BY A GENTLEMAN OF ELVAS.
PUBLISHED AT EVORA 1557.
TRANSLATED FROM THE PORTUGUESE
CAPTAIN SOTO was the son of a squire of Xerez of Badajoz. He went into the Spanish Indies, when Peter Arias of Avila was Governor of the West Indies. And there he was without anything else of his own, save his sword and target: and for his good qualities and valor, Peter Arias made him captain of a troop of horsemen, and by his commandment he went with Fernando Pizarro to the conquest of Peru: where (as many persons of credit reported, which were there present) as well at the taking of Atabalipa, Lord of Peru, as at the assault of the city of Cusco, and in all other places where they found resistance, wheresoever he was present, he passed all other captains and principal persons. For which cause, besides his part of the treasure of Atabalipa, he had a good share; whereby in time he gathered a hundred and four score thousand ducats together, with that which fell to his part; which he brought into Spain; whereof the Emperor borrowed a certain part, which he repaid again with 60,000 rials of plate in the rent of the silks of Granada, and all the rest was delivered him in the contractation house of Seville. He took servants to wit, a steward, a gentleman usher, pages, a gentleman of the horse, a chamberlain, lackeys, and all other officers that the house of a noble may require. From Seville he went to the court, and in the court, there accompanied him John Danusco of Seville, and Lewis Moscoso D'Alvarado, Nuño de Touar, and John Rodriguez Lobillo. Except John Danusco, all the rest came with him from Peru: and every one of them brought fourteen or fifteen thousand ducats: all of them went well and costly appareled. And although Soto of his own nature was not liberal, yet because that was the first time that he was to show himself in the court, he spent frankly, and went accompanied with those which I have named, and with his servants, and many others which resorted unto him. He married with Donna Isabella de Bobadilla, daughter of Peter Arias of Avila, Earl of Punno en Rostro. The Emperor made him the Governor of the Isle of Cuba, and Adelantado or President of Florida; with a title of Marquis of certain part of the lands that he should conquer.
When Don Ferdinando had obtained the government, there came a gentleman from the Indies to the court, named Cabeça de Vaca, which had been with the Governor Pamphilo de Narvaez which died in Florida, who reported that Narvaez was cast away at sea with all the company that went with him. And how he with four more escaped and arrived in Nueva España. Also he brought a relation in writing, of that which he had seen in Florida; which said in some places: In such a place I have seen this; and the rest which here I saw, I leave to confer of between his Majesty and myself. Generally he reported the misery of the country, and the troubles which he passed: and he told some of his kinsfolk, which were desirous to go into the Indies, and urged him very much to tell them whether he had seen any rich country in Florida, that he might not tell them, because he and another, whose name was Orantes, (who remained in Nueva España with purpose to return into Florida: for which intent he came into Spain to beg the government thereof of the Emperor) had sworn not to discover some of those things which they had seen, because no man should prevent them in begging the same. And he informed them that it was the richest country of the world. Don Ferdinando de Soto was very desirous to have him with him, and made him a favorable offer: and after they were agreed, because Soto gave him not a sum of money which he demanded to buy a ship, they broke off again. Baltasar de Gallegos, and Christopher de Spindola, the kinsmen of Cabeça de Vaca, told him, that for that which he had imparted to them, they were resolved to pass with Soto into Florida, and therefore they prayed him to advise them what they were best to do. Cabeça de Vaca told them, that the cause why he went not with Soto, was because he hoped to beg another government, and that he was loth to go under the command of another: and that he came to beg the conquest of Florida: but seeing Don Ferdinando de Soto had gotten it already, for his oath's sake he might tell them nothing of that which they would know: but he counseled them to sell their goods and go with him, and that in so doing they should do well. As soon as he had opportunity, he spake with the Emperor, and related unto him whatsoever he had passed and seen, and come to understand. Of this relation, made by word of mouth to the Emperor, the Marquis of Astorya had notice, and forthwith determined to send with Don Ferdinando de Soto his brother Don Antonio Osorio: and with him two kinsmen of his prepared themselves, to wit, Francis Osorio, and Garcia Osorio. Don Antonio dispossessed himself of 60,000 rials of rent which he held by the church; and Francis Osorio of a town of vassals, which he had in the country de Campos. And they made their rendezvous with the Adelantado in Seville. The like did Nuñez de Touar, and Lewis de Moscoso, and John Rodriguez Lobillo, each of whom had brought from Peru fourteen or fifteen thousand ducats. Lewis de Moscoso carried with him two brethren; there went also Don Carlos, which had married the governor's niece, and took her with him. From Badajoz there went Peter Calderan, and three kinsmen of the Adelantado, to wit, Arias Tinoco, Alfonso Romo, and Diego Tinoco. And as Lewis de Moscoso passed through Elvas[A] Andrew de Vasconcelos spake with him, and requested him to speak to Don Ferdinando de Soto concerning him, and delivered him certain warrants which he had received from the Marquis of Villa Real, wherein he gave him the captainship of Ceuta in Barbarie, that he might show them unto him. And the Adelantado saw them; and was informed who he was, and wrote unto him, that he would favor him in all things, and by all means, and would give him a charge of men in Florida. And from Elvas went Andrew de Vasconcelos, and Fernan Pegado, Antonio Martinez Segurado, Men Roiz Pereira, John Cordero, Stephen Pegado, Benedict Fernandez, and Alvaro Fernandez. And out of Salamanca, and Jaen, and Valencia, and Albuquerque, and from other parts of Spain, many people of noble birth, assembled at Seville, insomuch that in Saint Lucar many men of good account, which had sold their goods, remained behind for want of shipping, whereas for other known and rich countries, they are wont to want men: and this fell out by occasion of that which Cabeça de Vaca[B] told the Emperor, and informed such persons as he had conference withal touching the state of that country. Soto made him great offers, and being agreed to go with him (as I have said before) because he would not give him money to pay for a ship, which he had bought, they brake off, and he went for governor to the river of Plate. His kinsmen, Christopher de Spindola and Baltasar de Gallegos, went with Soto. Baltasar de Gallegos sold houses and vineyards, and rent corn, and ninety ranks of olive trees in the Xarafe of Seville. He had the office of Alcalde Mayor, and took his wife with him. And there went also many other persons of account with the President, and had the offices following by great friendship, because they were offices desired of many, to wit, Antonie de Biedma was factor, John Danusco was auditor, and John Gaytan, nephew to the Cardinal of Ciguenza, had the office of treasurer.
The Portuguese departed from Elvas the 15th of January, and came to Seville the 19th of the same month, and went to the lodging of the Governor, and entered into a court, over the which were certain galleries where he was, who came down and received them at the stairs, whereby they went up into the galleries. When he was come up, he commanded chairs to be given them to sit on. And Andrew de Vasconcelos told him who he and the other Portuguese were, and how they all were come to accompany him, and serve him in his voyage. He gave him thanks, and made show of great contentment for his coming and offer. And the table being already laid, he invited them to dinner. And being at dinner, he commanded his steward to seek a lodging for them near unto his own, where they might be lodged. The Adelantado departed from Seville to Saint Lucar with all the people which were to go with him. And he commanded a muster to be made, at the which the Portuguese showed themselves armed in very bright armor, and the Castellans very gallant with silk upon silk, with many pinkings and cuts. The Governor, because these braveries in such an action did not like him, commanded that they should muster another day, and every one should come forth with his armor; at the which the Portuguese came as at the first armed with very good armor. The Governor placed them in order near unto the standard, which the ensign bearer carried. The Castellans, for the most part, did wear very bad and rusty shirts of mail, and all of them head-pieces and steel caps, and very bad lances. Some of them sought to come among the Portuguese. So those passed and were counted and enrolled which Soto liked and accepted of, and did accompany him into Florida; which were in all six hundred men. He had already bought seven ships, and had all necessary provision aboard them. He appointed captains, and delivered to every one his ship, and gave them in a roll what people every one should carry with them.
In the year of our Lord 1538, in the month of April, the Adelantado delivered his ships to the captains which were to go in them; and took for himself a new ship, and good of sail, and gave another to Andrew de Vasconcelos, in which the Portuguese went; he went over the bar of St. Lucar on Sunday, being St. Lazarus day, in the morning of the month and year aforesaid, with great joy, commanding his trumpets to be sounded, and many shots of the ordnance to be discharged. He sailed four days with a prosperous wind, and suddenly it calmed; the calms continued eight days with swelling seas, in such wise that we made no way. The fifteenth day after his departure from St. Lucar, he came to Gomera, one of the Canaries, on Easter day in the morning. The Earl of that island was appareled all in white, cloak, jerkin, hose, shoes and cap, so that he seemed a Lord of the Gipsies. He received the Governor with much joy; he was well lodged, and all the rest had their lodgings gratis, and got great store of victuals for their money, as bread, wine, and flesh; and they took what was needful for their ships, and the Sunday following, eight days after their arrival, they departed from the Isle of Gomera. The Earl gave to Donna Isabella, the Adelantado's wife, a bastard daughter that he had, to be her waiting-maid. They arrived at the Antilles, in the Isle of Cuba, at the port of the city of St. Jago, upon Whit-sunday. As soon as they came thither, a gentleman of the city sent to the sea-side a very fair roan horse, and well furnished, for the Governor, and a mule for Donna Isabella, and all the horsemen and footmen that were in the town came to receive him at the sea-side. The Governor was well lodged, visited, and served of all the inhabitants of the city, and all his company had their lodgings freely: those which desired to go into the country, were divided by four and four, and six and six, in the farms or granges, according to the ability of the owners of the farms, and were furnished by them with all things necessary.
The city of St. Jago hath fourscore houses, which are great and well contrived. The most part have their walls made of boards, and are covered with thatch; it hath some houses built with lime and stones, and covered with tiles. It hath great orchards and many trees in them, differing from those of Spain: there be fig trees which bear figs as big as one's fist, yellow within, and of small taste; and other trees which bear a fruit which they call Ananes, in making and bigness like to a small pineapple: it is a fruit very sweet in taste: the shell being taken away, the kernel is like a piece of fresh cheese. In the granges abroad in the country there are other great pineapples, which grow on low trees, and are like the Aloe tree: they are of a very good smell and exceeding good taste. Other trees do bear a fruit which they call Mameis, of the bigness of peaches. This the islanders do hold for the best fruit of the country. There is another fruit which they call Guayabas, like filberts, as big as figs. There are other trees as high as a javelin, having one only stock without any bough, and the leaves as long as a casting dart; and the fruit is of the bigness and fashion of a cucumber; one bunch beareth twenty or thirty, and as they ripen the tree bendeth downward with them: they are called in this country Plantanos, and are of a good taste, and ripen after they be gathered; but those are the better which ripen upon the tree itself; they bear fruit but once, and the tree being cut down, there spring up others out of the but, which bear fruit the next year. There is another fruit, whereby many people are sustained, and chiefly the slaves, which are called Batatas. These grow now in the Isle of Terçera, belonging to the kingdom of Portugal, and they grow within the earth, and are like a fruit called Iname; they have almost the taste of a chestnut. The bread of this country is also made of roots which are like the Batatas.[C] And the stock whereon those roots do grow is like an elder tree: they make their ground in little hillocks, and in each of them they thrust four or five stakes; and they gather the roots a year and a half after they set them. If any one, thinking it is a batata or potato root, chance to eat of it never so little, he is in great danger of death: which was seen by experience in a soldier, which as soon as he had eaten a very little of one of those roots, he died quickly. They pare these roots and stamp them, and squeeze them in a thing like a press: the juice that cometh from them is of an evil smell. The bread is of little taste and less substance. Of the fruits of Spain, there are figs and oranges, and they bear fruit all the year, because the soil is very rank and fruitful. In this country are many good horses, and there is green grass all the year. There be many wild oxen and hogs, whereby the people of the island are well furnished with flesh. Without the towns abroad in the country are many fruits. And it happeneth sometimes that a Christian goeth out of the way and is lost fifteen or twenty days, because of the many paths in the thick groves that cross to and fro made by the oxen; and being thus lost they sustain themselves with fruits and palmîtos—for there be many great groves of palm trees through all the island—they yield no other fruit that is of any profit. The Isle of Cuba is three hundred leagues long from the east to the west, and is in some places thirty, in others forty leagues from north to south. It hath six towns of Christians, to wit, St. Jago, Baracôa, Bayamo, Puerto de Principes, S. Espirito, and Havana. Every one hath between thirty and forty households, except St. Jago and Havana, which have about sixty or eighty houses. They have churches in each of them, and a chaplain which confesseth them and saith mass. In St. Jago is a monastery of Franciscan friars; it hath but few friars, and is well provided of alms, because the country is rich. The Church of St. Jago hath honest revenue, and there is a curate and prebends, and many priests, as the church of that city, which is the chief of all the island. There is in this country much gold and few slaves to get it; for many have made away themselves, because of the Christians' evil usage of them in the mines. A steward of Vasquez Porcallo, which was an inhabitor in that island, understanding that his slaves would make away themselves, stayed for them with a cudgel in his hand at the place where they were to meet, and told them that they could neither do nor think anything that he did not know before, and that he came thither to kill himself, with them, to the end, that if he had used them badly in this world, he might use them worse in the world to come: and this was a means that they changed their purpose, and turned home again to do that which he commanded them.
The Governor sent from St. Jago his nephew Don Carlos, with the ships in company of Donna Isabella to tarry for him at Havana, which is a haven in the west part toward the head of the island, one hundred and eighty leagues from the city of St. Jago. The Governor, and those which stayed with him, bought horses and proceeded on their journey. The first town they came unto was Bayamo: they were lodged four and four, and six and six, as they went in company, and where they lodged, they took nothing for their diet, for nothing cost them aught save the maize or corn for their horses, because the Governor went to visit them from town to town, and seized them in the tribute and service of the Indians. Bayamo is twenty-five leagues from the city of St. Jago. Near unto the town passeth a great river which is called Tanto; it is greater than Guadiana, and in it be very great crocodiles, which sometimes hurt the Indians, or the cattle which passeth the river. In all the country are neither wolf, fox, bear, lion, nor tiger. There are wild dogs which go from the houses into the woods and feed upon swine. There be certain snakes as big as a man's thigh or bigger; they are very slow, they do no kind of hurt. From Bayamo to Puerto de los Principes are fifty leagues. In all the island from town to town, the way is made by stubbing up the underwood; and if it be left but one year undone, the wood groweth so much that the way cannot be seen, and the paths of the oxen are so many, that none can travel without an Indian of the country for a guide: for all the rest is very high and thick woods. From Puerto de los Principes the Governor went to the house of Vasquez Porcalloby sea in a boat (for it was near the sea) to know theresome news of Donna Isabella, which at that instant (as afterwards was known) was in great distress, insomuch that the ships lost one another, and two of them fell on the coast of Florida, and all of them endured great want of water and victuals. When the storm was over, they met together without knowing where they were: in the end they descried the Cape of St. Anton, a country not inhabited of the island of Cuba; there they watered, and at the end of forty days, which were passed since their departure from the city of St. Jago, they arrived at Havana. The Governor was presently informed thereof, and went to Donna Isabella. And those which went by land, which were one hundred and fifty horsemen, being divided into two parts, because they would not oppress the inhabitants, traveled by St. Espirito, which is sixty leagues from Puerto de los Principes. The food which they carried with them was Caçabe bread, which is that whereof I made mention before: and it is of such a quality that if it be wet it breaketh presently, whereby it happened to some to eat flesh without bread for many days. They carried dogs with them, and a man of the country, which did hunt; and by the way, or where they were to lodge that night, they killed as many hogs as they needed. In this journey they were well provided of beef and pork, and they were greatly troubled with musquitoes, especially in a lake, which is called the mere of Pia, which they had much ado to pass from noon till night. The water might be some half league over, and to be swam about a crossbow shot; the rest came to the waist, and they waded up to the knees in the mire, and in the bottom were cockle shells, which cut their feet very sore, in such sort that there was neither boot nor shoe sole that was whole at half way. Their clothes and saddles were passed in baskets of palm trees. Passing this lake, stripped out of their clothes, there came many mosquitoes, upon whose biting there arose a wheal that smarted very much; they struck them with their hands, and with the blow which they gave they killed so many that the blood did run down the arms and bodies of the men. That night they rested very little for them, and other nights also in the like places and times. They came to Santo Espirito, which is a town of thirty houses; there passeth by it a little river; it is very pleasant and fruitful, having great store of oranges and citrons, and fruits of the country. One-half of the company were lodged here, and the rest passed forward twenty-five leagues to another town called la Trinidad, of fifteen or twenty households. Here is an hospital for the poor, and there is none other in all the island. And they say that this town was the greatest in all the country, and that before the Christians came into this land, as a ship passed along the coast there came in it a very sick man, which desired the captain to set him on shore, and the captain did so, and the ship went her way. The sick man remained set on shore in that country, which until then had not been haunted by Christians; whereupon the Indians found him, carried him home, and looked unto him till he was whole; and the lord of that town married him unto a daughter of his, and had war with all the inhabitants round about, and by the industry and valor of the Christian, he subdued and brought under his command all the people of that island. A great while after, the Governor Diego Velasques went to conquer it, and from thence discovered New Spain. And this Christian which was with the Indians did pacify them, and brought them to the obedience and subjection of the governor. From this town de la Trinidad unto Havana are eighty leagues, without any habitation, which they traveled. They came to Havana in the end of March, where they found the Governor, and the rest of the people which came with him from Spain. The Governor sent from Havana John Dannusco with a caravele and two brigantines with fifty men to discover the haven of Florida, and from thence he brought two Indians which he took upon the coast, wherewith (as well because they might be necessary for guides and for interpreters, as because they said by signs that there was much gold in Florida) the Governor and all the company received much contentment, and longed for the hour of their departure, thinking in himself that this was the richest country that unto that day had been discovered.
Before our departure the Governor deprived Nuño de Touar of the office of Captain-general, and gave it to Porcallo de Figueroa, an inhabitant of Cuba, which was a mean that the ship was well furnished with victuals; for he gave a great many loads of Casabe bread and many hogs. The Governor took away this office from Nuño de Touar, because he had fallen in love with the daughter of the Earl of Gomera, Donna Isabella's waiting-maid, who, though his office were taken from him (to return again to the Governor's favor), though she were with child by him, yet took her to his wife, and went with Soto into Florida. The Governor left Donna Isabella in Havana, and with her remained the wife of Don Carlos, and the wives of Baltasar de Gallegos, and of Nuño de Touar. And he left for his lieutenant a gentleman of Havana, called John de Roias, for the government of the island.
On Sunday the 18th of May, in the year of our Lord 1539, the Adelantado or president departed from Havana in Cuba with his fleet, which were nine vessels, five great ships, two caravels, and two brigantines. They sailed seven days with a prosperous wind. The 25th day of May, the day de Pasca de Spirito Santo[D] (which we call Whitson Sunday), they saw the land of Florida, and because of the shoals, they came to an anchor a league from the shore. On Friday the 30th of May they landed in Florida, two leagues from a town of an Indian lord called Ucita. They set on land two hundred and thirteen horses, which they brought with them to unburden the ships, that they might draw the less water. He landed all his men, and only the seamen remained in the ships, which in eight days, going up with the tide every day a little, brought them up unto the town. As soon as the people were come on shore, he pitched his camp on the sea-side, hard upon the bay which went up unto the town. And presently the Captain-general, Vasquez Porcallo, with other seven horsemen foraged the country half a league round about, and found six Indians, which resisted him with their arrows, which are the weapons which they used to fight withal. The horsemen killed two of them, and the other four escaped; because the country is cumbersome with woods and bogs, where the horses stuck fast, and fell with their riders, because they were weak with traveling upon the sea. The same night following, the Governor with an hundred men in the brigantines lighted upon a town, which he found without people, because that as soon as the Christians had sight of land, they were descried, and saw along the coast many smokes, which the Indians had made to give advice the one to the other. The next day Luys de Moscoso, master of the camp, set the men in order, the horsemen in three squadrons, the vanguard, the battalion, and the rereward; and so they marched that day and the day following, compassing great creeks which came out of the bay. They came to the town of Ucita, where the Governor was on Sunday the first of June, being Trinity Sunday. The town was of seven or eight houses. The lord's house stood near the shore upon a very high mount, made by hand for strength. At another end of the town stood the church, and on the top of it stood a fowl made of wood with gilded eyes. Here were found some pearls of small value, spoiled with the fire, which the Indians do pierce and string them like beads, and wear them about their necks and handwrists, and they esteem them very much. The houses were made of timber, and covered with palm leaves. The Governor lodged himself in the lord's houses, and with him Vasquez Porcallo, and Luys de Moscoso; and in others that were in the midst of the town, was the chief Alcalde or justice, Baltasar de Gallegos lodged; and in the same houses was set in a place by itself all the provision that came in the ships; the other houses and the church were broken down, and every three or four soldiers made a little cabin wherein they lodged. The country round about was very fenny, and encumbered with great and high trees. The Governor commanded to fell the woods a crossbow shot round about the town, that the horses might run, and the Christians might have the advantage of the Indians, if by chance they should set upon them by night. In the ways and places convenient they had their sentinels of footmen by two and two in every stand, which did watch by turns, and the horsemen did visit them, and were ready to assist them if there were any alarm. The Governor made four captains of the horsemen and two of the footmen. The captains of the horsemen were one of them Andrew de Masconcelos, and another Pedro Calderan de Badajoz; and the other two were his kinsmen, to wit, Arias Tinoco, and Alfonso Romo, born likewise in Badajoz. The captains of the footmen, the one was Francisco Maldonado of Salamanca, and the other Juan Rodriguez Lobillo. While we were in this town of Ucita, the two Indians which John Danusco had taken on that coast, and the Governor carried along with him for guides and interpreters, through carelessness of two men which had the charge of them escaped away one night; for which the Governor and all the rest were very sorry, for they had already made some roads, and no Indians could be taken, because the country was full of marsh grounds, and in some places full of very high and thick woods.
From the town of Ucita the Governor sent the Alcalde mayor, Baltasar de Gallegos, with forty horsemen and eighty footmen into the country to see if they could take any Indians; and the Captain John Rodriguez Lobillo another way with fifty footmen: the most of them were swordsmen and targeters, and the rest were shot and crossbow-men. They passed through a country full of bogs, where horses could not travel. Half a league from the camp they lighted upon, certain cabins of Indians near a river. The people that were in them leaped into the river, yet they took four Indian women. And twenty Indians charged us and so distressed us, that we were forced to retire to our camp, being, as they are, exceeding ready with their weapons. It is a people so warlike and so nimble, that they care not a whit for any footmen. For if their enemies charge them they run away, and if they turn their backs they are presently upon them. And the thing that they most flee is the shot of an arrow. They never stand still, but are always running and traversing from one place to another, by reason whereof neither crossbow nor arquebuss can aim at them; and before one crossbowman can make one shot an Indian will discharge three or four arrows, and he seldom misseth what he shooteth at. An arrow where it findeth no armor, pierceth as deeply as a crossbow. Their bows are very long, and their arrows are made of certain canes like reeds, very heavy, and so strong that a sharp cane passeth through a target. Some they arm in the point with a sharp bone of a fish like a chisel, and in others they fasten certain stones like points of diamonds. For the most part when they light upon an armor they break in the place where they are bound together. Those of cane do split and pierce a coat of mail, and are more hurtful than the other. John Rodriguez Lobillo returned to the camp with six men wounded, whereof one died; and brought the four Indian women which Baltasar Gallegos had taken in the cabins or cottages. Two leagues from the town, coming into the plain field, he espied ten or eleven Indians, among whom was a Christian, which was naked and scorched with the sun, and had his arms razed after the manner of the Indians, and differed nothing at all from them. And as soon as the horsemen saw them they ran toward them. The Indians fled, and some of them hid themselves in a wood, and they overtook two or three of them which were wounded; and the Christian seeing a horseman run upon him with his lance, began to cry out, "Sirs, I am a Christian, slay me not, nor these Indians, for they have saved my life." And straightway he called them and put them out of fear, and they came forth of the wood unto them. The horsemen took both the Christian and the Indians up behind them, and toward night came into the camp with much joy; which thing being known by the Governor, and them that remained in the camp, they were received with the like.
