Barnard Shipp.

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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What is remarkable, there was among the soldiers of Narvaez
scarcely an individual who would return to Cuba. The most im-
portant among the officers of Narvaez were in correspondence with
Cortes. Cortes had all their arms restored to the prisoners, who
showed a remarkable gratitude for the favor they received, and ap-
plauded the confl.dence of the new general with repeated acclamations.

Late in the evening of the same day on which the battle was
fought, the two thousand Chinantla Indians, under tlieir caziques,
and conducted by Barrientos, marched two abreast into Sempoalla
in the best military order. They were all tall, powerful men, armed
with immense lances and large shields; every lancer was followed
by a bowman. In this manner, under the sound of drums and
trumpets, they marched in with feathers waving on their heads,
colors flying, and continually crying out, "Long live the empe-
ror! long live Cortes I" They made such a grand show that,
though they were only two thousand in number, one would have
thought, at first sight, there were three thousand. Narvaez's men
were not a little astonished when they saw these men, and remarked
that they would have fared much worse had they had to encounter


these people, or if they had joined in the attack. Cortes received
kindly the Chinantlan chiefs, thanked them for their trouble, and,
after making them various presents, desired tliem to return to their
homes. Barrientos returned with them, and was particularly ad-
monished by Cortes not to allow them to commit any depredations
in the townships through which they passed.

Narvaez and Salvatierra were now sent under guard to Villa Rica
de la Vera Cruz, and Francisco de Lugo to the harbor Vhere the
flotilla lay, in order to bring all the captains and pilots of the eigh-
teen vessels to Sempoalla. Lugo was ordered to convey on shore all
the sails, rudders, and compasses, so as to render it impossible for
the governor of Cuba to gain information respecting the fate of his
armament. Whoever refused to submit to Lugo, was to be imme-
diately thrown into prison. When the captains and pilots appeared
in the presence of Cortes, he made them take an oath to obey him
in all matters. Pedro Caballero, captain of one of the vessels, wlio
had been bribed with some bars of gold to favor Cortes's party, was
appointed admiral of the flotilla ; and received Instructions not to
allow any vessel to leave the harbor, and if any others should ar-
rive from Cuba — for Cortes had received information that there
were two other ships fitted out there for tliis harbor — to seize them,
and send their sails, rudders, and compasses on shore, and await
further orders.

Cortes soon received information from the city of Mexico that
required his immediate presence there. He, therefore, preparatory
to starting, reviewed his troops, and found that they amounted to
thirteen hundred men, ninety-six horses, eighty crossbow-men, and a
like number of musketeers. This body of troops he considered suf-
ficient to venture fearlessly into Mexico, particularl}' as the caziques
of Tlascala had furnished him with two thousand of their warriors.
Cortes entered the city of Mexico the second time on the 24th of
June, 1520, having entered it the first time on the 8th of November,

Soon after Cortes's arrival in the city of Mexico, he was forcibly
expelled by the natives, but he soon again returned, and invested
the city the 30th of May,-1521, and on the 13th of August, 1521,
Guatimozin was captured, and the war thus terminated. The an-
cient city had been ruined, and Cortes immediately began to build
another on its site. Where had stood the palace of Montezuma,
Cortes built a magnificent palace for himself. On the site of the
great teocalli, he erected the church of San lago. On the 1 5th of

* Bernal Diaz, Conquest of Mexico.


October, 15'24, he wrote to the emperor : "So much expedition has
been used in building houses that many of them have already been
finished and others well advanced ; and great quantities of stone,
lime, wood, and brick, have been collected, which the natives pro-
cure, and with which they all build such large, fine houses, that
your majesty may be assured this will be, in five years' time, the
most noble, populous, and best built city in the whole world."





