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The history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 online

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Online LibraryBarnard ShippThe history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 → online text (page 1 of 75)
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3 1924 103 985 226

Cornell University

The original of tiiis book is in
tine Cornell University Library.

There are no known copyright restrictions in
the United States on the use of the text.





1512 ™ 1568.






Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1881, by


in the Office of the Librarian of Congreea; All rights reserved.


The Peninsula of Florida was discovered by Juan Ponce de
Leon on Pascua Florida, Palm Sunday, in the year 1512 ; and
because of the day in which > he dfscovered it, he gave it the
name of Florida. It was at that^ime the only part of North
America known, from the Gulf of Honduras to the Island of
Newfoundland. But the name of Florida was not confined to
the country to which Ponce de Leon had given it, as appears
from the following : Bernal Diaz etates tJiat Francisco de Garay,
governor of Jamaica, about the year 1518 petitioned the empe-
ror " that the discovery of all countries which might lie to the
north of the river St. Peter and St. Paul might be granted to
him ;" '' and obtained the appointment of adelantado and gov-
ernor of all the provinces bordering on the river St. Peter and
St. Paul, and of all the provinces he should discover." As this ■
river was south of that of Tuspan, this grant would have em-
braced the country on both sides of the river Panuco. Cortes,
in 1524, wrote to the emperor Charles V. : " Nothing seems to
remain but to explore the coast lying between the river Panuco
and Florida, the latter being the country discovered by the
adelantado Juan Ponce de Leon, and then the northern coast of
Florida as far as the Bacallaos" (Newfoundland). Alvaro Nunez
Gabeya de Yaca says : Pamfilo de Narvaez, in 1527, was ap-
pointed adelantado and governor of Florida, with "full power
to conquer all the country from the river of Palms (Santander)
to the cape of Florida." And Narvaez's proclamation is : " To
the inhabitants of the countries and provinces from the Rio de
Palmas to the cape of Florida." It thus appears that in 1527 the
ocean boundary of Florida extended from the river of Palms (San-
tander) to Bacallaos (Newfoundland). It is the accounts of the
events which occurred in this vast country, from the year 1512


to the year 1568, that have been so arranged in the following
pages as to form a continuous history of Florida during that
period of fifty-six years. And as some of the most important
events of Mexico, or New Spain, and Florida were closely con-
nected, an account has been given of the expeditions that led to
the discovery and conquest of Mexico,, and of the principal
events at that time that- connected the history of Mexico with
that of Florida and the other Spanish provinces of America ;
and thus have been presented some of the most prominent men
of that period, and a general view of the relation of affairs in
the Indies or Spanish possessions in America.

The interior of Florida remained unexplored and unknown
till the expedition of Pamfilo de Narvaez, in the. year 1527,
when Alvaro Nunez Cabega de Vaca, wandering from 1528 to
1536, crossed the continent to the Pacific Ocean, and finally
reached the city of Mexico. The expedition of Narvaez was
succeeded by that of Hernando De Soto, who landed, at Tampa
Bay, in Florida, on the 30th of May, 1539, and marched thence
to the Arkansas Eiver, where, just below its mouth, on the west
bank of the Mississippi Eiver, he died, the 21st of May, 1542.
But after the death of De Soto, his soldiers marched one hun-
dred and fifty Spanish leagues west of the Mississippi "to the
Daycao (probably the Trinity Eiver of Texas), whence they re-
turned to the mouth of the Arkansas.

These two expeditions, Narvaez's and De Soto's, were the first
that gave to Europe a knowledge of the interior of Florida. It
is from them that was. acquired the first information in regard
to some of the principal rivers, the towns, and the population of
the country ; the names and location of the Indian tribes they
met with; the manners and customs of the Indians, and their,
progress towards a state of civilization.