This Christian's name was John Ortiz, and he was born in Seville, of worshipful parentage. He was twelve years in the hands of the Indians. He came into this country with Pamphilo de Narvaez, and returned in the ships to the Island of Cuba, where the wife of the Governor Pamphilo de Narvaez was, and by his commandment with twenty or thirty others in a brigantine returned back again to Florida, and coming to the port in the sight of the town, on the shore they saw a cane sticking in the ground, and riven at the top, and a letter in it; and they believed that the governor had left it there to give advertisement of himself when he resolved to go up into the land, and they demanded it of four or five Indians which walked along the sea-shore, and they bade them by signs to come on shore for it, which against the will of the rest John Ortiz and another did. And as soon as they were on land, from the houses of the town issued a great number of Indians, which compassed them about and took them in a place where they could not flee; and the other, which sought to defend himself, they presently killed upon the place, and took John Ortiz alive, and carried him to Ucita their lord. And those of the brigantine sought not to land, but put themselves to sea, and returned to the Island of Cuba. Ucita commanded to bind John Ortiz hand and foot upon four stakes aloft upon a raft, and to make a fire under him, that there he might be burned. But a daughter of his desired him that he would not put him to death, alleging that one only Christian could do him neither hurt nor good, telling him that it was more for his honor to keep him as a captive. And Ucita granted her request, and commanded him to be cured of his wounds; and as soon as he was whole he gave him the charge of the keeping of the temple, because that by night the wolves did carry away the dead corpses out of the same—who commended himself to God and took upon him the charge of his temple. One night the wolves got from him the corpse of a little child, the son of a principal Indian, and going after them he threw a dart at one of the wolves, and struck him that carried away the corpse, who, feeling himself wounded left it, and fell down dead near the place; and he not woting what he had done, because it was night, went back again to the temple; the morning being come and finding not the body of the child, he was very sad. As soon as Ucita knew thereof he resolved to put him to death, and sent by the track which he said the wolves went, and found the body of the child, and the wolf dead a little beyond, whereat Ucita was much contented with the Christian, and with the watch which he kept in the temple, and from thenceforward esteemed him much. Three years after he fell into his hands there came another lord called Mocoço, who dwelleth two days' journey from the port, and burnt his town. Ucita fled to another town that he had in another sea-port. Thus John Ortiz lost his office and favor that he had with him. These people being worshipers of the devil, are wont to offer up unto him the lives and blood of their Indians, or of any other people they can come by; and they report that when he will have them do that sacrifice unto him, he speaketh with them, and telleth them that he is athirst, and willeth them to sacrifice unto him. John Ortiz had notice by the damsel that had delivered him from the fire, how her father was determined to sacrifice him the day following, who willed him to flee to Mocoço, for she knew that he would use him well; for she heard say that he had asked for him and said he would be glad to see him, and because he knew not the way she went with him half a league out of the town by night and set him in the way, and returned because she would not be discovered. John Ortiz traveled all that night, and by the morning came to a river which is the territory of Mocoço, and there he saw two Indians fishing; and because they were in war with the people of Ucita, and their languages were different, and he knew not the language of Mocoço, he was afraid, because he could not tell them who he was, nor how he came thither, nor was able to answer anything for himself, that they would kill him, taking him for one of the Indians of Ucita, and before they espied him he came to the place where they had laid their weapons; and as soon as they saw him they fled toward the town, and although he willed them to stay, because he meant to do them no hurt, yet they understood him not, and ran away as fast as ever they could. And as soon as they came to the town with great outcries, many Indians came forth against him, and began to compass him to shoot at him. John Ortiz seeing himself in so great danger, shielded himself with certain trees, and begun to shriek out and cry very loud, and to tell them that he was a Christian, and that he was fled from Ucita, and was come to see and serve Mocoço his lord. It pleased God that at that very instant there came thither an Indian that could speak the language and understood him, and pacified the rest, who told them what he said. Then ran from thence three or four Indians to bear the news to their lord, who came forth a quarter of a league from the town to receive him, and was very glad of him. He caused him presently to swear according to the custom of the Christians, that he would not run away from him to any other lord, and promised him to entreat him very well; and that if at any time there came any Christians into that country, he would freely let him go, and give him leave to go to them; and likewise took his oath to perform the same according to the Indian custom. About three years after certain Indians, which were fishing at sea two leagues from the town, brought news to Mocoço that they had seen ships, and he called John Ortiz and gave him leave to go his way, who taking his leave of him, with all the haste he could came to the sea, and finding no ships he thought it to be some deceit, and that the cacique had done the same to learn his mind. So he dwelt with Mocoço nine years, with small hope of seeing any Christians. As soon as our Governor arrived in Florida, it was known to Mocoço, and straightway he signified to John Ortiz that Christians were lodged in the town of Ucita; and he thought he had jested with him as he had done before, and told him that by this time he had forgotten the Christians, and thought of nothing else but to serve him. But he assured him that it was so, and gave him license to go unto them, saying unto him that if he would not do it, and if the Christians should go their way, he should not blame him, for he had fulfilled that which he had promised him. The joy of John Ortiz was so great, that he could not believe that it was true; notwithstanding he gave him thanks, and took his leave of him, and Mocoço gave him ten or eleven principal Indians to bear him company; and as they went to the port where the Governor was, they met with Baltasar de Gallegos, as I have declared before. As soon as he was come to the camp, the Governor commanded to give him a suit of apparel, and very good armor, and a fair horse; and inquired of him whether he had notice of any country where there was any gold or silver. He answered, No, because he never went ten leagues compass from the place where he dwelt; but that thirty leagues from thence[E] dwelt an Indian lord, which was called Paracossi, to whom Mocoço and Ucita, with all the rest of that coast paid tribute, and that he peradventure might have notice of some good country, and that his land was better than that of the sea-coast, and more fruitful and plentiful of maize. Whereof the Governor received great contentment, and said that he desired no more than to find victuals, that he might go into the main land, for the land of Florida was so large, that in one place or other there could not choose but be some rich country. The Cacique Mocoço came to the port to visit the Governor, and made this speech following.
"Right high and mighty lord, I being lesser in mine own conceit for to obey you, than any of those which you have under your command, and greater in desire to do you greater services, do appear before your lordship with so much confidence of receiving favor, as if in effect this my good will were manifested unto you in works; not for the small service I did unto you touching the Christian which I had in my power, in giving him freely his liberty (for I was bound to do it to preserve mine honor, and that which I had promised him), but because it is the part of great men to use great magnificences. And I am persuaded that as in bodily perfections, and commanding of good people, you do exceed all men in the world, so likewise you do in the parts of the mind, in which you may boast of the bounty of nature. The favor which I hope for of your lordship is, that you would hold me for yours, and bethink yourself to command me anything wherein I may do you service."
The Governor answered him, "That although in freeing and sending him the Christian, he had preserved his honor and promise, yet he thanked him, and held it in such esteem as it had no comparison; and that he would always hold him as his brother, and would favor all things to the utmost of his power." Then he commanded a shirt to be given him, and other things, wherewith the cacique being very well contented, took his leave of him, and departed to his own town.
From the Port de Spirito Santo where the Governor lay, he sent the Alcalde Mayor Baltasar de Gallegos with fifty horsemen, and thirty or forty footmen to the province of Paracossi, to view the disposition of the country, and inform himself of the land farther inward, and to send him word of such things as he found. Likewise he sent his ships back to the Island of Cuba, that they might return within a certain time with victuals. Vasquez Porcallo de Figueroa, which went with the Governor as Captain-general, (whose principal intent was to send slaves from Florida to the Island of Cuba, where he had his goods and mines,) having made some inroads, and seeing no Indians were to be got, because of the great bogs and woods that were in the country, considering the disposition of the same, determined to return to Cuba. And though there was some difference between him and the Governor, whereupon they neither dealt nor conversed together with good countenance, yet notwithstanding with loving words he asked him leave and departed from him. Baltasar de Gallegos came to the Paracossi. There came to him thirty Indians from the cacique, which was absent from his town, and one of them made this speech:
"Paracossi, the lord of this province, whose vassals we are, sendeth us unto your worship, to know what it is that you seek in this his country, and wherein he may do you service."
Baltasar de Gallegos said unto him that he thanked them very much for their offer, willing them to warn their lord to come to his town, and that there they would talk and confirm their peace and friendship, which he much desired. The Indians went their way and returned next day, and said that their lord was ill at ease, and therefore could not come; but that they came on his behalf to see what he demanded. He asked them if they knew or had notice of any rich country where there was gold or silver. They told him they did, and that towards the west there was a province which was called Cale; and that others that inhabited other countries had war with the people of that country, where the most part of the year was summer, and that there was much gold; and that when those their enemies came to make war with them of Cale, these inhabitants of Cale did wear hats of gold, in manner of head-pieces. Baltasar de Gallegos seeing that the cacique came not, thinking all that they said was feigned, with intent that in the meantime they might set themselves in safety, fearing that if he did let them go, they would return no more, commanded the thirty Indians to be chained, and sent word to the Governor by eight horsemen what had passed; whereof the Governor with all that were with him at the Port de Spirito Santo received great comfort, supposing that that which the Indians reported might be true. He left Captain Calderan at the port, with thirty horsemen and seventy footmen, with provision for two years, and himself with all the rest marched into the main land, and came to the Paracossi, at whose town Baltasar de Gallegos was; and from thence with all his men took the way to Cale. He passed by a little town called Acela, and came to another called Tocaste; and from thence he went before with thirty horsemen and fifty footmen towards Cale. And passing by a town whence the people were fled, they saw Indians a little distance from thence in a lake, to whom the interpreter spoke. They came unto them and gave them an Indian for a guide; and he came to a river with a great current, and upon a tree which was in the midst of it, was made a bridge, whereon the men passed; the horses swam over by a hawser, that they were pulled by from the other side; for one, which they drove in at the first without it, was drowned. From thence the Governor sent two horsemen to his people that were behind, to make haste after him; because the way grew long, and their victuals short. He came to Cale, and found the town without people. He took three Indians which were spies, and tarried there for his people that came after, which were sore vexed with hunger and evil ways, because the country was very barren of maize, low, and full of water, bogs, and thick woods; and the victuals which they brought with them from the Port de Spirito Santo, were spent. Wheresoever any town was found, there were some beets, and he that came first gathered them, and sodden with water and salt, did eat them without any other thing; and such as could not get them, gathered the stalks of maize and eat them, which because they were young had no maize in them. When they came to the river which the Governor had passed, they found palmîtos upon low palm trees like those of Andalusia. There they met with the two horsemen which the Governor sent unto them, and they brought news that in Cale there was plenty of maize, at which news they all rejoiced. As soon as they came to Cale, the Governor commanded them to gather all the maize that was ripe in the field, which was sufficient for three months. At the gathering of it the Indians killed three Christians, and one of them which were taken told the Governor, that within seven days' journey there was a very great province, and plentiful of maize, which was called Apalache. And presently he departed from Cale with fifty horsemen, and sixty footmen. He left the master of the camp, Luys de Moscoso, with all the rest of the people there, with charge that he should not depart thence until he had word from him. And because hitherto none had gotten any slaves, the bread that every one was to eat he was fain himself to beat in a mortar made in a piece of timber, with a pestle, and some of them did sift the flour through their shirts of mail. They baked their bread upon certain tileshares which they set over the fire, in such sort as heretofore I have said they used to do in Cuba. It is so troublesome to grind their maize, that there were many that would rather not eat it than grind it; and did eat the maize parched and sodden.
The second day of August, 1539, the Governor departed from Cale; he lodged in a little town called Ytara, and the next day in another called Potano, and the third day at Utinama, and came to another town which they named the town of Evil peace; because an Indian came in peace, saying, that he was the cacique, and that he with his people would serve the Governor, and that if he would set free twenty-eight persons, men and women, which his men had taken the night before, he would command provision to be brought him, and would give him a guide to instruct him in his way. The Governor commanded them to be set at liberty, and to keep him in safeguard. The next day in the morning there came many Indians, and set themselves round about the town near to a wood. The Indian wished them to carry him near them, and that he would speak unto them, and assure them, and that they would do whatsoever he commanded them. And when he saw himself near unto them he broke from them, and ran away so swiftly from the Christians that there was none that could overtake him, and all of them fled into the woods. The Governor commanded to loose a greyhound, which was already fleshed on them, which passing by many other Indians, caught the counterfeit cacique which had escaped from the Christians, and held him till they came to take him. From thence the Governor lodged at a town called Cholupaha, and because it had store of maize in it, they named it Villa farta. Beyond the same there was a river, on which he made a bridge of timber, and traveled two days through a desert. The 17th of August he came to Caliquen, where he was informed of the province of Apalache. They told him that Pamphilo de Narvaez had been there, and that there he took shipping, because he could find no way to go forward. That there was none other town at all; but that on both sides was all water. The whole company were very sad for this news, and counseled the Governor to go back to the Port de Spirito Santo, and to abandon the country of Florida, lest he should perish as Narvaez had done; declaring that if he went forward, he could not return back when he would, and that the Indians would gather up that small quantity of maize which was left. Whereunto the Governor answered that he would not go back, till he had seen with his eyes that which they reported; saying that he could not believe it, and that we should be put out of doubt before it were long. And he sent to Luys de Moscoso to come presently from Cale, and that he tarried for him there. Luys de Moscoso and many others thought that from Apalache they should return back; and in Cale they buried their iron tools, and divers other things. They came to Caliquen with great trouble; because the country which the Governor had passed by, was spoiled and destitute of maize. After all the people were come together, he commanded a bridge to be made over a river that passed near the town. He departed from Caliquen the 10th of September, and carried the cacique with him. After he had traveled three days, there came Indians peaceably to visit their lord, and every day met us on the way playing upon flutes; which is a token that they use, that men may know that they come in peace. They said that in our way before there was a cacique whose name was Uzachil, a kinsman of the cacique of Caliquen their lord, waiting for him with many presents, and they desired the Governor that he would loose the cacique. But he would not, fearing that they would rise, and would not give him any guides, and sent them away from day to day with good words. He traveled five days; he passed by some small towns; he came to a town called Napetuca, the 15th day of September. Thither came fourteen or fifteen Indians, and besought the Governor to let loose the cacique of Caliquen, their lord. He answered them that he held him not in prison, but that he would have him to accompany him to Uzachil. The Governor had notice by John Ortiz, that an Indian told him how they determined to gather themselves together, and come upon him, and give him battle, and take away the cacique from him. The day that it was agreed upon, the Governor commanded his men to be in readiness, and that the horsemen should be ready armed and on horseback every one in his lodging, because the Indians might not see them, and so more confidently come to the town. There came four hundred Indians in sight of the camp with their bows and arrows, and placed themselves in a wood, and sent two Indians to bid the Governor to deliver them the cacique. The Governor with six footmen leading the cacique by the hand, and talking with him, to secure the Indians, went toward the place where they were. And seeing a fit time, commanded to sound a trumpet; and presently those that were in the town in the houses, both horse and foot, set upon the Indians, which were so suddenly assaulted, that the greatest care they had was which way they should flee. They killed two horses; one was the Governor's, and he was presently horsed again upon another. There were thirty or forty Indians slain. The rest fled to two very great lakes, that were somewhat distant the one from the other. There they were swimming, and the Christians round about them. The calivermen and crossbow-men shot at them from the bank; but the distance being great, and shooting afar off, they did them no hurt. The Governor commanded that the same night they should compass one of the lakes, because they were so great, that there were not men enough to compass them both; being beset, as soon as night shut in, the Indians, with determination to run away, came swimming very softly to the bank; and to hide themselves they put a water lily leaf on their heads. The horsemen, as soon as they perceived it to stir, ran into the water to the horses' breasts, and the Indians fled again into the lake. So this night passed without any rest on both sides. John Ortiz persuaded them that seeing they could not escape, they should yield themselves to the Governor; which they did, enforced thereunto by the coldness of the water; and one by one, he first whom the cold did first overcome, cried to John Ortiz, desiring that they would not kill him, for he came to put himself into the hands of the Governor. By the morning watch they made an end of yielding themselves; only twelve principal men, being more honorable and valorous than the rest, resolved rather to die than to come into his hands. And the Indians of Paracossi, which were now loosed out of chains, went swimming to them, and pulled them out by the hair of their heads, and they were all put in chains, and the next day were divided among the Christians for their service. Being thus in captivity, they determined to rebel; and gave in charge to an Indian which was interpreter, and held to be valiant, that as soon as the Governor did come to speak with him, he should cast his hands about his neck, and choke him: who, when he saw opportunity, laid hands on the Governor, and before he cast his hands about his neck, he gave him such a blow on the nostrils, that he made them gush out with blood, and presently all the rest did rise. He that could get any weapons at hand, or the handle wherewith he did grind the maize, sought to kill his master, or the first he met before him; and he that could get a lance or sword at hand, bestirred himself in such sort with it, as though he had used it all his lifetime. One Indian in the market-place enclosed between fifteen or twenty footmen, made a way like a bull, with a sword in his hand, till certain halbardiers of the Governor came, which killed him. Another got up with a lance to a loft made of canes, which they build to keep their maize in, which they call a barbacoa, and there he made such a noise as though ten men had been there defending the door; they slew him with a partizan. The Indians were in all about two hundred men. They were all subdued. And some of the youngest the Governor gave to them which had good chains, and were careful to look to them that they got not away. All the rest he commanded to be put to death, being tied to a stake in the midst of the market-place; and the Indians of the Paracossi did shoot them to death.
The Governor departed from Napetuca the 23d of September; he lodged by a river, where two Indians brought him a buck from the cacique of Uzachil. The next day he passed by a great town called Hapaluya, and lodged at Uzachil, and found no people in it, because they durst not tarry for the notice the Indians had of the slaughter of Napetuca. He found in that town great store of maize, French beans, and pompions, which is their food, and that wherewith the Christians there sustained themselves. The maize is like coarse millet, and the pompions are better and more savory than those of Spain. From thence the Governor sent two captains each a sundry way to seek the Indians. They took an hundred men and women; of which as well there as in other place where they made any inroads, the captain chose one or two for the Governor, and divided the rest to himself, and those that went with him. They led these Indians in chains with iron collars about their necks; and they served to carry their stuff, and to grind their maize, and for other services that such captives could do. Sometimes it happened that going for wood or maize with them, they killed the Christian that led them, and ran away with the chain; others filed their chains by night with a piece of stone, wherewith they cut them, and use it instead of iron. Those that were perceived paid for themselves, and for the rest, because they should not dare to do the like another time. The women and young boys, when they were once an hundred leagues from their country, and had forgotten things, they let go loose, and so they served; and in a very short space they understood the language of the Christians. From Uzachil the Governor departed toward Apalache, and in two days' journey he came to a town called Axille, and from thence forward the Indians were careless, because they had as yet no notice of the Christians. The next day in the morning, the first of October, he departed from thence, and commanded a bridge to be made over a river which he was to pass. The depth of the river where the bridge was made, was a stone's cast, and forward a crossbow shot the water came to the waist; and the wood whereby the Indians came to see if they could defend the passage, and disturb those which made the bridge, was very high and thick. The crossbow-men so bestirred themselves that they made them give back; and certain planks were cast into the river, whereon the men passed, which made good the passage. The Governor passed upon Wednesday, which was St. Francis' day, and lodged at a town which was called Vitachuco, subject to Apalache: he found it burning, for the Indians had set it on fire. From thence forward the country was much inhabited, and had great store of maize. He passed by many granges like hamlets. On Sunday, the 25th of October, he came to a town which is called Uzela, and upon Tuesday to Anaica Apalache, where the lord of all that country and province was resident; in which town the camp master, whose office is to quarter out, and lodge men, did lodge all the company round about within a league, and half a league of it. There were other towns, where was great store of maize, pompions, French beans, and plums of the country, which are better than those of Spain, and they grow in the fields without planting. The victuals that were thought necessary to pass the winter, were gathered from these towns to Anaica Apalache. The Governor was informed that the sea was ten leagues from thence. He presently sent a captain thither with horsemen and footmen. And six leagues on the way he found a town which was named Ochete, and so came to the sea; and found a great tree felled, and cut into pieces, with stakes set up like mangers, and saw the skulls of horses. He returned with this news. And that was held for certain, which was reported of Pamphilo de Narvaez, that there he had built the barks wherewith he went out of the land of Florida, and was cast away at sea. Presently the Governor sent John Danusco with thirty horsemen to the Port de Spirito Santo where Calderan was, with order that they should abandon the port, and all of them come to Apalache. He departed on Saturday the 17th of November. In Uzachil and other towns that stood in the way he found great store of people already careless. He would take none of the Indians, for not hindering himself, because it behooved him to give them no leisure to gather themselves together. He passed through the towns by night, and rested without the towns three or four hours. In ten days he came to the Port de Spirito Santo. He carried with him twenty Indian women, which he took in Ytara, and Potano, near unto Cale, and sent them to Donna Isabella in the two caravels, which he sent from the Port de Spirito Santo to Cuba. And he carried all the footmen in the brigantines, and coasting along the shore came to Apalache. And Calderan, with the horsemen, and some crossbow-men on foot, went by land; and in some places the Indians set upon him, and wounded some of his men. As soon as he came to Apalache, presently the Governor sent sawed planks and spikes to the sea-side, wherewith was made a piragua or bark, wherein were embarked thirty men well armed, which went out of the bay to the sea, looking for the brigantines. Sometimes they fought with the Indians, which passed along the harbor in their canoes. Upon Saturday, the 29th of November, there came an Indian through the watch undiscovered, and sat the town on fire, and with the great wind that blew two parts of it were consumed in a short time. On Sunday the 28th of December, came John Danusco with the brigantines. The Governor sent Francisco Maldonado, a captain of footmen, with fifty men to discover the coast westward, and to seek some port, because he had determined to go by land, and discover that part. That day there went out eight horsemen by commandment of the Governor into the field, two leagues about the town, to seek Indians; for they were now so emboldened, that within two crossbow shot of the camp, they came and slew men. They found two men and a woman gathering French beans; the men, though they might have fled, yet because they would not leave the woman, which was one of their wives, they resolved to die fighting; and before they were slain, they wounded three horses, whereof one died within a few days after. Calderan going with his men by the sea-coast, from a wood that was near the place, the Indians set upon him, and made him forsake his way, and many of them that went with him forsook some necessary victuals, which they carried with them. Three or four days after the limited time given by the Governor to Maldonado for his going and coming, being already determined and resolved, if within eight days he did not come, to tarry no longer for him, he came, and brought an Indian from a province which was called Ochus, sixty leagues westward from Apalache; where he had found a port of good depth, and defence against weather. And because the Governor hoped to find a good country forward, he was very well contented. And he sent Maldonado for victuals to Havana, with order that he should tarry for him at the port of Ochus, which he had discovered, for he would go seek it by land; and if he should chance to stay, and not come thither that summer, that then he should return to Havana, and should come again the next summer after, and tarry for him at that port; for he said he would do none other thing but go to seek Ochus. Francisco Maldonado departed, and in his place for captain of the footmen remained John de Guzman. Of those Indians which were taken in Napetuca, the Treasurer John Gaytan had a young man, which said that he was not of that country, but of another far off toward the sun rising, and that it was long since he had traveled to see countries; and that his country was called Yupaha, and that a woman did govern it; and that the town where she was resident was of a wonderful bigness, and that many lords round about were tributaries to her; and some gave her clothes, and others gold in abundance; and he told how it was taken out of the mines, and was molten and refined, as if he had seen it done, or the devil had taught it him. So that all those which knew anything concerning the same, said that it was impossible to give so good a relation, without having seen it; and all of them, as if they had seen it, by the signs that he gave, believed all that he said to be true.
On Wednesday, the third of March, of the year 1540, the Governor departed from Anaica Apalache to seek Yupaha. He commanded his men to go provided with maize for sixty leagues of desert. The horsemen carried their maize on their horses, and the footmen at their sides; because the Indians that were for service, with their miserable life that they led that winter, being naked and in chains, died for the most part. Within four days' journey they came to a great river; and they made a piragua or ferry boat, and because of the great current, they made a cable with chains, which they fastened on both sides of the river; and the ferry boat went along by it, and the horses swam over, being drawn with capstans. Having passed the river in a day and a half, they came to a town called Capachiqui. Upon Friday the 11th of March, they found Indians in arms. The next day five Christians went to seek mortars, which the Indians have to beat their maize, and they went to certain houses on the back side of the camp environed with a wood. And within the wood were many Indians which came to spy us; of the which came other five and set upon us. One of the Christians came running away, giving an alarm unto the camp. Those which were most ready answered the alarm. They found one Christian dead, and three sore wounded. The Indians fled unto a lake adjoining near a very thick wood, where the horses could not enter. The Governor departed from Capachiqui and passed through a desert. On Wednesday, the twenty-first of the month, he came to a town called Toalli; and from thence forward there was a difference in the houses. For those which were behind us were thatched with straw, and those of Toalli were covered with reeds, in manner of tiles. These houses are very cleanly. Some of them had walls daubed with clay, which showed like a mud-wall. In all the cold country the Indians have every one a house for the winter daubed with clay within and without, and the door is very little; they shut it by night, and make fire within; so that they are in it as warm as in a stove, and so it continueth all night that they need not clothes; and besides these they have others for summer; and their kitchens near them, where they make fire and bake their bread; and they have barbacoas wherein they keep their maize; which is a house set up in the air upon four stakes, boarded about like a chamber, and the floor of it is of cane hurdles. The difference which lords or principal men's houses have from the rest, besides they be greater, is, that they have great galleries in their fronts, and under them seats made of canes in manner of benches; and round about them they have many lofts, wherein they lay up that which the Indians do give them for tribute, which is maize, deers' skins, and mantles of the country, which are like blankets; they make them of the inner rind of the barks of trees, and some of a kind of grass like unto nettles, which being beaten, is like unto flax. The women cover themselves with these mantles; they put one about them from the waist downward, and another over their shoulder, with their right arm out, like unto the Egyptians. The men wear but one mantle upon their shoulders after the same manner; and have their secrets hid with a deer's skin, made like a linen breech, which was wont to be used in Spain. The skins are well curried, and they give them what color they list, so perfect, that if it be red, it seemeth a very fine cloth in grain, and the black is most fine, and of the same leather they make shoes; and they dye their mantles in the same colors. The Governor departed from Toalli the 24th of March; he came on Thursday at evening to a small river, where a bridge was made whereon the people passed, and Benit Fernandez, a Portuguese, fell off from it, and was drowned. As soon as the Governor had passed the river, a little distance thence he found a town called Achese. The Indians had no notice of the Christians: they leaped into a river: some men and women were taken, among which was one that understood the youth which guided the Governor to Yupaha; whereby that which he had reported was more confirmed. For they had passed through countries of divers languages, and some which he understood not. The Governor sent by one of the Indians that were taken to call the cacique, which was on the other side of the river. He came, and made this speech following:
"Right high, right mighty, and excellent lord, those things which seldom happen do cause admiration. What then may the sight of your lordship and your people do to me and mine, whom we never saw? especially being mounted on such fierce beasts as your horses are, entering with such violence and fury into my country, without my knowledge of your coming. It was a thing so strange, and caused such fear and terror in our minds, that it was not in our power to stay and receive your lordship with the solemnity due to so high and renowned a prince as your lordship is. And trusting in your greatness and singular virtues, I do not only hope to be freed from blame, but also to receive favors; and the first which I demand of your lordship is, that you will use me, my country, and subjects as your own; and the second, that you will tell me who you are, and whence you come, and whither you go, and what you seek, that I the better may serve you therein."
