Inca's Original DeSoto Writings


Garcilaso de la Vega, the "Inca," wrote a History of the Conquest of Florida based on interviews with DeSoto Expedition survivors. This translation was made by Charmion Shelby in 1935 and Published in the DeSoto Chronicles.        (Trails to this Point)

BY STATE: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia,
                   Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas,
Louisiana, Texas, Retreat, Arkansas, Escape to Mexico      

GLOSSARY   TABLE of INDIAN PLACE NAMES used by the DESOTO CHRONICLERS

1 LEAGUE = 2.6 STATUATE MILES


Florida of the Inca

Garcilaso de la Vega, el Inca 1539-1616

HISTORY OF THE ADELANTADO HERNANDO DE SOTO, GOVERNOR
AND CAPTAIN GENERAL OF THE KINGDOM OF LA FLORIDA, AND
OF OTHER HEROIC GENTLEMEN, SPANIARDS AND INDIANS;
WRITTEN BY THE INCA GARCILASSO DE LA VEGA,
CAPTAIN OF HIS MAJESTY, A NATIVE OF
THE GREAT CITY OF EL CUZCO,
CAPITAL OF THE KINGDOMS
AND PROVINCES OF
EL PERU

DESOTO IN SOUTH CAROLINA (Continued)

CHAPTER XVIII

THE EXPERIENCES THAT THE THREE CAPTAINS HAD
ON THEIR JOURNEY, AND HOW THE
ARMY REACHED XUALA

The captains were troubled at the attempted mutiny of the infantry because they had three horses sick from a colic that had attacked them the day before, which prevented their traveling as rapidly as the foot soldiers desired. Thus they told them that one day more or less of marching was not sufficient reason for abandoning three horses, for they knew what an advantage and help they were against the enemy. The infantry replied, saying that the lives of three hundred Castilians were more important than the health of three horses, and that they did not know whether the march would last one day, or ten or twenty or a hundred, and that it was reasonable to have regard for the more important things and not for those of such little concern. So saying, being now mutinous, they began to march as rapidly as they could, without orders. The three captains stationed themselves in front of them, and one of them in the name of all said to them: "Gentlemen, observe that you are going to your captain-general, who as you know is a man so punctilious in affairs of war that he will be much grieved at learning of your disobedience, and of your nonobservance of commands and orders. It is probable, as I myself believe, that we shall overtake him today or tomorrow, or the next day at the latest, for it is not to be expected that he will make such haste when we are behind him.

This being so, we shall have incurred much disgrace and dishonor, that without having suffered extreme necessity and simply through excessive fear of possible scarcity of food, we shall commit the weakness of abandoning three horses, which are so valuable. You know that they are the nerve and the strength of our army, and that because of them enemies fear us and friends do us honor. And inasmuch as when they kill one of them it is so regretted and mourned, how much more deplorable it will be for us to abandon and lose three horses through our own weakness and cowardice, without any necessity whatever except those we imagine. The most lamentable thing that I see in the whole matter is the loss of your reputations and ours, for the general and the other captains and soldiers will say with much justification that in the four days that we were away from them we did not know how to command or you how to obey. But when it shall be known how the thing happened, they will see that you were wholly to blame and that we were not obligated except to persuade you with reasonable arguments. Therefore, gentlemen, desist from doing such an ill-advised thing; it will be more honorable for us to die like good soldiers in the performance of our duty than to live in infamy for having fled from an imaginary danger."

The foot soldiers were placated at these words, and they shortened their daily marches, but not so much that they failed to travel five or six leagues [each day], which was as far as the sick horses could go.

On the day after the mutiny died down these soldiers were marching along at midday when suddenly a great tempest of strong contrary winds blew up, with much lightning and thunder, and quantities of large hailstones that fell upon them, so that if there had not happened to be some large walnut trees near the road and some other dense trees under which they took shelter, they would have perished, for the largest of the hailstones were the size of a hen egg and the smallest were the size of a nut. The rodeleros held their shields over their heads, but even so when the stones struck an unprotected part of their bodies they hurt them badly. It was God's will that the storm should last only a short time; if it had been longer the shelter they had taken would not have been enough to save their lives, and short as it had been they were so battered that they could not march that day or the next. On the third day they proceeded on their way and came to some small pueblos, whose inhabitants had not dared await the governor in their houses and had fled to the woods. Only the old men and women remained, almost all of them being blind. These pueblos were called Chalaques.

