1. Francisco Orellana's life:

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rancisco Orellana (Trujillo, Spain, 1511 - ?, 1546) was a Spanish explorer and conquistador from the age of discovery. He discovered the Amazonic Jungle. After several lootings he was considerated as one of the richest conquistadors of the time. In 1535 he participated in a partification and founded 'De Puerto Viejo', where he worked in different charges as alderman, ordinary mayor, and also as a governor lieutenant3Espana_Castilla_Leon-es-castile-and-leon-flag1s[1].gif. He was one of the first neighbours. Not as known and eclipsed by names as Hernán Cortés or Francisco Pizarro, but, Orellana took part in one of the most brilliant episodes of the Spanish history in the New World, being his life an example of heroism and honesty. His grandmother belonged to the Pizarro's family. Anything is known about his childhood, but It seems that until he was a child he wanted to copy his family. In 1527, being very young he went to the New World to help in military to his relative, Francisco Pizarro. Orellana was a man who wanted to succes in his life, who wanted to succes as his relatives but it was a difficult work. Do you think he finally succes? Continue reading and you'll know.

Among him, Orellana participated in the conquist of the Inca Empire, showing that he was a skilled and fiery soldier. He lost one of his eyes in a battle against the manabis indians. Before being thirty years old, Orellana had took part in Peru's colonization, he had founded the city of Guayaquiland was very rich. First he had already showed how good was him, he will continue like this? We are going to see it.

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2. Orellana in ecuatorian lands:

hen a Civil War broke out between Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro, Orellana helped his relative Pizarro. He organized a little army and intervened in the Battle of Las Salinas, where Almargo was defeated. Later he retired himself to ecuatorians lands, where he was governor of Santiago de Guayaquil and 'de la Nueva de Puerto Viejo'. In this stage of his life he was distinguised because of his good gonvernment and his generosity. A good soldier and a good governor, maybe he will succes. We'll see.

He also made something commendable and unique: as he wanted the rest of the people to know that this territories existed, he thought that it was neccesary yo know how to speak the indians lenguage, so, he llp3[1].gifstarted to study them. With this hard work and honor he was going to achieve his long-awaited glory, as we will see later.

When he could have died surrounded by peace and property, neither the wealth and welfare could calm his thirst of adventure and new horizonts. Because of that, when he knew that Quito's governor, Gonzalo Pizarro, was organizing an expedition to the legendary Country of Cinnamon, Orellana wanted to go with him. In this point of his life he had already succes as you have seen but this wasn't anough for him. This is not enough for a man who loved adventure. And don't think that nothing interesting hapened to Orellana, he lived a lot of adventures as he wished. Do you want to know about it?

3. Orellana in the Country of Cinnamon: 

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ews about the abundance of species in the lands of the east ecuatorian went back to an old time. The news were so bright as the news about the kingdom of El Dorado. Gonzalo wanted to succes in the discover of el País de la Canela, so, he left Quito in febraury of 1541 with 220 Spanish men and 4.000 indians. Orellana wanted to meet him but when he arrived to Quito, Gonzalo had alreay left, saying Orellana to follow his steps. When Orellana arrived , his relative has already left. Do you think this stoped Orellana?

With 23 men, Orellana go through the fearful ecuatorians Andes. After pass through the high plateu (altiplano), he started with a slow and tired ascent through deep holes, hillsides full of impenetrable vegetation and rocky mountans. In the Andes' Mountains, the explorers became ill because of the cold winds, and after a quickly descent, the explorers became ill again because of the jungle's hot and the suffocating atmosphere. Finally, ills and decimates, they arrived to Gonzalo's camp with a ray of hope shone in his eyes. Now they tought they were saved, no more problems. Maybe they were wrong.

external image pcanel1.jpg 4. When Orellana met Pizarro:

issapointment when Orellana's men realised that the camp wasn't located in any cinnamon forest, but in a horrile zone.Sinking into the swamps and stumbling constantly with thick roots that carpet the jungle, Orellana's men looked for the coveted product, but they only found squalid bushs and some cinnamon without any smell. Could thigns became worse?

The situation became untenable. Food started to scarce and the survivors were really tired. As it was imposible to advance through the jungle, Gonzalo Pizarrodecided to continue following the river's course with a bergantin, that they were suposed to built there. This starving men started to cut trees, prepare ovens, and to forge nails. When the boat was prepared, they found with joy that it floated. Their efforts were rewarded.

external image orellana_barco_mini.jpg 5. The constrction of a new boat:

onzalo Pizarroasked Orellana if he could sail the bergantin with 60 men going downstream to look for food, as Orellana was suposed to know how to speak with the indians as he know perfectly their languages. Sailing through Cocaand Napo rivers, the group of explorers continued the voyage. It taked them a lot of days without founding any village. They were completly starving, so they started to eat their shoes cooked with some herbs.
During this dramatic days, Orellana knew how to show himself firmly and managed to mantain morale and discipline among his men. Finally, the 3rd of January of 1542, they arrived to the lands of a cacique called Aparia, who received them generously and ofreced them a lot of food. Maybe they were saved. Do you think they were?