The Governor answered him, that he thanked him as much for his offer and good-will as if he had received it, and as if he had offered him a great treasure; and told him that he was the son of the Sun, and came from those parts where he dwelt, and traveled through that country, and sought the greatest lord and richest province that was in it. The cacique told him that farther forward dwelt a great lord, and that his dominion was called Ocute. He gave him a guide and an interpreter for that province. The Governor commanded his Indians to be set free, and traveled through his country up a river very well inhabited. He departed from his town the first of April; and left a very high cross of wood set up in the midst of the market-place; and because the time gave no more leisure, he declared to him only that that cross was a memory of the same whereon Christ, which was God and man, and created the heavens and the earth, suffered for our salvation; therefore he exhorted them that they should reverence it, and they made show as though they would do so. The fourth of April the Governor passed by a town called Altamaca, and the tenth of the month he came to Ocute. The cacique sent him two thousand Indians with a present, to wit, many conies and partridges, bread of maize, two hens, and many dogs; which among the Christians were esteemed as if they had been fat wethers, because of the great want of flesh meat and salt, and hereof in many places, and many times was great need; and they were so scarce, that if a man fell sick, there was nothing to cherish him withal; and with a sickness, that in another place easily might have been remedied, he consumed away till nothing but skin and bones were left; and they died of pure weakness, some of them saying, "If I had a slice of meat or a few corns of salt, I should not die. The Indians want no flesh meat; for they kill with their arrows many deer, hens, conies, and other wild fowl, for they are very cunning at it, which skill the Christians had not; and though they had it, they had no leisure to use it; for the most of the time they spent in travel, and durst not presume to straggle aside. And because they were thus scanted of flesh, when six hundred men that went with Sotocame to any town, and found thirty or forty dogs, he that could get one and kill it thought himself no small man; and he that killed it and gave not his captain one quarter, if he knewit he frowned on him, and made him feel it in the watches, or in any other matter of labor that was offered, wherein he might do him a displeasure. On Monday, the twelfth of April, 1540, the Governor departed from Ocute. The cacique gave him two hundred Tamenes, to wit, Indians to carry burdens; he passed through a town, the lord whereof was named Cofaqui, and came to a province of an Indian lord called Patofa, who because he was in peace with the lord of Ocute, and with the other bordering lords, had many days before notice of the Governor, and desired to see him. He came to visit him, and made this speech following.
"Mighty lord, now with good reason I will crave of fortune to requite this my so great prosperity with some small adversity; and I will count myself very rich, seeing that I have obtained that which in this world I most desired, which is to see and be able to do your lordship some service. And although the tongue be the image of that which is in the heart, and that the contentment which I feel in my heart I cannot dissemble, yet is it not sufficient wholly to manifest the same. Where did this your country, which I do govern, deserve to be visited of so sovereign and so excellent a prince, whom all the rest of the world ought to obey and serve? And those which inhabit it being so base, what shall be the issue of such happiness, if their memory do not represent unto them some adversity that may betide them, according to the order of fortune? If from this day forward we may be capable of this benefit, that your lordship will hold us for your own, we cannot fail to be favored and maintained in true justice and reason, and to have the name of men. For such as are void of reason and justice, may be compared to brute beasts. For mine own part, from my very heart with reverence due to such a prince, I offer myself unto your lordship, and beseech you, that in reward of this my true good will, you will vouchsafe to make use of mine own person, my country, and subjects."
The Governor answered him, that his offers and good-will declared by the effect, did highly please him, whereof he would always be mindful to honor and favor him as his brother. This country, from the first peaceable cacique, unto the province of Patofa, which were fifty leagues, is a fat country, beautiful, and very fruitful, and very well watered, and full of good rivers. And from thence to the Port de Spirito Santo, where we first arrived in the land of Florida (which may be three hundred and fifty leagues, little more or less), is a barren land, and the most of it groves of wild pine trees, low and full of lakes, and in some places very high and thick groves, whither the Indians that were in arms fled, so that no man could find them, neither could any horses enter into them, which was an inconvenience to the Christians, in regard of the victuals which they found conveyed away; and of the troubles which they had in seeking of Indians to be their guides.
In the town of Patofa the youth which the Governor carried with him for an interpreter and a guide, began to foam at the mouth, and tumble on the ground, as one possessed with the devil: they said a gospel over him, and the fit left him. And he said, that four days' journey from thence toward the sun rising, was the province that he spoke of. The Indians of Patofa said, that toward that part they knew no habitation; but that toward the north-west, they knew a province which was called Coça, a very plentiful country, which had very great towns in it. The cacique told the Governor that if he would go thither, he would give him guides and Indians for burdens; and if he would go whither the youth spake of, that he would likewise give him those that he needed; and so with loving words and offers of courtesy, they took their leaves the one of the other. He gave him seven hundred Indians to bear burdens. He took maize for four days' journey. He traveled six days by a path which grew narrow more and more, till it was lost altogether. He went where the youth did lead him, and passed two rivers, which were waded: each of them was two crossbow shots over; the water came to the stirrups, and had so great a current, that it was needful for the horsemen to stand one before another, that the footmen might pass above them, leaning unto them. He came to another river of a great current and largeness, which was passed with more trouble, because the horses did swim at the coming out, about a lance's length. Having passed this river, the Governor came to a grove of pine trees, and threatened the youth, and made as though he would have cast him to the dogs, because he had told him a lie, saying, it was but four days' journey, and they had traveled nine, and every day seven or eight leagues, and the men by this time were grown weary and weak, and the horses lean through the great scanting of the maize. The youth said that he knew not where he was. It saved him that he was not cast to the dogs, that there was never another whom John Ortiz did understand. The Governor, with them two, and with some horsemen and footmen, leaving the camp in a grove of pine trees, traveled that day five or six leagues to seek a way, and returned at night very comfortless, and without finding any sign of way or town. The next day there were sundry opinions delivered, whether they should go back, or what they should do; and because backward the country whereby they had passed was greatly spoiled, and destitute of maize, and that which they brought with them was spent, and the men were very weak, and the horses likewise, they doubted much whether they might come to any place where they might help themselves. And besides this, they were of opinion, that going in that sort out of order, that any Indians would presume to set upon them, so that with hunger or with war, they could not escape. The Governor determined to send horsemen from thence every way to seek habitation; and the next day he sent four captains, every one a sundry way with eight horsemen. At night they came again, leading their horses, or driving them with a stick before; for they were weary, that they could not lead them, neither found they any way or sign of habitation. The next day the Governor sent other four with as many horsemen that could swim, to pass the swamps and rivers which they should find, and they had choice horses, the best that were in the camp. The captains were Baltasar de Gallegos, which went up the river; and John Danusco down the river; Alfonso Romo and John Rodriguez Lobillo went into the inward parts of the land. The Governor brought with him into Florida thirteen sows, and had by this time three hundred swine. He commanded every man should have half a pound of hog's flesh every day, and this he did three or four days after the maize was all spent. With this small quantity of flesh, and some sodden herbs, with much trouble the people were sustained. The Governor dismissed the Indians of Patofa, because he had no food to give them; who desiring to accompany and serve the Christians in their necessity, making show that it grieved them very much to return until they had left them in a peopled country, returned to their own home. John Danusco came on Sunday late in the evening, and brought news that he had found a little town twelve or thirteen leagues from thence: he brought a woman and a boy that he took there. With his coming and with those news, the Governor and all the rest were so glad that they seemed at that instant to have returned from death to life. Upon Monday, the twenty-sixth of April, the Governor departed to go to the town, which was called Aymay; and the Christians named it the town of Relief. He left where the camp had lain at the foot of a pine tree, a letter buried, and letters carved in the bark of the pine, the contents whereof was this: Dig here at the foot of this pine, and you shall find a letter. And this he did, because when the captains came, which were sent to seek some habitation, they might see the letter, and know what was become of the Governor, and which way he was gone. There was no other way to the town, but the marks that John Danusco left made upon the trees. The Governor, with some of them that had the best horses, came to it on the Monday; and all the rest inforcing themselves the best way they could, some of them lodged within two leagues of the town, some within three and four, every one as he was able to go, and his strength served him. There was found in the town a store-house full of the flour of parched maize; and some maize, which was distributed by allowance. Here were four Indians taken, and none of them would confess any other thing, but that they knew of none other habitation. The Governor commanded one of them to be burned, and presently another confessed that two days' journey from thence, there was a province that was called Cutifachiqui. Upon Wednesday came the captains Baltasar de Gallegos, Alfonso Romo, and John Rodriguez Lobillo, for they had found the letter, and followed the way which the Governor had taken toward the town. Two men of John Rodriguez's company were lost, because their horses tired; the Governor checked him very sore for leaving them behind, and sent to seek them; and as soon as they came he departed toward Cutifachiqui. In the way three Indians were taken, which said that the lady of that country had notice already of the Christians, and stayed for them in a town of hers. The Governor sent by one of them to offer her his friendship, and to advertise her how he was coming thither. The Governor came unto the town, and presently there came four canoes to him; in one of them came a sister of the lady, and approaching to the Governor she said these words:
"Excellent lord, my sister sendeth unto you by me to kiss your lordship's hands, and to signify unto you that the cause why she came not in person, is, that she thinketh to do you greater service staying behind, as she doth, giving order that with all speed all her canoes be ready, that your lordship may pass the river, and take your rest, which shall presently be performed."
The Governor gave her thanks, and she returned to the other side of the river. Within a little while the lady (Cutifachiqui) came out of the town in a chair, whereon certain of the principal Indians brought her to the river. She entered into a barge which had the stern tilted over, and on the floor her mat ready laid with two cushions upon it one upon another, where she sat her down; and with her came her principal Indians in other barges, which did wait upon her. She went to the place where the Governor was, and at her coming she made this speech following:
"Excellent lord, I wish this coming of your lordship into these your countries to be most happy; although my power be not answerable to my will, and my services be not according to my desire, nor such as so high a prince as your lordship deserveth; yet since the good-will is rather to be accepted than all the treasures of the world, that without it are offered with most unfailable and manifest affection, I offer you my person, lands, and subjects, and this small service."
And therewithal she presented unto him great store of clothes of the country, which she brought in other canoes, to wit, mantles and skins; and took from her own neck a great cordon of pearls, and cast it about the neck of the Governor, entertaining him with very gracious speeches of love and courtesy, and commanded canoes to be brought thither, wherein the Governor and his people passed the river. As soon as he was lodged in the town, she (Cutifachiqui) sent him another present of many hens. This country was very pleasant, fat, and hath goodly meadows by the rivers. Their woods are thin, and full of walnut trees and mulberry trees. They said the sea was two days' journey from thence. Within a league and half a league about this town were great towns dispeopled, and overgrown with grass; which showed that they had been long without inhabitants. The Indians said that two years before there was a plague in that country, and that they removed to other towns. There was in their store-houses great quantity of clothes, mantles of yarn made of the barks of trees, and others made of feathers, white, green, red, and yellow, very fine after their use, and profitable for winter. There were also many deer's skins, with many compartments traced in them, and some of them made into hose, stockings, and shoes. And the lady perceiving that the Christians esteemed the pearls, advised the Governor to send to search certain graves that were in that town, and that he should find many; and that if he would send to the dispeopled towns he might load all his horses. They sought the graves of that town, and there found fourteen rows of pearls (three hundred and ninety-two pounds), and little babies and birds made of them. The people were brown, well made, and well proportioned, and more civil than any others that were seen in all the country of Florida, and all of them went shod and clothed. The youth told the Governor that he began now to enter into the land which he spoke of; and some credit was given him that it was so, because he understood the language of the Indians; and he requested that he might be christened, for he said he desired to become a Christian. He was christened, and named Peter; and the Governor commanded him to be loosed from a chain, in which until that time he had gone. This country, as the Indians reported, had been much inhabited, and had the fame of a good country. And as it seemeth, the youth, which was the Governor's guide, had heard of it, and that which he knew by hearsay, he affirmed that he had seen, and augmented at his pleasure. In this town was found a dagger, and beads that belonged to Christians. The Indians reported that Christians had been in the haven (St. Helena), which was two days' journey from this town, many years ago. He that came thither was the Governor, the Licentiate Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon, which went to conquer this country, and at his coming to the port he died (1525); and there was a division, quarrels and slaughters between some principal men which went with him, for the principal government. And without knowing anything of the country, they returned home to Hispaniola. All the company thought it good to inhabit that country, because it was in a temperate climate (32° 30'). And that if it were inhabited, all the ships of New Spain, of Peru, Santa Martha, andTerra Firma, in their return for Spain might well touch there, because it was in their way, and because it was a good country, and sited fit to raise commodity. The Governor, since his intent was to seek another treasure, like that of Atabalipa, Lord of Peru, was not contented with a good country, nor with pearls, though many of them were worth their weight in gold. And if the country had been divided among the Christians, those which the Indians had fished for afterwards would have been of more value; for those which they had, because they burned them in the fire, did lessen their color. The Governor answered them that urged him to inhabit, that in all the country there were not victuals to sustain his men one month; and that it was needful to resort to the Port of Ocus, where Maldonado was to stay for them: and that if no richer country were found, they might return again to that whensoever they would; and in the meantime the Indians would sow their fields, and it would be better furnished with maize. He inquired of the Indians whether they had notice of any great lord farther into the land. They told him that twelve days' journey from thence[F] there was a province called Chiaha, subject to the Lord of Coça. Presently the Governor determined to seek that land. And being a stern man, and of few words, though he was glad to sift and know the opinion of all men, yet after he had delivered his own, he would not be contraried, and always did what liked himself, and so all men did condescend unto his will. And though it seemed an error to leave that country (for others might have been sought round about, where the people might have been sustained until the harvest had been ready there, and the maize gathered), yet there was none that would say anything against him, after they knew his resolution.
The Governor departed from Cutifachiqui the third day of May. And because the Indians had revolted, and the will of the lady was perceived, that if she could, she would depart without giving any guides or men for burden, for the wrongs which the Christians had done to the Indians (for there never want some among many of a base sort, that for a little gain do put themselves and others in danger of undoing), the Governor commanded her to be kept in safeguard, and carried with him, not with so good usage as she deserved for the good-will she showed, and good entertainment that she had made him. And he verified that old proverb which saith: "For well-doing I receive evil." And so he carried her on foot with his bondwomen to look unto her. In all the towns where the Governor passed, the lady commanded the Indians to come and carry the burdens from one town to another. We passed through her country an hundred leagues, in which, as we saw, she was much obeyed, for the Indians did all that she commanded them with great efficacy and diligence. Peter, the youth that was our guide, said that she was not the lady herself, but a niece of hers, which came to that town to execute certain principal men by commandment of the lady, which had withheld her tribute; which words were not believed, because of the lies which they had found in him before; but they bare with all things because of the need which they had of him to declare what the Indians said. In seven days' space the Governor came to a province called Ohalaque, the poorest country of maize that was seen in Florida. The Indians feed upon roots and herbs, which they seek in the fields, and upon wild beasts, which they kill with their bows and arrows, and are a very gentle people. All of them go naked, and are very lean. There was a Lord (Cutifachiqui), which for a great present, brought the Governor two deer skins; and there were in that country many wild hens. In one town they made him a present of seven hundred hens, and so in other towns they sent him those which they had or could get. From this province to another, which is called Xualla, he spent five days. Here he found very little maize, and for this cause, though the people were wearied, and the horses very weak, he staid no more but two days. From Ocute to Cutifachiqui, may be some hundred and thirty leagues, whereof eighty are wilderness. From Cutifachiqui to Xualla two hundred and fifty, and it is a hilly country. The Governor departed from Xualla towards Guaxule—he passed very rough and high hills. In that journey, the lady of Cutifachiqui(whom the Governor carried with him, as is aforesaid, with purpose to carry herto Guaxule, because her territory reached thither), going on a day with the bondwomen which led her, went out of the way, and entered into a wood, saying she went to ease herself, and so she deceived them, and hid herself in the wood; and though they sought her they could not find her. She carried away with her a little chest made of canes in manner of a coffer, which they call petaca, full of unbored pearls. Some which could judge of them, said that they were of great value. An Indian woman that waited on her did carry them. The Governor, not to discontent her altogether, left them with her, making account that in Guaxule he would ask them of her, when he gave her leave to return; which coffer she carried away and went to Xualla with three slaves which fled from the camp, and one horseman which remained behind, who, falling sick of an ague, went out of the way and was lost. This man, whose name was Alimamos, dealt with the slaves to change their evil purpose, and return with him to the Christians, which two of them did; and Alimamos and they overtook the Governor fifty leagues from thence in a province called Chiaha; and reported how the lady remained in Xualla with a slave of Andrew de Vasconcelos, which would not come back with them; and that of a certainty they lived as man and wife together, and meant to go both to Cutifachiqui. Within five days the Governor came to Guaxule. The Indians there gave him a present of three hundred dogs, because they saw the Christians esteem them, and sought them to feed on them; for among them they are not eaten. In Guaxule, and all that way, was very little maize. The Governor sent from thence an Indian with a message to the cacique of Chiaha, to desire him to gather some maize thither, that he might rest a few days in Chiaha. The Governor departed from Guaxule, and in two days' journey came to a town called Canasagua. There met him on the way twenty Indians, every one loaded with a basketful of mulberries; for there be many, and those very good, from Cutifachiqui thither, and so forward in other provinces, and also nuts and plums. And the trees grow in the fields without planting or dressing them, and as big and as rank as though they grew in gardens digged and watered. From the time that the Governor departed from Canasagua, he journeyed five days through a desert; and two leagues before he came to Chiaha, there met him fifteen Indians loaded with maize, which the cacique had sent; and they told him on his behalf, that he waited his coming with twenty barns full of it; and further, that himself, his country, and subjects, and all things else were at his service. On the fifth day of June, the Governor entered into Chiaha. The cacique voided his own houses, in which he lodged, and received him with much joy, saying these words following:—
"Mighty and excellent lord, I hold myself for so happy a man, in that it hath pleased your lordship to use me, that nothing could have happened unto me of more contentment, nor that I would have esteemed so much. From Guaxule your lordship sent unto me, that I should prepare maize for you in this town for two months. Here I have for you twenty barns full of the choicest that in all the country could be found. If your lordship be not entertained by me in such sort as is fit for so high a prince, respect my tender age, which excuseth me from blame, and receive my good-will, which with much loyalty, truth and sincerity, I will always show in anything which shall concern your lordship's service."
The Governor answered him that he thanked him very much for his service and offer, and that he would always account him as his brother. There was in this town much butter in gourds melted like oil—they said it was the fat of bears. There was found, also, great store of oil of walnuts, which was clear as butter, and of a good taste, and a pot full of honey of bees, which neither before nor afterward was seen in all the country. The town was an island between two arms of a river, and was seated nigh one of them. The river divideth itself into those two branches, two crossbow shots above the town, and meeteth again a league beneath the same. The plain between both the branches is sometimes one crossbow shot, sometimes two crossbow shots over. The branches are very broad, and both of them may be waded over. There were along them very good meadows, and many fields sown with maize. And because the Indians staid in their town, the Governor only lodged in the houses of the cacique, and his people in the fields; where there was ever a tree every one took one for himself. Thus the camp lay separated one from another, and out of order. The Governor winked at it, because the Indians were in peace, and because it was very hot, and the people should have suffered great extremity if it had not been so. The horses came thither so weak, that for feebleness they were not able to carry their masters; because that from Cutifachiqui they always traveled with very little provender, and were hunger-starved and tired ever since they came from the desert of Ocute. And because the most of them were not in case to use in battle, though need should require, they sent them to feed in the night a quarter of a league from the camp. The Christians were there in great danger, because that if at this time the Indians had set upon them, they had been in evil case to have defended themselves. The Governor rested there thirty days, in which time, because the country was very fruitful, the horses grew fat. At the time of his departure, by the importunity of some, which would have more than was reason, he demanded of the cacique thirty women to make slaves of. He answered that he would confer with his chief men. And before he returned an answer, one night all of them with their wives and children forsook the town, and fled away. The next day, the Governor proposing to go to seek them, the cacique came unto him, and at his coming used these words unto the Governor:—
"Mighty lord, with shame and fear of your lordship, because my subjects against my will have done amiss in absenting themselves, I went my way without your license; and knowing the error which I have committed, like a loyal subject, I come to yield myself into your power, to dispose of me at your own pleasure. For my subjects do not obey me, nor do anything but what an uncle of mine commandeth, which governeth this country for me, until I be of a perfect age. If your lordship will pursue them, and execute on them that, which for their disobedience they deserve, I will be your guide, since at this present my fortune will not suffer me to perform any more."
Presently, the Governor with thirty horsemen, and as many footmen, went to seek the Indians, and passing by some towns of the principal Indians which had absented themselves, he cut and destroyed great fields of maize; and went up the river, where the Indians were in an island, where the horsemen could not come at them. There he sent them word by an Indian to return to their town and fear nothing, and that they should give his men to carry burdens, as all those behind had done; for he would have no Indian women, seeing they were so loth to part with them. The Indians accepted his request, and came to the Governor to excuse themselves; and so all of them returned to their town. A cacique of a province called Coste, came to this town to visit the Governor. After he had offered himself, and passed with him some words of tendering his service and courtesy, the Governor asking him whether he had notice of any rich country? he said yea: to wit, that toward the north there was a province named Chisca:[G] and that there was a melting of copper, and of another metal of the same color, save that it was finer, and of a far more perfect color, and far better to the sight; and that they used it not so much, because it was softer. And the self same thing was told the Governor in Cutifachiqui, where we saw some little hatchets of copper, which were said to have a mixture of gold. But in that part the country was not well peopled, and they said there were mountains, which the horses could not pass: and for that cause, the Governor would not go from Cutifachiqui directly thither: and he made account, that traveling through a peopled country, when his men and horses should be in better plight, and he were better certified of the truth of the thing, he would return toward it, by mountains, and a better inhabited country, whereby he might have better passage. He sent two Christians from Chiaha with certain Indians which knew the country of Chisca, and the language thereof, to view it, and to make report of that which they should find; where he told them that he would tarry for them.
When the Governor was determined to depart from Chiaha to Coste, he sent for the cacique to come before him, and with gentle words took his leave of him, and gave him certain things, wherewith he rested much contented. In seven days he came to Coste. The second of July he commanded his camp to be pitched two crossbow shots from the town: and with eight men of his guard he went where he found the cacique, which to his thinking received him with great love. As he was talking with him, there went from the camp certain footmen to the town to seek some maize, and not contented with it, they ransacked and searched the houses, and took what they found. With this despite, the Indians began to rise and to take their arms: and some of them, with cudgels in their hands, ran upon five or six Christians, which had done them wrong, and beat them at their pleasure. The Governor seeing them all in an uproar, and himself among them with so few Christians, to escape their hands used a stratagem, far against his own disposition, being, as he was, very frank and open: and though it grieved him very much that any Indian should be so bold, as with reason, or without reason to despise the Christians, he took up a cudgel, and took their parts against his own men; which was a means to quiet them. And presently he sent word by a man very secretly to the camp, that some armed men should come toward the place where he was; and he took the cacique by the hand, using very mild words unto him, and with some principal Indians that did accompany him, he drew them out of the town into a plain way, and unto the sight of the camp, whither by little and little with good discretion the Christians began to come and to gather about them. Thus the Governor led the cacique and his chief men until he entered with them into the camp: and near unto his tent he commanded them to be put in safe custody; and told them that they should not depart without giving him a guide and Indians for burdens, and till certain sick Christians were come, which he had commanded to come down the river in canoes from Chiaha; and those also which he had sent to the province of Chisca: (for they were not returned; and he feared that the Indians had slain the one, and the other.) Within three days after, those which were sent to Chisca returned, and made report that the Indians had carried them through a country so poor of maize, and so rough, and over so high mountains, that it was impossible for the army to travel that way; and that seeing the way grew very long, and that they lingered much, they consulted to return from a little poor town, where they saw nothing that was of any profit, and brought an ox hide, which the Indians gave them, as thin as a calf's skin, and the hair like a soft wool, between the coarse and fine wool of sheep. The cacique gave a guide, and men for burdens, and departed with the Governor's leave. The Governor departed from Coste the ninth of July, and lodged at a town called Tali. The cacique came forth to receive him on the way, and made this speech:—
"Excellent lord and prince, worthy to be served and obeyed of all the princes in the world; howsoever for the most part by the outward physiognomy the inward virtue may be judged, and that who you are, and of what strength, was known unto me before now: I will not infer hereupon how mean I am in your presence, to hope that my poor services will be grateful and acceptable: since whereas strength faileth, the will doth not cease to be praised and accepted. And for this cause I presume to request your lordship, that you will be pleased only to respect the same, and consider wherein you will command my service in this your country."
The Governor answered him, that his good-will and offer was as acceptable unto him as if he had offered him all the treasures of the world, and that he would always entreat, favor, and esteem him as if he were his own brother. The cacique commanded provision necessary for two days, while the Governor was there, to be brought thither: and at the time of his departure, he gave him four women and two men, which he had need of to bear burdens. The Governor traveled six days through many towns subject to the cacique of Coça: and as he entered into his country many Indians came unto him every day from the cacique, and met him on the way with messages, one going, and another coming. He came to Coça upon Friday, the 26th of July. The cacique came forth to receive him two crossbow shots from the town in a chair, which his principal men carried on their shoulders, sitting upon a cushion, and covered with a garment of marterns, of the fashion and bigness of a woman's huke: he had on his head a diadem of feathers, and round about him many Indians playing upon flutes, and singing. As soon as he came unto the Governor, he did his obeyance, and uttered these words following:—
"Excellent and mighty lord, above all them of the earth, although I come but now to receive you, yet I have received you many days ago in my heart, to wit, from the day wherein I had first notice of your lordship: with so great desire to serve you, with so great pleasure and contentment, that this which I make show of, is nothing in regard of that which is in my heart, neither can it have any kind of comparison. This you may hold for certain, that to obtain the dominion of the whole world, would not have rejoiced me so much as your sight, neither would I have held it for so great a felicity. Do not look for me to offer you that which is your own, to wit, my person, my lands, and subjects; only I will busy myself in commanding my men with all diligence and due reverence to welcome you from hence to the town with playing and singing, where your lordship shall be lodged and attended upon by myself and them; and all that I possess your lordship shall use as it were your own. For your lordship shall do me a very great favor in so doing."
The Governor gave him thanks, and with great joy they both went conferring together till they came to the town; and he commanded his Indians to void their houses, wherein the Governor and his men were lodged. There was in the barns and in the fields great store of maize and French beans. The country was greatly inhabited with many great towns, and many sown fields, which reached from the one to the other. It was pleasant, fat, full of good meadows upon rivers. There were in the fields many plum trees, as well of such as grow in Spain as of the country; and wild tall vines, that run up the trees; and besides these there were other low vines with big and sweet grapes; but for want of digging and dressing, they had great kernels in them. The Governor used to set a guard over the caciques, because they should not absent themselves, and carried them with him till he came out of their countries; because that carrying them along with him, he looked to find people in the towns, and they gave him guides, and men to carry burdens; and before he went out of their countries, he gave them license to return to their houses, and to their porters likewise, as soon as he came to any other lordship where they gave him others. The men of Coça seeing their lord detained, took it in evil part, and revolted, and hid themselves in the woods, as well those of the town of the cacique, as those of the other towns of his principal subjects. The Governor sent out four captains, every one his way, to seek them. They took many men and women, which were put into chains. They seeing the hurt which they received, and how little they gained in absenting themselves, came again, promising to do whatsoever they were commanded. Of those which were taken prisoners, some principal men were set at liberty, whom the cacique demanded; and every one that had any, carried the rest in chains like slaves, without letting them go to their country. Neither did any return, but some few, whose fortune helped them with the good diligence which they used to file off their chains by night, or such as in their traveling could slip aside out of the way, seeing any negligence in them that kept them; some escaped away with the chains, and with the burdens and clothes which they carried.
