MIRROR of:
A NARRATIVE OF DE SOTO'S EXPEDITION
BASED ON THE DIARY OF RODRIGO RANJEL

Transcribed Dr. Jon Muller, Southern Illinois University, using OmniPageÖ
Page numbers of Bourne's publication are in RED
Dr. Muller's notes in BLUE.
Original Spanish text in GREEN
A NARRATIVE
OF
DE SOTO'S EXPEDITION
BASED ON THE
DIARY OF RODRIGO RANJEL
HIS PRIVATE SECRETARY
BY
GONZALO FERNANDEZ DE OVIEDO Y VALD╔S
TRANSLATED BY
EDWARD GAYLORD BOURNE

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AUTHOR'S PREFACE (1)

LET not the reader marvel that the historian goes over in exact detail the day's marches and rivers and crossings that this Commander and Governor Hernando de Soto encountered in these provinces and regions of the north, because among those gentlemen who were with the army all the time there was one named Rodrigo Ranjel, of whom mention has been made and will be made in the future, who served in this army and who, desiring to keep in mind what he saw and the course of his life, wrote down day by day at the end of his labours, every thing which happened, like a wise man, and also as a diversion, and also because every Christian ought to do so, to be able to confess, and to recall to memory his faults, especially those who are engaged in war; and also because those who have toiled and endured such heavy labours find comfort afterwards, as eyewitnesses, in sharing their experiences with \47\ their friends, and in giving an account of themselves as they ought to. And so this Rodrigo Ranjel, after all these things had happened, which have been and shall be narrated, came to this city of Santo Domingo, in the Island of Espa˝ola (2) and gave an account to the royal audiencia of all these things, and it asked him and charged him that he should tell me in writing and give an account of everything in order that, as chronicler of their Majesties of these histories of the Indies, there might be gathered together and included in them this conquest and discovery in the North, that it might be known; since so many novelties and strange matters would be a delight for the judicious reader and a warning to many who are likely to lose their lives in these Indies following a governor who thus has control over the lives of others, as is apparent by these studies and writings of mine.

(1) From Oviedo's Historia General y Natural de jas Indias, lib. XVII. cap. XXVI.
(2) This sentence makes it possible to fix the date before which Oviedo secured his material, for he left Santo Domingo in August, 1546.

 

CHAPTER I

HOW HERNANDO DE SOTO WAS APPOINTED TO GOVERN CUBA AS CAPTAIN-GENERAL OF THEIR MAJESTIES, AND WITH THE TITLE OF ADELANTADO OF FLORIDA.

THE Emperor, our lord, appointed as his Governor and Captain General of the Island of Cuba and of the Province of Ponce de Leon, Hernando de Soto, who was one of the soldiers of the Governor Pedrarias de Avila, of whom in the history of Terra-Firma there has been frequent mention, since he was one of the pioneers in those parts and was in the lead in the capture of Atabaliba when he was one of those who obtained a large share of the spoils. He brought so much to Spain that it was reported that he found himself in Castile with over one hundred thousand pesos de oro, where for his services and merits, he was very \50\ well received by the Emperor, our lord; and he made him Knight of the Order of St. James and bestowed other honours and made him Governor and Captain-General, as has been related.

And while he was in Castile he married one of the daughters of the Governor Pedrarias Dßvila, whose name was Do˝a Isabel de Bovadilla, and, who, like her mother, was a woman both good and great and truly noble in mind and bearing. With her De Soto went to the island of Cuba where he arrived in the month of [June] in the year 1539. And after he had viewed the island and its settlements, and made the provision needful for its well being and for the preservation of the land, he gave orders to arm and to pass over to the mainland to conquer and settle and reduce to peaceful life those provinces which his Majesty had bestowed upon him; and in this enterprise the events took place which will be narrated in the following chapters.

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CHAPTER II

OF THE DEPARTURE OF THE GOVERNOR, HERNANDO DE SOTO, FROM THE ISLAND OF CUBA OR FERNANDINA FOR THE NORTHERN MAINLAND; AND OF THE FLEET AND THE SOLDIERS WHICH HE TOOK FOR THE DISCOVERY; AND OF THE LABOUR OF LANDING AND HOW MANY HORSES AND OTHER THINGS HE TOOK; AND HOW THEY RESCUED A CHRISTIAN CALLED JOHAN ORTIZ, WHO HAD BEEN LOST AND LEFT NAKED LIKE THE INDIANS.

