Welser Family

German Merchant Family

15th - 17th Centuries

In 1529, Bartholomew Welser received a huge grant of land in what is now Venezuela from Charles V (King Charles I of Spain), who gave it to Bartholomew in exchange for large sums of money owed to the Welser Family on behalf of the crown. The Family sponsored an expedition to inspect and explore their new lands in 1535 under the command of Philippe von Hutton, hoping to find precious metals and colonize the area. Von Hutton spent several years exploring the continentís interior and eventually became Captain-General of the province. In 1546, however, the Spanish crown revoked the Welserís land grant, in large part due to their abuse of the indigenous peoples. The new Spanish Governor had Von Hutton executed.

Antony Welser (d. 1518) was one of the first Europeans to use the sea route to India discovered by Vasco de Gama.

Click on the Piece of Eight to return to the Main Page