The Governor rested in Coça twenty-five days. He departed from thence the twentieth of August, to seek a province called Tascaluca; he carried with him the cacique of Coça. He passed that day by a great town called Tallimuchase; the people were fled; he lodged half a league further, near a brook. The next day he came to a town called Ytaua, subject to Coça. He staid there six days, because of a river that passed by it, which at that time was very high; and as soon as the river suffered him to pass, he set forward, and lodged at a town named Ullibahali. There came to him on the way, of the caciques in behalf of that province, ten or twelve principal Indians to offer him their service; all of them had their plumes of feathers, and bows and arrows. The Governor coming to the town with twelve horsemen, and some footmen of his guard, leaving his people a crossbow shot from the town, entered into it; he found all the Indians with their weapons, and as far as he could guess, they seemed to have some evil meaning. It was known afterwards that they were determined to take the cacique of Coça from the Governor, if he had requested it. The Governor commanded all his people to enter the town, which was walled about, and near unto it passed a small river. The wall, as well of that as of others, which afterwards we saw, was of great posts thrust deep into the ground, and very rough; and many long rails, as big as one's arm, laid across between them, and the wall was about the height of a lance, and it was daubed within and without with clay, and had loopholes. On the other side of the river was a town, where at that present the cacique was. The Governor sent to call him, and he came presently. After he had passed with the Governor some words of offering his services, he gave him such men for his carriages as he needed, and thirty women for slaves. In that place was a Christian lost, called Mançano, born in Salamanca, of noble parentage, which went astray to seek for grapes, whereof there is great store, and those very good. The day that the Governor departed from thence, he lodged at a town, subject to the lord of Ullibahali; and the next day he came to another town called Toasi. The Indians gave the Governor thirty women, and such men for his carriages as he needed. He traveled ordinarily five or six leagues a day, when he traveled through peopled countries; and going through deserts, he marched as fast as he could, to eschew the want of maize. From Toasi, passing through some towns subject to a cacique, which was lord of a province called Tallise, he traveled five days. He came to Tallise the 18th of September. The town was great, and situated near unto a main river. On the other side of the river were other towns, and many fields sown with maize. On both sides it was a very plentiful country, and had store of maize; they had voided the town. The Governor commanded to call the cacique; who came, and between them passed some words of love and offer of his services, and he presented unto him forty Indians. There came to the Governor in this town, a principal Indian in the behalf of the cacique of Tascaluca, and made this speech following:—
"Mighty, virtuous, and esteemed lord, the great cacique of Tascaluca, my lord, sendeth by me to kiss your lordship's hands, and to let you understand that he hath notice how you justly ravish with your perfections and power, all men on the earth and that every one by whom your lordship passeth, doth serve and obey you, which he acknowledgeth to be due unto you, and desireth, as his life, to see and to serve your lordship. For which cause by me he offereth himself, his lands and subjects, that when your lordship pleaseth to go through his country, you may be received with all peace and love, served and obeyed; and that in recompense of the desire he hath to see you, you will do him the favor to let him know when you will come; for how much the sooner, so much the greater favor he shall receive."
The Governor received and dispatched him graciously, giving him beads, which among them were not much esteemed, and some other things to carry to his lord. And he gave license to the Cacique of Coça to return home to his own country. The Cacique of Tallise gave him such men for burdens as he needed. And after he had rested there twenty days, he departed thence towards Tascaluca. That day when he went from Tallise, he lodged at a great town called Casiste. And the next day passed by another, and came to a small town of Tascaluca; and the next day he camped in a wood, two leagues from the town where the cacique resided, and was at that time. And he sent the master of the camp, Luys de Moscoso, with fifteen horsemen, to let him know he was coming. The cacique was in his lodgings under a canopy; and without doors, right against his lodgings, in a high place, they spread a mat for him, and two cushions one upon another, where he sat him down, and his Indians placed themselves round about him, somewhat distant from him, so that they made a place, and a void room where he sat; and his chiefest men were nearest to him, and one with a shadow of deer skin, which kept the sun from him, being round and of the bigness of a target, quartered with black and white, having a rundle in the midst; afar off it seemed to be of taffeta, because the colors were very perfect. It was set on a small staff stretched wide out. This was the device which he carried in his wars. He was a man of a very tall stature, of great limbs, and spare, and well proportioned, and was much feared of his neighbors and subjects. He was lord of many territories and much people. In his countenance he was very grave. After the master of the camp had spoken with him, he and those that went with him coursed their horses, prancing them to and fro, and now and then towards the place where the cacique was, who, with much gravity and dissimulation now and then lifted up his eyes, and beheld them, as it were, with disdain. At the Governor's coming, he made no offer at all to rise. The Governor took him by the hand, and both of them sat down together on a seat which was under the cloth of state. The cacique said these words unto him:—
"Mighty lord, I bid your lordship right heartily welcome. I receive as much pleasure and contentment with your sight, as if you were my brother, whom I dearly loved; upon this point it is not needful to use many reasons; since it is no discretion to speak that in many words, which in few may be uttered. How much the greater the will is, so much more giveth it name to the works, and the works give testimony of the truth. Now touching my will, by it you shall know how certain and manifest it is, and how pure inclination I have to serve you. Concerning the favor which you did me, in the things which you sent me, I make as much account of them as is reason to esteem them, and chiefly because they were yours. Now see what service you will command me."
The Governor satisfied him with sweet words and with great brevity. When he departed from thence he determined to carry him along with him for some cause, and at two days' journey he came to a town called Piache, by which there passed a great river. The Governor demanded canoes of the Indians; they said they had them not, but that they would make rafts of canes and dry timber, on which he might pass well enough. And they made them with all diligence and speed, and they governed them; and because the water went very slow, the Governor and his people passed very well.
From the Port de Spirito Santo to Apalache, which is about an hundred leagues, the Governor went from east to west; and from Apalache to Cutifachiqui, which are four hundred and thirty leagues from the south-west to the north-east; and from Cutifachiqui to Xualla, which are about two hundred and fifty leagues from the south to the north; and from Xualla to Tascaluca, which are two hundred and fifty leagues more, an hundred and ninety of them he traveled from east to west, to wit, to the province of Coça, and the other sixty from Coça to Tascaluca from the north to the south.
Having passed the river of Piache, a Christian went from his company from thence to seek a woman slave that was run away from him, and the Indians either took him captive, or slew him. The Governor urged the cacique that he should give account of him, and threatened him that if he were not found he would never let him loose. The cacique sent an Indian from thence to Mavilla, whither they were traveling, which was a town of a principal Indian and his subject, saying that he sent him to advise them to make ready victuals, and men for carriages. But (as afterwards appeared) he sent him to assemble all the men of war thither that he had in his country. The Governor traveled three days, and the third day he passed all day through a peopled country, and he came to Mavilla upon Monday the 18th of October, 1540. He went before the camp with fifteen horsemen and thirty footmen. And from the town came a Christian, whom he had sent to the principal man, three or four days before, because he should not absent himself, and also to learn in what sort the Indians were; who told him that he thought they were in an evil purpose; for while he was there, there came many people into the town, and many weapons, and that they made great haste to fortify the walls. Luys de Moscoso told the Governor that it would be good to lodge in the field, seeing the Indians were of such disposition; and he answered, that he would lodge in the town, for he was weary of lodging in the field. When he came near unto the town, the cacique came forth to receive him with many Indians playing upon flutes and singing. And after he had offered himself, he presented him with three mantles of marterns. The Governor, with both the caciques, and seven or eight men of his guard, and three or four horsemen, which alighted to accompany him, entered into the town, and sat him down under a cloth of state. The cacique of Tascaluca requested him that he would let him remain in that town, and trouble him no more with traveling. And seeing he would not give him leave, in his talk he changed his purpose, and dissemblingly feigned that he would speak with some principal Indians, and rose up from the place where he sat with the Governor, and entered into a house, where many Indians were with their bows and arrows. The Governor when he saw he returned not, called him, and he answered that he would not come out from thence, neither would he go any farther than that town, and that if he would go his way in peace, he should presently depart, and should not seek to carry him perforce out of his country and territory.
The Governor seeing the determination and furious answer of the cacique, went about to pacify him with fair words; to which he gave no answer, but rather with much pride and disdain, withdrew himself where the Governor might not see him nor speak with him. As a principal Indian passed that way, the Governor called him, to send him word that he might remain at his pleasure in his country, and that it would please him to give him a guide, and men for carriages, to see if he could pacify him with mild words. The Indians answered with great pride, that he would not hearken unto him. Baltasar de Gallegos, which stood by, took hold of a gown of marterns which he had on, and he cast it over his head, and left it in his hands: and because all of them immediately began to stir, Baltasar de Gallegos gave him such a wound with his cutlass, that he opened him down the back, and presently all the Indians with a great cry came out of the houses shooting their arrows. The Governor considering that if he tarried there, he could not escape, and if he commanded his men to come in, which were without the town, the Indians within the houses might kill their horses, and do much hurt, ran out of the town, and before he came out, he fell twice or thrice, and those that were with him did help him up again; and he and those that were with him were sore wounded; and in a moment there were five Christians slain in the town. The Governor came running out of the town, crying out that every man should stand farther off, because from the wall they did them much hurt. The Indians seeing that the Christians retired, and some of them, or the most part, more than an ordinary pace, shot with great boldness at them, and struck down such as they could overtake. The Indians which the Christians did lead with them in chains, had laid down their burdens near unto the walls; and as soon as the Governor and his men were retired, the men of Mavilla laid them on the Indians' backs again, and took them into the town, and loosed them presently from their chains, and gave them bows and arrows to fight withal. Thus they possessed themselves of all the clothes and pearls, and all that the Christians had, which their slaves carried. And because the Indians had been always peaceable until we came to this place, some of our men had their weapons in their fardels, and remained unarmed. And from others that had entered the town with the Governor they had taken swords and halberds, and fought with them. When the Governor was gotten into the field, he called for a horse, and with some that accompanied him, he returned and slew two or three Indians. All the rest retired themselves to the town, and shot with their bows from the wall. And those which presumed of their nimbleness, sallied forth to fight a stone's cast from the wall. And when the Christians charged them, they retired themselves at their leisure into the town. At the time that the broil began, there were in the town a friar and a priest, and a servant of the Governor, with a woman slave; and they had no time to come out of the town, and they took a house, and so remained in the town. The Indians being become masters of the place, they shut the door with a field gate; and among them was one sword which the Governor's servant had, and with it he set himself behind the door, thrusting at the Indians which sought to come into them; and the friar and the priest stood on the other side, each of them with a bar in their hands to beat him down that first came in. The Indians seeing they could not get in by the door, began to uncover the house top. By this time all the horsemen and footmen which were behind, were come to Mavilla. Here there were sundry opinions, whether they should charge the Indians to enter the town, or whether they should leave it, because it was hard to enter; and in the end it was resolved to set upon them.
As soon as the battle and the rereward were come to Mavilla, the Governor commanded all those that were best armed to alight, and made four squadrons of footmen. The Indians, seeing how he was setting his men in order, concluded with the cacique, that he should go his way, saying unto him, as after it was known by certain women that were taken there, that he was but one man, and could fight but for one man, and that they had there among them many principal Indians, very valiant and expert in feats of arms, that any one of them was able to order the people there; and forasmuch as matters of war were subject to casualty, and it was uncertain which part should overcome, they wished him to save himself, to the end, that if it fell out that they should end their days there, as they determined rather than to be overcome, there might remain one to govern the country. For all this he would not have gone away; but they urged him so much, that with fifteen or twenty Indians of his own, he went out of the town, and carried away a scarlet cloak, and other things of the Christians' goods, as much as he was able to carry, and seemed best unto him. The Governor was informed how there went men out of the town, and he commanded the horsemen to beset it, and sent in every squadron of footmen one soldier with a firebrand to set fire on the houses, that the Indians might have no defence; all his men being set in order, he commanded an arquebuss to be shot off. The sign being given, the four squadrons, every one by itself with great fury, gave the onset, and with great hurt on both sides they entered the town. The friar and the priest, and those that were with them in the house were saved, which cost the lives of two men of account, and valiant, which came thither to succor them. The Indians fought with such courage, that many times they drove our men out of the town. The fight lasted so long, that for weariness and great thirst many of the Christians went to a pool that was near the wall, to drink, which was all stained with the blood of the dead, and then came again to fight. The Governor seeing this, entered among the footmen into the town on horseback, with certain that accompanied them, and was a mean that the Christians came to set fire on the houses, and broke and overcame the Indians, who running out of the town from the footmen, the horsemen without drove in at the gates again, where being without all hope of life, they fought valiantly, and after the Christians came among them to handy blows, seeing themselves in great distress, without any succor, many of them fled into the burning houses, where one upon another they were smothered and burnt in the fire. The whole number of the Indians that died in this town, were two thousand and five hundred, little more or less. Of the Christians there died eighteen; of which one was Don Carlos, brother-in-law to the Governor, and a nephew of his, and one John de Gamez, and Men Rodriguez, Portuguese, and John Vasquez de Villanova de Barca Rota, all men of honor, and of much valor; the rest were footmen. Besides those that were slain, there were a hundred and fifty wounded, with seven hundred wounds of their arrows: and it pleased God that of very dangerous wounds they were quickly healed. Moreover there were twelve horses slain, and seventy hurt. All the clothes which the Christians carried with them to clothe themselves withal, and the ornaments to say mass, and the pearls, were all burnt there; and the Christians did set them on fire themselves; because they held for a greater inconvenience, the hurt which the Indians might do them from those houses, where they had gathered all those goods together, than the loss of them. Here the Governor understood that Francisco Maldonado waited for him at the Port of Ochuse, and that it was six days' journey from thence (Mavilla), and he dealt with John Ortiz to keep it secret, because he had not accomplished that which he determined to do; and because the pearls were burnt there, which he meant to have sent to Cuba for a show, that the people hearing the news, might be desirous to come to that country. He feared also, that if they should have news of him without seeing from Florida neither gold nor silver, nor anything of value, it would get such a name, that no man would seek to go thither, when he should have need of people. And so he determined to send no news of himself until he had found some rich country.
From the time that the Governor entered into Florida, until his departure from Mavilla, there died a hundred and two Christians, some of sickness, and others which the Indians slew. He stayed in Mavilla, because of the wounded men, eight-and-twenty days; all which time he lay in the field. It was a well inhabited and a fat country, there were some great and walled towns, and many houses scattered all about the fields, to wit, a crossbow shot or two, the one from the other. Upon Sunday, the eighteenth of November (1540), when the hurt men were known to be healed, the Governor departed from Mavilla. Every one furnished himself with maize for two days, and they traveled five days through a desert: they came to a province called Pafallaya, unto a town named Taliepatava: and from thence they went to another, called Cabusto: near unto it ran a great river. The Indians on the other side cried out, threatening the Christians to kill them, if they sought to pass it. The Governor commanded his men to make a barge within the town, because the Indians should not perceive it: it was finished in four days, and being ended, he commanded it to be carried one night upon sleds half a league up the river. In the morning there entered into it thirteen men well armed. The Indians perceived what was attempted, and those which were nearest, came to defend the passage. They resisted what they could, till the Christians came near them; and seeing that the barge came to the shore, they fled away into the groves of canes. The Christians mounted on horseback, and went up the river to make good the passage, whereby the Governor and his company passed the river. There were along the river some towns well stored with maize and French beans. From thence to Chicaça the Governor traveled five days through a desert. He came to a river, where on the other side were Indians to defend the passage. He made another barge in two days; and when it was finished, the Governor sent an Indian to request the cacique to accept of his friendship, and peaceably to expect his coming: whom the Indians that were on the other side the river slew before his face, and presently making a great shout went their way. Having passed the river, the next day, being the 17th of December, the Governor came to Chicaça, a small town of twenty houses. And after they were come to Chicaça, they were much troubled with cold, because it was now winter and it snowed, while most of them were lodged in the field, before they had time to make themselves houses. This country was very well peopled, and the houses scattered like those of Mavilla, fat and plentiful of maize, and the most part of it was fielding: they gathered as much as sufficed to pass the winter. Some Indians were taken, among which was one whom the cacique esteemed greatly. The Governor sent an Indian to signify to the cacique that he desired to see him and to have his friendship. The cacique came unto him, to offer him his person, country and subjects, and told him that he would cause two other caciques to come to him in peace; who within a few days after came with him and with their Indians. The one was called Alimamu, the other Nicalasa. They gave a present unto the Governor of a hundred and fifty coneys, and of the country garments, to wit, of mantles and skins. The Cacique of Chicaça came to visit him many times; and sometimes the Governor sent to call him, and sent him a horse to go and come. He complained unto him that a subject of his was risen against him and deprived him of his tribute, requesting his aid against him, for he meant to seek him in his country, and to punish him according to his desert. Which was nothing else but a feigned plot. For they determined, as soon as the Governor was gone with him, and the camp was divided into two parts, the one part of them to set upon the Governor and the other upon them that remained in Chicaça. He went to the town where he used to keep his residence, and brought with him two hundred Indians with their bows and arrows. The Governor took thirty horsemen and eighty footmen, and they went to Saquechuma (for so was the province called of that chief man, which he said had rebelled). They found a walled town, without any men: and those which went with the cacique set fire on the houses, to dissemble their treason. But by reason of the great care and heedfulness, that was as well in the Governor's people which he carried with him, as of those which remained in Chicaça, they dare not assault them at that time. The Governor invited the cacique, and certain principal Indians, and gave them hog's flesh to eat. And though they did not commonly use it, yet they were so greedy of it, that every night there came Indians to certain houses a crossbow shot from the camp, where the hogs lay, and killed, and carried away as many as they could. And three Indians were taken in the manner. Two of them the Governor commanded to be shot to death with arrows; and to cut off the hands of the other; and he sent him so handled to the cacique. Who made as though it grieved him; yet they had offended the Governor, and that he was glad that he had executed that punishment on them. He lay in a plain country, half a league from the place where the Christians lodged. Four horsemen went a straggling thither, to wit, Francisco Osorio, and a servant of the Marquis of Astorga, called Reynoso, and two servants of the Governor, the one his page, called Ribera, and the other Fuentes, his chamberlain: and these had taken from the Indians some skins, and some mantles, wherewith they were offended, and forsook their houses. The Governor knew of it, and commanded them to be apprehended; and condemned to death Francisco Osorio, and the chamberlain as principals, and all of them to loss of goods. The friars and priests and other principal persons were earnest with him to pardon Francisco Osorio his life, and to moderate his sentence, which he would not grant for any of them. While he was ready to command them to be drawn to the market-place to cut off their heads, there came certain Indians from the cacique to complain of them. John Ortiz, at the request of Baltasar de Gallegos and other persons, changed their words, and told the Governor, that the cacique said, he had notice how his lordship held those Christians in prison for his sake, and that they were in no fault, neither had they done him any wrong, and that if he would do him any favor, he should set them free. And he told the Indians, that the Governor said he had them in prison, and that he would punish them in such sort, that they should be an example to others. Hereupon the Governor commanded the prisoners to be loosed. As soon as March was come, he determined to depart from Chicaça, and demanded of the cacique two hundred men for carriages. He sent him answer that he would speak with his principal men. Upon Tuesday, the eighth of March, 1541, the Governor went to the town where he was, to ask him for the men: he told him he would send them the next day. As soon as the Governor was come to Chicaça, he told Luys de Moscoso, the camp-master, that he misliked the Indians, and that he should keep a strong watch that night, which he remembered but a little. The Indians came at the second watch in four squadrons, every one by itself, and as soon as they were descried, they sounded a drum, and gave the assault with a great cry, and with so great celerity, that presently they entered with the scouts, that were somewhat distant from the camp. And when they were perceived of them which were in the town, half the houses were on fire, which they had kindled. That night three horsemen chanced to be scouts; two of them were of base calling, and the worst men in all the camp, and the other, which was a nephew of the Governor, which until then was held for a tall man, showed himself there as great a coward as any of them: for all of them ran away. And the Indians without any resistance came and set the town on fire; and tarried without behind the doors for the Christians, which ran out of the houses, not having any leisure to arm themselves; and as they ran hither and thither amazed with the noise, and blinded with the smoke and flame of the fire, they knew not which way they went, neither could they light upon their weapons, nor saddle their horses, neither saw they the Indians that shot at them. Many of the horses were burned in the stables, and those which could break their halters got loose. The disorder and flight was such that every man fled which way he could, without leaving any to resist the Indians. But God (which chastiseth his according to his pleasure, and in the greatest necessities and dangers sustaineth them with his hand) so blinded the Indians, that they saw not what they had done, and thought that the horses which ran loose, were men on horseback, that gathered themselves together to set upon them. The Governor only rode on horseback, and with him a soldier called Tapia, and set upon the Indians, and striking the first he met with his lance, the saddle fell with him, which with haste was evil girded, and so he fell from his horse. And all the people that were on foot were fled to a wood out of the town, and there assembled themselves together. And because it was night, and that the Indians thought the horses were men on horseback which came to set upon them, as I said before, they fled; and one only remained dead, and that was he whom the Governor slew with his lance. The town lay all burnt to ashes. There was a woman burned, who, after she and her husband were both gone out of their house, went in again for certain pearls which they had forgotten, and when she would have come out, the fire was so great at the door that she could not, neither could her husband succor her. Other three Christians came out of their lodgings so cruelly burned, that one of them died within three days, and the other two were carried many days each of them upon a couch between staves, which the Indians carried on their shoulders, for otherwise they could not travel. There died in this hurlyburly eleven Christians, and fifty horses; and there remained a hundred hogs, and four hundred were burned. If any perchance had saved any clothes from the fire of Mavilla, here they were burned, and many were clad in skins, for they had no leisure to take their coats. They endured much cold in this place, and the chiefest remedy were great fires. They spent all night in turnings without sleep: for if they warmed one side, they freezed on the other. Some invented the weaving of certain mats of dry ivy, and did wear one beneath, and another above: many laughed at this device, whom afterward necessity enforced to do the like. The Christians were so spoiled, and in such want of saddles and weapons which were burned, that if the Indians had come the second night, they had overcome them with little labor. They removed thence to the town where the cacique was wont to lie, because it was in a champaign country. Within eight days after, there were many lances and saddles made. There were ash-trees in those parts, whereof they made as good lances as in Biscay.
Upon Wednesday, the 15th of March, 1541, after the Governor had lodged eight days in a plain, half a league from the place which he had wintered in, after he had set up a forge, and tempered the swords which in Chicaça were burned, and made many targets, saddles, and lances; on Tuesday night, at the morning watch, many Indians came to assault the camp in three squadrons, every one by themselves. Those which watched gave the alarm. The Governor with great speed set his men in order in other three squadrons, and leaving some to defend the camp, went out to encounter them. The Indians were overcome and put to flight. The ground was champaign and fit for the Christians to take the advantage of them; and it was now break of day. But there happened a disorder, whereby there were not past thirty or forty Indians slain: and this it was: that a friar cried out in the camp without any just occasion, "To the camp, to the camp." Whereupon the Governor and all the rest repaired thither, and the Indians had time to save themselves. There were some taken, by whom the Governor informed himself of the country through which he was to pass. The 25th of April, he departed from Chicaça, and lodged at a small town called Alimamu. They had very little maize, and they were to pass a desert of seven days' journey. The next day, the Governor sent three captains, every one his way, with horsemen and footmen to seek provisions to pass the desert. And John Dannusco the Auditor went with fifteen horsemen and forty footmen that way that the Governor was to go, and found a strong fort made, where the Indians stayed for him, and many of them walked on the top of it with their weapons, having their bodies, thighs, and arms ochred and dyed with black, white, yellow and red, striped like unto panes, so that they showed as though they went in hose and doublets: and some of them had plumes, and others had horns on their heads, and their faces black, and their eyes done round about with steaks of red, to seem more fierce. As soon as they saw that the Christians approached, with a great cry sounding two drums with great fury they sallied forth to receive them. John Dannusco and those that were with him thought good to avoid them, and to acquaint the Governor therewith. They retired to a plain place, a crossbow-shot from the fort, in sight of it: the footmen, the crossbow-men, and targeters placed themselves before the horsemen, that they might not hurt the horses. The Indians sallied out by seven and seven, and eight and eight, to shoot their arrows, and retired again: and in sight of the Christians they made a fire, and took an Indian, some by the feet, and some by the head, and made as though they went to cast him into the fire, and gave him first many knocks on the head: signifying that they meant so to handle the Christians. John Dannusco sent three horsemen to advertise the Governor hereof. He came presently: for his intent was to drive them from thence, saying, that if he did it not, they would be emboldened to charge him another time, when they might do him more harm. He made the horsemen to alight, and set his men in four squadrons. The sign being given, they set upon the Indians, which made resistance till the Christians came near the fort, and as soon as they saw they could not defend themselves, by a place where a brook passed near the fort, they ran away, and from the other side they shot some arrows; and because at that instant we knew no ford for the horses to pass, they had time enough to get out of our danger. Three Indians were slain there, and many Christians were hurt, whereof within few days, there died fifteen by the way. All men thought the Governor to be in fault, because he sent not to see the disposition of the place on the other side of the river, and to know the passage before he set upon them. For with the hope they had to save themselves by flight that way, when they saw none other means, they fought till they were broken, and it was an encouragement to defend themselves until then, and to offend the Christians without any danger to themselves.
