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Title: Great Epochs in American History, Volume I. Voyages Of Discovery And Early Explorations: 1000 A.D.-1682
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Title: Great Epochs in American History, Volume I.
       Voyages Of Discovery And Early Explorations: 1000 A.D.-1682

Author: Various

Editor: Francis W. Halsey

Release Date: June 11, 2005 [EBook #16037]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


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Edited, with Introductions and Explanatory Notes


_Associate Editor of "The World's Famous Orations"; Associate Editor
of "The Best of the World's Classics"; author of "The Old New York
Frontier"; Editor of "Seeing Europe With Famous Authors"_





COPYRIGHT, 1912 AND 1916, by


[_Printed in the United States of America_]

    [Transcriber's Note: This text retains original spellings.]


In these ten volumes the aim has been to present striking accounts of
ten great epochs in the history of the United States, from the landing
of Columbus to the building of the Panama Canal. In large part, events
composing each epoch are described by men who participated in them, or
were personal eye-witnesses of them.

Columbus, for example, described his own first voyage; Washington, the
defeat of Braddock; Gen. "Sam" Houston the battle of San Jacinto;
General Robert E. Lee, the capture of John Brown at Harper's Ferry;
Murat Halstead, the nomination of Lincoln; Jefferson Davis, the
evacuation of Richmond, and his own arrest in Georgia by Federal
troops; Mrs. James Chesnut, wife of the Confederate general, the
firing on Fort Sumter; Edmund Clarence Stedman, the retreat from Bull
Run; Gen. James Longstreet, Pickett's charge at Gettysburg; General
Sheridan, Sheridan's ride to Winchester; James G. Blaine, the funeral
of Lincoln; Cyrus W. Field, the laying of the Atlantic cable; Horace
White, the great Chicago fire; William Jennings Bryan, the first Bryan
campaign; Admiral Dewey, the battle of Manila Bay, and Admiral Peary,
the finding of the North Pole.

These accounts are often supplemented by passages from the writings of
historians and biographers, including George Bancroft, Washington
Irving, Francis Parkman, Richard Hildreth, William E.H. Lecky, James
Schouler, and John Fiske; or from those of statesmen, journalists and
publicists, among them, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Thomas H.
Benton, Robert Toombs, Horace Greeley, "Bull Run" Russell, Carl
Schurz, and Theodore Roosevelt.

The tables of contents prefixt to the several volumes, or the index
appended to the last, will show how wide is the range of topics. The
events described have been of vital, and often of transcendant,
importance to this country and Europe. The writers will be found
interesting as authorities, and are often supremely competent, alike
as authorities and writers. The work is believed to present American
history in a form that will appeal to readers for its authenticity and
its novelty.

Francis W. Halsey.


(_Voyages of Discovery and Early Explorations._)

Schoolboys have been taught from their earliest years that Columbus
discovered America. Few events in prehistoric times seem more probable
now than that Columbus was not the first to discover it. The importance
of his achievement over that of others lay in his own faith in his
success, in his definiteness of purpose, and in the fact that he
awakened in Europe an interest in the discovery that led to further
explorations, disclosing a new continent and ending in permanent

The earliest voyages to America, made probably from Asia, led to
settlements, but they remained unknown ever afterward to all save the
settlers themselves, while those from Europe led to settlements that
were either soon abandoned or otherwise came to nought. Wandering
Tatar, Chinese, Japanese, Malay, or Polynesian sailors who drifted,
intentionally or accidentally, to the Pacific coast in some unrecorded
and prehistoric past, and from whom the men we call our aborigines
probably are descended, sent back to Asia no tidings of what they had
found. Their discovery, in so far as it concerned the people of the
Old World, remained as if it had never been.

The hardy Northmen of the Viking age, who, like John Smith, six
hundred years afterward, found in Vinland "a pleasant land to see,"
understood so little of the importance of what they had found, that,
by the next century, their discovery had virtually been forgotten in
all Scandinavia. It seems never to have become known anywhere else in
Europe. Indeed, had the Northmen made it known to other Europeans, it
is quite unlikely that any active interest would have been taken in
it. Europe in the year 1000 was self-centered. She had troubles enough
to absorb all her energies. Ambition for the expansion of her
territory, for trade with peoples beyond the great waters, nowhere
existed. Most European states were engaged in a grim struggle to hold
what they had--to hold it from the aggressions of their neighbors, to
hold it against the rising power of Islam.

Columbus did not know he had discovered the continent we call America.
He died in the belief that he had found unknown parts of Asia; that he
had discovered a shorter and safer route for trade with the East, and
that he had given new proof of the assertions made by astronomers that
the earth is round. The men who immediately followed him--Vespucius
and the Cabots--believed only that they had confirmed and extended his
discovery. Cabot first found the mainland of North America, Vespucius
the mainland of South America, but neither knew he had found a new
continent. Each saw only coast lines; made landings, it is true; saw
and conversed with natives, and Vespucius fought with natives; but of
the existence of a new world, having continents comparable to Europe,
Asia, or Africa, with an ocean on both sides of them, neither ever so
much as dreamed.

Under the splendid inspiration of Prince Henry the Navigator, an
inspiration that remained potent throughout Portugal long after his
death, Bartholomew Dias, five years before Columbus made his voyage to
America, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, actually sailed into the
Indian Ocean, and was pressing on toward India when his crew, from
exhaustion, refused to go farther, and he was forced to return home.
Vasco da Gama, ten years later (1497), following the route of Dias,
actually reached India and thus demonstrated that, instead of going
overland by caravan, India could be reached by sailing around
two-thirds of Africa.

Spanish and Portuguese navigators--Columbus, Da Gama, Dias--alike
sought a new and shorter route for trade with the Far East--one,
moreover, that would not be molested by the advancing and aggressive
Turks. Columbus believed, and so believed Spain and Portugal, that
he had found a shorter route than the one Diaz and Da Gama found.
Disputes arose between the rival powers as to titles and benefits from
the discoveries, and it was because of these that Pope Alexander VI
issued his famous Bull, dividing between the two all lands discovered
by the navigators, an act which, in our time, has become a curious
anomaly, since later proof of the existence of continents between the
Atlantic and Pacific made the Pope's decree virtually a partitioning
of all America between two favored countries as sole beneficiaries.

Da Gama returned from India laden with Eastern treasure. Columbus
returned from America poorer than when he sailed from the port of
Palos. Columbus was believed to have found Asia, but he brought home,
after several voyages, none of the wealth of Asia. Hence those fierce
storms that beat about his head, leading to his imprisonment and to
his death in Valladolid, a broken-hearted man.

The Spanish explorers who in the next century followed Columbus, came
to America in pursuit of silver and gold. Rich stores had already been
found by their countrymen in Mexico and the Peruvian Andes. In
meetings with Indians farther north wearing ornaments of gold, the new
explorers became convinced that mineral wealth also existed in the
lands now called the United States, and especially in the fabled
"Seven Cities of Cibola," in the Southwest. Out of this belief came
the bold enterprises of Ponce de Leon, De Vaca, Coronado and De Soto,
while out of the Spanish successes in finding gold in America came the
first known voyage into New York Harbor, that of Verazzano, the
Italian in French service, who was seeking Spanish vessels returning
richly laden.

Of the French and English explorers of later years--Cartier, Champlain,
Marquette, Hudson, Drake--who came to Cape Breton, the St. Lawrence,
Hudson, and Mississippi valleys, the California coast--the motives
were different. These came to fish for cod, to explore the country, to
plant the banners of the Sun King and Queen Bess over new territories,
to convert the Indians, to find a northwest passage--that problem of
the navigators which baffled them all until 1854--362 years after the
landing of Columbus--when an English ship, under Sir Robert McClure,
sailed from Bering Sea to Davis Strait, and thus proved that America,
North and South, was an island.

Spaniards, however, had dreamed of a northwest passage before any of
these. When Magellan passed through the strait that bears his name,
and his ship completed the first circumnavigation of the globe, men
began first to see that America was no part of Asia. In further proof
they sought to find a passage into the Pacific from the north, as a
complement to Magellan's passage from the south. Such an attempt was
first made by the Spaniards under Vasquez d'Ayllon, four years after
the voyage of Magellan; that is, in 1524. Ayllon was hoping to find
this passage when he put in at Hampton Roads, just as Hudson hoped to
find it, eighty-five years afterward, when he entered the harbor of
New York--Hudson, who in a later voyage, sought it once more in Hudson
Bay, and perished miserably there, set adrift in an open boat and
abandoned by his own mutinous sailors.







    I. Men from Asia and from Norway. By Justin Winsor
   II. How the Norwegians Came to Vinland
  III. The First European Child
   IV. Other Pre-Columbian Voyages. By Henry Wheaton


    I. As Described by Washington Irving
   II. As Described by Columbus Himself



    I. The Account Given by John A. Doyle
   II. Peter Martyr's Account

THE VOYAGES OF VESPUCIUS. Vespucius' Own Account

A BATTLE WITH THE INDIANS. As Described by Vespucius







    I. The Account Given by John A. Doyle
   II. Cartier's Own Account





THE DEATH OF DE SOTO. By One of De Soto's Companions

DRAKE'S VISIT TO CALIFORNIA. By One of Drake's Companions

HUDSON'S DISCOVERY OF THE HUDSON RIVER. By Robert Juet, Hudson's Secretary



THE DEATH OF MARQUETTE. By Father Claude Dablon




1000 A.D.--1682





There is not a race of eastern Asia--Siberian, Tatar, Chinese,
Japanese, Malay, with the Polynesians--which has not been claimed as
discoverers, intending or accidental, of American shores, or as
progenitors, more or less perfect or remote, of American peoples; and
there is no good reason why any one of them may not have done all that
is claimed. The historical evidence, however, is not such as is based
on documentary proofs of indisputable character, and the recitals
advanced are often far from precise enough to be convincing in
details, if their general authenticity is allowed.

Nevertheless, it is much more than barely probable that the ice of
Bering Straits or the line of the Aleutian Islands was the pathway of
successive immigrations, on occasions perhaps far apart, or maybe near
together; and there is hardly a stronger demonstration of such a
connection between the two continents than the physical resemblances
of the peoples now living on the opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean
in these upper latitudes, with the similarity of the flora which
environs them on either shore.

It is quite as conceivable that the great northern current, setting
east athwart the Pacific, should from time to time have carried along
disabled vessels, and stranded them on the shores of California and
farther north leading to the infusion of Asiatic blood among whatever
there may have been antecedent or autochthonous in the coast peoples.
It is certainly in this way possible that the Chinese or Japanese may
have helped populate the western slopes of the American continent.
There is no improbability even of the Malays of southeastern Asia
extending step by step to the Polynesian Islands, and among them and
beyond them, till the shores of a new world finally received the
impress of their footsteps and of their ethnic characteristics. We may
very likely recognize not proofs, but indications, along the shores of
South America, that its original people constituted such a stock or
were increased by it.

As respects the possible early connections of America on the side of
Europe, there is an equally extensive array of claims, and they have
been set forth, first and last, with more persistency than effect....

Leaving the old world by the northern passage, Iceland lies at the
threshold of America. It is nearer to Greenland than to Norway, and
Greenland is but one of the large islands into which the arctic
currents divide the North American continent. Thither, to Iceland, if
we identify the localities in Geoffrey of Monmouth, King Arthur sailed
as early as the beginning of the sixth century, and overcame whatever
inhabitants he may have found there. Here, too, an occasional
wandering pirate or adventurous Dane had glimpsed the coast. Thither,
among others, came the Irish, and in the ninth century we find Irish
monks and a small colony of their countrymen in possession. Thither
the Gulf Stream carries the southern driftwood, suggesting sunnier
lands to whatever race had been allured or driven to its shelter. Here
Columbus, when, as he tells us, he visited the island in 1477, found
no ice. So that, if we may place reliance on the appreciable change of
climate by the precession of the equinoxes, a thousand years ago and
more, when the Norwegians crossed from Scandinavia and found these
Christian Irish there, the island was not the forbidding spot that it
seems with the lapse of centuries to be becoming.

It was in A.D. 875 that Ingolf, a jarl of Norway, came to Iceland with
Norse settlers. They built their habitation at first where a pleasant
headland seemed attractive, the present Ingolfshofdi, and later
founded Reikjavik, where the signs directed them; for certain carved
posts, which they had thrown overboard as they approached the island,
were found to have drifted to that spot. The Christian Irish preferred
to leave their asylum rather than consort with the newcomers, and so
the island was left to be occupied by successive immigrations of the
Norse, which their king could not prevent. In the end, and within half
a century, a hardy little republic--as for a while it was--of near
70,000 inhabitants, was established almost under the arctic circle.

The very next year (A.D. 876) after Ingolf had come to Iceland, a
sea-rover, Gunnbiorn, driven in his ship westerly, sighted a strange
land, and the report that he made was not forgotten. Fifty years
later, more or less, for we must treat the dates of the Icelandic
sagas with some reservation, we learn that a wind-tossed vessel was
thrown upon a coast far away, which was called Iceland the Great.
Then, again, we read of a young Norwegian, Eric the Red, not
apparently averse to a brawl, who killed his man in Norway and fled to
Iceland, where he kept his dubious character; and again outraging the
laws, he was sent into temporary banishment--this time in a ship which
he fitted out for discovery; and so he sailed away in the direction of
Gunnbiorn's land, and found it. He whiled away three years on its
coast, and as soon as he was allowed, ventured back with the tidings.
While, to propitiate intending settlers, he said he had been to
Greenland, and so the land got a sunny name.

The next year, which seems to have been A.D. 985, he started on his
return with 35 ships, but only fourteen of them reached the land.
Whenever there was a habitable fiord, a settlement grew up, and the
stream of immigrants was for a while constant and considerable. Just
at the end of the century (A.D. 999) Lief, a son of Eric, sailed back
to Norway, and found the country in the early fervor of a new
religion; for King Olaf Tryggvesson had embraced Christianity, and was
imposing it on his people. Leif accepted the new faith, and a priest
was assigned to him to take back to Greenland; and thus Christianity
was introduced into arctic America. So they began to build churches in
Greenland, the considerable ruins of one of which stands to this day.
The winning of Iceland to the Church was accomplished at the same

In the next year after the second voyage of Eric the Red, one of the
ships which were sailing from Iceland to the new settlement, was
driven far off her course, according to the sagas, and Bjarni
Herjulfson, who commanded the vessel, reported that he had come upon a
land, away to the southwest, where the coast country was level; and he
added that when he turned north it took him nine days to reach
Greenland. Fourteen years later than this voyage of Bjarni, which was
said to have been in A.D. 986--that is, in the year 1000 or
thereabouts--Lief, the same who had brought the Christian priest to
Greenland, taking with him 35 companions, sailed from Greenland in
quest of the land seen by Bjarni, which Lief first found, where a
barren shore stretched back to ice-covered mountains, and, because of
the stones there, he called the region Helluland. Proceeding farther
south, he found a sandy shore, with a level forest country back of it,
and because of the woods it was named Markland. Two days later they
came upon other land, and tasting the dew upon the grass they found it
sweet. Farther south and westerly they went, and going up a river,
came into an expanse of water, where on the shores they built huts to
lodge in for the winter, and sent out exploring parties. In one of
these Tyrker, a native of a part of Europe where grapes grew, found
vines hung with their fruit, which induced Lief to call the country

Attempts have been made to identify these various regions by the
inexact accounts of the direction of their sailing, by the very
general descriptions of the country, by the number of days occupied in
going from one point to another, with the uncertainty if the ship
sailed at night, and by the length of the shortest day in Vinland--the
last a statement that might help us, if it could be interpreted with a
reasonable concurrence of opinion, and if it were not confused with
other inexplicable statements. The next year Lief's brother, Thorwald,
went to Vinland with a single ship, and passed three winters there,
making explorations meanwhile, south and north. Thorfinn Karlsefne,
arriving in Greenland in A.D. 1006, married a courageous widow named
Gudrid, who induced him to sail with his ships to Vinland and make
there a permanent settlement, taking with him livestock and other
necessaries for colonization. Their first winter in the place was a
severe one; but Gudrid gave birth to a son, Snorre, from whom it is
claimed Thorwaldsen, the Danish sculptor, was descended. The next
season they removed to the spot where Leif had wintered, and called
the bay Hop. Having spent a third winter in the country, Karlsefne,
with a part of the colony, returned to Greenland.

The saga then goes on to say that trading voyages to the settlement
which had been formed by Karlsefne now became frequent, and that the
chief lading of the return voyages was timber, which was much needed
in Greenland. A bishop of Greenland, Eric Upsi, is also said to have
gone to Vinland in A.D. 1121. In 1347 the last ship of which we have
any record in these sagas went to Vinland after timber. After this all
is oblivion.

There are in all these narratives many details beyond this outline,
and those who have sought to identify localities have made the most
they could of the mention of a rock here or a bluff there, of an
island where they killed a bear, of others where they found eggs, of a
headland where they buried a leader who had been killed, of a cape
shaped like a keel, of broadfaced natives who offered furs for red
cloths, of beaches where they hauled up their ships, and of tides that
were strong; but the more these details are scanned in the different
sagas, the more they confuse the investigator, and the more successive
relators try to enlighten us the more our doubts are strengthened,
till we end with the conviction that all attempts at consistent
unravelment leave nothing but a vague sense of something somewhere

    [1] From an article by Mr. Winsor in "The Narrative and Critical
    History of America," of which he was editor. By arrangement with
    the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co., Copyright 1889. For a long
    period Mr. Winsor was librarian of Harvard University. He wrote
    "From Cartier to Frontenac," "Christopher Columbus," "The Mississippi
    Basin," and made other important contributions to American history.



(1000 A.D.)

Lief invited his father, Eric, to become the leader of the expedition,
but Eric declined, saying that he was then stricken in years, and
adding that he was less able to endure the exposure of sea life than
he had been. Lief replied that he would, nevertheless, be the one who
would be most apt to bring good luck, and Eric yielded to Lief's
solicitation, and rode from home when they were ready to sail.

They put the ship in order; and, when they were ready, they sailed out
to sea, and found first that land which Bjarni and his shipmates found
last. They sailed up to the land and cast anchor, and launched a boat
and went ashore, and saw no grass there. Great ice mountains lay
inland back from the sea, and it was as a [table-land of] flat rock
all the way from the sea to the ice mountains; and the country seemed
to them to be entirely devoid of good qualities. Then said Lief, "It
has not come to pass with us in regard to this land as with Biarni,
that we have not gone upon it. To this country I will now give a name,
and call it Helluland," They returned to the ship, put out to sea, and
found a second land.

They sailed again to the land, and came to anchor, and launched the
boat, and went ashore. This was a level wooded land; and there were
broad stretches of white sand where they went, and the land was level
by the sea. Then said Lief, "This land shall have a name after its
nature; and we will call it Markland." They returned to the ship
forthwith, and sailed away upon the main with northeast winds, and
were out two "doegr" before they sighted land. They sailed toward this
land, and came to an island which lay to the northward off the land.
There they went ashore and looked about them, the weather being fine,
and they observed that there was dew upon the grass, and it so
happened that they touched the dew with their hands, and touched their
hands to their mouths, and it seemed to them that they had never
before tasted anything so sweet as this....

A cargo sufficient for the ship was cut, and when the spring came they
made their ship ready, and sailed away; and from its products Lief
gave the land a name, and called it Wineland. They sailed out to sea,
and had fair winds until they sighted Greenland and the fells below
the glaciers. Then one of the men spoke up and said, "Why do you steer
the ship so much into the wind?" Lief answers: "I have my mind upon my
steering, but on other matters as well. Do ye not see anything out of
the common?" They replied that they saw nothing strange. "I do not
know," says Lief, "whether it is a ship or a skerry that I see." Now
they saw it, and said that it must be a skerry; but he was so much
keener of sight than they that he was able to discern men upon the
skerry. "I think it best to tack," says Lief, "so that we may draw
near to them, that we may be able to render them assistance if they
should stand in need of it; and, if they should not be peaceable
disposed, we shall still have better command of the situation than

They approached the skerry, and, lowering their sail, cast anchor, and
launched a second small boat, which they had brought with them. Tyrker
inquired who was the leader of the party. He replied that his name was
Thori, and that he was a Norseman; "but what is thy name?" Lief gave
his name. "Art thou a son of Eric the Red of Brattahlid?" says he.
Lief responded that he was. "It is now my wish," says Lief, "to take
you all into my ship, and likewise so much of your possessions as the
ship will hold." This offer was accepted, and [with their ship] thus
laden they held away to Ericsfirth, and sailed until they arrived at
Brattahlid. Having discharged the cargo, Lief invited Thori, with his
wife, Gudrid, and three others, to make their home with him, and
procured quarters for the other members of the crew, both for his own
and Thori's men. Lief rescued fifteen persons from the skerry. He was
afterward called Lief the Lucky. Lief had now a goodly store both of
property and honor. There was serious illness that winter in Thori's
party, and Thori and a great number of his people died. Eric the Red
also died that winter. There was now much talk about Lief's Wineland
journey; and his brother, Thorvald, held that the country had not been
sufficiently explored. Thereupon Lief said to Thorvald, "If it be thy
will, brother, thou mayest go to Wineland with my ship; but I wish the
ship first to fetch the wood which Thori had upon the skerry." And so
it was done.

Now Thorvald, with the advice of his brother, Lief, prepared to make
this voyage with thirty men. They put their ship in order, and sailed
out to sea; and there is no account of their voyage before their
arrival at Liefs-booths in Wineland. They laid up their ship there,
and remained there quietly during the winter, supplying themselves
with food by fishing. In the spring, however, Thorvald said that
they should put their ship in order, and that a few men should take
the after-boat, and proceed along the western coast, and explore
[the region] thereabouts during the summer. They found it a fair,
well-wooded country. It was but a short distance from the woods to
the sea, and [there were] white sands, as well as great numbers of
islands and shallows. They found neither dwelling of man nor lair
of beast; but in one of the westerly islands they found a wooden
building for the shelter of grain. They found no other trace of human
handiwork; and they turned back, and arrived at Liefs-booths in the

The following summer Thorvald set out toward the east with the ship,
and along the northern coast. They were met by a high wind off a
certain promontory, and were driven ashore there, and damaged the keel
of their ship, and were compelled to remain there for a long time and
repair the injury to their vessel. Then said Thorvald to his
companions, "I propose that we raise the keel upon this cape, and call
it Keelness"; and so they did. Then they sailed away to the eastward
off the land and into the mouth of the adjoining firth and to a
headland, which projected into the sea there, and which was entirely
covered with woods. They found an anchorage for their ship, and put
out the gangway to the land; and Thorvald and all of his companions
went ashore. "It is a fair region here," said he; "and here I should
like to make my home."

They then returned to the ship, and discovered on the sands, in beyond
the headland, three mounds: they went up to these, and saw that they
were three skin canoes with three men under each. They thereupon
divided their party, and succeeded in seizing all the men but one, who
escaped with his canoe. They killed the eight men, and then ascended
the headland again, and looked about them, and discovered within the
firth certain hillocks, which they concluded must be habitations. They
were then so overpowered with sleep that they could not keep awake,
and all fell into a [heavy] slumber from which they were awakened by
the sound of a cry uttered above them; and the words of the cry were
these: "Awake, Thorvald, thou and all thy company, if thou wouldst
save thy life; and board thy ship with all thy men, and sail with all
speed from the land!" A countless number of skin canoes then advanced
toward them from the inner part of the firth, whereupon Thorvald
ex-claimed, "We must put out the war-boards on both sides of the ship,
and defend ourselves to the best of our ability, but offer little
attack." This they did; and the Skrellings, after they had shot at
them for a time, fled precipitately, each as best he could. Thorvald
then inquired of his men whether any of them had been wounded, and
they informed him that no one of them had received a wound. "I have
been wounded in my arm-pit," says he. "An arrow flew in between the
gunwale and the shield, below my arm. Here is the shaft, and it will
bring me to my end. I counsel you now to retrace your way with the
utmost speed. But me ye shall convey to that headland which seemed to
me to offer so pleasant a dwelling-place: thus it may be fulfilled
that the truth sprang to my lips when I exprest the wish to abide
there for a time. Ye shall bury me there, and place a cross at my
head, and another at my feet, and call it Crossness forever after." At
that time Christianity had obtained in Greenland: Eric the Red died,
however, before [the introduction of] Christianity.

Thorvald died; and, when they had carried out his injunctions, they
took their departure, and rejoined their companions, and they told
each other of the experiences which had befallen them. They remained
there during the winter, and gathered grapes and wood with which to
freight the ship. In the following spring they returned to Greenland,
and arrived with their ship in Ericsfirth, where they were able to
recount great tidings to Lief....

There was now much talk anew about a Wineland voyage, for this was
reckoned both a profitable and an honorable enterprise. The same
summer that Karlsefni arrived from Wineland a ship from Norway arrived
in Greenland. This ship was commanded by two brothers, Helgi and
Finnbogi, who passed the winter in Greenland. They were descended from
an Icelandic family of the East-firths. It is now to be added that
Freydis, Eric's daughter, set out from her home at Gardar, and waited
upon the brothers, Helgi and Finnbogi, and invited them to sail with
their vessel to Wineland, and to share with her equally all of the
good things which they might succeed in obtaining there. To this they
agreed, and she departed thence to visit her brother Lief, and ask him
to give her the house which he had caused to be erected in Wineland;
but he made her the same answer [as that which he had given
Karlsefni], saying that he would lend the house, but not give it. It
was stipulated between Karlsefni and Freydis that each should have on
shipboard thirty able-bodied men, besides the women; but Freydis
immediately violated this compact by concealing five men more [than
this number], and this the brothers did not discover before they
arrived in Wineland. They now put out to sea, having agreed beforehand
that they would sail in company, if possible, and, altho they were not
far apart from each other, the brothers arrived somewhat in advance,
and carried their belongings up to Lief's house.

    [1] From "The Saga of Eric the Red," as given in the "Old South
    Leaflets." Two different versions of this saga exist, the first
    written by Hauk Erlendsson between 1305 and 1334; the second by
    Jon Thordharson, about 1387. Both are believed to have been based
    on writings that had come down from the time of the explorations.

    Confirmation of the truth of the Norwegian discovery is given in
    a book by Adam of Bremen, who visited Denmark between 1047 and
    1073, and makes reference to Norwegian colonies founded in
    Iceland and Greenland and in another country which was "called
    Vinland on account of the wild grapes that grow there." Mention
    is also made by this writer of corn as growing in Vinland without
    cultivation. He declares his statements to be based on "trustworthy
    reports of the Danes." John Fiske thought Vinland lay somewhere
    between Point Judith and Cape Breton.



(About 1000 A.D.)

One summer a ship came from Norway to Greenland. The skipper's name
was Thorfinn Karlsefni, and he was the son of Thord, called
"Horsehead," and a grandson of Snorri. Thorfinn Karlsefni, who was a
very wealthy man, passed the winter there in Greenland, with Lief
Ericsson. He very soon set his heart upon a maiden called Gudrid, and
sought her hand in marriage.

That same winter a new discussion arose concerning a Wineland voyage.
The people urged Rarlsefni to make the bold venture, so he determined
to undertake the voyage, and gathered a company of sixty men and five
women. He entered into an agreement with his shipmates that they
should each share equally in all the spoils. They took with them all
kinds of cattle, as they intended to settle the country if they could.
Karlsefni asked Lief for his house in Wineland. Lief replied that he
would lend it but not give it.

They sailed out to sea with the ship, and arrived safe and sound at
Lief's booths, and carried their hammocks ashore there. They were soon
provided with an abundant supply of food, for a whale of good size and
quality was driven ashore, and they secured it. Their cattle were
turned out upon the land. Karlsefni ordered trees to be felled; for he
needed timber wherewith to load his ships. They gathered some of all
the products of the land--grapes, all kinds of game, fish, and other
good things.

In the summer after the first winter the Skrellings[2] were
discovered. A great throng of men came forth from the woods; the
cattle were close by and the bull began to bellow and roar with a
great noise. At this the Skrellings were frightened and ran away with
their packs, wherein were gray furs, sables, and all kinds of skins.
They fled toward Karlsefni's dwelling and tried to get into the house,
but Karlsefni caused the doors to be defended. Neither people could
understand the other's language. The Skrellings put down their packs,
then opened them and offered their wares in exchange for weapons, but
Karlsefni forbade his men to sell their weapons. He bade the women to
carry out milk to the Skrellings; as soon as these people had tasted
the milk, they wanted to buy it and nothing else.

Now it is to be told that Karlsefni caused a strong wooden palisade to
be constructed and set up around the house. It was at this time that a
baby boy was born to Gudrid and Karlsefni, and he was called Snorri.
In the early part of the second winter the Skrellings came to them
again in greater numbers than before, and brought with them the same
kind of wares to exchange. Then said Karlsefni to the women, "Do ye
carry out now the same thing which proved so profitable before, and
nothing else." The Skrellings seemed contented at first, but soon
after, while Gudrid was sitting in the doorway beside the cradle of
her infant son, Snorri, she heard a great crash made by one of the
Skrellings who had tried to seize a man's weapons. One of Karlsefni's
followers killed him for it. "Now we must needs take counsel
together," said Karlsefni, "for I believe they will visit us a third
time in greater numbers. Let us now adopt this plan: when the tribe
approaches from the forest, ten of our number shall go out upon the
cape in front of our houses and show themselves there, while the
remainder of our company shall go into the woods back of our houses
and hew a clearing for our cattle. Then we will take our bull and let
him go in advance of us to meet the enemy." The next time the
Skrellings came they found Karlsefni's men ready and fled
helter-skelter into the woods. Karlsefni and his party remained there
throughout the winter, but in the spring Karlsefni announced that he
did not intend to remain there longer, for he wished to return with
his wife and son to Greenland. They now made ready for the voyage and
carried away with them much in vines and grapes and skins.

    [1] From the "Saga"' of Hauk Erlendsson. Except for the Norse
    discovery, the honor of being the first child of Anglo-Saxon race
    born in America would belong to Virginia Dare. Virginia Dare was
    born in Virginia during one of the attempted settlements under
    Sir Walter Raleigh. An account of her is given in Volume II of
    this work. Children of Spanish and French parents had, of course,
    been born in America before the date of Virginia Dare's birth.

    [2] By Skrellings the author means natives.




No subsequent traces of the Norman colony in America are to be found
until the year 1059, when it is said that an Irish or Saxon priest,
named Jon or John, who had preached for some time as a missionary in
Iceland, went to Vinland, for the purpose of converting the colonists
to Christianity, where he was murdered by the heathens. A bishop of
Greenland, named Erik, afterward (A.D. 1121) undertook the same
voyage, for the same purpose, but with what success is uncertain. The
authenticity of the Icelandic accounts of the discovery and settlement
of Vinland were recognized in Denmark shortly after this period by
King Svend Estrithson, or Sweno II, in a conversation which Adam of
Bremen had with this monarch. But no further mention is made of them
in the national annals, and it may appear doubtful what degree of
credit is due to the relations of the Venetian navigators, the two
brothers Zeni, who are said to have sailed in the latter part of the
fourteenth century, in the service of a Norman prince of the Orcades,
to the coasts of New England, Carolina, and even Mexico, or at least
to have collected authentic accounts of voyages as far west and south
as these countries. The land diseovered and peopled by the Norwegians
is called by Antonio Zeni, Estotoland, and he states, among other
particulars, that the princes of the country still had in their
possession Latin books, which they did not understand, and which were
probably those left by the bishop Erik during his mission.

Supposing these latter discoveries to be authentic, they could hardly
have escaped the attention of Columbus, who had himself navigated in
the arctic seas, but whose mind dwelt with such intense fondness upon
his favorite idea of finding a passage to the East Indies, across the
western ocean, that he might have neglected these indications of the
existence of another continent in the direction pursued by the
Venetian adventurers.

