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






Returning to the hunger and necessity that the governor and his army suffered during those days, it seems fitting to tell of a particular case that occurred among some of the best soldiers who were in the camp, so that from it there may be seen and understood what they were all suffering, because if each special incident were told there would be no end and it would make our History very tedious. Thus on one of the days when they were suffering greatest hunger, four of the principal and most courageous soldiers - who, being such, were making light of and laughing (although falsely) about the hardships and necessities they were suffering - because they belonged to the same group, decided to see what provisions they had among them. They found that they had scarcely a handful of Indian corn. Before making a division they cooked it, in order to increase it somewhat, and it came to exactly eighteen grains apiece, without anyone being slighted.

Three of them, who were Antonio Carrillo, Pedro Moron, and Francisco Pechudo, ate their share at once. The fourth, who was Gonzalo Silvestre, tied up his eighteen grains in a handkerchief and put them inside his shirt. A little later he met a Castilian soldier named Francisco de Troche, a native of Burgos, who said to him, "Have you got anything to eat?" Gonzalo Silvestre replied facetiously, "Yes, they just brought me some very good sweetmeats from Sevilla, recently made." Instead of becoming angry, Francisco de Troche laughed at the nonsense. At this point another soldier from Badajoz, named Pedro de Torres, came up and asked his question of those who were talking about sweetmeats, saying, "Have you two anything to eat?" (There was no other subject of conversation in those days.) Gonzalo Silvestre replied, "I have a very good and tender veal loaf just out of the oven; if you want some of it I will divide with you generously." They laughed at the second joke as they had at the first. Then Gonzalo Silvestre said to them: "Well, so that you may see that I have not lied to either of you, I will give you something that one of you can consider sweetmeats if you like them, and the other veal loaf if you care for it." So saying, he took out the handkerchief with the eighteen grains of maize and gave each of them six grains and took the other six for himself. All three ate it at once before some of their other comrades should come up, making the share of each one still smaller. Having eaten, they went to a stream that flowed close by and filled themselves up with water, since they could not do so with food. Thus that day passed without their eating any more, because there was nothing to eat. With these hardships and other similar ones, and not with eating sweetmeats and veal loaf, the New World was won, from which they bring to Spain every year r 2 or 13 million in gold, silver, and precious stones. Therefore, I pride myself very much on being the son of a conquistador of El Peru, whose weapons and labors have won such honor and advantage for Spain.

Returning to the four captains who we said went to discover roads, they marched six days, suffering the same hunger and necessities that the governor and his army were experiencing. Three of the captains found nothing worth noting, only hunger and more hunger. The accountant Juan de Anasco alone had better luck, for after traveling continuously for three days upstream, without leaving it, at the end of that time he found a pueblo situated on the riverbank, on the same side as he was. He found few people in it but much food for such a small pueblo, for in one storehouse alone there were f ive hundred fanegas of meal made of parched maize, besides much more that was unground. Thereupon the Indians and Spaniards rejoiced, as may be imagined; and after having seen what was in the houses, they went up into the higher ones and discovered that, from there on up the river, the land was dotted with many pueblos, large and small, with many cultivated fields on all sides. For this our people gave thanks to God, and they and the Indians satisfied their hunger. After midnight they dispatched four mounted men to return as quickly as possible to notify the governor of what they had seen and discovered. The four Spaniards went back with the good news, and as proof of it they carried many ears of Indian corn and some horns of cattle [buffalo]. They were unable to learn where the Indians could have gotten these, because in all the places these Spaniards went in La Florida they never found cattle, and though it is true that in some places they found fresh beef, they never saw the cattle, nor were they able by cajolery or threats to get the Indians to tell them where they were.

During the night that they slept in the pueblo, General Patofa and his Indians sacked it and robbed the temple as secretly as they could, without the Spaniards knowing anything about their action. The temple served only as a burial place, where (as we shall tell below concerning other, more famous ones) they kept the finest and richest of their possessions. They killed all the Indians they could find, in and out of the pueblo, without sparing sex or age, and they took off the scalps of those whom they so killed, from the ears up, with wonderful dexterity and skill. They carried off these scalps so that their curaca and lord Cofaqui could see with his own eyes the revenge they had taken on their enemies for injuries received, because, as it was learned later, this pueblo belonged to the province of Cofachiqui, which had been so desired by the Spaniards and whose discovery had cost them so much hunger.

At noon the next day Juan de Anasco left the pueblo with all his Spaniards and Indians, not daring to wait there for the governor for fear that the people of that country would summon one another and gather together large numbers - for in view of the large population on the upper river they could assemble a great many - and attack and kill them all. They [the Spaniards] were not powerful enough to resist them, and thus it seemed safer to go back to meet the governor.



The four horsemen, whom we left on the way with the report and good news of having found food and an inhabited country, reached the place where the governor was, having returned in one day over the route that they had taken three days in going, which was more than twelve leagues. They reported to him what they had discovered.

As soon as day came the governor ordered his people to march where the four horsemen would guide them. The soldiers were so hungry and so anxious to go where they would find food that they traveled full speed, it being impossible to put them in order or have them march in squadrons as they usually did, but he who was best able to do so went ahead. They marched so swiftly that before noon of the next day all of them were in the pueblo.

The governor saw fit to remain there several days, both in order to allow the men to rest and recover from their past hardships and to wait for the three captains who had gone to explore the land in other directions. These latter - having followed for three days the route that each of them had taken, and all three of them having found almost the same sort of roads and paths that crossed the land in all directions, on which they found signs of Indians, but not having succeeded in finding one from whom to get information, nor having been able to discover a settlement - in order not to get farther away and because they had no other errand, they returned to the post at the end of the fifth day after they had left the governor. Not finding him there, they followed the trail that the army had left; and in two more days, having suffered the hunger and hardships that may be imagined of men who had eaten nothing but herbs and roots for more than eight days, and not very many of those, they reached the pueblo where the governor was. In his presence and in the company of all their comrades they rested and tried to recover themselves, telling one another about the hardships and hunger that they had experienced.

Alonso de Carmona in his account tells at great length about all the famine and necessity that we have described, which these Spaniards passed through in the uninhabited country, and he says that four hogs were killed to succor the people, and that they were very large ones, "on which (he says) we dined better than usual." He must have said this in irony, it being such a small thing for so many people.

