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Commentary, completed in 1570 or 1575, and printed at Lisbon in
1609 ; the second part of the same, finished in 1616, and printed at
Lisbon in 1619; the General History of Peru, printed in Cordova
in 1606 ; and the Florida of the Inca, or History of the Adelantado
Fernando de Soto, finished in 1591, and printed in Lisbon in
quarto, in 1605.

The sources of Garcilasso's knowledge in regard to the first part
of the Hoyal Commentaries are principally the information of his
mother and one of his uncles, and his own observations relative to
the religion and customs of his countrymen. He had witnessed in
his youth the ancient usages and ceremonies of the Peruvians, and
mastered many of their ancient traditions. While in Spain, en-
gaged on the Royal Commentaries, he corresponded with his old
companions and school-fellows 6f the inca family in Peru, to collect
materials for bis history.

In tlie work on Peruvian Antiquities by Rivero and Tschudi is
the following sentence : " Finally young Garcilasso did not under-



HISTORY OF THE CONQUEST OF FLORIDA. 223

stand the diflBcult art of deciphering the quipus, an important defi-
ciency which neither an abundance of traditions nor Ingenious con-
jectures could supply." But Preseott, in the excellent critical
notice of Garcilasso, wbich he gives in the first volume of the
" Conquest of Peru," page 293, says that Garcilasso " understood
the science of their quipus." As it was not until after his arrival
in Spain and disappointment in his military career that Garcilasso
devoted himself to literature, his acquaintance with the quipus
could have been of little service to him there. But as the science
of the quipus, which constituted the national archives of the Peru-
vians, was especially and exclusivel}' confined to the members of
the inca family, Garcilasso, in his correspondence with them, could
easily have acquired what information was proper for his purpose ;
and this intimacy and connection with the inca family must have
been in this respect of the greatest advantage to him.

"The Florida of the Inca; or. History of the Adelantado Her-
nando de Soto," was translated in 1670 into the French language
bj' Pierre Richelet, who had been professor of Belles Lettres in the
college of Vitri. But either through a distaste for his profession,
or otherwise, he came to Paris and became a lawyer, associated with
the literati, and lived as a man of letters. He was a man of genius,
distinguished for the correctness and purity of his language ; the
author of an excellent dictionary of the French language, and of
several other literary works. He died in the beginning of the year
1699, when nearly seventy years of age. After a lapse of nearly
forty years, and when the first edition of his translation of Florida
had almost been forgotten, a second was published in the year 1711 ;
an English version of which is the following volume.

Besides Garcilasso's there are two other accounts of De Soto's
expedition to Florida. One by Louis Fernandez de Biedma, who
accompanied the expedition, was presented to the king, and council
of the Indies in 1544. The other was by one of De Soto's oflBcers,
a gentleman of Elvas in Portugal, and was printed at Evora in
1557. The latter was translated from the Portuguese into the Eng-
lish language by Richard Hackluyt, and printed at London 1609.
It was also translated into the French language, in the last third of



224 INTRODUCTION TO THE

the seventeenth century, by M. de Citri de la Giiette,* one of the best
French writers, author of an excellent history of the Triumvirate,
and of a translation of the " Conquest of Mexico." Thus it is evi-
dent that the earliest of these accounts appeared forty-seven, and
the other thirty -four years before Garcilasso finished his "Florida."
As Garcilasso went to Spain in 1560, there were thirtj'-one years
from the time of his arrival to the completion of liis Florida in
1591, to which, and his other works, he devoted himself after retir-
ing from the army. The survivors of De Soto's expedition to Florida,
some of whom had been in Peru, disbanded in the City of Mexico
in 1543. Some went to Peru, where Gaixilasso became acquainted
with them, remained fifteen years after their arrival, and heard re-
lated by them the stories of the expedition. When he went to Spain,
in 1560, he found tliere followers of De Soto ; and even as late as
1591, when he finished his " Florida," there were still living some
of the soldiers of De Soto. But Garcilasso began his literary
labors nearly thirty j'ears before that date, when in all probability
many of the veterans of the expedition still survived. In his
" Florida" he gives the statements made by the soldiers of the ex-
pedition, and refers to authors, other than those already mentioned,
who had treated of the same subject ; while at the same time he had
the advantage of profiting by all previous accounts of the expedition.
Thus circumstances and opportunity favored Garcilasso in an emi-
nent degree ; and he did not fail to take advantage of them to pro-
duce a work which reads more like romance than reality, embellished
in the glowing colors in which he depicts the trials, triumphs, and
tragedy of his hero.