At all events, there is not the silghtest reason to believe that the
illustrious Genoese was acquainted with the discovery of North America
by the Normans five centuries before his time, however well
authenticated that fact now appears to be by the Icelandic records to
which we have referred. The colony established by them probably
perished in the same manner with the ancient establishments in
Greenland. Some faint traces of its existence may, perhaps, be found
in the relations of the Jesuit missionaries respecting a native tribe
in the district of Gaspe, at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, who are
said to have attained a certain degree of civilization, to have
worshiped the sun, and observed the position of the stars. Others
revered the symbol of the cross before the arrival of the French
missionaries, which, according to their tradition, had been taught
them by a venerable person who cured, by this means, a terrible
epidemic which raged among them.

    [1] From Mr. Wheaton's "History of the Northmen," published in
    1831. Mr. Wheaton was a native of Providence, R.I., and died in
    Roxbury, Mass., in 1848, at the age of 63. He was an eminent
    lawyer and publicist and author of "Elements of International
    Law," a legal classic.





It was early in the morning of Friday, the 3d of August, 1492, that
Columbus set sail from the bar of Saltes, a small island formed by the
rivers Odiel and Tinto, in front of Palos, steering for the Canary
Islands, from whence he intended to strike due west. As a guide by
which to sail, he had the conjectural map or chart sent him by Paolo
Toscanelli, of Florence. In this it is supposed the coasts of Europe
and Africa, from the south of Ireland to the end of Guinea, were
delineated as immediately opposite to the extremity of Asia, while the
great island of Cipango, described by Marco Polo, lay between them,
1,500 miles from the Asiatic coast. At this island Columbus expected
first to arrive....

On losing sight of this last trace of land, the hearts of the crews
failed them, for they seemed to have taken leave of the world. Behind
them was everything dear to the heart of man--country, family,
friends, life itself; before them everything was chaos, mystery, and
peril. In the perturbation of the moment they despaired of ever more
seeing their homes. Many of the rugged seamen shed tears, and some
broke into loud lamentations. Columbus tried in every way to soothe
their distress, describing the splendid countries to which he expected
to conduct them, promising them land, riches, and everything that
could arouse their cupidity or inflame their imaginations; nor were
these promises made for purposes of deception, for he certainly
believed he should realize them all.

He now gave orders to the commanders of the other vessels, in case
they should be separated by any accident, to continue directly
westward; but that, after sailing 700 leagues, they should lay by from
midnight until daylight, as at about that distance he confidently
expected to find land. Foreseeing that the vague terrors already
awakened among the seamen would increase with the space which
intervened between them and their homes, he commenced a stratagem
which he continued throughout the voyage. This was to keep two
reckonings, one private, in which the true way of the ship was noted,
and which he retained in secret for his own government; the other
public, for general inspection, in which a number of leagues was daily
subtracted from the sailing of the ships so as to keep the crews in
ignorance of the real distance they had advanced....

On the 13th of September, in the evening, Columbus, for the first
time, noticed the variation of the needle, a phenomenon which had
never before been remarked. He at first made no mention of it, lest
his people should be alarmed; but it soon attracted the attention of
the pilots, and filled them with consternation. It seemed as if the
very laws of nature were changing as they advanced, and that they were
entering another world, subject to unknown influences. They
apprehended that the compass was about to lose its mysterious virtues,
and, without this guide, what was to become of them in a vast and
trackless ocean? Columbus tasked his science and ingenuity for reasons
with which to allay their terrors. He told them that the direction of
the needle was not to the polar star, but to some fixt and invisible
point. The variation, therefore, was not caused by any fallacy in the
compass, but by the movement of the north star itself, which, like the
other heavenly bodies, had its changes and revolutions, and every day
described a circle round the pole. The high opinion they entertained
of Columbus as a profound astronomer gave weight to his theory, and
their alarm subsided.

They had now arrived within the influence of the trade-wind, which,
following the sun, blows steadily from east to west between the
tropics, and sweeps over a few adjoining degrees of the ocean. With
this propitious breeze directly aft, they were wafted gently but
speedily over a tranquil sea, so that for many days they did not shift
a sail. Columbus in his journal perpetually recurs to the bland and
temperate serenity of the weather, and compares the pure and balmy
mornings to those of April in Andalusia, observing that the song of
the nightingale was alone wanting to complete the illusion....

They now began to see large patches of herbs and weeds, all drifting
from the west. Some were such as grow about rocks or in rivers, and as
green as if recently washed from the land. On one of the patches was a
live crab. They saw also a white tropical bird, of a kind which never
sleeps upon the sea; and tunny-fish played about the ships. Columbus
now supposed himself arrived in the weedy sea described by Aristotle,
into which certain ships of Cadiz had been driven by an impetuous east

As he advanced, there were various other signs that gave great
animation to the crews; many birds were seen flying from the west;
there was a cloudiness in the north, such as often hangs over land;
and at sunset the imagination of the seamen, aided by their desires,
would shape those clouds into distant islands. Every one was eager to
be the first to behold and announce the wished-for shore; for the
sovereigns had promised a pension of thirty crowns to whomsoever
should first discover land. Columbus sounded occasionally with a line
of 200 fathoms, but found no bottom. Martin Alonzo Pinzon, as well as
others of his officers and many of the seamen, were often solicitous
for Columbus to alter his course and steer in the direction of these
favorable signs; but he persevered in steering to the westward,
trusting that by keeping in one steady direction, he should reach the
coast of India, even if he should miss the intervening islands, and
might then seek them on his return....

The situation of Columbus was daily becoming more and more critical.
The impatience of the seamen arose to absolute mutiny. They gathered
together in the retired parts of the ships, at first in little knots
of two and three, which gradually increased and became formidable,
joining in murmurs and menaces against the admiral. They exclaimed
against him as an ambitious desperado who, in a mad fantasy, had
determined to do something extravagant to render himself notorious.
What obligation bound them to persist, or when were the terms of their
agreement to be considered as fulfilled? They had already penetrated
into seas untraversed by a sail, and where man had never before
adventured. Were they to sail on until they perished, or until all
return with their frail ships became impossible? Who would blame them
should they consult their safety and return? The admiral was a
foreigner, a man without friends or influence. His scheme had been
condemned by the learned as idle and visionary, and discountenanced by
people of all ranks. There was, therefore, no party on his side, but
rather a large number who would be gratified by his failure.

Such are some of the reasonings by which these men prepared themselves
for open rebellion. Some even proposed, as an effectual mode of
silencing all after complaints of the admiral, that they should throw
him into the sea, and give out that he had fallen overboard while
contemplating the stars and signs of the heavens, with his
astronomical instruments.

Columbus was not ignorant of these secret cabals, but he kept a serene
and steady countenance, soothing some with gentle words, stimulating
the pride or the avarice of others, and openly menacing the most
refractory with punishment. New hopes diverted them for a time. On the
25th of September Martin Pinzon mounted on the stern of his vessel and
shouted, "Land! land! Senor, I claim the reward!" There was, indeed,
such an appearance of land in the southwest that Columbus threw
himself upon his knees and returned thanks to God, and all the crews
joined in chanting Gloria in Excelsis. The ships altered their course
and stood all night to the southwest, but the morning light put an end
to all their hopes as to a dream; the fancied land proved to be
nothing but an evening cloud, and had vanished in the night....

He was now at open defiance with his crew, and his situation would
have been desperate, but, fortunately, the manifestations of land on
the following day were such as no longer to admit of doubt. A green
fish, such as keeps about rocks, swam by the ships; and a branch of
thorn, with berries on it, floated by; they picked up, also, a reed, a
small board, and, above all, a staff artificially carved. All gloom
and murmuring was now at an end, and throughout the day each one was
on the watch for the long-sought land. They continued on their course
until two in the morning, when a gun from the Pinto gave the joyful
signal of land. It was first discovered by a mariner named Rodriguez
Bermejo, resident of Triana, a suburb of Seville, but native of Alcala
de la Guadaira; but the reward was afterward adjudged to the admiral,
for having previously perceived the light. The land was now clearly
seen about two leagues distant, whereupon they took in sail, and laid
to, waiting impatiently for the dawn. .

When the day dawned, Columbus saw before him a level and beautiful
island, several leagues in extent, of great freshness and verdure, and
covered with trees like a continual orchard. Tho everything appeared
in the wild luxuriance of untamed nature, yet the island was evidently
populous, for the inhabitants were seen issuing from the woods, and
running from all parts to the shore. They were all perfectly naked,
and, from their attitudes and gestures, appeared lost in astonishment
at the sight of the ships. Columbus made signal to cast anchor, and to
man the boats. He entered his own boat richly attired in scarlet, and
bearing the royal standard. Martin Alonzo Pinzon, and Vicente Yanez,
the brother, likewise put off in their boats, each bearing the banner
of the enterprise, emblazoned with a green cross, having on each side
the letters F and Y, surmounted by crowns, the Spanish initials of the
Castilian monarchs, Fernando and Ysabel.

As they approached the shores they were delighted by the beauty and
grandeur of the forests; the variety of unknown fruits on the trees
which overhung the shores; the purity and suavity of the atmosphere,
and the crystal transparency of the seas which bathe these islands. On
landing, Columbus threw himself upon his knees, kissed the earth, and
returned thanks to God with tears of joy. His example was followed by
his companions, whose breasts, indeed, were full to overflowing.
Columbus, then rising, drew his sword, displayed the royal standard,
and took possession, in the names of the Castilian sovereigns, giving
the island the name of San Salvador. He then called upon all present
to take the oath of obedience to him, as admiral and viceroy, and
representative of the sovereigns.

His followers now burst forth into the most extravagant transports.
They thronged around him, some embracing him, others kissing his
hands. Those who had been most mutinous and turbulent during the
voyage were now most devoted and enthusiastic. Some begged favors of
him, as of a man who had already wealth and honors in his gift. Many
abject spirits, who had outraged him by their insolence, now crouched
at his feet, begging his forgiveness, and offering, for the future,
the blindest obedience to his commands.

    [1] From Irving's "Life of Columbus." By permission of the
    publishers, G.P. Putnam's Sons.



As I know that it will afford you pleasure that I have brought my
undertaking to a successful result, I have determined to write to you
this letter to inform you of everything that has been done and
discovered in this voyage of mine....

On the thirty-third day after leaving Cadiz I came into the Indian
Sea, where I discovered many islands inhabited by numerous people. I
took possession of all of them for our most fortunate King by making
public proclamation and unfurling his standard, no one making any
resistance. To the first of them I have given the name of our blest
Savior, trusting in whose aid I had reached this and all the rest; but
the Indians call it Guanahani[2]. To each of the others also I gave a
new name, ordering one to be called Sancta Maria de Concepcion,
another Fernandina, another Hysabella, another Johana; and so with all
the rest.

As soon as we reached the island which I have just said was called
Johana, I sailed along its coast some considerable distance toward the
west, and found it to be so large, without any apparent end, that I
believed it was not an island, but a continent, a province of Cathay.
But I saw neither towns nor cities lying on the seaboard, only some
villages and country farms with whose inhabitants I could not get
speech, because they fled as soon as they beheld us. I continued on,
supposing I should come to city or country houses. At last, finding
that no further discoveries rewarded our progress, and that this
course was leading us toward the north, which I was desirous of
avoiding, as it was now winter in these regions, and it had always
been my intention to proceed southward, and the winds also were
favorable to such desires, I concluded not to attempt any other
adventures, so, turning back, I came again to a certain harbor, which
I had remarked. From there I sent two of our men into the country to
learn whether there was any king or cities in that land. They
journeyed for three days, and found innumerable people and
habitations, but small and having no fixt government, on which account
they returned. Meanwhile I had learned from some Indians whom I had
seized at this place, that this country was really an island.
Consequently, I continued along toward the east, as much as 322 miles,
always hugging the shore, where was the very extremity of the island.
From there I saw another island to the eastwards, distant 54 miles
from this Johana, which I named Hispana, and proceeded to it, and
directed my course for 564 miles east by north as it were, just as I
had done at Johana.

The island called Johana, as well as the others in its neighborhood,
is exceedingly fertile. It has numerous harbors on all sides, very
safe and wide, above comparison with any I have ever seen. Through it
flow many very broad and health-giving rivers; and there are in it
numerous very lofty mountains. All these islands are very beautiful,
and of quite different shapes, easy to be traversed, and full of the
greatest variety of trees reaching to the stars. I think these never
lose their leaves, as I saw them looking as green and lovely as they
are wont to be in the month of May in Spain. Some of them were in
leaf, and some in fruit; each flourishing in the condition its nature
required. The nightingale was singing and various other little birds,
when I was rambling among them in the month of November. There are
also in the island called Johana seven or eight kinds of palms, which
as readily surpass ours in height and beauty as do all the other
trees, herbs, and fruits. There are also wonderful pine-woods, fields,
and extensive meadows, birds of various kinds, and honey, and all the
different metals except iron.

In the island, which I have said before was called Hispana, there are
very lofty and beautiful mountains, great farms, groves and fields,
most fertile both for cultivation and for pasturage, and well adapted
for constructing buildings. The convenience of the harbors in this
island, and the excellence of the rivers, in volume and salubrity,
surpass human belief, unless one should see them. In it the trees,
pasture-lands, and fruits differ much from those of Johana. Besides,
this Hispana abounds in various kinds of spices, gold, and metals.

The inhabitants of both sexes of this and of all the other islands I
have seen, or of which I have any knowledge, always go as naked as
they came into the world, except that some of the women cover parts of
their bodies with leaves or branches, or a veil of cotton, which they
prepare themselves for this purpose. They are all, as I said before,
unprovided with any sort of iron, and they are destitute of arms,
which are entirely unknown to them, and for which they are not
adapted; not on account of any bodily deformity, for they are well
made, but because they are timid and full of terror. They carry,
however, canes dried in the sun in place of weapons, upon whose roots
they fix a wooden shaft, dried and sharpened to a point. But they
never dare to make use of these, for it has often happened, when I
have sent two or three of my men to some of their villages to speak
with the inhabitants, that a crowd of Indians has sallied forth; but,
when they saw our men approaching, they speedily took to flight,
parents abandoning their children, and children their parents.

This happened not because any loss or injury had been inflicted upon
any of them. On the contrary, I gave whatever I had, cloth and many
other things, to whomsoever I approached, or with whom I could get
speech, without any return being made to me; but they are by nature
fearful and timid. But, when they see that they are safe, and all fear
is banished, they are very guileless and honest, and very liberal of
all they have. No one refuses the asker anything that he possesses; on
the contrary, they themselves invite us to ask for it. They manifest
the greatest affection toward all of us, exchanging valuable things
for trifles, content with the very least thing or nothing at all. But
I forbade giving them a very trifling thing and of no value, such as
bits of plates, dishes, or glass, also nails and straps; altho it
seemed to them, if they could get such, that they had acquired the
most beautiful jewels in the world.

For it chanced that a sailor received for a single strap as much
weight of gold as three gold solidi; and so others for other things of
less price, especially for new blancas, and for some gold coins, for
which they gave whatever the seller asked; for instance, an ounce and
a half or two ounces of gold, or thirty or forty pounds of cotton,
with which they were already familiar. So, too, for pieces of hoops,
jugs, jars, and pots they bartered cotton and gold like beasts. This I
forbade, because it was plainly unjust; and I gave them many beautiful
and pleasing things, which I had brought with me, for no return
whatever, in order to win their affection, and that they might become
Christians and inclined to love our king and queen and princes and all
the people of Spain, and that they might be eager to search for and
gather and give to us what they abound in and we greatly need.

They do not practise idolatry; on the contrary, they believe that all
strength, all power, in short, all blessings, are from heaven, and
that I have come down from there with these ships and sailors; and in
this spirit was I received everywhere, after they had got over their
fear They are neither lazy nor awkward, but, on the contrary, are of
an excellent and acute understanding. Those who have sailed these seas
give excellent accounts of everything; but they have never seen men
wearing clothes, or ships like ours....

As soon as I had come into this sea, I took by force some Indians from
the first island, in order that they might learn from us, and at the
same time tell us what they knew about affairs in these regions. This
succeeded admirably; for in a short time we understood them and they
us, both by gesture and signs and words, and they were of great
service to us. They are coming now with me, and have always believed
that I have come from heaven, notwithstanding the long time they have
been, and still remain, with us. They were the first who told this
wherever we went, one calling to another, with a loud voice, "Come,
come, you will see men from heaven." Whereupon both women and men,
children and adults, young and old, laying aside the fear they had
felt a little before, flocked eagerly to see us, a great crowd
thronging about our steps, some bringing food, and others drink, with
greatest love and incredible good will....

I have told already how I sailed in a straight course along the island
of Johana from west to east 322 miles. From this voyage and the extent
of my journeyings I can say that this Johana is larger than England
and Scotland together. For beyond the aforesaid 322 miles, in that
portion which looks toward the west, there are two more provinces,
which I did not visit. One of them the Indians called Anan, and its
inhabitants are born with tails. These provinces extend 180 miles, as
I learned from the Indians, whom I am bringing with me, and who are
well acquainted with all these islands....

Altho these matters are very wonderful and unheard of, they would have
been much more so if the ships to a reasonable amount had been
furnished me. But what has been accomplished is great and wonderful,
and not at all proportionate to my deserts, but to the sacred
Christian faith, and to the piety and religion of our sovereigns. For
what the mind of man could not compass, the spirit of God has granted
to mortals. For God is wont to listen to his servants who love his
precepts, even in impossibilities, as has happened to me in the
present instance, who have accomplished what human strength has
hitherto never attained. For, if any one has written or told anything
about these islands, all have done so either obscurely or by
guesswork, so that it has almost seemed to be fabulous.

Therefore let king and queen and princes, and their most fortunate
realms, and all other Christian provinces, let us all return thanks to
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who has bestowed so great a victory
and reward upon us; let there be processions and solemn sacrifices
prepared; let the churches be decked with festal boughs; let Christ
rejoice upon earth as he rejoices in heaven, as He foresees that so
many souls of so many people heretofore lost are to be saved; and let
us be glad not only for the exaltation of our faith, but also for the
increase of temporal prosperity, in which not only Spain, but all
Christendom is about to share.

As these things have been accomplished, so have they been briefly
narrated. Farewell.

    [1] The first letter of Columbus, descriptive of his first
    voyage, was written in February, 1498, when he was off the
    Azores, on his return home. It was addrest to Louis de Santangel,
    the treasurer of King Ferdinand of Spain. Altho addrest to the
    treasurer, it was intended for the eyes of the King himself, and
    for those of his queen, Isabella. The letter was first printed in
    Barcelona, soon after the arrival of Columbus. Another account,
    substantially the same, was written by Columbus in Lisbon in
    March of the same year, an--at once translated into Latin and
    published in Rome in several editions, one being that of Stephen
    Plannck, of which five copies only are now known to be extant. Of
    this Plannck edition a translation from the Latin into English
    made by Henry W. Haynes has been published by the New York Public
    Library. From this translation the passage here given is taken.

    [2] The identity of the island on which Columbus made his first
    landing was formerly much in controversy. The best opinion now
    inclines to accept the conclusions reached by Captain Beecher of
    the British Navy some fifty years ago, that the landing was made
    on what is known as Watling's Island, one of the Bahamas. This
    island is about thirteen miles long, north and south, and six
    wide, and is made up of coral, shell and other marine debris. A
    monument was erected on it by a Chicago newspaper in 1892, with
    this inscription: "On this spot Christopher Columbus first set
    foot on the soil of the New World." The monument is said already
    to be in a state of decay, having been poorly constructed.
    Watling's Island lies about 200 miles southeast of Nassau, and is
    nearly on a parallel with Havana, but lies 400 miles east of it.
    Its inhabitants number about 700, who are dispersed among fifteen
    hamlets. The horses on the island scarcely number 50. There are a
    few cows and several flocks of sheep. The people are all poor.
    Little is grown on the island, droughts occur, and starvation has
    in some years been prevented only by help from outside.



The copy of the bull, or donation, by the authority whereof Pope
Alexander, the sixth of that name, gave and granted to the kings of
Castile and their successors the regions and lands found in the west
ocean sea by the navigations of the Spanish.

Alexander, bishop, the servant of the servants of God: To our most
dearly beloved son in Christ, King Ferdinand, and to our dearly
beloved daughter in Christ, Elizabeth, Queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon,
Sicily, and Granada, most noble princes, greeting and apostolic

Among other works acceptable to the divine majesty and according to
our hearts' desire, this certainly is the chief, that the Catholic
faith and Christian religion, especially in this our time, may in all
places be exalted, amplified, and enlarged, whereby the health of
souls may be procured and the barbarous nations subdued and brought to
the faith. And therefore, whereas by the favor of God's clemency
(altho not without equal deserts), we are called to this holy seat of
Peter, and understanding you to be true Catholic Princes as we have
ever known you, and as your noble and worthy acts have declared in
manner to the whole world, in that, with all your study, diligence,
and industry, you have spared no travels, charges or perils,
adventuring even the shedding of your own blood, with applying your
whole minds and endeavors hereunto, as your noble expeditions achieved
in recovering the kingdom of Granada from the tyranny of the Saracens
in these our days, do plainly declare your acts with so great glory of
the divine name. For the which, as we think you worthy, so ought we of
our own free will favorably to grant you all things whereby you may
daily, with more fervent minds to the honor of God and enlarging the
Christian empire, prosecute your devout and laudable purpose most
acceptable to the immortal God.

We are credibly informed that, whereas of late you were determined to
seek and find certain islands and firm lands far remote and unknown
(and not heretofore found by any other), to the intent to bring the
inhabitants of the same to honor our Redeemer and to profess the
Catholic faith, you have hitherto been much occupied in the
expugnation and recovery of the kingdom of Granada, by reason whereof
you could not bring your said laudable purpose to the end desired.
Nevertheless, as it hath pleased Almighty God, the aforesaid kingdom
being recovered, willing to accomplish your said desire, you have, not
without great labor, perils, and charges, appointed our well-beloved
son Christopher Columbus (a man very well commended as most worthy and
apt for so great a matter), well furnished with men and ships and
other necessaries, to seek (by the sea where hitherto no man bath
sailed), such firm lands and islands far remote and hitherto unknown.

Who (by God's help), making diligent search in the ocean sea, have
found certain remote islands and firm lands which were not heretofore
found by any other. In the which (as is said), many nations inhabit,
living peacefully and going naked, not accustomed to eat flesh. And as
far as your messengers can conjecture, the nations inhabiting the
aforesaid lands and islands believe that there is one God creature in
heaven: and seem apt to be brought to the embracing of the Catholic
faith and to be imbued with good manners: by reason whereof, we may
hope that, if they be well instructed, they may easily be induced to
receive the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ. We are further
advertised that the aforenamed Christopher hath now builded and
erected a fortress with good ammunition in one of the aforesaid
principal islands, in the which he hath placed a garrison of certain
of the Christian men that went thither with him: as well to the intent
to defend the same, as also to search other islands and firm lands far
remote and yet unknown. We also understand, that in these lands and
islands lately found, is great plenty of gold and spices, with divers
and many other precious things of sundry kinds and qualities.

Therefore all things diligently considered (especially the amplifying
and enlarging of the Catholic faith, as it behooveth Catholic Princes
following the examples of your noble progenitors of famous memory),
whereas you are determined by the favor of Almighty God, to subdue and
bring to the Catholic faith the inhabitants of the aforesaid lands and
islands, we greatly commending this, your godly and laudable purpose
in our Lord, and desirous to have the same brought to a due end, and
the name of our Saviour to be known in those parts, do exhort you in
our Lord and by the receiving of your holy baptism whereby you are
bound to the Apostolic obedience, and earnestly require you by the
bowels of mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, when you intend for
the zeal of the Catholic faith to prosecute the said expedition to
reduce the people of the aforesaid lands and islands to the Christian
religion, you shall spare no labors at any time, or be deterred with
any perils conceiving from hope and confidence that the omnipotent God
will give good success to your godly attempts.

And that being authorized by the privilege of the Apostolic grace, you
may the more freely and boldly take upon you the enterprise of so
great a matter, we of our own motion, and not either at your request
nor at the instant petition of any other person, but of our own mere
liberality and certain science, and by the fulness of Apostolic power,
do give, grant, and assign to you, your heirs and successors, all the
firm lands and islands found or to be found, discovered or to be
discovered toward the west and south, drawing a line from the pole
Arctic to the pole Antarctic (that is) from the north to the south:
containing in this donation, whatsoever firm lands or islands are
found or to be found toward India or toward any other part whatsoever
it be, being distant from, or without the aforesaid line drawn a
hundred leagues toward the west and south from any of the islands
which are commonly called De Los Azores and Cabo Verde. All the
islands, therefore, and firm lands, found and to be found, discovered
and to be discovered, from the said line toward the west and south,
such as have not actually been heretofore possest by any other
Christian king or prince until the day of the nativity of our Lord
Jesus Christ last passed, from the which beginneth this present year.

We, by the authority of almighty God granted unto us in Saint Peter,
and by the office which we bear on the earth in the stead of Jesus
Christ, do forever, by the tenure of these presents, give, grant,
assign, unto you, your heirs, and successors (the kings of Castile and
Leon), all those lands and islands, with their dominions, territories,
cities, castles, towers, places, and villages, with all the right and
jurisdictions thereunto pertaining: constituting, assigning, and
deputing, you, your heirs, and successors the lords thereof, with full
and free power, authority, and jurisdiction. Decreeing nevertheless by
this, our donation, grant, and assignation, that from no Christian
Prince which actually hath possest the aforesaid islands and firm
lands unto the day of the nativity of our Lord beforesaid, their right
obtained to be understood hereby to be taken away, or that it ought to
be taken away.

Furthermore, we command you in the virtue of holy obedience (as you
have promised, and we doubt not you will do upon mere devotion and
princely magnanimity), to send to the said firm lands and islands
honest, virtuous, and learned men, such as fear God, and are able to
instruct the inhabitants in the Catholic faith and good manners,
applying all their possible diligence in the premises.

We furthermore straightly inhibit all manner of persons, of what
state, degree, order, or condition, soever they be, altho of Imperial
and regal dignity, under the pain of the sentence of excommunication
which they shall incur if they do to the contrary, that they in no
case presume special license of you, your heirs, and successors, to
travel for merchandise or for any other cause, to the said lands or
islands, found or to be found, discovered or to be discovered, toward
the west and south, drawing a line from the pole Arctic to the pole
Antarctic, whether the firm lands and islands found and to be found,
be situated toward India or toward any other part being distant from
the line drawn a hundred leagues toward the west from any of the
islands commonly called De Los Azores and Cabo Verde: Notwithstanding
constitutions, decrees, and apostolic ordinances, whatsoever they are
to the contrary:

In him from whom empires, dominions, and all good things do procede:
Trusting that almighty God directing your enterprises, if you follow
your godly and laudable attempts, your labors and travels herein,
shall in short time obtain a happy end, with felicity and glory of all
Christian people. But forasmuch as it should be a thing of great
difficulty, these letters to be carried to all such places as should
be expedient, we will, and of like motion and knowledge do decree that
whithersoever the same shall be sent, or where soever they shall be
received with the subscription of a common notary thereunto required,
with the seal of any person constituted in ecelesiastical court, or
such as are authorized by the ecclesiastical court, the same faith and
credit to be given thereunto in judgment or elsewhere, as should be
exhibited to these presents.

It shall therefore be lawful for no man to infringe or rashly to
contradict this letter of our commendation, exhortation, request,
donation, grant, assignation, constitution, deputation, decree,
commandment, inhibition, and determination. And if any shall presume
to attempt the same, he ought to know that he shall thereby incur the
indignation of Almighty God and his holy Apostles, Peter and Paul.

Given at Rome, at Saint Peter's: In the year of the incarnation of our
Lord M.CCCC lxx.xxiii. The fourth day of the month of May; the first
year of our seat.

    [1] Dated at Rome, May 4th, 1498. It was translated into English
    by Richard Eden in 1555, and is printed in Old English and from
    black-letter type, by Hart in his "American History Told by
    Contemporaries." For the present work the English has been

    This famous bull was the result of rival claims, made by Spain
    and Portugal, to lands discovered beyond the Atlantic. More than
    half a century before Columbus found America, the Portuguese had
    secured from Pope Eugenius IV a grant in perpetuity of all
    heathen lands that might be discovered by them in further
    voyages. The grant went so far as to include "the Indies," and
    was confirmed by succeeding popes.

    When Alexander VI issued his bull the America which Columbus had
    found was believed to be not a new continent, but the Indies, and
    the Portuguese, who had reached India by way of the Cape of Good
    Hope, were threatening to send an expedition across the Atlantic
    to take possession and dispute the Spanish claims. It was in
    these circumstances, and for the purpose of reconciling the rival
    states that Alexander issued the bull, John Fiske has said that,
    "As between the two rival powers the Pontiff's arrangement was
    made in a spirit of even-handed justice." The bull conferred on
    the Spanish sovereigns all the lands already discovered, or
    thereafter to be discovered in the western ocean, with
    jurisdiction and privileges In all respects similar to those
    formerly bestowed upon the crown of Portugal.

    Alexander VI, the famous Borgia Pope, who was the father of
    Caesar Borgia and Lucretia Borgia, has been accused, somewhat
    loosely, of committing an act of foolish audacity in making this
    grant. He has been represented as having partitioned the whole
    American continent between Spain and Portugal. The accusation is
    quite unjust. The bull merely granted such lands as had been
    discovered, or might yet be discovered, and these lands were not
    understood to be those of a new continent, but parts of India not
    heretofore explored. As for any rights possest by other European
    countries, including England and France, those countries at that
    time had little, if any, interest in the discovery made by
    Columbus or, in fact, any actual knowledge of it.





As early as the reign of Edward III, sailors from Genoa and other
foreign ports had served in the English navy. The increasing
confusions of Italy after the French invasion naturally tempted her
seamen to transfer their skill to the rising powers of western Europe.
Among such emigrants was John Cabot, a Venetian, who settled in
Bristol, and then, after a return to his own country, again revisited
his adopted city. Of his earlier history and personal character we
know nothing. Our own records furnish nothing but the scanty outlines
of his career, and the one glimpse of light which is thrown upon the
living man is due to a lately discovered letter from his countryman,
the Venetian ambassador. Of his son, Sebastian, we know more. He was
born in Bristol, returned with his parents to Venice when three years
old, and revisited England as a boy or very young man. His features,
marked with the lines of thought and hardship, still live on the
canvas of Holbein; and one at least of the naval chroniclers of the
day writes of him in the language of warm personal affection.

In 1496 a patent was granted to John Cabot and his sons, Lewis,
Sebastian, and Sancius. This patent is interesting as the earliest
surviving document which connects England with the New World. It gave
the patentees full authority to sail with five ships under the royal
ensign, and to set up the royal banner on any newly found land, as the
vassals and lieutenants of the king. They were bound on their return
to sail to Bristol and to pay a royalty of one-fifth upon all clear
gain. The direction of the voyage, the cargo and size of the ships,
and the mode of dealing with the natives, are all left to the
discretion of the commander.

Of the details of the voyage itself, so full of interest for every
Englishman, we have but the scantiest knowledge. In this respect the
fame of Sebastian Cabot has fared far worse than that of the great
discoverer with whom alone he may be compared. We can trace Columbus
through every stage of his enterprise. We seem to stand by the side of
the great admiral in his difficulties, his fears, his hopes, his
victory. We can almost fancy that we are sharing in his triumph when
at last he sails on that mission whose end he saw but in a glass
darkly, victorious over the intrigues of courtiers, the avarice of
princes, and the blindness of mere worldly wisdom. Our hearts once
more sink as the cowardice of his followers threatens to undo all, and
the prize that had seemed won is again in danger. We feel all the
intensity of suspense as night after night land is promised and the
morning brings it not. When at length the goal is reached, we can
almost trick ourselves with the belief that we have a part in that
glory, and are of that generation by whom and for whom that mighty
work was wrought.

