Gomez, Esteban

Estêvão Gomes, Esteban Gomez

c.1483-1538. Portuguese navigator who worked for Spain (Estêvão Gomes is the Portuguese spelling.) Piloted one of Magellan's ships on Magellan's around the world voyage in 1519, but mutinied and turned back at Cape Horn for which he was jailed on his return in 1521. Released after the survivors returned in 1522, he convinced Charles V, king of Spain, that he could find a passage through North America. Charles V was concerned about his rival and enemy Francis I of France and his navigator Verrazzano and gave Gomez full support. Gomez sailed in September of 1524. Traditional scholarship has him making the trip from north to south but more recent work indicates it was south to north, which makes more sense, wintering in Cuba (Hispaniola) and then heading north. In 1525 he coasted from Florida to Nova Scotia, returning to Spain in August. A map drawn in 1529 using the results of his voyage showed that he had sailed up into Penobscot Bay, up to what is now Bangor, as well as sighting the offshore islands,;Casco or Muscongus Bay; and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, all in June. He also kidnapped at least 58 natives for eventual sale into slavery; they were freed by Charles V, but not returned to their homeland. Gomez was killed in the West Indies in 1528.