Garcilasso, having derived much of his knowledge of the North
American Indians from the accounts of Mexico, and the reports of
Spanish adventurers, who, having been in Peru and seen the wealth
and populousness of that kingdom, endeavored, by the exaggeration
of their own exploits in Florida, to acquire a reputation rivalling
that of tlie conquerors of Mexico and Peru, and, moreover, having
been influenced by certain similarities in the manners and customs

* It appears to have been published after the first edition of Richelet's trans-
lation of the Coniiiiest of Florida, and before the second.



HISTOEY OF THE CONQUEST OE FLORIDA. 225

of the Peruvians and Floridians, was easily led to believe accounts,
which, fictitious concerning the latter, were not at all improbable in
regard to the former. Hence, the vast armies of Indians, and the
wealth and magnificence of their temples. Nevertheless these were
but exaggerations ; facts were their foundations. There were armies,
and large ones ; there were temples, but rude ones ; there were forts
and magazines ; and there were objects of art.

There sometimes appears to be in the Conquest of Florida a vein
of satire, expressive of Garcilasso's own sentiments, in the addresses
which he makes his Indian caciques deliver. They convey stern
truths which it would not have been prudent for him to have other-
wise expressed. Tet he imparts them in so ingenious a manner,
that while he censures and condemns the injustice and cruelty of
the Spaniards, he offends not their sensibilities nor incurs their
displeasure.

De Soils, in his " History of the Conquest of Mexico," alluding
to the works of Garcilasso, says : As for his " History of Peru," it
is found separate in two volumes which the inca Garcilasso has com-
posed, and this author is so exact in choosing his memoirs, and so
flowery in his style, for the time in which he wrote, that I would
condemn the temerity of him who should undertake to excel it, and
would give great eulogy to any one who could imitate it in finishing
this history. Such is the testimon};- which an eminent Spanish au-
thor bears to the merit of one of the works of Garcilasso : he has
not been less exact and flowery in his " History of Florida."

What Prescott,' in his critical notice of Garcilasso, says of the
" Commentarios Reales," is, in a manner, applicable to the " Florida
of the Inca;" his words are: " Garcilasso, in short, was the repre-
sentative of the conquered race, and we might expect to find the
lights and siiadows of the picture disposed, under his pencil, so as
to produce an effect very different from that which they had hitherto
exhibited under the hands of the conquerors."

" Sucli, to a certain extent, is the fact ; and this circumstance
affords a means of comparison, which would alone render his works
of great value in arriving at just historic conclusions. But Garci-
lasso wrote late in life, after the story had been often told by Cas-
tilian writers. The stores of information which he 'has collected
15



226 INTEODtFCTION TO THE

have made his work a large repository whence later laborers in tlie
same field have drawn copious materials. He writes from the ful-
ness of his heart, and illuminates every topic that he touches with
a variety ands^-ichness of illustration that leave little to be desired
b3^ the most importunate curiosity."

"Our debt is large to the antiquarian who, with conscientious
precision, lays broad and deep the foundations of historic truth ;
and no less to the philosophic annalist who exhibits man in the
dress of public life — man in masquerade. But our gratitude must
surely not be withheld from those who, like Garcilasso de la Vega
and many a romancer of the middle ages, have held up the mirror
— distorted though it may somewhat be — to the interior of life,
reflecting every object, the great and the mean, the beautiful and
the deformed, with their natural prominence and their vivacity of
coloring, to the eye of the spectator. As a work of art, such a
production may be thought to be below criticism. But, although
it defies tke rules of art in its compositioi), it does not necessarily
violate the principles of taste ; for it conforms, in its spirit, to the
spirit of the age in which it was written.- And the critic who coldly
condemns it on the severe principles of art,' will find a charm in its
very simplicity that will make him recur again and again to its
pages, while more correct and classical compositions are laid aside
and forgotten.

" Garcilasso died a few months after finishing, in 1616, the ' Second
Part of the Royal Commentaries,' thus closing his labors with his
life at the age of seventy-six. His remains were interred in the
cathedral church of Cordova, in a chapel which bears the name of
Garcilasso, and an inscription was placed on his monument, inti-
mating the liigh respect in which the historian was held, both for
his moral worth and his literary attainments."

The Preface to the French version of " Tlie Conquest of Florida"
("Printed at Lille in 1711") gives some curious facts in regard to
Garcilasso's works : —

" For forty years they had nearly forgotten this rare book of
Garcilasso de la Vega. Perhaps it liad had, in its time, the same
fate as the other works of this historian, translated into French bj'
the famous translator or metaphrast Jean Baudouin. But if there



HISTOKY OF THE CONQUEST OF FLORIDA. 227

was some reason not to do entire justice to a celebrated author
whom Baudouin had rendered nearly unrecognizable in disguising
him in our language, we cannot say the same thing in regard to the
' History of the Conquest of Florida.' The translator is not less
celebrated among us than the author is in Spain and America."

We have four important works of this author : " The History of
the Kings of Peru," that of " The Civil Wars of the .Spaniards in
the Indies," " The General History of Peru," and " The Account of
the Conquest of Florida," all four written in the Castilian language
with much ifaore of ingenuousness and accuracy than of art and
elegance. He shows a great knowledge of the condition of America.

His history of the incas, whicli he calls Royal Commentary, is
written judiciously and accurately. The second work includes the
civil wars which the Spanish conquerors of Peru made against each
other, and we observe that Providence has made use of the Span-
iards to avenge upon the Spaniards themselves the great cruelties
which they had committed in the conquest of this country, the
inhabitants of which submitted without trouble to their domination.
The mutual jealousy and avidity which they had at the sight of so
much wealth which they discovered were the causes why they
mutually destroyed each other ; and they did not lay down tlieir
arms until all those who had committed these unheard-of cruelties
had perished by the sword, the fire, or the hands of tlie executioner.

These two works were translated into our language by Jean
Baudouin, of the French Academy, and published at Paris, the first
in 1633, and the second in 1658, after the death of Baudouin. This
translation, though good in the main, had quite an extraordinary
fate. The booksellers, who saw tliat at first it had not any sale,
regarded it as a very poor book, and thej' did with it wliat thej' had
done with the works of Pelletier, and wh:it they should do with a
hundred other books with which the world is flooded every day.
When the copies had been sacrificed to the grocers, they became
rare. Their rarity was the reason why they were sought aftei' and
esteemed. They had risen to such an excessive price, especially tlie
"Royal Commentary," that twelve crowns were scarcely sufficient
to purchase the two volumes in quarto. But the booksellers of
Holland, more industrious and more observant than those of other
nations, had them reprinted in 1705 and 1706, in four volumes
duodecimo. They rendered even a double service to the public in
this reprint; For altliough Baudouin was leai'ned, altiiough he had
an easy, natural French style, nevertheless his fortune did not
permit him to give to his writing all the time and attention which it
required. They, therefore, were obliged to remady in the new edition



228 INTEODUCTION TO HISTORY OF CONQUEST OF FLORIDA.

tbe defects of the translator. Baudouin had followed his author
step by step, and he had translated tedious and sometimes useless
repetitions much less tolerable in our language than in any other.
They have retrenched in the new edition all those that might do
injury to the text. And as nearly eighty years over a French
translation had altered the language of it, and also changed among
us our ideas, characters, and customs, they have remedied it, and
there is scarcely a sentence that has not been repaired and reno-
vated.

We have not had this trouble in the new edition which we here
give, of the "Conquest of Florida," which is the fourth work of
Garcilasso. The translation is by a master hand; but before speak-
ing of the translator we shall say a word of the work itself. We
cannot describe with more accuracy than is here done all that has
happened in the expedition to Florida. If this work does honor to
Garcilasso, it is not less glorious to the Spaniards and Indians. We
see, in the first, an extraordinary endurance, which could not be
inspired but by an excessive love of glory or of riches. The Indians
exhibit a courage and judgment much above the idea that is gene-
rally formed of a barbarous people. This history does not appear
written upon mere hearsay, as a modern author* has pretended. It
was necessary that Garcilasso, in order to enter, as he has done,
into such an excellent account, should have had statements accurate
and well authenticated. His manner of narrating is insinuating. If
there is anything to object to 'him, it is in having too much of detail
and some minutife. But even trifles, to him who knows how to place
them properly, all serve to make known the man. He accompanies
his narrative with judicious reflections, and these reflections flow
naturalljr from his subject. Garcilasso finished this work in 1591,
more than thirty years after he had arrived in Spain. '

We know what sort of a man Richelet was for the purity of
our language. And if we would make one conceive something cor-
rect and chaste, it is suflScient to say that this version i§ from him.
He is too well known to the world by his excellent dictionary for us
to undertake to say much of him here.

* De Citri de la Giiette, iu the preface to his translation of the " Conquest of
Florida," by a Portuguese gentleman.



HISTORY



THE CONQUEST OF FLORIDA;



OB,



A NARRATIVE OF WHAT OCCURRED IN THE EXPLORATION
OF THIS COUNTRY BY HERNANDO DE SOTO.



BY

THE mCA GARCILASSO DE LA VEGA.



