Geopolitical Research Institute(GRI)/Εταιρεία Γεωπολιτικών Ερευνών(ΕΓΕ)

Πέμπτη, 13 Αυγούστου 2015

Juan Griego

Juan Griego
(1566-After 1631)

Family Links
Pascuala Bernal

  • Born: 1566, Negroponte, Candia, Greece (Crete)
  • Marriage: Pascuala Bernal
  • Died: After 1631, Nuevo Méjico, Nueva España
bullet  Noted events in his life were:
• Background Information. 252
Juan Giego answered the Onate muster-roll at Casco in 1597, declaring that he was accompanied by his wife, and that he was a native of the City of Candia in Greece, the son of Lázaro Griego. On another occasion, the same year, he gave "Negroponte" as his birthplace, and this is the place he also gave in 1598, when he was entered as the son of Lázaro Griego, thirty-two years old, a native of Greece in "Negropote," of good stature, greay-bearded, with a big wound on the forehead. If born in or near Candia, Crete, he was not only a contemporary but also a fellow-townsman of the great painter in Spain, Domenico Theotocopuli, otherwise known by his Italo-Spanish nickname of "El Greco." Was Juan Griego's family name also so hard to pronounce that even his father was known as "the Greek"?

Still living, and an Alférez, in 1631, Juan gave his age as sixty. His wife, Pascuala Bernal, was dead by 1626. Their known sons were; Juan II, Lázaro, and Francisco (this latter went by the name of Bernal). Their daughters wereCatalina Bernal, wife of Juan Durán, María Bernal, married to Juan Gómez Barragán, Ysabel Bernal, wife of Sebastián González, and Juana Bernal, married Diego de Moraga.

Origins of New Mexico Families: A Genealogy of the Spanish Colonial Period, p. 41

Juan married Pascuala Bernal. (Pascuala Bernal was born in 1583 in Valle de Méjico, Nueva España and died before 1626 in Santa Fé, Santa Fé, Nuevo Méjico, Nueva España 252.)


Juan de Fuca (15??-1601?) was a Greek navigator who sailed for Spain under a Spanish name; his original name was Apostolos Valerianos. De Fuca sailed up the western coast of North America from Mexico to Vancouver Island in 1592, looking for a passage from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. He was perhaps the first European to see this area. He sailed through the Strait of Juan de Fuca (which was named for him in 1725) and believed it to be the beginning of a route to the Atlantic Ocean (it is not). This strait connects the Pacific Ocean to the Puget Sound and the Georgia Strait, and is located between the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, USA, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.After sailing back to Acapulco, Mexico, de Fuca was not rewarded by Spain for his journey, and his discovery of the strait was not entirely believed until Captain Vancouver retraced de Fuca's route 200 years later.
Juan de Oñate y Salazar (1550?-1626) was a Spanish conquistador who established the colony of New Mexico for Spain and became New Mexico's first governor. Oñate, the son of a conquistador who made a fortune in silver, was married to a granddaughter of Hernán Cortés. In 1595, Oñate requested that he be sent to conquer and rule New Mexico, search for treasure (especially the legendary silver treasure of Quivira), and bring Christianity to the local Indians. After governmental approval, Oñate left for New Mexico in January, 1598, with 400 settlers and soldiers (and their livestock). In July 1598, the expedition crossed the Rio Grande at El Paso. They arrived at the Tewa pueblo of San Juan and were helped by the local Indians. Oñate's group built San Gabriel, New Mexico's first capital. After they realized that the area was not rich in silver, many settlers wanted to return to Mexico, but Oñate would not let them go, and executed many of them. He was also incredibly brutal to the local Indians, killing, enslaving, and mutilating hundreds of Indian men, women, and children.In 1601, Oñate led an expedition to the Great Plains of America that tried, unsuccessfully, to find the legendary silver of Quivira (thought to be in what is now central Kansas, east of Salina). While he was gone, most of his settlers returned to Mexico City. In 1604, he explored the area west toward the Colorado River and south to the Gulf of California. In 1606, Oñate made plans for the town of Santa Fé.
Later in 1606, Spain removed him from office (Don Pedro de Peralta was appointed to be the new governor); Oñate was later tried and found guilty of cruelty, immorality, mismanagement, dereliction of duties, and false reporting. Oñate was exiled from the colony. Later, on appeal, he was was cleared of the charges. Onate, 

Pedro de Candia / Greece, Crete Heraklion 15th century

Looking information, pictures, documents, relatives, etc of CANDIA, Pedro de, Greek adventurer, born in the island of Crete Heraklion in the latter part of the 14th century; died in Chupas, Peru, 16 September, 1542. He had served in the Spanish royal guard, and fought in Italy against the Turks, and afterward went to America with Governor Pedro de los Rios.

He then accompanied Diego de Almagro and Francisco Pizarro during their first explorations along the coasts of Peru, and when the landing at Atacamez, north of Guayaquil, was effected, he already had command of the artillery. He was one of the thirteen men that remained in the islands of Gallo and Gorgona or San Cristobal with Pizarro, and during the subsequent explorations of the Peruvian ports he undertook to go in person to the Indian towns and investigate their condition.

He then visited Tumbez (afterward called Valencia), and returned to the fleet with a map of that City drawn on canvas. When he accompanied Pizarro to Spain to inform Charles V. of their discoveries, the emperor made Candia a nobleman, mayor of Tumbez, and commander-in-chief of artillery of the fleet sent out to conquer Peru.

