Hernán Pérez de Quesada
Hernán, as Spanish conquistador,
wore an armoured uniform
|Cause of death||Lightning strike|
|Known for|| Spanish conquest of the Muisca |
Quest for El Dorado
|Title||Governor of New Kingdom of Granada|
|Predecessor|| Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada |
|Successor|| Luis Alonso de Lugo |
|Criminal charge(s)||• Mistreatment of indigenous people|
• Murders of Tisquesusa, Sagipa & Aquiminzaque
|Relatives|| Gonzalo Jiménez (brother)|
Francisco Jiménez (brother)
Melchor Jiménez (brother)
Andrea Ximénez (sister)
Catalina Magdalena (sister)
Isabel de Quesada (half-sister)
Hernán Pérez de Quesada, sometimes spelled as De Quezada, – 1544) 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.(c. 1500
Hernán founded Sutatausa, Cundinamarca, and aided in the conquest of various indigenous groups, such as the Chimila, Muisca, Panche, Lache, U'wa, Sutagao and others. Under the command of Hernán Pérez de Quesada the last Muisca ruler; zaque Aquiminzaque were publicly decapitated. As second in command under his brother, in the previous years zipas Tisquesusa and Sagipa and Tundama of Duitama had suffered a similar fate. After returning from his expeditions to the south reaching Quito, where he reunited with his younger brother Francisco, both De Quesadas went back to Bogotá. Hernán was tried and imprisoned there for the murders of the Muisca rulers by the governor of the capital of the New Kingdom of Granada. In 1544, en route back to Spain with his brother Francisco, their ship was hit by lightning off the coast of Cabo de la Vela in the Caribbean Sea killing Hernán and Francisco and wounding several other conquistadors who were returning to Spain.
Knowledge of the life and expeditions of Hernán Pérez de Quesada has been provided by his brother Gonzalo and scholars Pedro de Aguado, Juan Freyle, Lucas Fernández de Piedrahita, Joaquín Acosta and Liborio Zerda.
Hernán Pérez de Quesada was born around the year 1500 in the Andalusian city of Granada as second son of Luís Jiménez de Quesada and Isabel de Rivera Quesada.His family was Catholic, but descended from marranos (Sephardi Jews). His elder brother was conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez and he had four other siblings; brother Melchor, Francisco, who also was conquistador in Peru, and sisters Magdalena de Quesada and Andrea Ximénez de Quesada. Hernán also had a half-sister; Isabel de Quesada. In 1535, arriving early 1536, the brothers Gonzalo, Francisco and Hernán sailed from Spain to Santa Marta, the first city founded in Colombia, by Rodrigo de Bastidas in 1525.
The first indigenous group that was submitted to the Spanish Crown were the Tairona, who inhabit the area around Santa Marta, presently living on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and in Tayrona Park. On April 6, 1536, triggered by the stories of the mythical "City of Gold" El Dorado , Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada organised two groups of conquistadors towards the inner highlands of the Colombian Andes, as first European explorers.The army with the brothers De Quesada and more than 700 soldiers and 80 horses went over land and another, of more than 200 men, embarked in boats and ascended the Magdalena River from Ciénaga, in search of its origin. The list of the soldiers that eventually made it to Funza has been compiled by Juan Florez de Ocáriz (1612-1692). The land army was led by Gonzalo with Hernán second in command. The first indigenous group conquered, were the Chimila people. Continuing south, the troops had to cross inhospitable terrains full of creeks and part of their supplies and equipment was lost when crossing the Ariguaní River.
The troops led by the De Quesadas passed through among other settlements Tamalameque, Barrancabermeja and Chipatá where the Spanish for the first time learnt to drink chicha, the fermented alcoholic beverage of the Muisca. The almost-naked conquistadors who suffered from the difficult expedition through the jungles received cotton mantles from the Muisca people in Chipatá. The expedition passed through halted in Chía where they spent the Holy Week. After that week in April 1537, he ordered his men towards Funza, the site of the domain of the zipa. Although the army of the brothers De Quesada was reduced to 170 men, the hundreds of guecha warriors couldn't resist their superior arms and were defeated. In the meantime, zipa Tisquesusa sent messengers to the caciques in the Muisca Confederation to inform them of the arrival of the light-skinned heavily armed men. The caciques considered the invaders sacred and didn't dare to attack them.Funza was conquered and founded on April 20, 1537. Of the more than 900 soldiers who left Santa Marta a year earlier, only 162 survived the harsh expedition.
On the same day that his brother Gonzalo founded Tenza, June 24, 1537, Hernán founded Sutatausa.
At the start of 1538, when the troops were exhausted after almost two years in foreign terrain, the soldiers asked what was their payment for the conquest they had done. De Quesada divided the conquered treasures over his men; 40,000 pieces of fine gold, 562 emeralds and tumbaga (gold-copper-silver alloys). Foot soldiers received 520 pieces each, horse riders the double amount, captains 2080 pieces, generals 3640 and some pieces were given as prizes for the most distinguished soldiers. Masses were organised to honour the many dead soldiers during the campaign and part of the treasure was given to Juan de las Casas. De Quesada was not pleased to hear about the advancement of another group of conquistadors in the east, led by Nikolaus Federmann, coming from later Venezuela across the Llanos Orientales. Another team of conquerors, commanded by Sebastián de Belalcázar, was coming from the south, originating from Quito. Gonzalo sent Hernán to meet the southern group who had traveled through the hot valley of Neiva.Hernán ordered the decapitation of Aquiminzaque, the last zaque of Hunza in late 1538.
