Balboa Discovers the Pacific Ocean

On this day in 1513, Vasco Núñez de Balboa became the first European to lay eyes on the Pacific Ocean. Balbao first saw the Pacific from the top of a mountain range in present-day Panama. A few days later, upon arriving at its shoreline, Balboa walked knee-deep into the salty water and claimed possession of the world’s largest ocean in the name of the Spanish sovereigns.

Balboa’s legacy lives on today, most notably in the name of Panama City’s main port, Balboa, the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal.