European Explorers


Spanish Explorer


Reason for Sailing

Vasco Balboa was a Spanish explorer who admired Christopher Columbus. Like Christopher Columbus he wanted to sail to the “New World”. However, unlike Christopher Columbus who wanted to find a water route to Asia Vasco Balboa wanted to find gold so he could become wealthy.

Route Taken and Obstacles Faced

When he arrived in Santo Domingo, which is in South America, Balboa tried to make a living as a farmer, but was not successful. While in his new home Native Americans told Balboa about a "great sea". Balboa believed the land where the sea was located would contain large amounts of gold. Balboa became determined to find this sea.

Balboa began his journey to the sea by crossing the Isthmus of Panama. It took him three weeks to cross through the thick jungles of Panama. After hacking his way through the jungle Balboa was still not able to see the Pacific Ocean until he climbed a mountain peak.

Major Accomplishment(s)

When Balboa finished his journey he found he had reached the Pacific Ocean. Balboa became the first European to see the Pacific Ocean. Once there he claimed the ocean and all the land that it touched for Spain.

While at the Pacific Ocean Balboa found the treasures he hoped would be there. He spent months collecting pearls and gold to send back to Spain.

Unfortunately for Balboa he was accused of treason by an enemy and was beheaded.