Benalcázar or Belalcázar, Sebastián de [key], c.1479–1551, Spanish conquistador. After accompanying Columbus on his third voyage (1498), Benalcázar served in Darién and Nicaragua before joining Francisco Pizarro in the conquest of Peru (1532). Setting out from Piura, he forestalled Pedro de Alvarado in support of Diego de Almagro, the elder, and entered (1533) the native stronghold of Quito, founded Guayaquil, and marched (1535) into SW Colombia in search of El Dorado. While in Colombia he founded Pasto and Cali. In 1539, he tried unsuccessfully to ally himself with Federmann against Jiménez de Quesada. Journeying to Spain with them to settle accounts, Benalcázar returned (1541) as governor of Popayán prov. Between 1541 and 1548 he aided Vaca de Castro against Diego de Almagro, the younger, and then helped Nuñez Vela and Pedro de la Gasca against Gonzalo Pizarro. For executing the leader of a neighboring province that he claimed as his, Benalcázar was tried (1550) and convicted. On his way to appeal to the Council of the Indies he died of fever in Cartagena.
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