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Title: Narrative and Critical History of America, Vol. II (of 8) - Spanish Explorations and Settlements in America from the Fifteenth to the Seventeenth Century
Author: Various
Language: English
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Spanish Explorations and Settlements in America
from the Fifteenth to the Seventeenth Century



Edited by


Librarian of Harvard University
Corresponding Secretary Massachusetts Historical Society


Boston and New York
Houghton, Mifflin and Company
The Riverside Press, Cambridge

Copyright, 1886,
by Houghton, Mifflin and Company.
All rights reserved.

                      CONTENTS AND ILLUSTRATIONS.

[_The Spanish arms on the title are copied from the titlepage of

  INTRODUCTION.                                                     PAGE

  Editor_                                                              i


  COLUMBUS AND HIS DISCOVERIES. _The Editor_                           1

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Columbus’ Armor, 4; Parting of Columbus with
  Ferdinand and Isabella, 6; Early Vessels, 7; Building a Ship,
  8; Course of Columbus on his First Voyage, 9; Ship of Columbus’
  Time, 10; Native House in Hispaniola, 11; Curing the Sick,
  11; The Triumph of Columbus, 12; Columbus at Hispaniola, 13;
  Handwriting of Columbus, 14; Arms of Columbus, 15; Fruit-trees
  of Hispaniola, 16; Indian Club, 16; Indian Canoe, 17, 17;
  Columbus at Isla Margarita, 18; Early Americans, 19; House in
  which Columbus died, 23.

  CRITICAL ESSAY                                                      24

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Ptolemy, 26, 27; Albertus Magnus, 29; Marco
  Polo, 30; Columbus’ Annotations on the _Imago Mundi_, 31; on
  Æneas Sylvius, 32; the Atlantic of the Ancients, 37; Prince
  Henry the Navigator, 39; his Autograph, 39; Sketch-map of
  Portuguese Discoveries in Africa, 40; Portuguese Map of the Old
  World (1490), 41; Vasco da Gama and his Autograph, 42; Line of
  Demarcation (Map of 1527), 43; Pope Alexander VI., 44.

  NOTES                                                               46

  A, First Voyage, 46; B, Landfall, 52; C, Effect of the
  Discovery in Europe, 56; D, Second Voyage, 57; E, Third Voyage,
  58; F, Fourth Voyage, 59; G, Lives and Notices of Columbus,
  62; H, Portraits of Columbus, 69; I, Burial and Remains of
  Columbus, 78; J, Birth of Columbus, and Accounts of his Family,

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Fac-simile of first page of Columbus’ Letter,
  No. III., 49; Cut on reverse of Title of Nos. V. and VI., 50;
  Title of No. VI., 51; The Landing of Columbus, 52; Cut in
  German Translation of the First Letter, 53; Text of the German
  Translation, 54; the Bahama Group (map), 55; Sign-manuals
  of Ferdinand and Isabella, 56; Sebastian Brant, 59; Map of
  Columbus’ Four Voyages, 60, 61; Fac-simile of page in the
  Glustiniani Psalter, 63; Ferdinand Columbus’ Register of Books,
  65; Autograph of Humboldt, 68; Paulus Jovius, 70. Portraits
  of Columbus,—after Giovio, 71; the Yanez Portrait, 72; after
  Capriolo, 73; the Florence picture, 74; the De Bry Picture,
  75; the Jomard Likeness, 76; the Havana Medallion, 77; Picture
  at Madrid, 78; after Montanus, 79; Coffer and Bones found in
  Santo Domingo, 80; Inscriptions on and in the Coffer, 81, 82;
  Portrait and Sign-manual of Ferdinand of Spain, 85; Bartholomew
  Columbus, 86.

  POSTSCRIPT                                                          88

  _The Editor_                                                        93

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Early Compass, 94; Astrolabe of Regiomontanus,
  96; Later Astrolabe, 97; Jackstaff, 99; Backstaff, 100;
  Pirckeymerus, 102; Toscanelli’s Map, 103; Martin Behaim, 104;
  Extract from Behaim’s Globe, 105; Part of La Cosa’s Map,
  106; of the Cantino Map, 108; Peter Martyr Map (1511), 110;
  Ptolemy Map (1513), 111; Admiral’s Map (1513), 112; Reisch’s
  Map (1515), 114; Ruysch’s Map (1508), 115; Stobnicza’s Map
  (1512), 116; Schöner, 117; Schöner’s Globe (1515), 118; (1520),
  119; Tross Gores (1514-1519), 120; Münster’s Map (1532), 121;
  Sylvanus’ Map (1511), 122; Lenox Globe, 123; Da Vinci Sketch of
  Globe, 124, 125, 126; Carta Marina of Frisius (1525), 127;
  Coppo’s Map (1528), 127.


  AMERIGO VESPUCCI. _Sydney Howard Gay_                              129

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Fac-simile of a Letter of Vespucci, 130;
  Autograph of Amerrigo Vespuche, 138; Portraits of Vespucci,
  139, 140, 141.


  ILLUSTRATIONS: Title of the Jehan Lambert edition of the
  _Mundus Novus_, 157; first page of Vorsterman’s _Mundus Novus_,
  158; Title of _De Ora Antarctica_, 159; title of _Von der neu
  gefunden Region_, 160; Fac-simile of its first page, 161;
  Ptolemy’s World, 165; Title of the _Cosmographiæ Introductio_,
  167; Fac-simile of its reference to the name of America, 168;
  the Lenox Globe (American parts), 170; Title of the 1509
  edition of the _Cosmographiæ Introductio_, 171; title of the
  _Globus Mundi_, 172; Map of Laurentius Frisius in the Ptolemy
  of 1522, 175; American part of the Mercator Map of 1541, 177;
  Portrait of Apianus, 179.

  _The Editor_                                                       180

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Pomponius Mela’s World, 180; Vadianus, 181; Part
  of Apianus’ Map (1520), 183; Apianus, 185.


  THE COMPANIONS OF COLUMBUS. _Edward Channing_                      187

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Map of Hispaniola, 188; Castilia del Oro, 190;
  Cartagena, 192; Balbóa, 195; Havana, 202.

  CRITICAL ESSAY                                                    204

  ILLUSTRATION: Juan de Grijalva, 216.

  _The Editor_                                                       217

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Map of the Pacific (1518), 217; of the Gulf of
  Mexico (1520), 218; by Lorenz Friess (1522), 218; by Maiollo
  (1527), 219; by Nuño Garcia de Toreno (1527), 220; by Ribero
  (1529), 221; The so-called Lenox Woodcut (1534), 223; Early
  French Map, 224; Gulf of Mexico (1536), 225; by Rotz (1542),
  226; by Cabot (1544), 227; in Ramusio (1556), 228; by Homem
  (1558), 229; by Martines (1578), 229; of Cuba, by Wytfliet
  (1597), 230.


  ANCIENT FLORIDA. _John G. Shea_                                    231

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Ponce de Leon, 235; Hernando de Soto, 252;
  Autograph of De Soto, 253; of Mendoza, 254; Map of Florida
  (1565), 264; Site of Fort Caroline, 265; View of St. Augustine,
  266; Spanish Vessels, 267; Building of Fort Caroline, 268; Fort
  Caroline completed, 269; Map of Florida (1591), 274; Wytfliet’s
  Map (1597), 281.

  CRITICAL ESSAY                                                     283

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Map of Ayllon’s Explorations, 285; Autograph of
  Narvaez, 286; of Cabeza de Vaca, 287; of Charles V., 289; of
  Biedma, 290; Map of the Mississippi (sixteenth century), 292;
  Delisle’s Map, with the Route of De Soto, 294, 295.


  _George E. Ellis_ 299

  CRITICAL ESSAY                                                     331

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Las Casas, 332; his Autograph, 333; Titlepages
  of his Tracts, 334, 336, 338; Fac-simile of his Handwriting,

  EDITORIAL NOTE                                                     343

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Autograph of Motolinia, 343; Title of Oviedo’s
  _Natural Hystoria_ (1526), 344; Arms of Oviedo, 345; his
  Autograph, 346; Head of Benzoni, 347.


  CORTÉS AND HIS COMPANIONS. _The Editor_                            349

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Velasquez, 350; Cannon of Cortés’ time, 352;
  Helps’s Map of Cortés’ Voyage, 353; Cortés and his Arms, 354;
  Gabriel Lasso de la Vega, 355; Cortés, 357; Map of the March
  of Cortés, 358; Cortés, 360; Montezuma, 361, 363; Map of
  Mexico before the Conquest, 364; Pedro de Alvarado, 366; his
  Autograph, 367; Helps’s Map of the Mexican Valley, 369; Tree of
  Triste Noche, 370; Charles V., 371, 373; his Autograph, 372;
  Wilson’s Map of the Mexican Valley, 374; Jourdanet’s Map of
  the Valley, _colored_, 375; Mexico under the Conquerors, 377;
  Mexico according to Ramusio, 379; Cortés in Jovius, 381; his
  Autograph, 381; Map of Guatemala and Honduras, 384; Autograph
  of Sandoval, 387; his Portrait, 388; Cortés after Herrera, 389;
  his Armor, 390; Autograph of Fuenleal, 391; Map of Mexico after
  Herrera, 392; Acapulco, 394; Full-length Portrait of Cortés,
  395; Likeness on a Medal, 396.

  CRITICAL ESSAY                                                     397

  ILLUSTRATION: Autograph of Icazbalceta, 397.

  NOTES 402

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Cortés before Charles V., 403; Cortés’ Map of
  the Gulf of Mexico, 404; Title of the Latin edition of his
  Letters (1524), 405; Reverse of its Title, 406; Portrait of
  Clement VII., 407; Autograph of Gayangos, 408; Lorenzana’s
  Map of Spain, 408; Title of _De insulis nuper inventis_, 409;
  Title of Gomara’s _Historia_ (1553), 413; Autograph of Bernal
  Diaz, 414; of Sahagun, 416; Portrait of Solis, 423; Portrait of
  William H. Prescott, 426.

  _The Editor_                                                       431

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Map from the Sloane Manuscripts (1530), 432;
  from Ruscelli (1544), 432; Nancy Globe, 433; from Ziegler’s
  _Schondia_ (1532), 434; Carta Marina (1548), 435; Vopellio’s
  Map (1556), 436; Titlepage of Girava’s _Cosmographia_, 437;
  Furlani’s Map (1560), 438; Map of the Pacific (1513), 440;
  Cortés’ Map of the California Peninsula, 442; Castillo’s Map of
  the California Gulf (1541), 444; Map by Homem (1540), 446; by
  Cabot (1544), 447; by Freire (1546), 448; in Ptolemy (1548),
  449; by Martines (155-?), 450; by Zaltieri (1566), 451; by
  Mercator (1569), 452; by Porcacchi (1572), 453; by Furlani
  (1574), 454; from Molineaux’ Globe (1592), 455; a Spanish
  Galleon, 456; Map of the Gulf of California by Wytfliet (1597),
  458; of America by Wytfliet (1597), 459; of Terre de Iesso,
  464; of the California Coast by Dudley (1646), 465; Diagram of
  Mercator’s Projection, 470.


  EARLY EXPLORATIONS OF NEW MEXICO. _Henry W. Haynes_                473

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Autograph of Coronado, 481; Map of his
  Explorations, 485; Early Drawings of the Buffalo, 488, 489.

  CRITICAL ESSAY                                                     498

  EDITORIAL NOTE                                                     503


  _Clements R. Markham_                                              505

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Indian Rafts, 508; Sketch-maps of the Conquest
  of Peru, 509, 519; picture of Embarkation, 512; Ruge’s Map
  of Pizarro’s Discoveries, 513; Native Huts in Trees, 514;
  Atahualpa, 515, 516; Almagro, 518; Plan of Ynca Fortress near
  Cusco, 521; Building of a Town, 522; Gabriel de Rojas, 523;
  Sketch-map of the Conquest of Chili, 524; Pedro de Valdivia,
  529, 530; Pastene, 531; Pizarro, 532, 533; Vaca de Castro,
  535; Pedro de la Gasca, 539, 540; Alonzo de Alvarado, 544;
  Conception Bay, 548; Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza, 550; Peruvians
  worshipping the Sun, 551; Cusco, 554; Temple of Cusco, 555;
  Wytfliet’s Map of Peru, 558; of Chili, 559; Sotomayor, 562;
  Title of the 1535 Xeres, 565.

  CRITICAL ESSAY                                                     563

  ILLUSTRATION: Title of the 1535 Xeres, 565.

  EDITORIAL NOTES                                                    573

  ILLUSTRATION: Prescott’s Library, 577.

  THE AMAZON AND ELDORADO. _The Editor_                              579

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Gonzalo Ximenes de Quesada, 580; Sketch-map,
  581; Castellanos, 583; Map of the Mouths of the Orinoco, 586;
  De Laet’s Map of Parime Lacus, 588.


  MAGELLAN’S DISCOVERY. _Edward E. Hale_                             591

  ILLUSTRATIONS: Autograph of Magellan, 592; Portraits of
  Magellan, 593, 594, 595; Indian Beds, 597; South American
  Cannibals, 598; Giant’s Skeleton at Porto Desire, 602;
  Quoniambec, 603; Pigafetta’s Map of Magellan’s Straits, 605;
  Chart of the Pacific, showing Magellan’s Track, 610; Pigafetta’s
  Map of the Ladrones, 611.

  CRITICAL ESSAY                                                     613

  INDEX                                                              619




THE earliest of the historians to use, to any extent, documentary
proofs, was Herrera, in his _Historia general_, first published in
1601.[1] As the official historiographer of the Indies, he had the best
of opportunities for access to the great wealth of documents which the
Spanish archivists had preserved; but he never distinctly quotes them,
or says where they are to be found.[2] It is through him that we are
aware of some important manuscripts not now known to exist.[3]

The formation of the collections at Simancas, near Valladolid,
dates back to an order of Charles the Fifth, Feb. 19, 1543. New
accommodations were added from time to time, as documents were removed
thither from the bureaus of the Crown Secretaries, and from those
of the Councils of Seville and of the Indies. It was reorganized by
Philip II., in 1567, on a larger basis, as a depository for historical
research, when masses of manuscripts from other parts of Spain
were transported thither;[4] but the comparatively small extent of
the Simancas Collection does not indicate that the order was very
extensively observed; though it must be remembered that Napoleon made
havoc among these papers, and that in 1814 it was but a remnant which
was rearranged.[5]

Dr. Robertson was the earliest of the English writers to make even
scant use of the original manuscript sources of information; and such
documents as he got from Spain were obtained through the solicitation
and address of Lord Grantham, the English ambassador. Everything,
however, was grudgingly given, after being first directly refused. It
is well known that the Spanish Government considered even what he did
obtain and make use of as unfit to be brought to the attention of their
own public, and the authorities interposed to prevent the translation
of Robertson’s history into Spanish.

In his preface Dr. Robertson speaks of the peculiar solicitude with
which the Spanish archives were concealed from strangers in his time;
and he tells how, to Spanish subjects even, those of Simancas were
opened only upon a royal order. Papers notwithstanding such order,
he says, could be copied only by payment of fees too exorbitant to
favor research.[6] By order of Fernando VI., in the last century, a
collection of selected copies of the most important documents in the
various depositories of archives was made; and this was placed in the
Biblioteca Nacional at Madrid.

In 1778 Charles III. ordered that the documents of the Indies in the
Spanish offices and depositories should be brought together in one
place. The movement did not receive form till 1785, when a commission
was appointed; and not till 1788, did Simancas, and the other
collections drawn upon, give up their treasures to be transported to
Seville, where they were placed in the building provided for them.[7]

Muñoz, who was born in 1745, was commissioned in 1779 by the King
with authority[8] to search archives, public and family, and to write
and publish a _Historia del nuevo mundo_. Of this work only a single
volume,[9] bringing the story down to 1500, was completed, and it was
issued in 1793. Muñoz gave in its preface a critical review of the
sources of his subject. In the prosecution of his labor he formed
a collection of documents, which after his death was scattered;
but parts of it were, in 1827, in the possession of Don Antonio de
Uguina,[10] and later of Ternaux. The Spanish Government exerted
itself to reassemble the fragments of this collection, which is now,
in great part, in the Academy of History at Madrid,[11] where it has
been increased by other manuscripts from the archives at Seville.
Other portions are lodged, however, in ministerial offices, and the
most interesting are noted by Harrisse in his _Christophe Colomb_.[12]
A paper by Mr. J. Carson Brevoort on Muñoz and his manuscripts is in
the _American Bibliopolist_ (vol. viii. p. 21), February, 1876.[13] An
English translation of Muñoz’s single volume appeared in 1797, with
notes, mostly translated from the German version by Sprengel, published
in 1795. Rich had a manuscript copy made of all that Muñoz wrote of his
second volume (never printed), and this copy is noted in the _Brinley
Catalogue_, no. 47.[14]

[Illustration: AUTOGRAPH OF MUÑOZ.]

“In the days of Muñoz,” says Harrisse in his _Notes on Columbus_, p.
1, “the great repositories for original documents concerning Columbus
and the early history of Spanish America were the Escurial, Simancas,
the Convent of Monserrate, the colleges of St. Bartholomew and Cuenca
at Salamanca, and St. Gregory at Valladolid, the Cathedral of Valencia,
the Church of Sacro-Monte in Granada, the convents of St. Francis
at Tolosa, St. Dominick at Malaga, St. Acacio, St. Joseph, and St.
Isidro del Campo at Seville. There may be many valuable records still
concealed in those churches and convents.”

The originals of the letters-patent, and other evidences of privileges
granted by the Spanish monarchs to Columbus, were preserved by him,
and now constitute a part of the collection of the Duke of Veraguas,
in Madrid. In 1502 Columbus caused several attested copies of them
and of a few other documents to be made, raising the number of papers
from thirty-six to forty-four. His care in causing these copies to be
distributed among different custodians evinces the high importance
which he held them to have, as testimonials to his fame and his
prominence in the world’s history. One wishes he could have had a like
solicitude for the exactness of his own statements. Before setting out
on his fourth voyage, he intrusted one of these copies to Francesco
di Rivarolo, for delivery to Nicoló Odérigo, the ambassador of Genoa,
in Madrid. From Cadiz shortly afterwards he sent a second copy to the
same Odérigo. In 1670 both of these copies were given, by a descendant
of Odérigo, to the Republic of Genoa. They subsequently disappeared
from the archives of the State, and Harrisse[15] has recently found
one of them in the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at
Paris. The other was bought in 1816 by the Sardinian Government, at a
sale of the effects of Count Michael-Angelo Cambiasi. After a copy had
been made and deposited in the archives at Turin, this second copy was
deposited in a marble custodia, surmounted by a bust of Columbus, and
placed in the palace of the Doges in Genoa.[16] These documents, with
two of the letters addressed (March 21, 1502, and Dec. 27, 1504)[17]
to Odérigo, were published in Genoa in 1823 in the _Codice diplomatico
Colombo-Americano_, edited with a biographical introduction by Giovanni
Battista Spotorno.[18] A third letter (April 2, 1502), addressed to the
governors of the Bank of St. George, was not printed by Spotorno, but
was given in English in 1851 in the _Memorials of Columbus_ by Robert
Dodge, published by the Maryland Historical Society.[19]

The State Archives of Genoa were transferred from the Ducal Palace, in
1817, to the Palazzetto, where they now are; and Harrisse’s account[20]
of them tells us what they do not contain respecting Columbus, rather
than what they do. We also learn from him something of the “Archives
du Notariat Génois,” and of the collections formed by the Senator
Federico Federici (d. 1647), by Gian Battista Richeri (_circa_ 1724),
and by others; but they seem to have afforded Harrisse little more than
stray notices of early members of the Colombo family.

Washington Irving refers to the “self-sustained zeal of one of the last
veterans of Spanish literature, who is almost alone, yet indefatigable,
in his labors in a country where at present literary exertion meets
with but little excitement or reward.” Such is his introduction of
Martin Fernandez de Navarrete,[21] who was born in 1765, and as a
young man gave some active and meritorious service in the Spanish
navy. In 1789 he was forced by ill-health to abandon the sea. He then
accepted a commission from Charles IV. to examine all the depositories
of documents in the kingdom, and arrange the material to be found in
illustration of the history of the Spanish navy.[22] This work he
continued, with interruptions, till 1825, when he began at Madrid the
publication of his _Coleccion de los viages y descubrimientos que
hicieron por mar los Españoles desde fines del siglo XV._,[23] which
reached an extent of five volumes, and was completed in 1837. It put
in convenient printed form more than five hundred documents of great
value, between the dates of 1393 and 1540. A sixth and seventh volume
were left unfinished at his death, which occurred in 1844, at the age
of seventy-eight.[24] His son afterward gathered some of his minor
writings, including biographies of early navigators,[25] and printed
(1848) them as a _Coleccion de opúsculos_; and in 1851 another of his
works, _Biblioteca maritima Española_, was printed at Madrid in two

The first two volumes of his collection (of which volumes there was
a second edition in 1858) bore the distinctive title, _Relaciones,
cartas y otros documentos, concernientes á los cuatro viages que
hizo el Almirante D. Cristóbal Colon para el descubrimiento de las
Indias occidentales, and Documentos diplomáticos_. Three years later
(1828) a French version of these two volumes appeared at Paris, which
Navarrete himself revised, and which is further enriched with notes by
Humboldt, Jomard, Walckenaer, and others.[27] This French edition is
entitled: _Relation des quatres voyages entrepris par Ch. Colomb pour
la découverte du Nouveau Monde de 1492 à 1504, traduite par Chalumeau
de Vernéuil? et de la Roquette_. It is in three volumes, and is worth
about twenty francs. An Italian version, _Narrazione dei quattro
viaggi_, etc., was made by F. Giuntini, and appeared in two volumes at
Prato in 1840-1841.[28]

Navarrete’s literary labors did not prevent much conspicuous service
on his part, both at sea and on land; and in 1823, not long before
he published his great Collection, he became the head of the Spanish
hydrographic bureau.[29] After his death the Spanish Academy printed
(1846) his historical treatise on the Art of Navigation and kindred
subjects (_Disertacion sobre la historia de la náutica_[30]), which was
an enlargement of an earlier essay published in 1802.

While Navarrete’s great work was in progress at Madrid, Mr. Alexander
H. Everett, the American Minister at that Court, urged upon Washington
Irving, then at Bordeaux, the translation into English of the new
material which Navarrete was preparing, together with his Commentary.
Upon this incentive Irving went to Madrid and inspected the work, which
was soon published. His sense of the popular demand easily convinced
him that a continuous narrative, based upon Navarrete’s material,—but
leaving himself free to use all other helps,—would afford him better
opportunities to display his own graceful literary skill, and more
readily to engage the favor of the general reader. Irving’s judgment
was well founded; and Navarrete never quite forgave him for making a
name more popularly associated with that of the great discoverer than
his own.[31] Navarrete afforded Irving at this time much personal help
and encouragement. Obadiah Rich, the American Consul at Valencia, under
whose roof Irving lived, furnished him, however, his chief resource in
a curious and extensive library. To the Royal Library, and to that of
the Jesuit College of San Isidro, Irving also occasionally resorted.
The Duke of Veraguas took pleasure in laying before him his own family
archives.[32] The result was the _Life and Voyages of Christopher
Columbus_; and in the Preface, dated at Madrid in 1827,[33] Irving made
full acknowledgment of the services which had been rendered to him.
This work was followed, not long after, by the _Voyages and Discoveries
of the Companions of Columbus_; and ever since, in English and other
languages, the two books have kept constant company.[34]

Irving proved an amiable hero-worshipper, and Columbus was pictured
with few questionable traits. The writer’s literary canons did not
call for the scrutiny which destroys a world’s exemplar. “One of the
most salutary purposes of history,” he says, “is to furnish examples
of what human genius and laudable enterprise may accomplish,”—and such
brilliant examples must be rescued from the “pernicious erudition” of
the investigator. Irving’s method at least had the effect to conciliate
the upholders of the saintly character of the discoverer; and the
modern school of the De Lorgues, who have been urging the canonization
of Columbus, find Irving’s ideas of him higher and juster than those of

       *       *       *       *       *

Henri Ternaux-Compans printed his _Voyages, relations, et mémoires
originaux pour servir à l’histoire de la dècouverte de l’Amérique_,
between 1837 and 1841.[35] This collection included rare books and
about seventy-five original documents, which it is suspected may
have been obtained during the French occupation of Spain. Ternaux
published his _Archives des voyages_, in two volumes, at Paris in
1840;[36] a minor part of it pertains to American affairs. Another
volume, published at the same time, is often found with it,—_Recueil
de documents et mémoires originaux sur l’histoire des possessions
Espagnoles dans l’Amérique_, whose contents, it is said, were derived
from the Muñoz Collection.

The Academy of History at Madrid began in 1842 a series of documentary
illustrations which, though devoted to the history of Spain in general
(_Coleccion de documentos inéditos para la historia de España_),
contains much matter of the first importance in respect to the history
of her colonies.[37] Navarrete was one of the original editors, but
lived only to see five volumes published. Salvá, Baranda, and others
have continued the publication since, which now amounts to eighty
volumes, of which vols. 62, 63, and 64 are the famous history of Las
Casas, then for the first time put in print.

In 1864 a new series was begun at Madrid,—_Coleccion de documentos
inéditos relativos al descubrimiento, conquista y colonizacion de
las posesiones Españolas en América y Oceania, sacados, en su mayor
parte, del Real Archivo de Indias_. Nearly forty volumes have thus far
been published, under the editing of Joaquin F. Pacheco, Francisco de
Cárdenas, and Luis Torres de Mendoza at the start, but with changes
later in the editorial staff.[38]

Mr. E. G. Squier edited at New York in 1860 a work called _Collection
of Rare and Original Documents and Relations concerning the Discovery
and Conquest of America, chiefly from the Spanish Archives, in the
original, with Translations, Notes, Maps, and Sketches_. There was
a small edition only,—one hundred copies on small paper, and ten on
large paper.[39] This was but one of a large collection of manuscripts
relative to Central America and Mexico which Mr. Squier had collected,
partly during his term as _chargé d’affaires_ in 1849. Out of these
he intended a series of publications, which never went beyond this
first number. The collection “consists,” says Bancroft,[40] “of
extracts and copies of letters and reports of _audiencias_, governors,
bishops, and various governmental officials, taken from the Spanish
archives at Madrid and from the library of the Spanish Royal Academy of
History, mostly under the direction of the indefatigable collector, Mr.
Buckingham Smith.”

Early Spanish manuscripts on America in the British Museum are noted in
its _Index to Manuscripts_, 1854-1875, p. 31; and Gayangos’ _Catalogue
of Spanish Manuscripts in the British Museum_, vol. ii., has a section
on America.[41]

Regarding the chances of further developments in depositories of
manuscripts, Harrisse, in his _Notes on Columbus_,[42] says: “For the
present the historian will find enough to gather from the Archivo
General de Indias in the Lonja at Seville, which contains as many as
forty-seven thousand huge packages, brought, within the last fifty
years, from all parts of Spain. But the richest mine as yet unexplored
we suppose to be the archives of the monastic orders in Italy; as
all the expeditions to the New World were accompanied by Franciscan,
Dominican, Benedictine, and other monks, who maintained an active
correspondence with the heads of their respective congregations. The
private archives of the Dukes of Veraguas, Medina-Sidonia, and Del
Infantado, at Madrid, are very rich. There is scarce anything relating
to that early period left in Simancas; but the original documents in
the Torre do Tombo at Lisbon are all intact”[43]

Among the latest contributions to the documentary history of the
Spanish colonization is a large folio, _Cartas de Indias, publicalas
por primera vez el ministerio de fomento_, issued in Madrid in 1877
under the auspices of the Spanish Government. It contains one hundred
and eight letters,[44] covering the period 1496 to 1586, the earliest
date being a supposed one for a letter of Columbus which is without
date. The late Mr. George Dexter,[45] who has printed[46] a translation
of this letter (together with one of another letter, Feb. 6, 1502,
and one of Vespucius, Dec. 9, 1508), gives his reasons for thinking the
date should be between March 15 and Sept. 25, 1493.[47]

At Madrid and Paris was published, in 1883, a single octavo
volume,—_Costa-Rica, Nicaragua y Panamá en el siglo XVI., su historia
y sus limítes segun los documentos del Archivo de Indias de Sevilla,
del de Simancas, etc., recogidos y publicados con notas y aclaraciones
históricas y geográficas, por D. Manuel M. de Peralta_.

The more special and restricted documentary sources are examined in the
successive chapters of the present volume.






_The Editor._

BEYOND his birth, of poor and respectable parents, we know nothing
positively about the earliest years of Columbus. His father was
probably a wool-comber. The boy had the ordinary schooling of his time,
and a touch of university life during a few months passed at Pavia;
then at fourteen he chose to become a sailor. A seaman’s career in
those days implied adventures more or less of a piratical kind. There
are intimations, however, that in the intervals of this exciting life
he followed the more humanizing occupation of selling books in Genoa,
and perhaps got some employment in the making of charts, for he had a
deft hand at design. We know his brother Bartholomew was earning his
living in this way when Columbus joined him in Lisbon in 1470. Previous
to this there seems to be some degree of certainty in connecting him
with voyages made by a celebrated admiral of his time bearing the
same family name, Colombo; he is also said to have joined the naval
expedition of John of Anjou against Naples in 1459.[48] Again, he may
have been the companion of another notorious corsair, a nephew of the
one already mentioned, as is sometimes maintained; but this sea-rover’s
proper name seems to have been more likely Caseneuve, though he was
sometimes called Coulon or Colon.[49]

Columbus spent the years 1470-1484 in Portugal. It was a time when the
air was filled with tales of discovery. The captains of Prince Henry
of Portugal had been gradually pushing their ships down the African
coast and in some of these voyages Columbus was a participant. To one
of his navigators Prince Henry had given the governorship of the Island
of Porto Santo, of the Madeira group. To the daughter of this man,
Perestrello,[50] Columbus was married; and with his widow Columbus
lived, and derived what advantage he could from the papers and charts
of the old navigator. There was a tie between his own and his wife’s
family in the fact that Perestrello was an Italian, and seems to have
been of good family, but to have left little or no inheritance for his
daughter beyond some property in Porto Santo, which Columbus went to
enjoy. On this island Columbus’ son Diego was born in 1474.

It was in this same year (1474) that he had some correspondence with
the Italian _savant_, Toscanelli, regarding the discovery of land
westward. A belief in such discovery was a natural corollary of the
object which Prince Henry had had in view,—by circumnavigating Africa
to find a way to the countries of which Marco Polo had given golden
accounts. It was to substitute for the tedious indirection of the
African route a direct western passage,—a belief in the practicability
of which was drawn from a confidence in the sphericity of the earth.
Meanwhile, gathering what hope he could by reading the ancients, by
conferring with wise men, and by questioning mariners returned from
voyages which had borne them more or less westerly on the great ocean,
Columbus suffered the thought to germinate as it would in his mind for
several years. Even on the voyages which he made hither and thither for
gain,—once far north, to Iceland even, or perhaps only to the Faröe
Islands, as is inferred,—and in active participation in various warlike
and marauding expeditions, like the attack on the Venetian galleys
near Cape St. Vincent in 1485,[51] he constantly came in contact with
those who could give him hints affecting his theory. Through all these
years, however, we know not certainly what were the vicissitudes which
fell to his lot.[52]

It seems possible, if not probable, that Columbus went to Genoa and
Venice, and in the first instance presented his scheme of western
exploration to the authorities of those cities.[53] He may, on the
other hand; have tried earlier to get the approval of the King of
Portugal. In this case the visit to Italy may have occurred in the year
following his departure from Portugal, which is nearly a blank in the
record of his life. De Lorgues believes in the anterior Italian visit,
when both Genoa and Venice rejected his plans; and then makes him live
with his father at Savone, gaining a living by constructing charts, and
by selling maps and books in Genoa.

It would appear that in 1484 Columbus had urged his views upon the
Portuguese King, but with no further success than to induce the
sovereign to despatch, on other pretences, a vessel to undertake the
passage westerly in secrecy. Its return without accomplishing any
discovery opened the eyes of Columbus to the deceit which that monarch
would have put upon him, and he departed from the Portuguese dominions
in not a little disgust.[54]

The death of his wife had severed another tie with Portugal; and taking
with him his boy Diego, Columbus left, to go we scarcely know whither,
so obscure is the record of his life for the next year. Muñoz claims
for this period that he went to Italy. Sharon Turner has conjectured
that he went to England; but there seems no ground to believe that he
had any relations with the English Court except by deputy, for his
brother Bartholomew was despatched to lay his schemes before Henry
VII.[55] Whatever may have been the result of this application, no
answer seems to have reached Columbus until he was committed to the
service of Spain.

It was in 1485 or 1486—for authorities differ[56]—that a proposal was
laid by Columbus before Ferdinand and Isabella; but the steps were
slow by which he made even this progress. We know how, in the popular
story, he presented himself at the Franciscan Convent of Santa María
de la Rábida, asking for bread for himself and his boy. This convent
stood on a steep promontory about half a league from Palos, and was
then in charge of the Father Superior Juan Perez de Marchena.[57] The
appearance of the stranger first, and his talk next, interested the
Prior; and it was under his advice and support after a while—when
Martin Alonzo Pinzon, of the neighboring town of Palos, had espoused
the new theory—that Columbus was passed on to Cordova, with such claims
to recognition as the Prior of Rabidá could bestow upon him.

It was perhaps while success did not seem likely here, in the midst
of the preparations for a campaign against the Moorish kings, that
his brother Bartholomew made his trip to England.[58] It was also in
November, 1486, it would seem, that Columbus formed his connection with
Beatrix Enriquez, while he was waiting in Cordova for the attention of
the monarch to be disengaged from this Moorish campaign.

[Illustration: COLUMBUS’ ARMOR.

This follows a cut in Ruge’s _Geschichte des Zeitalters der
Entdeckungen_, p. 245. The armor is in the Collection in the Royal
Palace at Madrid.]

Among those at this time attached to the Court of Ferdinand and
Isabella was Alexander Geraldinus, then about thirty years old. He
was a traveller, a man of letters, and a mathematician; and it was
afterward the boast of his kinsman, who edited his _Itinerarium ad
regiones sub æquinoctiali plaga constitutas_[59] (Rome, 1631), that
Geraldinus, in one way and another, aided Columbus in pressing his
views upon their Majesties. It was through Geraldinus’ influence, or
through that of others who had become impressed with his views, that
Columbus finally got the ear of Pedro Gonzales de Mendoza, Archbishop
of Toledo. The way was now surer. The King heeded the Archbishop’s
advice, and a council of learned men was convened, by royal orders, at
Salamanca, to judge Columbus and his theories. Here he was met by all
that prejudice, content, and ignorance (as now understood, but wisdom
then) could bring to bear, in the shape of Scriptural contradictions of
his views, and the pseudo-scientific distrust of what were thought mere
visionary aims. He met all to his own satisfaction, but not quite so
successfully to the comprehension of his judges. He told them that he
should find Asia that way; and that if he did not, there must be other
lands westerly quite as desirable to discover. No conclusion had been
reached when, in the spring of 1487, the Court departed from Cordova,
and Columbus found himself left behind without encouragement, save in
the support of a few whom he had convinced,—notably Diego de Deza, a
friar destined to some ecclesiastical distinction as Archbishop of

During the next five years Columbus experienced every vexation
attendant upon delay, varied by participancy in the wars which the
Court urged against the Moors, and in which he sought to propitiate
the royal powers by doing them good service in the field. At last,
in 1491, wearied with excuses of pre-occupation and the ridicule of
the King’s advisers, Columbus turned his back on the Court and left
Seville,[60] to try his fortune with some of the Grandees. He still
urged in vain, and sought again the Convent of Rabida. Here he made a
renewed impression upon Marchena; so that finally, through the Prior’s
interposition with Isabella, Columbus was summoned to Court. He arrived
in time to witness the surrender of Granada, and to find the monarchs
more at liberty to listen to his words. There seemed now a likelihood
of reaching an end of his tribulations; when his demand of recognition
as viceroy, and his claim to share one tenth of all income from the
territories to be discovered, frightened as well as disgusted those
appointed to negotiate with him, and all came once more to an end.
Columbus mounted his mule and started for France. Two finance ministers
of the Crown, Santangel for Arragon and Quintanilla for Castile, had
been sufficiently impressed by the new theory to look with regret on
what they thought might be a lost opportunity. Isabella was won; and a
messenger was despatched to overtake Columbus.

The fugitive returned; and on April 17, 1492, at Santa Fé, an agreement
was signed by Ferdinand and Isabella which gave Columbus the office
of high-admiral and viceroy in parts to be discovered, and an income
of one eighth of the profits, in consideration of his assuming one
eighth of the costs. Castile bore the rest of the expense; but Arragon
advanced the money,[61] and the Pinzons subscribed the eighth part for

The happy man now solemnly vowed to use what profits should accrue
in accomplishing the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre from the Moslems.
Palos, owing some duty to the Crown, was ordered to furnish two armed
caravels, and Columbus was empowered to fit out a third. On the 30th
of April the letters-patent confirming his dignities were issued. His
son Diego was made a page of the royal household. On May 12 he left the
Court and hastened towards Palos. Here, upon showing his orders for
the vessels, he found the town rebellious, with all the passion of a
people who felt that some of their number were being simply doomed to
destruction beyond that Sea of Darkness whose bounds they knew not.
Affairs were in this unsatisfactory condition when the brothers Pinzon
threw themselves and their own vessels into the cause; while a third
vessel, the “Pinta,” was impressed,—much to the alarm of its owners and


Fac-simile of the engraving in Herrera. It originally appeared in De
Bry, part iv.]

[Illustration: EARLY VESSELS.

This representation of the vessels of the early Spanish navigators is
a fac-simile of a cut in Medina’s _Arte de navegar_, Valladolid, 1545,
which was re-engraved in the Venice edition of 1555. Cf. _Carter-Brown
Catalogue_, vol. i. nos. 137, 204; Ruge, _Geschichte des Zeitalters
der Entdeckungen_, pp. 240, 241; Jurien de la Gravière’s _Les marins
du XV^e et du XVI^e siècle_, vol. i. pp. 38, 151. In the variety of
changes in methods of measurement it is not easy to find the equivalent
in tonnage of the present day for the ships of Columbus’s time. Those
constituting his little fleet seem to have been light and swift vessels
of the class called caravels. One had a deck amidships, with high
forecastle and poop, and two were without this deck, though high, and
covered at the ends. Captain G. V. Fox has given what he supposes
were the dimensions of the larger one,—a heavier craft and duller
sailer than the others. He calculates for a hundred tons,—makes her
sixty-three feet over all, fifty-one feet keel, twenty feet beam, and
ten and a half feet draft of water. She carried the kind of gun termed
lombards, and a crew of fifty men. _U. S. Coast Survey Report_, 1880,
app. 18; _Becher’s Landfall of Columbus_; A. Jal’s _Archéologie navale_
(Paris, 1840); Irving’s _Columbus_, app. xv.; H. H. Bancroft, _Central
America_, i. 187; _Das Ausland_, 1867, p. 1. There are other views of
the ships of Columbus’ time in the cuts in some of the early editions
of his Letters on the discovery. See notes following this chapter.]

And so, out of the harbor of Palos,[62] on the 3d of August, 1492,
Columbus sailed with his three little vessels. The “Santa Maria,” which
carried his flag, was the only one of the three which had a deck, while
the other two, the “Niña” and the “Pinta,” were open caravels. The two
Pinzons commanded these smaller ships,—Martin Alonzo the “Pinta”, and
Vicente the “Niña.”

[Illustration: BUILDING A SHIP.

This follows a fac-simile, given in Ruge, _Geschichte des Zeitalters
der Entdeckungen_ p. 240, of a cut in Bernhardus de Breydenbach’s
_Peregrinationes_, Mainz, 1486.]

The voyage was uneventful, except that the expectancy of all quickened
the eye, which sometimes saw over-much, and poised the mind, which
was alert with hope and fear. It has been pointed out how a westerly
course from Palos would have discouraged Columbus with head and
variable winds. Running down to the Canaries (for Toscanelli put those
islands in the latitude of Cipango), a westerly course thence would
bring him within the continuous easterly trade-winds, whose favoring
influence would inspirit his men,—as, indeed, was the case. Columbus,
however, was very glad on the 22d of September to experience a west
wind, just to convince his crew it was possible to have, now and then,
the direction of it favorable to their return. He had proceeded, as he
thought, some two hundred miles farther than the longitude in which he
had conjectured Cipango to be, when the urging of Martin Alonzo Pinzon,
and the flight of birds indicating land to be nearer in the southwest,
induced him to change his course in that direction.[63]


This follows a map given in _Das Ausland_, 1867, p. 4, in a paper on
Columbus’ Journal, “Das Schiffsbuch des Entdeckers von Amerika.” The
routes of Columbus’ four voyages are marked on the map accompanying the
_Studi biografici e bibliografici_ published by the Società Geografica
Italiana in 1882. Cf. also the map in Charton’s _Voyageurs_, iii. 155,
reproduced on a later page.]

About midnight between the 11th and 12th of October, Columbus on the
lookout thought he saw a light moving in the darkness. He called a
companion, and the two in counsel agreed that it was so.[64] At about
two o’clock, the moon then shining, a mariner on the “Pinta” discerned
unmistakably a low sandy shore. In the morning a landing was made, and,
with prayer[65] and ceremony, possession was taken of the new-found
island in the name of the Spanish sovereigns.


This follows a fac-simile, given in Ruge, _Geschichte des Zeitalters
der Entdeckungen_, p. 241, of a cut in Bernhardus de Breydenbach’s
_Peregrinationes_, Mainz, 1486.]

On the third day (October 14) Columbus lifted anchor, and for ten days
sailed among the minor islands of the archipelago; but struck the
Cuban coast on the 28th.[66] Here the “Pinta,” without orders from
the Admiral, went off to seek some gold-field, of which Martin Alonzo
Pinzon, its commander, fancied he had got some intimation from the
natives. Pinzon returned bootless; but Columbus was painfully conscious
of the mutinous spirit of his lieutenant.[67] The little fleet next
found Hayti (Hispaniæ insula,[68] as he called it), and on its northern
side the Admiral’s ship was wrecked. Out of her timbers Columbus built
a fort on the shore, called it “La Navidad,” and put into it a garrison
under Diego de Arana.[69]


Fac-simile of a cut in Oviedo, edition of 1547, fol. lix. There is
another engraving in Charton’s _Voyageurs_, iii. 124. Cf. also Ramusio,
_Nav. et Viaggi_, iii.]

With the rest of his company and in his two smaller vessels, on the
4th of January, 1493, Columbus started on his return to Spain. He ran
northerly to the latitude of his destination, and then steered due
east. He experienced severe weather, but reached the Azores safely;
and then, passing on, entered the Tagus and had an interview with the
Portuguese King. Leaving Lisbon on the 13th, he reached Palos on the
15th of March, after an absence of over seven months.

[Illustration: CURING THE SICK.

This is Benzoni’s sketch of the way in which the natives cure and tend
their sick at Hispaniola. Edition of 1572, p. 56.]

He was received by the people of the little seaport with acclamations
and wonder; and, despatching a messenger to the Spanish Court at
Barcelona, he proceeded to Seville to await the commands of the
monarchs. He was soon bidden to hasten to them; and with the triumph of
more than a conqueror, and preceded by the bedizened Indians whom he
had brought with him, he entered the city and stood in the presence
of the sovereigns. He was commanded to sit before them, and to tell
the story of his discovery. This he did with conscious pride; and not
forgetting the past, he publicly renewed his previous vow to wrest the
Holy Sepulchre from the Infidel.


This is a reduction of a fac-simile by Pilinski, given in Margry’s
_Les Navigations Françaises_, p. 360,—an earlier reproduction having
been given by M. Jal in _La France maritime_. It is also figured in
Charton’s _Voyageurs_, iii. 139. The original sketch, by Columbus
himself, was sent by him from Seville in 1502, and is preserved in
the city hall at Genoa. M. Jal gives a description of it in his _De
Paris à Naples_, 1836, i. 257. The figure sitting beside Columbus is
Providence; Envy and Ignorance are hinted at as monsters following in
his wake; while Constancy, Tolerance, the Christian Religion, Victory,
and Hope attend him. Above all is the floating figure of Fame blowing
two trumpets, one marked “Genoa,” the other “Fama Columbi.” Harrisse
(_Notes on Columbus_, p. 165) says that good judges assign this picture
to Columbus’s own hand, though none of the drawings ascribed to him
are authentic beyond doubt; while it is very true that he had the
reputation of being a good draughtsman. Feuillet de Conches (_Revue
contemporaine_, xxiv. 509) disbelieves in its authenticity. The usual
signature of Columbus is in the lower left-hand corner of the above
sketch, the initial letters in which have never been satisfactorily
interpreted; but perhaps as reasonable a guess as any would make
YOSEPH—_Christo ferens_.” Others read, “SERVIDOR SUS ALTEZAS SACRAS,
CHRISTO, MARIA, YSABEL [_or_ YOSEPH].” The “Christo ferens” is
sometimes replaced by “_El Almirante_.” The essay on the autograph
in the _Cartas de Indias_ is translated in the _Magazine of American
History_, Jan., 1883, p. 55. Cf. Irving, app. xxxv. Ruge, _Geschichte
des Zeitalters der Entdeckungen_, p. 317; _Massachusetts Historical
Society Proceedings_, xvi. 322, etc.]

The expectation which had sustained Columbus in his voyage, and which
he thought his discoveries had confirmed, was that he had reached the
western parts of India or Asia; and the new islands were accordingly
everywhere spoken of as the West Indies, or the New World.


Fac-simile of engraving in Herrera, who follows DeBry.]


Last page of an autograph letter preserved in the Colombina Library at
Seville, following a photograph in Harrisse’s _Notes on Columbus_, p.

The ruling Pope, Alexander VI., was a native Valencian; and to him
an appeal was now made for a Bull, confirming to Spain and Portugal
respective fields for discovery. This was issued May 4, 1493, fixing
a line, on the thither side of which Spain was to be master; and on
the hither side, Portugal. This was traced at a meridian one hundred
leagues west of the Azores and Cape de Verde Islands, which were
assumed to be in the same longitude practically. The thought of future
complications from the running of this line to the antipodes does
not seem to have alarmed either Pope or sovereigns; but troubles on
the Atlantic side were soon to arise, to be promptly compounded by a
convention at Tordesillas, which agreed (June 4, ratified June 7, 1494)
to move the meridian line to a point three hundred and seventy leagues
west of the Cape de Verde Islands,—still without dream of the destined
disputes respecting divisions on the other side of the globe.[70]

[Illustration: ARMS OF COLUMBUS.

As given in Oviedo’s _Coronica_, 1547, fol. x., from the Harvard
College copy. There is no wholly satisfactory statement regarding the
origin of these arms, or the Admiral’s right to bear them. It is the
quartering of the royal lion and castle, for Arragon and Castile, with
gold islands in azure waves. Five anchors and the motto,


were later given or assumed. The crest varies in the Oviedo (i. cap.
vii.) of 1535.]

Thus everything favored Columbus in the preparations for a second
voyage, which was to conduct a colony to the newly discovered lands.
Twelve hundred souls were embarked on seventeen vessels, and among them
persons of consideration and name in subsequent history,—Diego, the
Admiral’s brother, Bernal Diaz del Castillo, Ojeda, and La Cosa, with
the Pope’s own vicar, a Benedictine named Buil, or Boil.


This is Benzoni’s sketch, edition of 1572, p. 60.]

Columbus and the destined colonists sailed from Cadiz on the 25th of
September. The ships sighted an island on the 3d of November, and
continuing their course among the Caribbee Islands, they finally
reached La Navidad, and found it a waste. It was necessary, however,
to make a beginning somewhere; and a little to the east of the ruined
fort they landed their supplies and began the laying out of a city,
which they called Isabella.[71] Expeditions were sent inland to find
gold. The explorers reported success. Twelve of the ships were sent
home with Indians who had been seized; and these ships were further
laden with products of the soil which had been gathered. Columbus
himself went with four hundred men to begin work at the interior mines;
but the natives, upon whom he had counted for labor, had begun to
fear enslavement for this purpose, and kept aloof. So mining did not
flourish. Disease, too, was working evil. Columbus himself had been
prostrated; but he was able to conduct three caravels westward, when he
discovered Jamaica. On this expedition he made up his mind that Cuba
was a part of the Asiatic main, and somewhat unadvisedly forced his men
to sign a paper declaring their own belief to the same purport.[72]

[Illustration: INDIAN CLUB.

As given in Oviedo, edition of 1547, fol. lxi.]

Returning to his colony, the Admiral found that all was not going well.
He had not himself inspired confidence as a governor, and his fame as
an explorer was fast being eclipsed by his misfortunes as a ruler.
Some of his colonists, accompanied by the papal vicar, had seized
ships and set sail for home. The natives, emboldened by the cruelties
practised upon them, were laying siege to his fortified posts. As an
offset, however, his brother Bartholomew had arrived from Spain with
three store-ships; and later came Antonio de Torres with four other
ships, which in due time were sent back to carry some samples of gold
and a cargo of natives to be sold as slaves. The vessels had brought
tidings of the charges preferred at Court against the Admiral, and his
brother Diego was sent back with the ships to answer these charges
in the Admiral’s behalf. Unfortunately Diego was not a man of strong
character, and his advocacy was not of the best.

[Illustration: INDIAN CANOE.

As depicted in Oviedo, edition of 1547, fol. lxi. There is another
engraving in Charton’s _Voyageurs_, iii. 106, called “Pirogue

[Illustration: INDIAN CANOE.

Benzoni gives this drawing of the canoes of the coast of the Gulf of
Paria and thereabout. Edition of 1572, p. 5.]

In March (1495) Columbus conducted an expedition into the interior to
subdue and hold tributary the native population. It was cruelly done,
as the world looks upon such transactions to-day.

Meanwhile in Spain reiteration of charges was beginning to shake the
confidence of his sovereigns; and Juan Aguado, a friend of Columbus,
was sent to investigate. He reached Isabella in October,—Diego, the
Admiral’s brother, accompanying him. Aguado did not find affairs
reassuring; and when he returned to Spain with his report in March
(1496), Columbus thought it best to go too, and to make his excuses or
explanations in person. They reached Cadiz in June, just as Niño was
sailing with three caravels to the new colony.


Fac-simile of engraving in Herrera.]

Ferdinand and Isabella received him kindly, gave him new honors,
and promised him other outfits. Enthusiasm, however, had died out,
and delays took place. The reports of the returning ships did not
correspond with the pictures of Marco Polo, and the new-found world was
thought to be a very poor India after all. Most people were of this
mind; though Columbus was not disheartened, and the public treasury was
readily opened for a third voyage.

[Illustration: AMERICANS.

This is the earliest representation which we have of the natives of the
New World, showing such as were found by the Portuguese on the north
coast of South America. It has been supposed that it was issued in
Augsburg somewhere between 1497 and 1504, for it is not dated. The only
copy ever known to bibliographers is not now to be traced. Stevens,
_Recoll. of James Lenox_, p. 174. It measures 13½ × 8½ inches,
with a German title and inscription, to be translated as follows:—

“This figure represents to us the people and island which have been
discovered by the Christian King of Portugal, or his subjects. The
people are thus naked, handsome, brown, well-shaped in body; their
heads, necks, arms, private parts, feet of men and women, are a little
covered with feathers. The men also have many precious stones on
their faces and breasts. No one else has anything, but all things are
in common. And the men have as wives those who please them, be they
mothers, sisters, or friends; therein make they no distinction. They
also fight with each other; they also eat each other, even those who
are slain, and hang the flesh of them in the smoke. They become a
hundred and fifty years of age, and have no government.”

The present engraving follows the fac-simile given in Stevens’s
_American Bibliographer_, pp. 7, 8. Cf. Sabin, vol. i. no. 1,031; vol.
v. no. 20,257; Harrisse, _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 20.]

Coronel sailed early in 1498 with two ships, and Columbus followed
with six, embarking at San Lucar on the 30th of May. He now discovered
Trinidad (July 31), which he named either from its three peaks, or
from the Holy Trinity; struck the northern coast of South America,[73]
and skirted what was later known as the Pearl coast, going as far
as the Island of Margarita. He wondered at the roaring fresh waters
which the Orinoco pours into the Gulf of Pearls, as he called it, and
he half believed that its exuberant tide came from the terrestrial
paradise.[74] He touched the southern coast of Hayti on the 30th of
August. Here already his colonists had established a fortified post,
and founded the town of Santo Domingo. His brother Bartholomew had
ruled energetically during the Admiral’s absence, but he had not
prevented a revolt, which was headed by Roldan. Columbus on his arrival
found the insurgents still defiant, but was able after a while to
reconcile them, and he even succeeded in attaching Roldan warmly to his

Columbus’ absence from Spain, however, left his good name without
sponsors; and to satisfy detractors, a new commissioner was sent
over with enlarged powers, even with authority to supersede Columbus
in general command, if necessary. This emissary was Francisco de
Bobadilla, who arrived at Santo Domingo with two caravels on the 23d
of August, 1500, finding Diego in command, his brother the Admiral
being absent. An issue was at once made. Diego refused to accede to
the commissioner’s orders till Columbus returned to judge the case
himself; so Bobadilla assumed charge of the Crown property violently,
took possession of the Admiral’s house, and when Columbus returned, he
with his brother was arrested and put in irons. In this condition the
prisoners were placed on shipboard, and sailed for Spain. The captain
of the ship offered to remove the manacles; but Columbus would not
permit it, being determined to land in Spain bound as he was; and so
he did. The effect of his degradation was to his advantage; sovereigns
and people were shocked at the sight; and Ferdinand and Isabella
hastened to make amends by receiving him with renewed favor. It was
soon apparent that everything reasonable would be granted him by the
monarchs, and that he could have all he might wish, short of receiving
a new lease of power in the islands, which the sovereigns were
determined to see pacified at least before Columbus should again assume
government of them. The Admiral had not forgotten his vow to wrest the
Holy Sepulchre from the Infidel; but the monarchs did not accede to his
wish to undertake it. Disappointed in this, he proposed a new voyage;
and getting the royal countenance for this scheme, he was supplied with
four vessels of from fifty to seventy tons each,—the “Capitana,” the
“Santiago de Palos,” the “Gallego,” and the “Vizcaino.” He sailed from
Cadiz May 9, 1502, accompanied by his brother Bartholomew and his son
Fernando. The vessels reached San Domingo June 29.

Bobadilla, whose rule of a year and a half had been an unhappy one, had
given place to Nicholás de Ovando; and the fleet which brought the new
governor,—with Maldonado, Las Casas, and others,—now lay in the harbor
waiting to receive Bobadilla for the return voyage. Columbus had been
instructed to avoid Hispaniola; but now that one of his vessels leaked,
and he needed to make repairs, he sent a boat ashore, asking permission
to enter the harbor. He was refused, though a storm was impending. He
sheltered his vessels as best he could, and rode out the gale. The
fleet which had on board Bobadilla and Roldan, with their ill-gotten
gains, was wrecked, and these enemies of Columbus were drowned. The
Admiral found a small harbor where he could make his repairs; and then,
July 14, sailed westward to find, as he supposed, the richer portions
of India in exchange for the barbarous outlying districts which others
had appropriated to themselves. He went on through calm and storm,
giving names to islands,—which later explorers re-named, and spread
thereby confusion on the early maps. He began to find more intelligence
in the natives of these islands than those of Cuba had betrayed, and
got intimations of lands still farther west, where copper and gold were
in abundance. An old Indian made them a rough map of the main shore.
Columbus took him on board, and proceeding onward a landing was made on
the coast of Honduras August 14. Three days later the explorers landed
again fifteen leagues farther east, and took possession of the country
for Spain. Still east they went; and, in gratitude for safety after
a long storm, they named a cape which they rounded Gracias á Dios,—a
name still preserved at the point where the coast of Honduras begins to
trend southward. Columbus was now lying ill on his bed, placed on deck,
and was half the time in revery. Still the vessels coasted south. They
lost a boat’s crew in getting water at one place; and tarrying near
the mouth of the Rio San Juan, they thought they got from the signs
of the natives intelligence of a rich and populous country over the
mountains inland, where the men wore clothes and bore weapons of steel,
and the women were decked with corals and pearls. These stories were
reassuring; but the exorcising incantations of the natives were quite
otherwise for the superstitious among the Spaniards.

They were now on the shores of Costa Rica, where the coast trends
southeast; and both the rich foliage and the gold plate on the necks of
the savages enchanted the explorers. They went on towards the source
of this wealth, as they fancied. The natives began to show some signs
of repulsion; but a few hawk’s-bells beguiled them, and gold plates
were received in exchange for the trinkets. The vessels were now within
the southernmost loop of the shore, and a bit of stone wall seemed
to the Spaniards a token of civilization. The natives called a town
hereabouts Veragua,—whence, years after, the descendants of Columbus
borrowed the ducal title of his line. In this region Columbus dallied,
not suspecting how thin the strip of country was which separated him
from the great ocean whose farther waves washed his desired India.
Then, still pursuing the coast, which now turned to the northeast, he
reached Porto Bello, as we call it, where he found houses and orchards.
Tracking the Gulf side of the Panama isthmus, he encountered storms
that forced him into harbors, which continued to disclose the richness
of the country.[75]

It became now apparent that they had reached the farthest spot of
Bastidas’ exploring, who had, in 1501, sailed westward along the
northern coast of South America. Amid something like mutinous cries
from the sailors, Columbus was fain to turn back to the neighborhood of
Veragua, where the gold was; but on arriving there, the seas, lately
so fair, were tumultuous, and the Spaniards were obliged to repeat the
gospel of Saint John to keep a water-spout, which they saw, from coming
their way,—so Fernando says in his Life of the Admiral. They finally
made a harbor at the mouth of the River Belen, and began to traffic
with the natives, who proved very cautious and evasive when inquiries
were made respecting gold-mines. Bartholomew explored the neighboring
Veragua River in armed boats, and met the chief of the region, with
retainers, in a fleet of canoes. Gold and trinkets were exchanged, as
usual, both here and later on the Admiral’s deck. Again Bartholomew led
another expedition, and getting the direction—a purposely false one,
as it proved—from the chief in his own village, he went to a mountain,
near the abode of an enemy of the chief, and found gold,—scant,
however, in quantity compared with that of the crafty chief’s own
fields. The inducements were sufficient, however, as Columbus thought,
to found a colony; but before he got ready to leave it, he suspected
the neighboring chief was planning offensive operations. An expedition
was accordingly sent to seize the chief, and he was captured in his own
village; and so suddenly that his own people could not protect him.
The craft of the savage, however, stood him in good stead; and while
one of the Spaniards was conveying him down the river in a boat, he
jumped overboard and disappeared, only to reappear, a few days later,
in leading an attack on the Spanish camp. In this the Indians were
repulsed; but it was the beginning of a kind of lurking warfare that
disheartened the Spaniards. Meanwhile Columbus, with the ship, was
outside the harbor’s bar buffeting the gales. The rest of the prisoners
who had been taken with the chief were confined in his forecastle.
By concerted action some of them got out and jumped overboard, while
those not so fortunate killed themselves. As soon as the storm was
over, Columbus withdrew the colonists and sailed away. He abandoned one
worm-eaten caravel at Porto Bello, and, reaching Jamaica, beached two

A year of disappointment, grief, and want followed. Columbus clung to
his wrecked vessels. His crew alternately mutinied at his side, and
roved about the island. Ovando, at Hispaniola, heard of his straits,
but only tardily and scantily relieved him. The discontented were
finally humbled; and some ships, despatched by the Admiral’s agent in
Santo Domingo, at last reached him, and brought him and his companions
to that place, where Ovando received him with ostentatious kindness,
lodging him in his house till Columbus departed for Spain, Sept. 12,

On the 7th of November the Admiral reached the harbor of San Lucar.
Weakness and disease later kept him in bed in Seville, and to his
letters of appeal the King paid little attention. He finally recovered
sufficiently to go to the Court at Segovia, in May, 1505; but
Ferdinand—Isabella had died Nov. 26, 1504—gave him scant courtesy. With
a fatalistic iteration, which had been his error in life, Columbus
insisted still on the rights which a better skill in governing
might have saved for him; and Ferdinand, with a dread of continued
maladministration, as constantly evaded the issue. While still hope
was deferred, the infirmities of age and a life of hardships brought
Columbus to his end; and on Ascension Day, the 20th of May, 1506, he
died, with his son Diego and a few devoted friends by his bedside.


This follows an engraving in Ruge, _Geschichte des Zeitalters der
Entdeckungen_, p. 313, taken from a photograph. The house is in

The character of Columbus is not difficult to discern. If his mental
and moral equipoise had been as true, and his judgment as clear, as his
spirit was lofty and impressive, he could have controlled the actions
of men as readily as he subjected their imaginations to his will, and
more than one brilliant opportunity for a record befitting a ruler
of men would not have been lost. The world always admires constancy
and zeal; but when it is fed, not by well-rounded performance, but
by self-satisfaction and self-interest, and tarnished by deceit, we
lament where we would approve. Columbus’ imagination was eager, and
unfortunately ungovernable. It led him to a great discovery, which he
was not seeking for; and he was far enough right to make his error more
emphatic. He is certainly not alone among the great men of the world’s
regard who have some of the attributes of the small and mean.


It would appear, from documents printed by Navarrete, that in 1470
Columbus was brooding on the idea of land to the west. It is not at all
probable that he would himself have been able to trace from germ to
flower the conception which finally possessed his mind.[76] The age was
ripened for it; and the finding of Brazil in 1500 by Cabral showed how
by an accident the theory might have become a practical result at any
time after the sailors of Europe had dared to take long ocean voyages.
Columbus grew to imagine that he had been independent of the influences
of his time; and in a manuscript in his own hand, preserved in the
Colombina Library at Seville, he shows the weak, almost irresponsible,
side of his mind, and flouts at the grounds of reasonable progress
which many others besides himself had been making to a belief in the
feasibility of a western passage. In this unfortunate writing he
declares that under inspiration he simply accomplished the prophecy
of Isaiah.[77] This assertion has not prevented saner and later
writers[78] from surveying the evidences of the growth of the belief
in the mind, not of Columbus only, but of others whom he may have
impressed, and by whom he may have been influenced. The new intuition
was but the result of intellectual reciprocity. It needed a daring
exponent, and found one.

The geographical ideas which bear on this question depend, of course,
upon the sphericity of the earth.[79] This was entertained by the
leading cosmographical thinkers of that age,—who were far however from
being in accord in respect to the size of the globe. Going back to
antiquity, Aristotle and Strabo had both taught in their respective
times the spherical theory; but they too were widely divergent upon
the question of size,—Aristotle’s ball being but mean in comparison
with that of Strabo, who was not far wrong when he contended that
the world then known was something more than one third of the actual
circumference of the whole, or one hundred and twenty-nine degrees,
as he put it; while Marinus, the Tyrian, of the opposing school, and
the most eminent geographer before Ptolemy, held that the extent of
the then known world spanned as much as two hundred and twenty-five
degrees, or about one hundred degrees too much.[80] Columbus’
calculations were all on the side of this insufficient size.[81] He
wrote to Queen Isabella in 1503 that “the earth is smaller than people
suppose.” He thought but one seventh of it was water. In sailing a
direct western course his expectation was to reach Cipango after having
gone about three thousand miles. This would actually have brought him
within a hundred miles or so of Cape Henlopen, or the neighboring
coast; while if no land had intervened he would have gone nine
thousand eight hundred miles to reach Japan, the modern Cipango.[82]
Thus Columbus’ earth was something like two thirds of the actual
magnitude.[83] It can readily be understood how the lesser distance was
helpful in inducing a crew to accompany Columbus, and in strengthening
his own determination.

Whatever the size of the earth, there was far less palpable reason
to determine it than to settle the question of its sphericity. The
phenomena which convince the ordinary mind to-day, weighed with
Columbus as they had weighed in earlier ages. These were the hulling
down of ships at sea, and the curved shadow of the earth on the moon in
an eclipse. The law of gravity was not yet proclaimed, indeed; but it
had been observed that the men on two ships, however far apart, stood
perpendicular to their decks at rest.

Columbus was also certainly aware of some of the views and allusions
to be found in the ancient writers, indicating a belief in lands lying
beyond the Pillars of Hercules.[84] He enumerates some of them in the
letter which he wrote about his third voyage, and which is printed in
Navarrete. The Colombina Library contains two interesting memorials of
his connection with this belief. One is a treatise in his own hand,
giving his correspondence with Father Gorricio, who gathered the
ancient views and prophecies;[85] and the other is a copy of Gaietanus’
edition of Seneca’s tragedies, published indeed after Columbus’ death,
in which the passage of the _Medea_, known to have been much in
Columbus’ mind, is scored with the marginal comment of Ferdinand, his
son, “Hæc prophetia expleta ē per patrē meus cristoforū colō almirātē
anno 1492.”[86] Columbus, further, could not have been unaware of
the opposing theories of Ptolemy and Pomponius Mela as to the course
in which the further extension of the known world should be pursued.
Ptolemy held to the east and west theory, and Mela to the northern and
southern view.

[Illustration: PTOLEMY.

Fac-simile of a cut in _Icones sive imagines vivæ literis cl. virorum
... cum elogiis variis per Nicolaum Reusnerum. Basiliæ, CIƆ IƆ XIC_,
Sig. A. 4.]

The Angelo Latin translation of Ptolemy’s Greek _Geographia_ had served
to disseminate the Alexandrian geographer’s views through almost the
whole of the fifteenth century, for that version had been first made
in 1409. In 1475 it had been printed, and it had helped strengthen the
arguments of those who favored a belief in the position of India as
lying over against Spain. Several other editions were yet to be printed
in the new typographical centres of Europe, all exerting more or less
influence in support of the new views advocated by Columbus.[87] Five
of these editions of Ptolemy appeared during the interval from 1475 to
1492. Of Pomponius Mela, advocating the views of which the Portuguese
were at this time proving the truth, the earliest printed edition had
appeared in 1471. Mela’s treatise, _De situ orbis_, had been produced
in the first century, while Ptolemy had made his views known in the
second; and the age of Vasco da Gama, Columbus, and Magellan were to
prove the complemental relations of their respective theories.

[Illustration: PTOLEMY.

Fac-simile of cut in _Icones sive imagines virorum literis illustrium
... ex secunda recognitione Nicolai Reusneri. Argentorati, CIƆ IƆ XC_,
p. 1. The first edition appeared in 1587. Brunet, vol. iv., col. 1255,
calls the editions of 1590 and Frankfort, 1620, inferior.]

[Illustration: ALBERTUS MAGNUS.

Fac-simile of cut in Reusner’s _Icones_, Strasburg, 1590, p. 4. There
is another cut in Paulus Jovius’s _Elogia virorum litteris illustrium_,
Basle, 1575, p. 7 (copy in Harvard College Library).]

[Illustration: MARCO POLO.

This follows an engraving in Ruge’s _Geschichte des Zeitalters der
Entdeckungen_, p. 53. The original is at Rome. There is a copy of an
old print in Jules Verne’s _Découverte de la Terre_.]

It has been said that Macrobius, a Roman of the fifth century, in a
commentary on the _Dream of Scipio_, had maintained a division of the
globe into four continents, of which two were then unknown. In the
twelfth century this idea had been revived by Guillaume de Conches
(who died about 1150) in his _Philosophia Minor_, lib. iv. cap. 3.
It was again later further promulgated in the writings of Bede and
Honoré d’Autun, and in the _Microcosmos_ of Geoffroy de Saint-Victor,—a
manuscript of the thirteenth century still preserved.[88] It is not
known that this theory was familiar to Columbus. The chief directors
of his thoughts among anterior writers appear to have been, directly
or indirectly, Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon, and Vincenzius of
Beauvais;[89] and first among them, for importance, we must place the
_Opus Majus_ Of Roger Bacon, completed in 1267. It was from Bacon that
Petrus de Aliaco, Or Pierre d’Ailly (b. 1340; d. 1416 or 1425), in his
_Ymago mundi_, borrowed the passage which, in this French imitator’s
language, so impressed Columbus.[90]


On a copy of Pierre d’Ailly’s _Imago mundi_, preserved in the Colombina
Library at Seville, following a photograph in Harrisse’s _Notes on
Columbus_, p. 84.]