The governor stayed seven days in this first pueblo of the province of Cofachiqui, where the whole army was assembled, so that the men could recover from their past fatigues. During this time Captain Patofa and his eight thousand Indians did all the harm and injury they could to their enemies, as secretly as possible. They scoured the country for four leagues in every direction, wherever they could do damage. They killed the Indians whom they could find, men and women, and took off their scalps to carry away as evidence of their exploits. They sacked the pueblos and temples whenever they could, but did not bum them, as they wished to do, so that the governor would not see or know about it. In short, they left nothing undone that they could think of to harm their enemies and avenge themselves. The cruelty would have continued if on the fifth day of this state of affairs the things that Patofa and his Indians had done and were doing had not come to the governor's attention. Considering that it was not just that one party should harm the other while under his favor or protection, and that it would not be a good thing to make enemies for the future because of the harm that another did without his consent, since he was proceeding with the intention of making peace with the Indians rather than of waging war against them, he decided to dismiss Patofa so that he might take all his men and return at once to his own country. This he did, and having thanked him for the friendliness and good companionship that he had shown him, and having given him pieces of cloth, silk, and linen, knives, scissors, mirrors, and other things from Spain that they value very much, for himself and for his curaca, he sent him away very well satisfied and happy at the kindness and favor that he had shown him. But he [Patofa] was much more so because he had complied fully with the charge that his lord had given him to take revenge against his enemies and aggressors.

After Patofa and his Indians left, the governor stayed in the same pueblo for two more days, resting; but now that he saw his people recovering he thought it well to go on and march along the riverbank, upstream, toward the settlements. The army went in this direction for three days without meeting a single live Indian, but coming upon many dead ones with their scalps gone. The Castilians saw here the butchery that Patofa had committed, for which reason the natives had withdrawn into the interior where they could not be reached. They found food in the pueblos, which was what they needed.

At the end of three days the army halted at a very beautiful site in a verdant country having many mulberries and other fruit trees, laden with fruit. The governor did not wish to go on until he knew what country that was, and having had all his men make camp, he summoned the accountant Juan de Anasco and ordered him to take thirty infantrymen and follow the same road that they had traveled up to that point (which, though narrow, passed on from there). He was to endeavor to capture an Indian that night, in order to find out what was in that country and what was the name of its lord, and the other things that it would be worthwhile for them to know. If he should be unable to take an Indian, he was to obtain a reliable account in some other way that would enable the army to go on without proceeding so blindly as they had done hitherto. After the governor had given him his orders he told him that, inasmuch as he had always been successful on all the special expeditions that he had made, he thus entrusted them to him rather than to another, and he was to endeavor to do as well on this one, which was so important to them.

Juan de Anasco and his thirty companions left the camp before dawn, on foot and as silently as possible, like people who are going on a foray. They followed the road indicated to them, and the farther they went the wider it became, turning into a public highway. Having marched along it thus for two leagues, they heard in the silence of the night a murmuring like that of a pueblo nearby, and going on a little farther to get out of a fringe of woods in front of them that cut off their view, they saw lights and heard dogs barking and children crying and men and women talking, so that they realized it was a pueblo. Our Spaniards therefore prepared to capture some Indian quietly on the outskirts, without being heard. Each one of them desired to be the f irst to lay hands on one, so as to enjoy the honor of having been more diligent. All of them were thus proceeding very cautiously when they found all their hopes dashed because the river, which hitherto had been to one side of them, cut across in front and passed between them and the pueblo. The Christians remained for some time on the banks of the river at a large beach and landing-place for canoes. After having supper and resting, it now being two o'clock in the morning, they went back to the camp, arriving there a little before dawn, and reported to the governor what they had seen and heard.

As soon as daylight came the governor left with a hundred infantry and a hundred cavalry and went to see the pueblo, and to reconnoiter and learn what was there favorable or unfavorable to their discovery. Reaching the canoe landing, Juan Ortiz and the Indian Pedro shouted to the Indians on the other side, telling them to come and hear what they had to say, and return with an embassy that they wished to send to the lord of that land. Seeing things so new to them as Spaniards and horses, the Indians hurried back to the pueblo and told what they had said to them.



Soon after the Indians gave the news in the pueblo, six of the principal Indians, who were understood to have been magistrates [regidores], came out. They were of good presence and about the same age, between forty and f ifty years. They embarked in a large canoe, and other Indian servants came with them to propel and manage it.

When the six Indians came into the governor's presence they all made together three separate and deep reverences, the first to the Sun, all turning to the east; the second to the Moon, turning their faces to the west; and the third to the governor, facing the place where he was. He was seated in an easy chair that he always took wherever he went, in which he sat when he received the curacas and ambassadors, with the gravity and ceremony that befitted the importance of his charge and office. After paying their respects, the first words that the six principal Indians spoke were to say to the governor, "Sir, do you wish peace or war?" Because this was a general custom, it must be known that, in all the provinces that the governor discovered, as soon as he entered them they asked him this question with the first words that they spoke. The general replied that he desired peace and not war, and he asked of them only passage and provisions to enable him to go on to certain provinces that he was seeking. Since they knew that food was a thing that could not be dispensed with, they would forgive him for the inconvenience that they might have in giving it to him. He begged them also to provide him with rafts and canoes for crossing that river, and that they would treat him in a friendly manner while he was passing through their lands, for he would endeavor to give them as little trouble as possible.

The Indians replied that they accepted his offer of peace, and that as for food, they had very little because there had been a great pestilence throughout their province in the previous year, with a heavy mortality, from which only that pueblo had escaped. For that reason the inhabitants of the other pueblos in the state had fled to the woods and had planted no crops, and though the plague was over the Indians still had not all gathered in their houses and pueblos. They were vassals of a lady, a young marriageable woman who had recently inherited. They would go back to report what his lordship requested and would advise him at once of her reply. Meanwhile he might wait confidently because they knew that their lady, being a discreet woman of noble instincts, would do everything she could to serve the Christians. After making these statements, they returned to their pueblo with the governor's permission and advised their lady of what the captain of the Christians had requested for his journey.

The Indians could scarcely have delivered the message to their lady when the Castilians saw two large canoes being made ready, and an awning with many trappings and ornaments being raised over one of them. The lady of the pueblo embarked in this with eight noblewomen who attended her, and no other person embarked in that canoe. In the other the six principal Indians who had carried the message embarked, and with them came many oarsmen who rowed and steered the canoe, which towed the lady's canoe, in which there were no oarsmen nor any men whatever, but only the women. They crossed the river in this order and came to the place where the governor was. This is an action very similar, though inferior in grandeur and majesty, to that of Cleopatra when she went by the River Cydnus in Cilicia to receive Marc Antony, where destinies were changed in such manner that she who had been accused of the crime came out as judge of him who had condemned her; and the emperor and lord, as the slave of his servant - now become his mistress by the power of love because of the excellences, beauty and discretion of that most famous Egyptian; all of which is told at length by the master of that great Spaniard, Trajano, who was a worthy pupil of such a teacher. Because certain events of these two histories are so similar, we would like to plagiarize here from him as suits us, as others have done from the same author, who has something for everyone, if we did not fear that in doing it so openly his most elegant brocade would necessarily be discovered among our base sackcloth.