ON Sunday, May 18, 1539, the Governor Hernando de Soto departed from the City of Havana with a noble fleet of nine vessels, five ships, two caravels and two brigantines; and on May 25, which was Whitsuntide, land was seen on the northern coast of Florida; and the fleet came to anchor two leagues from shore in four fathoms of water or less; and the Governor went on board a brigantine to view the land, and with him a gentleman named Johan de A˝asco and the chief pilot of the fleet whose name was Alonso Martin, to discover what land it was, for they were in doubt as to the port and where to find it; and not recognizing it, seeing that night was approaching, they wished to return to the ships, but the wind did not suffer them for it was contrary; therefore they cast anchor near. \52\ the land and went on shore, where they came upon traces of many Indians and one of the large cabins that are seen in the Indies and other small ones. Later they were told that it was the village [el pueblo] of Ošita.

The Governor and those with him were in no small peril, since they were few and without arms; and no less was the distress of those left in ships to see their General in such an evil case, for they could neither succour nor assist him if there were need. In fact, to take such great care, was really heedlessness and excessive zeal, or a lack of prudence on the part of the Governor; for such work belongs to other persons and not to him who has to govern and rule the army, and it is enough to send a captain of lower rank for such a reconnoissance and the protection of the pilot who has to go to examine the coast. And the ships there were in sore travail and the whole fleet too, in which there were 570 men, not counting the sailors; including them the number was fully 700. The next morning, Monday, the brigantine was far to the leeward of the ships and labouring to come up to them and was no wise able to. Seeing this, Baltasar de Gallegos shouted to the Admiral's ship that the Lieutenant-General, who was a knight named Vasco Porcallo, should go and see what had best be done \53\ and, when he heard him not, to bring aid to the Governor he ordered a large caravel to weigh anchor in which that gentleman went as captain, and which put out in the direction where the brigantine appeared; and although the Governor regretted it, yet it was well done since it was in his service and to succour his person. Finally the caravel came up to the brigantine, much to the satisfaction of the Governor.

In the meantime the harbour was recognized and the other brigantine stationed in the channel as sign for the ships, and the Governor's brigantine approached to station the caravel also in the channel of the harbour; and he ordered that it should take a position on one side of the channel and the brigantine on the other so that the ships might pass between them. This they now began to do under sail, for they were four or five leagues off. The Governor had to be there to show them the way, because the chief pilot was in the brigantine and because there were many shallows. In spite of all their pains two of the ships scraped bottom, but, as it was sandy, they received no damage. This day there were hard words between the Governor and Johan de A˝asco, who came as the King's auditor, but the Governor restrained his feelings and was patient.

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The ships entered the harbour constantly sounding the lead, and sometimes they scraped bottom, but, as it was mud, they passed on. This took up five days, during which they did not land except that some men went ashore and brought water and forage for the horses. Finally, since the ships with their loads could not, on account of the shoals, proceed to where the village lay, they anchored about. four leagues farther back.

On Friday, May 30, they began to put the horses ashore. The place where they disembarked was due north of the Island of Tortuga, which is in the mouth of the Bahama channel. The chief of this land was named Ošita, and it is ten leagues west of the Bay of Johan Ponce.

As soon as some of the horses were on shore, General Vasco Porcallo de Figueroa and Johan de A˝asco and Francisco Osorio rode off to see something of the country; and they lighted upon ten Indians [diez indios] with bows and arrows who, in their turn, were coming as warriors to get a look at these Christian guests and to learn what manner of folk they \55\ were, and they shot two horses and the Spaniards slew two Indians and put the rest to flight.

There were in that expedition two hundred and forty-three horses. Of these nineteen or twenty died on the sea, but all the rest were put ashore. The General and some foot soldiers went in the brigantines to see the village; and a gentleman named Gomez Arias returned in one of them and gave a good report of the country and likewise told us how the people had gone away.

On Trinity Sunday, June I, 1539, this army marched by land toward the village, taking as guides four Indians that Johan de A˝asco had captured when in search of the harbour; and they lost their bearings somewhat, either because the Christians failed to understand the Indians or because the latter did not tell the truth. Thereupon the Governor went ahead with some horsemen, but since they were unfamiliar with the land they wearied the horses following deer and floundering in the streams and swamps for twelve leagues till they found themselves opposite the village on the other side of the roadstead of the harbour, which they could not pass around. And that night worn out they slept scattered about and not at all in order for war. During all that week the ships gradu\56\ally approached the village, being unloaded little by little with boats, and in that way they took ashore all the clothes and provisions which they carried

Some paths were found, but no one knew or was able to guess which to take to find the natives of the country The four Indians understood very little, and then only by signs, and it was not easy to guard them as they had no fetters Tuesday, June 3, the Governor took possession of the country in the name of their Majesties, with all the formalities that are required, and despatched one of the Indians to persuade and allure the neighbouring chiefs with peace That same night two of the three Indians that remained ran away, and it was only by great good luck that all three did not get away, which gave the Christians much concern.

