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      



Florida of the Inca

Garcilaso de la Vega, el Inca 1539-1616






On the death of the governor and captain-general Hernando de Soto, the attempts and well-laid plans that he had made for settling and forming an establishment in that land not only were not carried forward, but on the other hand his captains and soldiers abandoned and turned against them, as usually occurs wherever the principal leader of an enterprise is absent. Since all the, captains and soldiers of the army had been discontented at the failure to find in La Florida the things that they were seeking, though it had the other advantages that we have named, and inasmuch as they had desired to leave it and only their respect for the governor had restrained them, (he being dead) it was decided by common agreement of the most influential among them that as quickly as possible they would leave that kingdom. This was a thing that they afterward lamented all the days of their lives, as a determination that is made and carried out without prudence or advice is usually regretted. The accountant Juan de Anasco - who as a minister of his king's hacienda and a nobleman in his own right, and one of those who had labored hardest in the discovery, was obligated to uphold this very well-founded judgment of his captain-general and to carry on his enterprise and conquest if only in order not to lose their past labors, for it was of such honor and advantage to all of them and of such grandeur, majesty, and profit to the Crown of Spain as we have seen - not only did not oppose the other captains and gentlemen who were in favor of leaving that great kingdom, but he even offered to guide them himself and bring them quickly into the limits and jurisdiction of Mexico. He prided himself on being a cosmographer and presumed upon his skill to put them promptly in safety, not considering the broad provinces and the large rivers, the rough woodlands lacking in food, and the difficult swamps that they had passed; on the other hand he disregarded all of them; because when our ambition and desire become disordered, we often make fight of hardship and disregard the difficulties of its pretensions, so as to allow ourselves to perish in them later.

They were inspired and encouraged in this determination by the memory of certain false information that the Indians had given them in the past winter and the preceding summer, to the effect that to the west not far from where they were going there were other Castilians who were traversing and conquering those provinces.

The Spaniards revived these past rumors in their memories and, accepting them as true, they said that these must be people who had gone out from Mexico to conquer new kingdoms, and that according to what the Indians said, they ought not to be far from one another. It would be a good thing to go in search of them, and having found them, they could assist them in conquering and making settlements, as if they themselves had found nothing to conquer nor had anywhere to settle.

With this common determination, so ill-made, our Spaniards left Guachoya on the fourth or fifth of July, directing their march toward the west with the intention of turning neither to the right nor to the left, for it seemed to them that by following that direction they must necessarily come out in the territory of Mexico. They did not consider that according to their own cosmography they were in a much higher latitude than the lands of New Spain.


Being thus desirous of entering them, they marched more than a hundred leagues, making as long daily journeys as possible, through different lands and provinces than those that they had seen hitherto, but not so abundant in food nor so well populated as the others. We cannot tell the names of these provinces because, as they now had no intention of settling, they did not attempt to learn the names nor to inform themselves of the nature of the country, but intended to pass through it as rapidly as they could. Therefore they did not record the names nor could they give them to me.




With this determination he left and took the road for the principal pueblo of the province of Naguatex (others called this place Chaguete, located below today's Shreveport, Louisiana), which had the same name, by which the whole province was also called. It was different from the one where we have said that the governor made his recent foray from Utiangue to Naguatex. By the way the Castilians went, it is twenty-two or twenty-three leagues through a fertile and well-populated country. Our men marched this distance in seven days without anything of importance happening to them on the road, except that in some narrow passes by streams or woods the Indians came out to make surprise attacks, but ran away when they met resistance.

At the end of the seven days they reached the pueblo Naguatex and found that its inhabitants had abandoned it. They lodged there and remained fifteen or sixteen days. They scoured the country in every direction and took the food they needed with little or no resistance from the Indians.

After the Spaniards had been in the pueblo for six days, its lord sent an embassy to the governor (General, Luis de Moscoso) saying that he begged his lordship to pardon him for not having awaited him in his pueblo to serve him as would have been fitting, and that because of shame for his past bad behavior, he dared not come immediately, but that within a few days he would come out to kiss his hands and acknowledge him as lord; and that until he should arrive he would order his vassals to serve him in everything that he might order them. This message was delivered with great ceremony, such as we have described in the case' of others. The adelantado replied that whenever he should come he would be well received, and that he would be pleased to know him and have him for a friend, as were most of the curacas through whose lands he had passed. The ambassador returned very well satisfied with the governor's words.

On the next day, early in the morning, another messenger came, bringing with him four principal Indians and more than five hundred Indian servants. He said to the general that his lord was sending those four men, who were his very close relatives, so that, pending his own arrival, they might serve him and carry out his commands; and that he sent the most important men of his household and state as hostages for his coming so that he would be assured of it.

The governor replied in friendly terms, welcoming the arrival of the Indians, and ordered that no more Indians be captured in forays, as they had been doing hitherto. The cacique never came to see the governor, however, from which it was understood that he had sent the embassy and the principal Indians and the servants out of fear that they would lay waste the fields and burn the pueblos, and to prevent their capturing more people than they had already. The principal Indians and all the rest served the Castilians with every desire to please them.

The governor, having informed himself about what was in that province and its environs, both from the report of the Indians and from that of the Spaniards who went to explore the country, left the pueblo of Naguatex with his army, accompanied by the four principal Indians and by many other servants whom the cacique sent with provisions, which they carried until the Castilians entered another province.

After the Spaniards had marched two leagues, they missed a gentleman named Diego de Guzman, who was a native of Sevilla. He had gone on this conquest as a noble and a rich man, taking much costly and elegant clothing, excellent arms, and three horses that he brought to La Florida. He comported himself in every way like a gentleman except that he gambled passionately.

As soon as they missed him, the governor ordered that the army halt and that the four principal Indians be held in custody until learning what had become of the Spaniard because they feared the Indians had killed him.

A close inquiry was made among the Spaniards, and it was learned that they had seen him in the camp the day before, and that four days previously he had gambled away everything he had, even to his clothing and arms and a very good black horse that he had remaining. Going still further in the passion and blindness of his play, he had lost an Indian serving-woman who, unhappily for him, had fallen to his lot from those whom we said the governor had captured in the foray he made on a pueblo of this same province of Naguatex. Diego de Guzman had also taken part in this expedition.

It was learned also that he had paid all his losses very promptly except for the Indian woman. He told the winner to wait four or five days and he would send her to his lodgings, but he had not done so. The Indian woman was missing as well. It was suspected from these indications that he had gone to the Indians, so as not to have to give her up and through shame at having played away his arms and horse, which is considered among soldiers to be a most despicable action.

This suspicion was verified immediately, because it was learned that the Indian was the daughter of the curaca and lord of that province of Naguatex, a girl of eighteen and extremely beautiful. These things may have so blinded him that he thoughtlessly renounced his own people and went among strangers.

The governor ordered the four principal Indians to have that Spaniard who was missing in their country brought at once; otherwise he would understand that they had killed him treacherously, and by way of revenge he would order them and all the Indians whom they brought with them quartered.

In fear of death these chiefs sent messengers who were to go as quickly as possible to all the places where they thought they might get news of Diego de Guzman, and they charged them to return with the same swiftness before the Spaniards should harm them because of their delay.

The messengers went and came back on the same day with the report that Diego de Guzman was with the cacique, who kept him and entertained and honored him as much as possible, and that the Spaniard said he did not want to come back to his own people.

Because we said that these Spaniards gambled, and have not told what they played, it should be said that after the cards they had with them were burned in the bloody battle of Mauvila, along with all the other things that they lost there, they made cards of parchment and painted them remarkably well, for whenever the necessity arose they were forced to make whatever they needed. They did this as if they had been masters of that art all their lives. Because they could not or did not wish to make as many as were needed, they made enough to be used among the players by turns for a limited time, from which (or from some other similar occasion) we can say that there may have arisen that saying current among gamblers when they are playing; "Let us hurry, gentlemen, they are coming for the cards." Since those that our men made were of leather, they lasted a long time.


The governor, on hearing the news that the messengers brought, told the four principal Indians that they had deceived him in saying that the Spaniard was alive, because he was convinced that they had killed him. Then one of them, not with the aspect of a prisoner but with the seriousness and authority these Indians seem to wish to show when they are most oppressed, said: "Sir, we are not men who would he to your lordship, and so that you may see more clearly that the messengers have told the truth, your lordship can release one of us who will go and come back with evidence of what has been done with the Spaniard that will satisfy your lordship. The three of us who shall remain give our word and promise that he will return with the Christian or bring definite notice of his decision; and so that your lordship may make certain that he is not dead, you can order that a letter be written to him asking that he either come or reply to it to show with his own hand that he is alive, since we do not know how to write. In case our companion should not return with this proof, the three of us who remain will pay with our lives for his failure to comply with his promise and ours. It will be enough and more than enough, without your lordship killing our Indians, that three men like ourselves shall die for the treason of one Spaniard who denied his own people without our having forced him or known of his going." All these were the Indian's own words, for we added nothing to them but simply changed them from his language to Spanish or Castilian.

The general and his captains agreed to what the principal Indian had said and promised in the name of all four, and they ordered that he himself go for Diego de Guzman and that Baltasar de Gallegos, who was his friend and countryman, write to him, shaming him for his bad action if he should persevere in it, exhorting him to return and do his duty as an hidalgo, and saying that his arms and horse would be restored to him and that they would give him others when should he need them.

The principal Indian left with the letter and with a verbal message the governor gave him for the cacique, begging him to be pleased to send the Spaniard and not to detain him. Otherwise he threatened to destroy his land with fire and blood, burning his pueblos, laying waste his fields, and killing the Indians - both the principal men and the others that were with him, and all the rest of his vassals that he could capture.

The Indian went, bearing these threats, on the second day of Diego de Guzman's absence and returned on the third with the same letter that he had carried, and in it was the name of Diego de Guzman, written with charcoal. He wrote it to show that he was alive, and did not reply another word. The Indian said that the Christian did not wish or intend to return to his own people.

The curaca replied to the governor that his lordship was to understand and be assured that he had not used any force to induce Diego de Guzman to remain in his country, nor would he do so to make him leave, inasmuch as he did not wish to return. On the contrary, he would entertain and honor him to the best of his ability, as a son-in-law who had restored a much-beloved daughter to him, and he would treat all the Spaniards or Castilians who might wish to stay with him in the same manner. And if (because he was doing his duty in this matter) his lordship wished to destroy his country and kill his relatives and vassals, he would not be doing right or justice as he ought to do; and as a final reply he said that, being a powerful man, he [the governor] must do as he pleased, but that he himself would do only what he had said.

The adelantado having spent three days in attending to this affair, and seeing that the Spaniard did not want to come back and that the cacique was in the right and was making a just demand, decided to go on with his journey. He released the principal Indians and the servants, all of whom served him very affectionately until he left their boundaries and entered another's territory.

This poor gentleman committed this weakness through the blindness of play and love for the woman, and so as not to give her up to him who had won her, he was willing to give himself up to his enemies to do as they liked with him, rather than be without her. From this, in short, can be seen what reckless play leads to, and we could say a great deal about what we have seen with our own eyes as regards this passion, if it belonged to our profession to do so. This, however, is left for those whose business it is to reprimand vices.

Returning to Diego de Guzman, we say that if, retaining the reputation and prestige that he had among the Indians of Naguatex, he would later have preached the Catholic faith to them, as was his duty as a Christian and a gentleman, we could not only excuse his wrongdoing but could praise him highly, for we could believe that his teaching would have borne much fruit because of the esteem the Indians generally have for those who remain with them. But since we never found out any more about him, we can tell nothing except what happened at the time.

Alonso de Carmona refers in his Relation to what we have said about Diego de Guzman, though not at such length as we do, and he calls him Francisco de Guzman.

After the loss of Diego de Guzman, the Spaniards marched for five days through the province of Naguatex, and at the end of that time they came to another province, called Guancane. Its natives were different from the others, for they had been affable and friendly to the Spaniards, while these showed themselves to be hostile and never desired their friendship, but on the other hand showed their hatred and eagerness to fight with them in every way that they could, offering them battle many times. The Spaniards refused, however, for they now had few horses left, the Indians having killed more than half of them, and they wished to keep those that remained. As we have said many times, they were their greatest strength, for the Indians had no fear of the infantry.

The Spaniards spent eight days in traversing this province of Guancane, and they did not rest there a single day, so as not to have to fight with the Indians, who were so desirous of doing so.

Throughout this province there were so many wooden crosses set on the tops of the houses that there was scarcely a house that did not have one. It was supposed that the reason was that these Indians had heard of the good works and miracles that Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca and Andres Dorantes and their companions had performed in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, in the provinces of La Florida that they traversed during the years the Indians held them as slaves, as Alvar Nunez himself has written in his Comentarios [also known as Naufragios]. Although it is true that Alvar Nunez and his companions did not reach this province of Guancane nor many others that lie between it and the lands through which they traveled, yet the fame of those wonders wrought by God through the medium of those men came to it, passing from person to person and from country to country. Inasmuch as those Indians understood and had heard it said that all the benefits those Christians had conferred in curing the sick was by making the sign of the cross over them, and that they carried it in their hands as an emblem, it gave rise to their observance of placing it over their houses, in the belief that it would also save them from all evil and danger, as it had cured the sick. This shows the facility those Indians in general had, and which those now have, for receiving the Catholic faith if there were someone to cultivate it, chiefly by setting a good example for them to observe, more than in any other manner.





Going back in our story somewhat from where we are, it must be said that when the Spaniards left the pueblo of Guachoya (in Southern Arkansas), there went with them of his own accord an Indian sixteen or seventeen years old, with a graceful body and handsome face, as the natives of that province usually have. After they had marched three or four days, Governor Luis de Moscoso's servants noticed him, the Indian having approached them. As this was unusual and they saw that he was of a different rank, fearing that he might be a spy, they told the general about it. He sent to summon him and he asked him through the interpreters and Juan Ortiz to tell the reason why he had left his parents, relatives, friends, and acquaintances to go with the Spaniards, since he knew nothing about them. The Indian replied: "Sir, I am poor and an orphan. The death of my parents left me alone at a very early age, and a principal Indian of my pueblo, a near relative of the curaca Guachoya, taking pity on me, carried me to his house and brought me up among his sons. At the time your lordship left, this man was sick and his life despaired of.

"As soon as they saw him thus, his relatives, wife, and children chose and named me to be buried alive with my master upon his death, for they said that my lord had been very fond of me, and that because of this love it was fitting that I should go with him and serve him in the other life. And although it is true that, because he reared me, I was obligated to him and loved him devotedly, my love is not such as to make me take pleasure in being buried alive with him.

"In order to escape this death, finding no better remedy, I determined to come with your lordship's people, since I prefer being your slave to seeing myself buried alive. This, and nothing else, is the cause of my coming."

The general and those who were with him wondered at hearing the Indian and understood that the custom and abuse of burying alive the servants and wives with the body of the deceased chief was also followed and observed in that country, as in the rest of the New World hitherto discovered.

Throughout the empire of the Incas who reigned in El Peru it was long the custom to inter with and near the kings and great lords their most loved wives and favorite servants, because in their heathenism they believed in the immortality of the soul and thought that after this life there was another one like it, not spiritual. It contained pain and punishment, however, for him who had been bad, and glory, reward, and recompense for the good. Thus they call heaven Hanampacha, which means the higher world, and the inferno Ucupacha, meaning lower world. They call the devil Zupay, saying that the wicked go with him. We shall discuss this at more length in the history of the Incas.

Returning to our Castilians, whom we left eager to travel a long distance and they were later to regret having traveled so far - we said that after marching through the provinces we could not name, because we do not know what their names were, and through which they marched for more than a hundred leagues, at the end of this distance they came to a province called Auche. Its lord came out to receive them very cordially and entertained them with many signs of affection. He said that it gave him much satisfaction to see them in his country, but as we shall see later all this was false and assumed.

The Spaniards rested in that pueblo of Auche for two days, it being the principal one of the province. On informing themselves about the things that would be helpful on their journey, they learned that two days' march from the pueblo there was a great uninhabited region that was four days' journey in extent. The cacique Auche gave them Indians laden with maize for six days, and an old Indian to guide them through the uninhabited country until he brought them out to the settlements. Making a great show of friendship, he ordered him in the Spaniards' presence to take them by the best and shortest road that he knew.

