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Settlement of the West Indies—Discovery of the Pacific Ocean—Voyage of Magellan-Discovery of Florida—Ponce de

Leon's Search for thc Fountain of Youth—Vasquez de Ayllon Kidnaps a Cargo of Indians—Effort of Pamphilo de Narvaez to Conquer Florida—A Terrible March— The Voyage on the Gulf of Mexico—Fate of the Fleet-Escape of Cabeza de Vaca and his Comrades—Discovery of New Mexico—Fernando de Soto_Obtains leave to Conquer Florida -Sails from Spain-Arrival in Cuba—Departure for Florida-Landing at Tampa Bay—Events of the First Year-De Soto enters Georgia—Decends the Alabama-Battle of Mavilla—Destruction of Chickasaw–Sufferings of the Spariards -Discovery of the Mississippi—The Spaniards Cross the Great River—De Soto in Arkansas—Reaches the Mississippi again—Sickness and Death of De Soto—His Burial—Escape of his Followers to Mexico—The Huguenot Colony in Carolina-Its Failure—The French Settle in Florida—Wrath of Philip II.—Melendez ordered to Exterminate the Huguenots—Foundation of St. Augustine-Massacre of the French at Fort Carolina—The Vengeance of De Gourges.


HILE the French were seek- | making the first voyage around the world,

ing to obtain a footing in the and establishing its spherical form beyond north, the Spaniards were dispute.

busy in the south. In the In 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon, who had first years of the sixteenth century the been a companion of Columbus on his secmore important of the West India Islands ond voyage, and had been governor of Porto were subdued and colonized, and from Rico, fitted out three ships at his own these, expeditions were from time to time expense to make a voyage of discovery. He sent out to explore the shores of the had heard the reports which were then com Gulf of Mexico. The southern part of the monly believed by his countrymen, tha', peninsula of Yucatan was explored, and a somewhere in the new world was a fountain colony was established on the Isthmus of flowing in the midst of a country sparkling Darien. One of the governors of this colony with gold and gems, whose waters would was Vasco Nunez de Balboa. In 1513, while give perpetual youth to the man who should searching the Isthmus for gold, he discovered drink of and bathe in them. the Pacific Ocean, and took possession of it Ponce de Leon was an old man, and he in the name of the king of Spain.

longed to taste again the pleasures and the In 1520, a Portuguese navigator named dreams of youth. He gave a willing ear to Magellan, employed by the king of Spain, the stories of this wonderful fountain, and in passed through the straits south of Cape March, 1513, set sail from Porto Rico in Horn, which bears his name, and entered the search of it. He sailed among the Bahamas, Western ocean, which he named the Pacific, but failed to find it, and on Easter Sunday, because it was so calm and free from storms. which the Spaniards call Pascua Florida, He died on the voyage, but his ship reached land was discovered. It was supposed to be the coast of Asia, and returned thence to an island, but was in reality the long southSpain by the Cape of Good Hope, thus ern peninsula of the United States. Ponce de Leon gave it the name of Florida—which The native population of the West Indies it has since borne-partly in honor of the died out rapidly under the cruel rule of the day, and partly because of the beauty of its Spaniards, and it soon became necessary to flowers and foliage. The weather was very look elsewhere for a supply of laborers for bad, and it was some days before he could the plantations and the mines. In 1520, go ashore. He landed near the site of St. Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon, at the head of a Augustine, and took possession of the coun- company of seven Spaniards, fitted out a fleet try for Spain on the eighth of April, 1513. of two slave-ships from St. Domingo or HisHe remained many weeks on the coast,

the coast, paniola, for the deliberate purpose of seizing exploring it, and sailing southward, doubled the natives of the mainland and selling them Cape Florida, and cruised among the Tor- as slaves. The vessels went first to the tugas. He failed to find the fountain of youth and returned in despair to Porto Rico. The king of Spain rewarded his discovery by appointing him governor of Florida, on condition that he should colonize the country.

A few years later he attempted to plant a colony in Florida, but was attacked by the Indians, who were very hostile, and driven to his ships with the loss of a number of his men. Ponce de Leon himself received a painful wound, and

THE COAST OF FLORIDA. returned to Cuba to die. He had staked his | Bahamas, from which they sailed to the North life upon the search for perpetual youth; American coast, reaching it at or near St.

