By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: Discoverers and Explorers
Author: Shaw, Edward R. (Edward Richard), 1855-1903
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Discoverers and Explorers" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



_Dean of the School of Pedagogy_
_New York University_


Copyright 1900


The practice of beginning the study of geography with the locality
in which the pupil lives, in order that his first ideas of geographical
conceptions may be gained from observation directed upon the real
conditions existing about him, has been steadily gaining adherence
during the past few years as a rational method of entering upon the
study of geography.

After the pupil has finished an elementary study of the locality, he
is ready to pass to an elementary consideration of the world as a whole,
to get his first conception of the planet on which he lives. His
knowledge of the forms of land and water, his knowledge of rain and
wind, of heat and cold, as agents, and of the easily traced effects
resulting from the interaction of these agents, have been acquired
by observation and inference upon conditions actually at hand; in
other words, his knowledge has been gained in a presentative manner.

His study of the world, however, must differ largely from this, and
must be effected principally by representation. The globe in relief,
therefore, presents to him his basic idea, and all his future study
of the world will but expand and modify this idea, until at length,
if the study is properly continued, the idea becomes exceedingly

In passing from the geography of the locality to that of the world
as a whole, the pupil is to deal broadly with the land masses and their
general characteristics. The continents and oceans, their relative
situations, form, and size, are then to be treated, but the treatment
is always to be kept easily within the pupil's capabilities--the end
being merely an elementary world-view.

During the time the pupil is acquiring this elementary knowledge of
the world as a whole, certain facts of history may be interrelated
with the geographical study.

According to the plan already suggested, it will be seen that the pupil
is carried out from a study of the limited area of land and water about
him to an idea of the world as a sphere, with its great distribution
of land and water. In this transference he soon comes to perceive how
small a part his hitherto known world forms of the great earth-sphere

Something analogous to this transition on the part of the pupil to
a larger view seems to be found in the history of the western nations
of Europe. It is the gradual change in the conception of the world
held during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries to the enlarged
conception of the world as a sphere which the remarkable discoveries
and explorations of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries brought

The analogy serves pedagogically to point out an interesting and
valuable _interrelation_ of certain facts of history with certain
phases of geographical study.

This book has been prepared for the purpose of affording material for
such an interrelation. The plan of interrelation is simple. As the
study of the world as a whole, in the manner already sketched,
progresses, the appropriate chapters are read, discussed, and
reproduced, and the routes of the various discoverers and explorers
traced. No further word seems to the writer necessary in regard to
the interrelation.

DRESDEN, July 15, 1899.


MARCO POLO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
COLUMBUS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
VASCO DA GAMA  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  40
AMERIGO VESPUCCI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  48
PONCE DE LEON  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  54
BALBOA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  56
MAGELLAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  62
HERNANDO CORTES  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  68
FRANCISCO PIZARRO  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
FERDINAND DE SOTO  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  84
VERRAZZANO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
HENRY HUDSON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114



Four hundred years ago most of the people who lived in Europe thought
that the earth was flat. They knew only the land that was near them.
They knew the continent of Europe, a small part of Asia, and a strip
along the northern shore of Africa.

[Illustration: The World as Known Four Hundred Years ago.]

They thought this known land was surrounded by a vast body of water
that was like a broad river. Sailors were afraid to venture far upon
this water, for they feared they would fall over the edge of the earth.

Other seafaring men believed that if they should sail too far out upon
this water their vessels would be lost in a fog, or that they would
suddenly begin to slide downhill, and would never be able to return.
Wind gods and storm gods, too, were supposed to dwell upon this
mysterious sea. Men believed that these wind and storm gods would be
very angry with any one who dared to enter their domain, and that in
their wrath they would hurl the ships over the edge of the earth, or
keep them wandering round and round in a circle, in the mist and fog.

It is no wonder that the name "Sea of Darkness" was given to this great
body of water, which we now know to be the Atlantic Ocean; nor is it
surprising that the sailors feared to venture far out upon it.

These sailors had no dread at all of a sea called the Mediterranean,
upon which they made voyages without fear of danger. This sea was named
the Mediterranean because it was supposed to be in the middle of the
land that was then known. On this body of water the sailors were very
bold, fighting, robbing, and plundering strangers and foes, without
any thought of fear.

They sailed through this sea eastward to Constantinople, their ships
being loaded with metals, woods, and pitch. These they traded for silks,
cashmeres, dyewoods, spices, perfumes, precious stones, ivory, and
pearls. All of these things were brought by caravan from the far
Eastern countries, as India, China, and Japan, to the cities on the
east coast of the Mediterranean.

This caravan journey was a very long and tiresome one. Worse than this,
the Turks, through whose country the caravans passed, began to see
how valuable this trade was, and they sent bands of robbers to prevent
the caravans from reaching the coast.

[Illustration: A Caravan.]

As time went on, these land journeys grew more difficult and more
dangerous, until the traders saw that the day would soon come when
they would be entirely cut off from traffic with India and the rich
Eastern countries. The Turks would secure all their profitable
business. So the men of that time tried to think of some other way
of reaching the East.

Among those who wished to find a short route to India was Prince Henry
of Portugal, a bold navigator as well as a studious and thoughtful
man. He was desirous of securing the rich Indian trade for his own
country. So he established a school for navigators at Lisbon, and
gathered around him many men who wanted to study about the sea.

Here they made maps and charts, and talked with one another about the
strange lands which they thought might be found far out in that
mysterious body of water which they so dreaded and feared. It is
probable that they had heard some accounts of the voyages of other
navigators on this wonderful sea, and the beliefs about land beyond.

There was Eric the Red, a bold navigator of Iceland, who had sailed
west to Greenland, and planted there a colony that grew and thrived.
There was also Eric's son Leif, a venturesome young viking who had
made a voyage south from Greenland, and reached a strange country with
wooded shores and fragrant vines. This country he called Vinland
because of the abundance of wild grapes. When he returned to Greenland,
he took a load of timber back with him.

[Illustration: Eric the Red in Vinland.]

Some of the people of Greenland had tried to make a settlement along
this shore which Leif discovered, but it is thought that the Indians
drove them away. It may now be said of this settlement that no trace
of it has ever been found, although the report that the Norsemen paid
many visits to the shore of North America is undoubtedly true.

Another bold sea rover of Portugal sailed four hundred miles from land,
where he picked up a strangely carved paddle and several pieces of
wood of a sort not to be found in Europe.

St. Brandon, an Irish priest, was driven in a storm far, far to the
west, and landed upon the shore of a strange country, inhabited by
a race of people different from any he had ever seen.

All this time the bold Portuguese sailors were venturing farther and
farther down the coast of Africa. They hoped to be able to sail around
that continent and up the other side to India. But they dared not go
beyond the equator, because they did not know the stars in the southern
hemisphere and therefore had no guide. They also believed that beyond
the equator there was a frightful region of intense heat, where the
sun scorched the earth and where the waters boiled.

Many marvelous stories were told about the islands which the sailors
said they saw in the distance. Scarcely a vessel returned from a voyage
without some new story of signs of land seen by the crew.

The people who lived on the Canary Islands said that an island with
high mountains on it could be seen to the west on clear days, but no
one ever found it.

Some thought these islands existed only in the imagination of the
sailors. Others thought they were floating islands, as they were seen
in many different places. Every one was anxious to find them, for they
were said to be rich in gold and spices.

You can easily understand how excited many people were in regard to
new lands, and how they wished to find out whether the earth was round
or not. There was but one way to find out, and that was to try to sail
around it.

For a long time no one was brave enough to venture to do so. To start
out and sail away from land on this unknown water was to the people
of that day as dangerous and foolhardy a journey as to try to cross
the ocean in a balloon is to us at the present time.


In the middle of the thirteenth century, about two hundred years before
the time of Columbus, a boy named Marco Polo lived in the city of

[Illustration: Marco Polo.]

Marco Polo belonged to a rich and noble family, and had all the
advantages of study that the city afforded. He studied at one of the
finest schools in the city of Venice. This city was then famous for
its schools, and was the seat of culture and learning for the known

When Marco Polo started for school in the morning, he did not step
out into a street, as you do. Instead, he stepped from his front
doorstep into a boat called a gondola; for Venice is built upon a
cluster of small islands, and the streets are water ways and are called

The gondolier, as the man who rows the gondola is called, took Marco
wherever he wished to go. Sometimes, as they glided along, the
gondolier would sing old Venetian songs; and as Marco Polo lay back
against the soft cushions and listened and looked about him, he
wondered if anywhere else on earth there was so beautiful a city as
Venice. For the sky was very blue, and often its color was reflected
in the water; the buildings were graceful and beautiful, the sun was
warm and bright, and the air was balmy.

[Illustration: A Scene in Venice.]

In this delightful city Marco Polo lived until he was seventeen years
of age. About this time, his father, who owned a large commercial house
in Constantinople, told Marco that he might go with him on a long
journey to Eastern countries. The boy was very glad to go, and set
out with his father and his uncle, who were anxious to trade and gain
more wealth in the East. This was in the year 1271.

The three Polos traveled across Persia into China, and across the
Desert of Gobi to the northwest, where they found the great ruler,
Kublai Khan. This monarch was a kind-hearted and able man. He wanted
to help his subjects to become civilized and learned, as the Europeans
were. So Kublai Khan assisted the two elder Polos in their business
of trading, and took Marco into his service.

Soon Marco learned the languages of Asia, and then he was sent by the
khan on errands of state to different parts of the country. He visited
all the great cities in China, and traveled into the interior of Asia
to places almost unknown at the present time.

At length the three Polos expressed a desire to return to Venice. The
great khan did not wish to part with them, but he at last consented;
for he found that by going they could do him a service. The service
required was their escort for a beautiful young princess who was to
be taken from Peking to Tabriz, where she was to marry the Khan of

It was difficult to find any one trustworthy enough to take charge
of so important a person on so long and dangerous a journey. But Kublai
Khan had faith in the Polos. They had traveled more than any one else
he knew, and were cautious and brave.

So he gave them permission to return to their home, and requested them
to take the princess to Tabriz on the way. It was decided that the
journey should be made by sea, as the land route was so beset by robbers
as to be unsafe. Besides, the Polos were fine sailors.

They started from the eastern coast of China, and continued their
voyage for three years, around the peninsula of Cochin China, and
through the Indian Ocean to the Persian Gulf. Here they went ashore,
and then proceeded by land across Persia to Tabriz. They left the
princess in that city, and resumed their journey by way of the Bosporus
to Venice.

When they reached Venice they found that they had been forgotten by
their friends. They had been away twenty-four years, and in that time
everything had changed very much. They themselves had grown older,
and their clothes differed from those worn by the Venetians; for
fashions changed even in the thirteenth century, although not so often
as they change at the present time. It is no wonder that the Polos
were not known until they recalled themselves to the memory of their

One evening they invited a few of their old friends to dinner, and
during the evening they brought out three old coats. These coats they
proceeded to rip apart, and out from the linings dropped all kinds
of precious stones--diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. In
this way these wary travelers had hidden their wealth and treasure
while on their perilous journey. The visitors were astonished at the
sight of so great riches, and listened eagerly to the accounts of the
countries from which they came.

Soon after the return of Marco Polo to Venice, he took part with his
countrymen in a battle against the Genoese. The city of Genoa, like
the city of Venice, had a large trade with the East. These two cities
were rivals in trade, and were very jealous of each other. Whenever
Venetian ships and those of the Genoese met on the Mediterranean Sea,
the sailors found some way of starting a quarrel. The quarrel quickly
led to a sea fight, and it was in one of these combats that Marco Polo
engaged. The Venetians were defeated, and Marco Polo was taken
prisoner and cast into a dungeon. Here he spent his time in writing
the wonderful book in which he described his travels.