No such halo of romantic splendor surrounds the first voyage of
Sebastian Cabot. A meager extract from an old Bristol record: "In the
year 1497, June 24, on St. John's Day, was Newfoundland found by
Bristol men in a ship called the _Matthew_"--a few dry statements
such as might be found in the note-book of any intelligent sea
captain--these are all the traces of the first English voyage which
reached the New World. We read in an account, probably published under
the eye of Cabot himself, that on June 24, at five o'clock in the
morning, he discovered that land which no man before that time had
attempted, and named it Prima Vista. An adjacent island was called St.
John, in commemoration of the day. A few statements about the habits
of the natives and the character of the soil and the fisheries make up
the whole story. We may, perhaps, infer that Cabot meant this as a
report on the fitness of the place for trade and fishing, knowing that
these were the points which would excite most interest in England. One
entry from the privy purse expenses of Henry VII, "10L to hym that
found the new isle," is the only other record that remains to us.
Columbus was received in solemn state by the sovereigns of Aragon and
Castile, and was welcomed by a crowd greater than the streets of
Barcelona could hold. Cabot was paid L10. The dramatic splendor of the
one reception, the prosaic mercantile character of the other,
represent the different tempers in which Spain and England approached
the task of American discovery.

But tho our own annals give us so scanty an account of the reception
of the two Cabots, the want is to some extent supplied from a foreign
source. Letters are extant from the Venetian ambassador, in which he
describes with just pride the enthusiasm with which his countryman was
received by the people when he walked along the streets.

The next year saw Cabot again sailing with a fresh patent. Several
points in it are worthy of notice. John Cabot is alone mentioned by
name. From this it might be, and, indeed, has been inferred that the
part played by Sebastian Cabot in the first voyage was merely
secondary, and that John was the principal conductor of the first
voyage, as he was by the patent designed to be of the second. He is
authorized in person or by deputy to take six English ships of not
more than 200 tons burden each, and to lead them to the land which he
had lately discovered. There is no limitation, either of departure or
return, to Bristol, and no mention is made of royalties. Probably the
original provisions were still regarded as binding, except so far as
rescinded or modified by the second patent.

In 1498 Sebastian Cabot sailed from Bristol with one vessel manned and
victualed at the king's expense, accompanied by three ships of London,
and probably some of Bristol itself. His cargo consisted of "grosse
and sleighte wares," for trafficking with the natives. So scanty are
the records of Cabot's two expeditions, that altho we know the
geographical extent of his discoveries, yet it is impossible to assign
to each voyage its proper share. We know that in one or other of them
he reached 67-1/2 degrees of north latitude, and persuaded himself
that he had found the passage to Cathay. The fears, however, of his
sailors, justified, perhaps, by the dangers of the north seas,
withheld him from following up the enterprise. He then turned
southward and coasted till he came into the latitude of 38. Of the
result of the second voyage and of Sebastian Cabot's reception in
England we hear nothing. He disappears for a while from English
history, carrying with him the unfulfilled hope of a northwest
passage, destined to revive at a later day, and then to give birth to
some of the most daring exploits that have ever ennobled the names of

    [1] From Doyle's "English Colonies in America." Published by
    Henry Holt & Co. The Cabots in 1497 discovered what came to be
    known afterward as the continent of North America, Columbus in
    1492 having discovered only islands in the West Indies. The work
    of the Cabots in after years was a basis of English claims to the
    continent because of priority of discovery. It was not until his
    third expedition, fourteen months after the discovery made by the
    Cabots, that Columbus first saw the North American mainland.



These northe seas haue byn [have been] searched by one Sebastian
Cabot, a Venetian borne [born], whom beinge yet but in maner an
infante, his parentes caryed [carried] with them into Englande hauying
[having] occasion to resorte thether [thither] for trade of
marchandies [merchandise], as is the maner of the Venetians to leaue
[leave] no parte of the worlde vnsearched to obteyne [obtain] richesse
[riches]. He therfore furnisshed two shippes in England at his owne
charges: And fyrst [first] with three hundreth men, directed his
course so farre toward the northe pole, that euen [even] in the
mooneth [month] of Iuly he founde monstrous heapes of Ise [ice]
swimming on the sea, and in maner continuall day lyght. Yet sawe he
the lande in that tracte, free from Ise, whiche had byn [been] molten
by heate of the sunne.

Thus seyng [seeing] suche heapes of Ise before hym he was enforced to
tourne [turn] his sayles and folowe the weste, so coastynge styll by
the shore, that he was thereby broughte so farre into the southe by
reason of the lande bendynge so much southward that it was there
almoste equall in latitude with the sea cauled [called] Fretum
Herculeum, hauynge the north pole eleuate in maner in the same degree.
He sayled lykewise in this tracte so farre towarde the weste, that he
had the Ilande of Cuba [on] his lefte hande in maner in the same
degree of langitude. As he traueyled [traveled] by the coastes of this
greate lande (whiche he named Baccallaos) he sayth that he found the
like course of the waters toward the west, but the same to runne more
softely and gentelly [gently] then [than] the swifte waters whiche the
Spanyardes found in their nauigations southeward.

Wherefore, it is not onely [only] more lyke to bee trewe [true], but
ought also of necessitie to be concluded that betwene both the landes
hetherto vnknowen, there shulde bee certeyne great open places wherby
the waters shulde thus continually passe from the East into the weste:
which waters I suppose to bee dryuen [driven] about the globe of the
earth by the vncessaunt mouynge [moving] and impulsion of the heauens:
and not to be swalowed vp [up] and cast owt [out] ageyne [again] by
the breathynge of Demogorgon as sume [some] haue imagined bycause they
see the seas by increase and decrease, to flowe and reflowe. Sebastian
Cabot him selfe, named those landes Baccallaos, bycause that in the
seas therabout he founde so great multitudes of certeyne [certain]
bigge fysshes [fishes] much lyke vnto tunies [tunnies] (which th[e]
inhabitantes caule [call] Baccallaos) that they sumtymes stayed his
shippes. He founde also the people of those regions couered with
beastes skynnes: yet not without th[e] use of reason.

He saythe [saith] also that there is greate plentie of beares in those
regions, whiche vse to eate fysshe. For plungeinge thym selues
[themselves] into the water where they perceue [perceive] a multitude
of these fysshes to lye, they fasten theyr [their] clawes in theyr
scales, and so drawe them to lande and eate them. So that (as he
saith) the beares beinge thus satisfied with fysshe, are not noysom to
men. He declareth further, that in many places of these regions, he
sawe great plentie of laton amonge th[e] inhabitantes. Cabot is my
very frende, whom I vse famylierly, and delyte [delight] to haue hym
sumtymes keepe mee company in myne owne house. For beinge cauled owte
[out] of England by the commaundement of the catholyke kynge of
Castile after the deathe of Henry kynge of Englande the seuenth of
that name, he was made one of owre [our] counsayle and assystance as
touchynge the affayres [affairs] of the newe Indies, lookynge dayely
for shippes to bee furnysshed for hym to discouer this hyd secreate of
nature. This vyage is appoynted to bee begunne in March in the yeare
next folowynge, beinge the yeare of Chryst M.D.XVI. What shall
succeade, yowre [your] holynes shalbe aduertised by my letters if god
graunte me lyfe [life]. Sume of the Spanyardes denye that Cabot was
the fyrst fynder of the lande of Baccallaos: And afflrme that he went
not so farre westewarde. But it shall suffice to haue sayde thus much
of the goulfes [gulfs] & strayghtes [straits], and of Cebastian

    [1] Peter Martyr, a native of Milan, resided for some years at the
    Spanish court. The account he gives in this article of the voyage
    of the Cabots is based on information received by him directly
    from Sabastian Cabot, when Cabot was employed as pilot in the
    service of Spain. Martyr's account is the earliest complete
    narrative of this voyage now extant. It therefore takes high
    rank--in fact, is the corner-stone--among documents pertaining to
    steps by which English civilization became supreme in North
    America. The translation here given, made by Richard Eden, was
    published in London in 1555.




We left the port of Cadiz four consort ships: and began our voyage in
direct course to the Fortunate Isles, which are called to-day la gran
Canaria, which are situated in the Ocean-sea at the extremity of the
inhabited west, (and) set in the third climate: over which the North
Pole has an elevation of 27 and a half degrees beyond their horizon:
and they are 280 leagues distant from this city of Lisbon, by the wind
between mezzo di and libeccio: where we remained eight days, taking in
provision of water, and wood and other necessary things: and from
here, having said our Pier prayers, we weighed anchor, and gave the
sails to the wind, beginning our course to westward, taking
one-quarter by southwest: and so we sailed on till at the end of 37
days we reached a land which we deemed to be a continent: which is
distant westwardly from the isles of Canary about a thousand leagues
beyond the inhabited region within the torrid zone: for we found the
North Pole at an elevation of 16 degrees above its horizon, and (it
was) westward, according to the shewing of our instruments, 75 degrees
from the isles of Canary: whereat we anchored with our ships a league
and a half from land: and we put out our boats freighted with men and

We made toward the land, and before we reached it, had sight of a
great number of people who were going along the shore: by which we
were much rejoiced: and we observed that they were a naked race: they
shewed themselves to stand in fear of us: I believe (it was) because
they saw us clothed and of other appearance (than their own): they all
withdrew to a hill, and for whatsoever signals we made to them of
peace and of friendliness, they would not come to parley with us: so
that, as the night was now coming on, and as the ships were anchored
in a dangerous place, being on a rough and shelterless coast, we
decided to remove from there the next day, and to go in search of some
harbour or bay, where we might place our ships in safety: and we
sailed with the maestrale wind, thus running along the coast with the
land ever in sight, continually in our course observing people along
the shore: till after having navigated for two days, we found a place
sufficiently secure for the ships, and anchored half a league from
land, on which we saw a very great number of people.

This same day we put to land with the boats, and sprang on shore full
40 men in good trim: and still the land's people appeared shy of
converse with us, and we were unable to encourage them so much as to
make them come to speak with us: and this day we laboured so greatly
in giving them of our wares, such as rattles and mirrors, beads,
spalline, and other trifles, that some of them took confidence and
came to discourse with us: and after having made good friends with
them, the night coming on, we took our leave of them and returned to
the ships: and the next day when the dawn appeared we saw that there
were infinite numbers of people upon the beach, and they had their
women and children with them: we went ashore, and found that they were
all laden with their worldly goods which are suchlike as, in its
(proper) place, shall be related: and before we reached the land, many
of them jumped into the sea and came swimming to receive us at a
bowshot's length (from the shore), for they are very great swimmers,
with as much confidence as if they had for a long time been acquainted
with us: and we were pleased with this, their confidence.

For so much as we learned of their manner of life and customs, it was
that they go entirely naked, as well the men as the women. They are of
medium stature, very well proportioned: their flesh is of a colour
that verges into red like a lion's mane: and I believe that if they
went clothed, they would be as white as we: they have not any hair
upon the body, except the hair of the head, which is long and black,
and especially in the women, whom it renders handsome. In aspect they
are not very good-looking, because they have broad faces, so that they
would seem Tartar-like: they let no hair grow on their eyebrows, nor
on their eyelids, nor elsewhere, except the hair of the head: for they
hold hairiness to be a filthy thing: they are very light footed in
walking and in running, as well the men as the women: so that a woman
reeks nothing of running a league or two, as many times we saw them
do: and herein they have a very great advantage over us Christians:
they swim (with an expertness) beyond all belief, and the women better
than the men: for we have many times found and seen them swimming two
leagues out at sea without anything to rest upon. Their arms are bows
and arrows very well made, save that (the arrows) are not (tipped)
with iron nor any other kind of hard metal: and instead of iron they
put animals' or fishes' teeth, or a spike of tough wood, with the
point hardened by fire: they are sure marksmen, for they hit whatever
they aim at: and in some places the women use these bows: they have
other weapons, such as fire-hardened spears, and also clubs with
knobs, beautifully carved.... Warfare is used amongst them, which they
carry on against people not of their own language, very cruelly,
without granting life to any one, except (to reserve him) for greater

Their dwellings are in common: and their houses (are) made in the
style of huts, but strongly made, and constructed with very large
trees, and covered over with palm-leaves, secure against storms and
winds: and in some places (they are) of so great breadth and length,
that in one single house we found there were 600 souls: and we saw a
village of only thirteen houses where there were four thousand souls:
every eight or ten years they change their habitations: and when asked
why they did so: (they said it was) because of the soil, which, from
its filthiness, was already unhealthy and corrupted, and that it bred
aches in their bodies, which seemed to us a good reason: their riches
consist of birds' plumes in many colours, or of rosaries which they
make from fishbones, or of white or green stones which they put in
their cheeks and in their lips and ears, and of many other things
which we in no wise value: they use no trade, they neither buy nor
sell. In fine, they live and are contented with that which nature
gives them. The wealth that we enjoy in this our Europe and elsewhere,
such as gold, jewels, pearls, and other riches, they hold as nothing:
and altho they have them in their own lands, they do not labour to
obtain them, nor do they value them. They are liberal in giving, for
it is rarely they deny you anything, and on the other hand, liberal in
asking, when they shew themselves your friends.

We decided to leave that place, and to go further on, continuously
coasting the shore: upon which we made frequent descents, and held
converse with a great number of people: and at the end of some days we
went into a harbour where we underwent very great danger: and it
pleased the Holy Ghost to save us: and it was in this wise. We landed
in a harbour, where we found a village built like Venice upon the
water: there were about 44 large dwellings in the form of huts erected
upon very thick piles, and they had their doors or entrances in the
style of drawbridges: and from each house one could pass through all,
by means of the drawbridges, which stretched from house to house: and
when the people thereof had seen us, they appeared to be afraid of us,
and immediately drew up all the bridges: and while we were looking at
this strange action, we saw coming across the sea about 22 canoes,
which are a kind of boats of theirs, constructed from a single tree:
which came toward our boats, as they had been surprized by our
appearance and clothes, and kept wide of us: and thus remaining, we
made signals to them that they should approach us, encouraging them
with every token of friendliness: and seeing that they did not come,
we went to them, and they did not stay for us, but made to the land,
and, by signs, told us to wait, and that they should soon return: and
they went to a bill in the background, and did not delay long: when
they returned, they led with them 16 of their girls, and entered with
these into their canoes, and came to the boats: and in each boat they
put four of the girls.

That we marveled at this behavior your Magnificence can imagine how
much, and they placed themselves with their canoes among our boats,
coming to speak with us: insomuch that we deemed it a mark of
friendliness: and while thus engaged we beheld a great number of
people advance swimming toward us across the sea, who came from the
houses: and as they were drawing near to us without any apprehension:
just then there appeared at the doors of the houses certain old women,
uttering very loud cries and tearing their hair to exhibit grief:
whereby they made us suspicious, and we each betook ourselves to arms:
and instantly the girls whom we had in the boats, threw themselves
into the sea, and the men of the canoes drew away from us, and began
with their bows to shoot arrows at us: and those who were swimming
each carried a lance held, as covertly as they could, beneath the
water: so that, recognizing the treachery, we engaged with them, not
merely to defend ourselves, but to attack them vigorously, and we
overturned with our boats any of their almadie or canoes, for so they
call them, we made a slaughter (of them), and they all flung
themselves into the water to swim, leaving their canoes abandoned,
with considerable loss on their side, they went swimming away to the
shore: there died of them about 15 or 20, and many were left wounded:
and of ours 5 were wounded, and all, by the grace of God, escaped
(death): we captured two of the girls and two men: and we proceeded to
their houses, and entered therein, and in them all we found nothing
else than two old women and a sick man: we took away from them many
things, but of small value: and we would not burn their houses,
because it seemed to us (as tho that would be) a burden upon our
conscience: and we returned to our boats with five prisoners: and
betook ourselves to the ships, and put a pair of irons on the feet of
each of the captives, except the little girls: and when the night came
on, the two girls and one of the men fled away in the most subtle
manner possible: and the next day we decided to quit that harbour and
go further onwards.

We proceeded continuously skirting the coast, (until) we had sight of
another tribe distant perhaps some 80 leagues from the former tribe:
and we found them very different in speech and customs: we resolved to
cast anchor, and went ashore with the boats, and we saw on the beach a
great number of people amounting probably to 4,000 souls: and when we
had reached the shore, they did not stay for us, but betook themselves
to flight through the forests, abandoning their things: we jumped on
land, and took a pathway that led to the forest: and at the distance
of a bow-shot we found their tents, where they had made very large
fires, and two (of them) were cooking their victuals, and roasting
several animals, and fish of many kinds: where we saw that they were
roasting a certain animal which seemed to be a serpent, save that it
had no wings, and was in its appearance so loathsome that we marveled
much at its savageness:

Thus went we on through their houses, or rather tents, and found many
of those serpents alive, and they were tied by the feet and had a cord
around their snouts, so that they could not open their mouths, as is
done (in Europe) with mastiff-dogs so that they may not bite: they
were of such savage aspect that none of us dared to take one away,
thinking that they were poisonous: they are of the bigness of a kid,
and in length an ell and a half: their feet are long and thick, and
armed with big claws: they have a hard skin, and are of various
colors: they have the muzzle and face of a serpent: and from their
snouts there rises a crest like a saw which extends along the middle
of the back as far as the tip of the tail: in fine we deemed them to
be serpents and venomous, and (nevertheless, those people) ate them.

This land is very populous, and full of inhabitants, and of numberless
rivers, (and) animals: few (of which) resemble ours, excepting lions,
panthers, stags, pigs, goats, and deer: and even these have some
dissimilarities of form: they have no horses nor mules, nor, saving
your reverence, asses nor dogs, nor any kind of sheep or oxen: but so
numerous are the other animals which they have, and all are savage,
and of none do they make use for their service, that they could not he
counted. What shall we say of others (such as) birds? which are so
numerous, and of so many kinds, and of such various-coloured plumages,
that it is a marvel to behold them. The soil is very pleasant and
fruitful, full of immense woods and forests: and it is always green,
for the foliage never drops off. The fruits are so many that they are
numberless and entirely different from ours. This land is within the
torrid zone, close to or just under the parallel described by the
Tropic of Cancer: where the pole of the horizon has an elevation of 23
degrees, at the extremity of the second climate. Many tribes came to
see us, and wondered at our faces and our whiteness: and they asked us
whence we came: and we gave them to understand that we had come from
heaven, and that we were going to see the world, and they believed it.
In this land we placed baptismal fonts, and an infinite (number of)
people were baptized, and they called us in their language Carabi,
which means men of great wisdom.

    [1] Americus Vespucius was born in Florence in 1452 and died in
    Seville in 1512. He was the son of a notary in Florence, was
    educated by a Dominican friar and became a clerk in one of the
    commercial houses of the Medici. By this house he was sent to
    Spain in 1490. He remained some years in Seville, where he became
    connected with the house which fitted out the second expedition of

    Vespucius claimed to have been four times in America, first in
    May, 1497; second, in May, 1499; third, in May, 1501; fourth, in
    June, 1503. In writing of the first expedition he says his ship
    reached a coast "which we thought to be that of the continent,"
    giving date. If this assumption be correct, and the dates correct,
    they would show that he reached the continent of North America a
    week or two before the Cabots made their discovery farther north,
    but this contention has never been satisfactorily supported.

    The letters of Vespucius describing his four voyages were
    published originally in Italian in Florence in 1505-6. The letter
    here in part given was addrest by Vespucius to Soderini, the
    Gonfalonier of Florence. The translation, by one "M.K.," was
    published by Mr. Quaritch, the London bookseller, in 1885, and has
    been printed as one of the "Old South Leaflets!" The letter is
    believed to have been composed by Vespucius within a month after
    his return from his second voyage.

    Vespucius was a naval astronomer. He has been unjustly accused of
    appropriating to himself an honor which belonged to Columbus,--that
    of giving a name to the new continent. This injustice, however,
    was not due to Vespucius, but to a German schoolmaster named
    Hylacomylus, or "Miller of the Wood-pond," who published a book in
    1507. The passage in Millers book in which he made a suggestion
    which the world has adopted is as follows:

      "And the fourth part of the world having been discovered by
      Americus, it may be called Amerige; that is, the land of Americus,
      or America. Now, truly sience these regions are more widely
      explored, and another fourth part is discovered by Americus
      Vespucius, I do not see why any one may justly forbid it to be
      named Amerige; that is, Americ's Land, after Americus, the
      discoverer, who is a man of sagacious mind; or call it America,
      since both Europe and Asia derived their names from women."

    Vespucius, in spite of several voyages, discovered very little in
    America. The continent ought not to have been named alter him.




Desiring to depart upon our voyage natives made complaint to us how at
certain times of the year there came from over the sea to this their
land, a race of people very cruel, and enemies of theirs: and (who) by
means of treachery or of violence slew many of them, and ate them: and
some they made captives, and carried them away to their houses, or
country: and how they could scarcely contrive to defend themselves
from them, making signs to us that (those) were an island-people and
lived out in the sea about a hundred leagues away: and so piteously
did they tell us this that we believed them: and we promised to avenge
them of so much wrong: and they remained overjoyed herewith: and many
of them offered to come along with us, but we did not wish to take
them for many reasons, save that we took seven of them, on condition
that they should come (_i.e._, return home) afterward in (their own)
canoes because we did not desire to be obliged to take them back to
their country: and they were contented: and so we departed from those
people, leaving them very friendly toward us: and having repaired our
ships, and sailing for seven days out to sea between northeast and
east: and at the end of the seven days we came upon the islands, which
were many, some (of them) inhabited, and others deserted: and we
anchored at one of them: where we saw a numerous people who called it
Iti: and having manned our boats with strong crews, and (taken
ammunition for) three cannon shots in each, we made for land: where we
found (assembled) about 400 men, and many women, and all naked like
the former (peoples).

They were of good bodily presence, and seemed right warlike men: for
they were armed with their weapons, which are bows, arrows, and
lances: and most of them had square wooden targets: and bore them in
such wise that they did not impede the drawing of the bow: and when we
had come with our boats to about a bowshot of the land, they all
sprang into the water to shoot their arrows at us, and to prevent us
from leap-lug upon shore: and they all had their bodies painted of
various colours, and (were) plumed with feathers: and the interpreters
who were with us told us that when (those) displayed themselves so
painted and plumed, it was to be-token that they wanted to fight: and
so much did they persist in preventing us from landing, that we were
compelled to play with our artillery: and when they heard the
explosion, and saw one of them fall dead, they all drew back to the
land: wherefore, forming our council, we resolved that 42 of our men
should spring on shore, and, if they waited for us, fight them: thus
having leaped to land with our weapons, they advanced toward us, and
we fought for about an hour, for we had but little advantage of them,
except that our arbalasters and gunners killed some of them, and they
wounded certain of our men. This was because they did not stand to
receive us within reach of lance-thrust or sword-blow: and so much
vigor did we put forth at last, that we came to sword-play, and when
they tasted our weapons, they betook themselves to flight through the
mountains and the forests, and left us conquerors of the field with
many of them dead and a good number wounded.

We took no other pains to pursue them, because we were very weary, and
we returned to our ships, with so much gladness on the part of the
seven men who had come with us that they could not contain themselves
(for joy): and when the next day arrived, we beheld coming across the
land a great number of people, with signals of battle, continually
sounding horns, and various other instruments which they use in their
wars: and all (of them) painted and feathered, so that it was a very
strange sight to behold them: wherefore all the ships held council,
and it was resolved that since this people desired hostility with us,
we should proceed to encounter them and try by every means to make
them friends: in case they would not have our friendship, that we
should treat them as foes, and so many of them as we might be able to
capture should all be our slaves: and having armed ourselves as best
we could, we advanced toward the shore, and they sought not to hinder
us from landing, I believe, from fear of the cannons: and we jumped on
land, 57 men in four squadrons, each one (consisting of) a captain and
his company: and we came to blows with them.

After a long battle many of them (were) slain, we put them to flight,
and pursued them to a village, having made about 250 of them captives,
and we burnt the village, and returned to our ships with victory and
250 prisoners, leaving many of them dead and wounded, and of ours
there were no more than one killed, and 22 wounded, who all escaped
(_i.e._, recovered), God be thanked. We arranged our departure, and
seven men, of whom five were wounded, took an island-canoe, and with
seven prisoners that we gave them, four women and three men, returned
to their (own) country full of gladness, wondering at our strength:
and we thereon made sail for Spain with 222 captive slaves: and
reached the port of Calis (Cadiz) on the 15th day of October, 1498,
where we were well received and sold our slaves. Such is what befell
me, most noteworthy, in this my first voyage.

    [1] From a letter addrest by Vespucius to Pier Soderini, Gonfalonier
    of Florence. A translation is printed in the "Old South Leaflets."
    Vespucius, during one of his voyages, is believed to have
    discovered the coast of South America--perhaps as far down as the
    mouth of La Plata. His letters, however, give slight clue to
    localities. Few of the places described by him have ever been
    identified with anything like precision.



Of the newe landes and of ye people founde by the messengers of the
kynge of Portyugale named Emanuel. of the R. [5] Dyners Nacyons
crystened. Of Pope John and his landes and of the costely keyes and
wonders molo dyes that in that lande is.

Here aforetymes [formerly] in the yere of our Lorde god. M.CCCC.xcvi.
[1496] and so be we with shyppes of Lusseboene [Lisbon] sayled oute of
Portyugale thorough the commaundement of the Kynge Emanuel. So haue we
had our vyage. For by fortune ylandes ouer the great see with great
charge and daunger so haue we at the laste founde oon lordshyp where
we sayled well. ix.C. [900] mylee [mile] by the cooste of Selandes
there we at ye laste went a lande but that lande is not nowe knowen
for there haue no masters wryten thereof nor it knowethe and it is
named Armenica [America] there we sawe meny wonders of beestes and
fowles yat [that] we haue neuer seen before the people of this lande
haue no kynge nor lorde nor theyr god But all thinges is comune....
the men and women haue on theyr heed necke Armes Knees and fete all
with feders [feathers] bounden for their bewtynes [beauty] and

These folke lyuen [live] lyke bestes without any resenablenes.... And
they etc [eat] also on[e] a nother. The man etethe [eateth] his wyfe,
his chylderne as we also haue seen, and they hange also the bodyes or
persons fleeshe in the smoke as men do with vs swynes fleshe. And that
lande is ryght full of folke for they lyue commonly. iii.C. [300] yere
and more as with sykenesse they dye nat they take much fysshe for they
can goen vnder the water and fe[t]che so the fysshes out of the water.
and they werre [war] also on[e] vpon a nother for the olde men brynge
the yonge men thereto that they gather a great company thereto of towe
[two] partyes and come the on[e] ayene [against] the other to the
felde or bateyll [battle] and slee [slay] on[e] the other with great
hepes [heaps]. And nowe holdeth the fylde [field] they take the other
prysoners And they brynge them to deth and ete them and as the deed
[dead] is eten then fley [flay] they the rest. And they been [are] than
[then] eten also or otherwyse lyue they longer tymes and many yeres
more than other people for they haue costely spyces and rotes [roots]
where they them selfe recouer with and hele [heal] them as they be
seke [sick].

    [1] The volume from which this passage is taken was first printed
    in Antwerp as a compilation with additions based on the letters of
    Americus Vespucius. It is included by Edward Arber in his "First
    Three English Books on America." The author's name is unknown.




Toward the close of the fifteenth century Spain achieved her final
triumph over the infidels of Granada, and made her name glorious
through all generations by the discovery of America. The religious zea
and romantic daring which a long course of Moorish wars had called
forth were now exalted to redoubled fervor. Every ship from the New
World came freighted with marvels which put the fictions of chivalry
to shame; and to the Spaniard of that day America was a region of
wonder and mystery, of vague and magnificent promise. Thither
adventurers hastened, thirsting for glory and for gold, and often
mingling the enthusiasm of the crusader and the valor of the
knight-errant with the bigotry of inquisitors and the rapacity of
pirates. They roamed over land and sea; they climbed unknown
mountains, surveyed unknown oceans, pierced the sultry intricacies of
tropical forests; while from year to year and from day to day new
wonders were unfolded, new islands and archipelagoes, new regions of
gold and pearl, and barbaric empires of more than Oriental wealth. The
extravagance of hope and the fever of adventure knew no bounds. Nor is
it surprizing that amid such waking marvels the imagination should run
wild in romantic dreams; that between the possible and the impossible
the line of distinction should be but faintly drawn, and that men
should be found ready to stake life and honor in pursuit of the most
insane fantasies.

Such a man was the veteran cavalier Juan Ponce de Leon. Greedy of
honors and of riches, he embarked at Porto Rico with three
brigantines, bent on schemes of discovery. But that which gave the
chief stimulus to his enterprise was a story, current among the
Indians of Cuba and Hispaniola, that on the island of Bimini, said to
be one of the Bahamas, there was a fountain of such virtue, that,
bathing in its waters, old men resumed their youth.[2] It was said,
moreover, that on a neighboring shore might be found a river gifted
with the same beneficent property, and believed by some to be no other
than the Jordan. Ponce de Leon found the island of Bimini, but not the
fountain. Farther westward, in the latitude of 30 degrees and 8
minutes, he approached an unknown land, which he named Florida, and,
steering southward, explored its coast as far as the extreme point of
the peninsula, when, after some further explorations, he retraced his
course to Porto Rico.

Ponce de Leon had not regained his youth, but his active spirit was
unsubdued. Nine years later he attempted to plant a colony in Florida;
the Indians attacked him fiercely; he was mortally wounded, and died
soon afterward in Cuba.

The voyages of Garay and Vasquez de Ayllon threw new light on the
discoveries of Ponce, and the general outline of the coasts of Florida
became known to the Spaniards. Meanwhile, Cortes had conquered Mexico,
and the fame of that iniquitous but magnificent exploit rang through
all Spain. Many an impatient cavalier burned to achieve a kindred
fortune. To the excited fancy of the Spaniards the unknown land of
Florida seemed the seat of surpassing wealth, and Pamphilo de Narvaez
essayed to possess himself of its fancied treasures. Landing on its
shores, and proclaiming destruction to the Indians unless they
acknowledged the sovereignty of the Pope and the Emperor, he advanced
into the forests with three hundred men. Nothing could exceed their
sufferings. Nowhere could they find the gold they came to seek. The
village of Appalache, where they hoped to gain a rich booty, offered
nothing but a few mean wigwams. The horses gave out, and the famished
soldiers fed upon their flesh. The men sickened, and the Indians
unceasingly harassed their march. At length, after 280 leagues of
wandering, they found themselves on the northern shore of the Gulf of
Mexico, and desperately put to sea in such crazy boats as their skill
and means could construct. Cold, disease, famine, thirst, and the fury
of the waves melted them away. Narvaez himself perished, and of his
wretched followers no more than four escaped, reaching by land, after
years of vicissitude, the Christian settlements of New Spain.

The interior of the vast country then comprehended under the name of
Florida still remained unexplored. The Spanish voyager, as his caravel
plowed the adjacent seas, might give full scope to his imagination,
and dream that beyond the long, low margin of forest which bounded his
horizon lay hid a rich harvest for some future conqueror; perhaps a
second Mexico, with its royal palace and sacred pyramids, or another
Cuzco, with the temple of the Sun, encircled with a frieze of gold.

    [1] From Parkman's "Pioneers of France in the New World." By
    permission of the publishers, Little, Brown & Co. Ponce do Leon
    was born in Aragon, Spain, about 1460, and died in Cuba in 1521.
    Before making the exploration here described, he had been in
    America with Columbus in 1493; been governor of the eastern part
    of Espanola; been transferred to Porto Rico as governor, and
    empowered to conquer the Indians. He returned to Spain in 1511 and
    in February, 1512, was commissioned to discover and settle the
    island of Bimini. This island, one of the Bahamas, was in the
    region in which tradition had placed the Fountain of Youth. After
    his expedition to Florida here described, he was occupied with
    Indian wars in Porto Rico and Florida, and finally died from a
    wound received from an arrow shot by an Indian.

    [2] Parkman comments on this tradition of the Fountain of Youth
    as follows: "The story has an explanation, sufficiently
    characteristic, having been suggested, it is said, by the beauty
    of the native women, which none could resist and which kindled
    the fires of youth in the veins of age."