TRANSLATED FKOM THE FRENCH VERSION OF

PIEERE RICHELET,
FROM THE OKIGINAL SPANISH.



CONTENTS.



PAET FIRST.
BOOK FIRST.

PAOE

Chapter I. Design of the Author 237

II. Bounds of Florida 238

III. Those who have undertaken the Conquest of Florida . 239

IV. Eeligion and Customs of the People of Florida . . 241
v. Preparations for Florida 243

VI. Embarkation for Florida 244

Vll. What happened to the Army from San Lucar to Cuba . 24.5

VIII. Combat of two Ships 248

IX. Arrival of De Soto at Cuba 250

X. Despair of some of the Inhabitants of Cuba . . . 251

XI. Vasco Porcallo de Figueroajoins. the Army . . . 252

XII. Soto arrives at Havana 253

XIII. The Adventure of Ferdinand Ponce at Havana . . 254



BOOK SECOND.

Chapter I. The arrival of Hernando de Soto in Florida . . . 257

II. The death of three Spaniards, and the tortures which

Juan Ortis suffered 259

III. The Escape of Ortis 261

IV. The generosity of the Cacique MncoQo .... 262
V. The General sends to demand Ortis .... 264

VI. The Meeting of Ortis and Gallego 265

VII. MucoQo visits the General 267

VIII. The Mother of Mucoqo comes to the Camp . . . 268

IX. Preparations to advance into the Country . . . 269

X. Continuation of the Discovery 271

XI. The Misfortune of Porcallo 272

XII. The Report of Gallego 273

XIII. The Passage of the Swamp 274

XIV. Sllvestre carries the orders of the General to Moscoso . 276
XV. The return of Silvestre 278

XVI. The Province of Acuera 279



232



CONTENTS.



Chapter XVII.

XVIII.
XIX.

XX.

XXI.
XXII.

xxin.

XXIV.
XXV.

XXVI.
XXVII.

XXVIII.



The entry of the Spaniards into the Province of

Ocaly

The Province of Vitachuco ....
The brother of Ochile comes to the Gamp, and sends

for Vitachuco . ....

The Arrival of Vitachuco ....
The Eesult of the Enterprise of Vitachuco .
The Defeat of the Indians ....
The Fortitude of the Indians, and their exit from

the Pond

The Death of Vitachuco
The Consequence of the Death of Vitachuco
The Province of Ossachile ....
Concerning the Town and House of the Cacique,

Ossachile, and the Capitals of other Provinces
The author anticipates some difficulties .



281
283

285
288
290
291

293

296
298
299

300
301



BOOK THIRD.



Chapter I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

X.

XI.

XII.

XIII.

XIV.
XV.

XVI.

XVII.

XVIII.

XIX.

XX.



The Arrival of the Troops at Apalache .

The Passage of the Swamp .....

The March of the Spaniards to the Capital

They reconnoitre the Country

The Discovery of the Coast . . ' .

A Party of Thirty Lancers for the Province of Hirriga

The Capture of Capasi

Capasi goes to quell his subjects, and escapes .
Continuation of the March of the thirty Lancers .
Continuation of the Journey of the thirty Lancers to

Hirriga .......

The Arrival of the Party at Hirriga . . .

They execute the Orders of the General .

What happened in the Neighborhood of Hirriga during

the absence of Soto

The Departure from the Town of Hirriga
Continuation of the March of Calderon, and his arrival

the Camp

The Discovery of the Coast

They send to Havana an account of the Discovery .

The intrepidity of an Indian

They offer to conduct the Spaniards to Places where they

believe there were Gold and Silver
Concerning some single Combats, and the fertility

Apalache . . . .



at



of



303
304
306
308
309
312
315
316
318

321
324
326

326
328

330
334
335
336

337

338



CONTENTS.



233



BOOK FOURTH.

Chapter I. Departure from Apalache

II. Arrival in the Provinces of Altapaha and Achalaque

III. Concerning the Cacique Cofa and his province

IV. Cofaqui receives the Spaniards ....
Y. The Adventure of an Indian

VI. The March of the Troops

VII. Continuation of what happened in the Wilderness . ,

VIII. The success of the Captains sent out to explore

IX. Arrival of the General at Cofaciqui, and the Discovery of

the Country . -

X. The Conduct of the Lady of Cofaciqui .

XI. The Army crosses the Cofaciqui River .

XII. They send for the Mother of the Lady of Cofaciqui.

XIII. The Death of the Indian Chief, and the return of the

Envoys

XIV. The Metal which they found in Cofaciqui
XV. The Temple where were interred the most distinguished

Inhabitants of Cofaciqui

XVI. Description of the Temple of Talomeco ...
XVII. Departure from Cofaciqui, and what happened on the

March as far as Ohovala

XVIII. The generosity of the Lady of Cofaciqui .

XIX. What happened to the Troops in the Wilderness



PAGE

340
342
343
344
346
347
350
351

352
354
356
357

358
360

361
362

366
367
369



PART SECOND.