Thus prepared, our people left Auche, and in two days' march they reached the uninhabited country, through which they traveled four more days over a wide road that seemed to be a public highway. But at the end of the two days' journey it gradually became narrower until it disappeared entirely. They marched six more days without a road, wherever the Indian wanted to take them, he telling them that he was leading them by shortcuts off the road so as to reach the inhabited country more quickly.

At the end of eight days' wandering through those deserts, woodlands, and thickets, seeing that they were not getting out of them, the Spaniards noticed what had not hitherto come to their attention, namely, that the Indian had led them in a circle, sometimes guiding them toward the north, again to the west, other times to the south, and still others to the east. They had not noted this before because of their eagerness to pass on and because of the confidence they had that their guide would not deceive them. They considered also that it had been three days since they had eaten maize or any other food except herbs and roots, and that their difficulties were increasing hourly and their hopes of getting out of those deserts were becoming less, because they had neither food nor road.



Governor Luis de Moscoso ordered the Indian who had guided him sum moned before him, and he asked him through the interpreters why he did not bring them out of that wilderness at the end of eight days, that they had wandered about through it lost; for upon leaving his pueblo, he had offered to pass through it in four days and come out in inhabited country. The Indian would not reply directly, but spoke some nonsense that he thought would excuse him for what he had done. The governor, being angered by this and at seeing his army in such want through the Indian's malice, ordered that he be tied to a tree and that the mastiffs they had with them be let loose upon him. One of them shook and dragged him badly.

The Indian, seeing himself so ill treated and overcome by the fear that they would kill him, begged them to take the dog away, saying that he would tell the truth about everything that had happened in that affair. When they took away the dog he said: "Gentlemen, my curaca and natural lord ordered me upon your departure to do what I have done with you, for he confided in me, saying that, since he did not have sufficient forces to cut all your throats in one battle, as he would like to do, he had determined to kill you by strategy and cunning, putting you into these wild forests and deserts where you would perish of hunger. He chose me, as one of his most faithful servants, to carry out this scheme, leading you off the road to where you would never be able to get back to the inhabited country. If I should succeed with the enterprise he promised to grant me many favors; if not, he would kill me cruelly.

"I, being a servant, did what my lord commanded me, as I believe that any one of you would do if yours should so order you. I was forced to do it out of respect and obedience to my superior and not through any will or desire of my own to kill you. I certainly have not wished nor do I wish to do so, because you have given me no reason for it. Rightly considered, the greater part of this blame you put upon me is yours, because you have allowed yourselves to be led thus, with so much carelessness on your own part that you have not even asked me a word about the road. If you had asked me some of the questions that you are now asking on the first day that it was lost, I would have told you all this in time to have remedied the present evil. Even yet it is not too late, and if you will spare my life (since I acted according to orders and could do nothing else), I will remedy the error we have all made. I will undertake to bring us out of this desert and put us into an inhabited country before the next three days have passed. By traveling straight toward the west, without turning to one side or the other, we shall soon come out of this uninhabited region. If I do not lead you out of it within that time, then kill me, for I offer myself for punishment."

General Luis de Moscoso and his captains became so indignant on learning of the curaca's bad intentions and the deceit the Indian had practiced upon them, that they would neither listen to the good reasons he gave for being pardoned for his fault nor grant his petition to spare his life, nor accept or believe his promises. On the other hand they all said together that he who had done them such harm hitherto would do worse in the future, and they ordered the dogs let loose. Being very hungry, in a short time they tore him to pieces and ate him.

This was the revenge our Castilians took on the poor Indian who had led them off the road, as if it were any satisfaction for past hardships or remedy for present evils. After they had done it, they saw that they were not revenged but worse off than before, as they had no one at all to guide them because they had given the other Indians, who had brought the maize, permission to return to their own country as soon as the food was used up, and thus they found themselves entirely lost.

The Spaniards being in these straits and confused and repentant of having killed the Indian - who, if they had left him alive, might perhaps have brought them out to the settlements, as he had promised - seeing that they had no other recourse, took the one that the Indian had told them, giving him credit after his death for what they refused to believe while he was alive. This was that they should march toward the west without turning to one side or to the other.

They did so and traveled three days suffering extreme hunger and necessity, because for three days previously they had eaten nothing except herbs and roots. It was of much advantage to them in this hardship that the forests in that uninhabited country were open and not dense as they are in other parts of the Indies, where they are like a wall. If these had been so, they would have perished of hunger before they got out of them.

Under these difficulties they continued their journey, always toward the west, and at the end of the three days they sighted inhabited country from the tops of some hills through which they were going. This gave them the relief that can be imagined, though on reaching the settlements, they found that the Indians had gone to the woods and that the land was poor and sterile. The pueblos were not like the others they had seen, but the houses were scattered through the fields in groups of four or five, badly built and worse arranged, looking more like huts of melon growers than dwellings. But for all this they satisfied their hunger with a quantity of fresh beef they found in them. They also found fresh cowhides, though they never saw the cattle alive nor would the Indians ever say where they got them.

On the second day of their march through that sterile and poorly inhabited province, which our people called the province of the Vaqueros because of the meat and hides of cattle that they found in it, an Indian desired to show his spirit and valor with a strange and mad act that he performed. It happened that after the Spaniards had finished that day's march they encamped on a plain, and everything being quiet, they saw a lone Indian emerge from some woods not far from the camp and come toward them. He wore a handsome plume on his head and had his bow in his hands and a quiver of arrows on his back that inclined a little toward the right shoulder, as they all usually carry them.

The Castilians who were near the place where the Indian happened to come out of the woods, seeing that he was alone and so peaceable, did not give an alarm, but thinking that he was bringing a message from the cacique to the governor, they allowed him to come on. When he found himself fewer than fifty paces fromoa group of Spaniards on foot who were talking together, he very hastily and courageously placed an arrow in his bow and, aiming at the group, who were watching him, he shot it with extreme force. Seeing that he was shooting at them, the Christians hastily scattered to one side and the other and some fell down on the ground, thus escaping the shot. But the arrow passed beyond them and struck in the midst of five or six Indian women who were under a tree preparing their masters' dinner. It hit one of them in the back and passed clear through her, and struck the one who was facing her in the chest and also passed through her, though the arrow did not come clear, and the Indians immediately fell dead.

Having made this bold shot, the Indian turned and fled to the woods, running so swiftly and lightly that it was clear that he had depended upon this [speed] to come and do what he did.

The Spaniards sounded the call to arms and shouted to the Indian, being unable to follow him. Captain Baltasar de Gallegos, who happened to be on horseback, responded to the alarm, and seeing the fleeing Indian and hearing the Spaniards shout, "Kill him, kill him!" suspected what he must have done and ran after him. just as the Indian reached shelter he overtook and killed him before the poor unfortunate could enjoy the fruits of his rash bravery, as is the case with most such feats that are performed in war.



Three days after this affair, in this same province, which they called that of the Vaqueros, there happened another, no less remarkable one. This was that one day at ten o'clock in the morning, as the general and his captains and soldiers stopped marching to rest after their past labors on two long daily marches that they had just made, they saw coming across a beautiful plain two Indian nobles. They were decked out in long plumes with their bows in their hands and their arrows in quivers on their backs. When they came within two hundred paces of the camp, they began walking around a walnut tree that was there, and they did not walk together, shoulder to shoulder, but went one behind the other, so that each one could protect his companion from behind. They walked thus almost all day, paying no attention to the Negroes and Indians - men, women, and children - who passed near them carrying water and wood. The Spaniards understood from this that they were not doing it for the benefit of the servants, but for themselves, and they told the governor about it. He at once ordered that a decree be issued forbidding any soldier to harm them, but ordering that they be left alone as insane persons.

