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Gaspar de Carvajal

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Dominican missionary, b. in Estremadura, Spain, c. 1500; d. at Lima, Peru, 1584. Having entered the Order of St. Dominic in Spain, he went to Peru in 1533 and devoted himself to the conversion of the native Indians. In 1540 Carvajal accompanied the famous expedition of Gonzalo Pizarro to the territory of Quixos and the Amazon. After several months of toilsome travel Pizarro and his followers reached Canelos, the limit originally proposed for their expedition; but hearing from the natives of the existence of a rich and fruitful land beyond, they resolved to press forward. They soon found themselves in a country destitute of provisions and infested with tribes of fierce and unfriendly Indians. Coming to the River Napo, Pizarro decided to send a small band of men accompanied by Carvajal and under the command of Francisco de Orellana down the river in search of provisions. Having reached the point of confluence of the Napo and Amazon, Orellana resolved to abandon his brigantine to the course of the river. Carvajal and another member of the expedition, Sánchez de Vargas, protested against this proceeding of dishonour and treachery. They were both promptly landed by Orellana, and later Pizarro and his men found them in the wilderness. The expedition returned to Quito in 1542 with only eighty survivors of the original four hundred. Carvajal was sent by his superiors to the mission of Tucuman, where for several years he laboured with unceasing zeal and devotion for the conversion of the native tribes in this immense territory. Having been elected to the office of provincial, he spent the greater part of four years in organizing and extending the province and founding new convents. In 1565 he was chosen to represent the province of Peru at Rome, but in all probability he did not cross the ocean.

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