Biography of Rodrigo de Bastidas (ca. 1465-1527)

Spanish discoverer, born about 1465 in Seville and died in 1527 in Santiago de Cuba. He discovered the Atlantic coasts of Colombia and Panama for Spain, and founded Santa Marta in 1525.

He was born in Seville to 1465, as stated in the lawsuit of Tapia realized in 1509 have 32 or 33 years. He worked as clerk in Triana, where awoke his interest in Indian discoveries. June 4, 1500 capitulated with the Crown a trip of discovery and rescue. He is associated with about 20 people to meet the 377.547 maravedís that cost him the expedition. It chartered two ships and must leave from Cádiz at the end of September 1501. The cartographer Juan de la Cosaaccompanied him. Bastidas followed the route of the Columbian third voyage and arrived at the Venezuelan coast; He traveled in the area already discovered by Ojeda, Juan de la Cosa and Vespucci in 1499-1500, and then in the peninsula of la Guajira to the Cabo de la Vela. From this point he continued westward and therefore became the discoverer of the Colombian Atlantic coast. It passed by the Bay of Santa Marta, which saw for the first time, then the mouths of the Magdalena river, by the Cartagena Bay, the mouth of the Sinú, and continued until the Gulf of Uraba. Finally continued along the Panamanian coast of Darién to a port which was called the toilet, not very far from where they founded Nombre de Dios. At this point warned that the ships were about to wrecked because of the joke (a lamelibranquio mollusc drilling the timbers of oak of keels), which ordered put bows to the island of Hispaniola. It made landfall in Jamaica, where the ships were arranged and continued toward his goal. A storm threw boats to the coast of the Spanish, near the Cape of the canonry. There was a month repairing ships and left again towards Santo Domingo, but winds dragged him to Xaragua, where wrecked. Its people divided into three groups that undertook the trip to Santo Domingo, where finally arrived with the remains of their boots walk. He returned to Spain in the fleet of Bobadilla which sailed from Santo Domingo in 1502 and was lucky to escape from the storm that wiped out the fleet. He arrived in Cádiz in September of the same year. As a reward to his discoveries, he obtained Crown a rent on the fruits of Urabá and Cenu (Sinú).

His historiography contains another dubious trip in 1507 to the Colombian territory with Juan de la Cosa. Bastidas settled then in the island of Santo Domingo, where she worked as administrator. He proposed the colonization of Trinidad, but was without effect by the opposition of Diego Colón. The 6 November 1524 capitulated the construction of a town and fortress in the Mainland. Be awarded 80 leagues of coast (from the Cabo de la Vela to the mouths of the Magdalena) where should take 50 neighbors, some of them married. The following year it chartered three ships that arrived in the Bay of Santa Marta, which had previously discovered. Immediately began the construction of the fortress which would be the basis of the city of Santa Marta, first founded in Colombia (previously will have thwarted two attempts of colonization in la Guajira, with Santa Cruz, and in Urabá, with San Sebastián). Bastidas undertook the conquest of the territory of the Indians of Bonda and Bondigua, where it collected good gold booties, but had many difficulties with his men, who hated manual labor that imposed on them and the deprivations suffered. Exploded a conspiracy led by his Lieutenant General Pedro de Villafuerte. Several men entered his house at night and tried to stab him. They did not kill him but left him wounded. Bastidas decided to reset to Santo Domingo and left the colony in the hands of Rodrigo Álvarez Palomino. Not it reached its destination, however, as the ship that was went to Santiago de Cuba, because of the winds. He died there that same year. As for the colony of Santa Marta continued to thrive. Álvarez Palomino lit tried to murder Bastidas and sent them to Santo Domingo, where they were executed.


HENAO, Jesús María-ARRUBLA, Gerardo: History of Colombia, Bogotá: Academia Colombiana de la Historia, 1967.

New history of Colombia, vol. I: "Colombia Indígena, conquest and colony", Bogotá: Planeta, 1989.

RAMOS, Demetrio: Spanish journeys of discovery and rescue, Valladolid: Casa Colón, 1981.

RESTREPO TIRADO, Ernesto: History of the province of Santa Marta, Colombian authors library, 1953.