The Bayano Wars were armed conflicts in the Isthmus of Panama that occurred between the Bayano of Panama and the Spanish crown.


Edit links
Bayano Wars
Part of North American slave revolts
Date1548-1558 and 1579-1582
Result Suppressed

The Bayano Wars were armed conflicts in the Isthmus of Panama that occurred between the Bayano of Panama and the Spanish crown. The First War of the Bayano took place from 1548 to 1558, while the Second War took place from 1579 and 1582.[1] Slavery, practiced since the early sixteenth century in Panama, brought many enslaved people from Africa to Spanish America. This brought successive slave uprisings against the rulers of the time, which was the origin for the Bayano Wars.


  1. ^ Valencia, Pedro de; Gayo, Gaspar Morocho; Fernández, Francisco Javier Fuente; Jeśus Paniagua Pérez (1993). Obras completas (in Spanish). Secretariado de Publicaciones de la Universidad de León. p. 185. ISBN 978-84-7719-393-7.



Born16th century
Died16th century
Other namesKing Bayano
OccupationMaroon leader
Known forBayano Wars

Bayano, also known as Ballano or Vaino, was an African enslaved by Portuguese who led the biggest slave revolts of 16th century Panama. Captured from the Yoruba community in West Africa, it has been argued that his name means idol.[1] Different tales tell of their revolt in 1552 beginning either on the ship en route, or after landing in Panama's Darien province along its modern-day border with Colombia. Rebel slaves, known as cimarrones, set up autonomous regions known as palenques, many of which successfully fended off Spanish control for centuries using guerrilla war and alliances with pirates, or indigenous nations who were in similar circumstances.

Bayano's forces numbered between four and twelve hundred Cimarrons, depending upon different sources, and set up a palenque known as Ronconcholon near modern-day Chepo River, also known as Rio Bayano. They fought their guerrilla war for over five years while building their community. However, the most important primary source, written in 1581 by Pedro de Aguado, devotes space to their religious life, and describes the activities of a "bishop" who guided the community in prayer, baptized them, and delivered sermons, in a manner that Aguado believed to be essentially Christian.[2] Bayano's forces numbered between 400 and 1200 Maroons, depending on various sources, and established a palenque known as Ronconcholon near today's Chepo River, later known as the Bayano River. They fought their guerrilla war for more than five years while building their community. The Spaniards with Captain Carreño at their head, managed to destroy the Bayano palenque called Rolcolcholon, and after a surprise attack managed to capture Bayano himself, who was taken by Captain Carreño to Governor Sosa who was then in Nombre de Dios. The conciliatory Governor forgave Bayano his crimes and robberies and signed a peace agreement with him, setting him free. It only served to allow him to continue his campaigns of robberies and assaults with more viciousness than before.[3]

Finally Pedro de Ursua captured Bayano and 300 of his men without losing a single soldier. Bayano was sent by the president of Panama to the viceroy of Peru who received him with curiosity to see who and how was the man who had remained for so long in opposition to the authorities, and treated him very courteously, sending him to Spain where he remained until the end of his days in the city of Seville, maintained at the expense of the Royal Treasury for life.[4]

Bayano's name has become immortal in the Panamanian consciousness through the naming of a major river, a lake, a valley, a dam, and several companies after him.

See also


  1. ^ Tardieu, Jean-Pierre (2009). Cimarrones de Panamá: La forja de una identidad afroamericana en el siglo XVI. ISBN 9788484894568.
  2. ^ Pedro de Aguado, Historia de Venezuela, Book 9, chapter 10
  3. ^ EL REY BAYANO LOS CIMARRONES Y SU CAPTURA. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)

Leave a Reply