On Wednesday the Governor sent Captain Baltasar de Gallegos with the Indian that was left to look for some people or a village or a house Toward sunset, being off their road [camino], because the Indian, who was the guide, led them wandering and confused, it pleased God that they descried at a distance some twenty Indians painted with a kind of red ointment that the Indians put on when they go to war or wish to make a fine appearance. They wore many feathers and had their bows \57\ and arrows And when the Christians ran at them the Indians fled to a hill, and one of them came forth into the path [al camino] lifting up his voice and saying, "Sirs, for the love of God and of Holy Mary, slay not me; I am a Christian like yourselves and was born in Seville, and my name is Johan Ortiz."

The delight of the Christians was very great in God's having given them a tongue and a guide, of which, at that time, they were in great need; and, with every one very much elated, Baltasar de Gallegos and all the Indians who came with him, returned that night very late to the camp; and the Spaniards of the army were greatly wrought up, believing it was something else, and seized their arms; but seeing what it was, great was the joy that they felt, for they believed that by means of that interpreter they could accomplish much more Without loss of time, on the Saturday following, the Governor resolved to go with that Johan Ortiz, interpreter, to the chief that had held him who was called Mocošo, to make peace and to induce him to make friends with the Christians And he awaited them in his village with his Indians, his wives and his sons, not one missing,-and he made complaint to the Governor of the \58\ chiefs Orriygua, Neguarete, Capaloey, and Anita, all four of whom are chiefs of this coast, saying that their threatened him because he accepted our friendship and saw fit to give up this Christian as an interpreter to the Christians The Governor made this same interpreter to say that he should have no fear of these chiefs or of others, since he would protect him; and that all the Christians and many more that were to come soon would be his friends and help him and show him favour against his enemies.

That same day Captain Johan Ruiz Lobillo went up into the country with about forty foot soldiers and came upon some huts, but were able to take only two Indian women. To rescue them, nine Indians followed him, shooting at him for three leagues; and they slew one Christian and wounded three or four, yet without his being able to do them any harm, although he had arquebusiers and crossbow-men, because these Indians are as agile and as good fighters as can be found among all the nations of the world.

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CHAPTER III

HOW WAR BEGAN TO KINDLE AND WAS WAGED CRUELLY; AND HOW THE LIEUTENANT-GENERAL RETURNED TO THE ISLAND OF CUBA; AND HOW THE GOVERNOR SET OUT FROM THAT PORT OF SPIRITU SANCTO INLAND, AND WHAT BEFELL HIM AND HIS FOLK UP TO AUGUST 10, 1539.

This Governor was much given to the sport of slaying Indians, from the time that he went on military expeditions with the Governor Pedrarias Dßvila in the provinces of Castilla del Oro and of Nicaragua; and likewise he was in Peru and present at the capture of that great Prince Atabalipa, where he was enriched He was one of the richest that returned to Spain because he brought to Seville, and put in safe keeping there, upwards of one hundred thousand pesos of gold; and he decided to return to the Indies to lose them with his life and to continue the employment, blood-stained in the past, which he had followed in the countries I mention.

So then, continuing his conquest, he ordered General Vasco Porcallo de Figueroa to go to Ošita because it was reported that people had come together there; and this captain having \60\ gone there, he found the people departed and he burned the village and threw an Indian, which he had for a guide, to the dogs The reader is to understand that aperrear (to throw to the dogs), is to have the dogs eat him, or kill him, tearing the Indian in pieces [Ha de entender el letor que aperrear es hacer que perros le comiesen o matasen, despedazando el indio], since the Conquistadores in the Indies have always used to carry Irish greyhounds and very bold, savage dogs It is for this reason that reference was made above to the chase of Indians In this way this Indian guide was killed because he lied and guided badly.

While Vasco Porcallo was doing what has been related, the Governor despatched another Indian as a messenger to the chief Orriparacogi, and he did not return because an Indian woman told him not to, and for this reason she u as thrown to the dogs There were among those in this army divers opinions whether it would be well to settle there or not, because the soil seemed to be barren, and such in fact is its repute For this reason the Governor resolved to send Captain Baltasar de Gallegos to Orriparagi with eighty horse and one hundred foot, and he set out on Friday, June 20.