Three days after they had sought some maize, whereof they found but little store, in regard of that which was needful, and that for this cause, as well for their sakes that were wounded, it was needful for them to rest, as for the great journey they were to march to come where store of maize was: yet the Governor was enforced to depart presently toward Quizquiz. He traveled seven days through a desert of many marshes and thick woods: but it might all be traveled on horseback, except some lakes which they swam over. He came to a town of the province of Quizquiz without being descried, and took all the people in it before they came out of their houses. The mother of the cacique was taken there: and he sent unto him by an Indian, that he should come to see him, and that he would give him his mother, and all the people which he had taken there. The cacique sent him answer again, that his lordship should loose and send them to him, and that he would come to visit and serve him. The Governor, because his people for want of maize were somewhat weak and weary, and the horses also were lean, determined to accomplish his request, to see if he could have peace with him, and so commanded to set free his mother and all the rest, and with loving words dismissed them and sent them to him. The next day, when the Governor expected the cacique, there came many Indians with their bows and arrows with a purpose to set upon the Christians. The Governor had commanded all the horsemen to be armed, and on horseback, and in readiness. When the Indians saw that they were ready, they stayed a crossbow-shot from the place where the Governor was, near a brook. And after half an hour that they had stood there still, there came to the camp six principal Indians, and said, "they came to see what people they were, and that long ago, they had been informed by their forefathers that a white people should subdue them; and that therefore they would return to their cacique, and bid him come presently to obey and serve the Governor:" and after they had presented him with six or seven skins and mantles which they brought, they took their leave of him, and returned with the others, which waited for them by the brook side. The cacique never came again nor sent other message. And because in the town where the Governor lodged, there was small store of maize, he removed to another half a league from Rio Grande,[H] where they found plenty of maize. And he went to see the river, and found, that near unto it was great store of timber to make barges, and good situation of ground to encamp in. Presently he removed himself thither. They made houses, and pitched their camp in a plain field a crossbow-shot from the river. And thither was gathered all the maize of the towns which they had lately passed. They began presently to cut and hew down timber, and to saw planks for barges. The Indians came presently down the river: they leaped on shore, and declared to the Governor, "that they were subjects of a great lord, whose name was Aquixo, who was lord of many towns, and governed many people on the other side of the river, and came to tell him on his behalf, that the next day he with all his men would come to see what it would please him to command him." The next day, with speed, the cacique came with two hundred canoes full of Indians with their bows and arrows, painted, and with great plumes of white feathers, and many other colors, with shields in their hands, wherewith they defended the rowers on both sides, and the men of war stood from the head to the stern, with their bows and arrows in their hands. The canoe wherein the cacique was, had a tilt over the stern, and he sat under the tilt; and so were other canoes of the principal Indians. And from under the tilt where the chief man sat, he governed and commanded the other people. All joined together, and came within a stone's cast of the shore. From thence the cacique said to the Governor, which walked along the river's side with others that waited on him, that he was come thither to visit, to honor, and to obey him; because he knew he was the greatest and mightiest lord on the earth: therefore he would see what he would command him to do. The Governor yielded him thanks, and requested him tocome on shore, that they might the better communicate together. And without any answer to that point, he sent him three canoes, wherein was great store of fish and loaves, made of the substance of prunes like unto bricks. After he had received all, he thanked him, and prayed him again to come on shore. And because the cacique's purpose was, to see if with dissimulation he might do some hurt, when they saw that the Governor and his men were in readiness, they began to go from the shore: and with a great cry, the crossbow-men which were ready, shot at them, and slew five or six of them. They retired with great order: none did leave his oar, though the next to him were slain, and shielding themselves, they went farther off. Afterward they came many times and landed: and when any of us came toward them, they fled into their canoes, which were very pleasant to behold: for they were very great and well made, and had their tilts, plumes, paueses, and flags, and with the multitude of people that were in them, they seemed to be a fair army of galleys. In thirty days' space, while the Governor remained there, they made four barges: in three of which he commanded twelve horsemen to enter, in each of them four. In a morning, three hours before day, men which he trusted would land in despite of the Indians, and make sure the passage, or die, and some footmen, being crossbow-men, went with them, and rowers to set them on the other side. And in the other barge he commanded John de Guzman to pass with the footmen, which was made captain instead of Francisco Maldonado. And because the stream was swift, they went a quarter of a league up the river along the bank, and crossing over, fell down with the stream, and landed right over against the camp. Two stones' cast before they came to land, the horsemen went out of the barges on horseback to a sandy plot very hard and clear ground, where all of them landed without any resistance. As soon as those that passed first were on land on the other side, the barges returned to the place where the Governor was: and within two hours after sun rising, all the people were over. The river was almost half a league broad. If a man stood still on the other side, it could not be discerned whether he was a man or no. The river was of great depth, and of a strong current: the water was always muddy: there came down the river continually many trees and timber, which the force of the water and stream brought down. There was great store of fish in it of sundry sorts, and the most of it differing from the fresh water fish of Spain, as hereafter shall be showed.
Having passed Rio Grande, the Governor traveled a league and a half, and came to a great town of Aquixo, which was dispeopled before he came thither. They espied thirty Indians coming over a plain, which the cacique sent to discover the Christians' determination; and as soon as they had sight of them, they took themselves to flight. The horsemen pursued them, and slew ten, and took fifteen. And because the town, whither the Governor went, was near unto the river, he sent a captain, with as many men as he thought sufficient, to carry the barges up the river. And because in his traveling by land many times he went far from the river to compass the creeks that came from it, the Indians took occasion to set upon them of the barges, and put them in great danger, because that by reason of the great current, they durst not leave the shore, and from the bank they shot at them. As soon as the Governor was come to the town, he presently sent crossbow-men down the river, which came to rescue them and upon the coming of the barges to the town, he commanded them to be broken, and to save the iron for others, when it should be needful. He lay there one night, and the day following he set forward to seek a province, called Pacaha, which he was informed to be near unto Chisca, where the Indians told him there was gold. He passed through great towns of Aquixo, which were all abandoned for fear of the Christians. He understood by certain Indians that were taken that three days' journey from thence dwelt a great cacique, whose name was Casqui. He came to a small river, where a bridge was made, by which they passed; that day till sunset, they went all in water, which in some places came to the waist, and in some to the knees. When they saw themselves on dry land, they were very glad, because they feared they should wander up and down as forlorn men all night in the water. At noon they came to the first town of Casqui: they found the Indians careless, because they had no knowledge of them. There were many men and women taken, and store of goods, as mantles and skins, as well in the first town, as in another, which stood in a field half a league from thence in sight of it; whither the horsemen ran. This country is higher, drier, and more champaign, than any part bordering near the river that until then they had seen. There were in the fields many walnut trees, bearing soft-shelled walnuts in the fashion like bullets, and in the houses they found many of them, which the Indians had laid up in store. The trees differed in nothing else from those of Spain, nor from those which we had seen before, but only that they have a smaller leaf. There were many mulberry trees and plum trees, which bare red plums like those of Spain, and others gray, somewhat differing, but far better. And all the trees are all the year so fruitful, as if they were planted in orchards; and the woods were very thin. The Governor traveled two days through the country of Casqui, before he came to the town where the cacique was; and the most of the way was alway by champaign ground, which was full of great towns, so that from one town, you might see two or three. He sent an Indian to certify the cacique that he was coming to the place where he was, with intent to procure his friendship, and to hold him as his brother. Whereunto he answered, that he should be welcome, and that he would receive him with special good-will, and accomplish all that his lordship would command him. He sent him a present upon the way; to wit, skins, mantles, and fish: and after these compliments, the Governor found all the towns, as he passed, inhabited with people, which peaceably attended his coming, and offered him skins, mantles, and fish. The cacique, accompanied with many Indians, came out of the town, and stayed half a league on the way to receive the Governor, and when he came to him, he spake these words following:—
"Right high, right mighty, and renowned lord, your lordship is most heartily welcome. As soon as I had notice of your lordship, of your power, and your perfections, although you came into my country killing and taking captives the inhabitants thereof and my subjects, yet I determined to conform my will unto yours, and as your own to interpret in good part all that your lordship did: believing that it was convenient it should be so for some just respect, to prevent some future matter revealed unto your lordship, and concealed from me. For well may a mischief be permitted to avoid a greater, and that good may come thereof: which I believe will so fall out. For it is no reason to presume of so excellent a prince, that the nobleness of his heart, and the effect of his will would permit him to suffer any unjust thing. My ability is so small to serve you as your lordship deserveth, that if you respect not mine abundant good-will, which humbly offereth all kind of service, I deserve but little in your presence. But if it be reason that this be esteemed, receive the same, myself, my country, and subjects for yours, and dispose of me and them at your pleasure. For if I were lord of all the world, with the same good-will should your lordship by me be received, served and obeyed."
The Governor answered him to the purpose, and satisfied him in few words. Within a while after both of them used words of great offers and courtesy the one to the other, and the cacique requested him to lodge in his houses. The Governor, to preserve the peace the better, excused himself, saying that he would lodge in the fields. And because it was very hot, they camped near certain trees a quarter of a league from the town. The cacique went to his town, and came again with many Indians singing. As soon as they came to the Governor, all of them prostrated themselves upon the ground. Among these came two Indians that were blind. The cacique made a speech: to avoid tediousness, I will only tell in a few words the substance of the matter. He said, that seeing the Governor was the son of the Sun, and a great lord, he besought him to do him the favor to give sight to those two blind men. The blind men rose up presently, and very earnestly requested the same of the Governor. He answered, that in the high heavens was he that had power to give them health, and whatsoever they could ask of him; whose servant he was: and that this Lord made the heavens and the earth, and man after his own likeness, and that he suffered upon the cross to save mankind, and rose again the third day, and that he died as he was man, and as touching his divinity, he was, and is immortal; and that he ascended into heaven, where he standeth with his arms open to receive all such as turn unto him: and straightway he commanded him to make a very high cross of wood, which was set up in the highest place of the town; declaring unto him, that the Christians worshiped the same in resemblance and memory of that whereon Christ suffered. The Governor and his men kneeled down before it, and the Indians did the like. The Governor willed him, that from thenceforth he would worship the same, and should ask whatsoever they stood in need of, of that Lord that he told him was in heaven. Then he asked him how far it was from thence to Pacaha. He said, one day's journey, and that at the end of his country, there was a lake like a brook which falleth into Rio Grande, and that he would send men before to make a bridge whereby he might pass. The same day that the Governor departed thence, he lodged at a town belonging to Casqui; and the next day he passed in sight of other towns, and came to the lake, which was half a crossbow shot over, of a great depth and current. At the time of his coming, the Indians had made an end of the bridge, which was made of timber, laid one tree after another: and on one side it had a course of stakes higher than the bridge, for them that passed to take hold on. The Cacique of Casqui came to the Governor, and brought his people with him. The Governor sent word by an Indian to the Cacique of Pacaha, that though he were enemy to the Cacique of Casqui, and though he were there, yet he would do him no disgrace nor hurt, if he would attend him peaceably, and embrace his friendship; but rather would intreat him as a brother. The Indian, which the Governor sent, came again, and said that the cacique made no account of that which he told him, but fled with all his men out at the other side of the town. Presently the Governor entered, and ran before with the horsemen, that way by which the Indians fled; and at another town, distant a quarter of a league from thence, they took many Indians; and as soon as the horsemen had taken them, they delivered them to the Indians of Casqui, whom, because they were their enemies, with much circumspection and rejoicing, they brought to the town where the Christians were: and the greatest grief they had was this, that they could not get leave to kill them. There were found in the town many mantles, and deer skins, lion skins, and bear skins, and many cat skins. Many came so far poorly appareled, and there they clothed themselves: of the mantles, they made them coats and cassocks, and some made gowns, and lined them with cat skins; and likewise their cassocks. Of the deer skins, some made them also jerkins, shirts, hose and shoes: and of the bear skins, they made them very good cloaks: for no water could pierce them. There were targets of raw ox hides found there; with which hides they armed their horses.
Upon Wednesday, the 19th of June, 1541, the Governor entered into Pacaha. He lodged in the town, where the cacique used to reside, which was very great, walled, and beset with towers, and many loopholes were in the towers and wall. And in the town was great store of old maize, and great quantity of new in the fields. Within a league and half a league were great towns all walled. Where the Governor was lodged was a great lake, that came near unto the wall; and it entered into a ditch, that went round about the town, wanting but a little to environ it around. From the lake to the great river was made a wear by which the fish came into it; which the cacique kept for his recreation and sport. With nets that were found in the town, they took as much as they would; and took they never so much, there was no want perceived. There was also great store of fish in many other lakes that were thereabout, but it was soft, and not so good as that which came from the river, and the most of it was different from the fresh-water fish of Spain. There was a fish which they called bagres; the third part of it was head, and it had on both sides the gills, and along the sides great pricks like very sharp awls. Those of the kind that were in the lakes were as big as pikes; and in the river there were some of an hundred, and of an hundred and fifty pounds weight, and many of them were taken with the hook. There was another fish like barbilles, and another like breams, headed like a delicate fish, called in Spain besugo, between red and gray. This was there of most esteem. There was another fish called peel fish; it had a snout of a cubit long, and at the end of the upper lip it was made like a peel. There was another fish called a western shad; and all of them had scales, except the bagres, and the peel fish. There was another fish which sometimes the Indians brought us, of the bigness of a hog; they called it the pereo fish; it had rows of teeth beneath and above. The Cacique of Casqui sent many times great presents of fish, mantles, and skins. He told the Governor that he would deliver the Cacique of Pacaha into his hands. He went to Casqui, and sent many canoes up the river, and came himself by land with many of his people. The Governor, with forty horsemen and sixty footmen, took him along with him up the river. And his Indians which were in the canoes, discovered where the Cacique of Pacaha was, in a little island, situated between two arms of the river. And five Christians entered into a canoe, wherein Don Antonio Osorio went before, to see what people the cacique had with him. There were in the isle five or six thousand souls. And as soon as they saw them, supposing that the Indians which were in the other canoes were also Christians, the cacique, and certain which were in three canoes, which they had there with them, fled in great haste to the other side of the river. The rest, with great fear and danger, leapt into the river, where many people were drowned, especially women and little children. Presently the Governor, who was on land, not knowing what had happened to Don Antonio and those that went with him, commanded the Christians with all speed to enter with the Indians of Casqui in the canoes, which were quickly with Don Antonio in the little island, where they took many men and women, and much goods. Great store of goods, which the Indians had laid upon hurdles of canes and rafts of timber to carry over to the other side, drove down the river, wherewith the Indians of Casqui filled their canoes; and for fear lest the Christians would take it from them, the cacique went home with them down the river, without taking his leave of the Governor; whereupon the Governor was highly offended with him, and presently returning to Pacaha, he overran the country of Casqui the space of two leagues, where he took twenty or thirty of his men. And because his horses were weary, and he wanted time that day to go any farther, he returned to Pacaha, with determination within three or four days after to invade Casqui. And presently he let loose one of the Indians of Pacaha, and sent word by him to the cacique, that if he would have his friendship, he should repair unto him, and that both of them would make war upon Casqui. And presently came many Indians that belonged to Pacaha, and brought an Indian instead of the cacique, which was discovered by the cacique's brother, which was taken prisoner. The Governor wished the Indians that their master himself should come; for he knew very well that that was not he, and told them that they could do nothing which he knew not before they thought it. The next day the cacique came, accompanied with many Indians, and with a present of much fish, skins and mantles. He made a speech that all were glad to hear, and concluded saying, that though his lordship, without his giving occasion of offence had done him hurt in his country and subjects, yet he would not therefore refuse to be his, and that he would always be at his command. The Governor commanded his brother to be loosed, and other principal Indians that were taken prisoners. That day came an Indian from the Cacique of Casqui, and said that his lord would come the next day to excuse himself of the error which he had committed, in going away without license of the Governor. The Governor willed the messenger to signify unto him, that if he came not in his own person, he would seek him himself, and give him such punishment as he deserved. The next day with all speed came the Cacique of Casqui, and brought a present to the Governor of many mantles, skins, and fish, and gave him a daughter of his, saying that he greatly desired to match his blood with the blood of so great a lord as he was, and therefore he brought him his daughter, and desired him to take her to his wife. He made a long and discreet oration, giving him great commendations, and concluded, saying, that he should pardon his going away without license, for that cross's sake which he had left with him; protesting that he went away for shame of that which his men had done without his consent. The Governor answered him that he had chosen a good patron; and that if he had not come to excuse himself, he had determined to seek him, to burn his towns, to kill him and his people, and to destroy his country. To which he replied, saying:
"My lord, I and mine are yours, and my country likewise is yours; therefore if you had done so, you should have destroyed your own country, and have killed your own people; whatsoever shall come unto me from your hand, I will receive as from my lord, as well punishment as reward; and know you, that the favor which you did me in leaving me the cross, I do acknowledge the same to be a very great one, and greater than I have ever deserved. For you shall understand, that with great droughts the fields of maize of my country were withered; and as soon as I and my people kneeled before the cross, and prayed for rain, presently our necessities were relieved."
The Governor made him and the Cacique of Pacaha friends; and set them with him at his table to dine with him; and the caciques fell at variance about the seats, which of them should sit on his right hand. The Governor pacified them; telling them that among the Christians all was one to sit on the one side, or on the other, willing them so to behave themselves, seeing they were with him, that nobody might hear them, and that every one should sit in the place that first he lighted on. From thence he sent thirty horsemen and fifty footmen to the province of Caluça, to see if from thence he might travel to Chisca, where the Indians said there was a work of gold and copper. They traveled seven days' journey, through a desert, and returned very weary, eating green plums, and stalks of maize, which they found in a poor town of six or seven houses. From thenceforward towards the north, the Indians said that the country was very ill inhabited, because it was very cold; and that there was such store of oxen, that they could keep no corn for them; and that the Indians lived upon their flesh. The Governor, seeing that toward that part the country was so poor of maize that in it they could not be sustained, demanded of the Indians which way it was most inhabited; and they said, they had notice of a great province, and a very plentiful country, which was called Quigaute, and that it was toward the south.
The Governor rested in Pacaha forty days; in all which time the two caciques served him with great store of fish, mantles, and skins, and strove who should do him greatest service. At the time of his departure the Cacique of Pacaha gave him two of his sisters, saying that in sign of love that he might remember him, he should take them for his wives: the one's name was Macanoche, and the other's Mochila: they were well proportioned, tall of body, and well fleshed. Macanoche was of a good countenance, and in her shape and physiognomy looked like a lady; the other was strongly made. The Cacique of Casqui commanded the bridge to be repaired, and the Governor returned through his country, and lodged in the field near his town, whither he came with great store of fish, and two women, which he exchanged with two Christians for two shirts. He gave us a guide and men for carriages. The Governor lodged at a town of his, and the next day at another near a river, whither he caused canoes to be brought for him to pass over, and with his leave returned. The Governor took his journey toward Quigaute. The fourth day of August he came to the town, where the cacique used to keep his residence: on the way he sent him a present of many mantles and skins, and not daring to stay for him in the town, he absented himself. The town was the greatest that was seen in Florida. The Governor and his people lodged in the one-half of it; and within few days, seeing the Indians became liars, he commanded the other half to be burned, because it should not be a shelter for them, if they came to assault him by night, nor a hinderance to his horsemen for the resisting of them. There came an Indian very well accompanied with many Indians, saying that he was the cacique. He delivered him over to the men of his guard to look unto him. There went and came many Indians, and brought mantles and skins. The counterfeit cacique, seeing so little opportunity to execute his evil thought, as he went one day abroad talking with the Governor, he showed him such a pair of heels, that there was no Christian that could overtake him, and he leaped into the river, which was a crossbow shot from the town: and as soon as he was on the other side, many Indians that were thereabout making a great cry began to shoot. The Governor passed presently over to them with horsemen and footmen, but they durst not tarry for him. Going forward on his way, he came to a town where the people were fled, and a little further to a lake, where the horses could not pass, and on the other side were many women. The footmen passed, and took many of them, and much spoil. The Governor came to the camp, and that night was a spy of the Indians taken by them of the watch. The Governor asked him, whether he would bring him where the cacique was? he said he would. And he went presently to seek him, with twenty horsemen and fifty footmen; and after he had sought him a day and a half, he found him in a strong wood: and a soldier, not knowing him, gave him a wound on the head; and he cried out, that he should not kill him, saying that he was the cacique; so he was taken, and a hundred and forty of his men with him. The Governor came again to Quigaute, and willed him to cause his men to come to serve the Christians; and staying some days for their coming, and seeing they came not, he sent two captains, every one his way on both sides of the river with horsemen and footmen. They took many men and women. Now seeing the hurt which they sustained for their rebellion, they came to see what the Governor would command them, and passed to and fro many times, and brought presents of cloth and fish. The cacique and his two wives were in the lodging of the Governor loose, and the halberdiers of his guard did keep them. The Governor asked them which way the country was most inhabited? They said, that toward the south down the river, were great towns and caciques, which commanded great countries, and much people. And that toward the north-west, there was a province near to certain mountains, that was called Coligoa. The Governor and all the rest thought good to go first to Coligoa: saying, that peradventure the mountains would make some difference of soil, and that beyond them there might be some gold or silver. As for Quigaute, Casqui, and Pacaha, they were plain countries, fat grounds, and full of good meadows on the rivers, where the Indians sowed large fields of maize. From Tascaluca to Rio Grande, or the Great River, is about three hundred leagues: it is a very low country, and hath many lakes. From Pacaha to Quigaute may be an hundred leagues. The Governor left the Cacique of Quigaute in his own town. And an Indian, which was his guide, led him through great woods without any way, seven days' journey through a desert, where, at every lodging, they lodged in lakes and pools in very shoal water; there was such store of fish, that they killed them with cudgels; and the Indians which they carried in chains, with the mud troubled the waters, and the fish being therewith, as it were, astonished, came to the top of the water, and they took as much as they listed. The Indians of Coligoa had no knowledge of the Christians, and when they came so near the town that the Indians saw them, they fled up a river which passed near the town, and some leaped into it; but the Christians went on both sides of the river, and took them. There were many men and women taken, and the cacique with them. And by his commandment within three days came many Indians with a present of mantles and deers' skins, and two ox hides: and they reported, that five or six leagues from thence toward the north, there were many of these oxen, and that because the country was cold, it was evil inhabited; that the best country which they knew, the most plentiful, and most inhabited, was a province called Cayas, lying toward the south. From Quigaute to Coligoa may be forty leagues. This town of Coligoa stood at the foot of a hill, on the bank of a mean river, of the bigness of Cayas, the river that passeth by Estremadura. It was a fat soil and so plentiful of maize, that they cast out the old, to bring in the new. There was also great plenty of French beans and pompions. The French beans were greater, and better than those of Spain, and likewise the pompions, and being roasted, they have almost the taste of chestnuts. The Cacique of Coligoa gave a guide to Cayas, and stayed behind in his own town. We traveled five days, and came to the province of Palisema. The house of the cacique was found covered with deers' skins, of divers colors and works drawn in them, and with the same in manner of carpets was the ground of the house covered. The cacique left it so, that the Governor might lodge in it, in token that he sought peace and his friendship. But he durst not tarry his coming. The Governor, seeing he had absented himself, sent a captain with horsemen and footmen to seek him. He found much people, but by reason of the roughness of the country, he took none save a few women and children. The town was little and scattering, and had very little maize. For which cause the Governor speedily departed from thence. He came to another town called Tatalicoya; he carried with him the cacique thereof, which guided him to Cayas. From Tatalicoya are four days' journey to Cayas. When he came to Cayas, and saw the town scattered, he thought they had told him a lie, and that it was not the province of Cayas, because they had informed him that it was well inhabited. He threatened the cacique, charging him to tell him where he was: and he and other Indians which were taken near about that place, affirmed that this was the town of Cayas, and the best that was in that country, and that though the houses were distant the one from the other, yet the ground that was inhabited was great, and that there was great store of people, and many fields of maize. This town was called Tanico; he pitched his camp in the best part of it, near unto a river. The same day that the Governor came thither, he went a league farther with certain horsemen, and without finding any people, he found many skins in a pathway, which the cacique had left there, that they might be found, in token of peace. For so is the custom in that country.