When, in the year 1518, the fame of the discoveries of Cordova
and Grijalva had spread through the whole of the West Indies,
Anton de Alaminos and another pilot, who liad served on the voy-
ages of those discoverers, persuaded Francisco de Garay, governor
of Jamaica, a man who possessed great wealth, to petition the em-
peror that the discovery of all countries which might lie to the
north of the River St. Peter and Paul, might be granted to him.
For this puVpose Gara}' dispatched Juan de Torralva to Spain with
letters and presents for the president of the council of the Indies
(Fonseca), the licentiates Zapata and Vargas, and the secretary
Conchillos, who governed the affairs of the Indies just as they
thought proper. Garay, therefore, easily obtained the appointment
of adelantado and governor of the provinces bordering on the River
St. Peter and St. Paul, and of all the provinces he should discover.*

In consequence of this appointment, Garay fitted out tliree ves-
sels, the command of which he intrusted to an officer named Alonzo
Alvarez Pineda,f who entered the River Panuco to form a settle-

* A vessel sent by Cortes, in 1535, from the island of Santa Craz, in the Gulf
of California, to Guantepeo, was driven by a violent wind, into the mouth of a
wide river, to which they gave the name of St. Peter and St. Paul.

On a map by Sr. Sanson, published by Hubert Jaillot, a^ Paris, in 1719, there
is a river St. Peter and St. Paul that enters the Gulf of Mexico south of the
river Tuspan, each of which rivers is south of the river Panuco or Tampico.
On the game map the river Palmas is the boundary between New Spain or
Mexico and Florida, and is represented as the largest river between the Panuco
and the Rio del Norte or Rio Grande, and placed about halfway between these
two rivers ; it therefore appears to be the Santander. Alvaro Nunez, in his
account of Narvaez's expedition to Florida, says: "He (Narvaez) had full
power to conquor all the country from the river of Palms to the Cape of Flor-
ida." And the proclamation of Narvaez has the following: " To the inhab-
itants of the countries and provinces from the Rio de Palmas to the Cape of Flor-
ida," thus showing that the Rio de Palmas was the boundary between Mexico
or New Spain and Florida, in 1527, the date of Narvaez's proclamation.

t In the Historical Collection of Louisiana and Florida, by B. F. French,
member of the Louisiana and other historical societies, there is the following :


ment there ; but the Indians massacred him and the greater part of
his troops, and then set fire to his vessels. One of the captains,
however, was so fortunate as to escape, with his men, on board of
one of tlie vessels, and reached Vera Cruz half famished.

Garay, being yet ignorant of the fate of this expedition, sent out
two more vessels, under the command of Diaz de Auz and Rami-
rez ; but when these vessels arrived at the River Panuco and
nowhere met with any traces of the other armament, except a few
pieces of burnt wood of the first vessels, lying on the shore, they,
likewise, put into Vera Cruz. Thus these two expeditions served
only to re-enforce Cortes.

Such is the brief account Diaz gives of these two expeditions ;
but Cortes is more particular in regard to thcipi, in the second let-
ter, or dispatch, he addressed to the emperor Charles V. In that
dispatch, which is dated at Segura de la Prontera, October 30th,
1520, he says : —

" By a ship that I dispatched from this New Spain of your sa-
cred majesty, on the 16th of July, in the year 1519, I transmitted
to your highness a very full and particular report of what had oc-
curred from the time of my arrival in this countrj'* to that date,
which I sent by the hands of Alonzo Hernandez Puertocarrero
and Francisco de Montejo, deputies of La Villa Rica de la Vera
Cruz,f the town I had founded in your majesty's name.

" In consequence of a disaster that has recently happened to me I
have lost all my papers, including the official records of my pro-
ceedings .with the inhabitants of these countries, and many other

" In my former dispatch I mentioned having received information
from the natives, of a certain great lord called Muteczuma. Trust-
ing in the greatness of God and the confidence inspired by the royal
name of your highness, I proposed to go and see him wherever he

"Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda was ordered, by Francisco de Garay, governor of
Jamaica, in 1619, to explore the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, a,nd in sailing
along the coast he discovered the mouths of the Mississippi, and explored all
the shore from Panuco to Cape Florida ; and directing his course north, he
found that Florida was not an island but a peninsula joined to a great conti-
nent (Navarette Viages Menores) in the north; and afterwards returned to
Vera Cruz."

* According to Bernal Diaz, " On Holy Thursday of the year 1519, the whole
fleet arrived in the harbor of San Juan de Ulua, the present Vera Cruz."

t Vera Cruz mentioned in these dispatches is the above, founded by Cortes,
not far from the present town of that name.