He was present at the defeat and imprisonment of Atahualpa, and received a large share of the ransom paid by that Inca. While residing at Cuzco, he made arms and ammunition for Pizarro, who was then fighting against Almagro. After the defeat of Almagro at Las Salinas, Candia undertook the conquest of Ambaya beyond the Andes, but was unsuccessful, being finally arrested by order of Hernando Pizarro.

Disgusted at his treatment, and deserted by his old friends, he then joined the followers of Almagro and, with the aid of sixteen other Greeks, cast the guns that were taken by young Almagro to the battle of Chupas, where Candia used them so badly that Almagro suspected treason on his part and killed him with his own hand.

Pedro de Candia and the Conquest of the Incas

The European discovery and conquest of the New World has been justly characterized by historians as a momentous event whose impact affected the future course of humanity both positively and negatively. For while it gave the Europeans, inter alia, immeasurable riches and imperial glory, it conversely brought calamity to the indigenous peoples of the Americas, whose states and empires were eradicated by the conquerors. Yet, the subsequent "exchanges" of European and Indian, both cultural and biological, ultimately resulted in the ethnogenesis of the modern Latin American nations, whose native component in such regions as the Andean, remains vital, even dominant.
This synoptic study purports to examine the role played by the Greek artillery officer Pedro de Candia in the conquest of the Incas, a cataclysmic occurrence causing the demise of the greatest native empire of the New World, which stretched over 2500 miles along the western coast of South America. Incidentally, it points to the fact that the perpetrators of this dastardly deed were not exclusively Spaniards, or Iberian peninsulares generally, but also Levantine mercenaries in the service of Castille, who had fled to the West as a consequence of the expansion of the Ottoman Muslims into the Byzantine East. Thus, victims of a brutal conquest at one end of the world had, mutatis mutandis, joined the ranks of conquerors at the other end. The study, based primarily on the translated works of Pedro`s nearly contemporary Garcilaso de la Vega and the classic work of Prescott which incorporates additional early sources of the conquista, along with relevant materials on the Greek presence in Spain and its provenance, constitutes an undergraduate`s attempt to gain some understanding of one of the most colorful of the conquistadores, whose actions contributed to the obliteration of the most majestic of the indigenous empires of the Americas!
       One of our primary sources of information regarding Pedro de Candia consists of the memoirs of Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616), the son of an Inca princess and a conquistador who belonged to the first generation of Spaniards coming to the Americas after Columbus. This monumental work masterfully edited and introduced by Alain Gheerbrant (The Incas, The Royal Commentaries of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega 1539-1616. London: Cassel, 1963) is an indispensable guide to the student of the conquest of the Incas. Though Garcilaso had left Peru in 1560, at the age of 21 to serve for 30 years in the Spanish army, his dual loyalties and historical experiences emanating from his mixed ancestry, enabled him to gain a profound understanding of both the Inca and Spanish perspectives on the clash of the two cultures. It is to be noted that some modern scholars have questioned his accounts of the evolution of the Inca empire and its institutions prior to Pizarro`s time, noting discrepancies with other chroniclers (see, J. Malden Mason, The Ancient Civilization of Peru, Pelican ed. Reprinted 1961, pp. 109-110). However, in matters relating to the conquest, his credibility is rarely challenged. Regarding Pedro de Candia, Garcilaso speaks authoritatively, perhaps drawing information on the conqueror inter alia, from Pedro`s son, whom he knew personally from grammar school in Cuzco. This acquaintance suggests that Garcilaso may have been exposed to family traditions or versions of Pedro`s role in the Inca drama, which could have colored his own interpretation of the persona and exploits of the Greek conquistador. Similarly, Garcilaso`s royal Inca ancestry through his mother Isabel Chimp pu Ocelo, cousin of Huascar, Atahualpa`s brother and challenger for the throne, might have disposed him to be inimical to the Inca emperor who in 1532 had ordered the mass slaughter of Huascar`s family, a fate his mother barely escaped (Mason, p. 131). Scholars, however, such as P.A. Means, generally consider Garcilaso`s work to be the basis of the pro-Inca tradition of the conquest in opposition to interpretations following Francisco of Toledo`s Spanish perspective (Cf. Gheerbrant, The Royal Commentaries, pp. XL-XLVIII).
      In recounting the first exploits of Pizarro, Garcilaso (Royal Commentaries, p. 313) records that among the 13 companions of the conqueror was a Greek named Pedro de Candia = Peter of Crete, (the island was known as Candia then), whom he describes as a strong, brave, good Christian man of imposing size and physique. Though Garcilaso had not seen Pedro personally, he could assign to him these physical characteristics with confidence, since he knew in school his 12 year old son, whose size was twice that of his schoolmates. In this account, it was Pedro who requested permission from Pizarro to explore singly the valley of Tumbez, thus becoming the first European to land in Inca territory. However, Mason, (p.131f.), following Prescott and his primary sources, places the first invasion of Inca territory much earlier, in 1523, when Alejo Garcia invaded their land through Paraguay. Garcilaso`s description of Pedro`s landing in Tumbez is colorful and dramatic: Dressed in an impressive military manner, armed with a sword and shield and holding in his right hand a wooden cross, 3 feet long, he proceeded to the city with confidence and an air of dominance, to the great amazement of the natives who wondered whether the bearded newcomer was human or a god! Thus, the elders of Tumbez and the Inca official known as Curaca, determined to solve this enigma by releasing on Pedro the untamed tiger and lion (Jaguar), kept for their king Huaina Kapac. Then, a miraculous event occurred: The wild beasts approached and sat quietly at Pedro`s feet while he held the cross above them, thus demonstrating to the Indians the power of the Christian symbol. Convinced of his divinity, they began to worship him as the son of the Sun and revealed to him their immense treasures, amazing him as much as he had amazed them!
