Thursday, April 08, 2010
Pedro de Heredia and Cartagena
Cartagena, many know that name of the city is actually Cartagena de Indias, but did you know that the original name was San Sebastian de Calamar? Here is the story:
Pedro de Heredia was born in Madrid, Spain. As a young man he was involved in a brawl that left three men dead, and he was therefore forced to leave Spain as a penance. He moved to the island of Hispañola -- Santo Domingo. There, he made friends with the right people and in 1526he was named the lieutenant governor of Santa Marta (in today Colombia), under Perdo Badillo. While in Santa Marta, he became a wealthy man by trading trinkets (bells, mirrors and hats) with the natives and receiving gold in return.
He returned to Spain, and requested that he be granted permission to explore from the mouth of the Magdalena River to the Atrato River. On, June 5, 1532, he was granted his request by the sovereign of Spain.
He landed in what is today the Bay of Cartagena in January 1533, and proceeded to subdue and annihilate (mostly in the battle of Turbaco) the natives living in the area -- the Calamari. On January 21, 1533, he named the area San Sebastian de Calamar, but it was changed later that year (June 1, 1533) to Cartagena de Indias when the establishment of the first city was celebrated.