} The disaster here alluded to was his expulsion, by the Indians, from the
city of Mexico.


might be. I also recollect having engaged to do more than was in
my power, in regai-d to the demand I intended to make of this per-
sonage, for I assured your majesty that he should be tal^en either
dead or alive, or become a subject of the royal throne of your
majesty. With this determination I departed from the city of Cera-
poal [Serapoalla], to which I gave the name of Sevilla, on the 16th
of August [1519].

" I informed your majesty, I believe, in my former dispatch, that
some of those persons that accompanied me, who had been serv-
ants and friends of Diego Velasquez, had sought to create disaffec-
tion in our ranks, and compel me to abandon the country. Tlie
leaders in this business were four Spaniards, who, as they volun-
tarily confessed, had determined to seize a brigantine then in port,
and, after killing the master, to sail for the island of Fernandina
[Cuba] for tiie purpose of informing Diego Velasquez that I had
dispatched a ship to your majesty, with the names of those who
had sailed in it, and the route it had taken, to enable him to send
vessels in pursuit, and capture it. This he afterwards attempted ;
as I have been informed that he dispatched a caravel after the
ship, which he would have taken if it had not passed on the out-
side.* They also confessed that others had been desirous of send-
ing information to Diego Velasquez. But, besides these, there
were others who entered into the same views, on beholding the
great number and power of the people of the country, while the
Spaniards were so few and inconsiderable. Believing, therefore,
that if I left the shii)s tliere they would mutiny, and all be in-
duced to depart, leaving me almost alone, and by this means the
great service rendered to God and your majesty be made of no
avail, I determined, under the pretext tliat the ships were not sea-
worthy, to cause them to be stranded on' the coast ; thus taking
away all hope of leaving the country, I pursued my route with
greater feeling of security, having no fears, after our backs were
turned, that the people I had left at Vera Cruz would desert me.

" Eight ' or ten days after the ships were stranded, having gone
from Vera Cruz towards the city of Cempoal, which is four leagues
distant, in order to proceed thence on my route [to Mexico], I re-
ceived intelligence from the former place that four ships had
arrived on tlie coast, and that the captain I had left there in com-
mand had gone out to them in a boat, when he was told they
belonged to Francisco de Garay, lieutenant and governor of the
island of Jamaica, and had come on a voyage of discovery. The

* North of Cuba, through the Bahama Channel.


captain informed them that I had founded a colony in the country,
in the name of your majesty, and built a town one league from
where the ships lay ; adding that he would accompany them to the
place, and apprise me of their arrival, and that if their ships were
in want of repairs, they could be made in the harbor, to which he
would pilot them in his boat, at the same time pointing out where
it was. They replied that they had already seen the harbor, having
passed before it, and would do as he suggested. The captain tlien
returned with his boat, but the ships had not followed, nor entered
tlie harbor; they had, however, sailed along the coast, and the
captain was at a loss to know their design ; lie had therefore made
me acquainted with the circumstances. I iminediately returned to
Vera Cruz, where I learned that the ships lay at anchor on the
coast three leagues below ; and that no one liad landed from them.
I then went down to the shore with a number of men to recon-
noitre the ships, and having got within about a league of them, I
met three of their men, among whom was one who styled himself
a notary ; he had taken the other two with him, as he told me, to
witness a certain notification which the captain required him to
serve on me, and which he brought there for the purpose, setting
forth a certain claim on his part ; the substance was that he had
discovered this country and intended to colonize it ; he therefore
required that I should establish with him a line of demarcation ;
and that he proposed to make a settlement at a place five leagues
down the coast, near the former Nautical, a city twelve leagues
from Vera Cruz, now called Almeria. . . . I caused the men who
bad sought to serve me with the notification,' to exchange clothes
with the same number of Spaniards in my party, and I sent the
latter to the shore and directed them to call aloud to the ships. As'
soon as they were discovered, a boat containing ten or twelve men,
armed with crossbows and hand-guns, came to land, and the Span-
iards who had called to them withdrew from the shore, behind some
bushes that grew about there, as if for shade. Four men leaped
on shore from the boat, two crossbow-men and two musketeers, who
were immediately surrounded by the Spaniards, and taken pris-
oners. One of them was master of a ship, who applied the match
to his hand-gun, and would have slain the captain who had been
stationed by me at Vera Cruz, if it had not pleased the Lord that
the match should not give fire. The men who remained in the boat
put off from the shore, and before they reached the ships the sails
were already set without waiting for them, or those on board desir-
ing to know what had become of them. I was informed, by the
prisoners I had taken, that they had reached a river thirty