And the Governor likewise sent Johan de \61\ A˝asco in the ship's boats along the shore with some foot soldiers to disperse a gathering of the Indians, or to see and hear what was up He found them on an island, where he had a fray with them and killed with the small cannons that he carried nine of ten Indians and, they in turn, shot or cut down as many or more (Christians And since he could not dislodge them from the island he sent for help, and the messenger was a hidalgo named Johan de Vega, and he asked for horsemen to take possession of the mainland at the place where they were likely to come away; since With the force that he had and with the increase he expected to land and fight the Indians.

The Governor sent Vasco Porcallo with forty horse and some foot, but when this reinforcement arrived the Indians had gone; and the Spaniards, not to have come in vain, raided the land and captured some women whom they took to the camp Vasco Porcallo, upon his return from this raid, had something of a clash with the Governor (which is concealed in this narrative) 5 nor was the historian able, on account o certain considerations to find any one who could inform him what he said to him And it \62\ was accepted as a good settlement that Vasco Porcallo should return to Cuba to look after the affairs of the government there, and to provide the Governor and his army when it should be necessary with what they might have need of. The departure of this cavalier was regretted by many since he was a friend of good men and did much for them

The Governor had ordered Baltasar de Gallegos even though he found no good land, that he should write good news to encourage the men; and, although it was not his nature to lie since he was a man of truth, yet to obey the order of his superior and not to dismay the men, he always wrote two letters of different tenor, one truthful, and the other of falsehoods, yet falsehoods so skilfully framed with equivocal words that they could be understood one way or the other because they required it; and in regard to this, he said that the true letter would have more force to exculpate himself than the false one evil to harm him. And so the Governor did not show the true letters, but announced beforehand that what he did not show was very secret information which later on would be made clear for the great advantage of all. The ambiguous and deceptive letters he \63\ showed and made such declarations as seemed best to him

Those letters, although they promised no particular thing, gave hopes and hints that stirred their desires to go forward and emerge from doubts to certainty; wherefore as the sins of mankind are the reason that falsehood sometimes finds reception and credit, all became united and of one mind and requested the invasion of the land, which was just what the Governor was contriving; and those that were ordered to stay behind with Captain Calderon were heavy in spirit, and there were of them forty horse and sixty foot left in guard of the village and the stuff and the harbour and of the brigantines and boats that were left, for all the ships had been despatched to Havana.

The Governor, gratified at this agreement set out from the village and harbour of Spiritu Sancto (so called from the day when the Governor and his fleet arrived ) This departure took place on Tuesday, July 15, 1539, and that night they bivouacked on the river of Mocošo, and they took with them a large drove of pigs which had been brought over in the fleet to meet any emergency They made two bridges where the army crossed the river The next day they were at the lake of the Rabbit, and they gave it this name be\64\cause a rabbit suddenly started up in the camp and frightened all the horses, which ran back over a league, not one remaining; and all the Christians scattered to recover the loose horses; and if there had been any Indians around, even a few, they would have had the Spaniards at their mercy and, in return for their lack of caution, a shameful ending of the war would have been prepared for them.

The horses having been recovered, the next day they reached St John's Lake, and the next day under a grievous sun they came to a plain, and the soldiers arrived much exhausted and a steward of the Governor's, who was named Prado, died of thirst; and many of the foot soldiers were hard pressed, and others must needs have followed the steward if they had not been helped with the horses. The next day they came to the plain of Guašoco, and the soldiers went into the corn fields and gathered the green corn with which they cheered themselves not a little, for it was the first they had seen in that country.

The next day, early, they came to Luca, a little village [bonico pueblo], and there Baltasar de Gallegos came to meet the Governor. The Monday following, July 21, they were joined by \65\ the soldiers that Baltasar de Gallegos had, and the Governor sent a messenger to Urriparacoxi, but no reply was received; and on Wednesday; July 23, the Governor set out with his army and came to Vicela and went beyond it to sleep On Thursday they slept at another village called Tocaste which was on a large lake And this same day the Governor went on with some horsemen along the road to Ocale because he had great reports of the riches he expected to find there And when he saw the roads broad he thought he had his hands already on the spoil and ordered one of his knights, named Rodrigo Ranjel, because, besides being a good soldier and a man of worth, he had a good horse, to return to the camp for more soldiers to accompany him; and this esquire did so, although not without misgiving of what might happen, since for the Governor to stay with only ten horsemen seemed to him too few; and he sent that gentleman alone and through a land of enemies and bad trails and where, if any found him, he must die or rush through, if he was not to return without response; and since he felt ashamed to ask for company he bowed his head and obeyed But I do not praise him for that determination since, indeed, \66\ in matters that are necessary and obvious, it is allowable that with reason one should submit to the prince who provides in order that he may be well served and his orders best carried into effect. What befell this messenger horseman on that day he did not wish to say, because what he said would be about himself. Suffice it to say that he well proved his resolution to be a brave man, and that he fell upon Indians enough that were on the trail of the Governor and got through. When he arrived at headquarters the Master of the Camp gave him fourteen horse with w which the number with the Governor was increased to twenty-six.

