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





The fighting in other places was no less cruel and bloody, because to the right of the battle a large band of Indians came up against the Christians with much impetus and fury. A brave soldier from Almendralejo, named Andres de Meneses, went out to oppose them, and with him went ten or twelve other Spaniards. The Indians charged on them so fiercely and bravely that they knocked Andres de Meneses into the water with four arrow wounds that they gave him in the region of the genitals and thighs, for, as they saw that most of his body was covered by an oblong shield he carried, they shot at the unprotected part. They also wounded five of those who were with him.

The fight between Indians and Spaniards went on with this fury and cruelty wherever they could lay hands on one another. The Indians redoubled their efforts and courage to finish their conquest, as men who considered the victory theirs and were made arrogant by the good strokes that they had delivered. The Spaniards with their stout spirit urged themselves on to save their lives, as now they fought with no other purpose, and were getting the worst of the battle because their defense now consisted only of the fifty foot soldiers; for since the fighting was in the water, those who were on horseback were of no use to their own side nor of any damage to the enemy.

At this point the unhappy news spread among all the Indians that their captain-general was mortally wounded, whereupon they mitigated somewhat the fire and wrath with which they had fought hitherto. They began to retreat a little at a time, but always shooting arrows at their adversaries. The Castilians rallied and followed the Indians in the best order they could until they pushed them entirely out of the water and the swamp and put them on the trail through the dense woods that were on the opposite side of the swamp. They gained the site that we said the Spaniards had cleared for their camp when the governor passed there with his army.

The Indians had fortified that site and had their own camp there; they abandoned it to go to their captain-general. The Spaniards stayed there that night because it was a strong enclosed place where the enemy could not harm them unless it were by way of the trail; and since they guarded it, they were safe. They treated the wounded as well as they could, nearly all of them being wounded, and badly. They passed the night watching, the shouts and alarms of the Indians not allowing them to rest.

With the good shot that Anton Galvin succeeded in making that day Our Lord succored these Spaniards; and certainly, if it had not been made, and on the person of the captain-general, it was to be feared that the Indians would have made great destruction among them or would have beheaded them all, since they were powerful, victorious, and very numerous, and the Spaniards few and most of them mounted. Inasmuch as the fight was in the water, the mounted men were not masters of themselves or of their horses in order to attack the enemy or defend themselves from him; therefore, the infantry fighting alone, they were all on the point of being lost. Thus many times in discussing afterward in the governor's presence the perils of that day, they always gave Anton Galvin the honor of being the means of saving them from defeat and death.

As soon as it was light the Spaniards marched along the narrow road through the dense woods, driving the enemy before them until they emerged into another, more clear and open forest two leagues in extent. Here on either side of the road the heathen had built large palisades, or they were the same ones that they had made when Governor Hernando de Soto passed on this road, and had remained in place until this time. The enemy would come out from the palisades and shoot innumerable arrows, with the order and precaution of not attacking from both sides at the same time so as not to wound themselves with their own arms. In this manner they marched through the two leagues of forest where the Indians wounded more than twenty Castilians, and the latter could do no injury whatsoever to their enemies because they had enough to do in protecting themselves from the arrows.

Having passed through the woods, they came out on a level plain, where the Indians from fear of the horses did not dare attack the Spaniards or even wait for them. Thus they allowed them to march with less difficulty.

After marching five leagues, the Christians halted to make camp on that plain, because the wounded of that day and the previous one were fatigued with the continuous fighting they had undergone. As soon as it was dark the Indians came in large numbers and attacked at the same time from all sides, with much shouting and clamor. Those on horseback went out to oppose them, not keeping in regular order but each one going where he heard the Indians nearest to him. On seeing the horses, the Indians withdrew to a distance, always shooting arrows, with one of which they wounded badly a horse belonging to Luis de Moscoso. All through the night the heathen [did not] cease shouting at the Christians, saying to them: "Where are you going, luckless ones? Your captain and all his soldiers are already dead, and we have quartered them and hung them in the trees, and we shall do the same with you before you get there. What do you want? Why do you come to this land? Do you think that we who are in it are so despicable that you will make us abandon it and be your vassals and servants and slaves? Know that we are men, that we will kill all of you and the rest who are in Castilla. " The Indians shouted these and other similar things, always discharging arrows, until daylight.



