Balboa Panama coinIn 1513, Spanish explorer Vasco Nuñez de Balboa (1475-1519; pictured on Panama coin) was in the thick of what is now Panama in Central America when he wrote a letter to the King of Spain asking for a variety of specialized workers, such as carpenters and soldiers.

After all, he had just waded into the Pacific Ocean.

But he must of had a bad experience with lawyers as he added to his letter:

"One thing I supplicate your Majesty - that you will give orders, under grant of great penalty, that no bachelors of law should be allowed to come here for not only are they bad themselves, but they also make and contrive a thousand inequities."

His fears may have been founded.

Harsh Spanish law had indeed arrived in the New World.

A few years later, Balboa was arrested and charged with usurping the authority of a new Spanish governor.

The famous explorer was quickly tried, sentenced to death and beheaded in January of 1519.