Careta[2] had for a neighbor a cacique called by some Comogre, by
others Panquiaco, chief of about ten thousand Indians, among whom were
3,000 warriors. Having heard of the valor and enterprise of the
Castilians, this chief desired to enter into treaty and friendship
with them; and a principal Indian, a dependent of Careta, having
presented himself as the agent in this friendly overture, Vasco Nunez,
anxious to profit by the opportunity of securing such an ally, went
with his followers to visit Comogre....

Balboa was transported by the prospect of glory and fortune which
opened before him; he believed himself already at the gates of the
East Indies, which was the desired object of the government and the
discoverers of that period; he resolved to return in the first place
to the Darien to raise the spirits of his companions with these
brilliant hopes, and to make all possible preparations for realizing
them. He remained, nevertheless, yet a few days with the caciques; and
so strict was the friendship he had contracted with them that they and
their families were baptized, Careta taking in baptism the name of
Fernando, and Comogre that of Carlos. Balboa then returned to the
Darien, rich in the spoils of Ponca, rich in the presents of his
friends, and still richer in the golden hopes which the future offered

At this time, and after an absence of six months, arrived the
magistrate Valdivia, with a vessel laden with different stores; he
brought likewise great promises of abundant aid in provisions and men.
The succors, however, which Valdivia brought were speedily consumed;
their seed, destroyed in the ground by storms and floods, promised
them no resource whatever; and they returned to their usual
necessitous state. Balboa then consented to their extending their
incursions to more distant lands, as they had already wasted and
ruined the immediate environs of Antigua, and he sent Valdivia to
Spain to apprize the admiral of the clew he had gained to the South
Sea, and the reported wealth of these regions.

He discoursed with and animated his companions, selected 190 of the
best armed, and disposed, and, with a thousand Indians of labor, a few
bloodhounds, and sufficient provisions, took his way by the sierras
toward the dominion of Ponca. That chief had fled, but Balboa, who had
adopted the policy most convenient to him, desired to bring him to an
amicable agreement, and, to that end, dispatched after him some
Indians of peace, who advised him to return to his capital and to fear
nothing from the Spaniards. He was persuaded, and met with a kind
reception; he presented some gold, and received in return some glass
beads and other toys and trifles. The Spanish captains then solicited
guides and men of labor for his journey over the sierras, which the
cacique bestowed willingly, adding provisions in great abundance, and
they parted friends.

His passage into the domain of Quarequa was less pacific; whose chief,
Torecha, jealous of this invasion, and terrified by the events which
had occurred to his neighbors, was disposed and prepared to receive
the Castilians with a warlike aspect. A swarm of ferocious Indians,
armed in their usual manner, rushed into the road and began a wordy
attack upon the strangers, asking them what brought them there, what
they sought for, and threatening him with perdition if they advanced.
The Spaniards, reckless of their bravados, proceeded, nevertheless,
and then the chief placed himself in front of his tribe, drest in a
cotton mantle and followed by the principal lords, and with more
intrepidity than fortune, gave the signal for combat. The Indians
commenced the assault with loud cries and great impetuosity, but, soon
terrified by the explosions of the crossbows and muskets, they were
easily destroyed or put to flight by the men and bloodhounds who
rushed upon them. The chief and 600 men were left dead on the spot,
and the Spaniards, having smoothed away that obstacle, entered the
town, which they spoiled of all the gold and valuables it possest.
Here, also, they found a brother of the cacique and other Indians, who
were dedicated to the abominations before glanced at; fifty of these
wretches were torn to pieces by the dogs, and not without the consent
and approbation of the Indians. The district was, by these examples,
rendered so pacific and so submissive that Balboa left all his sick
there, dismissed the guides given him by Ponca, and, taking fresh
ones, pursued his road over the heights.

The tongue of land which divides the two Americas is not, at its
utmost width, above eighteen leagues, and in some parts becomes
narrowed a little more than seven. And, altho from the port of Careta
to the point toward which the course of the Spaniards was directed was
only altogether six days' journey, yet they consumed upon it twenty;
nor is this extraordinary. The great cordillera of sierras which from
north to south crosses the new continent, a bulwark against the
impetuous assaults of the Pacific Ocean, crosses also the Isthmus of
Darien, or, as may be more properly said, composes it wholly, from the
wrecks of the rocky summits which have been detached from the adjacent
lands; and the discoverers, therefore, were obliged to open their way
through difficulties and dangers which men of iron alone could have
fronted and overcome. Sometimes they had to penetrate through thick
entangled woods, sometimes to cross lakes, where men and burdens
perished miserably; then a rugged hill presented itself before them;
and next, perhaps, a deep and yawning precipice to descend; while, at
every step, they were opposed by deep and rapid rivers, passable only
by means of frail barks, or slight and trembling bridges; from time to
time they had to make their way through opposing Indians, who, tho
always conquered, were always to be dreaded; and, above all, came the
failure of provisions--which formed an aggregate, with toil, anxiety,
and danger, such as was sufficient to break down bodily strength and
depress the mind....

At length the Quarequanos, who served as guides, showed them, at a
distance, the height from whose summit the desired sea might be
discovered. Balboa immediately commanded his squadron to halt, and
proceeded alone to the top of the mountain; on reaching it he cast an
anxious glance southward, and the Austral Ocean broke upon his
sight.[3] Overcome with joy and wonder, he fell on his knees,
extending his arms toward the sea, and with tears of delight, offered
thanks to heaven for having destined him to this mighty discovery. He
immediately made a sign to his companions to ascend, and, pointing to
the magnificent spectacle extended before them, again prostrated
himself in fervent thanksgiving to God. The rest followed his example,
while the astonished Indians were extremely puzzled to understand so
sudden and general an effusion of wonder and gladness. Hannibal on the
summit of the Alps, pointing out to his soldiers the delicious plains
of Italy, did not appear, according to the ingenious comparison of a
contemporary writer, either more transported or more arrogant than the
Spanish chief, when, risen from the ground, he recovered the speech of
which sudden joy had deprived him, and thus addrest his Castilians:
"You behold before you, friends, the object of all our desires and the
reward of all our labors. Before you roll the waves of the sea which
has been announced to you, and which no doubt encloses the immense
riches we have heard of. You are the first who have reached these
shores and these waves; yours are their treasures, yours alone the
glory of reducing these immense and unknown regions to the dominion of
our King and to the light of the true religion. Follow me, then,
faithful as hitherto, and I promise you that the world shall not hold
your equals in wealth and glory."

All embraced him joyfully and all promised to follow whithersoever he
should lead. They quickly cut down a great tree, and, stripping it of
its branches, formed a cross from it, which they fixt in a heap of
stones found on the spot from whence they first descried the sea. The
names of the monarchs of Castile were engraven on the trunks of the
trees, and with shouts and acclamations they descended the sierra and
entered the plain.

They arrived at some bohios, which formed the population of a chief,
called Chiapes, who had prepared to defend the pass with arms. The
noise of the muskets and the ferocity of the war-dogs dispersed them
in a moment, and they fled, leaving many captives; by these and by
their Quarequano guides, the Spaniards sent to offer Chiapes secure
peace and friendship if he would come to them, or otherwise the ruin
and extermination of his town and his fields. Persuaded by them, the
cacique came and placed himself in the hands of Balboa, who treated
him with much kindness. He brought and distributed gold and received
in exchange beads and toys, with which he was so diverted that he no
longer thought of anything but contenting and conciliating the
strangers. There Vasco Nunez sent away the Quarequanos, and ordered
that the sick, who had been left in their land, should come and join
him. In the meanwhile he sent Francisco Pizarro, Juan de Ezcarag, and
Alonzo Martin to discover the shortest roads by which the sea might be
reached. It was the last of these who arrived first at the coast, and,
entering a canoe which chanced to lie there, and pushing it into the
waves, let it float a little while, and, after pleasing himself with
having been the first Spaniard who entered the South Sea, returned to
seek Balboa.

Balboa with twenty-six men descended to the sea, and arrived at the
coast early in the evening of the 29th of that month; they all seated
themselves on the shore and awaited the tide, which was at that time
on the ebb. At length it returned in its violence to cover the spot
where they were; then Balboa, in complete armor, lifting his sword in
one hand, and in the other a banner on which was painted an image of
the Virgin Mary with the arms of Castile at her feet, raised it, and
began to march into the midst of the waves, which reached above his
knees, saying in a loud voice: "Long live the high and mighty
sovereigns of Castile! Thus in their names do I take possession of
these seas and regions; and if any other prince, whether Christian or
infidel, pretends any right to them, I am ready and resolved to oppose
him, and to assert the just claims of my sovereigns."

The whole band replied with acclamations to the vow of their captain,
and exprest themselves determined to defend, even to death, their
acquisition against all the potentates in the world; they caused this
act to be confirmed in writing, by the notary of the expedition,
Andres de Valderrabano; the anchorage in which it was solemnized was
called the Gulf of San Miguel, the event happening on that day.

    [1] Quintand's account of this expedition is the best we have in
    Spanish literature. It forms part of his "Lives of Celebrated
    Spaniards" (1807-1833), a standard work of the encyclopedia class.
    Vasco Nunez de Balboa was born at Xerxes, in Spain, in 1475, and
    died in Panama about 1517. His first visit to America was made in
    1500. Ten years later he went to Darien, where he became alcalde
    of a new settlement. In 1512 he was made governor of San Domingo.

    While Governor of San Domingo Balboa learned from the Indians that
    there was a great sea lying to the south and west, and in
    September, 1513, set out from Darien to discover it. After an
    adventurous journey he reached, on September 25th, a mountain top
    from which he first saw the Pacific. After building some ships for
    use on the Pacific and transporting them with immense labor across
    the Isthmus, launching two of them, Balboa was arrested by the
    governor of the colony on a charge of contemplated revolt and

    [2] Careta was an Indian chief whose friendship Balboa secured.

    [3] The date of this view of the Pacific by Balboa was September
    25, 1513. Readers of the poems of Keats are familiar with the
    error in his sonnet "On First Looking Into Chapman's 'Homer,'"
    where, by a curious error, never corrected, he makes Cortez,
    instead of Balboa, the Spaniard who stood "silent upon a peak in




Our chief source of information for the events of the voyage is the
journal kept by a gentleman from Vicenza, the Chevalier Antonio
Pigafetta, who obtained permission to accompany the expedition, "for
to see the marvels of the ocean." After leaving the Canaries on the 3d
of October, the armada ran down toward Sierra Leone, and was becalmed,
making only three leagues in three weeks. Then "the upper air burst
into life" and the frail ships were driven along under bare poles, now
and then dipping their yard-arms. During a month of this dreadful
weather, the food and water grew scarce, and the rations were
diminished. The spirit of mutiny began to show itself. The Spanish
captains whispered among the crews that this man from Portugal had not
their interests at heart, and was not loyal to the Emperor. Toward the
captain-general their demeanor grew more and more insubordinate; and
Cartagena one day, having come on board the flag-ship, faced him with
threats and insults. To his astonishment, Magellan promptly collared
him, and sent him, a prisoner in irons, on board the _Victoria_ (whose
captain was unfortunately also one of the traitors), while the command
of the _San Antonio_ was given to another officer. This example made
things quiet for the moment.

On the 29th of November they reached the Brazilian coast near
Pernambuco; and on the 11th of January they arrived at the mouth of La
Plata, which they investigated sufficiently to convince them that it
was a river's mouth, and not a strait. Three weeks were consumed in
this work. This course through February and March along the coast of
Patagonia was marked by incessant and violent storms; and the cold
became so intense that, finding a sheltered harbor with plenty of fish
at Port St. Julian, they chose it for winter quarters and anchored
there on the last day of March. On the next day, which was Easter
Sunday, the mutiny that so long had smoldered broke out in all its

The hardships of the voyage had thus far been what stanch seamen
called unusually severe, and it was felt that they had done enough. No
one except Vespucius and Jaques had ever approached so near to the
South Pole; and if they had not yet found a strait, it was doubtless
because there was none to find. The rations of bread and wine were
becoming very short, and common prudence demanded that they should
return to Spain. If their voyage was practically a failure, it was not
their fault; there was ample excuse in the frightful storms they had
suffered and the dangerous strains that had been put upon their
worn-out ships. Such was the general feeling, but when exprest to
Magellan it fell upon deaf ears. No excuses, nothing but performance,
would serve his turn; for him hardships were made only to be despised,
and dangers to be laughed at: and, in short, go on they must, until a
strait was found or the end of that continent reached. Then they would
doubtless find an open way to the Moluccas; and while he held out
hopes of rich rewards for all he appealed to their pride as
Castilians. For the inflexible determination of this man was not
embittered by harshness, and he could wield as well as any one the
language that soothes and persuades.

At length, on the 24th of August, with the earliest symptoms of spring
weather, the ships, which had been carefully overhauled and repaired,
proceeded on their way. Violent storms harassed them, and it was not
until the 21st of October (St. Ursala's day) that they reached the
headland still known as Cape Virgins. Passing beyond Dungeness, they
entered a large open bay, which some hailed as the long-sought strait,
while others averred that no passage would be found there. "It was,"
says Pigafetta, "in Eden's bredth. On both the sydes of this strayght
are Magellanus, beinge in sum place C.x. leaques in length: and in
breadth sumwhere very large and in other places lyttle more than halfe
a leaque in bredth. On both the sydes of this strayght are great and
hygh mountaynes couered with snowe, beyonde the whiche is the
enteraunce into the sea of Sur.... Here one of the shyppes stole away
priuilie and returned into Spayne." More than five weeks were consumed
in passing through the strait, and among its labyrinthine twists and
half-hidden bays there was ample opportunity for desertion. As
advanced reconnoissances kept reporting the water as deep and salt,
the conviction grew that the strait was found, and then the question
once more arose whether it would not be best to go back to Spain,
satisfied with this discovery, since with all these wretched delays
the provisions were again running short. Magellan's answer, uttered in
measured and quiet tones, was simply that he would go on and do his
work "if he had to eat the leather off the ship's yards." Upon the
_San Antonio_ there had always been a large proportion of the
malcontents, and the chief pilot, Estevan Gomez, having been detailed
for duty on that ship, lent himself to their purposes. The captain,
Mesquita, was again seized and put in irons, a new captain was chosen
by the mutineers, and Gomez piloted the ship back to Spain, where they
arrived after a voyage of six months, and screened themselves for a
while by lying about Magellan.

As for that commander, in Richard Eden's words, "when the capitayne
Magalianes was past the strayght and sawe the way open to the other
mayne sea, he was so gladde thereof that for joy the teares fell from
his eyes, and named the point of the lande from whense he fyrst sawe
that sea Capo Desiderato. Supposing that the shyp which stole away had
byn loste, they erected a crosse uppon the top of a hyghe hyll to
direct their course in the straight yf it were theyr chaunce to coome
that way." The broad expanse of waters before him seemed so pleasant
to Magellan, after the heavy storms through which he had passed, that
he called it by the name it still bears, Pacific. But the worst
hardships were still before him. Once more a sea of darkness must be
crossed by brave hearts sickening with hope deferred. If the
mid-Atlantic waters had been strange to Columbus and his men, here
before Magellan's people all was thrice unknown.

    "They were the first that ever burst
    Into that silent sea";

and as they sailed month after month over the waste of waters, the
huge size of our planet began to make itself felt. Until after the
middle of December they kept a northward course, near the coast of the
continent, running away from the antarctic cold. Then northwesterly
and westerly courses were taken, and on the 24th of January, 1521, a
small wooded islet was found in water where the longest plummet-lines
failed to reach bottom. Already the voyage since issuing from the
strait was nearly twice as long as that of Columbus in 1492 from the
Canaries to Guanahani. From the useless island, which they called San
Pablo, a further run of eleven days brought them to another
uninhabited rock, which they called Tiburones, from the quantity of
sharks observed in the neighborhood. There was neither food, nor water
to be had there, and a voyage of unknown duration, in reality not less
than 5,000 English miles, was yet to be accomplished before a trace of
land was again to greet their yearning gaze. Their sufferings may best
be told in the quaint and touching words in which Shakespeare read

"And hauynge in this tyme consumed all theyr bysket and other
vyttayles, they fell into such necessitie that they were inforced to
eate the pouder that remayned therof beinge now full of woormes....
Theyre freshe water was also putrifyed and become yelow. They dyd eate
skynnes and pieces of lether which were foulded abowt certeyne great
ropes of the shyps. But these skynnes being made verye harde by reason
of the soonne, rayne, and wynde, they hunge them by a corde in the sea
for the space of foure or fiue dayse to mollifie them, and sodde them,
and eate them. By reason of this famen and vnclene feedynge, summe of
theyr gummes grewe so ouer theyr teethe [a symptom of scurvy], that
they dyed miserably for hunger. And by this occasion dyed xix. men,
and ... besyde these that dyed, xxv. or xxx. were so sicke that they
were not able to doo any seruice with theyr handes or arms for
feeblenesse: So that was in maner none without sum disease. In three
monethes and xx. dayes, they sayled foure thousande leaques in one
goulfe by the sayde sea cauled Paciflcum (that is) peaceable, whiche
may well bee so cauled forasmuch as in all this tyme hauyng no syght
of any lande, they had no misfortune of wynde or any other tempest....
So that in fine, if god of his mercy had not gyuen them good wether,
it was necessary that in this soo greate a sea they shuld all haue
dyed for hunger. Whiche neuertheless they escaped soo hardely, that it
may bee doubted whether euer the like viage may be attempted with so
goode successe."

One would gladly know--albeit Pigafetta's journal and the still more
laconic pilot's logbook leave us in the dark on this point--how the
ignorant and suffering crews interpreted this everlasting stretch of
sea, vaster, said Maximilian Transylvanus, "than the human mind could
conceive." To them it may well have seemed that the theory of a round
and limited earth was wrong after all, and that their infatuated
commander was leading them out into the fathomless abysses of space,
with no welcoming shore beyond. But that heart of triple bronze, we
may be sure, did not flinch. The situation had got beyond the point
where mutiny could be suggested as a remedy. The very desperateness of
it was all in Magellan's favor; for so far away had they come from the
known world that retreat meant certain death. The only chance of
escape lay in pressing forward. At last, on the 6th of March, they
came upon islands inhabited by savages ignorant of the bow and arrow,
but expert in handling their peculiar light boats. Here the dreadful
sufferings were ended, for they found plenty of fruit and fresh
vegetables, besides meat. The people were such eager and pertinacious
thieves that their islands received the name by which they are still
known, the Islas de Ladrones, or isles of robbers.

On the 16th of March the three ships arrived at the islands which some
years afterward were named Philippines, after Philip II of Spain. Tho
these were islands unvisited by Europeans, yet Asiatic traders from
Siam and Sumatra, as well as from China, were to be met there, and it
was thus not long before Magellan became aware of the greatness of his
triumph. He had passed the meridian of the Moluccas, and knew that
these islands lay to the southward within an easy sail. He had
accomplished the circumnavigation of the earth through its unknown
portion, and the remainder of his route lay through seas already
traversed. An erroneous calculation of longitudes confirmed him in the
belief that the Moluccas, as well as the Philippines, properly
belonged to Spain. Meanwhile in these Philippines of themselves he had
discovered a region of no small commercial importance. But his brief
tarry in these interesting islands had fatal results; and in the very
hour of victory the conqueror perished, slain in a fight with the
natives, the reason of which we can understand only by considering the
close complication of commercial and political interests with
religious notions so common in that age....

Meanwhile, on the 16th of May, the little _Victoria_, with starvation
and scurvy already thinning the ranks, with foretopmast gone by the
board and fore-yard badly sprung, cleared the Cape of Good Hope, and
thence was borne on the strong and friendly current up to the equator,
which she crossed on the 8th of June. Only fifty years since Santarem
and Escobar, first of Europeans, had crept down that coast and crossed
it. Into that glorious half-century what a world of suffering and
achievement had been crowded! Dire necessity compelled the _Victoria_
to stop at the Cape Verde Islands. Her people sought safety in
deceiving the Portuguese with the story that they were returning from
a voyage in Atlantic waters only, and thus they succeeded in buying
food. But while this was going on, as a boat-load of thirteen men had
been sent ashore for rice, some silly tongue, loosened by wine, in the
head of a sailor who had cloves to sell, babbled the perilous secret
of Magellan and the Moluccas. The thirteen were at once arrested, and
a boat called upon the _Victoria_, with direful threats, to surrender;
but she quickly stretched every inch of her canvas and got away. This
was on the 18th of July, and eight weeks of ocean remained. At last,
on the 6th of September--the thirtieth anniversary of the day when
Columbus weighed anchor for Cipango--the _Victoria_ sailed into the
Guadalquivir, with eighteen gaunt and haggard survivors to tell the
proud story of the first circumnavigation of the earth.

The voyage thus ended was doubtless the greatest feat of navigation
that has ever been performed, and nothing can be imagined that would
surpass it except a journey to some other planet. It has not the
unique historic position of the first voyage of Columbus, which
brought together two streams of human life that had been disjoined
since the glacial period. But as an achievement in ocean navigation
that voyage of Columbus sinks into insignificance by the side of it;
and when the earth was a second time encompassed by the greatest
English sailor of his age,[2] the advance in knowledge, as well as the
different route chosen, had much reduced the difficulty of the
performance. When we consider the frailness of the ships, the
immeasurable, extent of the unknown, the mutinies that were prevented
or quelled, and the hardships that were endured, we can have no
hesitation in speaking of Magellan as the prince of navigators. Nor
can we ever fail to admire the simplicity and purity of that devoted
life, in which there is nothing that seeks to be hidden or explained

    [1] From Fiske's "Discovery of America." Copyright, 1892, by John
    Fiske. Reprinted by arrangement with the publishers, Houghton,
    Mifflin Co. Ferdinand Magellan was born at Saborosa in Portugal,
    about 1480, and died in the Philippines in 1521. Before discovering
    the strait that bears his name he had served with the Portuguese
    in the East Indies and in Morocco. Becoming dissatisfied he had
    gone to Spain, where he proposed to find a western passage to the
    Moluccas, a proposal which Charles V accepted, fitting out for him
    a government squadron of five ships and 265 men. Magellan sailed
    from San Lucar September 20, 1519, and, after passing through the
    strait as here described by Fiske, proceeded to the Philippines,
    where, in an attack on unfriendly natives, he, with several of his
    men, was killed. One of his ships afterward completed the voyage
    by way of the Cape of Good Hope, and thus made the first
    circumnavigation of the globe.

    [2] A reference to Sir Francis Drake, the first Englishman who
    circumnavigated the globe.




Having remained in this place[2] three days, anchored off the coast,
we decided on account of the scarcity of ports to depart, always
skirting the shore, which we baptized Arcadia on account of the beauty
of the trees.

In Arcadia we found a man who came to the shore to see what people we
were: who stood hesitating and ready to fight. Watching us, he did not
permit himself to be approached. He was handsome, nude, with hair
fastened back in a knot, of olive color.

We were about XX [in number], ashore, and coaxing him, he approached
to within about two fathoms, showing a burning stick as if to offer us
fire. And we made fire with powder and flint and steel, and he
trembled all over with terror, and we fired a shot. He stopt as if
astonished, and prayed, worshiping like a monk, lifting his finger
toward the sky, and pointing to the ship and the sea he appeared to
bless us.

Toward the north and east, navigating by daylight and casting anchor
at night, we followed a coast very green with forests, but without
ports, and with some charming promontories and small rivers. We
baptized the coast "di Lorenna" on account of the Cardinal; the first
promontory "Lanzone," the second "Bonivetto," the largest river
"Vandoma" and a small mountain which stands by the sea "di S. Polo" on
account of the count.

At the end of a hundred leagues we found a very agreeable situation
located within two small prominent hills, in the midst of which flowed
to the sea a very great river, which was deep within the mouth; and
from the sea to the hills of that [place] with the rising of the
tides, which we found eight feet, any laden ship might have passed. On
account of being anchored off the coast in good shelter, we did not
wish to adventure in without knowledge of the entrances. We were with
the small boat, entering the said river[3] to the land, which we found
much populated. The people, almost like the others, clothed with the
feathers of birds of various colors, came toward us joyfully, uttering
very great exclamations of admiration, showing us where we could land
with the boat more safely. We entered said river, within the land,
about half a league, where we saw it made a very beautiful lake with a
circuit of about three leagues; through which they [the Indians] went,
going from one and another part to the number of XXX of their little
barges, with innumerable people, who passed from one shore and the
other in order to see us. In an instant, as is wont to happen in
navigation, a gale of unfavorable wind blowing in from the sea, we
were forced to return to the ship, leaving the said land with much
regret because of its commodiousness and beauty, thinking it was not
without some properties of value, all of its hills showing indications
of minerals. We called it Angoleme from the principality which thou
attainedst in lesser fortune, and the bay which that land makes called
Santa Margarita[4] from the name of thy sister who vanquished the
other matrons of modesty and art.

The anchor raised, sailing toward the east, as thus the land turned,
having traveled LXXX leagues always in sight of it, we discovered an
island triangular in form, distant ten leagues from the continent, in
size like the island of Rhodes, full of hills, covered with trees,
much populated [judging] by the continuous fires along all the
surrounding shore which we saw they made. We baptized it Aloysia, in
the name of your most illustrious mother;[5] not anchoring there on
account of the unfavorableness of the weather.

We came to another land, distant from the island XV leagues, where we
found a very beautiful port,[6] and before we entered it, we saw about
XX barges of the people who came with various cries of wonder round
about the ship. Not approaching nearer than fifty paces, they halted,
looking at the edifice [_i.e._, the ship], our figures and clothes;
then all together they uttered a loud shout, signifying that they were
glad. Having reassured them somewhat, imitating their gestures, they
came so near that we threw them some little bells and mirrors and many
trinkets, having taken which, regarding them with laughter, they
entered the ship confidently. There were among them two Kings, of as
good stature and form as it would be possible to tell; the first of
about XXXX years, the other a young man of XXIIII years, the clothing
of whom was thus: the older had on his nude body a skin of a stag,
artificially adorned like a damask with various embroideries; the head
bare, the hair turned back with various bands, at the neck a broad
chain ornamented with many stones of diverse colors. The young man was
almost in the same style.

This is the most beautiful people and the most civilized in customs
that we have found in this navigation. They excel us in size; they are
of bronze color, some inclining more to whiteness, others to tawny
color; the face sharply cut, the hair long and black, upon which they
bestow the greatest study in adorning it; the eyes black and alert,
the bearing kind and gentle, imitating much the ancient [manner]. Of
the other parts of the body I will not speak to Your Majesty, having
all the proportions which belong to every well-built man. Their women
are of the same beauty and charm; very graceful; of comely mien and
agreeable aspect; of habits and behavior as much according to womanly
custom as pertains to human nature; they go nude with only one skin of
the stag embroidered like the men, and some wear on the arms very rich
skins of the lynx; the head bare, with various arrangements of braids,
composed of their own hair, which hang on one side and the other of
the breast. Some use other hair-arrangements like the women of Egypt
and of Syria use, and these are they who are advanced in age and are
joined in wedlock.

They have in the ears various pendant trinkets as the orientals are
accustomed to have, the men like the women, among which we saw many
plates wrought from copper, by whom it is prized more than gold;
which, on account of its color, they do not esteem; wherefore among
all it is held by them more worthless; on the other hand rating blue
and red above any other. That which they were given by us which they
most valued were little bells, blue crystals and other trinkets to
place in the ears and on the neck. They did not prize cloth of silk
and of gold, nor even of other kind, nor did they care to have them;
likewise with metals like steel and iron; for many times showing them
our arms they did not conceive admiration for them nor ask for them,
only examining the workmanship. They did the same with the mirrors;
suddenly looking at them, they refused them, laughing. They are very
liberal, so much so that all which they have they give away. We formed
a great friendship with them, and one day, before we had entered with
the ship in the port, remaining on account of the unfavorable weather
conditions anchored a league at sea, they came in great numbers in
their little barges to the ship, having painted and decked the face
with various colors, showing to us it was evidence of good feeling,
bringing to us of their food, signaling to us where for the safety of
the ship we ought to anchor in the port, continually accompanying us
until we cast anchor there.

In which we remained XV days, supplying ourselves with many
necessities; where every day the people came to see us at the ship,
bringing their women, of whom they are very careful; because, entering
the ship themselves, remaining a long time, they made their women stay
in the barges, and however many entreaties we made them, offering to
give them various things, it was not possible that they would allow
them to enter the ship. And one of the two Kings coming many times
with the Queen and many attendants through their desire to see us, at
first always stopt on a land distant from us two hundred paces,
sending a boat to inform us of their coming, saying they wished to
come to see the ship; doing this for a kind of safety.

And when they had the response from us, they came quickly, and having
stood awhile to look, hearing the noisy clamor of the sailor crowd,
sent the Queen with her damsels in a very light barge to stay on a
little island distant from us a quarter of a league; himself remaining
a very long time, discoursing by signs and gestures of various
fanciful ideas, examining all the equipments of the ship, asking
especially their purpose, imitating our manners, tasting our foods,
then parted from us benignantly. And one time, our people remaining
two or three days on a little island near the ship for various
necessities as is the custom of sailors, he came with seven or eight
of his attendants, watching our operations, asking many times if we
wished to remain there for a long time, offering us his every help.
Then, shooting with the bow, running, he performed with his attendants
various games to give us pleasure.

Many times we were from five to six leagues inland, which we found as
pleasing as it can be to narrate, adapted to every kind of
cultivation--grain, wine, oil. Because in that place the fields are
from XXV to XXX leagues wide, open and devoid of every impediment of
trees, of such fertility that any seed in them would produce the best
crops. Entering then into the woods, all of which are penetrable by
any numerous army in any way whatsoever, and whose trees, oaks,
cypresses, and others are unknown in our Europe. We found Lucallian
apples, plums, and filberts, and many kinds of fruits different from
ours. Animals there are in very great number, stags, deer, lynx, and
other species, which, in the way of the others, they capture with
snares and bows, which are their principal arms. The arrows of whom
are worked with great beauty, placing at the end, instead of iron,
emery, jasper, hard marble, and other sharp stones, by which they
served themselves instead of iron in cutting trees, making their
barges from a single trunk of a tree, hollowed with wonderful skill,
in which from fourteen to XV men will go comfortably; the short oar,
broad at the end, working it solely with the strength of the arms at
sea without any peril, with as much speed as pleases them.

Going further, we saw their habitations, circular in form, of XIIII to
XV paces compass, made from semi-circles of wood [_i.e._, arched
saplings, bent in the form of an arbor], separated one from the other,
without system of architecture, covered with mats of straw ingeniously
worked, which protect them from rain and wind. There is no doubt that
if they had the perfection of the arts we have, they would build
magnificent edifices, for all the maritime coast is full of blue
rocks, crystals and alabaster; and for such cause is full of ports and
shelters for ships. They change said houses from one place to another
according to the opulence of the site and the season in which they
live. Carrying away only the mats, immediately they have other
habitations made. There live in each a father and family to a very
large number, so that in some we saw XXV and XXX souls. Their food is
like the others: of pulse (which they produce with more system of
culture than the others, observing the full moon, the rising of the
Pleiades, and many customs derived from the ancients), also of the
chase and fish. They live a long time and rarely incur illness; if
they are opprest with wounds, without crying they cure themselves by
themselves with fire, their end being of old age. We judge they are
very compassionate and charitable toward their relatives, making them
great lamentations in their adversities, in their grief calling to
mind all their good fortunes. The relatives, one with another, at the
end of their life use the Sicilian lamentation, mingled with singing
lasting a long time. This is as much as we were able to learn about

The land is situated in the parallel of Rome, in forty and two-thirds
degrees, but somewhat colder on account of chance and not on account
of nature, as I will narrate to Your Majesty in another part,
describing at present the situation of said port. The shore of said
land runs from west to east. The mouth of the port looks toward the
south, half a league wide, after entering which between east and north
it extends XII leagues, where, widening itself, it makes an ample bay
of about XX leagues in circuit. In which are five little islands of
much fertility and beauty, full of high and spreading trees, among
which any numerous fleet, without fear of tempest or other impediment
of fortune, could rest securely. Turning thence toward the south to
the entrance of the port, on one side and the other are very charming
hills with many brooks, which from the height to the sea discharge
clear waters, which on account of its beauty we called "Refugio."