The Indian lady of the province of Cofachiqui, having come before the governor and made her obeisance, seated herself on a chair her people brought her, and she alone spoke to the governor without any of her Indians, men or women, saying a word. She referred again to the message that her vassals had given him and said that the pestilence of the year before had deprived her of the provisions she would have desired to have in order to be able to serve his lordship better, but that she would do all she could to assist him. So that he might see this by her actions, she immediately offered him one of two storehouses that she had in that pueblo, each of which contained six hundred fanegas of Indian corn, which she had collected to succor the vassals who had escaped from the plague. She begged that he be pleased to leave her the other for their own need, which was great; and if his lordship should need maize thereafter, she had collected two thousand fanegas in another pueblo near that one for these same necessities, and he could take as much as he liked from there. She would move out of her own house to provide lodgings for his lordship, and she would order that half of the pueblo be vacated for the captains and principal soldiers. For the rest of the people they would erect very good shelters of branches in which they would be comfortable. If he wished, they would move out of the whole pueblo and the Indians would go to another that was close by. Rafts and wooden canoes would be provided quickly to enable the army to cross that river, and they would all be ready on the following day so that his lordship might see how promptly and willingly they would serve him.

The governor replied to her friendly words and promises with many acknowledgments and was very gratified that during a time when her country was suffering want she offered him more than he asked. In return for that favor he said that he and his people would endeavor to get along with as little food as they could, in order not to give her so much inconvenience, and that the quarters and other things provided were very well ordered and planned.

Therefore in the name of the emperor of the Christians, his lord the king of Spain, he received all this in his service, to be acknowledged at the proper time and occasion, and on behalf of the entire army and of himself he received it as a particular favor and benefit, never to be forgotten. Besides these things, they spoke of others concerning that province and the surrounding ones. The Indian replied to all the governor's questions to the great satisfaction of her listeners, so that the Spaniards marveled to hear such sensible and well-chosen words, which showed the discretion of a barbarian, born and bred far from all instruction and civilized life. But natural good sense, wherever it may be, flourishes by itself without teaching, in discretion and gentility; and on the contrary stupidity becomes duller the more it is instructed.

Our Spaniards noted particularly that the Indians of this province and of the two that they had left behind were of a gentler disposition, more affable and less fierce, than any of the others whom they had encountered in this discovery. For in the other provinces, while they offered peace and maintained it, they were always suspicious and their gestures and words showed that their friendship was more feigned than real. This was not true of the people of Cofachiqui or those of Cofaqui and Cofa, which they had left behind, who acted as if they had spent their lives among the Spaniards. They were not only obedient to them, but they endeavored in all their actions and words to disclose and show the true affection that they felt for them, and they were gratified that people who had never seen them before should treat them with such familiarity.



While talking with the governor about the things that we have said, the lady of Cofachiqui was taking off, a little at a time, a great rope of pearls as large as hazelnuts that was wound three times around her neck and hung down to her thighs. Having been gradually removing them during all the time that the conversation lasted, she told Juan Ortiz, the interpreter (holding them in her hands), to take them and give them to the captain-general.

Juan Ortiz said for her ladyship to give them to him herself, for he would thus esteem them more. The Indian replied that she did not venture to do so, as not to go against the modesty that women ought to observe. The governor asked Juan Ortiz what the lady was saying, and when he heard it he said to him: "Tell her that I shall esteem more the favor of her giving them to me with her own hands than I value the jewels themselves, and that her doing so does not go against her modesty, for the matter concerns peace and friendship, things so admissible and important between unknown peoples." The lady, having heard Juan Ortiz, stood up to give the pearls to the governor with her own hands. He did likewise to receive them, and taking from his finger a gold ring that he wore, set with a very handsome ruby, he gave it to the lady as a sign of the peace and friendship that was brought about between them. The Indian received it very courteously and put it on one of her fingers. After this incident she asked leave and returned to her pueblo, and left our Castilians very gratified and charmed, both with her discretion and with her great beauty, which she had in extreme perfection. They were so enthralled with her that neither then nor later did they think to ask her name, but contented themselves with calling her Senora, and in this they were justified because she was so in all respects. Since they did not know her name, I cannot give it here; there were many such oversights in this respect and others in the course of this discovery.

The governor remained on the riverbank to supervise the immediate crossing of the army. He sent to order the maese de campo to bring the men to the place where he was as quickly as possible. Meanwhile the Indians constructed large rafts and brought many canoes, and with their efforts and those of the Castilians they crossed the river in the course of the next day; though with misfortune and loss, for through the carelessness of some officials who were supervising the passage of the men four horses were drowned. Since they were so necessary and so important to the men, our Spaniards regretted it more than if their own brothers had died.

Alonso de Carmona says that seven horses were drowned, and that it was the fault of their masters who drove them into the water very precipitately without knowing where they ought to cross, and that when they reached a certain part of the river they sank and did not reappear. It might have been a strong whirlpool that sucked them in and swallowed them up. Having crossed the river, the army was quartered in the half of the pueblo that the Indians had given up to them, and for those who found no room there they made large new arbors, because there was plenty of very good timber with which to construct them. Among the arbors were many different kinds of fruit trees, particularly mulberries, which were larger and more luxuriant than any they had seen hitherto. We always take particular note of this tree because of its beauty and its usefulness for [producing] silk, which ought to make it valuable everywhere.

On the following day the governor took steps to inform himself concerning the nature and the various parts of that province called Cofachiqui. He found that it was fertile for anything that they might desire to plant, sow, and breed in it. He also learned that the mother of the lady of that province, being a widow, had retired to a place twelve leagues away. He made arrangements with the daughter to send for her, and she dispatched twelve principal Indians to request her to come to visit the governor and see a people never seen before, who brought some strange animals.

The widow was unwilling to come with the Indians; rather when she learned what her daughter had done with the Castilians she was much disturbed and grieved at the daughter's imprudence in having consented so quickly and easily to show herself to the Spaniards, a people whom she herself said had never been seen or heard of before. She quarreled bitterly with the ambassadors for having consented to it, and also did and said many other extreme things such as prudish widows are accustomed to do.