With the day, our men continued their march and arrived at a stream that was deep and very difficult to cross, and the Indians had blocked it with strong palisades and ditches placed at intervals. Reconnoitering the crossing and what had been erected there, and with the experience of those who had passed it on the other occasion, the Spaniards ordered that those on horseback who were best armed dismount, and that thirty of them, taking shields, swords, and axes, go ahead to gain and break down the palisades and opposing defenses. Those more poorly armed were to mount the horses, as the latter were of no use at that pass, and go in the middle with the clothing and the serving-people. Twenty more of the well-armed men were to make up the rear guard so that, if the enemy should attack from behind, he would encounter a defense. In this order they entered the woods bordering the stream. Seeing the Castilians where they could not make use of their horses, which was what they most feared, the Indians charged with the greatest impetus, ferocity, and clamor to shoot arrows at them, attempting to kill all of them, as they were few and the crossing very difficult.

The Christians, trying to defend themselves now that they could not attack because of the narrow place in which they were, reached the palisades, where the fighting was very bitter and obstinate, on the one side in order to force a passage and on the other to prevent it. They wounded one another cruelly. At last the Spaniards, some resisting the Indians with their swords and the others cutting with axes the ropes and fastenings made of reeds, which are like long vines and serve to fasten anything desired, gained the first palisade and the second, and all the rest. But it cost them many bad wounds, which most of them received, and in addition the Indians killed with an arrow wound in the breast a horse belonging to Alvaro Fernandez, a Portuguese from Yelves, so that this fidalgo lost two good horses in this arroyo and in the swamp they had passed through. With these evils and injuries, the Spaniards passed over that bad crossing and marched with less trouble through the plains where there was no undergrowth, for wherever there was none the Indians withdrew from the Christians from fear of the horses. But wherever there were clumps of timber near the road there were always Indians in ambush who would come out suddenly to assault and shoot arrows at our men, shouting at them and repeating over and over these words: "Where are you going, thieves? We have already killed your captain and all his soldiers." They persisted so in this statement that the Castilians were almost ready to believe it because, being now so near the pueblo of Apalache that their shouts could be heard there, no one had come out to their assistance, nor had they seen men or horses or any other sign from which they could be sure that they were there. In this manner these izo Spaniards marched, skirmishing and fighting all day with the Indians, and they arrived at Apalache at sunset. Although this day's journey had not been as long as the past ones, they had marched slowly because of the many wounded they had with them, ten or twelve of whom died afterward, among them Andres de Meneses, who was a brave soldier.

Arrived in the presence of their captain-general, which they had so desired, and of their beloved companions, they were received with the gladness and rejoicing that may be imagined, as men who had been thought dead and passed from this life, according to what the Indians had told the governor and his men many times in order to grieve and depress them, saying that they had beheaded them on the road. And this story was very probable, because the governor had found himself in great danger and extremity, having more than eight hundred fighting men with him when he passed through those provinces and difficult passes, and it was very likely that those who were then on the way, numbering only tao, should have perished. Therefore they were received and welcomed generally and individually by their comrades as if they had come back from the dead, all giving thanks to God for hating saved them from so many dangers.

The governor received his captain and soldiers like an affectionate father, very joyfully embracing and asking each one separately about his health and how he had fared on the way. He ordered the wounded to be treated and attended to carefully. Finally, he praised and thanked them with extravagant words for the hardships and dangers that both parties had passed through in going and returning, because when the occasion arose, this gentleman and good captain knew how to do this with much goodness, discretion, and prudence.