In the midst of the mouth is found a rock of Petra Viva produced by
nature, adapted for the building of any desired engine or bulwark for
its protection, which on account of the nature of the stone and on
account of the family of a gentlewoman we called "La Petra Viva"; on
whose right side at said mouth of the port is a promontory which we
called "Jovio Promontory."

Being supplied with our every necessity, the 6th day of May we
departed from said port, following the shore, never losing sight of
the land. We sailed one hundred and fifty leagues, within which space
we found shoals which extend from the continent into the sea 50
leagues. Upon which there was over three feet of water; on account of
which great danger in navigating it, we survived with difficulty and
baptized it "Armellini," finding it of the same nature and somewhat
higher with some mountains, with a high promontory which we named
"Pallavisino,"[7] which all indicated minerals. We did not stop there
because the favorableness of the weather served us in sailing along
the coast: we think it must conform to the other. The shore ran to the

In the space of fifty leagues, holding more to the north, we found a
high land full of very thick forests, the trees of which were pines,
cypresses and such as grow in cold regions. The people all different
from the others, and as much as those passed were of cultivated
manners, these were full of uncouthness and vices, so barbarous that
we were never able, with howsoever many signs we made them, to have
any intercourse with them. They dress with the skins of bear, lynxes,
sea-wolves, and other animals. The food, according to that which we
were able to learn through going many times to their habitations, we
think is of the chase, fish, and some products which are of a species
of roots which the ground yields by its own self. They do not have
pulse, nor did we see any signs of cultivation, nor would the ground,
on account of its sterility, be adapted to produce fruit or any grain.
If, trading at any time with them, we desired their things, they came
to the shore of the sea upon some rock where it was very steep,
and--we remaining in the small boat--with a cord let down to us what
they wished to give, continually crying on land that we should not
approach, giving quickly the barter, not taking in exchange for it
except knives, hooks for fishing, and sharp metal. They had no regard
for courtesy, and when they had nothing more to exchange, at their
departing the men made at us all the signs of contempt and shame which
any brute creature could make. Contrary to their wish, XXV armed men
of us were inland two and three leagues, and when we descended to the
shore they shot at us with their bows, sending forth the greatest
cries, then fled into the woods. We do not know any value of any
moment in this land, except the very great forests, with some hills
which possibly have some metal, because on many [natives] we saw
"paternosters" of copper in the ears.

We departed, skirting the coast between east and north, which we found
very beautiful, open and bare of forests, with high mountains back
inland, growing smaller toward the shore of the sea. In fifty leagues
we discovered XXXII islands, among which we called the three larger
"The Three Daughters of Navarra," all near to the continent, small and
of pleasing appearance, high, following the curving of the land, among
which were formed most beautiful ports and channels, as are formed in
the Adriatic Gulf, in the Illyrias, and Dalmatia. We had no
intercourse with the peoples and think they were, like the others,
devoid of morals and culture.

Navigating between east-southeast and north-northeast, in the space
of CL leagues, we came near the land which the Britons found in the
past, by the Cabots,[8] which stands in fifty degrees, and having
consumed all our naval stores and victuals, having discovered six
hundred leagues and more of new land, furnishing ourselves with water
and wood, we decided to turn toward France.

    [1] From a letter addrest to Francis I, King of France, on July 8,
    1524. Three copies of Verazzano's letter exist. One was printed by
    Ramusio in 1556 and translated for Hakluyt's "Voyages" in 1583.
    The second was found in the Strozzi Library in Florence, and
    published in 1841 by the New York Historical Society with a
    translation by J.G. Cogswell.

    The third copy is the one now owned by Count Gulio Macchi di
    Cellere, of Rome. It was first published in Italy in 1909, and the
    first English translation of it was made by Dr. Edward Hagaman
    Hall, secretary of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation
    Society, and published in the report of that society for 1910.
    This copy has the distinction of being contemporaneous. Dr. Hall
    says its value "consists not only in confirming the voyage itself,
    but also in supplying a wealth of names and details not previously
    known to exist." Verazzano's account of his visit to New York
    harbor here given is taken from Dr. Hall's translation.

    Giovanni de Verazzano was born in Italy about 1480, and died about
    1527. He early became a Florentine navigator and afterward a
    corsair in French service. His expedition to America was of French
    origin and sailed in 1523.

    [2] Off the coast of Virginia or Maryland.

    [3] This river is now known as the Hudson.

    [4] Verazzano's Bay, St. Margarita, was New York Bay.

    [5] Aloysia is now called Block Island.

    [6] Newport.

    [7] Cape Cod.

    [8] A Reference to the discovery of Newfoundland in 1497.





Jacques Cartier was a brave and experienced sea captain from St. Malo.
In 1534, Cartier made a preliminary voyage of exploration. Touching at
Newfoundland, he sailed through the straits of Belle Isle and explored
the east shore of the island, a region which for the barrenness of its
soil and the severity of its climate seemed the very spot whither Cain
had been banished. The coast of New Brunswick held out a more inviting
prospect. The fertility of the soil reminded the voyagers of their
native Brittany, and one field there seemed worth more than the whole
of Newfoundland. Thence Cartier sailed into the Gulf of St. Lawrence,
and would have explored the great river of Canada, but storms arose
and he deemed it prudent to return to France before bad weather set
in. His report of the country was encouraging. The soil, as we have
seen, promised well, and the voyagers had not yet learned the terrors
of a Canadian winter. The natives were rude in their habits, but they
were uniformly peaceful and ready to trade on easy terms for such
goods as they possest. There seemed good reason to hope, too, that
they might be converted to Christianity, and one of them had shown
confidence enough in the strangers to trust them with his two
children, who were easily reconciled to their captivity by the gift of
red caps and colored shirts.

In the next year Cartier again went forth with three ships. After
confessing and taking the sacrament in the church of St. Malo, the
adventurers set sail on Whit Sunday. Among them was the cup-bearer to
the Dauphin, Claudius de Pont-Briand. As before, the strangers were
well received by the Indians, and landed safely at Quebec. There
Cartier left his sailors with instructions to make a fortified camp,
while he himself, with the greater part of his men-at-arms and his two
Indian captives of the year before, should explore the upper banks of
the St. Lawrence, and penetrate, if possible, to the great Indian city
of Hochelaga.[2] The Indians, tho outwardly friendly, seem either to
have distrusted the French, or else grudged their neighbors at
Hochelaga such valuable allies, and would have dissuaded Cartier from
his expedition. When their remonstrances proved useless, the savages
tried to work on the fears of the visitors. Three canoes came floating
down the river, each containing a fiendish figure with horns and
blackened face. The supposed demons delivered themselves of a
threatening harangue, and then paddled to the shore, and whether to
complete the performance, or through honest terror, fell fainting in
their boats. The Indians then explained to Cartier that their god had
sent a warning to the presumptuous strangers, bidding them refrain
from the intended voyage. Cartier replied that the Indian god could
have no power over those who believed in Christ. The Indians
acquiesced, and even affected to rejoice in the approaching
discomfiture of their deity. Cartier and his followers started on the

After a fortnight's journey they came in sight of the natural citadel
of Hochelaga, the royal mount, as they fitly called it, which has
since given its name to the stately city below. The site of that city
was then filled by a village surrounded by maize fields and strongly
fortified after the Iroquois manner. There the French were received
with hospitality and with a reverence which seemed to imply that they
were something more than mortal. The sick were laid before them to be
healed, and when Cartier read portions of the Gospel in French, the
savages listened reverently to the unknown sounds. On his return,
Cartier found his fort securely palisaded, and decided there to await
the winter. So far all had gone well, but the settlers were soon
destined to see the unfavorable side of Canadian life. The savages,
after their fickle nature, began to waver in their friendship. A worse
danger was to come. Scurvy broke out, and before long twenty-five men
had died, and not more than three or four remained well. At length the
leaf of a tree whose virtues were pointed out by the Indians restored
the sufferers to health. When winter disappeared and the river again
became navigable, Cartier determined to return. He was anxious that
the French king should learn the wonders of the country from the
mouths of its own people. Accordingly, with a characteristic mixture
of caution, subtlety, and conciliation, he allured the principal chief
Donnacona, and some of his followers into the fort. There they were
seized and carried to the ships, nominally as honored guests, like
Montezuma among the followers of Cortez. Cartier then set sail with
his captives, and in July reached St. Malo. The Indians, as was
usually the fate of such captives, pined under a strange sky, and when
Cartier sailed again not one was alive.

Four years elapsed before another voyage was undertaken. In 1540 a
fleet of five ships was made ready at the expense of the king, who
reserved to himself a third of the profits of the voyage. Cartier was
appointed captain-general, with instructions to establish a settlement
and to labor for the conversion of the savages. With Cartier was
associated a man of high birth, the Sieur de Roberval, who was
appointed Viceroy and Lieutenant-general of Newfoundland, Labrador,
and all the territory explored by Cartier, with the title of Lord of
Norumbega. This division of command seems to have led to no good
results. Another measure which probably contributed to the failure of
the expedition was the mode employed for raising the necessary crews.
Cartier, like Frobisher, was empowered to search the prisons for
recruits. Even before the voyage began things took an unfavorable
turn. Roberval's ammunition was not ready at the stated time, and the
departure of the fleet was thereby hindered.

At length, lest further delay should give offense at court, Cartier
sailed, leaving Roberval to follow. The first interview with the
savages was a source of some fear, as it was doubtful how they would
receive the tidings of Donnacona's death. Luckily, the chief to whom
the news was first told was Donnacona's successor, and, as might have
been expected, he showed no dissatisfaction at Cartier's story. The
French then settled themselves in their old quarters at Quebec. Two of
the four ships were sent home to France to report safe arrival of the
expedition, while Cartier himself, with two boats, set out to explore
the river above Hochelaga. After his departure the relations between
the settlers and the Indians became unfriendly, a change probably due
in part to the loss of Donnacona and his companions. Whatever the
cause, the danger seemed so serious that Cartier on his return decided
to abandon the colony and to make for France. From later events it
would seem as if Cartier had no friendly feeling toward Roberval, and
jealousy may have had some share in leading him to forsake the
enterprise for which he had endured and risked so much. On his
homeward voyage he put into the harbor of St. John, in Newfoundland.
There he met Roberval with three ships and 200 men. Their meeting
seems to have been friendly, but Cartier, instead of obeying
Roberval's orders and returning with him to Canada, quietly weighed
anchor in the night and sailed away to France.

With this inglorious departure ends the career of the first great
French colonizer. Robervai resumed his voyage and landed above Quebec.
There he built a single abode for the whole colony on the model of a
college or monastery, with a common hail and kitchen. Of the doings of
the settlers we have but scanty accounts, but we learn enough to see
that the colony was ill-planned from the outset, and that either
Roberval was unfit for command or singularly unfortunate in his
subjects. The supplies were soon found to be inadequate, and scurvy
set in, the colonists became disorderly, and Roberval ruled them with
a rod of iron. Trifling offenses were punished with fearful severity;
men and women were flogged, and if we may believe one account, the
punishment of death was inflicted with no sparing hand. How long the
colony lingered on is unknown. Roberval himself returned to France
only, it is said, to die a violent death in the streets of Paris.
There is nothing to tell us whether his colonists returned with him or
whether, like White's unhappy followers, they were left to fall
victims to the horrors of the wilderness. Whatever was their fate, no
attempt was made to restore the colony, and the St. Lawrence was left
for more than fifty years to the savages and wild beasts.

    [1] From Doyle's "_English Colonies in America_." By permission of
    the publishers, Henry Holt & Co. Jacques Cartier was born at St.
    Malo, France, in 1494, and died some time after 1552. He made
    three voyages to Canada, the first in 1534, the second in 1535,
    the third in 1541.

    [2] The site is now occupied by Montreal.



Vpon Thursday being the eight of the moneth, because the winde was not
good to go out with our ships, we set our boates in a readinesse to
goe to discouer the said Bay[2], and that day wee went 25 leagues
within it. The next day the wind and weather being faire, we sailed
vntil noone, in which time we had notice of a great part of the said
Bay, and how that ouer the low lands, there were other lands with high
mountaines: but seeing that there was no passage at all, wee began to
turne back againe, taking our way along the coast and sayling, we saw
certaine wilde men.... and by and by in clusters they came to the
shore where we were, with their boates, bringing with them skinnes and
other such things as they had, to haue of our wares.... til they had
nothing but their naked bodies; for they gaue vs all whatsoeuer they
had, and that was but of small value. We perceiued that this people
might very easily be conuerted to our Religion. They goe from place to
place. They liue onely with fishing. They haue an ordinarie time to
fish for their prouision. The countrey is hotter than the countrey of
Spaine, and the fairest that can possibly be found, altogether smooth,
and leuel. There is no place be it neuer so little, but it bath some
trees (yea albeit it be sandie) or else is full of wilde corne, that
hath an eare like vnto Rie: the corne is like oates, and smal peason
as thicke as if they had bene sowen and plowed, white and red Roses,
with many other flouers of very sweet and pleasant smell. There be
also many goodly medowes full of grasse, and lakes wherein great
plentie of salmons be. They call a hatchet in their tongue Cochi, and
a knife Bacon: we named it The bay of heat....

The Saturday following, being the first of August, by Sunne rising,
wee had certaine other landes, lying North and Northeast, that were
very high and craggie, and seemed to be mountaines: betweene which
were other low lands with woods and riuers: wee went about the sayd
lands, as well on the one side as on the other, still bending
Northwest, to see if it were either a gulfe, or a passage, vntill the
fift of the moneth. The distance from one land to the other is about
fifteene leagues. The middle between them both is 50 degrees and a
terce in latitude. We had much adoe to go fiue miles farther, the
winds were so great and the tide against vs. And at fiue miles end, we
might plainely see and perceiue land on both sides, which there
beginneth to spread it selfe.

After we had sailed along the sayd coast, for the space of two houres,
behold, the tide began to tame against vs, with so swift and raging a
course, that it was not possible for vs with 13 oares to row or get
one stones cast farther, so that we were constrained to leaue our
boates with some of our men to guard them, and 10 or 12 men went
ashore to the sayd Cape, where we found that the land beginneth to
bend Southwest, which hauing scene, we came to our boats againe, and
so to our ships, which were stil ready vnder salle, hoping to go
forward; but for all that, they were fallen more then four leagues to
leeward from the place where we had left them, where so soone as we
came, wee assembled together all our Captaines, Masters, and Mariners,
to haue their aduice and opinion what was best to be done; and after
that euery one had said, considering that the Easterly winds began to
beare away, and blow, and that the flood was so great, that we did but
fall, and that there was nothing to be gotten, and that stormes and
tempests began to reigne in Newfoundland, and that we were so farre
from home, not knowing the perils and dangers that were behind, for
either we must agree to reture home againe, or els to stay there all
the yeere. More ouer, we did consider, that if the Northerne winds did
take vs, it were not possible for vs to depart thence. All which
opinions being heard and considered, we altogether determined to
addresse our selues homeward. Nowe because vpon Saint Peters day wee
entred into the sayd Streite, we named it Saint Peters Streite....

In the yeere of our Lord 1535, vpon Whitsunday, being the 16. of May,
by the commandement of our Captaine Iames Cartier, and with a common
accord, in the Cathedrall Church of S. Malo we deuoutly each one
confessed our selues, and receiued the Sacrament: and all entring into
the Quier of the sayd Church, wee presented our selues before the
Reuerend Father in Christ, the Lord Bishop of S. Malo, who blessed vs
all, being in his Bishops roabes. The Wednesday following, being the
19. of May, there arose a good gale of wind, and therefore we hoysed
seyle with three ships.... We staied and rested our selues in the sayd
hauen, vntill the seuenth of August being Sonday: on which day we
hoysed sayle, and came toward land on the South side toward Cape
Robast, distant from the sayd hauen about twentie leagues
Northnortheast, and Southsouthwest: but the next day there rose a
stormie and a contrary winde, and because we could find no hauen there
toward the South, thence we went coasting along toward the North,
beyond the abouesayd hauen about ten leagues, where we found a goodly
great gulfe, full of Islands, passages, and entrances, toward what
wind soeuer you please to bend: for the knowledge of this gulfe there
is a great Island that is like to a Cape of lande, stretching somewhat
further foorth than the others, and about two leagues within the land,
there is an hill fashioned as it were an heape of corne. We named the
sayd gulfe Saint Laurence his bay. The twelfth of the sayd moneth wee
went from the sayd Saint Laurence his Bay, or gulfe, sayling Westward,
and discouered a Cape of land toward the South, that runneth West and
by South, distant from the sayd Saint Laurence his Bay, about fiue and
twenty leagues....

Moreouer, I beleeue that there were neuer so many Whales seen as we
saw that day about the sayd Cape. The next day after being aur Ladie
day of August the fifteenth of the moneth, hauing passed the Straight,
we had notice of certaine lands that wee left toward the South, which
landes are full of uery great and high hilles, and this Cape wee named
The Island of the Assumption, and perceuived to be higher than the
Southerly, more then thirty leagues in length. We treaded the sayd
landes about toward the South: from the sayd day vntill Tewesday noone
following, the winde came West, and therefore wee bended toward the
North, purposing to goe and see the land that we before had spied.
Being arriued there, we found the sayd landes as it were ioyned
together, and low toward the Sea. And the Northerly mountaines that
are vpon the sayd low lands stretch East, and West, and a quarter of
the South. Our wild men told vs that there was the beginning of
Saguenay, and that it was land inhabited, and that thence commeth the
red Copper, of them named Caignetdaze.

There is between the Southerly lands, and the Northerly about thirty
leagues distance, and more then two hundredth fadome depth. The sayd
men did moreouer certifie vnto vs, that there was the way and
beginning of the great riuer of Hochelaga and ready way to Canada,
which riuer the further it went the narrower it came, euen vnto
Canada, and that then there was fresh water, which went so famine
vpwards, that they had neuer heard of any man who had gone to the head
of it, and that there is no other passage but with small boates....
Vpon the first of September we departed out of the said hauen,
purposing to go toward Canada; and about 15 leagues from it toward the
West, and Westsouthwest, amidst the riuer, there are three Islands,
ouer against the which there is a riuer which runneth swift, and is of
great depth, and it is that which leadeth, and runneth into the
countrey and kingdome of Saguenay, as by the two wild men of Canada it
was told vs. This riuer passeth and runneth along very high and steepe
hills of bare stone, where uery little earth is, and notwithstanding
there is a great quantity of sundry sorts of trees that grow in the
said bare stones, euen as vpon good and fertile ground, in such sort
that we haue seene some so great as wel would suffise to make a mast
for a ship of 30 tunne burden, and as greene as possibly can be,
growing in a stony rocke without any earth at all....

The seuenth of the moneth being our Ladies euen, after seruice we went
from that Iland to go vp higher into the riuer, and came to 14 Ilands
seuen or eight leagues from the Iland of Filberds, where the countrey
of Canada beginneth, one of which Ilands is ten leagues in length, and
fiue in bredth, greatly inhabited of such men as onely liue by fishing
of such sorts of fishes as the riuer affordeth, according to the
season of them.... The next day following, the Lord of Canada (whose
proper name was Donnacona, but by the name of Lord they call him
Agouhanna) with twelue boats came to our ships, accompanied with many
people, who causing ten of his boates to goe backe with the other two,
approched vnto vs with sixteene men ... Our Captaine then caused our
boates to be set in order, that with the next tide he might goe vp
higher into the riuer, to find some safe harborough for our ships: and
we passed vp the riuer against the streame about tenne leagues,
coasting the said Iland, at the end whereof, we found a goodly and
pleasant sound, where is a little riuer and hauen, where by reason of
the flood there is about three fadome water. This place seemed to us
very fit and commodious to harbour our ships therein, and so we did
very safely, we named it the holy Crosse, for on that day we came
thither. Neere vnto it, there is a village, whereof Donnacona is Lord,
and there he keepeth his abode: it is called Stadacona [Quebec] as
goodly a plot of ground as possibly may be seene.

Hauing considered the place, and finding it fit for our purpose, our
Captaine withdrew himselfe on purpose to returne to our ships. After
we were come with our boats vnto our ships againe, our Captaine cause
our barks to be made readie to goe on land in the said Iland, to note
the trees that in shew seemed so faire, and to consider the nature and
qualitie of it: which things we did, and found it full of goodly trees
like to ours. Also we saw many goodly Vines, a thing not before of vs
seene in those countries, and therefore we named it Bacchus Iland. It
is in length about twelue leagues, in sight very pleasant, but full of
woods, no part of it manured, vnless it be in certaine places, where a
few cottages be for Fishers dwellings as before we haue said....

The next day being the 19 of September we hoysed saile, and with our
Pinnesse and two boates departed to goe vp the riuer with the flood,
where on both shores of it we beganne to see as goodly a countrey as
possibly can with eye seene, all replenished with very goodly trees,
and Vines laden as full of grapes as could be all along the riuer,
which rather seemed to haue bin planted by mans hand than otherwise.
True it is, that because they are not dressed and wrought as they
should be, their bunches of grapes are not so great nor sweete as
ours.... From the nineteenth vntill the eight and twentieth of
September, we sailed vp along the saide riuer, neuer losing one houre
of time, all which time we saw as goodly and pleasant a countrey as
possibly can be wished for....

The next day our Captaine seeing for that time it was not possible for
our Pinesse to goe on any further, he caused our boates to be made
readie, and as much munition and victuals to be put in them, as they
could well beare: he departed with them, accompanyed with many
Gentlemen, that is to say, Claudius of Ponte Briand, Cupbearer to the
Lorde Dolphin of France, Charles of Pommeraye, Iohn Gouion, Iohn
Powlet, with twentie and eight Mariners: and Mace Iallobert, and
William Briton, who had the charge vnder the Captaine of the other two
ships, to goe vp as farre as they could into that riuer: we sayled
with good and prosperous weather vntill the second of October, on
which day we came to the towne of Hochelaga, [Montreal] distant from
the place where we had left our Pinnesse fiue and fortie leagues.

    [1] From a letter by Cartier, of which a translation exists in
    Hakluyt's "Principal Navigations," etc. Printed in Hart's "American
    History Told by Contemporaries."

    [2] The Gulf of St. Lawrence.




In 1513, a hundred and seven years before the landing of the Pilgrims
at Plymouth, Balboa scaled the continental backbone at Darien and
unfurled the flag of Spain by the waters of the Pacific. With wondrous
zeal did Spanish explorers beat up and down the western shore of the
Gulf of Mexico, seeking for an opening through. Cortez had no sooner
secured possession of Mexico, after his frightful slaughter of the
Aztecs, than he began pushing out to the west and northwest--along the
"upper coasts of the South Sea"--in search of the strait which
Montezuma told him existed.

It is unlikely that Montezuma's knowledge of North American geography
was much greater than that of his conqueror. But in every age and land
aborigines have first ascertained what visiting strangers most sought,
whether it be gold or waterways, and assured them that somewhere
beyond the neighboring horizon these objects were to be found in
plenty. Spanish, French, and English have each in their turn chased
American rainbows that existed only in the brains of imaginative
tribesmen who had little other thought than a childish desire to
gratify their guests.

Cortez undertook, at his own charge, several of these expensive
exploring expeditions to discover the strait of which Montezuma had
spoken, and one of them he conducted in person. In 1528--the year he
visited Spain to meet his accusers--we find him dispatching Maldonado
northward along the Pacific coast for three hundred miles; and five
years later Grijalva and Jimenez were claiming for Spain the southern
portion of Lower California. A full hundred years before Jean Nicolet
related to the French authorities at their feeble outpost on the rock
of Quebec the story of his daring progress into the wilds of the upper
Mississippi Valley, and the rumors he had there heard of the great
river which flowed into the South Sea, Spanish officials in the halls
of Montezuma were receiving the tales of their adventurers, who had
penetrated to strange lands laved by the waters of this selfsame

It was about the year 1530 when the Spaniards in Mexico first received
word, through an itinerant monk, Marcos de Niza, of certain powerful
semi-civilized tribes dwelling some six hundred miles north of the
capital of the Aztecs. These strange people were said to possess in
great store domestic utensils and ornaments made of gold and silver;
to be massed in seven large cities composed of houses built with
stone; and to be proficient in many of the arts of the Europeans. The
search for "the seven cities of Cibola," as these reputed communities
came to be called by the Spaniards, was at once begun.

Guzman, just then at the head of affairs in New Spain, zealously set
forth at the head of four hundred Spanish soldiers, and a large
following of Indians, to search for this marvelous country. But the
farther north the army marched the more distant became Cibola in the
report of the natives whom they met on the way; until at last the
invaders became involved in the pathless deserts of New Mexico and the
intricate ravines of the foothills beyond. The soldiers grew mutinous,
and Guzman returned, crestfallen, to Mexico.

In April, 1528, three hundred enthusiastic young nobles and gentlemen
from Spain landed at Tampa Bay, under the leadership of Narvaez, whom
Cortez supplanted in the conquest of Mexico. Narvaez had been given a
commission to hold Florida, with its supposed wealth of mines and
precious stones, and to become its governor. Led by the customary
fables of the natives, who told only such tales as they supposed their
Spanish tormentors wished most to hear, the brilliant company wandered
hither and thither through the vast swamps and forests, wasted by
fatigue, famine, disease, and frequent assaults of savages. At last,
after many distressing adventures, but four men were left--Cabeza de
Vaca, treasurer of the expedition, and three others. For eight long
years did these bruised and ragged Spaniards wearily roam across the
region now divided into Texas, Indian Territory, Oklahoma, New Mexico,
and Arizona--through tangled forests, across broad rivers, morasses,
and desert stretches beset by wild beasts and men; but ever spurred on
by vague reports of a colony of their countrymen to the southwest. At
last (May, 1536), the miserable wanderers, first to make the
transcontinental trip in northern latitudes, reached the Gulf of
California, where they met some of their fellow countrymen, who bore
them in triumph to the City of Mexico, as the guests of the

In that golden age of romance travelers were expected to gild their
tales, and in this respect seldom failed to meet the popular demand.
The Spanish conquistadores, in particular, lived in an atmosphere of
fancy. They looked at American savages and their ways through Spanish
spectacles; and knowing nothing of the modern science of ethnology,
quite misunderstood the import of what they saw. Beset by the national
vice of flowery embellishment, they were also pardonably ignorant of
savage life, and had an indiscriminating thirst for the marvelous.
Thus, we see plainly how the Cibola myth arose and grew; and why most
official Spanish reports of the conquest of the Aztecs were so
distorted by false conceptions of the conquered people as in some
particulars to be of light value as material for history. It was,
then, small wonder that Cabeza de Vaca and his fellow adventurers, in
the midst of the hero worship of which they were now recipients,
should claim themselves to have seen the mysterious seven cities, and
to have enlarged upon the previous stories.

Coronado, governor of the northern province of New Galicia, was
accordingly sent to conquer this wonderful country, which the
adventurers had seen, but Guzman failed to find. In 1540, the years
when Cortez again returned to meet ungrateful neglect at the bands of
the Spanish court, Coronado set out with a well--equipped following of
three hundred whites and eight hundred Indians. The Cibola cities were
found to be but mud pueblos in Arizona and New Mexico, with the aspect
of which we are to--day familiar; while the mild--tempered
inhabitants, destitute of wealth, peacefully practising their crude
industries and tilling their irrigated field, were foemen hardly
worthy of Castilian steel.

    [1] From Mr. Thwaites' "Rocky Mountain Explorations." By
    permission of the publishers, D. Appleton & Co. Copyright 1904.
    Cabeza de Vaca was born at Jeraz de la Frontera, in Spain, about
    1490, and died at Seville some time after 1560. In 1528 he was
    made treasurer of an expedition under Narvaez to Florida. From
    Florida he sailed westward with Narvaez and off the coast of
    Lousiana was shipwrecked. A combat with Indians ensued from which
    De Vaca and three others escaped with their lives. After spending
    six years with the Indians as captives, he reached Mexico in 1536,
    meanwhile making the journey here described. He returned to Spain
    in 1537, and in 1540 was made Governor of Paraguay, which he
    explored in 1543. In the following year he was deposed and
    imprisoned by Spanish colonists in Paraguay for alleged arbitrary
    conduct and sent to Spain, where he was sentenced to be banished
    to Oran in Africa, but was subsequently recalled and made judge of
    the Supreme Court of Seville.




Castillo returned at the end of three days to the spot where he had
left us, and brought five or six of the people. He told us he had
found fixt dwellings of civilization, that the inhabitants lived on
beans and pumpkins, and that he had seen maize. This news the most of
anything delighted us, and for it we gave infinite thanks to our Lord.
Castillo told us the negro was coming with all the population to wait
for us in the road not far off. Accordingly we left, and, having
traveled a league and a half, we met the negro and the people coming
to receive us. They gave us beans, many pumpkins, calabashes, blankets
of cowhide and other things. As this people and those who came with us
were enemies, and spoke not each other's language, we discharged the
latter, giving them what we received, and departed with the others.
Six leagues from there, as the night set in, we arrived at the houses,
where great festivities were made over us. We remained one day, and
the next set out with these Indians. They took us to the settled
habitations of others, who lived upon the same food. From that place
onward was another usage. Those who knew of our approach did not come
out to receive us on the road as the others had done, but we found
them in their houses, and they had made others for our reception. They
were all seated with their faces turned to the wall, their heads down,
the hair brought before their eyes, and their property placed in a
heap in the middle of the house. From this place they began to give us
many blankets of skin; and they had nothing they did not bestow. They
have the finest persons of any people we saw, of the greatest activity
and strength, who best understood us and intelligently answered our
inquiries. We called them the Cow nation, because most of the
cattle[2] killed are slaughtered in their neighborhood, and along up
that river for over fifty leagues they destroy great numbers.

They go entirely naked after the manner of the first we saw. The women
are drest with deer skin, and some few men, mostly the aged, who are
incapable of fighting. The country is very populous. We asked how it
was they did not plant maize. They answered it was that they might not
lose what they should put in the ground; that the rains had failed for
two years in succession, and the seasons were so dry the seed had
everywhere been taken by the moles, and they could not venture to
plant again until after water had fallen copiously. They begged us to
tell the sky to rain, and to pray for it, and we said we would do so.
We also desired to know whence they got the maize, and they told us
from where the sun goes down; there it grew throughout the region, and
the nearest was by that path....

Two days being spent while we tarried, we resolved to go in search of
the maize. We did not wish to follow the path leading to where the
cattle are, because it is toward the north, and for us very
circuitous, since we ever held it certain that going toward the sunset
we must find what we desired.

Thus we took our way, and traversed all the country until coming out
at the South Sea. Nor was the dread we had of the sharp hunger through
which we should have to pass (as in verity we did, throughout the
seventeen days' journey of which the natives spoke) sufficient to
hinder us. During all that time, in ascending by the river, they gave
us many coverings of cowhide; but we did not eat of the fruit. Our
sustenance each day was about a handful of deer-suet, which we had a
long time been used to saving for such trials. Thus we passed the
entire journey of seventeen days.

As the sun went down, upon some plains that lie between chains of very
great mountains, we found a people who for the third part of the year
eat nothing but the powder of straw, and, that being the season when
we passed, we also had to eat of it, until reaching permanent
habitations, where was abundance of maize brought together. They gave
us a large quantity in grain and flour, pumpkins, beans, and shawls of
cotton. With all these we loaded our guides, who went back the
happiest creatures on earth. We gave thanks to God, our Lord, for
having brought us where we had found so much food.

Some houses are of earth, the rest all of cane mats. From this point
we marched through more than a hundred leagues of country, and
continually found settled domicils, with plenty of maize and beans.
The people gave us many deer and cotton shawls better than those of
New Spain, many beads and certain corals found on the South Sea, and
fine turquoises that come from the North. Indeed, they gave us
everything they had. To me they gave five emeralds made into arrow
heads, which they use at their singing and dancing. They appeared to
be very precious. I asked whence they got these; and they said the
stones were brought from some lofty mountains that stand toward the
north, where were populous towns and very large houses, and that they
were purchased with plumes and the feathers of parrots.

