In addition, Orellana took the brigantine with him, and left Gonzalo in even worse shape than before.
On the other hand, a case could be made for Orellana's heroism. Though he had agreed to return to Gonzalo, he was already over 700 miles downstream before he found any food. It would have taken so long to return upstream that the food would have been gone anyway and Orellano would have risked his men's lives if they tried to return to Pizarro through hostile territory. Besides, Orellana alone did not decide to go downriver. His men wrote a petition demanding that they not return to Pizarro. For Orellano, to continue on with his men was the lesser of two evils.
The Leadership of Orellana
During Orellana's expedition down the Amazon, he was asked to dictate to his recorder, Enriquez, the rules he felt were important for being a successful leader of Spanish soldiers. Orellana refused to sign them or take any personal credit for them, since he said they came from many military manuals of the time. [more]