Vicente Yáñez Pinzón bigraphy, stories - Spanish navigator, explorer

Vicente Yáñez Pinzón : biography

1460 - after 1523

Vicente Yáñez Pinzón (Palos de la Frontera, Spain, c. 1462 – after 1514) was a Spanish navigator, explorer, and conquistador, the youngest of the Pinzón brothers. Along with his older brother Martín Alonso Pinzón who captained the Pinta, he sailed with Christopher Columbus on the first voyage to the New World in 1492, as captain of Niña. His was the first European expedition to explore the coast of Brazil and to provide a description of the Amazon River's mouth.


In 1499 Pinzón sailed to the South American coast. Carried by a strong storm, he reached the north coast of what today is Brazil on January 26, 1500. Pinzón eventually disembarked on the shore called Praia do Paraíso, in present-day Cabo de Santo Agostinho of the state of Pernambuco, or further northwest, in what is today Fortaleza (capital of the Brazilian state of Ceará). According to the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) between Spain and Portugal, Spain could make no claim, but the place was named Cabo de Santa María de la Consolación by Pinzón. He also sighted the Amazon River and ascended to a point about fifty miles from the sea. He called it the "Río Santa María de la Mar Dulce" (River of Saint Mary of the Sweet Sea) on account of the vastness of the fresh water river mouth, and the thus became the first European explorer to discover an estuary of the Amazon River. Pinzón is also considered the discoverer of the Oiapoque River.

In 1505, Pinzón was named commander-in-chief and 'corregidor' of the city of Puerto Rico, now called San Juan. This was to be the first step in the colonization of the island called Borinquén by its inhabitants and San Juan Bautista by the Spanish (now called Puerto Rico). However, Pinzón did not fulfill this commission. - Wayback Machine archive retrieved September 13, 2007 In 1508, he travelled with Juan Díaz de Solís to South America. No record exists of Pinzón after 1514.

On November 19, 1999, a monument to his memory was dedicated in Palos de la Frontera, Spain, on the occasion of the fifth centenary of the discovery of Brazil and of the brotherhood with the city Cabo de Santo Agostinho, Brazil.

Personal life

Pinzón was born in Palos de la Frontera on the Atlantic coast of Huelva, the youngest of the three famous sons of seaman Martín Pinzón and his wife Mayor Vicente. His birth year is uncertain; it is generally given as c. 1462; Juan Gil concludes from legal documents that show his two daughters to be over the age of 20 in 1509 that it certainly cannot be later than 1469. 1469 would be quite a late date, given that there is record of him being a corsair or privateer (with his older brother Martín Alonso) in Mediterranean waters between 1477 and 1479 when other towns failed to provide Palos with an adequate supply of grain in wartime.

He married twice: first to Teresa Rodríguez, by whom he had two daughters, Ana Rodríguez Pinzón and Juana González Pinzón; second, probably in 1509, to Ana de Trujillo, whom some surviving documents refer to as Ana Núñez de Trujillo.

It would appear that he was based in Palos at least up to and including the time of Columbus's first voyage (1492); by 1495 he was living in nearby Moguer; after the economic failure of his 1499–1500 expedition,. On p. 754, Gil characterizes the failure as "el muy serio quebrante experimentado en 1500." he appears to have moved no later than 1502 to Seville. He may have moved there to escape creditors. Historian Juan Gil, researching Pinzón's family life, found strong circumstantial evidence that his first wife left behind a mansion in Triana, across the river from Seville: her own property, not his, which passed into the hands of the daughters.

The last primary record we have of him is in 1514 in Seville or Triana. According to the chronicler Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés, he died that year, probably at the end of September. It is not known precisely where he is buried, though Oviedo expressed confidence that it was in the cemetery of Triana.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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