DESOTO INTO NORTH CAROLINA

Three days' march after leaving the pueblos of Chalaques (Cherokees) they reached the governor in a beautiful valley of a province called Xuala (Tryon, North Carolina), where he had arrived two days before and had awaited the captains and the three hundred soldiers, being unwilling to pass on.

From the pueblo of Cofachiqui (Columbia, South Carolina) where the lady remained to the first valley of the province of Xuala, by the road these Castilians took, it was about fifty leagues, more or less, all of it through a level and pleasant country with small rivers flowing through it at a distance of three or four leagues from one another. They saw few mountains, and these had much grass for cattle and were easy to traverse on foot or on horseback. The whole fifty leagues generally, both that which they found inhabited and cultivated and that which was uncultivated and fit for tillage, had good soil.

The whole distance traveled from the province of Apalache (Marianna, Florida) to that of Xuala where we found the governor and his army was (if I have not miscounted) fifty-seven daily journeys. The march was generally northeast, and many days was toward the north. The large river that flowed through Cofachiqui (the Saluda River Columbia), according to the mariners among the Spaniards, was the one which they called Santa Elena on the coast; they did not know this for certain, but according to the direction they had traveled, it seemed to them that it would be this one. This doubt and many others that our History leaves unsolved will be cleared up when God, our Lord, shall be pleased to have that land won for the increase of his holy Catholic faith.

We take four and a half leagues as an average of the fifty-seven daily journeys those Spaniards marched from Apalache to Xuala, though some may have been longer and others shorter. According to this calculation, they have marched a little less than 260 leagues to Xuala, and from the Bay of Espiritu Santo (Charlotte Harbor, Florida) to Apalache (Marianna, Florida) we said that they traveled 150 leagues. Thus in all they covered a little less than four hundred leagues.

In the pueblos under the jurisdiction and overlordship of Cofachiqui (South Carolina) through which our Spaniards passed they found many Indians native to other provinces who were held in slavery. As a safeguard against their running away, they disabled them in one foot, cutting the nerves above the instep where the foot joins the leg, or just above the heel. They held them in this perpetual and inhuman bondage in the interior of the country away from the frontiers, making use of them to cultivate the soil and in other servile employments. These were the prisoners they captured in the ambushes that they set against one another at their fisheries and hunting grounds, and not in open war of one power against another with organized armies.

We told above how the captain and accountant Juan de Anasco went twice after the mother of the lady of Cofachiqui, but we did not tell the chief reason why such persistent efforts were made to take her. This was that the Spaniards had learned that the widow had with her six or seven loads of large unpierced pearls, and that because they were unpierced, they were better than those they had seen in the burial places. Because these latter had been pierced with copper needles heated in the fire they had smoked a little and had lost much of their natural fineness and luster. Thus our men wished to see whether they were as large and good as the Indians claimed them to be.

CHAPTER XIX

WHERE IS RECOUNTED SOME OF THE MAGNANIMITY
OF SPIRIT OF THE LADY OF COFACHIQUI

In the pueblo and province of Xuala (Tryon, NC - which, although it was a separate province from that of Cofachiqui (Columbia, South Carolina)), belonged to the same lady) the governor and his army rested for fifteen days, because in the pueblo and its environs they found much Indian corn and all the other grains and vegetables that we have said grow in La Florida. They needed to stop for this length of time in order to feed and rest the horses, which were lean and debilitated because of the little maize that they had to eat in the province of Cofachiqui. It was understood that this was the real cause of the three horses, which we mentioned above, having failed them, although at the time, to pass the matter over as lightly as possible in order to placate the mutineers, it was said that they had colic.