When the governor heard all this he ordered the accountant Juan de Anasco that, since he was adept at such things, he go by land down the river with thirty infantry to a place withdrawn from the vicinity of the other pueblos, where they had told him the senora widow was, and bring her back in an entirely peaceful and friendly manner, because he desired that all the land he discovered and left behind him should remain quiet and pacified and devoted to him without any opposition, so that there would be less to pacify when it should be settled.

Although it was now well into the day, Juan de Anasco set out at once on foot with his thirty companions, and besides some Indian servants, he took with him an Indian noble whom the lady of the pueblo gave him of her own accord as a guide. When they should approach the place where her mother was, he was to go on ahead and advise her that the Spaniards were coming to entreat her to come back willingly with them, and say that she and all her vassals begged her to do the same thing.

The widowed mother of the lady of Cofachiqui had brought up this young noble with her own hands, for which reason and because he was a near relative, and chiefly because the youth had grown up with an affable and most noble disposition, she loved him more than if he had been her own son. Therefore the daughter sent him on this embassy to her mother so that the message might vex her less because of her love for the messenger.

The Indian showed clearly in the aspect of his countenance and in his bearing his noble blood and generous spirit; where the one is the other must be also, for they are united like the fruit and the tree. He had a handsome face and a graceful body, and was twenty or twenty-one years old. He was very elegantly attired, as befitted an ambassador on such a mission, and wore on his head a large plume made of a pleasing combination of varicolored feathers that added to his gracefulness, and a mantle of fine deer- skins in the place of a cape. In the summer, because of the heat, they do not use pelts; or if they do sometimes wear them, it is with the fur on the out-side. He carried a most handsome bow in his hands, which besides being good and strong had been given a coating of something that looked like fine enamel, which these Indians of La Florida use on them, of whatever color they like, and it gives the bow or any other wood a glaze like crockery. On his shoulder he carried his quiver of arrows. The Indian went with all this ornate equipment, and he was so willing to accompany the Spaniards that his desire to serve and please them was plainly seen.



Captain Juan de Anasco and his thirty gentlemen, having marched almost three leagues on their way in the manner that we have said, stopped to eat and to rest for a while in the shade of some large trees, because it was very hot. The Indian noble who was accompanying them as ambassador, having gone up to that time very happily and joyfully, entertaining the Spaniards all along the road by telling them what they asked him about the things of his country and of the surrounding ones, began to show sadness and fell to pondering with his hand on his cheek. He gave some long and profound sighs, which our men noticed well enough, though they did not ask him the reason for his sadness in order not to trouble him more than he was already.

Seated as he was in the midst of the Spaniards, the Indian took his quiver and, placing it in front of him, drew out very slowly, one by one, the arrows that were in it, which were admirable for the refinement and skill that had gone into their making. They were all made of reeds; some had heads made of the points of deer's antlers finished to extreme perfection, with four corners like the points of a diamond; others had fish bones for heads, marvelously fashioned for use as arrows. There were others with heads of palm wood and of other strange and durable timber that grows in that country. These arrowheads had two or three barbs as perfectly made in the wood as if they had been of iron or steel. In short, all the arrows were so exquisite, each one in itself, that they invited those nearby to take them up in their hands and enjoy examining them closely. Captain Juan de Anasco and each of his companions took up one to look at it, and all of them praised the skill and deftness of the maker. They noted particularly that they were feathered in triangular form so that they would leave the bow better. In short, each one had a new and different curiosity that embellished it separately.

What we have said about the arrows of this nobleman is not an exaggeration; rather, we have fallen short in a description of them, because all the Indians of La Florida, and especially the nobles, take the greatest pride in the beauty and elegance of their bows and arrows. Those they make for their adornment and carry every day, they fashion with the greatest possible nicety, each one striving to outdo the others with new inventions or greater elegance, so that it is a very gallant and honorable contest and rivalry that continually goes on among them. The many arrows that they make as munitions to expend in war are common and worthless, though in case of necessity they make use of all of them, not distinguishing between the fine and the ordinary, or the valuable and the worthless.

The Indian ambassador, who as we said was taking his arrows out of the quiver one at a time, drew out, almost among the last ones, one that had a flint head fashioned like the point and blade of a dagger, about six inches long. Seeing that the Castilians were inattentive and absorbed in looking at his arrows, he gashed his throat with it so that he was decapitated [se degollo; decapitated or slashed in the throat-DB] and immediately fell dead.

The Spaniards were amazed at such a strange event and grieved at not having been able to save him. Desiring to know the reason for that fatality and for his having killed himself in such sorrow after having been so happy and joyous a short time before, they called the Indian servants whom they had brought with them and asked whether they knew why he did it. With many tears and much sorrow at the death of their chief, because of the love that they all had for him, and because they knew how his sad death would grieve their mistresses, both mother and daughter, they said that so far as they could tell there could have been no other reason except that that noble had been seized with the idea that the embassy he was performing was against the pleasure and will of his elder lady. For it was well known that when they had sent her the first ambassadors she had been unwilling to come to see the Castilians, and now in guiding and conducting the same Spaniards to the place where she was, so that they might bring her, willingly or by force, he was not acting in accordance with her love for him or the upbringing that she had given him as mother and lady. Besides this he would have known that if he did not do what his young lady ordered him, which was to guide the Spaniards and carry the message (now that he had so thoughtlessly undertaken to do it), he would fall into disgrace with her and be dismissed from her service. The Indians affirmed that either of the two offenses, whether against the mother or the daughter, would have been more grievous to him than death itself. Seeing himself, then, in this dilemma, and being unable to get out of it without offending one of his ladies, he had wished to show both of them his desire to serve and please them, and in order not to do otherwise (having already fallen into one error and wishing to avoid a second) he had chosen death as preferable to angering either of them, and thus he had inflicted it with his own hands. The Indians said that they believed that this and nothing else had caused the death of that poor gentleman, and their conjecture seemed to the Spaniards not to be a bad one.