One and a half year after the victory of the conquistadors on Tisquesusa, in the area of Teusaquillo, the modern capital of Colombia was founded. Although some historians set the date at April 27, 1539, the common and celebrated date of foundation is August 6, 1538. The foundation was performed by the construction of 12 houses of reed, referring to the Twelve Apostles, and the construction of a preliminary church, also of reed. Father Juan de las Casas held his first mass in the improvised church. The city was named Santafé de Bogotá, a combination of the Spanish city of Santa Fe and the Chibcha name of the southern Muisca capital Bacatá, meaning "Enclosure outside of the farmfields".The newly established country, part of the Spanish Empire was called New Kingdom of Granada, after the place of birth of the brothers De Quesada in Andalusia; Kingdom of Granada.
The three leaders of the conquest expeditions; Gonzalo de Quesada, Nikolaus Federmann and Sebastián de Belalcázar, met in Bosa and agreed to travel back to Spain to ask for compensation for their exploration for the Spanish Crown. Gonzalo assigned Hernán as interim governor of the New Kingdom and chose the first mayor and council for the capital. The chaplain of the team of Federmann, Juan Verdejo, was named priest. Most of the soldiers of the expeditions of Federmann and De Belalcázar decided to stay in Bogotá, reinforcing the troops of De Quesada. Without having found El Dorado , three years after his departure from Santa Marta, in mid May 1539, Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada returned to the Caribbean coast, to sail to Spain from Cartagena.
In his search for El Dorado, Hernán explored the departments of Tolima and Huila.Hernán Pérez de Quesada was only one of many explorers in the search for El Dorado. After the destruction and looting of the Sun Temple in Sogamoso in September 1537, Hernán Pérez thought there was an even bigger place where the indigenous people hid their gold, called "La Casa del Sol". In his quest, starting from Sogamoso along the right banks of the Chicamocha River, he approached with a hundred men the terrain of the Lache and entered Jericó, at that time called Cheva, where he and his troops gathered the food of the original inhabitants who promptly fled to Chita.
The city of Tunja, in the times of the Muisca called Hunza, was founded on 1541 by Gonzalo Suárez Rendón in an expedition ordered by Hernán de Quesada.In July 1541, the Chapter of Tunja told De Quesada that he couldn't leave his empire alone. Hernán responded that "whatever he did, was in the interest of the Spanish Crown".
Later in 1541, Hernán Pérez de Quesada went northward towards the later department of Norte de Santander, where he crossed Panqueba, Guacamayas, El Cocuy and Chita, and reached Chinácota but had to return soon after that.Soldiers of his army submitted the U'wa living in El Cocuy.
On his southern expedition in the same year, Hernán Pérez de Quesada was the first European to reach the southeastern Colombian departments of Caquetá and Putumayo.One of his soldiers, Lázaro Fonte, the lover of Zoratama, died due to the natural dangers of the jungle.
|Nevado del Sumapaz||Cundinamarca||1540|
|San José de la Fragua||Caquetá||1540|
|Cali||Valle del Cauca||1541|
De Quesada reached Peru with an army of 500 men, without finding the mythical El Dorado.In 1542 he reached the Kingdom of Quito in a bad shape where he joined his brother Francisco. Both brothers returned to Bogotá, where Hernán was tried and imprisoned by Luis Alonso de Lugo, the new governor of the capital after Hernán, for his mistreatment of the indigenous peoples and the murders of Tundama, Aquiminzaque, Tisquesusa and Sagipa. In 1544 Hernán and Francisco embarked on a ship back to Spain, that was hit by lightning off the coast of Cabo de la Vela. Both brothers died and several other conquistadors who were returning to their home country were wounded.
Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada y Rivera, also spelled as De Quezada and Ximénez, 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.
Zoratama, also spelled as Soratama, was a Muisca woman and the lover of Spanish conquistador Lázaro Fonte. Her story reminds of the North American indigenous Pocahontas who married John Rolfe after saving the life of John Smith.
Sagipa or Zaquesazipa was the fifth and last ruler (zipa) of Bacatá, currently known as the Colombian capital Bogotá, as of 1537. He was the brother of his predecessor Tisquesusa but the traditional faction of the Muisca considered him an usurper as his nephew Chiayzaque, the cacique of Chía, was the legitimate successor of Tisquesusa. His zaque counterpart in the northern part of the Muisca territory was Aquiminzaque, the last surviving ruler of the Muisca. The daughter of Sagipa, named as Magdalena de Guatavita, married conquistador Hernán Venegas Carrillo, one of the first mestizo marriages in the New Kingdom of Granada.
The Muisca Confederation was a loose confederation of different Muisca rulers in the central Andean highlands of present-day Colombia before the Spanish conquest of northern South America. The area, presently called Altiplano Cundiboyacense, comprised the current departments of Boyacá, Cundinamarca and minor parts of Santander with a total surface area of approximately 25,000 square kilometres (9,700 sq mi).
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.
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.
Martín Galeano was a Spanish conquistador of Genovese descent who is known as the founder of the towns of Vélez, Oiba and Charalá in Santander, Colombia. He took part in the expedition of the Spanish conquest of the Muisca led by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada. After the foundation of Bogotá, he was sent northwards into Guane territories.
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.
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.
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.
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.