This pueblo was situated in the foothills of a mountain range on the bank of a river that, though not very large, had a very strong current. The territory of Cofachiqui extended to that river. In the pueblo of Xuala they served and entertained the governor and all his army most attentively, for as it was a part of the seigniory of the lady of Cofachiqui, and as she had sent orders to that effect, the Indians did everything in their power both to obey their lady and to please the Spaniards.

At the end of the fifteen days, the horses now being rested, they left Xuala. On the first day they marched through the cultivated fields and gardens that were there, which were many and good. They marched for another five days through a mountain range, uninhabited but a very good country. It had many oaks and some mulberries, and plenty of pasturage for cattle. There were ravines and streams with little water, though they flowed rapidly, and very green and delightful valleys. At the place they crossed it this range was twenty leagues wide.

But to return to the lady of Cofachiqui, whose seigniories we have not yet left: because it is fitting that her generosities be recorded, we say that, not content with having served and entertained the general and his captains and soldiers in her own house and court, nor satisfied with having provided the supplies that they would need for the march when her country was suffering such want as it did, nor with giving him Indian carriers to serve him throughout the fifty leagues of the province of Xuala (Tryon), she ordered her vassals to carry from Xuala, where there was plenty of food, without any recompense whatever, all that the Spaniards might request for the twenty leagues of uninhabited country they would have to pass through before reaching Guaxule (Asheville), and that they give them Indian servants and everything else necessary as if to her own person. Along with this she directed that four principal Indians go with the general, whose care would be to control and give orders to the servants so that the Spaniards might be better attended on their march. She made all these preparations for her own provinces.

But now it must be understood that neither did she overlook the others [i.e., other provinces], desiring that the Spaniards receive the same attentions in all of them. To this end she ordered the four principal Indians that, having entered the province of Guaxule (Asheville), which bordered upon hers in that direction, they go on ahead and, acting as her ambassadors, charge the curaca of Guaxule that he serve the governor and all his army as she herself had done; otherwise she threatened him with war, with fire and bloodshed. The governor was ignorant of this embassy until the four principal Indians, after they had passed through the uninhabited country, asked his permission to go on ahead to carry it out. When the governor and his captains learned of this it caused them wonder and new gratification to see that that Indian lady had not been content with the service and entertainment she had given them in her own house and country with such affection and good will, but had also provided for it in other [provinces].

From this they came to understand more clearly the will and desire that this lady always had to serve the governor and his Castilians, for thus it was that though she did everything she could to please them, and they saw it, she always asked the general's pardon for being unable to do as much as she wished for them, which so afflicted and depressed her that the Spaniards themselves had to console her. By these manifestations of a generous spirit and others that she showed toward her vassals, according to what they themselves said publicly, she showed herself to be a woman truly worthy of the states she possessed and of other greater ones, and undeserving of being left in her heathenism. The Castilians did not offer her baptism because, as has been said already, they had the intention of preaching - the faith after having made settlements and an establishment in that country, and marching continually as they did from one province to another, without stopping, they had little opportunity for preaching.

CHAPTER XX

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ARMY UNTIL IT
REACHED GUAXULE AND YCHIAHA

We have said already that the governor and his army had left Xuala (Tryon, NC) and marched five days through the uninhabited district that lies between it and Guaxule (Asheville, NC). It must be told (going back in our story) that on the same day they left the pueblo of Xuala they missed three slaves who had fled the night before. Two were Negroes, the servants of Captain Andres de Vasconcelos de Silva, and the other was a Moor from Barbary, the slave of Don Carlos Enriquez, a gentleman from Xerez de Badajoz, whom we mentioned above. It was understood that the flight of these slaves and their remaining among the Indians had been caused by the attraction of women more than by any other interest, and therefore they could not recover them though they made efforts to do so. The Indians of this great kingdom generally are much gratified (as we shall see more clearly further on) when anything pertaining to the Spaniards remains among them. The dereliction of the Negroes caused surprise because they were regarded as good Christians and friends of their master. The Berber did nothing new but rather confirmed the opinion that they had always had of him, as he was very bad in every respect.

