Estêvão Gomes

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Estêvão Gomes, also known by the Spanish version of his name, Esteban Gómez (c. 1483 – 1538), was a Portuguese cartographer and explorer. He sailed at the service of Castile (Spain) in the fleet of Ferdinand Magellan, but deserted the expedition when they had reached the Strait of Magellan, [1] and returned to Spain in May 1521. In 1524 he explored present-day Nova Scotia. While historical accounts vary, Gomes may have entered New York Harbor and seen the Hudson River[ citation needed]. Because of his expedition, the 1529 Diogo Ribeiro world map outlines the East coast of North America almost perfectly.

A 1529 map by Diogo Ribeiro calls the northeast of the later United States Tierra de Esteban Gómez


Gomes was of African descent, [2] and was probably born in Porto, northern Portugal. He sailed to India on Portuguese ships during his youth. In 1518, he moved to Castile, where he was appointed a pilot in the Casa de Contratación in Seville. [3]

In 1519, Gomes sailed with Magellan in the first circumnavigation of earth, as the pilot of the San Antonio. When they had reached the Strait of Magellan, though, he and several other men on the San Antonio deserted the expedition, [4] returning to Spain with the San Antonio in May 1521. He was immediately jailed, but when the remaining ship of Magellan's expedition reached Spain in September 1522, and the surviving crew related their terrible experience, he was freed.

Gomes was able to convince Emperor Charles V to finance a new expedition to find a northern passage to the Spice Islands, the fabled Northwest Passage. A 50-ton caravel, La Anunciada, was built for the purpose. [3]

The expedition sailed on September 24, 1524, from A Coruña, with 29 men forming the crew. He arrived in Cuba and later sailed north. [5] Since there is no written account of the voyage, and only a map, there is considerable disagreement about Gomes' itinerary. Gomes may have gotten as far east as the Cabot Strait and Cape Breton (in today's Canadian province of Nova Scotia). He also entered Upper New York Bay and the Hudson River (which he named the "San Antonio River"). However, whether he traveled north to south or searched from south to north, is disputed. [6] In either direction, he passed through Maine, where he thought the estuary of the Penobscot River to be the passage. Gomes returned to Spain on August 21, 1525. [3] During his voyage, Gomes abducted over 50 natives and took them back to Spain as evidence of a potentially lucrative slave trade. Charles V was reportedly horrified and set them free. [7]

As a result of his expedition, the 1529 Diogo Ribeiro world map outlines the east coast of North America almost perfectly. For a long time, the northern half of the current US coast was named on maps as Tierra de Esteban Gómez. [8]

In 1535, Gomes joined Pedro de Mendoza's expedition to Río de la Plata. During the expedition, he was killed in the Paraguay River by natives (1538).

See also


  1. ^ Bergreen, Laurence (2009). Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe. Harper Collins.
  2. ^ Edward Robb Ellis, The Epic of New York City, ©1966, 1990 edition by Old Town Books, New York, p. 15: "In 1525 the Spanish king sent a Portuguese navigator...a Negro named Estéban Gómez. He reached the site of New York on January 17, 1526"
  3. ^ a b c Vigneras, L.-A. (1979) [1966]. "Gomes, Estêvão". In Brown, George Williams (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Vol. I (1000–1700) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  4. ^ Guillemard, Francis Henry Hill. The Life of Ferdinand Magellan, G. Philip & son, 1890, p. 203
  5. ^ Lawson, Russell M., The Sea Mark: Captain John Smith's Voyage to New England, University Press of New England, 2015, p. 39 ISBN  9781611687170
  6. ^ W. F. Ganong (1964). Crucial Maps in the Early cartography and Place-Nomenclature of the Atlantic Coast of Canada. University of Toronto Press. p. 135.
  7. ^ Douglas Hunter (31 August 2010). Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage That Redrew the Map of the New World. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. p. 136. ISBN  978-1-60819-098-0. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  8. ^ "Portuguese Exploration along the Northeast Coast of North America", LOC

Arsène Francoeur NGANGA.,2017,Estéban Gomez et Mathieu Dacosta:Marins noirs sur l'atlantique(XVIe et XVIIe siècles).Préface du professeur John.K.Thornton,Edilivre(France). ISBN  9782414167166.

External links