Juan de Anasco and his thirty companions, though grieved at the death of their guide, proceeded on their way and that afternoon marched three leagues along the road that they had followed up to that time, which was the public highway. In order to go on, they asked the Indians the next day whether they knew where and how far away the senora widow was. They answered that certainly they did not know, because the dead Indian held the secret of her dwelling, but that they would endeavor to guide them wherever they ordered them. The Castilians went on with their journey in all this confusion, and having marched almost four leagues, it now being nearly noon and the sun being extremely hot, they saw some Indians. They set an ambush and captured a man and three women, all who were there, from whom they attempted to learn the widow's whereabouts. The Indians replied readily that they had heard that she had withdrawn still farther away from where she had first been, but they did not know where, and that if they [the Spaniards] wished to take them along, they would ask about her on the way of the Indians whom they might meet along the road. It might be that she was near and it might be that she was far away. This is an expression from the common language of El Peru.



When they heard what the Indians said our Spaniards were doubtful as to what they ought to do, and after many different opinions had been advanced about it one of the companions said, more advisedly: "Gentlemen, it seems to me for many reasons that we are not proceeding very judiciously on this journey, for since this woman was unwilling to come with the principal Indians who took her the first message, but rather showed her displeasure at it, I do not know how she will receive ours. It is clear to us already that she is unwilling to go where the governor is, and it may be that, knowing that we are going to oblige her to do so by force, she would have men prepared to defend her and also to attack us. Whatever she intends to do, we are not in a position to oppose her or to defend ourselves and return safely because we have brought no horses, which are what put fear into the Indians. For the purposes of our discovery and conquest, I do not see that a widow in her solitary retreat is of such importance that we should have to risk the lives of all of us who are here to bring her out, without needing her, since we have her daughter, who is the ruler of the province, with whom to negotiate and arrange whatever may be necessary. Furthermore, we do not know the road nor what lies between us and that place, nor do we have a guide on whom we can depend; also the very unexpected suicide yesterday of the ambassador whom we were bringing warns us to be cautious, for it must have a bearing on some of the things that I have mentioned. Aside from these inconveniences (he said, turning to the captain), we see that you are fatigued both from the weight of the heavy armor that you are wearing and from the excessive heat of the sun, as well as because of your corpulence, for you are a very stout man. All these reasons not only persuade us but force us to go back peaceably."

What their companion said seemed reasonable to all the others, and by common consent they returned to the camp and reported to the governor everything that had happened to them on the road.

Three days later an Indian offered to guide the Castilians down the river and take them by water to the place where the mother of the lady of the pueblo was, and thus with the approval and consent of the daughter, Juan de Anasco returned to his quest, and with him went twenty Spaniards in two canoes. On the first day of their navigation they found the four drowned horses lodged against a large fallen tree, and grieving for them anew, they proceeded on their voyage. Having done everything they could, they returned at the end of six days with news that the good old woman, having heard that the Christians had come after her on two occasions, had gone farther into the country and hidden herself in some high mountains where she was out of reach. Therefore the governor left her alone and took no further notice of her.

While the things that we have told were happening to Captain Juan de Anasco in the country, the governor and his people were not resting in the settlements, for they still held the hope that had been with them for so long that they would find much gold and silver and many precious pearls in this province of Cofachiqui. Desiring, then, to see themselves rich and free from this anxiety of mind, a few days after their arrival in the province they busied themselves in making inquiries about it. They summoned the two Indian youths who had told them in Apalache about the wealth of this province of Cofachiqui, and at the governor's order they spoke with the lady of the pueblo and asked her to order brought some of these metals that the merchants, whose servants they had been, were accustomed to buy in her country to take and sell in other places. These were the same ones that the Castilians were seeking.

The lady ordered to be brought at once [the metals] that were in her country of the colors that the Spaniards wanted, which were yellow and white, because they showed her gold rings and pieces of silver, and they had also asked her for pearls and stones such as those they had in the rings. At their lady's order, the Indians brought promptly a large quantity of copper of a very resplendent golden color, surpassing that of our brass, so that the Indian servants of the merchants might very well have been deceived into thinking that that metal and the one the Castilians showed them were the same, because they did not know the difference between brass and gold.

In the place of silver, they brought some large slabs as thick as boards that were of an iron pyrite [rather, probably mica-VJK], and from the information they gave me I will not be able to describe them now as they really were, except that at first sight they were white and shone like silver, and on taking them in the hands, though they were a vara in length and the same in width, they weighed almost nothing, and when handled they fell apart like a clod of dry earth.

As for precious scones, the lady said that in her country there were only pearls and that, if they wanted them, they might go to the upper part of the pueblo; and, pointing with her finger, she showed them a temple that was there (within sight) of the size of ordinary ones that we have here, and said: "That house is the burial place of the nobles of this pueblo, where you will f ind large and small pearls and many seed pearls. Take as many as you like, and if you still want more, one league from here is a pueblo that is the house and seat of my ancestors and the capital of our state; in it is another temple larger than this one, which is the burial place of my predecessors. There you will find so many seed pearls and pearls that, although you should load all your horses and as many of yourselves as may go there with them, you could not exhaust all that are in the temple. Take all of them, and if you still need more, we can get more every day from the pearl fisheries in my country."

With this good news and with the lady's munificence, our Spaniards consoled themselves somewhat for having been deceived in their hopes of the much gold and silver that they had thought to find in this province, though it is true that there were many Spaniards who persisted in saying that the copper or brass had quite a large admixture of gold. But since they had brought no nitric acid or metal filings, they could not make tests either to undeceive themselves entirely or to gain new and more definite hope.



They waited to see the pearls and the seed pearls that were in the temple until the accountant and captain Juan de Anasco should come back from his second expedition; and meanwhile the governor ordered persons whom he could trust to guard the temple, and he himself made the rounds at night, so that no one would be impelled by greed at what he had heard to go out of turn and attempt to take away secretly the best of what was in the temple or burial place. As soon as the accountant came, the governor and the other officials of the imperial hacienda and thirty other gentlemen, including the captains and principal soldiers, went to see the pearls and the other things that were there. They found that against all four walls of the house were wooden chests made in the same way as those of Spain, lacking only hinges and locks. The Castilians wondered that the Indians, having no tools like the workmen of Europe, could make them so well. In these chests, which were placed on benches half a vara high, they put the bodies of their dead, with no more preservatives from corruption than if they had placed them in underground sepulchers. The stench of the bodies while they were decaying did not trouble them because these temples served them only as charnel houses where they kept dead bodies, and they did not enter them to make sacrifices or to pray, for as we said at the beginning they live without such ceremonies.

We shall say no more about this temple so as not to repeat ourselves [when we describe] that of the senores curacas (which we shall see and describe soon).