The Indians continued to walk around until evening, without doing anything else, as if they were waiting for the Spaniards who wished to do so to come out two by two for combat with them. When it was almost sunset a company of horse that had gone out that morning to ride over the country came back. Their camp was near the place where the Indians were walking, and when they saw them they asked what Indians they were. Learning about them and what had been ordered concerning them, namely, that they be left alone as madmen, they all obeyed except one, who chose to disobey in order to show his courage. Asking why in the name of heaven anyone else should be madder than they were, and saying that he would chastise their madness, he ran at them. This soldier was from Segovia and was named Juan Paez.

Seeing a single Castilian attacking them, the Indian who happened to be nearest advanced to meet him, in order to show that he had asked for a single combat. The other Indian stepped back and got under the walnut tree, showing further that their intention was to fight one against one, and that his companion did not wish help against a single Castilian, though he was on horseback.

Juan Paez attacked the Indian furiously in order to knock him down. The heathen, who was waiting for him with an arrow ready in his bow, seeing him come within range, shot it and struck him in the left arm at the place where it bled, through the sleeve of his coat of mail. Breaking through the sleeve on both sides, the arrow remained sticking through the arm. Because of his wound and the blow, which was very strong, Juan Paez could not move his arm. The reins fell from his hand, and the horse, who felt them fall, stopped galloping. It is very usual for horses to do this when they feel the reins fall, and it is likewise a rule of horsemanship to drop them suddenly when the horse runs away and will not stop.

Juan Piez's companions, who had not yet dismounted, seeing him in such danger, all ran up hastily to help him before the enemy should kill him. Seeing so many horses coming against them, the Indians fled toward some woods close by, but before they could reach them the Spaniards killed them with lances, not observing the rule of war that, inasmuch as the Indians had not desired to go two against one Spaniard, it was not fair for so many mounted Spaniards to go against two Indians on foot.

With these incidents, which, though they are unusual, we have told because no other, more important ones occurred, the Castilians traveled through the province they named that of the Vaqueros for more than thirty leagues. At the end of them that poor settlement ceased, and they saw that there were large mountain ranges and forests to the west and learned that they were uninhabited.

The governor and his captains, warned by the experiences of hunger and hardship they had passed through in the deserts that were behind them, wished to go no farther than was necessary to find a road that would bring them out into an inhabited country, and they endeavored to take precautions against the inconveniences that they would encounter. Therefore they ordered that three mounted companies, each with twenty-four horses, should all go toward the west by three routes to find out what there was in that direction.

They ordered them to go as far as possible into the interior country and bring a report not only of what they should see, but also they were to attempt to find out what was beyond. They gave them Indian interpreters from among those domestics who spoke the best Spanish.

The seventy-two horsemen left camp with these orders, and within fifteen days they all came back with nearly the same report. They said that each of the bands had entered more than thirty leagues and had found a very sterile country with few people, and the farther they went the worse it became. This was what they had seen, and they brought even worse news of what was beyond, because many Indians whom they had captured and others who had received them peacefully had told them that it was true that there were Indians beyond, but they did not inhabit settled pueblos, nor have houses in which to live, nor cultivate their lands. They were a nomadic people who wandered in bands, gathering such fruits, herbs, and roots as the land afforded them of itself, and they supported themselves by hunting and f ishing, moving from one place to another according to the advantages the seasons gave them in their fisheries and hunting grounds. All three parties brought this report, differing little from one another.

In addition to the account given, Alonso de Carmona adds at this point that the Indians told them that beyond that province where they were (to the west) were large settlements in a very level country with a great deal of sand. The cattle whose skins they had seen were bred there, and there were large numbers of them.




Governor Luis de Moscoso and his captains, having heard this fine report about the road by which they had promised themselves to come out in the territory of Mexico, and having discussed the matter and considered the difficulties of their journey, decided not to go farther in order not to perish of hunger while lost in those deserts, of which they did not know the extent, but to go back in search of the same Great River that they bad left. It now seemed to them that to get out of the kingdom of La Florida there was no more certain route than going down the river and coming out into the North Sea.

Having so determined, they endeavored to inform themselves about the road that they could take on their return that would avoid the bad country and the uninhabited regions they had passed through when they came. They learned that by returning by a circular route to the right of the one by which they had come, the road they would travel would be shorter, but they would have to traverse many other uninhabited districts and deserts. If they chose to return by a route to the left, however, also making a semicircle, though their road would be longer they would always be going through an inhabited country where they would find food and Indians to guide them.

On learning this, they made haste to leave those bad lands of the Vaqueros, and they marched in an arc toward the south, always obtaining information of the road ahead in order not to get into some desert that they could not get out of. Though the Castilians traveled taking care not to injure the Indians, so as not to incite them to make war upon them, and though they made long daily marches so as to leave their provinces quickly, the natives did not allow them to pass in peace. On the contrary they fell upon them with sudden attacks and alarms at all hours of the day and night. In order to surprise them more successfully, they hid themselves in the woods near the road, and where there were none they threw themselves down on the ground and covered themselves with grass, and when our men passed by unsuspectingly, seeing no one, they raised up and shot them with arrows mercilessly, but when the Spaniards turned upon them they ran away.

These attacks were so numerous and so continuous that the enemy had scarcely been driven away from the vanguard when others appeared in the rear, and often at three or four places at the same time. They always left damage behind them with deaths and wounds of men and horses. The Spaniards received more harm in this province of the Vaqueros, without coming to blows with the enemy, than in any other of the many through which they traveled, particularly on the last day of their march through it. The road happened to be rough, through woods and over streams and passes very convenient for highwaymen such as those Indians were. Going and coming there in safety, they did not cease their attacks that whole day, in which they killed and wounded many Castilians, Indian servants, and horses.

In the last attack, which occurred at the crossing of a stream where there were many trees, they wounded a soldier from Galicia named Sanjurge, whom we mentioned at the beginning of this History Because he was an unusual man it will be fitting for us to tell some things about him in particular, for they all belong to our story and are extraordinary. I submit what I shall say about them and about anything else that I may say here or elsewhere to the correction and rule of the holy mother Roman church, whose most Catholic son I am, through the mercy of God, though unworthy of such a mother.

As Sanjurge was going through the middle of the stream, an Indian shot an arrow at him from among the undergrowth with such force that it penetrated the armor on his leg and went through the right thigh, and after going through the tree and pad of the saddle, two or three inches of the arrow passed on and wounded the horse. The horse ran out of the stream to a plain, kicking and curvetting to get rid of the arrow and of his master if he could.

The Spaniards who were near went to his assistance, and seeing that Sanjurge was pinned to the saddle and that the camp was near the place where they were, they took him and the horse, thus transfixed, to his quarters. There they lifted him up from the saddle and cut the arrow between it and the thigh, and then very carefully removed the saddle. They saw that the horse's wound was not deep, but they wondered that the arrow, being one of the ordinary kind that the Indians make for munitions, without a head, had penetrated so far. It was made of reed with the point of the same material cut obliquely and hardened in the fire.

They left Sanjurge lying on the plain to be assisted by his own efforts. Among his many other abilities, one was to cure wounds with oil, dirty wool, and words they call a charm. During this discovery he had made many cures that had excited great admiration as he appeared to have a particular gift from God for making them. After the oil, the dirty wool and everything else that the Castilians had were burned in the battle of Mauvila, however, he had stopped making these cures. Though he himself had been wounded on two other occasions - once with an arrow that entered his instep and came out at the heel, from which he was more than four months in recovering, and the other time by another arrow that entered the knee joint, where the head, which was made of deer horn, broke off, and he had undergone martyrdoms to get it out - with all this he had been unwilling to treat either himself or any other wounded man, believing that he could not make a cure without oil and dirty wool.

Seeing now, therefore, his own necessity, he was unwilling to call the surgeon because of a grudge he had against him caused by the roughness and cruelty with which he had treated his wounded knee. On that occasion, angered by his heavy-handedness, he had told him in a very insulting manner that if he should be wounded again he would not call him, even though he might know he was dying, and the surgeon had retorted for his part that although he might know how to save his life he would not treat him, and that he need not summon him if he should ever need him.

