The New Student's Reference Work/Balboa, Vasco Nunez de

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Balboa (bäl-bō' ä), Vasco Nunez de, a Spanish conqueror, was born in 1475. He crossed the ocean and began farming in St. Domingo, but fell into debt and to escape his creditors smuggled himself on board a ship and joined an expedition to Darien in 1510. An insurrection which took place there gave him the chief place in the new colony. Rumors reached him here of a great western ocean, and in 1513 he set out in search of it. On September 25, 1513, he first saw the Pacific Ocean from a peak of Darien. Owing to intrigues against him, Balboa was obliged to give up his command, but undertook many successful expeditions while in a subordinate position. Davilla, however, who succeeded him as commander, envious of his success, accused him of plotting a rebellion, and had him beheaded in 1517.