Besides the large coffers that served as sepulchers they had other smaller ones in which, and in some large baskets woven of reed - which the Indians of La Florida use with great artifice and subtlety for everything they desire to make of it, as they use wicker in Spain - there were great quantities of pearls and seed pearls and much clothing of both men and women, of the kind in which they dress, which is made of deerskins and other pelts. They dress these very skillfully with the hair on them, and use them for lining the clothing of princes and great lords. In our Spain they would be valued at large amounts.

The governor and his men rejoiced greatly at seeing so much wealth all together, because they were all of the opinion that there were more than a thousand arrobas of pearls and seed pearls. The officials of the real hacienda being provided with a steelyard [Roman; a Roman balance], in a short time they weighed twenty arrobas of pearls, while the governor left them to see what else was in the house. Returning to the officials, he told them that they would not be able to burden themselves with loads so useless and embarrassing to the army, and that his intention had been simply to take two arrobas of pearls and seed pearls, and no more, to send to La Havana as a sample of their quality and size; as for the quantity, he said that they would have to believe what they would write them about it. Therefore they were to put them back where they got them and take only the two arrobas. The officials begged him, saying that since they were already weighed out and could scarcely be missed from the amount that remained, he ought to allow them to take them, so that the evidence would be more abundant and rich. The governor agreed to it, and he himself, taking up the pearls by the double handfuls, gave one to each of the captains and soldiers who had come with him, telling them to make rosaries of them with which to say their prayers. And the pearls were fit to use for rosaries because they were the size of large chick-peas.

The Castilians left that burial house without doing any more damage than we have said, and were more desirous than ever of seeing the one that the lady had told them was that of her fathers and grandfathers. Two days later the general and the officials and other captains and chief soldiers went to it, thirty Spaniards in all. They marched a long league, all of which had the appearance of a garden, where there were many trees, fruit-bearing and others; and one could pass between them on horseback without any inconvenience because they were separated from one another as if they had been set out by hand.

The Spaniards traveled all that long league scattered through the country gathering fruit and noting the fertility of the soil. Thus they came to the pueblo called Talomeco, which was situated on an elevation overlooking the steep bank of the river. It had five hundred houses, all large and of better materials and workmanship than the ordinary ones. From its arrangement, it seemed to be the seat and court of a powerful ruler, having been constructed with more meticulousness and ornamentation than the other, ordinary pueblos. The houses of the ruler could be seen from a distance, because they were on the highest point and showed themselves to be his by their superiority to the others in size and construction.

In the middle of the pueblo, facing the lord's houses, was the temple or charnel house the Spaniards were coming to see. It contained things admirable for their grandeur, richness, rarity, and majesty, curiously made and arranged, which I would like much to be able to describe as my author desired them to be. Accept my willingness, and what I cannot say will remain for the contemplation of the judicious, whose discretion will supply what my pen is unable to write. For certainly (particularly at this point and at others as important that will be found in the History) our picture falls far short of their grandeur and of what would be required to describe them as they were. Thus ten and ten times (a phrase from the language of El Peru, meaning many times) I shall beg earnestly that it be believed that what has been said is an incomplete and fragmentary account, rather than an exaggerated one.



The Castilians found the pueblo of Talomeco entirely deserted because the recent pestilence had been more severe and cruel there than in any other pueblo in the whole province, and the few Indians who escaped it had not yet been returned to their houses. Thus our men stopped only a short time in them until they came to the temple. It was large, being more than a hundred paces long and forty wide; the walls were high in keeping with the size of the room, and the roof was very high and steeply pitched, for since they did not have the invention of tiles it was necessary for them to build very steep roofs so that the rain would not come into the houses. The roof of this temple apparently was made of reeds and slender stalks of cane split in half lengthwise, from which these Indians make very nicely finished and well-woven mats similar to the Moorish mats. By placing four, five or six of these on top of each other, they make a roof that is beautiful within and without and very effective, keeping out both sun and rain. From this province on, the Indians for the most part do not use straw for roofing and covering their houses, but mats of cane.

On the roof of the temple there had been placed many shells of various marine animals arranged according to their size, from large to small ones. It is not known how they came to be so far inland, though perhaps they also are found in the rivers flowing through that country, which are so many and so large. The shells were placed with the inner side on top because of its greater luster. Among them there were also many periwinkles, extraordinarily large. There were spaces between the shells and the periwinkles, for they were all arranged in regular order. In those spaces were large skeins made of strings of pearls and seed pearls half a fathom long that were spread out on the roof, descending gradually, one string beginning where another left off. With the sun reflected on them they made a beautiful sight. The temple was covered with all these things on the outside.

To go inside, the Spaniards opened some large doors whose size was proportionate to the rest of the temple. Near the door were twelve giant figures carved from wood, such faithful imitations of life and with such a fierce and bold posture that the Castilians stayed to look at them for a long time without passing on, marveling to find in such a barbarous country works that, if they had been in the most famous temples of Rome in the most flourishing period of its power an 4 empire, would have been esteemed and valued for their grandeur and perfection. The giants were placed as if to guard the door and oppose the entrance of those who might enter.

There were six on one side of the door and six on the other, one after the other, descending gradually in size from the largest to the smallest. The first were four varas high, the second somewhat less, and so on to the last.

They had various weapons in their hands made in proportion to the size of their bodies. The first two on each side, which were the largest, each held clubs the last quarter of which were embellished with diamond-shaped points and bands made of that copper [already mentioned]. They were so exactly like those clubs that are described as belonging to Hercules that it seemed that either might have been copied from the other. The giants held their clubs aloft with both hands, with such a fierce and bold aspect (as if threatening to strike anyone who entered the door) that it inspired terror.

The second on either side (this was the order in which they were all placed) had broadswords made of wood in the same form that they make them in Spain of iron and steel. The third had sticks, different from the clubs, that resembled the swingles used to beat flax, a fathom and a half long, the first two-thirds being thick and the last gradually becoming narrower and having a shovel-shaped end. The fourth in order had large battle-axes corresponding in size to the stature of the giants. One of them had a brass head, the blade being large and very well made and the other end having a four-sided point a handbreadth in length. The other axe had a head exactly like this, with its blade and point, but for greater variety and curiosity it was made of flint.

The fifth in order carried bows as long as their bodies, bent and with the arrows in place as if ready to shoot. The bows and arrows were fashioned with all the extreme care and perfection these Indians employ in their making. The head of one of the arrows was made of the tip of a deer antler carved into four points; the other arrow had a flint point for a head, the same shape and size as an ordinary dagger.