Two days later it happened that, as the army was marching through this same wilderness, in the middle of the journey and of the day, when the sun was hottest, a foot soldier from Albuquerque named Juan Terron, whose name fitted him well [Terron means a lump or clod of earth], came up to another, mounted soldier who was his friend, and taking from his knapsack a small linen bag in which he was carrying more than six pounds of pearls, he said: "Take these pearls and carry them; I don't want them." He on horseback replied: "It is better for you to keep them, for you need them more than I do, and you can send them to La Havana where they will bring you three or four horses and mares, so that you will not have to walk. The governor says that he wishes to send messengers to that country soon with news of what we have discovered in this one." Angered because his friend would not accept the present that he made him, Juan Terron said: "Well, if you don't want them, I swear that I won't take them with me either, so they will have to stay here."

So saying, he unfastened the sack and grasping it by the bottom he flung out his arm like a person sowing, scattering all the pearls through the woods and grass, so as not to have to carry them on his shoulders, he being a strong and robust man who could carry almost as heavy a load as a pack mule. Having done this, he put the bag back in his knapsack as if it were more valuable than the pearls, to the amazement of his friend and all the rest who saw this reckless action. They had not imagined that he would do such a thing, for if they had suspected it, they would have stopped it in some way, because in Spain the pearls would have been worth more than 6,000 ducats, as they were all large, being the size of hazelnuts or large chick-peas. They had not been pierced, which made them more valuable, for their color was perfect, since they had not been smoked as had those they found already pierced.

They recovered about thirty of them, searching among the grass and bushes, and seeing that they were so fine, they were regretful over the loss and made up a refrain they sang among themselves, which ran: "Pearls are not for Juan Terron" [No son perlas para Juan Terron]. He would never say where he got them, and as the men of his group often joked with him afterward about the loss and ridiculed him for the foolish thing that he had done, which corresponded with his rustic name, he said to them one day when he was very hard-pressed: "For the love of God, don't mention it to me again, because I assure you that every time I think of my foolishness it makes me want to go hang myself from a tree." Such are those whom prodigality enlists in its service, for after having made them throw away all their possessions through vanity, it provokes them to desperate actions. Liberality [on the other hand], being such an excellent virtue, gratifies very pleasantly those who embrace it and practice it.

Without anything else worth recording happening to them and having marched five daily journeys through the mountain range, the Castilians arrived at the province and pueblo of Guaxule (Asheville), which was situated among many small streams that flowed through various parts of the pueblo. Their sources were in these mountains which the Spaniards had passed through and in others beyond.

The lord of the province, who also had the same name of Guaxule, came out half a league from the pueblo accompanied by five hundred nobles handsomely dressed in rich mantles made of various kinds of skins and wearing long plumes on their heads, in accordance with the common usage of that whole country. Thus ceremoniously he received the governor, showing by signs his regard for him and speaking to him most courteously and with a very lordly air. He took him to the pueblo, which had three hundred houses, and lodged him in his own. On receiving the message from the ambassadors of the lady of Cofachiqui (Columbia, SC), he had moved out of it to accommodate him and had prepared other things in order to serve him better. The house was on a high elevation like other similar ones we have described. All around it was a public walk along which six men could pass abreast.

The governor was in this pueblo four days, informing himself about the surrounding country, and from there he went in six daily journeys of five leagues each to another pueblo and province called Ychiaha (in Western North Carolina), whose lord had the same name. The route he followed on this six days' march was downstream along the many rivers that flowed through Guaxule (Asheville). All of them joined together within a short distance to form a large river of such volume that at Ychiaha, which was thirty leagues from Guaxule, it was larger than the Guadalquivir at Sevilla.

This pueblo Ychiaha was situated on the end of a large island more than five leagues long, which the river formed (at the base of Chiaha Mountain, on an island in the Little Tennessee River, under today's Fontana Reservoir). The cacique went out to receive the governor and welcomed him cordially with all the demonstrations of affection and pleasure that he could show, and the Indians whom he brought. Taking them across the river in many canoes and rafts they had ready for this purpose, they lodged them in their houses, as if they were their own brothers. All the other service and entertainment they accorded them were similar in measure, their desire being, as they expressed it, to take out their hearts and lay them before the Spaniards, so that they might see with their own eyes how much pleasure it gave them to know them.

