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García, Aleixo (?–1525)

García, Aleixo (?–1525)

Aleixo García (d. 1525), Portuguese-born explorer, the first European in Paraguay. A minor member of the 1515–1516 Juan Díaz de Solís expedition to the Río de la Plata, García witnessed the murder of Solís at the hands of Charrúa Indians in Uruguay in mid-1516. Some months later, García and eighteen other Europeans were shipwrecked on the Brazilian island of Santa Catharina, where he remained several years, gaining a practical use of the local Guaraní language.

In 1524, he and several companions journeyed to the mainland. Traveling west, they discovered the massive Iguaçú Falls, crossed the Alto Paraná River, and made contact with the substantial Guaraní populations of Paraguay. Told of a fabulously wealthy "white king," who lived further west, García enlisted the aid of 2,000 warriors and immediately set off in that direction through the heavily forested Chaco region. Upon reaching the foothills of the Andes, the small army raided a score of Incan communities. García made off with considerable booty, including a quantity of silver, and returned to the area of the Paraguay River. He sent word of his adventures (along with a portion of the silver) to Santa Catharina. Before he himself could return to the coast, however, he was murdered by his Indian allies, evidently in late 1525. Some of the silver ornaments he had on his person at the time of his death were discovered a decade later by Spanish explorers entering Paraguay from the south.

See alsoParaguay: The Colonial Period .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Charles E. Nowell, "Aleixo García and the White King," in Hispanic American Historical Review 26 (November 1946): 450-466.

Carlos Zubizarreta, Cien vidas paraguayas, 2d ed. (1985), pp. 13-15.

Additional Bibliography

Bond, Rosana. A saga de Aleixo Garcia: O descobridor do império inca. Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brasil: Editora Insular: Fundação Franklin Cascaes, Prefeitura Municipal de Florianópolis, 1998.

                                   Thomas L. Whigham

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