       Subsequently, Garcilaso relates that Pedro failed to convince his companions of the many wonders he had witnessed; thus, the ship returned to Panama leaving behind 2-3 Spaniards to await the future return of the rest. The remaining account of Pedro`s story is disjointed in Gheerbrant`s discussion which makes no reference to other sources (Royal Commentaries, pp. 414-415 n. 5): Pedro`s life, like that of many other conquistadores ended tragically. While serving as a chief artillery officer of the younger Diego de Almagro against the government forces of Vaca de Castro at the battle of Chupas in 1542, he was struck and killed by his employer who suspected him, perhaps justifiably, of treachery and complicity with the enemy. Gheerbrant also records the origins of the 13 companions of Pizarro, a motley force consisting of 3 Castillans, 4 Andalucians, 5 others and one Greek (pp. 414-415 n. 4). Thus, the data relating to Pedro de Candia`s exploits in Garcilaso and his editor, though important, are incomplete.
       Fortunately Prescott, one of the giants of 19th century historiography, whose literary style and acumen recall the greatness of Gibbon and Thucydides, has provided us with additional information on Pedro`s activities drawn from sources that supplement Garcilaso (William H. Prescott, History of the Conquest of Peru, Everyman`s Library, 1963). Thus, he is one of the 13 men on the island of Gallo who crossed the symbolic line drawn by Pizarro inviting them to follow him in a campaign to the land of the Incas (p. 159 and n. 1-3). In Prescott`s account, the pilot Ruiz was the first to do so, followed by Pedro de Candia, who is identified as a cavalier, a man of noble status. This information, based on Montecinos` Anales, refers to Pedro de Candia as Griego, natural de Candia and gives the names of the other 12 companions of Pizarro.
       A second mention of Pedro de Candia in Prescott`s account of the conquest of the Incas is associated with the landing at Tumbez (pp. 165-169).  In this version, it was Alonso de Molina with a Negro companion who, at the invitation of a local Inca official (orejon), a previous visitor to Pizarro`s ship, first landed at Tumbez. Molina`s description of the riches he encountered there, however, failed to convince Pizarro who questioned his veracity and "resolved to send a more discreet and trustworthy emissary on the "following day" (p. 167) to provide him with a more reliable report. This information, drawn from Herrera and Zarate, if trustworthy, reveals the special relationship of Pizarro with his Greek companion, whom he entrusted with such an undertaking in preference to his own Spanish compatriots! For it was Pedro de Candia, the "Greek cavalier" who, armed with his sword and his arquebuse, was sent on shore and dazzled the natives with his splendid appearance and magnificent display of military skills. In this instance, Prescott also records the jaguar incident, basing his version on Herrera, Cieza de Leon and Garcilaso, as he claims (p. 168 n.1): "But Don Pedro was a good Catholic and he gently laid the cross which he wore around his neck on the animal`s back," which was crouching at his feet." In Garcilaso`s narrative, however, Pedro carried a large wooden cross in his hand, which suggests that Prescott`s account is not based on him, but the other sources cited. This discrepancy, along with the claim that Pedro de Candia, rather than Alonso de Molina, was the first European to land at Tumbez, reinforce the suspicion that Garcilaso`s source was Pedro de Candia`s son who may well have recalled his family`s version of these events. Given the fact that both Pedro`s and de Molina`s narratives of the Tumbez landing had been questioned by their companions, Pedro`s family claims have as much validity as the competing account. The subsequent description of the marvels Pedro witnessed at Tumbez (pp.168-169), especially that of the gardens of the convent destined for Inca brides, "glowing with imitation of fruits and vegetables all in pure gold and silver," which was drawn from Mentocinos` Anales, does not appear to have been convincing to Pizarro, as Prescott notes. However, when the conqueror left Panama for Spain in 1528 to report on the discoveries and request the endorsement of a campaign for the conquest of Peru, a scheme opposed by the governor of Panama, Pedro de los Rios, he took with him Pedro de Candia, along with some natives, 3 llamas, and Inca golden objects, to help him make his case (Prescott, based on Montesinos, pp. 175-177). The selection of Pedro suggests again that he was Pizarro`s close confidant, the most talented and influential of his legendary 13 companions and possibly a man of considerable reputation in Spain. Thus, Charles I was convinced by the two men to approve the plan for the conquest of the Incas, and appointed Pizarro governor of Peru, while Pedro de Candia was officially named chief of artillery of the fleet dispatched to the New World, a position he held until his tragic death (Prescott, p. 187).