In Ychiaha the governor took the same steps that he had in the other pueblos and provinces to inform himself about what was in that country and its environs. The curaca told him, among other things that he said in response to his questions, that thirty leagues away (near Knoxville, Tennessee) there were mines of the yellow metal that he was seeking, and that in order to examine them his lordship might send two Spaniards, or more if he liked, to go and see them. He would furnish guides who would take and bring them back safely. On hearing this, two Spaniards offered to go with the Indians. One was named Juan de Villalobos, a native of Sevilla, and the other was Francisco de Silvera, a native of Galicia. They left at once, deciding to go on foot rather than on horseback, though they had horses so as to accomplish more in less time.

CHAPTER XXI

HOW THEY TOOK THE PEARLS OUT OF THEIR SHELLS,
AND THE REPORT THE DISCOVERERS OF
THE GOLD MINES BROUGHT

Early on the next day after the Spaniards left to visit the gold mines they so desired to find, the curaca came to visit the governor and made him a present of a handsome string of pearls. If they had not been pierced with fire they would have been a fine gift, because the string was two fathoms long and the pearls as large as hazelnuts, almost perfectly matched. The governor received them with many thanks, and in return he gave him pieces of velvet and cloth of various colors and other things from Spain, which the Indian valued highly. The governor asked him if those pearls were found in his country, and the cacique replied that they were, and that in the temple and burial place of their fathers and grandfathers, which was in that same pueblo, there were great quantities of them; if he wanted them, he would have all or as many as he desired brought to him. The adelantado told him that he appreciated his good will and that although he desired the pearls he would not injure the burial place of his ancestors, however much he might want them. The string that he had given him he had received only because it was a present from him, and he wished to know only how they took them from the shells where they grew.

The cacique told him that on the next day at eight o'clock in the morning his lordship would see how it was done, for that afternoon and the following night the Indians would fish for them. He immediately directed that forty canoes be sent out with orders that they fish for the shells with all diligence, and come back in the morning. When morning came, the curaca ordered much wood to be brought (before the canoes returned) and heaped up on a level space on the riverbank. It was set on fire and a large bed of coals made, and as soon as the canoes arrived he ordered it to be spread out and the shells that the Indians brought to be thrown upon it. These opened from the heat of the fire and they were enabled to hunt for the pearls inside them. From almost the first shells that they opened the Indians took out ten or twelve pearls as large as medium-sized chick-peas and brought them to the curaca and the governor, who were watching together to see how they took them out. They saw that they were very good and perfect except that the heat and smoke of the fire had already damaged their fine natural color.

Having seen them take out the pearls, the governor went to his lodgings to eat, and soon after he had eaten a soldier entered, a native of Guadalcanal named Pedro Lopez. Showing a pearl that he carried in his hand, he said: "Sir, as I was eating some of the oysters that the Indians brought today, a few of which I took to my quarters and had cooked, I found this between my teeth, which almost broke them. As it seemed to me to be a fine one, I brought it to your lordship so that you might send it to my senora Dona Isabel de Bobadilla." The adelantado replied, saying: "I thank you for your good will and accept the present and the favor you do Dona Isabel so that she may thank you and repay you whenever the opportunity arises. But it will be better if you keep the pearl and take it to La Havana, so that you can get in exchange for it a couple of horses and two mares and anything else you may need. Because of the good will that you have shown toward us, I shall pay out of my own pocket the fifth [of the value of the pearl] that belongs to his Majesty's hacienda."

The Spaniards who were with the governor examined the pearl, and those among them who regarded themselves as lapidaries of sorts estimated that in Spain it would be worth 400 ducats, because it was the size of a large hazelnut with its husk entire, perfectly rounded and of a clear and lustrous color. Since it had not been opened with fire, as had the others, its color and beauty had not been injured. We give an account of these particulars, though so unimportant, because they show the wealth of that country.