An important element in the problem was the statements of Marco
Polo regarding a large island, which he called Cipango, and which
he represented as lying in the ocean off the eastern coast of Asia.
This carried the eastern verge of the Asiatic world farther than the
ancients had known; and, on the spherical theory, brought land nearer
westward from Europe than could earlier have been supposed. It is
a question, however, if Columbus had any knowledge of the Latin or
Italian manuscripts of Marco Polo,—the only form in which anybody could
have studied his narrative before the printing of it at Nuremberg in
1477, in German, a language which Columbus is not likely to have known.
Humboldt has pointed out that neither Columbus nor his son Ferdinand
mentions Marco Polo; still we know that he had read his book. Columbus
further knew, it would seem, what Æneas Sylvius had written on Asia.
Toscanelli had also imparted to him what he knew. A second German
edition of Marco Polo appeared at Augsburg in 1481. In 1485, with the
_Itinerarius_ of Mandeville,[91] published at Zwolle, the account—“De
regionibus orientalibus”—of Marco Polo first appeared in Latin,
translated from the original French, in which it had been dictated. It
was probably in this form that Columbus first saw it.[92] There was a
separate Latin edition in 1490.[93]

The most definite confirmation and encouragement which Columbus
received in his views would seem to have come from Toscanelli, in
1474. This eminent Italian astronomer, who was now about seventy-eight
years old, and was to die, in 1482, before Columbus and Da Gama had
consummated their discoveries, had reached a conclusion in his own
mind that only about fifty-two degrees of longitude separated Europe
westerly from Asia, making the earth much smaller even than Columbus’
inadequate views had fashioned it; for Columbus had satisfied himself
that one hundred and twenty degrees of the entire three hundred and
sixty was only as yet unknown.[94] With such views of the inferiority
of the earth, Toscanelli had addressed a letter to Martinez, a
prebendary of Lisbon, accompanied by a map professedly based on
information derived from the book of Marco Polo.[95] When Toscanelli
received a letter of inquiry from Columbus, he replied by sending a
copy of this letter and the map. As the testimony to a western passage
from a man of Toscanelli’s eminence, it was of marked importance in the
conversion of others to similar views.[96]

It has always been a question how far the practical evidence of chance
phenomena, and the absolute knowledge, derived from other explorers,
bearing upon the views advocated by Columbus, may have instigated or
confirmed him in his belief. There is just enough plausibility in some
of the stories which are cited to make them fall easily into the pleas
of detraction to which Columbus has been subjected.


On a copy of the _Historia rerum ubique gestarum_ of Æneas Sylvius,
preserved in the Colombina Library at Seville, following a photograph
in Harrisse’s _Notes on Columbus_, appendix.]

A story was repeated by Oviedo in 1535 as an idle rumor, adopted by
Gomara in 1552 without comment, and given considerable currency in 1609
by Garcilasso de la Vega, of a Spanish pilot,—Sanches, as the name
is sometimes given,—who had sailed from Madeira, and had been driven
west and had seen land (Hispaniola, it is inferred), and who being
shipwrecked had been harbored by Columbus in his house. Under this roof
the pilot is said to have died in 1484, leaving his host the possessor
of his secret. La Vega claimed to have received the tale from his
father, who had been at the Court of Spain in the time of Ferdinand and
Isabella. Oviedo repeated it, but incredulously;[97] and it was later
told by Gomara, Acosta, Eden, and others. Robertson,[98] Irving,[99]
and most later writers find enough in the indecision and variety of
its shapes to discard it altogether. Peter Martyr, Bernaldez, and
Herrera make no mention of it. It is singular, however, that Ferdinand
de Galardi, in dedicating his _Traité politique des abassadeurs_,
published at Cologne in 1666, to a descendant of Columbus, the Duke of
Veraguas, mentions the story as an indisputable fact;[100] and it has
not escaped the notice of querulous writers even of our day.[101]

Others have thought that Columbus, in his voyage to Thule or
Iceland,[102] in February, 1477, could have derived knowledge of the
Sagas of the westerly voyages of Eric the Red and his countrymen.[103]
It seems to be true that commercial relations were maintained between
Iceland and Greenland for some years later than 1400; but if Columbus
knew of them, he probably shared the belief of the geographers of his
time that Greenland was a peninsula of Scandinavia.[104]

The extremely probable and almost necessary pre-Columbian knowledge
of the northeastern parts of America follows from the venturesome
spirit of the mariners to those seas for fish and traffic, and from
the easy transitions from coast to coast by which they would have
been lured to meet the more southerly climes. The chances from such
natural causes are quite as strong an argument in favor of the early
Northmen venturings as the somewhat questionable representations
of the Sagas.[105] There is the same ground for representing, and
similar lack of evidence in believing, the alleged voyage of Joāo Vas
Costa Cortereal to the Newfoundland banks in 1463-1464. Barrow finds
authority for it in Cordeyro, who gives, however, no date in his
_Historia Insulana das Ilhas a Portugal_, Lisbon, 1717; but Biddle, in
his _Cabot_, fails to be satisfied with Barrow’s uncertain references,
as enforced in his _Chronological History of Voyages into the Arctic
Regions_, London, 1818.[106]

Another of these alleged northern voyagers was a Polish navigator, John
Szkolny,—a name which we get in various Latinized or other forms, as
Scolve, Skolnus, Scolvus, Sciolvus, Kolno, etc.,—who is said to have
been on the Labrador coast in 1476, while in the service of Denmark.
It is so stated by Wytfliet,[107] Pontanus,[108] and Horn.[109] De
Costa cites what is known as the Rouen globe, preserved in Paris,
and supposed to belong to about 1540, as showing a legend of Skolnus
reaching the northwest coast of Greenland in 1476.[110] Hakluyt quotes
Gemma Frisius and Girava. Gomara, in 1553, and Herrera, in 1601, barely
refer to it.[111]

There is also a claim for a Dieppe navigator, Cousin, who, bound for
Africa, is said to have been driven west, and reached South America
in 1488-1489. The story is told by Desmarquets in his _Mémoires
chronologiques pour servir à l’histoire de Dieppe_, i. 92, published at
Paris, 1785. Major, giving the story an examination, fully discredits

There remains the claim for Martin Behaim, the Nuremberg cosmographer
and navigator, which rests upon a passage in the Latin text of the
so-called _Nuremberg Chronicle_[113] which states that Cam and Behaim,
having passed south of the equator, turned west and (by implication)
found land. The passage is not in the German edition of the same year,
and on reference to the manuscript of the book (still preserved in
Nuremberg) the passage is found to be an interpolation written in a
different hand.[114] It seems likely to have been a perversion or
misinterpretation of the voyage of Diego Cam down the African coast in
1489, in which he was accompanied by Behaim. That Behaim himself did
not put the claim forward, at least in 1492, seems to be clear from the
globe, which he made in that year, and which shows no indication of the
alleged voyage. The allegation has had, however, some advocates; but
the weight of authority is decidedly averse, and the claim can hardly
be said to have significant support to-day.[115]

It is unquestionable that the success of the Portuguese in discovering
the Atlantic islands and in pushing down the African coast, sustained
Columbus in his hope of western discovery, if it had not instigated
it.[116] The chance wafting of huge canes, unusual trunks of trees, and
even sculptured wood and bodies of strange men, upon the shores of the
outlying islands of the Azores and Madeira, were magnified as evidences
in his mind.[117] When at a later day he found a tinned iron vessel in
the hands of the natives of Guadeloupe, he felt that there had been
European vessels driven along the equatorial current to the western
world, which had never returned to report on their voyages.

Of the adventurous voyages of which record was known there were enough
to inspire him; and of all the mysteries of the Sea of Darkness,[118]
which stretched away illimitably to the west, there were stories more
than enough. Sight of strange islands had been often reported; and the
maps still existing had shown a belief in those of San Brandan[119] and
Antillia,[120] and of the Seven Cities founded in the ocean waste by
as many Spanish bishops, who had been driven to sea by the Moors.[121]

The Fortunate Islands[122] (Canaries) of the ancients—discovered, it is
claimed, by the Carthaginians[123]—had been practically lost to Europe
for thirteen hundred years, when, in the beginning of the fifteenth
century (1402), Juan de Béthencourt led his colony to settle them.[124]
They had not indeed been altogether forgotten, for Marino Sanuto
in 1306 had delineated them on a map given by Camden, though this
cartographer omitted them on later charts. Traders and pirates had also
visited them since 1341, but such acquaintance had hardly caused them
to be generally known.[125]


This is part of a map of the ancient world given in Lelewel’s _Die
Entdeckung der Carthager und Griechen auf dem Atlantischen Ocean_,
Berlin, 1831.]

The Canaries, however, as well as the Azores, appear in the well-known
portolano of 1351,[126] which is preserved in the Biblioteca
Mediceo-Laurenziana in Florence. A chart of the Brothers Pizigani,
dated in 1367, gives islands which are also identified with the
Canaries, Azores, and Madeira;[127] and the Canaries also appear on
the well-known Catalan mappemonde of 1375.[128] These Atlantic islands
are again shown in a portolano of a period not much later than 1400,
which is among the Egerton manuscripts in the British Museum, and is
ascribed to Juan da Napoli;[129] and in 1436 they are conspicuous on
the detailed sea-chart of Andrea Bianco. This portolano has also two
islands on the extreme western verge of the sheet,—“Antillia” and “De
la man Satanaxio,” which some have claimed as indicating a knowledge
of the two Americas.[130] It was a map brought in 1428 from Venice by
Dom Pedro,—which, like the 1351 map, showed the Azores,—that induced
Prince Henry in 1431 to despatch the expedition which rediscovered
those islands; and they appear on the Catalan map, which Santarem (pl.
54) describes as “Carte de Gabriell de Valsequa, faite à Mallorcha en
1439.” It was in 1466 that the group was colonized, as Behaim’s globe

The Madeira group was first discovered by an Englishman,—Machin, or
Macham,—in the reign of Edward III. (1327-1378). The narrative, put
into shape for Prince Henry of Portugal by Francisco Alcaforado, one of
his esquires, was known to Irving in a French translation published in
1671, which Irving epitomizes.[132] The story, somewhat changed, is
given by Galvano, and was copied by Hakluyt;[133] but, on account of
some strangeness and incongruities, it has not been always accepted,
though Major says the main recital is confirmed by a document quoted
from a German collection of voyages, 1507, by Dr. Schmeller, in the
Memoirs of the Academy of Science at Munich, 1847, and which, secured
for Major by Kunstmann, is examined by him in his _Prince Henry_.[134]
The group was rediscovered by the Portuguese in 1418-1420.[135] Prince
Henry had given the command of Porto Santo to Perestrello; and this
captain, in 1419, observing from his island a cloud in the horizon,
found, as he sailed to it, the island now called Madeira. It will be
remembered that it was the daughter of Perestrello whom Columbus at a
later day married.[136]

It was not till 1460[137] that the Cape De Verde Islands were found,
lying as they do well outside of the route of Prince Henry’s vessels,
which were now following down the African coast, and had been pursuing
explorations in this direction since 1415.

There have been claims advanced by Margry in his _Les navigations
Françaises et la révolution maritime du XIV^e au XVI^e siècle, d’après
les documents inédits tirés de France, d’Angleterre, d’Espagne, et
d’Italie_, pp. 13-70, Paris, 1867, and embraced in his first section
on “Les marins de Normandie aux côtes de Guinée avant les Portugais,”
in which he cites an old document, said to be in London, setting forth
the voyage of a vessel from Dieppe to the coast of Africa in 1364.
Estancelin had already, in 1832, in his _Navigateurs Normands en
Afrique_, declared there were French establishments on the coast of
Guinea in the fourteenth century,—a view D’Avezac says he would gladly
accept if he could. Major, however, failed to find, by any direction
which Margry could give him, the alleged London document, and has
thrown—to say the least—discredit on the story of that document as
presented by Margry.[138]

[Illustration: PRINCE HENRY.

This follows a portrait in a contemporary manuscript chronicle, now
in the National Library at Paris, which Major, who gives a colored
fac-simile of it, calls the only authentic likeness, probably taken
in 1449-1450, and representing him in mourning for the death of his
brother Dom Pedro, who died in 1449. There is another engraving of
it in Jules Verne’s _La Découverte de la Terre_, p. 112. Major calls
the portrait in Gustave de Veer’s Life of Prince Henry, published at
Dantzig, in 1864, a fancy one. The annexed autograph of the Prince is
the equivalent of IFFANTE DOM ANRIQUE.


Prince Henry, who was born March 4, 1394, died Nov 15, 1463. He was
the third son of John I. of Portugal; his mother was a daughter of John
of Gaunt, of England.]

The African explorations of the Portuguese are less visionary, and, as
D’Avezac says, the Portuguese were the first to persevere and open the
African route to India.[139]

The peninsular character of Africa—upon which success in this
exploration depended—was contrary to the views of Aristotle,
Hipparchus, and Ptolemy, which held to an enclosed Indian Ocean, formed
by the meeting of Africa and Asia at the south.[140] The stories
respecting the circumnavigation of Africa by the ancients are lacking
in substantial proof; and it seems probable that Cape Non or Cape
Bojador was the limit of their southern expeditions.[141] Still, this
peninsular character was a deduction from imagined necessity rather
than a conviction from fact. It found place on the earliest maps of the
revival of geographical study in the Middle Ages. It is so represented
in the map of Marino Sanuto in 1306, and in the Lorentian portolano of
1351. Major[142] doubts if the Catalan map of 1375 shows anything more
than conjectural knowledge for the coasts beyond Bojador.

Of Prince Henry—the moving spirit in the African enterprise of the
fifteenth century—we have the most satisfactory account in the _Life of
Prince Henry of Portugal, surnamed the Navigator, and its Results ...
from Authentic Contemporary Documents_, by Richard Henry Major, London,
1868,[143]—a work which, after the elimination of the controversial
arguments, and after otherwise fitting it for the general reader, was
reissued in 1877 as _The Discoveries of Prince Henry the Navigator_.
These works are the guide for the brief sketch of these African
discoveries now to be made, and which can be readily followed on the
accompanying sketch-map.[144]


Cf. Heinrich Wuttke’s “Zur Geschichte der Erdkunde in der letzten
hälfte des Mittelalters: Die Karten der Seefahrenden Völker süd
Europas bis zum ersten Druck der Erdbeschreibung des Ptolemäus,” in
the _Jahrbuch des Vereins für Erdkunde in Dresden_, 1870; J. Codine’s
“Découverte de la côte d’Afrique par les Portugais pendant les années,
1484-1488,” in the _Bulletin de la Société de Géographie de Paris_,
1876; Vivien de Saint-Martin’s _Histoire de la géographie et des
découvertes géographiques, depuis les temps les plus reculés jusqu’à
nos jours_, p. 298, Paris, 1873; Ruge’s _Geschichte des Zeitalters
der Entdeckungen_, p. 81; Clarke’s _Progress of Maritime Discovery_,
p. 140; and G. T. Raynal’s _Histoire philosophique et politique des
établissemens et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes_,
Geneva, 1780; Paris, 1820. Paulitschke’s _Afrika-literatur in der Zeit
von 1500 bis_ 1750, Vienna, 1882, notes the earliest accounts.]

Prince Henry had been with his father at the capture of Ceuta, opposite
Gibraltar, in 1415, when the Portuguese got their first foothold in
Africa. In 1418 he established a school of nautical observation at
Sagres,[145] the southwestern promontory of his father’s kingdom, and
placed the geographer, Jayme,[146] of Majorca, in charge of it. The
Prince at once sent out his first expedition down the Barbary coast;
but his vessel, being driven out of its course, discovered the Island
of Porto Santo. Expedition after expedition reached, in successive
years, the vicinity of Cape Bojador; but an inexpressible dread of the
uncertainty beyond deferred the passage of it till 1434. Cape Blanco
was reached in 1445; Cape Verde shortly after; and the River Gambia in

Cadamosto and his Venetians pushed still farther, and saw the Southern
Cross for the first time.[147] Between 1460 and 1464 they went beyond
Cape Mesurado. Prince Henry dying in 1463, King Alfonso, in 1469,
farmed out the African commerce, and required five hundred miles to be
added yearly to the limit of discovery southward. Not long after, Diego
Cam reached the Congo coast, Behaim accompanying him. In 1487, after
seventy years of gradual progress down six thousand miles of coast,
southward from Cape Non, the Portuguese under Diaz reached the Stormy
Cape,—later to be called the Cape of Good Hope. He but just rounded it
in May, and in December he was in Portugal with the news. Bartholomew,
the brother of Columbus, had made the voyage with him.[148] The
rounding of the Cape was hardly a surprise; for the belief in it was
firmly established long before. In 1457-1459, in the map of Fra Mauro,
which had been constructed at Venice for Alonzo V., and in which Bianco
assisted, the terminal cape had been fitly drawn.[149]

[Illustration: PORTUGUESE MAP, 1490.

This map follows a copy in the Kohl Collection (no. 23), after the
original, attached to a manuscript theological treatise in the British
Museum. An inscription at the break in the African coast says that to
this point the Portuguese had pushed their discoveries in 1489; and as
it shows no indication of the voyages of Columbus and Da Gama, Kohl
places it about 1490. It may be considered as representing the views
current before these events, Asia following the Ptolemean drafts. The
language of the map being partly Italian and partly Portuguese, Kohl
conjectures that it was made by an Italian living in Lisbon; and he
points out the close correspondence of the names on the western coast
of Africa to the latest Portuguese discoveries, and that its contour is
better than anything preceding.]

[Illustration: HO COMDE ALMIRANTE (_Da Gama’s Autograph_).]

[Illustration: VASCO DA GAMA.

This follows the engravings in Ruge’s _Geschichte des Zeitalters der
Entdeckungen_, p. 111, and in Stanley’s _Da Gama_, published by the
Hakluyt Society. The original belongs to the Count de Lavradio. Another
portrait, with a view of Calicut, is given in Lafitau’s _Découvertes
des Portugais_, Paris, 1734, iii. 66.]

Such had been the progress of the Portuguese marine, in exemplification
of the southerly quest called for by the theory of Pomponius Mela, when
Columbus made his westerly voyage in 1492 and reached, as he supposed,
the same coast which the Portuguese were seeking to touch by the
opposite direction.[150] In this erroneous geographical belief Columbus
remained as long as he lived,—a view in which Vespucius and the earlier
navigators equally shared;[151] though some, like Peter Martyr,[152]
accepted the belief cautiously. We shall show in another place how
slowly the error was eradicated from the cartography of even the latter
part of the sixteenth century.

During the interval when Columbus was in Spain, between his second
and third voyages, Vasco da Gama sailed from Lisbon, July 8, 1497,
to complete the project which had so long animated the endeavors of
the rival kingdom. He doubled the Cape of Good Hope in Nov. 1497, and
anchored at Calicut, May 20, 1498,—a few days before Columbus left San
Lucar on his third voyage. In the following August, Da Gama started on
his return; and after a year’s voyage he reached Lisbon in August, 1498.

[Illustration: THE LINE OF DEMARCATION (_Spanish claim_, 1527).

This is the outline of the anonymous map of 1527, sometimes ascribed
to Ferdinand Columbus, but held by Harrisse to be the work of Nuña
Garcia de Toreno. It was an official map of the Spanish Hydrographical
Office, and gives the Spanish view of the meridian on which the line
of demarcation ran. It follows a copy in the Kohl Collection, no. 38.
The line is similarly drawn on the Ribero map of 1529. The Portuguese
view is shown in the Cantino map of 1502, and in what is known as the
Portuguese chart of 1514-1520.]

The Portuguese had now accomplished their end. The _éclat_ with which
it would have been received had not Columbus opened, as was supposed,
a shorter route, was wanting; and Da Gama, following in the path marked
for him, would have failed of much of his fame but for the auspicious
applause which Camoens created for him in the _Lusiad_.[153]

[Illustration: ALEXANDER VI.

This follows the cut in the _Gazette des Beaux-Arts_, xxvii. 500,
representing a bust in the Berlin Museum.]

Da Gama at Calicut and Columbus at Cuba gave the line of demarcation
of Alexander VI. a significance that was not felt to be impending,
five years earlier, on the 3d and 4th of May, 1493, when the Papal
Bull was issued.[154] This had fixed the field of Spanish and
Portuguese exploration respectively west and east of a line one hundred
leagues[155] west of the Azores, following a meridian at a point where
Columbus had supposed the magnetic needle[156] pointed to the north
star.[157] The Portuguese thought that political grounds were of more
consideration than physical, and were not satisfied with the magnet
governing the limitation of their search. They desired a little more
sea-room on the Atlantic side, and were not displeased to think that a
meridian considerably farther west might give them a share of the new
Indies south and north of the Spanish discoveries; so they entered
their protest against the partition of the Bull, and the two Powers
held a convention at Tordesillas, which resulted, in June, 1494, in
the line being moved two hundred and seventy leagues westerly.[158]
No one but vaguely suspected the complication yet to arise about this
same meridian, now selected, when the voyage of Magellan should bring
Spaniard and Portuguese face to face at the Antipodes. This aspect
of the controversy will claim attention elsewhere.[159] From this
date the absolute position of the line as theoretically determined,
was a constant source of dispute, and the occasion of repeated

[Illustration: Justin Winsor]


A. FIRST VOYAGE.—As regards the first voyage of Columbus there has
come down to us a number of accounts, resolvable into two distinct
narratives, as originally proceeding from the hand of Columbus
himself,—his Journal, which is in part descriptive and in part log,
according to the modern understanding of this last term; and his
Letters announcing the success and results of his search. The fortunes
and bibliographical history of both these sources need to be told:

JOURNAL.—Columbus himself refers to this in his letter to Pope
Alexander VI. (1503) as being kept in the style of Cæsar’s
_Commentaries_; and Irving speaks of it as being penned “from day
to day with guileless simplicity.” In its original form it has not
been found; but we know that Las Casas used it in his _Historia_, and
that Ferdinand Columbus must have had it before him while writing
what passes for his Life of his father. An abridgment of the Journal
in the hand of Las Casas, was discovered by Navarrete, who printed
it in the first volume of his _Coleccion_ in 1825; it is given in a
French version in the Paris edition of the same (vol. ii.), and in
Italian in Torre’s _Scritti di Colombo_, 1864. Las Casas says of his
abstract, that he follows the very words of the Admiral for a while
after recording the landfall; and these parts are translated by Mr.
Thomas, of the State Department at Washington, in G. A. Fox’s paper
on “The Landfall” in the _Report of the Coast Survey_ for 1880. The
whole of the Las Casas text, however, was translated into English, at
the instigation of George Ticknor, by Samuel Kettell, and published
in Boston as _A Personal Narrative of the First Voyage_ in 1827;[161]
and it has been given in part, in English, in Becher’s _Landfall of
Columbus_. The original is thought to have served Herrera in his
_Historia General_.[162]

LETTERS.—We know that on the 12th of February, 1493, about a week
before reaching the Azores on his return voyage, and while his ship
was laboring in a gale, Columbus prepared an account of his discovery,
and incasing the parchment in wax, put it in a barrel, which he threw
overboard. That is the last heard of it. He prepared another account,
perhaps duplicate, and protecting it in a similar way, placed it on his
poop, to be washed off in case his vessel foundered. We know nothing
further of this account, unless it be the same, substantially, with
the letters which he wrote just before making a harbor at the Azores.
One of these letters, at least, is dated off the Canaries; and it is
possible that it was written earlier on the voyage, and post-dated, in
expectation of his making the Canaries; and when he found himself by
stress of weather at the Azores, he neglected to change the place. The
original of neither of these letters is known.

One of them was dated Feb. 15, 1493, with a postscript dated March 4
(or 14, copies vary, and the original is of course not to be reached;
4 would seem to be correct), and is written in Spanish, and addressed
to the “Escribano de Racion,” Luis de Santangel, who, as Treasurer
of Aragon, had advanced money for the voyage. Columbus calls this a
second letter; by which he may mean that the one cast overboard was the
first, or that another, addressed to Sanchez (later to be mentioned),
preceded it. There was at Simancas, in 1818, an early manuscript copy
of this letter, which Navarrete printed in his _Coleccion_, and Kettell
translated into English in his book (p. 253) already referred to.[163]

In 1852 the Baron Pietro Custodi left his collection of books to the
Biblioteca Ambrosiana at Milan; and among them was found a printed
edition of this Santangel letter, never before known, and still
remaining unique. It is of small quarto, four leaves, in semi-gothic
type, bearing the date of 1493,[164] and was, as Harrisse and Lenox
think, printed in Spain,—Major suggests Barcelona, but Gayangos thinks
Lisbon. It was first reprinted at Milan in 1863, with a fac-simile,
and edited by Cesare Correnti, in a volume, containing other letters
of Columbus, entitled, _Lettere autografe edite ed inedite di
Cristoforo Colombo_.[165] From this reprint Harrisse copied it, and
gave an English translation in his _Notes on Columbus_, p. 89, drawing
attention to the error of Correnti in making it appear on his titlepage
that the letter was addressed to “Saxis,”[166] and testifying that, by
collation, he had found but slight variation from the Navarrete text.
Mr. R. H. Major also prints the Ambrosian text in his _Select Letters
of Columbus_, with an English version appended, and judges the Cosco
version could not have been made from it. Other English translations
may be found in Becher’s _Landfall of Columbus_, p. 291, and in
French’s _Historical Collections of Louisiana and Florida_, 2d series,
ii. 145.

In 1866 a fac-simile edition (150 copies) of the Ambrosian copy
was issued at Milan, edited by Gerolamo d’Adda, under the title of
_Lettera in lingua Spagnuola diretta da Cristoforo Colombo a Luis de
Santangel_.[167] Mr. James Lenox, of New York, had already described
it, with a fac-simile of the beginning and end, in the _Historical
Magazine_ (vol. viii. p. 289, September, 1864, April, 1865); and this
paper was issued separately (100 copies) as a supplement to the Lenox
edition of Scyllacius. Harrisse[168] indicates that there was once a
version of this Santangel letter in the Catalan tongue, preserved in
the Colombina Library at Seville.

A few years ago Bergenroth found at Simancas a letter of Columbus,
dated at the Canaries, Feb. 15, 1493, with a postscript at Lisbon,
March 14, addressed to a friend, giving still another early text, but
adding nothing material to our previous knowledge. A full abstract is
given in the _Calendar of State Papers relating to England and Spain_,
p. 43.

A third Spanish text of a manuscript of the sixteenth century, said
to have been found in the Colegio Mayor de Cuenca, was made known
by Varnhagen, the Minister of Brazil to Portugal, who printed it at
Valencia in 1858 as _Primera epistola del Almirante Don Christóbal
Colon_, including an account “de una nueva copia de original
manuscrito.” The editor assumed the name of Volafan, and printed one
hundred copies, of which sixty were destroyed in Brazil.[169] This
letter is addressed to Gabriel Sanchez, and dated “sobre la isla de Sa.
Maria, 18 de Febrero;” and is without the postscript of the letters
of Feb. 15. It is almost a verbatim repetition of the Simancas text.
A reprint of the Cosco text makes a part of the volume; and it is the
opinion of Varnhagen and Harrisse that the Volafan text is the original
from which Cosco translated, as mentioned later.

Perhaps still another Spanish text is preserved and incorporated, as
Muñoz believed, by the Cura de los Palacios, Andrés Bernaldez, in his
_Historia de los reyes católicos_ (chap. cxviii). This book covers the
period 1488-1513; has thirteen chapters on Columbus, who had been the
guest of Bernaldez after his return from his second voyage, in 1496,
and by whom Columbus is called “mercador de libros de estampa.” The
manuscript of Bernaldez’s book long remained unprinted in the Royal
Library at Madrid. Irving used a manuscript copy which belonged to
Obadiah Rich.[170] Prescott’s copy of the manuscript is in Harvard
College Library.[171] Humboldt[172] used it in manuscript. It was at
last printed at Granada in 1856, in two volumes, under the editing of
Miguel Lafuente y Alcántara.[173] It remains, of course, possible that
Bernaldez may have incorporated a printed Spanish text, instead of the
original or any early manuscript, though Columbus is known to have
placed papers in his hands.

The text longest known to modern students is the poor Latin rendering
of Cosco, already referred to. While but one edition of the original
Spanish text appeared presumably in Spain (and none of Vespucius and
Magellan), this Latin text, or translations of it, appeared in various
editions and forms in Italy, France, and Germany, which Harrisse
remarks[174] as indicating the greater popular impression which the
discovery of America made beyond Spain than within the kingdom; and the
monthly delivery of letters from Germany to Portugal and the Atlantic
islands, at this time, placed these parts of Europe in prompter
connection than we are apt to imagine.[175] News of the discovery was,
it would seem, borne to Italy by the two Genoese ambassadors, Marchesi
and Grimaldi, who are known to have left Spain a few days after the
return of Columbus.[176] The Spanish text of this letter, addressed
by Columbus to Gabriel or Raphael Sanchez, or Sanxis, as the name of
the Crown treasurer is variously given, would seem to have fallen
into the hands of one Aliander de Cosco, who turned it into Latin,
completing his work on the 29th of April. Harrisse points out the error
of Navarrete and Varnhagen in placing this completion on the 25th,
and supposes the version was made in Spain. Tidings of the discovery
must have reached Rome before this version could have got there; for
the first Papal Bull concerning the event is dated May 3. Whatever the
case, the first publication, in print, of the news was made in Rome
in this Cosco version, and four editions of it were printed in that
city in 1493. There is much disagreement among bibliographers as to
the order of issue of the early editions. Their peculiarities, and the
preference of several bibliographers as to such order, is indicated in
the following enumeration, the student being referred for full titles
to the authorities which are cited:—

 I. _Epistola Christofori Colom_ [1493]. Small quarto, four leaves
 (one blank), gothic, 33 lines to a page. Addressed to Sanchis. Cosco
 is called Leander. Ferdinand and Isabella both named in the title.
 The printer is thought to be Plannck, from similarity of type to work
 known to be his.

 Major calls this the _editio princeps_, and gives elaborate reasons
 for his opinion (_Select Letters of Columbus_, p. cxvi). J. R.
 Bartlett, in the _Carter-Brown Catalogue_, vol. i. no. 5, also puts
 it first; so does Ternaux. Varnhagen calls it the second edition. It
 is put the third in order by Brunet (vol. ii. col. 164) and Lenox
 (_Scyllacius_, p. xliv), and fourth by Harrisse (_Notes on Columbus_,
 p. 121; _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 4).

 There are copies in the Lenox, Carter-Brown, and Huth (_Catalogue_, i.
 336) libraries; in the Grenville (_Bibl. Gren._, p. 158) and King’s
 Collections in the British Museum; in the Royal Library at Munich;
 in the Collection of the Duc d’Aumale at Twickenham; and in the
 Commercial Library at Hamburg.[177] The copy cited by Harrisse was
 sold in the Court Collection (no. 72) at Paris in 1884.

 II. _Epistola Christofori Colom, impressit Rome, Eucharius Argenteus_
 [Silber], _anno dñi MCCCCXCIII_. Small quarto, three printed leaves,
 gothic type, 40 lines to the page. Addressed to Sanches. Cosco is
 called Leander. Ferdinand and Isabella both named.

 Major, who makes this the second edition, says that its deviations
 from No. I. are all on the side of ignorance. Varnhagen calls it the
 _editio princeps_. Bartlett (_Carter-Brown Catalogue_, no. 6) puts it
 second. Lenox (_Scyllacius_, p. xlv) calls it the fourth edition. It
 is no. 3 of Harrisse (_Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 3; _Notes on Columbus_,
 p. 121). Graesse errs in saying the words “Indie supra Gangem” are
 omitted in the title.

 There are copies in the Lenox, Carter-Brown, Huth (_Catalogue_, i.
 336), and Grenville (_Bibl. Gren._, p. 158) Libraries. It has been
 recently priced at 5,000 francs. Cf. _Murphy Catalogue_, 629.

 III. _Epistola Christofori Colom._ Small quarto, four leaves, 34
 lines, gothic type. Addressed to Sanxis. Cosco is called Aliander.
 Ferdinand only named.

 This is Major’s third edition. It is the _editio princeps_ of
 Harrisse, who presumes it to be printed by Stephanus Plannck at Rome
 (_Notes on Columbus_, p. 117; _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, vol. i.); and he
 enters upon a close examination to establish its priority. It is
 Lenox’s second edition (_Scyllacius_, p. xliii). Bartlett places it

 There are copies in the Barlow (formerly the Aspinwall copy) Library
 in New York; in the General Collection and Grenville Library of the
 British Museum; and in the Royal Library at Munich. In 1875 Mr. S.
 L. M. Barlow printed (50 copies) a fac-simile of his copy, with a
 Preface, in which he joins in considering this the first edition with
 Harrisse, who (_Notes on Columbus_, p. 101) gives a careful reprint of

 IV. _De insulis inventis_, etc. Small octavo, ten leaves, 26 and 27
 lines, gothic type. The leaf before the title has the Spanish arms on
 the recto. There are eight woodcuts, one of which is a repetition.
 Addressed to Sanxis. Cosco is called Aliender. Ferdinand only named.
 The words “Indie supra Gangem” are omitted in the title.

 This is Major’s fourth edition. Lenox makes it the _editio princeps_
 (as does Brunet), and gives fac-similes of the woodcuts in his
 _Scyllacius_, p. xxxvi. Bossi supposed the cuts to have been a part of
 the original manuscript, and designed by Columbus.[178] Harrisse calls
 it the second in order, and thinks Johannes Besicken may have been
 the printer (_Bibl. Amer. Vet._, 2), though it is usually ascribed to
 Plannck, of Rome. It bears the arms of Granada; but there was no press
 at that time in that city, so far as known, though Brunet seems to
 imply it was printed there.

 The only perfect copy known is one formerly the Libri copy, now in
 the Lenox Library, which has ten leaves. The Grenville copy (_Bibl.
 Gren._, p. 158), and the one which Bossi saw in the Brera at Milan,
 now lost, had only nine leaves.

 Hain (_Repertorium_, no. 5,491) describes a copy which seems to
 lack the first and tenth leaves; and it was probably this copy
 (Royal Library, Munich) which was followed by Pilinski in his Paris
 fac-simile (20 copies in 1858), which does not reproduce these leaves,
 though it is stated by some that the defective British Museum copy was
 his guide. Bartlett seems in error in calling this fac-simile a copy
 of the Libri-Lenox copy.[179]

 [Illustration: COLUMBUS’ LETTER NO. III.]

 =V.= _Epistola de insulis de novo repertis_, etc. Small quarto, four
 leaves, gothic, 39 lines; woodcut on verso of first leaf. Printed
 by Guy Marchand in Paris, about 1494. Addressed to Sanxis. Cosco is
 called Aliander. Ferdinand only named.

 This is Lenox’s (_Scyllacius_, p. xlv.), Major’s, and Harrisse’s fifth
 (_Notes on Columbus_, p. 122; _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, p. 5) edition.

 The Ternaux copy, now in the Carter-Brown Library, was for some
 time supposed to be the only copy known; but Harrisse says the text
 reprinted by Rosny in Paris, in 1865, as from a copy in the National
 Library at Paris, corresponds to this. This reprint (125 copies) is
 entitled, _Lettre de Christophe Colomb sur la découverte du nouveau
 monde. Publiée d’après la rarissime version Latine conservée à la
 Bibliothèque Impériale. Traduite en Français, commentée_ [etc.]
 _par Lucien de Rosny_. Paris: J. Gay, 1865, 44 pages octavo. This
 edition was published under the auspices of the “Comité d’Archéologie

 [Illustration: REVERSE OF TITLE OF NOS. V. AND VI.]

 =VI.= _Epistola de insulis noviter repertis_, etc. Small quarto,
 four leaves, gothic, 39 lines; woodcut on verso of first leaf. Guiot
 Marchant, of Paris, printer. Addressed to Sanxis. Cosco is called
 Aliander. Ferdinand only named.

 This is Major’s sixth edition; Harrisse (_Notes on Columbus_, p.
 122; _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 6) and Lenox (_Scyllacius_, p. xlvii)
 also place it sixth. There are fac-similes of the engraved title in
 Harrisse, Lenox, and Stevens’s _American Bibliographer_, p. 66.

 There are copies in the Carter-Brown, Bodleian (Douce), and University
 of Göttingen libraries; one is also shown in the _Murphy Catalogue_,
 no. 630.

 John Harris, Sen., made a fac-simile edition of five copies, one of
 which is in the British Museum.

 =VII.= _Epistola Cristophori Colom_, etc. Small quarto, four leaves,
 gothic, 38 lines. Addressed to Sanxis. Th. Martens is thought to be
 the printer.

 This edition has only recently been made known. Cf. Brunet,
 _Supplément_, col. 276. The only copy known is in the Bibliothèque
 Royale at Brussels.

The text of all these editions scarcely varies, except in the use of
contracted letters. Lenox’s collation was reprinted, without the cuts,
in the _Historical Magazine_, February, 1861. Other bibliographical
accounts will be found in Graesse, _Trésor_; _Bibliotheca
Grenvilliana_, i. 158; Sabin, _Dictionary_, iv. 274; and by J. H.
Hessels in the _Bibliophile Belge_, vol. vi. The cuts are also in part
reproduced in some editions of Irving’s _Life of Columbus_, and in the
_Vita_, by Bossi.[181]

In 1494 this Cosco-Sanchez text was appended to a drama on the
capture of Granada, which was printed at Basle, beginning _In laudem
Serenissimi Ferdinandi_, and ascribed to Carolus Veradus. The “De
insulis nuper inventis” is found at the thirtieth leaf (_Bibl.
Amer. Vet._, no. 15; Lenox’s _Scyllacius_, p. xlviii; Major, no.
7; _Carter-Brown Catalogue_, no. 13). There are copies in the
Carter-Brown, Harvard College, and Lenox libraries.[182]

By October, in the year of the first appearance (1493) of the
Cosco-Sanchez text, it had been turned into _ottava rima_ by Guiliano
Dati, a popular poet, to be sung about the streets, as is supposed; and
two editions of this verse are now known. The earliest is in quarto,
black letter, two columns, and was printed in Florence, and called
_Questa e la Hystoria ... extracte duna Epistola Christofano Colombo_.
It was in four leaves, of coarse type and paper; but the second and
third leaves are lacking in the unique copy, now in the British Museum,
which was procured in 1858 from the Costabile sale in Paris.[183]

[Illustration: COLUMBUS’ LETTER NO. VI.]

The other edition, dated one day later (Oct. 26, 1493), printed also at
Florence, and called _La Lettera dell’isole_, etc., is in Roman type,
quarto, four leaves, two columns, with a woodcut title representing
Ferdinand on the European, and Columbus on the New World shore of the
ocean.[184] The copy in the British Museum was bought for 1,700 francs
at the Libri sale in Paris; and the only other copy known is in the
Trivulgio Library at Milan.

In 1497 a German translation, or adaptation, from Cosco’s Latin was
printed by Bartlomesz Küsker at Strasburg, with the title _Eyn schön
kübsch lesen von etlichen inszlen die do in kurtzen zyten funden synd
durch dē künig von hispania, und sagt vō groszen wunderlichen dingen
die in dē selbē inszlen synd_. It is a black-letter quarto of seven
leaves, with one blank, the woodcut of the title being repeated on
the verso of the seventh leaf.[185] There are copies in the Lenox
(Libri copy) and Carter-Brown libraries; in the Grenville and Huth
collections; and in the library at Munich.

The text of the Cosco-Sanchez letter, usually quoted by the early
writers, is contained in the _Bellum Christianorum Principum_ of
Robertus Monarchus, printed at Basle in 1533.[186]


B. LANDFALL.—It is a matter of controversy what was Guanahani, the
first land seen by Columbus. The main, or rather the only, source
for the decision of this question is the Journal of Columbus; and it
is to be regretted that Las Casas did not leave unabridged the parts
preceding the landfall, as he did those immediately following, down
to October 29. Not a word outside of this Journal is helpful. The
testimony of the early maps is rather misleading than reassuring, so
conjectural was their geography.


It will be remembered that land was first seen two hours after
midnight; and computations made for Fox show that the moon was near
the third quarter, partly behind the observer, and would clearly
illuminate the white sand of the shore, two leagues distant. From
Columbus’s course there were in his way, as constituting the Bahama
group,—taking the enumeration of to-day, and remembering that the sea
may have made some changes,—36 islands, 687 cays, and 2,414 rocks. By
the log, as included in the Journal, and reducing his distance sailed
by dead reckoning—which then depended on observation by the eye alone,
and there were also currents to misguide Columbus, running from nine
to thirty miles a day, according to the force of the wind—to a course
west, 2° 49′ south, Fox has shown that the discoverer had come 3,458
nautical miles. Applying this to the several islands claimed as the
landfall, and knowing modern computed distances, we get the following

  │                │                │        │   An   │
  │    Islands.    │     Course.    │ Miles. │ Excess │
  │                │                │        │   of   │
  │ To Grand Turk  │  W. 8°  1′ S.  │  2834  │  624   │
  │    Mariguana   │  W. 6° 37′ S.  │  3032  │  426   │
  │    Watling     │  W. 4° 38′ S.  │  3105  │  353   │
  │    Cat         │  W. 4° 20′ S.  │  3141  │  317   │
  │    Samana      │  W. 5° 37′ S.  │  3072  │  387   │

Columbus speaks of the island as being “small,” and again as “pretty
large” (_bien grande_). He calls it very level, with abundance of
water, and a very large lagune in the middle; and it was in the last
month of the rainy season, when the low parts of the islands are
usually flooded.

Some of the features of the several islands already named will now be
mentioned, together with a statement of the authorities in favor of
each as the landfall.

SAN SALVADOR, OR CAT.—This island is forty-three miles long by about
three broad, with an area of about one hundred and sixty square miles,
rising to a height of four hundred feet, the loftiest land in the
group, and with no interior water. It is usual in the maps of the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to identify this island with the
Guanahani of Columbus. It is so considered by Catesby in his _Natural
History of Carolina_ (1731); by Knox in his _Collection of Voyages_
(1767); by De la Roquette in the French version of Navarrete, vol.
ii. (1828); and by Baron de Montlezun in the _Nouvelles annales des
voyages_, vols. x. and xii. (1828-1829). Alexander Slidell Mackenzie,
of the United States Navy, worked out the problem for Irving; and this
island is fixed upon in the latter’s _Life of Columbus_, app. xvi.,
editions of 1828 and 1848. Becher claims that the modern charts used by
Irving were imperfect; and he calls “not worthy to be called a chart”
the La Cosa map, which so much influenced Humboldt in following Irving,
in his _Examen critique_ (1837), iii. 181, 186-222.


WATLING’S.—This is thirteen miles long by about six broad, containing
sixty square miles, with a height of one hundred and forty feet,
and having about one third its area of interior water. It was first
suggested by Muñoz in 1793. Captain Becher, of the Royal Navy,
elaborated the arguments in favor of this island in the _Journal of
the Royal Geographical Society_, xxvi. 189, and _Proceedings_, i. 94,
and in his _Landfall of Columbus on his First Voyage to America_,
London, 1856. Peschel took the same ground in his _Geschichte des
Zeitalters der Entdeckungen_ (1858). R. H. Major’s later opinion is in
support of the same views, as shown by him in the _Journal of the Royal
Geographical Society_ (1871), xvi. 193, and _Proceedings_, xv. 210. Cf.
_New Quarterly Review_, October, 1856.

Lieut. J. B. Murdock, U. S. N., in a paper on “The Cruise of Columbus
in the Bahamas, 1492,” published in the _Proceedings_ (April, 1884,
p. 449) of the United States Naval Institute vol. x, furnishes a
new translation of the passages in Columbus’ Journal bearing on the
subject, and made by Professor Montaldo of the Naval Academy, and
repeats the map of the modern survey of the Bahamas as given by Fox.
Lieutenant Murdock follows and criticises the various theories afresh,
and traces Columbus’ track backward from Cuba, till he makes the
landfall to have been at Watling’s Island. He points out also various
indications of the Journal which cannot be made to agree with any
supposable landfall.

[Illustration: THE BAHAMA GROUP.

This map is sketched from the chart, made from the most recent surveys,
in the United States Coast-Survey and given in Fox’s monograph,
with the several routes marked down on it. Other cartographical
illustrations of the subject will be found in Moreno’s maps, made
for Navarrete’s _Coleccion_ in 1825 (also in the French version); in
Becher’s paper in the _Journal of the Royal Geographical Society_,
xxvi. 189, and in his _Landfall of Columbus_; in Varnhagen’s _Das
wahre Guanahani_; in Major’s paper in the _Journal of the Royal
Geographical Society_, 1871, and in his second edition of the _Select
Letters_, where he gives a modern map, with Herrera’s map (1601) and a
section of La Cosa’s; in G. B. Torre’s _Scritti di Colombo_, p. 214;
and in the section, “Wo liegt Guanahani?” of Ruge’s _Geschichte des
Zeitalters der Entdeckungen_, p. 248, giving all routes, except that
offered by Fox. See further on the subject R. Pietschmann’s “Beiträge
zur Guanahani-Frage,” in the _Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche
Geographie_ (1880), i. 7, 65, with map; and A. Breusing’s “Geschichte
der Kartographie,” in Ibid., ii. 193.]

GRAND TURK.—Its size is five and one half by one and a quarter miles,
with an area of seven square miles; its highest part seventy feet; and
one third of its surface is interior water. Navarrete first advanced
arguments in its favor in 1825, and Kettell adopted his views in the
Boston edition of the _Personal Narrative of Columbus_. George Gibbs
argued for it in the _New York Historical Society’s Proceedings_
(1846), p. 137, and in the _Historical Magazine_ (June, 1858), ii. 161.
Major adopted such views in the first edition (1847) of his _Select
Letters of Columbus_.

MARIGUANA.—It measures twenty-three and one half miles long by an
average of four wide; contains ninety-six square miles; rises one
hundred and one feet, and has no interior water. F. A. de Varnhagen
published at St. Jago de Chile, in 1864, a treatise advocating this
island as _La verdadera Guanahani_, which was reissued at Vienna, in
1869, as _Das wahre Guanahani des Columbus_.[187]

SAMANA, OR ATTWOOD’S CAY.—This is nine miles long by one and a half
wide, covering eight and a half square miles, with the highest ridge
of one hundred feet. It is now uninhabited; but arrow-heads and other
signs of aboriginal occupation are found there. The Samana of the early
maps was the group now known as Crooked Island. The present Samana has
been recently selected for the landfall by Gustavus V. Fox, in the
_United States Coast Survey Report_, 1880, app. xviii.,—“An attempt to
solve the problem of the first landing-place of Columbus in the New
World.” He epitomized this paper in the _Magazine of American History_
(April, 1883), p. 240.


=C.= EFFECT OF THE DISCOVERY IN EUROPE.—During the interval between the
return of Columbus from his first voyage and his again treading the
soil of Spain on his return from the second, 1494, we naturally look
for the effect of this astounding revelation upon the intelligence of
Europe. To the Portuguese, who had rejected his pleas, there may have
been some chagrin. Faria y Sousa, in his _Europa Portuguesa_, intimates
that Columbus’ purpose in putting in at the Tagus was to deepen the
regret of the Portuguese at their rejection of his views; and other
of their writers affirm his overbearing manner and conscious pride of
success. The interview which he had with John II. is described in
the _Lyuro das obras de Garcia de Resende_.[188] Of his reception by
the Spanish monarchs at Barcelona,[189] we perhaps, in the stories
of the historians, discern more embellishments than Oviedo, who was
present, would have thought the ceremony called for. George Sumner (in
1844) naturally thought so signal an event would find some record in
the “Anals consulars” of that city, which were formed to make note of
the commonest daily events; but he could find in them no indication
of the advent of the discoverer of new lands.[190] It is of far more
importance for us that provision was soon made for future records in
the establishment of what became finally the “Casa de la Contratacion
de las Indias,” at this time put in charge of Juan de Fonseca, who
controlled its affairs throughout the reign of Ferdinand.[191] We
have seen how apparently an eager public curiosity prompted more
frequent impressions of Columbus’ letter in other lands than in Spain
itself; but there was a bustling reporter at the Spanish Court fond
of letter-writing, having correspondents in distant parts, and to him
we owe it, probably, that the news spread to some notable people.
This was Peter Martyr d’Anghiera. He dated at Barcelona, on the
ides of May, a letter mentioning the event, which he sent to Joseph
Borromeo; and he repeated the story in later epistles, written in
September, to Ascanio Sforza, Tendilla, and Talavera.[192] There is
every reason to suppose that Martyr derived his information directly
from Columbus himself. He was now probably about thirty-seven years
old, and he had some years before acquired such a reputation for
learning and eloquence that he had been invited from Italy (he was a
native of the Duchy of Milan) to the Spanish Court. His letters, as
they have come down to us, begin about five years before this,[193]
and it is said that just at this time (1493) he began the composition
of his Decades. Las Casas has borne testimony to the value of the
Decades for a knowledge of Columbus, calling them the most worthy
of credit of all the early writings, since Martyr got, as he says,
his accounts directly from the Admiral, with whom he often talked.
Similar testimony is given to their credibleness by Carbajal, Gomez,
Vergara, and other contemporaries.[194] Beginning with Muñoz, there
has been a tendency of late years to discredit Martyr, arising from
the confusion and even negligence sometimes discernible in what he
says. Navarrete was inclined to this derogatory estimate. Hallam[195]
goes so far as to think him open to grave suspicion of negligent and
palpable imposture, antedating his letters to appear prophetic. On the
other hand, Prescott[196] contends for his veracity, and trusts his
intimate familiarity with the scenes he describes. Helps interprets the
disorder of his writings as a merit, because it is a reflection of his
unconnected thoughts and feelings on the very day on which he recorded
any transactions.[197]

What is thought to be the earliest mention in print of the new
discoveries occurs in a book published at Seville in 1493.—_Los
tratados del Doctor Alonso Ortiz_. The reference is brief, and is
on the reverse of the 43d folio.[198] Not far from the same time
the Bishop of Carthagena, Bernardin de Carvajal, then the Spanish
ambassador to the Pope, delivered an oration in Rome, June 19, 1493, in
which he made reference to the late discovery of unknown lands towards
the Indies.[199] These references are all scant; and, so far as we
know from the records preserved to us, the great event of the age made
as yet no impression on the public mind demanding any considerable

=D.= SECOND VOYAGE (_Sept._ 25, 1493, _to June_ 11, 1496).—First among
the authorities is the narrative of Dr. Chanca, the physician of the
Expedition. The oldest record of it is a manuscript of the middle of
the sixteenth century, in the Real Academia de la Historia at Madrid.
From this Navarrete printed it for the first time,[200] under the title
of “Segundo Viage de Cristobal Colon,” in his _Coleccion_, i. 198.

Not so directly cognizant of events, but getting his information at
second hand from Guglielmo Coma,—a noble personage in Spain,—was
Nicolas Scyllacius, of Pavia, who translated Coma’s letters into
Latin, and published his narrative, _De insulis meridiani atque indici
maris nuper inventis_, dedicating it to Ludovico Sforza, at Pavia
(Brunet thinks Pisa), in 1594 or 1595. Of this little quarto there
are three copies known. One is in the Lenox Library; and from this
copy Mr. Lenox, in 1859, reprinted it sumptuously (one hundred and two
copies[201]), with a translation by the Rev. John Mulligan. In Mr.
Lenox’s Introduction it is said that his copy had originally belonged
to M. Olivieri, of Parma, and then to the Marquis Rocca Saporiti,
before it came into Mr. Lenox’s hands, and that the only other copy
known was an inferior one in the library of the Marquis Trivulzio at
Milan. This last copy is probably one of the two copies which Harrisse
reports as being in the palace library at Madrid and in the Thottiana
(Royal Library) at Copenhagen, respectively.[202] Scyllacius adds a few
details, current at that time, which were not in Coma’s letters, and
seems to have interpreted the account of his correspondent as implying
that Columbus had reached the Indies by the Portuguese route round the
Cape of Good Hope. Ronchini has conjectured that this blunder may have
caused the cancelling of a large part of the edition, which renders the
little book so scarce; but Lenox neatly replies that “almost all the
contemporaneous accounts are equally rare.”

Another second-hand account—derived, however, most probably from the
Admiral himself—is that given by Peter Martyr in his first Decade,
published in 1511, and more at length in 1516.[203]

Accompanying Columbus on this voyage was Bernardus Buell, or Boil, a
monk of St. Benoit, in Austria, who was sent by Pope Alexander VI as
vicar-general of the new lands, to take charge of the measures for
educating and converting the Indians.[204] It will be remembered he
afterward became a caballer against the Admiral. What he did there,
and a little of what Columbus did, one Franciscus Honorius Philoponus
sought to tell in a very curious book, _Nova typis transacta navigatio
novi orbis Indiæ occidentalis_,[205] which was not printed till 1621.
It is dedicated to Casparus Plautius, and it is suspected that he is
really the author of the book, while he assumed another name, more
easily to laud himself. Harrisse describes the book as having “few
details of an early date, mixed with much second-hand information of a
perfectly worthless character.”

So far as we know, the only contemporary references in a printed book
to the new discoveries during the progress of the second voyage, or in
the interval previous to the undertaking of the third voyage, in the
spring of 1498, are these: The _Das Narrenschiff_ (Ship of Fools) of
Sebastian Brant, a satire on the follies of society, published at Basle
in 1494,[206] and reprinted in Latin in 1497, 1498, and in French in
1497, 1498, and 1499,[207] has a brief mention of the land previously
unknown, until Ferdinand discovered innumerable people in the great
Spanish ocean. Zacharias Lilio, in his _De origine et laudibus
scientiarum_, Florence, 1496,[208] has two allusions. In 1497 Fedia
Inghirami, keeper of the Vatican Archives, delivered a funeral oration
on Prince John, son of Ferdinand and Isabella, and made a reference
to the New World. The little book was probably printed in Rome. There
is also a reference in the _Cosmographia_ of Antonius Nebrissensis,
printed in 1498.[209]

[Illustration: SEBASTIAN BRANT.

Fac-simile of cut in Reusner’s _Icones_, Strasburg, 1590.]

=E.= THIRD VOYAGE (_May_ 30, 1498, _to Nov._ 20, 1500).—Our knowledge
of this voyage is derived at first hand from two letters of Columbus
himself, both of which are printed by Navarrete, and by Major, with a
translation. The first is addressed to the sovereigns, and follows a
copy in Las Casas’s hand, in the Archives of the Duque del Infantado.
The other is addressed to the nurse of Prince John, and follows a copy
in the Muñoz Collection in the Real Academia at Madrid, collated with a
copy in the Columbus Collection at Genoa, printed by Spotorno.[210]


A reproduction of the map in Charton’s _Voyageurs_, iii. 179.]


A reproduction of the map in Charton’s _Voyageurs_, iii. 178.]

=F.= FOURTH VOYAGE (_May_ 9, 1502, _to Nov._ 7, 1504).—While at
Jamaica Columbus wrote to Ferdinand and Isabella a wild, despondent
letter,[211] suggestive of alienation of mind. It brings the story of
the voyage down only to July 7, 1503, leaving four months unrecorded.
Pinelo says it was printed in the Spanish, as he wrote it; but no such
print is known.[212] Navarrete found in the King’s private library,
at Madrid, a manuscript transcript of it, written, apparently, about
the middle of the sixteenth century; and this he printed in his
_Coleccion_.[213] It was translated into Italian by Costanzo Bayuera,
of Brescia, and published at Venice, in 1505, as _Copia de la lettera
per Colombo mandata_.[214] Cavaliere Morelli, the librarian of St.
Mark’s, reprinted it, with comments, at Bassano, in 1810, as _Lettera
rarissima di Cristoforo Colombo_.[215] Navarrete prints two other
accounts of this voyage,—one by Diego Porras;[216] the other by Diego
Mendez, given in his last will, preserved in the Archives of the Duke
of Veraguas.[217]

While Columbus was absent on this voyage, as already mentioned,
Bergomas had recorded the Admiral’s first discoveries.[218]

=G.= LIVES AND NOTICES OF COLUMBUS.—Ferdinand Columbus—if we accept
as his the Italian publication of 1571—tells us that the fatiguing
career of his father, and his infirmities, prevented the Admiral
from writing his own life. For ten years after his death there were
various references to the new discoveries, but not a single attempt
to commemorate, by even a brief sketch, the life of the discoverer.
Such were the mentions in the _Commentariorum urbanorum libri_ of
Maffei,[219] published in 1506, and again in 1511; in Walter Ludd’s
_Speculi orbis_, etc.;[220] in F. Petrarca’s _Chronica_;[221] and
in the _Oratio_[222] of Marco Dandolo (Naples),—all in 1507. In the
same year the narrative in the _Paesi novamente retrovati_ (1507)
established an account which was repeated in later editions, and
was followed in the _Novus orbis_ of 1532. The next year (1508) we
find a reference in the _Oratio_[223] of Fernando Tellez at Rome;
in the _Supplementi de le chroniche vulgare, novamente dal frate
Jacobo Phillipo al anno 1503 vulgarizz. per Francesco C. Fiorentino_
(Venice);[224] in Johannes Stamler’s _Dyalogus_;[225] in the Ptolemy
published at Rome with Ruysch’s map; and in the _Collectanea_[226] of
Baptista Fulgosus, published at Milan.

In 1509 there is reference to the discoveries in the _Opera nova_ of
the General of the Carmelites, Battista Mantuanus.[227] Somewhere, from
1510 to 1519, the _New Interlude_[228] presented Vespucius to the
English public, rather than Columbus, as the discoverer of America, as
had already been done by Waldseemüller at St. Dié.


Fac-simile of a portion of the page of Giustiniani Psalter, which shows
the beginning of the marginal note on Columbus.]

In 1511 Peter Martyr, in his first Decade, and Sylvanus, in his
annotations of Ptolemy, drew attention to the New World; as did also
Johannes Sobrarius in his _Panegyricum carmen de gestis heroicis divi
Ferdinandi_ _Catholici_.[229] The Stobnicza (Cracow) Appendix to
Ptolemy presented a new map of the Indies in 1512; and the _Chronicon_
of Eusebius, of the same date, recorded the appearance of some of the
wild men of the West in Rouen, brought over by a Dieppe vessel. Some
copies, at least, of Antonio de Lebrija’s edition of _Prudentii opera_,
printed at Lucca, 1512, afford another instance of an early mention
of the New World.[230] Again, in 1513, a new edition of Ptolemy gave
the world what is thought to have been a map by Columbus himself; and
in the same year there was a _Supplementum supplementi_ of Jacobo
Philippo, of Bergomas.[231] In 1514 the _De natura locorum_ (Vienna),
of Albertus Magnus, points again to Vespucius instead of Columbus;[232]
but Cataneo, in a poem on Genoa,[233] does not forget her son, Columbus.

These, as books have preserved them for us, are about all the
contemporary references to the life of the great discoverer for the
first ten years after his death.[234] In 1516, where we might least
expect it, we find the earliest small gathering of the facts of his
life. In the year of Columbus’ death, Agostino Giustiniani had begun
the compilation of a polyglot psalter, which was in this year (1516)
ready for publication, and, with a dedication to Leo X., appeared in
Genoa. The editor annotated the text, and, in a marginal note to verse
four of the nineteenth Psalm, we find the earliest sketch of Columbus’
life. Stevens[235] says of the note: “There are in it several points
which we do not find elsewhere recorded, especially respecting the
second voyage, and the survey of the south side of Cuba, as far as
Evangelista, in May, 1494. Almost all other accounts of the second
voyage, except that of Bernaldez, end before this Cuba excursion began.”

Giustiniani, who was born in 1470, died in 1536, and his _Annali di
Genoa_[236] was shortly afterward published (1537), in which, on folio
ccxlix, he gave another account of Columbus, which, being published
by his executors with his revision, repeated some errors or opinions
of the earlier Psalter account. These were not pleasing to Ferdinand
Columbus,[237] the son of the Admiral,—particularly the statement that
Columbus was born of low parentage,—“vilibus ortus parentibus.” Stevens
points out how Ferdinand accuses Giustiniani of telling fourteen lies
about the discoverer; “but on hunting them out, they all appear to be
of trifling consequence, amounting to little more than that Columbus
sprang from humble parents, and that he and his father were poor,
earning a livelihood by honest toil.”[238]

To correct what, either from pride or from other reasons, he considered
the falsities of the Psalter, Ferdinand was now prompted to compose
a Life of his father,—or at least such was, until recently, the
universal opinion of his authorship of the book. As to Ferdinand’s own
relations to that father there is some doubt, or pretence of doubt,
particularly on the part of those who have found the general belief
in, and pretty conclusive evidence concerning, the illegitimacy of
Ferdinand an obstacle in establishing the highly moral character which
a saint, like Columbus, should have.[239]

Ferdinand Columbus, or Fernando Colon, was born three or four years
before his father sailed on his first voyage.[240] His father’s favor
at Court opened the way, and in attendance upon Prince Juan and Queen
Isabella he gained a good education. When Columbus went on his fourth
voyage, in 1502, the boy, then thirteen years of age, accompanied his
father. It is said that he made two other voyages to the New World;
but Harrisse could only find proof of one. His later years were passed
as a courtier, in attendance upon Charles V. on his travels, and in
literary pursuits, by which he acquired a name for learning. He had
the papers of his father,[241] and he is best known by the Life of
Columbus which passes under his name. If it was written in Spanish, it
is not known in its original form, and has not been traced since Luis
Colon, the Duque de Veraguas, son of Diego, took the manuscript to
Genoa about 1568. There is some uncertainty about its later history;
but it appeared in 1571 at Venice in an Italian version made by Alfonzo
de Ulloa, and was entitled _Historie del S. D. Fernando Colombo; nelle
quali s’ ha particolare & vera relatione della vita, & de’ fatti
dell’Ammiraglio D. Christoforo Colombo, suo padre_. It is thought that
this translation was made from an inaccurate copy of the manuscript,
and moreover badly made. It begins the story of the Admiral’s life with
his fifty-sixth year, or thereabout; and it has been surmised that an
account of his earlier years—if, indeed, the original draft contained
it—was omitted, so as not to obscure, by poverty and humble station,
the beginnings of a luminous career.[242] Ferdinand died at Seville,
July 12, 1539,[243] and bequeathed, conditionally, his library to the
Cathedral. The collection then contained about twenty thousand volumes,
in print and manuscript; and it is still preserved there, though,
according to Harrisse, much neglected since 1709, and reduced to about
four thousand volumes. It is known as the Biblioteca Colombina.[244]
Spotorno says that this Luis Colon, a person of debauched character,
brought this manuscript in the Spanish language to Genoa, and left it
in the hands of Baliano de Fornari, from whom it passed to another
patrician, Giovanni Baptista Marini, who procured Ulloa to make the
Italian version in which it was first published.[245]

Somewhat of a controversial interest has been created of late years by
the critiques of Henry Harrisse on Ferdinand Columbus and his Life of
his father, questioning the usually accepted statements in Spotorno’s
introduction of the _Codice_ of 1823. Harrisse undertakes to show
that the manuscript was never in Don Luis’ hands, and that Ferdinand
could not have written it. He counts it as strange that if such a
manuscript existed in Spain not a single writer in print previous to
1571 refers to it. “About ten years ago,” says Henry Stevens,[246] “a
society of Andalusian bibliographers was formed at Seville. Their first
publication was a fierce Hispano-French attack on the authenticity of
the Life of Columbus by his second son, Ferdinand, written by Henri
Harrisse in French, and translated by one of the Seville bibliófilos,
and adopted and published by the Society. The book [by Columbus’ son]
is boldly pronounced a forgery and a fraud on Ferdinand Columbus.
Some fifteen reasons are given in proof of these charges, all of
which, after abundant research and study, are pronounced frivolous,
false, and groundless.” Such is Mr. Stevens’s view, colored or not by
the antipathy which on more than one occasion has been shown to be
reciprocal in the references of Stevens and Harrisse, one to the other,
in sundry publications.[247] The views of Harrisse were also expressed
in the supplemental volume of his _Bibliotheca Americana Vetustissima_,
published as _Additions_ in 1872. In this he says, regarding the
Life of Columbus: “It was not originally written by the son of the
bold navigator; and many of the circumstances it relates have to be
challenged, and weighed with the utmost care and impartiality.”

The authenticity of the book was ably sustained by D’Avezac before the
French Academy in a paper which was printed in 1873 as _Le livre de
Ferdinand Colomb: Revue critique des allégations proposées contre son
authenticité_. Harrisse replied in 1875 in a pamphlet of fifty-eight
pages, entitled _L’histoire de C. Colomb attribuée à son fils Fernand:
Examen critique du mémoire lu par M. d’Avezac à l’Académie_, 8, 13, _22
Août, 1873_. There were other disputants on the question.[248]

The catalogue of the Colombina Library as made by Ferdinand shows
that it contained originally a manuscript Life of the Admiral written
about 1525 by Ferdinand Perez de Oliva, who presumably had the aid of
Ferdinand Columbus himself; but no trace of this Life now exists,[249]
unless, as Harrisse ventures to conjecture, it may have been in some
sort the basis of what now passes for the work of Ferdinand.

       *       *       *       *       *

For a long time after the _Historie_ of 1571 there was no considerable
account of Columbus printed. Editions of Ptolemy, Peter Martyr, Oviedo,
Grynæus, and other general books, made reference to his discoveries;
but the next earliest distinct sketch appears to be that in the _Elogia
virorum illustrium_ of Jovius, printed in 1551 at Florence, and the
Italian version made by Domenichi, printed in 1554.[250] Ramusio’s
third volume, in 1556, gave the story greater currency than before; but
such a book as Cunningham’s _Cosmographical Glasse_, in its chapter
on America, utterly ignores Columbus in 1559.[251] We get what may
probably be called the hearsay reports of Columbus’ exploits in the
_Mondo nuovo_ of Benzoni, first printed at Venice in 1565. There was
a brief memorial in the _Clarorum Ligurum elogia_ of Ubertus Folieta,
published at Rome in 1573.[252] In 1581 his voyages were commemorated
in an historical poem, _Laurentii Gambaræ Brixiani de navigatione
Christophori Columbi_, published at Rome.[253] Boissard, of the De Bry
coterie at Frankfort in 1597, included Columbus in his _Icones virorum
illustrium_;[254] and Buonfiglio Costanzo, in 1604, commemorated him in
the _Historia Siciliana_, published at Venice.[255]

Meanwhile the story of Columbus’ voyages was told at last with all the
authority of official sanction in the _Historia general_ of Herrera.
This historian, or rather annalist, was born in 1549, and died in
1625;[256] and the appointment of historiographer given him by Philip
II. was continued by the third and fourth monarchs of that name. There
has been little disagreement as to his helpfulness to his successors.
All critics place him easily first among the earlier writers; and
Muñoz, Robertson, Irving, Prescott, Ticknor, and many others have
united in praise of his research, candor, and justness, while they
found his literary skill compromised in a measure by his chronological
method. Irving found that Herrera depended so much on Las Casas that it
was best in many cases to go to that earlier writer in preference;[257]
and Muñoz thinks only Herrera’s judicial quality preserved for him
a distinct character throughout the agglutinizing process by which
he constructed his book. His latest critic, Hubert H. Bancroft,[258]
calls his style “bald and accurately prolix, his method slavishly
chronological,” with evidence everywhere in his book of “inexperience
and incompetent assistance,” resulting in “notes badly extracted,
discrepancies, and inconsistencies.” The bibliography of Herrera is
well done in Sabin.[259]

Herrera had already published (1591) a monograph on the history of
Portugal and the conquest (1582-1583) of the Azores, when he produced
at Madrid his great work, _Historia general de los hechos de los
Castellanos_, in eight decades, four of which, in two volumes, were
published in 1601, and the others in 1615.[260] It has fourteen maps;
and there should be bound with it, though often found separate, a ninth
part, called _Description de las Indias occidentales_.[261] Of the
composite work, embracing the nine parts, the best edition is usually
held to be one edited by Gonzales Barcia, and supplied by him with an
index, which was printed in Madrid during 1727, 1728, 1729, and 1730,
so that copies are found with all those dates, though it is commonly
cited as of 1730.[262]

       *       *       *       *       *

The principal chronicles of Spanish affairs in the seventeenth century
contributed more or less to Columbus’ fame;[263] and he is commemorated
in the Dutch compilation of Van den Bos, _Leven en Daden der
Zeehelden_, published at Amsterdam in 1676, and in a German translation
in 1681.[264]

There were a hundred years yet to pass before Robertson’s _History
of America_ gave Columbus a prominence in the work of a historian of
established fame; but this Scotch historian was forced to write without
any knowledge of Columbus’ own narratives.

In 1781 the earliest of the special Italian commemorations appeared
at Parma, in J. Durazzo’s _Elogi storici_ on Columbus and Doria.[265]
Chevalier de Langeac in 1782 added to his poem, _Colomb dans les fers à
Ferdinand et Isabelle_, a memoir of Columbus.[266]


The earliest commemoration in the United States was in 1792, on the
three hundredth anniversary of the discovery, celebrated by the
Massachusetts Historical Society, when Dr. Jeremy Belknap delivered
an historical discourse,[267] included later with large additions
in his well-known _American Biography_. The unfinished history of
Muñoz harbingered, in 1793, the revival in Europe of the study of his
career. Finally, the series of modern Lives of Columbus began in 1818
with the publication at Milan of Luigi Bossi’s _Vita di Cristoforo
Colombo, scritta e corredata di nuove osservazioni_.[268] In 1823 the
introduction by Spotorno to the _Codice_, and in 1825 the _Coleccion_
of Navarrete, brought much new material to light; and the first to
make use of it were Irving, in his _Life of Columbus_, 1828,[269] and
Humboldt, in his _Examen critique de l’histoire de la géographie du
nouveau continent_, published originally, in 1834, in a single volume;
and again in five volumes, between 1836 and 1839.[270] “No one,” says
Ticknor,[271] “has comprehended the character of Columbus as Humboldt
has,—its generosity, its enthusiasm, its far-reaching visions, which
seemed watchful beforehand for the great scientific discovery of the
sixteenth century.” Prescott was warned by the popularity of Irving’s
narrative not to attempt to rival him; and his treatment of Columbus’
career was confined to such a survey as would merely complete the
picture of the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella.[272]

In 1844 there came the first intimation of a new style of biography,—a
protest against Columbus’ story being longer told by his natural
enemies, as all who failed to recognize his pre-eminently saintly
character were considered to be. There was a purpose in it to make the
most possible of all his pious ejaculations, and of his intention,
expressed in his letter to the Pope in 1502, to rescue the Holy City
from the infidel, with his prospective army of ten thousand horse
and a hundred thousand foot. The chief spokesman of this purpose has
been Roselly de Lorgues. He first shadowed forth his purpose in his
_La croix dans les deux mondes_ in 1844. It was not till 1864 that
he produced the full flower of his spirit in his _Christophe Colomb,
Histoire de sa vie et de ses voyages d’après des documents authentiques
tirés d’Espagne et d’Italie_.[273] This was followed, in 1874, by his
_L’ambassadeur de Dieu et le Pape Pie IX._ All this, however, and much
else by the abetters of the scheme of the canonization of Columbus
which was urged on the Church, failed of its purpose; and the movement
was suspended, for a while at least, because of an ultimate adverse

Of the other later lives of Columbus it remains to mention only the
most considerable, or those of significant tendency.

The late Sir Arthur Helps wrote his _Spanish Conquest of America_
with the aim of developing the results—political, ethnological, and
economic—of the conquest, rather than the day-by-day progress of
events, and with a primary regard to the rise of slavery. His _Life
of Columbus_ is simply certain chapters of this larger work excerpted
and fitted in order.[275] Mr. Aaron Goodrich, in _A History of the
so-called Christopher Columbus_, New York, 1874, makes a labored and
somewhat inconsiderate effort, characterized by a certain peevish air,
to prove Columbus the mere borrower of others’ glories.[276]

In French, mention may be made of the Baron de Bonnefoux’s _Vie de
Christophe Colomb_, Paris, 1853,[277] and the Marquis de Belloy’s
_Christophe Colomb et la découverte du Nouveau Monde_, Paris, 1864.[278]

In German, under the impulse given by Humboldt, some fruitful labors
have been given to Columbus and the early history of American
discovery; but it is only necessary to mention the names of
Forster,[279] Peschel,[280] and Ruge.[281]

=H.= PORTRAITS OF COLUMBUS.—Of Columbus there is no likeness whose
claim to consideration is indisputable. We have descriptions of his
person from two who knew him,—Oviedo and his own son Ferdinand; we have
other accounts from two who certainly knew his contemporaries,—Gomara
and Benzoni; and in addition we possess the description given by
Herrera, who had the best sources of information. From these we learn
that his face was long, neither full nor thin; his cheek-bones rather
high; his nose aquiline; his eyes light gray; his complexion fair, and
high colored. His hair, which was of light color before thirty, became
gray after that age. In the _Paesi novamente retrovati_ of 1507 he is
described as having a ruddy, elongated visage, and as possessing a
lofty and noble stature.[282]

[Illustration: PAULUS JOVIUS.

Fac-simile of cut in Reusner’s _Icones_, Basle, 1589. There is another
cut in _Pauli Jovii elogia virorum bellica virtute illustrium_, Basle,
1575 (copy in Harvard College Library).]

These are the test with which to challenge the very numerous so-called
likenesses of Columbus; and it must be confessed not a single one, when
you take into consideration the accessories and costume, warrants us in
believing beyond dispute that we can bring before us the figure of the
discoverer as he lived. Such is the opinion of Feuillet de Conches, who
has produced the best critical essay on the subject yet written.[283]

[Illustration: COLUMBUS (after Giovio).

Fac-simile of the woodcut in Paolo Giovio’s _Elogia virorum bellica
virtute illustrium_ (Basle, 1596), p. 124. There are copies in the
Boston Athenæum and Boston Public Library. It is also copied in
Charton’s _Voyageurs_, iii. 81, from whom Hazard (_Santo Domingo_,
New York, 1873, p. 7) takes it. The 1575 edition is in Harvard
College Library, and the same portrait is on p. 191. This cut is also
re-engraved in Jules Verne’s _La découverte de la terre_, p. 113.]

A vignette on the map of La Cosa, dated 1500, represents Saint
Christopher bearing on his shoulders the infant Christ across a
stream. This has been considered symbolical of the purpose of Columbus
in his discoveries; and upholders of the movement to procure his
canonization, like De Lorgues, have claimed that La Cosa represented
the features of Columbus in the face of Saint Christopher. It has also
been claimed that Herrera must have been of the same opinion, since the
likeness given by that historian can be imagined to be an enlargement
of the head on the map. This theory is hardly accepted, however, by the

[Illustration: THE YANEZ COLUMBUS (_National Library, Madrid_).

This picture was prominently brought before the Congress of
Américanistes which assembled at Madrid in 1881, and not, it seems,
without exciting suspicion of a contrived piece of flattery for
the Duke of Veraguas, then presiding over this same congress. Cf.
Cortambert, _Nouvelle histoire des voyages_, p. 40.]

Discarding the La Cosa vignette, the earliest claimant now known is
an engraving published in the _Elogia virorum illustrium_ (1575)[285]
of Paolo Giovio (Paulus Jovius, in the Latin form). This woodcut is
thought to have been copied from a picture which Jovius had placed in
the gallery of notable people which he had formed in his villa at Lake
Como. That collection is now scattered, and the Columbus picture cannot
be traced; but that there was a portrait of the discoverer there, we
know from the edition of Vasari’s _Lives of the Painters_ printed by
Giunti at Florence (1568), wherein is a list of the pictures, which
includes likenesses of Vespucius, Cortes, and Magellan, besides that
of “Colombo Genovese.” This indicates a single picture; but it is
held by some that Jovius must have possessed two pictures, since this
woodcut gives Columbus the garb of a Franciscan, while the painting in
the gallery at Florence, supposed also to follow a picture belonging
to Jovius, gives him a mantle. A claim has been made that the original
Jovius portrait is still in existence in what is known as the Yanez
picture, now in the National Library in Madrid, which was purchased
of Yanez in Granada in 1763. It had originally a close-fitting tunic
and mantle, which was later painted over so as to show a robe and fur
collar. This external painting has been removed; and the likeness bears
a certain resemblance to the woodcut and to the Florence likeness. The
Yanez canvas is certainly the oldest in Spain; and the present Duque de
Veraguas considers it the most authentic of all the portraits.[286] The
annexed cut of it is taken from an engraving in Ruge’s _Geschichte des
Zeitalters der Entdeckungen_ (p. 235). It bears the inscription shown
in the cut.[287]

The woodcut (1575) already mentioned passes as the prototype of another
engraving by Aliprando Capriolo, in the _Ritratti di cento capitani
illustri_, published at Rome in 1596.[288]

The most interesting of all pictures bearing a supposed relation to the
scattered collection at Lake Como is in the gallery at Florence, which
is sometimes said to have been painted by Cristofano dell’Altissimo,
and before the year 1568. A copy of it was made for Thomas Jefferson
in 1784, which was at Monticello in 1814; and, having been sent to
Boston to be disposed of, became the property of Israel Thorndike, and
was by him given to the Massachusetts Historical Society, in whose
gallery it now is; and from a photograph of it the cut (p. 74) has been
engraved.[289] It is perhaps the most commonly accepted likeness in
these later years.[290]

[Illustration: COLUMBUS (_after Capriolo_).

This is a reproduction of the cut in Charton’s _Voyageurs_, iii. 85.
It is also copied in Carderera, and in the _Magasin pittoresque_,
troisième année, p. 316.]

After the woodcut of 1575, the next oldest engraved likeness of
Columbus is the one usually called the De Bry portrait. It shows a
head with a three-cornered cap, and possesses a Dutch physiognomy,—its
short, broad face not corresponding with the descriptions which we
find in Oviedo and the others. De Bry says that the original painting
was stolen from a saloon in the Council for the Indies in Spain, and,
being taken to the Netherlands, fell into his hands. He claims that it
was painted from life by order of Ferdinand, the King. De Bry first
used the plate in Part V. of his _Grands Voyages_, both in the Latin
and German editions, published in 1595, where it is marked as engraved
by Jean de Bry. It shows what seem to be two warts on the cheek, which
do not appear in later prints.[291] Feuillet de Conches describes a
painting in the Versailles gallery like the De Bry, which has been
engraved by Mercuri;[292] but it does not appear that it is claimed as
the original from which De Bry worked.[293]

[Illustration: COLUMBUS (_the Jefferson copy of the Florence picture_).]

Jomard, in the _Bulletin de la Société de Géographie_ (3d series), iii.
370, printed his “Monument à Christophe Colomb: son portrait,”[294] in
explanation and advocacy of a Titianesque canvas which he had found at
Vicenza, inscribed “Christophorus Columbus.”


He claimed that the features corresponded to the written descriptions
of Columbus by his contemporaries and accounted for the Flemish ruff,
pointed beard, gold chain, and other anachronous accessories, by
supposing that these had been added by a later hand. These adornments,
however, prevented Jomard’s views gaining any countenance, though he
seems to have been confident in his opinion. Irving at the time records
his scepticism when Jomard sent him a lithograph of it. Carderera and
Feuillet de Conches both reject it.


This is a reproduction of the cut in Charton’s _Voyageurs_, iii. 87.]

A similar out-of-date ruff and mustache characterize the likeness at
Madrid associated with the Duke of Berwick-Alba, in which the finery
of a throne makes part of the picture. The owner had a private plate
engraved from it by Rafael Esteve, a copy of which, given by the
engraver to Obadiah Rich, who seems to have had faith in it, is now in
the Lenox Library.[295]

A picture belonging to the Duke of Veraguas is open to similar
objections,—with its beard and armor and ruff; but Muñoz adopted it for
his official history, the plate being drawn by Mariano Maella.[296]

A picture of a bedizened cavalier, ascribed to Parmigiano (who was
three years old when Columbus died), is preserved in the Museo
Borbonico at Naples, and is, unfortunately, associated in this country
with Columbus, from having been adopted by Prescott for his _Ferdinand
and Isabella_,[297] and from having been copied for the American
Antiquarian Society.[298] It was long since rejected by all competent

A picture in the Senate chamber (or lately there) at Albany was given
to the State of New York in 1784 by Mrs. Maria Farmer, a granddaughter
of Governor Jacob Leisler, and was said to have been for many years
in that lady’s family.[299] There are many other scattered alleged
likenesses of Columbus, which from the data at hand it has not been
easy to link with any of those already mentioned.[300]


Reproduced from a cut in Charton’s _Voyageurs_, iii. 188.]

The best known, probably, of the sculptured effigies of Columbus is the
bust of Peschiera, which was placed in 1821 at Genoa on the receptacle
of the Columbus manuscripts.[301] The artist discarded all painted
portraits of Columbus, and followed the descriptions of those who had
known the discoverer.[302]

[Illustration: COLUMBUS.

This is copied from one given in Ruge’s _Geschichte des Zeitalters der
Entdeckungen_, p. 234, which follows a photograph of the painting in
the Ministry of Marine at Madrid.]

The most imposing of all the memorials is the monument at Genoa erected
in 1862 after a design by Freccia, and finished by Michel Canzio.[303]

=I.= BURIAL AND REMAINS OF COLUMBUS.—There is no mention of the death
of Columbus in the Records of Valladolid. Peter Martyr, then writing
his letters from that place, makes no reference to such an event. It
is said that the earliest contemporary notice of his death is in an
official document, twenty-seven days later, where it is affirmed that
“the said Admiral is dead.”[304] The story which Irving has written of
the successive burials of Columbus needs to be rewritten; and positive
evidence is wanting to show that his remains were placed first, as
is alleged, in a vault of the Franciscans at Valladolid. The further
story, as told by Irving, of Ferdinand’s ordering the removal of his
remains to Seville seven years later, and the erection of a monument,
is not confirmed by any known evidence.[305] From the tenor of Diego’s
will in March, 1509, it would seem that the body of Columbus had
already been carried to Seville, and that later, the coffins of his son
Diego and of his brother Bartholomew were laid in Seville beside him,
in the _cuevas_, or vaults of the Carthusians. Meanwhile the Cathedral
in Santo Domingo was begun,—not to be completed till 1540; and in this
island it had been the Admiral’s wish to be buried.

[Illustration: COLUMBUS (_from Montanus_).]

His family were desirous of carrying out that wish; but it seemed to
require three royal orders to make good the project, and overcome
objections or delays. These orders were dated June 2, 1537, Aug.
22, 1539, and Nov. 5, 1540.[306] It has been conjectured from the
language of Ferdinand Columbus’ will, in 1539, that the remains were
still in the _cuevas_; and it is supposed that they were carried
to Santo Domingo in 1541,—though, if so, there is no record of
their resting-place from 1536,—when they are said, in the Convent’s
Records,[307] to have been delivered up for transportation. The
earliest positive mention of their being in the Cathedral at Santo
Domingo is in 1549;[308] and it is not till the next century that
we find a positive statement that the remains of Diego were also
removed.[309] Not till 1655 does any record say that the precise spot
in the Cathedral containing the remains was known, and not till 1676
do we learn what that precise spot was,—“on the right of the altar.”
In 1683 we first learn of “a leaden case in the sanctuary, at the side
of the platform of the high altar, with the remains of his brother Don
Luis on the other side, according to the tradition of the aged in this
island.”[310] The book from which this is extracted[311] was published
in Madrid, and erred in calling Luis a brother instead of grandson,
whose father, Diego, lying beside the Admiral, seems at the time to
have been forgotten.[312]

[Illustration: COFFER AND BONES.

This follows an engraving given in John G. Shea’s “Where are the
Remains of Columbus?” in _Magazine of American History_, January, 1883,
and separately. There are other engravings in Tejera, pp. 28, 29, and
after a photograph in the _Informe de la Real Academia_, p. 197. The
case is 16⅝ x 8½ x 8⅛ inches.]

Just a century later, in 1783, Moreau de Saint-Méry, prefacing his
_Description topographique_ of Santo Domingo,[313] sought more
explicit information, and learned that, shortly before his inquiry,
the floor of the chancel had been raised so as to conceal the top of
the vault, which was “a case of stone” (containing the leaden coffin),
on the “Gospel side of the sanctuary.” This case had been discovered
during the repairs, and, though “without inscription, was known from
uninterrupted and invariable tradition to contain the remains of
Columbus;” and the Dean of the Chapter, in certifying to this effect,
speaks of the “leaden urn as a little damaged, and containing several
human bones;” while he had also, some years earlier, found on “the
Epistle side” of the altar a similar stone case, which, according to
tradition, contained the bones of the Admiral’s brother.[314]

A few years later the treaty of Basle, July 22, 1795, gave to France
the half of Santo Domingo still remaining to Spain; and at the cost
of the Duke of Veraguas, and with the concurrence of the Chapter of
the Cathedral, the Spanish General, Gabriel de Aristazabal, somewhat
hurriedly opened a vault on the left of the altar, and, with due
ceremony and notarial record,[315] took from it fragments of a leaden
case and some human bones, which were unattested by any inscription
found with them. The relics were placed in a gilt leaden case, and
borne with military honors to Havana.[316] It is now claimed that these
remains were of Diego, the son, and that the vault then opened is still
empty in the Cathedral, while the genuine remains of Columbus were left

In 1877, in making some changes about the chancel, on the right of the
altar, the workmen opened a vault, and found a leaden case containing
human bones, with an inscription showing them to be those of Luis, the
grandson. This led to a search on the opposite, or “Gospel, side” of
the chancel, where they found an empty vault, supposed to be the one
from which the remains were taken to Havana. Between this and the side
wall of the building, and separated from the empty vault by a six-inch
wall, was found another cavity, and in it a leaden case. There seem to
have been suitable precautions taken to avoid occasion for imputations
of deceit, and with witnesses the case was examined.[317] In it were
found some bones and dust, a leaden bullet,[318] two iron screws, which
fitted the holes in a small silver plate found beneath the mould in the
bottom of the case.[319] This casket bore on the outside, on the front,
and two ends—one letter on each surface—the letters C. C. A. On the top
was an inscription here reduced:—


This inscription is supposed to mean “Discoverer of America, first
Admiral.” Opening the case, which in this situation presented the
appearance shown in the cut on page 80, the under surface of the lid
was found to bear the following legend:—


This legend is translated, “Illustrious and renowned man, Christopher
Columbus.”[320] A fac-simile of the inscription found on the small
silver plate is given on page 82, the larger of which is understood
to mean “A part of the remains of the first Admiral, Don Christopher
Columbus, discoverer.”[321] The discovery was made known by the
Bishop, Roque Cocchia, in a pastoral letter,[322] and the news spread
rapidly.[323] The Spanish King named Señor Antonio Lopez Prieto, of
Havana, to go to Santo Domingo, and, with the Spanish consul, to
investigate. Prieto had already printed a tract, which went through two
editions, _Los restos de Colon: exámen histórico-critico_, Havana, 1877.


In March, 1878, he addressed his Official Report to the Captain-general
of Cuba, which was printed in two editions during the same year,
as _Informe sobre los restos de Colon_. It was an attack upon the
authenticity of the remains at Santo Domingo. Later in the same year,
Oct. 14, 1878, Señor Manuel Colmeiro presented, in behalf of the
Royal Academy of History of Madrid, a report to the King, which was
printed at Madrid in 1879 as _Los restos de Colon: informe de la Real
Academia de la Historia_, etc. It reinforced the views of Prieto’s
Report; charged Roque Cocchia with abetting a fraud; pointed to the
A (America) of the outside inscription as a name for the New World
which Spaniards at that time never used;[324] and claimed that the
remains discovered in 1877 were those of Christopher Columbus, the
grandson of the Admiral, and that the inscriptions had been tampered
with, or were at least much later than the date of reinterment in the
Cathedral.[325] Besides Bishop Roque Cocchia, the principal upholder of
the Santo Domingo theory has been Emiliano Tejera, who published his
_Los restos de Colon en Santo Domingo_ in 1878, and his _Los dos restos
de Cristóbal Colon_ in 1879, both in Santo Domingo. Henry Harrisse,
under the auspices of the “Sociedad de Bibliófilos Andaluces,” printed
his _Los restos de Don Cristóval Colon_ at Seville in 1878, and his
_Les sépultures de Christophe Colomb: revue critique du premier rapport
officiel publié sur ce sujet_, the next year (1879) at Paris.[326]
From Italy we have Luigi Tommaso Belgrano’s _Sulla recente scoperta
delle ossa di Colombo_ (Genoa, 1878). One of the best and most
recent summaries of the subject is by John G. Shea in the _Magazine
of American History_, January, 1883; also printed separately, and
translated into Spanish. Richard Cortambert (_Nouvelle histoire des
voyages_, p. 39) considers the Santo Domingo theory overcome by the

FAMILY.—The year and place of Columbus’ birth, and the station into
which he was born, are questions of dispute. Harrisse[327] epitomizes
the authorities upon the year of his nativity. Oscar Peschel reviews
the opposing arguments in a paper printed in _Ausland_ in 1866.[328]
The whole subject was examined at greater length and with great care
by D’Avezac before the Geographical Society of Paris in 1872.[329]
The question is one of deductions from statements not very definite,
nor wholly in accord. The extremes of the limits in dispute are about
twenty years; but within this interval, assertions like those of
Ramusio[330] (1430) and Charlevoix[331] (1441) may be thrown out as
susceptible of no argument.[332]

In favor of the earliest date—which, with variations arising from
the estimates upon fractions of years, may be placed either in 1435,
1436, or 1437—are Navarrete, Humboldt, Ferdinand Höfer,[333] Émile
Deschanel,[334] Lamartine,[335] Irving, Bonnefoux, Roselly de Lorgues,
l’Abbé Cadoret, Jurien de la Gravière,[336] Napione,[337] Cancellieri,
and Cantù.[338] This view is founded upon the statement of one who
had known Columbus, Andres Bernaldez, in his _Reyes católicos_, that
Columbus was about seventy years old at his death, in 1506.

The other extreme—similarly varied from the fractions between 1455 and
1456—is taken by Oscar Peschel,[339] who deduces it from a letter of
Columbus dated July 7, 1503, in which he says that he was twenty-eight
when he entered the service of Spain in 1484; and Peschel argues that
this is corroborated by adding the fourteen years of his boyhood,
before going to sea, to the twenty-three years of sea-life which
Columbus says he had had previous to his voyage of discovery, and
dating back from 1492, when he made this voyage.

A middle date—placed, according to fractional calculations, variously
from 1445 to 1447—is held by Cladera,[340] Bossi, Muñoz, Casoni,[341]
Salinerio,[342] Robertson, Spotorno, Major, Sanguinetti, and Canale.
The argument for this view, as presented by Major, is this: It was in
1484, and not in 1492, that this continuous sea-service, referred to by
Columbus, ended; accordingly, the thirty-seven years already mentioned
should be deducted from 1484, which would point to 1447 as the year of
his birth,—a statement confirmed also, as is thought, by the assertion
which Columbus makes, in 1501, that it was forty years since he began,
at fourteen, his sea-life. Similar reasons avail with D’Avezac, whose
calculations, however, point rather to the year 1446.[343]

       *       *       *       *       *

A similar uncertainty has been made to appear regarding the place of
Columbus’ birth. Outside of Genoa and dependencies, while discarding
such claims as those of England,[344] Corsica,[345] and Milan,[346]
there are more defensible presentations in behalf of Placentia
(Piacenza), where there was an ancestral estate of the Admiral, whose
rental had been enjoyed by him and by his father;[347] and still more
urgent demands for recognition on the part of Cuccaro in Montferrat,
Piedmont, the lord of whose castle was a Dominico Colombo,—pretty well
proved, however, not to have been the Dominico who was father of the
Admiral. It seems certain that the paternal Dominico did own land in
Cuccaro, near his kinspeople, and lived there as late as 1443.[348]

In consequence of these claims, the Academy of Sciences in Genoa named
a commission, in 1812, to investigate them; and their report,[349]
favoring the traditional belief in Genoa as the true spot of Columbus’
birth, is given in digest in Bossi.[350] The claim of Genoa seems to
be generally accepted to-day, as it was in the Admiral’s time by Peter
Martyr, Las Casas, Bernaldez, Giustiniani, Geraldini, Gallo, Senaraya,
and Foglietto.[351] Columbus himself twice, in his will (1498), says
he was born in Genoa; and in the codicil (1506) he refers to his
“beloved country, the Republic of Genoa.” Ferdinand calls his father
“a Genoese.”[352] Of modern writers Spotorno, in the Introduction to
the _Codice diplomatico Colombo-Americano_ (1823), and earlier, in his
_Della origine e della patria di Colombo_ (1819), has elaborated the
claim, with proofs and arguments which have been accepted by Irving,
Bossi, Sanguinetti, Roselly, De Lorgues, and most other biographers and

There still remains the possibility of Genoa, as referred to by
Columbus and his contemporaries, signifying the region dependent on
it, rather than the town itself; and with this latitude recognized,
there are fourteen towns, or hamlets as Harrisse names them,[353] which
present their claims.[354]

       *       *       *       *       *

Ferdinand Columbus resented Giustiniani’s statement that the Admiral
was of humble origin, and sought to connect his father’s descent
with the Colombos of an ancient line and fame; but his disdainful
recognition of such a descent is, after all, not conducive to a belief
in Ferdinand’s own conviction of the connection.

[Illustration: FERDINAND OF SPAIN.

This follows an ancient medallion as engraved in Buckingham Smith’s
_Coleccion_. Cf. also the sign-manual on p. 56.]

There seems little doubt that his father[355] was a wool-weaver or
draper, and owned small landed properties, at one time or another, in
or not far from Genoa;[356] and, as Harrisse infers, it was in one of
the houses on the Bisagno road, as you go from Genoa, that Columbus was
perhaps born.[357]


This is a fac-simile of an engraving in Herrera (Barcia’s edition).
There is a vignette likeness on the title of vol i., edition of 1601.
Navarrete’s Memoir of Bartholomew Columbus is in the _Coleccion de
documentos inéditos_, vol. xvi.]

The pedigree (p. 87) shows the alleged descent of Columbus, as a
table in Spotorno’s _Della origine e della patria di Colombo_,
1819, connects it with other lines, whose heirs at a later day were
aroused to claim the Admiral’s honors; and as the usual accounts of
his immediate descendants record the transmission of his rights. After
Columbus’ death, his son Diego demanded the restitution of the offices
and privileges[358] which had been suspended during the Admiral’s later


He got no satisfaction but the privilege of contending at law with
the fiscal minister of the Crown, and of giving occasion for all the
latent slander about the Admiral to make itself heard. The tribunal
was the Council of the Indies; the suit was begun in 1508, and lasted
till 1527. The documents connected with the case are in the Archives
of the Indies. The chief defence of the Crown was that the original
convention was against law and public policy, and that Columbus, after
all, did not discover _Terra firma_, and for such discovery alone
honors of this kind should be the reward. Diego won the Council’s vote;
but Ferdinand, the King, hesitated to confirm their decision. Meanwhile
Diego had married a niece of the Duke of Alva, the King’s favorite, and
got in this way a royal grant of something like vice-royal authority
in the Indies, to which he went (1509) with his bride, prepared for
the proper state and display. His uncles, Bartholomew and Diego, as
well as Ferdinand Columbus, accompanied him. The King soon began to
encroach on Diego’s domain, creating new provinces out of it.[359] It
does not belong to this place to trace the vexatious factions which,
through Fonseca’s urging, or otherwise created, Diego was forced to
endure, till he returned to Spain, in 1515, to answer his accusers.
When he asked of the King a share of the profits of the Darien coast,
his royal master endeavored to show that Diego’s father had never been
on that coast. After Ferdinand’s death (Jan. 23, 1516), his successor,
Charles V., acknowledged the injustice of the charges against Diego,
and made some amends by giving him a viceroy’s functions in all
places discovered by his father. He was subjected, however, to the
surveillance of a supervisor to report on his conduct, upon going to
his government in 1520.[360] In three years he was again recalled for
examination, and in 1526 he died. Don Luis, who succeeded to his father
Diego, after some years exchanged, in 1556, his rights of vice-royalty
in the Indies for ten thousand gold doubloons and the title of Duque
de Veraguas (with subordinate titles), and a grandeeship of the first
rank;[361] the latter, however, was not confirmed till 1712.

His nephew Diego succeeded to the rights, silencing those of the
daughter of Don Luis by marrying her. They had no issue; and on his
death, in 1578, various claimants brought suit for the succession
(as shown in the table), which was finally given, in 1608, to the
grandson of Isabella, the granddaughter of Columbus. This suit led to
the accumulation of a large amount of documentary evidence, which was
printed.[362] The vexations did not end here, the Duke of Berwick still
contesting; but a decision in 1790 confirmed the title in the present
line. The revolt of the Spanish colonies threatened to deprive the Duke
of Veraguas of his income; but the Spanish Government made it good by
charging it upon the revenues of Cuba and Porto Rico, the source of the
present Duke’s support.[363]


After the foregoing chapter had been completed, there came to hand the
first volume of _Christophe Colomb, son origine, sa vie, ses voyages,
sa famille, et ses descendants, d’après des documents inédits tirés
des Archives de Gênes, de Savone, de Séville, et de Madrid, études
d’histoire critique par Henry Harrisse_, Paris, 1884.

The book is essentially a reversal of many long-established views
regarding the career of Columbus. The new biographer, as has been
shown, is not bound by any respect for the Life of the Admiral which
for three hundred years has been associated with the name of Ferdinand
Columbus. The grounds of his discredit of that book are again asserted;
and he considers the story as given in Las Casas as much more likely
to represent the prototype both of the _Historia general_ of this last
writer and of the _Historie_ of 1571, than the mongrel production which
he imagines this Italian text of Ulloa to be, and which he accounts
utterly unworthy of credit by reason of the sensational perversions
and additions with which it is alloyed by some irresponsible editor.
This revolutionary spirit makes the critic acute, and sustains him in
laborious search; but it is one which seems sometimes to imperil his
judgment. He does not at times hesitate to involve Las Casas himself
in the same condemnation for the use which, if we understand him,
Las Casas may be supposed, equally with the author or editor of the
_Historie_, to have made of their common prototype. That any received
incident in Columbus’ career is only traceable to the _Historie_ is
sufficient, with our critic, to assign it to the category of fiction.

This new Life adds to our knowledge from many sources; and such points
as have been omitted or slightly developed in the preceding chapter,
or are at variance with the accepted views upon which that chapter has
been based, it may be well briefly to mention.

The frontispiece is a blazon of the arms of Columbus, “du cartulaire
original dressé sous ses yeux à Seville en 1502,” following a
manuscript in the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at
Paris. The field of the quarter with the castle is red; that of the
lion is silver; that of the anchors is blue; the main and islands are
gold, the water blue. It may be remarked that the disposition of these
islands seems to have no relation to the knowledge then existing of the
Columbian Archipelago. Below is a blue bend on a gold field, with red
above (see the cut, _ante_, p. 15).

In writing in his Introduction of the sources of the history of
Columbus, Harrisse says that we possess sixty-four memoirs, letters,
or extracts written by Columbus, of which twenty-three are preserved
in his own autograph. Of these sixty-four, only the _Libro de las
profecias_ has not been printed entire, if we except a _Memorial
que presentó Cristóbal Colon á los Reyes Catolicos sobre las cosas
necesarias para abastecer las Indias_ which is to be printed for the
first time by Harrisse, in the appendix of his second volume. Las
Casas’ transcript of Columbus’ _Journal_ is now, he tells us, in the
collection of the Duque d’Osuna at Madrid. The copy of Dr. Chanca’s
relation of the second voyage, used by Navarrete, and now in the
Academy of History at Madrid, belonged to a collection formed by
Antonio de Aspa. The personal papers of Columbus, confided by him to
his friend Gaspar Gorricio, were preserved for over a century in an
iron case in the custody of monks of Las Cuevas; but they were, on
the 15th of May, 1609, surrendered to Nuño Gelves, of Portugal, who
had been adjudged the lawful successor of the Admiral. Such as have
escaped destruction now constitute the collection of the present Duque
de Veraguas; and of them Navarrete has printed seventy-eight documents.
Of the papers concerning Columbus at Genoa, Harrisse finds only one
anterior to his famous voyage, and that is a paper of the Father
Dominico Colombo, dated July 21, 1489, of whom such facts as are known
are given, including references to him in 1463 and 1468 in the records
of the Bank of St. George in Genoa. Of the two letters of 1502 which
Columbus addressed to the Bank, only one now exists, as far as Harrisse
could learn, and that is in the Hôtel de Ville. Particularly in regard
to the family of Columbus, he has made effective use of the notarial
and similar records of places where Columbus and his family have lived.
But use of depositions for establishing dates and relationship imposes
great obligation of care in the identification of the persons named;
and this with a family as numerous as the Colombos seem to have been,
and given so much to the repeating of Christian names, is more than
usually difficult. In discussing the evidence of the place and date
of Columbus’ birth (p. 137), as well as tracing his family line (pp.
160 and 166), the conclusion reached by Harrisse fixes the humble
origin of the future discoverer; since he finds Columbus’ kith and
kin of the station of weavers,—an occupation determining their social
standing as well in Genoa as in other places at that time. The table
which is given on a previous page (_ante_, p. 87) shows the lines
of supposable connection, as illustrating the long contest for the
possession of the Admiral’s honors. His father’s father, it would seem,
was a Giovanni Colombo (pp. 167-216), and he the son of a certain Luca
Colombo. Giovanni lived in turn at Terrarossa and Quinto. Domenico,
the Admiral’s father, married Susanna Fontanarossa, and removed to
Genoa between 1448 and 1551, living there afterward, except for the
interval 1471-1484, when he is found at Savona. He died in Genoa not
far from 1498. We are told (p. 29) how little the Archives of Savona
yield respecting the family. Using his new notarial evidence mainly,
the critic fixes the birth of Columbus about 1445 (pp. 223-241); and
enforces a view expressed by him before, that Genoa as the place of
Columbus’ birth must be taken in the broader sense of including the
dependencies of the city, in one of which he thinks Columbus was born
(p. 221) in that humble station which Gallo, in his “De navigatione
Columbi,” now known to us as Printed in Muratori (xxiii. 301), was
the first to assert. Giustiniani, in his Psalter-note, and Senarega,
in his “De rebus Genuensibus” (Muratori, xxiv. 354) seem mainly to
have followed Gallo on this point. There is failure (p. 81) to find
confirmation of some of the details of the family as given by Casoni
in his _Annali della republica di Genova_ (1708, and again 1799). In
relation to the lines of his descendants, there are described (pp.
49-60) nineteen different memorials, bearing date between 1590 and
1792—and there may be others—which grew out of the litigations in which
the descent of the Admiral’s titles was involved.

The usual story, told in the _Historie_, of Columbus’ sojourn at the
University of Pavia is discredited, chiefly on the ground that Columbus
himself says that from a tender age he followed the sea (but Columbus’
statements are often inexact), and from the fact that in cosmography
Genoa had more to teach him than Pavia. Columbus is also kept longer
in Italy than the received opinion has allowed, which has sent him
to Portugal about 1470; while we are now told—if his identity is
unassailable—that he was in Savona as late as 1473 (pp. 253-254).

Documentary Portuguese evidence of Columbus’ connection with Portugal
is scant. The Archivo da Torre do Tombo at Lisbon, which Santarem
searched in vain for any reference to Vespucius, seem to be equally
barren of information respecting Columbus, and they only afford a few
items regarding the family of the Perestrellos (p. 44).

The principal contemporary Portuguese chronicle making any reference
to Columbus is Ruy de Pina’s _Chronica del Rei Dom João II._, which is
contained in the _Colleccão de livros ineditos de historia Portugueza_,
published at Lisbon in 1792 (ii. 177), from which Garcia de Resende
seems to have borrowed what appears in his _Choronica_, published at
Lisbon in 1596; and this latter account is simply paraphrased in the
_Decada primeira do Asia_ (Lisbon, 1752) of João de Barros, who, born
in 1496, was too late to have personal knowledge of earlier time of the
discoveries. Vasconcellos’ _Vida y acciones del Rey D. Juan al segundo_
(Madrid, 1639) adds nothing.

The statement of the _Historie_ again thrown out, doubt at least is
raised respecting the marriage of Columbus with Philippa, daughter of
Bartholomeu Perestrello; and if the critic cannot disprove such union,
he seems to think that as good, if not better, evidence exists for
declaring the wife of Columbus to have been the daughter of Vasco Gil
Moniz, of an old family, while it was Vasco Gill’s sister Isabel who
married the Perestrello in question. The marriage of Columbus took
place, it is claimed there is reason to believe, not in Madeira, as
Gomara and others have maintained, but in Lisbon, and not before 1474.
Further, discarding the _Historie_, there is no evidence that Columbus
ever lived at Porto Santo or Madeira, or that his wife was dead when he
left Portugal for Spain in 1484. If this is established, we lose the
story of the tie which bound him to Portugal being severed by the death
of his companion; and the tale of his poring over the charts of the
dead father of his wife at Porto Santo is relegated to the region of

We have known that the correspondence of Toscanelli with the monk
Martinez took place in 1474, and the further communication of the
Italian _savant_ with Columbus himself has always been supposed to have
occurred soon after; but reasons are now given for pushing it forward
to 1482.

The evidences of the offers which Columbus made, or caused to be made,
to England, France, and Portugal,—to the latter certainly, and to
the two others probably,—before he betook himself to Spain, are also
reviewed. As to the embassy to Genoa, there is no trace of it in the
Genoese Archives and no earlier mention of it than Ramusio’s; and no
Genoese authority repeats it earlier than Casoni in his _Annali di
Genova_, in 1708. This is now discredited altogether. No earlier writer
than Marin, in his _Storia del commercio de’ Veneziani_ (vol. vii.
published 1800), claims that Columbus gave Venice the opportunity of
embarking its fortunes with his; and the document which Pesaro claimed
to have seen has never been found.

There is difficulty in fixing with precision the time of Columbus’
leaving Portugal, if we reject the statements of the _Historie_, which
places it in the last months of 1484. Other evidence is here presented
that in the summer of that year he was in Lisbon; and no indisputable
evidence exists, in the critic’s judgment, of his being in Spain till
May, 1487, when a largess was granted to him. Columbus’ own words would
imply in one place that he had taken service with the Spanish monarchs
in 1485, or just before that date; and in another place that he had
been in Spain as early as January, 1484, or even before,—a time when
now it is claimed he is to be found in Lisbon.

The pathetic story of the visit to Rábida places that event at a
period shortly after his arriving in Spain; and the _Historie_ tells
also of a second visit at a later day. It is now contended that the
two visits were in reality one, which occurred in 1491. The principal
argument to upset the _Historie_ is the fact that Juan Rodriguez
Cabezudo, in the lawsuit of 1513, testified that it was “about
twenty-two years” since he had lent a mule to the Franciscan who
accompanied Columbus away from Rábida!

With the same incredulity the critic spirits away (p. 358) the junto of
Salamanca. He can find no earlier mention of it than that of Antonio
de Remesal in his _Historia de la Provincia de S. Vincente de Chyapa_,
published in Madrid in 1619; and accordingly asks why Las Casas, from
whom Remesal borrows so much, did not know something of this junto?
He counts for much that Oviedo does not mention it; and the Archives
of the University at Salamanca throw no light. The common story he
believes to have grown out of conferences which probably took place
while the Court was at Salamanca in the winter of 1486-1487, and which
were conducted by Talavera; while a later one was held at Santa Fé late
in 1491, at which Cardinal Mendoza was conspicuous.

Since Alexander Geraldinus, writing in 1522, from his own acquaintance
with Columbus, had made the friar Juan Perez, of Rábida, and Antonio
de Marchena, who was Columbus’ steadfast friend, one and the same
person, it has been the custom of historians to allow that Geraldinus
was right. It is now said he was in error; but the critic confesses
he cannot explain how Gomara, abridging from Oviedo, changes the
name of Juan Perez used by the latter to Perez de Marchena, and this
before Geraldinus was printed. Columbus speaks of a second monk who
had befriended him; and it has been the custom to identify this one
with Diego de Deza, who, at the time when Columbus is supposed to have
stood in need of his support, had already become a bishop, and was not
likely, the critic thinks, to have been called a monk by Columbus. The
two friendly monks in this view were the two distinct persons Juan
Perez and Antonio de Marchena (p. 372).

The interposition of Cardinal Mendoza, by which Columbus secured the
royal ear, has usually been placed in 1486. Oviedo seems to have been
the source of subsequent writers on the point; but Oviedo does not fix
the date, and the critic now undertakes to show (p. 380) that it was
rather in the closing months of 1491.

Las Casas charges Talavera with opposing the projects of Columbus:
we have here (p. 383) the contrary assertion; and the testimony of
Peter Martyr seems to sustain this view. So again the new biographer
measurably defends, on other contemporary evidence, Fonseca (p. 386)
as not deserving the castigations of modern writers; and all this
objurgation is considered to have been conveniently derived from the
luckless _Historie_ of 1571.

The close student of Columbus is not unaware of the unsteady character
of much of the discoverer’s own testimony on various points. His
imagination was his powerful faculty; and it was as wild at times as
it was powerful, and nothing could stand in the way of it. No one has
emphasized the doleful story of his trials and repressions more than
himself, making the whole world, except two monks, bent on producing
his ignominy; and yet his biographer can pick (p. 388) from the
Admiral’s own admissions enough to show that during all this time he
had much encouragement from high quarters. The critic is not slow to
take advantage of this weakness of Columbus’ character, and more than
once makes him the strongest witness against himself.

It is now denied that the money advanced by Santangel was from the
treasury of Aragon. On the contrary, the critic contends that the
venture was from Santangel’s private resources; and he dismisses
peremptorily the evidence of the document which Argensola, in his
_Anales de Aragon_ (Saragossa, 1630), says was preserved in the
archives of the treasury of Aragon. He says a friend who searched at
Barcelona in 1871, among the “Archivo general de la Corona de Aragon,”
could not find it.

Las Casas had first told—guardedly, to be sure—the story of the
Pinzons’ contributing the money which enabled Columbus to assume an
eighth part of the expense of the first voyage; but it is now claimed
that the assistance of that family was confined to exerting its
influence to get Columbus a crew. It is judged that the evidence is
conclusive that the Pinzons did not take pecuniary risk in the voyage
of 1492, because only their advances of this sort for the voyage of
1499 are mentioned in the royal grant respecting their arms. But such
evidence is certainly inconclusive; and without the evidence of Las
Casas it must remain uncertain whence Columbus got the five hundred
thousand maravedis which he contributed to the cost of that momentous

The world has long glorified the story in the _Historie_ of 1571 about
the part which the crown jewels, and the like, played in the efforts
of Isabella to assist in the furnishing of Columbus’ vessels. Peter
Martyr, Bernaldez, and others who took frequent occasion to sound the
praises of her majesty, say nothing of it; and, as is now contended,
for the good reason that there was no truth in the story, the jewels
having long before been pledged in the prosecution of the war with the

It is inferred (p. 417) from Las Casas that his abridgment of
Columbus’ Journal was made from a copy, and not from the original
(Navarrete, i. 134); and Harrisse says that from two copies of this
abridgment, preserved in the collection of the Duque d’Osuna at
Madrid, Varnhagen printed his text of it which is contained in his
_Verdadera Guanahani_. This last text varies in some places from that
in Navarrete, and Harrisse says he has collated it with the Osuna
copies without discovering any error. He thinks, however, that the
_Historie_ of 1571, as well as Las Casas’ account, is based upon the
complete text; and his discrediting of the _Historie_ does not prevent
him in this case saying that from it, as well as from Las Casas, a few
touches of genuineness, not of importance to be sure, can be added to
the narrative of the abridgment. He also points out that we should
discriminate as to the reflections which Las Casas intersperses; but he
seems to have no apprehension of such insertions in the _Historie_ in
this particular case.

The Ambrosian text of the first letter is once more reprinted (p. 419),
accompanied by a French translation. In some appended notes the critic
collates it with the Cosco version in different shapes, and with that
of Simancas. He also suggests that this text was printed at Barcelona
toward the end of March, 1493, and infers that it may have been in this
form that the Genoese ambassadors took the news to Italy when they left
Spain about the middle of the following month.

The closing chapter of this first volume is on the question of the
landfall. The biographer discredits attempts to settle the question
by nautical reasoning based on the log of Columbus, averring that the
inevitable inaccuracies of such records in Columbus’ time is proved by
the widely different conclusions of such experienced men as Navarrete,
Becher, and Fox. He relies rather on Columbus’ description and on that
in Las Casas. The name which the latter says was borne in his day by
the island of the landfall was “Triango;” but the critic fails to find
this name on any earlier map than that first made known in the _Cartas
de Indias_ in 1877. To this map he finds it impossible to assign an
earlier date than 1541, since it discloses some reminders of the
expedition of Coronado. He instances other maps in which the name in
some form appears attached to an island of the Bahamas,—as in the Cabot
mappemonde of 1544 (Triangula), the so-called Vallard map (Triango),
that of Gutierrez in 1550 (Trriango), that of Alonso de Santa Cruz in
his _Islario_ of 1560 (Triangulo). Unfortunately on some of the maps
Guanahani appears as well as the name which Las Casas gives. Harrisse’s
solution of this conjunction of names is suggested by the fact that in
the Weimar map of 1527 (see sketch, _ante_, p. 43) an islet “Triango”
lies just east of Guanahani, and corresponds in size and position to
the “Triangula” of Cabot and the “Triangulo” of Santa Cruz. Guanahani
he finds to correspond to Acklin Island, the larger of the Crooked
Island group (see map, _ante_, p. 55); while the Plana Cays, shown
east of it, would stand for “Triango.” Columbus, with that confusion
which characterizes his writings, speaks in one place of his first land
being an “isleta,” and in another place he calls it an “isla grande.”
This gives the critic ground for supposing that Columbus saw first the
islet, the “Triango” of Las Casas, or the modern “Plana Cays,” and that
then he disembarked on the “isla grande,” which was Acklin Island. So
it may be that Columbus’ own confused statement has misled subsequent
writers. If this theory is not accepted, Fox, in selecting Samana, has,
in the critic’s opinion, come nearer the truth than any other.





THE enumeration of the cartographical sources respecting the
discoveries of the earlier voyagers began with the list, “Catalogus
auctorum tabularum geographicarum, quotquot ad nostram cognitionem
hactenus pervenere; quibus addidimus, ubi locorum, quando et a quibus
excusi sunt,” which Ortelius in 1570 added to his _Theatrum orbis
terrarum_, many of whose titles belong to works not now known. Of maps
now existing the best-known enumerations are those in the _Jean et
Sébastian Cabot_ of Harrisse; the _Mapoteca Colombiana_ of Uricoechea;
the _Cartografia Mexicana_ of Orozco y Berra, published by the Mexican
Geographical Society; and Gustavo Uzielli’s _Elenco descritto degli
Atlanti, planisferi e carte nautiche_, originally published in 1875,
but made the second volume, edited by Pietro Amat, of the new edition
of the _Studi biografici e bibliografici della Società Geografica
Italiana_, Rome, 1882, under the specific title of _Mappamondi, carte
nautiche, portolani ed altri monumenti cartografici specialmente
Italiani dei secoli XIII-XVII_.[364]

       *       *       *       *       *

The Editor has printed in the _Harvard University Bulletin_ a
bibliography Of Ptolemy’s geography, and a calendar, with additions and
annotations, of the Kohl collection of early maps, belonging to the
Department of State at Washington, both of which contributions called
for enumerations of printed and manuscript maps of the early period,
and included their reproductions of later years.

The development of cartography is also necessarily made a part of
histories of geography like those of Santarem, Lelewel, St.-Martin,
and Peschel; but their use of maps hardly made chronological lists of
them a necessary part of their works. Santarem has pointed out how
scantily modern writers have treated of the cartography of the Middle
Ages previous to the era of Spanish discovery; and he enumerates such
maps as had been described before the appearance of his work, as well
as publications of the earlier ones after the Spanish discovery.[365]

To what extent Columbus had studied the older maps from the time when
they began to receive a certain definiteness in the fourteenth century,
is not wholly clear, nor how much he knew of the charts of Marino
Sanuto, of Pizignani, and of the now famous Catalan map of that period;
but it is doubtless true that the maps of Bianco (1436) and Mauro
(1460) were well known to him.[366] “Though these early maps and charts
of the fifteenth century,” says Hallam,[367] “are to us but a chaos of
error and confusion, it was on them that the patient eye of Columbus
had rested through long hours of meditation, while strenuous hope and
unsubdued doubt were struggling in his soul.”

[Illustration: EARLY COMPASS.

This follows the engraving in Pigafetta’s _Voyage_ and in the work of
Jurien de la Gravière. The main points were designated by the usual
names of the winds, _Levante_, east; _Sirocco_, southeast, etc.]

A principal factor in the development of map-making, as of navigation,
had been the magnet. It had been brought from China to the eastern
coast of Africa as early as the fourth century, and through the
Arabs[368] and Crusaders it had been introduced into the Mediterranean,
and was used by the Catalans and Basques in the twelfth century, a
hundred years or more before Marco Polo brought to Europe his wonderful
stories.[369] In that century even it had become so familiar a sight
that poets used it in their metaphors. The variation of its needle
was not indeed unknown long before Columbus, but its observation in
mid-ocean in his day gave it a new significance. The Chinese had
studied the phenomenon, and their observations upon it had followed
shortly upon the introduction of the compass itself to Western
knowledge; and as early as 1436 the variation of the needle was
indicated on maps in connection with places of observation.[370]

The earliest placing of a magnetic pole seems due to the voyage of
Nicholas of Lynn, whose narrative was presented to Edward III. of
England. This account is no longer known,[371] though the title of it,
_Inventio fortunata_, is preserved, with its alleged date of 1355.
Cnoyen, whose treatise is not extant, is thought to have got his
views about the regions of the north and about the magnetic pole from
Nicholas of Lynn,[372] while he was in Norway in 1364; and it is from
Cnoyen that Mercator says he got his notion of the four circumpolar
islands which so long figured in maps of the Mercator and Finæus
school. In the Ruysch map (1508) we have the same four polar islands,
with the magnetic pole placed within an insular mountain north of
Greenland. Ruysch also depended on the _Inventio fortunata_. Later,
by Martin Cortes in 1545, and by Sanuto in 1588, the pole was placed
farther south.[373]

Ptolemy, in the second century, accepting the generally received
opinion that the world as known was much longer east and west than
north and south, adopted with this theory the terms which naturally
grew out of this belief, _latitude_ and _longitude_, and first
instituted them, it is thought, in systematic geography.[374]

Pierre d’Ailly, in his map of 1410,[375] in marking his climatic
lines, had indicated the beginnings, under a revival of geographical
inquiry, of a systematic notation of latitude. Several of the early
Ptolemies[376] had followed, by scaling in one way and another
the distance from the equator; while in the editions of 1508 and
1511 an example had been set of marking longitude. The old Arabian
cartographers had used both latitude and longitude; but though there
were some earlier indications of the adoption of such lines among the
European map-makers, it is generally accorded that the scales of such
measurements, as we understand them, came in, for both latitude and
longitude, with the map which Reisch in 1503 annexed to his _Margarita

Ptolemy had fixed his first meridian at the Fortunate Islands
(Canaries), and in the new era the Spaniards, with the sanction of
the Pope, had adopted the same point; though the Portuguese, as if in
recognition of their own enterprise, had placed it at Madeira,—as is
shown in the globes of Behaim and Schöner, and in the map of Ruysch.
The difference was not great; the Ptolemean example prevailed, however,
in the end.[378]

In respect to latitude there was not in the rude instruments of the
early navigators, and under favorable conditions, the means of closely
approximate accuracy. In the study which the Rev. E. F. Slafter[379]
has made on the average extent of the error which we find in the
records of even a later century, it appears that while a range of
sixty geographical miles will probably cover such errors in all cases,
when observations were made with ordinary care the average deviation
will probably be found to be at least fifteen miles. The fractions
of degrees were scarcely ever of much value in the computation,
and the minute gradation of the instruments in use were subject
to great uncertainty of record in tremulous hands. It was not the
custom, moreover, to make any allowance for the dip of the horizon,
for refraction or for the parallax; and when, except at the time of
the equinox, dependence had to be placed upon tables of the sun’s
declination, the published ephemerides, made for a series of years,
were the subjects of accumulated error.[380]


This cut follows the engravings in Ruge’s _Geschichte des Zeitalters
der Entdeckungen_, p. 106, and in Ghillany’s _Ritter Behaim_, p. 40.
Cf. Von Murr, _Memorabilia bibliothecarum Norimbergensium_, i. 9.]

With these impediments to accurate results, it is not surprising that
even errors of considerable extent crept into the records of latitude,
and long remained unchallenged.[381] Ptolemy, in A. D. 150, had placed
Constantinople two degrees out of the way; and it remained so on maps
for fourteen hundred years. In Columbus’ time Cuba was put seven
or eight degrees too far north; and under this false impression the
cartography of the Antilles began.

The historic instrument for the taking of latitude was the astrolabe,
which is known to have been in use by the Majorcan and Catalanian
sailors in the latter part of the thirteenth century; and it is
described by Raymond Lullius in his _Arte de navegar_ of that
time.[382] Behaim, the contemporary of Columbus, one of the explorers
of the African coast, and a pupil of Regiomontanus, had somewhat
changed the old form of the astrolabe in adapting it for use on
shipboard. This was in 1484 at Lisbon, and Behaim’s improvement was
doubtless what Columbus used. Of the form in use before Behaim we
have that (said to have belonged to Regiomontanus) in the cut on page
96; and in the following cut the remodelled shape which it took after

[Illustration: LATER ASTROLABE.

This cut follows an engraving (_Mag. of Amer. Hist._, iii. 178) after
a photograph of one used by Champlain, which bears the Paris maker’s
date of 1603. There is another cut of it in Weise’s _Discoveries of
America_, p. 68. Having been lost by Champlain in Canada in 1613, it
was ploughed up in 1867 (see Vol. IV. p. 124; also _Canadian Monthly_,
xviii. 589). The small size of the circle used in the sea-instrument
to make it conveniently serviceable, necessarily operated to make
the ninety degrees of its quarter circle too small for accuracy in
fractions. On land much larger circles were sometimes used; one was
erected in London in 1594 of six feet radius. The early books on
navigation and voyages frequently gave engravings of the astrolabe;
as, for instance, in Pigafetta’s voyage (Magellan), and in the
_Lichte der Zee-Vaert_ (Amsterdam, 1623), translated as _The Light
of Navigation_ (Amsterdam, 1625). The treatise on navigation which
became the most popular with the successors of Columbus was the work
of Pedro de Medina (born about 1493), called the _Arte de navegar_,
published in 1545 (reprinted in 1552 and 1561), of which there were
versions in French (1554, and Lyons, 1569, with maps showing names on
the coast of America for the first time), Italian (1555 with 1554, at
end; _Court Catalogue_, no. 235), German (1576), and English (1591).
(Harrisse, _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 266.) Its principal rival was
that of Martin Cortes, _Breve compendio de la sphera y de la arte de
navegar_, published in 1551. In Columbus’ time there was no book of
the sort, unless that of Raymond Lullius (1294) be considered such;
and not till Enciso’s _Suma de geografia_ was printed, in 1519, had
the new spirit instigated the making of these helpful and explanatory
books. The _Suma de geografia_ is usually considered the first book
printed in Spanish relating to America. Enciso, who had been practising
law in Santo Domingo, was with Ojeda’s expedition to the mainland in
1509, and seems to have derived much from his varied experience; and
he first noticed at a later day the different levels of the tides on
the two sides of the isthmus. The book is rare; Rich in 1832 (no. 4)
held it at £10 10_s._ (Cf. Harrisse, _Notes on Columbus_, 171; _Bibl.
Amer. Vet._, nos. 97, 153, 272,—there were later editions in 1530
and 1546,—Sabin, vol. vi. no. 22,551, etc.; H. H. Bancroft, _Central
America_, i. 329, 339; Carter-Brown, vol. i. no. 58, with a fac-simile
of the title: _Cat. Hist. do Brazil, Bibl. Nac. do Rio de Janeiro_, no.
2.) Antonio Pigafetta in 1530 produced his _Trattato di navigazione_;
but Medina and Cortes were the true beginners of the literature of
seamanship. (Cf. Brevoort’s _Verrazano_, p. 116, and the list of such
publications given in the _Davis Voyages_, p. 342, published by the
Hakluyt Society, and the English list noted in Vol. III. p. 206, of the
present _History_.) There is an examination of the state of navigation
in Columbus’ time in Margry’s _Navigations Françaises_, p. 402, and in
M. F. Navarrete’s _Sobre la historia de la náutica y de las ciencias
matemáticas_, Madrid, 1846,—a work now become rare.

The rudder, in place of two paddles, one on each quarter, had come into
use before this time; but the reefing of sails seems not yet to have
been practised. (Cf. _De Gama’s Voyages_, published by the Hakluyt
Society, p. 242.) Columbus’ record of the speed of his ship seems to
have been the result of observation by the unaided eye. The log was not
yet known; the Romans had fixed a wheel to the sides of their galleys,
each revolution of which threw a pebble into a tally-pot. The earliest
description which we have in the new era of any device of the kind is
in connection with Magellan’s voyage; for Pigafetta in his Journal
(January, 1521), mentions the use of a chain at the hinder part of the
ship to measure its speed. (Humboldt, _Cosmos_, Eng. tr., ii. 631;
v. 56.) The log as we understand it is described in 1573 in Bourne’s
_Regiment of the Sea_, nothing indicating the use of it being found
in the earlier manuals of Medina, Cortes, and Gemma Frisius. Humfrey
Cole is said to have invented it. Three years later than this earliest
mention, Eden, in 1576, in his translation of Taisnier’s _Navigatione_,
alludes to an artifice “not yet divulgate, which, placed in the pompe
of a shyp, whyther the water hath recourse, and moved by the motion of
the shypp, with wheels and weyghts, doth exactly shewe what space the
shyp hath gone” (_Carter-Brown Catalogue_, i. no. 310),—a reminiscence
of the Roman side-wheels, and a reminder of the modern patent-log. Cf.
article on “Navigation” in _Encyclopedia Britannica_, ninth ed. vol.

An instrument which could more readily adapt itself to the swaying
of the observer’s body in a sea-way, soon displaced in good measure
the astrolabe on shipboard. This was the cross-staff, or jackstaff,
which in several modified forms for a long time served mariners as
a convenient help in ascertaining the altitude of the celestial
bodies. Precisely when it was first introduced is not certain; but the
earliest description of it which has been found is that of Werner in
1514. Davis, the Arctic navigator, made an improvement on it; and his
invention was called a backstaff.

While the observations of the early navigators in respect to latitude
were usually accompanied by errors, which were of no considerable
extent, their determinations of longitude, when attempted at all,
were almost always wide of the truth,[383]—so far, indeed, that their
observations helped them but little then to steer their courses,
and are of small assistance now to us in following their tracks. It
happened that while Columbus was at Hispaniola on his second voyage,
in September, 1494, there was an eclipse of the moon.[384] Columbus
observed it; and his calculations placed himself five hours and a half
from Seville,—an error of eighteen degrees, or an hour and a quarter
too much. The error was due doubtless as much to the rudeness of his
instruments as to the errors of the lunar tables then in use.[385]

[Illustration: THE JACKSTAFF.]

The removal of the Line of Demarcation from the supposed meridian
of non-variation of the needle did not prevent the phenomena of
terrestrial magnetism becoming of vast importance in the dispute
between the Crowns of Spain and Portugal. It characterizes the
difference between the imaginative and somewhat fantastic quality
of Columbus’ mind and the cooler, more practical, and better
administrative apprehension of Sebastian Cabot, that while each
observed the phenomenon of the variation of the needle, and each
imagined it a clew to some system of determining longitude, to
Columbus it was associated with wild notions of a too-ample revolution
of the North Star about the true pole.[386] It was not disconnected
in his mind from a fancy which gave the earth the shape of a pear; so
that when he perceived on his voyage a clearing of the atmosphere, he
imagined he was ascending the stem-end of the pear; where he would find
the terrestrial paradise.[387] To Cabot the phenomenon had only its
practical significance; and he seems to have pondered on a solution of
the problem during the rest of his life, if, as Humboldt supposes, the
intimations of his death-bed in respect to some as yet unregistered
way of discovering longitude refer to his observations on the magnetic

The idea of a constantly increasing declination east and west from a
point of non-variation, which both Columbus and Cabot had discovered,
and which increase could be reduced to a formula, was indeed partly
true; except, as is now well known, the line of non-variation, instead
of being a meridian, and fixed, is a curve of constantly changing

[Illustration: THE BACKSTAFF.]

The earliest variation-chart was made in 1530 by Alonzo de Santa
Cruz;[390] and schemes of ascertaining longitude were at once based
on the observations of these curves, as they had before been made
dependent upon the supposed gradation of the change from meridian to
meridian, irrespective of latitude.[391] Fifty years later (1585),
Juan Jayme made a voyage with Gali from the Philippine Islands to
Acapulco to test a “declinatorum” of his own invention.[392] But
this was a hundred years (1698-1702) before Halley’s Expedition was
sent,—the first which any government fitted out to observe the forces
of terrestrial magnetism;[393] and though there had been suspicions of
it much earlier, it was not till 1722 that Graham got unmistakable data
to prove the hourly variation of the needle.[394]

The earliest map which is distinctively associated with the views
which were developing in Columbus’ mind was the one which Toscanelli
sent to him in 1474. It is said to have been preserved in Madrid in
1527;[395] and fifty-three years after Columbus’ death, when Las Casas
was writing his history, it was in his possession.[396] We know that
this Italian geographer had reduced the circumference of the globe to
nearly three quarters of its actual size, having placed China about six
thousand five hundred miles west of Lisbon, and eleven thousand five
hundred miles east. Japan, lying off the China coast, was put somewhere
from one hundred degrees to one hundred and ten degrees west of Lisbon;
and we have record that Martin Pinzon some years later (1491) saw a map
in Rome which put Cipango (Japan) even nearer the European side.[397]

[Illustration: PIRCKEYMERUS.

Fac-simile of a cut in Reusner’s _Icones_, Strasburg, 1590, p. 42.
This well-known cosmographical student was one of the collaborators
of the series of the printed Ptolemies, beginning with that of 1525.
There is a well-known print of Pirckeymerus by Albert Dürer, 1524,
which is reproduced in the _Gazette des Beaux-Arts_, xix. 114. Cf.
Friedrich Campe’s _Zum Andenken Wilibald Pirkheimers, Mitglieds des
Raths zu Nürnberg_ (Nürnberg, 58 pp., with portrait), and _Wilibald
Pirkheimer’s Aufenthalt zu Neunhof, von ihm selbst geschildert; nebst
Beiträgen zu dem Leben und dem Nachlasse seiner Schwestern und Töchter,
von Moritz Maximilian Meyer_ (Nürnberg, 1828).]

A similar view is supposed to have been presented in the map which
Bartholomew Columbus took to England in 1488;[398] but we have no trace
of the chart itself.[399]

[Illustration: TOSCANELLI’S MAP.

This is a restoration of the map as given in _Das Ausland_, 1867, p. 5.
The language of the original was doubtless Latin. Another restoration
is given in St. Martin’s _Atlas_, pl. ix.]

It has always been supposed that in the well-known globe of Martin
Behaim we get in the main an expression of the views held by
Toscanelli, Columbus, and other of Behaim’s contemporaries, who
espoused the notion of India lying over against Europe.

[Illustration: MARTIN BEHAIM.

This cut follows the engravings in Ghillany’s _Behaim_, and in Ruge’s
_Geschichte des Zeitalters der Entdeckungen_, p. 105.]

Eratosthenes, accepting the spherical theory, had advanced the
identical notion which nearly seventeen hundred years later impelled
Columbus to his voyage. He held the known world to span one third of
the circuit of the globe, as Strabo did at a later day, leaving an
unknown two thirds of sea; and “if it were not that the vast extent of
the Atlantic Sea rendered it impossible, one might even sail from the
coast of Spain to that of India along the same parallel.”[400]

Behaim had spent much of his life in Lisbon and the Azores, and was
a friend of Columbus. He had visited Nuremberg, probably on some
family matters arising out of the death of his mother in 1487. While
in this his native town, he gratified some of his townspeople by
embodying in a globe the geographical views which prevailed in the
maritime countries; and the globe was finished before Columbus had
yet accomplished his voyage. The next year (1493) Behaim returned
to Portugal; and after having been sent to the Low Countries on a
diplomatic mission, he was captured by English cruisers and carried to
England. Escaping finally, and reaching the Continent, he passes from
our view in 1494, and is scarcely heard of again.


This globe is made of papier-maché, covered with gypsum, and over
this a parchment surface received the drawing; it is twenty inches
in diameter. It having fallen into decay, the Behaim family in
Nuremberg caused it to be repaired in 1825. In 1847 a copy was made
of it for the Dépôt Géographique (National Library) at Paris; the
original is now in the city hall at Nuremberg. The earliest known
engraving of it is in J. G. Doppelmayr’s _Historische Nachricht von den
nürnbergischen Mathematikern und Künstlern_ (1730), which preserved
some names that have since become illegible (Stevens, _Historical
Collection_, vol. i. no. 1,396). Other representations are given in
Jomard’s _Monuments de la géographie_; Ghillany’s _Martin Behaim_
(1853) and his _Erdglobus des Behaim und der des Schöner_ (1842); C.
G. von Murr’s _Diplomatische Geschichte des Ritters Behaim_ (1778, and
later editions and translations); Cladera’s _Investigaciones_ (1794);
Amoretti’s translation of Pigafetta’s _Voyage de Magellan_ (Paris,
1801); Lelewel’s _Moyen-âge_ (pl. 40; also see vol. ii. p. 131, and
_Epilogue_, p. 184); Saint-Martin’s _Atlas_; Santarem’s _Atlas_, pl.
61; the _Journal_ of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. xviii.;
Kohl’s _Discovery of Maine_; Irving’s _Columbus_ (some editions);
Gay’s _Popular History of the United States_, i. 103; Barnes’ _Popular
History of the United States_; _Harpers’ Monthly_, vol. xlii.; H. H.
Bancroft’s _Central America_, i. 93. Ruge, in his _Geschichte des
Zeitalters der Entdeckungen_, p. 230, reproduces the colored fac-simile
in Ghillany, and shows additionally upon it the outline of America in
its proper place. The sketch in the text follows this representation.
Cf. papers on Behaim and his globe (besides those accompanying
the engravings above indicated) in the _Journal_ of the American
Geographical Society (1872), iv. 432, by the Rev. Mytton Maury; in
the publications of the Maryland Historical Society by Robert Dodge
and John G. Morris; in the _Jahresbericht des Vereins für Erdkunde_
(Dresden, 1866), p. 59. Peschel, in his _Zeitalter der Entdeckungen_
(1858), p. 90, and in the new edition edited by Ruge, has a lower
opinion of Behaim than is usually taken.]

Of Columbus’ maps it is probable that nothing has come down to us
from his own hand.[401] Humboldt would fain believe that the group
of islands studding a gulf which appears on a coat-of-arms granted
Columbus in May, 1493, has some interest as the earliest of all
cartographical records of the New World; but the early drawings of the
arms are by no means constant in the kind of grouping which is given
to these islands.[402] Queen Isabella, writing to the Admiral, Sept.
5, 1493, asks to see the marine chart which he had made; and Columbus
sent such a map with a letter.[403] We have various other references
to copies of this or similar charts of Columbus. Ojeda used such a one
in following Columbus’ route,[404] as he testified in the famous suit
against the heirs of Columbus. Bernardo de Ibarra, in the same cause,
said that he had seen the Admiral’s chart, and that he had heard of
copies of it being used by Ojeda, and by some others.[405] It is known
that about 1498 Columbus gave one of his charts to the Pope, and one
to René of Lorraine. Angelo Trivigiano, secretary of the Venetian
Ambassador to Spain, in a letter dated Aug. 21, 1501, addressed to
Dominico Malipiero, speaks of a map of the new discoveries which
Columbus had.[406]

[Illustration: LA COSA, 1500.]

Three or four maps at least have come down to us which are supposed to
represent in some way one or several of these drafts by Columbus. The
first of these is the celebrated map of the pilot Juan de la Cosa,[407]
dated in 1500, of which some account, with a heliotype fac-simile of
the American part of the map, is given in another place.[408] After the
death (April 27, 1852) of Walckenaer (who had bought it at a moderate
cost of an ignorant dealer in second-hand articles), it was sold at
public auction in Paris in the spring of 1853, when Jomard failed to
secure it for the Imperial Library in Paris, and it went to Spain,
where, in the naval museum at Madrid, it now is.

Of the next earliest of the American maps the story has recently been
told with great fulness by Harrisse in his _Les Cortereal_, accompanied
by a large colored fac-simile of the map itself, executed by Pilinski.
The map was not unknown before,[409] and Harrisse had earlier described
it in his _Cabots_.[410]

We know that Gaspar Cortereal[411] had already before 1500 made some
explorations, during which he had discovered a mainland and some
islands, but at what precise date it is impossible to determine;[412]
nor can we decide upon the course he had taken, but it seems likely
it was a westerly one. We know also that in this same year (1500) he
made his historic voyage to the Newfoundland region,[413] coasting the
neighboring shores, probably, in September and October. Then followed a
second expedition from January to October of the next year (1501),—the
one of which we have the account in the _Paesi novamente retrovati_,
as furnished by Pasqualigo.[414] There was at this time in Lisbon one
Alberto Cantino, a correspondent—with precisely what quality we know
not—of Hercule d’Este, Duke of Ferrara; and to this noble personage
Cantino, on the 19th of October, addressed a letter embodying what
he had seen and learned of the newly returned companions of Gaspar

The Report of Cantino instigated the Duke to ask his correspondent
to procure for him a map of these explorations. Cantino procured
one to be made; and inscribing it, “Carta da navigar per le Isole
novam^{te} tr.... in le parte de l’India: dono Alberto Cantino Al S.
Duca Hercole,” he took it to Italy, and delivered it by another hand to
the Duke at Ferrara. Here in the family archives it was preserved till
1592, when the reigning Duke retired to Modena, his library following
him. In 1868, in accordance with an agreement between the Italian
Government and the Archduke Francis of Austria, the cartographical
monuments of the ducal collection were transferred to the Biblioteca
Estense, where this precious map now is. The map was accompanied when
it left Cantino’s hands by a note addressed to the Duke and dated at
Rome, Nov. 19, 1502,[416] which fortunately for us fixes very nearly
the period of the construction of the map. A much reduced sketch is

[Illustration: THE CANTINO MAP.

This is sketched from Harrisse’s fac-simile, which is of the size of
the original map. The dotted line is the Line of Demarcation,—“Este
he omarco dantre castella y Portuguall,”—which has been calculated by
Harrisse to be at 62° 30´ west of Paris.]

For the northern coast of South America La Cosa and Cantino’s
draughtsmen seem to have had different authorities. La Cosa attaches
forty-five names to that coast: Cantino only twenty-nine; and only
three of them are common to the two.[417] Harrisse argues from the
failure of the La Cosa map to give certain intelligence of the Atlantic
coast of the United States (here represented in the north and south
trend of shore, north of Cuba), that there was existing in October,
1500, at least in Spanish circles, no knowledge of it,[418] but that
explorations must have taken place before the summer of 1502 which
afforded the knowledge embodied in this Cantino map. This coast was
not visited, so far as is positively known, by any Spanish expedition
previous to 1502. Besides the eight Spanish voyages of this period
(not counting the problematical one of Vespucius) of which we have
documentary proof, there were doubtless others of which we have
intimations; but we know nothing of their discoveries, except so far
as those before 1500 may be embodied in La Cosa’s chart.[419] The
researches of Harrisse have failed to discover in Portugal any positive
trace of voyages made from that kingdom in 1501, or thereabout, records
of which have been left in the Cantino map. Humboldt had intimated
that in Lisbon at that time there was a knowledge of the connection
of the Antilles with the northern discoveries of Cortereal by an
intervening coast; but Harrisse doubts if Humboldt’s authority—which
seems to have been a letter of Pasqualigo sent to Venice, dated
Oct. 18, 1501, found in the _Diarii_ of Marino Sanuto, a manuscript
preserved in Vienna—means anything more than a conjectural belief in
such connection. Harrisse’s conclusion is that between the close of
1500 and the summer of 1502, some navigators, of whose names and nation
we are ignorant, but who were probably Spanish, explored the coast of
the present United States from Pensacola to the Hudson. This Atlantic
coast of Cantino terminates at about 59° north latitude, running nearly
north and south from the Cape of Florida to that elevation. Away to the
east in mid-ocean, and placed so far easterly as doubtless to appear
on the Portuguese side of the Line of Demarcation, and covering from
about fifty to fifty-nine degrees of latitude, is a large island which
stands for the discoveries of Cortereal, “Terra del Rey du Portuguall;”
and northeast of this is the point of Greenland apparently, with
Iceland very nearly in its proper place.[420] This Cantino map, now
positively fixed in 1502, establishes the earliest instance of a kind
of delineation of North America which prevailed for some time. Students
of this early cartography have long supposed this geographical idea to
date from about this time, and have traced back the origin of what is
known as “The Admiral’s Map”[421] to data accumulated in the earliest
years of the sixteenth century. Indeed Lelewel,[422] thirty years ago,
made up what he called a Portuguese chart of 1501-1504, by combining
in one draft the maps of the 1513 Ptolemy, with a hint or two from the
Sylvanus map of 1511, acting on the belief that the Portuguese were
the real first pursuers, or at least recorders, of explorations of the
Floridian peninsula and of the coast northerly.[423]

[Illustration: PETER MARTYR, 1511.

The 1511 map, here given in fac-simile after another fac-simile in
the _Carter-Brown Catalogue_, has been several times reproduced,—in
Stevens’s _Notes_, pl. 4; J. H. Lefroy’s _Memorials of the Bermudas_,
London, 1877; H. A. Schumacher’s _Petrus Martyr_, New York, 1879; and
erroneously in H. H. Bancroft’s _Central America_, i. 127. Cf. also
Harrisse, _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 66; _Additions_, p. viii and no. 41;
_Notes on Columbus_, p. 9; and his _Les Cortereal_, p. 113. Copies of
the book are in the Carter-Brown, Lenox, Daly, and Barlow libraries.
A copy (no. 1605*) was sold in the Murphy sale. Quaritch has priced a
perfect copy at £100. The map gives the earliest knowledge which we
have of the Bermudas. Cf. the “Descripcion de la isla Bermuda” (1538),
in Buckingham Smith’s _Coleccion_, p. 92.]


The European prolongation of Gronland resembles that of a Portuguese
map of 1490. Another reduced fac-simile is given in Ruge’s _Geschichte
des Zeitalters der Entdeckungen_ (1881.) These 1513 maps were
reprinted in the Strasburg, 1520, edition of _Ptolemy_ (copies in the
Carter-Brown Library and in the _Murphy Catalogue_, no. 2,053), and
were re-engraved on a reduced scale, but with more elaboration and with
a few changes, for the _Ptolemies_ of 1522 and 1525; and they were
again the basis of those in Servetus’ _Ptolemy_ of 1535.]


Kohl remarks that the names on the South American coast (north part)
are carried no farther than Ojeda went in 1499, and no farther south
than Vespucius went in 1503; while the connection made of the two
Americas was probably conjectural. Other fac-similes of the map
are given in Varnhagen’s _Premier voyage de Vespucci_, in Weise’s
_Discoveries of America_, p. 124; and in Stevens’s _Historical
and Geographical Notes_, pl. 2. Cf. Santarem (Childe’s tr.), 153.
Wieser, in his _Magalhâes-Strasse_ (Innsbruck, 1881), p. 15, mentions
a manuscript note-book of Schöner, the globe-maker, preserved in
the Hof-bibliothek at Vienna, which has a sketch resembling this
1513 map. Harrisse (_Les Cortereal_, pp. 122, 126) has pointed out
the correspondence of its names to the Cantino map, though the
Waldseemüller map has a few names which are not on the Cantino. Again,
Harrisse (_Les Cortereal_, p. 128) argues from the fact that the
relations of Duke René with Portugal were cordial, while they were not
so with Spain, and from the resemblance of René’s map in the Ptolemy of
1513 to that of Cantino, that the missing map upon which Waldseemüller
is said to have worked to produce, with René’s help, the so-called
“Admiral’s map,” was the original likewise of that of Cantino.]

The earliest Spanish map after that of La Cosa which has come down to
us is the one which is commonly known as Peter Martyr’s map. It is a
woodcut measuring 11 × 7½ inches, and is usually thought to have
first appeared in the _Legatio Babylonica_, or Martyr’s first decade,
at Seville, 1511; but Harrisse is inclined to believe that the map
did not originally belong to Martyr’s book, because three copies of
it in the original vellum which he has examined do not have the map.
Quaritch[424] says that copies vary, that the leaf containing the map
is an insertion, and that it is sometimes on different folios. Thus of
two issues, one is called a second, because two leaves seem to have
been reprinted to correct errors, and two new leaves are inserted,
and a new title is printed. It is held by some that the map properly
belongs to this issue. Brevoort[425] thinks that the publication of the
map was distasteful to the Spanish Government (since the King this same
year forbade maps being given to foreigners); and he argues that the
scarcity of the book may indicate that attempts were made to suppress

The maker of the 1513 map as we have it was Waldseemüller, or
Hylacomylus, of St. Dié, in the Vosges Mountains; and Lelewel[427]
gives reasons for believing that the plate had been engraved, and
that copies were on sale as early as 1507. It had been engraved at
the expense of Duke René II. of Lorraine, from information furnished
by him to perfect some anterior chart; but the plate does not seem to
have been used in any book before it appeared in this 1513 edition
of Ptolemy.[428] It bears along the coast this legend: “Hec terra
adjacentibus insulis inventa est per Columbū ianuensem ex mandato Regis
Castelle;” and in the Address to the Reader in the Supplement appears
the following sentence, in which the connection of Columbus with the
map is thought to be indicated: “Charta antē marina quam Hydrographiam
vocant per Admiralem [? _Columbus_] quondam serenissi. Portugalie [?
_Hispaniæ_] regis Ferdinandi ceteros denique lustratores verissimis
pagratiōibus lustrata, ministerio Renati, dum vixit, nunc pie mortui,
Ducis illustris. Lotharingie liberalius prelographationi tradita

This “Admiral’s map” seems to have been closely followed in the map
which Gregor Reisch annexed to his popular encyclopædia,[430] the
_Margarita philosophica_, in 1515; though there is some difference in
the coast-names, and the river mouths and deltas on the coast west of
Cuba are left out.

[Illustration: PART OF REISCH’S MAP, 1515.

There is another fac-simile in Stevens’s _Historical and Geographical
Notes_, pl. 4. An edition of Reisch appeared at Freiburg in 1503
(Murphy, no. 3,089); but in 1504 there were two editions, with a
mappemonde which had no other reference to America than in the legend:
“Hic non terra sed mare est in quo miræ magnitudinis insulæ sed
Ptolemæo fuerunt incognitæ.” Some copies are dated 1505. (Murphy, no.
3,090.) A copy dated 1508, Basle, “cum additionibus novis” (Quaritch,
no. 12,363; Baer’s _Incunabeln_, 1884, no. 64, at 36 marks; and Murphy,
no. 2,112*) had the same map. The 1515 edition had the map above given.
(Harrisse, _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 82; _Additions_, no. 45, noting a
copy in the Imperial Library at Vienna. Kohl copies in his Washington
Collection from one in the library at Munich.) The Basle edition of
1517 has a still different woodcut map. (Beckford, _Catalogue_, vol.
iii. no. 1,256; Murphy, no. 2,112**.) Not till 1535 did an edition
have any reference to America in the text. (_Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no.
208.) The latest edition is that of 1583, Basle, with a mappamonde
showing America. (Leclerc, no. 2,926.) Cf. further in D’Avezac’s
_Waltzemüller_, p. 94; Kunstmann’s _Entdeckung Amerikas_, p. 130;
Stevens’s Notes, p. 52; Kohl, _Die beiden ältesten General-Karten von
America_, p. 33.]

[Illustration: RUYSCH, 1508.[431]]

Stevens and others have contended that this represents Columbus’
Ganges; but Varnhagen makes it stand for the Gulf of Mexico and the
Mississippi,—a supposition more nearly like Reisch’s interpretation,
as will be seen by his distinct separation of the new lands from Asia.
Reisch is, however, uncertain of their western limits, which are cut
off by the scale, as shown in the map; while on the other side of the
same scale Cipango is set down in close proximity to it.

[Illustration: STOBNICZA, 1512.

It is held that this map shows the earliest attempt to represent on a
plane a sphere truncated at the poles. Wieser (_Magalhaês-Strasse_,
p. 11) speaks of a manuscript copy of Stobnicza’s western hemisphere,
made by Glareanus, which is bound with a copy of Waldseemüller’s
_Cosmographiæ introductio_, preserved in the University Library at
Munich. Cf. Vol. III. p. 14, with references there, and Winsor’s
_Bibliography of Ptolemy_ sub anno 1512; Harrisse, _Notes on Columbus_,
p. 178, and _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, nos. 69 and 95, and _Additions_, no.
47. The only copies of the Stobnicza _Introductio_ in this country lack
the maps. One in the Carter-Brown Library has it in fac-simile, and the
other was sold in the Murphy sale, no. 2,075.]

[Illustration: SCHÖNER.

Fac-simile of a cut in Reusner’s _Icones_ (Strasburg, 1590), p. 127.
Cf. on Schöner’s geographical labors, Doppelmayr’s _Historische
Nachricht von den nürnbergischen Mathematikern und Künstlern_ (1730);
Will und Nopitsch’s _Nürnbergisches Gelehrten-Lexicon_ (1757);
Ghillany’s _Erdglobus des Behaim und der des Schöner_; and Varnhagen’s
_Schöner e Apianus_ (Vienna, 1872).]

It has been supposed that it was a map of this type which Bartholomew
Columbus, when he visited Rome in 1505, gave to a canon of St. John
Lateran, together with one of the printed accounts of his brother’s
voyage; and this canon gave the map to Alessandro Strozzi, “suo amico e
compilatore della raccolta,” as is stated in a marginal note in a copy
of the _Mundus novus_ in the Magliabecchian library.[432]

Columbus is said to have had a vision before his fourth voyage, during
which he saw and depicted on a map a strait between the regions
north and south of the Antillian Sea. De Lorgues, with a convenient
alternative for his saintly hero, says that the mistake was only in
making the strait of water, when it should have been of land!

[Illustration: SCHÖNER, 1515.

According to Wieser (_Magalhâes-Strasse_, p. 19) this globe, which
exists in copies at Weimar (of which Wieser gives the above sketch from
Jomard’s fac-simile of the one at Frankfort, but with some particulars
added from that at Weimar) and at Frankfort (which is figured in
Jomard), was made to accompany Schöner’s _Luculentissima quædam terræ
totius descriptio_, printed in 1515. Cf. Harrisse, _Notes on Columbus_,
p. 179, and _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, nos. 80, 81; Murphy, no. 2,233. Copies
of Schöner’s _Luculentissima_, etc., are in the Harvard College,
Carter-Brown, and Lenox libraries.

In 1523 Schöner printed another tract, _De nuper sub Castiliæ, ac
Portugaliæ regibus serenissimis repertis insulis ac regionibus_,
descriptive of his globe, which is extremely rare. Wieser reports
copies in the great libraries of Vienna and London only. Varnhagen
reprinted it from the Vienna copy, at St. Petersburg in 1872 (forty
copies only), under the designation, _Réimpression fidèle d’une lettre
de Jean Schöner, à propos de son globe, écrite en 1523_. The Latin
is given in Wieser’s _Magalhâes-Strasse_, p. 118. Johann Schoner or
Schöner (for the spelling varies) was born in 1477, and died in 1547.
The testimony of this globe to an early knowledge of the straits
afterward made known by Magellan is examined on a later page. The
notions which long prevailed respecting a large Antarctic continent
are traced in Wieser’s _Magalhâes-Strasse_, p. 59, and in Santarem,
_Histoire de la cartographie_, ii. 277.

Cf. on the copy at Frankfort,—Vol. III. p. 215, of the present
_History_; Kohl’s _General-Karten von Amerika_, p. 33, and his
_Discovery of Maine_, p. 159; _Encyclopædia Britannica_, x. 681; Von
Richthofen’s _China_, p. 641; _Journal_ of the Royal Geographical
Society, xviii. 45. On the copy at Weimar, see Humboldt, _Examen
critique_, and his Introduction to Ghillany’s _Ritter Behaim_.]

[Illustration: SCHÖNER, 1520.

This globe, which has been distinctively known as Schöner’s globe,
is preserved at Nuremberg. There are representations of it in
Santarem, Lelewel, Wieser, Ghillany’s _Behaim_, Kohl’s _Geschichte der
Entdeckungsreisen zur Magellan’s-Strasse_ (Berlin, 1877), p. 8; H.
H. Bancroft’s _Central America_, i. 137; and in _Harper’s Magazine_,
February, 1871, and December, 1882, p. 731. The earliest engraving
appeared in the _Jahresbericht der technischen Anstalten in Nürnberg
für 1842_, accompanied by a paper by Dr. Ghillany; and the same writer
reproduced it in his _Erdglobus des Behaim und der des Schöner_ (1842).
The globe is signed: “Perfecit eum Bambergæ 1520, Joh. Schönerus.” Cf.
Von Murr, _Memorabilia bibliothecarum Noribergensium_ (1786), i. 5;
Humboldt, _Examen critique_, ii. 28; Winsor’s _Bibliography of Ptolemy_
sub anno 1522; and Vol. III. p. 214, of the present _History_.]

We have a suspicion of this strait in another map which has been held
to have had some connection with the drafts of Columbus, and that is
the Ruysch map, which appeared in the Roman Ptolemy of 1508,[433] the
earliest published map, unless the St. Dié map takes precedence, to
show any part of the new discoveries.

[Illustration: THE TROSS GORES, 1514-1519.

Twelve gores of a globe found in a copy of the _Cosmographiæ
introductio_, published at Lugduni, 1514 (?), and engraved in a
catalogue of Tross, the Paris bookseller, in 1881 (nos. xiv. 4,924).
The book is now owned by Mr. C. H. Kalbfleisch, of New York. Harrisse
(_Cabots_, p. 182) says the map was engraved in 1514, and ascribes it
to Louis Boulenger. (Cf. Vol. III. p. 214, of the present _History_.)
There are two copies of this edition of the _Cosmographiæ introductio_
in the British Museum; and D’Avezac (_Waltzemüller_, p. 123) says
the date of it cannot be earlier than 1517. Harrisse says he erred
in dating it 1510 in the _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 63. Cf. Winsor’s
_Bibliography of Ptolemy_ sub anno 1522.]

It seems from its resemblance to the La Cosa chart to have been kept
much nearer the Columbian draft than the geographer of St. Dié, with
his Portuguese helps, was contented to leave it in his map. In La Cosa
the vignette of St. Christopher had concealed the mystery of a westerly
passage;[434] Ruysch assumes it, or at least gives no intimation of
his belief in the inclosure of the Antillian Sea. Harrisse[435] has
pointed out how an entirely different coast-nomenclature in the two
maps points to different originals of the two map-makers. The text
of this 1508 edition upon “Terra Nova” and “Santa Cruz” is by Marcus
Beneventanus. There are reasons to believe that the map may have been
issued separately, as well as in the book; and the copies of the map
in the Barlow Collection and in Harvard College Library are perhaps of
this separate issue.[436]

[Illustration: MÜNSTER, 1532.

The distinctive features both of the La Cosa and the Ruysch drafts, of
the Cantino map and of the Waldseemüller or St. Dié map of 1513, were
preserved, with more or less modifications in many of the early maps.
The Stobnicza map—published in an _Introductio_ to Ptolemy at Cracow in
1512—is in effect the St. Dié map, with a western ocean in place of
the edge of the plate as given in the 1513 Ptolemy, and is more like
the draft of Reisch’s map published three years later.

There are other drawings of this map in Stevens’s _Notes_; in
Nordenskiöld’s _Bröderna Zenos_ (Stockholm, 1883); etc.]

The Schöner globe of 1515, often cited as the Frankfort globe; the
Schöner globe of 1520; the so-called Tross gores of 1514-1519; the
map of Petrus Apianus[437]—or Bienewitz, as he was called in his
vernacular—which appeared in the _Polyhistoria_ of Solinus, edited
by the Italian monk Camers, and also in 1522 in the _De orbis situ_
of Pomponius Mela, published by Vadianus,—all preserve the same
characteristics with the St. Dié map, excepting that they show the
western passage referred to in Columbus’ dream, and so far unite some
of the inferences from the map of Ruysch. There was a curious survival
of this Cantino type, particularly as regards North America for many
years yet to come, as seen in the map which Münster added to the Basle
edition of the _Novus orbis_ in 1532 and 1537, and in the drawing which
Jomard gives[438] as from “une cassette de la Collection Trivulci, dite
Cassettina all’Agemina.” This last drawing is a cordiform mappemonde,
very like another which accompanied Honter’s _Rudimenta cosmographica_
in 1542, and which was repeated in various editions to as late a period
as 1590. Thus it happened that for nearly a century geographical
views which the earliest navigators evolved, continued in popular
books to convey the most inadequate notion of the contour of the new

[Illustration: SYLVANUS’ MAP, 1511.

The map is given in its original projection in Lelewel, pl. xlv., and
on a greatly reduced scale in Daly’s _Early Cartography_, p. 32. There
are copies of this 1511 Ptolemy in the Lenox, Carter-Brown, Astor,
Brevoort, Barlow, and Kalbfleisch collections. Cf. _Murphy Catalogue_,
no. 2,051, for a copy now in the American Geographical Society’s
Library, and references in Winsor’s _Bibliography of Ptolemy_ sub anno

In the same year with the publication of the Peter Martyr map of 1511,
an edition of Ptolemy, published at Venice and edited by Bernardus
Sylvanus, contained a mappemonde on a cordiform projection,—which is
said to be the first instance of the use of this method in drafting
maps. What is shown of the new discoveries is brought in a distorted
shape on the extreme western verge of the map; and to make the
contour more intelligible, it is reduced in the sketch annexed to
an ordinary plane projection. It is the earliest engraved map to
give any trace of the Cortereal discoveries[440] and to indicate the
Square, or St. Lawrence, Gulf. It gives a curious Latinized form to
the name of the navigator himself in “Regalis Domus” (Cortereal), and
restores Greenland, or Engronelant, to a peninsular connection with
northwestern Europe as it had appeared in the Ptolemy of 1482.

[Illustration: THE LENOX GLOBE.]

It will be seen that, with the exception of the vague limits of the
“Regalis Domus,” there was no sign of the continental line of North
America in this map of Sylvanus. Much the same views were possessed by
the maker of the undated Lenox globe, which probably is of nearly the
same date, and of which a further account is given elsewhere.[441]

[Illustration: DA VINCI, NORTHERN HEMISPHERE (_original draft

Another draft of a globe, likewise held to be of about the same date,
shows a similar configuration, except that a squarish island stands in
it for Florida and adjacent parts of the main. This is a manuscript
drawing on two sheets preserved among the Queen’s collections at
Windsor; and since Mr. R. H. Major made it known by a communication,
with accompanying fac-similes, in the _Archæologia_,[442] it has been
held to be the work of Leonardo da Vinci, though this has been recently

[Illustration: DA VINCI, SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE (_original draft reduced_).

Another sketch of this hemisphere is given in _Harper’s Monthly_,
December, 1882, p. 733.]

If deprived of the associations of that august name, the map loses much
of its attraction; but it still remains an interesting memorial of
geographical conjecture. It is without date, and can only be fixed in
the chain of cartographical ideas by its internal evidence. This has
led Major to place it between 1512 and 1514, and Wieser to fix it at
1515-1516.[444] A somewhat unsatisfactory map, since it shows nothing
north of “Ysabella” and “Spagnollo,” is that inscribed _Orbis typus
universalis juxta hydrographorum traditionem exactissime depicta_,
1522, L. F., which is the work of Laurentius Frisius, and appeared in
the Ptolemy of 1522.[445]

[Illustration: DA VINCI (_newly projected_).

This follows the projection as given by Wieser in his
_Magalhaês-Strasse_, who dates it 1515-1516.]

A new element appears in a map which is one of the charts belonging
to the _Yslegung der Mer-Carthen oder Cartha Marina_, said also to be
the work of Frisius, which was issued in 1525, in exposition of his
theories of sea-charts.[446]

[Illustration: CARTA MARINA OF FRISIUS, 1525.]

[Illustration: COPPO, 1528.

This is drawn from a sketch given by Kohl in his manuscript, “On the
Connection of the New and Old World on the Pacific Side,” preserved in
the American Antiquarian Society’s Library. There is another copy in
his Washington Collection.

The map is explained by the following key: 1. Asia. 2. India.
3. Ganges. 4. Java major. 5. Cimpangi [Japan]. 6. Isola verde
[Greenland?]. 7. Cuba. 8. Iamaiqua. 9. Spagnola. 10. Monde nuova [South

The map is of interest as the sole instance in which North America
is called a part of Africa, on the supposition that a continental
connection by the south enclosed the “sea toward the sunset.” The
insular Yucatan will be observed in the annexed sketch, and what
seems to be a misshapen Cuba. The land at the east seems intended for
Baccalaos, judging from the latitude and the indication of fir-trees
upon it. This map is one of twelve engraved sheets constituting
the above-named work, which was published by Johannes Grieninger in
1530. Friess, or Frisius, who was a German mathematician, and had,
as we have seen, taken part in the 1522 Ptolemy, says that he drew
his information in these maps from original sources; but he does not
name these sources, and Dr. Kohl thinks the maps indicate the work of

Among the last of the school of geographers who supposed North America
to be an archipelago, was Pierro Coppo, who published at Venice in 1528
what has become a very rare _Portolano delli lochi maritimi ed isole
der mar_.[447]




AMERIGO VESPUCCI,[448] the third son of Nastugio Vespucci, a notary of
Florence, and his wife Lisabetta Mini, was born on the 9th of March,
1451. The family had the respectability of wealth, acquired in trade,
for one member of it in the preceding century was rich enough to
endow a public hospital. Over the portal of the house, so dedicated
to charity by this pious Vespucci nearly three quarters of a century
before Amerigo was born, there was, says Humboldt, engraved in 1719,
more than three hundred years after the founding of the hospital, an
inscription declaring that here Amerigo had lived in his youth. As the
monks, however, who wrote the inscription also asserted in it that he
was the discoverer of America, it is quite possible that they may have
been as credulous in the one case as in the other, and have accepted
for fact that which was only tradition. But whether Amerigo’s father,
Nastugio, lived or did not live in the hospital which his father or
grandfather founded, he evidently maintained the respectability of the
family. Three of his sons he sent to be educated at the University of
Pisa. Thenceforth they are no more heard of, except that one of them,
Jerome, afterward went to Palestine, where he remained nine years, met
with many losses, and endured much suffering,—all of which he related
in a letter to his younger brother Amerigo. But the memory even of this
Jerome—that he should have ever gone anywhere, or had any adventures
worth the telling—is only preserved from oblivion because he had this
brother who became the famous navigator, and whose name by a chance was
given to half the globe.

[Illustration: A LETTER OF VESPUCIUS TO HIS FATHER (_after a fac-simile
given by Varnhagen_).

[Harrisse (_Bibl. Amer. Vet., Additions_, p. xxii) says that this
letter was found by Bandini in the Strozzi Library, and that it is now
in the collection of M. Feuillet de Conches in Paris. “This and two
or three signatures added to receipts, which were brought to light by
Navarrete, constitute,” said Harrisse in 1872, “the only autographs
of Vespucius known.” Since then another fac-simile of a letter by
Vespucius has been published in the _Cartas de Indias_, being a letter
of Dec. 9, 1508, about goods which ought to be carried to the Antilles.
Cf. _Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc._, xvi. 318, and _Magazine of American
History_, iii. 193, where it is translated, and accompanied by a
fac-simile of a part of it. The signature is given on another page of
the present chapter.—ED.]]

Amerigo was not sent to the university. Such early education as
he received came from a learned uncle, Giorgi Antonio Vespucci,
a Dominican friar, who must have been a man of some influence in
Florence, as it is claimed for him that he was the friend and colleague
of the more famous monk Savonarola. The nephew acknowledged later in
life that he was not among the most diligent of his uncle’s pupils;
and the admission was as true as it was ingenuous, if one may judge by
a letter in Latin written, when he was twenty-five years old, to his
father. He excuses himself to that _spectabili et egregio viro_—as he
addresses his father—for recent negligence in writing, as he hesitates
to commit himself in Latin without the revision of his uncle, and he
happens to be absent. Probably it was poverty of expression in that
tongue, and not want of thought, which makes the letter seem the work
of a boy of fifteen rather than of a young man of five and twenty. A
mercantile career in preference to that of a student was, at any rate,
his own choice; and in due time, though at what age precisely does not
appear, a place was found for him in the great commercial house of the
Princes Medici in Florence.

In Florence he remained, apparently in the service of the Medici,
till 1490; for in that year he complains that his mother prevented
him from going to Spain. But the delay was not long, as in January,
1492, he writes from Cadiz, where he was then engaged in trade with an
associate, one Donato Nicolini,—perhaps as agents of the Medici, whose
interests in Spain were large. Four years later, the name of Vespucci
appears for the first time in the Spanish archives, when he was within
two months of being forty-six years of age. Meanwhile he had engaged
in the service of Juonato Berardi, a Florentine merchant established
at Seville, who had fitted out the second expedition of Columbus in

It has been conjectured that Vespucci became known at that time to
Columbus,—which is not improbable if the former was so early as 1493
in the service of Berardi. But the suggestion that he went with
Columbus either on his first or second expedition cannot be true, at
any rate as to the second.[450] For in 1495 Berardi made a contract
with the Spanish Government to furnish a fleet of ships for an
expedition westward which he did not live to complete. Its fulfilment
was intrusted to Vespucci; and it appears in the public accounts that
a sum of money was paid to him from the Treasury of the State in
January, 1496. Columbus was then absent on his second voyage, begun in
September, 1493, from which he did not return till June, 1496.

In the interval between the spring of 1495 and the summer of 1497 any
adventurer was permitted by Spain, regardless of the agreement made
with Columbus, to go upon voyages of commerce or discovery to that New
India to which his genius and courage had led the way. “Now,” wrote
Columbus, “there is not a man, down to the very tailors, who does not
beg to be allowed to become a discoverer.” The greed of the King; the
envy of the navigators who before 1492 had laughed at the theories of
Columbus; the hatred of powerful Churchmen, more bitter now than ever,
because those theories which they had denounced as heresy had proved
to be true,—all these influences were against him, and had combined to
rob the unhappy Admiral, even before he had returned from his second
voyage, of the honor and the riches which he thought would rightfully
become his own. Ships now could go and come in safety over that wide
waste of waters which even children could remember had been looked
upon as a “Sea of Darkness,” rolling westward into never-ending space,
whence there was no return to the voyager mad enough to trust to its
treacherous currents. It was no longer guarded by perpetual Night, by
monsters hideous and terrible, and by a constant wind that blew ever
toward the west. But ships came safely back, bringing, not much, but
enough of gold and pearls to seem an earnest of the promise of the
marvellous wealth of India that must soon be so easily and so quickly
reached; with the curious trappings of a picturesque barbarism; the
soft skins and gorgeous feathers of unknown beasts and birds; the woods
of a new beauty in grain and vein and colors; the aromatic herbs of
subtle virtue that would stir the blood beneath the ribs of Death; and
with all these precious things the captive men and women, of curious
complexion and unknown speech, whose people were given as a prey to the
stranger by God and the Pope. Every rough sailor of these returning
ships was greeted as a hero when to the gaping, wide-eyed crowd he told
of his adventures in that land of perpetual summer, where the untilled
virgin soil brought forth its fruits, and the harvest never failed;
where life was without care or toil, sickness or poverty; where he who
would might gather wealth as he would idly pick up pebbles on a beach.
These were the sober realities of the times; and there were few so poor
in spirit or so lacking in imagination as not to desire to share in
the possession of these new Indies. It was not long, indeed, before a
reaction came; when disappointed adventurers returned in poverty, and
sat in rags at the gates of the palace to beg relief of the King. And
when the sons of Columbus, who were pages in the Court of the Queen,
passed by, “they shouted to the very heavens, saying: ‘Look at the
sons of the Admiral of Mosquitoland!—of that man who has discovered
the lands of deceit and disappointment,—a place of sepulchre and
wretchedness to Spanish hidalgos!’”[451]

From his second voyage Columbus returned in the summer of 1496; and
meeting his enemies with the courage and energy which never failed
him, he induced the King and Queen to revoke, in June of the next
year, the decree of two years before. Meanwhile he made preparations
for his third voyage, on which he sailed from San Lucar on the 30th of
May, 1498. Two months later he came in sight of the island he named
Trinidad; and entering the Gulf of Paria, into which empties the
Orinoco by several mouths, he sailed along the coast of the mainland.
He had reached the continent, not of Asia, as he supposed, but of the
western hemisphere. None of the four voyages of the great discoverer is
so illustrative of his peculiar faith, his religious fervor, and the
strength of his imagination as this third voyage; and none, in that
respect, is so interesting. The report of it which he sent home in a
letter, with a map, to the King and Queen has a direct relation to the
supposed first voyage of Amerigo Vespucci.

As he approached the coast, Columbus wrote,[452] he heard “in the dead
of night an awful roaring;” and he saw “the sea rolling from west to
east like a mountain as high as the ship, and approaching little by
little; on the top of this rolling sea came a mighty wave roaring with
a frightful noise.” When he entered the Gulf, and saw how it was filled
by the flow of the great river, he believed that he had witnessed far
out at sea the mighty struggle at the meeting of the fresh with the
salt water. The river, he was persuaded, must be rushing down from the
summit of the earth, where the Lord had planted the earthly Paradise,
in the midst whereof was a fountain whence flowed the four great rivers
of the world,—the Ganges, the Tigris, the Euphrates, and the Nile.
He did not quite agree with those earlier philosophers who believed
that the earth was a perfect sphere; but rather that it was like “the
form of a pear, which is very round except where the stalk grows, at
which part it is most prominent; or like a round ball, upon one part
of which is a prominence like a woman’s nipple, this protrusion being
the highest and nearest the sky, situated under the equinoctial line,
and at the eastern extremity of this sea.” “I call that the eastern
extremity,” he adds, “where the land and the islands end.”

Now had come to him at last in the observations and experience of this
voyage the confirmation of his faith. That “eastern extremity of the
sea where the lands and the islands end” he had reached, he thought,
at the islands of Trinidad, of Margarita, and of Cubagua, and at the
coast of the Gulf of Paria, into which poured this great river rushing
down from the pinnacle of the globe. For he had observed, as he sailed
westward from a certain line in the ocean, that “the ships went on
rising smoothly towards the sky.” Some of the older astronomers, he
said, believed that the Arctic pole was “the highest point of the
world, and nearest to the heavens;” and others that this was true of
the Antarctic. Though all were wrong as to the exact locality of that
elevation, it was plain that they held a common faith that somewhere
there was a point of exaltation, if only it could be found, where the
earth approached the sky more nearly than anywhere else. But it had
not occurred to any of them that possibly the blessed spot which the
first rays of the sun lit up in crimson and in gold on the morning of
creation, because it was the topmost height of the globe, and because
it was in the east, might be under the equinoctial line; and it had not
occurred to them, because this eastern extremity of the world, which it
had pleased God he should now discover, had hitherto been unknown to
civilized man.

Every observation and incident of this voyage gave to Columbus proof of
the correctness of his theory. The farther south he had gone along the
African coast, the blacker and more barbarous he had found the people,
the more intense the heat, and the more arid the soil. For many days
they had sailed under an atmosphere so heated and oppressive that he
doubted if his ships would not fall to pieces and their crews perish,
if they did not speedily escape into some more temperate region. He
had remarked in former voyages that at a hundred leagues west of the
Azores there was a north-and-south line, to cross which was to find
an immediate and grateful change in the skies above, in the waters
beneath, and in the reviving temperature of the air. The course of
the ships was altered directly westward, that this line might be
reached, and the perils escaped which surrounded him and his people.
It was when the line was crossed that he observed how his ships were
gently ascending toward the skies. Not only were the expected changes
experienced, but the North Star was seen at a new altitude; the needle
of the compass varied a point, and the farther they sailed the more it
turned to the northwest. However the wind blew, the sea was always
smooth; and when the Island of Trinidad and the shores of the continent
were reached, they entered a climate of exceeding mildness, where
the fields and the foliage were “remarkably fresh and green, and as
beautiful as the gardens of Valencia in April.” The people who crowded
to the shore “in countless numbers” to gaze at these strange visitors
were “very graceful in form, tall, and elegant in their movements,
wearing their hair very long and smooth.” They were, moreover, of a
whiter skin than any the Admiral had heretofore seen “in any of the
Indies,” and were “shrewd, intelligent, and courageous.”

The more he saw and the more he reflected, the more convinced he
was that this country was “the most elevated in the world, and the
nearest to the sky.” Where else could this majestic river, that
rushed eagerly to this mighty struggle with the sea, come from, but
from that loftiest peak of the globe, in the midst whereof was the
inexhaustible fountain of the four great rivers of the earth? The faith
or the fanaticism—whichever one may please to call it—of the devout
cosmographer was never for an instant shadowed by a doubt. The human
learning of all time had taught him that the shorter way to India must
be across that western ocean which, he was persuaded, covered only one
third of the globe and separated the western coast of Europe from the
eastern coast of Asia. When it was taken for granted that his first
voyage had proved this geographical theory to be the true one, then he
could only understand that as in each successive voyage he had gone
farther, so he was only getting nearer and nearer to the heart of the
empire of the Great Khan.

But to the aid of human knowledge came a higher faith; he was divinely
led. In writing of this third voyage to Dona Juana de la Torres, a
lady of the Court and a companion to the Queen, he said: “God made me
the messenger of the new heaven and the new earth of which he spoke in
the Apocalypse by Saint John, after having spoken of it by the mouth
of Isaiah; and he showed me the spot where to find it.”[453]. The end
of the world he believed was at hand; by which he meant, perhaps, only
the world of heathenism and unbelief. In his letter to the sovereigns
he said that “it was clearly predicted concerning these lands by the
mouth of the prophet Isaiah in many places in Scripture, that from
Spain the holy name of God was to be spread abroad.” Amazing and even
fantastic as his conclusions were when they came from the religious
side of his nature, they were to him irrefragable, because they were so
severely logical. He was the chosen instrument of the divine purpose,
because it was to him that the way had been made straight and plain to
the glorious East, where God had planted in the beginning the earthly
Paradise, in which he had placed man, where man had first sinned, and
where ere long was to break the promised dawn of the new heaven and the
new earth.

The northern continent of the New World was discovered by the Cabots
a year before the southern mainland was reached by Columbus. Possibly
this northern voyage may have suggested to the geographers of England
a new theory, as yet, so far as we know, not thought of in Spain and
Portugal,—that a hemisphere was to be circumnavigated, and a passage
found among thousands of leagues of islands, or else through some great
continent hitherto unknown,—except to a few forgotten Northmen of
five hundred years earlier,—before India could be reached by sailing
westward. In speaking of this voyage long afterward, Sebastian Cabot
said: “I began to saile toward the northwest, not thinking to find
any other land than that of Cathay, and from thence turne toward
India; but after certaine dayes I found that the land ranne towards
the North, which was to mee a great displeasure.”[454] This may have
been the afterthought of his old age, when the belief that the new
Indies were the outlying boundaries of the old was generally discarded.
He had forgotten, as the same narrative shows,—unless the year be a
misprint,—the exact date of that voyage, saying that it “was, as farre
as I remember, in the yeare 1496, in the beginning of Summer.” This
was a year too soon. But if the statement be accepted as literally
true that he was disappointed in finding, not Cathay and India, as he
had hoped, but another land, then not only the honor of the discovery
of the western continent belongs to his father and to him,—or rather
to the father alone, for the son was still a boy,—but the further
distinction of knowing what they had discovered; while Columbus never
awoke from the delusion that he had touched the confines of India.

A discussion of the several interesting questions relating to the
voyages of the Cabots belongs to another chapter;[455] but assuming
here that the voyage of the “Mathew” from Bristol, England, in the
summer of 1497, is beyond controversy, the precedence of the Cabots
over Columbus in the discovery of the continent may be taken for
granted. There is other ample evidence besides his curious letters to
show that the latter was on the coast of South America in the summer
of 1498, just thirteen months and one week after the Cabots made the
_terra primum visa_, whether on the coast of Nova Scotia, Labrador,
or possibly Newfoundland.[456] Not that this detracts in any degree,
however slight, from the great name of Columbus as the discoverer
of the New World. Of him Sebastian Cabot was mindful to say, in
conversation with the Pope’s envoy in Spain,—just quoted from in the
preceding paragraph,—that “when newes were brought that Don Christopher
Colonus, Genoese, had discovered the coasts of India, whereof was
great talke in all the Court of King Henry the 7, who then raigned,
insomuch that all men with great admiration affirmed it to be a thing
more divine than humane to saile by the West into the Easte, where
spices growe, by a map that was never knowen before,—by this fame and
report there increased in my heart a great flame of desire to attempt
some notable thing.” However notable the thing might be, it could be
only secondary to that achievement of Columbus which Cabot looked upon
as “more divine than human;” but whether in the first sight of the
mainland which all hoped to find beyond the islands already visited,
Vespucci did not take precedence both of the Cabots and of Columbus,
has been a disputed question for nearly four hundred years; and it
will probably never be considered as satisfactorily settled, should it
continue in dispute for four hundred years longer.

The question is, whether Vespucci made four voyages to that half of
the world which was ever after to bear his name,[457] and whether
those voyages were really made at the time it is said they were.
The most essential point, however, is that of the date of the first
voyage: for if that which is asserted to be the true date be correct,
the first discoverer of the western continent was neither the Cabots
nor Columbus, but Vespucci; and his name was properly enough bestowed
upon it. “In the year 1497,” says an ancient and authentic Bristol
manuscript,[458] “the 24th June, on St. John’s day, was Newfoundland
found by Bristol men [the Cabots] in a ship called the ‘Mathew.’” On
his third voyage, in 1498, Columbus says: “We saw land [Trinidad] at
noon of Tuesday the 31st of July.” In a letter, written no doubt by
Vespucci, he says: “We sailed from the port of Cadiz on the 10th of
May, 1497;”[459] and after leaving the Canaries, where the four ships
of the expedition remained a few days to take in their final supplies
of wood, water, and provisions, they came, he continues, “at the end
of twenty-seven days, upon a coast which we thought to be that of a
continent.” Of these dates the first two mentioned are unquestionably
authentic. If that last given were equally so, there would be an end of
all controversy upon the subject; for it would prove that Vespucci’s
discovery of the continent preceded that of the Cabots, though only by
a week or two, while it must have been earlier than that of Columbus by
about fourteen months.

It should first of all be noted that the sole authority for a voyage
made by Vespucci in 1497 is Vespucci himself. All contemporary
history, other than his own letter, is absolutely silent in regard
to such a voyage, whether it be history in printed books, or in the
archives of those kingdoms of Europe where the precious documents
touching the earlier expeditions to the New World were deposited.
Santarem, in his _Researches_, goes even farther than this; for he
declares that even the name of Vespucci is not to be found in the
Royal Archives of Portugal, covering the period from 1495 to 1503, and
including more than a hundred thousand documents relating to voyages
of discovery; that he is not mentioned in the Diplomatic Records of
Portugal, which treat of the relations of that kingdom with Spain
and Italy, when one of the duties of ambassadors was to keep their
Governments advised of all new discoveries; and that among the many
valuable manuscripts belonging to the Royal Library at Paris, he,
M. Santarem, sought in vain for any allusion to Vespucci. But these
assertions have little influence over those who do not agree with
Santarem that Vespucci was an impostor. The evidence is overwhelming
that he belonged to some of the expeditions sent out at that period
to the southwest; and if he was so obscure as not to be recognized in
any contemporary notices of those voyages, then it could be maintained
with some plausibility that he might have made an earlier voyage about
which nothing was known. And this would seem the more probable when
it was remembered that the time (1497) of this alleged expedition was
within that interval when “the very tailors,” as Columbus said, might
go, without let or hindrance, in search of riches and renown in the
new-found world.

[Illustration: AUTOGRAPH OF VESPUCIUS, 1508.

[This is the conclusion of a letter of Vespucius, printed and given in
fac-simile in the _Cartas de Indias_.—ED.]]

Nevertheless, the fact of the obscurity of Vespucci at that period
is not without great weight, though Santarem fails in his attempt to
prove too much by it. Columbus believed when, on his second voyage, he
coasted the southern shore of Cuba, that he had touched the continent
of Asia. The extension of that continent he supposed, from indications
given by the natives, and accepted by him as confirming a foregone
conclusion, would be found farther south; and for that reason he took
that course on his third voyage. “The land where the spices grow” was
now the aim of all Spanish energy and enterprise; and it is not likely
that this theory of the Admiral was not well understood among the
merchants and navigators who took an intelligent as well as an intense
interest in all that he had done and in all that he said.

[Illustration: VESPUCIUS.[460]]

Is it probable, then, that nobody should know of the sailing of four
ships from Cadiz for farther and more important discoveries in the
direction pointed out by Columbus? Or, if their departure was secret,
can there be a rational doubt that the return, with intelligence so
important and generally interesting, would have been talked about
in all the ports of Spain, and the man who brought it have become
instantly famous?

[Illustration: VESPUCIUS.

[A sketch of an old engraving as given in the _Allgem. geog.
Ephemeriden_ (Weimar, 1807), vol. xxiii. There are other engravings of
it in Jules Verne’s _Découverte de la terre_, and elsewhere.—ED.]]

But as no account of the voyage appeared till years afterward, and
then in a letter from Vespucci himself; and as, meanwhile, for most of
those years the absence of his name from contemporary records shows
that no celebrity whatever was attached to it,—the logical conclusion
is, not only that the voyage was unknown, but that it was unknown
because it was never made. Moreover, if it was ever made it could not
have been unknown, if we may trust Vespucci’s own statement. For in his
letter—not written till 1504, and not published in full till 1507—he
said that this expedition was sent out by order of King Ferdinand; that
he, Vespucci, went upon it by royal command; and that after his return
he made a report of it to the King. The expedition, therefore, was
clearly not one of those which, in the interval between the summers
of 1495 and 1497, so often referred to, escaped all public record; and
as there cannot be found any recognition of such an enterprise at that
date either in contemporaneous history or State documents, what other
conclusion can be accepted as rational and without prejudice, than that
no such voyage so commanded was made at that time?

[Illustration: VESPUCIUS.

[A fac-simile of the engraving in _Montanus_, copied in _Ogilby_, p.

There seems to be no escape from this evidence, though it is so purely
negative and circumstantial. But Humboldt, relying upon the researches
of the Spanish historian Muñoz, and upon those gathered by Navarrete in
his _Coleccion de los viages y descubrimientos_, presents the proof of
an _alibi_ for Vespucci. As has been already said on a previous page,
the fact is unquestioned that Vespucci, who had been a resident of
Spain for some time, became in 1495 a member of the commercial house
of Juanoto Berardi, at Seville, and that in January of the next year,
as the public accounts show, he was paid a sum of money relative to a
contract with Government which Berardi did not live to complete. The
presumption is that he would not soon absent himself from his post of
duty, where new and onerous responsibilities had been imposed upon
him by the recent death of the senior partner of the house with which
he was connected. But at any rate he is found there in the spring of
1497, Muñoz having ascertained that fact from the official records of
expenses incurred in fitting out the ships for western expeditions,
still preserved at Seville. Those records show that from the middle of
April, 1497, to the end of May, 1498, Vespucci was busily engaged at
Seville and San Lucar in the equipment of the fleet with which Columbus
sailed on his third voyage. The _alibi_, therefore, is complete.
Vespucci could not have been absent from Spain from May, 1497, to
October, 1498,—the period of his alleged first voyage.

All this seems incontrovertible, and should be accepted as conclusive
till fresh researches among the archives of that age shall show,
if that be possible, that those hitherto made have been either
misunderstood or are incomplete. Assuming the negative to be proved,
then, as to the alleged date of Vespucci’s first voyage, the positive
evidence, on the other hand, is ample and unquestioned, that Columbus
sailed from San Lucar on his third voyage on the 30th of May, 1498, and
two months later reached the western continent about the Gulf of Paria.

Was Vespucci then a charlatan? Was he guilty of acts so base as a
falsification of dates, and narratives of pretended voyages, that he
might secure for himself the fame that belonged to another,—that other,
moreover, being his friend? There are reasons for believing this to be
quite true of him; and other reasons for not believing it at all. There
is not, to begin with, a scrap of original manuscript of his bearing
on this point known to exist; it is not even positively known in what
tongue his letters were written; and anything, therefore, like absolute
proof as to what he said he did or did not do, is clearly impossible.
The case has to be tried upon circumstantial evidence and as one of
moral probabilities; and the verdict must needs differ according to the
varying intelligence and disposition of different juries.

He made, or he claimed to have made,—assuming the letters attributed
to him to be his,—four voyages, of each of which he wrote a narrative.
According to the dates given in these letters, he twice sailed from
Spain by order of Ferdinand,—in May, 1497, and in May, 1499; and
twice from Portugal, in the service of King Emanuel,—in May, 1501,
and in May, 1503. He was absent, as we learn from the same letters,
about seventeen months on the first voyage, about sixteen each on the
second and third, and on the fourth eleven months. If he went to sea,
then, for the first time in May, 1497, and the last voyage ended, as
the narrative says, in June, 1504, the whole period of his seafaring
life was eighty-four months, of which sixty were passed at sea, and
twenty-four, at reasonable intervals, on shore. As the dates of
departure and of return are carefully given, obviously the period from
May, 1497, to June, 1504, must be allowed for the four expeditions. But
here we come upon an insurmountable obstacle. If to the first voyage
of 1497 the wrong date was given,—if, that is, the actual first voyage
was that of 1499, which Vespucci calls his second,—then he could not
have gone upon four expeditions. From May, 1499, to June, 1504, is a
period of sixty months; and as the aggregate length he gives to the
assumed four voyages is sixty months, they could not have been made in
that time, as that would have compelled him to be at sea the whole five
years, with no interval of return to Spain or Portugal to refit,—which
is manifestly absurd.

The solution of the difficulty relied upon by Humboldt and others
seems, therefore, insufficient; it is not explained by assuming that
the date 1497 in the narrative of the first voyage was the careless
blunder of the translator, copyist, or printer of Vespucci’s original
letter. It is not an error if there were four voyages; for as the date
of the last one is undisputed, the date of 1497 for the first one must
remain to give time enough for the whole. But that there were four
voyages does not depend solely upon the date given to the first one.
That there were four—“quatuor navigationes”—is asserted repeatedly by
Vespucci in the different letters. In the relation of the first one,
wherein is given this troublesome date which has so vexed the souls of
scholars, he says at some length that as he had seen on these “twice
two” voyages so many strange things, differing so much from the manners
and customs of his own country, he had written a little book, not yet
published, to be called “Four Expeditions, or Four Voyages,” in which
he had related, to the best of his ability, about all he had seen.[461]
If, then, the date 1497 is to be explained away as the result of
carelessness or accident,—even admitting that such an explanation
would explain,—what is to be done with this passage? It cannot, like
a single numeral—a 7 for a 9—be attributed to chance; and it becomes
necessary, therefore, to regard it as an interpolation contrived to
sustain a clumsy falsification of date.

It has also been conjectured that two of the letters have been
misapprehended; that Vespucci meant one as only a continuation of
the other in a description of a single voyage, or if intended as
two letters, they were meant to describe the same voyage. The early
editors, it has been suggested, supposing that each letter described a
separate voyage, forged or changed the dates in accordance with that
supposition. If there were no other objection to this theory, it is
untenable if what has just been said be true. The duration of each
voyage, the aggregate length of the whole, and the distinct and careful
assertion that there were four of them, require that there should be
one prior to that which Vespucci calls his second.

All this leads, according to our present knowledge of the facts,
inevitably to this conclusion,—whether Vespucci himself wrote, or
others wrote for him, these letters, their very consistency of dates
and of circumstantial assertion show them to have been deliberately
composed to establish a falsehood. For the researches of Muñoz and of
Navarrete, as is said above, prove that Vespucci could not have sailed
from Spain on his first voyage on the 10th or 20th of May, 1497; for
from the middle of April of that year to the end of May, 1498, he was
busily employed at Seville and San Lucar in fitting out the fleet for
the third expedition of Columbus.

There is other evidence, negative indeed, but hardly less conclusive,
that this assumed voyage of 1497 was never made. In 1512 Don Diego
Columbus brought an action against the Crown of Spain to recover,
as the heir of his father, Christopher Columbus, the government and
a portion of the revenues of certain provinces on the continent of
America. The defence was that those countries were not discovered by
Columbus, and the claim, therefore, was not valid. It is not to be
supposed that the Crown was negligent in the search for testimony to
sustain its own cause, for nearly a hundred witnesses were examined.
But no evidence was offered to prove that Vespucci—whose nephew
was present at the trial—visited in 1497 the Terra Firma which the
plaintiff maintained his father discovered in 1498. On the other hand,
Alonzo de Ojeda, an eminent navigator, declared that he was sent on an
expedition in 1499 to the coast of Paria next after it was discovered
by the Admiral (Columbus); and that “in this voyage which this said
witness made, he took with him Juan de la Cosa and Morigo Vespuche
[Amerigo Vespucci] and other pilots.”[462] When asked how he knew that
Columbus had made the discovery at the time named, his reply was that
he knew it because the Bishop Fonseca had supplied him with that map
which the Admiral had sent home in his letter to the King and Queen.
The act of the Bishop was a dishonorable one, and intended as an injury
to Columbus; and to this purpose Ojeda further lent himself by stopping
at Hispaniola on the return from his voyage, and by exciting there a
revolt against the authority of the Admiral in that island. Perhaps
the bitter animosity of those years had been buried in the grave of
the great navigator, together with the chains which had hung always in
his chamber as a memento of the royal ingratitude; but even in that
case it is not likely that Ojeda would have lost such an opportunity to
justify, in some degree, his own conduct by declaring, if he knew it to
be so, that Columbus was not the first discoverer of the continent. It
is of course possible, but it is certainly not probable, that he should
not have heard from Vespucci that this was his second visit to the Gulf
of Paria, if that were the fact, and that his first visit was a year
before that of Columbus, whose chart Ojeda was using to direct his
course through seas with which Vespucci was familiar. This reasonable
reflection is dwelt upon by Humboldt, Irving, and others; and it comes
with peculiar force to the careful reader of the letters of Vespucci,
for he was never in the least inclined to hide his light under a bushel.

The originals of the letters, as has already been said, are not, so
far as is known, in existence; it is even uncertain whether they were
written in Latin, Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese. Nor has the book
which Vespucci said he had prepared—“The Four Voyages”—ever been found;
but Humboldt believed that the collected narrative first published at
St.-Dié in 1507, in the _Cosmographiæ introductio_ of Hylacomylus,
was made up of extracts from that book. This St.-Dié edition was in
Latin, translated, the editor says, from the French.[463] There is in
the British Museum a rare work of four pages, published also in 1507,
the author of which was Walter Lud. This Lud was the secretary of the
Duke of Lorraine, a canon of the St.-Dié Cathedral, and the founder of
the school or college, where he had set up a printing-press on which
was printed the _Cosmographiæ introductio_. From this little book it
is learned that the Vespucci letters were sent from Portugal to the
Duke of Lorraine in French, and that they were translated into Latin by
another canon of the St.-Dié Cathedral, one Jean Basin de Sandacourt,
at the request of Lud.[464]

Vespucci’s last two voyages were made, so his letters assert, in
the service of the King of Portugal. The narrative of the first of
these—the third of the four voyages—appeared at different times, at
several places, and were addressed to more than one person, prior to
the publication of the St.-Dié edition of all the letters addressed to
René II., the Duke of Lorraine. This fact has added to the confusion
and doubt; for each of these copies sent to different persons was a
translation, presumably from some common original. One copy of them was
addressed to Pietro Soderini, Gonfaloniere of Florence, whom Vespucci
claimed as an old friend and school-fellow under the instruction of
his uncle, Giorgi Antonio Vespucci; another was sent to Lorenzo di
Pier Francesco de’ Medici,—Vespucci’s early employer,—both appearing
prior to that addressed in the collected edition of St.-Dié addressed
to the Duke of Lorraine. Of the earlier editions there was one
published, according to Humboldt, in Latin, in 1504, at Augsburg and
also at Paris; another in German, in 1505, at Strasburg, and in 1506
at Leipsic; and still another in Italian at Vicenza, in the collection
called _Paesi novamente_, simultaneously with the St.-Dié edition
of 1507. These in later years were followed by a number of other
editions. While they agree as to general statement, they differ in many
particulars, and especially in regard to dates. These, however, are
often mere typographical blunders or errors of copyists, not unusual
at that era, and always fruitful of controversy. But upon one point,
it is to be observed, there is no difference among them; the voyage of
1501—the first from Portugal—is always the third of the four voyages
of Vespucci. This disposes, as Humboldt points out, of the charge that
Vespucci waited till after the death of Columbus, in 1506, before he
ventured to assert publicly that he had made two voyages by order of
the King of Spain prior to entering the service of the King of Portugal.

To induce him to leave Spain and come to Portugal, Vespucci says, in
the letter addressed to Pietro Soderini, that the King sent to him one
Giuliano Bartholomeo del Giocondo, then a resident of Lisbon. Jocundus
(the latinized pseudonym of Giocondo) is named as the translator of
the Augsburg edition of 1504, addressed to Lorenzo de’ Medici. This
Jocundus, Humboldt thinks, was Giuliano Giocondo. But Major, in his
_Henry the Navigator_, says that the translation was made, not by
Giuliano Giocondo, but by his kinsman Giovanni Giocondo, of Verona. His
authority for this statement is apparently Walter Lud’s _Speculum_.
Varnhagen thinks it possible that the work may have been done by one
Mathias Ringman,—of whom more presently. Varnhagen says also, in
another place, that the translator of the Italian version—published in
the _Paesi novamente_ at Vicenza in 1507—unwittingly betrayed that he
lied (_son mensonge_) when he said that he followed a Spanish copy; for
while he failed to comprehend the use of the word Jocundus, he showed
that it was before him in the Latin copy, as he rendered _Jocundus
interpres_—Jocundus the translator—as _el iocondo interprete_, the
agreeable translator. This is only one example of the confusion in
which the subject is involved.

It was due, however, to the _Cosmographiæ introductio_ of St.-Dié, in
which the letters appeared as a sort of appendix, that the name of
America, from Amerigo, was given to the western hemisphere. But how
it happened that the _Quatuor navigationes_ should have been first
published in that little town in the Vosges mountains; and what the
relation was between Vespucci and René II., the Duke of Lorraine,—are
among the perplexing questions in regard to the letters that have been
discussed at great length. Major finds in the fact, or assumed fact,
that Fra Giovanno Giocondo was the translator of the narrative of
the third voyage, the first published, in 1504, an important link in
the chain of evidence by which he explains the St.-Dié puzzle. This
Giocondo was about that time at Paris as the architect of the bridge
of Notre Dame. A young student, Mathias Ringman, from Alsace, was also
there at that period; and Major supposes he may have become acquainted
with Giocondo, who inspired him with great admiration for Vespucci. It
is certain, at any rate, that Ringman, whose literary pseudonym was
Philesius Vogesina,—that is, Philesius of the Vosges,—on his return to
his native province edited the Strasburg edition (1505) of Giocondo’s
translation, appending to it some verses written by himself in praise
of Vespucci and his achievements.

In the rare book already referred to, the _Speculum_ of Walter Lud, it
is said of this Strasburg edition that “the booksellers carry about
a certain epigram of our Philesius in a little book of Vespucci’s
translated from Italian into Latin by Giocondo, of Verona, the
architect of Venice.” Doubtless Ringman is here spoken of as “our
Philesius,” because he had become identified with Lud’s college, where
he was the professor of Latin. It seems almost certain, therefore,
that the interest at St.-Dié in Vespucci’s voyages was inspired by
Ringman, whether his enthusiasm was first aroused by his friendship
with Giocondo at Paris, or whether, as Varnhagen supposes, it was the
result of a visit or two to Italy. The latter question is not of much
moment, except as a speculation; and certainly it is not a straining of
probabilities to doubt if Ringman would have taken for his Strasburg
edition of 1505 the Giocondo translation, as Lud says he did, if he had
himself translated, as Varnhagen supposes, the Augsburg edition of 1504.

Lud also asserts in the _Speculum_ that the French copy of the _Quatuor
navigationes_ which was used at St.-Dié came from Portugal. Major
supposes that Ringman’s enthusiasm may have led to correspondence with
Vespucci, who was in Portugal till 1505, and that he caused his letters
to be put into French and sent to Ringman at his request. The narrative
of the third voyage in its several editions must have already given
some renown to Vespucci. Here were other narratives of other voyages
by the same navigator. The clever and enterprising young professors,
eager for the dissemination of knowledge, and not unmindful, possibly,
of the credit of their college, brought out the letters as a part of
the _Cosmographiæ introductio_ by Hylacomylus—Martin Waldzeemüller—the
teacher of geography, and the proof-reader to their new press. Their
prince, René II., was known as a patron of learning; and it is more
likely that they should have prefixed his name to the letters than that
Vespucci should have done so. Their zeal undoubtedly was greater than
their knowledge; for had they known more of the discoveries of the
previous fifteen years they would have hesitated to give to the new
continent the name of one who would be thereby raised thenceforth from
comparative, though honorable, obscurity to dishonorable distinction.
That Vespucci himself, however, was responsible for this there is no
positive evidence; and were it not for the difficulty of explaining
his constant insistence of the completion of four voyages, it might be
possible to find some plausible explanation of the confusion of the
St.-Dié book.

In that book are these words: “And the fourth part of the world
having been discovered by Americus, it may be called Amerige; that
is, the land of Americus or America.”[465] And again: “Now truly,
as these regions are more widely explored, and another fourth part
is discovered, by Americus Vesputius, as may be learned from the
following letters, I see no reason why it should not be justly called
Amerigen,—that is, the land of Americus, or America, from Americus, its
discoverer, a man of acute intellect; inasmuch as both Europe and Asia
have chosen their names from the feminine form.”[466]

It was discovered, less than half a century ago, through the diligent
researches of Humboldt, that this professor of geography at St.-Dié,
Hylacomylus, was thus the inventor, so to speak, of this word America.
That it came at last to be received as the designation of the western
continent was due, perhaps, very much to the absence of any suggestion
of any other distinctive name that seemed appropriate and was generally
acceptable. Rare as the little work, the _Cosmographiæ introductio_,
now is, it was probably well known at the time of the publication
of its several editions; as the central position of St.-Dié—between
France, Germany, and Italy—gave to the book, as Humboldt thought,
a wide circulation, impressing the word America upon the learned
world. The name, however, came very slowly into use, appearing only
occasionally in some book, till in 1522 it gained a more permanent
place on a mappemonde in the _Geographia_ of Ptolemy. From that time
it appeared frequently upon other maps, and by the middle of the
century became generally recognized outside of Spain, at least, as the
established continental name. But the effect of its suggestion was
more immediate upon the fame of Vespucci. While the learned understood
that the great captain of that time was Christopher Columbus, the name
of Amerigo was often united with his as deserving of at least the
second place, and sometimes even of the first. The celebrity which
Hylacomylus bestowed upon him was accepted for performance by those
who were ignorant of the exact truth; and those who knew better did not
give themselves the trouble to correct the error.

In each of Vespucci’s voyages he probably held a subordinate position.
His place may sometimes have been that of a pilot,[467] or as the
commander of a single ship, or attached to the fleet, as Herrera[468]
says he was in Ojeda’s expedition (1499), “as merchant, being skilful
in cosmography and navigation.” Vespucci himself does not in so many
words assert that he was in command of the expeditions upon which he
sailed, while he occasionally alludes, though usually in terms of
contempt, to those whose authority was above his own. Once he speaks of
Columbus, and then almost parenthetically, as the discoverer merely of
the Island of Hispaniola; but of other of his achievements, or of those
of other eminent navigators, he has nothing to say. In reply to such
criticisms of his letters it has been urged on his behalf that they
were written for intimate friends, as familiar narratives of personal
experiences, and not meant to be, in any broad sense, historical. But
the deception was as absolute as if it had been deliberately contrived;
and, whether intentional or not, was never by act or word corrected,
though Vespucci lived for five years after the appearance of the
letters from the St.-Dié press.

But whatever can be or may be said in extenuation of Vespucci, or
however strong the reasons for supposing that for whatever was
reprehensible in the matter he was innocent and the St.-Dié professors
alone responsible, there nevertheless remains the one thing unexplained
and inexplicable,—his own repeated assertion that he made four voyages.
Humboldt supposes that the narrative of the first, so called, of these
four voyages, beginning in May, 1497, was made up of that on which
Vespucci certainly sailed with Ojeda, starting in May, 1499. The
points of resemblance are so many and so striking as to seem not only
conclusive, but to preclude any other theory. If this be true, then it
follows that the narrative of the voyage of 1497 was simply a forgery,
whosoever was responsible for it; and if a forgery, then Vespucci was
not the discoverer of the western continent, and an historical renown
was given to his name to which he was not entitled.

The second of the assumed four voyages Humboldt supposes to be the
first voyage of Vincente Yañez Pinzon,—hesitating, however, between
that and the voyage of Diego de Lepe: the former sailing with four
ships in December, 1499, and returning in September, 1500; the latter
with two ships, in January, 1500, and returning in June. Vespucci says
that he had two ships; that he sailed in May, 1499, and returned in
June or September of the next year. It is of the first voyage of 1497
that he says he had four ships. As on that assumed voyage there are
many incidents identical with those related of Ojeda’s voyage of 1499,
so here there are strong points of resemblance between Vespucci’s
supposed second voyage and that of Pinzon. In both cases, however,
there are irreconcilable differences, which Humboldt does not attempt
to disguise; while at the same time they indicate either dishonesty
on the part of Vespucci in his letters, or that those letters were
tampered with by others, either ignorantly or with dishonest intent, to
which Vespucci afterward tacitly assented.

It would be hypercritical to insist upon a strict adherence to the
dates of the several voyages, and then to decide that the voyages
were impossible because the dates are irreconcilable. The figures are
sometimes obviously mere blunders; as, for example, the assertion in
the St.-Dié edition that the second voyage was begun in May, 1489,
when it had been already said that the first voyage was made in 1497.
But there are statements of facts, nevertheless, which it is necessary
to reconcile with dates; and when this is impossible, a doubt of
truthfulness is so far justifiable. Thus in the relation of the second
voyage Vespucci asserts, or is made to assert, that on the 23d of
August, 1499, he saw while at sea a conjunction of Mars and the Moon.
That phenomenon did occur at that time, as Humboldt learned from the
Ephemeris; and if it was observed by Vespucci at sea, that could not
have been upon a voyage with Pinzon, who did not sail till (December,
1499) four months after the conjunction of the planets. But here,
moreover, arises another difficulty: Vespucci’s second voyage, in which
he observed this conjunction, could not have been made with Ojeda,
and must have been made with Pinzon, if on other points the narrative
be accepted; for it was upon that voyage that Vespucci says he sailed
several degrees south of the equinoctial line to the mouth of the
Amazon,—which Pinzon did do, and Ojeda did not. These and other similar
discrepancies have led naturally to the suspicion that the incidents of
more than one expedition were used, with more or less discrimination,
but with little regard to chronology, for the composition of a
plausible narrative of two voyages made in the service of Spain. One
blunder, detected by Navarrete in this so-called second voyage, it is
quite incredible that Vespucci could have committed; for according
to the course pursued and the distance sailed, his ships would have
been navigated over nearly three hundred leagues of dry land into the
interior of the continent. No critical temerity is required to see in
such a blunder the carelessness of a copyist or a compositor.

It was of the first voyage from Lisbon—the third of the _Quatuor
navigationes_—that, as has been already said, a narrative was first
published in a letter addressed to Lorenzo de’ Medici. This was
illustrated with diagrams of some of the constellations of the southern
hemisphere; and the repute it gave to the writer led the way to his
subsequent fame. What Vespucci’s position was in the expedition is
not known; but that it was still a subordinate one is evident from
his own words, as he speaks of a commander, though only to find fault
with him, and without giving his name. The object of the expedition
was to discover the western passage to the Spice Islands of the East
(Melcha, Melacca, Malaccha, according to the varying texts of different
editions of the letter); and though the passage was not found, the
voyage was, like Cabot’s, one of the boldest and most important of
the age. But it is also, of all Vespucci’s voyages, real or assumed,
that which has been most disputed. Navarrete, however, after a careful
examination of all the evidence that touches the question, comes to the
conclusion that such an expedition, on which Vespucci may have gone in
some subordinate position, was really sent out in 1501 by the King of
Portugal; and Humboldt concurs in this opinion.

The Terra de Vera Cruz, or Brazil, as it was afterward named, was
visited successively for the first time, from January to April, 1500,
by Pinzon, De Lepe, De Mendoza, and Cabral. But the expedition to which
Vespucci was attached explored the coast from the fifth parallel of
southern latitude, three degrees north of Cape St. Augustin,—first
discovered and so named by Pinzon,—as far south, perhaps, as about the
thirty-eighth parallel of latitude. They had sailed along the coast
for about seven hundred leagues; and so beautiful was the country, so
luxuriant its vegetation, so salubrious its climate, where men did not
die till they were a hundred and fifty years old, that Vespucci was
persuaded—as Columbus, only three years before, had said of the region
drained by the Orinoco—that the earthly Paradise was not far off. Gold,
the natives said, was abundant in the interior; but as the visitors
found none, it was determined at last to continue the voyage in another
direction, leaving behind them this coast, of what seemed to Vespucci
a continent, along which they had sailed from the middle of August
to the middle of February. Starting now on the 15th of February from
the mainland, they steered southeast, till they reached, on the 3d of
April, the fifty-second degree of latitude. They had sailed through
stormy seas, driven by violent gales, running away from daylight into
nights of fifteen hours in length, and encountering a severity of cold
unknown in Southern Europe, and quite beyond their power of endurance.
A new land at length was seen; but it only needed a few hours of
observation of its dangerous, rocky, and ice-bound coast to satisfy
them that it was a barren, uninhabited, and uninhabitable region.
This, Varnhagen suggests most reasonably, was the Island of Georgia,
rediscovered by Captain Cook nearly three centuries afterward.

The return to Lisbon was in September, 1502. By order of the King,
Vespucci sailed again in May, 1503, from Lisbon on a second voyage,—the
fourth of his _Quatuor navigationes_. The object, as before, was to
find a western passage to the Moluccas; for it was the trade of India,
not new discoveries in the western continent, upon which the mind of
the King was bent. There were six ships in this new expedition; and it
is generally agreed that as Gonzalo Coelho sailed from Lisbon in May,
1503, by order of Emanuel, in command of six ships, Vespucci probably
held a subordinate position in that fleet. He does not name Coelho, but
he refers to a superior officer as an obstinate and presumptuous man,
who by his bad management wrecked the flagship. Vespucci may have been
put in command of two of the ships by the King; with two, at any rate,
he became separated, in the course of the voyage, from his commodore,
and with them returned to Lisbon in June of the next year. The rest of
the fleet Vespucci reported as lost through the pride and folly of
the commander; and it was thus, he said, that God punished arrogance.
But Vespucci either misunderstood the divine will or misjudged his
commander, for the other ships soon after returned in safety.

The southernmost point reached by him on this voyage was the eighteenth
degree of southern latitude. At this point, somewhere about Cape Frio,
he built a fort, and left in it the crew of one of the two vessels
which had been shipwrecked. The precise spot of this settlement is
uncertain; but as it was planted by Vespucci, and as it was the first
colony of Europeans in that part of the New World, there was an evident
and just propriety in bestowing the derivative—America—of his name upon
the country, which at first was known as “The Land of the True Cross,”
and afterward as “Brazil.” The name of Brazil was retained when the
wider application—America—was given to the whole continent.

Soon after his return from this, the last of the _Navigationes_ of
which he himself, so far as is known, gave any account, he went
back, in 1505, to Spain. It is conjectured that he made other
voyages; but whether he did or did not, no absolute evidence has
ever been found.[469] We know almost nothing of him up to that time
except what is told by himself. When he ceased writing of his own
exploits, then also the exploits ceased so far as can be learned from
contemporary authors, who hitherto also had been silent about him. In
1508 (March 22) Ferdinand of Spain appointed him pilot-major of the
kingdom,[470]—an office of dignity and importance, which probably he
retained till he died (Feb. 22, 1512). His fame was largely posthumous;
but a hemisphere is his monument. If not among the greatest of the
world’s great men, he is among the happiest of those on whom good
fortune has bestowed renown.


 During recent years (1892-3) John Fiske, in his _Discovery of
 America_, vol. ii., has reinforced the argument of Varnhagen in favor
 of the disputed (1497) voyage of Vespucius; Henry Harrisse, in his
 _Discovery of North America_, rejects his own earlier arguments in
 its favor; Clements R. Markham, in _Christopher Columbus_, totally
 discredits the theory, and Justin Winsor, in his _Christopher
 Columbus_, has considered the proposition not proven.



WHILE Vespucius never once clearly affirms that he discovered the main,
such an inference may be drawn from what he says. Peter Martyr gives
no date at all for the voyage of Pinzon and Solis to the Honduras
coast, which was later claimed by Oviedo and Gomara to have preceded
that of Columbus to the main. Navarrete has pointed out the varied
inconsistencies of the Vespucius narrative,[471] as well as the changes
of the dates of the setting out and the return, as given in the various
editions.[472] All of them give a period of twenty-nine months for a
voyage which Vespucius says only took eighteen,—a difficulty Canovai
and others have tried to get over by changing the date of return to
1498; and some such change was necessary to enable Vespucius to be
in Spain to start again with Ojeda in May, 1499. Humboldt further
instances a great variety of obvious typographical errors in the
publications of that day,—as, for instance, where Oviedo says Columbus
made his first voyage in 1491.[473] But, as shown in the preceding
narrative, an allowance for errors of the press is not sufficient. In
regard to the proof of an _alibi_ which Humboldt brought forward from
documents said to have been collected by Muñoz from the archives of the
Casa de la Contratacion, it is unfortunate that Muñoz himself did not
complete that part of his work which was to pertain to Vespucius, and
that the documents as he collated them have not been published. In the
absence of such textual demonstration, the inference which Humboldt
drew from Navarrete’s representations of those documents has been
denied by Varnhagen; and H. H. Bancroft in his _Central America_ (i.
99, 102, 106) does not deem the proof complete.[474]

Vespucius’ own story for what he calls his second voyage (1499) is
that he sailed from Cadiz shortly after the middle of May, 1499. The
subsequent dates of his being on the coast are conflicting; but it
would appear that he reached Spain on his return in June or September,
1500. We have, of course, his narrative of this voyage in the
collective letter to Soderini;[475] but there is also an independent
narrative, published by Bandini (p. 64) in 1745, said to have been
written July 18, 1500, and printed from a manuscript preserved in the
Riccardiana at Florence.[476] The testimony of Ojeda that Vespucius
was his companion in the voyage of 1499-1500 seems to need the
qualification that he was with him for a part, and not for the whole,
of the voyage; and it has been advanced that Vespucius left Ojeda
at Hispaniola, and, returning to Spain, sailed again with Pinzon in
December, 1499,—thus attempting to account for the combination of
events which seem to connect Vespucius with the voyages of both these

It is noteworthy that Oviedo, who sought to interpret Peter Martyr as
showing that Solis and Pinzon had preceded Columbus to the main, makes
no mention of Vespucius. There is no mention of him in what Beneventano
furnished to the Ptolemy of 1508. Castanheda does not allude to him,
nor does Barreiros in his _De Ophira regione_ (Coimbra, 1560), nor
Galvano in his _Descobrimientos_, nor Pedro Magalhaes de Gandavo in his
account of Santa Cruz (1576).[477]

But it was not all forgetfulness as time went on. The currency to
his fame which had been given by the _De orbe antarctica_, by the
_Paesi novamente_, by the _Cosmographiæ introductio_, as well as by
the _Mundus novus_ and the publications which reflected these, was
helped on in 1510 by the Roman archæologist Francesco Albertini in his
_Opusculum de mirabilibus Urbis Romæ_, who finds Florence, and not
Genoa, to have sent forth the discoverer of the New World.[478]

Two years later (1512) an edition of Pomponius Mela which Cocleus
edited, probably at Nuremberg, contained, in a marginal note to a
passage on the “Zona incognita,” the following words: “Verus Americus
Vesputius iam nostro seculo | novū illū mundū invenissefert Portugalie
Castilieq. regū navibus,” etc. Pighius in 1520 had spoken of the
magnitude of the region discovered by Vespucius, which had gained it
the appellation of a new world.[479] The references in Glareanus,
Apian, Phrysius, and Münster show familiarity with his fame by the
leading cosmographical writers of the time. Natale Conti, in his
_Universæ historiæ sui temporis libri XXX_ (1545-1581), brought
him within the range of his memory.[480] In 1590 Myritius, in his
_Opusculum geographicum_, the last dying flicker, as it was, of a
belief in the Asian connection of the New World,[481] repeats the
oft-told story,—“De Brasilia, terrâ ignis, de meridionali parte Africæ
ab Alberico Vesputio inventa.”

In the next century the story is still kept up by the Florentine,
Francesco Bocchi, in his _Libri duo elogiorum_ (1607),[482] and by
another Florentine, Raffael Gualterotti, in a poem, _L’ America_
(1611),[483]—not to name many others.[484]

But all this fame was not unclouded, and it failed of reflection
in some quarters at least. The contemporary Portuguese pilots and
cosmographers give no record of Vespucius’ eminence as a nautical
geometrician. The Portuguese annalist Damião de Goes makes no mention
of him. Neither Peter Martyr nor Benzoni allows him to have preceded
Columbus. Sebastian Cabot, as early as 1515, questioned if any faith
could be placed in the voyage of 1497 “which Americus says he made.”
It is well known that Las Casas more than intimated the chance of his
being an impostor; nor do we deduce from the way that his countrymen,
Guicciardini[485] and Segni, speak of him, that their faith in the
prior claim in his behalf was stable.

An important contestant appeared in Herrera in 1601,[486] who openly
charged Vespucius with falsifying his dates and changing the date of
1499 to 1497; Herrera probably followed Las Casas’ manuscripts which
he had.[487] The allegation fell in with the prevalent indignation
that somebody, rather than a blind fortune, had deprived Columbus of
the naming of the New World; and Herrera helped this belief by stating
positively that the voyage of Pinzon and Solis, which had been depended
upon to antedate Columbus, had taken place as late as 1506.

In the last century Angelo Maria Bandini attempted to stay this tide
of reproach in the _Vita e lettere di Amerigo Vespucci, gentiluomo
fiorentino_, which was printed at Florence in 1745.[488] It was too
manifestly an unbounded panegyric to enlist the sympathy of scholars.
More attention was aroused[489] by an address, with equal adulation,
which Stanislao Canovai delivered to the Academy at Cortona in 1788,
and which was printed at once as _Elogio di Amerigo Vespucci_, and
various times afterward, with more or less change, till it appeared
to revive anew the antagonism of scholars, in 1817.[490] Muñoz had
promised to disclose the impostures of Vespucius, but his uncompleted
task fell to Santarem, who found a sympathizer in Navarrete; and
Santarem’s labored depreciation of Vespucius first appeared in
Navarrete’s _Coleccion_,[491] where Canovai’s arguments are examined at
length, with studied refutations of some points hardly worth the labor.
This paper was later expanded, as explained in another place.

He claims that one hundred thousand documents in the Royal Archives of
Portugal, and the register of maps which belonged to King Emmanuel,
make no mention of Vespucius,[492] and that there is no register of the
letters-patent which Vespucius claimed to have received. Nor is there
any mention in several hundred other contemporary manuscripts preserved
in the great library at Paris, and in other collections, which Santarem
says he has examined.[493]

An admirer of Vespucius, and the most prominent advocate of a belief
in the disputed voyage of 1497, is Francisco Adolpho de Varnhagen,
the Baron de Porto Seguro. As early as 1839, in notes to his _Diario_
of Lopez de Souza, he began a long series of publications in order to
counteract the depreciation of Vespucius by Ayres de Cazal, Navarrete,
and Santarem. In 1854, in his _Historia geral do Brazil_, he had
combated Humboldt’s opinion that it was Pinzon with whom Vespucius had
sailed on his second voyage, and had contended for Ojeda. Varnhagen
not only accepts the statements of the St.-Dié publications regarding
that voyage, but undertakes to track the explorer’s course. In his
_Amerigo Vespucci, son caractère_, etc., he gives a map marking the
various voyages of the Florentine.[494] For the voyage of 1497 he makes
him strike a little south of west from the Canaries; but leaving his
course a blank from the mid-Atlantic, he resumes it at Cape Gracias a
Dios on the point of Honduras,[495] and follows it by the coast thence
to the Chesapeake, when he passes by Bermuda,[496] and reaches Seville.
In this he departs from all previous theories of the landfall, which
had placed the contact on the coast of Paria. He takes a view of the
Ruysch map[497] of 1508 different from that of any other commentator,
in holding the smaller land terminated with a scroll to be not Cuba,
but a part of the main westerly, visited by Vespucius in this 1497
voyage; and recently Harrisse, in his _Cortereal_,[498] argues that
the descriptions of Vespucius in this disputed voyage correspond more
nearly with the Cantino map[499] than with any other. Harrisse also
asks if Waldseemüller did not have such a map as Cantino’s before him;
and if the map of Vespucius, which Peter Martyr says Fonseca had, may
not have been the same?

Varnhagen, as might be expected in such an advocate, turns every
undated incident in Vespucius’ favor if he can. He believes that the
white-bearded men who the natives said preceded the Spaniards were
Vespucius and his companions. A letter of Vianello, dated Dec. 28,
1506, which Humboldt quotes as mentioning an early voyage in which
La Cosa took part, but hesitates to assign to any particular year,
Varnhagen eagerly makes applicable to the voyage of 1497.[500] The
records of the Casa de la Contratacion which seem to be an impediment
to a belief in the voyage, he makes to have reference, not to the
ships of Columbus, but to those of Vespucius’ own command. Varnhagen’s
efforts to elucidate the career of Vespucius have been eager, if not in
all respects conclusive.[501]

       *       *       *       *       *

We get upon much firmer ground when we come to the consideration of the
voyage of 1501,—the first for Portugal, and the third of Vespucius’
so-called four voyages. It seems clear that this voyage was ordered
by the Portuguese Government to follow up the chance discovery of the
Brazil coast by Cabral in 1500, of which that navigator had sent word
back by a messenger vessel. When the new exploring fleet sailed is
a matter of uncertainty, for the accounts differ,—the Dutch edition
of the account putting it as early as May 1, 1501, while one account
places it as late as June 10.[502] When the fleet reached the Cape
de Verde Islands, it found there Cabral’s vessels on the return
voyage; and what Vespucius here learned from Cabral he embodied in a
letter, dated June 4, 1501, which is printed by Baldelli in his _Il
Milione di Marco Polo_, from a manuscript preserved in the Riccardiana
Collection.[503] Some time in August—for the exact day is in dispute—he
struck the coast of South America, and coursed southward,—returning to
Lisbon Sept. 7, 1502.[504]

Vespucius now wrote an account of it, addressed to Lorenzo Piero
Francesco de Medici,[505] in which he proposed a designation of the new
regions, “novum mundum appellare licet.” Such is the Latin phraseology,
for the original Italian text is lost.[506] Within the next two years
numerous issues of Giocondo’s Latin text were printed, only two of
which are dated,—one at Augsburg in 1504, the other at Strasburg in
1505; and, with a few exceptions, they all, by their published title,
gave currency to the designation of _Mundus novus_.


The earliest of these editions is usually thought to be one _Alberic’
vespucci’ laurētio petri francisci de medicis Salutem plurimā dicit_,
of which a fac-simile of the title is annexed, and which bears the
imprint of Jehan Lambert.[507] It is a small plaquette of six leaves;
and there are copies in the Lenox and Carter-Brown collections.
D’Avezac, and Harrisse, in his later opinion (_Additions_, p. 19),
agree in supposing this the first edition. The dated (1504) Augsburg
edition, _Mundus novus_, is called “extraordinarily rare” by Grenville,
who had a copy, now in the British Museum. On the reverse of the fourth
and last leaf we read: “Magister Johānes otmar: vindelice impressit
Auguste Anno millesimo quingentesimo quarto.” There are copies in the
Lenox and Carter-Brown libraries.[508] An edition, _Mundus novus_,
whose four unnumbered leaves, forty lines to the full page, correspond
wholly with this last issue, except that for the dated colophon the
words LAUS DEO are substituted, was put at first by Harrisse[509] at
the head of the list, with this title. There is a copy in the Lenox
Library, which has another issue, _Mundus novus_, also in black-letter,
forty-two lines to the page;[510] still another, _Mundus novus_, forty
lines to the page;[511] and another, with the words _Mundus novus_ in
Roman, of eight leaves, thirty lines to the page.[512] At this point
in his enumeration Harrisse placed originally the Jehan Lambert issue
(mentioned above), and after it a _Mundus novus_ printed in Paris by
Denys Roce, of which only a fragment (five leaves) exists, sold in the
Libri sale in London, 1865, and now in the British Museum.[513] Another
Paris edition, _Mundus novus_, printed by Gilles de Gourmont, eight
leaves, thirty-one lines to the page, is, according to Harrisse,[514]
known only in a copy in the Lenox Library; but D’Avezac refers to a
copy in the National Library in Paris.[515]


Harrisse, no. 29. Cf. Navarrete, _Opúsculos_ i. 99.]

Another _Mundus novus_ is supposed by Harrisse to have been printed
somewhere in the lower Rhineland, and to bear the mark of Wm.
Vorsterman, of Antwerp, on the last leaf, merely to give it currency
in the Netherlands. It has four leaves, and forty-four lines to
the full page. There are copies in the Lenox and Harvard College
libraries.[516] The _Serapeum_ for January, 1861, describes a _Mundus
novus_ as preserved in the Mercantile Library at Hamburg,—a plaquette
of four leaves, with forty-five lines to the page,—which seems to
differ from all others.[517] Later, in his _Additions_ (1872), Harrisse
described other issues of the _Novus mundus_ which do not seem to
be identical with those mentioned in his _Bibliotheca Americana
Vetustissima_. One of these—_Mūdus novus_, printed in a very small
gothic letter, four leaves—he found in the Biblioteca Cosatenense at
Rome.[518] The other has for the leading title, _Epistola Albericii: de
novo mundo_,—a plaquette of four leaves, forty-eight lines to the page,
with map and woodcut.[519]

This letter of Vespucius was again issued at Strasburg in 1505, with
the title _Be [De] ora antarctica_, as shown in the annexed fac-simile;
and joined with this text, in the little six-leaved tract, was a letter
of Philesius to Bruno, and some Latin verses by Philesius; and in this
form we have it probably for the last time in that language.[520] This
Philesius we shall encounter again later.


It was this Latin rendering by Giocondo, the architect, as Harrisse
thinks,[521] upon which the Italian text of the _Paesi novamente_
was founded. Varnhagen in his _Amerigo Vespucci, son caractère_ (p.
13), prints side by side this Italian and the Latin text, marking
different readings in the latter. In this same year (1505) the first
German edition was issued at Nuremberg, though it is undated: _Von
der new gefundē Region die wol ein welt genennt mag werden durch den
cristenlichen Künig von Portugall wunnderbarlich erfunden_.[522] The
colophon shows that this German version was made from a copy of the
Latin text brought from Paris in May, 1505: _Ausz latein ist dist
missiue in Teütsch gezogē ausz dem exemplar das von Parisz kam ym maien
monet nach Christi geburt, Funfftzenhundert vnnd Fünffjar. Gedruckt yn
Nüremburg durch Wolffgang Hueber_. The full page of this edition has
thirty-seven lines.


This follows the fac-simile given in Ruge’s _Geschichte des Zeitalters
der Entdeckungen_, p. 333, of an edition in the Royal Library at

Another edition, issued the same year (1505), shows a slight change
in the title, _Von der neü gefunden Region so wol ein welt genempt
mag werden, durch den Christēlichen künig, von Portigal wunderbarlich
erfunden_. This is followed by the same cut of the King, and has a
similar colophon. Its full page contains thirty-three lines.[523]

Still another edition of the same year and publisher shows thirty-five
lines to the page, and above the same cut the title reads: _Von der
neu gefunden Region die wol ein welt genent mag werden durch den
Cristenlichen künig von portigal wunderbarlich erfunden_.


This follows the fac-simile given in Ruge’s _Geschichte des Zeitalters
der Entdeckungen_, p. 334, of the reverse of title of a copy preserved
in the Royal Library at Dresden.]

This is the copy described in the _Carter-Brown Catalogue_ (vol. i. no.
26), and seems to correspond to the copy in the Dresden Library, of
which fac-similes of the title and its reverse are given herewith.[524]

Harrisse[525] cites a copy in the British Museum (Grenville), which has
thirty-five lines to the page, with the title: _Vonderneüw gefunden
Region_, etc. It is without date and place; but Harrisse sets it under
1505, as he does another issue, _Von der Neüwen gefundē Region_, of
which he found a copy in the Royal Library at Munich,[526] and still
another, _Von den Nawen Insulen unnd Landen_, printed at Leipsic.[527]

In 1506 there were two editions,—one published at Strasburg,[528] _Von
den Nüwe Insulē und landen_ (eight leaves); and the other at Leipsic,
_Von den newen Insulen und Landen_ (six leaves).[529]

In 1508 there was, according to Brunet,[530] a Strasburg edition, _Von
den Neüwen Insulen und Landen_. There was also a Dutch edition, _Van
der nieuwer werelt_, etc., printed at Antwerp by Jan van Doesborgh,
which was first made known by Muller, of Amsterdam, through his
_Books on America_ (1872, no. 24). It is a little quarto tract of
eight leaves, without date, printed in gothic type, thirty and
thirty-one lines to the page, with various woodcuts. It came from an
“insignificant library,”—that of the architect Bosschaert,[531]—sold in
1871 in Antwerp, and was bound up with three other tracts of the first
ten years of the sixteenth century. It cost Muller 830 florins, and
subsequently passed into the Carter-Brown Library, and still remains
unique. Muller had placed it between 1506 and 1509; but Mr. Bartlett,
in the _Carter-Brown Catalogue_ (vol. i. no. 38), assigns it to 1508.
Muller had also given a fac-simile of the first page; but only the
cut on that page is reproduced in the _Carter-Brown Catalogue_ (i.
46), as well as a cut showing a group of four Indians, which is on the
reverse of the last leaf. Mr. Carter-Brown printed a fac-simile edition
(twenty-five copies) in 1874 for private distribution.[532]

That portion of the Latin letter which Vespucius addressed to Soderini
on his four voyages differs from the text connected with Giocondo’s
name, and will be found in the various versions of the _Paesi
novamente_ and in Grynæus, as well as in Ramusio (i. 128), Bandini
(p. 100), and Canovai in Italian, and in English in Kerr’s _Voyages_
(vol. iii., 1812, p. 342) and in Lester (p. 223). There are also German
versions in Voss, _Allerälteste Nachricht von den neuen Welt_ (Berlin,
1722), and in Spanish in Navarrete’s Coleccion (iii. 190).

There is another text, the “Relazione,” published by Francesco
Bartolozzi in 1789,[533] after it had long remained in manuscript; it
also is addressed to the same Lorenzo.[534] If the original account as
written by Vespucius himself was in Portuguese and addressed to King
Manoel, it is lost.[535]

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the Vespucius-Coelho voyage we have only the account which is given
in connection with the other three, in which Vespucius gives May 10
as the date of sailing; but Coelho is known to have started June 10,
with six ships. Varnhagen has identified the harbor, where he left the
shipwrecked crew, with Port Frio.[536] Returning, they reached Lisbon
June 18 (or 28), and on the 4th of the following September Vespucius
dated his account.[537]

       *       *       *       *       *

If we draw a line from Nancy to Strasburg as the longer side of a
triangle, its apex to the south will fall among the Vosges, where in
a secluded valley lies the town of St.-Dié. What we see there to-day
of man’s work is scarcely a century and a half old; for the place was
burned in 1756, and shortly after rebuilt. In the early part of the
sixteenth century St.-Dié was in the dominion of Duke René of Lorraine.
It had its cathedral and a seminary of learning (under the patronage
of the Duke), and a printing-press had been set up there. The reigning
prince, as an enlightened friend of erudition, had drawn to his college
a number of learned men; and Pico de Mirandola, in addressing a letter
to the editor of the Ptolemy of 1513, expressed surprise that so
scholarly a body of men existed in so obscure a place. Who were these

The chief agent of the Duke in the matter seems to have been his
secretary, Walter Lud or Ludd, or Gualterus Ludovicus, as his name
was latinized. The preceding narrative has indicated his position in
this learned community,[538] and has cited the little tractate of four
leaves by him, the importance of which was first discovered, about
twenty years ago, by Henry Stevens,[539] and of which the only copies
at present known are in the British Museum and the Imperial Library
at Vienna.[540] From this tiny _Speculum_, as we shall see, we learn
some important particulars. Just over the line of Lorraine, and within
the limits of Alsace, there was born and had lived a certain Mathias
Ringmann or Ringman. In these early years of the century (1504) he was
a student in Paris among the pupils of a certain Dr. John Faber,—to be
in other ways, as we shall see, connected with the development of the
little story now in progress. In Paris at the same time, and engaged
in building the Notre Dame bridge, was the Veronese architect Fra
Giovanni Giocondo. Major thinks there is great reason for believing
that the young Alsatian student formed the acquaintance of the Italian
architect, and was thus brought to entertain that enthusiasm for
Vespucius which Giocondo, as a countryman of the navigator, seems to
have imparted to his young friend. At least the little that is known
positively seems to indicate this transmission of admiration.

       *       *       *       *       *

We must next revert to what Vespucius himself was doing to afford
material for this increase of his fame. On his return from his last
voyage he had prepared an account at full length of his experiences in
the New World, “that coming generations might remember him.” No such
ample document, however, is now known. There was at this time (1504)
living in Florence a man of fifty-four, Piero Soderini, who two years
before, had been made perpetual Gonfaloniere of the city. He had been a
schoolmate of Vespucius; and to him, dating from Lisbon, Sept. 4, 1504,
the navigator addressed an account of what he called his four voyages,
abstracted as is supposed from the larger narrative. The original text
of this abstract is also missing, unless we believe, with Varnhagen,
that the text which he gives in his _Amerigo Vespucci, son caractère_,
etc. (p. 34), printed at Lima in 1865, is such, which he supposes to
have been published at Florence in 1505-1506, since a printed copy of
an Italian text, undated, had been bought by him in Havana (1863) in
the same covers with another tract of 1506.[541] Other commentators
have not placed this Italian tract so early. It has not usually been
placed before 1510.[542] Dr. Court put it before 1512. Harrisse gave
it the date of 1516 because he had found it bound with another tract
of that date; but in his _Additions_, p. xxv, he acknowledges the
reasons inconclusive. Major contends that there is no reason to believe
that any known Italian text antedates the Latin, yet to be mentioned.
This Italian text is called _Lettera di Amerigo Vespucci delle isole
nuovamente trovate in quattro suoi viaggi ... Data in Lisbona a di 4 di
Septembre, 1504_. It is a small quarto of sixteen leaves.[543]

Varnhagen does not question that the early Italian print is the better
text, differing as it does from Bassin’s Latin; and he follows it by
preference in all his arguments. He complains that Bandini and Canovai
reprinted it with many errors.

Ramusio in his first volume had reprinted that part of it which covers
the third and fourth voyage; and it had also been given in French in
the collection of Jean Temporal at Lyons in 1556, known otherwise as
Jean Leon’s (Leo Africanus) _Historiale description de l’Afrique_, with
a preface by Ramusio.[544]

It is Major’s belief that the original text of the abstract intended
for Soderini was written in a sort of composite Spanish-Italian
dialect, such as an Italian long in the service of the Iberian nations
might acquire,[545] and that a copy of it coming into the possession
of Vespucius’ countryman, Giocondo, in Paris, it was by that architect
translated into French, and at Ringmann’s suggestion addressed to René
and intrusted to Ringmann to convey to the Duke, of whom the Alsatian
felt proud, as an enlightened sovereign whose dominions were within
easy reach of his own home. Major also suggests that the preliminary
parts of the narrative, referring to the school-day acquaintance of
Vespucius with the person whom he addressed, while it was true of
Soderini,[546] was not so of René; but, being retained, has given rise
to confusion.[547] Lud tells us only that the letters were sent from
Portugal to René in French, and Waldseemüller says that they were
translated from the Italian to the French, but without telling us
whence they came.

We know, at all events, that Ringmann returned to the Vosges country,
and was invited to become professor of Latin in the new college, where
he taught thereafter, and that he had become known, as was the fashion,
under the Latin name of Philesius, whose verses have already been
referred to. The narrative of Vespucius, whether Ringmann brought it
from Paris, or however it came, was not turned from the French into
Latin by him,[548] but, as Lud informs us, by another canon of the
Cathedral, Jean Bassin de Sandacourt, or Johannes Basinus Sandacurius,
as he appears in Lud’s Latin.

Just before this, in 1504, there had joined the college, as teacher
of geography, another young man who had classicized his name, and was
known as Hylacomylus. It was left, as has been mentioned, for Humboldt
(_Examen critique_, iv. 99) to identify him as Martin Waltzemüller,—who
however preferred to write it Waldseemüller.

It was a project among this St.-Dié coterie to edit Ptolemy,[549] and
illustrate his cosmographical views, just as another coterie at Vienna
were engaged then and later in studying the complemental theories of
Pomponius Mela. Waldseemüller, as the teacher of geography, naturally
assumed control of this undertaking; and the Duke himself so far
encouraged the scheme as to order the engraving of a map to accompany
the exposition of the new discoveries,—the same which is now known as
the Admiral’s map.[550]

In pursuance of these studies Waldseemüller had prepared a little
cosmographical treatise, and this it was now determined to print at the
College Press at St.-Dié. Nothing could better accompany it than the
Latin translation of the Four Voyages of Vespucius and some verses by
Philesius; for Ringmann, as we have seen, was a verse-maker, and had a
local fame as a Latin poet. Accordingly, unless Varnhagen’s theory is
true, which most critics are not inclined to accept, these letters of
Vespucius first got into print, not in their original Italian, but in
a little Latin quarto of Waldseemüller, printed in this obscure nook
of the Vosges. Under the title of _Cosmographiæ introductio_, this
appeared twice, if not oftener, in 1507.[551]

To establish the sequence of the editions of the _Cosmographiæ
introductio_ in 1507[552] is a bibliographical task of some difficulty,
and experts are at variance. D’Avezac (_Waltzemüller_, p. 112) makes
four editions in 1507, and establishes a test for distinguishing them
by taking the first line of the title, together with the date of the
colophon; those of May corresponding to the 25th of April, and those of
September to the 29th of August:—

  1. _Cosmographiæ introdu—vij kl’ Maij._

  2. _Cosmographiæ introductio—vij kl’ Maij._

  3. _Cosmographiæ—iiij kl’ Septembris._

  4. _Cosmographiæ introdu—iiij kl’ Septembris._

[Illustration: PTOLEMY’S WORLD.

(_Reduced after map in Bunbury’s Ancient Geography, London_, 1879,
_vol._ ii.)]

The late Henry C. Murphy[553] maintained that nos. 1 and 4 in this
enumeration are simply made up from nos. 2 and 3 (the original May and
September editions), to which a new title,—the same in each case,—with
the substitution of other leaves for the originals of leaves 1, 2,
5, and 6,—also the same in each case,—was given. Harrisse, however,
dissents, and thinks D’Avezac’s no. 1 a genuine first edition. The only
copy of it known[554] was picked up on a Paris quay for a franc by
the geographer Eyriès, which was sold at his death, in 1846, for 160
francs, and again at the Nicholas Yéméniz sale (Lyons, no. 2,676), in
1867, for 2,000 francs. It is now in the Lenox Library.[555]

Of the second of D’Avezac’s types there are several copies known.
Harrisse[556] names the copies in the Lenox, Murphy,[557] and
Carter-Brown[558] collections. There is a record of other copies in
the National Library at Rio Janeiro,[559] in the Royal Library at
Berlin,[560] in the Huth Collection[561] in London, and in the Mazarine
Library in Paris,—a copy which D’Avezac[562] calls “irréprochable.”
Tross held a copy in 1872 for 1,500 francs. Waldseemüller’s name
does not appear in these early May issues, which are little quartos
of fifty-two leaves, twenty-seven lines to the full page, with an
inscription of twelve lines, in Roman type, on the back of the folding
sheet of a skeleton globe.[563]

On the 29th of August (iiij kl’ Septembris) it was reissued, still
without Waldseemüller’s name, of the same size, and fifty-two leaves;
but the folding sheet bears on the reverse an inscription in fifteen
lines. The ordinary title is D’Avezac’s no. 3. Harrisse[564] mentions
the Lenox and Carter-Brown[565] copies; but there are others in Harvard
College Library (formerly the Cooke copy, no. 625, besides an imperfect
copy which belonged to Charles Sumner), in Charles Deane’s Collection,
and in the Barlow Library. The Murphy Library had a copy (no. 680) in
its catalogue, and the house of John Wiley’s Sons advertised a copy in
New York in 1883 for $350.

There are records of copies in Europe,—in the Imperial Library at
Vienna, in the National Library at Paris, and in the Huth Collection
(_Catalogue_, i. 356) in London. D’Avezac (_Waltzemüller_, pp. 54,
55) describes a copy which belonged to Yéméniz, of Lyons. Brockhaus
advertised one in 1861 (Trömel, no. 1). Another was sold in Paris for
2,000 francs in 1867. There was another in the Sobolewski sale (no.
3,769), and one in the Court Catalogue (no. 92). Leclerc, 1878 (no.
599), has advertised one for 500 francs, Harrassowitz, 1881, (no. 309)
one for 1,000 marks, and Rosenthal, of Munich, in 1884 (no. 30) held
one at 3,000 marks. One is also shown in the _Catalogue of the Reserved
and Most Valuable Portion of the Libri Collection_ (no. 15).

The latter portion of the book, embracing the _Quattuor Americi
Vesputii navigationes_, seems to have been issued also separately, and
is still occasionally found.[566]

What seems to have been a composite edition, corresponding to
D’Avezac’s fourth, made up, as Harrisse thinks (_Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no.
47), of the introductory part of D’Avezac’s first and the voyages of
his third edition, is also found, though very rarely. There is a copy
in the Lenox Library of this description, and another, described by
Harrisse, in the Mazarine Library in Paris.[567]

       *       *       *       *       *

It was in this precious little quarto of 1507, whose complicated issues
we have endeavored to trace, that, in the introductory portion,
Waldseemüller, anonymously to the world, but doubtless with the privity
of his fellow-collegians, proposed in two passages, already quoted,
but here presented in fac-simile, to stand sponsor for the new-named
western world; and with what result we shall see.


This is the third edition of D’Avezac’s enumeration.]

It was a strange sensation to name a new continent, or even a hitherto
unknown part of an old one. There was again the same uncertainty of
continental lines as when Europe had been named[568] by the ancients,
for there was now only the vaguest notion of what there was to be
named. Columbus had already died in the belief that he had only touched
the eastern limits of Asia. There is no good reason to believe that
Vespucius himself was of a different mind.[569] So insignificant a gain
to Europe had men come to believe these new islands, compared with the
regions of wealth and spices with which Vasco da Gama and Cabral had
opened trade by the African route, that the advocate and deluded finder
of the western route had died obscurely, with scarcely a record being
made of his departure. A few islands and their savage inhabitants had
scarcely answered the expectation of those who had pictured from Marco
Polo the golden glories of Cathay.


That part of the page (sig. C) of the September edition (1507) which
has the reference to America and Vespucius.]


That part of the page of the 1507 (September) edition in which the name
of America is proposed for the New World.]

To Columbus himself the new-found regions were only “insulæ Indiæ super
Gangem,”—India east of the Ganges; and the “Indies” which he supposed
he had found, and for whose native races the Asiatic name was borrowed
and continues to abide, remained the Spanish designation of their
possessions therein, though distinguished in time by the expletive
_West_ Indies.[570] It never occurred to the discoverers themselves to
give a new name to regions which they sometimes designated generically
as _Mundus Novus_ or _Alter Orbis_; but it is doubtful as Humboldt
says, if they intended by such designation any further description
than that the parts discovered were newly found, just as Strabo,
Mela, Cadamosto and others had used similar designations.[571] It was
at a much later day, and when the continental character of the New
World was long established, that some Spaniard suggested _Colonia_,
or _Columbiana_; and another, anxious to commemorate the sovereigns
of Castile and Leon, futilely coined the cumbrous designation of
_Fer-Isabelica_.[572] When Columbus and others had followed a long
stretch of the northern coast of South America without finding a break,
and when the volume of water pouring through the mouths of the Orinoco
betokened to his mind a vast interior, it began to be suspected that
the main coast of Asia had been found; and the designation of _Tierra
firme_ was naturally attached to the whole region, of which Paria and
the Pearl coast were distinguishable parts. This designation of Firm
Land was gradually localized as explorations extended, and covered what
later was known as Castilla del Oro; and began to comprehend in the
time of Purchas,[573] for instance, all that extent of coast from Paria
to Costa Rica.[574]

When Cabral in 1500 sighted the shores of Brazil, he gave the name
of _Terra Sanctæ Crucis_ to the new-found region,—the land of the
Holy Cross; and this name continued for some time to mark as much as
was then known of what we now call South America, and we find it in
such early delineations as the Lenox globe and the map of Sylvanus in
1511.[575] It will be remembered that in 1502, after what is called his
third voyage, Vespucius had simply named the same region _Mundus Novus_.

Thus in 1507 there was no general concurrence in the designations
which had been bestowed on these new islands and coasts; and the only
unbroken line which had then been discovered was that stretching
from Honduras well down the eastern coast of South America, if
Vespucius’ statement of having gone to the thirty-second degree of
southern latitude was to be believed. After the exploration of this
coast,—thanks to the skill of Vespucius in sounding his own exploits
and giving them an attractive setting out,[576] aided, probably, by
that fortuitous dispensation of fortune which sometimes awards fame
where it is hardly deserved,—it had come to pass that the name of
Vespucius had, in common report, become better associated than that
of Columbus with the magnitude of the new discoveries. It was not so
strange then as it appears now that the Florentine, rather than the
Genoese, was selected for such continental commemoration. All this
happened to some degree irrespective of the question of priority in
touching Tierra Firme, as turning upon the truth or falsity of the date
1497 assigned to the first of the voyages of Vespucius.

The proposing of a name was easy; the acceptance of it was not so
certain. The little tract had appeared without any responsible voucher.
The press-mark of St.-Dié was not a powerful stamp. The community was
obscure, and it had been invested with what influence it possessed by
the association of Duke René with it.

This did not last long. The Duke died in 1508, and his death put a stop
to the projected edition of Ptolemy and broke up the little press; so
that next year (1509), when Waldseemüller planned a new edition of the
_Cosmographiæ introductio_, it was necessary to commit it to Grüninger
in Strasburg to print. In this edition Waldseemüller first signed
his own name to the preface. Copies of this issue are somewhat less
rare than those of 1507. It is a little tract of thirty-two leaves,
some copies having fourteen, others fifteen, lines on the back of the
folding sheet.[577] The Lenox Library has examples of each.

[Illustration: THE LENOX GLOBE.

A section of the drawing given by Dr. De Costa in his monograph on the
globe, showing the American parts reduced to a plane projection, and
presenting the name of _Terra Sanctæ Crucis_. There is another sketch
on p. 123.]

There are other copies in the Carter-Brown (_Catalogue_, vol. i. no.
40), Barlow, and Harvard College libraries. Another is in the Force
Collection, Library of Congress, and one was sold in the Murphy sale
(no. 681). The copy which belonged to Ferdinand Columbus is still
preserved in Seville; but its annotations do not signify that the
statements in it respecting Vespucius’ discoveries attracted his
attention.[578] It was this edition which Navarrete used when he made
a Spanish version for his _Coleccion_ (iii. 183) D’Avezac used a copy
in the Mazarine Library; and other copies are noted in the Huth (i.
356) and Sunderland (_Catalogue_, vol. v. no. 12,920) collections. The
account of the voyages in this edition was also printed separately in
German as _Diss buchlin saget wie die zwē ... herrē_, etc.[579]

       *       *       *       *       *

While the Strasburg press was emitting this 1509 edition it was also
printing the sheets of another little tract, the anonymous _Globus
mundi_,[580] of which a fac-simile of the title is annexed, in which it
will be perceived the bit of the New World shown is called “Newe welt,”
and not America, though “America lately discovered” is the designation
given in the text. The credit of the discovery is given unreservedly to
Vespucius, and Columbus is not mentioned.[581]

The breaking up of the press was a serious blow to the little community
at St.-Dié. Ringmann, in the full faith of completing the edition
of Ptolemy which they had in view, had brought from Italy a Greek
manuscript of the old geographer; but the poet was soon to follow his
patron, for, having retired to Schlestadt, his native town, he died
there in 1511 at the early age of twenty-nine. The Ptolemy project,
however, did not fail. Its production was transferred to Strasburg; and
there, in 1513, it appeared, including the series of maps associated
ever since with the name of Hylacomylus, and showing evidences in the
text of the use which had been made of Ringmann’s Greek manuscript.

[Illustration: TITLE OF THE 1509 (STRASBURG) EDITION.]

We look to this book in vain for any attempt to follow up the
conferring of the name of Vespucius on the New World. The two maps
which it contains, showing the recent discoveries, are given in
fac-simile on pages 111 and 112. In one the large region which stands
for South America has no designation; in the other there is supposed to
be some relation to Columbus’ own map, while it bears a legend which
gives to Columbus unequivocally the credit of the discovery of the New
World. It has been contended of late that the earliest cartographical
application of the name is on two globes preserved in the collection of
the Freiherr von Hauslab, in Vienna, one of which (printed) Varnhagen
in his paper on Apianus and Schöner puts under 1509, and the other
(manuscript) under 1513. Weiser in his _Magalhâes-Strasse_ (p. 27)
doubts these dates.[582] The application of the new name, America,
we also find not far from this time, say between 1512 and 1515, in a
manuscript mappemonde (see p. 125) which Major, when he described it in
the _Archæologia_ (xl. p. 1), unhesitatingly ascribed to Leonardo da
Vinci, thinking that he could trace certain relations between Da Vinci
and Vespucius. This map bears distinctly the name _America_ on the
South American continent. Its connection with Da Vinci is now denied.

[Illustration: TITLE OF THE 1509 (STRASBURG) EDITION.]

Not far from the same time a certain undated edition of the
_Cosmographiæ introductio_ appeared at Lyons, though no place is given.
Of this edition there are two copies in the British Museum, and others
in the Lenox and Barlow collections; but they all lack a map,[583]
which is found in a copy first brought to public attention by the
bookseller Tross, of Paris, in 1881,[584] and which is now owned by Mr.
C. H. Kalbfleisch, of New York. Its date is uncertain. Harrisse (_Bibl.
Amer. Vet._, no. 63) placed it first in 1510, but later (_Cabots_,
p. 182) he dated it about 1514, as Tross had already done. D’Avezac
(_Waltzemüller_, p. 123) thinks it could not have been earlier than

The chief interest of this map to us is the fact that it bears the
words “America noviter reperta” on what stands for South America; and
there is fair ground for supposing that it antedates all other printed
maps yet known which bear this name.

At not far from the same time, fixed in this instance certainly in
1515, we find _America_ on the earliest known globe of Schöner.[586]
Probably printed to accompany this globe, is a rare little tract,
issued the same year (1515) at Nuremberg, under the title of
_Luculentissima quædā terræ totius descriptio_. In this Schöner speaks
of a “fourth part of the globe, named after its discoverer, Americus
Vespucius, a man of sagacious mind, who found it in 1497,” adopting the
controverted date.[587]

Meanwhile the fame of Vespucius was prospering with the Vienna
coterie. One of them, Georg Tanstetter, sometimes called Collimitius,
was editing the _De natura locorum librum_ of Albertus Magnus; and
apparently after the book was printed he made with type a marginal
note, to cite the profession of Vespucius that he had reached to fifty
degrees south, as showing that there was habitable land so far towards
the Southern Pole.[588]

Joachim Watt, or Vadianus, as he was called in his editorial Latin, had
in 1515 adopted the new name of America, and repeated it in 1518, when
he reproduced his letter in his edition of Pomponius Mela, as explained
on another page.[589] Apian had been employed to make the mappemonde
for it, which was to show the new discoveries. The map seems not to
have been finished in time; but when it appeared, two years later
(1520), in the new edition of Solinus, by Camers, though it bore the
name of America on the southern main, it still preserved the legend in
connection therewith which awarded the discovery to Columbus.[590] Watt
now quarrelled with Camers, for they had worked jointly, and their two
books are usually found in one cover, with Apian’s map between them.
Returning to St. Gall, Vadianus practised there as a physician, and
reissued his Mela at Basle in 1522, dedicating it to that Dr. Faber who
had been the teacher of Ringmann in Paris eighteen years before.[591]

In 1522 Lorenz Friess, or Laurentius Phrysius, another of Duke René’s
coterie, a correspondent of Vespucius, published a new edition of
Ptolemy at the Grüninger press in Strasburg, in which the fame of
Columbus and Vespucius is kept up in the usual equalizing way. The
preface, by Thomas Ancuparius, sounds the praises of the Florentine,
ascribing to him the discovery “of what we to-day call America;” the
Admiral’s map, _Tabula Terre Nove_,[592] which Waldseemüller had
published in the 1513 edition, is once more reproduced, with other of
the maps of that edition, re-engraved on a reduced scale. The usual
legend, crediting the discovery to Columbus, is shown in a section of
the map, which is given in another place.[593] Phrysius acknowledges
that the maps are essentially Waldseemüller’s, though they have some
changes and additions; but he adds a new mappemonde of his own, putting
the name America on the great southern main,—the first time of its
appearing in any map of the Ptolemy series. A fac-simile is annexed.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is thus far absolutely no proof that any one disputed the
essential facts of the discovery by Columbus of the outlying islands
of Asia, as the belief went, or denied him the credit of giving a new
world to the crowns of Aragon and Castile, whether that were Asia
or not. The maps which have come down to us, so far as they record
anything, invariably give Columbus the credit. The detractors and
panegyrists of Vespucius have asserted in turn that he was privy to
the doings at St.-Dié and Strasburg, and that he was not; but proof
is lacking for either proposition. No one can dispute, however, that
he was dead before his name was applied to the new discoveries on any
published map.

If indeed the date of 1497, as given by the St.-Dié publication, was
correct, there might have been ground for adjudging his explorations of
the mainland to have antedated those of Columbus; but the conclusion
is irresistible that either the Spanish authorities did not know that
such a claim had been made, or they deemed the date an error of the
press; since to rely upon the claim would have helped them in their
conflict with the heirs of Columbus, which began the year following
the publication of that claim, or in 1508 and continued to vex all
concerned till 1527; and during all that time Vespucius, as has been
mentioned, is not named in the records of the proceedings. It is
equally hard to believe that Ferdinand Columbus would have passed by a
claim derogating from the fame of his father, if it had come to him as
a positive assertion. That he knew of the St.-Dié tract we have direct
evidence in his possession of a copy of it. That it did not trouble him
we know also with as much confidence as negative testimony can impart;
for we have no knowledge of his noticing it, but instead the positive
assertion of a contemporary that he did not notice it.

The claim for Vespucius, however, was soon to be set up. In 1527
Las Casas began, if we may believe Quintana, the writing of his
_Historia_.[594] It is not easy, however, to fix precisely the year
when he tells us that the belief had become current of Vespucius being
really the first to set his foot on the main. “Amerigo,” he tells us
further,[595] “is said to have placed the name of America on maps,[596]
thus sinfully failing toward the Admiral. If he purposely gave currency
to this belief in his first setting foot on the main, it was a great
wickedness; and if it was not done intentionally, it looks like it.”
Las Casas still makes allowances, and fails of positive accusation,
when again he speaks of “the injustice of Amerigo, or the injustice
perhaps those who printed the _Quattuor navigationes_ appear to have
committed toward the Admiral;” and once more when he says that “foreign
writers call the country America: it ought to be called Columba.” But
he grows more positive as he goes on, when he wonders how Ferdinand
Columbus, who had, as he says, Vespucius’ account, could have found
nothing in it of deceit and injustice to object to.

Who were these “foreign writers?” Stobnicza, of Cracow, in the
_Introductio in Claudii Ptholomei cosmographiā_, which he published in
1512, said: “Et ne soli Ptolomeo laborassem, curavi etiam notas facere
quasdam partes terre ipsi ptolomeo alijsque vetustioribus ignotas que
Amerii vespucij aliorumque lustratione ad nostram noticiam puenere.”
Upon the reverse of folio v., in the chapter “De meridianis,” occurs:
“Similiter in occasu ultra africam & europam magna pars terre quam
ab Americo eius reptore Americam vocant vulgo autem novus mundus
dicitur.” Upon the reverse of folio vii. in the chapter “De partibus
terre” is this: “Non solū aūt pdicte tres ptes nunc sunt lacius
lustrate, verum & alia quata pars ab Americo vesputio sagacis ingenii
viro inventa est, quam ab ipso Americo eius inventore Ameriḡem si a
americi terram sive americā appellari volunt cuius latitudo est sub
tota torrida zona,” etc. These expressions were repeated in the second
edition in 1519.

[Illustration: LAURENTIUS FRISIUS, IN THE PTOLEMY OF 1522 (_westerly

Apian in 1524 had accepted the name in his _Cosmographicus liber_, as
he had in an uncertain way, in 1522, in two editions, one printed at
Ratisbon, the other without place, of the tract, _Declaratio et usus
typi cosmographici_, illustrative of his map.[597]

Glareanus in 1529 spoke of the land to the west “quam Americam vocant,”
though he couples the names of Columbus and Vespucius in speaking
of its discovery. Apian and Gemma Phrysius in their _Cosmographia_
of the same year recognize the new name;[598] and Phrysius again in
his _De principiis astronomiæ_, first published at Antwerp in 1530,
gave a chapter (no. xxx.) to “America,” and repeated it in later
editions.[599] Münster in the _Novus orbis_ of 1532 finds that the
extended coast of South America “takes the name of America from
Americus, who discovered it.”[600] We find the name again in the
_Epitome trium terræ partium_ of Vadianus, published at Tiguri in
1534,[601] and in Honter’s _Rudimentorum cosmographiæ libri_, published
at Basle in the same year. When the Spanish sea-manual, Medina’s _Arte
de navegar_, was published in Italian at Venice in 1544, it had a chart
with America on it; and the _De sphæra_ of Cornelius Valerius (Antwerp,
1561) says this fourth part of the world took its name from Americus.

Thus it was manifest that popular belief, outside of Spain, at
least,[602] was, as Las Casas affirms, working at last into false
channels. Of course the time would come when Vespucius, wrongfully
or rightfully, would be charged with promoting this belief. He was
already dead, and could not repel the insinuation. In 1533 this charge
came for the first time in print, so far as we now know, and from one
who had taken his part in spreading the error. It has already been
mentioned how Schöner, in his globe of 1515, and in the little book
which explained that globe, had accepted the name from the coterie of
the Vosges. He still used the name in 1520 in another globe.[603] Now
in 1533, in his _Opusculum geographicum ex diversorum libris ac cartis
summa cura & diligentia collectum, accomodatum ad recenter elaboratum
ab eodem globum decriptionis terrenæ. Ioachimi Camerarii_. _Ex urbe
Norica, ... Anno XXXIII_,[604] he unreservedly charged Vespucius
with fixing his own name upon that region of India Superior which he
believed to be an island.[605]

In 1535, in a new edition of Ptolemy, Servetus repeated the map of
the New World from the editions of 1522 and 1525 which helped to give
further currency to the name of America; but he checks his readers
in his text by saying that those are misled who call the continent
America, since Vespucius never touched it till long after Columbus
had.[606] This cautious statement did not save Servetus from the
disdainful comment of Gomara (1551), who accuses that editor of Ptolemy
of attempting to blacken the name of the Florentine.

It was but an easy process for a euphonious name, once accepted for
a large part of the new discoveries, gradually to be extended until
it covered them all. The discovery of the South Sea by Balboa in
1513 rendered it certain that there was a country of unmistakably
continental extent lying south of the field of Columbus’ observations,
which, though it might prove to be connected with Asia by the Isthmus
of Panama, was still worthy of an independent designation.[607] We
have seen how the Land of the Holy Cross, Paria, and all other names
gave way in recognition of the one man who had best satisfied Europe
that this region had a continental extent. If it be admitted even that
Vespucius was in any way privy to the bestowal of his name upon it,
there was at first no purpose to enlarge the application of such name
beyond this well-recognized coast.

[Illustration: MERCATOR, 1541.

This is the configuration of Mercator’s gores (for a globe) reduced to
Mercator’s subsequently-devised projection.]

That the name went beyond that coast came of one of those shaping
tendencies which are without control. “It was,” as Humboldt says,[608]
“accident, and not fraud and dissensions, which deprived the continent
of America of the name of Columbus.” It was in 1541, and by Mercator
in his printed gores for a globe, that in a cartographical record we
first find the name _America_ extended to cover the entire continent;
for he places the letters AME at Baccalaos, and completed the name
with RICA at the La Plata.[609] Thus the injustice was made perpetual;
and there seems no greater instance of the instability of truth in
the world’s history. Such monstrous perversion could but incite an
indignation which needed a victim,—and it found him in Vespucius. The
intimation of Schöner was magnified in time by everybody, and the
unfortunate date of 1497, as well as the altogether doubtful aspect of
his _Quattuor navigationes_, helped on the accusation. Vespucius stood
in every cyclopædia and history as the personification of baseness
and arrogance;[610] and his treacherous return for the kindness which
Columbus did him in February, 1505, when he gave him a letter of
recommendation to his son Diego,[611] at a time when the Florentine
stood in need of such assistance, was often made to point a moral.
The most emphatic of these accusers, working up his case with every
subsidiary help, has been the Viscount Santarem. He will not admit the
possibility of Vespucius’ ignorance of the movement at St.-Dié. “We are
led to the conclusion,” he says, in summing up, “that the name given
to the new continent after the death of Columbus was the result of a
preconceived plan against his memory, either designedly and with malice
aforethought, or by the secret influence of an extensive patronage
of foreign merchants residing at Seville and elsewhere, dependent on
Vespucius as naval contractor.”[612]

It was not till Humboldt approached the subject in the fourth and fifth
volumes of his _Examen critique de l’histoire et de la géographie
du nouveau monde_ that the great injustice to Vespucius on account
of the greater injustice to Columbus began to be apparent. No one
but Santarem, since Humboldt’s time, has attempted to rehabilitate
the old arguments. Those who are cautious had said before that he
might pardonably have given his name to the long coast-line which
he had tracked, but that he was not responsible for its ultimate
expansion.[613] But Humboldt’s opinion at once prevailed, and he
reviewed and confirmed them in his _Cosmos_.[614] Humboldt’s views are
convincingly and elaborately enforced; but the busy reader may like to
know they are well epitomized by Wiesener in a paper, “Améric Vespuce
et Christophe Colomb: la véritable origine du nom d’Amérique,” which
was published in the _Revue des questions historiques_ (1866), i.
225-252, and translated into English in the _Catholic World_ (1867), v.

The best English authority on this question is Mr. R. H. Major,
who has examined it with both thoroughness and condensation of
statement in his paper on the Da Vinci map in the _Archæologia_,
vol. xl., in his _Prince Henry the Navigator_ (pp. 367-380),[615]
and in his _Discoveries of Prince Henry_, chap. xiv. Harrisse in his
_Bibl. Amer. Vet._, pp. 65, 94, enumerates the contestants on the
question; and Varnhagen, who is never unjust to Columbus, traces in
a summary way the progress in the acceptance of the name of America
in his _Nouvelles recherches sur les derniers voyages du navigateur
Florentin_. In German, Oscar Peschel in his _Geschichte des Zeitalters
der Entdeckungen_ (book ii. chap. 13) has examined the matter with a
scholar’s instincts. The subject was followed by M. Schoetter in a
paper read at the Congrès des Américanistes at Luxemburg in 1877; but
it is not apparent from the abstract of the paper in the _Proceedings_
of that session (p. 357) that any new light was thrown upon the matter.

Professor Jules Marcou would drive the subject beyond the bounds of
any personal associations by establishing the origin of the name in
the native designation (Americ, Amerrique, Amerique) of a range of
mountains in Central America;[616] and Mr. T. H. Lambert, in the
_Bulletin_ of the American Geographical Society (no. 1 of 1883), asks
us to find the origin in the name given by the Peruvians to their
country,—neither of which theories has received or is likely to receive
any considerable acceptance.[617]

[Illustration: APIANUS (_from_ REUSNER’S _Icones_, 1590, p. 175).]






Reduced after map in Bunbury’s _Ancient Geography_ (London, 1879), ii.

OF Pomponius Mela we know little beyond the fact that he was born in
Spain, not far from Gibraltar, and that he wrote, as seems probable,
his popular geographical treatise in the year 43 A.D.[618] The _editio
princeps_ of this treatise was printed in 1471 at Milan, it is
supposed, by Antonius Zarotus, under the title _Cosmographia_. It was
a small quarto of fifty-nine leaves. Two copies have been sold lately.
The Sunderland copy (no. 10,117) brought £11 5_s._, and has since
been held by Quaritch at £15 15_s._ Another copy was no. 897 in part
iii. of the _Beckford Catalogue_. In 1478 there was an edition, _De
situ orbis_, at Venice (Sunderland, no. 10,118); and in 1482 another
edition, _Cosmographia geographica_, was also published at Venice
(Leclerc, no. 456; Murphy, no. 2,003; D’Avezac, _Géographes Grecs et
Latins_, p. 13). It was called _Cosmographia_ in the edition of 1498
(_Bibl. Amer. Vet., Additions_, no. 8; Huth, iv. 1166); _De orbis situ_
in that of Venice, 1502; _De totius orbis descriptione_ in the Paris
edition of 1507, edited by Geofroy Tory (A. J. Bernard’s _Geofroy Tory,
premier imprimeur royal_, Paris, 1865, p. 81; Carter-Brown, i. 32;
Muller, 1872, no. 2,318; 1877, no. 2,062).

[Illustration: VADIANUS.

Fac-simile of a cut in Reusner’s _Icones_ (Strasburg, 1590), p. 162.]

In 1512 the text of Mela came under new influences. Henry Stevens
(_Bibliotheca geographica_, p. 210) and others have pointed out how
a circle of geographical students at this time were making Vienna a
centre of interest by their interpretation of the views of Mela and
of Solinus, a writer of the third century, whose _Polyhistor_ is a
description of the world known to the ancients. Within this knot of
cosmographers, John Camers undertook the editing of Mela; and his
edition, _De situ orbis_, was printed by Jean Singrein at Vienna in
1512, though it bears neither place nor date (Stevens, _Bibliotheca
geographica_, no. 1,825; D’Avezac, _Géographes Grecs et Latins_, p. 14;
Leclerc, no. 457; Sunderland, no. 10,119). Another Mela of the same
year (1512) is known to have been printed by Weissenburger, presumably
at Nuremberg, and edited by Johannes Cocleius as _Cosmographia Pomponii
Mele: authoris nitidissimi tribus libris digesta: ... compendio
Johannis Coclei Norici adaucta quo geographie principia generaliter
comprehēduntur_ (Weigel, 1877, no. 227; there is a copy in Charles
Deane’s library). In 1517 Mela made a part of the collection of Antonie
Francino at Florence, which was reissued in 1519 and 1526 (D’Avezac, p.
16; Sunderland, nos. 10,121, 10,122).

Meanwhile another student, Joachim Watt, a native of St. Gall, in
Switzerland, now about thirty years old, who had been a student
of Camers, and who is better known by the latinized form of his
name, Vadianus, had, in November, 1514, addressed a letter to
Rudolfus Agricola, in which he adopted the suggestion first made by
Waldseemüller that the forename of Vespucius should be applied to
that part of the New World which we now call Brazil. This letter
was printed at Vienna (1515) in a little tract,—_Habes, Lector,
hoc libello, Rudolphi Agricolæ Junioris Rheti ad Jochimum Vadianum
epistolam_,—now become very rare. It contains also the letter of
Agricola, Sept. 1, 1514, which drew out the response of Vadianus dated
October 16,—Agricola on his part referring to the work on Mela which
was then occupying Vadianus (a copy owned by Stevens, _Bibliotheca
geographica_, no. 2,799, passed into the Huth Library, _Catalogue_, v.
1506. Harrassowitz has since priced a copy, _Catalogue_, List 61, no.
57, at 280 marks).

The _De situ orbis_ of Mela, as edited by Vadianus, came out finally
in 1518, and contained one of the two letters,—that of Vadianus
himself; and it is in this reproduction that writers have usually
referred to its text (Harrisse, _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 92; Murphy,
no. 2,004; Leclerc, no. 458; Sunderland, no. 10,120; Graesse, v. 401;
Carter-Brown, i. 55). Camers also issued at the same time an edition
uniform with the Aldine imprint of Solinus; and this and the Mela are
often found bound together. Two years later (1520) copies of the two
usually have bound up between them the famous cordiform map of Apian
(Petrus Apianus, in the Latin form; Dienewitz, in his vernacular).
This for a long time was considered the earliest engraved map to show
the name of America, which appeared, as the annexed fac-simile shows,
on the representation of South America. There may be some question
if the map equally belongs to the Mela and to the Solinus, for the
two in this edition are usually bound together; yet in a few copies
of this double book, as in the Cranmer copy in the British Museum,
and in the Huth copy (_Catalogue_, iv. 1372), there is a map for each
book. There are copies of the Solinus in the Carter-Brown, Lenox,
Harvard College, Boston Public, and American Antiquarian Society
libraries (cf. Harrisse, _Notes on Columbus_, p. 175; _Bibl. Amer.
Vet._, no. 108; Murphy, no. 2,338; Trübner, 1876, £15 15s.; Weigel,
1877, 240 marks; Calvary, 1883, 250 marks; Leclerc, 1881, no. 2,686,
500 francs; Ellis & White, 1877, £25). The inscription on the map
reads: “Tipus orbis universalis juxta Ptolomei cosmographi traditionem
et Americi Vespucii aliosque lustrationes a Petro Apiano Leysnico
elucbrat. An. Do. M.D.XX.” Harrisse (_Bibl. Amer. Vet., Additions_,
no. 68) cites from Varnhagen’s _Postface aux trois livraisons sur
Vespucci_, a little tract of eight leaves, which is said to be an
exposition of the map to accompany it, called _Declaratio et usus
typi cosmographici_, Ratisbon, 1522. The map was again used in the
first complete edition of Peter Martyr’s _Decades_, when the date was
changed to “M.D.XXX” (Carter-Brown, i. 94; _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 154;
Kunstmann, _Entdeckung Amerikas_, p. 134; Kohl, _Die beiden ältesten
General-Karten von Amerika_, p. 33; Uricoechea, _Mapoteca Colombiana_,
no. 4). Vadianus meanwhile had quarrelled with Camers, and had returned
to St. Gall, and now re-edited his _Mela_, and published it at Basle in
1522 (_Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 112; Murphy, no. 2,004**; Carter-Brown,
i. 590; Leclerc, no. 459).

In 1524 Apianus published the first edition of his cosmographical
studies,—a book that for near a century, under various revisions,
maintained a high reputation. The _Cosmographicus liber_ was published
at Landshut in 1524,—a thin quarto with two diagrams showing the New
World, in one of which the designation is “Ameri” for an island; in the
other, “America.” Bibliographers differ as to collation, some giving
fifty-two, and others sixty leaves; and there are evidently different
editions of the same year. The book is usually priced at £5 or £6.
Cf. Harrisse, _Notes on Columbus_, p. 174; _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no.
127, and _Additions_, p. 87; Carter-Brown, i. 78; Huth, i. 39; Murphy,
no. 93; Sabin, no. 1,738. There is an account of Apianus (born 1495;
died 1551 or 1552) in Clement’s _Bibliographie curieuse_ (Göttingen,
1750-1760). It is in chapter iv. of part ii. of the _Cosmographicus
liber_ that America is mentioned; but there is no intimation of
Columbus having discovered it. Where “Isabella aut Cuba” is spoken of,
is an early instance of conferring the latter name on that island,
after La Cosa’s use of it.

[Illustration: PART OF APIANUS’S MAP, 1520.

There are fac-similes of the entire map in the _Carter-Brown
Catalogue_, i. 69, and in Santarem’s _Atlas_; and on a much
reduced scale in Daly’s _Early Cartography_. Cf. Varnhagen’s _Jo.
Schöner e P. Apianus: Influencia de um e outro e de varios de seus
contemporaneos na adopçăo do nome America; primeiros globos e primeiros
mappas-mundi com este nome; globo de Waltzeemüller, e plaquette
acerca do de Schöner_, Vienna, 1872, privately printed, 61 pp., 100
copies (_Murphy Catalogue_, no. 2,231; Quaritch prices it at about
£1). A recent account of the history of the Vienna presses, _Wiens
Buchdruckergeschichte_ (1883), by Anton Mayer, refers to the edition of
Solinus of 1520 (vol. i. pp. 38, 41), and to the editions of Pomponius
Mela, edited by Vadianus, giving a fac-simile of the title (p. 39) in
one case.

Santarem gives twenty-five editions of Ptolemy between 1511 and 1584
which do not bear the name of America, and three (1522, 1541, and 1552)
which have it. Cf. _Bulletin de la Société de Géographie de Paris_
(1837), vol. viii.]

In 1529 a pupil of Apianus, Gemma Frisius, annotated his master’s work,
when it was published at Antwerp, while an abridgment, _Cosmographiæ
introductio_, was printed the same year (1529) at Ingoldstadt (Sabin,
no. 1,739; Court, no. 21; _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, nos. 148, 149, and
_Additions_, no. 88. There is a copy of the abridgment in Harvard
College Library).

The third edition of _Mela, cum commentariis Vadiani_ appeared at Paris
in 1530, but without maps (cf. Carter-Brown, i. 97; Muller, 1877, no.
2,063; _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 157); and again in 1532. (Sunderland,
no. 10,124; Harrassowitz, list 61, no. 60).

       *       *       *       *       *

It is not necessary to follow, other than synoptically, the various
subsequent editions of these three representative books, with brief
indications of the changes that they assumed to comport with the now
rapidly advancing knowledge of the New World.

=1533.= Apianus, full or abridged, in Latin, at Venice, at Freiburg,
at Antwerp, at Ingoldstadt, at Paris (Carter-Brown, i. 591; _Bibl.
Amer. Vet._, nos. 179, 202, and _Additions_, no. 100; Sabin, nos.
1,742, 1,757. Some copies have 1532 in the colophon). Apianus printed
this year at Ingoldstadt various tracts in Latin and German on the
instruments used in observations for latitude and longitude (Stevens,
_Bibliotheca geographica_, no. 173, etc). Vadianus, in his _Epitome
trium terræ partium_, published at Tiguri, described America as a part
of Asia (Weigel, 1877, no. 1,574). He dated his preface at St. Gall,
“VII. Kallen. August, M. D. XXXIII.”

=1534.= Apianus in Latin at Venice (_Bibl. Amer. Vet., Additions,_
no. 106). The _Epitome_ of Vadianus in folio, published at Tiguri,
with a map, “Typus cosmographicus universalis, Tiguri, anno M. D.
XXXIIII,” which resembles somewhat that of Finæus, representing the
New World as an island approaching the shape of South America. The
Carter-Brown copy has no map (cf. Huth, v. 1508; Leclerc, no. 586, 130
francs; Carter-Brown, i. 112; Weigel, 1877, no. 1,576; _Bibl. Amer.
Vet._, no. 189). An edition in octavo, without date, is held to be of
the same year. It is usually said to have no map; but Quaritch (no.
12,475) has advertised a copy for £4,—“the only copy he had ever seen
containing the map.” The _Huth Catalogue_, v. 1508, shows a copy with
twelve woodcut maps of two leaves each, and four single leaves of maps
and globes. The part pertaining to America in this edition is pages
544-564, “Insulæ Oceani præcipuæ,” which is considered to belong to
the Asiatic continent (cf. Stevens, 1870, no. 2,179; Muller, 1872, no.
1,551; 1877, no. 3,293; Weigel, 1877, no. 1,575).

=1535.= Apianus, in Latin, at Venice (Sabin, no. 1,743; _Bibl. Amer.
Vet._, no. 202). Vadianus, in Latin, at Antwerp. (_Bibl. Amer. Vet._,
209; Huth, v. 1508; Court, no. 360).

=1536.= An edition of Mela, _De situ orbis_, without place and date,
was printed at Basle, in small octavo, with the corrections of Olive
and Barbaro. Cf. D’Avezac, _Géographes Grecs et Latins_, p. 20;
Sunderland, no. 10,123; Weigel (1877), p. 99.

=1537.= The first Dutch edition of Apianus, _De cosmographie rā Pe
Apianus_, Antwerp, with woodcut of globe on the title. The first of
two small maps shows America. It contains a description of Peru. Cf.
Carter-Brown, i. 121; Muller (1875), no. 2,314.

=1538.= Mela and Solinus, printed by Henri Petri at Basle with large
and small maps, one representing the New World to the east of Asia as
“Terra incognita.” Cf. Harrassowitz (1882), no. 91, p. 2, 60 marks;
D’Avezac, p. 21.

=1539.= An edition of Mela, _De orbis situ_, at Paris (Sunderland, no.
10,124). Apianus’s _Cosmographia per Gemmam Phrysium restituta_, in
small quarto, was published at Antwerp by A. Berckman. A globe on the
titlepage shows the Old World. It has no other map (Carter-Brown, i.
124; Sabin, no. 1,744; _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, nos. 229, 230).