      Pedro`s crucial role in the conquest of the Incas was again manifested at the battle of Cajamarca in 1534, where he appeared with a few soldiers and his artillery, which he stationed in the city`s fortress. It was from this locality that the fatal artillery blast was fired, perhaps by Pedro himself, that gave the signal for the fierce attack of the Spaniards which resulted in the slaughter and destruction of the Inca people and army and the capture of King Atahualpa (pp. 254-256). The use of artillery, commanded by Pedro, was the decisive factor causing the defeat of the Incas, for as Prescott relates: "The latter (Incas) taken by surprise, stunned by the report of artillery and muskets, the echoes of which reverberated like thunder from the surrounding buildings, and blinded by the smoke which rolled in sulphurous volumes along the square, were seized with a panic" (pp. 253-254). For they were literally "helpless before Spanish guns, armor and horses," as historians note (See e.g. J.A. Ellis, Latin America: Its People and Institutions. New York: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1971, p. 45).
      In discussing the subsequent wars of the Almagros against the Pizarros, Prescott also provides materials drawn from other sources that shed additional light on Pedro`s activities in the land of the Incas (pp. 444-445). In the uprising of 1542, the younger Almagro`s forces were strengthened by the large cannons built under the supervision of Pedro de Candia, "who, with a number of his countrymen-Levantines as they were called-was well acquainted with this manufacture." This account takes into consideration facts which were either ignored or considered by Garcilaso to be trivial, i.e. the presence of a group of Levantine Greeks in the Spanish conquista. Moreover, the association of these Levantines with the manufacture of weapons and cannons, which had played decisive roles in the defeat of the Incas at Cajamarca and affected to a considerable degree the outcome of the Almagro-Pizarro wars, makes their presence in the New World significant. Clearly, the contribution of Pedro and his Greeks to these events also signifies the introduction of the art of manufacture of superior weapons of war to Peru, weapons not inferior to those of Milan, as Ventura Beltran had noted (Prescott, p. 445 no 2 and cf. n.1). It was, in fact, the guns cast by Pedro and his Greeks on which the young Almagro, whom Pedro had joined after his mistreatment by Hernando Pizarro, relied for victory at Chupas. Pedro`s allegiance to Almagro, however, was questionable and his ineffective use of weapons during the battle, viewed as an act of treason, led Almagro to kill him with his own hands! (Prescott, 453-454). Thus, Almagro`s dependence on Pedro`s guns for victory, proved to be disastrous. Had Pedro de Candia remained loyal to him, the fate of Peru might have taken a different course, giving victory to the half-Indian Almagro and the indigenous Incas, on whom he had to depend in order to withstand the royal Spanish reaction to his schemes. Therefore, Pedro`s role in the events that shaped the destiny of the Incas, from his landing at Tumbez until his ignominious death in 1542, was considerable, if not pivotal.
      It is interesting to note that while Prescott was aware of the presence of Levantine soldiers in the Spanish armies that conquered the New World, he did not place them in the broader historical context to which they belong. For it was the fall of Byzantium to the Ottomans that led waves of Greek immigrants to Catholic Europe, from Venice, where they served as stradioti against the Turks, to Spain where they established a small community in Toledo and distinguished themselves as humanists, artists, soldiers, and experts in the manufacture of cannons and firearms (Deno Geanakoplos, Byzantine East and Latin West, Harper Torchbooks, 1963, p. 148f.). It was only natural that in the epoch-making voyages of exploration of an unknown world, landlocked Castille would use the expertise and services of the Greek professional soldiers, sailors and adventurers seeking refuge and employment in the Iberian peninsula. Thus, a historical paradox occurred: the displaced victims of the demise of a great empire in the East fought for the destruction of another great empire in the West, in a striking metamorphosis of the conquered into conquerors.
      On the basis of the limited source materials available to the non-specialist then, a synoptic account of Pedro de Candia`s life emerges: Like many of his Greek compatriots, he probably fought in Venetian service against the Turks and then came to Spain from where he followed Pedro de los Rios to America. In the New World, he joined Francisco Pizarro`s and Diego de Almagro`s first exploration of the coast of Peru. Pedro was one of the legendary 13 men of Pizarro in the islands of Gallo and Gorgona and perhaps the first European to land in the Inca land of Tumbez. Though his report on the Incas was viewed as hyperbolic, Pizarro took him with him to Spain to inform Charles I of the discoveries of the land of the Incas and was rewarded by the Crown with a title of the Spanish nobility and the rank of chief gunner. Pedro played an important role in the battle of Cajamarca and the capture of Atahualpa. Subsequently, he seems to have established himself at Cuzco, where his son attended grammar school, and made weapons and ammunition for Pizarro in his war against the Almagros. However, his arrest by Hernando Pizarro after an unsuccessful expedition beyond the Andes, led Pedro to the camp of Almagro at the battle of Chupas, where his betrayal of the latter, resulted in the tragic death of the Greek conquistador.  As Gheerbrant notes (Royal Commentaries, pp. XXII-XXIII), the legendary soldier who had been portrayed by Garcilaso as the first European to set foot on Inca soil, the man who dared walk the streets of Tumbez alone, the Christian warrior who tamed the wild beasts of the Incas with the cross in a manner recalling scenes of Byzantine hagiography, died the most ignominious of deaths at the hands of Almagro: a fate unworthy of his protagonistic role in the tragic drama of the European conquest of the majestic empire of the Incas! But then, sic transit gloria mundi!

