Latin American History: Most Popular Articles
Christopher Columbus may have been looking for a new trade route to Asia when he set out in 1492, but he discovered something far more important. Columbus made several stops on his monumental first voyage, including the present-day Bahamas, Cuba and Hispaniola.
It's one of history's greatest mysteries: an advanced civilization in the foggy rainforests of Central America suddenly went into a steep, irreversible decline. What happened to the ancient Maya?
When it comes to Christopher Columbus, most famous of the explorers of the Age of Discovery, it's hard to separate truth from myth, and fact from legend. Here are ten things that maybe you didn't already know about Christopher Columbus and his four legendary voyages.
When it comes to Blackbeard, the most famous pirate ever to sail the seven seas, it's hard to separate myth from fact. There are a lot of tall tales out there about the man who was the scourge of the Atlantic in 1717-1718. Here are some facts about everyone's favorite buccaneer.
When events turn into legends, facts occasionally get lost. What really happened on March 6, 1836 at the famous Battle of the Alamo?
After World War Two, thousands of Nazis and wartime collaborators fled to South America, mostly Argentina. There they were welcomed and given a place in society. Why did Argentina accept these men, many of whom had committed heinous crimes?
In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered lands previously unknown to Europeans. Since then, his image has had its ups and downs. Some think he was a brave hero, and he was nominated for sainthood at one point. Others think he was a monster who brought slavery and disease to the New World. What's the truth about Christopher Columbus? Page 2.
One of the more famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) protagonists of the Cuban Revolution, Argentine doctor Ernesto
Early in the colonial era, Spain initiated the encomienda system, under which vast tracts of land and thousands of people and families were given to conquistadors and colonial officials. The encomienda system was thinly-veiled slavery and led to horrible abuses.
Pablo Escobar was the greatest Colombian drug lord, whose Medellín cartel once controlled 80% of the cocaine shipped illegally into the United States. Although his personal fortune reached into the billions, his crimes eventually caught up with him and he was killed in a dramatic raid by Colombian security forces in 1993.
During the Golden Age of Piracy (roughly from 1700-1725), dozens of pirates roamed the seas of the world, preying on merchant shipping and coastal towns. Most of these pirates had distinctive flags, or jacks, which identified them to their friends and foes alike.
The so-called âGolden Age of Piracyâ lasted from about 1700 to 1725. During this time, thousands of men
Latin America has had its share of leaders, but these ten people have made a difference not only in their home country, but in the world
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Blackbeardâs Last
The Olmec culture was the first great Mesoamerican civilization. Historians and archaeologists have learned many things about this mysterious empire which peaked three thousand years ago.
In 1532, Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro and 160 men managed to bring down the mighty Inca Empire, home to millions of people. How did these audacious men do it?
Evita Perón is well-known as the subject of a very successful musical...but what was she really like? Who was this remarkable woman who had captured the attention of the world by the time of her tragic death at the age of 33?
Edward. Latin American History.
The Ancient Maya are among the most mysterious of all the lost civilizations. What do we know for certain about these enigmatic people?
Returning from the New World without having kept his promises of finding new trade routes to the far east, Christopher Columbus convinces the rulers of Spain to send him back with a larger fleet to establish a colony and trading posts in the lands he has discovered.
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese navigator and captain who led the first expedition that successfully circled the globe.
The Spanish conquistadors who came to the New World in the first half of the sixteenth century were a special breed of men. Cunning, ruthless, fearless, cruel and ambitious, they were mostly desperate men from poor regions of Spain looking to make their fortune. Defying long odds, they conquered the mighty Empires of the Aztecs, Incas and Maya, leaving their mark on history forever.
Christopher Columbus was the greatest explorer of his age: for centuries he was thought to have been the first to discover America. He was a complex man, however, who failed as often as he succeeded. Although his morals were questionable -- he wanted to send American slaves to Europe -- his fortitude, courage and sailing skill were unquestionable.
Cinco de Mayo is much more than simply a Mexican version of St. Patrick's Day. It's a day for celebrating Mexican heritage, enjoying great food, and remembering a most unlikely win in an important battle!
During the. Latin American History.