[Illustration: A Sea Fight.]

The descriptions Polo gave of the East were as wonderful as fairy tales.
He told of countries rich in gold, silver, and precious stones, and
of islands where diamonds sparkled on the shore. The rulers of these
countries wore garments of rich silk covered with glittering gems,
and dwelt in palaces, the roofs of which were made of gold.

He described golden Cathay, with its vast cities rich in manufactures,
and also Cipango, Hindustan, and Indo-China. He knew of the Indies
Islands, rich in spices, and he described Siberia, and told of the
sledges drawn by dogs, and of the polar bears. The fact that an ocean
washed the eastern coast of Asia was proved by him, and this put at
rest forever the theory that there was an impassable swamp east of

This book by Marco Polo was eagerly read, and the facts that it stated
were so remarkable that many people refused to believe them. It stirred
others with a desire to travel and see those lands for themselves.

Traveling by land, however, was very dangerous, because of the bands
of robbers by which the country was occupied. These outlaws robbed
every one whom they suspected of having any money, and often murdered
travelers in order to gain their possessions. Sea travel, too, was
just as dangerous, but in a different way.

You will remember why sailors dared not venture far out upon the ocean
and search for a water route to the Eastern countries and islands.
The time was soon coming, however, when they would dare to do so, and
two wonderful inventions helped navigators very much.

One came from the finding of the loadstone, or natural magnet. This
is a stone which has the power of attracting iron. A steel needle rubbed
on it becomes magnetized, as we say, and, when suspended by the center
and allowed to move freely, always swings around until it points north
and south. Hung on a pivot and inclosed in a box, this instrument is
called the mariners' compass. It was of great importance to sailors,
because it always told them which way was north. On cloudy days, and
during dark, stormy nights, when the sun and stars could not be seen,
the sailors could now keep on their way, far from land, and still know
in which direction they were going.

[Illustration: Mariners' Compass.]

The other invention was that of the astrolabe. This was an instrument
by means of which sailors measured the height of the sun above the
horizon at noon, and could thus tell the distance of the ship from
the equator. It is in use on all the ships at the present time, but
it has been greatly improved, and is now called the quadrant.

The compass and the astrolabe, together with improved maps and charts,
made it possible for navigators to tell where their ship was when out
of sight of land or in the midst of storm and darkness. This made them
more courageous, and they ventured a little farther from the coast,
but still no one dared to sail far out upon the Sea of Darkness.


One day a man appeared in Portugal, who said he was certain that the
earth was round, and that he could reach India by sailing westward.
Every one laughed at him and asked him how he would like to try. He
answered that he would sail round the earth, if any one would provide
him with ships.

[Illustration: Christopher Columbus.]

People jeered and scoffed.

"If the earth is a sphere," they said, "in order to sail round it you
must sail uphill! Who ever heard of a ship sailing uphill?"

But this man, whose name was Christopher Columbus, remained firm in
his belief.

When a boy, Columbus had listened eagerly to the stories the sailors
told about strange lands and wonderful islands beyond the water. He
was in the habit of sitting on the wharves and watching the ships.
Often he would say, "I wish, oh, how I wish I could be a sailor!"

At last his father, who was a wool comber, said to him, "My son, if
you really wish to become a sailor, I will send you to a school where
you will be taught navigation."

Columbus was delighted at this, and told his father that he would study
diligently. He was sent to the University of Pavia, where he learned
all the geography that was then known, as well as how to draw maps
and charts. He became a skillful penman, and also studied astronomy,
geometry, and Latin.

But he did not spend a long time at his studies, for at the age of
fourteen he went to sea. What he had learned, however, gave him an
excellent groundwork, and from this time forward he made use of every
opportunity to inform himself and to become a scholarly man.

His first voyage was made with a distant relative, who was an
adventurous and daring man, and who was ever ready to fight with any
one with whom he could pick a quarrel. In course of time Columbus
commanded a ship of his own, and became known as a bold and daring
navigator. He made a voyage along the coast of Africa as far south
as Guinea, and afterwards sailed northward to Iceland.

At an early day he became familiar with the wildest kind of adventure,
for at this time sea life on the Mediterranean was little more than
a series of fights with pirates. Some say that during one of these
conflicts Columbus's ship caught fire. In order to save his life, he
jumped into the water and swam six miles to shore, reaching the coast
of Portugal. Others say that he was attracted to that country by the
great school of navigation which Prince Henry had established. However
that may be, he appeared at Lisbon at the age of thirty-five, filled
with the idea of sailing westward to reach those rich Eastern countries
in which every one was so much interested.

He was laughed at for expressing such an idea. It is not pleasant to
be laughed at, but Columbus was courageous and never wavered in his

"The earth is a sphere," he said; "those foolish stories of its being
flat and supported on a turtle's back cannot be true."

But those persons to whom he talked only laughed the more.

"Is there anything more foolish," they asked, "than to believe that
there are people who walk with their heels up and with their heads
hanging down?" "Think of a place where the trees grow with their
branches down, and where it snows, hails, and rains upward!"

Everybody thought him an idle dreamer.

Columbus tried to persuade King John to furnish him with ships and
allow him to test his belief. But King John cruelly deceived Columbus;
for, after obtaining his maps and charts, he sent off an expedition
of his own. He hoped in this way to gain the glory of the discovery.
The sailors whom he sent, however, were not brave enough to continue
the voyage, and returned, frightened by a severe storm.

Columbus was so disgusted by the treachery of King John that he made
up his mind to leave Portugal and go to Spain. So, taking his little
son, Diego, with him, he started on his journey. He traveled from place
to place, trying to find some person who would help him make his ideas
known to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. He thought that if he could
talk with them he could persuade them to furnish him with ships.

[Illustration: Convent of La Rabida.]

One day he came to a convent called La Rabida. Here Diego, who was
weary and thirsty, begged his father to stop and ask for a drink of
water. Columbus knocked at the big iron gate, and while he was
conversing with the attendant a priest approached.

This priest was attracted by the noble bearing and refined speech of
Columbus, and saw at once that he was not a beggar. He asked him what
he wished, and Columbus related his story.

The good priest believed in him and said he would try to influence
the king and queen to furnish him with ships. The priest brought the
matter before the king; but at this time Spain was at war with the
Moors, and King Ferdinand had no time to attend to anything else.
Columbus was patient and waited. But as year after year passed and
brought no prospect of obtaining the ships he wished, his hopes fell.
After seven long, weary years of waiting, he was about to leave Spain
in despair.

Just as he was leaving, however, a message was brought to him from
the queen, asking him to explain his plans to her once more. Columbus
did so, and the queen was so fully convinced that she exclaimed: "I
will provide ships and men for you, if I have to pledge my jewels in
order to do so!"

[Illustration: Columbus before Ferdinand and Isabella.]

Three ships were fitted out for the voyage. These ships were very
different from those we see to-day. They were light, frail barks called
caravels, and two of them, the _Pinta_ and _Nina_, had no decks. The
third, the _Santa Maria_, had a deck. It was upon this largest caravel
that Columbus placed his flag.

On the 3d of August, 1492, the little fleet set sail from Palos,
entering upon the most daring expedition ever undertaken by man. The
people of the town gathered on the wharf to see the departure of the
vessels. Many of them had friends or relatives on board whom they
expected never to look upon again. Sad indeed was the sight as the
little caravels sailed out of the harbor and faded from view.

After sailing a few days, the _Pinta_ broke her rudder. This accident
the sailors took to be a sign of misfortune. They tried to persuade
Columbus to put back to Palos, but he would not listen to such a
suggestion. Instead of sailing back, he pushed on to the Canary Islands.
Here his ships were delayed three weeks, after which they continued
the voyage into unknown waters.

After they had sailed westward for many days, the sailors began to
show signs of alarm, and they implored Columbus to return. He tried
to calm their fears. He described the rich lands he hoped to find,
and reminded them of the wealth and fame this voyage would bring to
them. So they agreed to venture a little farther.

[Illustration: The Pinta.]

At last the compass began to point in a different direction, and the
sailors became almost panic-stricken. They thought they were sailing
straight to destruction, and when they found that Columbus would not
listen to their entreaties they planned a mutiny. Though Columbus knew
what the sailors were plotting, he kept steadily on his course.
Fortunately, signs of land soon began to appear. A branch with berries
on it floated past, a rudely carved paddle was picked up, and land
birds were seen flying over the ships.

A prize had been offered to the sailor who first saw land, and all
eagerly watched for it night and day. At last, early one morning, a
gun was fired from the _Pinta_, and all knew that land had been sighted.
The sailors were filled with the wildest joy, and crowded around
Columbus with expressions of gratitude and admiration, in great
contrast to the distrustful manner in which they had treated him a
few days before.

The land they were approaching was very beautiful. It was a green,
sunny island with pleasant groves in which birds were singing.
Beautiful flowers were blooming all around and the trees were laden
with fruit. The island was inhabited, too, for groups of
strange-looking men were seen running to the shore.

At length the ships cast anchor, the boats were lowered, and Columbus,
clad in rich scarlet and carrying in his hand the royal banner of Spain,
was taken ashore. As soon as he stepped on the beach, Columbus knelt
down and gave thanks to God. He then planted the banner of Spain in
the ground and took possession of the country in the name of Ferdinand
and Isabella.

[Illustration: The Landing of Columbus.]

This island he called San Salvador, because he and his crew had been
saved from a watery grave, and also because October 12 was so named
in the Spanish calendar.

Columbus supposed San Salvador to be one of the islands near the coast
of Asia, but it is one of the Bahamas.

Thus was America discovered on the 12th of October, 1492.

The natives of this island were different from any people the Spaniards
had ever seen. They were of a reddish-brown color, and had high cheek
bones, small black eyes, and straight black hair. They were entirely
naked, and their bodies were greased and painted. Their hair was
decorated with feathers, and many of them were adorned with curious

They were at first very much afraid of the white men and kept far away.
But gradually they lost their fear and brought the Spaniards presents
of bananas and oranges. Some of them gathered courage enough to touch
the Spaniards and pass their hands over them, as if to make certain
that they were real beings. These men, whose skin was so white, they
thought to be gods who had come down from the sky.

When Columbus asked them where they found the gold of which many of
their ornaments were made, they pointed toward the south. Then
Columbus took some of them with him to search for the land of gold.

The next land he reached was the island of Cuba. Thinking that this
was a part of India, he called the natives Indians. He then sailed
to Haiti, which he called Hispaniola, or "Little Spain." For more than
three months Columbus cruised among these islands, where the air was
always balmy, the sky clear, and the land beautiful. The sailors
believed these new lands were Paradise, and wanted to live there

At length, however, they thought of returning to their home and friends.
So, taking several Indians with them, and many curious baskets and
ornaments, they set out on their return voyage.

This voyage proved to be very stormy, and at one time it seemed certain
that the ships would go down; but after a time the sea grew quiet,
and on the 15th of March they sailed again into the little harbor of

You can imagine the excitement.

"What! has Columbus returned?" asked the people. "Has he really found
the East by sailing westward?"

"Yes, he has," was the answer. "He has found India."