Demetrios Spyridakis is a doctoral student at Columbia University`s Graduate School of Education. He is currently pursuing the Ed.D. (Doctor of Education) degree and his research interests involve an interdisciplinary study of issues of democracy in education. During his time at Columbia, Demetrios earned an Ed.M. (Master of Education) degree in the concentration of "Philosophy and Education." Before moving to New York City, Demetrios earned an M.A. from the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Education. In the Fall of 2006, Demetrios served as an intern for the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Members of the committee included, among others, Senator Edward Kennedy, Vice President Joseph Biden, Arlen Specter, Diane Feinstein, and Samuel Brownback.
Ellis, Joseph A. Latin America: Its People and Institutions. (New York: Bruce Publishing Co., 1971). Geanakoplos, Deno J. Byzantine East and Latin West. (Harper Torchbooks, 1966). Gheerbrant, Alain, ed. The Incas, The Royal Commentaries of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616), edited and introduced by Alain Gheerbrant (Cassel: London 1963).
Hemming, John. The Conquest of the Incas. (Hancourt, 1973).
Mason, J. Malden. The Ancient Civilizations of Peru (A Pelican Book, 1963 reprint).
Prescott, William H. A History of the Conquest of Peru (Everyman`s Library, 1963).

* Photos 1-2-3-4-5  In the Land of Peru  by Barbara Kasselouris

Greek Conquistadors and explorers in the Spanish army

After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, in the hands of the Ottomans many Greeks migrated to European countries. Many of them went to Italy, France, Austria, Russia and Spain. Most of them managed to prosper in various sectors, such as merchants, artists, scholars, soldiers or even officers in foreign armies. Many Greeks migrated to Spain, one of the most famous was El Greco (whose name was Dominikos Theotokopoulos), a great artist and distiguished painter (he is considered as the father of Expressionism). But besides El Greco there were others who even served in the Spanish army. Many of those Greek soldiers were mercenaries, or Condottieri, who helped the Spanish against the Ottomans in many battles. Greek soldiers even travelled to the New world in the 16th century, where they served as shipmasters, sailors, soldiers and especially as artilerymen, conquistadors and explorers. Many of those Greeks knew how to manufacture gunpowder and could operate cannons and firearms.

Don Theodoro Griego

Theodoro Griego was a Greek explorer and conquistador, he was born in the Aegean and later moved into Spain. He then set sailed from the spanish port of Sanlucar de Barrameda and followed Panfilo de Narvaez in his expedition to North America in 1527. He was one of the first Greeks to reach the new continent (America) in the modern era. The expedition sailed from Cuba in 1527 and reached Florida. Narvaez ordered his men to explore Florida and march further to the north, in 1528 they reached the Apalachee, but Narvaez arrogantly attacked the Indians and destroyed their settlements. Soon after they were attacked by the Apalachee warriors and they run out of resources. At that difficult moment Don Theodoro made 5 rafts, using liquid from pines, wood and leather and saved most of his companions. Eventually Don Theodoro Griego was killed searching for water in a nearby Indian settlement. Most of the men who participated in the Narvaez expedition were killed, including Narvaez himself and only 4 survived to tell the story. Today a statue has been erected in Florida in the city of Tampa in honor of this great Greek Conquistador and explorer.

