Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada y Rivera
Oil portrait of Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada (unknown artist, Museo Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá)
|Born||1496 (or 1506 or 1509) |
|Died||16 February 1579 (aged ~70–85)|
|Other names||Gonzalo Jiménez de Quezada|
Gonzalo Ximénez de Quesada
|Known for|| Spanish conquest of the Muisca |
Spanish conquest of the Chibchan Nations
Founder of Bogotá
First mayor of Bogotá
Quest for El Dorado
|Memoria de los descubridores, que entraron conmigo a descubrir y conquistar el Reino de Granada (1576)|
|Relatives|| Hernán Pérez de Quesada (brother)|
Francisco Jiménez de Quesada (brother)
Melchor de Quesada (brother)
Catalina Magdalena de Quesada (sister)
Andrea Ximénez de Quesada (sister)
Isabel de Quesada (half-sister)
|Mayor of Bogotá|
|Preceded by||position established; zipa Sagipa)|
|Succeeded by||Jerónimo de Lainza|
| Spanish colonization |
of the Americas
Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada y Rivera, also spelled as De Quezada and Ximénez, (Spanish: [gonˈθalo xiˈmeneθ ðe keˈsaða] ;1496 – other sources state 1506 or 1509 – Suesca, 16 February 1579) was a Spanish explorer and conquistador in northern South America, territories currently known as Colombia. He explored the northern part of South America. As a well-educated lawyer he was one of the intellectuals of the Spanish conquest. He was an effective organizer and leader, designed the first legislation for the government of the area, and was its historian. After 1569 he undertook explorations toward the east, searching for the elusive El Dorado , but returned to New Granada in 1573. He has been suggested as a possible model for Cervantes' Don Quixote .
His father, Luis Jiménez de Quesada,was a hidalgo relative of Gonzalo Francisco de Cordoba, and he had two well-known distant cousins, the conquistadores of Mexico and Peru respectively: Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro. He had three younger brothers; Hernán and Francisco, who also were conquistadors, and Melchor, and a sister, Andrea.
De Quesada was an Andalusian lawyer, trained in Granada.He was appointed chief magistrate in 1535 and second in command for an expedition to present-day Colombia, because in that period he was not in good standing with the people at home because he had just lost an important court case in which his mother's family was economically involved. The commander of the expedition, Pedro Fernández de Lugo (governor of the Canary Islands), had bought the governorship of Colombia and had equipped a fleet and assembled over a thousand men. And so they set sail to Colombia, thinking they would find a very rich land, full of gold and pearls. But when, after two month of navigation, they reached the small coastal settlement of Santa Marta, all they found was a conglomeration of hovels and filthy, disease-ridden colonists who went about dressed in skins or roughly woven and padded cotton clothes made by the natives from surrounding areas. Soon food became scarce and tropical fevers began to smite down the strongest.
In 1536, De Quesada (who had no military experience) was chosen by De Lugo to command an expedition to explore into the interior of New Granada, hoping to discover the dreamed El Dorado. A land party under De Quesada, with Hernán Pérez de Quesada (his brother), Juan San Martín, Juan del Junco (as second in command) Lázaro Fonte and Sergio Bustillo, struck south from Santa Marta, crossed the Cesar River, and arrived at Tamalameque on the Magdalena River. A support fleet of 6 (or 5) ships had also sailed from Santa Marta with 900 men to navigate the Magdalena.Only two of the vessels actually arrived at Tamalameque, and subsequently returned to Santa Marta with many of De Quesada's men. Continuing up the Magdalena as far as La Tora (Barrancabermeja), De Quesada and his men ascended the Opon River into the cordillera, reaching the Opon hills, Chipata (near Vélez) (March 1537) and the valley of the Suárez River. Passing Lake Fúquene and Lake Suesca, they reached Nemocón and Zipaquirá and finally entered the Muisca Confederation (ruled from Bacatá, present day Bogotá and Hunza, today known as Tunja).
Only 166 men out of 900 survived, suffering terribly in the jungle: they were forced to eat snakes, lizards, frogs, and even the leather torn from their harnesses and the scabbards of their swords. In Bogotá, Quesada resigned and called for an election; he was elected captain-general, and threw off the last link that held him to the governor. The Muisca had two rulers. The zipa Tisquesusa, ruled in Bogotá; the other, the zaque Quemuenchatocha, ruled in Tunja. Taking advantage of a war between the two chiefdoms, Quesada's force subdued Bogotá and then successfully attacked Tunja. At this point it was time to establish a colony so that the earth itself might properly belong to De Quesada and his men. They chose a spot next to the towering peaks of the east, where the land was high and the rains would quickly run off, where the mountains would protect them from attackers and the jungles below. Quesada placed his right foot on the bare earth and said simply, "I take possession of this land in the name of the most sovereign emperor, Charles V." The settlement was at first called New City of Granada, but later they changed it to Santa Fé de Bogotá, now known simply as Bogotá, from the Chibcha word Bacatá, the name of one of the two main cacicazgos of the Muisca Confederation.