The Governor rested a month in the province of Cayas. In which time the horses fattened and thrived more, than in other places in a longer time, with the great plenty of maize and the leaves thereof, which I think was the best that has been seen, and they drank of a lake of very hot water, and somewhat brackish, and they drank so much, that it swelled in their bellies when they brought them from the watering. Until that time the Christians wanted salt, and there they made good store, which they carried along with them. The Indians do carry it to other places to exchange it for skins and mantles. They make it along the river, which when it ebbeth, leaveth it upon the upper part of the sand. And because they cannot make it, without much sand mingled with it, they throw it into certain baskets which they have for that purpose, broad at the mouth and narrow at the bottom, and set it in the air upon a bar, and throw water into it, and set a small vessel under it, wherein it falleth: Being strained and set to boil upon the fire, when the water is sodden away, the salt remaineth in the bottom of the pan. On both sides of the river the country was full of sown fields, and there was store of maize. The Indians durst not come over where we were; and when some of them showed themselves, the soldiers that saw them called unto them; then the Indians passed the river, and came with them where the Governor was. He asked them for the cacique. They said that he remained quiet, but that he durst not show himself. The Governor presently sent him word, that he should come unto him, and bring him a guide and an interpreter for his journey, if he made account of his friendship: and if he did not so, he would come himself to seek him, and that it would be the worse for him. He waited three days, and seeing he came not, he went to seek him, and brought him prisoner with 150 of his men. He asked him, whether he had notice of any great cacique, and which way the country was best inhabited. He answered, that the best country thereabout was a province toward the south, a day and a half's journey, which was called Tulla; and that he could give him a guide, but no interpreter, because the speech of that country was different from his, and because he and his ancestors had always wars with the lords of that province; therefore they had no commerce, nor understood one another's language. Immediately the Governor with certain horsemen, and fifty footmen, departed towards Tulla, to see if the country were such, as he might pass through it with all his company: and as soon as he arrived there, and was espied of the Indians, the country gathered together, and as soon as fifteen and twenty Indians could assemble themselves, they set upon the Christians: and seeing that they did handle them shrewdly, and that the horsemen overtook them when they fled, they got up into the tops of their houses, and sought to defend themselves with their arrows: and being beaten down from one, they got up upon another. And while our men pursued some, others set upon them another way. Thus the skirmish lasted so long, that the horses were tired, and they could not make them run. The Indians killed there one horse, and some were hurt. There were fifteen Indians slain there, and forty women and boys were taken prisoners. For whatsoever Indian did shoot at them, if they could come by him, they put him to the sword. The Governor determined to return toward Cayas, before the Indians had time to gather a head; and presently that evening, going part of the night to leave Tulla, he lodged by the way, and the next day came to Cayas: and within three days after he departed thence towards Tulla with all his company. He carried the cacique along with him, and among all his men, there was not one found that could understand the speech of Tulla. He stayed three days by the way, and the day that he came thither, he found the town abandoned: for the Indians durst not tarry his coming. But as soon as they knew that the Governor was in Tulla, the first night about the morning watch, they came in two squadrons two several ways, with their bows and arrows, and long staves like pikes. As soon as they were descried, both horse and foot sallied out upon them, where many of the Indians were slain: and some Christians and horses were hurt. Some of the Indians were taken prisoners, whereof the Governor sent six to the cacique, with their right hands and noses cut off: and sent him word, that if he came not to him to excuse and submit himself, that he would come to seek him, and that he would do the like to him, and as many of his as he could find, as he had done to those which he had sent him: and gave him three days' respite for to come. And this he gave them to understand by signs, as well as he could, for there was no interpreter. At the three days' end, there came an Indian laden with ox hides. He came weeping with great sobs, and coming to the Governor cast himself down at his feet. He took him up, and he made a speech, but there was none that understood him. The Governor by signs commanded him to return to the cacique, and to will him to send him an interpreter, which could understand the men of Cayas. The next day came three Indians laden with ox hides: and within three days after came 20 Indians, and among them one that understood them of Cayas; who, after a long oration of excuses of the cacique, and praises of the Governor, concluded with this, that he and the other were come thither on the cacique's behalf, to see what his lordship would command him to do, for he was ready at his commandment. The Governor and all his company were very glad. For in nowise could they travel without an interpreter. The Governor commanded him to be kept safe, and bade him tell the men that came with him, that they should return to the cacique, and signify unto him, that he pardoned him for that which was past, and thanked him much for his presents and interpreter, which he had sent him, and that he would be glad to see him, and that he should come the next day to talk with him. After three days, the cacique came, and eighty Indians with him; and himself and his men came weeping into the camp, in token of obedience and repentance for the error passed, after the manner of that country. He brought a present of many ox hides: which, because the country was cold, were very profitable, and served for coverlets, because they were very soft, and wooled like sheep. Not far from thence toward the north were many oxen. The Christians saw them not, nor came into the country where they were, because those parts were evil inhabited, and had small store of maize where they were bred. The Cacique of Tulla made an oration to the Governor, wherein he excused himself, and offered him his country, subjects, and person. As well this cacique as the others, and all those which came to the Governor on their behalf, delivered their message or speech in so good order, that no orator could utter the same more eloquently.
The Governor informed himself of all the country round about; and understood, that toward the west was a scattered dwelling, and that toward the southeast were great towns, especially in a province called Autiamque, ten days' journey from Tulla; which might be about eighty leagues; and that it was a plentiful country of maize. And because winter came on, and that they could not travel two or three months in the year for cold, waters, and snow: and fearing, that if they should stay so long in the scattered dwelling, they could not be sustained; and also because the Indians said, that near to Autiamque was a great water, and according to their relation, the Governor thought it was some arm of the sea: and because he now desired to send news of himself to Cuba, that some supply of men and horses might be sent unto him (for it was about three years since Donna Isabella, which was in Havana, or any other person in Christendom had heard of him, and by this time he had lost 250 men, and 150 horses), he determined to winter in Autiamque, and the next spring to go to the sea coast and make two brigantines, and send one of them to Cuba, and the other to Nueva Espanna, that that which went in safety, might give news of him: hoping with the goods which he had in Cuba, to furnish himself again, and to attempt the discovery and conquest toward the west: for he had not yet come where Cabeça de Vaca had been. Thus having sent away the two caciques of Cayas and Tulla, he took his journey toward Autiamque: he traveled five days over rough mountains, and came to a town called Quipana, where no Indians could be taken for the roughness of the country: and the town being between hills, there was an ambush laid, wherewith they took two Indians; which told them, that Autiamque was six days' journey from thence, and that there was another province toward the south, eight days' journey off, plentiful of maize, and very well peopled, which was called Guahate. But because Autiamque was nearer, and the most of the Indians agreed of it, the Governor made his journey that way. In three days he came to a town called Anoixi. He sent a captain before with thirty horsemen and fifty footmen, and took the Indians careless; he took many men and women prisoners. Within two days after the Governor came to another town called Catamaya, and lodged in the fields of the town. Two Indians came with a false message from the cacique to know his determination. He bade them tell their lord, that he should come and speak with him. The Indians returned and came no more, nor any other message from the cacique. The next day the Christians went to the town, which was without people: they took as much maize as they needed. That day they lodged in a wood, and the next day they came to Autiamque. They found much maize laid up in store, and French beans, and walnuts, and prunes, great store of all sorts. They took some Indians which were gathering together the stuff which their wives had hidden. This was a champaign country, and well inhabited. The Governor lodged in the best part of the town, and commanded presently to make a fence of timber round about the camp distant from the houses, that the Indians might not hurt them without by fire. And measuring the ground by paces, he appointed every one his part to do according to the number of Indians which he had: presently the timber was brought by them; and in three days there was an inclosure made of very high and thick posts thrust into the ground, and many rails laid across. Hard by this town passed a river, that came out of the province of Cayas; and above and beneath it was very well peopled. Thither came Indians on the cacique's behalf with a present of mantles and skins; and an halting cacique, subject to the lord of Autiamque, lord of a town called Tietiquaquo, came many times to visit the Governor, and to bring him presents of such as he had. The Cacique of Autiamque sent to know of the Governor, how long time he meant to stay in his country? And understanding that he meant to stay about three days, he never sent any more Indians, nor any other message, but conspired with the lame cacique to rebel. Divers inroads were made, wherein there were many men and women taken, and the lame cacique among the rest. The Governor respecting the services which he had received of him, reprehended and admonished him, and set him at liberty, and gave him two Indians to carry him in a chair upon their shoulders. The Cacique of Autiamque desiring to thrust the Governor out of his country, set spies over him. And an Indian coming one night to the gate of the inclosure, a soldier that watched espied him, and stepping behind the gate, as he came in, he gave him such a thrust, that he fell down; and so he carried him to the Governor: and as he asked him wherefore he came, not being able to speak, he fell down dead. The night following the Governor commanded a soldier to give the alarm, and to say that he had seen Indians, to see how ready they would be to answer the alarm. And he did so sometimes as well there, as in other places, when he thought that his men were careless, and reprehended such as were slack. And as well for this cause, as in regard of doing their duty, when the alarm was given, every one sought to be the first that should answer. They staid in Autiamque three months, with great plenty of maize, French beans, walnuts, prunes, and conies: which until that time they knew not how to catch. And in Autiamque the Indians taught them how to take them; which was, with great springs, which lifted up their feet from the ground: and the snare was made with a strong string, whereunto was fastened a knot of a cane, which ran close about the neck of the cony, because they should not gnaw the string. They took many in the fields of maize, especially when it froze or snowed. The Christians stayed there one whole month so inclosed with snow, that they went not out of the town: and when they wanted firewood, the Governor with his horsemen going and coming many times to the wood, which was two crossbow shots from the town, made a pathway, whereby the footmen went for wood. In this mean space, some Indians which went loose, killed many conies with their gyves, and with arrows. These conies were of two sorts, some were like those of Spain, and the other of the same color and fashion, and as big as great hares, longer, and having greater loins.
Upon Monday the 6th of March, 1542, the Governor departed from Autiamque to seek Nilco, which the Indians said was near the great river, with determination to come to the sea, and procure some succor of men and horses; for he had now but three hundred men of war, and forty horses, and some of them lame, which did nothing but help to make up the number; and for want of iron they had gone above a year unshod; and because they were used to it in the plain country, it did them no great harm. John Ortiz died in Autiamque, which grieved the Governor very much; because that without an interpreter he feared to enter far into the land, where he might be lost. From thenceforward a youth that was taken in Cutifachiqui did serve for interpreter, which had by that time learned somewhat of the Christians' language. The death of John Ortiz was so great a mischief for the discovering inward, or going out of the land, that to learn of the Indians, that which in four words he declared, they needed a whole day with the youth; and most commonly he understood quite contrary that which was asked him; whereby it often happened that the way that they went one day, and sometimes two or three days, they turned back, and went astray through the wood here and there. The Governor spent ten days in traveling from Autiamque to a province called Ayays; and came to a town that stood near the river that passeth by Cayas and Autiamque. There he commanded a barge to be made, wherewith he passed the river. When he had passed the river there fell out such weather, that four days he could not travel for snow. As soon as it gave over snowing, he went three days' journey through a wilderness, and a country so low, and so full of lakes and evil ways, that he traveled a whole day in water, sometimes knee deep, sometimes to the stirrup, and sometimes they swam. He came to a town called Tutelpinco, abandoned, and without maize. There passed by it a lake, that entered into the river, which carried a great stream and force of water. Five Christians passing over it in a periagua, which the Governor had sent with a captain, the periagua overset. Some took hold on it, some on the trees that were in the lake. One Francis Sebastian, an honest man of Villa nova de Barca Rota, was drowned there. The Governor went a whole day along the lake, seeking passage, and could find none, nor any way that did pass to the other side. Coming again at night to the town he found two peaceable Indians, which showed him the passage, and which way he was to go. There they made of canes and of the timber of houses thatched with cane, rafts, wherewith they passed the lake. They traveled three days, and came to a town of the territory of Nilco, called Tianto. There they took thirty Indians, and among them two principal men of this town. The Governor sent a captain, with horsemen and footmen, before to Nilco, because the Indians might have no time to carry away the provision. They passed through three or four great towns; and in the town where the cacique was resident, which was two leagues from the place where the Governor remained, they found many Indians with their bows and arrows, in manner as though they would have stayed to fight, which did compass the town; and as soon as they saw the Christians come near them, without misdoubting them, they set the cacique's house on fire, and fled over a lake that passed near the town, through which the horses could not pass. The next day being Wednesday, the 29th of March, the Governor came to Nilco; he lodged with all his men in the cacique's town, which stood in a plain field, which was inhabited for the space of a quarter of a league: and within a league and half a league were other very great towns, wherein was great store of maize, of French beans, of walnuts, and prunes. This was the best inhabited country that was seen in Florida, and had most store of maize, except Coça and Apalache. There came to the camp an Indian accompanied with others, and in the cacique's name gave the Governor a mantle of martens' skins, and a cordon of pearls. The Governor gave him a few small margarites, which are certain beads much esteemed in Peru, and other things, wherewith he was very well contented. He promised to return within two days, but never came again: but on the contrary the Indians came by night in canoes, and carried away all the maize they could, and made them cabins on the other side of the river in the thickest of the wood, because they might flee if we should go to seek them. The Governor, seeing he came not at the time appointed, commanded an ambush to be laid about certain store-houses near the lake, whither the Indians came for maize: where they took two Indians, who told the Governor, that he which came to visit him, was not the cacique, but was sent by him under pretence to spy whether the Christians were careless, and whether they determined to settle in that country or to go forward. Presently the Governor sent a captain with footmen and horsemen over the river; and in their passage they were descried of the Indians, and therefore he could take but ten or twelve men and women, with whom he returned to the camp. This river, which passed by Nilco, was that which passed by Cayas and Autiamque, and fell into Rio Grande, or the Great River, which passed by Pachaha and Aquixo near unto the province of Guachoya: and the lord thereof came up the river in canoes to make war with him of Nilco. On his behalf there came an Indian to the Governor and said unto him, that he was his servant, and prayed him so to hold him, and that within two days he would come to kiss his lordship's hands: and at the time appointed he came with some of his principal Indians, which accompanied him, and with words of great offers and courtesy he gave the Governor a present of many mantles and deers' skins. The Governor gave him some other things in recompense, and honored him much. He asked him what towns there were down the river? He answered that he knew none other but his own: and on the other side of the river the province of a cacique called Quigalta. So he took his leave of the Governor and went to his own town. Within a few days the Governor determined to go to Guachoya, to learn there whether the sea were near, or whether there were any habitation near, where he might relieve his company, while the brigantines were making, which he meant to send to the land of the Christians. As he passed the river of Nilco, there came in canoes Indians of Guachoya up the stream, and when they saw him, supposing that he came to seek them to do them some hurt, they returned down the river, and informed the cacique thereof: who with all his people, spoiling the town of all that they could carry away, passed that night over to the other side of the Rio Grande, or the Great River. The Governor sent a captain with fifty men in six canoes down the river, and went himself by land with the rest: he came to Guachoya upon Sunday, the 17th of April: he lodged in the town of the cacique, which was enclosed about, and seated a crossbow shot distant from the river. Here the river is called Tamaliseu, and in Nilco Tapatu, and in Coça Mico, and in the port or mouth Ri.
As soon as the Governor came to Guachoya, he sent John Danusco with as many men as could go in the canoes up the river. For when they came down from Nilco, they saw on the other side of the river new cabins made. John Danusco went and brought the canoes laden with maize, French beans, prunes, and many loaves made of the substance of prunes. That day came an Indian to the Governor from the Cacique of Guachoya, and said that his lord would come the next day. They next day they saw many canoes come up the river, and on the other side of the Great River they assembled together in the space of an hour: they consulted whether they should come or not; and at length concluded to come, and crossed the river. In them came the Cacique of Guachoya, and brought with him many Indians, with great store of fish, dogs, deers' skins, and mantles: and as soon as they landed, they went to the lodging of the Governor, and presented him their gifts, and the cacique uttered these words:—
"Mighty and excellent lord, I beseech your lordship to pardon me the error which I committed in absenting myself, and not tarrying in this town to have received and served your lordship; since, to obtain this opportunity of time, was, and is as much as a great victory to me. But I feared that which I needed not to have feared, and so did that which was not reason to do. But as haste maketh waste, and I removed without deliberation; so, as soon as I thought on it, I determined not to follow the opinion of the foolish, which is to continue in their error; but to imitate the wise and discreet, in changing my counsel, and so I came to see what your lordship will command me to do, that I may serve you in all things that are in my power."
The Governor received him with much joy, and gave him thanks for his present and offer. He asked him, whether he had any notice of the sea. He answered no, nor of any towns down the river on that side; save that two leagues from thence was one town of a principal Indian, a subject of his; and on the other side of the river, three days' journey from thence down the river, was the province of Quigalta, which was the greatest lord that was in that country! The Governor thought that the cacique lied unto him, to rid him out of his own towns, and sent John Danusco with eight horsemen down the river, to see what habitation there was, and to inform himself, if there were any notice of the sea. He traveled eight days, and at his return he said, that in all that time he was not able to go above fourteen or fifteen leagues, because of the great creeks that came out of the river, and groves of canes, and thick woods that were along the banks of the river, and that he had found no habitation. The Governor fell into great dumps to see how hard it was to get to the sea; and worse, because his men and horses every day diminished, being without succor to sustain themselves in the country: and with that thought he fell sick. But before he took his bed he sent an Indian to the Cacique of Quigalta to tell him, that he was the child of the sun, and that all the way that he came all men obeyed and served him, that he requested him to accept of his friendship, and come unto him; for he would be very glad to see him; and in sign of love and obedience to bring something with him of that which in his country was most esteemed. The cacique answered by the same Indian:
"That whereas he said he was the child of the sun, if he would dry up the river he would believe him: and touching the rest, that he was wont to visit none; but rather that all those of whom he had notice did visit him, served, obeyed, and paid him tributes willingly or perforce: therefore, if he desired to see him, it were best he should come thither: that if he came in peace, he would receive him with special good will; and if in war, in like manner he would attend him in the town where he was, and that for him or any other he would not shrink one foot back."
By that time the Indian returned with this answer, the Governor had betaken himself to bed, being evil handled with fevers, and was much aggrieved that he was not in case to pass presently the river and to seek him, to see if he could abate that pride of his, considering the river went now very strongly in those parts; for it was near half a league broad, and sixteen fathoms deep, and very furious, and ran with a great current; and on both sides there were many Indians, and his power was not now so great, but that he had need to help himself rather by slights than by force. The Indians of Guachoya came every day with fish in such numbers, that the town was full of them. The cacique said, that on a certain night he of Quigalta would come to give battle to the Governor. Which the Governor imagined that he had devised, to drive him out of his country, and commanded him to be put in hold: and that night and all the rest, there was good watch kept. He asked him wherefore Quigalta came not? He said that he came, but that he saw him prepared, and therefore durst not give the attempt: and he was earnest with him to send his captains over the river, and that he would aid him with many men to set upon Quigalta. The Governor told him that as soon as he was recovered, himself would seek him out. And seeing how many Indians came daily to the town, and what store of people was in that country, fearing they should all conspire together and plot some treason against him; and because the town had some open gaps which were not made an end of inclosing, besides the gates which they went in and out by: because the Indians should not think he feared them, he let them all alone unrepaired; and commanded the horsemen to be appointed to them, and to the gates: and all night the horsemen went the round; and two and two of every squadron rode about, and visited the scouts that were without the town in their standings by the passages, and the crossbow-men that kept the canoes in the river. And because the Indians should stand in fear of them, he determined to send a captain to Nilco, for those of Guachoya had told him that it was inhabited; that by using them cruelly, neither the one nor the other should presume to assail him; and he sent Nuñez de Touar with fifteen horsemen, and John de Guzman captain of the footmen, with his company in canoes up the river. The Cacique of Guachoya sent for many canoes and many warlike Indians to go with the Christians: and the captain of the Christians, called Nuñez de Touar went by land with his horsemen, and two leagues before he came to Nilco he stayed for John de Guzman, and in that place they passed the river by night: the horsemen came first, and in the morning by break of day in sight of the town they lighted upon a spy; which as soon as he perceived the Christians, crying out amain fled to the town to give warning. Nuñez de Touar and his company made such speed, that before the Indians of the town could fully come out, they were upon them: it was champaign ground that was inhabited, which was about a quarter of a league. There were about five or six thousand people in the town: and, as many people came out of the houses, and fled from one house to another, and many Indians came flocking together from all parts, there was never a horseman that was not alone among many. The captain had commanded that they should not spare the life of any male. Their disorder was so great, that there was no Indian that shot an arrow at any Christian. The shrieks of women and children were so great, that they made the ears deaf of those that followed them. There were slain a hundred Indians, little more or less: and many were wounded with great wounds, whom they suffered to escape to strike a terror in the rest that were not there. There were some so cruel and butcherlike, that they killed old and young, and all that they met, though they made no resistance: and those which presumed of themselves for their valor, and were taken for such, broke through the Indians, bearing down many with their stirrups and breasts of their horses; and some they wounded with their lances, and so let them go: and when they saw any youth or woman they took them, and delivered them to the footmen. These men's sins by God's permission, lighted on their own heads: who, because they would seem valiant, became cruel; showing themselves extreme cowards in the sight of all men when as most need of valor was required, and afterwards they came to a shameful death. Of the Indians of Nilco were taken prisoners, fourscore women and children, and much spoil. The Indians of Guachoya kept back before they came at the town, and stayed without, beholding the success of the Christians with the men of Nilco. And when they saw them put to flight, and the horsemen busy in killing of them, they hastened to the houses to rob, and filled their canoes with the spoil of the goods; and returned to Guachoya before the Christians; and wondering much at the sharp dealing which they had seen them use toward the Indians of Nilco, they told their cacique all that had passed with great astonishment.
The Governor felt in himself that the hour approached wherein he was to leave this present life, and called for the king's officers, captains, and principal persons, to whom he made a speech, saying:—
"That now he was to go to give an account before the presence of God of all his life past: and since it pleased him to take him in such a time, and that the time was come that he knew his death, that he his most unworthy servant did yield him many thanks therefor; and desired all that were present and absent (whom he confessed himself to be much beholding unto for their singular virtues, love and loyalty, which himself had well tried in the travels which they had suffered, which always in his mind he did hope to satisfy and reward, when it should please God to give him rest, with more prosperity of his estate), that they would pray to God for him, that for his mercy he would forgive him his sins, and receive his soul into eternal glory: and that they would quit and free him of the charge which he had over them, and ought unto them all, and that they would pardon him for some wrongs which they might have received of him. And to avoid some division, which upon his death might fall out upon the choice of his successor, he requested them to elect a principal person, and able to govern, of whom all should like well; and when he was elected, they should swear before him to obey him: and that he would thank them very much in so doing; because the grief that he had, would somewhat be assuaged, and the pain that he felt, because he left them in so great confusion, to wit, in leaving them in a strange country, where they knew not where they were."
Baltasar de Gallegos answered in the name of all the rest. And first of all comforting him, he set before his eyes how short the life of this world was, and with how many troubles and miseries it is accompanied, and how God showed him a singular favor which soonest left it: telling him many other things fit for such a time. And for the last point, that since it pleased God to take him to himself, although his death did justly grieve them much, yet as well he, as all the rest, ought of necessity to conform themselves to the will of God. And touching the Governor which he commanded they should elect, he besought him, that it would please his lordship to name him which he thought fit, and him they would obey. And presently he named Luys de Moscoso de Alvarado, his captain-general. And presently he was sworn by all that were present, and elected for governor. The next day, being the 21st of May, 1542, departed out of this life, the valorous, virtuous, and valiant Captain, Don Fernando de Soto, Governor of Cuba, and Adelantado of Florida: whom fortune advanced, as it useth to do others, that he might have the higher fall. He departed in such a place, and at such a time, as in his sickness he had but little comfort: and the danger wherein all his people were of perishing in that country, which appeared before their eyes, was cause sufficient why every one of them had need of comfort, and why they did not visit nor accompany him as they ought to have done. Luys de Moscosodetermined to conceal his death from the Indians, because Ferdinando de Soto had made them believe that the Christians were immortal; and also because they took him to be hardy, wise, and valiant: and if they should know that he was dead, they would be bold to set upon the Christians, though they lived peaceably by them. In regard of their disposition, and because they were nothing constant, and believed all that was told them, the Adelantado made them believe, that he knew some things that passed in secret among themselves, without their knowledge, how, or in what manner he came by them: and that the figure which appeared in a glass, which he showed them, did tell him whatsoever they practiced and went about: and therefore neither in word nor deed durst they attempt anything that might be prejudicial unto him.
As soon as he was dead, Luys de Moscoso commanded to put him secretly in the house, where he remained three days; and removing him from thence, commanded him to be buried in the night at one of the gates of the town within the wall. And as the Indians had seen him sick, and missed him, so did they suspect what might be. And passing by the place where he was buried, seeing the earth moved, they looked and spake one to another. Luys de Moscoso understanding of it, commanded him to be taken up by night, and to cast a great deal of sand into the mantles, wherein he was wound up, wherein he was carried in a canoe, and thrown into the midst of the river. The Cacique of Guachoya inquired for him, demanding what was become of his brother and lord, the Governor: Luys de Moscoso told him that he was gone to heaven, as many other times he did and because he was to stay there certain days he had left him in his place. The cacique thought with himself that he was dead; and commanded two young and well-proportioned Indians to be brought thither; and said, that the use of that country was, when any lord died, to kill Indians to wait upon him, and serve him by the way, and for that purpose by his commandment were those come thither: and prayed Luys de Moscoso to command them to be beheaded, that they might attend and serve his lord and brother. Luys de Moscoso told him, that the Governor was not dead, but gone to heaven, and that of his own Christian soldiers, he had taken such as he needed to serve him, and prayed him to command those Indians to be loosed, and not to use any such bad custom from thenceforth: straightway he commanded them to be loosed, and to get them home to their houses. And one of them would not go; saying, that he would not serve him, that without desert had judged him to death, but that he would serve him as long as he lived, which had saved his life.
Luys de Moscoso caused all the goods of the Governor to be sold at an outcry: to wit, two men slaves and two women slaves, and three horses, and seven hundred hogs. For every slave or horse, they gave two or three thousand ducats: which were to be paid at the first melting of gold or silver, or at the division of their portion of inheritance. And they entered into bonds, though in the country there was not wherewith, to pay it within a year after, and put in sureties for the same. Such as in Spain had no goods to bind, gave two hundred ducats for a hog, giving assurance after the same manner. Those which had any goods in Spain, bought with more fear, and bought the less. From that time forward, most of the company had swine, and brought them up, and fed upon them; and observed Fridays and Saturdays, and the evenings of feasts, which before they did not. For some times in two or three months they did eat no flesh, and whensoever they could come by it, they did eat it.
Some were glad of the death of Don Ferdinando de Soto, holding for certain that Luys de Moscoso (which was given to his ease), would rather desire to be among the Christians at rest, than to continue the labors of the war in subduing and discovering of countries; whereof they were already weary, seeing the small profit that ensued thereof. The Governor commanded the captains and principal persons to meet to consult and determine what they should do. And being informed what peopled habitation was round about, he understood that to the west, the country was most inhabited, and that down the river beyond Quigalta was uninhabited, and had little store of food. He desired them all, that every one would give his opinion in writing, and set his hand to it: that they might resolve by general consent, whether they should go down the river, or enter into the main land. All were of opinion, that it was best to go by land toward the west, because Nueva España was that way; holding the voyage by sea more dangerous, and of greater hazard, because they could make no ship of any strength to abide a storm, neither had they master, nor pilot, compass, nor chart, neither knew they how far the sea was off, nor had any notice of it; nor whether the river did make any great turning into the land, or had any great fall from the rocks, where all of them might be cast away. And some which had seen the sea-chart, did find, that from the place where they were by the sea-coast to Nueva España, might be four hundred leagues, little more or less; and said, that though they went somewhat about by land in seeking a peopled country, if some great wilderness which they could not pass did hinder them, by spending that summer in travel, finding provision to pass the winter in some peopled country, that the next summer after they might come to some Christian land, and that it might fortune in their travel by land to find some rich country, where they might do themselves good. The Governor, although he desired to get out of Florida in shorter time, seeing the inconveniences they laid before him, in traveling by sea, determined to follow that which seemed good to them all. On Monday, the fifth day of June, he departed from Guachoya. The cacique gave him a guide to Chaguate, and stayed at home in his own town. They passed through a province called Catalte: and having passed a wilderness of six days' journey, the twentieth day of the month he came to Chaguate. The cacique of this province had visited the Governor Don Ferdinando de Soto at Autiamque, whither he brought him presents of skins, and mantles, and salt. And a day before Luys de Moscoso came to his town, we lost a Christian that was sick; which he suspected that the Indians had slain. He sent the cacique word, that he should command his people to seek him up, and send him unto him, and that he would hold him, as he did, for his friend; and if he did not, that neither he, nor his, should escape his hands, and that he would set his country on fire. Presently the cacique came unto him, and brought a great present of mantles and skins, and the Christian that was lost, and made this speech following:
"Right excellent lord, I would not deserve that conceit which you had of me, for all the treasure of the world. What enforced me to go to visit and serve the excellent Lord Governor your father in Autiamque, which you should have remembered, where I offered myself with all loyalty, faith and love, during my life to serve and obey him? What then could be the cause, I having received favors of him, and neither you nor he having done me any wrong, that should move me to do the thing which I ought not? Believe this of me, that neither wrong, nor any worldly interest, was able to make me to have done it, nor shall be able to blind me. But as in this life it is a natural course, that after one pleasure many sorrows do follow: so by your indignation, fortune would moderate the joy, which my heart conceiveth with your presence; and that I should err, where I thought surest to have hit the mark; in harboring this Christian which was lost, and using him in such manner, as he may tell himself, thinking that herein I did you service, with purpose to deliver him unto you in Chaguate, and to serve you to the uttermost of my power. If I deserve punishment for this, I will receive it at your hands, as from my lord, as if it were a favor. For the love which I did bear to the excellent Governor, and which I bear to you hath no limit. And like as you give me chastisement, so will you also show me favor. And that which now I crave of you is this, to declare your will unto me, and those things wherein I may be able to do you the most and best service."