Pedro de Candia

Pedro de candia was born in Crete somewhere in 1485 or 1494 in the Greek city of Candia (Heraclion), he was a Greek conquistador and explorer and his Spanish companions and Spanish archives called him El Griego. Pedro de Candia served in the Spanish army as Condottieri and fought the Turks in many places of the mediteranean sea and he also participated in various battles in Italy. Later he  married the daughter of a Duke in Spain at Villapando, his descendants became members of the Spanish and Italian nobility. In 1526 he followed Pedro de los Rios to Panama (also known as Tierra Firme). In 1527 he joined the expedition of Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro, who went to explore the lands south of Panama. During that expedition Diego de Almagro and Francisco Pizarro argued, as Almagro wanted to return to Panama to take provisions and reinforcements, while Pizarro refused to return. Pizarro decided to stay in the isla del Gallo and only Pedro de Candia and few men which were called the famous 13 (Los Trece de fama) decided to stay with Pizarro. When Diego de Almagro returned Pizarro and his men joined another expedition to the south. They passed todays Colombia and Equador and reached northern Peru. There Francisco Pizarro sent Pedro de Candia to explore the city of Tumbes. The Greek Conquistador entered alone the Inca city, the indians were astonished by the looks of Pedro de Candia, as he was wearing a shining armor and was very tall and white, with blue eyes and black hair and beard (In fact Pedro de candia was the tallest man amongst the Spaniards). He was then brought infront of
the Inca governor who was very curious of his arquebus and challenged him to prove his might. Pedro de Candia then aimed and fired a wooden tablet which he completly destroyed. As soon as the sound of the firearm was heard some indians screamed and others fell to the ground terrified. The Inca governor then ordered to bring wild beasts (apparently Jaguars) to see what Pedro de Candia would do. Pedro then fired again with his arquebus and the wild beasts approached him and stood calmly by his side. The governor of Tumbes then said to him that he holds the thunder of the sky and made an offering to him, an offer which is made to the gods and especially Illapa the god of thunder! Then the virgin priestesses of the sun god, escorted him to the sun temple of Tumbes. In the city Candia noticed golden and silver leafs and Jewels unprotected and in public in common sight. The gold or the silver for the Indians was of no importance. When Candia returned into the Spaniards he reported all that he had seen in the city and his report, especially about the gold and silver, filled the Spaniards with enthusiasm. Pedro de Candia returned in Spain in 1528-1529 and he was declared a nobleman, commander of the artillery of the Spanish army in Peru and was apointed as mayor of Tumbes. In 1532 the Spanish army with Diego de Almagro and Francisco Pizzaro arrived in Peru again, they conquered Tumbes and marched to the south. The Inca emperor Atahualpa attacked the Spanish army at Cajamarca. During the battle Candia's cannons played an important role in the battle, as the indians had never seen cannons before and had a psychological effect on them. At Cajamarca the Spanish army (only 138 men) managed to beat the Inca army (9000 men) and managed to capture Attahualpa himself. After they captured Cuzco which was the capital of the inca empire, Pizarro killed Atahualpa, although the inca emperor had converted to Christianity and requested to spare his life. Pizarro also apointed Manco Inca as the new emperor of Cuzco. In the years that followed Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro became enemies and in 1538 fought each other in the battle of las Salinas. Pedro de Candia and his cannons gave the victory to Pizarro. After that battle Pedro de Candia had aquired much wealth and he even had his own army of about 300 men. In 1538 he decided to make an expedition east of Cuzco with his men, in search of a mythical kingdom similar to El Dorado which was called Ambaya and according to the indians, it was full of riches (It should be noted that gold for the indians was not a sign of wealth). Pedro de Candia had learnt of the existance of that kingdom, as he had friendly relations with the native indians and he even had one son with an Indian woman. Candia and his army travelled east of Cuzco and entered a dangerous jungle in an area called today as Madre de Dios. The jungle was an unfriendly enviroment for Candias men, and it was also habited by fierce indian tribes which were also practising cannibalism. Facing the indian attacks in the jungle and mistrust by his men he decided to return to Cuzco. In the following years Francico Pizarro was assasinated by Diego the son of Almagro. War broke out in 1542 between Almagro the younger and the brothers of Pizarro. Pedro de Candia and his men this time joined the forces of Almagro. Amongst Candia's men there were many Greeks under his command, 16 of them were engineers who could operate and create cannons and gunpowder. From the other side were also 4 or 5 Greeks in the army of the Pizarro brothers. Almagro and Candia met the forces of the Pizarro brothers at a place called Chupas.  Almagro's men before the battle discovered one letter which was sent for Candia by the Pizarro brothers that talked to him to betray Almagro. The letter never came in the hands of Candia, although in the battle of Chupas, Candia and his Greek artillery men perfomed very badly, something that Diego Almagro the younger recieved as treachery. As the battle was lost Almagro run with anger against Candia and killed him with his own hands. Very soon Almagro was killed as he tried to find refuge in the walls of Cuzco. This was the end of one of the greatest Conquistadors and explorers of the New world.

Map of Pizarro's conquest of Peru.

Jorge Griego

Jorge Griego (George the Greek) was a Greek Conquistador, he was born in Greece in 1504 and followed his Greek friend Pedro de Candia, who was a Conquistador and commander of the artillery, he went in Spain and then to Panama and Peru. Jorge Griego served in the spanish army in Peru as a footman. In 1532 under the command of Francisco Pizarro he participated in the battle of Cajamarca, where the much less Spanish army (probably 138 men) managed to beat the overwhelming Inca army (9000 men) of the Inca emperor Atahualpa. In Cuzco, Jorge recieved his share from the Inca treasures. He was later apointed as an encomendero in the city of Jauja in Peru. In later years he moved into Lima (where he had a large estate) and participated in 1544 and 1545 in the campaigns of Blasco Nunez Vela and of Pedro de la Gasca. Although it wasnt his profession he manufactured large quantities of gunpowder for the Spanish army. Finaly Jorge Griego after 1545 went back to Spain and settled in the city of Seville in the district of Triana.

Juan Griego (Philippines 1571)

Another Greek conquistador appears during the Spanish conquest of the Philippines. During the campaign of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi a Greek conquistador named Juan Griego follows Legazpi and for his services he becomes an encomendero (land lord) in the island of Mindanao. His encomienda included many lands of northern Mindanao, however in 1572 Legazpi recalled this encomienda because the Spanish forces did not effectively controlled the area.
Spanish map of the island Mindanao 17th century

Juan Griego 1514-1560

Juan Griego was another Greek conquistador who served in the Spanish army. After having spent 5 years in the far indies he went to Santo Dominigo in 1514 and in 1518 he went to Cuba. He became a member of the Cortez entrada and after the capture of Tenochtitlan he went to Guatemala. He returned to Mexico (New Spain) and was finally assigned as an encomendero of the province of Atoyaquillo untill his death in 1560. It should also be clarified that Juan Griego the encomendero of Atoyaquillo shouldnt not be confused with Juan Griego the encomendero of the Mindanao province. The name Juan or John (Ioannes in Greek) was a common name amongst the Greek population and many Greeks had that name.

