Diego Velasquez de Cuellar

Conqueror & Governor of Cuba for Spain

Born: 1465

Died: 1524

Diego Velasquez was born in Cuella, in the Segovia region of Spain. He first visited the New World with the crew of Christopher Columbus in 1493. He settled in Hispaniola, then was active in leading the conquest of Cuba in 1511. He founded a number of new Spanish settlements and cities on the island, most notably Santiago de Cuba in 1514 and Havana in 1515. Velasquez was appointed governor of Cuba. He authorized various expeditions to explore lands further west, including the 1517 Francisco Fernandez de Cordoba expedition to Yucatan.

He initially backed Hernan Cortes's famous expedition to Mexico, but when Cortes tried to seize and claim Mexico for himself, Velasquez charged Cortes with exceeding his authority and ordered his arrest. Those sent to arrest Cortes were either defeated or persuaded to join Cortes, so Velasquez saw none of the riches which came from Mexico. Diego Velasquez de Cuellar died in Havana in or about 1524.

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