The sixth and last figures had very large and handsome pikes with copper heads. All of them, like the first ones, seemed to be threatening to wound with their weapons those who might want to enter the door. Some were ready to strike downward from above, like those with the clubs; others, as those with the broadswords and pikes, were ready to stab; others, as those with the axes, to hack; others, as the ones with the sticks, to give a diagonal stroke from left to right; and the archers threatened to shoot from a distance. Each of them was in the boldest and fiercest posture required by the weapon that he held in his hands, and this was what most amazed the Spaniards, seeing how natural and true to life they were in every respect.

The upper part of the temple above the walls was adorned like the roof outside with periwinkles and shells arranged in order, with skeins between them made of strings of pearls and seed pearls hanging from the roof, which kept to and followed its design. Among the strings of pearls, periwinkles, and shells on the roof were large plumes of multicolored feathers like those that they make for their own adornment. Besides the strings of pearls and seed pearls hanging from the roof, and the plumes thrust into it, there were many other plumes and strings of seed pearls and pearls hanging from thin threads of an indeterminate color, which, being invisible, made it appear that the pearl tassels and plumes were suspended in the air, some higher than others, giving the effect of falling from the roof. Such was the adornment of the upper part of the temple above the walls, and it was a pleasing thing to see.



Lowering their eyes from the roof, our captains and soldiers saw that along the highest part of the four walls of the temple were two rows, one above the other, of statues of figures of men and women corresponding in size to the ordinary stature of the people of that country, who are as large as Philistines. Each was set on its own base or pedestal, near one another, and they served no other purpose except to ornament the walls, so that the upper part of them would not be bare and uncovered. The figures of the men had various weapons in their hands, all those that we have named elsewhere. These were adorned with circles of pearls and seed pearls, each one made of four, five, or six loops, and for further embellishment they had at intervals borders of threads of exquisite colors, for these Indians make any thing they like extremely well. The statues of the women had nothing in their hands.

On the floor against the walls, on very well-made wooden benches, as was everything in the temple, were the chests that served as sepulchers, in which were the bodies of the curacas who had been lords of that province of Cofachiqui, and of their sons and brothers and nephews, the sons of their brothers. No others were buried in that temple.

The chests were well covered with their lids. Exactly one vara above each chest was a statue carved from wood, against the wall on its pedestal. This was a portrait taken while living of the deceased man or woman who was in the chest, at the age at which they died. The portraits served as a record and memorial of their ancestors. The statues of the men had weapons in their hands, but those of the children and women had nothing.

The space on the walls between the portraits of the dead and the statues on the upper part was covered with round and oblong shields, large and small, made of cane so strongly woven that they could turn a dart shot from a crossbow, though a harquebus-shot penetrated them more than did the dart. The oblong and round shields were interwoven with strings of pearls and seed pearls, and around the edges they had borders of colored threads chat embellished them greatly.

On the floor of the temple, lengthwise, were placed on benches three rows of wooden chests, large and small, one on top of another. They were arranged in order so that the large ones came first, and on them other smaller ones, and then others still smaller; and in this manner four, five, or six chests were put one on top of another, rising from the largest to the smallest in the form of a pyramid. Between the various rows of chests were passages that went the length of the temple and crossed from one side to the other, by which one could walk all through the temple without any difficulty and see what was in each part of it.

All the large and small chests were full of pearls and seed pearls. The pearls were separated from one another according to size, the largest ones being in the first chests, those not quite so large in the second, and others still smaller in the third, and so on to the seed pearls, which were in the smallest chests on top. In all of these there were such quantities of seed pearls and pearls that with their own eyes the Spaniards confirmed the truth of the statement made by the lady of this temple and burial place, admitting that it was not a boast or an exaggeration, to the effect that although they all might load themselves, they being more than nine hundred men, and although they might load their horses, which numbered more than three hundred, they would be unable to take from the temple all the pearls and seed pearls that were in it. Such a quantity of pearls is no great cause for wonder, if it is considered that those Indians do not sell any of those that they find, but bring them all to their burial place, and that they have done so for many centuries. In making a comparison, it may be affirmed (since it is seen every year) that, if the gold and silver that has been brought and is being brought from El Peru to Spain had not been taken away from there, they could have covered many temples with roofs of silver and gold.

With the display and wealth of pearls that was in the temple there were also many and very large bundles of white deerskin and some tinted in various colors, and of this last each color was separate to itself. There were also large parcels of mantles of many colors, made of deerskin, and another large quantity of mantles of skins of all kinds of animals that are native to the country, large and small, dressed with the hair on them. There were many mantles made of the pelts of cats of different species and markings, and others of extremely fine marten-skins, all likewise dressed so perfectly that the best from Germany or Muscovy could not be better.

The temple was arranged with all these things in the manner and order that has been said, the roof, the walls, and the floor alike, each thing being placed with as much neatness and order as could be imagined of the most careful people in the world. It was all clean, without dust or cobwebs, from which it appeared that many people must have been engaged in the care and service of the temple, in cleaning and putting everything in its place.

Around the temple were eight rooms, separated from one another and placed regularly and in order. Apparently they were annexes of the temple for its embellishment and service. The governor and the other gentlemen wanted to see what was in them, and found that they were all full of arms arranged in the manner that we shall tell. The first room they happened to see was full of pikes, there being nothing else in it. All were very long and very well made, with heads of brass, which, because it was so highly colored, looked like gold. All were adorned with rings of pearls and seed pearls having three or four turns, placed at intervals along the pikes. Many were covered in the middle (where they would rest on the shoulder and where the head joined the haft) with strips of colored deerskin, and along both the upper and lower edges of this strip were borders of varicolored threads with three, four, five, or six rows of pearls or seed pearls that embellished them greatly.

In the second room there were only clubs such as those that we said the f irst giant figures held, which were at the door of the temple; except that those in the room, being arms that were among the lord's equipment, were decorated with rings of pearls and seed pearls and borders of colored thread placed at intervals so that the colors were blended with one another and all were intermingled with the pearls. The other pikes [clubs?] that the giants held had no ornamentation whatever.

In another room, which was the third, there was nothing but axes like those we said the giants had who were fourth in order at the door of the temple. They had copper heads with a blade on one side and a diamondshaped point on the other, six inches and a hand's breadth long [respectively]. Many of them had flint heads fastened solidly to the handles with copper bands. These axes also had on their handles rings of pearls and seed pearls and borders of colored thread.

In another room, which was the fourth, there were broadswords made of various kinds of hardwoods such as those that the giants second in order had, all of them being decorated with pearls and seed pearls and borders on the handles and on the first third of the blades.