leagues along the coast, after passing Almeria, where thej^ had met
with a favorable reception from tlie natives, who supplied tliem
with provisions in the way of barter; and that they had seen some
gold, which the Indians brought, although in small quantities.
They obtained in all three thousand castellanos of gold, in trade.
That they did not land upon the coast, but approached the towns
on tlie banks of the river so near as to be able to discern the peo-
ple from the ships ; that they had no stone ediOces, but all their
houses were of thatch, excepting that the ground on which they
were built was raised to a considerable height by tiie labor of the
hand. All this I subsequently learned more fully from the great
lord Muteczuma, and from certain interpreters of that country
that he had with him ; whom, together with an Indian brought in
those ships from that river and taken prisoner by me, I sent with
other messengers from Muteczuma, that they might induce the
sovereign of the river which is called Panuco, to enter the service
of your majestj'. And he sent them back to me with a principal
person, or, as they- term him, the lord of a town, who gave me on
his part, certain cloth, precious stones, and feather-work, and said
that he and all his people were willing to be subjects of your
majesty, and my allies. I made him presents of various articles
from Spain, with which he was greatly pleased ; so much so, tiiat
when he saw other ships of the before-mentioned Francisco de
Garay, the said lord of Panuco sent to inform me that those ships
were in another river (Palmas) five or six days' journey from
thence ;* at the same time he gave them to understand, that if the
persons in the ships were countrymen of mine, he would give them
whatever they wanted ; and accordingly carried them some women,
together with chickens and other articles of food."

"Alonzo de Mendoza, a native of Medellin, whom I dispatched
from this New Spain on the 5th of March of the past year, 1531,
was the bearer of the second relation that I addressed to your
majesty, containing an account of all that had transpired in this
country, which I finished writing on the 30th of October, 1520 ;t

* This refers to the last expedition of Garay ; when sailing for Panueo, his
fleet was carried beyond it to the river Falmas, whence he marched by land to
Panuco, while his fleet followed along the coast. The distance here mentioned,
" five or six, days' journey," appears to indicate that the river Palmas is the
same as the Santander.

t The letters of Cortes are numbered, second, third, and fourth; the first,
not extant, was sent on the 16th of Jnly, 1519.

The dates of Cortes' letters are as follows : The second letter is " Dated at
La Villa de la Frontera, of this New Spain, the 30th of October, 1520."


but on account of unfavorable weather and the loss of tliree ships, bj"-
one of -which I had intended to forward m3' relation to your majesty,
and liy the others to send for aid to tlie island of Espanola, much
delay arose on the part of Mendoza. In the concluding part of
that dispatch I stated, that after we had been expelled from the
city of Temixtitan (iMexico), 1 had marched iagainst the province
of Tepeaca, one of its tributaries that had joined in the rebellion
against us; and that, with the assistance of the Spaniards who had
svirvived, and our Indian allies, I had succeeded in reducing it
again into subjection to your majesty.'?