The Governor answered him, that because he did not find him in that town, he was incensed against him, thinking he had absented himself, as others had done: but seeing he now knew his loyalty and love, he would always hold him as a brother, and favor him in all his affairs. The cacique went with him to the town where he resided, which was a day's journey from thence. They passed through a small town, where there was a lake, where the Indians made salt: and the Christians made some one day while they rested there, of a brackish water, which sprang near the town in ponds like fountains. The Governor stayed in Chaguate six days. There he was informed of the habitation towards the west. They told him, that three days' journey from thence was a province called Aguacay. The day that he departed from Chaguate, a Christian, called Francisco de Guzman, the base son of a gentleman of Seville, stayed behind, and went to the Indians, with an Indian woman which he kept as his concubine, for fear he should be punished for gaming debts that he did owe. The Governor had traveled two days before he missed him; he sent the cacique word to seek him up, and to send him to Aguacay, whither he traveled: which he did not perform. From the Cacique of Aguacay, before they came into the country, there met him on the way fifteen Indians with a present of skins, fish, and roasted venison. The Governor came to this town on Wednesday, the fourth of July. He found the town without people, and lodged in it: he stayed there about a day; during which, he made some roads, and took many men and women. There they had knowledge of the South Sea. Here there was great store of salt made of sand, which they gather in a vein of ground like pebble stones. And it was made as they made salt in Cayas.
The same day that the Governor departed from Aguacay, he lodged in a small town subject to the lord of that province. The camp was pitched hard by a lake of salt water; and that evening they made some salt there. The day following he lodged between two mountains in a thin grove of wood. The next day he came to a small town called Pato. The fourth day after his departure from Aguacay he came to the first habitation of a province called Amaye. There an Indian was taken, which said that from thence to Naguatex was a day and a half's journey; which they traveled, finding all the way inhabited places. Having passed the peopled country of Amaye, on Saturday, the twentieth of July, they pitched their camp at noon between Amaye and Naguatex along the corner of a grove of very fair trees. In the same place certain Indians were discovered, that came to view them. The horsemen went out to them, and killed six, and took two, whom the Governor asked, wherefore they came? They said, to know what people he had, and what order they kept; and that the Cacique of Naguatex, their lord, had sent them, and that he, with other caciques which came to aid him, determined that day to bid him battle. While they were occupied in these questions and answers, there came many Indians by two ways in two squadrons: and when they saw they were descried, giving a great cry they assaulted the Christians each squadron by itself; but seeing what resistance the Christians made them, they turned their backs and betook themselves to flight, in which many of them lost their lives; and most of the horsemen following them in chase, careless of the camp, other two squadrons of Indians, which lay in ambush, set upon the Christians that were in the camp, which also they resisted, who also had their reward as the first. After the flight of the Indians, and that the Christians were retired, they heard a great noise a crossbow shot from the place where they were. The Governor sent twelve horsemen to see what it was. They found six Christians, four footmen and two horsemen, among many Indians; the horsemen defending the footmen with great labor. These being of them that chased the first two squadrons, had lost themselves, and coming to recover the camp fell among those with whom they were fighting: and so they, and those that came to succor them, slew many of the Indians, and brought one alive to the camp: whom the Governor examined, who they were that came to bid him battle. He told him, that they were the Cacique of Naguatex, and of Amaye, and another of a province called Hacanac, a lord of great countries and many subjects; and that the Cacique of Naguatex came for captain and chief of them all. The Governor commanded his right arm and nose to be cut off, and sent him to the Cacique of Naguatex, charging him to tell him, that the next day he would be in his country to destroy him; and if he would withstand his entrance, he should stay for him. That night he lodged there; and the next day he came to the habitation of Naguatex, which was very scattering: he inquired where the cacique's chief town was? They told him that it was on the other side of a river, that passed thereby: he traveled thitherward, and came unto it: and on the other side he saw many Indians, that tarried for him, making show as though they would defend the passage. And because he knew not whether it could be waded, nor where the passage was, and that some Christians and horses were hurt, that they might have time to recover, he determined to rest certain days in the town where he was. So he pitched his camp a quarter of a league from the river, because the weather was very hot, near unto the town, in a thin grove of very fair and high trees near a brook's side: and in that place were certain Indians taken; whom he examined, whether the river were wadeable or no? They said yea, at some times, and in some places. Within ten days after he sent two captains with fifteen horsemen a piece upward and down the river with Indians to show them where they should go over, to see what habitation was on the other side. And the Indians withstood them both, defending the passage of the river as far as they were able, but they passed in despite of them: and on the other side of the river they saw great habitation, and great store of victuals; and with these news returned to the camp.
The Governor sent an Indian from Naguatex where he lay, to command the cacique to come to serve and obey him, and that he would forgive him all that was past; that if he came not, that he would seek him, and give him such punishment as he had deserved for that which he had done against him. Within two days the Indian returned, and said that the cacique would come the next day; which, the same day when he came, sent many Indians before him, among whom there were some principal men: he sent them to see what countenance they found in the Governor, to resolve with himself whether he should go or not. The Indians let him understand, that he was coming, and went away presently: and the cacique came within two hours accompanied with many of his men: they came all in a rank one before another on both sides, leaving a lane in the midst where he came. They came where the Governor was, all of them weeping after the manner of Tulla, which was not far from thence toward the east. The cacique made his due obedience, and the speech following:
"Right high and mighty lord, whom all the world ought to serve and obey, I was bold to appear before your lordship, having committed so heinous and abominable an act, as only for me to have imagined, deserved to be punished; trusting in your greatness, that although I deserve to obtain no pardon, yet for your own sake only you will use clemency toward me, considering how small I am in comparison of your lordship; and not to think upon my weaknesses, which, to my grief and for my greater good, I have known. And I believe that you and yours are immortal; and that your lordship is lord of the land of nature, seeing that you subdue all things, and they obey you, even the very hearts of men. For when I beheld the slaughter and destruction of my men in the battle, which, through mine ignorance, and the counsel of a brother of mine, which died in the same, I gave your lordship, presently I repented me in my heart of the error, which I had committed; and desired to serve and obey you: and to this end I come, that your lordship may chastise and command me as your own."
The Governor answered him, that he forgave him all which was past, that from thenceforth he should do his duty, and that he would hold him for his friend, and that he would favor him in all things. Within four days he departed thence, and coming to the river he could not pass, because it was grown very big; which seemed to him a thing of admiration, being at that time that it was, and since it had not rained a month before. The Indians said, that it increased many times after that manner without raining in all the country. It was supposed, that it might be the tide that came into it. It was learned that the flood came alway from above, and that the Indians of all that country had no knowledge of the sea. The Governor returned unto the place where he had lodged before: and understanding within eight days after that the river was passable, he departed. He passed over and found the town without people: he lodged in the field, and sent the cacique word to come unto him, and to bring him a guide to go forward. And some days being past, seeing the cacique came not, nor sent anybody, he sent two captains sundry ways to burn the towns, and to take such Indians as they could find. They burnt great store of victuals, and took many Indians. The cacique seeing the hurt that he received in his country, sent six principal Indians with three men for guides, which knew the language of the country through which the Governor was to pass. He departed presently from Naguatex, and within three days' journey came to a town of four or five houses, which belonged to the cacique of that province, which is called Nissoone: it was evil inhabited, and had little maize. Two days' journey forward the guides which guided the Governor, if they were to go westward, guided him to the east; and sometimes went up and down through very great woods out of the way. The Governor commanded them to be hanged upon a tree: and a woman that they took in Nissoone guided him, and went back again to seek the way. In two days he came to another miserable town called Lacane: an Indian was taken in that place, that said, that the country of Nondacao was a country of great habitation, and the houses scattering the one from the other, as they used to be in mountains, and had great store of maize. The cacique came with his men weeping, like them of Naguatex: for this is their use in token of obedience: he made him a present of much fish, and offered to do what he would command him. He took his leave, and gave him a guide to the province of Soacatino.
The Governor departed from Nondacao towards Soacatino, and in five days' journey came to a province called Aays. The Indians which inhabited it had no notice of the Christians: but as soon as they saw that they entered into their country, they assembled themselves: and as they came together fifty or a hundred, they came forth to fight. While some fought, others came and charged our men another way, and while they followed some, others followed them. The fight lasted the greatest part of the day, till they came to their town. Some horses and men were wounded, but not to any hurt of their traveling: for there was no wound that was dangerous. There was a great spoil made of the Indians. That day that the Governor departed from thence, the Indian that guided him said that in Nondacao he had heard say, that the Indians of Soacatino had seen other Christians, whereof they all were very glad: thinking it might be true, and that they might have entered into those parts by Nueva España; and that if it were so, it was in their own hand to go out of Florida, if they found nothing of profit: for they feared they should lose themselves in some wilderness. This Indian led him two days out of the way. The Governor commanded to torture him. He said, that the Cacique of Nondacao, his lord, had commanded him to guide them so because they were his enemies, and that he was to do as his lord commanded him. The Governor commanded him to be cast to the dogs: and another guided him to Soacatino, whither he came the day following. It was a very poor country: there was great want of maize in that place. He asked the Indians whether they knew of any other Christians. They said that a little from thence toward the south they heard they were. He traveled twenty days through a country evil inhabited, where they suffered great scarcity and trouble; for that little maize which the Indians had, they had hidden and buried in the woods, where the Christians, after they were well wearied with their travel, at the end of their journey went to seek by digging what they should eat. At last, coming to a province that was called Guasco, they found maize, wherewith they loaded their horses and the Indians that they had. From thence they went to another town called Naquiscoça. The Indians said they had no notice of any other Christians. The Governor commanded to torment them. They said, that they came first to another lordship which was called Naçacahoz, and from thence returned again to the west from whence they came. The Governor came in two days to Naçacahoz. Some women were taken there: among whom there was one which said that she had seen Christians and had been taken by them, and had run away. The Governor sent a captain with fifteen horsemen to the place where the woman said she had seen them, to see if there was any sign of horses, or any token of their being there. After they had gone three or four leagues, the woman that guided them said that all that she had told them was untrue. And so they held all the rest that the Indians had said of seeing Christians in the land of Florida. And, because the country that way was poor of maize, and toward the west there was no notice of any habitation, they returned to Guasco. The Indians told them there, that ten days' journey from thence toward the west, was a river called Daycao, whither they went sometimes a hunting and killing of deer: and that they had seen people on the other side, but knew not what habitation was there. There the Christians took such maize as they found and could carry, and going ten days' journey through a wilderness, they came to the river which the Indians had told them of. Ten horsemen, which the Governor had sent before, passed over the same and went in a way that led to the river, and lighted upon a company of Indians that dwelt in very little cabins: who as soon as they saw them took themselves to flight, leaving that which they had; all which was nothing but misery and poverty. The country was so poor, that among them all there was not found half a peck of maize. The horsemen took two Indians, and returned with them to the river, where the Governor stayed for them. He sought to learn of them what habitation was toward the west. There was none in the camp that could understand their language. The Governor assembled the captains and principal persons to determine with their advice what they should do. And the most part said that they thought it best to return back to Rio Grande, or the Great River of Guachoya; because that in Nilco and thereabout was store of maize; saying, that they would make pinnaces that winter, and the next summer pass down the river to the seaward in them, and coming to the sea they would go along the coast to Nueva España. For though it seemed a doubtful thing and difficult, by that which they had already alleged, yet it was the last remedy they had. For by land they could not go for want of an interpreter. And they held, that the country beyond the River of Daycao, where they were, was that which Cabeça de Vaca mentioned in his relation that he passed of the Indians which lived like the Alarbes, having no settled place, and fed upon Tunas and roots of the fields, and wild beasts that they killed. Which if it were so, if they should enter into it and find no victuals to pass the winter, they could not choose but perish, for they were entered already into the beginning of October: and if they stayed any longer they were not able to return for rain and snows, nor to sustain themselves in so poor a country. The Governor (that desired long to see himself in a place where he might sleep his full sleep, rather than to conquer and govern a country where so many troubles presented themselves) presently returned back that same way that he came.
When that which was determined was published in the camp, there were many that were greatly grieved at it: for they held the sea voyage as doubtful, for the evil means they had, and of as great danger the traveling by land: and they hoped to find some rich country before they came to the land of the Christians, by that which Cabeça de Vaca had told the Emperor: and that was this: That after he had found clothes made of cotton wool, he saw gold and silver, and stones of great value. And they had not yet come where he had been. For until that place he always traveled by the sea-coast: and they traveled far within the land; and that going towards the west, of necessity they should come where he had been. For he said that in a certain place he traveled many days, and entered into the land toward the north. And in Guasco they had already found some Turkey stones, and mantles of cotton wool: which the Indians signified by signs that they had from the west: and that holding that course they should draw near to the land of the Christians. But though they were much discontented with it, and it grieved many to go backward, which would rather have adventured their lives and have died in the land of Florida, than to have gone poor out of it; yet were they not a sufficient part to hinder that which was determined, because the principal men agreed with the Governor. And afterward there was one that said, he would put out one of his own eyes, to put out another of Luys de Moscoso; because it would grieve him much to see him prosper: because as well himself as others of his friends had crossed that which he durst not have done, seeing that within two days he should leave the government. From Daycao, where now they were, to Rio Grande, or the Great River, was one hundred and fifty leagues: which unto that place they had gone westward. And by the way as they returned back they had much ado to find maize to eat: for where they had passed the country was destroyed; and some little maize that was left the Indians had hidden. The towns which in Naguatex they had burned (whereof it repented them) were repaired again, and the houses full of maize. This country is well inhabited and plentiful. In that place are vessels made of clay, which differ very little from those of Estremoz, or Montemor. In Chaguate the Indians by commandment of the cacique came peaceably, and said, that the Christian which remained there would not come. The Governor wrote unto him, and sent him ink and paper that he might answer. The substance of the words of the letter was to declare unto him his determination, which was to go out of the land of Florida, and to put him in remembrance that he was a Christian, that he would not remain in the subjection of infidels, that he pardoned him the fault which he had done in going away to the Indians, that he should come unto him: and if they did stay him, that he would advertise him thereof by writing. The Indian went with the letter, and came again without any more answer, than, on the back side, his name and seal, that they might know he was alive. The Governor sent twelve horsemen to seek him: but he, which had his spies, so hid himself, that they could not find him. For want of maize the Governor could not stay any longer to seek him. He departed from Chaguate, and passed the river by Aays; going down by it he found a town called Chilano, which as yet they had not seen. They came to Nilco, and found so little maize, as could not suffice till they made their ships; because the Christians, being in Guachoya in the seed time, the Indians for fear of them durst not come to sow the grounds of Nilco: and they knew not thereabout any other country where any maize was: and that was the most fruitful soil that was thereaway, and where they had most hope to find it. Every one was confounded, and the most part thought it bad counsel to come back from the river of Daycao, and not to have followed their fortune, going that way that went over land. For by sea it seemed impossible to save themselves, unless God would work a miracle for them: for there was neither pilot, nor sea-chart, neither did they know where the river entered into the sea, neither had they notice of it, neither had they anything wherewith to make sails, nor any store of enequem, which is a grass whereof they make oakum, which grew there; and that which they found they saved to caulk the pinnaces withal; neither had they anything to pitch them withal; neither could they make ships of such substance, but that any storm would put them in great danger: and they feared much it would fall out with them, as it did with Pamphilo de Narvaez, which was cast away upon that coast. And above all other it troubled them most, that they could find no maize: for without it they could not be sustained, nor could do anything that they had need of. All of them were put to great confusion. Their chief remedy was to commit themselves to God, and to beseech him that he would direct them the way that they might save their lives. And it pleased him of his goodness, that the Indians of Nilco came peaceably, and told them, that two days' journey from thence, near unto the Great River, were two towns, whereof the Christians had no notice, and that the province was called Minoya, and was a fruitful soil: that, whether at this present there was any maize or no, they knew not, because they had war with them: but that they would be very glad with the favor of the Christians to go and spoil them. The Governor sent a captain thither with horsemen and footmen, and the Indians of Nilco with him. He came to Minoya, and found two great towns seated in a plain and open soil, half a league distant, one in sight of another, and in them he took many Indians, and found great store of maize. Presently he lodged in one of them, and sent word to the Governor what he had found: wherewith they were all exceeding glad. They departed from Nilco in the beginning of December; and all that way, and before from Chilano, they endured much trouble: for they passed through many waters, and many times it rained, with a northern wind, and was exceeding cold, so that they were in the open field with water over and underneath them: and when at the end of their day's journey, they found dry ground to rest upon, they gave great thanks to God. With this trouble almost all the Indians that served them died. And after they were in Minoya, many Christians also died: and the most part were sick of great and dangerous diseases, which had a spice of the lethargy. At this place died Andrew de Vasconcelos, and two Portuguese of Elvas, which were very near him: which were brethren, and by their surname called Sotis. The Christians lodged in one of the towns which they liked best, which was fenced about, and distant a quarter of a league from the Great River. The maize that was in the other town was brought thither; and in all it was esteemed to be six thousand hanegs or bushels. And there was the best timber to make ships that they had seen in all the land of Florida; wherefore all of them gave God great thanks for so singular a favor, and hoped that that which they desired would take effect, which was, that they might safely be conducted into the land of the Christians.
As soon as they came to Minoya, the Governor commanded them to gather all the chains together, which every one had to lead Indians in; and to gather all the iron which they had for their provision, and all the rest that was in the camp: and to set up a forge to make nails, and commanded them to cut down timber for the brigantines. And a Portuguese of Ceuta, who having been a prisoner in Fez, had learned to saw timber with a long saw, which for such purposes they had carried with them, did teach others, which helped him to saw timber. And a Genevese, whom it pleased God to preserve (for without him they had never come out of the country, for there was never another that could make ships but he), with four or five other Biscayan carpenters, which hewed his planks and other timbers, made the brigantines: and two calkers, the one of Geneva, the other of Sardinia, did calk them with the tow of an herb like hemp, whereof before I have made mention, which there is named enequen. And because there was not enough of it, they calked them with the flax of the country, and with the mantles, which they raveled for that purpose. A cooper which they had among them fell sick, and was at the point of death: and there was none other that had any skill in that trade: it pleased God to send him his health. And albeit he was very weak, and could not labor, yet fifteen days before they departed, he made for every brigantine two half hogsheads, which the mariners call quarterets, because four of them hold a pipe of water. The Indians which dwelt two days' journey above the river in a province called Taguanate, and likewise those of Nilco and Guachoya, and others their neighbors seeing the brigantines in making, thinking, because their places of refuge are in the water, that they were to go to seek them, and because the Governor demanded mantles of them, as necessary for sails, came many times, and brought many mantles, and great store of fish. And for certain it seemed that God was willing to favor them in so great necessity, moving the minds of the Indians to bring them: for to go to take them, they were never able. For in the town where they were, as soon as winter came, they were so enclosed and compassed with water, that they could go no farther by land, than a league, and a league and a half. And if they would go farther, they could carry no horses, and without them they were not able to fight with the Indians, because they were many: and so many for so many on foot they had the advantage of them by water and by land, because they were more apt and lighter, and by reason of the disposition of the country, which was according to their desire for the use of their war. They brought also some cords, and those which wanted for cables were made of the barks of mulberry trees. They made stirrups of wood, and made anchors of their stirrups. In the month of March, when it had rained a month before, the river grew so big that it came to Nilco, which was nine leagues of: and on the other side, the Indians said, that it reached other nine leagues into the land. In the town where the Christians were, which was somewhat high ground, where they could best go, the water reached to the stirrups. They made certain rafts of timber, and laid many boughs upon them, whereon they set their horses, and in the houses they did the like. But seeing that nothing prevailed, they went up to the lofts: and if they went out of the houses, it was in canoes, or on horseback in those places where the ground was highest. So they were two months, and could do nothing, during which time the river decreased not. The Indians ceased not to come unto the brigantines as they were wont, and came in canoes. At that time the Governor feared they would set upon him. He commanded his men to take an Indian secretly of those that came to the town, and to stay him till the rest were gone: and they took one. The Governor commanded him to be put to torture, to make him confess whether the Indians did practice any treason or no. He confessed that the caciques of Nilco, Guachoya, and Taguanate, and others, which in all were about twenty caciques, with a great number of people, determined to come upon him; and that three days before, they would send a great present of fish to cover their great treason and malice, and on the very day they would send some Indians before with another present. And these, with those which were our slaves, which were of their conspiracy also, should set the houses on fire, and first of all possess themselves of the lances which stood at the doors of the houses; and the caciques, with all their men, should be near the town in ambush in the wood, and when they saw the fire kindled, should come, and make an end of the conquest. The Governor commanded the Indian to be kept in a chain, and the selfsame day that he spoke of, there came thirty Indians with fish. He commanded their right hands to be cut off, and sent them so back to the Cacique of Guachoya, whose men they were. He sent him word that he and the rest should come when they would, for he desired nothing more, and that he should know, that they thought not anything which he knew not before they thought of it. Hereupon they all were put in a very great fear: and the caciques of Nilco and Taguanate came to excuse themselves: and a few days after came he of Guachoya, and a principal Indian, and his subject, said, he knew by certain information, that the caciques of Nilco and Taguanate were agreed to come and make war upon the Christians. As soon as the Indians came from Nilco, the Governor examined them, and they confessed it was true. He delivered them presently to the principal men of Guachoya, which drew them out of the town and killed them. Another day came some from Taguanate, and confessed it likewise. The Governor commanded their right hands and noses to be cut off, and sent them to the cacique, wherewith they of Guachoya remained very well contented: and they came oftentimes with presents of mantles and fish, and hogs, which bred in the country of some swine that were lost by the way the last year. As soon as the waters were slaked, they persuaded the Governor to send to Taguanate. They came and brought canoes, wherein the footmen were conveyed down the river, and a captain with horsemen went by land; and the Indians of Guachoya, which guided him till they came to Taguanate, assaulted the town, and took many men and women, and mantles, which with those that they had already were sufficient to supply their want. The brigantines being finished in the month of June, the Indians having told us that the river increased but once a year, when the snows did melt, in the time wherein I mentioned it had already increased, being now in summer, and having not rained a long time, it pleased God that the flood came up to the town to seek the brigantines, from whence they carried them by water to the river. Which, if they had gone by land, had been in danger of breaking and splitting their keels, and to be all undone; because that for want of iron, the spikes were short, and the planks and timber were very weak. The Indians of Minoya, during the time that they were there came to serve them (being driven thereunto by necessity) that of the maize which they had taken from them, they would bestow some crumbs upon them, and because the country was fertile, and the people used to feed of maize, and the Christians had gotten all from them that they had, and the people were many, they were not able to sustain themselves. Those which came to the town were so weak and feeble, that they had no flesh left on their bones: and many came and died near the town for pure hunger and weakness. The Governor commanded upon grievous punishments to give them no maize. Yet, when they saw that the hogs wanted it not, and that they had yielded themselves to serve them, and considering their misery and wretchedness, having pity of them, they gave them part of the maize which they had. And when the time of their embarkment came, there was not sufficient to serve their own turns. That which there was, they put into the brigantines, and into great canoes tied two and two together. They shipped twenty-two of the best horses that were in the camp, the rest they made dried flesh of; and dressed the hogs which they had in like manner. They departed from Minoya the second day of July, 1543.