On one of the days that the Spaniards were in this pueblo of Ychiaha a misfortune occurred that grieved all of them very much. This was that a gentleman who was a native of Badajoz, named Luis Bravo de Xerez, while walking across a plain near the river with a lance in his hand, saw a dog pass near him and threw the lance at it with the intention of killing it for food, because due to the general scarcity of meat throughout that country, the Castilians ate all the dogs they were able to get. The throw missed the dog, and the lance went skimming across the plain beyond until it fell over the bluff above the river, and it happened to strike in the temple a soldier who was fishing there with a cane pole, coming out on the other side of his head, from which he immediately fell dead. Luis Bravo, ignorant of having made this cruel throw, went to look for his lance and found it stuck through the temples of Juan Mateos, for this was the soldier's name. He was a native of Almendral. Among all the Spaniards who went on this discovery he alone had gray hair, wherefore everyone called him father and respected him as if he were the father of each of them. Thus there was general grief at the misfortune and miserable death that had overtaken him when he had gone out to enjoy himself. Death is as near and is equally certain for us, in all times and places.

The things mentioned took place in the camp while the two companions went out and returned from discovering the mines, spending ten days on their journey (over the Great Smoky Mountains near Knoxville). They said that the mines were of very fine brass like that which they had seen formerly, but that because of the nature of the country, they were sure that gold and silver mines would be found if the veins and deposits were sought. In addition to this they said that the country they had seen was all very good for cultivation and pasturage. The Indians in the pueblos through which they had passed had received them very affectionately and joyfully, and had entertained and regaled them to such an extent that every night after they had feasted them they sent two handsome young women to entertain and sleep with them that night; but that they did not dare touch them, fearing that the Indians might shoot them with arrows the next day, because they suspected that they sent them [the women] to give an excuse for killing them if they should receive them. The Spaniards feared this, but perhaps their hosts did it by way of giving them special entertainment, seeing that they were young, because, if they had wished to kill them, they had no need to seek pretexts for doing so.

DESOTO INTO TENNESSEE

CHAPTER XXII

THE ARMY LEAVES YCHIAHA AND ENTERS ACOSTE AND COCA, AND THE HOSPITALITY THAT WAS ACCORDED THEM IN THESE PROVINCES

Having received an account of the gold mines that they went to discover, the governor ordered preparations made for departing on the following day, which our Castilians did, leaving the curaca and his principal Indians very satisfied with the gifts the general and his captains gave them in return for their hospitality.

They marched that day down the island, which as we said was five leagues in length. At its point where the river came together again was founded another pueblo called Acoste; it belonged to another lord, quite different from the last one. He received the Castilians in a very different manner than the cacique of Ychiaha, for he showed no signs of friendship for them but on the contrary placed more than fifteen hundred Indian warriors under arms, decked out with plumes and having their weapons ready. They kept the latter in their hands, unwilling to put them down even though they had already received the Spaniards in their pueblo.

They showed themselves to be so bold and anxious to fight that there was not a single Indian who in speaking with a Spaniard did not boast that he would scratch out his eyes, and they would have done so. If they asked them any questions, they replied so arrogantly, shaking and throwing their arms about with the fists closed (signs they make when they wish to fight), that their effrontery was insupportable, as were their words and manner, all of which provoked battle, so that often the Castilians lost patience and were ready to engage them. But the adelantado prevented it, telling them to endure everything that the Indians did simply in order not to break the record [of peace] that they had maintained up to that point since leaving the warlike province of Apalache. Thus they did as the governor commanded, but both sides passed that whole night with their squadrons formed, like declared enemies.

On the next day the Indians showed themselves to be friendlier, and the curaca and the chief men came with a new aspect to offer the governor all that they had in their country, and they gave him Indian corn for the march. He understood that a favorable message that the lord of Ychiaha had sent them regarding the Spaniards must have caused that civility. The general thanked them for the offer and paid for the maize, which satisfied them. On the same day the Spaniards left the pueblo and crossed the river in canoes and rafts, of which there were many, and gave thanks to God for having brought them out of that pueblo of Acoste without having broken the peace that they had kept up to that time.