It is to be noted that when Captain Pedro Calderon arrived at the pueblo of Apalache it had been six days since the accountant Juan de Ahasco, who set out from the Bay of Espiritu Santo with the two brigantines for the Bay of Aute, had reached there, without anything noteworthy having happened to him at sea. He disembarked at Aute without opposition from the enemy because the governor, calculating more or less the time that he would spend on the voyage, two days before he reached the port sent a company of cavalry and another of infantry to safeguard the port and the road to the camp. They were relieved every four days, one group withdrawing from the bay when the others arrived. While they were in the port they put up flags on the highest trees so that they could be seen from the sea. Juan de Afiasco saw them and went to the camp with the two companies, leaving the brigantines, which remained in the bay well guarded. Since these two captains, Juan de Anasco and Pedro Calderon, now found themselves together with the governor and the rest of the captains and soldiers, there was much satisfaction and rejoicing, for it seemed to them that in bearing their hardships together, however great these might be, they would become easy, because the company of friends is a comfort and relief in toil. In this mutual contentment the Spaniards passed the winter in the pueblo and province of Apalache, where some things occurred of which it will be well to give an account without observing the order in which they took place except to say that they happened in this camp.

A few days after the events just described, as the governor was never lazy but was contriving and planning in his own mind what seemed to him to be conducive to the discovery and conquest and later to the settlement of the country, he ordered a gentleman from Salamanca named Diego Maldonado (who was a captain of infantry and had served to the great satisfaction of the whole army in everything that had occurred up to that time) to turn his company over to another gentleman, named Juan de Guzman, a native of Talabera de la Reyna and a great friend and comrade of his, and go to the Bay of Aute. Taking the two brigantines that the accountant Juan de Anasco had left there, he was to go along the coast toward the west for a distance of a hundred leagues and observe and reconnoiter with all care and diligence the ports, inlets, coves, bays, creeks, and rivers that he might find, and the shoals along the coast, and of all this he was to bring a satisfactory report. He [the governor] said that he thought it well to have all this information for future use, and he gave him two months' time to go and return.

Captain Diego Maldonado went to the Bay of Aute and from there he set sail on his mission, and having spent the two months in sailing along the coast, he came back at the end of them with a long report of what he had seen and discovered. Among other things he said that sixty leagues from the Bay of Aute he had discovered a very fine port called Achusi, sheltered from all winds and large enough for many ships, and with such a good depth up to the shore that it was possible to bring the ships up to land and disembark without building up breakwaters. He brought with him from this voyage two Indians who were natives of this same port and province of Achusi, one of them being a lord of vassals. He had seized them with a craftiness and cunning unworthy of a gentleman, for when he arrived at the port of Achusi the Indians received him peaceably, and with many kind expressions they invited him to come ashore and take whatever he needed as if he were in his own country. Diego Maldonado did not dare accept the invitation because he did not trust unknown friends. As the Indians sensed this, they began to traffic with the Spaniards freely to remove the fear and suspicion they might have of them. Thus they came to the brigantines in groups of three or four to visit Diego Maldonado and his companions, bringing them what they asked. The Indians being so friendly, the Spaniards now dared to sound and explore in their small boats all parts of the port, and as they had seen and purchased what they needed for continuing their voyage, they set said and went away, taking the two Indians as prisoners; they happened to be the curaca and a relative of his. Confiding in the good friendship that heathen and faithful alike (though to them they were not so) had shown, and impelled by the story that the other Indians had told them of the brigantines and desiring to see what they had never seen before, they had dared to enter them and visit the captain and his soldiers. The latter, as they knew that one of them was the cacique, were glad to carry him off.



They were very pleased with the report that Captain Diego Maldonado brought of the whole coast and of the good port he had discovered in Achusi, because, according to the plans that the governor had made, it seemed to them that their conquest had begun and progressed auspiciously to accomplish the ends they desired for it, of settling and making an establishment in that kingdom; because the chief thing that the governor and his people wished for making a settlement was to discover a port such as had been found, where they might go to anchor the ships that would bring the people, horses, cattle, seeds, and other things necessary for new settlements. A few days after the arrival of Diego Maldonado, the governor ordered him to go to La Havana with the two brigantines of which he was in charge, and visit Dona Isabel de Bobadilla and tell her what they had done and seen up to that time, by sea and by land. He was to send the same report to all the other cities and villas of the island, and in the coming October (it was then the end of February of the year 1540) he was to return to the port of Achusi with the two brigantines and the caravel that Gomez Arias had taken, and with one or more other ships if he could find them to buy. He was to bring in them all the crossbows, harquebuses, lead, and powder available, and much footwear, such as shoes and sandals, and other things that the army needed. He gave him a written memorandum of these things with instructions of what he would have to do, because the governor expected to be in the port of Achusi at that time, after having made a large circle through the interior country and discovered the provinces that might lie in that region, in order to lay the foundations for a settlement. But it was well to settle at the port first, a step necessary for affairs at sea as well as on land. He also ordered him to' tell Gomez Arias to come with him at the appointed time, for because of his great prudence in matters of government and his industry and long experience in those of war he wished to have him with him.

