Esteban Gómez

Esteban Gómez

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Esteban Gómez, also known as Estevan Gómez, and born Estêvão Gomes, (c. 1483 - 1538), was a Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 cartographer
Cartography
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.The fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to:*Set the map's...

 and explorer
Exploration
Exploration is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovery of resources or information. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans...

. He sailed at the service of Spain in the fleet of Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands" ....

, but deserted the expedition before reaching the Strait of Magellan
Strait of Magellan
The Strait of Magellan comprises a navigable sea route immediately south of mainland South America and north of Tierra del Fuego...

, and returned to Spain in May 1521. In 1524 he explored present-day Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

 sailing South along the Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

 coast. He entered New York Harbor
New York Harbor
New York Harbor refers to the waterways of the estuary near the mouth of the Hudson River that empty into New York Bay. It is one of the largest natural harbors in the world. Although the U.S. Board of Geographic Names does not use the term, New York Harbor has important historical, governmental,...

, saw the Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

, and eventually reached Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 in August 1525. Because of his expedition, the 1529 Diogo Ribeiro world map outlines the East coast of North America almost perfectly.

Biography


Gomes was born in Porto
Porto
Porto , also known as Oporto in English, is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the major urban areas in the Iberian Peninsula. Its administrative limits include a population of 237,559 inhabitants distributed within 15 civil parishes...

, northern Portugal, and probably sailed in Portuguese ships during his youth. In 1518, he moved to Spain, where he was appointed a pilot in the Casa de Contratación
Casa de Contratación
La Casa de Contratación was a government agency under the Spanish Empire, existing from the 16th to the 18th centuries, which attempted to control all Spanish exploration and colonization...

 in Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

.

In 1519, Gomes sailed with Magellan in the First Circumnavigation of Earth
Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands" ....

, as the captain of the San Antonio. Before reaching the Strait of Magellan
Strait of Magellan
The Strait of Magellan comprises a navigable sea route immediately south of mainland South America and north of Tierra del Fuego...

, though, he deserted the expedition, returning to Spain in May 1521. He was immediately jailed, but when the remaining ship
Victoria (ship)
Victoria was a Spanish carrack and the first ship to successfully circumnavigate the world. The Victoria was part of a Spanish expedition commanded by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, and after his demise during the voyage, by Juan Sebastián Elcano...

 reached Spain, and the surviving crew related their terrible experience, he was freed.

Gomes was able to convince the Emperor Charles
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 to allow and finance a new expedition to find a passage to the Spice Islands
Maluku Islands
The Maluku Islands are an archipelago that is part of Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera Plate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone...

, this time to the North. A 50-ton caravel
Caravel
A caravel is a small, highly maneuverable sailing ship developed in the 15th century by the Portuguese to explore along the West African coast and into the Atlantic Ocean. The lateen sails gave her speed and the capacity for sailing to windward...

, La Anunciada, was built for the purpose.
The expedition sailed in September 1524 from Corunna
A Coruña
A Coruña or La Coruña is a city and municipality of Galicia, Spain. It is the second-largest city in the autonomous community and seventeenth overall in the country...

, with 29 men forming the crew. He reached Cabot Strait
Cabot Strait
Cabot Strait is a strait in eastern Canada approximately 110 kilometres wide between Cape Ray, Newfoundland and Cape North, Cape Breton Island. It is the widest of the three outlets for the Gulf of Saint Lawrence into the Atlantic Ocean, the others being the Strait of Belle Isle and Strait of Canso...

 and Cape Breton
Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island is an island on the Atlantic coast of North America. It likely corresponds to the word Breton, the French demonym for Brittany....

 (in today's Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

 province of Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

) in February 1525, and spent the winter there. As soon as he was able to renewed his search for the passage, and probably thinking that an even Northern passage would not present much better conditions than what he remembered from the Strait of Magellan
Strait of Magellan
The Strait of Magellan comprises a navigable sea route immediately south of mainland South America and north of Tierra del Fuego...

, he decided to sail South. He passed through Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

, where he thought the estuary of the Penobscot River
Penobscot River
The Penobscot River is a river in the U.S. state of Maine. Including the river's West Branch and South Branch increases the Penobscot's length to , making it the second longest river system in Maine and the longest entirely in the state. Its drainage basin contains .It arises from four branches...

 to be the passage. He entered New York Harbor
New York Harbor
New York Harbor refers to the waterways of the estuary near the mouth of the Hudson River that empty into New York Bay. It is one of the largest natural harbors in the world. Although the U.S. Board of Geographic Names does not use the term, New York Harbor has important historical, governmental,...

 and the Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

 (which he named the "San Antonio River"), and eventually reached Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 in August 1525, when he decided to go back to Spain.

As a result of his expedition, the 1529 Diogo Ribeiro world map outlines the East coast of North America almost perfectly. For a long time, the Northern half of the current US coast was named on maps as Tierra de Esteban Gómez.

In 1535, Gomes joined Pedro de Mendoza
Pedro de Mendoza
Pedro de Mendoza y Luján was a Spanish conquistador, soldier and explorer, and the first adelantado of the Río de la Plata.- Setting sail :...

's expedition to Río de la Plata
Río de la Plata
The Río de la Plata —sometimes rendered River Plate in British English and the Commonwealth, and occasionally rendered [La] Plata River in other English-speaking countries—is the river and estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and the Paraná River on the border between Argentina and...

. During the expedition, he was killed in the Paraguay River
Paraguay River
The Paraguay River is a major river in south central South America, running through Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina...

by Indians (1538).

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