On a well-run pirate ship, different officers had different duties. Here is a list of the positions and duties on board a typical pirate ship.
Mexico celebrates its independence every September 16 with parades, festivals, feasts, parties and more. Mexican flags are everywhere and the main plaza in Mexico City is packed. But what’s the history behind the date of September 16?
Central America, the stretch of land between Mexico and South America, has a long and troubled history of war, crime, corruption and dictatorship.
The Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) began with a contested election in 1910 and ended a decade later with hundreds of thousands dead, the country in tatters and the economy in ruins. It has become the stuff of legend, with almost mythological characters such as Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata and Alvaro Obregon battling one another for ownership of the rich nation of Mexico.
Biography of Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Part One
A biography of Hernán Cortés, a Spanish Conquistador who, with dwindling provisions and 600 soldiers, was able to defeat the mighty Aztec Empire and its tens if not hundreds of thousands of warriors. Later, Cortes served as governor of New Spain and was given the title of Marquis by the King of Spain.
In May of 1942 Mexico formally declared war on Germany and Japan, although it had been silently assisting the Allies for some time already. Although its forces saw very little combat, Mexico was an important and valuable addition to the Allied cause.
During the last few years of his life, while he was still in hiding, incredible legends grew about Dr. Josef Mengele, the fugitive Nazi War Criminal.
With just a few hundred men, the Spanish were able to bring down and control the mighty Aztec and Inca, powerful Empires with armies in the thousands. How were they able to do it? The weapons and armor of the conquistadors had a lot to do with their success.
The history of Mexico is populated by many colorful and fascinating figures.
In the final days of 1958, rebel commander Fidel Castro tightened the noose on Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Columns of rebel soldiers under Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos moved towards Havana, and on January 1, 1959, Batista fled the country. The ramifications of the Cuban Revolution would change world politics forever.
The ancient Maya developed an extensive trading network for commerce in basic goods as well as prestige items such as gold and jade.
Blackbeard the Pirate - whose real name was Edward Teach - has achieved legendary status. This ruthless pirate worked the Caribbean for about three years before coming to a bloody end. What are the facts about the most notorious of pirates?
Latin America has always been shaped by events: wars, rebellions, invasions and more. Which have been the most important? My top ten are based on international and domestic impact.
José Francisco de San Martín (1778-1850) was an Argentine General, governor and patriot who led his nation during the wars of Independence from Spain. He was a lifelong soldier who fought for the Spanish in Europe before returning to Argentina to lead the struggle for Independence. Today, he is revered in Argentina, where he is considered among the founding fathers of the nation. He also led the liberation of Chile and Peru.
Famed Frontiersman Davy Crockett was among the defenders of the Alamo when it fell to the Mexican army on March 6,1836. According to some accounts, he was taken prisoner before being executed. What happened to Davy Crockett on that fateful day?
The Maya civilization peaked around 800 A.D., but it had been around for a long time before that...and is still there today! Learn more about the different eras of the Maya.
Historians and archaeologists are piecing together information about the long-lost Olmec culture of ancient Mesoamerica.
For most of Latin America, independence from Spain came between 1806 and 1825. Each region took a different path to independence, with different leaders and battles.
José Martí (1853-1895) was a Cuban revolutionary and poet. Although he was not a soldier, he was a leading advocate for Cuban independence from Spain from the time he was sixteen years old. He died in combat against Spanish forces in Cuba in 1895 and is today revered as a Cuban national hero.
After the Cuban Revolution, the Castro regime became increasingly hostile towards the United States and its interests. In 1961, President John Kennedy approved a CIA plan to arm and train Cuban exiles to invade Cuba and install a new government. The resulting attack, known as
Emiliano Zapata was the greatest idealist of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). The leader of a small, mostly indigenous community in the southern state of Morelos, Zapata was already fighting the entrenched power of Porfirio Diaz when the revolution broke out. With cries of Tierra Y Libertad! (
Sir Henry Morgan (1635-1688) was a Welsh privateer who fought for the English against the Spanish in the Caribbean in the 1660’s and 1670’s. He is remembered as the greatest of the privateers, amassing huge fleets, attacking prominent targets and being the worst enemy of the Spanish since Sir Francis Drake.
