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Vasco Nunez de Balboa



Vasco Nunez de Balboa
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.28

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    castilla, cask, fierce, cruel, lottery, adventurous, unknown, overboard, rival, commit, route, armor, resistance, founded, banner, fifteenth
     content words:    Bill Gates, Vasco Nunez, Atlantic Ocean, West Indies, Central America, Santa Maria, Native Americans, South Sea, Ferdinand Magellan, Pacific Ocean


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Vasco Nunez de Balboa
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     Today a few people get rich by starting their own company, like Bill Gates did with Microsoft. A few people become millionaires by winning the lottery. Back in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, people who wanted to get rich might have gone exploring unknown lands for gold. That is what Vasco Nunez de Balboa did. In 1501 he left Spain and crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a small sailing ship bound for the West Indies, the islands off the east coast of America.
 
2     His adventures really began in 1510 on the island called Hispaniola. After a run of bad luck ended with Balboa deep in debt, he decided to escape. According to the legend, he hid in a cask and was sneaked aboard a ship bound for Central America. When they were far out to sea Balboa suddenly appeared, as if from nowhere. He made the captain angry enough to consider throwing him overboard, but Balboa talked him out of that. He arrived with the ship in Central America.
 
3     In 1511, Balboa founded a colony at Darius. He called it Santa Maria la Antigua del Darius. He chose Darius as his location because there was less resistance from the Indians. At other locations, Balboa and his party had been met by Indians with poison darts, but the Indians at Darius were more peaceful. Balboa's treatment of the Indians may not have been nearly so peaceful. He spent his time hunting for gold and capturing Indians for slaves. His methods have been described as cruel. Sometimes he traded with the Indians, but other times he used force to get what he wanted. Some reports tell of Balboa traveling with fierce war dogs.

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