" I also informed your majesty that there had arrived at the port
of Vera Cruz a caravel belonging to Francisco de Garay, lieutenant-
governor of the island of Jamaica, in great distress, with about
thirty persons on board ; and that two other ships had sailed for
tile river Fannco, where the natives had attacked and routed a cap-
tain of Francisco de Garay, and it was feared that if tiiese landed
there they would likewise suffer from the hostility of the natives.
I also wrote to your majesty, that I bad taken the precaution to dis-
patch immediately a vessel in quest of these sliips, to advise them of
what had occurred ; and no sooner had I written this than it pleased
God one of the ships should arrive at the port of Vera Cruz, in which
came a captain, with about twenty-five men, who was there apprised
of what had befallen the other party, according to the information
received from the commander himself; and I assured them that if
they went to the River Panuco, they would be exposed to great
danger from the Indians. While they yet lay in the harbor, with
the determination of going to that river, there arose a storm, atr
tended by a violent wind, which forced the ship to depart, with the
loss of its cables, and to run into a port on the coast twelve leagues
above, called San Juan ;* when, after landing all the people, to-
gether with seven or eight horses and as many mares, they hauled '
up the ship for repairs, on account of its having sprung a leak. As
soon as I heard these particulars, I wrote immediately to the cap-

The third letter, "From the city of Cuyoaoan, in this New Spain of the
Ocean-sea, the 15th of May, 1522."

The fourth letter, " From the great city of Temixtitan, of this New Spain, the
15th day of Ootoher, 1524."

Cuyoauan was on the main land, situated on the hoxders of the lake and near one
of the causeways leading to the city of Mexico. Cortes had, until the rebuilding
of Mexico, Cuyoacan for his residence after the destruction of the city of Temix-
titan, or Mexico. He dates his fourth letter from Temixtitan, his city built on
the ruins of the Indian city of the same name.

* St. Juan de Ulua, the present Vera Cruz.


tain, assuring biin that I regretted very much what had occurred,
and tliat I had sent directions to the commander at Vera Cruz, to
afford every possible aid to hira and the people with him, supplying
tliem with whatever tliey required ; and that h6 should ascertain
their plans, and, if all or any of tliem wished to return in the
ships that were there, he should give them leave, and allow them to
depart freely. The captain and the people who had arrived with
him determined to remain, and to join me at the place where I was ;
but of the other ship we have not received any intelligence to this
moment, and as much time has elapsed, we are in great doubt as to
her safety."*

" By an order which your imperial majesty, on the petition of
Jiian de Rivera, has granted touching tiie affairs of the adelantado
Francisco de Garay, it appears- your highness was informed tiiat I
had resolved to go or send to the river Panuco for the purpose of
establishing xpeace. One reason was, that tiiere was reported to be
a good harbor at tlie mouth of that river; and, moreover, a number
of Spaniards had been killed there, as well the party sent by Fran-
cisco de Garay, as another belonging to a ship that afterwards
visited that coast, of whom not one was left alive. Some of the
natives of those parts had come to me to excuse themselves for
these murders, saying that they had committed them with the
knowledge tliat the men did not belong to my company, and alleged
that they had been ill-treated by them ; but they assured me that if
J wished to send any of my people there, tliey would receive them
with much attention, and serve them by all means in their power;
that they would be pleased to have me send them ; for they feared
that some of their enemies with whom they had been engaged,
would return to wreak their vengeance on them, since they were
their neighbors, and had done them much mischief; but that the
Spaniards whom I should order there would be^ able to prote6tthem.

" When these people came to me, it was out of my power to com-
ply with their request, but I promised them I would do so in as short
a time as possible ; whereupon they went away contented, having
offered for vassals of your majesty ten or twelve tow.ns of those
nearest to the limits of the dominions of this city. A few days
after they returned to me, earnestly entreating that since I had sent
Spaniards to colonize other parts of the country, I would establish
a colony amongst them also ; otherwise, on account of their having
come to me, they would receive much injurj' from their enemies be-
longing to the same river, and those on tiie sea-coast, although they

* Cortes' third letter, dated Cuyoapan, May 15th, 1522.


were of tlie same race as themselves. In order to comply with the
wishes of these persons, and to found a colony, as I was now better
supplied with men, I directed a captain to go to that river, taking a
certain number of men with him ; and while he was on the eve of
his departure, I learned by a ship that came from the island of Cuba,
that the admiral Don Diego Columbus, and the adelantado Diego
Velasquez, and Fi-ancisco de Garay, had joined their forces, and con-
federated together to effect an entrance into the country at that place,
in order to do me, as ah enemy, all the injury in their power. To
prevent their hostile disposition from taking effect, and guard against
any disturbance being produced by their arrival, as had happened in

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 6 of 75)