The information derived from the accounts of De Soto's ex-
pedition was for many years the only guide to map-makers in
delineating the interior of Florida, which they did, at 'random,
without regard to the proper location of Indian tribes and
towns, and the rivers ; so that these maps are of no considera-
tion except to show the state of the art at that period, and their
utter ignorance of the interior of Florida. It was not until the
expedition of Eobert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle, in 1678, to the
mouth of the Mississippi Eiver, the voyage of Pierre le Moyne


d'Iberville in the year 1698-1699, and the expeditions of Bien-
ville, La Harpe, St. Denis, and De Sauvol, made known the
lower part of the Mississippi Eiver, and the countries bordering
on it, that a correct map was made of that portion of Florida
through which the expedition of De Soto travelled. But of the
peninsula of Florida, and the sea-coast of Georgia. and South
Carolina, which Eibault and Laudonniere visited in the years
1562-1564, Jacob le Moyne de Morgues, who accompanied Lau-
donniere to Florida in 1564, made a map which shows the rivers
they discovered, the locations of the Indian towns and tribes
they became acquainted with, and a general view of the whole
peninsula of Florida, with the sea-coast of Georgia and South
Carolina. This map, which has been inserted in this book, is
quite interesting and useful in explaining the voyages of Ei-
bault, Laudonniere, and Menendez, and the expeditions they
made; and also in illustrating the account of Florida and- its
ancient Indian tribes by Hernando D'Escalante Fontanedo.

The map of a part of Louisiana, from the map of North Ame-
rica, by Dr. Mitchelle, corrected in 1776 by Brigadier Hawkins,
which is also inserted in this work, shows the country, on the
west of the Mississippi Eiver, through which De Soto and his
followers travelled ; the location of some of the Indian towns
and tribes they visited, and the most westerly points they
reached. Several of these places were afterwards visited by
La Salle, Tonti, La Harpe, and St. Denis, and their locations thus
identified. But the location of Ooligoa, on this map, is incor-
rect, as is also the note to it — that it was the limit of De Soto's
journey — as will plainly appear by a reference to the account of
his expedition. But this map will be useful not only in showing
the location of several Indian towns and tribes visited by De
Soto and his followers, and thus indicating their route, but also
in showing the route of St. Denis to Mexico, and the locations
of some early Spanish settlements in Texas ; and in explaining
several of the notes to this work.

As a knowledge of the sources whence has been derived the
informationjs essential to a due appreciation of a work of this
kind, it becomes necessary to state that nearly everything re-
lated in the following pages has been taken from the accounts
of those who were participators in the events they describe.
Cortes himself gives the history of the province of Panuoo.


Bernal Diaz was a follower of Cordova, Grijalva, and Cortes'.
Verazzani wrote the account of his own voyage. Alvaro Nunez
Cabega de Vaca, who accompanied Narvaez to Florida, tells the
story of his expedition, and of his own wanderings. Biedma,
and the " Portuguese gentleman of Blvas," accompanied the
expedition of De Soto to its end. Grarcilasso Inca de la Vega
was contemporary with the veterans of De Soto, and associated'
with them in Peru and in Spain. Eibault, Laudonniere, and
Gourgue relate the stories of their expeditions to Florida.
Prancisco Lopez de MendozaGrajales, who accompanied Menen-
dez, tells the story of his expedition to Florida ; and Fontanedo
relates what he saw and learned during the seventeen years
of his captivity among the Indians of Florida. To that pre-
cious treasure of the early history of oui: country, the "His-
torical Collections of Louisiana and Florida," by B. F. French,
member of the principal Historical Societies of the United
States, I am especially indebted for much of the most interest-
ing and most important portions of this work. Such are some of
the sources of information ; the others ate the best authors who
have written on the subjects treated of. Thus have I endeav-
ored to give from original sources and the best authorities a full
and correct account of Hernando de Soto, and of the events
which occurred in Florida from 'the year 1512 to the year

As this work has been compiled from different authors, the
orthography of some of the proper names is not uniform
throughout it;, yet the differences in these names are not so
great but that the same persons and places may be recognized in
the different forms. The work of Garcilasso Inca de la Vega,
entitled " Conquest of Florida," is here given complete, with
numerous notes to illustrate and confirm what he relates in re-
gard to " Florida." This work of Garcilasso is given in the
same plain, unostentatious style and form in which it is found
in the French translation of Pierre Riohelet, who appears to
have aimed to give it in all its original simplicity.