The day before they departed from Minoya, they determined to dismiss all the men and women of the country, which they had detained as slaves to serve them, save some hundred, little more or less, which the Governor embarked, and others whom it pleased him to permit. And because there were many men of quality, whom he could not deny that which he granted to others, he used a policy, saying, that they might serve them as long as they were in the river, but when they came to the sea, they must send them away for want of water, because they had but few vessels. He told his friends in secret, that they should carry theirs to Nueva España: and all those whom he bare no good-will unto (which were the greater number) ignorant of that which was hidden from them, which afterward time discovered, thinking it inhumanity for so little time of service, in reward of the great service that they had done them, to carry them with them, to leave them slaves to other men out of their own countries, left five hundred men and women; among whom were many boys and girls, which spake and understood the Spanish tongue. The most of them did nothing but weep; which moved great compassion; seeing that all of them with good-will would have become Christians, and were left in state of perdition. There went from Minoya three hundred and twenty-two Spaniards in seven brigantines, well made, save that the planks were thin, because the nails were short, and were not pitched, nor had any decks to keep the water from coming in. Instead of decks they laid planks, whereon the mariners might run to trim their sails, and the people might refresh themselves above and below. The Governor made his captains, and gave to every one his brigantine, and took their oath and their word, that they would obey him, until they came to the land of the Christians. The Governor took one of the brigantines for himself, which he best liked. The same day that they departed from Minoya, they passed by Guachoya, where the Indians tarried for them in canoes by the river. And on the shore, they had made a great arbor with boughs. They desired him to come on shore; but he excused himself, and so went along. The Indians in their canoes accompanied him; and coming where an arm of the river declined on the right hand, they said that the Province of Quigalta was near unto that place, and importuned the Governor to set upon him, and that they would aid him. And because they had said that he dwelt three days' journey down the river, the Governor supposed that they had plotted some treason against him, and there left them; and went down with the greatest force of the water. The current was very strong, and with the help of oars, they went very swiftly. The first day they landed in a wood on the left hand of the river, and at night they withdrew themselves to the brigantines. The next day they came to a town where they went on shore, and the people that was in it durst not tarry. A woman that they took there being examined, said, that the town belonged to a cacique named Huasene, subject to Quigalta, and that Quigalta tarried for them below in the river with many men. Certain horsemen went thither, and found some houses, wherein was much maize. Immediately more of them went thither and tarried there one day, and which they did beat out, and took as much maize as they needed. While they were there, many Indians came from the nether part of the river, and on the other side right against them somewhat carelessly set themselves in order to fight. The Governor sent in two canoes the crossbow-men that he had, and as many more as could go in them. They ran away, and seeing the Spaniards could not overtake them, they returned back, and took courage; and coming nearer, making an outcry, they threatened them: and as soon as they departed thence, they went after them, some in canoes and some by land along the river; and getting before, coming to a town that stood by the river's side, they joined altogether, making a show that they would tarry there. Every brigantine towed a canoe fastened to their sterns for their particular service. Presently there entered men into every one of them, which made the Indians to fly, and burned the town. The same day they presently landed in a great field, where the Indians durst not tarry. The next day there were gathered together an hundred canoes, among which were some that carried sixty and seventy men, and the principal men's canoes had their tilts, and plumes of white and red feathers for their ensigns: and they came within two crossbow shots of the brigantines, and sent three Indians in a small canoe with a feigned message to view the manner of the brigantines, and what weapons they had. And coming to the side of the Governor's brigantine, one of the Indians entered, and said:
"That the Cacique of Quigalta, his lord, sent him his commendations, and did let him understand, that all that the Indians of Guachoya had told him concerning himself, was false, and that they had incensed him, because they were his enemies; that he was his servant, and should find him so."
The Governor answered him, that he believed all that he said was true, and willed him to tell him that he esteemed his friendship very much. With this answer they returned to the place where the rest in their canoes were waiting for them, and from thence all of them fell down, and came near the Spaniards, shouting aloud, and threatening of them. The Governor sent John de Guzman, which had been a captain of footmen in Florida, with fifteen armed men in canoes to make them give way. As soon as the Indians saw them come towards them, they divided themselves into two parts, and stood still till the Spaniards came nigh them, and when they were came near them, they joined together on both sides, taking John de Guzman in the middle, and them that came first with him, and with great fury boarded them: and as their canoes were bigger, and many of them leaped into the water to stay them, and to lay hold on the canoes of the Spaniards, and overwhelm them; so presently they overwhelmed them. The Christians fell into the water, and with the weight of their armor sunk down to the bottom; and some few, that by swimming or holding by the canoe could have saved themselves, with oars and staves which they had, they struck them on the head and make them sink. When they of the brigantines saw the overthrow, though they went about to succor them, yet through the current of the river they could not go back. Four Spaniards fled to the brigantine that was nearest to the canoes; and only these escaped of those that came among the Indians. There were eleven that died there: among whom John de Guzman was one, and a son of Don Carlos, called John de Vargas: the rest also were persons of account and men of great courage. Those that escaped by swimming said that they saw the Indians enter the canoe of John de Guzman at the stern of one of their canoes, and whether they carried him away dead or alive they could not certainly tell.
The Indians, seeing that they had got the victory, took such courage, that they assaulted them in the brigantines, which they durst not do before. They came first to that brigantine wherein Calderon went for captain, and was in the rearward: and at the first volley of arrows they wounded twenty-five men. There were only four armed men in this brigantine; these did stand at the brigantine's side to defend it. Those that were unarmed, seeing how they hurt them, left their oars and went under the deck: whereupon the brigantine began to cross, and to go where the current of the stream carried it. One of the armed men seeing this, without the commandment of the captain, made a footman to take an oar and steer the brigantine, he standing before him and defending him with his target. The Indians came no nearer than a bowshot, from whence they offended and were not offended, receiving no hurt: for in every brigantine was but one crossbow, and those which we had were very much out of order. So that the Christians did nothing else but stand for a butt to receive their arrows. Having left this brigantine they went to another, and fought with it half an hour; and so from one to another they fought with them all. The Christians had mats to lay under them, which were double, and so close and strong, that no arrow went through them. And as soon as the Indians gave them leisure, they fenced the brigantines with them. And the Indians seeing that they could not shoot level, shot their arrows at random up in the air, which fell into the brigantines, and hurt some of the men: and not therewith contented, they sought to get to them which were in the canoes with the horses. Those of the brigantines environed them to defend them, and took them among them. Thus seeing themselves much vexed by them, and so wearied that they could no longer endure it, they determined to travel all the night following, thinking to get beyond the country of Quigalta, and that they would leave them: but when they thought least of it, supposing that they had now left them, they heard very near them so great outcries, that they made them deaf, and so they followed us all that night, and the next day till noon, by which time we were come into the country of others, whom they desired to use us after the same manner; and so they did. The men of Quigalta returned home; and the other in fifty canoes fought with us a whole day and a night; and they entered one of the brigantines, that came in the rearward, by the canoe which she had at her stern, and took away a woman which they found in it, and afterwards hurt some of the men in the brigantines. Those which came with the horses in the canoes, being wearied with rowing night and day, lingered behind; and presently the Indians came upon them, and they of the brigantines tarried for them. The Governor resolved to go on shore and kill the horses, because of the slow way which they made because of them. As soon as they saw a place convenient for it, they went thither and killed the horses, and brought the flesh of them to dry it on board. Four or five of them remained on shore alive; the Indians went unto them, after the Spaniards were embarked. The horses were not acquainted with them, and began to neigh, and run up and down in such sort, that the Indians, for fear of them, leaped into the water; and getting into their canoes went after the brigantines, shooting cruelly at them. They followed us that evening and the night following till the next day at ten of the clock, and then returned up the river. Presently from a small town that stood upon the river came seven canoes, and followed us a little way down the river, shooting at us: but seeing they were so few that they could do us but little harm, they returned to their town. From thence forward, until they came to the sea, they had no encounter. They sailed down the river seventeen days: which may be two hundred and fifty leagues' journey, little more or less: and near unto the sea, the river is divided into two arms; each of them is a league and a half broad.
Half a league before they came to the sea, they came to anchor to rest themselves there about a day; for they were very weary with rowing, and out of heart. For by the space of many days they had eaten nothing but parched and sodden maize; which they had by allowance every day an headpiece full by strike for every three men. While they rode there at anchor seven canoes of Indians came to set upon those which they brought with them. The Governor commanded armed men to go aboard them, and to drive them farther off. They came also against them by land through a thick wood, and a moorish ground, and had staves with very sharp forked heads made of the bones of fishes, and fought very valiantly with us, which went out to encounter them. And the other that came in canoes with their arrows staid for them that came against them, and at their coming both those that were on land, and those in the canoes wounded some of us: and seeing us come near them, they turned their backs, and like swift horses among footmen got away from us; making some returns, and reuniting themselves together, going not past a bow shot off: for in so retiring they shot, without receiving any hurt of the Christians. For though they had some bows, yet they could not use them; and brake their arms with rowing to overtake them. And the Indians easily in their compass went with their canoes, staying and wheeling about as it had been in a skirmish, perceiving that those that came against them could not offend them. And the more they strove to come near them, the more hurt they received. As soon as they had driven them farther off, they returned to the brigantines. They stayed two days there: and departed from thence unto the place where the arm of the river entereth into the sea. They sounded in the river near unto the sea, and found forty fathoms water. They staid there. And the Governor commanded all and singular persons to speak their minds touching their voyage, whether it were best to cross over to Nueva España, committing themselves to the high sea, or whether they should keep along the coast. There were sundry opinions touching this matter: wherein John Danusco, which presumed much, and took much upon him in the knowledge of navigation, and matters of the sea, although he had but little experience, moved the Governor with his talk: and his opinion was seconded by some others. And they affirmed, that it was much better to pass by the high sea, and cross the gulf, which was three of four parts the lesser travel, because in going along the coast, they went a great way about, by reason of the compass which the land did make. John Danusco said, that he had seen the sea-card, and that from the place where they were, the coast ran east and west unto Rio de las Palmas; and from Rio de las Palmas to Nueva España from north to south: and therefore in sailing always in sight of land would be a great compassing about and spending of much time; and that they would be in great danger to be overtaken with winter before they should get to the land of the Christians: and that in ten or twelve days' space, having good weather, they might be there in crossing over. The most part were against this opinion, and said that it was more safe to go along the coast, though they staid the longer: because their ships were very weak and without decks, so that a very little storm was enough to cast them away: and if they should be hindered with calms, or contrary weather, through the small store of vessels which they had to carry water in, they should likewise fall into great danger: and that although the ships were such as they might venture in them, yet having neither pilot nor sea-card to guide themselves, it was no good counsel to cross the gulf. This opinion was confirmed by the greatest part: and they agreed to go along the coast. At the time wherein they sought to depart from thence, the cable of the anchor of the Governor's brigantine brake, and the anchor remained in the river. And albeit they were near the shore, yet it was so deep, that the divers diving many times could never find it; which caused great sadness in the Governor, and in all those that went with him in his brigantine: but with a grindstone which they had, and certain bridles which remained to some of the gentlemen, and men of worship which had horses, they made a weight which served instead of an anchor. The 18th of July (1543) they went forth to sea with fair and prosperous weather for their voyage. And seeing that they were gone two or three leagues from the shore, the captains of the other brigantines overtook them, and asked the Governor, wherefore he did put off from the shore? and that if he would leave the coast, he should say so; and he should not do it without the consent of all: and that if he did otherwise, they would not follow him, but that every one would do what seemed best unto himself. The Governor answered, that he would do nothing without their counsel, but that he did bear off from the land to sail the better and safer by night; and that the next day when time served, he would return to the sight of land again. They sailed with a reasonable good wind that day and the night following, and the next day till evening song, always in fresh water; whereat they wondered much: for they were very far from land. But the force of the current of the river is so great, and the coast there is so shallow and gentle, that the fresh water enters far into the sea. That evening on their right hand they saw certain creeks, whither they went, and rested there that night: where John Danusco with his reasons won them at last, that all consented and agreed to commit themselves to the main sea, alleging, as he had done before, that it was a great advantage, and that their voyage would be much shorter. They sailed two days, and when they would have come to sight of land they could not, for the wind blew from the shore. On the fourth day, seeing their fresh water began to fail, fearing necessity and danger, they all complained of John Danusco, and of the Governor that followed his counsel: and every one of the captains said, that they would no more go from the shore, though the Governor went whither he would. It pleased God that the wind changed, though but a little: and at the end of four days after they had put to sea, being already destitute of water, by force of rowing they got within sight of land, and with great trouble recovered it, in an open road. That evening the wind came to the south, which on that coast is a cross wind, and drove the brigantines against the shore, because it blew very hard, and the anchors were so weak, that they yielded and began to bend. The Governor commanded all men to leap into the water, and going between them and the shore, and thrusting the brigantines into the sea as soon as the wave was past, they saved them till the wind ceased.
In the bay where they rode, after the tempest was passed, they went on shore, and with mattocks, which they had, they digged certain pits, which grew full of fresh water, where they filled all the casks they had. The next day they departed thence, and sailed two days, and entered into a creek like unto a pool, fenced from the south wind, which then did blow, and was against them; and there they stayed four days, not being able to get out; and when the sea was calm they rowed out. They sailed that day, and towards evening the wind grew so strong that it drove them on the shore, and they were sorry that they had put forth from the former harbor; for as soon as night approached, a storm began to rise in the sea, and the wind still waxed more violent with a tempest. The brigantines lost one another. Two of them, which bare more into the sea, entered into an arm of the sea, which pierced into the land two leagues beyond the place where the others were that night. The five which stayed behind, being always a league and half a league the one from the other, met together, without any knowledge the one of the other, in a wild road, where the wind and the waves drove them on shore; for their anchors did straighten and came home, and they could not use their oars, putting seven or eight men to every one, which rowed to seaward; and all the rest leaped into the water, and when the wave was passed that drave the brigantine on shore, they thrust it again into the sea with all the diligence and might that they had. Others, while another wave was incoming, with bowls laved out the water that came in overboard. While they were in this tempest, in great fear of being cast away in that place, from midnight forward they endured an intolerable torment of an infinite swarm of mosquitoes which fell upon them, which as soon as they had stung the flesh, it so infected it, as though they had been venomous. In the morning the sea was assuaged and the wind slacked, but not the mosquitoes; for the sails, which were white, seemed black with them in the morning. Those which rowed, unless others kept them away, were not able to row. Having passed the fear and danger of the storm, beholding the deformities of their faces, and the blows which they gave themselves to drive them away, one of them laughed at another. They met all together in the creek where the two brigantines were which outwent their fellows. There was found a scum which they call copee, which the sea casteth up, and it is like pitch, wherewith in some places, where pitch is wanting, they pitch their ships; there they pitched their brigantines. They rested two days, and then eftsoons proceeded on their voyage. They sailed two days more, and landed in a bay or arm of the sea, where they stayed two days. The same day that they went from thence six men went up in a canoe toward the head of it, and could not see the end of it. They put out from thence with a south wind, which was against them; but because it was little, and for the great desire they had to shorten their voyage, they put out to sea by the force of oars, and for all that made very little way, with great labor, in two days, and went under the lee of a small island into an arm of the sea, which compassed it about. While they were there, there fell out such weather, that they gave God many thanks that they found out such an harbor. There was great store of fish in that place, which they took with nets, which they had, and hooks. Here a man cast an hook and a line into the sea, and tied the end of it to his arm, and a fish caught it, and drew him into the water unto the neck; and it pleased God that he remembered himself of a knife that he had, and cut the line with it. There they abode fourteen days; and at the end of them it pleased God to send them fair weather, for which, with great devotion, they appointed a procession, and went in procession along the strand, beseeching God to bring them to a land where they might serve him in better sort.
In all the coast wheresoever they digged they found fresh water; there they filled their vessels, and the procession being ended, embarked themselves, and going always in sight of the shore they sailed six days. John Danusco said that it would do well to bear out to seaward; for he had seen the sea-card, and remembered that from Rio de las Palmas forward, the coast did run from north to south, and thitherto they had run from east to west, and in his opinion, by his reckoning, Rio de las Palmas could not be far off from where they were. That same night they put to sea, and in the morning they saw palm leaves floating, and the coast which ran north and south. From midday forward they saw great mountains, which until then they had not seen; for from this place to Puerto de Spiritu Santo, where they first landed in Florida, was a very plain and low country; and therefore it cannot be descried, unless a man comes very near it. By that which they saw, they thought they had overshot Rio de Palmas that night, which is sixty leagues from the river Panuco, which is in Nueva España. They assembled all together, and some said it was not good to sail by night, lest they should overshoot the river of Panuco; and others said, it was not well to lose time while it was favorable, and that it could not be so near that they should pass it that night; and they agreed to take away half the sails, and so sail all night. Two of the brigantines, which sailed that night with all their sails, by break of day had overshot the river of Panuco without seeing it. Of the five that came behind, the first that came unto it was that wherein Calderan was captain. A quarter of a league before they came at it, and before they did see it, they saw the water muddy, and knew it to be fresh water; and coming right against the river, they saw where it entered into the sea, that the water broke upon a shoal. And because there was no man there that knew it, they were in doubt whether they should go in, or go along; and they resolved to go in; and before they came into the current, they went close to the shore, and entered into the port. And as soon as they were come in, they saw Indian men and women appareled like Spaniards, whom they asked in what country they were? They answered in Spanish, that it was the river of Panuco, and that the town of the Christians was fifteen leagues up within the land. The joy that all of them received upon this news cannot sufficiently be expressed; for it seemed unto them that at that instant they were born again. And many went on shore and kissed the ground, and kneeling on their knees, with lifting up their hands and eyes to Heaven, they all ceased not to give God thanks. Those which came after, as soon as they saw Calderan come to an anchor with his brigantine in the river, presently went thither, and came into the haven. The other two brigantines which had overshot the place, put to sea to return back to seek the rest, and could not do it, because the wind was contrary and the sea grown; they were afraid of being cast away, and recovering the shore they cast anchor. While they rode there a storm arose, and seeing that they could not abide there, much less endure at sea, they resolved to run on shore; and as the brigantines were but small, so did they draw but little water; and where they were it was a sandy coast. By which occasion the force of their sails drove them on shore, without any hurt of them that were in them. As those that were in the port of Panuco at this time were in great joy; so these felt a double grief in their hearts, for they knew not what was become of their fellows, nor in what country they were, and feared it was a country of Indian enemies. They landed two leagues below the port; and when they saw themselves out of the danger of the sea, every one took of that which he had, as much as he could carry on his back, and they traveled up into the country, and found Indians, which told them where their fellows were, and gave them good entertainment; wherewith their sadness was turned into joy, and they thanked God most humbly for their deliverance out of so many dangers.
From the time that they put out of Rio Grande to the sea, at their departure from Florida, until they arrived in the river of Panuco, was fifty-two days. They came into the river of Panuco the tenth of September, 1543. They went up the river with their brigantines. They traveled four days; and because the wind was but little, and many times it served them not because of the many turnings which the river maketh, and the great current drawing them up by towing, and that in many places; for this cause they made very little way and with great labor; and seeing the execution of their desire to be deferred, which was to come among Christians, and to see the celebration of divine service, which so long time they had not seen, they left the brigantines with the mariners, and went by land to Panuco. All of them were appareled in deers' skins tanned and dyed black, to wit, coats, hose, and shoes. When they came to Panuco, presently they went to the church to pray and give God thanks that so miraculously had saved them. The townsmen which before were advertised by the Indians, and knew of their arrival, carried some of them to their houses, and entertained them whom they knew and had acquaintance of, or because they were their countrymen. The Alcalde Mayor took the Governor home to his house: and commanded all the rest, as soon as they came, to be lodged six and six and ten and ten, according to the ability of every townsman. And all of them were provided for by their hosts of many hens, and bread of maize, and fruits of the country, which are such as be in the Isle of Cuba, whereof before I have spoken. The town of Panuco may contain about seventy families; the most of their houses are of lime and stone, and some made of timber, and all of them are thatched. It is a poor country, and there is neither gold nor silver in it. The inhabitants live there in great abundance of victuals and servants. The richest have not above five hundred crowns rent a year, and that is in cotton cloths, hens, and maize, which the Indians their servants do give them for tribute. There arrived there of those that came out of Florida, three hundred and eleven Christians. Presently the Alcalde Mayor sent one of the townsmen in post to advertise the Viceroy, Don Antonio de Mendoça, which was resident in Mexico, that of the people that went with Don Ferdinando de Soto to discover and conquer Florida three hundred and eleven men were arrived there, that seeing that they were employed in his majesty's service he would take some order to provide for them. Whereat the Viceroy, and all the inhabitants of Mexico wondered; for they thought they were miscarried because they had traveled so far within the main land of Florida, and had no news of them for so long a time: and it seemed a wonderful thing unto them, how they could save themselves so long among infidels, without any fort, wherein they might fortify themselves, and without any other succor at all. Presently the Viceroy sent a warrant wherein he commanded, that whithersoever they sent they should give them victuals, and as many Indians for their carriages as they needed: and where they would not furnish them, they might take those things that were necessary perforce without incurring any danger of law. This warrant was so readily obeyed that by the way before they came to the towns they came to receive them with hens and victuals.
From Panuco to the great city of Temistitan, Mexico, is sixty leagues; and other sixty from Panuco to the port de Vera Cruz, where they take shipping for Spain, and those that come from Spain do land to go for Nueva España. These three towns stand in a triangle: to wit, Vera Cruz to the south, Panuco to the north, and Mexico to the west sixty leagues asunder. The country is so inhabited with Indians that from town to town those which are farthest are but a league and half a league asunder. Some of them that came from Florida stayed a month in Panuco to rest themselves, others fifteen days, and every one as long as he listed: for there was none that showed a sour countenance to his guests, but rather gave them anything that they had, and seemed to be grieved when they took their leave. Which was to be believed; for the victuals which the Indians do pay them for tribute, are more than they can spend: and in that town is no commerce; and there dwelt but few Spaniards there, and they were glad of their company. The Alcalde Mayor divided all the Emperor's clothes which he had (which there they pay him for his tribute) among those that would come to receive them. Those which had shirts of mail left were glad men; for they had a horse for one shirt of mail. Some horsed themselves; and such as could not (which were the greatest part) took their journey on foot: in which they were well received of the Indians that were in the towns, and better served than they could have been in their own houses, though they had been well to live. For if they asked one hen of an Indian, they brought them four: and if they asked any of the country fruit though it were a league off, they ran presently for it. And if any Christian found himself evil at ease, they carried him in a chair from one town to another. In whatsoever town they came, the cacique, by an Indian which carried a rod of justice in his hand, whom they call Tapile, that is to say a sergeant, commanded them to provide victuals for them, and Indians to bear burdens of such things as they had, and such as were needful to carry them that were sick. The Viceroy sent a Portuguese twenty leagues from Mexico, with great store of sugar, raisins of the sun, conserves, and other things fit for sick folks, for such as had need of them: and had given order to clothe them all at the Emperor's charge. And their approach being known by the citizens of Mexico, they went out of the town to receive them: and with great courtesy, requesting them in favor to come to their houses, every one carried such as he met home with him, and clothed them every one the best they could: so that he that had the meanest apparel, it cost about thirty ducats. As many as were willing to come to the Viceroy's house he commanded to be appareled, and such as were persons of quality sate at his table: and there was a table in his house for as many of the meaner sort as would come to it: and he was presently informed who every one was, to show him the courtesy that he deserved. Some of the conquerors did set both gentlemen and clowns at their own table, and many times made the servant sit cheek by cheek by his master: and chiefly the officers and men of base condition did so: for those which had better education did inquire who every one was, and made difference of persons: but all did what they could with a good will: and every one told them whom they had in their houses, that they should not trouble themselves, nor think themselves the worse, to take that which they gave them: for they had been in the like case, and had been relieved of others, and that this was the custom of that country. God reward them all: and God grant that those which it pleased him to deliver out of Florida, and to bring again into Christendom, may serve him: and unto those that died in that country, and unto all that believe in Him and confess his holy faith, God for his mercy's sake grant the kingdom of heaven. Amen.
From the Port de Spiritu Santo, where they landed when they entered into Florida, to the Province of Ocute, which may be 400 leagues, little more or less, is a very plain country, and has many lakes and thick woods, and in some places they are of wild pine-trees; and is a weak soil. There is in it neither mountain nor hill. The country of Ocute is more fat and fruitful; it has thinner woods, and very goodly meadows upon the rivers. From Ocute to Cutifachiqui may be 130 leagues: 80 leagues thereof are desert, and have many groves of wild pine trees. Through the wilderness great rivers do pass. From Cutifachiqui to Xuala, may be 250 leagues: it is all an hilly country. Cutifachiqui and Xuala stand both in plain ground, high, and have goodly meadows on the rivers. From thence forward to Chiaha, Coça, and Talise, is plain ground, dry and fat, and very plentiful of maize. From Xuala to Tascaluça may be 250 leagues. From Tascaluça to Rio Grande, or the Great River, may be 300 leagues: the country is low, and full of lakes. From Rio Grande forward, the country is higher and more champaign, and best peopled of all the land of Florida. And along this river from Aquixo to Pacaha, and Coligoa, are 150 leagues: the country is plain, and the woods thin, and in some places champaign, very fruitful and pleasant. From Coligoa to Autiamque are 250 leagues of hilly country. From Autiamque to Aguacay, may be 230 leagues of plain ground. From Aguacay to the river of Daycao 120 leagues, all hilly country.
From the Port de Spiritu Santo unto Apalache, they traveled from east to west, and north-west. From Cutifachiqui to Xuala from south to north. From Xuala to Coça from east to west. From Coça to Tascaluça, and to Rio Grande, as far as the provinces of Quizquiz and Aquixo, from east to west. From Aquixo to Pacaha to the north. From Pacaha to Tulla from east to west: from Tulla to Autiamque from north to south, to the province of Guachoya and Daycao.
The bread which they ate in all the land of Florida is of maize, which is like coarse millet. And this maize is common in all the islands, and from the Antilles forward. There are also in Florida great store of walnuts, plums, mulberries, and grapes. They sow and gather their maize every one their several crop. The fruits are common to all, for they grow abroad in the open fields in great abundance, without any need of planting or dressing. Where there be mountains, there be chestnuts; they are somewhat smaller than the chestnuts of Spain. From Rio Grandewestward, the walnuts differ from those that grow more eastward; for they are soft, and like unto acorns; andthose which grow from Rio Grande to Puerto del Spiritu Santo for the most part are hard; and the trees and walnuts in show like those of Spain. There is a fruit through all the country which groweth on a plant like Ligoacan, which the Indians do plant. The fruit is like unto Peares Riall; it has a very good smell, and an excellent taste. There groweth another plant in the open field, which beareth a fruit like unto strawberries, close to the ground, which has a very good taste. The plums are of two kinds, red and gray, of the making and bigness of nuts, and have three or four stones in them. These are better than all the plums of Spain, and they make far better prunes of them. In the grapes there is only want of dressing; for though they be big, they have a great kernel. All other fruits are very perfect, and less hurtful than those of Spain.
There are in Florida many bears and lions, wolves, deer, dogs, cats, martens, and conies. There be many wild hens as big as turkeys, partridges small, like those of Africa, cranes, ducks, pigeons, thrushes, and sparrows. There are certain black birds bigger than sparrows, and lesser than stares. There are goshawks, falcons, gerfalcons, and all fowls of prey that are in Spain.
The Indians are well proportioned. Those of the plain countries are taller of body, and better shapen, than those of the mountains. Those of the inland have greater store of maize, and commodities of the country, than those that dwell upon the sea-coast. The country along the sea-coast is barren and poor, and the people more warlike. The coast runneth from Puerto del Spiritu Santo to Apalache, east and west; and from Apalache to Rio de las Palmas from east to west; from Rio de las Palmas unto Nueva España from north to south. It is a gentle coast, but it hath many shoals, and great shelves of sand.