Since they felt this bitter anger against one another, Sanjurge would not summon the surgeon, nor would the surgeon show him the kindness of going to tend him, though he knew he was wounded. Thus he saw that he must help himself by what he knew, and in place of the oil he took lard, and instead of dirty wool he used thread raveled from an old Indian blanket. It had been a long time since any of the Castilians had had a shirt or anything made of linen. The treatment he gave himself was so effective that within the four days that the army remained in the camp, because of the many wounded among them, he was cured, and on the fifth day when our men marched, Sanjurge mounted his horse, and so that the Spaniards might see that he was well he ran from one side of the army to the other, shouting in a loud voice: "Kill me, Christians, for I have been a traitor to you and a bad comrade. Because I have not attempted to cure, believing that the virtue of my treatments lay in the oil and dirty wool, I have allowed more than a hundred and fifty of you to die."

With the events that we have told, the Castilians left the province of the Vaqueros and made long daily marches for twenty days through other lands whose names they did not know. They directed their journey in an arc toward the south, and as it seemed to them that they were going too far down from the province of Guachoya, to which they wished to return, they turned toward the east, taking care always to ascend somewhat to the north. Traveling in this manner, they came to and crossed the road that they had followed on going out, but they did not recognize it because of the little notice they had taken, in going, of the lands they left behind them.

When they reached that place it was already the middle of September, and having marched three months after leaving the pueblo of Guachoya, during all that time and on all that long road, though they had no pitched battles, they were never free from the sudden attacks and ambushes that the Indians gave them at all hours of the day and night. They never failed to do them damage, principally in the case of those who strayed away from the camp. Waylaying them like highwaymen, on seeing them apart from their companions, the Indians immediately shot them with arrows. In this manner they killed from time to time more than forty Spaniards on this journey alone. At night they entered the camp on all fours and, wriggling along the ground like snakes, without the sentries hearing them, they shot the horses and the sentries themselves, hitting them in the back as a punishment for their not having seen or heard them. They killed two sentries in this manner in one night. The Indians kept our Castilians very fatigued by these continuous persecutions.

One day during this journey it happened that, as some of the Spaniards lacked servants, they asked the governor's permission for eighteen of them to form an ambush and take ten or twelve of the Indians who, following the Spaniard's departure, were accustomed to come to their camp seeking whatever might remain there, as if they would have left anything of value.

With the general's permission a dozen cavalry and as many infantry remained hidden among some thick trees, in the highest of which they stationed a watchman who would tell them when the Indians appeared. In four attempts they very easily took fourteen Indians, without their making any resistance. When the Spaniards started to leave with their prizes, they having been divided among them, the Genoese, Maese Francisco, at whose request permission [to do this] had been asked, came out, and not being content with the two Indians that they had given him, he said that he needed another and that he would not go until he had taken one.

His companions told him to be satisfied for that time with those he had and that they would promise to go with him another day if he wished to take more. Persisting in his intention, Maestre Francisco said that although he stayed alone he would not leave there until he had taken the Indian he needed. Though each of his companions offered him the one that had fallen to his lot, in order to please him, for they knew that they would soon need him in building the brigantines, he would not accept them, saying that he would not be so rude as to take away from another what had been given to him for his own, and that he desired an Indian to be taken in his own name. With this obstinacy he forced his companions to remain in the ambush against the will of all of them, for it seemed that they foresaw the bad outcome. A little later the lookout called that there was an Indian in the place.

Being anxious to leave, the Castilians did not wait for more Indians to come, and thus one of them came out running on his horse. He was named Juan Paez, a native of Segovia, whom we mentioned above. Not warned by past experience, he fell upon the Indian. The latter got under a tree so that the horse would not trample him, put an arrow in his bow, and waited for the Castilian.

Passing to one side, the rider made an ineffectual crosswise thrust with his lance. As the horse came opposite him, the Indian shot the arrow at him and struck him near the left knee, causing him to go stumbling on for more than twenty paces and then fall dead. Another horseman had followed Juan Paez, this being Francisco de Bolanos, who was his comrade and from his own country. He attacked the Indian, and being unable to go under the tree he threw a lance at him from the side over his left arm, but it was of no effect.

The Indian, who intended to make better use of his arrows than the Castilians did of their lances, shot one at the horse and struck him in the same place as the first one, in such manner that he went running in the tracks of the other and fell dead at his feet. These were the two best shots, and if he had not had a reverse at the third that broke his succession of good luck, we would have another exploit to tell about like the one that happened in the province of Apalache.



A gentleman from Badajoz named Juan de Vega, a member of one of the very noble families that are in that city (whom I knew in El Peru and afterward in Spain), believing that two mounted Castilians could cope with one Indian on foot, had remained behind, though he had followed them. Seeing them now fallen to the ground and their horses dead, he ran full speed to kill the Indian. On the other hand the two soldiers, raising themselves from the ground, ran at him with their lances in their hands. The Indian, seeing himself attacked from both sides, went running from under the tree to meet the horseman, giving more attention to him alone than to the two who had been made infantry and foot soldiers. It seemed to him that, if he could kill the horse as he had the other two, he would be free of all three of them and able to take to his heels before they could attack him, because of the usual advantage the Indians had over the Spaniards in running. He would have succeeded in carrying out his intention if Juan de Vega had not come so well prepared. His horse wore a breast-leather half a vara wide made of three thicknesses of cowhide, for the careful Spaniards made such breast-leathers from the skins of cows, lions, bear, and deer that they could obtain, for protecting their horses. The Indian had come out from under the tree with all the courage that a man in such danger could show, and shot an arrow at Juan de Vega's horse. It struck the breast-leather, passed through the three thicknesses of the skins, and wounded the horse, four finger-breadths of the arrow penetrating his breast. It went in so true that if he had not worn the breast-leather it would have gone to the heart, but the fortune of war willed otherwise.

Juan de Vega thrust his lance at the Indian and killed him, but his death did not console our men's sorrow at having lost two horses on that sad occasion, at a time when they needed them so much and had so few left. When they went to see the Indian their grief and anger were doubled, because his person was not like that of the other Floridos, who usually are of f ine and robust figure. This one was small, lean, and weak, so that his appearance promised no courage whatever, but his good spirit and bravery made him so redoubtable that he amazed his enemies and left them cause for grief. Cursing their bad luck and Maestro Francisco who had been the cause of it, they started on their way and overtook the army. There all again bewailed the loss of the horses, for in them they had their greatest strength and hope in whatever hardship might present itself.


With so many and such continuous molestations as the Indians gave the Spaniards, the latter traveled toward the province of Guachoya and the Great River until the end of October of the year 1542, at which time a very severe winter set in, with much rain, cold, and hard wind. Since they wished to reach their intended destination, they did not fail to march every day, no matter how bad the weather, and they reached their camping places soaked with water and covered with mud. There they never found food without going after it, and most of the time they got it by force of arms and in exchange for their lives and blood.

Because of these hardships and the bad weather, they felt the fatigues of the march more than ever before. As the season advanced, the waters rose, much snow fell, the rivers were flooded, and it was increasingly difficult to cross them, for even the small streams could not be forded. Almost every day it was necessary to make rafts for crossing them, and at some passages of the rivers they were detained five, six, seven, and eight days by the perpetual opposition of the enemy and by the poor facilities for making the rafts. Thus their labor was augmented and lengthened.

On many nights, besides what they had endured in the course of the day, their hardships were so excessive that, because of the great amounts of water and mud, they could not find the ground in order to rest on it, and the mounted men slept or passed the night on their horses, not dismounting at all. The manner in which the foot soldiers passed it is left to the imagination of the reader, for they were at least knee-deep or thigh-deep in water.

Furthermore, as the clothing they were wearing was made of deerskin and other similar skins, and consisted of only one garment tied at the waist, which served as shirt, doublet, coat, and cape, and as it was always wet with the constant rain or snow and with crossing the many rivers, so that it was a rare thing for them to be dry, and as they went about barelegged, without stockings, shoes, or sandals, and inasmuch as to these personal deprivations and the inclemencies of the weather were added poor food, lack of sleep, and their great weariness on such a long and toilsome journey, many of the Spaniards and Indian servants whom they had with them became sick.

