Rodrigo de Bastidas
Learn more about Rodrigo de Bastidas
After sailing with Christopher Columbus during his second voyage to the New World about 1494, Bastidas petitioned the Spanish Monarchy to start his own quest to be financed totally with his own money. In exchange for granting Bastidas the right to explore various territories in the New World, the Crown required him to give them 1/3 of everything he acquired. The King and Queen issued a charter that is still preserved in the National Archives in Spain. He sailed to the New World from Cádiz in October, 1500, with two ships, the San Antón and the Santa Maria de Gracia. He was accompanied on this voyage by Juan de la Cosa and Vasco Núñez de Balboa.
In 1501, he sailed westward from the Atlantic side of present day Colombia in an attempt to reconnoiter the coastline of the Caribbean basin. Though the poor condition of his ships caused by seaworms that ate the wood of his ships, forced him to turn back and return to Santo Domingo to effect repairs, he reached La Punta de Manzanillo on Panama's upper Caribbean coast before having to abandon his effort.
He is acknowledged to be the first European to have claimed that part of the isthmus, and therefore is credited with the discovery of Panama which includes the San Blas region of the Kuna indians.
Bastidas, Rodrigo de (rô&thstrok;rē'gō dā bästē'&thstrok;äs) [key], c.1460–1526, Spanish conquistador in Colombia. In 1501, accompanied by Balboa and Juan de la Cosa, he discovered the mouths of the Magdalena River. Because of difficulties with the Spanish crown, it was 1525 before he returned to found Santa Marta. He prohibited exploitation of Native Americans and so dissatisfied his followers that they tried to murder him. Wounded, he fled to Santo Domingo, but bad weather forced him to land in Cuba, where he died. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2006, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. factmonster.com
The Magnificent Don Rodrigo de Bastidas I is known as Spain's "greatest and noblest conquistador" because he had the distinction of treating the Native Indians he came into contact with humanely although it is said he had slaves too.
According to the Inscriptions at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, The architects' plans for certain buildings and monuments at the Exposition called for a number of inscriptions to occupy panels and spaces provided for the purpose. Inscription No. 1. Tower of Jewels. South side. Panel at left of colonnade reads: 1501 Rodrigo De Bastides Pursuing His Course Beyond The West Indies Discovers Panama. Rodrigo de Bastidas, the first white man to reach the shores of Panama, was a well-to-do notary of the town of Triana, a gypsy suburb of Seville. Obtaining a license to conduct an expedition to the newly-discovered continent, he set sail with two caravels from Cadiz in October, 1500. Early in the following year he landed on the shores of Darien, becoming thereby the discoverer of what is at present the Isthmus of Panama.
Bastidas was subsequently appointed governor of the island of Trinidad. While he was administering this office some of his subordinates conspired against his life, and he was stabbed by them one night while asleep. He died shortly thereafter (1526) at Santiago, Cuba, from the effects of his wounds.
It has been said of Bastidas, "Spain's best and noblest conquistador," that he had the almost unique distinction of acting humanely in his dealings with the natives of America. He was a gentleman by birth, and an entirely different type from the impecunious courtier, the swashbuckler, and the adventurer. http://www.books-about-california.com/Pages/The_Inscriptions/The_Inscriptions_text.html
In the Dominican Republic, the famous historian Fray Cipriano de Utrera is attributed as saying of Rodrigo de Bastidas: after the name of Columbus, there is no other name that is more illustrious or more heroic to Santo Domingo (meaning the Dominican Republic) than that of Bastidas. http://www.idg.org.do/capsulas/mayo2005/mayo200528.htm
Bastidas is buried at the Cathedral of Santo Domingo.
Moreover, in terms of wealth and ancestry, compared to Rodrigo de Bastidas, Christopher Columbus was poor. Rodrigo de Bastidas' ancestral lineage can be traced back to the Kings of Asturias and Leon. He was a direct descendant of Don Rodrigo Diaz de Asturias, the Count of Oviedo and Astuiras and the Lord of Nava, whose daughter, Ximena, married Rodrigo Diaz ("El Cid Campeador") de Vivar. http://www.euskalnet.net/laviana/gen_hispanas/bastidas.html
From various sources readily found on the Internet, Rodrigo de Bastidas was distinguished from the other conquistadors of his time by being fair in how he treated and dealt with the Native Indians.
While in Santa Marta, Columbia, the City he founded in 1525, it is said that Rodrigo de Bastidas ordered his men to be fair to the Indians and not mistreat them in any way. Mr. Ruiz's website informs us that Rodrigo de Bastidas was different from the other conquistadors because he was "well educated and a man of position."
Rodrigo de Bastidas was murdered, in addition to a dispute over money, because of his good relationship with the Native Peoples which caused resentment among some of his men.
In 1526 he left from Santo Domingo, his place of residence and where he was retailer, with general lieutenant Pedro Villafuerte, Rodrigo Alvarez Palomino, the Royal Accountant Juan de Ledesma and other captains, like Antonio Díez de Cardoso and Juan of San Martín. Bastidas had a policy of respect, humanity and friendship towards the Indians; he maintained pacifistic relations with his neighbors, the Indians Tagangas, Dorsinos and Gairas. He went on a trip to the territories of Bonda and Bondigua, where he obtained enough gold. Bastidas had prohibited his troops to brutally use the Indians and to undress them of their goods. Translated from Spanish http://www.lablaa.org/blaavirtual/biografias/bastrodr.htm
Rodrigo de Bastidas' male heir, Rodrigo III, married Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes' only heir, a female daughter named Juana, thus, joining the two houses of De Bastidas and Fernandez de Oviedo, together. Don Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo Y Valdes, the Royal Historian and Official Chronicler of the New World, in addition, to his other accomplishments, was also a defender and protector of Native rights and complained about the unfair treatment of the Indians to the Spanish Crown.
Certain information provided by Edward Levin LaMarche, J.D. a 15th Great-Grandson of the Magnificent Don Rodrigo De Bastidas I.
 External links
http://www.lablaa.org/blaavirtual/biografias/bastrodr.htm http://www.books-about-california.com/Pages/The_Inscriptions/The_Inscriptions_text.html http://www.euskalnet.net/laviana/gen_hispanas/bastidas.htm