Gaspar de Quesada

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Gaspar de Quesada was a Spanish explorer who served as captain of the ship Concepción during the Magellan-Elcano First Circumnavigation of the World. He and two other ship captains tried to overthrow Ferdinand Magellan in the Easter rebellion at the port of San Julián. The mutiny failed, and Magellan had him executed.

Main article: Juan de Cartagena's Mutiny

A tension between Cartagena and Magellan surfaced when the ships anchored in the port of San Julián, Argentina on 1 April 1520. When Magellan decided to wait out the winter and resume the search for a passage in spring, the disputes between the two became more tense. Cartagena did not attend the mass which Magellan organized ashore.

A mutiny began the following morning. Cartagena defended that they should return to Spain after having suffered many hardships and seeing only a few possibilities of success. On 1 April 1520, Cartagena, with the aide of Quesada was able to seize San Antonio, but Magellan got wind of what they did. The next morning, Magellan sent a boat to the two revolted ships and demanded that they should be beached and careened. The boat stayed alongside the San Antonio and pointed guns at its sailors. However, San Antonio’s lieutenant said that they would only take commands from the true admiral of the fleet, that was Cartagena.

As soon as Magellan knew that there was an open mutiny against him, he ordered his chief constable Ambrosio Fernandes to take the necessary measures to repress it. Six well-armed, stalwart men accompanied him to Mendoza's ship Victoria. Fernandes leaped upon the deck and grasped Mendoza tightly in his arms and arrested him. The former’s companions rushed upon the deck, drew their swords, and fell upon those who showed signs of resisting them. Soon, several corpses laid on the deck and the brave fellows were in complete possession of the ship.

Magellan observed how Fernandes killed the traitor Mendoza and ordered the Trinidad to drop down alongside the Victoria. As on as Magellan was on board, he commanded six of the chief offenders to be brought out and hung at yard-arms. Mendoza's body was hoisted by the feet on one of the masts for it to be seen by the crews of other ships.

The chief conspirator Cartagena held out on the San Antonio. As Magellan suspected Cartagena’s force to be too strong for him, he commanded a sailor to pretend as a fugitive to be taken on San Antonio’s board. The sailor was successful on his task and when night came, he cut the cables so that the San Antonio be drifted directly down upon the Victoria. Magellan leaped on board with his men as soon as the ship floated alongside and fiercely attacked Cartagena and the mutineers.

Ending the Mutiny

The ship Concepción, which remained in rebellion, surrendered on 3 April 1520 without a struggle upon seeing the others in the hands of Magellan. Magellan demanded that his prisoners especially the mutiny leaders to be treated with the greatest severity. Quesada was beheaded on 7 April. Cartagena and another conspirator priest Pedro Sanchez de Reina were sentenced to be marooned. On 11 August, the two were taken to a small island off the Patagonian coast and given a small supply of biscuits and drinking water. They were neither seen nor heard of again.




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