Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Hispanic & Luso-Brazilian Literatures & Languages


Raquel Chang-Rodrí­guez

Subject Categories

Latin American History | Latin American Literature


El Dorado- El Dabaibe; Exempla; Historiography; Lope de Aguirre; Pedro de Ursúa; Sir Francis Drake


This dissertation examines the successful choice of exempla in Fray Pedro Simón's Noticias historiales de las conquistas de Tierra Firme en las Indias Occidentales. It focuses on the study of specific characteristics, implications, and functional methods related to this form of argument throughout three Noticias historiales: Pedro de Ursúa and Lope de Aguirre, 6ta NH, 3ra parte, Francisco César and Cacique Utibara, 2nda NH, 3ra parte, and Sir Francis Drake, 6ta NH, 3ra parte. It also explores the means by which these exempla communicate, instruct, amuse, and persuade the reader. The chronological account of Fray Pedro Simón is a compendium of valuable information regarding the historiography and culture of modern Colombia during its colonial period from the XVI to XVII centuries. Equally revealing is Fray Pedro Simón's awareness and concern of providing a pro patria historical work while writing his Noticias historiales.

The exempla in Noticias historiales are separated while juxtaposed in order to define their complexity and variation. Chapter I deals with sources and material mainly written documents, oral tradition, and the eyewitness account of Fray Pedro Simón that were utilized in composing Noticias historiales. Chapter II posits the myth of El Dorado as the referential exemplum that gave rise to the myth of El Dabaibe. Remembrance of the search for El Dorado treasure proves to be the trigger that manipulates readers in 6ta NH, 3ra parte. Chapter III examines the explicit desire for fame and fortune of Hermo Carado in the Theatrum orbis terrarum (Antwerp, 1570) by Abraham Ortelius. The exemplum of Hermo Carado is made to illustrate the courage shown by the conqueror Francisco César in order to repudiate Cacique Utibara in 2da NH, 3ra parte. Chapter IV explains why the devil is the instrument motivating the abominable actions of Sir Francis Drake in 6ta NH, 3ra parte. The tragic exemplum as used by Pedro Simón proves to be an essential tool for revealing the servants' cowardice in the Spanish Empire. This thesis maps and highlights at the same time Fray Pedro Simón's originality in the use of exempla. It aims at conveying through his narrative, his historical and theological views and concludes by considering the Noticias historiales as one summum exemplum.