With this order and commission Captain Diego Maldonado left the Bay of Aute and went to La Havana, where because of the good news that he brought of the governor and of his army and of the successful progress made up to that time, and that which they expected to make in the future, he was very well received by Dona Isabel de Bobadilla and by all the city of La Havana. From there he at once sent the report to the other cities of the island, which celebrated the governor's success with great rejoicing. They made great preparations to send him at the appointed time the succor of men, horses, arms, and the other things needed for a settlement. The cities prepared all these things together, and the rich men in particular, each one endeavoring according to his ability to send or bring the most and the best that he could, to show the love that they had for their governor and captain-general and for the sake of the rewards that they expected. We shall leave them in the midst of these preparations and return to tell some incidents that were taking place in the province of Apalache, by which can be seen the ferocity of the Indians of that province, as well as their temerity, because certainly they showed by their actions that they knew how to dare and did not know fear, as will be seen in the following instance and in others that will be told, though not all of those that happened [will be mentioned], for in order to avoid prolixity, we shall omit most of them.

Thus it happened that one day in the month of January of the year 1540 the accountant Juan de Aiiasco and six other gentlemen were going along talking through the streets of Apalache, on horseback. Having traversed all of them, they were pleased to go out into the country surrounding the pueblo, without getting very far away from it, for the country was not safe because of the sudden attacks of the Indians who lay in ambush behind every shrub. Since they did not intend leaving the pueblo, it seemed to them that they could go without arms, at least defensive ones, and thus they went out wearing only their swords, except one of them named Estevan Pegado, a native of Yelves, who happened to be armed and wore a helmet on his head and carried a lance in his hand. Going along thus in conversation, they saw an Indian man and woman who were walking in a clearing in the woods near the pueblo gathering beans, which had been sown the year before. They must have been gathering them more to amuse themselves by seeing whether any Castilian would come out of the pueblo than for any need they might have for the beans, because as we have said the province was full of all kinds of foodstuff.

When the Spaniards saw the Indians they went toward them to capture them. Seeing the horses, the woman stopped short, being unable to run. The husband took her up in his arms and ran with her to the woods that were close by, and having placed her in the first of the undergrowth, he gave her two or three pushes and told her to go into the inner part of the forest. Having done this, he could have gone with the woman and escaped, but he did not wish to do so. On the contrary he came back running to where he had left his bow and arrows, and recovering them, he went out to meet the Spaniards with as much determination and boldness as if they had been another lone Indian like himself. He made the attack in such a manner that he obliged the Spaniards to say to one another they would not kill him but would take him alive, for it seemed to them an unbecoming thing for seven mounted Spaniards to kill one lone Indian on foot, and they also thought that a spirit so gallant as the heathen showed did not justify their killing him, but on the contrary showing him all mercy and favor. All of them advancing with this determination, they reached the Indian, who, because the distance was short, had not yet been able to shoot an arrow, and rode him down and attempted to get him to surrender without allowing him to rise from the ground, first one and then another coming at him every time he tried to get up, and all shouting to him to surrender.