Columbus was given a royal welcome. The king and queen held a great
celebration in his honor at Barcelona; and when the Indians marched
into court the astonishment of every person was great. The Indians
were half naked; their dark bodies were painted, and their heads were
adorned with feathers. They carried baskets of seed pearls, and wore
strange ornaments of gold. Some carried the skins of wild animals,
and others carried beautiful birds of brilliant plumage. Every
inhabitant of Barcelona rejoiced, and the bells were rung in honor
of the great discoverer.

It was a happy time for Columbus. He felt repaid for all his suffering
and trouble.

[Illustration: The Return of Columbus.]

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella now wished Columbus to go again to
these newly discovered islands and search for the gold that was thought
to be there. You may be sure Columbus was willing to go. So they fitted
out seventeen vessels, manned by fifteen hundred men, and placed
Columbus in command of this fleet. It was no trouble to find men who
were willing to go on this voyage. All wanted to see the new world
that had been found.

During this second voyage, which was made in 1493, Columbus discovered
Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and some small islands in the Caribbean Sea.

On the island of Jamaica the Spaniards came upon the footprints of
some strange animal which they thought to be a dragon. This dragon
they believed was guarding the gold which they supposed was on the
island. So they ran back to their ships in fear. Later on they became
used to seeing these footprints, and found that they were those of
alligators. At Puerto Rico they suffered from a savage attack made
by the natives, who shot poisoned arrows and threw javelins at them.
But in most other places the natives were very friendly.

Columbus thought this land was a part of the east coast of Asia, and
he could not understand why he did not find cities such as Marco Polo
had described.

Columbus then sailed to Hispaniola, where he planted a colony, of which
he was made governor. It was not an easy matter to govern this island,
because of the jealousies and quarrels of the Spaniards. At length
Columbus returned to Spain, ill and discouraged.

Columbus made a third voyage in 1498, during which he sailed along
the coast of Brazil, and discovered Trinidad Island. Here his ships
encountered currents of fresh water which flowed with great force into
the ocean. This led Columbus to think that so large a river must flow
across a great continent, and strengthened his opinion that the land
was a part of the great continent of Asia.

[Illustration: Map Showing how Columbus Discovered America.]

After sailing farther north along the Pearl Coast, which was so called
because of the pearls found there, he returned to Hispaniola. Here
he found the Spaniards engaged in an Indian war, and quarreling among
themselves. Some officials became jealous of him, bound him with
chains, and sent him back to Spain a prisoner. Ferdinand and Isabella
were much displeased at this treatment of Columbus, and set him free.

A fourth voyage was made by Columbus in 1502, during which he explored
the coast of Honduras in search of a strait leading to the Indian Ocean.
In this venture he was unsuccessful. On his return to Spain he found
his friend Queen Isabella very ill, and nineteen days after his arrival
she died.

After Isabella's death the king treated Columbus cruelly and
ungratefully. The people had become jealous of him, and his last days
were spent in poverty and distress. He never knew that he had
discovered a new continent, but supposed that he had found India.

Seven years after his death the king repented of his ingratitude, and
caused the remains of Columbus to be removed from the little monastery
in Valladolid to a monastery in Seville, where a magnificent monument
was erected to his memory. In 1536 his bones were removed to the
Cathedral of San Domingo in Hispaniola, and later they were taken to
the cathedral in Havana.

When the United States took possession of Cuba, the Spanish
disinterred the bones of Columbus again and carried them to Spain,
placing them in the cathedral of Seville, where they now are.


Both the Spaniards and the Portuguese were cut off from trade with
the East, because the Turks had taken possession of Constantinople.
In consequence of this, the navigators of both countries were making
earnest efforts to find a water route to India.

[Illustration: Vasco da Gama.]

Spain, as you know, had faith in Columbus, and helped him in his plan
of trying to reach India by sailing westward. But the Portuguese had
a different idea. They spent their time and money in trying to sail
round the African coast, in the belief that India could be reached
by means of a southeast passage.

This southeast passage could be found only by crossing the "burning
zone," as the part of the earth near the equator was called; and all
sailors feared to make the attempt.

It was thought almost impossible to cross this burning zone, and the
few navigators who had ventured as far as the equator had turned back
in fear of steaming whirlpools and of fiery belts of heat.

In 1486, six years before Columbus discovered America, the King of
Portugal sent Bartholomew Diaz, a bold and daring navigator, to find
the end of the African coast.

Bartholomew Diaz sailed through the fiery zone without meeting any
of the dreadful misfortunes which the sailors so feared. When he had
sailed beyond the tropic of Capricorn, a severe storm arose. The wind
blew his three vessels directly south for thirteen days, during which
time he lost sight of land. When the sun shone again, Diaz headed his
vessels eastward, but as no land appeared, he again changed the
direction, this time heading them toward the north. After sailing
northward a short time, land was reached about two hundred miles east
of the Cape of Good Hope.

Diaz now pushed on four hundred miles farther along the coast of Africa,
and saw the wide expanse of the Indian Ocean before him. Here the
sailors refused to go any farther, and Diaz, although he wanted very
much to go ahead and try to reach India, was obliged to return.

On the way home, the vessels passed close to the cape which projects
from the south coast of Africa, and Diaz named it Stormy Cape, in memory
of the frightful storm which hid it from view on the way down. When
they reached Lisbon, however, King John said that it should be called
the Cape of Good Hope, because they now had hope that the southern
route to India was found.

Diaz won much praise for his bravery and patience in making this voyage.
He had proved that the stories about the fiery zone were false, and
that the African coast had an end.

[Illustration: Spanish and Portuguese Vessels.]

It remained, however, for Vasco da Gama, then a young man of about
twenty years of age, to prove that India could be reached in this way.

In 1497 Da Gama sailed from Lisbon to the Cape of Good Hope, doubled
the cape, and proceeded across the Indian Ocean to Hindustan.

He returned to Lisbon in 1499, his ships loaded with the rich products
of the East, including cloves, spices, pepper, ginger, and nutmeg.
He also brought with him rich robes of silk and satin, costly gems,
and many articles made of carved ivory, or of gold and of silver.

The King of Portugal was greatly pleased with what Da Gama had
accomplished, and his successful voyage was the wonder of the day.

[Illustration: Costume of Explorers.]

The same year that Da Gama returned from India by a route around the
south end of Africa, with his ships loaded with rich produce, Sebastian
Cabot returned from a fruitless voyage to the strange, barren coast
of North America.

It was no wonder that the voyages of Columbus and the Cabots were
thought unsuccessful as compared with the voyage Da Gama had just

No one then dreamed of a New World; all were searching for the
Orient--for golden Cathay.


John Cabot was a Venetian merchant, and a bold seafaring man. For
purposes of trade he had taken up his home in Bristol, England. Bristol
at that time was the most important seaport of England, and carried
on a large fishing trade with Iceland.

[Illustration: Sebastian Cabot.]

When the news of the voyage of Columbus reached Bristol, Cabot begged
the English king, Henry VII., to let him go and see if he could find
a shorter route to the Indies. The king gave his consent, and told
Cabot to take possession of any land he might discover for England.

Cabot fitted out his vessel and, taking his son Sebastian and a crew
of eighteen men with him, set sail in 1497. He headed his ship westward,
hoping to reach the Spice Islands and that part of Asia which was so
rich in gold, and which Columbus had failed to find. At last, one sunny
morning in June, land was sighted in the distance.

This land, which was probably a part of Nova Scotia, proved to be a
lonely shore with dense forests. Cabot called it "Land First Seen."
It was entirely deserted, not a human being nor a hut of any kind being
in sight.

Here Cabot and his son Sebastian and some of his crew went ashore,
and were the first white men, excepting the Norsemen, to step upon
the mainland of America. Up to this time, Columbus had discovered only
islands of the West Indies. A year later than this he discovered the
continent of South America. Cabot and his companions erected a large
cross on the shore, and planted two flagpoles in the ground, from which
they unfurled the English and Venetian flags. Then they returned to
their ships, and, after sailing about the Gulf of St. Lawrence, went
back to England.

King Henry and the people received John Cabot with great honor.
Everybody thought that Cabot had reached Asia, and he also believed
that he had. He was called the "Great Admiral," and the people of
Bristol ran after him on the street, shouting his name and trying in
every way to show him how much they admired and honored him. The king
gave him fifty dollars in money, which seems to us in these days a
small sum for so long and dangerous a voyage. Besides this, the king
urged him to undertake another voyage.

About a year later Sebastian Cabot made the second voyage, and this
time the gloomy shore of Labrador was reached.

Sebastian on his voyage sailed far north, passing many icebergs, and
seeing many strange and wonderful sights.

On great blocks of ice that floated past the ship he saw immense white
bears. These bears were fine swimmers, and would often leap into the
water and bring out fish, which they would devour greedily. The waters
were filled with fish, and, as the ship neared the shore, they grew
so numerous as almost to retard the sailing of the vessel.

"Now," said Cabot, "the English will not have to go to Iceland any
more for fish."

But Cabot knew that the lands he was seeking were warm lands. So he
turned his vessel south, hoping to reach some opening which would lead
to them. To his great surprise, he found the coast very long and without
any opening, and he sailed on and on as far as Maryland, taking
possession of the land for England.

At places along this shore were seen Indians, clad in skins and furs
of wild animals, fishing from little canoes. Stags much larger than
any in England were seen in great numbers, and wild turkeys and game
of all sorts abounded.

Then Sebastian Cabot began to think that this was a part of Asia never
known before, and he set sail for home to tell the wonderful news.

When he reached Bristol he found everybody still interested in India.
It was a water route to India that was wanted, and not a new country.
People cared more about reaching golden Cathay than about finding new,
barren lands.

So, although King Henry was proud to know that the new land belonged
to England, it was eleven years before he made any further attempt
to send ships there to take possession.


Amerigo Vespucci was a native of Florence, Italy, and a friend of
Columbus. He was an educated man and very fond of study.

[Illustration: Amerigo Vespucci.]

At the time in which he lived it was difficult to find the latitude
and longitude of places, and few people were able to calculate either
correctly. Vespucci was skillful in the work of computing longitude,
and he was also well versed in the history of all the voyages that
had been made. He was familiar with the facts of astronomy and
geography then known, and was well able to conduct the sailing of a
ship into strange waters.

It is believed that Vespucci made six voyages. He did not command his
own vessels, as Columbus did, but he went with the expedition as
assistant or adviser to the captain, keeping records of the voyage
and making maps and charts.

In his first voyage, made in 1497, Vespucci reached the coast of
Honduras, and sailed into the Gulf of Mexico. Here he found, probably
on the coast of Yucatan, a queer little sea village which reminded
him of the great city of Venice near his home.

[Illustration: A Queer Little Sea Village.]

The houses in this village were made of wood, and were built on piles
running out into the water. These houses were connected with the shore
by bridges, which were constructed in such a manner that they could
be drawn up, thus cutting off all connection with the land. In one
house Vespucci found six hundred people. A very large family, was it

Continuing the voyage around the Gulf of Mexico, Vespucci saw many
strange and wonderful things. The natives roasted and ate frightful
animals, which from the description given us we now know to have been
alligators. They also made cakes, or patties, out of fish, and baked
them on red-hot coals. The Spaniards were invited to taste these
dainties, and those of the sailors who did so found the strange food
very palatable.

After sailing round the coast of Florida, the ships headed northeast,
landing every now and then for the purpose of trading with the Indians.
The Spaniards, finding but little gold and none of the rich spices
for which they were looking, at last decided to return home.

Just before sailing, some friendly Indians helped the Spaniards to
make an attack upon a cannibal island. The attack was successful, and
about two hundred cannibals were taken prisoners and carried to Spain,
where they were sold as slaves.

