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Pedro de Candia, the legendary Cretan Conquistador

Posted: 09 Jan 2016, 11:21
by Erno
Pedro de Candia, the legendary Cretan Conquistador - 9 January, 2016


Pedro de Candia (1485- + 1542) was a Greek Conquistador and explorer. Specialized in the use of firearms and artillery, he participated in the conquest of Peru. He was killed in the Battle of Chupas, (Peru), on 16 September 1542, by Diego de Almagro II.

Early life

He was born on the island of Crete, which then was a Venetian colony known as the Kingdom of Candia, hence his nickname. He left the island through one of his mother's relatives at the service of the Crown of Aragon, who took him to Italy. During his period in Italy he was training to become a Condottieri and trained in the arms ; he fought against the Turks and in the Italian campaigns including the Battle of Pavia, before transferring to the Iberian peninsula to serve the Spanish Catholic Queen and King. Pedro was eventually married at Villalpando with Lucia Garcia, and had a son Manolis, and two daughters Maria and Catalina.

Conquest of Peru

He went to America with Governor Pedro de los Ríos in 1526.

He accompanied Diego de Almagro and Francisco Pizarro during their first explorations along the coasts of Peru, and when the landing at Tacamez, north of Guayaquil, was effected, he already had command of the artillery. He was one of the thirteen men, the "Famous 13", that remained in the islands of Gallo and Gorgona with Pizarro, and during the subsequent explorations of the Peruvian ports he undertook to go in person to the Indian towns and investigate their condition. He then visited Tumbez and then accompanied Pizarro to Spain to inform Charles V of their discoveries, including large treasures of gold and silver, and the emperor made Pedro de Candia commander-in-chief of the artillery of the fleet sent out to conquer Peru.


Peter was wearing an iron armor and helmet, the well-known type of the Spanish conquistadors, and was equipped with an 'arquebus' (The arquebus, sometimes spelled harquebus, harkbus or hackbut; Italian Archibugio, Dutch haakbus, meaning "hook gun", or "hook tube", is an early muzzle-loaded firearm used in the 15th to 17th centuries, a rifle which at that time was the top gun), and landed on the coast. The natives immediately surrounded him and led him to the prince of the city, to which he bowed and then tried to preach the Christian gospel. But they showed no interest but only for the arquebus the Cretan was holding.


When asked to use it he did so, and the loud bang of the gun made all attendending natives fearful, and to fall to the ground. There is even a legend that some wild animals were present there, which fell at the feet of the Greek, tamed and frightened by the loud bang. Meanwhile, the indigenous ruler was so impressed that he told him that he was "holding in his hands the thunder of heaven"!

He was present at the defeat and imprisonment of Atahualpa, and received a large share of the ransom paid by that Inca. While residing at Cuzco, he made arms and ammunition for Pizarro, who was then fighting against Almagro.

After the defeat of Almagro at the Battle of Las Salinas, Candia undertook the conquest of Ambaya beyond the Andes, but was unsuccessful, being finally arrested by order of Hernando Pizarro. Disgusted at his treatment, and deserted by his old friends, he then joined the followers of Almagro and, with the aid of sixteen other Greeks, cast the guns that were taken by young Almagro II to the battle of Chupas, where Candia had decided to support the local natives, but so badly performed in the battle that Almagro II suspected treason and ordered him to be killed after attacking him with his own hands.


and ... -twn-inkas

P.S. Pedro must have been one of the first Cretans obsessed with firearms!

Re: Pedro de Candia, the legendary Cretan Conquistador

Posted: 09 Jan 2016, 22:05
by zam-zammah

let me say that being associated with a bloodthirsty and cruel murderer like Pizzaro and his gang of thiefs and killers who destroyed the Inca civilisation isn't an oustanding merit (even though it seems he eventually changed site and his mind...).
I know, we shouldn't judge with a modern point of view (a part that current times don't seem so different...) but I'm sure Crete has much better examples of greatness and valour.

All the best


Re: Pedro de Candia, the legendary Cretan Conquistador

Posted: 09 Jan 2016, 22:15
by Erno
Hi Marco,

The article was not meant to praise the acts of Pedro. I just published it here as a fact of history which was unknown to me. I did know that several Cretans in ancient times went east, as far as current day Pakistan (Gandhara) and India. But I did not know some went to the west as well.

As they say: if you kill 1 person you are a murderer, if you kil 3 you are a serial killer, if you kill thousands you are a conquerer, and appear in history books...

Most of the 'famous' guys in these books are in fact mass murderers, of course for a 'good' cause... :roll: