Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar

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Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar
DiegoVelazquezCuellar.jpg
5th Governor of the Indies
In office
1518–1524
Preceded by Diego Columbus
Succeeded by Hernán Cortés
(as the Governor of New Spain)
1st Governor of Cuba
In office
1511–1524
Succeeded by Manuel de Rojas y Córdova
Personal details
Born1465 (1465)
Cuéllar, Segovia, Crown of Castile
Diedc. June 12, 1524 (aged 5859)
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, New Spain

Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar (Spanish:  [ˈdjeɣo βeˈlaθkeθ ðe ˈkweʝaɾ] ; 1465 in Cuéllar, Spain c. June 12, 1524 in Santiago de Cuba) was a Spanish conquistador. He conquered and governed Cuba on behalf of Spain and moved Havana from the south coast of western Cuba to the north coast, placing it well as a port for Spanish trade. [1]

Cuéllar Town and Municipality in Castile and León, Spain

Cuéllar is a small Town and Municipality in the Province of Segovia, in the autonomous community of Castile and León, in Spain. It had a population of 9,725 in 2011.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a European country located in Southwestern Europe with some pockets of Spanish territory across the Strait of Gibraltar and the Atlantic Ocean. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Santiago de Cuba City in Cuba

Santiago de Cuba is the second-largest city in Cuba and the capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province. It lies in the southeastern area of the island, some 870 km (540 mi) southeast of the Cuban capital of Havana.

Contents

Early life

Little is known about the early life of Diego Velázquez. [2] He was born in Cuéllar c. 1465, in the Segovia region of Spain. Velázquez was known for his hate of manual labor from a young age. This reason helped push Velázquez toward wanting to become a conquistador. Diego Velázquez was a part of the Spanish military, serving in Naples, and then returning to Spain to serve in Seville. Velázquez was met with all the excitement from Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the new world, so Diego made sure he was on the second voyage of Christopher Columbus.

Segovia Municipality in Castile and León, Spain

Segovia is a city in the autonomous region of Castile and León, Spain. The city is famous for its historic buildings including the three main landmarks: its midtown Roman aqueduct, its cathedral, and the castle, which was an influence for Walt Disney's Cinderella Castle. The city center of Segovia was declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1985. It is the capital of Province of Segovia.

Christopher Columbus Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer, navigator, and colonist who completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Castile and Aragon. He led the first European expeditions to the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, initiating the permanent European colonization of the Americas. Columbus discovered a viable sailing route to the Americas, a continent that was then unknown to the Old World. While what he thought he had discovered was a route to the Far East, he is credited with the opening of the Americas for conquest and settlement by Europeans.

Velázquez settled on the island of Espanola, where he befriended Bartholomew Columbus. Colon took a liking to Diego and when Colon had to leave the island for any period of time would make Diego acting governor of the Indies. Velázquez squashed an Indian revolt in 1503 by sending a captain to a part of the island while he went and captured the king of the revolting Indians which ended the revolt. The Governor of the Indies at this time was Nicolás de Ovando y Cáceres, and after the revolt decided that five new towns should be built. Velázquez helped form three of these towns, the names of the towns were Salvatierra de la Zabana, Yáquimo, and San Juan de la Maguana. According to historian Troy S. Floyd, "Velázquez himself, reportedly wealthy in island terms by 1511, held encomiendas at Verapaz [ disambiguation needed ], Salvatierra de la Zabana, and Santiago de Caballeros, where he was in partnership with an unidentified encomendero in mining enterprises." [3]

Bartholomew Columbus Italian explorer

Bartholomew Columbus was an Italian explorer from Genoa and the younger brother of Christopher Columbus.

San Juan de la Maguana Place in San Juan, Dominican Republic

San Juan de la Maguana is a city and municipality in the western region of the Dominican Republic, and capital of the San Juan province. It was one of the first cities established on the island; founded in 1503 and was given the name of San Juan de la Maguana by San Juan Bautista and the Taino name of the valley: Maguana. The term Maguana means "the first stone, the unique stone".

<i>Encomienda</i> labor system used during the Spanish colonization of the Americas and the Philippines

Encomienda was a Spanish labor system that rewarded conquerors with the labor of particular groups of subject people. It was first established in Spain following the Christian recovery of their territories under Muslim rule. And it was applied on a much larger scale during the Spanish colonization of the Americas and the Philippines. Conquered peoples were considered vassals of the Spanish monarch. The Crown awarded an encomienda as a grant to a particular individual. In the conquest era of the sixteenth century, the grants were considered to be a monopoly on the labor of particular groups of indigenous peoples, held in perpetuity by the grant holder, called the encomendero, and his descendants.