Vespucci made a second voyage in 1499, in which he sailed down the
African coast to the Cape Verde Islands, and then headed his ship
almost directly west. He sighted land at Cape St. Roque, and then
sailed northwest, exploring the north coast of South America, then
called the Pearl Coast. After this he returned to Spain.

Shortly after the return of Vespucci to Spain, he accepted an offer
to take service under the Portuguese flag.

In 1501 he set sail from Lisbon with three caravels, under this flag.
He reached the coast of South America near Cape St. Roque, and sailed
south as far as the South Georgia Islands.

As he proceeded southward, he found the country was inhabited by fierce
Indians, who ate their fellow-creatures. He did not like the natives,
as you may suppose; but he thought the country was beautiful, with
the wonderful verdure and foliage of the tropics, and the queer animals
and bright-colored birds.

Great was the joy of Vespucci when he discovered in the forests large
quantities of a sort of red dyewood which was prized very highly by
Europeans. This wood, which had hitherto been found only in Eastern
countries, was called brazil wood; and because of its abundance there,
he gave the name Brazil to that part of the country.

The expedition sailed slowly on and at length lost sight of land. It
is thought that Vespucci headed the ships southeast because he wished
to find out whether there was land or not in the Antarctic Ocean.

As they sailed farther and farther south, the climate became very
disagreeable. The winds grew cold and forbidding, fields of floating
ice hindered the progress of the vessel, and the nights became very

The sailors grew frightened, fearing that they were entering a land
of constant darkness. Their fear became greater when a terrific storm
arose. The sea grew rough, and the fog and sleet prevented the sailors
from seeing whether land was near or not. The land which they had hoped
to find now became an added danger.

One day, through the sleet and snow, the sailors saw with terror a
rocky, jagged coast in front of them.

This land proved to be the South Georgia Islands, and was a wretched
and forlorn country composed of rocks and glaciers, and entirely
deserted. For a day and a half they sailed in sight of this frightful
shore, fearing each moment that their ship would be cast on the rocks
and that they would all perish. As soon as the weather permitted,
therefore, Vespucci signaled his fleet, and the ships were headed for
home, reaching Portugal in 1502.

This voyage secured Brazil for Portugal, and added greatly to the
geographical knowledge of the day.

The ancients had said that no continent existed south of the equator.
But the great length of coast along which Vespucci had sailed proved
that the land was not an island. It was plainly a continent, and south
of the equator.

Vespucci called the land he found the New World. For a time it was
also called the Fourth Part of the Earth, the other three parts being
Europe, Asia, and Africa. In 1507 a German writer published an account
of the discovery, in which he called the new country America, in honor
of Americus Vespucius,[1] the discoverer.

[Footnote 1: Americus Vespucius is the Latin form of Amerigo

This land was not connected in any way with the discovery of Columbus,
for he was supposed to have found Asia.

The name America was at first applied only to that part of the country
which we now call Brazil, but little by little the name was extended
until it included the whole of the Western Continent.

You will be glad to know that Vespucci, in the time of his success,
did not forget his old friend Columbus, who was then poor and in
disgrace. Vespucci visited him and did all he could to assist him.

After Vespucci had made three other voyages to the New World, he was
given an important government position in Spain, which he held during
the remainder of his life.


You have heard many surprising things which the people of the fifteenth
century believed. It seems almost impossible for us to think that those
people really had faith in a Fountain of Youth; yet such is the case.

[Illustration: Ponce de Leon.]

This fountain was supposed to exist somewhere in the New World, and
it was thought that if any one should bathe in its waters, he would
become young and would never grow old again.

In 1513 Ponce de Leon, who was then governor of Puerto Rico, sailed
from that island in search of this Fountain of Youth. De Leon was an
old man, and he felt that his life was nearly over, unless he should
succeed in finding this fountain. At the same time De Leon wished to
gain gold, for, though he had already made a fortune in Puerto Rico,
he was still very greedy.

The expedition under his guidance sailed among the Bahamas and other
islands near them, and at length reached a land beautiful with flowers,
balmy with warm breezes, and cheerful with the song of birds. Partly
because this discovery was made on Easter Sunday, which the Spaniards
called Pascua Florida, and partly because of the abundance of flowers,
De Leon called the land Florida.

He took possession of this delightful country for Spain, and then spent
many weeks exploring its coast. After sailing north as far as St.
Augustine, and finding neither gold nor the fabled Fountain of Youth,
De Leon turned his vessels and proceeded south, doubling the Florida
Cape. Shortly afterwards he became discouraged and returned to Puerto

In 1521 De Leon went again to Florida, this time for the purpose of
planting a colony. The Indians were very angry that the white men
should try to take their land, and they made a fierce attack upon De
Leon and his party. In this attack De Leon received a severe wound,
which compelled him to go to Cuba for care and rest. There he died
after much suffering.

De Leon never found the Fountain of Youth, nor were the fabled waters
discovered afterwards.


The Spanish colonists on the island of Hispaniola made frequent visits
to the mainland, searching for the rich cities of which Marco Polo
had written.

Word reached the colonists that some of these gold hunters were
starving at a place called Darien, and a ship was immediately sent
to their relief. The cargo of the ship consisted of barrels of
provisions and ammunition.

Imagine, if you can, the amazement of the commander of the expedition
when, after his ships were under sail, a young and handsome man stepped
out of one of the barrels. The young man was Vasco Nunez Balboa. He
had chosen this way to escape from Cuba, where he owed large sums of
money which he could not pay. The commander was angry, and threatened
to leave Balboa on a desert island; but at length he took pity on the
young man, and allowed him to remain on board the ship.

When the mainland was reached, the Spaniards who were already there,
having heard of the cruelty of the commander, refused to let him land.
He therefore put off to sea, and was never heard of again. Balboa then
took command of the men and began immediately to explore the country.

He made a friendly alliance with an Indian chief, who presented him
with gold and slaves. The Spaniards were delighted at the sight of
so much riches. They began to melt and weigh the gold, and at last
fell to quarreling desperately about the division of it.

This the Indians could not understand. They knew nothing of money,
and valued the metal only because it could be made into beautiful

An Indian boy who had heard the dispute told the Spaniards that if
they cared so much about that yellow stuff, it would be wise for them
to go to a country where there was enough of it for all.

The Spaniards eagerly questioned him regarding this place. The boy
then described a country across the mountains and to the south, on
the shores of a great sea, where the metal was so plentiful that the
natives used it for their ordinary drinking cups and bowls.

Balboa immediately started southward across the mountains in search
of this rich country. On his way he came upon a tribe of hostile Indians,
who attacked him, but who fled in alarm from the guns of the Spaniards.

[Illustration: Balboa Crossing the Isthmus.]

Taking some Indians as guides, Balboa pushed on through the mountains,
and on September 25, 1513, from one of the highest peaks, looked down
upon the Pacific Ocean.

[Illustration: Balboa Discovering the Pacific.]

With his Spaniards he descended the mountain, and in four days reached
the shore of that magnificent body of water. Balboa waded out into
it with his sword in his hand, and formally took possession of it for
the King of Spain. He called it the South Sea, because he was looking
toward the south when he first saw it; and the Pacific Ocean was known
by this name for many years afterward.

On this shore he met an Indian who repeated to him the same story that
the Indian boy had told about the rich country on the border of this
sea and farther to the south.

Balboa then made up his mind to find this country. Accordingly he
returned to Darien, and sent word to the Spanish king of his great
discovery of the South Sea.

He then began to take his ships apart, and to send them, piece by piece,
across the mountains to the Pacific coast.

This was an enormous undertaking. The journey was a very difficult
one, and hundreds of the poor Indians who carried the burdens dropped
dead from exhaustion.

At length, after long months of labor, four ships were thus carried
across the mountains and rebuilt on the Pacific coast. These were the
first European vessels ever launched on the great South Sea. Three
hundred men were in readiness to go with Balboa on his voyage in search
of the rich country of the South.

A little iron and a little pitch were still needed for the ships, and
Balboa delayed his departure in order to get these articles.

The delay gave his enemies, who were jealous because of his success,
time to carry out a plot against him. They accused him of plotting
to set up an independent government of his own, and caused him to be
arrested for treason. In less than twenty-four hours this brave and
high-spirited leader was tried, found guilty, and beheaded. So ended
all his ambitious plans.


One of the boldest and most determined of all the early explorers was
Ferdinand Magellan, a young Portuguese nobleman. He felt sure that
somewhere on that long coast which so many explorers had reached he
would find a strait through which he would be able to pass, and which
would lead into the Indian Ocean; and so Magellan formed the idea of
circumnavigating the globe.

[Illustration: Ferdinand Magellan.]

He applied to the King of Portugal for aid; but as the Portuguese king
was not willing to help him, he went to Spain, where his plan found

The Spanish king gave him a fleet of five vessels, and on September
20, 1519, he set sail for the Canary Islands. Continuing the voyage
toward Sierra Leone, the vessels were becalmed, and for a period of
three weeks they advanced only nine miles. Then a terrific storm arose,
and the sailors, who had grumbled and found fault with everything
during the entire voyage, broke into open mutiny. This mutiny Magellan
quickly quelled by causing the principal offender to be arrested and
put in irons.

The voyage was then continued, and land was at last sighted on the
Brazilian coast, near Pernambuco.

The fleet then proceeded down the coast as far as Patagonia, where
the weather grew so very cold that it was decided to seek winter
quarters and postpone the remainder of the journey until spring. This
was done, Magellan finding a sheltered spot at Port St. Julian, where
plenty of fish could be obtained and where the natives were friendly.

These native Patagonians Magellan described as being very tall, like
giants, with long, flowing hair, and dressed scantily in skins.

Great hardships had been endured by the crew. Food and water had been
scarce, the storms had been severe, and suffering from cold was intense.
The sailors did not believe there was any strait, and they begged
Magellan to sail for home. It was useless to try to influence this
determined man. Danger made him only the more firm. Magellan told them
that he would not return until he had found the opening for which he
was looking.

Then the mutiny broke out anew. But Magellan by his prompt and decisive
action put it down in twenty-four hours. One offender was killed, and
two others were put in irons and left to their fate on the shore when
the ships sailed away.

As soon as the weather grew warmer the ships started again southward.
After nearly two months of sailing, most of the time through violent
storms, a narrow channel was found, in which the water was salt. This
the sailors knew must be the entrance to a strait.

Food was scarce, and the men again begged Magellan to return; but he
firmly refused, saying: "I will go on, if I have to eat the leather
off the ship's yards."

So the ships entered and sailed through the winding passage, which
sometimes broadened out into a bay and then became narrow again. Among
the twists and windings of this perilous strait, one of the vessels,
being in charge of a mutinous commander, escaped and turned back.

On both sides of the shore there were high mountains, the tops of which
were covered with snow, and which cast gloomy shadows upon the water
below them.

[Illustration: Strait of Magellan.]

Think of the feelings of the crew when, after sailing five weeks
through this winding channel, they came out into a calm expanse of
water. Magellan was overcome by the sight, and shed tears of joy. He
named the vast waters before him Pacific, which means "peaceful,"
because of their contrast to the violent and stormy Atlantic.

The fleet now sailed northwest into a warmer climate and over a
tranquil ocean, and as week after week passed and no land was seen,
the sailors lost all hope. They began to think that this ocean had
no end, and that they might sail on and on forever.

These poor men suffered very much from lack of food and water, and
many died of famine. The boastful remark of Magellan was recalled when
the sailors did really begin to eat the leather from the ship's yards,
first soaking it in the water.

Anxiously these worn and haggard men looked about for signs of land,
and at length they were rewarded. The Ladrone Islands were reached,
and supplies of fresh vegetables, meats, and fruits were obtained.
From the Isles de Ladrones, or "Isles of Robbers," the fleet proceeded
to the Philippines.

Here Magellan knew that he was near the Indian Ocean, and realized
that if he kept on in his course he would circumnavigate the globe.

It was on one of the Philippine Islands that this "Prince of
Navigators" lost his life in a skirmish with the natives. He was, as
usual, in the thickest of the fight, and while trying to shield one
of his men was struck down by the spear of a native.

One of his ships, the _Victoria_, continued the voyage around Cape
of Good Hope, and on September 6, 1522, with eighteen weary and
half-starved men on board, succeeded in reaching Spain.

Great hardships had been endured, but the wonderful news they brought
made up in some measure for their suffering.

This was the greatest voyage since the first voyage of Columbus, and
the strait still bears the name of the remarkable man whose courage
and strength of purpose led to the accomplishment of one of the
greatest undertakings ever recorded in history.

This wonderful voyage of Magellan's proved beyond doubt that the earth
is round. It also proved that South America is a continent, and that
there is no short southwest passage.

After this voyage all the navigators turned their attention to the
discovery of a northwest passage.


The Spaniards who lived on the island of Hispaniola sent frequent
expeditions to the mainland in the hope of finding gold.

Hernando Cortes, a dashing young Spaniard with a love of adventure
and a reckless daring seldom seen, was given command of one of these

[Illustration: Hernando Cortes.]

In March, 1519, he landed on the coast of Central America, with about
six hundred men, ten heavy guns, and sixteen horses. Here Cortes found
the natives in large numbers arrayed against him. A fierce battle was
fought. But the firearms of the Spaniards frightened the barbarians,
and when the cavalry arrived the Indians fled in terror. The Indians,
who had never seen horses before, thought the man riding the horse
was a part of the animal, and that these strange creatures were sent
by the gods. Fear made the Indians helpless, and it was easy for Cortes
to gain a victory over them.

After this victory Cortes sailed northward along the coast of San Juan
de Ulloa. The natives of that region had heard of the wonderful
white-skinned and bearded men who bore charmed lives, and they thought
that these men were gods. They, therefore, treated the Spaniards in
a friendly manner, and brought gifts of flowers, fruits, and
vegetables, and also ornaments of gold and silver to Cortes.

Here Cortes landed and founded the city of Vera Cruz, which is to-day
an important seaport of Mexico. The native Indians in this place were
called Aztecs. Some of their chiefs, who paid a visit to Cortes, told
him of the great Emperor Montezuma, who was rich and powerful, and
who lived inland, in a wonderful city built in a lake.

By these chiefs Cortes sent to Montezuma presents of collars,
bracelets, and ornaments of glass, an armchair richly carved, and an
embroidered crimson cap. In return, Montezuma sent shields, helmets,
and plates of pure gold, sandals, fans, gold ornaments of exquisite
workmanship, together with robes of fine cotton interwoven with
feather work, so skillfully done that it resembled painting. The cap
which Cortes had sent was returned filled with gold dust.

The great Montezuma also sent a message to Cortes, saying that he would
be glad to meet so brave a general, but that the road to the Mexican
capital was too dangerous for an army to pass over. He also promised
to pay a yearly tribute to the Spanish king if Cortes and his followers
would depart and leave him in peace.

[Illustration: Aztecs.]

The Spaniards were jubilant when they saw the superb gifts. They felt
certain that this great emperor must have enormous wealth at his
command, and in spite of the warning message, most of them wished to
start immediately for the Mexican capital. Some, however, thought such
a course very unwise; Montezuma, they said, was so powerful a ruler
that it was absurd to attack him with their small force, and they
advised returning to Cuba for a large number of soldiers.

But Cortes had his own ideas on the subject. So he secretly ordered
his ships to be sunk, and then, all chance of retreat being cut off,
the entire force proceeded toward Mexico, August 16, 1519.

After a long march, the Spaniards began to ascend the plateau on which
the city of Mexico is situated, and finally reached the top of it,
seven thousand feet high.

They found the climate on this plateau temperate and balmy. The fields
were cultivated, and beautiful flowers grew wild in profusion.

During the march the Spaniards passed many towns containing queer
houses and temples. They entered many of the temples, threw down the
idols, and took possession of ornaments of value. At length they saw
in the distance a city which was built in a salt lake. Three avenues,
built of stone, led across the water to it.

These avenues, which were four or five miles in length, were guarded
on both sides by Indians in canoes. The avenues continued through the
city, meeting in the center, where the great temple was situated.

The temple was inclosed by a huge stone wall, and contained twenty
pyramids, each a hundred feet in height. Nearly all of the houses were
two stories high, and were built of red stone. The roofs were flat,
with towers at the corners, and on top of the roofs there were beautiful
flower gardens.

Into this remarkable town Cortes and his followers marched. Montezuma
received his unwelcome guests with every mark of friendship, and with
much pomp and ceremony. The great emperor was carried on a litter,
which was richly decorated with gold and silver. The nobles of his
court surrounded him, and hundreds of his retainers were drawn up in
line behind him.

[Illustration: Meeting of Cortes and Montezuma.]

The first thing, when Cortes and Montezuma met, was the customary
exchange of presents. Cortes presented Montezuma with a chain of
colored glass beads, and in return the Aztec ruler gave Cortes a house
which was large enough to accommodate all of the Spaniards.

For ten days these two men met each other and exchanged civilities,
Cortes pretending to be paying a friendly visit, and Montezuma feeling
puzzled and uncertain.

At length Cortes induced Montezuma to go to the house where the
Spaniards were living, and then, when he got him there, refused to
allow him to leave, thus keeping him a prisoner in his own city.

This daring act aroused the suspicions of the Aztecs. But Cortes used
all his cunning to deceive these simple-hearted people and to make
them continue to think that the Spaniards were gods. Still, the Aztecs
were beginning to feel very bitter toward Cortes and his followers
because of the disrespect with which they treated the Aztec temples
and gods. The Spaniards were constantly throwing these gods out of
the temples. Even their great god of war was not safe.

Cortes openly derided this image, calling it trash, and proposing to
erect the emblems of the Spanish religion in its place in the Aztec

Now, the Aztec god of war was a frightful image with golden serpents
entwined about the body. The face was hideous, and in its hand was
carried a plate upon which were placed human hearts as sacrifices.
But to the Aztecs the image was sacred, and this insult, together with
many others which had been offered their gods, made the natives very

One day the Aztecs discovered that some of the Spaniards had died.
This knowledge dispelled the fear that their unbidden visitors were
gods, and they attacked the Spaniards with great fury.

The Aztec warriors wore quilted cotton doublets and headdresses
adorned with feathers. They carried leather shields, and fought
fiercely with bows and arrows, copper-pointed lances, javelins, and
slings. Though by comparison few in numbers, the Spaniards, who were
protected by coats of mail, made great havoc with their guns and

The battle between these unequal forces raged with great fury, and
for a time the result was uncertain. Cortes compelled Montezuma, his
prisoner, to show himself on the roof of his house and try to persuade
the Aztecs to stop fighting.

The Indians, however, no longer feared their emperor, and instead of
obeying him, they made him a target for their arrows and stones. In
the midst of the fight, the great Montezuma was finally knocked down
and killed by one of his former subjects.

After a desperate struggle, the Spaniards were forced to retreat.
While making their escape over the bridges of the city they were
attacked by Indian warriors in canoes, and more than half of their
number were killed.

[Illustration: Aztec Ruins.]

Notwithstanding this defeat and the loss of so many men, Cortes did
not give up his design of conquering Mexico. He made an alliance with
hostile tribes of Indians, and again attacked the city.

The Aztecs had now a new king, named Gua-te-mot-zin, who was as brave
and determined as Cortes himself. Guatemotzin made preparations to
oppose Cortes, and during the terrible siege which followed never once
thought of surrendering or of asking for peace.

The Spaniards made attack after attack, and terrible battles were
fought, in which the loss on both sides was very great. During one
of these battles Cortes was nearly captured, and it seemed as though
the war god was to be avenged upon the man who had so insulted him.
But a young Spaniard rushed to the assistance of Cortes, and with one
blow of his sword cut off the arms of the Indian who had dared to seize
the Spanish leader.

After a time the Aztecs found themselves prisoners within their own
city. The Spaniards had cut off all means of escape, and the Indians
were starving to death. Their sufferings were terrible, and hundreds
dropped down daily in the streets. Yet the proud king Guatemotzin
refused to submit, and Cortes ordered a final attack. After furious
fighting Guatemotzin was captured, and the Aztecs surrendered. Their
cruel religion, with its strange gods and human sacrifices, was now

Cortes, with his few followers, never more than one thousand trained
soldiers, had succeeded in conquering a country larger than Spain.
Over a million Mexicans had perished, and those that remained left
the city and fled to the mountains.

In this way the magnificent civilization of the ancient Mexicans was
destroyed. Shiploads of treasures were sent by Cortes to the Spanish
king, Charles V., who rejoiced at the glory gained for his country.


Among the men who had been with Balboa, and who had heard of the
wonderful country of the Incas, was Francisco Pizarro. He determined
to find this rich country and to conquer it.

[Illustration: Francisco Pizarro.]

Securing a band of about two hundred men, well armed and mounted on
strong horses, he led them, in spite of terrible hardships, over
mountains, through valleys, and across plateaus to Cajamarca, the city
where the Inca, or king, was then staying.

The natives gazed at the Spaniards in wonder and dread. These simple
people thought that the white-faced, bearded strangers, who carried
thunderbolts in their hands, and who rode such frightful-looking
animals, were gods. In spite of their fear, the Indians received the
strangers kindly, and gave them food and shelter.

That evening, Pizarro and De Soto, taking with them thirty-five
horsemen, visited the Inca and arranged with him for a meeting next
day in the open square. It was a strange visit. The Inca was surrounded
by his slaves and chieftains, and was very polite to the strangers.

But the Spaniards began to feel very uneasy. An army composed of
thousands of Indians was encamped only two miles away; and compared
with it, the two hundred men of Pizarro appeared powerless. The
situation of the Spaniards, should the Inca decide to oppose them,
seemed without hope.

Pizarro scarcely slept that night. He lay awake planning how he might
take the Inca prisoner.

The next day, about noon, the Indian procession approached the market
place. First came attendants who cleared the way; then followed nobles
and men of high rank, richly dressed, and covered with ornaments of
gold and gems. Last came the Inca, carried on a throne of solid gold,
which was gorgeously trimmed with the plumes of tropical birds.

The Indian monarch wore rich garments adorned with gold ornaments,
and around his neck was a collar of superb emeralds of great size and
brilliancy. He took his position near the center of the square, his
escort, numbering several thousand, gathered around him.

Looking about, the Inca failed to see any of the Spaniards.

"Where are the strangers?" he asked.

Just then Pizarro's chaplain, with his Bible in his hand, approached
the Inca. The chaplain said that he and his people had been sent by
a mighty prince to beg the Inca to accept the true religion and consent
to be tributary to the great emperor, Charles V., who would then
protect them.

The Inca grew very angry at this, and declared that he would not change
his faith nor be any man's tributary. He then indignantly threw the
sacred book upon the ground, and demanded satisfaction from the
Spaniards for this insult to him.