The more they pressed him the fiercer the Indian became, and fallen though he was, several times by putting the arrow in his bow and shooting it, and other times by pricking the bellies and thighs of the horses with it, he wounded all seven of them, although slightly, because he was not in a position to inflict more-serious wounds. Escaping from among the horses' feet, he stood up, took his bow in both hands, and gave Estevan Pegado, who was the one who had harassed him most with his lance, such a blow on the forehead with it that the blood flowed from above his eyebrows and covered his face, and he was half stunned. The Portuguese Spaniard, seeing himself so attacked and mistreated, was inflamed with anger and said: "In God's name, are we going to wait until this one Indian kills all seven of us?" So saying, he gave him a lance-thrust through the chest that came out on the other side and brought him down dead. Having performed this feat, they examined their horses and found them all wounded, though the wounds were slight. They returned to the camp, admiring the temerity and courage of the barbarian and shamed and abashed to tell that one Indian alone had withstood seven mounted men.



Throughout the time that Governor Hernando de Soto was wintering in the camp and pueblo of Apalache, he always took care to inquire and learn what lands and provinces were beyond toward the west in the region that he had thought and planned to enter in the following summer, in order to see and discover that kingdom. With this desire he was always gathering information from the Indians who had been serving for some time as domestics in his army, and from those newly captured, importuning them to tell what they knew about that land or any part of it. Since the general and all his captains and soldiers were careful and diligent in doing this, it happened that, among the other Indians whom they took, those who were scouring the country captured a young Indian sixteen or seventeen years of age. Some of the Indians who were servants of the Spaniards and were attached to their masters knew him. They told them, so that they might tell the governor, that that youth had been a servant of some Indian merchants who were accustomed to enter with their merchandise, selling and buying, many leagues into the interior country, and that he had seen and knew what the governor was trying so hard to learn. It is not to be understood that the merchants went to seek gold or silver but to exchange some articles for others, which was the traffic of the Indians, because they did not make use of money. With this information they asked the youth what he knew. He replied that it was true that he knew about some provinces that he had visited with his masters, the merchants, and he would venture to guide the Spaniards twelve or thirteen days' journey, which was as much as he had seen. The governor turned the Indian over to a Spaniard, charging him to take particular care of him so that he would not escape from them, but the youth relieved them of this anxiety, for in a short time he became so friendly and familiar with the Spaniards that he appeared to have been born and bred among them.

A few days after the capture of this Indian they took another almost the same age, or a little older, and, as the first one knew him, he said to the governor: "Sir, this young man has seen the same lands and provinces as I, and others beyond, which he has traveled through with other, richer and more prosperous merchants than my masters."

The newly captured Indian confirmed what the first had said and very willingly offered to take and guide them through the provinces that he had traversed, which he said were many and large. Asked about the things that he had seen in them, and whether they had gold or silver or precious stones, which was what they most desired to know, and being shown gold jewelry and pieces of silver and fine stones set in rings that were found among some of the captains and principal soldiers, so that he might better understand the things that they were asking him about, he replied that in a province called Cofachiqui, which was the most distant one that he had visited, there was a great deal of metal like the yellow and the white, and that the chief traffic of the merchants, his masters, was to buy those metals and sell them in other provinces. He said that besides the metals they had a very large quantity of pearls, and to tell this he indicated a pearl in a setting he saw among the rings that they showed him. Our Spaniards were very pleased and rejoiced at this news, desiring to see themselves at once in Cofachiqui in order to be masters of so much gold and silver and so many precious pearls. But to return to the particular events that took place between the Indians and the Spaniards in Apalache: thus it was already at the beginning of March when it happened that twenty cavalry and fifty infantry left the camp and went one league from the chief pueblo to another in that jurisdiction to get maize, which abounded in all the little villages in that district, in such quantities that the Spaniards in all the time they were in Apalache never went a league and a half from the chief pueblo to provide themselves with Indian corn and the other grains and vegetables they ate. After they had gathered the maize that they were to carry, then, they concealed themselves in the pueblo itself, desiring to capture some Indians if they should come. They stationed a watchman on the highest part of a house that was very different from the others and seemed to be a temple. After some time had passed the watchman gave notice that there was an Indian in the plaza, which was very large, looking to see if there was anything there.

