1808) obtained his election to the chair of professor of geography at the college of San Michele at Murano; in 1811-1813 he was professor of physics at the Lyceum of Fermo, and afterwards became attached to the customs office at his native city. In 1820 he visited Portugal, and there collected materials for his Essai statistique sur le royaume de Portugal et d'Algarve, published in 1822 at Paris, where the author resided from 1821 until 1832. This was followed by Variétés politiques et statistiques de la monarchie portugaise, which contains some curious observations respecting that country under the Roman sway. In 1826 he published the first volume of his Atlas ethnographique du globe, ou classification des peuples anciens et modernes d'après leurs langues, a work of great erudition. In 1832 appeared the Abrégé de Géographie, which, in an enlarged form, was translated into the principal languages of Europe. Balbi retired to Padua and there died on the 14th of March 1848. His son, Eugenio Balbi (1812-1884), followed a similar career, being professor of geography at Pavia, and publishing his father's Scritti Geografici (Turin, 1841), and original works in Gea, ossia la terra (Trieste, 1854-1867) and Saggio di geografia (Milan, 1868).
BALBO, CESARE, Count (1789-1853), Italian writer and statesman, was born at Turin on the 21st of November 1789. His father, Prospero Balbo, who belonged to a noble Piedmontese family, held a high position in the Sardinian court, and at the time of Cesare's birth was mayor of the capital. His mother, a member of the Azeglio family, died when he was three years old; and he was brought up in the house of his great-grandmother, the countess of Bugino. In 1798 he joined his father at Paris. From 1808 to 1814 Balbo served in various capacities under the Napoleonic empire at Florence, Rome, Paris and in Illyria. On the fall of Napoleon he entered the service of his native country. While his father was appointed minister of the interior, he entered the army, and undertook political missions to Paris and London. On the outbreak of the revolution of 1821, of which he disapproved, although he was suspected of sympathizing with it, he was forced into exile; and though not long after he was allowed to return to Piedmont, all public service was denied him. Reluctantly, and with frequent endeavours to obtain some appointment, he gave himself up to literature as the only means left him to influence the destinies of his country. This accounts for the fitfulness and incompleteness of so much of his literary work, and for the practical, and in many cases temporary, element which runs through even his most elaborate productions. The great object of his labours was to help in securing the independence of Italy from foreign control. Of true Italian unity he had no expectation and no desire, but he was devoted to the house of Savoy, which he foresaw was destined to change the fate of Italy. A confederation of separate states under the supremacy of the pope was the genuine ideal of Balbo, as it was the ostensible one of Gioberti. But Gioberti, in his Primato, seemed to him to neglect the first essential of independence, which he accordingly inculcated in his Speranze or Hopes of Italy, in which he suggests that Austria should seek compensation in the Balkans for the inevitable loss of her Italian provinces. Preparation, both military and moral, alertness and patience were his constant theme. He did not desire revolution, but reform; and thus he became the leader of a moderate party, and the steady opponent not only of despotism but of democracy. At last in 1848 his hopes were to some extent satisfied by the constitution granted by the king. He was appointed a member of the commission on the electoral law, and became first constitutional prime-minister of Piedmont, but only held office a few months. With the ministry of d'Azeglio, which soon after got into power, he was on friendly terms, and his pen continued the active defence of his political principles till his death on the 3rd of June 1853. The most important of his writings are historico-political, and derive at once their majesty and their weakness from his theocratic theory of Christianity. His style is clear and vigorous, and not unfrequently terse and epigrammatic. He published Quattro Novelle in 1829; Storia d'Italia sotto i Barbari in 1830; Vita di Dante, 1839; Meditazioni Storiche, 1842-1845; Le Speranze d'Italia, 1844; Pensieri sulla Storia d'Italia, 1858; Della Monarchia rappresentativa in Italia (Florence, 1857).
See E. Ricotti, Della Vita e degli Scritti di Cesare Balbo (1856); A. Vismara, Bibliografia di Cesare Balbo (Milan, 1882).
BALBOA, VASCO NUÑEZ DE (c. 1475-1517), the discoverer of the Pacific, a leading figure among the Spanish explorers and conquerors of America, was born at Jerez de los Caballeros, in Estremadura, about 1475. Though poor, he was by birth a gentleman (hidalgo). Little is known of his life till 1501, when he followed Rodrigo de Bastidas in his voyage of discovery to the western seas. He appears to have settled in Hispaniola, and took to cultivating land in the neighbourhood of Salvatierra, but with no great success, as his debts soon became oppressive. In 1509 the famous Ojeda (Hojeda) sailed from San Domingo with an expedition and founded the settlement of San Sebastian. He had left orders with Enciso, an adventurous lawyer of the town, to fit out two ships and convey provisions to the new settlement. Enciso set sail in 1510, and Balboa, whose debts made the town unpleasant to him, managed to accompany him by concealing himself, it is said, in a cask of “victuals for the voyage,” which was conveyed from his farm to the ship. The expedition reached San Sebastian to find Ojeda gone and the settlement in ruins. While Enciso was undecided how to act, Balboa proposed that they should sail for Darien, on the Gulf of Uraba, where he had touched when with Bastidas. His proposal was accepted and a new town was founded, named Sta Maria de la Antigua del Darien; but quarrels soon broke out among the adventurers, and Enciso was deposed, thrown into prison and finally sent off to Spain with Balboa's ally, the alcalde Zamudio. Being thus left in authority, Balboa began to conquer the surrounding country, and by his bravery, courtesy, kindness of heart and just dealing gained the friendship of several native chiefs. On one of these excursions he heard for the first time, from the cacique Comogre, of the ocean on the other side of the mountains and of the gold of Peru. Soon after his return to Darien he received letters from Zamudio, informing him that Enciso had complained to the king, and had obtained a sentence condemning Balboa and summoning him to Spain. In his despair at this message Vasco Nuñez resolved to attempt some great enterprise, the success of which he trusted would conciliate his sovereign. On the 1st of September 1513 he set out with one hundred and ninety Spaniards (Francisco Pizarro among them) and one thousand natives; on the 25th or 26th of September he reached the summit of the range, and sighted the Pacific. Pizarro and two others were sent on to reconnoitre; one of these scouts, Alonzo Martin, was the first European actually to embark upon the new-found ocean, in St Michael's Gulf. On the 29th of September Balboa himself arrived upon the shore, and formally took possession of the “Great South Sea” in the name of the Spanish monarch. He remained on the coast for some time, heard again of Peru, visited the Pearl Islands, and thence returned to Darien, which he entered in triumph with a great booty on the 18th of January 1514. He at once sent messengers to Spain bearing presents, to give an account of his discoveries; and the king, Ferdinand the Catholic, partly reconciled to his daring subject, named him Adelantado of the South Sea, or admiral of the Pacific, and governor of Panama and Coyba. None the less an expedition sailed from Spain under Don Pedro Arias de Ávila (generally called Pedrarias Dávila) to replace Balboa in the government of the Darien colony itself. Meanwhile the latter had crossed the isthmus and revisited the Pacific several (some say more than twenty) times; plans of the conquest of Peru and of the exploration of the western ocean began to shape themselves in his mind; and with a view to these projects, materials for shipbuilding were gathered together upon the Pacific coast, and two light brigantines were built, launched and armed. With these Vasco Nuñez now took possession of the Pearl Islands, and, had it not been for the weather, would have reached the coast of Peru. But his career was stopped by the jealousy of Pedrarias, who pretended that Balboa proposed to throw off his allegiance, and enticed him to Acla, near Darien, by a crafty message. As soon as he had him in his power, he threw