At this the priest gave the signal, and the Spaniards rushed from their
hiding-places and attacked the panic-stricken Indians. The Inca and
his attendants were wholly unprepared, being unarmed and utterly

The Spaniards charged through them, showing no mercy, their swords
slashing right and left, and their prancing horses trampling the
natives under foot. The guns and firearms of the Spaniards made such
havoc and confusion that the terrified Indians offered no resistance.
Indeed, they could not offer any.

In the vicinity of the Inca the struggle was fierce. The Indians,
faithful to the last to their beloved monarch, threw themselves before
him, shielding him with their naked bodies from the swords of the
Spaniards. At last, as night drew near, the Spaniards, fearing that
the Inca might escape, attempted to kill him.

[Illustration: The Spaniards Attacking the Inca's Escort.]

But Pizarro desired that he should be taken alive, and in a loud voice
ordered his followers, as they valued their own lives, not to strike
the Inca. Stretching out his arm to save the monarch, Pizarro received
a wound on his hand, This was the only wound received by a Spaniard
during the attack.

At length the Inca was cast from his throne, and, falling to the ground,
was caught by Pizarro. He was then imprisoned and placed under a strong
guard. As soon as the news of the capture of the Inca spread, all
resistance ceased. Many of the Indians fled to the mountains, leaving
untold wealth at the disposal of their conquerors, while others
remained, hoping to be able to assist their fallen ruler.

As soon as the Inca had an opportunity, he tried to think of some way
of obtaining his freedom.

The room in which he was confined was twenty-two feet in length by
seventeen feet in width. Raising his hand as high as he could, the
Inca made a mark upon the wall, and told Pizarro that gold enough to
fill the room to that mark would be given as a ransom for his release.

Pizarro agreed to this bargain, and the natives began to send gold
to the Inca to secure his release. Some of the treasures in the temples
were buried and hidden by the priests; but ornaments of all kinds,
vases, and plate were collected, and in a few months gold amounting
to fifteen millions of dollars in our money was divided among the

Millions of dollars' worth of gold and silver were shipped to Spain,
and the Spanish nation grew very wealthy. Pizarro himself returned
to Spain to take Charles V. his share of the plunder. During Pizarro's
absence the Spaniards caused the Inca to be killed, notwithstanding
the large ransom which they had accepted.

The richer the Spanish people grew, the more careless they became in
their treatment of other nations and of those under their rule. They
grew more cruel and more merciless and more greedy for gold. They
flocked in great numbers to South America, a reckless, adventurous,
unprincipled horde, ready to commit any crime in order to secure gold.


Among the men who had been with Pizarro in Peru was Ferdinand de Soto,
a bold and dashing Spanish cavalier.

[Illustration: Ferdinand de Soto.]

De Soto was appointed governor of Cuba in 1537, and at the same time
received permission from the Spanish king to conquer Florida. This
permission to conquer Florida was received by De Soto with great
delight. He felt certain that in the interior of Florida there were
cities as large and as wealthy as those of Peru. To conquer these cities,
obtain their treasure, and win for himself riches and fame, was the
dream of De Soto.

Strange as it may seem to you, De Soto was also anxious to convert
the natives to his own religion. He intended to take from them all
their possessions, but he meant to save their souls, if possible.

So, leaving his young and beautiful wife Isabella to rule over Cuba
in his absence, De Soto, in May, 1539, started from Havana with nine
vessels, about six hundred men, and two hundred and twenty-three

After a safe voyage, the expedition landed on the coast of Florida,
at Tampa Bay. Before starting on the march to the interior of the
country, De Soto sent all the vessels back to Cuba. In this way he
cut off all hope of retreat, in case the men should become discouraged.
But no one thought of wanting to return now. Everybody was in high

The soldiers wore brilliant uniforms, their caps were adorned with
waving plumes, and their polished armor glistened and sparkled in the

In the company were twelve priests, who were expected to convert the
prisoners which De Soto meant to capture. The Spaniards carried with
them chains to secure these prisoners, and bloodhounds to track them
in case any escaped.

It was a gay company which marched off into the interior of Florida
with prancing horses, waving flags and banners, and beating drums.

At first De Soto marched directly north, plunging into a wilderness
which proved to be almost impassable. The country was full of swamps,
through which the horses could scarcely travel. The large trees were
bound together by tangled vines; and their roots, which protruded from
the earth, were like traps, catching the feet of the travelers and
throwing them to the ground.

Besides all this, the heavy baggage which the men and horses carried
weighed them down and made the journey almost impossible.

De Soto, however, kept bravely on, encouraging his men as best he could,
and at last reached the Savannah River. Here he changed his course
to westward, hoping to find gold in that direction.

Week after week, month after month, the Spaniards traveled on through
a dense wilderness, enduring great hardships and finding nothing but
tribes of hostile Indians.

De Soto asked one of these Indian chiefs to give him slaves enough
to carry his baggage through the forest. The chief refused; whereupon
De Soto and his men attacked the tribe and took many prisoners. These
prisoners De Soto caused to be chained together and placed in front
of the expedition, where they were made to act as guides as well as

Then De Soto asked the Indians where the great cities with gold and
silver treasures were. One Indian said he did not know of any. At this
reply De Soto caused the Indian to be put to death with frightful
torture. This made the Indians untruthful, and they told De Soto many
different stories of places where they thought gold might be found.

So the expedition wandered on, searching for the gold which they never
found; and the men grew discouraged and heartsick, and longed for home.

[Illustration: De Soto Marching through the Forest.]

The Indian tribes, angry at the cruel treatment of the Spaniards,
attacked them frequently, and De Soto and his men scarcely ever enjoyed
a peaceful rest at night. The Spaniards were unused to Indian warfare,
and were no match for the quick, nimble savages, who glided through
the forests silently and swiftly. These Indians never came to open
battle, but hid themselves behind rocks and trees, and were scarcely
ever seen. Two or three would suddenly appear, send a shower of arrows
at the Spaniards, and then dart away again into the woods. The Indians
scarcely ever missed their aim, and the Spaniards never knew when they
were near.

One day De Soto captured some Indians who said that they knew where
gold was to be found and that they would show the way to the place.
De Soto only half trusted them, but he allowed them to lead the way.
The cunning savages led the Spaniards into an ambush, where other
Indians attacked them fiercely, killing their horses and many of their

As punishment for this act, De Soto ordered that these Indians should
be torn to pieces by the bloodhounds.

Sometimes the Spaniards, in their wanderings, passed camps where the
Indians were gathered round huge bonfires, singing, dancing, yelling,
and shouting the terrible Indian war whoop. Under shelter of this noise
the Spaniards would steal quietly away and avoid the Indians for a

At length, after wandering for two years, De Soto came, in 1541, to
the shore of a large river. This river was wide and muddy, and had
a strong current which carried much driftwood along with it. De Soto
learned from the Indians that it was called Mississippi, or the "Father
of Waters."

[Illustration: De Soto Discovers the Mississippi River.]

He had reached it near the spot where the city of Memphis now stands,
and here his company halted and camped.

At this place the Spaniards built rafts, striking the fetters from
their captives in order to use the iron for nails, and so crossed the
river. They hoped in this way to escape from their savage foes; but
on the other side of the river they found Indians who were just as

So the Spaniards traveled south, hoping by following the course of
the river to reach the sea. This De Soto soon found to be impossible,
as the country was a wilderness of tangled vines and roots, and his
followers could not cross the many creeks and small rivers which flowed
into the Mississippi. The horses traveled through this country with
difficulty, often being up to their girths in water. Each day saw the
little band grow less in numbers.

At length they returned to the banks of the river, being guided back
by their horses. The men lost their way in the dreadful forest, but
the instinct of the noble animals directed them aright.

Food was growing scarce, and De Soto himself was taken ill. He knew
that unless something should be done soon to make the Indians help
them, all would perish. So he sent word to an Indian chief saying that
he was the child of the sun, and that all men obeyed him. He then
declared that he wanted the chief's friendship, and ordered him to
bring him food.

The chief sent back word that if De Soto would cause the river to dry
up he would believe him. This, of course, De Soto could not do.

He was disappointed and discouraged at not being able to get food.
The illness from which he was suffering grew worse, and he died soon

His followers were anxious to hide his death from the natives, who
were very much afraid of him. So they placed his body in the hollow
of a scooped out tree, and sunk it at midnight in the water.

Those of his followers who were left decided to try to reach home by
following the river to its mouth. These men were in a wretched
condition. Their clothing was nearly all gone. Few of them had shoes,
and many had only the skins of animals and mats made of wild vines
to keep them warm. They built seven frail barks and sailed down the
Mississippi, avoiding Indians all the way, and in seventeen days they
came to the Gulf of Mexico.

In fifty days more they succeeded in reaching a Spanish settlement
on the coast of Mexico, where they were received with much joy.

Of the gay company of six hundred and twenty who had set out with such
high hopes, only three hundred and eleven men returned.


As you may imagine, there was great excitement and curiosity in Spain,
after the voyages of Columbus, about the new lands beyond the Western

Several of the men who had sailed with Columbus were ready to undertake
new voyages of discovery. Among them was Yanez Pinzon.

You will remember that when Columbus made his first voyage he set out
with three vessels. One of these was the _Nina_. It was commanded by
Yanez Pinzon.

[Illustration: The Nina.]

After Columbus had returned from his second voyage, Yanez Pinzon
succeeded in fitting out a fleet to go to the New World.

In 1499 he sailed with four caravels from Palos, the same port from
which Columbus had sailed. Pinzon took with him some of the sailors
who had been with Columbus, and also his three principal pilots. These
pilots were men who understood how to use the astrolabe and to tell
the course of the ship at sea.

Pinzon's fleet sailed toward the Canary and Cape Verde Islands, and
after passing them its course was southwest across the Atlantic. At
length the fleet crossed the equator, and Pinzon was the first explorer
to cross the line in the western Atlantic.

The fleet sailed on for nearly five hundred miles to the southward.
Here Pinzon met a terrific storm, which came very near sending his
whole fleet to the bottom. He was now not far from the coast, and after
the storm was over he discovered land. The land proved to be the most
eastern point of South America. This was in the month of January, in
the year 1500.

Pinzon and a company of his men went ashore. They did not remain long,
however, as they found the Indians very hostile. The Indians attacked
the Spaniards and killed several of their number. They were so furious
that, after chasing the Spaniards to their boats, they waded into the
sea and fought to get the oars. The Indians captured one of the rowboats,
but the Spaniards at last got off to their vessels.

Pinzon then set sail and steered northward along the coast.

When his fleet came near the equator, he noticed that the water was
very fresh. Accordingly he gave orders to fill the water casks of his
fleet. The freshness of the water of the sea led him to sail in toward
the shore.

At length he discovered whence the large volume of fresh water came.
It flowed out of the mouth of a great river.

It was the mouth of the river Amazon, and so great is the volume of
water which it pours into the sea that its current is noticed in the
ocean two hundred miles from the shore.

This fact is not so surprising when we learn that the main mouth of
this great river is fifty miles wide, that the river is four thousand
miles long, including its windings, and that, besides many smaller
branches, it has five tributaries, each over a thousand miles long,
and one over two thousand miles long, flowing into it.

Pinzon anchored in the mouth of the river, and found the natives
peaceful. In this respect they were unlike those he had met farther
south. They came out to his ships in a friendly way in their canoes.
But when Pinzon, a short time later, left the river, he cruelly carried
off thirty-six of the Indians who had been friendly to him.

While Pinzon's fleet was in the mouth of the river, it came a second
time near being wrecked.