Among this people the women are treated with more decorum than in any
part of the Indias we had visited. They wear a shirt of cotton that
falls as low as the knee, and over it half sleeves with skirts
reaching to the ground, made of drest deerskin. It opens in front, and
is brought close with straps of leather. They soap this with a certain
root that cleanses well, by which they are enabled to keep it
becomingly. Shoes are worn. The people all came to us that we should
touch and bless them, they being very urgent, which we could
accomplish only with great labor, for sick and well all wished to go
with a benediction.

These Indians ever accompanied us until they delivered us to others;
and all held full faith in our coming from heaven. While traveling, we
went without food all day until night, and we ate so little as to
astonish them. We never felt exhaustion, neither were we in fact at
all weary, so inured were we to hardship. We possest great influence
and authority: to preserve both, we seldom talked with them. The negro
was in constant conversation; he informed himself about the ways we
wished to take, of the towns there were, and the matters we desired to

We passed through many and dissimilar tongues. Our Lord granted us
favor with the people who spoke them, for they always understood us,
and we them. We questioned them, and received their answers by signs,
just as if they spoke our language and we theirs; for, altho we knew
six languages, we could not everywhere avail ourselves of them, there
being a thousand differences.

Throughout all these countries the people who were at war immediately
made friends, that they might come to meet us, and bring what they
possest. In this way we left all the land at peace, and we taught all
the inhabitants by signs, which they understood, that in heaven was a
Man we called God, who had created the sky and earth; Him we worshiped
and had for our Master; that we did what He commanded, and from His
hand came all good; and would they do as we did, all would be well
with them. So ready of apprehension we found them that, could we have
have the use of language by which to make ourselves perfectly
understood, we should have left them all Christians. Thus much we gave
them to understand the best we could. And afterward, when the sun
rose, they opened their hands together with loud shouting toward the
heavens, and then drew them down all over their bodies. They did the
same again when the sun went down. They are a people of good condition
and substance, capable in any pursuit. In the town where the emeralds
were presented to us the people gave Dorantes over six hundred open
hearts of deer. They ever keep a good supply of them for food, and we
called the place Pueblo de los Corazones. It is the entrance into many
provinces on the South Sea. They who go to look for them, and do not
enter there, will be lost. On the coast is no maize: the inhabitants
eat the powder of rush and of straw, and fish that is caught in the
sea from rafts, not having canoes. With grass and straw the women
cover their nudity. They are a timid and dejected people.

We think that near the coast by way of those towns through which we
came are more than a thousand leagues of inhabited country, plentiful
of subsistence. Three times the year it is planted with maize and
beans. Deer are of three kinds; one the size of the young steer of
Spain. There are innumerable houses, such as are called bahios. They
have poison from a certain tree the size of the apple. For effect no
more is necessary than to pluck the fruit and moisten the arrow with
it, or, if there be no fruit, to break a twig and with the milk do the
like. The tree is abundant, and so deadly that, if the leaves be
bruised and steeped in some neighboring water, the deer and other
animals drinking it soon burst.

We were in this town three days. A day's journey farther was another
town, at which the rain fell heavily while we were there, and the
river became so swollen we could not cross it, which detained us
fifteen days. In this time Castillo saw the buckle of a sword-belt on
the neck of an Indian, and stitched to it the nail of a horseshoe. He
took them, and we asked the native what they were: he answered that
they came from heaven. We questioned him further, as to who had
brought them thence: they all responded that certain men who wore
beards like us had come from heaven and arrived at that river,
bringing horses, lances, and swords, and that they had lanced two
Indians. In a manner of the utmost indifference we could feign, we
asked them what had become of those men. They answered that they had
gone to sea, putting their lances beneath the water, and going
themselves also under the water: afterward that they were seen on the
surface going toward the sunset. For this we gave many thanks to God
our Lord. We had before despaired of ever hearing more of Christians.
Even yet we were left in great doubt and anxiety, thinking those
people were merely persons who had come by sea on discoveries.
However, as we had now such exact information, we made greater speed,
and, as we advanced on our way, the news of the Christians continually
grew. We told the natives that we were going in search of that people,
to order them not to kill nor make slaves of them, nor take them from
their lands, nor do other injustice. Of this the Indians were very

We passed through many territories and found them all vacant; their
inhabitants wandered fleeing among the mountains, without daring to
have houses or till the earth for fear of Christians. The sight was
one of infinite pain to us, a land very fertile and beautiful,
abounding in springs and streams, the hamlets deserted and burned, the
people thin and weak, all fleeing or in concealment. As they did not
plant, they appeased their keen hunger by eating roots and the bark of
trees. We bore a share in the famine along the whole way; for poorly
could these unfortunates provide for us, themselves being so reduced
they looked as tho they would willingly die. They brought shawls of
those they had concealed because of the Christians presenting them to
us; and they related how the Christians at other times had come
through the land, destroying and burning the towns, carrying away half
the men, and all the women and the boys, while those who had been able
to escape were wandering about fugitives. We found them so alarmed
they dared not remain anywhere. They would not nor could they till the
earth, but preferred to die rather than live in dread of such cruel
usage as they received. Altho these showed themselves greatly
delighted with us, we feared that on our arrival among those who held
the frontier, and fought against the Christians, they would treat us
badly, and revenge upon us the conduct of their enemies; but, when God
our Lord was pleased to bring us there, they began to dread and
respect us as the others had done, and even somewhat more, at which we
no little wondered. Thence it may at once be seen that, to bring all
these people to be Christians and to the obedience of the Imperial
Majesty, they must be won by kindness, which is a way certain, and no
other is.

They took us to a town on the edge of a range of mountains, to which
the ascent is over difficult crags. We found many people there
collected out of fear of the Christians. They received us well, and
presented us all they had. They gave us more than two thousand
back-loads of maize, which we gave to the distrest and hungered beings
who guided us to that place. The next day we dispatched four
messengers through the country, as we were accustomed to do, that they
should call together all the rest of the Indians at a town distant
three days' march. We set out the day after with all the people. The
tracks of the Christians and marks where they slept were continually
seen. At mid-day we met our messengers, who told us they had found no
Indians, that they were roving and hiding in the forests, fleeing that
the Christians might not kill nor make them slaves; the night before
they had observed the Christians from behind trees, and discovered
what they were about, carrying away many people in chains....

From this spot, called the river Petutan, to the river to which Diego
de Guzman came, where we heard of Christians, may be as many as eighty
leagues; thence to the town where the rains overtook us, twelve
leagues, and that is twelve leagues from the South Sea. Throughout
this region, wheresoever the mountains extend, we saw clear traces of
gold and lead, iron, copper, and other metals. Where the settled
habitations are, the climate is hot; even in January the weather is
very warm. Thence toward the meridian, the country unoccupied to the
North Sea is unhappy and sterile. There we underwent great and
incredible hunger. Those who inhabit and wander over it are a race of
evil inclination and most cruel customs. The people of the fixt
residences and those beyond regard silver and gold with indifference,
nor can they conceive of any use for them.

When we saw sure signs of Christians, and heard how near we were to
them, we gave thanks to God our Lord for having chosen to bring us out
of a captivity so melancholy and wretched. The delight we felt let
each one conjecture, when if he shall remember the length of time we
were in that country, the suffering and perils we underwent. That
night I entreated my companions that one of them should go back three
days' journey after the Christians who were moving about over the
country, where we had given assurance of protection. Neither of them
received this proposal well, excusing themselves because of weariness
and exhaustion; and altho either might have done better than I, being
more youthful and athletic, yet seeing their unwillingness, the next
morning I took the negro with eleven Indians, and, following the
Christians by their trail, I traveled ten leagues, passing three
villages, at which they had slept.

The day after I overtook four of them on horseback, who were
astonished at the sight of me, so strangely habited as I was, and in
company with Indians. They stood staring at me a length of time, so
confounded that they neither hailed me nor drew near to make an
inquiry. I bade them take me to their chief: accordingly we went
together half a league to the place where was Diego de Alcaraz, their

After we had conversed, he stated to me that he was completely undone;
he had not been able in a long time to take any Indians; he knew not
which way to turn, and his men had well begun to experience hunger and
fatigue. I told him of Castillo and Dorantes, who were behind, ten
leagues off, with a multitude that conducted us. He thereupon sent
three cavalry to them, with fifty of the Indians who accompanied him.
The negro returned to guide them, while I remained. I asked the
Christians to give me a certificate of the year, month, and day I
arrived there, and of the manner of my coming, which they accordingly
did. From this river to the town of the Christians, named San Miguel,
within the government of the province called New Galicia, are thirty

    [1] After returning to Spain De Vaca published at Zemora, in 1542,
    a "Relation" of his travels and adventures, from which the account
    here given is taken. Purchase issued an early English version of
    it, but a better translation, made in 1851 by Buckingham Smith, is
    printed in the "Old South Leaflets." The passages here given
    relate to the journey through Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and
    Arizona. The exact localities, however, it has been impossible to

    [2] Not the domestic cow we know, which was brought to America
    from Europe, but the cow of the bison, or buffalo.




At length I arriued at the valley of the people called Caracones, the
26. day of the moneth of May: and from Culiacan vntill I came thither,
I could not helpe my selfe, saue onely with a great quantitie of bread
of Maiz: for seeing the Maiz in the fieldes were not yet ripe, I was
constrained to leaue them all behind me. In this valley of the
Caracones wee found more store of people than in any other part of the
Countrey which we had passed, and great store of tillage. But I
understood that there was store thereof in another valley called The
Lords valley, which I woulde not disturbe with force, but sent thither
Melchior Diaz with wares of exchange to procure some, and to giue the
sayde Maiz to the Indians our friendes which wee brought with vs, and
to some others that had lost their cattell in the way, and were not
able to carry their victuals so farre which they brought from
Culiacan. It pleased God that wee gate some small quantitie of Maiz
with this traffique, whereby certaine Indians were relieued and some

And by that time that wee were come to this valley of the Caracones,
some tenne or twelue of our horses were dead through wearinesse: for
being ouercharged with great burdens, and hauing but little meate,
they could not endure the trauaile. Likewise some of our Negros and
some of our Indians dyed here; which was no small want vnto vs for the
performance of our enterprise. They tolde me that this valley of the
Caracones is fiue days iourney from the Westerne Sea. I sent for the
Indians of the Sea coast to vnderstand their estate, and while I
stayed for them the horses rested: and I stayed there foure days, in
which space the Indians of the Sea coast came vnto mee: which told
mee, that two dayes sayling from their coast of the Sea, there were
seuen or eight Islands right ouer against them, well inhabited with
people, but badly furnished with victuals, and were a rude people: And
they told mee, that they had seene a Shippe passe by not farre from
the shore: which I wote not what to thinke whither it were one of
those that went to discouer the Countrey, or else a Ship of the

But after wee had passed these thirtie leagues, wee found fresh
riuers, and grasse like that of Castile, and specially of that sort
which we call Scaramoio, many Nutte trees and Mulberie trees, but the
Nutte trees differ from those of Spayne in the leafe: and there was
Flaxe, but chiefly neere the bankes of a certayne riuer which
therefore wee called El Rio del Lino, that is say, the riuer of Flaxe:
we found no Indians at all for a dayes trauaile, but afterward foure
Indians came out vnto vs in peaceable maner, saying that they were
sent euen to that desert place to signifie vnto vs that wee were
welcome, and that the next day all the people would come out to meete
vs on the way with victuals: and the master of the flelde gaue them a
crosse, willing them to signifie to those of their citie that they
should not feare, and they should rather let the people stay in their
houses, because I came onely in the name of his Maiestie to defend and
ayd them.

And this done, Fernando Aluardo returned to aduertise mee that
certaine Indians were come vnto them in peaceable maner, and that two
of them stayed for my comming with the master of the fielde. Whereupon
I went vnto them and gaue them beades and certaine short slokes,
willing them to returne vnto their citie, and bid them to stay quiet
in their houses, and feare nothing. And this done I sent the master of
the field to search whether there were any bad passage which the
Indians might keepe against vs, and that hee should take and defend it
vntill the next day that I shoulde come thither. So hee went, and
found in the way a very bad passage, where wee might haue sustayned a
very great harme: wherefore there hee seated himselfe with his company
that were with him: and that very night the Indians came to take that
passage to defend it, and finding it taken, they assaulted our men
there, and as they tell mee, they assaulted them like valiant men;
although in the ende they retired and fledde away; for the master of
the fielde was watchfull, and was in order with his company: the
Indians in token of retreate sounded on a certaine small trumpet, and
did no hurt among the Spanyards. The very same night the master of the
flelde certified mee hereof. Whereupon the next day in the best order
that I could I departed in so great want of victuall, that I thought
that if wee should stay one day longer without foode, wee should all
perish for hunger, especially the Indians, for among vs all we had not
two bushels of corne: wherefore it behooved mee to prike forward
without delay. The Indians here and their made fires, and were
answered againe afarre off as orderly as wee for our liues could haue
done, to giue their fellowes vnderstanding, how wee marched and where
we arriued....

As soone as I came within sight of this citie of Granada, I sent Don
Garcias Lopez Campemaster, frier Daniel, and frier Luys, and Fernando
Vermizzo somewhat before with certaine horsemen, to seeke the Indians
and aduertise them that our comming was not to hurt them, but to
defend them in the name of the Emperour our Lord, according as his
maiestie had giuen vs in charge: which message was deliuered to the
inhabitants of that countrey by an interpreter. But they like arrogant
people made small account thereof; because we seemed very few in their
eyes, and that they might destroy vs without any difficultie; and they
strooke frier Luys with an arrow on the gowne, which by the grace of
God did him no harme.

In the meane space I arriued with all the rest of the horsemen, and
footemen, and found in the fleldes a great sort of the Indians which
beganne to shoote at vs with their arrowes: and because I would obey
your will and the commaund of the Marques, I woulde not let my people
charge them, forbidding my company, which intreated mee that they
might set vpon them, in any wise to prouoke them, saying that that
which the enemies did was nothing, and that it was not meete to set
vpon so fewe people. On the other side the Indians perceiuing that wee
stirred not, tooke great stomacke and courage vnto them: insomuch that
they came hard to our horses heeles to shoote at vs with their
arrowes. Whereupon seeing that it was now time to stay no longer, and
that the friers also were of the same opinion, I set vpon them without
any danger: for suddenly they fled part to the citie which was neere
and well fortified, and other into the field, which way they could
shift: and some of the Indians were slaine, and more had beene if I
would haue suffered them to haue bene pursued.

But considering that hereof we might reape but small profite, because
the Indians that were without were fewe, and those which were retired
into the cities, with them which stayed within at the first were many,
where the victuals were whereof wee had so great neede, I assembled my
people, and deuided them as I thought best to assault the citie, and I
compassed it about: and because the famine which wee sustained
suffered no delay, my selfe with certaine of these gentlemen and
souldiers put our selues on foote, and commaunded that the
crosse-bowes and harquebusiers shoulde giue the assault, and shoulde
beate the enemies from the walles, that they might not hurt vs, and I
assaulted the walles on one side, where they tolde me there was a
scaling ladder set vp, and that there was one gate: but the
crossebowmen suddenly brake the strings of their bowes, and the
harquebusiers did nothing at all: for they came thither so weake and
feeble, that scarcely they coulde stand on their feete.

And by this meanes the people that were aloft on the wals to defend
the towne were no way hindered from doing vs all the mischiefe they
could: so that twise they stroke mee to the ground with infinite
number of great stones, which they cast downe: and if I had not beene
defended with an excellent good headpiece which I ware, I thinke it
had gone hardly with me: neuerthelesse my companie tooke mee vp with
two small wounds in the face, and an arrowe sticking in my foote, and
many blowes with stones on my armes and legges, and thus I went out of
the battell very weake. I thinke that if Don Garcias Lopez de Cardenas
the second time that they strooke mee to the ground had not succoured
mee with striding ouer mee like a good knight, I had beene in farre
greater danger then I was. But it pleased God that the Indians yeelded
themselues vnto vs, and that this citie was taken: and such store of
Maiz was found therein, as our necessitie required....

It remaineth now to certifie your Honour of the seuen cities, and of
the kingdomes and prouinces whereof the Father prouinciall[2] made
report vnto your Lordship. And to bee briefe, I can assure your
honour, he sayd the trueth in nothing that he reported, but all was
quite contrary, sauing onely the names of the cities, and great houses
of stone: for although they bee not wrought with Turqueses, nor with
lyme, nor brickes, yet are they very excellent good houses of three or
foure or fiue lofts high, wherein are good lodgings and faire chambers
with lathers instead of staires, and certaine cellars vnder the ground
very good and paued, which are made for winter, they are in maner like
stooues: and the lathers which they haue for their houses are all in a
maner mooueable and portable, which are taken away and set downe when
they please, and they are made of two pieces of wood with their
steppes, as ours be. The seuen cities are seuen small townes, all made
with these kinde of houses that I speake of: and they stand all within
foure leagues together, and they are all called the kingdome of
Cibola, and euery one of them haue their particular name: and none of
them is called Cibola, but altogether they are called Cibola.

And this towne which I call a citie, I haue named Granada, as well
because it is somewhat like vnto it, as also in remembrance of your
lordship. In this towne where I nowe remaine, there may be some two
hundred houses, all compassed with walles, and I thinke that with the
rest of the houses which are not so walled, they may be together fiue
hundred. There is another towne neere this, which is one of the seuen,
& it is somwhat bigger than this, and another of the same bignesse
that this is of, and the other foure are somewhat lesse: and I send
them all painted vnto your lordship with the voyage. And the parchment
wherein the picture is, was found here with other parchments. The
people of this towne seeme vnto me of a reasonable stature, and
wittie, yet they seeme not to bee such as they should bee, of that
judgement and wit to builde these houses in such sort as they are.

For the most part they goe all naked, except their priuie partes which
are couered; and they haue painted mantles like those which I send
vnto your lordship. They haue no cotton wooll growing, because the
countrey is colde, yet they weare mantels thereof as your honour may
see by the shewe thereof: and true it is that there was found in their
houses certaine yarne made of cotton wooll. They weare their haire on
their heads like those of Mexico, and they are well nurtured and
condicioned: And they haue Turqueses I thinke good quantitie, which
with the rest of the goods which they had, except their corne, they
had conueyed away before I came thither: for I found no women there,
nor no youth vnder flfteene yeeres olde, nor no olde folkes aboue
sixtie, sauing two or three olde folkes, who stayed behinde to gouerne
all the rest of the youth and men of warre. There were found in a
certaine paper two poynts of Emralds, and certaine small stones broken
which are in colour somewhat like Granates very bad, and other stones
of Christall, which I gaue one of my seruaunts to lay vp to send them
to your lordship, and hee hath lost them as hee telleth me. We found
heere Guinie cockes, but fewe. The Indians tell mee in all these seuen
cities, that they eate them not, but that they keepe them onely for
their feathers. I beleeue them not, for they are excellent good, and
greater then those of Mexico. The season which is in this countrey,
and the temperature of the ayre is like that of Mexico: for sometime
it is hotte, and sometime it raineth: but hitherto I neuer sawe it
raine, but once there fell a little showre with winde, as they are
woont to fall in Spaine.

The snow and cold are woont to be great, for so say the inhabitants of
the Countrey: and it is very likely so to bee, both in respect to the
maner of the Countrey, and by the fashion of their houses, and their
furres and other things which this people haue to defend them from
colde. There is no kind of fruit nor trees of fruite. The Countrey is
all plaine, and is on no side mountainous: albeit there are some
hillie and bad passages. There are small store of Foules: the cause
whereof is the colde, and because the mountaines are not neere. Here
is no great store of wood, because they haue wood for their fuell
sufficient foure leagues off from a wood of small Cedars. There is
most excellent grasse within a quarter of a league hence, for our
horses as well to feede them in pasture, as to mowe and make hay,
whereof wee stoode in great neede, because our horses came hither so
weake and feeble. The victuals which the people of this countrey haue,
is Maiz, whereof they haue great store, and also small white Pease:
and Venison, which by all likelyhood they feede vpon, (though they say
no) for wee found many skinnes of Deere, of Hares, and Conies. They
eate the best cakes that euer I sawe, and euery body generally eateth
of them. They haue the finest order and way to grinde that wee euer
sawe in any place. And one Indian woman of this countrey will grinde
as much as foure women of Mexico. They haue most excellent salte in
kernell, which they fetch from a certaine lake a dayes iourney from

The kingdome of Totonteac so much extolled by the Father prouinciall,
which sayde that there were such wonderfull things there, and such
great matters, and that they made cloth there, the Indians say is an
hotte lake, about which are fiue or sixe houses; and that there were
certaine other, but that they are ruinated by warre. The kingdome of
Marata is not to be found, neither haue the Indians any knowledge
thereof. The kingdome of Acus is one onely small citie, where they
gather cotton which is called Acucu. This is a town whereinto the
kingdom of Acus is conuerted. Beyond this towne they say there are
other small townes which are neere to a riuer which I haue seene and
haue had report of by the relation of the Indians. I would to God I
had better newes to write vnto your lordship: neuerthelesse, I must
say the trueth: And as I wrote to your lordship from Culiacan, I am
nowe to aduertise your honour as wel of the good as of the bad. Yet
this I would haue you bee assured, that if all the riches and the
treasures of the world were heere, I could haue done no more in the
seruice of his Maiestie and of your lordshippe, than I haue done in
comming hither whither you haue sent mee, my selfe and my companions
carrying our victuals vpon our shoulders and vpon our horses three
hundred leagues; and many dayes going on foote trauailing ouer hilles
and rough mountaines, with other troubles which I cease to mention,
neither purpose I to depart vnto the death, if it please his Maiestie
and your lordship that it shall be so.

Three dayes after this citie was taken, certaine Indians of these
people came to offer mee peace, and brought mee certaine Turqueses,
and badde mantles, and I receiued them in his Maiesties name with all
the good speaches that I could deuise, certifying them of the purpose
of my comming into this countrey, which is in the name of his
Maiestie, and by the commaundement of your Lordship, that they and all
the rest of the people of this prouince should become Christians, and
should knowe the true God for their Lorde, and receiue his Maiestie
for their King and earthly Soueraigne: And herewithall they returned
to their houses, and suddenly the next day they set in order all their
goods and substance, their women and children, and fled to the hilles,
leauing their townes as it were abandoned, wherein remained very fewe
of them. When I sawe this within eight or tennes dayes after being
recouered of my woundes, I went to the citie, which I sayde to bee
greater then this where I am, and found there some fewe of them, to
whom I sayde that they should not be afrayd, and that they should call
their gouernour vnto mee: Howbeit forasmuch as I can learne or gather,
none of them hath any gouernour: for I sawe not there any chiefe
house, whereby any preeminence of one ouer another might bee gathered.

I would haue sent your lordshippe with this dispatch many musters of
things which are in this countrey: but the way is so long and rough,
that it is hard for me to doe so; neuerthelesse I send you twelue
small mantles, such as the people of the countrey are woont to weare,
and a certaine garment also, which seemeth vnto me to bee well made: I
kept the same, because it seemed to mee to bee excellent well wrought,
because I beleeue that no man euer sawe any needle worke in these
Indies, except it were since the Spaniards inhabited the same. I send
your Lordshippe also two clothes painted with the beasts of this
countrey, although as I haue sayde, the picture bee very rudely done,
because the painter spent but one day in drawing of the same. I haue
seene other pictures on the walles of the houses of this citie with
farre better proportion, and better made.

I send your honour one Oxe-hide, certaine Turqueses, and two earerings
of the same, and fifteene combes of the Indians, and certain tablets
set with these Turqueses, and two small baskets made of wicker,
whereof the Indians haue great store. I send your lordship also two
rolles which the women in these parts are woont to weare on their
heads when they fetch water from their welles, as wee vse to doe in
Spaine. And one of these Indian women with one of these rolles on her
head, will carie a pitcher of water without touching the same with her
hand vp a lather. I send you also a muster of the weapons wherewith
these people are woont to fight, a buckler, a mace, a bowe, and
certaine arrowes, among which are two with points of bones, the like
whereof, as these conquerours say, haue neuer beene seene.

    [1] From Coronado's letter to Mendoza, dated August 3, 1540,
    Mendoza being Viceroy of Mexico, by whom Coronado had been sent
    out. Coronado's expedition was a great disappointment to all
    concerned in it, inasmuch as it resulted in failure to find the
    fabled "seven cities of Cibola." He had 300 Spaniards with him and
    800 Indians. Instead of finding great towns, as promised by Marcos
    and others, he discovered only a poor village of 200 people,
    situated on a rocky eminence. The expedition, however, in spite of
    this failure, remains one of the most important exploring
    expeditions ever undertaken in America. Opinions differ as to how
    far north Coronado went, some maintaining that he reached a point
    north of the boundary line between Kansas and Nebraska. His letter
    was printed by Hakluyt in Volume III of his "Voyages," and may be
    found in the "Old South Leaflets." Mr. Thwaites says of the

      "Disappointed, but still hoping to find the country of gold,
      Coronado's gallant little army, frequently thinned by death and
      desertion, for three years beat up and down the southwestern
      wilderness: now thirsting in the deserts, now penned up in
      gloomy canons, now crawling over pathless mountains, suffering
      the horrors of starvation and of despair, but following this
      will-o'-the-wisp with a melancholy perseverance seldom seen in
      man save when searching for some mysterious treasure. Coronado
      apparently twice crossed the State of Kansas. 'Through mighty
      plains and sandy heaths,' says the chronicler of the expedition,
      'smooth and wearisome and bare of wood. All that way the plains
      are as full of crookback oxen (buffaloes) as the mountain Serena
      in Spain is of sheep. They were a great succor for the hunger
      and want of bread which our people stood in. One day it rained
      in that plain a great shower of hail as big as oranges, which
      caused many tears, weaknesses, and vows.' The wanderer ventured
      as far as the Missouri, and would have gone still farther
      eastward but for his inability to cross the swollen river.
      Cooperating parties explored the upper valleys of the Rio Grande
      and Gila, ascended the Colorado for two hundred and forty miles
      above its mouth, and visited the Grand Canon of the same river.
      Coronado at last returned, satisfied that he had been victimized
      by the idle tales of travelers. He was rewarded with contumely
      and lost his place as governor of New Galicia; but his romantic
      march stands in history as one of the most remarkable exploring
      expeditions of modern times."

    Francisco Vasquez de Coronado was born at Salamanca, in Spain,
    about 1500, and died in Mexico some time after 1542. He is believed
    to have gone to Mexico in 1535 with Mendoza, the viceroy, who, in
    1539, made him governor of a province.

    [2] Marcos is here referred to.




Hernando de Soto was the companion of Pizarro in the conquest of Peru.
He had come to America a needy adventurer, with no other fortune than
his sword and target. But his exploits had given him fame and fortune,
and he appeared at court with the retinue of a nobleman. Still, his
active energies could not endure repose, and his avarice and ambition
goaded him to fresh enterprises. He asked and obtained permission to
conquer Florida. While this design was in agitation, Cabeca de Vaca,
one of those who had survived the expedition of Narvaez, appeared in
Spain, and for purposes of his own, spread abroad the mischievous
falsehood that Florida was the richest country yet discovered. De
Soto's plans were embraced with enthusiasm. Nobles and gentlemen
contended for the privilege of joining his standard; and, setting sail
with an ample armament, he landed at the Bay of Espiritu Santo, now
Tampa Bay, in Florida, with six hundred and twenty chosen men, a band
as gallant and well appointed, as eager in purpose and audacious in
hope, as ever trod the shores of the New World. The clangor of
trumpets, the neighing of horses, the fluttering of pennons, the
glittering of helmet and lance, startled the ancient forest with
unwonted greeting. Amid this pomp of chivalry, religion was not
forgotten. The sacred vessels and vestments with bread and wine for
the Eucharist were carefully provided; and De Soto himself declared
that the enterprise was undertaken for God alone, and seemed to be the
object of His especial care. These devout marauders could not neglect
the spiritual welfare of the Indians whom they had come to plunder;
and besides fetters to bind, and bloodhounds to hunt them, they
brought priests and monks for the saving of their souls.

The adventurers begun their march. Their story has been often told.
For month after month and year after year, the procession of priests
and cavaliers, crossbowmen, arquebusiers, and Indian captives laden
with the baggage, still wandered on through wild and boundless wastes,
lured hither and thither by the ignis-fatuus of their hopes. They
traversed great portions of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi,
everywhere inflicting and enduring misery, but never approaching their
fantom El Dorado. At length, in the third year of their journeying,
they reached the banks of the Mississippi, a hundred and thirty-two
years before its second discovery by Marquette. One of their number
describes the great river as almost half a league wide, deep, rapid,
and constantly rolling down trees and drift-wood on its turbid

The Spaniards crossed over at a point above the mouth of the Arkansas.
They advanced westward, but found no treasures--nothing, indeed, but
hardships, and an Indian enemy, furious, writes one of their officers,
"as mad dogs." They heard of a country toward the north where maize
could not be cultivated because the vast herds of wild cattle devoured
it.[2] They penetrated so far that they entered the range of the
roving prairie tribes; for, one day, as they pushed their way with
difficulty across great plains covered with tall, rank grass, they met
a band of savages who dwelt in lodges of skins sewed together,
subsisting on game alone, and wandering perpetually from place to
place. Finding neither gold nor the South Sea, for both of which they
had hoped, they returned to the banks of the Mississippi.

De Soto, says one of those who accompanied him, was a "stern man, and
of few words." Even in the midst of reverses, his will had been law to
his followers, and he had sustained himself through the depths of
disappointment with the energy of a stubborn pride. But his hour was
come. He fell into deep dejection, followed by an attack of fever, and
soon after died miserably. To preserve his body from the Indians, his
followers sank it at midnight in the river, and the sullen waters of
the Mississippi buried his ambition and his hopes.

The adventurers were now, with few exceptions, disgusted with the
enterprise, and longed only to escape from the scene of their
miseries. After a vain attempt to reach Mexico by Land, they again
turned back to the Mississippi, and labored, with all the resources
which their desperate necessity could suggest, to construct vessels in
which they might make their way to some Christian settlement. Their
condition was most forlorn. Few of their horses remained alive; their
baggage had been destroyed at the burning of the Indian town of
Mavila, and many of the soldiers were without armor and without
weapons. In place of the gallant array which, more than three years
before, had left the harbor of Espiritu Santo, a company of sickly and
starving men were laboring among the swampy forests of the
Mississippi, some clad in skins, and some in mats woven from a kind of
wild vine.

Seven brigantines were finished and launched; and, trusting their
lives on board these frail vessels, they descended the Mississippi,
running the gantlet between hostile tribes, who fiercely attacked
them. Reaching the Gulf, tho not without the loss of eleven of their
number, they made sail for the Spanish settlement on the River Panuco,
where they arrived safely, and where the inhabitants met them with a
cordial welcome. Three hundred and eleven men thus escaped with life,
leaving behind them the bones of their comrades strewn broadcast
through the wilderness.

    [1] From Parkman's "Pioneers of France in the New World." By
    permission of the publishers, Little, Brown & Co. Hernando de Soto
    was born in Badaios, Spain, in 1500, and died near the Mississippi
    River, probably on May 21, 1542. Before discovering the Mississippi,
    he had been in Panama and Nicaragua; had been active with Pizarro
    in the conquest of Peru, from which he returned very rich to
    Spain, and in 1587 had been appointed Governor of Cuba and
    Florida, with orders to explore and settle the country. It was
    while engaged in the latter work that he discovered the

    De Soto's route has been determined only approximately. He is
    believed first to have made a circuit northward from Tampa,
    through Florida into Georgia and perhaps into Carolina, thence
    going westward to Alabama and Mobile Bay. From the latter he
    turned northward again, thence going westward to the Mississippi,
    which he is believed to have crossed at Chickasaw Bluffs, in May,
    1541. From this point he went northward and almost reached the
    Missouri. He then turned southward, and reached the junction of
    the Red River and Mississippi, where he died of malaria fever. Of
    his men 250 perished from disease or in combat with the Indians.