The sickness did not end with the people but passed to the horses, and increased more and more among all of them, both men and beasts beginning to die in large numbers. Every day two or three Spaniards expired, and one day there were seven. The horses and the Indian servants were in the same situation. The latter were mourned by their masters no less than their own companions, for they had served them like sons and they missed them very much. Almost none of these Indians escaped. There was one Spaniard who had four, and all of them died. In their haste to pass on they scarcely had time to bury the dead; many remained unburied, and those whom they interred were half buried because they could do no more. Most of them died on their feet on the march and there was no one to carry them; the horses were also sick, and they did not use the well ones for carrying the sick men because they needed them to go out against the enemy who came up to make continuous surprise attacks and assaults.

With all these miseries and afflictions our men endured, they did not neglect to keep watch night and day, posting their sentries and changing guard in due military form, so that the enemy would not find them unprepared. This added to their illness and afflictions, as has been said.

At this point Alonso de Carmona, having told at length of the miseries and hardships of this journey, says that they found a sow they had lost on the outward journey and that she had a litter of thirteen pigs, now well-grown, all of which were marked on the ears, each with a different sign. Perhaps the Indians had divided them among themselves and marked them with their own signs, from which it can be inferred that those Indians have conserved these animals.

With the inclemencies of the heavens and the persecutions of the air, water, and earth, and the hardships of hunger, sickness, and deaths of men and horses, and with care and diligence, though feeble enough, in watching and guarding against their enemies, and with the continual molestation of alarms, sudden attacks, and warfare the latter gave them, our Castilians marched throughout the months of September and October and up to the end of November, when they reached the Great River, so desired and longed-for by them, since they had come to seek it through such adversities and with so much anxiety of heart. On the contrary, not long before they had so hated and abhorred it that they had undergone the same hardships in fleeing and withdrawing from it. At the sight of the river they congratulated one another, it seeming to them that, upon reaching it, their miseries and labors were over.

On this last journey that our people made after the death of Governor Hernando de Soto they traveled, going and returning, and counting the expedition that the scouts made, more than 350 leagues, during which a hundred Spaniards and eighty horses died at the hands of the enemy and from sickness. This is what their bad counsel profited them, and though they arrived at the Great River the deaths did not cease. Fifty more Christians died in the camp, as we shall soon see.




Our people looked upon the Great River with extreme contentment and gratitude in their hearts, for it seemed to them that in it all the labors of their journey would come to an end. They found on the banks of the river in the place at which they happened to reach it two pueblos, near one another, each having two hundred houses. A moat of water taken from the river itself surrounded them both and formed an island.

Governor Luis de Moscoso and his captains thought it would be well to lodge in them for the winter if it should be possible to gain the pueblos either by peaceful means or by war. Though that province was not Guachoya, which they had been seeking, it seemed enough for them to have reached the Great River, since for what they wished to do, which was to leave that kingdom by way of it, this was the most essential thing.

Having so determined, although they did not come to fight, they formed a squadron that stiff numbered more than 320 infantry and seventy cavalry, and attacked one of the pueblos, whose inhabitants abandoned it without making any defense. Leaving some men in it, our forces attacked the other pueblo and gained it with equal facility.

It was understood that the reason these Indians had not defended themselves was that they had thought the Spaniards were coming in such force as they had on the other two occasions that they had marched along the banks of that river. Though they themselves had not reached this province, their reputations must have come to it along with the news of other things that they had done in the provinces of Capaha and Guachoya. This report must have so terrified them that they would not now defend their pueblos.

On entering them, the Spaniards found such quantities of Indian corn and other grains and vegetables and dried fruit, such as nuts, raisins, dried plums, acorns, and other fruits unknown in Spain, that in truth, though our people, with the intention of wintering in those pueblos, had spent the entire past summer in collecting provisions, they would not have gathered so many.

Alonso de Carmona says that when they measured the maize they found in these two pueblos there were eighteen thousand fanegas by actual count, which excited great wonder among them at seeing that there was so large a supply of maize in such a small settlement, to say nothing of the other grains. All this, and the fact that the Indians had abandoned the pueblos so easily, these Christians attributed to the particular mercy that God had been pleased to show them in their necessity. For it is true that if they had not found those pueblos so good and so well provisioned, certainly after the way in which they had been mistreated, being weak and sick, they would all have perished within a few days. They themselves admitted this, they now being in such a state that they could do nothing for the preservation of their lives and health. Even with the supplies and comforts that we have mentioned, more than fifty Castilians died after they had reached the pueblos, and as many Indian servants, because they were now so spent that they could not regain their strength. Among those who died was Captain Andres de Vasconcelos de Silva, a native of Yelves, who bore two names representing the noblest blood to be found in the kingdom of Portugal.

There died also Nuiio Tovar, a native of Xerez de Badajoz, a gentleman no less valiant than noble, though unfortunate because of such a severe superior having fallen to his lot. Because of an error of love that had forced him to marry without his [superior's] permission, he had always been out of favor and treated contemptuously, entirely contrary to what he deserved.

The faithful interpreter Juan Ortiz, a native of Sevilla, also died. Throughout the discovery he had served no less with his strength and courage than with his tongue, because he was a very good soldier and useful on all occasions. In short, there died many very noble gentlemen, and many very excellent, brave, and spirited soldiers. Those who died on this last journey numbered more than sSo persons. It occasioned great grief and sorrow that through the imprudence and bad management of the captains so many and such good men had perished to no purpose whatsoever.

Having gained the pueblos, the Spaniards agreed for their further convenience and safety to join the two together, so as not to be divided in whatever might arise in the future. They did so immediately, tearing down one of the pueblos and taking all the food, wood, and grass that was in it to the other, with which they enlarged and fortified it as best they could, and established themselves in it. Our people spent twenty days making these arrangements, because they were weak and debilitated and could not work as much as they liked, and as was necessary.

With the shelter of good houses and the comfort of plenty of food, the sick, who included almost all of them, began to convalesce, and the natives of that province were so good that though they were not friendly toward the Spaniards they did not annoy them or give them any trouble, nor attempt to attack them in the country, nor give sudden alarms and assaults by night. All this they attributed to a particular providence of the mercy of God.

That pueblo and its province were called Aminoya. It was sixteen leagues up the river from the pueblo of Guachoya, which our people had been seeking. When they had recovered their health and strength somewhat, seeing that the last days of January of the year 1543 had now come, they gave orders for cutting the timber for making the brigantines in which they intended to go by way of the river down to the North Sea. There was a great abundance of timber throughout the vicinity. They worked diligently to obtain the other things that were needed, such as rigging, tow, resin from trees for tar, blankets for sails, oars, and nails. Everyone applied himself to this work very busily and willingly.

Alonso de Carmona says in his account that upon entering this pueblo of Aminoya he and Captain Espindola, who was captain of the governor's guard, were going [together] and that they found an old woman who had been unable to flee when the others left. She asked them why they were coming to that pueblo, and on their replying that they intended to winter there, she asked where they expected to stay and put their horses, because every fourteen years that Great River overflowed its bed and covered the whole country, and the natives took refuge in the upper parts of the houses; and she said that year was the fourteenth. Whereupon they laughed and forgot about it. All these are words of Alonso de Carmona himself, as he wrote them in this his Peregrination, which is the name he gives to the little that he wrote, not intended for printing.



At this time, and even before, there had already been circulated throughout the vicinity the news that the Castilians had returned from their journey and were lodged in the province and pueblo of Aminoya. The curaca and lord of the province of Anilco, whom we mentioned above, being informed of this and fearing that the Spaniards would do the damage in his country that they had done before, and in order that his enemies of Guachoya, under their protection, might not come to avenge themselves on him and commit the abominations that they had committed on their past expedition, desired to repair the error that he had made at that time in his rebelliousness and obstinacy, which had been so disastrous.

Not daring to trust his own person to the Spaniards, however, he ordered an Indian to be summoned who was a very near relative of his and who was and had been for many years his captain-general and governor throughout his state, and said to him: "Go in my name to the Spanish general and tell him that I send you to represent my own person, since ill-health prevents me from coming myself to serve them. Say that I beg them as earnestly as I can to receive me into their friendship and service; that I promise and give them my word to be their loyal and obedient servant in every way that I can serve them in my house and state.

"Say this to them on my behalf, and on your own and that of the other Indians who go with you, do as readily as possible everything that they may order you, so that the Castilians will believe my protestations and your intention of pleasing them in every way that may be conducive to their service.

