Martín Fernández de Enciso

Martín Fernández de Enciso

Martín Fernández de Enciso (c. 1470 – 1528) was a navigator and geographer from Seville, Spain. He was instrumental in colonising the Isthmus of Darien.[1] Fernandez de Enciso founded a village near the Cabo de la Vela with the name Nuestra Señora Santa María de los Remedios del Cabo de la Vela, the first settlement in the Guajira Peninsula. Due to constant attacks from the indigenous and pirates the village was moved to present-day Riohacha in 1544.[2] His Summa de Geografia que trata de todas las partidas e provincias del mundo, published in 1519 in Seville, was the first account in the Spanish language of the discoveries of the New World.[1]

Fernández' 1509 expedition from Santo Domingo to aid Alonso de Ojeda saw Vasco Núñez de Balboa stow away on his ship.

In his work Summa de Geografía, he states that they found an indigenous population who called themselves the "Veneciuela," which suggests that the name "Venezuela" may have evolved from the native word.[3] The conventional etymology of Venezuela cites Amerigo Vespucci identifying the indigenous palafitos as reminding Vespucci of Venice, and therefore coming up with the name "Little Venice".


  1. ^ a b Martín Fernández de Enciso - Catholic Encyclopedia article
  2. ^ Luis Angel Arango Library: History of La Guajira
  3. ^ "Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos" (in Spanish). Instituto de Cultura Hispánica (Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional). 1958. p. 386.