Juan de Grijalva

Juan de Grijalva (* 1490, † January 21, 1527 ) was a Spanish explorer. He sat the first European to set foot on June 19, 1518 on Aztec territory. The Spaniards explored unknown regions on behalf of his uncle, the governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar.

On May 1, 1518 Grijalva ran with four ships and 300 men from Cuba in the direction of Yucatán. He ended up as Francisco Hernández de Córdoba in 1517, first on the island of Cozumel. Grijalva was a cautious man, for the death of Córdoba had warned him. Thus, the losses in battles with the natives were much lower. Grijalva found much evidence of an advanced civilization, and led first conversations with a Mayan cacique, who was baptized and given the name Lázaro. The Spaniards exchanged a virtually worthless junk for gold jewelry and precious stones.

His journey continued to the north. There he met the people of the Totonac. They told him of a great empire to the west. His companions wanted to immediately establish a settlement in order to acquire more treasures. Grijalva refused to do so and sent Pedro de Alvarado returned with the first treasures to Cuba. On the island of Isla de Grijalva Sacrificios found remains of human sacrifices. The Spaniards discovered several large buildings and pyramids. At Río Banderas they met for the first time on the Aztecs. With them Grijalva exchanged gold and sailed north to the Panuco River, and then returned to Cuba.

In Cuba, there was very high due to the large gold and gemstone finds a frenzy. Grijalva was not exactly greeted warmly by the governor Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar. Velázquez gave him the right to have the settlement of the region gambled recklessly.

When Francisco de Garay tried to conquer the region at the Panuco River, Grijalva was also the captain of a ship here. Garay failed miserably - he found no treasure and could not feed its people. They ran over in droves to Hernán Cortés; only Grijalva and his men remained. Cortés knew very well the qualities of this officer, and offered to serve under his command or to take 2000 piastres, and thus return to Cuba, because as a self- conqueror Cortés did not know this man near him. Grijalva took the money and returned to Cuba.

Juan de Grijalva died in 1527 at the hands of Indians while attempting the conquest of Honduras under Pedro Arias Dávila.