The next day, Friday, they moved the headquarters along the trail of the Governor, and on the road they came up with two horsemen whom the Governor had sent to the master of the camp, who was a knight named Luis de Moscoso, to order him not to \67\ move, and they returned to where they started from to sleep, because they had a brush which is the same as a skirmish, with the Indians who killed a horse belonging to Carlos Enriquez, the husband of the Governor's neice [sic], a native of Xerez de Badajoz, and wounded some Christians. And there was much suffering from hunger so that they ate the ears of corn with the cobs or wood (which is cassi) on which the grains grow.

The next day, Saturday, the Governor found the roads broader [los caminos mßs anchos y buena] and the aspect of the country fine, and he sent back two horsemen for thirty others and gave orders for the camp to follow him. And the Master of the Camp sent Nu˝o de Tovar with thirty horse and moved the headquarters as the Governor had ordered. The Governor, with the twenty-six horse that were with him, on St. Anne's day reached the river or swamp of Cale. The current was strong and broad and they crossed it with great difficulty, and where there was no need of a bridge they waded through the water up to their necks, with clothes and saddles on their heads, a distance of more than three cross-bow shots. The thirty horsemen that Nu˝o de Tovar took had crossed the following Sunday and the current carried off one horse which was drowned. Seeing \68\ that, the rest crossed with ropes just as those had done who were with the Governor.

These soldiers and the Governor came to the first village of Ocale, which was called Uqueten, where they took two Indians. Next the Governor sent back some of the horsemen with mules, that had been brought from Cuba, loaded with corn and other provisions for those that were behind, since he had come upon an abundance. This succour came in good time for they found them in that swamp eating herbs and roots roasted and others boiled without salt, and what was worse, Without knowing what they were. They were cheered by the arrival of the food and their hunger and need gave it a relish and flavour most acceptable. From this refreshment their energies revived and strength took the place of weakness, and on the following Tuesday, the last of those lagging behind arrived at the Governor's camp. But some soldiers who had strayed had been wounded, and a crossbow-man named Mendoša had been slain. The camp was now at Ocale, a village in a good region for corn [de buena comarca de maÝz], and there, while they were sent to Acuera for provisions, the Indians, on two occasions, killed three soldiers of the Governor's guard and wounded others, and killed a horse; and all that through bad arrangements, since these Indians, al\69\though they are archers and have strong bows and are skilful and sure marksmen, yet their arrows have no poison, nor do they know what it is.

CHAPTER IV

HOW THE GOVERNOR, HERNANDO DE SOTO, FOLLOWING UP HIS CONQUEST WENT ON, AND HOW THE INDIANS DESIRED TO SLAY OR TO TAKE HIM BY GUILE TO FREE A CHIEF WHOM HE CARRIED WITH HIM; AND HOW A CHIEF GAVE THE GOVERNOR A BUFFET THAT BATHED HIS TEETH IN BLOOD; AND OF OTHER MATTERS APPROPRIATE TO THE NARRATIVE OF THE HISTORY.

ON August 11, the Governor set forth from Ocale with fifty horse and one hundred foot in search of Apalache, since it was reputed to be populous [porque habÝa mucha fama que era de mucha gente]; and Luis de Moscoso remained behind with the remainder of the camp until it should appear how the advance section got on. That night they slept at Itaraholata, a fine village with plenty of corn. There an Indian crowded up to Captain Maldonado and badly wounded his horse and he would have snatched his lance from his hands, had not the Governor by chance come up, although Maldonado was a good knight and one of the most valiant in that army; but the \70\ Indians of that land are very warlike and wild and strong.

The next day they were at Potano, and the the [sic] next, Wednesday, they reached Utinamocharra, and from there they went to the village of Bad Peace. This name was given to it because when Johan de A˝asco had captured on the way thirty persons belonging to that chief, he, in order that they might be surrendered, sent to say that he wished to make peace, and sent in his stead to treat, a vagabond, who was believed to be the chief himself, and his people were given to him. The sequel was that this Indian, escaping from the Christians another day, took refuge among the mass of Indians which were in a dense wood; and a blooded Irish greyhound which came up at the call, went in among the Indians, and, although he passed by many, he seized no one in the crowd except that fugitive; him he took by the fleshy part of the arm in such a way that the Indian was thrown and they took him.

