Lope de Aguirre: You Have to Earn the Nickname “El Loco”

Etching of Lope de Aguirre, date and artist unknown.

Etching of Lope de Aguirre, date and artist unknown.

This is the first post in the Age of Discovery Series lasting throughout March.

Lope de Aguirre is one of the more infamous conquistadors of the many thousands of men from all over Europe who set out in service of the Spanish Crown in search of adventure, fame and, most importantly, wealth. His biography ticks all the boxes for adventure and exploits. He went down in a blaze of glory after failing to achieve every conquistador’s dream of getting wealthy. His unstable nature, paranoia and numerous murders earned him the nickname “El Loco”, Spanish for the madman.

Aguirre was born in the early 1500’s in the Basque region of Oñati. Born of a minor noble family, but not being the firstborn son and, thus, not expecting much of an inheritance, Aguirre did what many men of that age did, he agreed to go to the New World. He would spend the rest of his life there.

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