Pedro de Ursúa

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Pedro de Ursúa (1526–1561) was a Spanish Navarrese Basque conquistador from Baztan (Kingdom of Navarre) in the 16th century.[1][2] In Panama, Ursúa subdued a Cimarron (ex-slave) revolt by tricking Cimarron leader Bayano into coming unprepared to negotiate a truce, but then captured him and sent him back to King Philip II of Spain. Ursúa later searched the Amazon region for El Dorado with Lope de Aguirre. Aguirre, commonly portrayed as a monomaniac, assassinated Ursúa: perhaps because Ursúa wouldn't let him take his mistress on the expedition, perhaps merely as a ploy for power.[3]

A fictional version of Ursúa and Aguirre's story is depicted in the Werner Herzog film, Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes and in the Carlos Saura film El Dorado.

The novel Ursúa by William Ospina has become one of the main references concerning Pedro de Ursúa. The book provides details about the life of Ursúa and makes a general account of the events happening in the New World during the mid 16th century.


  1. ^ William A. Douglass; Jon Bilbao (2005). Amerikanuak: Basques in the New World. University of Nevada Press. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-87417-625-4. 
  2. ^ Elena Mampel González; Neus Escandell Tur (1981). Lope de Aguirre: Crónicas, 1559-1561. Edicions Universitat Barcelona. p. 15. ISBN 978-84-85411-51-1. 
  3. ^ Descendants of Juan de Ursua


  • Galster, Ingrid (1996). Aguirre oder Die Willkür der Nachwelt. Die Rebellion des baskischen Konquistadors Lope de Aguirre in Historiographie und Geschichtsfiktion (1561–1992). Frankfurt am Main: Vervuert Verlag, ISBN 3-89354-075-X
  • Galster, Ingrid (2011). Aguirre o La posteridad arbitraria. La rebelión del conquistador vasco Lope de Aguirre en historiografía y ficción histórica (1561-1992). Bogotá: Ed. Universidad del Rosario and Ed. Universidad Javeriana, ISBN 978-958-738-204-4 (also available as eBook).