Pinzon was, of course, in strange waters. He did not know that twice
each month the tide does not rise in the usual way, but rushes up the
mouth of the Amazon with great force. The tide, as a rule, is about
six hours in rising and six hours in falling. In the mouth of the Amazon,
however, at new moon and at full moon the tide swells to its limit
in two or three minutes. It comes as a wall of water, twelve or fifteen
feet high, followed by another wall of the same height. Often there
is a third wall of water, and at some seasons of the year there is
a fourth wall.

This peculiar rising of the tide is called the _bore_. The noise of
this rushing flood can be heard five or six miles off. It comes with
tremendous force, and sometimes uproots great trees along the banks.
During the few days when the tide rushes up the river in this way
vessels do not remain in the main channel, but anchor in coves and
protected places.

Pinzon, as we have said, did not know about the sudden rising of the
tide. His fleet was anchored in the main channel when the bore came,
and it dashed his vessels about like toy boats and almost wrecked them.

After repairing the damage done to his fleet, he made up his mind that
there was little gold to be found in those parts, and so he sailed
out of the mouth of the great river, and then turned northward along
the coast.

It may be of interest to know what befell Pinzon after he left the
mouth of the Amazon. We will tell you briefly.

He sailed along the coast to the northwest, and passed the mouth of
the Orinoco, another large river of South America. About a hundred
and fifty miles beyond the Orinoco, he entered a gulf and landed. Here
he cut a large quantity of brazil wood to take back to Spain.

[Illustration: Scene on the Orinoco River.]

Then he sailed for the island of Hispaniola, now called Haiti. From
this island he sailed to the Bahama Islands.

It was July when he reached the Bahamas. Misfortune again came to his
fleet. While anchored in the Bahamas a hurricane came up, and two of
his vessels were sunk. A third was blown out to sea. The fourth vessel
rode out the storm, but the crew, thinking all the while she would
sink, took to their small boats and at length reached the shore. The
Indians came to them when they landed, and proved friendly.

After the hurricane was over, the vessel that had been carried out
to sea drifted back. As soon as the sea was smooth enough Pinzon and
his men went on board the two remaining vessels and set sail for

At Hispaniola he repaired his vessels, and then sailed back to Spain.
He reached Palos in September.

About three months after Pinzon sailed away from the mouth of the
Amazon it was visited by a Portuguese navigator named Cabral. Although
the Portuguese were not so fortunate as to discover America, yet they
had been very active in making discoveries for seventy years and more
before Columbus's first voyage.

In 1420 they discovered the Madeira Islands. In 1432 they discovered
the Azore Islands, which lie eight hundred miles west of Portugal in
the Atlantic Ocean. Their vessels, from time to time, had been pushing
farther and farther down the west coast of Africa. In the middle of
the century as many as fifty-one of their caravels had been to the
Guinea coast, or the Gold Coast, as it was more often called. In 1484,
eight years before Columbus discovered America, they had discovered
the mouth of the Kongo River on the African coast.

It is not surprising, then, that their navigators were pushing out
across the Atlantic soon after Columbus had led the way.

But though Cabral sailed along the whole coast of Brazil, and took
possession of it in the name of the King of Portugal, he did not learn
any more about the great river at the mouth of which he anchored than
did Pinzon. Had he waited a few months, or had he returned to the river,
he might easily have explored its course. For from July to December
of each year the east wind blows steadily up the Amazon, and Cabral
could have spread his sails and kept them spread as he sailed up the
river for two thousand miles or more to the eastern foot of the great
mountains of South America, the Andes.

The exploration of the Amazon, however, fell to the lot of another
man, Francisco Orellana by name. Orellana did not sail up the river
from its mouth, but came down it from one of its sources. This was
in 1540, many years, as you see, after Pinzon and Cabral had anchored
at the mouth.

Orellana was one of Pizarro's men, and had been with him when the Inca
of Peru was taken and afterwards put to death. It was Francisco Pizarro,
as you well know, who conquered Peru. After Francisco Pizarro had
conquered the country, he made his brother, Gonzalo Pizarro, governor
of Quito.

This brother, while at Quito, made up his mind to cross the Andes
Mountains and explore the country beyond. So he got ready an expedition,
and made Orellana his lieutenant; Orellana was, therefore, second in
command of the expedition.

The army was made up of three hundred and fifty Spaniards, four
thousand Indians, and one thousand bloodhounds for hunting down the

They had a hard march over the Andes, and suffered very much in crossing.
When they were over the mountains, they discovered a river flowing
toward the southeast. This was the river Napo.

Pizarro had had so hard a march across the Andes that he felt his men
could not stand it to go back by the same way. He therefore encamped
by the Napo River, and spent seven months in building a vessel to hold
his baggage and those of his men who were ill.

He put Orellana in charge of the vessel, and ordered him to float slowly
down the river while the other part of the army marched along the shore.
The march was very slow and toilsome, and after a few weeks the food
began to get low.

At this time Pizarro heard of a rich country farther down the stream,
where the Napo flowed into a larger river. This country he wished to
reach. So he sent Orellana in the vessel, with fifty soldiers, down
the Napo to the larger river. There Orellana was to get food and
supplies for the army and then return.

Pizarro waited and waited in vain for Orellana to return, and at last
he and his men had to find their way back across the Andes with scanty
food and undergo great hardships.

Orellana and the soldiers with him were carried by the current swiftly
down the Napo, and in three days they came into the great river. It
was indeed a great river, for the Amazon at the place where the Napo
flows into it is a mile in width.

Orellana expected to find here many people and plenty of food. He found,
however, only a wilderness. It was about like the country where Pizarro
and his army were encamped.

Orellana could barely get food for himself and the men with him, much
less enough for Pizarro and his army. To return against the swift
current would be a heavy task. After thinking the matter over, he
decided to follow the great river to the sea. But he must first win
the soldiers who were with him over to his plan. This he soon succeeded
in doing, and they started down the Amazon.

It was no easy journey. He and the soldiers suffered greatly. But in
August, 1541, after seven months of hardships, they reached the ocean,
and a short time after this they sailed to Spain.

When Orellana reached Spain, he gave a glowing account of a wonderful
country, rich in precious metals, through which he had passed.
According to his story, it was far richer in gold than Peru.

The name El Dorado, "The Golden," was given to this fabled country;
and for a score or more of years after Orellana had told his story,
efforts were made to find it. Expedition after expedition set out in
search of El Dorado. An explorer named Philip von Hutten, who led a
party southward into the country from the northern part of South
America, believed he caught sight of a city whose golden walls
glistened far away in the distance. But he never reached the shining
city which he thought he saw, nor was the fabled El Dorado ever found.


Verrazzano was a native of Florence, Italy, and a pirate like many
other sailors of that time. Being known as a daring seaman, he was
asked by Francis I., King of France, to take command of a fleet of
four vessels and try to find a western passage to rich Cathay. For
Francis had become very jealous of the Spaniards, and felt that his
country ought to have a share in the riches of the New World.

[Illustration: Verrazzano.]

Verrazzano sailed from France full of hope and joy; but he had gone
only a short distance when a severe storm arose, and two of his vessels
were lost sight of forever. The two remaining vessels were obliged
to return to France.

After some delay Verrazzano started again, with one vessel called the
_Dauphine_. With this vessel he reached the island of Madeira, and
from this island he sailed, January 17, 1524, for the unknown world.

The voyage lasted forty-nine days, after which time a long, low coast
was sighted in the distance. This coast, which was probably North
Carolina, afforded no landing place, and for some time Verrazzano
sailed north and then south, searching for one. The search proved
unsuccessful, and as the crew were in need of fresh water, Verrazzano
decided to send a boat ashore.

So a small boat was manned, and the sailors tried very hard to reach
the shore, but the surf was so high that they were unable to do this.
At last one brave sailor jumped from the boat into the foaming breakers
and swam toward the shore. He carried in one hand presents for the
Indians, who were standing at the water's edge watching the strange
sight. At length the sailor succeeded in swimming so close to the shore
that he was able to throw the presents to the Indians.

His courage then deserted him, and in terror he tried to swim back
to his vessel. The surf, however, dashed him on the sandy beach, and
he would have been drowned had not some of the Indians waded in and
dragged him ashore. These Indians quickly stripped him of all his
clothing and began to build an immense bonfire. The poor sailor thought
his end had come, and his former companions looked on from their ship
in horror at the preparations.

[Illustration: Indians Rescuing the Sailor.]

All of them thought that the Indians meant to burn him alive or else
to cook and eat him. To their great relief, the Indians treated him
very gently and kindly; they dried his clothes by the fire and warmed

These kind Indians looked very savage. Their skin was copper colored,
their long, straight hair was tied and worn in a braid, and their faces
were very stern; for, you know, an Indian never laughs or smiles.

In spite of their fierce looks, however, they were very good to the
pale-faced stranger, and when he was strong again they led him back
to the shore, and he swam out to his ship.

Verrazzano was glad to see his sailor return in safety from this
dangerous trip. The man had risked his life, but no water had been
obtained for the crew. So Verrazzano started northward, and along the
coast of Maryland he made a landing and secured the much-needed fresh

At this place the Frenchmen had an opportunity to return the kindness
that the Indians had shown their companion, but I am sorry to have
to tell you that they did not do so. While searching for the water,
Verrazzano and his followers came suddenly upon a little Indian boy,
whom they seized and carried off to their ship. The mother of the boy
came quickly from some bushes to rescue her son, and they would also
have stolen her, but she made so much noise that they were obliged
to run in order to escape from the rest of the tribe, who came to help
her. The Frenchmen reached their ship in safety with the poor little
Indian boy, and quickly set sail.

Verrazzano proceeded northward, following the shore, and at length
came to a very narrow neck of water, with rising land on both sides.
Through this strait Verrazzano sailed, and, to his surprise, came out
into a broad and beautiful bay which was surrounded on all sides by
forests, and was dotted here and there with the canoes of Indians who
were coming out from the land to meet him.

You have, of course, guessed that this strait was the Narrows, which
separates Staten Island from Long Island, and that the bay was the
beautiful New York Bay.

Verrazzano followed the shore of Long Island to a small island, which
was likely Block Island. From this island he sailed into a harbor on
the mainland, probably Newport, where he remained fifteen days. Here
the Indians received their pale-faced visitors with great dignity and
pomp. Two of the Indian chiefs, arrayed in painted deer skins and
raccoon and lynx skins, and decorated with copper ornaments, paid
Verrazzano a visit of state.

Soon after this Verrazzano sailed away, again northward. The climate
grew cooler and the country more rugged, and the vegetation changed.
Instead of the sweet-scented cypress and bay trees which the sailors
had admired along the Carolina coast, there were dark forests of
stately pines, which were grand but gloomy.

Great cliffs of rock extended along the shores, and from these heights
the natives looked down upon the lonely little ship in fear, anger,
and amazement. At length they consented to trade with the pale-faces;
but they lowered a cord from the rocks and drew up the knives, fishhooks,
and pieces of steel which they demanded in exchange for furs and skins.
Once Verrazzano and a few of his men tried to land. But the Indians
fiercely attacked them, and a shower of arrows and the sound of the
dreaded war whoop caused the Europeans to fly to their ship for safety.

So Verrazzano gave up the plan of landing among these fierce Indians,
and continued his voyage northward as far as Newfoundland. Here
provisions grew scarce, and Verrazzano decided to sail for home.

The return voyage was a safe one, and Verrazzano was greeted with joy
when he arrived in France. Upon his discoveries the French based their
claim to all the country in the New World between Carolina and
Newfoundland, extending westward as far as land continued.

