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For the corregimiento in Panama, see Urracá, Panama.
1 centesimo de balboa.jpg
Urracá depicted on the obverse of the Panamanian Centesimo coin.
Died 1531
Nata de los Caballeros
Nationality Ngäbe
Occupation Cacique

Urracá or Ubarragá Maniá Tigrí was an amerindian Ngäbe chieftain or cacique who fought effectively against the Spanish conquistadors. Captured at one point, Urracá managed to escape a Spanish bound ship and rejoin his own people, thus continuing to lead the fight against the Spanish until his death in 1531.[1] He is also remembered as el caudillo amerindio de Veragua, adversary of the Spanish Empire, the great rebel in the current territory of Panama, and the one who faced the Spanish conquistadors. His face can be found on the smallest-denomination centesimo coin of Panama.


Shortly after the foundation of Panama City in 1519, the Spanish Governor-Captain Pedrarias Dávila began moving into the country, wanting to find a gold-rich village. The Spanish conquered the Veragua province, which is particularly rich in gold mining, and Urracá's territorial area was in the vicinity of the present town of Nata de los Caballeros, founded on 20 May 1520 to serve as a basis for exploration of the rest of Central America.[2] Urracá bravely faced the Spanish expedition for almost nine years, and repeatedly defeated the conquistadors, led by Gaspar de Espinosa.[3] When Espinoza was called back to Panama by Pedrarias Dávila, Francisco de Compañón was commissioned to his post. Urracá then attacked the population, but Compañón managed to send a report on the situation to Panama and Pedrarias so decided to send a battalion led by Hernán Ponce de León.

Urracá succeeded in making alliances with tribes traditionally enemies of his, in order to defeat the Spaniards.[4] Caciques such as Ponca, Dures, Duraria, Bulaba, Guisia, Guaniaga, Tabor, Guracona, Guaniagos and other great masters of Veragua united under his command. However, the arrival of Ponce de León forced his allies to raise the siege, prompting Pedrarias himself to reach Nata with new forces. There were bloody clashes, without any of the parties achieving complete victory. In a subsequent battle, Urracá's forces managed to defeat Captain Diego de Albitres, who escaped and accounted to the governor of Castilla del Oro.

Capture of Urracá[edit]

The Spanish, led by Compañón, decided to capture Urracá with a trick, and emissaries to Urracá's lands were sent in order to propose peace negotiations in Nata de los Caballeros. Urracá accepted the invitation and attended the scene along with two of his men, but Compañón captured and sent him to Nombre de Dios to be sent to Spain.[5] However, Urracá escaped and reunited with his people, maintaining his resistance against the Spanish forces for several years.[6][n 1]


Opposite the facade of Escuela Normal in the city of Santiago, capital of the province of Veragua, stands a statue of Urracá with a warrior expression as if willing to attack the Spanish conquistadors. In his honor, the Asociación Nacional de Scouts de Panamá calls Scout Urracá the highest rank awarded to those who have made outstanding community service.[7]

See also[edit]

Additional information[edit]


  1. ^ There are assumptions in the sense that it was Urracá, Lord of Veraguá, the same person with the name of Quibian, or El Quibían, mentioned by Christopher Columbus in his fourth voyage to the Americas.


  1. ^ Humphreys, Sara (2010). The Rough Guide to Panama. Penguin. p. 331. ISBN 184836993X. 
  2. ^ Bermúdez, Héctor Conte (1951). Estudios histŕicos sobre Natá de los Caballeros (in Spanish). Tip. Colegio Don Bosco. p. 23. OCLC 19416002. 
  3. ^ Evelia Romano, Pablo Brescia (2006). El Ojo en El Caleidoscopio (in Spanish). UNAM. p. 167. ISBN 9703230539. 
  4. ^ Jorge Conte Porras (1988). Panameños ilustres (in Spanish). San José, Costa Rica. p. 20.  18649121
  5. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1882). History of Central America, Vol. 1. History Company. p. 509. OCLC 1722798. 
  6. ^ Dade, Philip L. (1972). Arte y arqueología precolombinos de Panamá (in Spanish). University of Texas. p. 13. OCLC 6194308. 
  7. ^ "Highest Rank/Award in Scouting". Troop97.net. Retrieved 10 May 2015. 
  • This article is based on the translation of the corresponding article of the Spanish Wikipedia. A list of contributors can be found there at the History section.

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