BOOK FIRST.

Chapter I. How the Caciques of Guachoule and Iciaha received the

Troops 370

II. The Manner in which the Indians extract Pearls from

their Shells 371

III. The Eeception of the Spaniards in the Provinces of Acos-

te and Coga 373

IV. The Civility of the Cacique Coga, and the Departure of

the Troops 374

V. The Manner in which Tascalnca received the General . 376
VI. The Discovery of the Treachery at Mauvila . . . 378
VII. The Decision of the Council of the Cacique, and the be-
ginning of the Battle of Mauvila .... 380
VIII. Continuation of the Battle of Mauvila .... 382
IX. Some particulars concerning the Battle .... 386
X. The Condition of the Spaniards after the Battle . . 387



234



CONTENTS.



PAUB .

Chapteb XI. Indians killed in Battle 388

XII. The Conduct of the Troops after the Battle, and the

Mutiny of some Soldiers 389

XIII. Concerning Indian Adulteresses 392

XIY. The Entrance of the Spaniards into the Province of

Chicapa 394

XV. The Battle of Chicaga 396

XVI. What the Spaniards did after the Battle . . .399

XVII. An Invention against Cold . . . . . . 400



BOOK SECOND.

Chapter I. The Attack upon .Fort Alibamo ....
II. The Death of many Spaniards for want of Salt

III. The Troops arrive at Chisca, and make Peace with the

Cacique

IV. What happened to the Spaniards from Chisca to Casquin
V. A Procession in which they adore the Cross .

VI. The March of the Troops to Capaha
VII. The Excesses which the Casquins committed in the Temple
of Capaha, and the Pursuit of the Cacique .
VIII. The Casquins flee, and Soto makes Peace with Capaha
IX. Peace between Casqain and Capaha
X. The Spaniards send to seek Salt, and go to the Province

of Quiguate

XI. The Troops arrive at Colima ; they make Salt and pro

ceed to Tula

XII. The Inhabitants of Tula

XIII. The Combat of an Indian with four Spaniards

XIV. The Departure from Tula, and the wintering of the Troops

at Utiangue

XV. The Stratagem of the Cacique of Utiangue, and the Dis-
covery of the Province of Naguatex .



401
403

404
406
408
410

411
413
415

417

419
421
422

424

426



Chapter I.

II.
III.
IV.

V.

VI.
VII.

VIII.
IX.



BOOK THIRD.

The Entry of the Troops into Naguatex .

The Flight of Gusman . . . .

Concerning the Province of Guacane

The March of the Troops to the Provioe of Anilco

Concerning Guachoia, its Cacique, and the War of the

Indians

The Vengeance of Guachoia ....
The Return of the General to the Town of Guachoia

his Preparations for Mexico
The Death of Soto .......

The Funeral of Soto



, and



427
428
430
431

432
434

436
437
438



CONTENTS.



235



Chapter X.

XI.
XII.

xni.

XIV.

XV.

XVI.

XVII.

XVII [.

XIX.

XX.

XXI.
XXII.

XXIII.



The Decision of the Troops after the death of their
General .

The Superstition of the Indians . ' .

The arrival of the Spaniards at Anche, and the Death
of their Guide

What happened in the Province of Herdsmen

The Return of the Spaniards to the Chucagua, and their
Adventures

The Troops take possession of Aminoia

The Conduct of two Caciques to the Spaniards .

The League of some Caciques . ". . .

The Quarrel of Guachoia with the Lieutenant of Anilco

Concerning an Indian Spy .....

The Preparations of the Leagued Caciques ; and an
overflow of the Chucagua ....

They send to Anilco

The Conduct of the Spaniards during the overflow, and
the News of the Continuation of the League .

Concerning the Envoys of the League, and the Prepara-
tions of the Spaniards to Embark



439
440

441
443

445
449
4.')0
452
453
455

457
458

460

461



BOOK FOURTH.

Chapter I. The Captains of the Caravels, and the Embarkation of

the Troops . . . • . . . . . .463

II. The Boats and Rafts of the Indians 464

III. The Vessels of the Fleet of the allied Caciques . . 465

IV. The Battle with the Indians upon the River . . . 466



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 25 of 75)