IV. The Early Modern Period, 1500–1800 > H. Latin America, 1500–1800 > 3. Venezuela and Nueva Granada, 1521–1549
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
3. Venezuela and Nueva Granada, 1521–1549
Bartolomé de las Casas (1474–1566), who fought against exploitative excesses by conquerors, failed in his attempt to found a peaceful settlement for Indians at Cumaná.  1
Diego de Ordaz explored the region of the Orinoco but left no permanent settlement. In the western areas, ongoing colonization was established at an early date.  2
Juan de Ampíes (or Ampúes), commissioned by the audiencia de Santo Domingo, founded Santa Ana de Coro. Emperor Charles V granted this territory to the Welsers, a great Augsburg banking family to which he was heavily indebted.  3
The Welsers sent out colonists and established an administration. Ambrosio Alfinger became the first governor of Venezuela. Dreams of El Dorado prompted explorations through the valley of the Orinoco and into the Andes. The rule of the Welsers was extremely harsh for the Indians. This brutality, along with protests in Spain against granting land to foreigners, moved the crown to revoke their concession (1546–56). Spanish leaders undertook the conquest of Venezuela. An Indian confederation opposed their advance for ten years, but smallpox epidemics greatly diminished the natives' resistance. Diego de Losada founded Caracas in 1567.  4
Rodrigo de Bastidas founded Santa Marta, the first permanent settlement in what was to become Nueva Granada. Pedro de Heredia, acting directly under royal authority, founded Cartagena in 1533.  5
Sebastián de Belalcázar, Pizarro's lieutenant, coming from Quito, founded Cali and Popayán.  6
Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada (1495–1576), under commission from the government of Santa Marta, moved up the Magdalena River, reached the plateau of Bogotá, defeated and sacked Chibcha chiefdoms, and founded Santa Fe de Bogotá (1538).  7
Advancing toward the Bogotá plateau, Belalcázar met Nikolaus Federmann, an agent of the Welsers. Federmann, Belalcázar, and Jiménez de Quesada disputed over jurisdiction. The crown resolved the controversy, confirming Belalcázar in the governorship of Popayán.  8
The audiencia of Nueva Granada was created. It included Santa Marta, Cartagena, Popayán, and Santa Fe de Bogotá, the latter town becoming the seat of government for this large area.  9
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.