A gentleman named Diego de Soto, the governor's nephew, who was one of the best soldiers in the army and a very good horseman, rode out to capture the Indian, more to show his skill and courage than from any need he had for him. When he saw the rider the Indian ran with extreme swiftness to race with the horse to see whether he could escape by flight, for the natives of this great kingdom of La Florida are swift and famous runners, and pride themselves on it. But seeing that the horse was gaining on him, he got under a tree close by, which is a cover that foot soldiers, lacking pikes, are always accustomed to take as a protection against horses. Placing an arrow in his bow - for as we have already said, they always go armed with these weapons - he waited until the Spaniard should come within range. The latter, being unable to go under the tree, passed by on one side at a run and made a thrust at the enemy, the lance passing over the left arm, to see if he could reach him. Guarding himself from the blow of the lance, the Indian shot an arrow at the horse at the moment that he came abreast and struck him between the girth and the stirrup with such strength and skill that the horse stumbled on for fifteen or twenty paces and fell dead, not moving again. At this moment there came up at a canter another gentleman, named Diego Velazquez, the governor's groom, no less brave and skillful in horsemanship than the first one. He followed Diego de Soto to aid him if he should need it. Seeing, then, the shot that the Indian had made at his companion, he urged his horse and, not being able to go under the tree, he passed to one side, throwing another lance as Diego de Soto had done. The Indian did the same as in the first case, for as the horse came abreast he gave him an arrow wound behind the stirrup, and as before the horse stumbled along until he fell dead at his companion's feet. The two Spanish comrades rose hastily with their lances in their hands and assailed the Indian to avenge the death of their horses, but the latter, content with two good shots he had made in such a short time and with such good fortune, went running to the woods, ridiculing and jeering at them, and turning around to make wry faces and gestures. Keeping pace with them, not running as fast as he could, he said to them: "Let us all fight on foot and we shall see who are the better." With these words and others that he said in vituperation of the Castilians he got away safely, leaving them sorely grieved at such a loss as that of the horses, for since these Indians felt the advantage the Spaniards had over them on horseback, they endeavored and were more pleased to kill one horse than four Christians, and thus they carefully and diligently shot at the horse rather than at the rider.



A few days after the misadventure of Diego de Soto and Diego Velazquez, another, no more fortunate [event] took place. This was that two Portuguese, one named Simon Rodriguez, from Villa de Maruan, and the other Roque de Yelves, a native of Yelves, went out beyond the pueblo on their horses to gather green fruit that grew in the woods near the pueblo. Having been able to gather that on the lower branches from their horses, they still wished to dismount and climb the trees to gather it from the higher branches, for it seemed to them that it was better. The Indians, who lost no opportunity that offered itself to them to kill or wound the Castilians, seeing the two Portuguese Spaniards up in the trees, advanced upon them. Roque de Yelves, who saw them before his companion did, gave the alarm and jumped down from the tree, running toward his horse. One of the Indians who was coming behind him shot at him with an arrow having a flint barb, and struck him between the shoulders, and a quarter of the arrow came out at his breast. He fell to the ground, unable to raise himself up. They did not allow Simon Rodriguez to come down from the tree but shot at him while he was in it as if he were some climbing wild beast. They brought him down dead, pierced from one side to the other with three arrows, and he had scarcely fallen when they cut off his head. I mean the whole scalp, all the way around (it is not known with what skillful trick they can take it off so easily), and they took it away as testimony of their exploit. They left Roque de Yelves on the ground without scalping him because the relief of mounted Spaniards was coming so close, the distance being so short, that the Indians did not have time to take it. He told in a few words what had happened, and asking for confession, soon expired. At the noise and attack of the Indians, the two horses of the Portuguese ran toward the camp. The Spaniards who were coming to their relief recovered them and found that one of them had a drop of blood on his thigh. They took him to a veterinarian to be treated, and having examined him, he said that the wound was only a scratch and did not require treatment. The next morning they found the horse dead. Suspecting that it was an arrow wound, the Castilians opened the horse at the wound, and following the mark of it the length of the body, they found an arrow that had passed through the whole thigh, the stomach and the intestines, and had stopped in the hollow of the chest, lacking only four finger-breadths of flesh from coming out through the breast-leather. The Spaniards were amazed, it seeming to them that a ball from an harquebus could not have gone so far. These particulars are told, though they are of little importance, because they happened in this camp, because of their ferocity, which is notable, and because it is now time that we conclude [the account of] things that took place in the chief pueblo of Apalache by saying, in brief (because to tell all of them would be a very long task}, that the natives of this province, during all the time that the Spaniards were wintering in their country, showed themselves to be very bellicose and solicitous, and used all care and diligence to attack the Castilians, losing no occasion or opportunity, however small it might be, when they could wound or kill those who strayed from the camp even for a very short distance.

