Spanish Explorers

Interested in the lives of famous Spanish explorers? Want to know about the routes taken by early Spanish explorers? Our guide gives you the facts & information you want to know.

Spanish explorers were born out of the need and desire of Spain to expand its empire, market and power. History books are filled with accounts of brave and famous Spanish explorers who braced the odds to discover new lands and routes from the old world.

In the beginning Spanish explorers dominated the world of exploration. During the Renaissance Spanish explorers acquired monopoly trade in spice and their increased success in expeditions brought great fame, power and wealth to Spain. Early Spanish explorers were sponsored by the government to help acquire wealth through acquisition of gold, silver and spice trade. Most of this wealth was used to finance wars such as that against the Turkish Moors. The expeditions were also a means to seek new trade routes and markets for their goods. It was also a means of spreading the Catholic Religion and expanding the Spanish Empire.

Early Spanish Explorers

Spanish exploration dates as far back as the reign of King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella I in 1469. The kingdom adhered to the Catholic religion and they were quite fanatic about their religion and spreading it. Thus the spread of the catholic faith to heathen lands was a primary reason for Spanish explorers. In a bid to build an overseas Spanish Empire the King and Queen of Spain sponsored the famous Spanish explorer, Christopher Columbus on his route to America in 1492. The voyage was quite successful and by 1494 all of the new found lands in the new World had been claimed by Spain.

Some of the famous Spanish explorers were not Spanish by birth. Amerigo Vespucci was Italian born but later naturalized as a Spaniard. Christopher Columbus also was born in Italy but did his exploration under Spanish sponsorship. Estevanica was also not a natural Spaniard as he was a black African explorer who was enslaved by the Spanish; he thus worked as a Spanish explorer.

Famous Spanish Explorers

Other famous Spanish explorers include, the Spanish Conquistadors, Vasco Nunez de Balboa, and Juan Ponce de Leon, Francisco Pizarro, Cabeza de Vaca, Fray Marcos de Niza and a list of others. Famous expeditions of some Spanish explorers include some historic expeditions such as: Christopher Columbus discovery of America in 1492 and the discovery of Haiti and Jamaica by Columbus in 1492. Columbus landed in Venezuela in 1498 and The Spanish laid claim to the Pacific Ocean through Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa, 1513. Juan Diaz landed in Uruguay in 1516 as first European to reach that far. Francisco Pizarro a Spanish Conquistador lead an expedition into Peru, 1520 and overthrows the Incan Empire, placing Ecuador under Spain in 1535.

The list of achievements of Spanish explorers is still lengthy and their contributions to seafaring are still enjoyed till date. Their early activities helped discover many lands and provide links, routes, charts and maps which have proved invaluable over the years.

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