Vasco Nunez de Balboa (1475-1519). Balboa, born in Spain, was a conquistador, one of the adventurers, explorers and soldiers who conquered and colonized much of the Americas, the New World discovered by Europeans. In 1501, Balboa sailed to the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. He lived there until 1511, when he stowed away on an expedition to Panama. He seized control of the expedition, founding Darien, the first European settlement in mainland America. In 1513, he led an expedition that crossed Panama, and he was the first European to reach the Pacific coast of the Americas, claiming the ocean and all adjacent lands for Spain. On his return to Darien, the Spanish authorities executed him for treason.
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