There is probably no Spanish hero of America whose fame
is more widespread throughout the United States than that of
Hernando de Soto, and yet, at the same time, of whom so little
is known. The expedition of De Soto into "Florida" was, in
fact, the beginning of the history of this country, whose vast


domain is now the unrivalled region lying betweep the oceans,
the Mexican gulf, and the great lakes. It is to make more par-
ticularly known the first great expedition that revealed to the
world the interior of our country ; to trace the route by which
De Soto travelled ; and to tell the names and indicate the loca-
tions of the Indian towns and tribes of " Florida," first men-
tioned in history, that has' led me to compile and publish this
book ; where can be acquired a knowledge of nearly all the
particulars of one of the most daring expeditions ever under-
taken by the bravest of the early Spanish adventures in Ame-
rica, and which has but a single parallel in the annals of the
new world.


Philadelphia, September '5, 1881.





Introduction 3

I. The Voyage op Francisco Hernandez de Cordova to Yu-
catan — 1517 6

II. The Voyage or Juan de Gkijalva to Mexico — 1518 . . 10

III. The Voyage of Hernando Cortes TO Mexico — 1619 . . 13

The Expedition op Pampilo de Narvaez to Mexico — 1520 . 21

The Expeditions op Francisco de Garay to Panuco — 1519-1523 47

Juan Ponce de Leon — Discovery op Florida — 1509-1521 . . 71


The Voyage op Juan Verazzani along the Atlantic Coast

OP North America — 1524 81


The Expedition op Pampilo de Narvaez to Florida, and the

Wanderings op Alvaro Nunez Cabeza de Vaca — 1527-1536 93


I. Expedition op Francisco Vasquez Coronado to Cibola

AND TiGUEX— 1539-1543 . • 121

II. Pueblos op New Mexico , . 132

III. The Gila and the Casas Gbandes op the Gila, and the

Casas Grandes op San Miguel 136




Heenando de Soto in Nicaragua— 1523-1526 . . . .152


Hbknando Cortes in Honduras — 1524-1526 163

Hernando de Soto in Peru — 1532-1536 182



Garcilasso Inca de la Vega 221

Special Contents 231



Design op the Author ; Boundaries of Florida ; by whom it
WAS Discovered ; Customs op its Inhabitants ; Prepara-
tions OP Hernando de Soto to Conquer it . . . .237


What Happened in the Discovery op the First Eight Pro-
vinces 257


What Happened between the Spaniards and the Indians in
the Province op Apalache . . " 303


Adventures op the Spaniards in Divers Provinces . . . 840



The Reception op the Spaniards in Divekb Provinces and the
Battles which were Fought there 370




The Attack on Fort Alibamo ; the Death op many Spaniards ;
THE Arrival op the Troops at Chisca ; Procession in which
they Adore the Cross; the War between two Caciques;
AN Invention to make Salt ; the Inhabitants op Tula ; and
the Troops Wintering in Utiangub 401


The Discovery op many Provinces, with the Adventures op
THE Spaniards in these Countries, and ther Preparations
POR Mexico 427


Captains ot the Caravels ; Rapts of the Indians ; their
Fight upon the Water ; Death op several Spaniards ; their
Arrival at the Sea; their Adventures as par as Panuco,
AND THE Reception which was given them in the City op
Mexico 463




Events prom the Termination op the Expedition op de Soto
to the Settlement op the French in Florida — 1543-1562 , 491

The First Voyage op Jean Ribault to Florida — 1562 . . 495

The Voyage op Rene Laudonniere to Florida — 1564 . . 510

The Voyage op Pedro Menendez db Aviles — 1565 . . . 544


The Expedition OP Dominique DE GouRGUE TO Florida — 1567 . 562


The Country and Ancient Indian Tribes op Florida, by Her-
nando D'ESCALANTE FONTANEDO — 1551-1568 .... 584