6. Save again:

hen they fulfill the first part of their mission, Orellana sailed upstream with the objective of found Gonzalo Pizarro, who, was suposed to descend slower than him through the course of the river until meet him. But Orellana's men didn't want to sail upstream, they tought that was imposible to go upstream with their insecure bergantin, and altough they could, they couldn't take out food because of the hot of the jungle, in little hours, the food will became rot. They didn't want to die in the voyage. Orellana was convinced by this reasons, so he decided to wait there for two or three weeks, time for Gonzalo to reach them. Will Gonzalo appear?

One month passed and as Gonzalo Pizarro did not appear, the explorers embarked again. They descended through the troubled waters and the 11th of February they realised that the river took two ways. In fact, they had reached the confluence between the river Napo and the Amazon river. They gave it this name after meeting the legendary warriors' women wich lived there.

What do you think about Orellana's adventure? All the news about 'El País de la Canela' were wrong and the true boss of the expeditiodissapeared. Another adventure for Orellama, Do you think he did not do any more expeditions? I don't think so.

7. The incredible Amazonia:

o more hope to meet Gonzalo again, the true boss of the expedition. Orellana was chosen unanimous as captain of the group. They decideto build a new bergantin called Victoria, and continue through the river until reach the sea. During the trip, the brave explorers faced to al lot of dangers, being attack by the indians and they show an incredible courage.
During the trip they had a lot of surprises as huge trees, lustful jungles and a huge river that looks as a sea and whose tributaries were larger than the largest rivers of Spain. When they couldn't see both banks of the river, Orellana said that they had to sail in zig-zag to see both banks of the river. Ok, a lot of problems durign this trip, anything worse could happend isn't it? But a worse problem will face our brave explorers, a problem wich will fascinate them all.

8. An interesting meeting:

uring the 24th of July's morning, San Juan's day, they were attacked by a group of american indians, led by the mythical amazonas. The Spanish, in front of this tall and vigorous women shooting their bows with skill, tought they were dreaming. During this confrontation, they got a prisioner, a man wich accompanied this women. He told them that the amazonas had a queen, Conori, and they had a lot of wealth. The Spanish were so fascinated that baptized the river with the following name, The river Amazonas, in honor to this fabulous women. Now a question for you aur readers, what would you do if you were Orellana and you had faced this incredible and fascinating women? You can't imagine it, aren't you? You think that they couldn't be so incredible but I'm going to tell you something they were because one of the most brave men got fascinated with this brave and mythical women.

external image amazonas.jpgTgc_Telescopio[1].gifThe 24th of August, Orellana and his men arrived to the river mouth of the Amazonas. During the following days, they fought against the big waves that were formed when the water crashed against the boat and finally they could reach the big ocean. The 11th of September they reached Cubagua Island, in the Caribbean sea, getting one of the most important journeys of the age of discovery. Finally Orellana have succes altough he belonged to a difficult family where he could succes, because of the important acts of his relatives. But Orellana's story has not ended yet.

9. Treason charge:

rellana returned to Spain in May of 1543, after rejecting a temptress offer to submit the regions he had already explorer in name of King Jonh III. He had to answer in front of the Council of the Indiesabout the charges made against him by Gonzalo Pizarro, who scaped from the ecuatorian jungle and returned to Quito. The charges of abandonment, rebellion and treason were desetimated because of the comprehensive statements of Orellana's men, wich talked about the righteousness and honesty of their acts. And after all, Gonzalo was alive and thought that Orellana had abandoned him. Why the things came worst to our brave man? Nothing worst can happen, or yes...

10. His next years:

he next year, Orellana married a young lady from Seville from a good family. She was called Ana de Ayala. He was named adelantado of the New Andaluciaand signed as Prince Felipe the capitulations for a new expedition to the Amazonas. But in his negotations with merchants, borkers and lenders, Orellana was a victim of his nobility and good faith.

Orellana, a man that had overcame all the difficulties in the jungle could not overcame the difficulties in the world of the city. In the spring of the year 1545 he had acquired four ships, but he hadn't any money and he couldn't provide them with the most necessary. It was comunicated to Orellana that as he couln't carry out the capitulations, the expeditions were cancelled. What? After all his work and the money he had used to this trips the expeditions were cancelled? And now? We have already realised that Orellana don't give it up so easily.
Orellana couldn't acept this dishonor, so , he undertook the voyage despite the prohibition and the precarious stage of his ships. During the trip he commicts acts of piracy to get essential things. The 20th of December he arrived to the Amazon river, and without listen to his tripulation's advices, he starts to go upstream.

11. His last moments:

is dreams of glory finished in the month of November of 1546 in any part of the Amazonic jungle, in the banks of the river. Some people said that the illnes killed Orellana in the middle of the silence of the jungle. Another that he was killed in a battle against the indians becouse of poison, His tomb, a cross in front of a tree, in the greatest landscape someone can see.

Here we can see a video about Orellana's life. It is in Spanish. We hope you enjoy it.



This is the route that Francisco de Orellana followed in his expedition in South America:

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