Having left Acoste, they entered a large province called Coca. The Indians came out to receive them peaceably and treated them in a very friendly manner, giving them provisions and guides for their march from one pueblo to another.

The curaca and lord of this province had the same name as the province itself. At the place the Spaniards crossed it, it was more than a hundred leagues long, all fertile country and very populated, so that on some days of their march through it they passed ten or twelve pueblos, not counting those that were off the road on either side. It is true that the pueblos were small. The Indians came out of them to receive the Christians very gladly and joyfully, and entertained them in their houses. They gave them whatever they had very willingly, and all along the road those from one pueblo went to the next to serve them, and when the other pueblo had received them they returned to their own. In this manner they took the Spaniards throughout the hundred leagues, lodging them some nights in the settlements and others in the fields, as the day's march happened to end, each of which was about four leagues in length.

The lord of that province of Coca, who was at the other side of it, sent new messengers every day with the same message, repeated many times, welcoming the arrival of the governor, requesting that he travel very slowly through his country, resting and enjoying himself as much as he could, and saying that he himself was awaiting him in the chief pueblo of his province in order to serve his lordship and all his people with the affection and good will that they would see.

DeSoto into Western Tennessee  

DESOTO INTO NORTHERN GEORGIA

The Spaniards marched twenty-three or twenty-four days without anything of note happening to them, except the many repetitions of the welcome the Indians gave them, until they reached the chief pueblo, called Coca, from which the whole province took its name, and where its lord wag. He advanced a long league to receive the governor, accompanied by more than a thousand nobles much adorned with mantles made of various kinds of skins. Many of them were of fine marten-skins that gave off a strong odor of musk. They wore long plumes on their heads, which are the decoration and adornment that the Indians of this great kingdom most value. These men were well disposed, as those of that country generally are; their plumes stood up half a fathom high and were of many and varied colors; and they were stationed in the field in order in the form of a squadron, with twenty men to a file. Thus they made a handsome and pleasing appearance.

With this military and lordly pomp and ceremony the Indians received the general and his captains and soldiers, making every possible demonstration of the satisfaction that they said they felt at seeing them in their country. They lodged the governor in one of three houses that the curaca had in different parts of the pueblo, built in the same form as we have said other such houses were, situated on a height with the advantages that the lord's houses have over those of his vassals. The pueblo was established on the bank of a river and had five hundred large and good houses, which showed clearly that it was the head of a province so large and important as has been said. They had moved out of half the pueblo (in the vicinity of the governor's lodgings) where they quartered the captains and soldiers, and there was room for all of them because the houses would accommodate many people.

The Castilians stayed there eleven or twelve days, being served and entertained by the curaca and all his people as if they were much-beloved brothers, for certainly no expression suffices to tell the affection, care, and diligence with which they served them, so that the Spaniards themselves marveled at it.

CHAPTER XXIII

THE CACIQUE COCA OFFERS HIS STATE TO THE GOVERNOR FOR AN ESTABLISHMENT AND SETTLEMENT, AND HOW THE ARMY LEAVES THAT PROVINCE

One day while the Spaniards were in this pueblo called Coca, its lord, who had eaten at the governor's table - having talked with him about many things pertaining to the conquest and settlement of the country and having replied to the entire satisfaction of the adelantado to everything that he had asked him on this subject - when it seemed to him time, arose, and making the general a deep and very respectful obeisance, after the custom of the Indians, and turning his eyes to the gentlemen who were on either side of the governor, speaking to them all, said: "Sir, the affection I have come to feel for your lordship and for all your people in these few days that I have known you leads me to beg that, if you are seeking good lands on which to settle, see fit to remain in mine and make an establishment in them. I believe that this is one of the best provinces that your lordship would have seen among all those that are in this kingdom, and moreover I assure your lordship that you have chanced to pass through and see the poorest and least desirable part of it. If your lordship should desire to examine it more closely, I will take you through other, better parts that will satisfy you entirely, and you can take whatever part of them seems best to you for settling and establishing your house and court. If you do not wish to grant me this favor at present, at least do not refuse to remain in this pueblo during the coming winter, which is near, where we will serve you, as your lordship will see by our actions. Then at your leisure your lordship can send your captains and soldiers to examine all parts of my country and bring you accurate reports of what I have said, for your lordship's better satisfaction."