Venezuelan Simon Bolivar was the most important leader of South America's Independence movement. A brilliant general and visionary politician, he led the liberation of Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. His dream of a strong, united Latin America is still unfulfilled.
In 1532, Spanish conquistadors discovered the wealthy Inca Empire, high in the South American Andes. The only thing standing between these greedy men and the gold they dreamed of was young Emperor Atahualpa, fresh off a victory in a civil war.
Here you will find a list of the most famous pirates from the so-called
The Ancient Maya were gifted astronomers who were interested in every aspect of their skies. They painstakingly charted the movements of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars, as they believed they were Gods traveling through the heavens and back and forth to the Earth and the Underworld. Their interest in astronomy impacted many aspects of Maya life, including architecture and religion.
Pancho Villa was probably the best-known of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution. Still, most people don't know some of the more interesting parts of his history. Here are some fun facts about Pancho Villa.
Captain William Kidd (1654-1701) was a Scottish ship's captain and pirate. After turning himself in and hoping to clear his name, he was tried and hanged for piracy.
The Ancient Maya practiced human sacrifice for a variety of political and religious reasons.
In 1532, Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro began his bloody conquest of the mighty Inca Empire. This adventure made him and his soldiers very wealthy men indeed. How much do you know about the illiterate footsoldier who held an Emperor for ransom?
From 1695 to 1725, many men tried their hand at piracy and most died nameless on a desert island or in a noose. Some, however, became well-known and even rich.
The Olmec culture was the first great civilization of Mesoamerica.
Antonio López de Santa Anna, president of Mexico eleven times from the 1830's to 1850's, was the leader of the Mexican forces at the Battle of the Alamo.
The Ancient Maya were talented builders whose temples and palaces are still standing thousands of years after being constructed.
Anne Bonny (1700-1782, exact dates uncertain) was a pirate who fought under the command of “Calico Jack” Rackham between 1718 and 1720. Together with fellow female pirate Mary Read, she was one of Rackham’s more formidable pirates, fighting, cursing and drinking with the best of them. She was captured along with the rest of Rackham’s crew in 1720 and sentenced to death, although her sentence was commuted because she was pregnant.
In 1498 Christopher Columbus returned for a third trip to the New World, bearing supplies for colonists and still searching for a passage to the markets of the orient. He found discontent, disease, and by 1500 he found himself en route back to Spain...only this time, he was in chains.
Early researchers believed the ancient Maya to be a peaceful civilization, but recent discoveries prove just the opposite. How and why did this lost civilization make frequent war on its neighbors?
Francisco Pizarro was a Spanish conquistador who led the expedition in 1532 that defeated the mighty Inca Empire of Peru. He ruled Peru as an agent of the King of Spain for almost ten years before he was assassinated in Lima.
James Bowie (1796-1836) was an American frontiersman and one of the leaders of the Texas Revolution. He was present at the legendary Battle of the Alamo, where he was killed along with all of his comrades. Today he is considered a great hero in Texas.
The Mexican-American War (1846-1848) was a long, bloody conflict between the United States of America and Mexico. The USA won the war and gained much of the current American west and southwest.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Ten Facts About
Bartholomew. Latin American History.
When you learn about something mostly from the movies, you're bound to have your facts a little mixed up. Pirates are a great example: how much do you you really know about these sea-dogs?
Juan Ponce de Leon was a Spanish conquistador and explorer who was the first to discover and explore Florida. He was also an important early pioneer of Puerto Rico. According to legend, he was seeking the legendary Fountain of Youth in Florida.
Biography of Roberto Gómez Bolaños, a.k.a. Chespirito, Mexican writer and actor who made famous characters such as el Chavo del 8 and el Chapulín Colorado.
John. Latin American History.
On March 6, 1836, The Mexican army attacked the Alamo, a fortress-like old mission in San Antonio, Texas. Inside were some 200 Texan rebels, determined to drive them off or give their lives for the cause of Texas Independence. The Battle of the Alamo is now a legendary part of Texan (and Mexican) history.
Benito Juarez, one of Mexico's most important statesmen and reformers, was the most powerful Mexican politician of his era and a driving force in Mexican politics for several years.