1. The Spanish Government in America 593

2. Indian Bows . 596

3. Indian Language of Signs 598

4. The Deserts of Sonora 599 .

5. Olancho Antiquo 600

6. Tieira-Firme and the Town of Panama 601

7. The Desert of Motupe 603

8. Viracooha and Huana Capae 604

9. Prescott's Opinion of Garcilasso 606

10. Enormous Canes 609

11. Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon 610

12. North American Indians — from the Earliest and most Authentic

Accounts of Virginia 611

13. The Elvas Account of De Soto from the beginning of his Enterprise

to his Arrival and Encampment in Florida 614

14. The Inhabitants of Florida, their Towns and Houses . . . 621

15. Buffaloes 624

16. The Disposal of the Indian Dead .... . . 624

17. Indian Temples and Funerals 626

18. Ancient Artificial Mounds, etc ' . 634

19. Pearls 638

20. The Indian Custom of Presenting Women to their Guests . . 638

21. An Account of the Muscogulge Indians 639

22. The Painted Vulture and Muscogulge Standard .... 651

23. Indian Forts . . . ■ 652

24. Alabama Indians 653

25. An Omission in GarcUasso's " Conquest of Florida" . . . 654

26. The Death and Burial of De Soto 660

27. The Route of Moscoso 660

Tonti's Koute to the Faouadiches 668

St. Denis's Route to Mexico 672

28. Mississippi River 674

29. The Route of De Soto in Florida 676

A List of Indian Names first mentioned in the History of Florida . 681

80. The First Attempt of Protestants to form a Religious Settlement in

America 685






When Columbus, in 1498, had shown the way to the American
continent, daring adventurers, following in his track, soon pene-
trated to the farthest limit of the west ; each succeeding navigator
extending the discoveries of the jpreceding, until finally the
Isthmus of Darien or Panama was reached. Columbus, on the
30th of July, 1502, discovered the Island of Guanaja at the
entrance to the Bay of Honduras. Thence he sailed along the
coast of Central America to the Isthmus of Panama. Thus, was
the continental coast of the Caribbean Sea, from the mouths of the
Orinoco to the Bay of Honduras, explored within the four years
and three months that elapsed from the 31st of July, 1498, when
Columbus discovered the Island of Trinidad, to the 2d of Novem-
ber, 1502, when he anchored in the harbor of Puerto Bello.

The extravagant reports of the wealth of the countries thus
discovered induced enterprising Spanish adventurers to solicit the
colonization df the regions remarkable for their reputed wealth.
For this purpose a vast extent of territory extending from Cape
Yela to Gracias a Dios was formed into two provinces. That
extending from Cape Vela to the Gulf of Darien was named New
Andalusia, the other Yeragua.

In 1510, Martin Fernandez Enciso founded, near the head of the
Gulf of Darien, on the west side, a town which he named Santa
Maria de la Antigua del Darien. This town was the first of any


duration that was ever established by Europeans on the American
continent ; all other attempts to found settlements had proven
abortive, but Santa Maria remained the capital of that province till
1519. Vasco Nunez de Balboa by his superior abilities became the
chief of the colony, and on the 29th of September, 1513, discovered
the South Sea or Pacific Ocean, and thus was a new maritime
world opened to the enterprise of Spain.

In 1514, Ferdinand appointed Pedro Arias de Avila — same as
Pedrarias Davila — governor of Darien. He gave to him tlie com-
mand of fifteen vessels with twelve hundred soldiers, the greatest
armament that to that time had been sent to America. Pedrarias
sailed from St. Luear on the 12th of April, 1514, taking with him
his wife, Donna Isabella de Bobadilla, and, without anj' remarkable
accident, arrived in the Gulf of Darien in the month of June.

At the time of Pedrarias' appointment to the government of
Darien, Santa Maria de la Antigua was, by royal ordinance,
elevated into the metropolitan city of Castilla del Oro, or Golden
Castile, as the country was then called, and a Franciscan friar,
named Juan de Quevedo, was appointed as bishop, with powers to
decide .all cases of conscience. Santa Maria de la Antigua remained
the metropolitan City of the colony until the year 1519, when the
seat of government was removed to the Pacific coast, and tiie town
of Panama built where a settlement had been previously made by
Pedrarias, and thus Panama was the first town ever built by
Europeans on the Pacific coast of the American continent.

During" this period, from 1498 to 1519, within which occurred
the preceding events, St. Domingo, a town on the southern coast of
the Island of Hayti, was the capital of the Indies, as this portion
of the continent was then called. Here Christopher Columbus
resided from September, 1498, to August, 1500. Here Nicholas de
Ovando resided from 1501 to 1509. It was during his admin-
istration that Sebastian de Ocampo circumnavigated the Island of
Cuba, and thus demonstrated that it was an island, of which
previously there were doubts. And here, in 1509, Diego Columbus,
the son of the Admiral, arrived, as governor, and remained until
1515, and from 1520 to 1523 ; during whose administration settle-


ments were attempted in New Andalusia and Veragua, Santa Maiia
de la Antigua founded, Jamaica settled, the pearl fisheries estab-
lished at the Island of Cubagua, and Cuba conquered and settled.