Alonso de Carmona, in his Peregrination, notes particularly the ferocity of the Indians of the province of Apalache, of which he says the following, which is copied literally:

"These Indians of Apalache are of large stature and are very brave and spirited, because just as they saw and fought with the other [soldiers] of Panphilo de Narvaez and made them leave the country, in spite of all they could do, so we encountered them every day, and every day had skirmishes with them. As they could not gain any advantage over us because our governor was very brave, strong, and experienced in Indian warfare, they resorted to wandering through the woods in armed bands, and when the Spaniards went out for firewood, cutting it in the forest, the Indians came up at the sound of the axe and killed the Spaniards, cook off the chains of the Indians whom they brought along to carry the wood on their shoulders, and scalped the Spaniards, for scalps were what they most prized to display at the end of the bow with which they fought. At the cries and the alarm they gave, we ran immediately and found the evil already done. In this manner they killed more than twenty of our soldiers, and this was on many different occasions. I remember that one day seven men left the camp on horseback on a foray to get feed and to kill some little dogs to eat, for in that country all of us made use of them and we considered ourselves lucky on the day when a part of one fell to our share, and even pheasants tasted no better to us. Going about seeking these things, they encountered five Indians who were waiting for them with their bows and arrows, and who drew a line on the ground and told them not to pass beyond it or they would all die. The Spaniards, refusing to notice such mockery, fell upon them, and the Indians unslung their bows from their arms and killed two horses and wounded two others. They also wounded a Spaniard badly, and the Spaniards killed one of the Indians. The others escaped by flight, for they are truly very swift and are not hindered by elaborate clothing; on the other hand going about without clothing is a great help to them."

Up to here is from Alonso de Carmona

Besides their watchfulness against those who strayed [from the pueblo], they also exercised it against the whole army, harassing it with alarms and sudden attacks they made by day and by night, not wishing to give battle with the men drawn up in the form of squadrons, but with ambushes concealed in the underbrush and small clumps of timber that were thereabout, and where they were least expected. From these they would come out suddenly to do as much damage as they could. This is sufficient concerning the bravery and ferocity of the natives of the province of Apalache. We have also spoken of its fertility, which is great, for there is an abundance of Indian corn or maize and many other grains, of beans, calabashes (which in the language of El Peru they call zapallu), and other vegetables of various kinds, besides the fruits, which there are like those of Spain, such as all kinds of plums, three varieties of nuts, one of which is very oily, and acorns of live oaks and other oaks in such quantities that they remain on the ground at the foot of the trees from one year to the next, because, as these Indians have no tame cattle to eat them, they have no use for them and allow them to go to waste.

In conclusion, so that the abundance and fertility of the province of Apalache may be seen, we say that the whole Spanish army with the Indians whom they carried as servants, numbering in all more than fifteen hundred persons, and more than three hundred horses, in the five months and more that they wintered in this camp maintained themselves on the food that they collected at the beginning, and when they needed it they found it in the small pueblos in the vicinity in such quantities that they never went farther than a league and a half from the principal pueblo to bring it. In addition to this fertility in crops, the land is very well fitted for the breeding of all kinds of cattle because it has good forests and pasture-grounds with fine water, and swamps and takes with many reeds and rushes for hogs, which do very well on them and, by eating them, do not need grain. This suffices for an account of what is in this province and of its good qualities, one of which is that it is capable of producing a great deal of silk because of the abundance of mulberries. It has also many and good fish.



About DeSoto and Garcilaso the "Inca"

A Story for Kids Conquest for Teens Native American Conquest