Helena sound, in the present State of South Between the years 1518 and 1521, the Carolina. The Indians had not yet learned expeditions of Hernando Cortez against to fear the whites, and were utterly unsusMexico, and of Francesco Pizarro against picious of the fate which awaited them. They Peru, were despatched from Cuba. They were timid at first, but this feeling was soon resulted in the conquest of those countries overcome by the distribution of presents and their colonization by Spain. These expe- among them. Their confidence being won, ditions, however, form no part of this narra- they received the Spaniards with kindness, tive, and we cannot dwell upon

and at their request visited the ships.



he found only a grave.

When the decks of the vessels were cov- bahee River, then called by the whites the ered with the unsuspecting natives Vasquez River Jordan, and so many of his men were made sail, and standing out to sea steered for killed by the Indians that he was obliged to the West Indies, regardless of the entreaties abandon the undertaking. He returned to of the natives who were thus torn from their Europe to die of grief and mortification for friends and relatives on the shore. A retrib- his failure. “It may be," says Bancroft, utive justice speedily avenged this crime. “that ships sailing under his authority made A violent storm arose and one of the ships the discovery of the Chesapeake and named foundered with all on board. A pestilence it the Bay of St. Mary; and perhaps even enbroke out in the remaining vessel, and swept tered the Bay of Delaware, which in Spanish away many of the captives. Returning to geography was called Saint Christopher's.”


Adventurers Seeking Fortune. In 1526, Pamphilo de Narvaez obtained from the Emperor Charles V. authority to explore and conquer all the country between the Atlantic and the River of Palms. He was very wealthy, and spent his entire estate in preparation for the expedition. There was no lack of volunteers, and many younger sons of nobles joined him, hoping to find fame and fortune in the new world. Among the adventurers was Cabezade Vaca, the historians of the expedition, who held the second place in it as treasurer. Narvaez sailed from the Guadalquivir in June, 1527, touched at St. Domingo, and passed the winter in Cuba. In the spring of 1528, he was driven by a strong south wind to the American coast, and on the fourteenth of April his fleet cast anchor in Tampa Bay.

A week later he landed and took possession HERNANDO CORTEZ.

of the peninsula of Florida in the name of Spain, Vasquez boasted of his infamous deed, Spain. and even claimed a reward for it at the hands The natives showed unmistakable signs of of the Emperor Charles V., who acknow- hostility, but they exhibited to the governor ledged his claim, and appointed him governor samples of gold, which he believed, from of Chicora, as South Carolina was called, with their signs, came from the north. In spite authority to conquer that country. Vasquez of the earnest advice of Cabeza de Vaca, he spent his entire fortune in fitting out an expe- determined to go in search of the precious dition, and reached the coast of Chicora in metal. He directed his ships to meet him at 1525.

a harbor with which his pilot pretended to be There he met with nothing but misfortune. acquainted, and then, at the head of three His largest ship was stranded in the Com- hundred men, forty of whom were mounted, set off into the interior of the country. No | corn were seized from the Indians. Subsistone knew whither he was going, but all being upon these supplies, the Spaniards beat lieved that each step led them nearer to the their spurs, stirrups, cross-bows, and other land of gold.

implements into saws and axes and nails, and The beauty of the forest, the richness of its in sixteen days built five boats, each more vegetation, and the size of its gigantic live than thirty feet long. Pitch for the calking oaks, filled them with wonder and admira- of the boats was made from the pine trees, tion, and the variety and abundance of the and the fibre of the palmetto served as birds and wild beasts of the country excited oakum. Ropes were made of twisted horsetheir surprise; but they found neither the hair and palmetto fibres, and the shirts of the gold nor the splendid cities they had fondly men were pieced together for sails. Fifty believed they were about to discover. The men had been lost on the march, and on the forest grew denser and more intricate at every twenty-second of September the survivors, step, and the rivers were broad and deep, two hundred and fifty in number, began their with swift currents, and could be crossed perilous voyage. only by means of rafts, which were constructed with great difficulty. The march

