Federmann, Nikolaus

Federmann, Nikolaus

(nē`kōlous fā`dərmän), 1501–42, German adventurer in Venezuela and Colombia. In the service of the Welser brothers, Augsburg bankers to whom Charles V had granted rights in Venezuela, Federmann first landed at Santa Ana de CoroSanta Ana de Coro
or Coro
, city (1990 pop. 124,506), capital of Falcón state, NW Venezuela, 7 mi (11.3 km) from the Caribbean Sea, and at the base of the Paraguaná peninsula.
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 in 1530. Contrary to the orders of his commander, Federmann launched an expedition in search of El DoradoEl Dorado
[Span.,=the gilded man], legendary country of the Golden Man sought by adventurers in South America. The legend supposedly originated in a custom of the Chibcha people of Colombia who each year anointed a chieftain and rolled him in gold, which he then ceremonially
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 in 1535, going south to explore the Colombian llanos. Hearing of Jiménez de QuesadaJiménez de Quesada, Gonzalo
, c.1499–1579, Spanish conquistador in Colombia. Chief magistrate of Santa Marta, he was commissioned to explore the Magdalena in search of El Dorado.
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, Federmann and his men climbed the Andes, met Quesada, and in return for a large payment agreed not to dispute the latter's claims. An attempt by BenalcázarBenalcázar or Belalcázar, Sebastián de
, c.1479–1551, Spanish conquistador. After accompanying Columbus on his third voyage (1498), Benalcázar served in Darién and Nicaragua
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 to join with Federmann against Quesada failed. Entering Bogotá, the commanders settled their differences and returned (1539) to Europe to confirm their claims. Federmann, involved in a suit in which he accused the Welsers of defrauding the emperor, died in Madrid after confessing his accusation to have been false.
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