Santo Domingo, the capitol of the Dominican Republic, is the longest continually inhabited European city in the Americas. It has a long and fascinating history, from pirate attacks to being renamed after a ruthless dictator!
Ten years after his monumental voyage of discovery, much had changed for Christopher Columbus. He had gone back twice, and each time the trip ended in disaster. Still, the fifty-something adventurer and explorer felt he had one more trip in him. He convinced some investors and set off one last time in 1502.
The ancient Olmec civilization of Mexico had disappeared by 400 B.C., but their religion and culture were hugely influential in later cultures such as the Maya.
Juan Domingo Peron was a general, diplomat, and three-time President of Argentina. He was a rare blend of career soldier, charismatic politician and leftist strongman, and his influence on the history of his nation is difficult to overstate. Known to many as the husband of Evita Peron, Juan Domingo left behind a huge political and historical legacy.
Port Royal is a town on the southern coast of Jamaica. It was originally colonized by the Spanish, but attacked and captured by the English in 1655. Because of its good natural harbor and key position, Port Royal quickly became a major haven for pirates and buccaneers, who were made welcome because of the need for defenders.
Of all the different time periods in the History of Latin America, the Colonial Era was the most important in shaping the modern character of the region. Here you can read six reasons why.
When it was discovered by Spanish conquistadors in 1532, the Inca Empire of present-day Peru was the wealthiest culture in the Americas. Where did this treasure come from, and where did it go?
Bartholomew âBlack Bartâ Roberts was the most successful pirate of the â Golden Age of Piracy ,â which
The sea-dogs of the Golden Age of piracy are famous for their brazen high seas larceny, but they wouldn't have gotten far without their ships.
Porfirio Díaz ruled Mexico like a king for thirty-five long years (1876-1911). During this time, he modernized the economy, improved infrastructure, and made Mexico an important player in the global economy. Why, then, did the people of Mexico rise up and begin the Mexican Revolution just to kick him out?
The Classic Era (300 A.D. - 800 A.D.) was the
Amerigo Vespucci was one of the most important explorers during the age of discovery. An able mariner, he made two trips to the New World and explored the coast of Brazil. It was his descriptions of the lands he found that caused a French cartographer to name them
The New Laws of 1542: The âNew Lawsâ of 1542 were a series of laws and regulations approved by the King
From Simon's sideburns to Fidel's beard, facial hair has been a proud part of Latin American history. Here are a few unshaven all-stars.
The city of Seville, Spain, has a set of bones they claim belong to Christopher Columbus, the great navigator and explorer. The city of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, says the same thing. Which city has the real bones and why may we never know for sure?
The Ancient Maya had a complex political system with a king at the top. The King had many duties including leading in times of war and acting as a conduit between his people and the Gods.
Augusto Pinochet (1915-2006) was a general in the Chilean military who also served as president and dictator for almost twenty years. During his time in office, thousands of Chileans were arrested, tortured and executed without trial. Nevertheless, many Chileans credit Pinochet with saving their country from communism.
The ancient Olmec culture was one of the first in Mesoamerica to embrace long-distance trade routes as a way of enriching their society.
On September 18, 1810, Chile declared its independence from Spain. Sentiment for independence had been brewing for some time, and the final straw was Napoleon's conquest of Spain. Chile's declaration of independence kicked off a war that would last for several years and cost thousands of lives. Today, Chileans celebrate Independence Day as one of the most important holidays of the year.
A timeline of some of the most important dates in the history of Mexico.
When a place is as legendary as El Dorado, facts sometimes get lost is the changing winds of history. Was El Dorado real? Where was it? Find out the facts about the mythological city of gold.
Latin America has traditionally been home to dictators: charismatic men who have seized almost complete control over their nations and held it for years, even decades. Some have been fairly benign, some cruel and violent, and others merely peculiar. Here are some of the more noteworthy men who have held dictatorial powers in their home nations.
Venezuela's firebrand dictator was known for making waves. After leaping onto the public stage with a failed 1992 coup attempt, Chavez became president legally in 1998 and never looked back. Loved by the poorest Venezuelans, Chavez made many enemies over the years, many of them in the United States government. In the end, only cancer could remove Hugo Chavez from the Presidential chair of Venezuela.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >From 1846 to 1848,
In March of 1836, Texas broke off from Mexico, declaring its independence. Why did it do so? There were many factors that led to Texas setting off down its own path.
