Sebastian de Belalcazar

Spanish Conqueror

Born: 1495

Died: 1551

After setting sail for the New World in 159, Belalcazar served under Pedro Arias Devila, in his campaign to take control of Nicaragua in 1524. After successfully seizing power over Nicaragua for the crown of Spain, Belalcazar then joined Francisco Pizarro’s expedition to Peru in 1531, eventually splintering off on his own in 1533 to conquer Ecuador. He defeated the Incan chief Ruminahui and occupied Quito in December of 1534. In 1535, he founded a permanent settlement at present-day Guayaquil.

Like many other Spanish explorers, Belalcazar was entranced and lured by wild and extravagant tales of the fabled city of El Dorado, the legendary city of gold and riches. Searching for El Dorado, Belalcazar pressed on into Colombia, founding Popayan, and became the district’s governor.

Belalcazar fought bitterly with the Spanish leaders during his reign of office, eventually going so far as to actually kill another Spaniard. He was pronounced guilty of this murder and was imprisoned for his crime, and eventually died in prison.

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