Juan de Fuca

Juan de Fuca was a Greek explorer under the services of the Spanish empire. Juan de Fuca was either called Ioannis Fokas or Apostolos Valerianos. Juan de Fuca was born in the Greek island of Kefalonia in 1536, he later offered his services to the Spanish empire. In 1587 he arrived in New Spain (todays Mexico) and began to travel as a maritime pilot from Mexico to the Philippines and China. His Galleon though santa Anna was attacked by an English ship and was shunk near California. Juan de Fuca survived but he lost all of his fortune. In 1592 the viceroy of New Spain Luis de Velasco ordered him to undertake a journey in an effort to explore the fabled strait of Anian (todays Vancouver). In his first journey he joined the Spanish expedition of 3 ships under the overall command of a Spanish captain. The journey was a failure because of a mutiny and returned to California. In the second journey he lead the expedition with one Galleon and armed marines. He began his journey from Acapulco and went far to the north and finaly he found the strait of Anian. Juan de Fuca returned to Acapulco and described the latitude and the geographical composition of the strait. Juan de Fuca never recieved his payment for his survices and after two years having not been rewarded by viceroy Velasco, Juan went on to Spain. The old Greek explorer never recieved his payment in 1596 he decided to return to Kefalonia his homeland. But he met an Englishman, Michael Lok who recorded the journeys of Juan de Fuca and tried to convince the old explorer to join the English navy. Eventualy they didnt came to an agreement and Juan de Fuca retired in his homeland and died there in 1602.

Today the strait in Vancouver bears his name and is called Juan de Fuca strait.

Other Greeks who are mentioned in the Spanish army

 Also in Magellan's expedition, 1519-1522  many Greek sailors took part on the journey. It should also be mentioned that amongst the Spaniards the rest of the crew were Greeks, Italians, Portugese, English, French and Germans. These men were the first to make a circumnavigation of the globe, but many of them and including Ferdinand Magellan himself died during that journey and only 18 out of 237 men of the original crew survived. Amongst those 18 survivors, 4 of them were Greeks.

The 4 Greek survivors were:
Francisco Albo from Rodas (Island of Rhodes), a maritime pilot
Miguel de Rodas (Island of Rhodes), a maritime pilot
Nicholas the Greek from Nafplion, a mariner
Miguel Sanchez from Rodas (Island of Rhodes), a mariner

It should also be noted that Francisco Albo was the only one who kept a log book, along with the Italian Antonio Pigafetta. Their descriptions were a valuable source of information for the future explorers.

Other Greeks who are being mentioned in the Spanish archives are Anton de Rodas a respected Greek shipmaster and commander of two Spanish ships, the first one was San Jorge and the other was San Juan, he was a maritime pilot in the soars of Peru from 1535-1537. He made several journeys from Lima to Panama in the 1540s and finally he settled at Lima in 1550 where he had a large house. He married a Spanish wife and continued to be a ship master in the Pacific sea, at least until 1563. Another Greek shipmaster which is mentioned in the Spanish archives is Juan de Xio a Greek captain from Chios island. While most captains who sailed in the Pacific in the soars of Chille knew nothing of latitude and travelled by instinct, from the other hand Juan de Xio was the only one who navigated during that time (1540) with an astrolabe, a navigating chart and three mariner's compasses. A Greek captain in the Spanish army was Juan Griego, he was born in Seville, in the 16th century he began to make journeys from Spain to the Americas. Juan Griego is being mentioned in a census of 1545, he even founded a city on the island of isla Margarita in Northern Venezuela. Today that city is called Juan Griego and is named after the Greek captain, it has a population of about 28.256 inhabitants and is located on the Marcano municipality of the Nueva Esparta state, in the island of Margarita in Venezuela. Another Greek also named Juan Griego, son of Lazaro Griego from Negreponte or Crete, born in 1566, he participated in the expedition of Juan de Onate against the native indians of the Akoma tribe in Mexico in 1598. Juan Griego is described as a 32 years old man with a grey beard and of good stature, armed and with a big scar in his forhead. Juan was married with his wife Pascuala Bernal, and was one of the first residents of Santa Fe. He also had 3 sons named Lazaro, Juan and Fransisco. Juan died in Santa Fe probably after 1631.

The Greeks after the fall of their homeland and the fall of Constantinople seemed devastated but they never yielded, as they managed to rise up again and managed to prosper in various sectors in western Europe, as well as in the Ottoman empire. Many Greeks became succesfull captains and soldiers, artists and scholars in countries such as Italy and Spain and even in the ottoman empire many high officers, dragomans and captains were of Greek origins. While in Spain Greek scholars and artists like El Greco, distinguished themselves. The Greeks of the Spanish army contributed mainly in the conquest and exploration of the continent of America and played a significant role. Many of them were sailors and captains, others were explorers like Juan de Fuca and artillery men, while some of them were even Conquistadors like Pedro de Candia and Jorge Griego.


  • Spanish Peru, 1532-1560: a Social history by James Lockhart
  • The discovery and the conquest of Peru of Pedro de Cieza by Alexandra Parma Cook and Noble Cook
  • Men of Cajamarca by James Lockhart
  • A history of the Conquest of Peru by William H. Prescott 
  • Old ties and new solidarities: studies on Philippine communities by Charles J-H Macdonald and Guillermo M. Pesigan
  • The encomenderos of new Spain 1521-1555 by Romerich Himmerich y Valencia

He was the First Greek in America


A Greek Conquistador 

and explorer

AFTER the fall of Constantinople in 1453, 
in the hands of the Ottomans many Greeks migrated to European countries. 

Many of them went to Italy, France, Austria, Russia and Spain. 

