Diego de Almagro

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Diego de Almagro (Almagro, Spain, c. 1475 – Cuzco, Peru, July 8, 1538), also known as El Adelantado and El Viejo (The Elder), was a Spanish conquistador and a companion and later rival of Francisco Pizarro. He participated in the Spanish conquest of Peru and is credited as the first European discoverer of Chile.

Almagro lost his left eye battling with coastal natives in the New World. In 1525 he joined the Pizarro brothers and Hernándo de Luque at Panama for the conquest of Peru.


First years

Diego de Almagro was born in the Spanish city signified by his last name, being the illegitimate son of Juan de Montenegro and Elvira Gutiérrez. Almagro's parents had promised each other to get married, but ended their relationship before fulfilling this promise. By the time of their break up, Elvira was pregnant, leading her family members to conceal her pregnancy until she gave birth to Diego in 1479. To save Elvira's honor, her family kept her infant and took him to the near village of Bolaños, and Diego was later transferred to Aldea del Rey under the tutelage of Sancha López del Peral.

When Almagro turned four, he was left under the tutelage of an uncle named Hernán Gutiérrez. Due to his uncle's mistreatment, Almagro fled his house at the age of 15. Upon reaching his mother, who was now living with her new husband, he informed her of what had occurred with his uncle and his plans to make a life of his own, asking her for bread and some money to live in his misery. His mother, anguished, provided him with what he asked and reputedly told him, "Here, my dear son, do not give me more passion, and leave, and let God help you in your adventure".

Almagro was later found in Seville as the servant of don Luis de Polanco, who was one of that city's mayors. Almagro stabbed another servant during a fight, leaving him seriously injured. He fled, not wanting to be imprisoned, and became a wanderer in Andalucia. Around this time, the news of the discovery of the New World had reached him, and he decided to enroll himself in the armada of Pedrarias Dávila. Upon his arrival in Panama, he would meet and become friends with Francisco Pizarro.

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