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Lope de Aguirre

Lope de Aguirre (O˝ate, Guip˙zcoa, Spain, c.1510-1561) was a Basque rebel and conquistador in South America. From the time he arrived in Peru in 1544 with the Pizarro expedition he became renowned for violence, cruelty and sedition. He joined the 1560 expedition of Pedro de Urs˙a down the Mara˝ˇn and Amazon Rivers. He participated in the overthrow and killing of Urs˙a and his successor, Fernando de Guzmßn, whom he ultimately succeeded. He and his men reached the Atlantic (probably by the Orinoco River) laying waste to native villages on the way.

In 1561 he seized Margarita Island and held it in a grip of terror. When he crossed to the mainland in an attempt to take Panama, however, his open rebellion against the Spanish crown came to a swift end. In due course he was surrounded at Barquisimeto, Venezuela, where he desperately murdered his own daughter and last follower to keep her from being captured. Shortly after this he surrendered and was shot.

He has been seen as a precursor of the Spanish American independence.

Aguirre has twice been represented in the movies: first by Klaus Kinski in Aguirre, Wrath of God in 1973, then by Omero Antonutti in El Dorado