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VASCO NÚÑEZ DE BALBOA

Conqueror, mayor, governor, and captain general. Story tellers describe him as a charming and attractive man who discovered South Sea in 1513.

At the age of 25, he embarked for America. In 1501 he saw the coasts of Colombia and Panama for the first time. After establishing himself at La Española, where he failed as a farmer and to secure himself from debtors like Polizon, he escaped to fuerte de San Sebastian in a boat filled with men ready to rescue the governor, surrounded by red Indians.

But there the situation got worse, which led Balboa to head an expedition to the other side of Golf of Uraba to found a safe city.

They were received violently by a chief, but following a tough battle they managed to establish the city of Santa Maria la Antigua de Darien, of which Balboa was named mayor. He led the city with justice and banned slavery.

His dreams as a conqueror persisted and in 1513 he heard of South Sea for the first time. He directed a new expedition and on the 25th September, he saw the first glimpse of a huge extension of water which led him to take possession of the new sea in name of Soberanos de Castilla. He was named discoverer of South Sea and governor of Panama in 1515.

He died beheaded in 1519, victim of envy.