Martín Alonso Pinzón, (Palos de la
Frontera, Huelva; c. 1441 – March 1493), Spanish navigator and explorer. He
sailed with Christopher Columbus on his first voyage to the New World in 1492,
as captain of the Pinta.
Pinzón was born in a family of Spanish ship owners. He was the brother of
Vicente Yáñez Pinzón, and part-owner of the Niña and the Pinta. Vicente was
pilot on the Niña.
Pinzón suggested to Columbus a change of course for their voyage on October 7,
1492. His suggestion brought the fleet into the Bahamas on October 12, 1492.
During the voyage to the Americas Pinzón often disobeyed the orders of
Columbus. Pinzón became separated from Columbus in Cuba on November 21, 1492.
He probably sailed off on his own trying to make individual discoveries and to
find treasures. (In fairness to Pinzon, it should be said that Columbus's
voyage plan for that day - November 21st.- must have seemed pointless and
rather reckless in the circumstances. Columbus was heading back towards the
Bahamian islands which they had already visited. In other words Columbus
seemed intent on returning to a region of islands, shoals and reefs, where
they knew that sailing was difficult and dangerous and where there was little
of significance to profit the voyage.)
Some scholars believe that Pinzón was the first person to discover the island
of Puerto Rico, based on his easterly course after separating from the other
ships while in the Bahamas.
Pinzón rejoined Columbus on January 6, 1493, when the fleet was to sail back
to Spain. On returning to Spain, Pinzón's ship was separated from Columbus by
a storm. Pinzón arrived in Baiona in Galicia, near Vigo, in March 1493 (after
Columbus had already reached Spain, but before he had met with King Ferdinand
and Queen Isabella). Columbus later accused Pinzón of disloyalty. Pinzón
returned to his home in Palos de la Frontera, where he died in November 1493,
probably of syphilis that he caught during the voyage.
Pinzón was a more accomplished sailor than Columbus and was
later granted the title Admiral of the Seas by the Spanish royalty[citation
needed]. While Columbus is credited with the discovery of the New World, the
extensive experience, navigation and seaman's skills of the Pinzón brothers,
was key to the mission's success. There were later recordings of Pinzón's
skill and bravery on the seas.