The captain-general Anilco - since we do not know his own name, we give him that of his curacy - left on this embassy accompanied by twentyfour nobles, finely decked out with plumes and furred mantles, and as many other Indians who went laden with fruit, fish, and venison, and two hundred Indians to serve the whole army. He arrived in the presence of Governor Luis de Moscoso and delivered his message with a most respectful and friendly bearing, repeating the same words that the cacique had said to him. Following this, he offered his own person, indicating the good spirit and willingness that they all had to serve him. At the close of his friendly offers he said: "Sir, I do not desire your lordship to believe my words, but the deeds that you shall see us perform in your service."

The governor received him very affably and accorded him all the honors that he would have given the cacique himself. He said that his friendly words and spirit and his good will were very gratifying to him, and sent many compliments to the curaca, saying that he esteemed and valued his friendship. He was very attentive to the rest of the Indian nobles, thereby gratifying them very much. Anilco sent the governor's message to his lord, and he himself remained to serve the Spaniards.

Two days later the cacique Guachoya came to kiss the governor's hands, and to confirm their past friendship he brought a large present of the fruits, f ish, and game that were in his country. The general also received this very affably and with many thanks. But Guachoya was not pleased to see Captain Anilco with the Spaniards, and still less that all of them accorded him such honors as they did, because as we have seen already, they were implacable enemies. He concealed his displeasure as well as he could, however, to show it in due time.

These two caciques Guachoya and Anilco performed services for the Castilians during all the time they were in that province called Aminoya, and every eight days they went to their houses and returned with new presents and offerings. Though they themselves left, their Indians remained to serve the Spaniards. Inasmuch as the latter, for the purpose of leaving that kingdom, had put their hopes in the brigantines that they were to build, they busied themselves very diligently in preparing the things necessary for them. The chief direction of the work was given to Maestre Francisco, the Genoese, an expert shipbuilder. Having calculated the size that the brigantines would have to be in order to hold all the people who must embark in them, he found that they would need seven. They provided the necessary materials for this number of brigantines, and in order to prevent the winter rains from hindering their work, they built four very large shelters that served as dockyards, where they all labored equally, without any distinction, each one performing to this end the task for which he was best fitted. Some sawed the timber to make boards, others dressed it with adzes, others beat iron into nails, others made charcoal, others fashioned the oars, and others twisted the ropes. The soldier or captain who labored hardest at these things was honored most.

Our people were engaged in these activities throughout the months of February, March, and April, without the Indians of that province disturbing them or hindering their work, which was no small favor that they did them.

In all this time, and afterward, General Anilco showed himself most friendly to the Spaniards, for he acted very promptly to provide everything that they asked him for that was needed for the brigantines. He brought many blankets, new and old, which were what the Spaniards had feared could not be provided, as there were very few in all of that kingdom, but the friendliness of this good Indian and his great industry facilitated what our people had expected to find most difficult.

They kept the new blankets for sails and from the old ones they made string to use for oakum in caulking the ships. The Indians of La Florida make these blankets of a certain herb similar to mallows, which has a fiber like linen. They make thread from it and color it beautifully in any shade they wish.

Anilco also brought quantities of thick and thin ropes for rigging, sheets, and cables. In all these things and others that this good Indian provided, what was most appreciated and most gratifying was the good will and generosity with which he gave them, because he always brought more than they requested and came so promptly at the times set for providing this thing or that, that he never allowed them to pass. He went about among the Spaniards like one of them, helping them in their work and saying for them to ask for whatever they needed, as he wished to serve them and show his affection for them.

For these reasons the general and his captains and soldiers accorded him the same honor that they would have given to Governor Hernando de Soto if he had been alive, and Anilco deserved it, as much because of his virtue as because of the fine aspect of his face and person, which were those of a very noble man.



Though the curaca Guachoya supplied and provided the things that were needed for the ships, it was done so tardily and so grudgingly that it was easily seen how different his attitude was from that of Anilco. At the same time it was noted what displeasure and anger he felt at seeing the esteem and honor that the Spaniards felt for Captain Anilco - he being poor and the vassal of another - which was much greater than that which they accorded him, who was rich and the lord of vassals. It seemed to him that this should be reversed, and honor given to each one in accordance with his estate and not his virtue. This gave rise to great envy that irritated him constantly, giving him no rest, until one day, unable to endure his passion, he showed it very openly, as we shall see below.

It will be appropriate to tell here what the Indians of the neighborhood were doing while the Castilians were building their caravels. Thus it must be known that opposite the pueblo of Guachoya on the other side of the Great River (as we said above), there was a very large province called Quigualtanqui, abounding in food and well populated. Its lord was young and warlike and was beloved and obeyed throughout his state and feared in the others because of his great power.

This cacique, seeing that the Spaniards were building ships so as to leave by way of the river, and considering that inasmuch as they had seen so many and such good provinces as they had discovered in that kingdom, and would carry news of the wealth and good qualities of the country (being a covetous people who were seeking a place to settle), they would return in greater numbers to conquer and gain it for themselves, taking it away from its natural rulers. It seemed to him that it would be a good thing to prevent this by giving orders that the Spaniards should not leave that country, but should all die there, so that they could not spread the news in other places of what they had seen in that kingdom. With this evil purpose he ordered the nobles and chief men of his country summoned and told them of his intention and asked their opinion.

The Indians concluded that what their curaca and lord wished to do against the Castilians was a very good thing, and that their opinion and advice was that the cacique's plan be carried out as promptly as possible, and that they would serve him to the death.

With this common determination on the part of his people, Quigualtanqui, in order further to assure his success, sent ambassadors to the other caciques and lords of the region advising them of the determined stand he had taken against the Spaniards, and saying that, since the danger he feared and wished to guard against was common to all of them, he begged and exhorted them that, abandoning their hostilities and the past anger that had always existed among them, they unite all together and with one accord to forestall and prevent the evil that might befall them if foreigners should come to take away their lands, women, and children, making them slaves and tributaries.

Each one of the curacas and lords of the vicinity received Quigualtanqui's ambassadors very cordially and gladly, and gave formal approval to his opinion and advice. They praised his discretion and prudence highly, both because they believed he was right in what he said and in order not to slight and anger him by opposing him. All of them feared him because he was more powerful than they.

In this manner ten curacas on both sides of the river formed an alliance, and it was agreed among all of them that each one in his own country would make ready very secretly and diligently as many men as he could, and collect canoes and other equipment needed for the war that they intended to wage against the Spaniards on land and water. They agreed to pretend to be peaceful and friendly toward them so as to make them careless and take them unawares. Each one would send his ambassador separately, and they would not go all together, so that the Spaniards would not suspect the existence of the league and be on guard against them.

This conspiracy among the curacas being arranged, Quigualtanqui, as the principal mover of it, immediately sent his messengers to Governor Luis de Moscoso, offering him friendship and the service that he might be pleased to accept from him. The rest of the caciques did the same thing. The general replied to them, thanking them for their kind offer and saying that the Spaniards would be very glad to have peace and friendship with them. And in fact they were pleased with the embassy, not understanding the treason that lay beneath it. They were the more content because for a long time they had been tired of fighting.

Neither the cacique Anilco nor his captain-general, whom we also call Anilco, were willing to enter this league, though they were invited to do so. On the other hand it troubled them to learn that the rest of the caciques were plotting to kill the Castilians, for they loved them and wished them well. With this regard for them and in order to keep the faith and word that they had given them in loyal friendship, the apu Anilco on behalf of his cacique and himself told the governor what the Indians of the vicinity were plotting against them. Having given this information, he said that he offered his lordship anew the services and friendship of his cacique and of himself, and that they would serve him with the same love and loyalty as hitherto, and he promised to keep him informed of what went on among the conspirators.

The governor thanked General Anilco very sincerely for what he had told him, and sent similar messages to his curaca, esteeming his friendship and loyalty greatly.

It is to be noted that, though the cacique Anilco did the Spaniards the friendly services of which we have told, he was never willing to come to see the general and always excused himself with the plea of ill-health. But the truth is that he himself confessed to his own people that he was regretful and ashamed at not having accepted the peace and friendship that the Castilians had offered him when they first came to his country, and he said that this embarrassment prevented his appearing in their presence.