The Olmec civilization is today remembered as the creators of seventeen giant stone heads. These heads have been found at a handful of archaeological sites and are currently in Mexican museums.
Fidel Castro is a Cuban lawyer, revolutionary and politician. Along with his brother Raul Castro and Ernesto
The name Ponce de Leon has always been associated with Florida and the quest for the Fountain of Youth. Was he questing after myths or looking for a new home?
Mexico's movement for independence from Spain was kicked off by an unlikely figure: Father Miguel Hidalgo, a parish priest and theologian well into his fifties. Hidalgo raised an army and took it to the very gates of Mexico City, but was eventually betrayed, captured and executed by Royalist forces. Still, he is remembered today by Mexicans as the Father of their Country.
For centuries, greedy men scoured the unknown interior of South America for the legendary city of El Dorado. Did they ever find it, or was it merely a myth all along?
On July 20, 1810, independence leaders in Bogota, Colombia, started a riot which eventually led to the city declaring independence from Spain. Today, July 20 is celebrated in Colombia as Independence day.
Josef Mengele was a German doctor and administrator who conducted infamous experiments at the Auschwitz death camp during World War Two. After the war, he escaped to South America and eluded capture for over 30 years.
When legendary warlord Pancho Villa was gunned down in July of 1923, most Mexicans suspected a conspiracy...and they were right. Who killed Pancho Villa?
In 1810, Spain's New World Empire stretched from the American Northwest to Tierra del Fuego. By 1825, it retained only a handful of islands. What happened? How and why did Spain lose so much, so quickly?
Mary Read was an English pirate who sailed with
Tikal was one of the mightiest cities in the ancient Maya world, dominating its region and lesser city-states.
Few men are as legendary in Latin American History as Pancho Villa. Bandit, general, warlord, hero and murderer, Villa is a complicated and fascinating historical figure and one of the giants of the Mexican Revolution.
The Mexican-American War (1846-1848) was a defining moment in the relationship between Mexico and the
Enrique Peña Nieto (1966-) is the current President of Mexico. A centrist, he ran as the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.
In the movies, pirates always seem to have huge chests of gold and jewels. Was this really the case? Learn more about what sort of treasure a pirate could really hope to find.
Stephen F. Austin was the founder of an important settlement in Mexican Texas in the 1820's. He was an important leader of the Texas Revolution and served as the Republic of Texas' first Secretary of State.
As the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) burned across Mexico, the lawless land was ruled more and more by ruthless warlords who fought one another over the remains of the broken nation. Who were the men who dared to make Mexico their own?
Fulgencio Batista was a Cuban army sergeant who took command of the military before being elected president for the term from 1940-1944. He returned to power in 1952 and is today best known as the man who was President when Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution took place.
Pirate, privateer, buccaneer or corsair? These words have similar meanings, but there are important differences.
Sam Houston (1793-1863) was one of the leaders of Texas' independence movement. He was in command of the Texan forces at the decisive Battle of San Jacinto in 1836. Later he went on to a distinguished career as a politician and statesman.
Charles Vane (1680? – 1721) was an English pirate who was active in the Caribbean and the southeast coast of the United States during the first part of the eighteenth century, sometimes referred to as the “Golden Age of Piracy.” A close associate of other ruthless buccaneer commanders such as Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet, Vane distinguished himself by his unrepentant attitude towards piracy and his cruelty to those he captured.
Rigoberta Menchu, the controversial winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize, is still active in Guatemalan politics and native rights movements around the world.
Henry Every was an English pirate who made one huge score - the Grand Mughal of India's treasure ship, in 1695. He retired with his wealth and was never heard from again, giving rise to many myths and legends.
Vasco Nuñez de Balboa (1475-1519) was a Spanish conquistador and explorer of the early colonial era. He is credited with leading the first European expedition to discover the Pacific Ocean (which he referred to as the
Pirates have been a part of popular culture ever since they sailed the seven seas! Today, some fictional pirates such as Jack Sparrow or Long John Silver are more famous than any genuine pirates of history! Here are some famous fictional pirates, with their historical accuracy thrown in.