=1540.= An edition of Mela, issued at Paris, has the Orontius Finæus
map of 1531, with the type of the Dedication changed. The Harvard
College copy and one given in Harrassowitz’ _Catalogue_ (81), no.
55, show no map. Cf. Leclerc, no. 460, 200 francs; Harrisse, _Bibl.
Amer. Vet._, no. 230, _Additions_, nos. 126, 127, 460; Court, no. 283;
Rosenthal (1884), no. 51, at 150 marks. An edition of Apianus in Latin
at Antwerp, without map; but Lelewel (_Moyen-âge_, pl. 46) gives a map
purporting to follow one in this edition of Apianus. Cf. Carter-Brown,
i. 125; _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 230; Sabin, no. 1,745.

=1541.= Editions of Apianus in Latin at Venice and at Nuremberg. Cf.
_Bibl. Amer. Vet._, nos. 235, 236; Sabin, nos. 1,746, 1,747.

=1543.= Mela and Solinus at Basle (D’Avezac, p. 21).

[Illustration: APIANUS.

This follows a fac-simile of an old cut given in the _Carter-Brown
Catalogue_, i. 294.]

=1544.= An edition of Apianus in French at Antwerp, with a map, which
was used in various later editions. Cf. Sabin, no. 1,752; Carter-Brown,
i. 592; _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 253.

=1545.= Apianus, in Latin, at Antwerp, with the same map as in the 1544
French edition. Cf. Carter-Brown, i. 135; _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 262;
Muller (1875), no. 2,365 (1877), no. 158; Sabin, no. 1,748.

=1548.= Apianus in Spanish, _Cosmographia augmentada por Gemma Frisio_,
at Antwerp, with the same folding map. Cf. _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no.
283; Sabin, no. 1,753; Carter-Brown, i. 147; Dufosse, no. 10,201, 45
francs; Quaritch (1878), no. 104, £6 6_s._; _Cat. hist. Brazil, Bibl.
Nac. do Rio de Janeiro_, no. 3. Apianus in Italian at Antwerp, _Libro
de la cosmographia de Pedro Apiano_, with the same map. The _Epitome_
of Vadianus, published at Tiguri, with double maps engraved on wood,
contains one, dated 1546, showing America, which is reproduced in
Santarem’s _Atlas_. Cf. Carter-Brown, i. 151; _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, nos.
170, 464, _Additions_, no. 104.

=1550.= Apianus in Latin at Antwerp, with map at folio 30, with
additions by Frisius; and folios 30-48, on America (cf. Carter-Brown,
i. 154; _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 298; Murphy, no. 94; Sabin, no. 1,749;
Muller, 1875, no. 2,366). Some bibliographers report Latin editions of
this year at Amsterdam and Basle.

=1551.= Editions of Apianus at Paris, in Latin and French, with a
folding map and two smaller ones,—a reprint of the Antwerp edition of
1550. The language of the maps is French in both editions (Court, no.
20). Clement (_Bibliothèque curieuse_, i. 404) gives 1553 as the date
of the colophon. An edition of Mela and Solinus (D’Avezac, p. 21).

=1553.= Editions of Apianus in Latin at Antwerp and Paris, and in Dutch
at Antwerp, with mappemonde and two small maps. Cf. Carter-Brown, i.
174, 594. Some copies have 1551 in the colophon, as does that belonging
to Jules Marcou, of Cambridge. There is a copy of the Paris edition in
the Boston Public Library, no. 2,285, 58.

=1554.= An abridged edition of Apianus, _Cosmographiæ introductio_,
Venice. A copy in Harvard College Library.

=1556.= An edition of Mela, at Paris (Sunderland, no. 10,125).

=1557.= An edition of Mela, as edited by Vadianus, at Basle (D’Avezac,
p. 21).

=1561.= A Dutch edition of Apianus, at Antwerp, without map. Cf.
Carter-Brown, i. 597; Sabin, no. 1,754.

=1564.= An octavo edition of Vadianus’ _Mela_ (D’Avezac, p. 21). A
Latin edition of Apianus at Antwerp, with mappemonde.

=1574.= Latin editions of Apianus at Antwerp and Cologne, with a
folding mappemonde (Carter-Brown, i. 296, 297; Sabin, no. 1,750).

=1575.= Spanish and Italian texts of Apianus published at Antwerp,
with mappemonde, and descriptions of the New World taken from Gomara
and Girava. Cf. Carter-Brown, i. 302; Sabin, no. 1,756; Clement,
_Bibliothèque curieuse_, i. 405.

=1576.= Mela, as edited by Vadianus (D’Avezac, p. 21). With the
_Polyhistor_ of Solinus, published at Basle. The Harvard College copy
has no map of America. Cf. Graesse, v. 402.

=1577.= Henri Estienne’s collection in quarto, containing Mela
(D’Avezac, p. 24).

=1581.= Apianus in French, at Antwerp, with a folding mappemonde (p.
72). The part on America is pp. 155-187 (Murphy, no. 95).

=1582.= An edition of Mela edited by A. Schottus, published at Antwerp,
with map by Ortelius (Sunderland, no. 10,126).

=1584.= The _Cosmographia_ of Apianus and Frisius, called by Clement
(_Bibliothèque curieuse_, i. 404) the best edition, published at
Antwerp by Bellero, in two issues, a change in the title distinguishing
them. It has the same map with the 1564 and 1574 editions, and the
section on “Insulæ Americæ” begins on p. 157. Cf. Carter-Brown, i. 354,
no map mentioned; Sabin, no. 1,751.

=1585.= An edition of Mela in English, translated by Arthur Golding,
published at London as _The Worke of Pomponius Mela, the Cosmographer,
concerning the Situation of the World_. The preface is dated Feb. 6,
1584, in which Golding promises versions of Solinus and Thevet. There
is a copy in the Library of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

=1592.= A Dutch edition of Apianus, published at Antwerp (Sabin, no.

=1595.= An edition of Mela, as edited by Vadianus, published at Basle
(D’Avezac, p. 21).

=1598.= A Dutch edition of Apianus, published at Amsterdam, with
folding map. Cf. Carter-Brown, i. 521; Muller (1877), no. 164.

=1605.= Mathias Bonhomme published an edition of Mela and Solinus
(D’Avezac, p. 21).

=1609.= A Dutch edition of Apianus, printed at Antwerp, with mappemonde
(Carter-Brown, ii. 76; Sabin, no. 1,755). Bonhomme’s edition of Mela
and Solinus, reissued (D’Avezac, p. 21).

=1615=, etc. Numerous editions of Mela appeared subsequently: 1615
(Vadianus), Basle, 1619, 1625, 1626, 1635; at Madrid, 1642, 1644, in
Spanish; Leyden, 1646, in Latin; and under different editors, 1658,
1685, and 1700, and often later.




_Instructor in History in Harvard College._

IN 1498 the news of the discovery of Paria and the pearl fisheries
reached Spain; and during the next year a number of expeditions was
fitted out at private expense for trade and exploration. The first
to set sail was commanded by Alonso de Ojeda, the quondam captor of
Caonabo, who, with Juan de la Cosa—a mariner scarcely inferior in his
own estimation to the Admiral himself—and with Morigo Vespuche, as
Ojeda calls him, left the Bay of Cadiz toward the end of May, 1499.
Ojeda, provided with a copy of the track-chart sent home by Columbus,
easily found his way to the coast of South America, a few degrees north
of the equator. Thence he coasted northward by the mouth of the Rio
Dulce (Essequibo) into the Gulf of Paria, which he left by the Boca del
Drago. He then passed to the Isla Margarita and the northern shores of
Tierra Firme, along which he sailed until he came to a deep gulf into
which opened a large lagoon. The gulf he called the Golfo de Venecia
(Venezuela), from the fancied resemblance of a village on its shores
to the Queen of the Adriatic; while to the lagoon, now known as the
Lake of Maracáibo, he gave the name of S. Bartoloméo. From this gulf
he sailed westward by the land of Coquibacoa to the Cabo de la Vela,
whence he took his departure for home, where, after many adventures, he
arrived in the summer of the following year.

Close in his track sailed Cristóbal Guerra and Pedro Alonso Niño,
who arrived off the coast of Paria a few days after Ojeda had left
it. Still following him, they traded along the coast as far west as
Caucheto, and tarried at the neighboring islands, especially Margarita,
until their little vessel of fifty tons was well loaded; when they
sailed for Spain, where they arrived in April, 1500, “so laden with
pearls that they were in maner with every mariner as common as chaffe.”

About four months before Guerra’s return, Vicente Yañez Pinzon, the
former captain of the “Niña,” sailed from Palos with four vessels; and,
pursuing a southerly course, was the first of Europeans to cross the
equator on the American side of the Atlantic. He sighted the coast of
the New World in eight degrees south latitude, near a cape to which he
gave the name of Santa Maria de la Consolacion (S. Augustin). There
he landed; but met with no vestiges of human beings, except some
footprints of gigantic size. After taking possession of the country
with all proper forms, he reimbarked; and proceeding northward and
westward, discovered and partially explored the delta of an immense
river, which he called the Paricura, and which, after being known
as the Marañon or Orellana, now appears on the maps as the Amazon.
Thence, by the Gulf of Paria, Española (Hispaniola), and the Bahamas,
he returned to Spain, where he arrived in the latter part of September,

[Illustration: HISPANIOLA.

A reduced fac-simile of the map (1556) in Ramusio, iii. 44, following
that which originally appeared in the Venice edition of Peter Martyr
and Oviedo, 1534.]

Diego de Lepe left Palos not long after Vicente Yañez, and reached the
coast of the New World to the south of the Cabo de S. Augustin, to
which he gave the name of _Rostro hermoso_; and doubling it, he ran
along the coast to the Gulf of Paria, whence he returned to Palos. In
October, 1500, Rodrigo de Bastidas and Juan de la Cosa sailed from the
bay of Cadiz for the Golfo de Venecia (Venezuela), which they entered
and explored. Thence, stopping occasionally to trade with the natives,
they coasted the shores of Tierra Firme, by the Cabo de la Vela, the
province of Santa Marta, the mouths of the Rio Grande de la Magdalena,
the port of Cartagena, the river of Cenú, and the Punta Caribana, to
the Gulf of Urabá (Darien), which they explored with some care. They
were unsuccessful in their search for a strait to the west; and after
sailing along the coast of Veragua to Nombre de Dios, they started on
the return voyage. But the ravages of the _broma_ (teredo) rendering
their ships leaky, they were forced into a harbor of Española, where
the vessels, after the most valuable portions of the cargo had been
removed, went to the bottom. Bastidas was seized by order of Bobadilla,
then governor of Española, for alleged illicit traffic with the
natives, and sent to Spain for trial, where he arrived in September,
1502. He was soon after acquitted on the charges brought against him.

Alonso de Ojeda had reported the presence of Englishmen on the coast
of Tierra Firme; and, partly to forestall any occupation of the
country by them, he had been given permission to explore, settle, and
govern, at his own expense, the province of Coquibacoa. He associated
with him Juan de Vergara and Garcia de Ocampo, who provided the funds
required, and went with the expedition which left Cadiz in January,
1502. They reached, without any serious mishap, the Gulf of Paria,
where they beached and cleaned their vessels, and encountered the
natives. Thence through the Boca del Drago they traded from port to
port, until they came to an irrigated land, which the natives called
Curiana, but to which Ojeda gave the name of Valfermoso. At this place
they seized whatever they could which might be of service in the infant
settlement, and then proceeded westward; while Vergara went to Jamaica
for provisions, with orders to rejoin the fleet at S. Bartoloméo
(Maracáibo), or at the Cabo de la Vela. After visiting the Island of
Curazao (Curaçao) Ojeda arrived at Coquibacoa, and finally decided to
settle at a place which he called Santa Cruz,—probably the Bahia Honda
of the present day. Vergara soon arrived; but the supply of food was
inadequate, and the hostility of the natives made foraging a matter
of great difficulty and danger. To add to their discomfort, quarrels
broke out between the leaders, and Ojeda was seized by his two partners
and carried to Española, where he arrived in September, 1502. He was
eventually set at liberty, while his goods were restored by the King’s
command. The expedition, however, was a complete failure.

[Illustration: CASTILIA DEL ORO, 1597 (_after Wytfliet_).]

This second unprofitable voyage of Ojeda seems to have dampened the
ardor of the navigators and their friends at home; and although
Navarrete regards it as certain that Juan de la Cosa sailed to Urabá
as chief in command in 1504-1506, and that Ojeda made a voyage in the
direction of Tierra Firme in the beginning of 1505, it was not until
after the successful voyage of La Cosa in 1507-1508, that the work
of colonization was again taken up with vigor.[620] Two men offered
themselves as leaders in this enterprise; and, as it was impossible
to decide between them, they were both commissioned to settle and
govern for four years the mainland from the Cabo de la Vela to the Cabo
Gracias á Dios, while the Gulf of Urabá (Darien) was to be the boundary
between their respective governments. To Alonso de Ojeda was given the
eastern province, or Nueva Andaluçia, while Diego de Nicuesa was the
destined governor of the western province, then for the first time
named Castilla del Oro. The fertile Island of Jamaica was intended to
serve as a granary to the two governors; and to them were also granted
many other privileges,—as, for instance, freedom from taxation, and,
more important still, the right for each to take from Española four
hundred settlers and two hundred miners.

Nicuesa and Ojeda met at Santo Domingo, whither they had gone to
complete their preparations, and became involved in a boundary dispute.
Each claimed the province of Darien[621] as within his jurisdiction.
It was finally agreed, however, that the river of Darien should be the
boundary line. With regard to Jamaica, the new admiral, Diego Columbus,
prevented all disputes by sending Juan de Esquivel to hold it for
him. Diego further contributed to the failure of the enterprise by
preventing the governors from taking the colonists from Española, to
which they were entitled by their licenses. At last, however, on Nov.
12, 1509, Ojeda, with Juan de la Cosa and three hundred men, left Santo
Domingo; and five days later entered the harbor of Cartagena, where he
landed, and had a disastrous engagement with the natives. These used
their poisoned arrows to such good purpose that sixty-nine Spaniards,
Juan de la Cosa among them, were killed. Nicuesa arrived in the harbor
soon after; and the two commanders, joining forces, drove the natives
back, and recovered the body of La Cosa, which they found swollen and
disfigured by poison, and suspended from a tree. The two fleets then
separated; Nicuesa standing over to the shore of Castilla del Oro,
while Ojeda coasted the western shore of the Gulf of Urabá, and settled
at a place to which he gave the name of San Sebastian. Here they built
a fort, and ravaged the surrounding country in search of gold, slaves,
and food; but here again the natives, who used poisoned arrows, kept
the Spaniards within their fort, where starvation soon stared them
in the face. Ojeda despatched a ship to Española for provisions and
recruits; and no help coming, went himself in a vessel which had been
brought to San Sebastian by a certain piratical Talavera. Ojeda was
wrecked on Cuba; but after terrible suffering reached Santo Domingo,
only to find that his lieutenant, Enciso, had sailed some time before
with all that was necessary for the relief of the colony. The future
movements of Ojeda are not known. He testified in the trial of Talavera
and his companions, who were hanged in 1511; and in 1513 and 1515
his depositions were taken in the suit brought by the King’s attorney
against the heirs of Columbus. Broken in spirit and ruined in fortune,
he never returned to his colony.

[Illustration: CARTAGENA.

[This view of the town of Cartagena at a somewhat later day is a
fac-simile of a cut in Montanus, and has some of the doubt attached to
all of his pictures.—ED.]]

Martin Fernandez de Enciso, a wealthy lawyer (_bachiller_) of Santo
Domingo, had been appointed by Ojeda _alcalde mayor_ of Nueva
Andaluçia, and had been left behind to follow his chief with stores and
recruits. On his way to San Sebastian he stopped at Cartagena; found
no difficulty in making friends with the natives who had opposed Ojeda
so stoutly; and while awaiting there the completion of some repairs
on a boat, was surprised by the appearance of a brigantine containing
the remnant of the San Sebastian colony. When Ojeda had sailed with
Talavera he had left Pizarro, the future conqueror of Peru, in command,
with orders to hold the place for fifty days, and then, if succor had
not arrived, to make the best of his way to Santo Domingo. Pizarro
had waited more than fifty days, until the colonists had dwindled to
a number not too large for the two little vessels at his disposal. In
these they had then left the place. But soon after clearing the harbor
one of his brigantines, struck by a fish, had gone down with all on
board; and it had been with much difficulty that the other had been
navigated to Cartagena. Enciso, commander now that Ojeda and La Cosa
were gone, determined to return to San Sebastian; but, while rounding
the Punta Caribana, the large vessel laden with the stores went on the
rocks and became a total loss, the crew barely escaping with their
lives. They were now in as bad a plight as before; and decided, at the
suggestion of Vasco Nuñez de Balbóa, to cross the Gulf of Urabá to
a country where the natives did not use poisoned arrows, and where,
therefore, foraging would not be so dangerous as at San Sebastian.[622]
The removal to the other side of the gulf was safely carried out, and
the natives driven from their village. The Spaniards settled themselves
here, and called the place Santa Maria del Antigua del Darien.
Provisions and gold were found in abundance; but Enciso, declaring it
unlawful for private persons to trade with the natives for gold, was
deposed; for, as Vasco Nuñez said, the new settlement was within the
jurisdiction of Nicuesa, and therefore no obedience whatever was due to
Enciso. A municipal form of government was then instituted, with Vasco
Nuñez and Zamudio as _alcaldes_, and Valdivia as _regidor_. But the
Antigua settlers were no more disposed to obey their chosen magistrates
than they had been to give obedience to him who had been appointed to
rule over them, and they soon became divided into factions. At this
juncture arrived Rodrigo Enriquez de Colmenares, whom Nicuesa had left
at Española to follow him with recruits and provisions. Colmenares
easily persuaded the settlers at Antigua to put themselves under the
government of Nicuesa; and then, accompanied by two agents from Darien,
sailed away in search of his chief. Nicuesa, after aiding Ojeda at
Cartagena, had sailed for Castilla del Oro; but while coasting its
shores had become separated from the rest of his fleet, and had been
wrecked off the mouth of a large river. He had rejoined the rest of his
expedition after the most terrible suffering. Nicuesa had suspected
Lope de Olano, his second in command, of lukewarmness in going to his
relief, and had put him in chains. In this condition he was found by
the agents from Antigua, to one of whom it appears that Olano was
related. This, and the punishment with which Nicuesa threatened those
at Antigua who had traded for gold, impelled the agents to return with
all speed to oppose his reception; and, therefore, when he arrived off
Antigua he was told to go back. Attempting to sustain himself on land,
he was seized, put on a worn-out vessel, and bid to make the best of
his way to Española. He sailed from Antigua in March, 1511, and was
never heard of again.

After his departure the quarrels between the two factions broke out
again, and were appeased only by the sending of Enciso and Zamudio
to Spain to present their respective cases at Court. They sailed for
Española in a vessel commanded by the _regidor_ Valdivia (a firm friend
of Vasco Nuñez), who went well provided with gold to secure the favor
and protection of the new admiral, Diego Columbus, and of Pasamonte,
the King’s treasurer at Santo Domingo, for himself and Vasco Nuñez.
While Valdivia was absent on this mission, Vasco Nuñez explored the
surrounding country and won the good-will of the natives. It was on
one of these expeditions that the son of a chief, seeing the greed
of the Spaniards for gold, told them of the shores of a sea which
lay to the southward of the mountains, where there were kings who
possessed enormous quantities of the highly coveted metal. Valdivia,
who brought a commission from the Admiral to Vasco Nuñez (commonly
called Balbóa) as governor of Antigua, was immediately sent back with
a large sum of money, carrying the news of a sea to be discovered.
Valdivia was wrecked on the southern coast of Yucatan, where, with
all but two of his crew, he was sacrificed and eaten by the natives.
After some time had elapsed with no news from Española, Vasco Nuñez,
fearing that Valdivia had proved a treacherous friend, despatched two
emissaries—Colmenares and Caicedo—to Spain to lay the state of affairs
at Darien before the King.

Not long after their departure a vessel arrived from Española,
commanded by Serrano, with food, recruits, and a commission from
Pasamonte to Vasco Nuñez as governor. But Serrano also brought a letter
from Zamudio, giving an account of his experience in Spain, where he
had found the King more disposed to consider favorably the complaints
of Enciso than the justifications which he himself offered. Indeed,
it seems that Zamudio, who barely escaped arrest, wrote that it was
probable that Vasco Nuñez would be summoned to Spain to give an account
of himself. Upon the receipt of this unpleasant letter, Vasco Nuñez
determined to discover the new sea of which there was report, and thus
to atone for his shortcomings with respect to Enciso and Nicuesa.

[Illustration: BALBÓA.

[Fac-simile of an engraving in Herrera, edition of 1728.—ED.]]

To this end he left Antigua on the 1st of September, 1513; and
proceeding by the way of the country of Careta, on the evening of
September 24 encamped on the side of a mountain from whose topmost
peak his native guide declared the other sea could be discerned.
Early in the morning of the next day, Sept. 25, 1513, the sixty-seven
Spaniards ascended the mountain; and Vasco Nuñez de Balbóa, going
somewhat in advance, found himself—first of civilized men—gazing upon
the new-found sea, which he called _Mar del Sur_ (South Sea), in
distinction to the _Mar del Norte_, or the sea on the northern side
of the isthmus, although it is known to us by the name of Pacific,
which Magellan later gave to it. Of this ocean and all lands bordering
upon it he took possession for his royal master and mistress, and then
descended toward its shores. The sea itself was hard to reach, and it
was not until three days later that a detachment under Alonso Martin
discovered the beach; when Alonso Martin, jumping into a convenient
canoe, pushed forth, while he called upon his comrades to bear witness
that he was the first European to sail upon the southern sea. On the
29th of September Vasco Nuñez reached the water; and marching boldly
into it, again claimed it for the King and Queen of Castile and
Aragon. It was an arm of the ocean which he had found. According to
the Spanish custom, he bestowed upon it the name of the patron saint
of that particular day, and as the Gulf of San Miguel it is still
known to us. After a short voyage in some canoes, in the course of
which Vasco Nuñez came near drowning, he collected an immense amount
of tribute from the neighboring chiefs, and then took up his homeward
march, arriving at Antigua without serious accident in the latter part
of January, 1514. When we consider the small force at his command and
the almost overpowering difficulties of the route,—to say nothing of
hostile natives,—this march of Vasco Nuñez de Balbóa is among the most
wonderful exploits of which we have trustworthy information.

But this achievement did not bring him the indemnity and
honors for which he hoped. A new governor, appointed July 27,
1513,—notwithstanding the news which Colmenares and Caicedo had
carried with them of the existence of a sea,—had sailed before Pedro
de Arbolancha, bearing the news of the discovery, could arrive in
Spain, inasmuch as he did not even leave Antigua until March, 1514.
This new governor was Pedro Arias de Avila, better known as Pedrárias,
though sometimes called by English writers Dávila. Pedrárias, dubbed
_El Galan_ and _El Justador_ in his youth, and _Furor Domini_ in his
later years, has been given a hard character by all historians. This is
perfectly natural, for, like all other Spanish governors, he cruelly
oppressed the natives, and thus won the dislike of Las Casas; while
Oviedo, who usually differs as much as possible from Las Casas, hated
Pedrárias for other reasons. Pedrárias’ treatment of Vasco Nuñez,
in whose career there was that dramatic element so captivating, was
scant at least of favor. But, on the other hand, it must be remembered
that Pedrárias occupied an office from which Nicuesa and Enciso had
been driven, and he ruled a community which had required the utmost
vigilance on the part of Vasco Nuñez to hold in check.

With Pedrárias went a goodly company, among whom may be mentioned
Hernando de Soto, Diego de Almagro, and Benalcazar, who, with Pizarro,
already in Antigua, were to push discovery and conquest along the
shores of the Mar del Sur. There also went in the same company that
Bernal Diaz del Castillo who was to be one of the future conquistadores
of Mexico and the rude but charming relater of that conquest; and
Pascual de Andagoya, who, while inferior to Benalcazar as a ruler and
to Bernal Diaz as a narrator, was yet a very important character.
The lawyer Enciso returned among them to the scene of his former
disappointment as _alguazil mayor_; and, lastly, let us mention
Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdés, who accompanied the expedition
as _escriban general_ and _veedor._ Pedrárias sailed from San Lucar on
the 12th of April, 1514, and arrived safely in the harbor of Antigua on
the 29th of June. The survivors of the companies of Ojeda and Nicuesa,
and of the reinforcements brought thither at different times, numbered
in all but four hundred and fifty souls; and they could have offered
little opposition to the fifteen hundred accompanying Pedrárias, if
they had so desired. But no attempt was made to prevent his landing;
and as soon as Pedrárias felt himself fairly installed, an inquiry
was instituted into the previous acts of Vasco Nuñez. This trial, or
_residencia_, was conducted by Espinosa, the new _alcalde mayor_. There
is no doubt but that Enciso tried hard to bring the murder of Nicuesa,
for such it was, home to Vasco Nuñez. The efforts of Quivedo, the
recently appointed bishop of Santa Maria de la Antigua é Castilla del
Oro, and of Isabel del Bobadilla, the new governor’s wife, who had been
won over in some unknown way, secured the acquittal of Vasco Nuñez on
all criminal charges. In the innumerable civil suits, however, which
were brought against him by Enciso and by all others who felt grieved,
he was mulcted in a large amount.

This affair off his hands, Pedrárias set about executing his
supplementary instructions, which were to connect the north and south
seas by a chain of posts. He sent out three expeditions, which, besides
exploration, were to forage for food, since the supply in Antigua was
very small. The stores brought by the fleet had been in a great measure
spoiled on the voyage, and the provisions at Antigua which Vasco Nuñez’
foresight had provided, while ample for his little band, were entirely
inadequate to the support of the augmented colony. The leaders of these
expeditions—with the exception of Enciso, who went to Cenú, whence
he was speedily driven—acted in a most inhuman fashion; and the good
feeling which had subsisted between Vasco Nuñez and the natives was
changed to the most bitter hatred. To use Vasco Nuñez’ own words: “For
where the Indians were like sheep, they have become like fierce lions,
and have acquired so much daring, that formerly they were accustomed
to come out to the paths with presents to the Christians, now they
come out and they kill them; and this has been on account of the bad
things which the captains who went out on the incursions have done to
them.” He especially blamed Ayora and Morales, who commanded two of
the earliest expeditions. Ayora escaped with his ill-gotten wealth to
Spain, where he died before he could be brought to justice.

Morales, following the route of Vasco Nuñez across the isthmus, arrived
on the other side, and sailed to the Pearl Islands, which Vasco Nuñez
had seen in the distance. Here he obtained an immense booty; and
thence, crossing to the southern side of the Gulf of San Miguel, he
endeavored to return to Darien by the way of Birú and the River Atrato.
But he was speedily driven back; and was so hard pressed by the natives
throughout his homeward march that he and his companions barely escaped
with their treasure and their lives. It was about this time that Vasco
Nuñez went for a second time in search of the golden temple of Dabaibe
and suffered defeat, with the loss of Luis Carillo, his second in
command, and many of his men; while another attempt on Cenú, this time
by Becerra, ended in the death of that commander and of all but one
of his companions. In 1515, however, a force commanded by Gonzalo de
Badajos crossed the isthmus and discovered the rich country lying on
the Gulf of Parita. Badajos accumulated an enormous amount of gold,
which he was obliged to abandon when he sought safety in ignominious

These repeated disasters in the direction of Cenú nettled old
Pedrárias, and he resolved to go himself in command of an expedition
and chastise the natives. He was speedily defeated; but, instead of
returning immediately to Antigua, he sailed over to Veragua and founded
the town of Acla (Bones of Men), as the northern termination of a road
across the isthmus. He then sent Gaspar Espinosa across the isthmus to
found a town on the other side. Espinosa on his way met the fleeing
Badajos; but being better prepared, and a more able commander, he
recovered the abandoned treasure and founded the old town of Panamá;
while a detachment under Hurtado, which he sent along the coast toward
the west, discovered the Gulf of San Lucar (Nicoya).

As we have seen, Vasco Nuñez’ account of the discovery of the South
Sea reached Spain too late to prevent the sailing of Pedrárias; but
the King nevertheless placed reliance in him, and appointed him
_adelantado_, or lieutenant, to prosecute discoveries along the shores
of the southern sea, and also made him governor of the provinces of
Panamá and Coyba. This commission had reached Antigua before the
departure of Espinosa; but Pedrárias withheld it for reasons of his
own. And before he delivered it there arrived from Cuba a vessel
commanded by a friend of Vasco Nuñez,—a certain Garabito,—who by
making known his arrival to Vasco Nuñez and not to Pedrárias, aroused
the latter’s suspicions. Accordingly, Vasco Nuñez was seized and
placed in confinement. After a while, however, upon his promising
to marry one of Pedrárias’ daughters, who at the time was in Spain,
they became reconciled, and Vasco Nuñez was given his commission,
and immediately began preparation for a voyage on the South Sea. As
it seemed impossible to obtain a sufficient amount of the proper
kind of timber on the other side the isthmus, enough to build a few
small vessels was carried over the mountains. When the men began to
work it, they found it worm-eaten; and a new supply was procured,
which was almost immediately washed away by a sudden rise of the Rio
Balsas, on whose banks they had established their ship-yard. At last,
however, two little vessels were built and navigated to the Islas de
las Perlas, whence Vasco Nuñez made a short and unsuccessful cruise
to the southward. But before he went a second time he sent Garabito
and other emissaries to Acla to discover whether Pedrárias had been
superseded. It seems to have been arranged that when these men arrived
near Acla one of their number should go secretly to the house of Vasco
Nuñez there and obtain the required information. If a new governor
had arrived they were to return to the southern side of the isthmus,
and Vasco Nuñez would put himself and his little fleet out of the new
governor’s reach, trusting in some grand discovery to atone for his
disloyalty. Pedrárias was still governor; but Garabito proved a false
friend, and told Pedrárias that Vasco Nuñez had no idea of marrying his
daughter: on the contrary, he intended to sail away with his native
mistress (with whom Garabito was in love) and found for himself a
government on the shores of the Mar del Sur. Pedrárias was furious, and
enticed Vasco Nuñez to Acla, where this new charge of treason, added
to the former one of the murder of Nicuesa, secured his conviction by
the _alcalde mayor_ Espinosa, and on the very next day he and his four
companions were executed. This was in 1517.

In 1519 Pedrárias removed the seat of government from Antigua to
Panamá, which was made a city in 1521, while Antigua was not long after
abandoned. In 1519 Espinosa coasted northward and westward, in Vasco
Nuñez’ vessels, as far as the Gulf of Culebras; and in 1522 Pascual de
Andagoya penetrated the country of Birú for twenty leagues or more,
when ill health compelled his return to Panamá. He brought wonderful
accounts of an Inca empire which was said to exist somewhere along the
coast to the south.[623]

In 1519 a pilot, Andrés Niño by name, who had been with Vasco Nuñez on
his last cruise, interested Gil Gonzalez de Avila, then _contador_ of
Española, in the subject of exploration along the coast of the South
Sea. Gonzalez agreed to go as commander-in-chief, accompanying Niño
in the vessels which Vasco Nuñez had built. The necessary orders from
the King were easily obtained, and they sailed for Antigua, where they
arrived safely; but Pedrárias refused to deliver the vessels. Gil
Gonzalez, nothing daunted, took in pieces the ships by which he had
come from Spain, transported the most important parts of them across
the isthmus, and built new vessels. These, however, were lost before
reaching Panamá; but the crews arrived there in safety, and Pedrárias,
when brought face to face with the commander, could not refuse to obey
the King’s orders. Thus, after many delays, Gil Gonzalez and Andrés
Niño sailed from the Islas de las Perlas on the 21st of January, 1522.
After they had gone a hundred leagues or more, it was found necessary
to beach and repair the vessels. This was done by Niño, while Gil
Gonzalez, with one hundred men and four horses, pushed along the shore,
and, after many hairbreadth escapes, rejoined the fleet, which under
Niño had been repaired and brought around by water. The meeting was at
a gulf named by them Sanct Viçente; but it proved to be the San Lucar
of Hurtado, and the Nicoya of the present day. After a short time
passed in recuperation, the two detachments again separated. Niño with
the vessels coasted the shore at least as far as the Bay of Fonseca,
and thence returned to the Gulf of Nicoya. Here he was soon rejoined
by the land party; which, after leaving the gulf, had penetrated
inland to the Lake of Nicaragua. They explored the surrounding country
sufficiently to discover the outlet of the lake, which led to the
north, and not to the south, as had been hoped. They had but one severe
fight with the natives, accumulated vast sums of gold, and baptized
many thousand converts. With their treasure they returned in safety to
Panamá on the 25th of June, 1523, after an absence of nearly a year and
a half.

At Panamá Gil Gonzalez found an enemy worse than the natives of
Nicaragua in the person of Pedrárias, whose cupidity was aroused by the
sight of the gold. But crossing the isthmus, he escaped from Nombre de
Dios just as Pedrárias was on the point of arresting him, and steered
for Española, where his actions were approved by the Hieronimite
Fathers, who authorized him to return and explore the country. This he
endeavored to do by the way of the outlet of the Lake of Nicaragua, by
which route he would avoid placing himself in the power of Pedrárias.
He unfortunately reached the Honduras coast too far north, and marched
inland only to be met by a rival party of Spaniards under Hernando
de Soto. It seemed that as soon as possible after Gil Gonzalez’
departure from Nombre de Dios, Pedrárias had despatched a strong force
under Francisco Hernandez de Córdoba to take possession of and hold
the coveted territory for him. Córdoba, hearing from the natives of
Spaniards advancing from the north, had sent De Soto to intercept them.
Gil Gonzalez defeated this detachment; but not being in sufficient
force to meet Córdoba, he retreated to the northern shore, where he
found Cristóbal de Olid, who had been sent by Cortés to occupy Honduras
in his interest. Olid proved a traitor to Cortés, and soon captured not
only Gil Gonzalez, but Francisco de las Casas, who had been sent by
Cortés to seize him. Las Casas, who was a man of daring, assassinated
Olid, with the help of Gil Gonzalez. The latter was then sent to
make what terms he could with Cortés as to a joint occupation of the
country.[624] But Gil Gonzalez fell into the hands of the enemies
of the Conqueror of Mexico, and was sent to Spain to answer, among
other things, for the murder of Olid. He reached Seville in 1526; but,
completely overwhelmed by his repeated disasters, died soon after.

Córdoba, who had thrown off allegiance to Pedrárias, was executed.
Pedrárias himself was turned out of his government of Darien by Pedro
de los Rios, and took refuge in the governorship of Nicaragua, and died
quietly at Leon in 1530, at the advanced age of nearly ninety years.

In 1492 Christopher Columbus had discovered Cuba, which he called
Juana; and two years later he had partially explored the Island of
Jamaica, whither he had been driven on his fourth voyage, and compelled
to stay from June, 1503, to June, 1504. In 1508 this lesser island had
been granted to Ojeda and Nicuesa as a storehouse from which to draw
supplies in case of need. But, as we have seen, the Admiral of the
Indies at that time, Diego Columbus, son of the great Admiral, had sent
Juan de Esquivel with sixty men to seize the island and hold it for him
against all comers. Esquivel founded the town of Sevilla Nueva—later
Sevilla d’Oro—on the shores of the harbor where Columbus had stayed so
long; and thus the island was settled.

Although Cuba had been discovered in 1492, nothing had been done
toward its exploration till 1508, when Ovando, at that time governor
of Española, sent Sebastian de Ocampo to determine whether it was an
island or not. Columbus, it will be remembered, did not, or would
not, believe it insular, though the Indians whom he brought from
Guanahani had told him it was; and it had suited his purpose to make
his companions swear that they believed it a peninsula of Asia. Ocampo
settled the question by circumnavigating it from north to south; and,
after another delay, Diego Columbus in 1511 sent Diego Velasquez, a
wealthy planter of Española, to conquer and settle the island, which
at that time was called Fernandina. Velasquez, assisted by thirty men
under Pamphilo de Narvaez from Jamaica, had no difficulty in doing
this; and his task being accomplished, he threw off his allegiance
to the Admiral. Settlers were attracted to Cuba from all sides. With
the rest came one hundred, Bernal Diaz among them, from Antigua.
But Velasquez had distributed the natives among his followers with
such a lavish hand that these men were unable to get any slaves for
themselves, and in this predicament agreed with Francisco Hernandez de
Córdoba[625] to go on a slave-catching expedition to some neighboring
islands. Velasquez probably contributed a small vessel to the two
vessels which were fitted out by the others. With them went Anton
Alaminos as pilot. Sailing from Havana in February, 1517, they doubled
the Cabo de S. Anton, and steered toward the west and south. Storms and
currents drove them from their course, and it was not until twenty-one
days had passed after leaving S. Anton that they sighted some small
islands. Running toward the coast, they espied inland a city, the size
of which so impressed them that they called it _El gran Cairo_. Soon
after some natives came on board, who, to their inquiries as to what
land it was, answered “Conex Catoche;” and accordingly they named it
the Punta de Catoche. At this place, having landed, they were enticed
into an ambush, and many Spaniards were killed. From this inhospitable
shore they sailed to the west, along the northern coast of Yucatan, and
in two weeks arrived at a village which they named S. Lázaro, but to
which the native name of Campeche has clung.

[Illustration: HAVANA.

[This cut of the chief Cuban seaport represents it at a somewhat later
day, and is a fac-simile from the cut in Montanus.—ED.]]

There the natives were hostile. So they sailed on for six days more,
when they arrived off a village called Pontonchan, now known, however,
as Champoton. As they were short of water they landed at this place,
and in a fight which followed, fifty-seven Spaniards were killed and
five were drowned. Nevertheless the survivors continued their voyage
for three days longer, when they came to a river with three mouths,
one of which, the Estero de los Lagartos, they entered. There they
burned one of their vessels; and, having obtained a supply of water,
sailed for Cuba. The reports which they gave of the riches of the newly
discovered country so excited the greed of Velasquez that he fitted out
a fleet of four vessels, the command of which he gave to his nephew,
Juan de Grijalva. Anton Alaminos again went as pilot, and Pedro de
Alvarado was captain of one of the ships. They left the Cabo de S.
Anton on the 1st of May, 1518, and three days later sighted the Island
of Cozumel, which they called Santa Cruz. From this island they sailed
along the southern coast of Yucatan, which they thought an island,
and which they named Santa Maria de los Remedios. They came finally
to a shallow bay, still known by the name which they gave it, Bahia
de la Ascension. But the prospect not looking very promising in this
direction, they doubled on their track, and in due season arrived at
S. Lázaro (Campeche), or, more probably, perhaps, at Champoton, where
they had their first hostile encounter with the natives. But, being
better provided with artillery and cotton armor than was Francisco
Hernandez, Grijalva and his men maintained their ground and secured a
much-needed supply of water. Thence following the shore, they soon came
to an anchorage, which they at first called Puerto Deseado. On further
investigation the pilot Alaminos declared that it was not a harbor, but
the mouth of a strait between the island of Santa Maria de los Remedios
(Yucatan) and another island, which they called Nueva España, but which
afterward proved to be the mainland of Mexico. They named this strait
the Boca de Términos. After recuperating there, they coasted toward the
north by the mouths of many rivers, among others the Rio de Grijalva
(Tabasco), until they came to an island on which they found a temple,
where the native priests were wont to sacrifice human beings. To this
island they gave the name of Isla de los Sacrificios; while another, a
little to the north, they called S. Juan de Ulúa. The sheet of water
between this island and the mainland afforded good anchorage, and
to-day is known as the harbor of Vera Cruz. There Grijalva stayed some
time, trading with the inhabitants, not of the islands merely, but of
the mainland. To this he was beckoned by the waving of white flags,
and he found himself much honored when he landed. After sending Pedro
de Alvarado, with what gold had been obtained, to Cuba in a caravel
which needed repairs, Grijalva proceeded on his voyage; but when he had
arrived at some point between the Bahia de Tanguijo and the Rio Panuco,
the pilot Alaminos declared it madness to go farther. So the fleet
turned back, and, after more trading along the coast, they arrived
safely at Matanzas in October of the same year. Velasquez, when he saw
the spoil gathered on this expedition, was much vexed that Grijalva had
not broken his instructions and founded a settlement. A new expedition
was immediately prepared, the command of which was given to Hernan
Cortés.[626] As for Grijalva, he took service under Pedrárias, and
perished with Hurtado in Nicaragua.


THE best account of the voyages and expeditions of the companions of
Columbus, with the exception of those relating immediately to the
settlement of Darien and the exploration of the western coast of the
isthmus, is Navarrete’s _Viages menores_.[627] This historian[628] had
extraordinary opportunities in this field; and a nautical education
contributed to his power of weighing evidence with regard to maritime
affairs. No part of Navarrete has been translated into English, unless
the first portion of Washington Irving’s _Companions of Columbus_
may be so regarded. The best account of these voyages in English,
however, is Sir Arthur Helps’s _Spanish Conquest in America_,[629]
which, although defective in form, is readable, and, so far as it goes,
trustworthy. This work deals not merely with the _Viages menores_, but
also with the settlement of Darien; as, too, does Irving’s _Companions_.

The first voyage of Ojeda rests mainly on the answers to the questions
propounded by the _fiscal real_ in the suit brought against Diego,
the son of Columbus, in which the endeavor was made to show that
Ojeda, and not Columbus, discovered the pearl coasts. But this claim
on the part of the King’s attorney was unsuccessful; for Ojeda
himself expressly stated in his deposition, taken in Santo Domingo
in 1513, that he was the first man who went to Tierra-Firme _after_
the Admiral, and that he knew that the Admiral had been there because
he saw the chart[630] which the Admiral had sent home. This lawsuit
is so important in relation to these minor voyages that Navarrete
printed much of the testimony then taken, with some notes of his own,
at the end of his third volume.[631] Among the witnesses were Ojeda,
Bastidas, Vicente Yañez Pinzon, Garcia Hernandez a “_fisico_,” who had
accompanied Vicente Yañez on his first voyage, the pilots Ledesma,
Andrés de Morales, Juan Rodriguez, and many other mariners who had
sailed with the different commanders. Their testimony was taken with
regard to the third voyage of Columbus (second question); the voyage
of Guerra and Niño (third and fourth questions); Ojeda’s first voyage
(fifth question); Bastidas (sixth question); Vicente Yañez (seventh
question); Lepe (eighth question); etc. Taken altogether, this evidence
is the best authority for what was done or was not done on these early

The only things worth noting in the voyage of Guerra and Niño are the
smallness of the vessel (fifty tons),[633] and the enormous pecuniary
return. One of the voyagers,[634] very possibly Niño himself,[635]
wrote an account of the voyage, which was translated into Italian, and
published as chapters cx. and cxi. of the _Paesi novamente retrovati_.
It was then translated into Latin, and inserted by Grynæus in the
_Novus orbis_.[636]

A contemporary account of the voyage of Vicente Yañez Pinzon was
printed in the _Paesi novamente_,[637] by whom written is not known.
Varnhagen has attempted to show that the cape near which Vicente
Yañez landed was not the Cabo de S. Augustin, but some point much
farther north.[638] For a time the point was raised that Vicente Yañez
arrived on the coast after Cabral; but that was plainly impossible,
as he undoubtedly sighted the American coast before Cabral left
Portugal.[639] As to the landfall itself, both Navarrete and Humboldt
place it in about eight degrees south latitude; and they base their
argument on the answers to the seventh question of the _fiscal real_ in
the celebrated lawsuit, in which Vicente Yañez said that it was true
that he discovered from “El cabo de Consolacion que es en la parte de
Portugal é agora se llama cabo de S. Augustin.”[640] In this he was
corroborated by the other witnesses.[641] The voyage was unsuccessful
in a pecuniary point of view. Two vessels were lost at the Bahamas,
whither Vicente Yañez had gone in quest of slaves. After his return to
Spain it was only through the interposition of the King that he was
able to save a small portion of his property from the clutches of the
merchants who had fitted out the fleet.[642]

The voyage of Diego de Lepe rests entirely on the evidence given in
the Columbus lawsuit,[643] from which it also appears that he drew a
map for Fonseca on which the coast of the New World was delineated
trending toward the south and west from Rostro Hermoso (Cabo de S.
Augustin). Little is known of the further movements of Diego de Lepe,
who, according to Morales, died in Portugal before 1515.[644] Navarrete
printed nothing relating to him of a later date than November,
1500;[645] but in the _Documentos inéditos_ are documents which would
seem to show that he was preparing for a voyage in the beginning of

Juan de la Cosa returned with Ojeda in the middle of June, 1500, and he
sailed with Bastidas in the following October. The intervening time he
probably spent in working on the map which bears the legend “Juan de
la Cosa la fizo en Puerto de Sta. Maria en año de 1500.” This is the
earliest existing chart made by one of the navigators of the fifteenth
century, the track-chart sent home by Columbus in 1498,[647] and the
Lepe map, being lost. Humboldt was especially qualified to appreciate
the clearness and accuracy of this La Cosa map by the knowledge of the
geography of Spanish America which he gained during a long sojourn in
that part of the world;[648] and this same knowledge gives especial
value to whatever he says in the _Examen critique_[649] concerning
the voyages herein described. Of Juan de la Cosa’s knowledge of the
geography of the northern coast of South America there can be little
doubt, especially when it is borne in mind that he made no less than
six voyages to that part of the world,[650] only two of which, however,
preceded the date which he gives to his map. A comparison of La Cosa’s
map with the chart of 1527 usually, but probably erroneously, ascribed
to Ferdinand Columbus, and with that of 1529 by Ribero, gives a clearer
idea than the chronicles themselves do, of the discoveries of the early

       *       *       *       *       *

Like all these early minor voyages, that of Rodrigo Bastidas rests
mainly on the testimony given in the lawsuit already referred to.[652]
Navarrete in his _Viages menores_ stated that Ojeda procured a license
from Bishop Fonseca, who had been empowered to give such licenses. No
document, however, of the kind has been produced with regard to Ojeda
or any of these commanders before the time of Bastidas, whose _Asiento
que hizo con SS. MM. Católicas_ of June 5, 1500, has been printed.[653]
As already related, the ravages of the teredo drove Bastidas into a
harbor of Española, where he was forced to abandon his vessels and
march to Santo Domingo. He divided his men into three bands, who saved
themselves from starvation by exchanging for food some of the ornaments
which they had procured on the coast of Tierra-Firme. This innocent
traffic was declared illegal by Bobadilla, who sent Bastidas to Spain
for trial. But two years later, on Jan. 29, 1504, their Majesties
ordered his goods to be restored to him, and commanded that all further
proceedings should be abandoned.[654] They also granted him a pension
of fifty thousand maravedis, to be paid from the revenues “de los
Golfos de Huraba e Barú;”[655] while Juan de la Cosa was not only
pensioned in a similar fashion, but also made _alguacil mayor_ of the
Gulf of Urabá.[656] With the exception of a slave-catching voyage to
Urabá in 1504, Bastidas lived quietly as a farmer in Española until
1520, when he led an expedition to settle the province of Santa Marta,
and was there killed by his lieutenant. After his death his family,
seeking to receive compensation for his services and losses, drew up an
_Informacion de los servicios del adelantado Rodrigo de Bastidas_;[657]
and eight years later presented another.[658] From this material it is
possible to construct a clear and connected account of this voyage,
especially when supplemented by Oviedo and Las Casas.[659]

This was the first voyage which really came within the scope of Hubert
H. Bancroft’s _Central America_; and therefore he has described it
at some length.[660] This book is a vast and invaluable mine of
information, to be extracted only after much labor and trouble,
owing to a faulty table of contents, and the absence of side-notes
or dates to the pages; and there is at present no index. The text
is illustrated with a mass of descriptive and bibliographical notes
which are really the feature of the work, and give it its encyclopedic
value. Considering its range and character, the book has surprisingly
few errors of any kind; and indeed the only thing which prevents our
placing implicit reliance on it is Mr. Bancroft’s assertion[661] that
“very little of the manuscript as it comes to me, whether in the form
of rough material or more finished chapters, is the work of one person
alone;” while we are not given the means of attaching responsibility
where it belongs, as regards both the character of the investigation
and the literary form which is presented. As to the ultimate authorship
of the text itself, we are only assured[662] that “at least one half of
the manuscript has been written by my own hand.”[663]

       *       *       *       *       *

The second voyage of Alonso de Ojeda rests entirely on some documents
which Navarrete printed in the third volume of his _Coleccion_, and
upon which he founded his account of the voyage.[664] The first, in
point of time, is a _cédula_ of June 8, 1501, continuing a license of
July, 1500, to explore and govern the Isla de Coquivacoa.[665] Two
days later, on June 10, 1501, a formal commission as governor was
given to Ojeda,[666] and the articles of association were executed by
him and his partners, Vergara and Ocampo, on the 5th of July.[667]
An _escribano_, Juan de Guevara by name, was appointed in the
beginning of September of the same year. The fleet was a long time in
fitting out, and it was not till the next spring that Ojeda issued
his orders and instructions to the commanders of the other vessels
and to the pilots.[668] These are of great importance, as giving the
names of the places which he had visited on his first voyage. The
attempt at colonization ended disastrously, and Ojeda found himself
at Santo Domingo as the defendant in a suit brought against him by
his associates. Navarrete used the evidence given in this suit in his
account; but he printed only the _ejecutoria_, in which the King and
Queen ordered that Ojeda should be set at liberty, and that his goods
should be restored to him.[669] The position of the irrigated land[670]
which he called Valfermoso is difficult to determine; but it certainly
was not the Curiana of the present day, which is identical with the
Curiana of Guerra and Niño.[671]

Martin Fernandez de Enciso—the _bachiller Enciso_—“first came to the
Indies with Bastidas,” says Bancroft,[672] and practised law to such
good purpose that he accumulated two thousand castellanos,—equivalent
to ten thousand in our day.[673] This he contributed toward the
expenses of the Nueva Andalucia colony, of which he was made _alcalde
mayor_. But he was unfortunate in that office, as we have seen, and
was sent to Spain, whence he returned in 1513 with Pedrárias as
_alguacil mayor_. In 1514 he led an expedition to Cenú, to which Irving
erroneously gives an earlier date.[674] From 1514 to 1519 nothing is
known of Enciso’s movements; but in the latter year he published the
_Suma de geografía que trata de todas las partidas y provincias del
mundo, en especial de las Indias_, which contains much bearing on this
period. What became of the author is not known.

The trading voyages to Tierra-Firme between Ojeda’s two attempts at
colonization have no geographical importance; and, indeed, their very
existence depends on a few documents which were unearthed from the
Archives of the Indies by the indefatigable labors of Muñoz, Navarrete,
and the editors of the _Coleccion de documentos inéditos relativos al
descubrimiento, conquista y organizacion de las antiguas posesiones
Españolas de América y Oceania_.[675] Of these trading voyages first
comes the cruise of Juan de la Cosa, or Juan Vizcaino, as he was
sometimes called, whose intention to embark upon it is inferred from
a letter from the Queen to the royal officers,[676] and an _asiento_
bearing date Feb. 14, 1504.[677] Nothing is known of the voyage itself,
except that Navarrete, on the authority of a _cédula_ which he did not
print, gives the amount of money received by the Crown as its share of
the profits.[678]

The voyage which Ojeda is supposed to have made in 1505 rests on a
still weaker foundation, as there is nothing with regard to it except
a _cédula_, bearing date Sept. 21, 1505,[679] concerning certain
valuables which may have been procured on this voyage or on the
first ill-fated attempt at colonization. That it was contemplated is
ascertained from a _Cédula para que Alfonso Doxeda sea Gobernador de
la Costa de Ququebacóa e Huraba_,[680] etc. The document, dated Sept.
21, 1504, is followed by two of the same date referring to Ojeda’s
financial troubles. Is it not possible that the above-mentioned
document of Sept. 21, 1505, belongs with them? The agreement
(_asiento_) of Sept. 30, 1504, confirmed in March of the next year, is
in the same volume, while an order to the Governor of Española not to
interfere with the luckless Ojeda was printed by Navarrete (iii. 111),
who has said all that can be said concerning the expedition in his
_Noticia biográfica_.[681]

The voyage of Juan de la Cosa with Martin de los Reyes and Juan Correa
rests entirely on the assertion of Navarrete that they returned in
1508, because it was stated (where, he does not say) that the proceeds
of the voyage were so many hundred thousand maravedis.[682] Concerning
the discovery of Yucatan by Vicente Yañez Pinzon, there is no original
material;[683] but here again evidence of preparation for a voyage
can be found in an _asiento y capytulacion_ of April 24, 1505, in the
_Documentos inéditos_ (xxxi. 309).

After this time the history of Tierra-Firme is much better known; for
it is with the colonies sent out under Ojeda and Nicuesa in 1509 that
the _Historia general_ of Oviedo becomes a standard authority. Gonzalo
Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdés was born in Madrid in 1478, and in 1490
he entered the household of the Duke of Villahermoso. Later he served
under Prince Juan and the King Of Naples until 1507, when he entered
the service of the King and Queen of Spain. In 1513 he was appointed
_escribano_, and later (upon the death of Caicedo, who, it will be
remembered, was one of the agents Vasco Nuñez had sent to Spain to
announce the existence of an unknown sea) _veedor de las fundaciones
d’oro_ to the expedition which under Pedrárias was sent to Tierra-Firme
in that year. Oviedo did not approve of the course pursued by that
worthy, and returned to Spain in 1515 to inform the new King, Charles
I. (Emperor Charles V.) of the true condition of affairs in the Indies.
He brought about many important reforms, secured for himself the office
of perpetual _regidor_ of Antigua,—_escribano general_ of the province,
receiver of the fines of the _cámara_,[684]—and cargoes and goods
forfeited for smuggling were also bestowed upon him. His _veeduría_
was extended so as to include all Tierra-Firme; and when the news of
the execution of Vasco Nuñez arrived at Court, he was ordered to take
charge of his goods and those of his associates. Oviedo, provided with
so many offices and with an order commanding all governors to furnish
him with a true account of their doings, returned to Antigua soon
after the new governor, Lope de Sosa, who had been appointed, upon
his representations, to succeed Pedrárias. But unfortunately for him
Lope de Sosa died in the harbor of Antigua (1520), and Oviedo was left
face to face with Pedrárias. It was not long before they quarrelled
as to the policy of removing the seat of government of the province
from Antigua to Panamá, which Oviedo did not approve. Pedrárias
craftily made him his lieutenant at Antigua, in which office Oviedo
conducted himself so honestly that he incurred the hatred of all the
evil-disposed colonists of that town, and was forced to resign. He also
complained of Pedrárias before the new _alcalde mayor_, and was glad
to go to Spain as the representative of Antigua. On his way he stopped
at Cuba and Santo Domingo, where he saw Velasquez and Diego Columbus;
with the latter he sailed for home. There he used his opportunities so
well that he procured, in 1523, the appointment of Pedro de los Rios as
Pedrárias’ successor, and for himself the governorship of Cartagena;
and after publishing his _Sumario_ he returned to Castilla del Oro,
where he remained until 1530, when he returned to Spain, resigned his
_veeduría_, and some time after received the appointment of _Cronista
general de Indias_. In 1532 he was again in Santo Domingo, and in 1533
he was appointed _alcaid_ of the fortress there. But the remainder of
his life was passed in literary pursuits, and he died in Valladolid
in 1557 at the age of seventy-nine. From this account it can easily be
seen that whatever he wrote with regard to the affairs of Tierra-Firme
must be received with caution, as he was far from being an impartial

       *       *       *       *       *

The first document with regard to the final and successful settlement
of Tierra-Firme is the _cédula_ of June 9, 1508, in which Diego de
Nicuesa and Alonso de Ojeda were commissioned governors of Veragua and
Urabá for four years.[686] Juan de la Cosa was confirmed in his office
of _alguacil mayor de Urabá_ on the seventeenth of the same month;[687]
and the Governor of Española was directed to give him a house for his
wife and children, together with a sufficient number of Indians.[688]

As we have seen, the two governors were prevented by Diego Columbus
from taking the well-to-do class of colonists from Española upon which
they had counted. This statement is made on the authority of Nicuesa’s
lieutenant, Rodrigo de Colmenares, who afterward deserted Nicuesa at
Antigua, and went to Spain in 1512 in company with Caicedo to report
the existence of a new sea. While there, either on this or a later
visit, he presented a memorial to the King _sobre el desgraciado suceso
de Diego de Nicuesa_.[689] The allegations of Colmenares are borne out
by two _cédulas_ of Feb. 28, 1510;[690] while a _cédula_ of June 15,
1510, declared that the Gulf of Urabá belonged to the province which
had been assigned to Ojeda.[691] Nicuesa was informed of this decision
in a _cédula_ of the same date.[692] There are four more _cédulas_
of July 25, 1511, in two of which the Admiral Diego Columbus and the
treasurer Pasamonte are ordered to assist the unhappy governors, while
the other two were written to inform those governors that such orders
had been sent.[693] The fate of neither of them, however, is certain.
The judges of appeal in Española were ordered to inquire into the
crimes, _délits_, and excesses of Ojeda, Talavera, and companions.[694]
Talavera and his associates were hanged in Jamaica in 1511, and Ojeda’s
deposition was taken in 1513, and again in 1515 in Santo Domingo, in
the celebrated lawsuit; but beyond this his further movements are not
accurately known.[695] As for Nicuesa, he too underwent shipwreck and
starvation; and when at last fortune seemed about to smile upon him, he
was cruelly cast out by the mutinous settlers at Darien; and although a
story was current that he had been wrecked on Cuba and had there left
inscribed on a tree, “Here died the unfortunate Nicuesa,” yet the best
opinion is that he and his seventeen faithful followers perished at

       *       *       *       *       *

The only complete biography of Vasco Nuñez de Balbóa is that of Don
Manuel José Quintana,[697] who had access to the then unpublished
portion of Oviedo, and to documents many of which are possibly not
yet published. His _Vida_,[698] therefore, is very useful in filling
gaps in the account of the expeditions from Antigua both before and
after the coming of Pedrárias. There is no account by an eye-witness
of the expeditions undertaken by Vasco Nuñez before 1514; and the only
approach to such a document is the letter which Vasco Nuñez wrote to
the King on Jan. 20, 1513.[699] The writer of this letter came to the
Indies with Bastidas in 1500; and after the unhappy ending of that
voyage settled in Española. But he was not suited to the placid life of
a planter, and becoming involved in debt, was glad to escape from his
creditors in Enciso’s ship. It was by his advice that the San Sebastian
colony was transferred to the other side of the Gulf of Urabá; and when
there his shrewdness had discovered a way of getting rid of Enciso.
The exact part he played in the murder of Nicuesa is not clear; but
it is certain, as Bancroft points out, that his connection with that
nefarious act was the lever by which his enemies finally accomplished
his overthrow. It can be thus easily understood that the censures which
he passes on Enciso and Nicuesa must be received with caution. Still,
we should not forget that Vasco Nuñez succeeded where they failed. He
was a man of little or no education, and portions of this letter are
almost untranslatable. Nevertheless, Clements R. Markham has given an
English rendering in the Introduction to his translation of Andagoya’s
_Relacion_.[700] Among the other accounts,[701] that of Herrera is very
full, and, so far as it can be compared with accessible documents,
sufficiently accurate.

There is no real discrepancy in the various narratives, except with
regard to the date of the discovery of the Pacific, which Peter
Martyr says took place on the 26th of September, while all the other
authorities have the 25th; Oviedo going so far as to give the very hour
when the new waters first dawned on Balbóa’s sight.[702]

There is no lack of original material concerning the government
of Pedrárias. First come his commission[703] (July 27, 1513) and
instructions[704] (Aug. 2, 1513), which Navarrete has printed, together
with the letter written by the King on receipt of the reports of Vasco
Nuñez’ grand discovery.[705] The date of this paper is not given; but
there has recently been printed[706] a letter from the King to Vasco
Nuñez of Aug. 19, 1514. In this note the monarch states that he has
heard of the discovery of the new sea through Pasamonte, although he
had not then seen Arbolancha. Pasamonte had probably written in Vasco
Nuñez’ favor; for the King adds that he has written to Pedrárias that
he (Vasco Nuñez) should be well treated. It is possible that this is
the letter above mentioned, a portion only of which is printed in

The date of the expedition to Dabaibe, in which so many men were lost,
is not certain; but Vasco Nuñez saw the necessity of putting forward a
defence, which he did in a letter to the King on the 16th of October,
1515.[707] In this letter, besides describing the really insuperable
obstacles in the way of a successful expedition in that direction,—in
which the lack of food, owing to the ravages of the locusts, bears a
prominent part,—he attacks Pedrárias and his government very severely.

The doings of Arbolancha in Spain are not known. There is a letter of
the King to Pedrárias, dated Sept. 27, 1514, appointing Vasco Nuñez
_adelantado_ of the coast region which he had discovered.[708] We have
several letters of the King to Pedrárias, to the new _adelantado_, and
to other officers, on November 23 and 27.[709]

The next document of importance is the narrative of Espinosa’s
expedition, written by himself. It is printed in the _Documentos
inéditos_ (vol. ii. pp. 467-522), with some corrections by the editors;
but it may be found in the original spelling, and without such
corrections, in another volume of that series,[710] where the date of
1514 is most erroneously assigned to it.

The _licenciate_ Gaspar de Espinosa came to Tierra-Firme with Pedrárias
as _alcalde mayor_. Soon after his arrival at Antigua he held the
_residencia_ of Vasco Nuñez, and then is not heard of again until he
is found in command of this expedition. He founded Panamá (for the
first time) and returned to Antigua, whence he followed Pedrárias to
Acla to try Vasco Nuñez for treason. He unwillingly convicted him, but
recommended mercy. After the great explorer’s death he cruised in his
vessels to the coast of Nicaragua; and later he played an important
part in the conquest of Peru, and died at Cuzco while endeavoring to
accommodate the differences between Pizarro and Almagro. The only other
document of his which I have found is a _Relacion e proceso_ concerning
the voyage of 1519.[711]

There are a few other documents bearing on the history of
Tierra-Firme;[712] but the best and most complete contemporary
account of this period[713] was written by Pascual de Andagoya, who
came to Antigua with Pedrárias. Andagoya was with Vasco Nuñez on his
last voyage, accompanied Espinosa on both his expeditions, and led
a force into Birú in 1522. After his return from that expedition he
lived in Panamá until 1529, when Pedro de los Rios banished him from
the isthmus. After a few years spent in Santo Domingo he returned to
Panamá as lieutenant to the new governor, Barrionuevo, and acted as
agent to Pizarro and the other conquerors of Peru until 1536, when
his _residencia_ was held with much rigor by the _licenciate_ Pedro
Vasquez, and he was sent to Spain. In 1539 he returned as _adelantado_
and governor of Castilla Nueva, as the province bordering on the
_Mar del Sur_ from the Gulf of San Miguel to the San Juan River was
then called. But the remainder of his life was one succession of
disappointments, and he died some time after 1545.[714]

From this brief biography it will be seen that Andagoya’s earlier
career was successful, and that he was on friendly terms with
Pedrárias, Espinosa, and Vasco Nuñez. He was therefore, so far as we
are concerned, an impartial witness of the events which he describes;
and his testimony is therefore more to be relied on than that of
Oviedo, who was absent from Tierra-Firme a great part of the time, and
who was besides inimical to Pedrárias. Otherwise Oviedo’s account is
the better; for the sequence of events is difficult, if not impossible,
to unravel from Andagoya.

The second chronicler of the Indies, Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas,
who published the first two volumes of his _Historia general_ in
1601,[715] drew upon himself the wrath of a descendant of Pedrárias,
Don Francisco Arias Dávila, Conde de Puñonrostro, who petitioned for
redress. _Memorials_, _relaciones_, and _refutaciones_ were given on
both sides until September, 1603, when the matter was referred to “Xil
Ramirez de Arellano, del Consexo de Su Maxestad e Su Fiscal.” This
umpire decided in effect[716] that Herrera had gone too far, and that
the acrimony of some of the passages objected to should be mitigated.
The papers which passed in this discussion, after remaining for a
long time buried in the Archives of the Indies, have been printed
in the thirty-seventh volume of _Documentos inéditos_,[717] and are
without doubt one of the most valuable sets among the papers in that
collection. Among them are many letters from the King to the royal
officials which throw much light on the history of that time. There
is nothing in them, however, to remove the unfavorable opinion of
Pedrárias which the execution of Vasco Nuñez aroused; for although
there can be little doubt that Vasco Nuñez meditated technical treason,
yet conviction for treason by the _alcalde mayor_ would not have
justified execution without appeal, especially when the fair-minded
judge, Gaspar Espinosa, recommended mercy. This is perfectly clear;
but the mind of Pedrárias, who presented the facts from his point of
view, in the _Testimónio de mandamiénto de Pedrárias Dávila mandando
proscesar a Vasco Nuñez de Balbóa_,[718] had been poisoned by the
jealous Garabito.

The convicted traitors were executed without delay or appeal of any
kind being given them. The general opinion is that this execution took
place in 1517, and that date has been adopted in this chapter; but
in the second volume of _Documentos inéditos_ (p. 556), there is a
_Peticion presentada por Hernando de Arguello, á nombre de Vasco Nuñez
de Balbóa, sobre que se le prorrogue el término que se le habia dado
para la construccion de unos navíos_, etc., which was granted, for
eight months, on the 13th day of January, 1518 (_en treze de Enero de
quiniéntos é diez é ocho años_). This document is signed by Pedrárias
Dávila, Alonso de la Puente, and Diego Marquez; and it is properly
attested by Martin Salte, _escribáno_. Argüello was the principal
financial supporter of Vasco Nuñez in the South Sea enterprise,
and was executed in the evening of the same day on which his chief

The first fifty-seven pages of the fourteenth volume of the _Documentos
inéditos_ are taken up with the affairs of Gil Gonzalez Dávila.
The first is an _asiénto_ with the pilot Niño, by which he was
given permission to discover and explore for one thousand leagues
to the westward from Panamá. Gil Gonzalez was to go in command of
the fleet,[720] composed of the vessels built by Vasco Nuñez, which
Pedrárias was ordered to deliver to the new adventurers, but which he
refused to do until Gil Gonzalez made the demand in person.[721]

A full statement of the equipments and cost of fitting out the fleet
in Spain is given in _Documentos inéditos_ (vol. xiv. pp. 8-20), and
is exceedingly interesting as showing what the Spaniards thought
essential to the outfit of an exploring expedition. What was actually
accomplished in the way of sailing, marching, and baptizing is fully
set forth in _Relacion de las leguas que el capitan Gil Gonzalez Dávila
anduvo á pié por tierra por la costa de la mar del Sur, y de los
caciques y indios que descubrió y se babtizaron, y del oro que dieron
para Sus Magestades_ (1522).[722]

The latter part of the career of Gil Gonzalez is described in the
_Informacion sobre la llegada de Gil Gonzalez Dávila y Cristóbal
de Olid á las Higueras_ (Oct. 8, 1524)[723] and in the succeeding
documents, especially a _Traslado testimoniado de una cédula del
Emperador Carlos V.... entre los capitanes Gil Gonzalez Dávila y
Cristóbal Dolid_ (Nov. 20, 1525).[724] The _Relacion_ of Andagoya[725]
contains a narrative of the expedition from a different point of
view. Besides these papers, Bancroft found a document in the Squier
Collection,[726] which he cites as _Carta de Gil Gonzalez Dávila el
Rey_ (March, 1524). This letter contains a great deal of detailed
information, of which Bancroft has made good use in his account of that

       *       *       *       *       *

There is no documentary evidence with regard to the settlement of
Jamaica by Juan de Esquivel, or of the circumnavigation of Cuba by
Sebastian de Ocampo; and there are but slight allusions to them in
the “chroniclers.”[728] There is not much to be found concerning the
settlement of Cuba, except the accounts given by the early chroniclers.
I should place Oviedo (vol. i. p. 494) first, although he got his
knowledge second hand from the account given by Las Casas; while the
story of this actual observer is necessarily tinged by the peculiar
views—peculiar for the nation and epoch—which he held in later life
with regard to the enslavement of the natives.[729]

With the voyage of Córdoba to Yucatan, Navarrete[730] again becomes
useful, although he printed no new evidence. The voyage, therefore,
rests upon the accounts given in the standard books,[731] upon
the _Historia verdadera_ of Bernal Diaz, the _Vida de Cortés_ in
Icazbalceta (i. 338), and a few documents recently dragged from the
recesses of the Indian Archives.