The governor thanked him for his good will and told him that he was wholly unable to make an inland settlement until knowing what ports there were on the seacoasts to receive the ships and the people that would come to them from Spain or elsewhere with cattle and plants and the other things necessary for making settlements. At the proper time he would accept his offer and would always maintain friendship with him, and meanwhile he might rest assured that he would not delay in returning there and settling the country, and then he could do the things he asked for his gratification and satisfaction.

The cacique kissed his hands and said that he took these words of his lordship for pledges of his promise, and that he would keep them in his heart and memory until he should see their fulfillment, which he wished for extremely. This lord was twenty-six or twenty-seven years of age, of very elegant bearing, as are most of those in that country, and of good understanding. He spoke with discretion and gave good replies to all the questions that were asked him; he appeared to have been brought up in a most enlightened and polished court.

After the army had rested ten or twelve days in the pueblo of Coca, more to comply with the wishes of its curaca, who desired to have them in his country, than from their need for rest, the governor saw fit to continue his journey toward the sea, which he was seeking. Since leaving the province of Xuala he had marched toward the coast, making an arc through the country in order to come out at the port of Achusi, as he had agreed with Captain Diego Maldonado to do. The latter had remained to explore the coast and was to return at the beginning of the coming winter to the port of Achusi with reinforcements of men and arms, and cattle and provisions, as we said above. The governor's chief purpose was to go to this port to begin making his settlement.

The cacique Coca desired to accompany the general to the boundaries of his territory, and thus he set out with him, accompanied by many noble warriors, with many provisions and Indian carriers to transport them...

DESOTO INTO ALABAMA

...They marched in the usual order for five days, at the end of which they reached a pueblo called Talise, which was the last one in the province of Coca and its frontier and defense. It was extremely strong, for in addition to its enclosure made of logs and earth, it was almost entirely surrounded by a large river that made it into a peninsula. This pueblo Talise was not wholly obedient to its lord Coca, because of its double-dealing with another lord, named Tascaluca, whose state bordered upon that of Coca, and he was not a safe neighbor or a true friend. Although the two were not openly at war, Tascaluca was a haughty and belligerent man, very cunning and deceitful, as we shall see below, and as such he had stirred up this pueblo to disobedience to its lord. The cacique Coca, having learned of this some time before, was glad to come with the governor both in order to serve him on the way and in the pueblo Talise itself, and to threaten its inhabitants and bring them to obedience with the Spaniards' assistance.

In the pueblo of Coca there had remained a Christian, if he were such, named Falco Herrado. He was not a Spaniard nor is it known from what province he came; he was a man of the lowest class and thus was not missed until the army reached Talise. Steps were taken to bring him back, without result, for he very shamelessly sent word by the Indians who went with the governor's messages that he wanted to stay with the Indians and not go with the Castilians, so that he might not have to see his captain every day, who had quarreled with him and spoken to him abusively; therefore they need not expect to see him again.

The curaca replied more civilly and courteously to the request that the governor made him to order his Indians to bring back that fugitive Christian, saying that, since all of them had not been willing to remain in his country, he would be much pleased to have only one of them stay there. He begged his lordship to pardon the man and not force him to return if he wished to stay of his own accord, for he would regard it as a favor. Seeing that he was some distance away and that the Indians would not compel him to return, the governor made no further demand for him.

We have forgotten to say that in this same pueblo of Coca there had remained a Negro named Robles, who was sick and unable to travel. He was a very good Christian and a good slave, and was entrusted to the cacique who very willingly and affectionately took upon himself the task of caring for and curing him. We have included an account of these details so that when God, our Lord, shall will that that country be conquered and won, an effort may be made to see whether some trace or memory remains of those who thus stayed among the natives of that great kingdom.

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