The next day the Christians arrived at a fair-sized village where they found much food and many small chestnuts dried [bonico pueblo, donde hallaron mucha comida y muchas casta˝as peque˝as] and very delicious, wild chestnuts; but the trees that bear \71\ them are only two palms high and they grow in prickly burrs. There are other chestnuts in the land which the Spaniards saw and ate, which are like those of Spain, and grow on as tall chestnut trees; and the trees themselves are big and with the same leaf and burrs or pods, and the nuts are rich and of very good flavour. This army went from there to a stream which they named Discords, and the reason therefor he desired to conceal who prepared this narrative, because as a man of worth, he did not purpose to relate the faults or weaknesses of his friends.

On that day they built a bridge of pines which abound there, and the next, Sunday, they crossed that stream with as much or more toil than was the case with the Ocale. The next day, Monday, they arrived at Aguacaleyquen, and Rodrigo Ranjel and Villalobos, two gentlemen, equestrians, yet gentlemen (I say equestrians because there were cavalry in that army) captured an Indian man and an Indian woman in a corn field; and she showed where the corn was hidden, and the Indian man took Captain Baltasar de Gallegos where he captured seventeen persons, among them the daughter of the chief, in order that it might impel her father to make peace; but he would have liked to free her without it, \72\ if his deceptions and shrewdness had not been less than those of these conquerors.

On August 22, a great multitude of Indians appeared, and the Governor, seeing the land proved to be more populous and better supplied with provisions, sent eight horse in all haste to summon the Master of the Camp, Luis de Moscoso, to join him with all the force; and the Master of the Camp, took no small pains to comply with this order and arrived where the Governor was on September 4, and all rejoiced to be united once more, because, as they held the chief captive, there was alarm lest the Indians should make haste to get together, which was not far wrong, as presently appeared.

On September 9 they all departed in a body from Aguacaleyquen, taking with them the chief and his daughter, and an Indian of rank named Guatutima as guide, because he professed to know much of the country beyond and gave abundant information. And they made a bridge of pines to cross the river of Aguacaleyquen, and reached a small village for the night. The next day, Friday, they were at Uriutina, a village of pleasant aspect and abundant food, and there was in it a very large cabin with a large open court in the middle. The population there was considerable. When they left Aguacaleyquen \73\ messengers were coming and going from Ušachile, a great chief, playing upon a flute for ceremony. On Friday, September 12, these Christians came to a village which they named Many Waters, because it rained so much that they could not go on either Saturday or Sunday; the Monday following, the 15th, they proceeded and came upon a very bad swamp and all the way was very toilsome, and they slept at Napituca, which is a very pleasant village, in a pretty spot, with plenty of food.

There the Indians employed all their deceptions and devices to recover the chief of Aguacaleyquen, and the affair reached a point that put the Governor in great peril; but their deceptions and tricks were seen through, and he played them a greater one in this fashion. Seven chiefs from the vicinity came together, and sent to say to the Governor that they were subjects of Ušachile, and that by his order and of their own will, they wished to be friends of the Christians and to help them against Apalache, a mighty province hostile to Ušachile and to themselves, and that they had come to him persuaded and requested by Aguacaleyquen (the chief that the Christians had in captivity), and that they were afraid to enter the camp and to be detained; therefore, let the Governor bring \74\ Aguacaleyquen with him and go with them to a large plain that was there to negotiate this business. Their dealings were understood, and the message accepted and the Governor went forth to speak with them; but he gave command to the Christians to arm and to mount their horses and at the sound of the trumpet to rush upon the Indians. And having gone to the plain with only his guard and a saddle to sit upon, and accompanied by the chief of Aguacalcyquen, hardly was the Governor seated and the discourse begun, than he saw himself suddenly surrounded with Indians with bows and arrows. From many directions countless others were coming, and immediately the peril was obvious, which the Governor anticipated; and before the trumpet sounded the Master of the Camp, Luis de Moscoso, struck the legs of his horse, shouting "Come on, Knights, Sanctiago, Sanctiago, at them!" And so in a jiffy the cavalry were thrusting many Indians with their lances; and their stratagem was of no use to them and enabled our men to get the start of them in the fighting; yet notwithstanding that they fought like men of great spirit and they killed the Governor's horse and also that of a gentleman named Sagredo, and they wounded others. And after the fighting had \75\ lasted a considerable time, the Indians took flight and sought refuge in two ponds, and the Spaniards surrounded one, but tire other they could not, and they held that enclosure, watching all the night and until morning when the Indians surrendered, and they took out from there three hundred Indians and five or six chiefs among them.

