Mauricio de las Calles, a Spanish explorer and conquistador who rose to prominence during the early 1500’s, was born in the village of Gatobota on the Iberian Peninsula in Spain. De las Calles was the nephew of fellow Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus, who served as his mentor in his youth. By the age of eleven, he was proficient in the use of the astrolabe and studied geography intensively. By the age of thirteen, de las Calles mapped out a route to circumnavigate the globe, using the constellations at the beginning of the Spring Equinox as his guide.

Shortly after his 16th birthday, de las Calles was summoned by Queen Maribella and her court to discover, map, and colonize uncharted western land. The royal family endowed de las Calles with seven vessels to cross the Atlantic Ocean, 500 Spanish soldiers to help colonize land, fifty scholars to help document the journey, and 250 civilians to live in the new found land.

On November 25, 1518, Mauricio de las Calles and his fleet landed on the Eastern coast of modern day Nova Scotia. Upon arrival, they were met by hundreds of hostile native aboriginals, the Akalakapora. Regardless, de las Calles decided to colonize the area. The Akalakapora did not concede, but rather they decided to fight for their land. Because of Spain’s technological advances, the Spanish soldiers easily took the land by exterminating the aboriginals in the Battle of Moktao Bay. Right after, they claimed the land as their own, naming their settlement Callestazo, as a tribute to their leader.

By 1525, Callestazo grew into a main western trading port for European countries coming to the West. Unfortunately, Callestazo did not flourish for more than a decade as sickness ravaged the village and killed 95% of their inhabitants, including Mauricio de las Calles. Today, a statue of Mauricio de las Calles resides in front of the Iberian Palace as a way to preserve his legacy.

-Zack Armada