Diego Rivera was Mexico's best-known muralist. An avowed communist, he was as well known for controversy as art, and his is also famous for his volatile marriage to fellow artist Frida Kahlo.
The Galapagos Islands are famous for being remote and sparsely inhabited. They only rarely come to international attention. That all changed in 1934, when the islands were home to a scandal involving sex, lies and murder. When all was said and done, three people were dead and two more missing. Do you think you can solve a mystery that has baffled historians for almost a century?
From 1527 to 1532, brothers Huáscar and Atahualpa were locked in a brutal civil war over who would lead the mighty Inca Empire, high in the South American mountains. Atahualpa had only a short time to savor his victory, however, as Spanish conquistadors under Francisco Pizarro arrived with their own notions of who should rule the Andes.
Inti, the Sun God, was the second-most important god to the Inca culture after Viracocha, the Creator. There were magnificent temples dedicated to him and an important annual festival celebrated in his name. A benevolent God, he caused crops to grow and livestock to thrive.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >On the morning
Most pirates simply traded ships when they captured one that was more seaworthy than the one they had been using.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Edward "Ned" Low
William Walker was the greatest of the American
Cinco de Mayo is a widely celebrated Mexican holiday, enjoyed by millions of people around the world every year. What happened on May fifth, and why do Mexicans celebrate it? Here are seven facts about everyone's favorite Mexican holiday.
From Emperor Iturbide to Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico has been ruled by a series of men: some visionary, some violent, some autocratic and some insane. Here you'll find biographies of some of the most important ones to sit in Mexico's troubled Presidential Chair.
The mighty Olmec culture rose and fell two thousand years before the first Europeans set foot in Mexico. What happened to this mysterious civilization?
For about a year in 1717-1718, the most fearsome pirate ship in the world was Blackbeard's monstrous Queen Anne's Revenge. With this massive pirate man of war, Blackbeard essentially controlled the Caribbean and the southeastern coast of the present-day USA.
Túpac Amaru was the last member of the royal Inca family to ever rule over his people. The nephew of the last great Inca Emperor, Atahuallpa, he ruled over a handful of followers in the Peruvian jungle before becoming involved in an insurrection against the Spanish. He was captured and executed in 1572.
David. Latin American History.
From 1864 to 1867, Mexico was ruled not by a president, but by an Emperor: from a noble Austrian family, no less. Maximilian of Austria tried hard, but he was unloved by the people and eventually executed.
Anastasio Somoza García seized power in Nicaragua in 1936, beginning a dynasty of rule that would pass through his two sons and last until 1979.
The Texas Revolution was carried out by military leaders such as Sam Houston, politicians like Davy Crockett and frontiersmen like Jim Bowie. The Mexicans were led by soldiers like Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
When a man becomes a legend - and if any man has, it's Simon Bolivar - facts tend to get distorted. Here is the truth about the man South Americans refer to simply as
San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been one of the most important ports in the Caribbean for centuries. It has a long history, from Spanish conquistadors to pirate attacks to battles between American and Spanish forces in 1898.
Over the years, many men (and a few women) have been president of the different nations of South America. Some have been crooked and some misunderstood.
As the Mexican-American war raged from 1846 to 1848, a handful of deserters - primarily Irish Catholics - switched sides and joined the Mexican army. These men formed the core of the St. Patrick's Battalion, Mexico's most elite unit.
For piracy to thrive, conditions need to be just right. In the British Caribbean from 1700 to 1725 or so, conditions were perfect and as a result, pirates ruled the region.
Ollanta Humala is a Peruvian army officer and politician. He was elected to the Presidency of Peru in June of 2011.
In 1513 and again in 1521, Juan Ponce de Leon visited present-day Florida. According to legend, he was seeking the Fountain of Youth.
Major Stede Bonnet (1688-1718) was the most unlikely of pirates. He had a family and a prosperous plantation on Barbados, and didn't know one end of a sloop from the other. But he was determined to become a pirate, so he bought himself a ship, hired a crew and set sail.
In November of 1532, Spanish conquistadors under Francisco Pizarro attacked and captured Atahualpa, lord of the Inca Empire.