Carvajal, Gaspar de
CARVAJAL, GASPAR DE
Dominican explorer and missionary; b. Trujillo, Estremadura, Spain, c. 1504; d. Lima, Peru, 1584. According to his own testimony, he came from Spain with Bp. Vicente valverde to establish the Order of St. Dominic in Peru. He arrived there in 1538 and in November of that year, while established in a convent in Lima, he had to defend the rights of his community. In 1539 he was in Cuzco, where he became the legal guardian of two of the sons of Atahualpa, Francisco Ninancuro and Diego de Ilaquita. Early in 1541, as vicar-general appointed by Bishop Valverde, he went to Quito where, as a chaplain, he joined the expedition organized by Gonzálo Pizarro to explore the province of Canela. Once in the eastern forests, he joined Francisco Orellana in the discovery and the navigation of the Amazon River. He was the chronicler of that expedition, on which he lost an eye. When he arrived in Cubagua and heard of the deaths of Valverde and Francisco Pizarro, he returned to Lima at once. His personal prestige enabled him to mediate first in the dispute between the oidores and Viceroy Núñez Vela, then in the actions of La Gasca in Cuzco, and finally in the disagreements between Viceroy Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza and Bravo de Saravia. He was prior of Lima and of Cuzco, and in 1557 was elected provincial of the Dominicans in Peru. His jurisdiction then included Quito, Lima, Cuzco, Guamanga, and Chile. In his late years he wrote his eyewitness account of the discovery of the Amazon River to correct some of the reports of that discovery that had already appeared.
Bibliography: g. de carvajal, Descubrimiento del río de las Amazonas, ed. j. t. medina (Seville 1894; reprint Cáceres 1953).
[j. m. vargas]