Bernal Diaz del Castillo came to Tierra-Firme with Pedrárias; but,
discouraged with the outlook there, he and about one hundred companions
found their way to Cuba, attracted thither by the inducements held
out by Velasquez. But there again he was doomed to disappointment,
and served under Córdoba, Grijalva, and Cortés. After the conquest of
Mexico he settled in Guatemala. Whatever may be the exaggerations in
the latter part of his _Historia verdadera_,[732] there is no reason
why Bernal Diaz should not have wished to tell the truth as to the
voyages of Córdoba and Grijalva, with one or two exceptions, to be
hereafter noted.

Prescott, in his _Conquest of Mexico_ (vol. i. p. 222), says that
Córdoba sailed for one of the neighboring Bahamas, but that storms
drove him far out of his course, etc. Bancroft[733] has effectually
disposed of this error. But is it not a curious fact that Bernal Diaz
and Oviedo should give the length of the voyage from Cape St. Anton
to the sighting of the islands off Yucatan as from six to twenty-one
days? Oviedo was probably nearer the mark, as it is very likely that
the old soldier had forgotten the exact circumstances of the voyage;
for it must be borne in mind that he did not write his book until
long after the events which it chronicles. As to the object of the
expedition, it was undoubtedly undertaken for the purpose of procuring
slaves, and very possibly Velasquez contributed a small vessel to the
two fitted out by the other adventurers;[734] but the claim set forth
by the descendants of Velasquez, that he sent four fleets _at his own
cost_—_La una con un F. H. de Córdoba_[735]—is preposterous.

The voyage of Juan de Grijalva was much better chronicled; for
with regard to it there are in existence three accounts written by
eye-witnesses. The first is that of Bernal Diaz,[736] which is minute,
and generally accurate; but it is not unlikely that in his envy at
the praise accorded to Cortés, he may have exaggerated the virtues of
Grijalva. The latter also wrote an account of the expedition, which
is embodied in Oviedo,[737] together with corrections suggested by
Velasquez, whom Oviedo saw in 1523.

But before these I should place the _Itinerario_ of Juan Diaz, a priest
who accompanied the expedition.[738] The original is lost; but an
Italian version is known, which was printed with the _Itinerario de
Varthema_ at Venice, in 1520.[739] This edition was apparently unknown
to Navarrete, who gives 1522 as the date of its appearance in Italian,
in which he is followed by Ternaux-Compans and Prescott.

Notwithstanding this mass of original material, it is not easy to
construct a connected narrative of this voyage, for Oviedo sometimes
contradicts himself; Bernal Diaz had undoubtedly forgotten the exact
dates, which he nevertheless attempts to give in too many cases; Juan
Diaz, owing partly to the numerous translations and changes incidental
thereto, is sometimes unintelligible; and Las Casas,[740] who had good
facilities for getting at the exact truth, is often very vague and
difficult to follow.

[Illustration: JUAN DE GRIJALVA.

Fac-simile of an engraving in Herrera, i. 312. Cf. also the Mexican
edition of Prescott, and Carbajal Espinosa’s _Historia de México_. i.

In addition to this material, the _Décadas abreviadas de los
descubrimientos, conquistas, fundaciones y otras cosas notables,
acaecidas en las Indias occidentales desde 1492 á 1640_, has been of
considerable service. This paper was found in manuscript form, without
date or signature, in the Biblioteca Nacional by the editors of the
_Documentos inéditos_, and printed by them in their eighth volume (pp.
5-52). It is not accurate throughout; but it gives the dates and order
of events in many cases so clearly, that it is a document of some

[Illustration: Edward Channing.]



IN a previous section on the early maps of the Spanish and Portuguese
discoveries the Editor has traced the development of the geography of
the Gulf of Mexico with the group of the Antilles and the neighboring
coasts, beginning with the delineation of La Cosa in 1500. He has
indicated in the same section the influence of the explorations of
Columbus and his companions in shaping the geographical ideas of the
early years of the sixteenth century. Balbóa’s discovery in 1513 was
followed by the failure to find any passage to the west in the latitude
of the Antilles; but the disappointment was not sufficient to remove
the idea of such a passage from the minds of certain geographers for
some years to come. The less visionary among them hesitated to embrace
the notion, however, and we observe a willingness to be confined by
something like definite knowledge in the maker of a map of the Pacific
which is preserved in the Military Library at Weimar. This map shows
Cordova’s discoveries about Yucatan (1517), but has no indication
of the islands which Magellan discovered (1520) in the Pacific;
accordingly, Kohl places it in 1518. Balbóa’s discovery is noted in the
sea which was seen by the Castilians.[741]

[Illustration: THE PACIFIC, 1518.]

[Illustration: GULF OF MEXICO, 1520.

This map is also given in Weise’s _Discoveries of America_, p. 278.]

[Illustration: LORENZ FRIESS, 1522.]

A sketch of a map found by Navarrete in the Spanish archives, and given
by him in his _Coleccion_, vol. iii., as “Las Costas de Tierra-Firme
y las tierras nuevas,” probably embodies the results of Pineda’s
expedition to the northern shores of the Gulf in 1519. This was the map
sent to Spain by Garay, the governor of Jamaica. What seems to be the
mouth of the Mississippi will be noted as the “Rio del Espiritu Santo.”
The surprisingly accurate draft of the shores of the Gulf which Cortés
sent to Europe was published in 1524, and is given to the reader on
another page.[742]

[Illustration: MAIOLLO, 1527.

Sketch of the map in the Ambrosian Library, of which the part north
of Florida is given on a larger scale, after Desimoni’s sketch, with
coast names, in the present _History_, Vol. IV. pp. 28, 39. The present
sketch follows a fac-simile given in Weise’s _Discoveries of America_.]

There is a sketch of the northern shore of South America and the
“Insule Canibalorum sive Antiglie” which was made by Lorenz Friess
(Laurentius Frisius) in 1522. The outline, which is given herewith,
represents one of the sheets of twelve woodcut maps which were
not published till 1530—under the title _Carta marina navigatoria
Portugalensium_. Friess does not mention whence he got his material,
which seems to be of an earlier date than the time of using it; and
Kohl suspects it came from Waldseemüller. South America is marked “Das
nüw Erfunde land.”

In the Maiollo map of 1527 we find two distinct features,—the strait,
connecting with the Pacific, which Cortés had been so anxious to find;
and the insular Yucatan pushed farther than usual into the Gulf.
The notion that Yucatan was an island is said to have arisen from a
misconception of the meaning of the designation which the Indians
applied to the country.[743] The Portuguese Portulano of 1514-1518[744]
had made Yucatan a peninsula; but four years later Grijalva had been
instructed to sail round it, and Cortés in his map of 1520 had left
an intervening channel.[745] We see the uncertainty which prevailed
among cartographers regarding this question in the peninsular character
which Yucatan has in the map of 1520,[746] as resulting from Pineda’s
search; in the seeming hesitancy of the Toreno map,[747] and in the
unmistakable insularity of the Friess,[748] Verrazano,[749] and
Ribero[750] charts. The decision of the latter royal hydrographer
governed a school of map-makers for some years, and a similar strait
of greater or less width separates it from the main in the Finæus
map of 1531,[751] the Lenox woodcut of 1534,[752] the Ulpius globe
of 1542,[753] not to name others; though the peninsular notion still
prevailed with some of the cartographers.[754]

[Illustration: THE WEIMAR MAP OF 1527.]

A map which shows the extent of the explorations on the Pacific from
Balbóa’s time till Gonzales and others reached the country about the
Isthmus of Tehuantepec, is that of 1527, which was formerly ascribed
to Ferdinand Columbus, but has been shown (?) by Harrisse to be
more likely the work of Nuño Garcia de Toreno. The map, which is of
the world, and of which but a small section is given herewith, is
called _Carta universal en que se contiene todo lo que del mundo se a
descubierto hasta aora; hizola un cosmographo de su magestad anno M.
D. XXVII en Sevilla_. Its outline of the two Americas is shown in a
sketch given on an earlier page.[755] The original is preserved in the
Grand-Ducal Library at Weimar.

[Illustration: RIBERO, 1529.]

A map of similar character, dated two years later, is one which is
the work of Diego Ribero, a Portuguese in the service of Spain, who
had been the royal cosmographer since 1523,—an office which he was to
hold till his death, ten years later, in 1533. There are two early
copies of this map, of which a small section is herewith given; both
are on parchment, and are preserved respectively at Weimar and Rome,
though Thomassy[756] says there is a third copy. The Roman copy is in
the Archivio del Collegio di Propaganda, and is said to have belonged
to Cardinal Borgia. The North American sections of the map have been
several times reproduced in connection with discussions of the voyages
of Gomez and Verrazano.[757] The entire American continent was first
engraved by M. C. Sprengel in 1795, after a copy then in Büttner’s
library at Jena, when it was appended to a German translation of Muñoz,
with a memoir upon it which was also printed separately as _Ueber
Ribero’s älteste Weltkarte_. The map is entitled _Carta universal en
que se contiene todo lo que del mundo se ha descubierto fasta agora:
Hizola Diego Ribero cosmographo de su magestad: año de 1529. La Qual
se divide en dos partes conforme á la capitulaçion que hizieron los
catholicos Reyes de España, y el Rey don Juan de portugal en la Villa
[citta] de Tordesillas: Año de 1494_,—thus recording the Spanish
understanding, as the map of 1527 did, of the line of demarcation. The
Propaganda copy has “en Sevilla” after the date. The most serviceable
of the modern reproductions of the American parts is that given by
Kohl in his _Die beiden ältesten General-Karten von Amerika_, though
other drafts of parts are open to the student in Santarem’s _Atlas_
(pl. xxv.), Lelewel’s _Moyen-âge_ (pl. xli.), Ruge’s _Geschichte des
Zeitalters der Entdeckungen_, and Bancroft’s _Central America_ (i.

These two maps of 1527 and 1529 established a type of the American
coasts which prevailed for some time. One such map is that of which a
fac-simile is given in the _Cartas de Indias_, called “Carta de las
Antillas, seno Mejicano y costas de tierra-firme, y de la America
setentrional,” which seems, however, to have been made later than
1541.[759] Another is preserved in the Ducal Library at Wolfenbüttel,
of which Harrisse makes mention in his _Cabots_, p. 185. A significant
map of this type, commonly cited as the _Atlas de Philippe II., dédié
à Charles Quint_, is more correctly defined in the title given to a
photographic reproduction,[760] _Portulano de Charles Quint donné
à Philippe II., accompagné d’une notice par MM. F. Spitzer et Ch.
Wiener_, Paris, 1875. The map is not dated; but the development of the
coasts of Florida, California, Peru, and of Magellan’s Straits, with
the absence of the coast-line of Chili, which had been tracked in 1536,
has led to the belief that it represents investigations of a period not
long before 1540. The original draft first attracted attention when
exhibited in 1875 at the Geographical Congress in Paris, and shortly
after it was the subject of several printed papers.[761] Major is
inclined to think it the work of Baptista Agnese, and Wieser is of the
same opinion; while for the American parts it is contended that the
Italian geographer—for the language of the map is Italian—followed the
maps of 1527 and 1529.

What would seem to be the earliest engraved map of this type exists,
so far as is known, in but a single copy, now in the Lenox Library.
It is a woodcut, measuring 21 × 17 inches, and is entitled _La carta
uniuersale della terra firma & Isole delle Indie occidētali, cio è del
mondo nuouo fatta per dichiaratione delli libri delle Indie, cauata
da due carte da nauicare fatte in Sibilia da li piloti della Maiesta
Cesarea_,—the maps referred to being those of 1527 and 1529, as is
supposed. Harrisse, however, claims that this Venice cut preceded the
map of 1527, and was probably the work of the same chartmaker. Stevens
holds that it followed both of these maps, and should be dated 1534;
while Harrisse would place it before Peter Martyr’s death in September,
1526. According to Brevoort and Harrisse,[762] the map was issued to
accompany the conglomerate work of Martyr and Oviedo, _Summario de la
generale historia de l’Indie occidentali_, which was printed in three
parts at Venice in 1534.[763] Murphy, in his _Verrazzano_ (p. 125),
quotes the colophon of the Oviedo part of the book as evidence of the
origin of the map, which translated stands thus: “Printed at Venice in
the month of December, 1534.”


For the explanation of these books there has been made a universal map
of the countries of all the West Indies, together with a special map
[Hispaniola] taken from two marine charts of the Spaniards, one of
which belonged to Don Pietro Martire, councillor of the Royal Council
of said Indies, and was made by the pilot and master of marine charts,
Niño Garzia de Loreno [_sic_] in Seville; the other was made also by a
pilot of his Majesty, the Emperor, in Seville. Quaritch[764] says that
an advertisement at the end of the _secundo libro_ of Xeres, _Conquista
del Peru_ (Venice, 1534), shows that the map in the first edition of
Peter Martyr’s _Decades_ was made by Nuño Garcia de Toreno in Seville;
but the statement is questionable. Harrisse refers to a map of Toreno
preserved in the Royal Library at Turin, dated 1522, in which he is
called “piloto y maestro de cartas de nauegar de su Magestad.” The
American part of this last chart is unfortunately missing.[765]

Harrisse calls this Lenox woodcut the earliest known chart of Spanish
origin which is crossed by lines of latitude and longitude, and thinks
it marks a type adopted by the Spanish cosmographers a little after
the return of Del Cano from his voyage of circumnavigation and the
coming of Andagoya from Panama in 1522, with additions based on the
tidings which Gomez brought to Seville in December, 1525, from his
voyage farther north.

[Illustration: AN EARLY FRENCH MAP.]

It is not worth while to reproduce here various maps of this time, all
showing more or less resemblance to the common type of this central
portion of the New World. Such are the maps of Verrazano[766] and of
Thorne,[767] the draft of the Sloane manuscript,[768] the cordiform map
of Orontius Finæus,[769] one given by Kunstmann,[770] and the whole
series of the Agnese type.[771]

[Illustration: GULF OF MEXICO, 1536.]

There is a French map, which was found by Jomard in the possession of
a noble family in France, which Kohl supposes to be drawn in part from
Ribero. A sketch is annexed as of “An Early French Map.” The absence of
the Gulf of California and of all traces of De Soto’s expedition leads
Kohl to date it before 1533. Jomard placed the date later; but as the
map has no record of the expeditions of Ribault and Laudonnière, it
would appear to be earlier than 1554.[772]

There is a large manuscript map in the British Museum which seems to
have been made by a Frenchman from Spanish sources, judging from the
mixture and corruption of the languages used in it. In one inscription
there is mention of “the disembarkation of the Governor;” and this,
together with the details of the harbors on the west coast of Florida,
where Narvaez went, leads Kohl to suppose the map to have been drawn
from that commander’s reports. The sketch, which is annexed and marked
“Gulf of Mexico, 1536,” follows Kohl’s delineation in his Washington

[Illustration: ROTZ, 1542.]

We can further trace the geographical history of the Antilles in the
Münster map of 1540,[774] in the Mercator gores of 1541,[775] and in
the Ulpius globe of 1542.[776] In this last year (1542) we find in
the Rotz _Idrography_, preserved in the British Museum, a map which
records the latitudes about three degrees too high for the larger
islands, and about two degrees too low for the more southern ones,
making the distance between Florida and Trinidad too great by five
degrees. The map is marked “The Indis of Occident quhas the Spaniards
doeth occupy.” The sketch here given follows Kohl’s copy.[777] Rotz
seems to have worked from antecedent Portuguese charts; and in the
well-known Cabot map of 1544, of which a section is annexed, as well as
in the Medina map of 1545,[778] we doubtless have the results reached
by the Spanish hydrographers. The “Carta marina” of the Italian Ptolemy
of 1548,[779] as well as the manuscript atlas of Nicholas Vallard
(1547), now in the Sir Thomas Phillipps Collection, may be traced
ultimately to the same source; and the story goes respecting the latter
that a Spanish bishop, Don Miguel de Silva, brought out of Spain and
into France the originals upon which it was founded. These originals,
it would appear, also served Homem in 1558 in the elaborate manuscript
map, now preserved in the British Museum, of which a sketch (in part)
is annexed (p. 229).

[Illustration: CABOT, 1544.

Sketch of a section of the so-called Sebastian Cabot Mappemonde in
the National Library at Paris, following a photographic reproduction
belonging to Harvard College Library. There is a rude draft of the
Antilles by Allfonsce of this same year.]

The maps of the middle of the century which did most to fix popularly
the geography of the New World were probably the Bellero map of
1554,[780] which was so current in Antwerp publications of about that
time, and the hemisphere of Ramusio (1556) which accompanied the third
volume of his _Viaggi_, and of which a fac-simile is annexed. There is
a variety of delineations to be traced out for the Antilles through the
sequence of the better-known maps of the next following years, which
the curious student may find in the maps of the Riccardi Palace,[781]
the Nancy globe,[782] the Martines map of 155-,[783] that of Forlani in
1560,[784] the map of Ruscelli in the Ptolemy of 1561, besides those
by Zalterius (1566),[785] Des Liens (1566),[786] Diegus (1568),[787]
Mercator (1569),[788] Ortelius (1570),[789] and Porcacchi (1572).[790]

[Illustration: RAMUSIO, 1556.

H. H. Bancroft, _Northwest Coast_, i. 49, sketches this map, but errs
in saying the shape of the California peninsula was not copied in
later maps. Cf. map in Best’s _Frobisher_ 1578.]

[Illustration: HOMEM, 1558.]

[Illustration: MARTINES, 1578.]

Of the map of Martines, in 1578, which is in a manuscript atlas
preserved in the British Museum, Kohl says its parallels of latitude
are more nearly correct than on any earlier map, while its meridians of
longitude are expanded far too much.[791]

[Illustration: CUBA (_after Wytfliet_, 1597).

The earliest map of Cuba is that in the La Cosa Chart, which is
reproduced, among other places, in Ramon de la Sagra’s _Histoire
physique et politique de l’ile de Cuba_, 1842-1843, which contains
also the chart of Guillaure Testu. There are other early maps of
Cuba—besides those in maps of the Antilles already mentioned in the
present section—in Porcacchi, 1572 (pp. 81, 88), in the Ortelius of
1592, and in the Mercator atlases. The bibliography of Cuba is given
in Bachiler’s _Apuntes para la historia de la isla de Cuba_, Havana,
1861. For the cartography, cf. the _Mapoteca Columbiana_ of Uricoechea,
London, 1860, p. 53. Of the several maps of the Antilles toward the end
of the century, it may be sufficient to name the detailed map of the
West Indies in the Ortelius of 1584, the Hakluyt-Martyr map of 1587,
the map of Thomas Hood in Kunstmann, the De Bry map of 1596, as well as
the maps of the first distinctively American atlas,—that of Wytfliet in




THE credit of being the first to explore our Atlantic coast has not yet
been positively awarded by critical historians. Ramusio preserves the
report of a person whom he does not name, which asserts that Sebastian
Cabot claimed for his father and himself, in the summer of 1497, to
have run down the whole coast, from Cape Breton to the latitude of
Cuba; but the most recent and experienced writer on Cabot treats the
claim as unfounded.[792]

The somewhat sceptical scholars of our day have shown little
inclination to adopt the theory of Francisco Adolpho de Varnhagen, that
Americus Vespucius on his first voyage reached Honduras in 1497, and
during the ensuing year ran along the northern shore of the Gulf of
Mexico, doubled the Florida cape, and then sailed northward along our
Atlantic coast to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where he built a vessel and
sailed to Cadiz.[793]

Although Columbus made his first landfall on one of the Bahamas, and
Cuba was soon after occupied, no definite knowledge seems to have
been obtained of the great mainland so near them. There is nothing
in narrative or map to betray any suspicion of its existence prior to
the year 1502, when a map executed in Lisbon at the order of Cantino,
an Italian merchant, for Hercules d’Este, shows a mainland north of
Cuba, terminating near that island in a peninsula resembling Florida.
The tract of land thus shown has names of capes and rivers, but they
can be referred to no known exploration. To some this has seemed to be
but a confused idea of Cuba as mainland;[794] by others it is regarded
as a vague idea of Yucatan. But Harrisse in his _Corte-Real_, where he
reproduces the map, maintains that “between the end of 1500 and the
summer of 1502 navigators, whose name and nationality are unknown,
but whom we presume to be Spaniards, discovered, explored, and named
the part of the shore of the United States which from the vicinity of
Pensacola Bay runs along the Gulf of Mexico to the Cape of Florida,
and, turning it, runs northward along the Atlantic coast to about the
mouth of the Chesapeake or Hudson.”[795]

But leaving these three claims in the realm of conjecture and doubt, we
come to a period of more certain knowledge.

The Lucayos of the Bahamas seem to have talked of a great land of
Bimini not far from them. The Spaniards repeated the story; and in the
edition of Peter Martyr’s _Decades_ published in 1511 is a map on which
a large island appears, named “Illa de Beimeni, parte.”[796]

Discovery had taken a more southerly route; no known Spanish vessel
had passed through the Bahama channel or skirted the coast. But some
ideas must have prevailed, picked up from natives of the islands, or
adventurous pilots who had ventured farther than their instructions
authorized. Stories of an island north of Hispaniola, with a fountain
whose waters conferred perpetual youth, had reached Peter Martyr in
Spain, for in the same edition of his _Decades_ he alludes to the

John Ponce de Leon, who had accompanied Columbus on his second voyage,
and had since played his part bravely amid the greatest vicissitudes,
resolved to explore and conquer Bimini. He had friends at Court, and
seems to have been a personal favorite of the King, who expressed a
wish for his advancement.[797] The patent he solicited was based on
that originally issued to Columbus; but the King laughingly said, that
it was one thing to grant boundless power when nothing was expected
to come of it, and very different to do so when success was almost
certain. Yet on the 23d of February, 1512, a royal grant empowered
John Ponce de Leon “to proceed to discover and settle the Island
of Bimini.”[798] The patent was subject to the condition that the
island had not been already discovered. He was required to make the
exploration within three years, liberty being granted to him to touch
at any island or mainland not subject to the King of Portugal. If he
succeeded in his expedition he was to be governor of Bimini for life,
with the title of _adelantado_.[799]

The veteran immediately purchased a vessel, in order to go to Spain
and make preparations for the conquest of Bimini. But the authorities
in Porto Rico seized his vessel; and the King, finding his services
necessary in controlling the Indians, sent orders to the Council of the
Indies to defer the Bimini expedition, and gave Ponce de Leon command
of the fort in Porto Rico.[800]

Thus delayed in the royal service, Ponce de Leon was unable to obtain
vessels or supplies till the following year. He at last set sail from
the port of San German in Porto Rico in March, 1513,[801] with three
caravels, taking as pilot Anton de Alaminos, a native of Palos who
had as a boy accompanied Columbus, and who was long to associate his
own name with explorations of the Gulf of Mexico. They first steered
northeast by north, and soon made the Caicos, Yaguna, Amaguayo, and
Manigua. After refitting at Guanahani, Ponce de Leon bore northwest;
and on Easter Sunday (March 27) discovered the mainland, along which he
ran till the 2d of April, when he anchored in 30° 8’ and landed. On the
8th he took possession in the name of the King of Spain, and named the
country—which the Lucayos called Cancio—Florida, from Pascua Florida,
the Spanish name for Easter Sunday.

The vessels then turned southward, following the coast till the 20th,
when Ponce landed near Abayoa, a cluster of Indian huts. On attempting
to sail again, he met such violent currents that his vessels could make
no headway, and were forced to anchor, except one of the caravels,
which was driven out of sight. On landing at this point Ponce found
the Indians so hostile that he was obliged to repel their attacks by
force. He named a river Rio de la Cruz; and, doubling Cape Corrientes
on the 8th of May, sailed on till he reached a chain of islands, to
which he gave the name of the Martyrs. On one of these he obtained wood
and water, and careened a caravel. The Indians were very thievish,
endeavoring to steal the anchors or cut the cables, so as to seize the
ships. He next discovered and named the Tortugas. After doubling the
cape, he ran up the western shore of Florida to a bay, in 27° 30’,
which for centuries afterward bore the name of Juan Ponce. There are
indications that before he turned back he may have followed the coast
till it trended westward. After discovering Bahama he is said to have
despatched one caravel from Guanima under John Perez de Ortubia, with
Anton de Alaminos, to search for Bimini, while he himself returned
to Porto Rico, which he reached September 21. He was soon followed by
Ortubia, who, it is said, had been successful in his search for Bimini.

Although Ponce de Leon had thus explored the Florida coast, and added
greatly to the knowledge of the Bahama group, his discoveries are not
noted in the editions of Ptolemy which appeared in the next decade, and
which retained the names of the Cantino map. The Ribeiro map (1529)
gives the Martyrs and Tortugas, and on the mainland Canico,—apparently
Cancio, the Lucayan name of Florida. In the so-called Leonardo da
Vinci’s Mappemonde, Florida appears as an island in a vast ocean that
rolls on to Japan.[802]

Elated with his success, John Ponce de Leon soon after sailed to
Spain; and, obtaining an audience of the King,—it is said through the
influence of his old master, Pero Nuñez de Guzman, Grand Comendador
of Calatrava,—gave the monarch a description of the attractive land
which he had discovered. He solicited a new patent for its conquest
and settlement; and on the 27th of September, 1514, the King empowered
him to go and settle “the Island of Brimini and the Island Florida”
which he had discovered under the royal orders. He was to effect
this in three years from the delivery of the _asiento_; but as he
had been employed in His Majesty’s service, it was extended so that
this term was to date from the day he set sail for his new province.
After reducing the Caribs, he was empowered to take of the vessels and
men employed in that service whatever he chose in order to conquer
and settle Florida. The natives were to be summoned to submit to the
Catholic Faith and the authority of Spain, and they were not to be
attacked or captured if they submitted. Provision was made as to the
revenues of the new province, and orders were sent to the viceroy, Don
Diego Columbus, to carry out the royal wishes.[803]

The Carib war was not, however, terminated as promptly as the King and
his officers desired. Time passed, and adventurers in unauthorized
expeditions to Florida rendered the Indians hostile.[804] It was not
till 1521 that Ponce de Leon was able to give serious thought to a
new expedition. His early hopes seem to have faded, and with them the
energy and impulsiveness of his youth. He had settled his daughters
in marriage, and, free from domestic cares, offered himself simply to
continue to serve the King as he had done for years. Writing to Charles
V. from Porto Rico on the 10th of February, 1521, he says:—

 “Among my services I discovered, at my own cost and charge, the Island
 Florida and others in its district, which are not mentioned as being
 small and useless; and now I return to that island, if it please God’s
 will, to settle it, being enabled to carry a number of people with
 which I shall be able to do so, that the name of Christ may be praised
 there, and Your Majesty served with the fruit that land produces.
 And I also intend to explore the coast of said island further, and
 see whether it is an island, or whether it connects with the land
 where Diego Velasquez is, or any other; and I shall endeavor to learn
 all I can. I shall set out to pursue my voyage hence in five or six

[Illustration: PONCE DE LEON.

Fac-simile of an engraving in Herrera, edition of 1728.]

As he wrote to the Cardinal of Tortosa, he had expended all his
substance in the King’s service; and if he asked favors now it was “not
to treasure up or to pass this miserable life, but to serve His Majesty
with them and his person and all he had, and settle the land that he
had discovered.”[806]

He went prepared to settle, carrying clergymen for the colonists,
friars to found Indian missions, and horses, cattle, sheep, and swine.
Where precisely he made the Florida coast we do not know; but it is
stated that on attempting to erect dwellings for his colonists he was
attacked by the natives, who showed great hostility. Ponce himself,
while leading his men against his assailants, received so dangerous an
arrow wound, that, after losing many of his settlers by sickness and at
the hands of the Indians, he abandoned the attempt to plant a colony in
Florida, which had so long been the object of his hopes; and taking all
on board his vessels, he sailed to Cuba. There he lingered in pain, and
died of his wound.[807]

John Ponce de Leon closed his long and gallant career without solving
the problem whether Florida was an island or part of the northern
continent. Meanwhile others, following in the path he had opened,
were contributing to a more definite knowledge. Thus Diego Miruelo, a
pilot, sailed from Cuba in 1516 on a trading cruise; and running up
the western shore of the Floridian peninsula, discovered a bay which
long bore his name on Spanish maps, and was apparently Pensacola. Here
he found the Indians friendly, and exchanged his store of glass and
steel trinkets for silver and gold. Then, satisfied with his cruise,
and without making any attempt to explore the coast, he returned to

The next year Francis Hernandez de Cordova[809] sent from Cuba on the
8th of February two ships and a brigantine, carrying one hundred and
ten men, with a less humane motive than Miruelo’s; for Oviedo assures
us that his object was to capture on the Lucayos, or Bahama Islands,
a cargo of Indians to sell as slaves. His object was defeated by
storms; and the vessels, driven from their course, reached Yucatan,
near Cape Catoche, which he named. The Indians here were as hostile
as the elements; and Hernandez, after several sharp engagements with
the natives, in which almost every man was wounded, was sailing back,
when storms again drove his vessels from their course. Unable to make
the Island of Cuba, Alaminos, the pilot of the expedition, ran into a
bay on the Florida coast, where he had been with Ponce de Leon on his
first expedition. While a party which had landed were procuring water,
they were attacked with the utmost fury by the Indians, who, swarming
down in crowds, assailed those still in the boats. In this engagement
twenty-two of the Indians were killed, six of the Spaniards in the
landing party were wounded,—including Bernal Diaz, who records the
event in his History,—and four of those in the boats, among the number
Anton de Alaminos, the pilot. The only man in the expedition who had
come away from Yucatan unwounded, a soldier named Berrio, was acting as
sentry on shore, and fell into the hands of the Indians. The commander
himself, Hernandez de Cordova, reached Cuba only to die of his wounds.

This ill-starred expedition led to two other projects of settlement
and conquest. Diego Velasquez, governor of Cuba, the friend and host
of Hernandez, obtained a grant, which was referred to by Ponce de Leon
in his final letter to the King, and which resulted in the conquest
of Mexico;[810] and Francis de Garay, governor of Jamaica, persuaded
by Alaminos to enter upon an exploration of the mainland, obtained
permission in due form from the priors of the Order of St. Jerome, then
governors of the Indies, and in 1519 despatched four caravels, well
equipped, with a good number of men, and directed by good pilots, to
discover some strait in the mainland,—then the great object of search.

Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda, the commander of the expedition, reached the
coast within the limits of the grant of Ponce de Leon, and endeavored
to sail eastward so as to pass beyond and continue the exploration.
Unable, from headwinds, to turn the Cape of Florida, he sailed westward
as far as the River Pánuco, which owes its name to him. Here he
encountered Cortés and his forces, who claimed the country by actual

The voyage lasted eight or nine months, and possession was duly taken
for the King at various points on the coast. Sailing eastward again,
Garay’s lieutenant discovered a river of very great volume, evidently
the Mississippi.[811] Here he found a considerable Indian town, and
remained forty days trading with the natives and careening his vessels.
He ran up the river, and found it so thickly inhabited that in a space
of six leagues he counted no fewer than forty Indian hamlets on the two

According to their report, the land abounded in gold, as the natives
wore gold ornaments in their noses and ears and on other parts of the
body. The adventurers told, too, of tribes of giants and of pigmies;
but declared the natives to have been friendly, and well disposed to
receive the Christian Faith.

Wild as these statements of Pineda’s followers were, the voyage settled
conclusively the geography of the northern shore of the Gulf, as it
proved that there was no strait there by which ships could reach Asia.
Florida was no longer to be regarded as an island, but part of a vast
continent. The province discovered for Garay received the name of

Garay applied for a patent authorizing him to conquer and settle the
new territory, and one was issued at Burgos in 1521. By its tenor
Christopher de Tapia, who had been appointed governor of the territory
discovered by Velasquez, was commissioned to fix limits between Amichel
and the discoveries of Velasquez on the west and those of Ponce de
Leon on the east. On the map given in Navarrete,[812] Amichel extends
apparently from Cape Roxo to Pensacola Bay.

After sending his report and application to the King, and without
awaiting any further authority, Garay seems to have deemed it prudent
to secure a footing in the territory; and in 1520 sent four caravels
under Diego de Camargo to occupy some post near Pánuco. The expedition
was ill managed. One of the vessels ran into a settlement established
by Cortés and made a formal demand of Cortés himself for a line of
demarcation, claiming the country for Garay. Cortés seized some of the
men who landed, and learned all Camargo’s plans. That commander, with
the rest of his force, attempted to begin a settlement at Pánuco; but
the territory afforded no food, and the party were soon in such straits
that, unable to wait for two vessels which Garay was sending to their
aid, Camargo despatched a caravel to Vera Cruz to beg for supplies.[813]

In 1523 Garay equipped a powerful fleet and force to conquer and settle
Amichel. He sailed from Jamaica at the end of June with the famous
John de Grijalva, discoverer of Yucatan, as his lieutenant. His force
comprised thirteen vessels, bearing one hundred and thirty-six cavalry
and eight hundred and forty infantry, with a supply of field-pieces. He
reached Rio de las Palmas on the 25th of July, and prepared to begin a
settlement; but his troops, alarmed at the unpromising nature of the
country, insisted on proceeding southward. Garay yielded, and sailed to
Pánuco, where he learned that Cortés had already founded the town of
San Esteban del Puerto. Four of his vessels were lost on the coast, and
one in the port. He himself, with the rest of his force, surrendered to
Cortés. He died in Mexico, while still planning a settlement at Rio de
las Palmas; but with his death the province of Amichel passed out of

Thus the discoveries of Ponce de Leon and of Garay, with those of
Miruelos, made known, by ten years’ effort, the coast-line from the Rio
Grande to the St. John’s in Florida.

       *       *       *       *       *

The next explorations were intended to ascertain the nature of our
Atlantic coast north of the St. John’s.

In 1520 Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon, one of the auditors of the Island of
St. Domingo, though possessed of wealth, honors, and domestic felicity,
aspired to the glory of discovering some new land, and making it the
seat of a prosperous colony. Having secured the necessary license, he
despatched a caravel under the command of Francisco Gordillo, with
directions to sail northward through the Bahamas, and thence strike
the shore of the continent. Gordillo set out on his exploration, and
near the Island of Lucayoneque, one of the Lucayuelos, descried another
caravel. His pilot, Alonzo Fernandez Sotil, proceeded toward it in
a boat, and soon recognized it as a caravel commanded by a kinsman
of his, Pedro de Quexos, fitted out in part, though not avowedly,
by Juan Ortiz de Matienzo, an auditor associated with Ayllon in the
judiciary. This caravel was returning from an unsuccessful cruise among
the Bahamas for Caribs,—the object of the expedition being to capture
Indians in order to sell them as slaves. On ascertaining the object
of Gordillo’s voyage, Quexos proposed that they should continue the
exploration together. After a sail of eight or nine days, in which
they ran little more than a hundred leagues, they reached the coast of
the continent at the mouth of a considerable river, to which they gave
the name of St. John the Baptist, from the fact that they touched the
coast on the day set apart to honor the Precursor of Christ. The year
was 1521, and the point reached was, according to the estimate of the
explorers, in latitude 33° 30′.[814]

Boats put off from the caravels and landed some twenty men on the
shore; and while the ships endeavored to enter the river, these
men were surrounded by Indians, whose good-will they gained by

Some days later, Gordillo formally took possession of the country in
the name of Ayllon, and of his associate Diego Caballero, and of the
King, as Quexos did also in the name of his employers on Sunday, June
30, 1521. Crosses were cut on the trunks of trees to mark the Spanish

Although Ayllon had charged Gordillo to cultivate friendly relations
with the Indians of any new land he might discover,[817] Gordillo
joined With Quexos in seizing some seventy of the natives, with whom
they sailed away, without any attempt to make an exploration of the

On the return of the vessel to Santo Domingo, Ayllon condemned his
captain’s act; and the matter was brought before a commission, presided
over by Diego Columbus, for the consideration of some important
affairs. The Indians were declared free, and it was ordered that they
should be restored to their native land at the earliest possible
moment. Meanwhile they were to remain in the hands of Ayllon and

The latter made no attempt to pursue the discovery; but Ayllon,
adhering to his original purpose, proceeded to Spain with
Francisco,—one of the Indians, who told of a giant king and many
provinces,[818]—and on the 12th of June, 1523, obtained a royal
_cédula_.[819] Under this he was to send out vessels in 1524, to run
eight hundred leagues along the coast, or till he reached lands already
discovered; and if he discovered any strait leading to the west, he
was to explore it. No one was to settle within the limits explored by
him the first year, or within two hundred leagues beyond the extreme
points reached by him north and south; the occupancy of the territory
was to be effected within four years; and as the conversion of the
natives was one of the main objects, their enslavement was forbidden,
and Ayllon was required to take out religious men of some Order to
instruct them in the doctrines of Christianity. He obtained a second
_cédula_ to demand from Matienzo the Indians in his hands in order to
restore them to their native country.[820]

On his return to the West Indies, Ayllon was called on the King’s
service to Porto Rico; and finding it impossible to pursue his
discovery, the time for carrying out the _asiento_ was, by a _cédula_
of March 23, 1524, extended to the year 1525.[821]

To secure his rights under the _asiento_, he despatched two caravels
under Pedro de Quexos to the newly discovered land early in 1525. They
regained the good-will of the natives and explored the coast for two
hundred and fifty leagues, setting up stone crosses with the name of
Charles V. and the date of the act of taking possession. They returned
to Santo Domingo in July, 1525, bringing one or two Indians from each
province, who might be trained to act as interpreters.[822]

Meanwhile Matienzo began legal proceedings to vacate the _asiento_
granted by the King to Ayllon, on the ground that it was obtained
surreptitiously, and in fraud of his own rights as joint discoverer.
His witnesses failed to show that his caravel had any license to
make a voyage of exploration, or that he took any steps to follow up
the discovery made; but the suit embarrassed Ayllon, who was fitting
out four vessels to sail in 1526, in order to colonize the territory
granted to him. The armada from Spain was greatly delayed; and as he
expected by it a store of artillery and muskets, as well as other
requisites, he was at great loss. At last, however, he sailed from
Puerto de la Plata with three large vessels,—a caravel, a breton, and
a brigantine,—early in June, 1526.[823] As missionaries he took the
famous Dominican, Antonio de Montesinos, the first to denounce Indian
slavery, with Father Antonio de Cervantes and Brother Pedro de Estrada,
of the same Order. The ships carried six hundred persons of both sexes,
including clergymen and physicians, besides one hundred horses.

They reached the coast, not at the San Juan Bautista, but at another
river, at 33° 40´, says Navarrete, to which they gave the name of
Jordan.[824] Their first misfortune was the loss of the brigantine; but
Ayllon immediately set to work to replace it, and built a small vessel
such as was called a _gavarra_,—the first instance of ship-building
on our coast. Francisco, his Indian guide, deserted him; and parties
sent to explore the interior brought back such unfavorable accounts
that Ayllon resolved to seek a more fertile district. That he sailed
northward there can be little doubt; his original _asiento_ required
him to run eight hundred leagues along the coast, and he, as well as
Gomez, was to seek a strait or estuary leading to the Spice Islands.
The Chesapeake was a body of water which it would be imperative on him
to explore, as possibly the passage sought. The soil of the country
bordering on the bay, superior to that of the sandy region south of
it, would seem better suited for purposes of a settlement. He at last
reached Guandape, and began the settlement of San Miguel, where the
English in the next century founded Jamestown.[825]

Here he found only a few scattered Indian dwellings of the communal
system, long buildings, formed of pine posts at the side, and covered
with branches, capable of holding, in their length of more than a
hundred feet, a vast number of families. Ayllon selected the most
favorable spot on the bank, though most of the land was low and swampy.
Then the Spaniards began to erect houses for their shelter, the negro
slaves—first introduced here—doing the heaviest portion of the toil.
Before the colonists were housed, winter came on. Men perished of
cold on the caravel “Catalina,” and on one of the other vessels a
man’s legs were frozen so that the flesh fell off. Sickness broke out
among the colonists, and many died. Ayllon himself had sunk under the
pestilential fevers, and expired on St. Luke’s Day, Oct. 18, 1526.

He made his nephew, John Ramirez, then in Porto Rico, his successor as
head of the colony, committing the temporary administration to Francis
Gomez. Troubles soon began. Gines Doncel and Pedro de Bazan, at the
head of some malcontents, seized and confined Gomez and the _alcaldes_,
and began a career of tyranny. The Indians were provoked to hostility,
and killed several of the settlers; the negroes, cruelly oppressed,
fired the house of Doncel. Then two settlers, Oliveros and Monasterio,
demanded the release of the lawful authorities. Swords were drawn;
Bazan was wounded and taken, Doncel fled, but was discovered near his
blazing house. Gomez and his subordinates, restored to power, tried and
convicted Bazan, who was put to death.

Such were the stormy beginnings of Spanish rule in Virginia. It is not
to be wondered at that with one consent the colonists soon resolved to
abandon San Miguel de Guandape. The body of Ayllon was placed on board
a tender, and they set sail; but it was not destined to reach a port
and receive the obsequies due his rank. The little craft foundered; and
of the five hundred who sailed from Santo Domingo only one hundred and
fifty returned to that island.

       *       *       *       *       *

Contemporaneous with the explorations made by and under Ayllon was an
expedition in a single vessel sent out by the Spanish Government in
1524 under Stephen Gomez, a Portuguese navigator who had sailed under
Magallanes, but had returned in a somewhat mutinous manner. He took
part in a congress of Spanish and Portuguese pilots held at Badajoz
to consider the probability of finding a strait or channel north
of Florida by which vessels might reach the Moluccas. To test the
question practically, Charles V. ordered Gomez to sail to the coast
of Bacallaos, or Newfoundland and Labrador, and examine the coast
carefully, in order to ascertain whether any such channel existed.
Gomez fitted out a caravel at Corunna, in northern Spain, apparently
in the autumn of 1524, and sailed across. After examining the Labrador
coast, he turned southward and leisurely explored the whole coast from
Cape Race to Florida, from which he steered to Santiago de Cuba, and
thence to Corunna, entering that port after ten months’ absence. He
failed to discover the desired channel, and no account in detail of
his voyage is known; but the map of Ribeiro,[826] drawn up in 1529,
records his discoveries, and on its coast-line gives names which were
undoubtedly bestowed by him, confirming the statement that he sailed
southerly. From this map and the descriptions of the coast in Spanish
writers soon after, in which descriptions mention is made of his
discoveries, we can see that he noted and named in his own fashion
what we now know as Massachusetts Bay, Cape Cod, Narragansett Bay, the
Connecticut, Hudson, and Delaware rivers.

This voyage completed the exploration of our coast from the Rio Grande
to the Bay of Fundy; yet Sebastián Cabot in 1536 declared that it
was still uncertain whether a single continent stretched from the
Mississippi to Newfoundland.[827]

       *       *       *       *       *

The success of Cortés filled the Spanish mind with visions of empires
in the north rivalling that of Mexico, which but awaited the courage of
valiant men to conquer.

Panfilo de Narvaez, after being defeated by Cortés, whom he was sent to
supersede,[828] solicited of Charles V. a patent under which he might
conquer and colonize the country on the Gulf of Mexico, from Rio de
Palmas to Florida. A grant was made, under which he was required to
found two or more towns and erect two fortresses. He received the title
of _adelantado_, and was empowered to enslave all Indians who, after
being summoned in due form, would not submit to the Spanish King and
the Christian Faith. In an official document he styles himself Governor
of Florida, Rio de Palmas, and Espiritu Santo,—the Mississippi.[829]

Narvaez collected an armament suited to the project, and sailed from
San Lucar de Barrameda, June 17, 1527, in a fleet of five ships
carrying six hundred persons, with mechanics and laborers, as well as
secular priests, and five Franciscan friars, the superior being Father
Juan Xuarez. On the coast of Cuba his fleet was caught by a hurricane,
and one vessel perished. After refitting and acquiring other vessels,
Narvaez sailed from Cuba in March with four vessels and a brigantine,
taking four hundred men and eighty horses, his pilot being Diego
Miruelo, of a family which had acquired experience on that coast.

The destination was the Rio de Palmas; but his pilot proved
incompetent, and his fleet moved slowly along the southern coast of
Cuba, doubled Cape San Antonio, and was standing in for Havana when it
was driven by a storm on the Florida coast at a bay which he called
Bahia de la Cruz, and which the map of Sebastian Cabot identifies with
Apalache Bay.[830] Here Narvaez landed a part of his force (April 15),
sending his brigantine to look for a port or the way to Pánuco,—much
vaunted by the pilots,—and if unsuccessful to return to Cuba for a
vessel that had remained there. He was so misled by his pilots that
though he was near or on the Florida peninsula, he supposed himself not
far from the rivers Pánuco and Palmas. Under this impression he landed
most of his men, and directed his vessels, with about one hundred souls
remaining on them, to follow the coast while he marched inland. No
steps were taken to insure their meeting at the harbor proposed as a
rendezvous, or to enable the brigantine and the other ship to follow
the party on land. On the 19th of April Narvaez struck inland in a
northward or northeasterly direction; and having learned a little of
the country, moved on with three hundred men, forty of them mounted.
On the 15th of the following month they reached a river with a strong
current, which they crossed some distance from the sea. Cabeza de Vaca,
sent at his own urgent request to find a harbor, returned with no
encouraging tidings; and the expedition plodded on till, on the 25th
of June, they reached Apalache,—an Indian town of which they had heard
magnificent accounts. It proved to be a mere hamlet of forty wretched

The sufferings of Narvaez’ men were great; the country was
poverty-stricken; there was no wealthy province to conquer, no fertile
lands for settlement. Aute (a harbor) was said to be nine days’ march
to the southward; and to this, after nearly a month spent at Apalache,
the disheartened Spaniards turned their course, following the Magdalena
River. On the 31st of July they reached the coast at a bay which
Narvaez styled Bahia de Cavallos; and seeing no signs of his vessels,
he set to work to build boats in which to escape from the country. The
horses were killed for food; and making forges, the Spaniards wrought
their stirrups, spurs, and other iron articles into saws, axes, and
nails. Ropes were made of the manes and tails of the horses and such
fibres as they could find; their shirts were used for sailcloth. By
the 20th of September five boats, each twenty-two cubits long, were
completed, and two days afterward the survivors embarked, forty-eight
or nine being crowded into each frail structure. Not one of the whole
number had any knowledge of navigation or of the coast.

Running between Santa Rosa Island and the mainland, they coasted along
for thirty days, landing where possible to obtain food or water, but
generally finding the natives fierce and hostile. On the 31st of
October they came to a broad river pouring into the Gulf such a volume
of water that it freshened the brine so that they were able to drink
it; but the current was too much for their clumsy craft. The boat
commanded by Narvaez was lost, and never heard of; that containing
Father Xuarez and the other friars was driven ashore bottom upward; the
three remaining boats were thrown on the coast of western Louisiana or
eastern Texas. The crews barely escaped with life, and found themselves
at the mercy of cruel and treacherous savages, who lived on or near
Malhado Island, and drew a precarious living from shellfish and minor
animals, prickly-pears and the like. They were consequently not as far
west as the bison range, which reached the coast certainly at Matagorda
Bay.[831] Here several of the wretched Spaniards fell victims to the
cruelty of the Indians or to disease and starvation, till Alvar Nuñez
Cabeza de Vaca, the treasurer of the expedition, escaping from six
years’ captivity among the Mariames, reached the Avavares, farther
inland, with two companions, Castillo and Dorantes, and a negro slave.
After spending eight months with them, he penetrated to the Arbadaos,
where the mesquite is first found, near the Rio Grande; and skirting
the San Saba Mountains, came to the bison plains and the hunter
nations; then keeping westward through tribes that lived in houses of
earth and knew the use of cotton and mined the turquoise, he finally
came upon some Spanish explorers on the River Petatlan; and thus on the
1st of April, 1536, with hearts full of joy and gratitude, the four men
entered the town of San Miguel in Sinaloa.

The vessels of Narvaez, not finding the alleged port of the pilots,
returned to the harbor where they had landed him, and were there
joined by the two vessels from Cuba; but though they remained nearly a
year, cruising along the coast of the Gulf, they never encountered the
slightest trace of the unfortunate Narvaez or his wretched followers.
They added nothing apparently to the knowledge of the coast already
acquired; for no report is extant, and no map alludes to any discovery
by them.

Thus ended an expedition undertaken with rashness and ignorance, and
memorable only from the almost marvellous adventures of Cabeza de Vaca
and his comrades, and the expeditions by land which were prompted by
his narrative.

       *       *       *       *       *

The wealth of Mexico and Peru had inflamed the imagination of Spanish
adventurers; and though no tidings had been received of Narvaez, others
were ready to risk all they had, and life itself, in the hope of
finding some wealthy province in the heart of the northern continent.
The next to try his fortune was one who had played his part in the
conquest of Peru.

Hernando de Soto, the son of an esquire of Xerez de Badajoz, was
eager to rival Cortés and Pizarro. In 1537 he solicited a grant of
the province from Rio de las Palmas to Florida, as ceded to Narvaez,
as well as of the province discovered by Ayllon; and the King at
Valladolid, on the 20th of April, issued a concession to him,
appointing him to the government of the Island of Cuba, and requiring
him in person to conquer and occupy Florida within a year, erect
fortresses, and carry over at least five hundred men as settlers to
hold the country. The division of the gold, pearls, and other valuables
of the conquered caciques was regulated, and provision made for the
maintenance of the Christian religion and of an hospital in the

The air of mystery assumed by Cabeza de Vaca as to the countries that
he had seen, served to inflame the imagination of men in Spain; and
Soto found many ready to give their persons and their means to his
expedition. Nobles of Castile in rich slashed silk dresses mingled with
old warriors in well-tried coats of mail. He sailed from San Lucar in
April, 1538, amid the fanfaron of trumpets and the roar of cannon,
with six hundred as high-born and well-trained men as ever went forth
from Spain to win fame and fortune in the New World. They reached
Cuba safely, and Soto was received with all honor. More prudent than
Narvaez, Soto twice despatched Juan de Añasco, in a caravel with two
pinnaces, to seek a suitable harbor for the fleet, before trusting all
the vessels on the coast.[832]

Encouraged by the reports of this reconnoitring, Soto, leaving his
wife in Cuba, sailed from Havana in May, 1539, and made a bay on the
Florida coast ten leagues west of the Bay of Juan Ponce. To this he
gave the name of Espiritu Santo, because he reached it on the Feast of
Pentecost, which fell that year on the 25th of May.[833] On the 30th
he began to land his army near a town ruled by a chief named Uçita.
Soto’s whole force was composed of five hundred and seventy men, and
two hundred and twenty-three horses, in five ships, two caravels, and
two pinnaces. He took formal possession of the country in the name
of the King of Spain on the 3d of June, and prepared to explore and
subject the wealthy realms which he supposed to lie before him. Though
the chief at his landing-place was friendly, he found that all the
surrounding tribes were so hostile that they began to attack those who
welcomed him.

Ortiz, a Spaniard belonging to Narvaez’ expedition, who in his long
years of captivity had become as naked and as savage as were the
Indians, soon joined Soto.[834] He was joyfully received; though his
knowledge of the country was limited, his services were of vital
necessity, for the Indians secured by Añasco, and on whom Soto relied
as guides and interpreters, deserted at the first opportunity.

Soto had been trained in a bad school; he had no respect for the lives
or rights of the Indians. As Oviedo, a man of experience among the
_conquistadores_, says: “This governor was very fond of this sport of
killing Indians.”[835]

The plan of his march showed his disregard of the rights of the
natives. At each place he demanded of the cacique, or head chief, corn
for his men and horses, and Indians of both sexes to carry his baggage
and do the menial work in his camp. After obtaining these supplies,
he compelled the chief to accompany his army till he reached another
tribe whose chief he could treat in the same way; but though the first
chief was then released, few of the people of the tribe which he ruled,
and who had been carried off by Soto, were so fortunate as ever to be
allowed to return to their homes.

On the 15th of July Soto, sending back his largest ships to Cuba, moved
to the northeast to make his toilsome way amid the lakes and streams
and everglades of Florida. Before long his soldiers began to suffer
from hunger, and were glad to eat water-cresses, shoots of Indian
corn, and palmetto, in order to sustain life; for native villages were
few and scattered, and afforded little corn for the plunderers. The
natives were met only as foe-men, harassing his march. At Caliquen the
Indians, to rescue their chief, whom Soto was carrying to the next
town, made a furious onslaught on the Spaniards; but were driven to
the swamps, and nearly all killed or taken. Their dauntless spirit
was, however, unbroken. The survivors, though chained as slaves, rose
on their masters; and seizing any weapon within their reach, fought
desperately, one of them endeavoring to throttle Soto himself. Two
hundred survived this gallant attempt, only to be slaughtered by the
Indian allies of the Spanish commander. Soto fought his way westward
step by step so slowly that at the end of three months, Oct. 30, 1539,
he had only reached Agile,—a town in the province of Apalache. Añasco,
sent out from this point to explore, discovered the port where Narvaez
had embarked,—the remains of his forges and the bones of his horses
attesting the fact. Soto despatched him to Tampa Bay. Añasco with a
party marched the distance in ten days; and sending two caravels to
Cuba, brought to Soto in the remaining vessels the detachment left
at his landing-place. Before he reached his commander the Indians
had burned the town of Anaica Apalache, of which Soto had taken

A good port, that of Pensacola, had been discovered to the westward;
but Soto, crediting an Indian tale of the rich realm of Yupaha in the
northeast, left his winter quarters March 3, 1540, and advanced in
that direction through tribes showing greater civilization. A month
later he reached the Altamaha, receiving from the more friendly natives
corn and game. This was not sufficient to save the Spaniards from much
suffering, and they treated the Indians with their wonted cruelty.[837]

At last Soto, after a march of four hundred and thirty leagues, much
of it through uninhabited land, reached the province ruled by the
chieftainess of Cofitachiqui. On the 1st of May she went forth to meet
the Spanish explorer in a palanquin or litter; and crossing the river
in a canopied canoe, she approached Soto, and after presenting him
the gifts of shawls and skins brought by her retinue, she took off
her necklace of pearls and placed it around the neck of Soto. Yet her
courtesy and generosity did not save her from soon being led about on
foot as a prisoner. The country around her chief town, which Jones
identifies with Silver Bluff, on the Savannah, below Augusta,[838]
tempted the followers of Soto, who wished to settle there, as from
it Cuba could be readily reached. But the commander would attempt no
settlement till he had discovered some rich kingdom that would rival
Peru; and chagrined at his failure, refused even to send tidings of his
operations to Cuba. At Silver Bluff he came upon traces of an earlier
Spanish march. A dirk and a rosary were brought to him, which were
supposed, on good grounds, to have come from the expedition of Ayllon.

Poring over the cosmography of Alonzo de Chaves, Soto and the officers
of his expedition concluded that a river, crossed on the 26th of May,
was the Espiritu Santo, or Mississippi. A seven days’ march, still in
the chieftainess’s realm, brought them to Chelaque, the country of
the Cherokees, poor in maize; then, over mountain ridges, a northerly
march brought them to Xualla, two hundred and fifty leagues from Silver
Bluff. At the close of May they were in Guaxule, where the chieftainess
regained her freedom. It was a town of three hundred houses, near the
mountains, in a well-watered and pleasant land, probably at the site of
Coosawattie Old Town. The chief gave Soto maize, and also three hundred
dogs for the maintenance of his men.

Marching onward, Soto next came to Canasagua, in all probability on a
river even now called the Connasauga, flowing through an attractive
land of mulberries, persimmons, and walnuts. Here they found stores
of bear oil and walnut oil and honey. Marching down this stream
and the Oostanaula, into which it flows, to Chiaha, on an island
opposite the mouth of the Etowa, in the district of the pearl-bearing
mussel-streams, Soto was received in amity; and the cacique had some
of the shellfish taken and pearls extracted in the presence of his
guest. The Spaniards encamped under the trees near the town, leaving
the inhabitants in quiet possession of their homes. Here, on the spot
apparently now occupied by Rome, they rested for a month. A detachment
sent to discover a reputed gold-producing province returned with no
tidings to encourage the adventurers; and on the 28th of June Soto,
with his men and steeds refreshed, resumed his march, having obtained
men to bear his baggage, though his demand of thirty women as slaves
was refused.[839]

Chisca, to which he sent two men to explore for gold, proved to be in
a rugged mountain land; and the buffalo robe which they brought back
was more curious than encouraging. Soto therefore left the territory of
the Cherokees, and took the direction of Coça, probably on the Coosa
river. The cacique of that place, warned doubtless by the rumors which
must have spread through all the land of the danger of thwarting the
fierce strangers, furnished supplies at several points on the route to
his town, and as Soto approached it, came out on a litter attired in a
fur robe and plumed headpiece to make a full surrender. The Spaniards
occupied the town and took possession of all the Indian stores of corn
and beans, the neighboring woods adding persimmons and grapes. This
town was one hundred and ninety leagues west of Xualla, and lay on
the east bank of the Coosa, between the mouths of the Talladega and
Tallasehatchee, as Pickett, the historian of Alabama, determines. Soto
held the chief of Coça virtually as a prisoner; but when he demanded
porters to bear the baggage of his men, most of the Indians fled. The
Spanish commander then seized every Indian he could find, and put him
in irons.

After remaining at Coça for twenty-five days, Soto marched to
Ullibahali, a strongly palisaded town, situated, as we may conjecture,
on Hatchet Creek. This place submitted, giving men as porters and
women as slaves. Leaving this town on the 2d of September, he marched
to Tallise, in a land teeming with corn, whose people proved equally
docile.[840] This submission was perhaps only to gain time, and draw
the invaders into a disadvantageous position.

Actahachi, the gigantic chief of Tastaluza, sixty leagues south of
Coça, which was Soto’s next station, received him with a pomp such
as the Spaniards had not yet witnessed. The cacique was seated on
cushions on a raised platform, with his chiefs in a circle around
him; an umbrella of buckskin, stained red and white, was held over
him. The curveting steeds and the armor of the Spaniards raised no
look of curiosity on his stern countenance, and he calmly awaited
Soto’s approach. Not till he found himself detained as a prisoner
would he promise to furnish the Spaniards with porters and supplies
of provisions at Mauila[841] to enable Soto to continue his march. He
then sent orders to his vassal, the chief of Mauila, to have them in

As the Spaniards, accompanied by Actahachi, descended the Alabama,
passing by the strong town of Piache, the cacique of Mauila came to
meet them with friendly greetings, attended by a number of his subjects
playing upon their native musical instruments, and proffering fur robes
and service; but the demeanor of the people was so haughty that Luis de
Moscoso urged Soto not to enter the town. The _adelantado_ persisted;
and riding in with seven or eight of his guard and four horsemen, sat
down with the cacique and the chief of Tastaluza, whom, according to
custom, he had brought to this place. The latter asked leave to return
to his own town; when Soto refused, he rose, pretending a wish to
confer with some chiefs, and entered a house where some armed Indians
were concealed. He refused to come out when summoned; and a chief who
was ordered to carry a message to the cacique, but refused, was cut
down by Gallego with a sword. Then the Indians, pouring out from the
houses, sent volleys of arrows at Soto and his party. Soto ran toward
his men, but fell two or three times; and though he reached his main
force, five of his men were killed, and he himself, as well as all
the rest, was severely wounded. The chained Indian porters, who bore
the baggage and treasures of Soto’s force, had set down their loads
just outside the palisade. When the party of Soto had been driven
out, the men of Mauila sent all these into the town, took off their
fetters, and gave them weapons. Some of the military equipments of the
Spaniards fell into the hands of the Indians, and several of Soto’s
followers, who had like him entered the town, among them a friar and an
ecclesiastic, remained as prisoners.

The Indians, sending off their caciques, and apparently their women,
prepared to defend the town; but Soto, arranging his military array
into four detachments, surrounded it, and made an assault on the gates,
where the natives gathered to withstand them. By feigning flight Soto
drew them out; and by a sudden charge routed them, and gaining an
entrance for his men, set fire to the houses. This was not effected
without loss, as the Spaniards were several times repulsed by the
Indians. When they at last fought their way into the town, the Indians
endeavored to escape. Finding that impossible, as the gates were held,
the men of Mauila fought desperately, and died by the sword, or plunged
into the blazing houses to perish there.

The battle of Mauila was one of the bloodiest ever fought on our
soil between white and red men in the earlier days. The _Adelantado_
had twenty of his men killed, and one hundred and fifty wounded; of
his horses twelve were killed and seventy wounded. The Indian loss
was estimated by the Portuguese chronicler of the expedition at
twenty-five hundred, and by Rangel at three thousand. At nightfall
Biedma tells us that only three Indians remained alive, two of whom
were killed fighting; the last hung himself from a tree in the palisade
with his bowstring.[842] The Gentleman of Elvas states Soto’s whole
loss up to his leaving Mauila to have been one hundred and two by
disease, accident, and Indian fighting. Divine worship had been
apparently offered in the camp regularly up to this time; but in the
flames of Mauila perished all the chalices and vestments of the clergy,
as well as the bread-irons and their store of wheat-flour and wine, so
that Mass ceased from this time.[843]

Soto here ascertained that Francisco Maldonado was with vessels at the
port of Ichuse (or Ochuse) only six days’ march from him, awaiting his
orders. He was too proud to return to Cuba with his force reduced in
numbers, without their baggage, or any trophy from the lands he had
visited. He would not even send any tidings to Cuba, but concealed
from his men the knowledge which had been brought to him by Ortiz, the
rescued follower of Narvaez.

Stubborn in his pride, Soto, on the 14th of November, marched
northward; and traversing the land of Pafallaya (now Clarke, Marengo,
and Greene counties), passed the town of Taliepatua and reached
Cabusto, identified by Pickett with the site of the modern town of
Erie, on the Black Warrior. Here a series of battles with the natives
occurred; but Soto fought his way through hostile tribes to the
little town of Chicaça, with its two hundred houses clustered on a
hill, probably on the western bank of the Yazoo, which he reached in
a snow-storm on the 17th of December. The cacique Miculasa received
Soto graciously, and the Spanish commander won him by sending part of
his force to attack Sacchuma, a hostile town. Having thus propitiated
this powerful chief, Soto remained here till March; when, being ready
to advance on his expedition in search of some wealthy province, he
demanded porters of the cacique. The wily chief amused the invader with
promises for several days, and then suddenly attacked the town from
four sides, at a very early hour in the morning, dashing into the place
and setting fire to the houses. The Spaniards, taken by surprise, were
assailed as they came out to put on their armor and mount their horses.
Soto and one other alone succeeded in getting into the saddle; but
Soto himself, after killing one Indian with his spear, was thrown, his
girths giving way.

The Indians drew off with the loss of this one man, having killed
eleven Spaniards, many of their horses, and having greatly reduced
their herd of swine. In the conflagration of the town, Soto’s force
lost most of their remaining clothing, with many of their weapons and
saddles. They at once set to work to supply the loss. The woods gave
ash to make saddles and lances; forges were set up to temper the swords
and make such arms as they could; while the tall grass was woven into
mats to serve as blankets or cloaks.

They needed their arms indeed; for on the 15th of March the enemy, in
three divisions, advanced to attack the camp. Soto met them with as
many squadrons, and routed them with loss.

When Soto at last took up his march on the 25th of April, the sturdy
Alibamo, or Alimamu, or Limamu, barred his way with a palisade manned
by the painted warriors of the tribe. Soto carried it at the cost of
the lives of seven or eight of his men, and twenty-five or six wounded;
only to find that the Indians had made the palisade not to protect any
stores, but simply to cope with the invaders.[844]

At Quizquiz, or Quizqui, near the banks of the Mississippi, Soto
surprised the place and captured all the women; but released them to
obtain canoes to cross the river. As the Indians failed to keep their
promise, Soto encamped in a plain and spent nearly a month building
four large boats, each capable of carrying sixty or seventy men and
five or six horses. The opposite shore was held by hostile Indians; and
bands of finely formed warriors constantly came down in canoes, as if
ready to engage them, but always drawing off.

The Spaniards finally crossed the river at the lowest Chickasaw Bluff,
all wondering at the mighty turbid stream, with its fish, strange
to their eyes, and the trees, uprooted on the banks far above, that
came floating down.[845] Soto marched northward to Little Prairie in
quest of Pacaha and Chisca, provinces reported to abound in gold.
After planting a cross on St. John’s Day[846] at Casqui, where the
bisons’ heads above the entrances to the huts reminded them of Spain,
he entered Pacaha June 29, as Oviedo says. These towns were the best
they had seen since they left Cofitachiqui. Pacaha furnished them with
a booty which they prized highly,—a fine store of skins of animals,
and native blankets woven probably of bark. These enabled the men to
make clothing, of which many had long been in sore want. The people
gradually returned, and the cacique received Soto in friendly guise,
giving him his two sisters as wives.

While the army rested here nearly a month, expeditions were sent in
various directions. One, marching eight days to the northwest through
a land of swamps and ponds, reached the prairies, the land of Caluça,
where Indians lived in portable houses of mats, with frames so light
that a man could easily carry them.[847]

Despairing of finding his long-sought El Dorado in that direction, Soto
marched south and then southwest, in all a hundred and ten leagues, to
Quiguate, a town on a branch of the Mississippi. It was the largest
they had yet seen. The Indians abandoned it; but one half the houses
were sufficient to shelter the whole of Soto’s force.

On the first of September the expedition reached Coligua,—a populous
town in a valley among the mountains, near which vast herds of
bison roamed. Then crossing the river again,[848] Soto’s jaded and
decreasing force marched onward. Cayas, with its salt river and fertile
maize-lands, was reached; and then the Spaniards came to Tulla, where
the Indians attacked them, fighting from their housetops to the last.
The cacique at last yielded, and came weeping with great sobs to make
his submission.

Marching southeast, Soto reached Quipana; and crossing the mountains
eastward, wintered in the province of Viranque, or Autiamque, or
Utianque, on a branch of the Mississippi, apparently the Washita.[849]
The sufferings of the Spaniards during a long and severe winter were
terrible, and Ortiz, their interpreter, succumbed to his hardships and
died. Even the proud spirit of Soto yielded to his disappointments and
toil. Two hundred and fifty of his splendid force had left their bones
to whiten along the path which he had followed. He determined at last
to push to the shores of the Gulf, and there build two brigantines, in
order to send to Cuba and to New Spain for aid.

[Illustration: SOTO.

Fac-simile of an engraving in Herrera (1728), iv. 21.]

Passing through Ayays and the well-peopled land of Nilco, Soto went
with the cacique of Guachoyanque to his well-palisaded town on the
banks of the Mississippi, at the mouth of the Red River, arriving there
on Sunday, April 17, 1542. Here he fell ill of the fever; difficulties
beset him on every side, and he sank under the strain. Appointing Luis
de Moscoço as his successor in command, he died on the 21st of May. The
_Adelantado_ of Cuba and Florida, who had hoped to gather the wealth
of nations, left as his property five Indian slaves, three horses, and
a herd of swine. His body, kept for some days in a house, was interred
in the town; but as fears were entertained that the Indians might dig
up the corpse, it was taken, wrapped in blankets loaded with sand, and
sunk in the Mississippi.[850]

[Illustration: AUTOGRAPH OF SOTO.]

Muscoço’s first plan was to march westward to Mexico. But after
advancing to the province of Xacatin, the survivors of the expedition
lost all hope; and returning to the Mississippi, wintered on its banks.
There building two large boats, they embarked in them and in canoes.
Hostile Indians pursued them, and twelve men were drowned, their canoes
being run down by the enemy’s _periaguas_. The survivors reached the
Gulf and coasted along to Pánuco.[851]

The expedition of Soto added very little to the knowledge of the
continent, as no steps were taken to note the topography of the country
or the language of the various tribes. Diego Maldonado and Gomez Arias,
seeking Soto, explored the coast from the vicinity of the Mississippi
nearly to Newfoundland; but their reports are unknown.

Notwithstanding the disastrous result of Soto’s expedition, and the
conclusive proof it afforded that the country bordering on the Gulf of
Mexico contained no rich kingdom and afforded little inducement for
settlements, other commanders were ready to undertake the conquest of
Florida. Among these was Don Antonio de Mendoza, the viceroy of New
Spain, who sought, by offers of rank and honors, to enlist some of
the survivors of Soto’s march in a new campaign. In a more mercantile
spirit, Julian de Samano and Pedro de Ahumada applied to the Spanish
monarch for a patent, promising to make a good use of the privileges
granted them, and to treat the Indians well. They hoped to buy furs and
pearls, and carry on a trade in them till mines of gold and silver were
found. The Court, however, refused to permit the grant.[852]

[Illustration: ANTONIO DE MENDOZA, _Viceroy of New Spain_.]

