography

Casco Guido, Alicia. Culturas indígenas de Nicaragua. Managua, Nicaragua: Editorial Hispamer, 1998.

Varela, Consuelo and Isabel Aguirre. La caída Cristóbal Colón: El juicio de Bobadilla. Madrid: Marcial Pons, 2006.

                                   Noble David Cook

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