Quesada remained in the region until the arrival of two expeditions at the end of 1538: Sebastián de Belalcázar from Quito, Ecuador, one of the captains of Pizarro who had mutinied against his leader; and Nikolaus Federmann, a German from Venezuela who had rebelled against another German named Hohermuth. The three captains met on the savanna of New Granada. All three wanted to claim New Granada for themselves. In order to resolve their dispute, De Quesada persuaded them to go back to Spain with him and to submit their rival territorial claims to the arbitration of the crown. In July 1539, they sailed for Spain from Cartagena. However, none of them obtained the governorship. De Quesada, after nearly a dozen years of wandering disconsolately through the gaming halls of Europe, returned to New Granada in 1550. Here, he settled down to live for nearly twenty years. He was a respected colonist, becoming the most influential man in the colony. He protected his fellow colonists from the severity of the officials and restrained the encomenderos (large landholders) greed. But his own desire for wealth and gold continued to live inside him.
In 1569, at the age of 63, De Quesada received a commission to conquer the Llanos to the east of the Colombian cordillera. From Bogotá in April 1569 with 500 mounted soldiers, 1500 natives, 1100 horses and pack animals, 600 head of cattle, 800 pigs, a large number of negro slaves and 8 priests, he first descended to Mesetas on the upper Guejar River. There most of the livestock was destroyed by a grass fire. De Quesada's expedition then moved to nearby San Juan de los Llanos, where a course was set for east-southeast (by the guide Pedro Soleto), and maintained for the following two years. After a year or so some men returned with Juan Maldonado, reaching San Juan after six months with few survivors. De Quesada eventually reached (San Fernando de) Atabapo at the confluence of the Guaviare and the Orinoco (in December 1571), any further movement requiring the construction of ships. He therefore dejectedly returned to Bogotá, arriving in December 1572 with only 25 Spaniards, 4 natives, 18 horses and 2 priests. The expedition had been one of the most expensive disasters on record. After a brief period of service in a frontier command (during which he suppressed an indigenous uprising) De Quesada, afflicted with leprosy, overcome with despair at his debts, owing more than 60 thousand ducats, was forced to seek a milder climate and died quietly, aged 70 to 85, in Suesca, an important market town in the New Kingdom of Granada.
After his death in, Mariquita where he was buried in the Santa Lucía Abbey. His remains were there until 1597 when they were exhumed and transferred to Bogotá, the city founded by him.
The Spanish conquest of the Muisca took place from 1537 to 1540. The Muisca were the inhabitants of the central Andean highlands of Colombia before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. They were organised in a loose confederation of different rulers; the zipa of Bacatá, with his headquarters in Funza, the zaque of Boyacá, with his headquarters in Hunza, the iraca of the sacred City of the Sun Sugamuxi, the Tundama of Tundama, and several independent caciques. The leaders of the Confederation at the time of conquest were zipa Tisquesusa, zaque Quemuenchatocha, iraca Sugamuxi and Tundama in the northernmost portion of their territories. The Muisca were organised in small communities of circular enclosures, with a central square where the bohío of the cacique was located. They were called "Salt People" because of their extraction of salt in various locations throughout their territories, mainly in Zipaquirá, Nemocón, and Tausa. For the main part self-sufficient in their well-organised economy, the Muisca traded with the European conquistadors valuable products as gold, tumbaga, and emeralds with their neighbouring indigenous groups. In the Tenza Valley, to the east of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense where the majority of the Muisca lived, they extracted emeralds in Chivor and Somondoco. The economy of the Muisca was rooted in their agriculture with main products maize, yuca, potatoes, and various other cultivations elaborated on elevated fields. Agriculture had started around 3000 BCE on the Altiplano, following the preceramic Herrera Period and a long epoch of hunter-gatherers since the late Pleistocene. The earliest archaeological evidence of inhabitation in Colombia, and one of the oldest in South America, has been found in El Abra, dating to around 12,500 years BP.
Hernán Pérez de Quesada, sometimes spelled as De Quezada, was a Spanish conquistador. Second in command of the army of his elder brother, Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, Hernán was part of the first European expedition towards the inner highlands of the Colombian Andes. The harsh journey, taking almost a year and many deaths, led through the departments Magdalena, Cesar, Santander, Boyacá, Cundinamarca and Huila of present-day Colombia between 1536 and 1539 and, without him, Meta, Caquetá and Putumayo of Colombia and northern Peru and Ecuador between 1540 and 1542.
Miguel Holguín y Figueroa, also written as Miguel Holguín de Figueroa, was a Spanish conquistador. He took part in the expeditions of conquest of the Chitarero, Motilon, U'wa and Lache peoples led by Nikolaus Federmann. Holguín y Figueroa later settled in Tunja, where he protested the rapacious activities of Hernán Pérez de Quesada, governor of Bogotá.
Gonzalo Macías was a Spanish conquistador who participated in the expedition from Santa Marta into the Muisca Confederation that was led by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada from 1536 to 1538. He settled in Tunja, formerly called Hunza, as seat of the zaque.
