John of the Thing


July 3, 2022

Juan de la Cosa (Santoña, c. 1460 - Yurbacos, 28 February 1510) was a Spanish navigator. Pilot and cartographer of Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Alonso de Ojeda, Rodrigo de Bastidas and Juan Díaz de Solís, he is remembered for having drawn up the first globe showing the lands of the New World in 1500.


1492: he was the pilot of Christopher Columbus in the first voyage of 1492. he was the owner of the ship Santa María, which was wrecked during the expedition. For this loss he received compensation. 1493: he participated as a pilot in the second voyage of Columbus. He was in command of the Santa Clara ship. 1497: he participated in the trip of 1497 with Amerigo Vespucci. The commander of this expedition was probably Juan Díaz de Solís. On this journey the three explorers touched the lands of the Guajira peninsula in Colombia, then identified the current lake of Maracaibo; here Vespucci noticed the pile dwellings he encountered on the shores of the lake and said they looked like a "little Venice", which in Spanish is pronounced Venezuela. The expedition continued along the Central American coasts and returned to the Ocean Sea passing between the island of Cuba and the Florida peninsula. 1499: he traveled in the expedition of Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci. On his return from this trip Juan de la Cosa drew up the famous globe. 1501: he traveled with Rodrigo de Bastidas and Vasco Núñez de Balboa. On this trip Juan de la Cosa mapped the current coasts of the Colombian territory from the Cabo de la Vela to the Gulf of Urabá. 1504: Juan de la Cosa was named "Aguacil Mayor de Urabá", and he traveled again to the Gulf of Urabá, saved the life of the Sevillian merchant Guerra and received a large sum (50,000 maravedis) as a reward for his explorations; he then made his way to the island of Hispaniola, where he remained for two years. 1509: Juan de la Cosa's last journey. In an expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda, the Cantabrian was again a skilled pilot and cartographer. De Ojeda did not follow de la Cosa's advice and wanted to found an outpost where the city of Cartagena currently exists. In that place there were ferocious natives and so the Spaniards were caught in an ambush in Yurbacos (present-day Turbaco, not far from Cartagena de Indias), where Juan de la Cosa died.

The globe

In June 1500 Juan de la Cosa returned to Cadiz and drew up the first world map in which American lands appear for the rulers of Spain. The map was made vertically, i.e. the West corresponds to the upper part and the East the lower part. In the upper part there is an effigy of San Cristoforo, but it can also be considered as a portrait of Christopher Columbus; in addition there is an inscription that says: "Juan de la Cosa did it in the year 1500".

Other projects

Wikimedia Commons contains images or other files about Juan de la Cosa

External links

What, Juan de la-, on, De Agostini. (EN) Juan de la Cosa, in Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. (ES) Juan de la Cosa, in Diccionario biográfico español, Real Academia de la Historia. Works by Juan de la Cosa, on openMLOL, Horizons Unlimited srl. Juan de la Cosa, in Catholic Encyclopedia, Robert Appleton Company.