Federmann, Nikolaus nē´kōlous fā´dərmän [key], 1501–42, German adventurer in Venezuela and Colombia. In the service of the Welser brothers, Augsburg bankers to whom Charles V had granted rights in Venezuela, Federmann first landed at Santa Ana de Coro in 1530. Contrary to the orders of his commander, Federmann launched an expedition in search of El Dorado in 1535, going south to explore the Colombian llanos. Hearing of Jiménez de Quesada, Federmann and his men climbed the Andes, met Quesada, and in return for a large payment agreed not to dispute the latter's claims. An attempt by Benalcázar to join with Federmann against Quesada failed. Entering Bogotá, the commanders settled their differences and returned (1539) to Europe to confirm their claims. Federmann, involved in a suit in which he accused the Welsers of defrauding the emperor, died in Madrid after confessing his accusation to have been false.
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