Bartolomé Camacho Zambrano was a Spanish conquistador who took part in the expedition of the Spanish conquest of the Muisca led by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada. He accompanied Gonzalo Suárez Rendón in the foundation of Tunja on August 6, 1539 and settled in the city. In 1583, Bartolomé Camacho Zambrano was mayor of Tunja together with Francisco de Avendaño.
Ortún Velázquez de Velasco was a Spanish conquistador. He is known as the co-founder and first governor of Pamplona in the Norte de Santander department of Colombia, which borders Venezuela.
Gonzalo Suárez Rendón was a Spanish conquistador, known as the founder of the capital of Boyacá; Tunja. He took part in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca people led by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, and later by his brother Hernán Pérez de Quesada. On August 6, 1539, he founded Tunja on the site of the former seat of the zaque (ruler) of the Hunza.
Pedro Fernández de Valenzuela was a Spanish conquistador who took part in the expedition of the Spanish conquest of the Muisca led by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada from 1536 to 1538. He was the cousin of Hernán Venegas Carrillo and after his journey in the New World returned to Córdoba. He was buried in the church of the former Hospital San Bartolomé de las Bubas in Córdoba.
Juan (Francisco) de Céspedes Ruiz was a Spanish conquistador who is known as the founder of the town of Pasca, Cundinamarca, in the south of the Bogotá savanna, Colombia. De Céspedes arrived in the Americas in 1521 and participated in the conquest of the Tairona and the foundation of Santa Marta under Rodrigo de Bastidas. From 1542 to 1543 and in 1546 he served as mayor of Bogotá and after that until 1570 as lieutenant general of the first president of Colombia. Juan de Céspedes married Isabel Romero, one of the first Spanish women who arrived at Colombian territories and had two legitimate sons and one daughter. His date of death is uncertain; in late 1573 or 1576.
Baltasar Maldonado, also written as Baltazar Maldonado, was a Spanish conquistador who first served under Sebastian de Belalcázar in the conquest of Quito and Peru, the foundations of Cali and Popayán, and later in the army of Hernán Pérez de Quesada in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca.
Epítome de la conquista del Nuevo Reino de Granada is a document of uncertain authorship, possibly (partly) written by Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada between 1548 and 1559. The book was not published until 1889 by anthropologist Marcos Jiménez de la Espada in his work Juan de Castellanos y su Historia del Nuevo Reino de Granada.
The Battle of Tocarema was a battle fought between an alliance of the troops of Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada and zipa of the Muisca Sagipa of the southern Muisca Confederation and the indigenous Panche. The battle took place on the afternoon of August 19 and the morning of August 20, 1538 in the vereda Tocarema of Cachipay, Cundinamarca, Colombia and resulted in a victory for the Spanish and Muisca, when captains Juan de Céspedes and Juan de Sanct Martín commanded two flanks of the conquistadors.
Hernán Venegas Carrillo Manosalvas was a Spanish conquistador for who participated in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca and Panche people in the New Kingdom of Granada, present-day Colombia. Venegas Carrillo was mayor of Santa Fe de Bogotá for two terms; in 1542 and from 1543 to 1544.
Juan de(l) Junco was a Spanish conquistador who participated in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca people. Del Junco started his career as a conquistador in the 1526 expedition led by Sebastian Cabot exploring the Río de la Plata in present-day Argentina. In 1535, he arrived in Santa Marta on the Colombian Caribbean coast from where the expedition in search of El Dorado set off in April 1536.
Juan Tafur was a Spanish conquistador who participated in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca people. He was a cousin of fellow conquistadors Martín Yañéz Tafur, Hernán Venegas Carrillo and Pedro Fernández de Valenzuela. Juan Tafur was five times encomendero (mayor) of Santa Fe de Bogotá. He also received the encomiendas of Pasca, Chipaque and Usaquén. The encomienda of Suesca was shared between Tafur and Gonzalo García Zorro.
Pedro Ruíz Corredor was a Spanish conquistador who participated in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca. He searched for El Dorado, returned to Spain, was sent back to the new world, helped consolidate newly conquered Peru for Spain, retired to his fiefdom to raise a family, and lived to a ripe old age.
Gonzalo García Zorro was a Spanish conquistador who participated in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca people. García Zorro was encomendero (mayor) of Santa Fe de Bogotá for seven terms, and received the encomiendas of Fusagasugá and Fosca.
Antonio Díaz de Cardoso was a Portuguese conquistador who participated in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca people.
Juan de Albarracín was a Spanish conquistador who participated in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca and Panche people. He was captain of the brigs which sailed up the Magdalena River from the Caribbean coast in 1536 and later discovered the high quality salt that lead the Spanish conquistadors along the Camino de la Sal up the slopes of the eastern ranges of the Colombian Andes towards the Muisca Confederation.
Antonio de Lebrija was born in 1507, in Alcántara, Extremadura, Spain; and died in 1540, in Brozas, also in Extremadura. He was a Spanish conquistador who participated in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca and the Chimila peoples. He was the treasurer of the conquest expedition which left Santa Marta in April 1536 following the high quality salt trail, the Camino de la Sal, along the Suárez River up the slopes of the Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes towards the Muisca Confederation.
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