    [2] The bison, or buffalo, is here referred to.




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....

By the time the Indian returned with his answer, the Governor had
betaken himself to bed, being evil handled with fevers, and was much
aggrieved that he was 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 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. 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 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 Moscoso determined to conceal his death from the
Indians, because Fernando 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, tho they lived peaceably by

As soon as he was dead, Luys de Moscoso commanded to put him secretly
in the house, where he remained three days; and moving 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.

    [1] From the "Narrative of the Gentleman of Elvas," the author's
    name being unknown, but written by one of De Soto's companions, a
    Spaniard, and first printed in 1557. The author has been supposed
    to be Alvaro Fernandez, but this is only a matter of conjecture.
    The translation here used is that made by Hakluyt, printed in
    London in 1809, and included in the "Old South Leaflets."




From Guatulco we departed the day following, viz, Aprill 16, [1579]
setting our course directly into the sea, whereon we sayled 500
leagues in longitude, to get a winde: and between that and June 3,
1400 leagues in all, till we came into 42 deg. of North latitude,
where in the night following we found such alteration of heate, into
extreame and nipping cold, that our men in generall did grieuously
complaine thereof, some of them feeling their healths much impaired
thereby; neither was it that this chanced in the night alone, but the
day following carried with it not onely the markes, but the stings and
force of the night going before, to the great admiration of vs all;
for besides that the pinching and biting aire was nothing altered, the
very roapes of our ship were stiffe, and the raine which fell was an
unnatural congealed and frozen substance, so that we seemed rather to
be in the frozen Zone then any way so neere vnto the sun, or these
hotter climates....

The 3 day following, uiz., the 21, our ship hauing receiued a leake at
sea, was brought to anchor neerer the shoare, that, her goods being
landed, she might be repaired; but for that we were to preuent any
danger that might chance against our safety, our Generall first of all
landed his men, with all necessary prouision, to build tents and make
a fort for the defence of our selues and goods: and that wee might
vnder the shelter of it with more safety (what euer should befall) end
our businesse; which when the people of the countrey perceiued vs
doing, as men set on fire to war in defence of their countrie, in
great hast and companies, with such weapons as they had, they came
downe vnto vs, and yet with no hostile meaning or intent to hurt vs:
standing, when they drew neere, as men rauished in their mindes, with
the sight of such things as they neuer had seene or heard of before
that time: their errand being rather with submission and feare to
worship vs as Gods, then to haue any warre with vs as with mortall
men, which thing, as it did partly shew itself at that instant, so did
it more and more manifest itself afterwards, during the whole time of
our abode amongst them. At this time, being willed by signes to lay
from them their bowes and arrowes, they did as they were directed, and
so did all the rest, as they came more and more by companies vnto
them, growing in a little while to a great number, both of men and

To the intent, therefore, that this peace which they themselues so
willingly sought might, without any cause of the breach thereof on our
part given, be continued, and that wee might with more safety and
expedition end our businesses in quiet, our Generall, with all his
company, vsed all meanes possible gently to intreate them, bestowing
vpon each of them liberally good and necessary things to couer their
nakednesse; withall signifying vnto them we were no Gods, but men, and
had neede of such things to couer our owns shame; teaching them to vse
them to the same ends, for which cause also wee did eate and drinke in
their presence, giuing them to vnderstand that without that wee could
not liue, and therefore were but men as well as they.

Notwithstanding nothing could perswade them, nor remoue that opinion
which they had conceiued of vs, that wee should be Gods.

In recompence of those things which they had receiued of vs, as
shirts, linnen cloth, etc., they bestowed vpon our Generall, and
diuerse of our company, diuerse things, as feathers, cawles of
networke, the quiuers of their arrowes, made of fawne skins, and the
very skins of beasts that their women wore vpon their bodies. Hauing
thus had their fill of this times visiting and beholding of vs, they
departed with ioy to their houses, which houses are digged round
within the earth, and haue from the vppermost brimmes of the circle
clefts of wood set vp, and ioyned close together at the top, like our
spires on the steeple of a Church; which being couered with earth,
suffer no water to enter, and are very warme; the doore in the most
part of them performes the office also of a chimney to let out the
smoake: its made in bignesse and fashion like to an ordinary scuttle
in a ship, and standing slopewise: their beds are the hard ground,
onely with rushes strewed vpon it, and lying round about the house,
haue their fire in the middest, which by reason that the house is but
low vaulted, round, and close, giueth a maruelous reflexion to their
bodies to heate the same.

Their men for the most part goe naked; the women take a kinde of
bulrushes, and kembing it after the manner of hemp, make themselues
thereof a loose garment, which being knitte about their middles,
hanges downe about their hippes, and so affordes to them a couering of
that which nature teaches should be hidden; about their shoulders they
weare also the skin of a deere, with the haire vpon it. They are very
obedient to their husbands, and exceeding ready in all seruices; yet
of themselues offring to do nothing, without the consents or being
called of the men....

Against the end of three daies more (the newes hauing the while spread
itselfe farther, and as it seemed a great way vp into the countrie),
were assembled the greatest number of people which wee could
reasonably imagine to dwell within any conuenient distance round
about. Amongst the rest the king himselfe, a man of a goodly stature
and comely personage, attended with his guard of about 100 tall and
warlike men, this day, viz., June 26, came downe to see vs.

Before his comming, were sent two embassadors or messengers to our
Generall, to signifie that their Hioh, that is, their king, was
comming and at hand. They in the deliuery of their message, the one
spake with a soft and low voice, prompting his fellow; the other
pronounced the same, word by word, after him with a voice more
audible, continuing their proclamation (for such it was) about halfe
an houre. Which being ended, they by signes made request to our
Generall, to send something by their hands to their Hioh or king, as a
token that his comming might be in peace. Our Generall willingly
satisfied their desire; and they, glad men, made speedy returne to
their Hioh. Neither was it long before their king (making as princely
a shew as possibly he could) with all his traine came forward.

In their comining forwards they cryed continually after a singing
manner, with a lustie courage. And as they drew neerer and neerer
towards vs, so did they more and more striue to behaue themselues with
a certaine comelinesse and grauity in all their actions.

In the forefront came a man of a large body and goodly aspect, bearing
the Scepter or royall mace, made of a certaine kind of blacke wood,
and in length about a yard and a halfe, before the king. Whereupon
hanged two crownes, a bigger and a lesser, with three chaines of a
maruellous length, and often doubled, besides a bagge of the herbe
Tabah. The crownes were made of knitworke, wrought vpon most curiously
with feathers of diners colours, very artificially placed, and of a
formall fashion. The chaines seemed of a bony substance, euery linke
or part thereof being very little, thinne, most finely burnished, with
a hole pierced through the middest. The number of linkes going to make
one chaine is in a manner infinite; but of such estimation it is
amongst them, that few be the persons that are admitted to weare the
same; and euen they to whom its lawfull to use them, yet are stinted
what number they shall vse, as some ten, some twelue, some twentie,
and as they exceed in number of chaines, so thereby are they knowne to
be the more honorable personages.

Next vnto him that bare this Scepter was the king himselfe with his
guard about him; his attire vpon his head was a cawle of knitworke,
wrought vpon somewhat like the crownes, but differing much both in
fashion and perfectnesse of worke; vpon his shoulders he had on a
coate of the skins of conies, reaching to his wast; his guard also had
each coats of the same shape, but of other skins; some hauing cawles
likewise stucke with feathers, or couered ouer with a certaine downe,
which groweth vp in the countrey vpon an herbe much like our lectuce,
which exceeds any other downe in the world for finenesse, and being
layed vpon their cawles, by no winds can be remoued....

In the meane time, our Generall hauing assembled his men together (as
forecasting the danger and worst that might fall out) prepared
himselfe to stand vpon sure ground, that wee might at all times be
ready in our owne defence, if any thing should chance otherwise than
was looked for or expected.

Wherefore euery man being in a warlike readinesse, he marched within
his fenced place, making against their approach a most warlike shew
(as he did also at all other times of their resort), whereby if they
had beene desperate enemies, they could not haue chosen but haue
conceiued terrour and fear, with discouragement to attempt anything
against vs, in beholding of the same.

When they were come somewhat neere vnto vs, trooping together, they
gaue vs a common or generall salutation, observing in the meane time a
generall silence. Whereupon, he who bare the Scepter before the king,
being prompted by another whom the king assigned to that office,
pronounced with an audible and manly voice what the other spake to him
in secret, continuing, whether it were his oration or proclamation, at
the least halfe an houre. At the close whereof there was a common
Amen, in signe of approbation, giuen by euery person: and the king
himselfe, with the whole number of men and women (the little children
onely remaining behind) came further downe the hill, and as they came
set themselues againe in their former order.

And beeing now come to the foot of the hill and neere our fort, the
Scepter bearer, with a composed countenance and stately carriage began
a song, and answerable thereunto obserued a kind of measures in a
dance: whom the king with his guard and euery other sort of person
following, did in like manner sing and daunce, sauing onely the women,
who danced but kept silence. As they danced they still came on: and
our Generall perceiuing their plaine and simple meaning, gaue order
that they might freely enter without interruption within our bulwarke.
Where, after they had entred, they yet continued their song and dance
a reasonable time, their women also following them with their wassaile
boales in their hands, their bodies bruised, their faces tome, their
dugges, breasts, and other parts bespotted with bloud, trickling downe
from the wounds, which with their nailes they had made before their

After that they had satisfied, or rather tired themselues in this
manner, they made signes to our Generall to haue him sit down; unto
whom both the king and diuers others made seuerall orations, or
rather, indeed, if wee had vnderstood them, supplications, that hee
would take the Prouince and kingdome into his hand, and become their
king and patron: making signes that they would resigne vnto him their
right and title in the whole land, and become his vassals in
themselues and their posterities: which that they might make vs indeed
beleeue that it was their true meaning and intent, the king himselfe,
with all the rest, with one consent and with great reuerence, ioyfully
singing a song, set the crowne vpon his head, inriched his necke with
all their chaines, and offering vnto him many other things, honoured
him by the name of Hyoh. Adding thereunto (as it might seeme) a song
and dance of triumph; because they were not onely visited of the gods
(for so they still iudged vs to be), but the great and chiefe God was
now become their God, their king and patron, and themselues were
become the onely happie and blessed people in the world.

These things being so freely offered, our Generall thought not meet to
reject or refuse the same, both for that he would not giue them any
cause of mistrust or disliking of him (that being the onely place,
wherein at this present, we were of necessitie inforced to seeke
reliefe of many things), and chiefely for that he knew not to what
good end God had brought this to passe, or what honour and profit it
might bring to our countrie in time to come.

Wherefore, in the name and to the vse of her most excellent majesty,
he tooke the scepter, crowue, and dignity of the sayd countrie into
his hand; wishing nothing more than that it had layen so fitly for her
maiesty to enioy, as it was now her proper owne, and that the riches
and treasures thereof (wherewith in the vpland countries it abounds)
might with as great conueniency be transported, to the enriching of
her kingdome here at home, as it is in plenty to be attained there;
and especially that so tractable and louing a people as they shewed
themselues to be, might haue meanes to haue manifested their most
willing obedience the more vnto her, and by her meanes, as a mother
and nurse of the Church of Christ, might by the preaching of the
Gospell, be brought to the right knowledge and obedience of the true
and euerliuing God.

The ceremonies of this resigning and receiving of the kingdome being
thus performed, the common sort, both of men and women, leauing the
king and his guard about him, with out Generall, dispersed themselues
among our people, taking a diligent view or suruey of euery man; and
finding such as pleased their fancies (which commonly were the
youngest of vs), they presently enclosing them about offred their
sacrifices vnto them, crying out with lamentable shreekes and moanes,
weeping and scratching and tearing their very flesh off their faces
with their nailes; neither were it the women alone which did this, but
euen old men, roaring and crying out, were as violent as the women

Few were the dayes, wherein they were absent from vs, during the whole
time of our abode in that place; and ordinarily euery third day they
brought their sacrifices, till such time as they certainely vnderstood
our meaning, that we tooke no pleasure, but were displeased with them;
whereupon their zeale abated, and their sacrificing, for a season, to
our good liking ceased; notwithstanding they continued still to make
their resort vnto vs in great abundance, and in such sort, that they
oft-time forgate to prouide meate for their owne sustenance....

This country our Generall named Albion, and that for two causes; the
one in respect of the white bancks and cliffes, which lie toward the
sea; the other, that it might haue some affinity, euen in name also,
with our own country which was sometime so called.

Before we went from thence, our Generall caused to be set vp a
monument of our being there, as also of her maiesties and successors
right and title to that kingdome; namely, a plate of brasse, fast
nailed to a great and firme poste; whereon is engrauen her graces
name, and the day and yeare of our arriuall there, and of the free
guing vp of the prouince and kingdome, both by the king and people,
into her majesties hands: together with her highnesse picture and
armes, in a piece of sixpence currant English monie, shewing itselfe
by a hole made of purpose through the plate; vnderneath was likewise
engrauen the name of our Generall, etc.

The Spaniards neuer had any dealing, or so much as set a foote in this
country, the vtmost of their discoueries reaching onely to many
degrees Southward of this place.

And now, as the time of our departure was perceiued by them to draw
nigh, so did the sorrowes and miseries of this people seeme to
themselues to increase vpon them, and the more certaine they were of
our going away, the more doubtfull they shewed themselues what they
might doe; so that we might easily iudge that that ioy (being
exceeding great) wherewith they receiued vs at our first arriuall, was
cleane drowned in their excessiue sorrow for our departing. For they
did not onely loose on a sudden all mirth, ioy, glad countenance,
pleasant speeches, agility of body, familiar rejoycing one with
another, and all pleasure what euer flesh and blood might bee
delighted in, but with sighes and sorrowings, with heauy hearts and
grieued minds, they powred out wofull complaints and moanes, with
bitter teares and wringing of their hands, tormenting themselues. And
as men refusing all comfort, they onely accounted themselues as
cast-awayes, and those whom the gods were about to forsake: so that
nothing we could say or do, was able to ease them of their so heauy a
hurthen, or to deliuer them from so desperate a straite, as our
leauing of them did seeme to them that it would cast them into....

The 23 of July they tooke a sorrowfull farewell of vs, but being loath
to leaue vs, they presently ranne to the top of the hils to keepe vs
in their sight as long as they could, making fires before and behind,
and on each side of them, burning therein (as is to be supposed)
sacrifices at our departure.

    [1] From "The World Encompassed by Sir Francis Drake," the
    author's name unknown. This work was prepared from notes made by
    Francis Fletcher, the chaplain of Drake's ship and by "divers
    others of his followers in the same," under the direction of
    Drake's heir and nephew, and was published in London in 1628 "both
    for the honor of the actor, but especially for the starting up of
    heroic spirits to benefit their country and eternize their own
    names by like noble attempts."

    It has been contended that Drake fully believed that by his
    discoveries in America he had laid the foundations of an English
    civilization here, as a rival to Spanish civilizations. Spain then
    had a practical monopoly of settlements in America. It is to be
    remembered that Drake's work was in advance of all the English
    settlements and attempts at settlements on the Atlantic coast,
    including those of Gosnold, Amidas and Barlow, Sir Humphrey
    Gilbert and Raleigh. Drake named the country he had visited
    Albion. He may have gone as far north as Vancouver. There seems to
    be no doubt that he reached the Bay of San Francisco, and perhaps
    repaired his ships there.

    Drake was born in Tavistock, in England, about 1540, and died off
    Porto Bello in 1596. Before making his visit to the Pacific coast
    he had served under Sir John Hawkins, as commander of a small
    vessel, which went out against the Spanish; had visited the West
    Indies and commanded a freebooting expedition in which he captured
    an immense treasure, afterward abandoned; had burned a Spanish
    vessel at Cartagena, and captured several ships; had crossed the
    Isthmus of Panama and become the first Englishman to see the
    Pacific, and had served in Ireland under the Earl of Essex.

    It was in December, 1577, that he started on the expedition during
    which he visited the Pacific coast as here described. It was a
    freebooting enterprise. Drake sailed through the Strait of
    Magellan. After visiting California he crossed the Pacific, and,
    reaching England by way of the Cape of Good Hope in 1580, Drake
    became the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe. Queen
    Elizabeth on his return knighted him on board his own ship. His
    after career was equally notable, including as it did an important
    command under Lord Howard in the great sea fight of July, 1588, in
    which the Armada of Spain was overthrown In the English Channel.




The first of September [1609], faire weather, the wind variable
betweene east and south; we steered away north northwest. At noone we
found our height to bee 39 degrees, 3 minutes. The second, in the
morning, close weather, the winde at south in the morning; from twelve
untill two of the clocke we steered north northwest, and had sounding
one and twentie fathoms: and in running one glasse we had but sixteene
fathoms, then seventeene, and so shoalder and shoalder untill it came
to twelve fathoms. We saw a great fire, but could not see the land;
then we came to ten fathoms, whereupon we brought our tackes aboord,
and stood to the eastward east south-east, foure glasses. Then the
sunne arose, and wee steered away north againe, and saw the land from
the west by north to the northwest by north, all like broken
islands,[2] and our soundings were eleven and ten fathoms. Then wee
looft in for the shoare, and faire by the shoare we had seven fathoms.
The course along the land we found to be northeast by north. From the
land which we had first sight of, untill we came to a great lake of
water, as wee could judge it to bee, being drowned land, which made it
to rise like islands, which was in length ten leagues. The mouth of
that land hath many shoalds, and the sea breaketh on them as it is
cast out of the mouth of it. And from that lake or bay the land lyeth
north by east, and wee had a great streame out of the bay; and from
thence our sounding was ten fathoms two leagues from the land. At five
of the clocke we anchored, being little winde, and rode in eight
fathoms water; the night was faire. This night I found the land to
hail the compasse 8 degrees. For to the northward off us we saw high
hils. For the day before we found not above 2 degrees of variation.
This is a very good land to fall with, and a pleasant land to see.

The third, the morning mystie, untill ten of the clocke; then it
cleered, and the wind came to the south south-east, so wee weighed and
stood to the northward. The land[3] is very pleasant and high, and
bold to fall withall. At three of the clock in the after-noone, wee
came to three great rivers. So we stood along to the northermost,
thinking to have gone into it, but we found it to have a very shoald
barre before it, for we had but ten foot water. Then we cast about to
the southward, and found two fathoms, three fathoms, and three and a
quarter, till we came to the souther side of them; then we had five
and sixe fathoms, and anchored.

The fourth, in the morning, as soone as the day was light, wee saw
that it was good riding farther up. So we sent out boate to sound, and
found that it was a very good harbour, and foure and five fathomes,
two cables length from the shoare. Then we weighed and went in with
our ship. Then our boate went on land[4] with our net to fish, and
caught ten great mullets, of a foote and a halfe long a peese, and a
ray as great as foure men could hale into the ship. So wee trimmed our
boate and rode still all day. At night the wind blew hard at the
north-west, and our anchor came home, and we drove on shoare, but took
no hurt, thanked bee God, for the ground is soft sand and oze. This
day the people of the countrey came aboord of us, seeming very glad of
our comming, and brought greene tobacco, and gave us of it for knives
and beads. They goe in deere skins loose, well dressed. They have
yellow copper. They desire cloathes, and are very civill. They have
great store of maize, or Indian wheate, whereof they make good bread.
The countrey is full of great and tall oake.

The fifth, in the morning, as soone as the day was light, the wind
ceased and the flood came. So we heaved off our ship againe into five
fathoms water, and sent our boate to sound the bay, and we found that
there was three fathoms hard by the souther shoare. Our men went on
land there, and saw great store of men, women, and children, who gave
them tabacco at their comming on land. So they went up into the woods,
and saw great store of very goodly oakes and some currants. For one of
them came aboord and brought some dryed, and gave me some, which were
sweet and good. This day many of the people came aboard, some in
mantles of feathers, and some in skinnes of divers sorts of good
furres. Some women also came to us with hempe. They had red copper
tabacco pipes, and other things of copper they did weare about their
neckes. At night they went on land againe, so wee rode very quiet, but
durst not trust them.

The sixth, in the morning, was faire weather, and our master sent John
Colman, with foure other men in our boate, over to the north-side to
sound the other river[5], being foure leagues from us. They found by
the day shoald water, two fathoms; but at the north of the river
eighteen, and twentie fathoms, and very good riding for ships; and a
narrow river to the westward, between two ilands. The lands, they told
us, were as pleasant with grasse and flowers and goodly trees as ever
they had seene, and very sweet smells came from them....

The tenth, faire weather, we rode still till twelve of the clocke.
Then we weighed and went over, and found it shoald all the middle of
the river, for wee could finde but two fathoms and a halfe and three
fathomes for the space of a league; then wee came to three fathomes
and foure fathomes, and so to seven fathomes, and anchored, and rode
all night in soft ozie ground. The banke is sand.

The eleventh was faire and very hot weather. At one of the clocke in
the after-noone wee weighed and went into the river, the wind at south
south-west, little winde. Our soundings were seven, sixe, five, sixe,
seven, eight, nine, ten, twelve, thirteene, and fourteene fathomes.
Then it shoalded againe, and came to five fathomes. Then wee anchored,
and saw that it was a very good harbour for all windes, and rode all
night. The people of the country came aboord of us, making shew of
love, and gave us tabacco and Indian wheat, and departed for that
night, but we durst not trust them.

The twelfth, very faire and hot. In the afternoone, at two of the
clocke, wee weighed, the winde being variable betweene the north and
the north-west. So we turned into the river two leagues and anchored.
This morning, at our first rode in the river, there came eight and
twentie canoes full of men, women and children to betray us: but we
saw their intent, and suffered none of them to come aboord of us. At
twelve of the clocke they departed. They brought with them oysters and
beanes, whereof wee bought some. They have great tabacco pipes of
yellow copper, and pots of earth to dresse their meate in. It floweth
south-east by south within.

The thirteenth, faire weather, the wind northerly. At seven of the
clocke in the morning, as the floud came we weighed, and turned foure
miles into the river. The tide being done wee anchored. Then there
came foure canoes aboord: but we suffered none of them to come into
our ship. They brought great store of very good oysters aboord, which
we bought for trifles.[6] In the night I set the variation of the
compasse, and found it to be 13 degrees. In the after-noone we
weighed, and turned in with the floud, two leagues and a halfe
further, and anchored all night; and had five fathoms soft ozie
ground; and had an high point of land, which shewed out to us, bearing
north by east five leagues off us.

The fourteenth, in the morning, being very faire weather, the wind
south-east, we sayled up the river twelve leagues, and had five
fathoms, and five fathoms and a quarter lesse; and came to a streight
betweene two points,[7] and had eight, nine, and ten fathoms; and it
attended north-east by north, one league: and wee had twelve,
thirteene, and fourteene fathomes. The river is a mile broad: there is
very high land on both sides. Then we went up north-west, a league and
an halfe deepe water. Then north-east by north, five miles; then
north-west by north, two leagues, and anchored. The land grew very
high and mountainous. The river is full of fish.

The fifteenth, in the morning, was misty, untill the sunne arose: then
it cleered. So wee weighed with the wind at south, and ran up into the
river twentie leagues, passing by high mountaines.[8] Wee had a very
good depth, as sixe, seven, eight, nine, ten, twelve, and thirteene
fathomes, and great store of salmons in the river. This morning our
two savages got out of a port and swam away. I After wee were under
sayle, they called to us in scorne. At night we came to other
mountaines, which lie from the rivers side. There wee found very
loving people, and very old men: where wee were well used. Our boat
went to fish, and caught great store of very good fish....

The seventeenth, faire sun-shining weather, and very hot. In the
morning, as soone as the sun was up, we set sayle, and ran up sixe
leagues higher, and found shoalds in the middle of the channell, and
small ilands, but seven fathoms water on both sides. Toward night we
borrowed so neere the shoare, that we grounded: so layed out our small
anchor, and heaved off againe. Then we borrowed on the banke in the
channell, and came aground againe; while the floud ran we heaved off
againe, and anchored all night.[9]

The eighteenth, in the morning, was faire weather, and we rode still.
In the after-noone our masters mate went on land with an old savage, a
governor of the countrey; who carried him to his house, and made him
good cheere. The nineteenth, was faire and hot weather: at the floud,
being neere eleven of the clocke, wee weighed, and ran higher up two
leagues above the shoalds, and had no lesse water then five fathoms;
we anchored, and rode in eight fathomes. The people of the countrie
came flocking aboord, and brought us grapes and pompions, which wee
bought for trifles. And many brought us bevers skinnes and otters
skinnes, which wee bought for beades, knives, and hatchets. So we rode
there all night.

The twentieth, in the morning, was faire weather. Our masters mate
with foure men more went up with our boat to sound the river, and
found two leagues above us but two fathomes water, and the channell
very narrow; and above that place, seven or eight fathomes. Toward
night they returned: and we rode still all night. The one and
twentieth was faire weather, and the wind all southerly: we determined
yet once more to go farther up into the river, to trie what depth and
breadth it did beare; but much people resorted aboord, so wee went not
this day. Our carpenter went on land, and made a fore-yard. And our
master and his mate determined to trie some of the chiefe men of the
countrey, whether they had any treaeherie in them. So they tooke them
downe into the cabin, and gave them so much wine and aqua vita, that
they were all merrie: and one of them had his wife with them, which
sate so modestly, as any of our countrey women would doe in a strange
place. In the ende one of them was drunke, which had beene aboord of
our ship all the time that we had beene there: and that was strange to
them; for they could not tell how to take it. The canoes and folke
went all on shoare: but some of them came againe, and brought stropes
of beades: some had sixe, seven, eight, nine, ten; and gave him. So he
slept all night quietly.

The two and twentieth was faire weather: in the morning our masters
mate and foure more of the companie went up with our boat to sound the
river higher up. The people of the countrey came not aboord till
noone: but when they came, and saw the savages well, they were glad.
So at three of the clocke in the afternoone they came aboord, and
brought tabacco, and more beades, and gave them to our master, and
made an oration, and shewed him all the countrey round about. Then
they sent one of their companie on land, who presently returned, and
brought a great platter full of venison dressed by themselves; and
they caused him to eate with them: then they made him reverence and
departed, all save the old man that lay aboord. This night, at ten of
the clocke our boat returned in a showre of raine from sounding of the
river; and found it to bee at an end for shipping to goe in. For they
had beene up eight or nine leagues, and found but seven foot water,
and unconstant soundings.

The three and twentieth, faire weather. At twelve of the clocke wee
weighed, and went downe two leagues to a shoald that had two channels,
one on the one side, and another on the other, and had little wind,
whereby the tyde layed us upon it. So there wee sate on ground the
space of an houre till the floud came. Then we had a little gale of
wind at the west. So wee got our ship into deepe water, and rode all
night very well.

The foure and twentieth was faire weather: the winde at the
north-west, wee weighed, and went downe the river seven or eight
leagues; and at halfe ebbe wee came on ground on a banke of oze in the
middle of the river, and sate there till the floud. Then wee went on
land, and gathered, good store of chest-nuts. At ten of the clocke wee
came off into deepe water, and anchored....

The second, faire weather. At break of day wee weighed, the winde
being at north-west, and got downe seven leagues; then the floud was
come strong, so we anchored. Then came one of the savages that swamme
away from us at our going up the river with many other, thinking to
betray us. But we perceived their intent, and suffered none of them to
enter our ship. Whereupon two canoes full of men, with their bowes and
arrowes shot at us after our sterne: in recompence whereof we
discharged sixe muskets, and killed two or three of them. Then above
an hundred of them came to a point of land to shoot at us. There I
shot a falcon at them, and killed two of them: whereupon the rest fled
into the woods. Yet they manned off another canoe with nine or ten
men, which came to meet us. So I shot at it also a falcon, and shot it
through, and killed one of them. Then our men with their muskets
killed three or foure more of them.[10] So they went their way; within
a mile after wee got downe two leagues beyond that place, and anchored
in a bay, cleere from all danger of them on the other side of the
river, where we saw a very good piece of ground: and hard by it there
was a cliffe, that looked of the colour of a white greene, as though
it were either copper or silver myne: and I thinke it to be one of
them, by the trees that grow upon it. For they be all burned, and the
other places are greene as grasse; it is on that side of the river
that is called Mannahata. There we saw no people to trouble us: and
rode quietly all night; but had much wind and raine....

We continued our course toward England, without seeing any land by the
way, all the rest of this moneth of October: and on the seventh day of
November, stilo novo, being Saturday, by the grace of God we safely
arrived in the range of Dartmouth, in Devonshire, in the yeere 1609.

    [1] Juet, on a previous voyage with Hudson, had been Hudson's
    mate, but on the voyage to New York Harbor he was his clerk and
    kept a journal. From this document, which is included in the "Old
    South Leaflets," the account here given is taken. Hudson himself
    also kept a journal, but this has been lost. It is curious that
    Juet, on the last voyage which Hudson made--the one to Hudson Bay,
    in which he was sent adrift in a small boat and left to
    perish--became the leader in the mutiny.

    Before coming to America, Henry Hudson, an Englishman in Dutch
    service, had sailed to the east coast of Greenland, visited
    Spitzbergen, and attempted to find a northeast passage from the
    Atlantic to the Pacific. It was his attempt to find a northwest
    passage which led him, in September, 1609, into the harbor of New
    York and up the river named after him. In the following year he
    sailed again from Holland, seeking a northwest passage and thus
    entered Hudson Bay. Here he spent the winter. In the following
    June, when about to return home, the crew mutinied; Hudson, and
    eight others, were seized, bound and set afloat in a small boat
    that was never heard from again.

    [2] Sandy Hook.

    [3] Probably Staten Island.

    [4] Coney Island.

    [5] The Narrows.

    [6] Moulton, in his "History of New York," inclines to the view
    that this point was near what is now known as Manhattanville in
    New York City.

    [7] This was in the neighborhood of Stony Point.

    [8] The Catskill Mountains.

    [9] The neighborhood of Albany.

    [10] Moulton's view is that this encounter took place near Fort
    Washington, New York City.




We continued our course to the entrance of Lake St. Peter, where the
country is exceedingly pleasant and level, and crossed the lake, in
two, three, and four fathoms of water, which is some eight leagues
long and four wide. On the north side, we saw a very pleasant river,
extending some twenty leagues into the interior, which I named St.
Suzanne; on the south side, there are two, one called Riviere du Pont,
the other Riviere de Gennes, which are very pretty, and in a fine and
fertile country. The water is almost still in the lake, which is full
of fish. On the north bank, there are seen some slight elevations at a
distance of some twelve or fifteen leagues from the lake. After
crossing the lake, we passed a large number of islands of various
sizes, containing many nut trees and vines, and fine meadows, with
quantities of game and wild animals, which go over from the main land
to these islands. Fish are here more abundant than in any other part
of the river that we have seen. From these islands, we went to the
mouth of the River of the Iroquois,[2] where we stayed two days,
refreshing ourselves with good venison, birds, and fish, which the
savages gave us. Here there sprang up among them some difference of
opinion on the subject of the war, so that a portion only determined
to go with me, while the others returned to their country with their
wives and the merchandise which they had obtained by barter.

I set out accordingly from the fall of the Iroquois River on the 2d of
July. All the savages set to carrying their canoes, arms, and baggage
overland, some half a league, in order to pass by the violence and
strength of the fall, which was speedily accomplished....

We set out the next day, continuing our course in the river as far as
the entrance of the lake.[3] There are many pretty islands here, low,
and containing very fine woods and meadows, with abundance of fowl and
such animals of the chase as stags, fallow-deer, fawns, roe-bucks,
bears, and others, which go from the main land to these islands. We
captured a large number of these animals. There are also many beavers,
not only in this river, but also in numerous other little ones that
flow into it. These regions, altho they are pleasant, are not
inhabited by any savages, on account of their wars; but they withdraw
as far as possible from the rivers into the interior, in order not to
be suddenly surprised.