Uriutina remained to the last and would not go out until some Indians of Ušachile swam in to him and pulled him out, and as he came out he asked for a messenger for his country. When the messenger was brought before him, he said: "Look you, go to my people and tell them that they take no thought of me; that I have done as a brave man and lord what there was to do, and struggled and fought like a man until I was left alone and if I took refuge in this pond, it was not to escape death, or to avoid dying as befits me, but to encourage those that were there and had not surrendered; and that, when they surrendered, I did not give myself up until these Indians of Ušachile, which are of our nation, asked me to, saying that it would be best for all. Wherefore, what I enjoin upon \76\ them and ask is, that they do not, out of regard for me or for any one else, have anything to do with these Christians who are devils and will prove mightier than they; and that they may be assured that as for me, if I have to die, it will be as a brave man."

All of this was immediately reported and declared to the Governor by Johan Ortiz, the interpreter, that Christian who was found in the land, as the history has related. The Indians that were taken in the manner described were carried and put in a wigwam [buhÝo] with their hands tied behind their backs; and the Governor went among them to recognize the chiefs, encouraging them in order to induce them to peace and harmony; and he had them released that they might be treated better than the common Indians. One of those chiefs, as they untied him, while the Governor was standing by, threw back his arm and gave the Governor such a tremendous blow that he bathed his teeth in blood and made him spit up much. For this reason they bound him and the others to stakes and shot them with arrows. Other Indians did many other deeds \77\ which cannot be fully described, as the historian said, who was present. Wherefore, the Governor seeing that the Christians with so few Indians and without arms were so hard pressed, not being less so himself, spoke as follows: "Would to God that those lords of the Council were here to see what it is to serve his majesty in this country!" And it is because they do know it, says the Chronicler, that they have ordered the tyrannies and cruelties to cease, and that the pacification of the Indians shall be carried on in a better way, in order that God our Lord and his Imperial Majesty may be better served, and the consciences of the conquerors be more at peace, and the natives of the country no longer maltreated.

Tuesday, September 23, the Governor and his army departed from Napituca and came to the river of the Deer. This name was given to it because there the messengers from Ušachile brought thither some deer, of which there are many fine ones in that land; and across this river they made a bridge of three great pine-trees in length and four in breadth. These pines are well proportioned and as tall as the tallest in Spain. After the whole army had finished crossing this river, which was on the 25th of this month, they passed on \78\ the same day two small villages and one very large one, Which was called Apalu, and they came by nightfall to Ušachile. In all these villages they found the people gone, and some captains went out to forage and brought in many Indians. They left Ušachile on the following Monday, the 29th, and having passed by a high mountain, they came at nightfall to a pine wood. And a young fellow named Cadena went back without permission for a sword, and the Governor was going to have him hanged for both offences; and by the intervention of kind persons he escaped. Another day, on Tuesday, the 30th of September, they came to Agile, subject to Apalache and some women were captured; and they are of such stuff that one woman took a young fellow named Herrera, who staid alone with her and behind his companions, and seized him by his private parts and had him worn out and at her mercy; and perhaps, if other Christians had not come by who rescued him the Indian woman would have killed him. He had not wanted to have to do with her in a carnal way, but she wanted to get free and run away.

On Wednesday, the first of October, the Governor Hernando de Soto, started from Agile and came with his soldiers to the river \79\ or swamp of Ivitachuco, and they made a bridge; and in the high swamp grass on the other side there was an ambuscade of Indians, and they shot three Christians with arrows. They finished crossing this swamp on the Friday following at noon and a horse was drowned there. At nightfall they reached Ivitachuco and found the village in flames, for the Indians had set fire to it. Sunday, October 1, they came to Calahuchi, and two Indians and one Indian woman were taken and a large amount of dried venison. There the guide whom they had ran away. The next day they went on, taking for a guide an old Indian who led them at random, and an Indian woman took them to Iviahica, and they found all the people gone. And the next day two captains went on further and found all the people gone.

Johan de A˝asco started out from that village and eight leagues from it he found the port where Pamphilo de Narvaez had set sail in the vessels which he made. He recognized 80\ it by the headpieces of the horses and the place where the forge was set up and the mangers and the mortars that they used to grind corn and by the crosses cut in the trees.