In 1517, the Cardinal Ximenes, regent of Castile, without regard
to the rights claimed by Diego Columbus and to the regulations of
the late king (Ferdinand), determined to send to America three
superintendents of all the colonies. For this purpose he chose
three monks of the order of St. Jerome. He associated with them
Zuazo, a laywer of distinguished probity, to whom he gave full
power to regulate justice in the colonies.





On the SOtli of June, 1514, Pedrarias lahded at Darien, with the
largest body of men that till then had been sent to America. The
provisions brought by the fleet having been damaged, and a scarcity
of food occurring in the colony, sickness soon began among the
new-comers. From the effects of these two causes, famine and sick-
ness, soon half of the men of Pedrarias miserably perished. Of
the remainder, some removed to less unhealthy localities, and some
obtained permission to go to Cuba, which Diego Velasquez had re-
cently conquered. Those who went to Cuba, besides improving
their condition, expected to receive fortunes there. But after re-
maining a couple of years witliout realizing their expectations, some
of the more. energetic of them united with some of the wealthy and
enterprising inhabitants of the island, to form an expedition to dis-
cover new lands.

The peninsula of Florida had been discovered by Juan Ponce de
Leon in 1512, yet it was still considered as an island, and as the
new adventurers of the proposed expedition had lately come from
the continent, it is probable that their views were turned westward
as the direction in which they could hope to reach some portion of
it, where they would have a more extensive 'field for their enterprise
than the narrow limits of an island. Or, it may have been that
they had heard some vague rumor of a wealthy empire to the west.
For it is probable that there had been at times an intercourse be-
tween the island of Cuba and the continental province, Yucatan, to
the west.*

The expedition consisted of three vessels and somewhat more
than one hundred and ten men, commanded by Francisco de
Cordova. It sailed from the harbor of Ajaruco, or Jaruco, on
the northern coast of the island of Cuba, in the early part of the
year 1517. About the first of March they came in sight of land.
From their ships they could perceive a considerable-sized town,

* The Spaniards found on the island of Cozumel, a few hours' sail from Yu-
catan, an Indian woman wIm, in a canoe, had been carried there by the cur-
rents from the island of Jamaica. — Diaz. ^


larger than any town in Cuba, which lay about six miles from the
seashore. On the 5th of March, in the morning, five large canoes
came alongside the ships, and more than thirty of the Indians
climbed on board the principal ship. After satisfying their curi-
osity, they left.

Very early the next morning the cazique called again. He made
known to Cordova, by signs, that he might come to his town ; say-
ing in his language, Con escotoch, con escotoch, which means. Come
with me to my house yonder. The Spaniards, therefore, called this
spot Funta de Cotoche.

Continuing their course more westwardly along the coast, they
discovered many promontories, bays, reefs, and shallows. They all
considered this country an island, because their pilot, Anton de
Alaminos, persisted in it. After sailing for fourteen days they dis-
covered another town of considerable size. Here was a bay with
an inner harbor. It happened to be Sunday Lazari when they
landed, and they, therefore, named this place in honor of that day,
though they were well aware that the Indians called it the land of
Gampeachy. After they had taken in water they re-embarked, and
continued their course for six days and six nights without interrup-
tion, the weather being very fine. They finally espied a village
from their ships, and about three miles further on was a kind
of inner harbor, at the head of which it appeared there might be
some river or brook ; they, therefore, resolved to land here. The
water being uncommonly shallow along this coast, they were com-
pelled to anchor their two large vessels at about three miles' dis-
tance from the shore, They then proceeded with their smallest
vessel and all the boats in order to land at the inner harbor.

It was about midday when they landed. The distance from here
to the village, which was called Potonchan, might be three miles.
Here they found some wells, cornfields, and stone buildings. The
water . casks were soon filled ; but they could not succeed to get
them in the boats, on account of an attack made upon them by
great numbers of the inhabitants, in which attack Cordova received
arrow wounds in no less than twelve difierent places. Diaz received
three, one of which was very dangerous, the arrow having pierced
to the very bone. Others of the Spaniards were wounded, and two
were carried oflF alive. After they had gained their vessels, thej'

Online LibraryBarnard ShippThe history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 → online text (page 1 of 75)