The next day we entered the lake, which is of great extent, say eighty
or a hundred leagues long, where I saw four fine islands, ten, twelve,
and fifteen leagues long, which were formerly inhabited by the
savages, like the River of the Iroquois; but they have been abandoned
since the wars of the savages with one another prevail. There are also
many rivers falling into the lake, bordered by many fine trees of the
same kinds as those we have in France, with many vines finer than any
I have seen in any other place; also many chestnut-trees on the border
of this lake, which I had not seen before....

Continuing our course over this lake on the western side, I noticed,
while observing the country, some very high mountains on the eastern
side, on the top of which there was snow. I made inquiry of the
savages, whether these localities were inhabited, when they told me
that the Iroquois dwelt there, and that there were beautiful valleys
in these places, with plains productive in grain, such as I had eaten
in this country, together with many kinds of fruit without limit. They
said also that the lake extended near mountains, some twenty-five
leagues distant from us, as I judge. I saw, on the south, other
mountains no less high than the first, but without any snow.[4]

When it was evening, we embarked in our canoes to continue our course;
and, as we advanced very quietly and without making any noise, we met
on the 29th of the month the Iroquois, about ten o'clock at evening,
at the extremity of a cape which extends into the lake on the western
bank. They had come to fight. We both began to utter loud cries, all
getting their arms in readiness. We withdrew out on the water, and the
Iroquois went on shore, where they drew up all their canoes close to
each other and began to fell trees with poor axes, which they acquire
in war sometimes, using also others of stone. Thus they barricaded
themselves very well.

Our forces also passed the entire night, their canoes being drawn up
close to each other, and fastened to poles, so that they might not get
separated, and that they might be all in readiness to fight, if
occasion required.... After arming ourselves with light armor, we each
took an arquebuse, and went on shore. I saw the enemy go out of their
barricade, nearly two hundred in number, stout and rugged in
appearance. They came at a slow pace toward us, with a dignity and
assurance which greatly amused me, having three chiefs at their head.
Our men also advanced in the same order, telling me that those who had
three large plumes were the chiefs, and that they had only these
three, and that they could be distinguished by these plumes, which
were much larger than those of their companions, and that I should do
what I could to kill them. I promised to do all in my power, and said
that I was very sorry they could not understand me, so that I might
give order and shape to their mode of attacking their enemies, and
then we should, without doubt, defeat them all; but that this could
not now be obviated, and that I should be very glad to show them my
courage and good-will when we should engage in the fight.

As soon as we had landed, they began to run for some two hundred paces
toward their enemies, who stood firmly, not having as yet noticed my
companions, who went into the woods with some savages. Our men began
to call me with loud cries; and in order to give me a passage-way,
they opened in two parts, and put me at their head, where I marched
some twenty paces in advance of the rest, until I was within about
thirty paces of the enemy, who at once noticed me, and, halting, gazed
at me, as I did also at them. When I saw them making a move to fire at
us, I rested my musket against my cheek, and aimed directly at one of
the three chiefs. With the same shot, two fell to the ground; and one
of their men was so wounded that he died some time after. I had loaded
my musket with four balls. When our side saw this shot so favorable
for them, they began to raise such loud cries that one could not have
heard it thunder. Meanwhile, the arrows flew on both sides. The
Iroquois were greatly astonished that two men had been so quickly
killed, altho they were equipped with armor woven from cotton thread,
and with wood which was a proof against their arrows. This caused
great alarm among them. As I was loading again, one of my companions
fired a shot from the woods, which astonished them anew to such a
degree that, seeing their chiefs dead, they lost courage, and took to
flight, abandoning their camp and fort, and fleeing into the woods,
whither I pursued them, killing still more of them. Our savages also
killed several of them, and took ten or twelve prisoners. The
remainder escaped with the wounded. Fifteen or sixteen were wounded on
our side with arrow-shots; but they were soon healed.

After gaining the victory, our men amused themselves by taking a great
quantity of Indian corn and some meal from their enemies, also their
armor, which they had left behind that they might run better. After
feasting sumptuously, dancing and singing, we returned three hours
after, with the prisoners. The spot where this attack took place is in
latitude 43 degrees and some minutes, and the lake was called Lake

After going some eight leagues, toward evening they took one of the
prisoners, to whom they made a harangue, enumerating the cruelties
which he and his men had already practised toward them without any
mercy, and that, in like manner, he ought to make up his mind to
receive as much. They commanded him to sing, if he had courage, which
he did; but it was a very sad song.[5]

    [1] From the "Voyages of Samuel de Champlain," as published by the
    Prince Society of Boston in 1878, the translation being by Charles
    Pomeroy Otis.

    Samuel de Champlain, who has been called "The Father of New
    France," was born in Brouage, France, in 1567, and died in Quebec
    in 1635. Parkman accepts this title as just, and adds that in
    Champlain were embodied the religious zeal of New France and her
    romantic spirit of adventure. Champlain's first explorations in
    America were made in 1603-07. Quebec was founded by him in 1608,
    and Lake Champlain discovered in 1609.

    [2] Now called the Richelieu River.

    [3] Lake Champlain.

    [4] The Adirondacks or the Green Mountains might have been here
    referred to.

    [5] Parkman, in his "Pioneers of France in the New World," adds to
    this narrative the following: "At night the victors led out one of
    the prisoners, told him that he was to die by fire, and ordered
    him to sing his death-song, if he dared. Then they began the
    torture, and presently scalped their victim alive, when Champlain,
    sickening at the sight, begged leave to shoot him. They refused,
    and he turned away in anger and disgust; on which they called him
    back and told him to do as he pleased. He turned again and a shot
    from his arquebuse put the wretch out of misery. The scene filled
    him with horror; but, a few months later, on the Place de la
    Grave, at Paris, he might have witnessed tortures equally
    revolting and equally vindictive, inflicted on the regicide
    Ravaillac by the sentence of grave and learned judges. [Ravaillac
    was the assassin of Henry IV.]

    "The allies made a prompt retreat from the scene of their triumph.
    Three or four days brought them to the mouth of the Richelieu.
    Here they separated; the Hurons and Algonquins made for the
    Ottawa, their homeward route, each with a share of prisoners for
    future torments. At parting they invited Champlain to visit their
    towns, and aid them again in their wars, an invitation which the
    paladin of the woods failed not to accept.

    "The companions now remaining to him were the Montagnais. In their
    camp on the Richelieu, one of them dreamed that a war party of
    Iroquois was close upon them; on which, in a torrent of rain, they
    left their huts, paddled in dismay to the islands above the Lake
    of St. Peter, and hid themselves all night in the rushes. In the
    morning they took heart, emerged from their hiding-places,
    descended to Quebec, and went thence to Tadousac, whither
    Champlain accompanied them. Here the squaws, stark naked, swam out
    to the canoes to receive the heads of the dead Iroquois, and,
    hanging them from their necks, danced in triumph along the shore.
    One of the heads and a pair of arms were then bestowed on
    Champiain,--touching memorials of gratitude, which, however, he
    was by no means to keep for himself, but to present to the King.

    "Thus did New France rush into collision with the redoubted
    warriors of the Five Nations. Here was the beginning, and in some
    measure doubtless the cause, of a long suite of murderous
    conflicts, bearing havoc and flame to generations yet unborn.
    Champlain had invaded the tiger's den; and now, in smothered fury,
    the patient savage would lie biding his day of blood."




I embarked with M. Joliet, who had been chosen to conduct this
enterprise, on the 13th May, 1673, with five other Frenchmen, in two
bark canoes. We laid in some Indian corn and smoked beef for our
voyage. We first took care, however, to draw from the Indians all the
information we could, concerning the countries through which we
designed to travel, and drew up a map, on which we marked down the
rivers, nations, and points of the compass to guide us in our journey.
The first nation we came to was called the Folles-Avoines, or the
nation of wild oats. I entered their river to visit them, as I had
preached among them some years before. The wild oats, from which they
derive their name, grow spontaneously in their country....

I acquainted them with my design of discovering other nations, to
preach to them the mysteries of our holy religion, at which they were
much surprized, and said all they could to dissuade me from it. They
told me I would meet Indians who spare no strangers, and whom they
kill without any provocation or mercy; that the war they have one with
the other would expose me to be taken by their warriors, as they are
constantly on the look-out to surprize their enemies. That the Great
River[2] was exceedingly dangerous, and full of frightful monsters who
devoured men and canoes together, and that the heat was so great that
it would positively cause our death. I thanked them for their kind
advice, but told them I would not follow it, as the salvation of a
great many souls was concerned in our undertaking, for whom I should
be glad to lose my life, I added that I defied their monsters, and
their information would oblige us to keep more upon our guard to avoid
a surprize. And having prayed with them, and given them some
instructions, we set out for the Bay of Puan,[3] where our
missionaries had been successful in converting them.... The next day,
being the 10th of June, the two guides [Miamies] embarked with us in
sight of all the village, who were astonished at our attempting so
dangerous an expedition. We were informed that at three leagues from
the Maskoutens, we should find a river which runs into the
Mississippi, and that we were to go to the west-south-west to find
it, but there were so many marshes and lakes, that if it had not been
for our guides we could not have found it....

Before embarking we all offered up prayers to the Holy Virgin, which
we continued to do every morning, placing ourselves and the events of
the journey under her protection, and after having encouraged each
other, we got into our canoes. The river upon which we embarked is
called Mesconsin [Wisconsin]; the river is very wide, but the sand
bars make it very difficult to navigate, which is increased by
numerous islands covered with grape-vines. The country through which
it flows is beautiful; the groves are so dispersed in the prairies
that it makes a noble prospect; and the fruit of the trees shows a
fertile soil. These groves are full of walnut, oak, and other trees
unknown to us in Europe. We saw neither game nor fish, but roebuck and
buffaloes in great numbers. After having navigated thirty leagues we
discovered some iron mines, and one of our company who had seen such
mines before, said these were very rich in ore. They are covered with
about three feet of soil, and situate near a chain of rocks, whose
base is covered with fine timber. After having rowed ten leagues
farther, making forty leagues from the place where we had embarked, we
came into the Mississippi on the 17th of June [1673].[4]

The mouth of the Mesconsin [Wisconsin] is in about 42-1/2 N. lat.
Behold us, then, upon this celebrated river, whose singularities I
have attentively studied. The Mississippi takes its rise in several
lakes in the North. Its channel is very narrow at the mouth of the
Mesconsin, and runs south until it is affected by very high hills. Its
current is slow, because of its depth. In sounding we found nineteen
fathoms of water. A little further on it widens nearly three-quarters
of a league, and the width continues to be more equal. We slowly
followed its course to the south and southeast to the 42 deg. N. lat. Here
we perceived the country change its appearance. There were scarcely
any more woods or mountains. The islands are covered with fine trees,
but we could could not see any more roebucks, buffaloes, bustards, and
swans. We met from time to time monstrous fish, which struck so
violently against our canoes, that at first we took them to be large
trees, which threatened to upset us. We saw also a hideous monster;
his head was like that of a tiger, his nose was sharp, and somewhat
resembled a wildcat; his beard was long; his ears stood upright; the
color of his head was gray; and his neck black. He looked upon us for
some time, but as we came near him our oars frightened him away. When
we threw our nets into the water we caught an abundance of sturgeons,
and another kind of fish like our trout, except that the eyes and nose
are much smaller, and they have near the nose a bone like a woman's
busk, three inches broad and a foot and a half long, the end of which
is flat and broad, and when it leaps out of the water the weight of it
throws it on its back.

Having descended the river as far as 41 deg. 28', we found that turkeys
took the place of game, and the Pisikious that of other animals. We
called the Pisikious wild buffaloes, because they very much resemble
our domestic oxen; they are not so long, but twice as large. We shot
one of them, and it was as much as thirteen men could do to drag him
from the place where he fell....

We continued to descend the river, not knowing where we were going,
and having made an hundred leagues without seeing anything but wild
beasts and birds, and being on our guard we landed at night to make
our fire and prepare our repast, and then left the shore to anchor in
the river, while one of us watched by turns to prevent a surprize. We
went south and southwest until we found ourselves in about the
latitude of 40 deg. and some minutes, having rowed more than sixty leagues
since we entered the river.

We took leave of our guides about the end of June, and embarked in
presence of all the village, who admired our birch canoes, as they had
never before seen anything like them. We descended the river, looking
for another called Pekitanoni [Missouri], which runs from the
northwest into the Mississippi....

As we were descending the river we saw high rocks with hideous
monsters painted on them, and upon which the bravest Indians dare not
look. They are as large as a calf, with head and horns like a goat;
their eyes red; beard like a tiger's; and a face like a man's. Their
tails are so long that they pass over their beads and between their
fore legs, under their belly, and ending like a fish's tail. They are
painted red, green, and black. They are so well drawn that I cannot
believe they were drawn by the Indians. And for what purpose they were
made seems to me a great mystery. As we fell down the river, and while
we were discoursing upon these monsters, we heard a great rushing and
bubbling of waters, and small islands of floating trees coming from
the mouth of the Pekitanoni [Missouri], with such rapidity that we
could not trust ourselves to go near it. The water of this river is so
muddy that we could not drink it. It so discolors the Mississippi as
to make the navigation of it dangerous. This river comes from the
northwest, and empties into the Mississippi, and on its banks are
situated a number of Indian villages. We judged by the compass, that
the Mississippi discharged itself into the Gulf of Mexico. It would,
however, have been more agreeable if it had discharged itself into the
South Sea or Gulf of California....

Having satisfied ourselves that the Gulf of Mexico was in latitude 31 deg.
40', and that we could reach it in three or four days' journey from
the Akansea [Arkansas River], and that the Mississippi discharged
itself into it, and not to the eastward of the Cape of Florida, nor
into the California Sea, we resolved to return home. We considered
that the advantage of our travels would be altogether lost to our
nation if we fell into the hands of the Spaniards, from whom we could
expect no other treatment than death or slavery; besides, we saw that
we were not prepared to resist the Indians, the allies of the
Europeans, who continually infested the lower part of this river; we
therefore came to the conclusion to return, and make a report to those
who had sent us. So that having rested another day, we left the
village of the Akansea, on the seventeenth of July, 1673, having
followed the Mississippi from the latitude 42 deg. to 34 deg., and preached
the Gospel to the utmost of my power, to the nations we visited. We
then ascended the Mississippi with great difficulty against the
current, and left it in the latitude of 38 deg. north, to enter another
river [Illinois], which took us to the lake of the Illinois
[Michigan], which is a much shorter way than through the River
Mesconsin [Wisconsin], by which we entered the Mississippi....

    [1] Father Marquette was born at Laon, in France, in 1637, and
    died on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan in 1675. Marquette had
    kept daily memoranda of his expedition, but during the return
    voyage up the Mississippi his papers were lost. He afterward
    composed from memory his narrative published under the title
    "Travels and Discoveries in North America." It has been printed in
    the "Historical Collections of Louisiana," and in Hart's "American
    History Told by Contemporaries."

    In this journey, occupying about four months, Marquette and Joliet
    paddled their canoes more than 2,500 miles. It has been maintained
    by some writers, and among them Mr. Thwaites, that Joliet and
    Marquette were as much the real discoverers of the Mississippi as
    Columbus was the discoverer of America. While Europeans had
    actually reached the Mississippi before them, just as Asiatics and
    Norwegians probably had reached America before Columbus, it was
    Joliet and Marquette who first wrote narratives of their
    expedition, prepared excellent maps, and were followed by others
    who opened the region to enterprise and settlement. Of de Soto's
    century-and-a-quarter earlier discovery, nothing came, while the
    contention put forth for La Salle that he made an earlier visit
    than Joliet and Marquette is based "on the merest surmise."

    [2] The Mississippi.

    [3] The arm of Lake Michigan, now called Green Bay.

    [4] The town of Prairie du Chien lies just north of the confluence
    of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers.




Father James Marquette, having promised the Illinois, called
Kaskaskia, to return among them to teach them our mysteries, had great
difficulty in keeping his word. The great hardships of his first
voyage had brought on a dysentery, and had so enfeebled him that he
lost all hope of undertaking a second voyage. Yet, his malady having
given way and almost ceased toward the close of summer in the
following year, he obtained permission of his superiors to return to
the Illinois to found that noble mission....

After the Illinois had taken leave of the father, filled with a great
idea of the gospel, he continued his voyage, and soon after reached
the Illinois Lake, on which he had nearly a hundred leagues to make by
an unknown route, because he was obliged to take the southern
[eastern] side of the lake, having gone thither by the northern
[western]. His strength, however, failed so much that his men
despaired of being able to carry him alive to their journey's end;
for, in fact, he became so weak and exhausted that he could no longer
help himself, nor even stir, and had to be handled and carried like a

The eve of his death, which was a Friday, he told them, all radiant
with joy, that it would take place on the morrow. During the whole day
he conversed with them about the manner of his burial, the way in
which he should be laid out, the place to be selected for his
interment; he told them how to arrange his hands, feet, and face, and
directed them to raise a cross over his grave. He even went so far as
to enjoin them, only three hours before he expired, to take his
chapel-bell, as soon as he was dead, and ring it while they carried
him to the grave. Of all this he spoke so calmly and collectedly that
you would have thought that he spoke of the death and burial of
another, and not of his own.

Thus did he speak with them as they sailed along the lake, till,
perceiving the mouth of a river with an eminence on the bank which he
thought suited for his burial, he told them that it was the place of
his last repose. They wished, however, to pass on, as the weather
permitted it and the day was not far advanced; but God raised a
contrary wind which obliged them to return and enter the river pointed
out by Father Marquette. They then carried him ashore, kindled a
little fire, and raised for him a wretched bark cabin, where they laid
him as little uncomfortably as they could; but they were so overcome
by sadness that, as they afterward said, they did not know what they
were doing.

The father being thus stretched on the shore, like Saint Francis
Xavier, as he had always so ardently desired, and left alone amid
those forests,--for his companions were engaged in unloading,--he had
leisure to repeat all the acts in which he had been employed during
the preceding days....

He had prayed his companions to remind him, when they saw him about to
expire, to pronounce frequently the names of Jesus and Mary. When he
could not do it himself, they did it for him; and, when they thought
him about to pass, one cried aloud, Jesus Maria, which he several
times repeated distinctly, and then, as if at those sacred names
something had appeared to him, he suddenly raised his eyes above his
crucifix, fixing them apparently on some object which he seemed to
regard with pleasure, and thus with a countenance all radiant with
smiles, he expired without a struggle, as gently as if he had sunk
into a quiet sleep.

His two poor companions, after shedding many tears over his body, and
having laid it out as he had directed, carried it devoutly to the
grave, ringing the bell according to his injunction, and raised a
large cross near it to serve as a mark for passers-by.

    [1] From Dablon's "Relation." Dablon was the Superior General of
    the Jesuit Missions in America.




Betwixt the Lake Ontario and Erie, there is a vast and prodigious
cadence of water which falls down after a surprizing and astonishing
manner, insomuch that the universe does not afford its parallel. 'Tis
true, Italy and Suedeland boast of some such things; but we may well
say they are but sorry patterns, when compared to this of which we now
speak. At the foot of this horrible precipice, we meet with the river
Niagara, which is not above half a quarter of a league broad, but is
wonderfully deep in some places. It is so rapid above this descent,
that it violently hurries down the wild beasts while endeavoring to
pass it to feed on the other side, they not being able to withstand
the force of its current, which inevitably casts them down headlong
above six hundred foot.

This wonderful downfall is compounded of two great cross-streams of
water, and two falls, with an isle sloping along the middle of it. The
waters which fall from this vast height, do foam and boil after the
most hideous manner imaginable, making an outrageous noise, more
terrible than that of thunder; for when the wind blows from off the
south, their dismal roaring may be heard above fifteen leagues off.

The river Niagara having thrown itself down this incredible precipice,
continues its impetuous course for two leagues together, to the great
rock above mentioned, with an inexpressible rapidity: But having
passed that, its impetuosity relents, gliding along more gently for
two leagues, till it arrives at the Lake Ontario, or Frontenac.

Any bark or greater vessel may pass from the fort to the foot of this
huge rock above mentioned. This rock lies to the westward, and is cut
off from the land by the river Niagara, about two leagues farther down
than the great fall; for which two leagues the people are obliged to
carry their goods over-land; but the way is very good, and the trees
are but few, and they chiefly firs and oaks.

From the great fall unto this rock, which is to the west of the river,
the two brinks of it are so prodigious high, that it would make one
tremble to look steadily upon the water, rolling along with a rapidity
not to be imagined. Were it not for this vast cataract, which
interrupts navigation, they might sail with barks or greater vessels,
above four hundred and fifty leagues further, cross the Lake of
Hurons, and up to the farther end of the Lake Illinois (Michigan);
which two lakes we may well say are little seas of fresh water.

    [1] Louis Hennepin, born in Belgium in 1640, was a friar of the
    Recollect order, an offshoot of the Franciscans. Mr. Thwaites, who
    has edited Hennepin's "New Discovery of a Vast Country," from
    which the account of Niagara Falls here given is taken, describes
    him as "an uneasy soul, uncontent to remain cloistered and
    fretting to engage in travel and wild adventure." After the
    pioneer voyage down the Mississippi, made by Joliet and Marquette,
    had become known in Europe, it intensified an already active
    spirit of discovery. In the summer of 1678 Hennepin joined La
    Salle and Laval Montmorency in the famous expedition of La Salle
    undertaken from Quebec to explore the interior, with a view to
    uniting Canada with the Gulf of Mexico by a chain of forts. On
    arrival in Quebec Father Hennepin was sent forward by La Salle to
    Fort Frontenac, on Lake Ontario. Thence, with La Monte and sixteen
    men, he went on to Niagara in order to smooth the way with the
    Indians for La Salle's later coming. It was at this time that
    Hennepin first saw Niagara Falls. White men had probably seen the
    cataract before, but he is the first who wrote a description of it
    that has come down to us. Hennepin's character has been severely
    criticized. He was much given to exaggeration, and he magnified
    his own importance. Mr. Thwaites describes him as "hardy, brave
    and enterprising," but "lacking in spiritual qualities."

    Hennepin's estimate of the height of the falls (about 600 feet)
    may be cited as an example of his faculty in exaggeration. The
    actual height is 167 feet. The descent from Lake Erie to Ontario,
    including that of the rapids above and below the falls, is only
    330 feet.




La Salle chose eighteen of his Indian allies, whom he added to the
twenty-three Frenchmen who remained with him, some of the rest having
deserted, and others lagged behind. The Indians insisted on taking
their squaws with them. These were ten in number, besides three
children; and thus the expedition included fifty-four persons, of whom
some were useless, and others a burden.

On the 21st of December, Tonty and Membre set out from Fort Miami with
some of the party in six canoes, and crossed to the little river
Chicago. La Salle, with the rest of the men, joined them a few days
later. It was the dead of winter, and the streams were frozen. They
made sledges, placed on them the canoes, the baggage, and a disabled
Frenchman; crossed from the Chicago to the northern branch of the
Illinois, and filed in a long procession down its frozen course. They
reached the site of the great Illinois village, found it tenantless,
and continued their journey, still dragging their canoes, till at
length they reached open water below Lake Peoria.

La Salle had abandoned for a time his original plan of building a
vessel for the navigation of the Mississippi. Bitter experience[2] had
taught him the difficulty of the attempt, and he resolved to trust to
his canoes alone. They embarked again, floating prosperously down
between the leafless forests that flanked the tranquil river; till, on
the sixth of February, they issued upon the majestic bosom of the
Mississippi. Here, for the time, their progress was stopt; for the
river was full of floating ice. La Salle's Indians, too, had lagged
behind; but, within a week, all had arrived, the navigation was once
more free, and they resumed their course. Toward evening, they saw on
their right the mouth of a great river; and the clear current was
invaded by the headlong torrent of the Missouri, opaque with mud. They
built their camp-fires in the neighboring forests; and at daylight,
embarking anew on the dark and mighty stream, drifted swiftly down
toward unknown destinies. They passed a deserted town of the Tamaroas;
saw, three days after, the mouth of the Ohio; and, gliding by the
wastes of bordering swamp, landed on the twenty-fourth of February
near the Third Chickasaw Bluffs. They encamped, and the hunters went
out for game. All returned, excepting Pierre Prudhomme; and, as the
others had seen fresh tracks of Indians, La Salle feared that he was
killed. While some of his followers built a small stockade fort on a
high bluff by the river, others ranged the woods in pursuit of the
missing hunter. After six days of ceaseless and fruitless search, they
met two Chickasaw Indians in the forest; and, through them, La Salle
sent presents and peace-messages to that warlike people, whose
villages were a few days' journey distant. Several days later,
Prudhomme was found, and brought in to the camp, half-dead. He had
lost his way while hunting; and, to console him for his woes, La Salle
christened the newly-built fort with his name, and left him, with a
few others, in charge of it.

Again they embarked; and, with every stage of their adventurous
progress, the mystery of this vast New World was more and more
unveiled. More and more they entered the realms of spring. The hazy
sunlight, the warm and drowsy air, the tender foliage, the opening
flowers, betokened the reviving life of Nature. For several days more
they followed the writhings of the great river, on its tortuous course
through wastes of swamp and canebrake, till on the thirteenth of March
they found themselves wrapt in a thick fog. Neither shore was visible;
but they heard on the right the booming of an Indian drum and the
shrill outcries of the war-dance. La Salle at once crossed to the
opposite side, where, in less than an hour, his men threw up a rude
fort of felled trees. Meanwhile, the fog cleared; and, from the
farther bank, the astonished Indians saw the strange visitors at their
work. Some of the French advanced to the edge of the water, and
beckoned them to come over. Several of them approached, in a wooden
canoe, to within the distance of a gun-shot. La Salle displayed the
calumet, and sent a Frenchman to meet them. He was well received; and,
the friendly mood of the Indians being now apparent, the whole party
crossed the river.

On landing, they found themselves at a town of the Kappa band of the
Arkansas, a people dwelling near the mouth of the river which bears
their name. "The whole village," writes Membre to his superior, "came
down to the shore to meet us, except the women, who had run off. I
cannot tell you the civility and kindness we received from these
barbarians, who brought us poles to make huts, supplied us with
firewood during the three days we were among them, and took turns in
feasting us. We did not lose the value of a pin while we were among
them." ...

After touching at several other towns of this people, the voyagers
resumed their course, guided by two of the Arkansas; passed the sites,
since become historic, of Vicksburg and Grand Gulf; and, about three
hundred miles below the Arkansas, stopt by the edge of a swamp on the
western side of the river. Here, as their two guides told them, was
the path to the great town of the Taensas. Tonty and Membre were sent
to visit it. They and their men shouldered their birch canoe through
the swamp, and launched it on a lake which had once formed a portion
of the channel of the river.

In two hours they reached the town; and Tonty gazed at it with
astonishment. He had seen nothing like it in America: large square
dwellings, built of sun-baked mud mixed with straw, arched over with a
dome-shaped roof of canes, and placed in regular order around an open
area. Two of them were larger and better than the rest. One was the
lodge of the chief; the other was the temple, or house of the sun.
They entered the former, and found a single room, forty feet square,
where, in the dim light,--for there was no opening but the door,--the
chief sat awaiting them on a sort of bedstead, three of his wives at
his side, while sixty old men, wrapt in white cloaks woven of
mulberry-bark, formed his divan. When he spoke, his wives howled to do
him honor; and the assembled councilors listened with the reverence
due to a potentate for whom, at his death, a hundred victims were to
be sacrificed. He received the visitors graciously, and joyfully
accepted the gifts which Tonty laid before him. This interview over,
the Frenchmen repaired to the temple, wherein were kept the bones of
the departed chiefs. In construction, it was much like the royal
dwelling. Over it were rude wooden figures, representing three eagles
turned toward the east. A strong mud wall surrounded it, planted with
stakes, on which were stuck the skulls of enemies sacrificed to the
Sun; while before the door was a block of wood, on which lay a large
shell surrounded with the braided hair of the victims. The interior
was rude as a barn, dimly lighted from the doorway, and full of smoke.
There was a structure in the middle which Membre thinks was a kind of
altar; and before it burned a perpetual fire, fed with three logs laid
end to end, and watched by two old men devoted to this sacred office.
There was a mysterious recess, too, which the strangers were forbidden
to explore, but which, as Tonty was told, contained the riches of the
nation, consisting of pearls from the Gulf, and trinkets obtained,
probably through other tribes, from the Spaniards and other

On the next morning, as they descended the river, they saw a wooden
canoe full of Indians; and Tonty gave chase. He had nearly overtaken
it, when more than a hundred men appeared suddenly on the shore, with
bows bent to defend their countrymen. La Salle called out to Tonty to
withdraw. He obeyed; and the whole party encamped on the opposite
bank. Tonty offered to cross the river with a peace-pipe, and set out
accordingly with a small party of men. When he landed, the Indians
made signs of friendship by joining their hands,--a proceeding by
which Tonty, having but one hand, was somewhat embarrassed[3]; but he
directed his men to respond in his stead.

The Indians of this village were the Natchez; and their chief was
brother of the great chief, or Sun, of the whole nation. His town was
several leagues distant, near the site of the city of Natchez; and
thither the French repaired to visit him. They saw what they had
already seen among the Taensas,--a religious and political despotism,
a privileged caste descended from the sun, a temple, and a sacred
fire. La Salle planted a large cross, with the arms of France
attached, in the midst of the town; while the inhabitants looked on
with a satisfaction which they would hardly have displayed, had they
understood the meaning of the act....

And now they neared their journey's end. On the sixth of April, the
river divided itself into three broad channels. La Salle followed that
of the west, and D'Autray that of the east; while Tonty took the
middle passage. As he drifted down the turbid current, between the low
and marshy shores, the brackish water changed to brine, and the breeze
grew fresh with the salt breath of the sea. Then the broad bosom of
the great Gulf opened on his sight, tossing its restless billows,
limitless, voiceless, lonely as when born of chaos, without a sail,
without a sign of life.

La Salle, in a canoe, coasted the marshy borders of the sea; and then
the reunited parties assembled on a spot of dry ground, a short
distance above the mouth of the river. Here a column was made ready,
bearing the arms of France, and inscribed with the words,--"LOUIS LE

On that day, the realm of France received on parchment a stupendous
accession. The fertile plains of Texas; the vast basin of the
Mississippi, from its frozen northern springs to the sultry borders of
the Gulf; from the woody ridges of the Alleghanies to the bare peaks
of the Rocky Mountains,--a region of savannas and forests, sun-cracked
deserts, and grassy prairies, watered by a thousand rivers, ranged by
a thousand warlike tribes, passed beneath the scepter of the Sultan of
Versailles; and all by virtue of a feeble human voice, inaudible at
half a mile.

    [1] From "La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West." By
    permission of the publishers, Little, Brown & Co. Robert Cavelier,
    Sieur de La Salle, was born in Rouen, in France, in 1643, and
    assassinated in Texas in 1687. He was of burgher descent, had been
    educated by the Jesuits, with whom for a time he was connected,
    and first went to Canada in 1666, discovering the Ohio River in
    1669, and the upper waters of the Illinois in 1671. In 1679 he
    established a fort on the Illinois River, near the present Peoria,
    intending it as a starting-point for an expedition down the
    Mississippi. The expedition here described, organized in 1681,
    comprized, beside La Salle and Tonti, thirty Frenchmen and a band
    of Indians. It reached the Mississippi by way of the Chicago
    portage and the Illinois River, and arrived at the mouth in 1682.
    In 1684 La Salle attempted to found a settlement at the mouth of
    the Mississippi. Starting from France, he made a landing in
    Matagorda Bay, Texas, and near a branch of the Trinity River, in
    Texas, was assassinated by some of his disaffected followers. His
    patent of nobility dates from 1673.

    [2] A reference to the loss of the _Griffin_, which he had built
    at the mouth of Cayuga Creek, near Buffalo, the first vessel ever
    built on the Great Lakes, and which was lost on Lake Michigan soon

    [3] Tony tells us he lost his hand in Sicily, where it was "shot
    off by a grenade."


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