Most of them managed to prosper in various sectors, such as merchants, artists, scholars, soldiers or even officers in foreign armies. 

Many Greeks migrated to Spain, one of the most famous was El Greco (whose name was Dominikos Theotokopoulos), a great artist and distinguished painter (he is considered as the father of Expressionism). 

But besides El Greco there were others who even served in the Spanish army. Many of those Greek soldiers were mercenaries, or Condottieri, who helped the Spanish against the Ottomans in many battles. Greek soldiers even traveled to the New world in the 16th century, where they served as shipmasters, sailors, soldiers and especially as artillerymen, conquistadors and explorers. Many of those Greeks knew how to manufacture gunpowder and could operate cannons and firearms.

Don Theodoro Griego

theodoro Griego was a Greek explorer and conquistador, he was born in the Aegean and later moved into Spain. 

He then set sailed from the spanish port of Sanlucar de Barrameda and followed Panfilo de Narvaez in his expedition to North America in 1527. 

He was one of the first Greeks to reach the new continent (America) in the modern era. 

The expedition sailed from Cuba in 1527 and reached Florida. Narvaez ordered his men to explore Florida and march further to the north, in 1528 they reached the Apalachee, but Narvaez arrogantly attacked the Indians and destroyed their settlements. 

Soon after they were attacked by the Apalachee warriors 
and they run out of resources. At that difficult moment 
Don Theodoro made 5 rafts, using liquid from pines, wood 
and leather and saved most of his companions. 

Eventually Don Theodoro Griego was killed searching for water in a nearby Indian settlement. Most of the men who participated in the Narvaez expedition were killed, including Narvaez himself and only 4 survived to tell the story. Today a statue has been erected in Florida in the city of Tampa in honor of this great Greek Conquistador and explorer.

Theodore's story was told in 1542 by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, a Spanish explorer who left for Florida as an officer in an expedition of 300 men, including Theodore.  Only four returned.  Theodore wasn't among them.

The expedition landed on the west coast of Florida in the spring of 1528, according to Cabeza de Vaca's official report of the adventure, which has been translated by Wake Forest University history professor emeritus Cyclone Covey.

Just how close the expedition came to Clearwater is open to debate. Some historians place the landing in the Tampa Bay area. Some accounts even have the Europeans landing in Boca Ciega Bay and making their way east across the Pinellas peninsula to what is now Safety Harbor. Others put the landing as far south as Port Charlotte.

Servos said his study of the historical accounts convinces him that Clearwater is the best place to honor Theodore with a statue.

"He came to Tampa Bay, most likely Clearwater, so I think Clearwater is the best place to put it," Servos said.

In Cabeza de Vaca's history of the expedition, Theodore doesn't make an appearance early on. That's probably a good thing, considering what historians say happened once the Europeans arrived. Upon landing, the commander of the conquistadors, the ruthless Panfilo de Narvaez, claimed the whole area for Spain. A fight broke out, and the Europeans cut off the nose of a local Indian chief, hacked the chief's mother to death and fed parts of her body to Narvaez's pet greyhounds.

Later on and hundreds of miles away, Theodore emerges in the story as a bold and ingenious character.

After disembarking from their ships, the explorers set out over land for northern Florida, where Indians had told them there "was much gold and plenty of everything we wanted," according to Cabeza de Vaca's report to the king of Spain.

By August, the group decided to take to the sea again. Theodore played a key role.

"A Greek, Don Teodoro, made pitch from certain pine resins," Cabeza de Vaca wrote. 
"Even though we had only one carpenter, work proceeded so rapidly from Aug. 4, when it began, that by Sept. 20 five barges, each 22 elbow-lengths (30 to 32 feet long), caulked with palmetto oakum and tarred with pine-pitch, were finished."

In late October, however, Theodore disappeared near Mobile Bay after accompanying two Indians in a search for fresh water.

"That Greek, Doroteo Teodoro, whom I spoke of before, said he would go,"Cabeza de Vaca wrote. "The Governor and others failed to dissuade him. He took along a Negro, and the Indians left two of their number as hostages.
lt was night when the Indians returned, without water in the containers and without the Christians.
When these returning lndians spoke to our two hostages, the latter started to dive into the water; but some of our soldiers held them back in the barge. The canoe sped away, leaving us very confused and dejected over the loss of our comrades."

Twelve years later, according to Covey, soldiers with Hernando de Soto encountered Indians who remembered the Greek and produced a dagger that had belonged to him. Some accounts say the Indians claimed they killed both men. Covey has speculated that Theodore might have gone ashore willingly because he thought, in the long run, it was his best chance to survive.

In describing Theodore's claim to fame, the Panhellenic federation is careful to describe him as the first known Greek to arrive in America after Columbus.

That's an important qualification, said Covey, whose specialties are ancient and colonial history. 
There are archaeological indications of Greek and Greek-speaking people reaching the interior of North America more than a dozen centuries before Columbus, he said.

Some researchers are skeptical of at least one of the discoveries Covey mentioned, but the possibility that pre-modern Greeks reached America doesn't surprise Servos.

"We believe that Ulysses came to America," he said, "because 20 years to get lost in the Mediterranean, that's a lot of years."

Regardless of who came before, Servos said, Theodore should be remembered and honored as a pioneer.

"The history of the Greeks in America," he said, "starts from here."