Pedro Menéndez de Avilés

A Spanish soldier and sailor and governor of the Indies (1519-1574), he led one of the most eventful lives in the history of navigation. He started by chasing pirates and corsairs in the Cantabrian Sea, capturing French ships or recovering other ships captured by the French fleet. He was recognized by Charles I for his merits and named Captain General of the Fleet of the Indies by Philip II, whom he accompanied to England on the occasion of his wedding and who also entrusted him with missions outside the already established routes, putting him at odds with the House of Trade in Seville.

While searching for his son, who had been lost in a shipwreck in Florida, he was commissioned to colonize the peninsula as Adelantado (a title granted to a person in command of an expedition), on the condition that he punished the Protestants. In 1565 he founded St. Augustine, which would become the oldest city in the United States.