Francisco de Orellana

related topics
{land, century, early}
{son, year, death}
{war, force, army}
{god, call, give}
{island, water, area}
{film, series, show}
{country, population, people}
{work, book, publish}
{city, population, household}

Francisco de Orellana (Trujillo, Spain, 1511 - Amazon River, November 1546) was a Spanish explorer and conquistador. He completed the first known navigation through the length of the Amazon River. He named this river and founded Guayaquil.



Orellana may have been a relative of Francisco Pizarro, the Trujillo-born conquistador of Peru (cousin, according to some historians). He traveled to the Indies when he was seventeen (1527). Orellana served in Nicaragua until joining Pizarro's army in Peru in 1533, where he supported Pizarro in his conflict with Diego de Almagro (1538). After the victory over Almagro's men, he was appointed governor of La Culata and re-established the town of Guayaquil, previously founded by Pizarro and repopulated by Sebastián de Belalcázar. Spanish adventurer (1511-46) who accomplished the first descent of the River Amazon. Born at Trujillo (various birth dates, ranging from 1490 to 1511, are still quoted by biographers), Orellana was a close friend, and possibly a relative of the Pizarro family. He went out to the West Indies (probably in 1527), saw service in Nicaragua, then continued to Peru with Francisco Pizarro in 1535. During the civil war he sided with the Pizarros and was Ensign General of a force sent by Francisco Pizarro from Lima in aid of Hernando Pizarro. He was granted land at Puerto Viejo, on the coast of Ecuador, and had founded Guayaquil, of which he was governor.

First exploration of the Amazon River

In 1540 Gonzalo Pizarro arrived in Quito as governor and was charged by Francisco Pizarro with an expedition to locate the "Land of Cinnamon", thought to be somewhere to the east. Orellana was one of Gonzalo Pizarro's lieutenants during his 1541 expedition east of Quito into the South American interior. In Quito, Gonzalo Pizarro collected a force of 220 Spaniards and 4000 natives, while Orellana, as second in command, was sent back to Guayaquil to raise a troop of horse. Pizarro left Quito (in February 1541) just before Orellana arrived with his 23 men and horses. Orellana hurried after the main expedition, eventually making contact with them in March. However, by the time the expedition had left the mountains, 3000 natives and 140 Spanish had either died or deserted.

On reaching the River Coca (a tributary of the Napo), a brigantine, the San Pedro, was constructed to ferry the sick and supplies. Gonzalo Pizarro ordered him to explore the Coca River and return when the river ended. When they arrived at the confluence with the Napo River, his men threatened to mutiny if they did not continue. On December 26, 1541, he accepted to be elected chief of the new expedition and to conquer new lands in name of the king. Orellana (with the Dominican Gaspar de Carvajal who chronicled the expedition) and 50 men set off down stream to find food. Unable to return against the current, Orellana waited for Pizarro, finally sending back three men with a message, and started construction of a second brigantine, the Victoria. Pizarro had in the meantime returned to Quito by a more northerly route, by then with only 80 men left alive. After leaving the village on the Napo, Orellana continued downstream to the Amazon. The 49 men began to build a bigger ship for riverine navigation. During their navigation on Napo River they were threatened constantly by the Omaguas. They reached the Negro River on June 3, 1542 and finally arrived on the Amazon River.

Full article ▸

related documents
Henry Hudson
Juan Ponce de León
Sandwich, Kent
Little Chute, Wisconsin
Eufaula, Alabama
Indian slavery
New Sweden
Cotton gin
Ashe County, North Carolina
Juan Bautista de Anza
Thomas Cavendish
British colonization of the Americas
Burke County, North Carolina
Mission San Diego de Alcalá
Miami tribe
Abel Tasman
Dutch West India Company
Fort Stockton, Texas
Nez Perce
Chumash people
Rochester, New Hampshire
European exploration of Australia
Aberdeen Township, New Jersey
Willem Barentsz
St. Martinville, Louisiana
Winona, Minnesota
Tuscarora (tribe)
Royal Proclamation of 1763