Lope de Aguirre

Aguirre, Lope de (lōˈpā ħā agēˈrā) [key], c.1510–1561, Spanish rebel and adventurer in colonial South America. He was often involved in violence and sedition before joining (1560) the expedition of Pedro de Ursúa down the Marañón and the Amazon. He was one of the men who overthrew and killed Ursúa, then he killed Ursúa's successor, Fernando de Guzmán, and took command himself. He and his men reached the Atlantic—probably by the Orinoco River—and on the way wantonly laid waste to indigenous villages. In 1561 he seized Margarita Island and held it in a grip of terror. He then crossed to the mainland in an attempt to take Panama, openly proclaiming rebellion against the Spanish crown. Surrounded at Barquisimeto, Venezuela, Aguirre in desperation crowned his infamous life by the murder of his own daughter. He surrendered and was shot.

See W. Lowry, Lope Aguirre, the Wanderer (1952); A. F. Bandelier, The Gilded Man (1893, repr. 1962); S. Minta, Aguirre (1994).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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