The Fleet Scattered by a Storm. lay through swamps, in which the Indian They followed the shore, encountering warriors harassed the strangers painfully, many dangers, and suffering greatly from and, their provisions becoming exhausted, hunger and thirst. On the thirtieth of they began to suffer with hunger. Late in October they discovered one of the mouths June they reached Appalachee, which they of the Mississippi, and on the fifth of Novemhad supposed was a large and wealthy city. ber a storm scattered the little fleet. Cabeza They found it only a hamlet of some forty de Vaca's boat was wrecked upon an island poor wigwams; but remained there twenty- / which is believed to be that of Galveston. five days, searching the neighboring country Castillo's boat was driven ashore farther to for gold and silver, and finding none. the east, but he and his crew were saved

alive. Of the fate of the other boats nothA Perilous Voyage.

ing is known with certainty. Of those who It was plain now even to the governor that were cast ashore, all but Cabeza de Vaca, there was no gold to be found in this region, Dorantes, Castillo, and Estevanico, a negro, and every nerve was strained to hasten the died of exposure and hardship. These four march to the harbor where they had ap- were detained captives among the Indians pointed to meet the ships. There was but for nearly six years. one impulse now in the whole expedition- At the end of this period, Cabeza induced to escape from the terrible country which was his companions to join him in an attempt to proving so fatal to them. After a painful escape. In September, 1534, they set out, march they reached a bay which they called naked, ignorant of the way, and without any the Baia de Caballos, now the harbor of St. means of sustaining life. In this condition Marks. The ships could not be seen, and it these men accomplished the wonderful feat was resolved at once to build boats and of traversing the continent. The journey attempt to reach some of the Spanish pos- occupied upwards of twenty months, and sessions by sea.

The horses were slain to extended from the coast of Texas to the furnish food, and several hundred bushels of Canadian River, and thence into New Mexico, from which they continued their covered regions. Among those who gave way to the village of San Miguel, in Sonora, such implicit faith to these stories was Fernear the Pacific Ocean. They reached this nando de Soto, of Xeres, a veteran soldier, village in May, 1536, and found themselves who had served with distinction with Pizarro again among their countrymen. They were in the conquest of Peru, and had amassed a escorted to Compostella by Spanish soldiers, considerable fortune from the spoils of that and from that place were forwarded to the province. The fame and wealth acquired by City of Mexico by the authorities.

him in this expedition opened the way to

other successes in Europe. He was honored Fabulous Tales of Gold.

with the favor of the Emperor Charles V., The reports of Cabeza and his compan- and received the hand of a noble lady in ions made the Viceroy Mendoza anxious to marriage.

marriage. Eager to distinguish himself still send out an expedition to explore New further, he determined to attempt the conMexico, which was believed to be richer in quest of Florida. He demanded and rewealth and splendid cities than Mexico itself. ceived from the emperor permission to A Franciscan friar boasted that he had vis- | undertake this at his own cost, and was also ited a region in the interior named Cibola, made governor of Cuba and all the territhe Land of Buffaloes, in which were seven tories he should conquer. As soon as he splendid cities. He declared that the land made known his intentions applications for was rich in silver and gold, and that his In- leave to serve in the expedition poured in dian guides had described to him a region upon him. Many of the volunteers were of still wealthier. The friar's story was religi- noble birth, and sold their lands and ously believed, and an expedition set out in other property to equip themselves for the 1539, under command of Francisco Vasquez undertaking. Coronado, the governor of New Galicia. The expedition explored the region of the

Adventures of De Soto. Colorado, examined the country now known De Soto selected six hundred wellas New Mexico, and penetrated as far east as equipped men from the number who had the present State of Kansas. Coronado volunteered, and in 1538 sailed from Spain to found neither gold nor precious stones, and Cuba, where he was welcomed with great the only cities he discovered were the towns rejoicings. A vessel was despatched from of the Zuni Indians of New Mexico. He Cuba to find a harbor in Florida suitable for reported to the viceroy on his return to the landing of the expedition. On its return Mexico that the region was not fit to be col. it brought two Indian captives, who peronized, and his description of the country ceiving what was wanted of them, told by through which he marched is so accurate as signs such stories of the wealth of the country to challenge the admiration of every suc- as greatly delighted the governor and his ceeding traveler.

companions. Volunteers in Cuba swelled Still the Spaniards refused to abandon the the ranks of the expedition to nearly one belief that fabulous wealth was to be found thousand men, of whom three hundred were in the interior of the continent; and even horsemen. those who had borne a part in the conquest of In May, 1539, leaving his wife to govern Mexico and Peru gave credit to the wild the island, De Soto sailed with his feet for stories that were told concerning the undis- Florida, and a sortnight later landed at Espi

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