He married the daughter of Cristóbal de Cuéllar, who died soon afterwards. He never remarried. [3] :139

Conquest of Cuba

He was named to lead the expedition of conquest of Cuba in 1511, with 300 men, a three-year undertaking noted for its brutality. [4] He acted under orders from Diego Columbus, recently restored as Viceroy of the Indies. He founded a number of new Spanish settlements and cities on the island, first Baracoa in 1511 and then most notably Santiago de Cuba in 1514 and Havana in 1515. Velázquez was appointed Governor of Cuba. [5] :16 The new settlers did not wish to be under the personal authority of Diego Columbus, so Velázquez convoked a general cabildo (a local government council) which was duly authorized to deal directly with Spain, and therefore removed Velázquez and the settlers from under the authority of Columbus, their nominal superior. It was a precedent that would come back to haunt him with the Mexican adventures.

Cuba Country in the Caribbean

Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometers (42,800 sq mi). The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometers (40,543 sq mi), and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.

Diego Columbus Spanish explorer and son of Christopher Columbus

Diego Columbus was a Portuguese navigator and explorer under the Kings of Castile and Aragón. He served as the 2nd Admiral of the Indies, 2nd Viceroy of the Indies and 4th Governor of the Indies as a vassal to the Kings of Castile and Aragón. He was the elder son of Christopher Columbus and his wife Filipa Moniz Perestrelo.

Baracoa Municipality in Guantánamo, Cuba

Baracoa is a municipality and city in Guantánamo Province near the eastern tip of Cuba. It was visited by Admiral Christopher Columbus on November 27, 1492, and then founded by the first governor of Cuba, the Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar on August 15, 1511. It is the oldest Spanish settlement in Cuba and was its first capital.

Conquest of Mexico

Noting the weakness of the natives, Velázquez authorized the importation of black slaves in 1513. He authorized various expeditions to explore lands further west, including the 1517 Francisco Hernández de Córdoba expedition to Yucatán (see: Spanish Conquest of Yucatán ), and Juan de Grijalva's 1518 expedition. [5] :16,27 He was made the first Adelantado of Cuba with jurisdiction over the former Governorship of the Indies. [5] :126 He initially backed Hernán Cortés's expedition to Mexico, [5] :44–47 but pulled back his support before the expedition was scheduled to launch. Cortés disobeyed Velázquez's orders to disband his expeditionary force and left for Mexico anyway. [5] :56

Yucatán Peninsula peninsula in North America

The Yucatán Peninsula, in southeastern Mexico, separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico, with the northern coastline on the Yucatán Channel. The peninsula lies east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a northwestern geographic partition separating the region of Central America from the rest of North America. It is approximately 181,000 km2 (70,000 sq mi) in area, and is almost entirely composed of limestone.

Juan de Grijalva Spanish conquistador

Juan de Grijalva was a Spanish conquistador, and relation of Diego Velázquez. He went to Hispaniola in 1508 and to Cuba in 1511. He was one of the early explorers of the Mexican coastline.

Adelantado was a title held by Spanish nobles in service of their respective kings during the Middle Ages. It was later used as a military title held by some Spanish conquistadores of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.

Later life

Velázquez lost his governorship of Cuba in 1521, for his misuse of indigenous labor, but he was restored to office in 1523. At the time of his unexpected death in 1524 at age 59, he was "the richest Spaniard in the Americas," despite financial losses on the expedition of Francisco Hernández de Córdoba and of Hernán Cortés. He completed the successful conquest of Cuba, founded towns that remain important, made Cuba economically prosperous, and turned it into the staging point for expeditions of conquest elsewhere. [6]

See also

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References

  1. Allan J. Kuethe, "Havana" in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, vol. 3, p. 173. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1996.
  2. Jacquelyn Briggs Kent, "Diego de Velásquez" in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, vol. 5. p. 375. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1996.
  3. 1 2 Floyd, Troy (1973). The Columbus Dynasty in the Caribbean, 1492-1526. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 63, 81.
  4. Kent, "Diego de Velásquez", p. 375.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Diaz, B., 1963, The Conquest of New Spain, London: Penguin Books, ISBN   0140441239
  6. Kent, "Diego de Velásquez" p. 375.

Sources