It was impossible to tell for certain whether or not the curaca Guachoya, who also professed friendship for our people, was in the league, but it was suspected that, since he did not give warning of it, he consented to it and would enter in due time. To this suspicion and bad sign was added another, worse one, which was the hatred and rancor he showed toward Captain Anilco, and his great irritation that the governor and the Spaniards should honor and esteem him as much as they did. They did this in their gratitude for the great assistance that he gave them in building the brigantines, and because he had put them under new obligations by his loyalty in warning them of the uprising in that country. But Guachoya, disregarding the Spaniards' obligations and instigated on the other hand by his old enmity and present envy, was constantly with the governor belittling and discrediting Anilco, saying secretly everything bad about him that he could. The general and his captains were of the opinion that he did this purposely and cunningly so that they would not believe Anilco if he had told them or should tell them anything about the league, for, since Anilco had refused to enter it, Guachoya suspected him of being against them all and feared that he would reveal the plot that the rest of the curacas had formed. Thus he went about dissimulating and scheming for his own ends.



Guachoya went about for some days suppressing his grievances, past and present, so as not to show them in public. But being unable to contain them, losing patience and all ordinary courtesy, he said to the governor publicly in the presence of many captains and soldiers who were with him, and before Anilco himself, many words that, according to the interpreters, ran thus:

"Sir, for a long time I have been much grieved at seeing the excessive honors that your lordship and these gentlemen, captains, and soldiers have accorded this man, for it seems to me that honor should be given to each according to his rank, and according to his quality and possessions. In him is found little or nothing of either of these, because he is poor, the son and grandson of poor parents and grandparents. His lineage is the same, as he has no higher rank than that of a servant and vassal of another lord such as I, and I also have servants and vassals who equal and surpass him in quality and wealth.

"I have said this to your lordship so that you may see upon whom you bestow your favor and trust, and henceforth may not give such credence to his words, which redound to the discredit of others. His being poor and having no lineage to respect can deceive your lordship easily unless you are warned against him."

This was the substance of what the cacique Guachoya said, but his expression and many other superfluous and injurious words that he spoke showed clearly his hatred and envy of Captain Anilco.

While Guachoya was speaking, Anilco made no sign of interrupting him that the Spaniards could see. On the other hand, he let him say as much as he liked without speaking a word or making a movement. When he saw that he had finished, he arose and said to the governor that he begged his lordship to do him the favor of permitting that, since Guachoya, in the presence of his lordship and of so many captains and soldiers, without respect for them, had insulted his honor, he might be allowed to defend it in their presence with truth and justice. He would be glad for Guachoya to protest any statement that was not such, so that the truth of that matter might be ascertained and made clear, and so that the little or no justification that Guachoya had for so maligning him might be made apparent. Inasmuch as his lordship was governor and captain-general and supreme judge of them all in peace and war, he would not deny his petition, as it was just and a matter concerning his honor, which he prized so highly.

Luis de Moscoso told him to speak as he saw fit, but that it must be without insulting or slandering Guachoya because he would not permit it. He ordered the Indian interpreters to state what Anilco should say without omitting anything in order to see whether he said anything discourteous to Guachoya.

Having made a most profound obeisance to the governor, Anilco said that he would speak the truth without abusing anyone, and he begged his lordship to pardon him if he should be long-winded. So saying, he sat down again and, turning toward Guachoya, he addressed the following discourse to him, a little at a time, so that the interpreters could tell what he was saying as he proceeded.

"Guachoya, without any reason whatever, you have seen fit to belittle and abuse me before the governor and his gentlemen, when you should honor me because of what I have done for you and your state, as you know and as I shall tell later. I have the governor's permission to reply to you and defend my honor. Do not contradict my true statements, because I shall prove them by your own vassals and servants to your greater shame and confusion.

"That which may not be true, or any unjustified boasting that I may do out of vanity and pride, I shall be pleased to have you contradict, because I desire that the governor and his whole army may know the truth or falsity of what you have said and see how unjustly you have said it. Therefore, do not stop me until I have finished.

"In saying that I am poor and that my parents and grandparents were also, you speak truly. They were not rich, but neither were they so poor as you have said. They always had possessions of their own on which to live, and through good fortune I have won in war from your spoils and those of other lords as great as you quite as much as I need to maintain my household and family in a manner befitting my rank. Thus I can be counted among the wealthy whom you so esteem.

"As for your saying that I am of humble ancestry, you well know that you are not speaking the truth. Though my father and grandfather were not lords of vassals, my great-grandfather and all his ancestors were, and this nobility has been transmitted to my person without having been defiled in any way, so that in the matter of rank and lineage I am equal to you and to any lord of vassals in the whole vicinity.

"You say that I am the vassal of another, and that is true, for we cannot all be lords, because the eldest son of a lord inherits his estate and the other brothers remain as subjects. But it is also true that neither my lord Anilco nor his father or grandfather have treated me or my family as vassals, but as near relatives, being descendants of the second son of their house and their own flesh and blood. Being such, we have never served him in minor and servile offices, but in the most important ones in his household. In my own case you know that I had scarcely reached the age of twenty when he chose me for his captain-general, and a little later he named me his lieutenant and governor for his whole state and seigniory. Thus for twenty years, in peace and war, I have been the second person of my lord Anilco. You know that since I became his captain-general I have won all the battles that I have fought against his enemies.

"I triumphed signally in a battle against your father and later over all the captains that he sent against me. And now recently, since you inherited your estate six years ago, you joined all your forces and went in search of me for the sole purpose of revenging yourself on me. I went out to meet you, joined battle, and overcame you, capturing at that time you and two of your brothers, and all the nobles and rich men of your country.

"If I had so desired, I could then have deprived you of your state and taken it for myself, for there was no one in it to oppose me, and the common people among your vassals would perhaps have been pleased rather than hostile if I had done so. But I not only did not seize your state, nor even consider doing so, but I entertained and served you in prison as if you had been my lord rather than my prisoner, and I did the same with your brothers, vassals, and servants, down to the least of them. In the capitulations under which you and your people were released, I interceded for you, and it was due to my efforts that you left the prison, for without placing much confidence in the assurances [palabras] and promises that you made then, I was your guarantor and security for them. Thus when you broke them, as you did this past summer, I had the intention of returning you to prison, as I shall do when the Spaniards have gone. With their protection, they not understanding your evil purpose, you went to violate the temple and burial place of my lord Anilco and his ancestors, and to burn his houses and chief pueblo. You shall be called to account for it, I promise you.

"You say also that it is not fitting to accord the honor and esteem that is due a lord of vassals to him who is not so. You are right when he deserves to be a lord, but you know also that many subjects deserve to be lords, and that many lords are not even fit to be vassals and servants of others. If you had not inherited the rank of which you are so proud, you would never have been man enough to win it, and I who was born without it could have assumed it by taking it away from you if I had so desired. Inasmuch as it is not the part of men, but of women, to quarrel with words, let us resort to arms and prove which of the two deserves to be lord of vassals by reason of his virtue and strength.

"You and I will enter a canoe alone. They [the waters] go down the Great River to reach your country, and by another river that enters it seven leagues from here they go to mine; he who overcomes the other on the way will take the canoe to his own house. If you kill me, you will have avenged your injuries like a man, for you will fall heir to the advantages that my good fortune has given me, and to the honor and favor that these Castilians have done and are doing me, and also you will have satisfied the unreasonable envy and ill will that you hold against me. If I kill you, I shall prove to you that the merits of men do not consist in being very rich, nor in having many vassals, but in deserving them through their own virtue and courage.

"I make this reply to the words that you speak so unreasonably against my honor and ancestry, without my having offended you in any way unless you take offense at my having served my lord Anilco loyally and successfully. See whether there is anything in which you can contradict me, for I submit to proof so that these Spaniards may know that what I have said is true. If you are man enough to accept my challenge for us to go in the canoe, say whatever you like to me, and I will take satisfaction there for everything you have said against me."


About DeSoto and Garcilaso the "Inca"

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