Verrazzano wished very much to go again to this new land and try to
plant a colony and to convert the Indians to the Christian religion.
But France at this time was plunged into war at home, and all trace
of Verrazzano is lost. Some say that he made a second voyage, and that
while exploring a wild country he was taken prisoner and killed by
a savage tribe of Indians. The story that is most likely true is that
he did return to the New World, and that while there he was taken
prisoner by the Spaniards and hanged as a pirate.


Under the rule of Queen Elizabeth England became noted for her bold
and daring seamen. These seamen were really pirates, or sea robbers;
but their occupation in those days was looked upon as a lawful one
by all except the people whom they plundered.

[Illustration: Sir Francis Drake.]

Queen Elizabeth encouraged the seafaring men to make voyages to the
New World, and also to attack the Spanish ships, because she was
displeased at the way the Spaniards were behaving.

The Spaniards had grown very rich and powerful by means of the wealth
they had obtained in America, and in their pride they did not treat
the other nations properly. They had no idea of fairness. They were
selfish and wanted everything for Spain.

The English people thought that the best place to attack the Spaniards
was in the New World. They well knew that if they could cut off the
supply of gold and silver which the Spanish nation was receiving from
South America and the Indies, that nation would suffer.

Sir Francis Drake, a brave young knight of Elizabeth's court, formed
a plan to teach the Spaniards a lesson. This plan was approved by the
queen, and Drake was promised glory and riches if he should succeed
in carrying it out.

In November, 1577, Drake sailed from Plymouth, England, with a fleet
of five vessels and one hundred and sixty-four men. He told every one
that he was going to make a voyage to Alexandria, as he did not wish
the Spaniards to know that he intended to cross the Atlantic.

After a voyage of about five months, as they were sailing quietly along
one evening, the crew saw strange fires in the distance. At first the
sailors were alarmed; but on sailing nearer they saw that the fires
were on the shore of a strange country, which Drake knew to be South

The natives had built these immense bonfires near the water and were
preparing for some religious rites.

These natives were friendly, and Drake, after procuring some fresh
supplies, sailed on, as he was in haste to reach Peru. The fleet soon
entered the Strait of Magellan, and sailed through without any mishap.

On an island in the strait they found a great number of fowl of the
size of geese, which could not fly. The crew shot about three thousand
of these birds, and now, having plenty of provisions, they began the
journey up the west coast of South America.

The Spaniards, never dreaming that any one would have the courage to
try to reach their lands by way of the Strait of Magellan, had made
no attempt to defend themselves from attack from the south. They feared
that their enemies might come down upon them by way of the isthmus,
and strong forces had been placed there to prevent any one from
crossing; but all the southern ports were defenseless.

So Drake and his men sailed up the coast, dropping in at different
harbors, boldly taking everything of value that they saw, and then
gayly sailing away, laughing at the surprise they left behind them.

At one place Drake found a Spanish ship laden with spoils, ready to
sail to Spain. The English quickly took possession of her, set her
crew ashore, and carried her out to sea. There they found that she
had on board pure gold amounting to thirty-seven thousand Spanish
ducats, stores of good wine, and other treasure.

At one place where they landed Drake himself found a Spaniard lying
asleep near the shore, with thirteen bars of silver by his side. The
Englishmen took the silver and went quietly away, leaving the man to
finish his nap.

[Illustration: Drake and the Sleeping Spaniard.]

Farther on they met a Spaniard and an Indian boy driving eight llamas,
as the sheep of that country are called, toward Peru. Each llama had
on its back two bags of leather, and in each bag was fifty pounds of
silver. This silver Drake ordered to be placed on his ship, and then
he sailed away.

Many other places were visited in this manner, and much treasure was
collected; but it was not until Drake reached Lima that the English
understood the great wealth of that country. About twelve ships were
in the harbor, some fully laden, and all unprotected, as the Spaniards
never dreamed of attack. These ships Drake proceeded to lighten of
their cargo by removing it to his own ships.

He then gave chase to another vessel, which he heard was laden with
still greater treasure. This vessel he soon found, and the cargo proved
to be very valuable. Thirteen chests of plate, many tons of gold and
silver, jewels, precious stones, and quantities of silk and linen were

As you may suppose, after continuing this work for some time Drake's
ships were very well loaded, and he and his companions began to think
about returning to England. Drake felt that it would not be safe for
him to return through the Strait of Magellan, as he knew the Spaniards
would be expecting him. So he decided to sail across the Pacific Ocean
to the Molucca Islands, and complete his journey by circumnavigating
the globe.

He was at this time becalmed in the tropics, and therefore headed his
ships north, hoping to find the trade wind, which would carry him
across the Pacific. After proceeding north along a strange coast for
nearly a month, during which time the weather gradually became colder
and colder, Drake decided to enter a harbor and anchor his vessels.

The people of the country were friendly, and as the English treated
them well, they remained so. They admired the brave Sir Francis Drake
so much that they begged him to stay with them and be their king.

But Drake had no desire to be king over an Indian tribe. He wanted
to get back to his own good Queen Elizabeth and tell her of all the
wonderful things that had happened to him. So he took possession of
this country for England, and called it New Albion.

New Albion was the land which is at present known as California, and
the bay in which Drake anchored is just north of San Francisco Bay.

Then Drake prepared his ships for the voyage home, hoisted anchor,
and was soon sailing away in the direction of the Moluccas. These
islands he reached after a long voyage, and after visiting several
of the Indies he proceeded across the Indian Ocean to the Cape of Good
Hope and thence northward to England. He reached home in September,
1580, after an absence of three years.

How glad Queen Elizabeth was to see him! She granted him the honor
of knighthood, and in other ways showed her pride in her brave subject.

Drake's ship, the _Golden Hind_, was placed in a dock at Deptford,
where it stood for many years. People used to take their children to
see it, and they would tell them about the _Golden Hind_, the good
ship in which sailed the brave general, Sir Francis Drake, when he
taught the Spaniards a lesson.

When the timber of the ship began to decay, a chair was made of some
of it and given to Oxford University, where it may be seen to this


Henry Hudson was one of the best sea captains in all England. He loved
the ocean, and he did not know the word "fear."

[Illustration: Henry Hudson.]

In 1607 a company of London merchants sent him to look for a northwest
passage to China. These merchants knew that if such a passage could
be found, the journey to China would be much shorter than by the
overland route then used. It would take less time to sail around the
earth near the pole than to sail around the earth near the equator.
Besides, every one who had attempted to reach China by sailing west
had reached, instead, that long coast of the New World, through which
but one opening had ever been found. The route through this opening,
the Strait of Magellan, had been proved by its discoverer, Ferdinand
Magellan, to be too long for use in commerce, so traders were trying
hard to find a northwest passage.

Captain Hudson proceeded northwest from England, and tried to pass
between Greenland and Spitzbergen and sail across the north pole into
the Pacific. Failing in this attempt, he made a second voyage, during
which he tried to pass between Spitzbergen and Nova Zembla. This voyage
also was unsuccessful, and Hudson returned to England. He had found
no northwest passage, but he had sailed past mountains of snow and
ice and had been nearer the north pole than any man had ever been

Captain Hudson was not discouraged by his two failures. He still
believed a northwest passage could be found; and when the Dutch people
asked him to make a voyage for them in search of a passage to the Pacific
Ocean, he was quite willing to accept the offer.

In 1609 Hudson sailed from Amsterdam in a small craft of eighty tons,
called the _Half Moon_. After sailing many days through fog and ice,
the sailors refused to go farther in that direction, and then Hudson
headed his ship across the Atlantic toward America. You may think it
strange that Hudson should change his plans so quickly, but he knew
what he was about. He had received a letter from his friend Captain
John Smith, who was then in Virginia, telling him that a northwest
passage was to be found along the coast of North America, north of
Chesapeake Bay. This letter Hudson had in mind when he started on his

He reached Chesapeake Bay, but did not enter it, as the weather was
stormy. Instead, he proceeded up the coast, looking for an opening.
At length, in September, he entered a beautiful bay. Into this bay
a wide river flowed which Hudson thought might be a strait that would
lead into the Pacific Ocean. The water in this opening was salt, and
this strengthened Hudson in the belief that it was the strait for which
he had been searching so long. At the mouth of the river there was
a beautiful island, long and narrow, and wooded to the shore.

At first the island seemed deserted, but soon the sailors saw here
and there slender curling columns of smoke rising from among the trees.
This smoke showed them that the island was inhabited, and presently
an Indian appeared on the shore.

[Illustration: The Half Moon on the Hudson River.]

This Indian looked for a moment in astonishment at the ship, and then,
shouting the war whoop, bounded back into the forest. In a few minutes
he reappeared, bringing other Indians with him. All were amazed at
the sight of the strange ship, and they gazed in wonder and fear at
it and at the white-faced, bearded strangers. Little by little,
however, they lost their fear and talked with Captain Hudson. These
Indians told Hudson that the name of the beautiful island was Manhattan,
and that the stream led far, far to the north.

So Hudson entered the river and sailed slowly north, enjoying the
charming scenery, and stopping now and then to trade and to talk with
the Indians.

For twenty miles he sailed along a great wall of rock about five hundred
feet high, which we now know as the Palisades. This name was given
to the rocky wall because it looks like a palisade, or high fence of
stakes set close together and upright in the ground.

Soon after this the river became very winding, and high mountains arose
on all sides. The _Half Moon_ now entered the beautiful Highlands,
and her crew were the first white men to see this enchanting spot.
The vessel sailed on, and at length it came to the place where the
city of Hudson now stands. Here an Indian chief invited the captain
to go ashore. Hudson did so, and the Indians prepared a great feast
in his honor.

They gave him roast pigeons and a roast dog to eat. Hudson did not
like the dog meat very much, but the Indians insisted upon cooking
it for him.

[Illustration: Hudson Feasting with the Indians.]

The Indians wanted him to stay overnight with them, and one Indian
arose, and gathering together all the arrows, broke them and threw
them into the fire. By this act he meant to show Hudson that he and
his tribe would do him no harm.

Hudson felt that he had no time to lose, but must go on and find out
whether this wonderful body of water would lead him into the Pacific.
So he bade the Indians good-by and sailed away.

He went on up the river until the place was reached where Albany now
stands. Here the little _Half Moon_ was anchored. Indians came running
down to the shore in wonder at the sight of the strange vessel. They
brought with them strings of beaver skins, which they gave Hudson in
exchange for pieces of gold lace, glass beads, and other trinkets.
Hudson was quick to see the importance of this fur trade, and took
back with him many valuable furs. Here the stream had become narrow,
and was so shallow that the captain feared his vessel might run aground.
He knew at last that the water was a river and not a strait, and that
he was not likely to find here a passage to China. So Hudson, turning
back, started down the river.

On the way down, an Indian who was in a canoe stole something from
the ship. One of the crew saw the Indian commit the theft, and, picking
up a gun, shot and killed him. This made the other Indians very angry,
and Hudson had several fights with them.

Nevertheless the expedition reached the mouth of the river in safety,
and early in October Hudson returned to Amsterdam. He had not found
a northwest passage, but he had secured a large tract of country in
the New World for Holland.

He told the Dutch about the rich furs to be found there, and they
immediately began to build trading posts where the cities of New York
and Albany now stand.

The next year Hudson made another voyage in search of a passage to
Asia. This time he sailed far north into Hudson Bay. Here his crew
mutinied and refused to obey him. They seized him and put him, together
with his son, into an open boat, and set them adrift in the icy water.

As Hudson was never heard of again, it is supposed that he perished
in the waters of the great bay which he discovered, and which still
bears his name.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Discoverers and Explorers" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.