They spent the winter there, and remained until the 4th of March, 1540, in which time many notable things befell them with the Indians, who are the bravest of men and whose great courage and boldness the discerning reader may imagine from what follows. For example, two Indians once rushed out against eight men on horseback; twice they set the village on fire; and with ambuscades they repeatedly killed many Christians, and although the Spaniards pursued them and burned them they were never willing to make peace. If their hands and noses were cut off they made no more account of it than if each one of them had been a Mucius Scaevola of Rome. Not one of them, for fear of death, denied that he belonged to Apalache; and when they were taken and were asked from whence they were they replied proudly: " From whence am I? I am an Indian of Apalache." And they gave one to understand that they would be insulted if they were thought to be of any other tribe than the Apalaches.

The Governor decided to go further inland, \81\ because an Indian lad gave great reports of what there was in the interior; and he sent Johan de A˝asco with thirty horse for Captain Calderon and the soldiers left in the harbour; and they burned the supplies which they left and the village; and Captain Calderon came by land with all the soldiers, and Johan de A˝asco came by sea with the brigantines and boats to the harbour of Apalache.

On Saturday, November 19, Johan de A˝asco arrived at the harbour and immediately Maldonado was despatched along shore with the brigantines to discover a harbour to the west. At the same time Captain Calderon arrived with all his force, less two men and seven horses, that the Indians killed on the way. Maldonado discovered an excellent harbour and brought an Indian from the province adjacent to this coast which was called Achuse, and he brought a good blanket of sable fur. They had seen others in Apalache but none like that. Captain Maldonado was sent to Havana and left Apalache the 26th of February, 1540, with the instructions and \82\ command of the Governor that he should return to the port that he had discovered and to that coast where the Governor expected to arrive. The Province of Apalache is very fertile and abundantly provided with supplies with much corn, kidney beans [fÚsoles], pumpkins [calabazas], various fruits, much venison, many varieties of birds and excellent fishing near the sea; and it is a pleasant country, though there are swamps, but these have a hard sandy bottom.

CHAPTER V

HOW THE GOVERNOR, HERNANDO DE SOTO, AND HIS ARMY SET OUT FROM IVIAHICA IN SEARCH OF CAPACHEQUI; HOW THE GUIDE THAT THEY CARRIED, WHEN HE KNEW NOTHING FURTHER ABOUT THE ROAD, MADE BELIEVE THAT HE WAS POSSESSED OF THE DEVIL; AND ALSO ABOUT VARIOUS OTHER NOTABLE INCIDENTS.

THE departure from Iviahica in search of Capachequi began on Wednesday, March 3, 1540, and by night the Governor came to the river Guacuca; and departing from there they came to the river Capachequi, where they arrived early the following Friday; and they made a canoe or barge to cross it. And the river w as so broad that Christopher Mosquera, who was the best thrower? was not \83\ able to throw across it with a stone. And they took the chains in which they were bringing the Indians, and with some " S " hooks of iron, fastened them together and made one chain of them all. They fastened one end of the chain to one bank and the other to another in order to take over the barge, and the current was so strong that the chain broke twice. Seeing this, they fastened many ropes together and made of them two, and they fastened one to the stem and the other to the bow and drawing the barge first one way and then the other, they got the people and the baggage across. To get the horses over they made long ropes and tied them about their necks and although the current carried them down, by pulling on the ropes they drew them over, yet with much toil and some were half drowned.

On Wednesday, March 9, the whole force finished crossing the river Capachequi and went on to sleep in a pine wood. The next day, Thursday, they came to the first village of Capachequi, which contained an abundance of supplies. They passed through much undergrowth or land closely covered with bushes, and then came by nightfall to another village further along where they struck a bad swamp close to the village with a strong current, before they arrived. And they crossed \84\ a great stretch of water up to the girths and saddlepads of the horses; and it was not possible for all the force to get across that day, on account of the hard passage. And there a hundred soldiers with swords and bucklers strayed off, and as many Indians beset them and killed one of them and would have killed all if they had not been rescued.

On the 17th of March they left Capachequi and at nightfall came to White Spring. This was a very beautiful spring with a large flow of good water and containing fish. The next day they came at nightfall to the river Toa where they made two bridges; and the horse belonging to Lorenzo Suarez, son of Vasco Porcallo was drowned., On the following Sunday, March 21, they came to cross the river Toa, and they twice made a bridge of pines and the strong current broke them.

Part 2


Comments? eMail them to:

Dr. Jon Muller
Professor Emeritus
Department of Anthropology
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
jmuller@ll.net