The fifth room contained only staffs such as those we said the giants of the third order had, but decorated with their rings of pearls and seed pearls and colored borders all along the handles to where the shovel-shaped end began. We shall tell the rest in the following chapter, so that this one may not be disproportionately longer than the others.



In the sixth room there was nothing except bows and arrows wrought in all the extreme perfection and care with which they make them. For arrowheads, they used points of wood, of the bones of land and sea animals, and of flint, as we told in connection with the Indian noble who killed himself. Besides these kinds of arrowheads made of copper, such as those they put on darts in Spain, there were others with harpoons, also made of copper, and in the form of small chisels, lances, and Moorish darts, which looked as if they had been made in Castilla. They noted also that the arrows with flint tips had different kinds of heads; some were in the form of a harpoon, others of small chisels, others were rounded Like a punch, and others had two edges like the tip of a dagger. The Spaniards examined all these curiously and wondered how they could fashion such things out of a material as resistant as f lint, though in view of what Mexican history says about the broadswords and other arms that the Indians of that land made of flint, a part of this wonderment of ours will be lost. The bows were handsomely made and enameled in various colors, which they do with a certain cement that gives them such a luster that one can see himself in them. In speaking of this temple, Juan Coles says the following: "And in one apartment there were more than fifty thousand bows with their cases or quivers full of arrows."

Not satisfied with this lustrous finish, they put on the bows many circles of pearls and seed pearls placed at intervals, these circles or rings beginning at the handles and going in order to the tips in such manner that the first circles were of large pearls and made seven or eight turns, the second were of smaller pearls and had fewer turns, and thus they went on decreasing to the last ones, which were near the tips and were of very small seed pearls. The arrows also had circles of seed pearls at intervals, but not of pearls, there being seed pearls only.

In the seventh room there were large numbers of round shields made of wood and of cowhide [buffalo-hide], both brought from distant countries. All were decorated with pearls and seed pearls and borders of colored threads.

In the eighth room there were a great many oblong shields, all made of cane very skillfully woven and so strong that the Spaniards had very few crossbows that could send a dart clear through them, as was experienced in other places outside of Cofachiqui. The oblong shields, like the round ones, were decorated with a network of seed pearls and pearls and with colored borders.

The eight rooms were filled with all these offensive and defensive arms, and each one of them contained so many of the particular kind of arms that were in it that the governor and his Castilians marveled especially at their number, besides the neatness and perfection with which they were made and arranged in their order.

The general and his captains, having seen and noted the grandeur and sumptuousness of the temple and its riches, the multitude of the arms, and the elaboration and order with which everything was made and arranged, asked the Indians what was the significance of such ostentation and pomp.

They replied that the lords of that kingdom, especially those of that province and of others that they would see beyond, regarded the ornateness and magnificence of their burial places as the greatest [sign of l their dignity, and thus they endeavored to embellish them with all the arms and wealth they could, as they had seen in that temple. Because this one was the richest and most superb of all those that our Spaniards saw in La Florida, I have seen fit to write of it at such length, and particularly of the things that were in it, and also because he who gave me the account ordered me to do so. For, as he said, it was among the grandest and most wonderful of all the things that he had seen in the New World, in having traveled over most and the best part of Mexico and El Peru, though it is true that when he passed through those two kingdoms they had already been sacked of their most valuable wealth, and their chief grandeurs had been destroyed.

The officials of the imperial hacienda discussed taking the fifth of the pearls and seed pearls and the rest of the wealth in the temple that belonged to his Majesty's hacienda and carrying it with them. The governor told them that taking it would serve only to load the army down with useless burdens, when they could not carry even the necessary ones of their arms and munitions. They were to leave it all as it was, for at present they were not parceling out the land, but discovering it, and when they should distribute and settle it then he who received it by lot would pay the fifth. Thus they did not touch anything that they had seen, and they went back to where the lady was, having wonders to tell of the magnificence of her burial place.

All that has been said of the pueblo of Cofachiqui, Alonso de Carmona tells in his Relation, though not at such length as our History. He speaks particularly, however, of the province and of the reception the lady gave the governor on crossing the river, and says that she and her ladies all wore long strings of large pearls around their necks and fastened to their wrists, and that the men wore them only around their necks. He says also that the pearls lost much of their beauty and fine luster by being taken out [of the shells] with fire, which made them black. He says that, in the pueblo of Talomeco where the burial place and rich temple was, they found four long houses full of bodies of those who died from the plague that had raged there; thus far Alonso de Carmona.

The adelantado spent another ten days after having seen the temple in informing himself of what was in the rest of the provinces that bordered upon that of Cofachiqui, and he heard that all of them were fertile and abounded in food and were inhabited by many people. Having learned these things, he ordered preparations made for continuing his discoveries, and, accompanied by his captains, he took leave of the Indian lady of Cofachiqui and of the principal men of the pueblo, thanking them heartily for the courtesy that they had shown him, and thus he left them friendly and well disposed toward the Spaniards.

The army left the pueblo in two divisions, because they did not have enough provisions to go all together. The general therefore ordered that Baltasar de Gallegos, Arias Tinoco, and Gonzalo Silvestre, with a hundred cavalry and two hundred infantry, go to a place twelve leagues from there where the lady had a storehouse containing six hundred fanegas of maize, which she had offered to give them. Taking as much maize as they could carry, they were to go to meet the governor, who would march by way of the public highway to the province of Chalaque, which was the one that bordered upon Cofachiqui on that side. With this order the three captains set out with the three hundred soldiers, and the governor with the rest of the army. After eight days' journey, which they made by way of the public highway, the latter reached the province of Chalaque, without anything worth mentioning having happened to them on the way.

The three captains had something to report, and this was that, having arrived at the storehouse, they took two hundred fanegas of Indian corn, being unable to carry more, and directed their march toward the public highway by which the governor was proceeding. On the fifth day of their march they reached the main highway, and by the signs that the army had left they saw that the general had passed and was going on ahead of them. Thereupon the two hundred foot soldiers rose up and demanded to march as rapidly as possible, in disobedience to their captains, until they overtook the general, because they said that they were carrying little food and did not know how many days they would take in reaching the governor, and thus it would be well to hasten while they could and overtake him as soon as possible before their provisions gave out and they died of hunger. The soldiers said this out of fear of what had happened to them in the wilderness before they reached the province of Cofachiqui.


About DeSoto and Garcilaso the "Inca"

A Story for Kids Conquest for Teens Native American Conquest