Pedro de Valdivia
Pedro Gutierrez de Valdivia was a Spanish conquistador and the first royal governor of Chile. After serving with the Spanish army in Italy and Flanders, he was sent to South America in 1534, where he served under Francisco Pizarro in Peru. In 1540 he led an expedition of 150 Spaniards into Chile, where he defeated a large force of Indians and founded Santiago in 1541. He extended Spanish rule south to the Bio-Bio River in 1546, fought again in Peru (1546 48), and returned to Chile as governor in 1549. He began to conquer Chile south of the Bio-Bio and founded Concepcion in 1550. He was captured and killed in a campaign against the Araucanian Indians.
After the failure of the expedition of Diego de Almagro in 1536, the lands to the south of Peru had remained unexplored. Valdivia asked governor Francisco Pizarro for permission to complete the conquest of that territory. He got his permission but was appointed only Lieutenant Governor, and not Governor as he had wanted.
The expedition was fraught with problems from the beginning. Valdivia had to sell the lands and the mine that had been assigned to him in order to finance the expedition. A shortage of soldiers and adventurers was also problematic since they were not interested in conquering what they were sure were extremely poor lands. Furthermore, while he was preparing the expedition, Pedro Sancho de Hoz arrived from Spain with a royal grant for the same country. To avoid difficulties, Pizarro advised the two competitors to join their interests, and on December 28, 1539, a contract of partnership was signed.
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