Yet as a matter of policy it became necessary for Spain to occupy
Florida. This the Court felt; and when Cartier was preparing for his
voyage to the northern part of the continent,[853] Spanish spies
followed his movements and reported all to their Government. In Spain
it was decided that Cartier’s occupation of the frozen land, for
which he was equipping his vessels, could not in any way militate
against the interests of the Catholic monarch; but it was decided that
any settlement attempted in Florida must on some pretext be crushed
out.[854] Florida from its position afforded a basis for assailing the
fleets which bore from Vera Cruz the treasures of the Indies; and the
hurricanes of the tropics had already strewn the Florida coast with the
fragments of Spanish wrecks. In 1545 a vessel laden with silver and
precious commodities perished on that coast, and two hundred persons
reached land, only to fall by the hands of the Indians.[855]

       *       *       *       *       *

The next Spanish attempt to occupy Florida was not unmixed with
romance; and its tragic close invests it with peculiar interest. The
Dominicans, led by Father Antonio de Montesinos and Las Casas,—who had
by this time become Bishop of Chiapa,—were active in condemning the
cruelties of their countrymen to the natives of the New World; and the
atrocities perpetrated by Soto in his disastrous march gave new themes
for their indignant denunciations.[856]

One Dominican went further. Father Luis Cancer de Barbastro, when
the Indians of a province had so steadily defied the Spaniards and
prevented their entrance that it was styled “Tierra de Guerra,”
succeeded by mild and gentle means in winning the whole Indian
population, so that the province obtained the name of “Vera Paz,” or
True Peace. In 1546 this energetic man conceived the idea of attempting
the peaceful conquest of Florida. Father Gregory de Beteta and other
influential members of his Order seconded his views. The next year
he went to Spain and laid his project before the Court, where it was
favorably received. He returned to Mexico with a royal order that all
Floridians held in slavery, carried thither by the survivors of Soto’s
expedition, should be confided to Father Cancer to be taken back to
their own land. The order proved ineffectual. Father Cancer then sailed
from Vera Cruz in 1549 in the “Santa Maria del Enzina,” without arms
or soldiers, taking Father Beteta, Father Diego de Tolosa, Father
John Garcia, and others to conduct the mission. At Havana he obtained
Magdalen, a woman who had been brought from Florida, and who had become
a Christian. The vessel then steered for Florida, and reaching the
coast, at about 28°, on the eve of Ascension Day, ran northward, but
soon sailed back. The missionaries and their interpreter landed, and
found some of the Indians fishing, who proved friendly. Father Diego, a
mission coadjutor, and a sailor, resolved to remain with the natives,
and went off to their cabins. Cancer and his companions awaited their
return; but they never appeared again. For some days the Spaniards on
the ship endeavored to enter into friendly relations with the Indians,
and on Corpus Christi Fathers Cancer and Garcia landed and said Mass
on shore. At last a Spaniard named John Muñoz, who had been a prisoner
among the Indians, managed to reach the ship; and from him they
learned that the missionary and his companions had been killed by the
treacherous natives almost immediately after reaching their cabins.
He had not witnessed their murder, but declared that he had seen the
missionary’s scalp. Magdalen, however, came to the shore and assured
the missionaries that their comrade was alive and well.

It had thus become a serious matter what course to pursue. The vessel
was too heavy to enter the shallow bays, the provisions were nearly
exhausted, water could not be had, and the ship’s people were clamoring
to return to Mexico. The missionaries, all except Father Cancer,
desired to abandon the projected settlement, but he still believed that
by presents and kindness to the Indians he could safely remain. His
companions in vain endeavored to dissuade him. On Tuesday, June 25,
he was pulled in a boat near the shore. He leaped into the water and
waded towards the land. Though urged to return, he persevered. Kneeling
for a few minutes on the beach, he advanced till he met the Indians.
The sailors in the boat saw one Indian pull off his hat, and another
strike him down with a club. One cry escaped his lips. A crowd of
Indians streamed down to the shore and with arrows drove off the boat.
Lingering for awhile, the vessel sailed back to Vera Cruz, after five
lives had thus rashly been sacrificed.[857]

On the arrival of the tidings of this tragic close of Cancer’s mission
a congress was convened by Maximilian, King of Bohemia, then regent
in Spain; and the advocates of the peace policy in regard to the
Indians lost much of the influence which they had obtained in the royal

The wreck of the fleet, with rich cargoes of silver, gold, and other
precious commodities, on the northern shore of the Gulf of Mexico in
1553, when several hundred persons perished, and the sufferings of the
surviving passengers, among whom were several Dominicans, in their
attempt to reach the settlements; and the wreck of Farfan’s fleet on
the Atlantic coast near Santa Elena in December, 1554,—showed the
necessity of having posts on that dangerous coast of Florida, in order
to save life and treasure.[859]

The Council of the Indies advised Philip II. to confide the conquest
and settlement of Florida to Don Luis de Velasco, viceroy of New
Spain, who was anxious to undertake the task. The Catholic monarch had
previously rejected the projects of Zurita and Samano; but the high
character of Velasco induced him to confide the task to the viceroy
of Mexico. The step was a gain for the humanitarian party; and the
King, on giving his approval, directed that Dominican friars should be
selected to accompany the colonists, in order to minister to them and
convert the Indians. Don Luis de Velasco had directed the government in
Mexico since November, 1550, with remarkable prudence and ability. The
natives found in him such an earnest, capable, and unwavering protector
that he is styled in history the Father of the Indians.

The plans adopted by this excellent governor for the occupation
of Florida were in full harmony with the Dominican views. In the
treatment of the Indians he anticipated the just and equitable methods
which give Calvert, Williams, and Penn so enviable a place in American

The occupation was not to be one of conquest, and all intercourse with
the Indians was to be on the basis of natural equity. His first step
was prompted by his characteristic prudence.[861] In September, 1558,
he despatched Guido de Labazares, with three vessels and a sufficient
force, to explore the whole Florida coast, and select the best port he
found for the projected settlement. Labazares, on his return after an
investigation of several months, reported in favor of Pensacola Bay,
which he named Felipina; and he describes its entrance between a long
island and a point of land. The country was well wooded, game and fish
abounded, and the Indian fields showed that Indian corn and vegetables
could be raised successfully.[862] On the return of Labazares in
December, preparations were made for the expedition, which was placed
under the command of Don Tristan de Luna y Arellano. The force
consisted of fifteen hundred soldiers and settlers, under six captains
of cavalry and six of infantry, some of whom had been at Coça, and were
consequently well acquainted with the country where it was intended
to form the settlement. The Dominicans selected were Fathers Pedro de
Feria, as vicar-provincial of Florida, Dominic of the Annunciation,
Dominic de Salazar, John Maçuelas, Dominic of Saint Dominic, and a lay
brother. The object being to settle, provisions for a whole year were
prepared, and ammunition to meet all their wants.

The colonists, thus well fitted for their undertaking, sailed from
Vera Cruz on the 11th of June, 1559; and by the first of the following
month were off the bay in Florida to which Miruelo had given his name.
Although Labazares had recommended Pensacola Bay, Tristan de Luna
seems to have been induced by his pilots to give the preference to the
Bay of Ichuse; and he sailed west in search of it, but passed it, and
entered Pensacola Bay. Finding that he had gone too far, Luna sailed
back ten leagues east to Ichuse, which must have been Santa Rosa Bay.
Here he anchored his fleet, and despatched the factor Luis Daza, with
a galleon, to Vera Cruz to announce his safe arrival. He fitted two
other vessels to proceed to Spain, awaiting the return of two exploring
parties; he then prepared to land his colonists and stores.[863]
Meanwhile he sent a detachment of one hundred men under captains Alvaro
Nyeto and Gonzalo Sanchez, accompanied by one of the missionaries, to
explore the country and ascertain the disposition of the Indians. The
exploring parties returned after three weeks, having found only one
hamlet, in the midst of an uninhabited country.[864] Before Luna had
unloaded his vessels, they were struck, during the night of September
19,[865] by a terrible hurricane, which lasted twenty-four hours,
destroying five ships, a galleon and a bark, and carrying one caravel
and its cargo into a grove some distance on land. Many of the people
perished, and most of the stores intended for the maintenance of the
colony were ruined or lost.

The river, entering the Bay of Ichuse, proved to be very difficult
of navigation, and it watered a sparsely-peopled country. Another
detachment,[866] sent apparently to the northwest, after a forty days’
march through uncultivated country, reached a large river, apparently
the Escambia, and followed its banks to Nanipacna, a deserted town of
eighty houses. Explorations in various directions found no other signs
of Indian occupation. The natives at last returned and became friendly.

Finding his original site unfavorable, Tristan de Luna, after
exhausting the relief-supplies sent him, and being himself prostrated
by a fever in which he became delirious, left Juan de Jaramillo at
the port with fifty men and negro slaves, and proceeded[867] with the
rest of his company, nearly a thousand souls, to Nanipacna, some by
land, and some ascending the river in their lighter craft. To this
town he gave the name of Santa Cruz. The stores of Indian corn, beans,
and other vegetables left by the Indians were soon consumed by the
Spaniards, who were forced to live on acorns or any herbs they could

The Viceroy, on hearing of their sufferings, sent two vessels to
their relief in November, promising more ample aid in the spring. The
provisions they obtained saved them from starvation during the winter,
but in the spring their condition became as desperate as ever. No
attempt seems to have been made to cultivate the Indian fields, or to
raise anything for their own support.[868]

In hope of obtaining provisions from Coça, Jaramillo sent his
sergeant-major with six captains and two hundred soldiers, accompanied
by Father Dominic de Salazar and Dominic of the Annunciation, to that
province. On the march the men were forced to eat straps, harnesses,
and the leather coverings of their shields; some died of starvation,
while others were poisoned by herbs which they ate. A chestnut wood
proved a godsend, and a fifty days’ march brought them to Olibahali
(Hatchet Creek), where the friendly natives ministered to their

About the beginning of July they reached Coça, on the Coosa River,
then a town of thirty houses, near which were seven other towns of the
same tribe. Entering into friendly intercourse with these Indians, the
Spaniards obtained food for themselves and their jaded horses. After
resting here for three months, the Spaniards, to gain the good-will of
the Coosas, agreed to aid them in a campaign against the Napochies,—a
nation near the Ochechiton,[870] the Espiritu Santo, or Mississippi.
These were in all probability the Natchez. The Coosas and their Spanish
allies defeated this tribe, and compelled them to pay tribute, as of
old, to the Coosas. Their town, saved with difficulty from the flames,
gave the Spaniards a supply of corn. On their return to Coça, the
sergeant-major sent to report to Tristan de Luna; but his messengers
found no Spaniard at Nanipacna, save one hanging from a tree. Tristan
de Luna, supposing his men lost, had gone down to Ochuse Bay, leaving
directions on a tree, and a buried letter.[871] Father Feria and
some others had sailed for Havana, and all were eager to leave the
country.[872] Tristan de Luna was reluctant to abandon the projected
settlement, and wished to proceed to Coça with all the survivors of
his force. His sickness had left him so capricious and severe, that he
seemed actually insane. The supplies promised in the spring had not
arrived in September, though four ships left Vera Cruz toward the end
of June. Parties sent out by land and water found the fields on the
Escambia and Mobile[873] forsaken by the Indians, who had laid waste
their towns and removed their provisions. In this desperate state
George Ceron, the _maestro de campo_, opposed the Governor’s plan,[874]
and a large part of the force rallied around him. When Tristan de Luna
issued a proclamation ordering the march, there was an open mutiny,
and the Governor condemned the whole of the insurgents to death. Of
course he could not attempt to execute so many, but he did hang one who
deserted. The mutineers secretly sent word to Coça, and in November the
party from that province with the two missionaries arrived at Pensacola
Bay.[875] Don Tristan’s detachment was also recalled from the original
landing, and the whole force united. The dissensions continued till
the missionaries, amid the solemnities of Holy Week, by appealing
to the religious feelings of the commander and Ceron, effected a

At this juncture Angel de Villafañe’s fleet entered the harbor of
Ichuse. He announced to the people that he was on his way to Santa
Elena, which Tristan de Luna had made an ineffectual effort to reach.
All who chose were at liberty to accompany him. The desire to evacuate
the country where they had suffered so severely was universal. None
expressed a wish to remain; and Tristan de Luna, seeing himself utterly
abandoned, embarked for Havana with a few servants. Villafañe then took
on board all except a detachment of fifty or sixty men who were left at
Ichuse under Captain Biedma, with orders to remain five or six months;
at the expiration of which time they were to sail away also, in case no
instructions came.

Villafañe, with the “San Juan” and three other vessels and about two
hundred men, put into Havana; but there many of the men deserted, and
several officers refused to proceed.[877]

With Gonzalo Gayon as pilot, Villafañe reached Santa Elena—now Port
Royal Sound—May 27, 1561, and took possession in the name of the
King of Spain. Finding no soil adapted for cultivation, and no port
suitable for planting a settlement, he kept along the coast, doubled
Cape Roman, and landing on the 2d of June, went inland till he reached
the Santee, where he again took formal possession. On the 8th he was
near the Jordan or Pedee; but a storm drove off one of his vessels.
With the rest he continued his survey of the coast till he doubled Cape
Hatteras. There, on the 14th of June, his caravel well-nigh foundered,
and his two smaller vessels undoubtedly perished. He is said to have
abandoned the exploration of the coast here, although apparently it was
his vessel, with the Dominican Fathers, which about this time visited
Axacan, on the Chesapeake, and took off a brother of the chief.[878]

Villafañe then sailed to Santo Domingo, and Florida was abandoned. In
fact, on the 23d of September the King declared that no further attempt
was to be made to colonize that country, either in the Gulf or at
Santa Elena, alleging that there was no ground to fear that the French
would set foot in that land or take possession of it; and the royal
order cites the opinion of Pedro Menendez against any attempt to form
settlements on either coast.[879]

As if to show the fallacy of their judgment and their forecast, the
French (and what was worse, from the Spanish point of view, French
Calvinists) in the next year, under Ribault, took possession of Port
Royal,—the very Santa Elena which Villafañe considered unfitted for
colonization. Here they founded Charlesfort and a settlement, entering
Port Royal less than three months after the Spanish officers convened
in Mexico had united in condemning the country.

Pedro Menendez de Aviles had, as we have seen, been general of the
fleet to New Spain in 1560, and on his return received instructions
to examine the Atlantic coast north of the very spot where the French
thus soon after settled. In 1561 he again commanded the fleet; but on
his homeward voyage a terrible storm scattered the vessels near the
Bermudas, and one vessel, on which his only son and many of his kinsmen
had embarked, disappeared. With the rest of his ships he reached
Spain, filled with anxiety, eager only to fit out vessels to seek his
son, who, he believed, had been driven on the Florida coast, and was
probably a prisoner in the hands of the Indians. At this critical
moment, however, charges were brought against him; and he, with his
brother, was arrested and detained in prison for two years, unable to
bring the case to trial, or to obtain his release on bail.

When Menendez at last succeeded in obtaining an audience of the King,
he solicited, in 1564, permission to proceed with two vessels to
Bermuda and Florida to seek his son, and then retire to his home, which
he had not seen for eighteen years. Philip II. at last consented; but
required him to make a thorough coast-survey of Florida, so as to
prepare charts that would prevent the wrecks which had arisen from
ignorance of the real character of the sea-line. Menendez replied that
his Majesty could confer no higher boon upon him for his long and
successful services on the seas than to authorize him to conquer and
settle Florida.

Nothing could be in greater accordance with the royal views than to
commit to the energy of Menendez[880] the task which so many others
had undertaken in vain. A patent, or _asiento_, was issued March 20,
1565, by the provisions of which Menendez was required to sail in May
with ten vessels, carrying arms and supplies, and five hundred men,
one hundred to be capable of cultivating the soil. He was to take
provisions to maintain the whole force for a year, and was to conquer
and settle Florida within three years; explore and map the coast,
transport settlers, a certain number of whom were to be married;
maintain twelve members of religious Orders as missionaries, besides
four of the Society of Jesus; and to introduce horses, black cattle,
sheep, and swine for the two or three distinct settlements he was
required to found at his own expense.[881] The King gave only the use
of the galleon “San Pelayo,” and bestowed upon Menendez the title
of _Adelantado_ of Florida, a personal grant of twenty-five leagues
square, with the title of Marquis, and the office of Governor and
Captain-General of Florida.

While Menendez was gathering, among his kindred in Asturias and
Biscay, men and means to fulfil his part of the undertaking, the
Court of Spain became aware for the first time that the Protestants
of France had quietly planted a colony on that very Florida coast.
Menendez was immediately summoned in haste to Court; and orders were
issued to furnish him in America three vessels fully equipped, and an
expeditionary force of two hundred cavalry and four hundred infantry.
Menendez urged, on the contrary, that he should be sent on at once
with some light vessels to attack the French; or, if that was not
feasible, to occupy a neighboring port and fortify it, while awaiting
reinforcements. The Government, by successive orders, increased the
Florida armament, so that Menendez finally sailed from Cadiz, June
29, with the galleon “San Pelayo” and other vessels to the number of
nineteen, carrying more than fifteen hundred persons, including farmers
and mechanics of all kinds.

The light in which Spaniards, especially those connected with commerce
and colonies, regarded the Protestants of France was simply that of
pirates. French cruisers, often making their Protestantism a pretext
for their actions, scoured the seas, capturing Spanish and Portuguese
vessels, and committing the greatest atrocities. In 1555 Jacques Sorie
surprised Havana, plundered it, and gave it to the flames, butchering
the prisoners who fell into his hands. In 1559 Megander pillaged Porto
Rico, and John de la Roche plundered the ships and settlements near

It seems strange, however, that neither in Spain nor in America was it
known that this dreaded and hated community, the Huguenots of France,
had actually, in 1562, begun a settlement at the very harbor of Santa
Elena where Villafañe had taken possession in the name of the Spanish
monarch a year before. Some of the French settlers revolted, and very
naturally went off to cruise against the Spaniards, and with success;
but the ill-managed colony of Charlesfort on Port Royal Sound had
terminated its brief existence without drawing down the vengeance of

When the tidings of a French occupancy of Florida startled the Spanish
Court, a second attempt of the Huguenots at settlement had been
made,—this time at the mouth of St. John’s River, where Fort Caroline
was a direct menace to the rich Spanish fleets, offering a safe refuge
to cruisers, which in the name of a pure gospel could sally out to
plunder and to slay. Yet that settlement, thus provoking the fiercest
hostility of Spain, was ill-managed. It was, in fact, sinking, like
its predecessor, from the unfitness of its members to make the teeming
earth yield them its fruits for their maintenance. René Laudonnière,
the commandant, after receiving some temporary relief from the English
corsair Hawkins,[883] and learning that the Spaniards meditated
hostilities, was about to burn his fort and abandon the country, when
John Ribault arrived as commandant, with supplies and colonists, as
well as orders to maintain the post. His instructions from Coligny
clearly intended that he should attack the Spaniards.[884]

The two bitter antagonists, each stimulated by his superiors, were thus
racing across the Atlantic, each endeavoring to outstrip the other,
so as to be able first to assume the offensive. The struggle was to
be a deadly one, for on neither side were there any of the ordinary
restraints; it was to be a warfare without mercy.

After leaving the Canaries, Menendez’ fleet was scattered by storms.
One vessel put back; the flagship and another were driven in one
direction, five vessels in another. These, after encountering another
storm, finally reached Porto Rico on the 9th of August, and found the
flagship and its tender there.[885]

The other ships from Biscay and Asturias had not arrived; but Menendez,
fearing that Ribault might outstrip him, resolved to proceed, though
his vessels needed repairs from the injuries sustained in the storm. If
he was to crush Fort Caroline, he felt that it must be done before the
French post was reinforced; if not, all the force at his disposal would
be insufficient to assume the offensive. He made the coast of Florida
near Cape Cañaveral on the 25th of August; and soon after, by landing
a party, ascertained from the natives that the French post was to the
northward. Following the coast in that direction, he discovered, on
the 28th, a harbor which seemed to possess advantages, and to which he
gave the name of the great Bishop of Hippo, Augustine, who is honored
on that day. Sailing on cautiously, he came in sight of the mouth of
the St. John’s River about two o’clock in the afternoon of the 4th of
September. The ten days he had lost creeping along the coast were fatal
to his project, for there lay the four vessels of Ribault, the flagship
and its consort flinging to the breeze the colors of France.

Menendez’ officers in council were in favor of running back to
Santo Domingo till the whole force was united and ready to assume
the offensive; but Menendez inspired them with his own intrepidity,
and resolved to attack at once. A tremendous thunderstorm prevented
operations till ten at night, when he bore down on the French, and ran
his ship, the “Pelayo,” between the two larger vessels of Ribault. To
his hail who they were and what they were doing there, the reply was
that John Ribault was their captain-general, and that they came to the
country by order of the King of France; and the French in return asked
what ships they were, and who commanded them. To quote his own words,
“I replied to them that I was Peter Menendez, that I came by command of
the King of Spain to this coast and land to burn and hang the French
Lutherans found in it, and that in the morning I would board his ships
to know whether he belonged to that sect; because if he did, I could
not avoid executing on them the justice which his Majesty commanded.
They replied that this was not right, and that I might go without
awaiting the morning.”

[Illustration: FLORIDA.

[This sketch-map of the scene of the operations of the Spanish and
the French follows one given by Fairbanks in his _History of St.
Augustine_. Other modern maps, giving the old localities, are found in
Parkman, Gaffarel etc.—ED.]]

As Menendez manœuvred to get a favorable position, the French vessels
cut their cables and stood out to sea. The Spaniards gave chase,
rapidly firing five cannon at Ribault’s flagship,—which Menendez
supposed that he injured badly, as boats put off to the other vessels.
Finding that the French outsailed him, Menendez put back, intending
to land soldiers on an island at the mouth of the river and fortify a
position which would command the entrance; but as he reached the St.
John’s he saw three French vessels coming out, ready for action.


[After a map in Fairbanks’s _History of St. Augustine_; but his view of
the site is open to question.—ED.]]

His project was thus defeated; and too wily to be caught at a
disadvantage by the returning French vessels, Menendez bore away to the
harbor of St. Augustine, which he estimated at eight leagues from the
French by sea, and six by land. Here he proceeded to found the oldest
city in the present territory of the United States.

[Illustration: ST. AUGUSTINE.

[This view of Pagus Hispanorum, as given in Montanus and Ogilby,
represents the town founded by Menendez at a somewhat later period, if
it is wholly truthful of any period. The same view was better engraved
at Leide by Vander Aa.—ED.]]

Two hundred mail-clad soldiers, commanded by Captain John de San
Vicente and Captain Patiño, landed on the 6th of September, 1565.
The Indians were friendly, and readily gave the settlers the large
house of one of the caciques which stood near the shore of the river.
Around this an intrenchment was traced; and a ditch was soon dug, and
earthworks thrown up, with such implements as they had at hand, for the
vessel bearing their tools had not yet arrived.

[Illustration: SPANISH VESSELS.

(_From the_ PAGUS HISPANORUM _in Montanus_.)]

The next day three of the smaller vessels ran into the harbor, and
from them three hundred more of the soldiers disembarked, as well as
those who had come to settle in the country,—men, women, and children.
Artillery and munitions for the fort were also landed. The eighth
being a holiday in the Catholic Church,—the Nativity of the Blessed
Virgin,—was celebrated with due solemnity. Mass was offered for the
first time at a spot ever after held in veneration, and where in time
arose the primitive shrine of Nuestra Señora de la Leche.

Then the work of debarkation was resumed; one hundred more persons
landed; and great guns, precious stores of provisions, and munitions
were brought to the new fort.



(_Lemoyne, in De Bry._)

[Two pictures of Fort Caroline accompany the _Brevis narratio_ of
Lemoyne,—one the beginning of work upon it, and the other the completed
structure, “a more finished fortification than could possibly have
been constructed, but to be taken as a correct outline,” as Fairbanks
(p. 54) presumes. The engraving of the completed fort is reproduced
in Fairbanks’s _St. Augustine_, Stevens’s _Georgia_, etc. Another and
better view of it, called “Arx Carolina—Charlesfort sur Floride,” was
engraved at Leide by Vander Aa, but it is a question if it be truthful.
No traces of the fort have ever been recorded by subsequent observers,
but Fairbanks places it near a place called St. John’s Bluff, as shown
in the accompanying map. Others have placed it on the Bell River (an
estuary of the St. Mary’s River), at a place Called Battle Bluff. Cf.
Carroll’s _Hist. Coll._, i. p. xxxvi.—ED.]]

Amid all this bustle and activity the Spaniards were startled by the
appearance of two large French vessels[886] in the offing, evidently
ready for action. It was no part of Menendez’ plan to engage them, and
he waited till, about three in the afternoon, they bore away for the
St. John’s. Then he prepared to land in person. As his boat left the
vessel with banners unfurled, amid the thunder of cannon and the sounds
of warlike music, Mendoza Grajales, the first priest of St. Augustine,
bearing a cross, went down at the head of those on shore to meet the
_adelantado_, all chanting the Te Deum. Menendez proceeded at once with
his attendants to the cross, which he kissed on bended knee.

Formal possession of the land was then taken in the name of Philip II.,
King of Spain. The captains of the troops and the officers of the new
colony came forward to take the oath to Peter Menendez de Aviles as
governor, captain-general, and _adelantado_ of Florida and its coasts
under the patents of the Spanish King. Crowds of friendly Indians, with
their chieftains, gathered around.

From them the Spanish commander learned that his position was admirably
taken, as he could, at a short distance, strike the river on which the
French lay, and descend it to assail them. Here then he resolved to
make his position as strong as possible, till the rest of his armament
arrived. His galleon “San Pelayo,” too large to enter the port, rode
without, in danger from the sudden storms that visit the coast, and
from the French. Putting on board some French prisoners whom he had
captured in a boat, he despatched her and another vessel to Santo
Domingo. He organized his force by appointing officers,—a lieutenant
and a sergeant-major, and ten captains. The necessity of horses to
operate rapidly induced him to send two of his lighter vessels to
Havana to seek them there; and by this conveyance he addressed to
Philip II. his first letter from Florida.[887]

The masts of his vessels could scarcely have vanished from the eyes
of the Spanish force, when the French vessels appeared once more, and
nearly captured Menendez himself in the harbor, where he was carrying
to the shore, in the smaller vessels that he had retained, some
artillery and munitions from the galleons. He escaped, however, though
the French were so near that they called on him to surrender. And he
ascribed his deliverance rather to prayer than to human skill; for,
fierce seaman as he was, he was a man of deep and practical religious
feeling, which influenced all his actions.

Menendez’ position was now one of danger. The force at his command
was not large, and the French evidently felt strong enough, and were
determined to attack him. He had acknowledged his inability to cope
with them on the ocean, and could not have felt very sanguine of being
able to defend the slight breastworks that had been thrown up at St.

Fortune favored him. Ribault, after so earnestly determining to
assume the offensive, fatally hesitated. Within two days a tremendous
hurricane, which the practised eye of Menendez had anticipated, burst
on the coast. The French were, he believed, still hovering near, on the
lookout for his larger vessels, and he knew that with such a norther
their peril was extreme. It was, moreover, certain that they could not,
for a time at least, make the St. John’s, even if they rode out the

This gave him a temporary superiority, and he resolved to seize his
opportunity. Summoning his officers to a council of war, he laid before
them his plan of marching at once to attack Fort Caroline, from which
the French had evidently drawn a part of their force, and probably
their most effective men. The officers generally, as well as the two
clergymen in the settlement, opposed his project as rash; but Menendez
was determined. Five hundred men—three hundred armed with arquebuses,
the rest with pikes and targets—were ordered to march, each one
carrying rations of biscuit and wine. Menendez, at their head, bore
his load like the rest. They marched out of the fort on the 16th of
September, guided by two caciques who had been hostile to the French,
and by a Frenchman who had been two years in the fort. The route proved
one of great difficulty; the rain poured in torrents, swelling the
streams and flooding the lowlands, so that the men were most of the
time knee-deep in water. Many loitered, and, falling back, made their
way to St. Augustine. Others showed a mutinous disposition, and loudly
expressed their contempt for their sailor-general.

On the 29th, at the close of the day, he was within a short distance of
the French fort, and halted to rest so as to storm it in the morning.
At daybreak the Spaniards knelt in prayer; then, bearing twenty
scaling-ladders, Menendez advanced, his sturdy Asturians and Biscayans
in the van. Day broke as, in a heavy rain, they reached a height from
which their French guide told them they could see the fort, washed by
the river. Menendez advanced, and saw some houses and the St. John’s;
but from his position could not discover the fort. He would have gone
farther; but the Maese de Campo and Captain Ochoa pushed on till they
reached the houses, and reconnoitred the fort, where not a soul seemed
astir. As they returned they were hailed by a French sentinel, who took
them for countrymen. Ochoa sprang upon him, striking him on the head
with his sheathed sword, while the Maese de Campo stabbed him. He
uttered a cry; but was threatened with death, bound, and taken back.
The cry had excited Menendez, who, supposing that his officers had been
killed, called out: “Santiago! at them! God helps us! Victory! The
French are slaughtered! Don Pedro de Valdes, the Maese de Campo, is in
the fort, and has taken it!”

The men, supposing that the officers were in advance with part of the
force, rushed on till they came up with the returning officers, who,
taking in the situation, despatched the sentry and led the men to the
attack. Two Frenchmen, who rushed out in their shirts, were cut down.
Others outside the fort seeing the danger, gave the alarm; and a man
at the principal gate threw it open to ascertain what the trouble was.
Valdes, ready to scale the fort, saw the advantage, sprang on the man
and cut him down, then rushed into the fort, followed by the fleetest
of the Spanish detachment. In a moment two captains had simultaneously
planted their colors on the walls, and the trumpets sounded for victory.

The French, taken utterly by surprise, made no defence; about fifty,
dashing over the walls of the fort, took to the woods, almost naked,
and unarmed, or endeavored in boats and by swimming to reach the
vessels in the stream. When Menendez came up with the main body, his
men were slaughtering the French as they ran shrieking through the
fort, or came forward declaring that they surrendered. The women, and
children under the age of fifteen, were, by orders of the commander,
spared. Laudonnière, the younger Ribault, Lemoyne, and the carpenter Le
Challeux, whose accounts have reached us, were among those who escaped.

Menendez had carried the fort without one of his men being killed or
wounded. The number of the French thus unsparingly put to the sword
is stated by Menendez himself as one hundred and thirty-two, with ten
of the fugitives who were butchered the next day. Mendoza Grajales
corroborates this estimate. Fifty were spared, and about as many
escaped to the vessels; and some, doubtless, perished in the woods.

The slaughter was too terrible to need depicting in darker colors; but
in time it was declared that Menendez hung many, with an insulting
label: “I do not this to Frenchmen, but to Heretics.” The Spanish
accounts, written with too strong a conviction of the propriety of
their course to seek any subterfuge, make no allusion to any such
act; and the earliest French accounts are silent in regard to it. The
charge first occurs in a statement written with an evident design to
rouse public indignation in France, and not, therefore, to be deemed
absolutely accurate.

No quarter was given, for the French were regarded as pirates; and as
the French cruisers gave none, these, who were considered as of the
same class, received none.

The booty acquired was great. A brigantine and a galiot fell into
the hands of the Spaniards, with a vessel that had grounded. Another
vessel lay near the fort, and Spanish accounts claim to have sunk it
with the cannon of the fort, while the French declare they scuttled
it. Two other vessels lay at the mouth of the river, watching for the
Spaniards, whose attack was expected from the sea, and not from the
land side. Besides these vessels and their contents, the Spaniards
gained in the fort artillery and small-arms, supplies of flour and
bread, horses, asses, sheep, and hogs.[888] Such was the first struggle
on our soil between civilized men; it was brief, sanguinary, merciless.

Menendez named the captured fort San Mateo, from its capture on the
feast of St. Matthew (September 21). He set up the arms of Spain, and
selected a site for a church, which he ordered to be built at once.
Then, leaving Gonçalo de Villaroel in command, with a garrison of three
hundred men, he prepared to march back to St. Augustine with about one
hundred, who composed the rest of the force which had remained with him
till he reached Caroline. But of them all he found only thirty-five
able or willing to undertake the march; and with these he set out,
deeming his presence necessary at St. Augustine. Before long, one of
the party pushed on to announce his coming.

The Spaniards there had learned of the disaster which had befallen
Ribault’s fleet from a Frenchman who was the sole survivor of one small
vessel that had been driven ashore, its crew escaping a watery death
only to perish by the hands of the Indians. The vessel was secured and
brought to St. Augustine. The same day, September 23, a man was seen
running toward the fort, uttering loud shouts. The priest, Mendoza
Grajales, ran out to learn the tidings he bore. The soldier threw his
arms around him, crying: “Victory! Victory! the French fort is ours!”
He was soon recounting to his countrymen the story of the storming of
Caroline. Toward nightfall the _adelantado_ himself, with his little
party, was seen approaching. Mendoza in surplice, bearing a crucifix,
went forth to meet him. Menendez knelt to kiss the cross, and his
men imitated his example; then they entered the fort in procession,
chanting the Te Deum.[889]

Menendez despatched some light boats with supplies to San Mateo; but
the fort there took fire a few days after its capture, and was almost
entirely destroyed, with much of the booty. He sent other light craft
to Santo Domingo with prisoners, and others still to patrol the coast
and seek any signs of the galleon “San Pelayo,” or of the French. Then
he turned his whole attention to work on his fort and town, so as to
be in readiness to withstand any attack from Ribault if the French
commander should return and prove to be in a condition to assail him
while his forces were divided. He also cultivated friendly intercourse
with the neighboring chiefs whom he found hostile to the French and
their allies.

On the 28th, some of the Indians came to report by signs that the
French were six leagues distant, that they had lost their ships, and
that they had reached the shore by swimming. They had halted at a
stream which they could not cross,—evidently Matanzas inlet. Menendez
sent out a boat, and followed in another with some of his officers and
Mendoza, one of the clergymen. He overtook his party, and they encamped
near the inlet, but out of sight. On the opposite side, the light of
the camp-fires marked the spot occupied by the French. The next day,
seeing Menendez, a sailor swam over, and stated that he had been sent
to say that they were survivors of some of Ribault’s vessels which had
been wrecked; that many of their people had been drowned, others killed
or captured by the Indians; and that the rest, to the number of one
hundred and forty, asked permission and aid to reach their fort, some
distance up the coast.

[Illustration: FLORIDA, 1591 (_Lemoyne, in De Bry_).

[This is the only cartographical result of the French occupation. It
is also reproduced in Gaffarel’s _Floride Française_, and in Shipp’s
_De Soto and Florida_. It was literally copied by Hondius in 1607, and
not so well in the Mercator-Hondius _Atlas_ of 1633. Lescarbot followed
it; but in his 1618 edition altered for the worse the course of the St.
John’s River; and so did De Laet. Cf. Kohl, _Maps in Hakluyt_, p. 48,
and Brinton, _Floridian Peninsula_, p. 80, who says (p. 86) that De
Laet was the first to confine the name Florida to the peninsula; but
Thevet seems nearly to do so in the map in his _Cosmographia_, which he
based on Ortelius, a part of which is given in fac-simile in Weise’s
_Discoveries of America_, p. 304; and it seems also to be the case in
the earlier Mercator gores of 1541. The map accompanying Charlevoix’
narrative will be found in his _Nouvelle France_, i. 24, and in Shea’s
translation of it, i. 133.—ED.]]

Menendez told him that he had captured the fort and put all to the
sword. Then, after asking whether they were Catholics or Lutherans, and
receiving the reply, the Spaniard sent the sailor to his companions,
to say that if they did not give up their arms and surrender, he would
put them all to the sword. On this an officer came over to endeavor
to secure better terms, or to be allowed to remain till vessels could
be obtained to take them to France; but Menendez was inexorable. The
officer pleaded that the lives of the French should be spared; but
Menendez, according to Mendoza, replied, “that he would not give them
such a pledge, but that they should bring their arms and their persons,
and that he should do with them according to his will; because if he
spared their lives he wished them to be grateful to him for it, and if
he put them to death they should not complain that he had broken his
word.” Solis de Meras, another clergyman, brother-in-law of Menendez,
and in St. Augustine at the time, in his account states that Menendez
said, “That if they wished to lay down their colors and their arms, and
throw themselves on his mercy, they could do so, that he might do with
them what God should give him the grace to do; or that they could do as
they chose: for other truce or friendship could not be made with him;”
and that he rejected an offer of ransom which they made.

Menendez himself more briefly writes: “I replied that they might
surrender me their arms and put themselves under my pleasure, that
I might do with them what our Lord might ordain; and from this
resolution I do not and will not depart, unless our Lord God inspired
me otherwise.” The words held out hopes that were delusive; but the
French, hemmed in by the sea and by savages, saw no alternative.
They crossed, laid down their arms, and were bound, by order of
Menendez,—ostensibly to conduct them to the fort. Sixteen, chiefly
Breton sailors, who professed to be Catholics, were spared; the rest,
one hundred and eleven in all, were put to death in cold blood,—as
ruthlessly as the French, ten years before, had despatched their
prisoners amid the smoking ruins of Havana, and, like them, in the name
of religion.[890]

Ribault himself, who was advancing by the same fatal route, was
ignorant alike of the fall of Caroline and of the slaughter of the
survivors of the advanced party; he too hoped to reach Laudonnière.
Some days after the cruel treatment of the first band he reached
the inlet, whose name to this day is a monument of the bloody

The news of the appearance of this second French party reached
Menendez on the 10th of October,—at the same time almost as that of
the destruction of Fort San Mateo and its contents by fire, and while
writing a despatch to the King, unfolding his plan for colonizing and
holding Florida, by means of a series of forts at the Chesapeake, Port
Royal, the Martyrs, and the Bay of Juan Ponce de Leon. He marched
to the inlet with one hundred and fifty men. The French were on the
opposite side, some making a rude raft. Both parties sounded drum and
trumpet, and flung their standards to the breeze, drawing up in line of
battle. Menendez then ordered his men to sit down and breakfast. Upon
this, Ribault raised a white flag, and one of his men was soon swimming
across. He returned with an Indian canoe that lay at the shore, and
took over La Caille, an officer. Approaching Menendez, the French
officer announced that the force was that of John Ribault, viceroy
for the French king, three hundred and fifty men in all, who had been
wrecked on the coast, and was now endeavoring to reach Fort Caroline.
He soon learned how vain was the attempt. The fate of the fort and of
its garrison, and the stark bodies of the preceding party, convinced
him that those whom he represented must prepare to meet a similar fate.
He requested Menendez to send an officer to Ribault to arrange terms
of surrender; but the reply was that the French commander was free to
cross with a few of his men, if he wished a conference.

When this was reported to him, the unfortunate Ribault made an effort
in person to save his men. He was courteously received by Menendez,
but, like his lieutenant, saw that the case was hopeless. According
to Solis de Meras, Ribault offered a ransom of one hundred and fifty
thousand ducats for himself and one part of his men; another part,
embracing many wealthy nobles, preferring to treat separately. Menendez
declined the offer, expressing his regret at being compelled to forego
the money, which he needed. His terms were as enigmatical as before. He
declared, so he himself tells us, “that they must lay down their arms
and colors and put themselves under my pleasure; that I should do with
their persons as I chose, and that there was nothing else to be done or
concluded with me.”

Ribault returned to his camp and held a council with his officers. Some
were inclined to throw themselves on the mercy of Menendez; but the
majority refused to surrender. The next morning Ribault came over with
seventy officers and men, who decided to surrender and trust to the
mercy of the merciless. The rest had turned southward, preferring to
face new perils rather than be butchered.

The French commander gave up the banner of France and that of Coligny,
with the colors of his force, his own fine set of armor, and his seal
of office. As he and his comrades were bound, he intoned one of the
Psalms; and after its concluding words added: “We are of earth, and to
earth we must return; twenty years more or less is all but as a tale
that is told.” Then he bade Menendez do his will. Two young nobles, and
a few men whom Menendez could make useful, he spared; the rest were at
once despatched.[891]

The French who declined to surrender retreated unpursued to Cañaveral,
where they threw up a log fort and began to build a vessel in order to
escape from Florida. Menendez, recalling some of the men who remained
at San Mateo, set out against them with one hundred and fifty men,
three vessels following the shore with one hundred men to support his
force. On the 8th of November apparently, he reached the fort. The
French abandoned it and fled; but on promise that their lives should
be spared, one hundred and fifty surrendered. Menendez kept his word.
He destroyed their fort and vessel; and leaving a detachment of two
hundred under Captain Juan Velez de Medrano to build Fort Santa Lucia
de Cañaveral in a more favorable spot, he sailed to Havana. Finding
some of his vessels there, he cruised in search of corsairs—chiefly
French and English—who were said to be in great force off the coast
of Santo Domingo, and who had actually captured one of his caravels;
he was afraid that young Ribault might have joined them, and that he
would attack the Spanish posts in Florida.[892] But encountering a
vessel, Menendez learned that the King had sent him reinforcements,
which he resolved to await, obtaining supplies from Campechy for his
forts, as the Governor of Havana refused to furnish any.

The Spaniards in the three Florida posts were ill-prepared for even a
Florida winter, and one hundred died for want of proper clothing and
food. Captain San Vicente and other malcontents excited disaffection,
so that mutinies broke out, and the insurgents seized vessels and
deserted. Fort San Mateo was left with only twenty-one persons in it.

In February, 1566, Menendez explored the Tortugas and the adjacent
coast, seeking some trace of the vessel in which his son had been lost.
His search was fruitless; but he established friendly relations with
the cacique Carlos, and rescued several Spanish prisoners from that
cruel chief, who annually sacrificed one of them.

Meanwhile the French fugitives excited the Indians who were friendly
to them to attack the Spanish posts; and it was no longer safe for
the settlers to stir beyond the works at San Mateo and St. Augustine.
Captain Martin de Ochoa, one of the bravest and most faithful officers,
was slain at San Mateo; and Captain Diego de Hevia and several others
were cut off at St. Augustine. Emboldened by success, the Indians
invested the latter fort, and not only sent showers of arrows into it,
but by means of blazing arrows set fire to the palmetto thatching of
the storehouses. The Spaniards in vain endeavored to extinguish the
flames; the building was consumed, with all their munitions, cloth,
linen, and even the colors of the _adelantado_ and the troops. This
encouraged the Indians, who despatched every Spaniard they could reach.

Menendez reached St. Augustine, March 20, to find it on the brink of
ruin. Even his presence and the force at his command could not bring
the mutineers to obedience. He was obliged to allow Captain San Vicente
and many others to embark in a vessel. Of the men whom at great labor
and expense he had brought to Florida, full five hundred deserted.
After their departure he restored order; and, proceeding to San Mateo,
relieved that place. His next step was to enter into friendly relations
with the chief of Guale, and to begin a fort of stockades, earth, and
fascines at Port Royal which he called San Felipe. Here he left one
hundred and ten men under Stephen de las Alas. From this point the
adventurous Captain Pardo, in 1566 and the following year, explored
the country, penetrating to the silver region of the Cherokees, and
visiting towns reached by De Soto from Cofitachiqui to Tascaluza.[893]

Returning to St. Augustine, Menendez transferred the fort to its
present position, to be nearer the ship landing and less exposed to
the Indians. All the posts suffered from want of food; and even for the
soldiers in the King’s pay the _adelantado_ could obtain no rations
from Havana, although he went there in person. He obtained means to
purchase the necessary provisions only by pledging his own personal

Before his return there came a fleet of seventeen vessels, bearing
fifteen hundred men, with arms, munitions, and supplies, under Sancho
de Arciniega. Relief was immediately sent to San Mateo and to Santa
Elena, where most of the soldiers had mutinied, and had put Stephen
de las Alas in irons, and sailed away. Menendez divided part of his
reinforcements among his three posts, and then with light vessels
ascended the St. John’s. He endeavored to enter into negotiations with
the caciques Otina and Macoya; but those chiefs, fearing that he had
come to demand reparation for the attacks on the Spaniards, fled at his
approach. He ascended the river till he found the stream narrow, and
hostile Indians lining the banks. On his downward voyage Otina, after
making conditions, received the _adelantado_, who came ashore with only
a few attendants. The chief was surrounded by three hundred warriors;
but showed no hostility, and agreed to become friendly to the Spaniards.

On his return Menendez despatched a captain with thirty soldiers and
two Dominican friars to establish a post on Chesapeake Bay; they were
accompanied by Don Luis Velasco, brother of the chief of Axacan, who
had been taken from that country apparently by Villafañe, and who had
been baptized in Mexico. Instead, however, of carrying out his plans,
the party persuaded the captain of the vessel to sail to Spain.

Two Jesuit Fathers also came to found missions among the Indians; but
one of them, Father Martinez, landing on the coast, was killed by the
Indians; and the survivor, Father Rogel, with a lay brother, by the
direction of Menendez began to study the language of the chief Carlos,
in order to found a mission in his tribe. To facilitate this, Menendez
sent Captain Reynoso to establish a post in that part of Florida.[894]

News having arrived that the French were preparing to attack Florida,
and their depredations in the Antilles having increased, Menendez
sailed to Porto Rico, and cruised about for a time, endeavoring to meet
some of the corsairs. But he was unable to come up with any; and after
visiting Carlos and Tequeste, where missions were now established,
he returned to St. Augustine. His efforts, individually and through
his lieutenants, to gain the native chiefs had been to some extent
successful; Saturiba was the only cacique who held aloof. He finally
agreed to meet Menendez at the mouth of the St. John’s; but, as the
Spanish commander soon learned, the cacique had a large force in
ambush, with the object of cutting him and his men off when they
landed. Finding war necessary, Menendez then sent four detachments,
each of seventy men, against Saturiba; but he fled, and the Spaniards
returned after skirmishes with small bands, in which they killed thirty

Leaving his posts well defended and supplied, Menendez sailed to Spain;
and landing near Coruña, visited his home at Aviles to see his wife and
family, from whom he had been separated twenty years. He then proceeded
to Valladolid, where, on the 20th of July, he was received with honor
by the King.

During his absence a French attack, such as he had expected, was made
on Florida. Fearing this, he had endeavored to obtain forces and
supplies for his colony; but was detained, fretting and chafing at the
delays and formalities of the _Casa de Contratacion_ in Seville.[895]

An expedition, comprising one small and two large vessels, was fitted
out at Bordeaux by Dominic de Gourgues, with a commission to capture
slaves at Benin. De Gourgues sailed Aug. 22, 1567, and at Cape Blanco
had a skirmish with some negro chiefs, secured the harbor, and sailed
off with a cargo of slaves. With these he ran to the Spanish West
Indies, and disposed of them at Dominica, Porto Rico, and Santo
Domingo, finding Spaniards ready to treat with him. At Puerto de la
Plata, in the last island, he met a ready confederate in Zaballos, who
was accustomed to trade with the French pirates. Zaballos bought slaves
and goods from him, and furnished him a pilot for the Florida coast.
Puerto de la Plata had been a refuge for some of the deserters from
Florida, and could afford definite information. Here probably the idea
of Gourgues’ Florida expedition originated; though, according to the
bombastic French account, it was only off the Island of Cuba that De
Gourgues revealed his design. He reached the mouth of the St. John’s,
where the French narratives place two forts that are utterly unknown
in Spanish documents, and which were probably only batteries to cover
the entrance. Saluted here as Spanish, the French vessels passed on,
and anchored off the mouth of the St. Mary’s,—the Tacatacuru of the
Indians. By means of a Frenchman, a refugee among the Indians, Gourgues
easily induced Saturiba, smarting under the recent Spanish attack, to
join him in a campaign against San Mateo. The first redoubt was quickly
taken; and the French, crossing in boats, their allies swimming,
captured the second, and then moved on Fort San Mateo itself. The
French account makes sixty men issue from each of what it calls forts,
each party to be cut off by the French, and then makes all of each
party of sixty to fall by the hands of the French and Indians, except
fifteen or thereabout kept for an ignominious death.

Gourgues carried off the artillery of the fort and redoubts; but before
he could transport the rest of his booty to the vessels, a train left
by the Spaniards in the fort was accidentally fired by an Indian who
was cooking fish; the magazine blew up, with all in it. Gourgues hanged
the prisoners who fell into his hands at San Mateo, and descending the
river, hanged thirty more at the mouth, setting up an inscription: “Not
as to Spaniards, but as to Traitors, Robbers, and Murderers.” Returning
to his vessels, he hoisted sail on the 3d of May, and early in June
entered the harbor of La Rochelle. His loss, which is not explained, is
said to have been his smallest vessel, five gentlemen and some soldiers

[Illustration: WYTFLIET, 1597.

[Cf. the “Florida et Apalche” in Acosta, German edition, Cologne, 1598
(also in 1605); that of Hieronymus Chaves, given in Ortelius, 1592; and
later the maps of the French cartographer Sanson, showing the coast
from Texas to Carolina.—ED.]]

When Gourgues made his descent, Menendez was already at sea, having
sailed from San Lucar on the 13th of March, with abundant supplies and
reinforcements, as well as additional missionaries for the Indians,
under Father John Baptist Segura as vice-provincial. After relieving
his posts in Florida and placing a hundred and fifty men at San Mateo,
he proceeded to Cuba, of which he had been appointed governor. To
strengthen his colony, he solicited permission to colonize the Rio
Pánuco; but the authorities in Mexico opposed his project, and it
failed. The Mississippi, then known as the Espiritu Santo, was supposed
to flow from the neighborhood of Santa Elena, and was depended on as
a means of communication.[897] The next year the _adelantado_ sent
a hundred and ninety-three persons to San Felipe, and eighty to St.
Augustine. Father Rogel then began missions among the Indians around
Port Royal; Father Sedeño and Brother Baez began similar labors on
Guale (now Amelia) Island, the latter soon compiling a grammar and
catechism in the language of the Indians. Others attempted to bring the
intractable chief Carlos and his tribe within the Christian fold. Rogel
drew Indians to his mission at Orista; he put up houses and a church,
and endeavored to induce them to cultivate the ground. But their
natural fickleness would not submit to control; they soon abandoned
the place, and the missionary returned to Fort San Felipe. A school
for Indian boys was opened in Havana, and youths from the tribes of
the coast were sent there in the hope of making them the nucleus of
an Indian civilization. In 1570 Menendez, carrying out his project of
occupying Chesapeake Bay, sent Father Segura with several other Jesuits
to establish a mission at Axacan, the country of the Indian known as
Don Luis Velasco, who accompanied missionaries, promising to do all
in his power to secure for them a welcome from his tribe. The vessel
evidently ascended the Potomac and landed the mission party, who then
crossed to the shores of the Rappahannock. They were received with
seeming friendship, and erected a rude chapel; but the Indians soon
showed a hostile spirit, and ultimately massacred all the party except
an Indian boy. When Menendez returned to Florida from Spain in 1572,
he sailed to the Chesapeake, and endeavored to secure Don Luis and his
brother; but they fled. He captured eight Indians known to have taken
part in the murder of the missionaries, and hanged them at the yard-arm
of his vessel.[898]

From this time Menendez gave little personal attention to the affairs
of Florida, being elsewhere engaged by the King; and he died at
Santander, in Spain, Sept. 17, 1574, when about to take command of an
immense fleet which Philip II. was preparing. With his death Florida,
where his nephew Pedro Menendez Marquez[899] had acted as governor,
languished. Indian hostilities increased, San Felipe was invested,
abandoned, and burned, and soon after the Governor himself was
slain.[900] St. Augustine was finally burned by Drake.


OUR account of the voyages of Ponce de Leon is mainly from the
_cédulas_ to him and official correspondence, correcting Herrera,[901]
who is supposed by some to have had the explorer’s diary, now lost.
Oviedo[902] mentions Bimini[903] as forty leagues from Guanahani. The
modern edition[904] of Oviedo is vague and incorrect; and gives Ponce
de Leon two caravels, but has no details. Gomara[905] is no less
vague. Girava records the discovery, but dates it in 1512.[906] As
early as 1519 the statement is found that the Bay of Juan Ponce had
been visited by Alaminos, while accompanying Ponce de Leon,[907]—which
must refer to this expedition of 1513. The “Traza de las costas”
given by Navarrete (and reproduced by Buckingham Smith),[908] with
the Garay patent of 1521, would seem to make Apalache Bay the western
limit of the discoveries of Ponce de Leon, of whose expedition and
of Alaminos’s no report is known. Peter Martyr[909] alludes to it,
but only incidentally, when treating of Diego Velasquez. Barcia, in
his _Ensayo cronológico_,[910] writing specially on Florida, seems to
have had neither of the patents of Ponce de Leon, and no reports; and
he places the discovery in 1512 instead of 1513.[911] Navarrete[912]
simply follows Herrera.

In the unfortunate expedition of Cordova Bernal Diaz was an actor,
and gives us a witness’s testimony;[913] and it is made the subject
of evidence in the suit in 1536 between the Pinzon and Colon
families.[914] The general historians treat it in course.[915]

The main authority for the first voyage of Garay is the royal letters
patent,[916] the documents which are given by Navarrete[917] and in
the _Documentos inéditos_,[918] as well as the accounts given in Peter
Martyr,[919] Gomara,[920] and Herrera.[921]

Of the pioneer expedition which Camargo conducted for Garay to make
settlement of Amichel, and of its encounter with Cortés, we have the
effect which the first tidings of it produced on the mind of the
Conqueror of Mexico in his second letter of Oct. 30, 1520; while in
his third letter he made representations of the wrongs done to the
Indians by Garay’s people, and of his own determination to protect
the chiefs who had submitted to him.[922] For the untoward ending of
Garay’s main expedition, Cortés is still a principal dependence in his
fourth letter;[923] and the official records of his proceedings against
Garay in October, 1523, with a letter of Garay dated November 8, and
evidently addressed to Cortés, are to be found in the _Documentos
inéditos_,[924] while Peter Martyr,[925] Oviedo,[926] and Herrera[927]
are the chief general authorities. Garay’s renewed effort under his
personal leadership is marked out in three several petitions which he
made for authority to colonize the new country.[928]


[This sketch follows Dr. Kohl’s copy of a map in a manuscript atlas
in the British Museum (no. 9,814), without date; but it seems to be a
record of the explorations (1520) of Ayllon, whose name is corrupted
on the map. The map bears near the main inscription the figure of a
Chinaman and an elephant,—tokens of the current belief in the Asiatic
connections of North America. Cf. Brinton’s _Floridian Peninsula_,
p. 82, 99, on the “Traza de costas de Tierra Ferme y de las Tierras
Nuevas,” accompanying the royal grant to Garay in 1521, being the
chart of Cristóbal de Tobia, given in the third volume of Navarrete’s
_Coleccion_, and sketched on another page of the present volume
(_ante_, p. 218) in a section on “The Early Cartography of the Gulf of
Mexico and adjacent Parts,” where some light is thrown on contemporary
knowledge of the Florida coast.—ED.]]

Of the preliminary expedition on the Atlantic coast of Gordillo and
the subsequent attempt of his chief, Ayllon, to settle in Virginia,
there is a fund of testimony in the papers of the suit which Matienzo
instituted against Ayllon, and of which the greater part is still
unprinted; but a few papers, like the complaint of Matienzo and some
testimony taken by Ayllon when about to sail himself, can be found in
the _Documentos inéditos_.[929] As regards the joint explorations of
the vessels of Gordillo and Quexos, the testimony of the latter helps
us, as well as his act of taking possession, which puts the proceeding
in 1521; though some of Ayllon’s witnesses give 1520 as the date.
Both parties unite in calling the river which they reached the San
Juan Bautista, and the _cédula_ to Ayllon places it in thirty-five
degrees. Navarrete in saying they touched at Chicora and Gualdape
confounds the first and third voyages; and was clearly ignorant of the
three distinct expeditions;[930] and Herrera is wrong in calling the
river the Jordan,[931]—named, as he says, after the captain or pilot
of one of the vessels,—since no such person was on either vessel,
and no such name appears in the testimony: the true Jordan was the
Wateree (Guatari).[932] That it was the intention of Ayllon to make the
expedition one of slave-catching, would seem to be abundantly disproved
by his condemnation of the commander’s act.[933]

Ayllon, according to Spanish writers, after reaching the coast in
his own voyage, in 1526, took a northerly course. Herrera[934] says
he attempted to colonize north of Cape Trafalgar (Hatteras); and the
_piloto mayor_ of Florida, Ecija, who at a later day, in 1609, was sent
to find out what the English were doing, says positively that Ayllon
had fixed his settlement at Guandape. Since by his office Ecija must
have had in his possession the early charts of his people, and must
have made the locality a matter of special study, his assertion has far
greater weight than that of any historian writing in Spain merely from
documents.[935] It is also the opinion of Navarrete[936] that Ayllon’s
course must have been north.

Oviedo[937] does not define the region of this settlement more closely
than to say that it was under thirty-three degrees, adding that it is
not laid down on any map. The Oydores of Santo Domingo, in a letter to
the King in 1528,[938] only briefly report the expedition, and refer
for particulars to Father Antonio Montesinos.[939]

The authorities for the voyage of Gomez are set forth in another

       *       *       *       *       *

Upon the expedition of Narvaez, and particularly upon the part taken in
it by Cabeza de Vaca, the principal authority is the narrative of the
latter published at Zamora in 1542 as _La relacion que dio Aluar Nuñez
Cabeça de Vaca de lo acaescido en las Indias en la armada donde yua por
gouernador Pãphilo de narbaez_.[941] It was reprinted at Valladolid in
1555, in an edition usually quoted as _La relacion y comentarios[942]
del governador Aluar Nuñez Cabeça de Vaca de lo acaescido en las dos
jornadas que hizo á los Indios_.[943] This edition was reprinted
under the title of _Navfragios de Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca_, by
Barcia (1749) in his _Historiadores primitivos_,[944] accompanied by
an “exámen apologético de la historia” by Antonio Ardoino, which
is a defence of Cabeza de Vaca against the aspersions of Honorius
Philoponus,[945] who charges Cabeza de Vaca with claiming to have
performed miracles.

[Illustration: AUTOGRAPH OF NARVAEZ (_From Buckingham Smith_).]

The _Relacion_, translated into Italian from the first edition, was
included by Ramusio in his _Collection_[946] in 1556. A French version
was given by Ternaux in 1837.[947] The earliest English rendering,
or rather paraphrase, is that in Purchas;[948] but a more important
version was made by the late Buckingham Smith, and printed (100 copies)
at the expense of Mr. George W. Riggs, of Washington, in 1851, for
private circulation.[949] A second edition was undertaken by Mr. Smith,
embodying the results of investigations in Spain, with a revision
of the translation and considerable additional annotation; but the
completion of the work of carrying it through the press, owing to
Mr. Smith’s death,[950] devolved upon others, who found his mass of
undigested notes not very intelligible. It appeared in an edition of
one hundred copies in 1871.[951] In these successive editions Mr. Smith
gave different theories regarding the route pursued by Cabeza de Vaca
in his nine years journey.[952]

[Illustration: AUTOGRAPH OF CABEZA DE VACA (_From Buckingham Smith_).]

The documents[953] which Mr. Smith adds to this new edition convey
but little information beyond what can be gathered from Cabeza de
Vaca himself. He adds, however, engravings of Father Juan Xuarez and
Brother Juan Palos, after portraits preserved in Mexico of the twelve
Franciscans who were first sent to that country.[954]

Some additional facts respecting this expedition are derived at second
hand from a letter which Cabeza de Vaca and Dorantes wrote after their
arrival in Mexico to the _Andiencia_ of Hispaniola, which is not now
known, but of which the substance is professedly given by Oviedo.[955]

The Bahia de la Cruz of Narvaez’ landing, made identical with Apalache
Bay by Cabot, is likely to have been by him correctly identified, as
the point could be fixed by the pilots who returned with the ships to
Cuba, and would naturally be recorded on the charts.[956] Smith[957]
believed it to be Tampa Bay. The _Relacion_ describes the bay as one
whose head could be seen from the mouth; though its author seems in
another place to make it seven or eight leagues deep.[958] Narvaez and
his party evidently thought they were nearer Panuco, and had no idea
they were so near Havana. Had they been at Tampa Bay, or on a coast
running north and south, they can scarcely be supposed to have been
so egregiously mistaken.[959] If Tampa was his landing place, it is
necessary to consider the bay where he subsequently built his boats as
Apalache Bay.[960] Charlevoix[961] identifies it with Apalache Bay,
and Siguenza y Gongora finds it in Pensacola.[962]

Of the expedition of Soto we have good and on the whole satisfactory
records. The Concession made by the Spanish King of the government of
Cuba and of the conquest of Florida is preserved to us.[963] There are
three contemporary narratives of the progress of the march. The first
and best was printed in 1557 at Evora as the _Relaçam verdadeira dos
trabalhos [=q] ho gouernador dō Fernādo de Souto e certos fidalgos
portugueses passarom no descobrimēto da provincia da Frlorida_. _Agora
nouamente feita per hū fidalgo Deluas._[964] It is usually cited in
English as the “Narrative of the Gentleman of Elvas,” since Hakluyt
first translated it, and reprinted it in 1609 at London as _Virginia
richly valued by the Description of the Mainland of Florida, her
next Neighbor_.[965] It appeared again in 1611 as _The worthye and
famous Historie of the Travailles, Discovery, and Conquest of Terra
Florida_, and was included in the supplement to the 1809 edition
of the Collection of Hakluyt. It was also reprinted from the 1611
edition in 1851 by the Hakluyt Society as _Discovery and Conquest of
Florida_,[966] edited by William B. Rye, and is included in Force’s
_Tracts_ (vol. iv.) and in French’s _Historical Collections of
Louisiana_ (vol. ii. pp. 111-220). It is abridged by Purchas in his

[Illustration: YO EL REY.

[The sign-manual of Charles V. to the _Asiento y Capitulacion_ granted
to De Soto, 1537, as given by B. Smith in his _Coleccion_, p.

Another and briefer original Spanish account is the _Relacion del
suceso de its jornada que hizo Hernando de Soto_ of Luys Hernandez de
Biedma, which long remained in manuscript in the Archivo General de
Indias at Seville,[968] and was first published in a French version
by Ternaux in 1841;[969] and from this William B. Rye translated it
for the Hakluyt Society.[970] Finally, the original Spanish text,
“Relación de la Isla de la Florida,” was published by Buckingham Smith
in 1857 in his _Coleccion de varios documentos para la historia de la

In 1866 Mr. Smith published translations of the narratives of the
Gentleman of Elvas and of Biedma, in the fifth volume (125 copies) of
the Bradford Club Series under the title of _Narratives of the Career
of Hernando de Soto in the Conquest of Florida, as told by a Knight
of Elvas, and in a Relation_ [presented 1544] _by Luys Hernandez de


From the _Coleccion_, p. 64, of Buckingham Smith.]

The third of the original accounts is the _Florida del Ynca_ of
Garcilasso de la Vega, published at Lisbon in 1605,[972] which he
wrote forty years after Soto’s death, professedly to do his memory
justice.[973] The spirit of exaggeration which prevails throughout the
volume has deprived it of esteem as an historical authority, though
Theodore Irving[974] and others have accepted it. It is based upon
conversations with a noble Spaniard who had accompanied Soto as a
volunteer, and upon the written but illiterate reports of two common
soldiers,—Alonzo de Carmona, of Priego, and Juan Coles, of Zabra.[975]
Herrera largely embodied it in his _Historia general_.

Still another account of the expedition is the official Report which
Rodrigo Ranjel, the secretary of Soto, based upon his Diary kept on
the march. It was written after reaching Mexico, whence he transmitted
it to the Spanish Government. It remained unpublished in that part of
Oviedo’s _History_ which was preserved in manuscript till Amador de los
Rios issued his edition of Oviedo in 1851. Oviedo seems to have begun
to give the text of Ranjel as he found it; but later in the progress
of the story he abridges it greatly, and two chapters at least are
missing, which must have given the wanderings of Soto from Autiamque,
with his death, and the adventures of the survivors under Mosçoso. The
original text of Ranjel is not known.

These independent narratives of the Gentlemen of Elvas, Biedma,
and Ranjel, as well as those used by Garcilasso de la Vega, agree
remarkably, not only in the main narrative as to course and events, but
also as to the names of the places.

There is also a letter of Soto, dated July 9, 1539, describing his
voyage and landing, which was published by Buckingham Smith in 1854
at Washington,[976] following a transcript (in the Lenox Library) of
a document in the Archives at Simancas, and attested by Muñoz. It is
addressed to the municipality of Santiago de Cuba, and was first made
known in Ternaux’s _Recueil des pièces sur la Floride_. B. F. French
gave the first English version of it in his _Historical Collections of
Louisiana_, part ii. pp. 89-93 (1850).[977]


[This sketch is from a copy in the Kohl Washington Collection, after
a manuscript atlas in the Bodleian. It is without date, but seemingly
of about the middle of the sixteenth century. The “B. de Miruello”
seems to commemorate a pilot of Ponce de Leon’s day. The sketch of the
Atlantic coast made by Chaves in 1536 is preserved to us only in the
description given by Oviedo, of which an English version will be found
in the _Historical Magazine_, x. 371.—ED.]]

The route of De Soto is, of course, a question for a variety of
views.[978] We have in the preceding narrative followed for the
track through Georgia a paper read by Colonel Charles C. Jones, Jr.,
before the Georgia Historical Society, and printed in Savannah in
1880,[979] and for that through Alabama the data given by Pickett in
his _History of Alabama_,[980] whose local knowledge adds weight to his
opinion.[981] As to the point of De Soto’s crossing the Mississippi,
there is a very general agreement on the lowest Chickasaw Bluff.[982]
We are without the means, in any of the original sources, to determine
beyond dispute the most northerly point reached by Soto. He had
evidently approached, but had learned nothing of, the Missouri River.
Almost at the same time that Soto, with the naked, starving remnant
of his army, was at Pacaha, another Spanish force under Vasquez de
Coronado, well handled and perfectly equipped, must in July and August,
1541, have been encamped so near that an Indian runner in a few days
might have carried tidings between them. Coronado actually heard of his
countryman, and sent him a letter; but his messenger failed to find
Soto’s party.[983] But, strangely enough, the cruel, useless expedition
of Soto finds ample space in history, while the well-managed march of
Coronado’s careful exploration finds scant mention.[984] No greater
contrast exists in our history than that between these two campaigns.

       *       *       *       *       *

A sufficient indication has been given, in the notes of the preceding
narrative, of the sources of information concerning the futile attempts
of the Spaniards at colonization on the Atlantic coast up to the time
of the occupation of Port Royal by Ribault in 1562. Of the consequent
bloody struggle between the Spanish Catholics and the French Huguenots
there are original sources on both sides.

On the Spanish part we have the _Cartas escritas al rey_ of Pedro
Menendez (Sept. 11, Oct. 15, and Dec. 5, 1565), which are preserved
in the Archives at Seville, and have been used by Parkman,[985] and
the _Memoria del buen suceso i buen viage_ of the chaplain of the
expedition, Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales.[986] Barcia’s _Ensayo
cronológico_ is the most comprehensive of the Spanish accounts, and he
gives a large part of the _Memorial de las jornadas_ of Solis de Meras,
a brother-in-law of Menendez. It has never been printed separately;
but Charlevoix used Barcia’s extract, and it is translated from Barcia
in French’s _Historical Collections of Louisiana and Florida_ (vol.
ii. p. 216). Barcia seems also to have had access to the papers of
Menendez,[987] and to have received this Journal of Solis directly from
his family.

On the French side, for the first expedition of Ribault in 1562 we
have the very scarce text of the _Histoire de l’expédition Française
en Floride_, published in London in 1563, which Hakluyt refers to as
being in print “in French and English” when he wrote his _Westerne
Planting_.[988] Sparks[989] could not find that it was ever published
in French; nor was Winter Jones aware of the existence of this 1563
edition when he prepared for the Hakluyt Society an issue of Hakluyt’s
_Divers Voyages_ (1582), in which that collector had included an
English version of it as _The True and Last Discoverie of Florida,
translated into Englishe by one Thomas Hackit_, being the same text
which appeared separately in 1563 as the _Whole and True Discovery of
Terra Florida_.[990]

At Paris in 1586 appeared a volume, dedicated to Sir Walter Raleigh,
entitled, _L’histoire notable de la Floride, ... contenant les trois
voyages faits en icelle par certains capitaines et pilotes François
descrits par le Capitaine Laudonnière, ... à laquelle a esté adjousté
un quatriesme voyage fait par le Capitaine Gourgues, Mise en lumiere
par M. Basanier_. This was a comprehensive account, or rather
compilation, of the four several French expeditions,—1562, 1564, 1565,
1567,—covering the letters of Laudonnière for the first three, and
an anonymous account, perhaps by the editor Basanier, of the fourth.
Hakluyt, who had induced the French publication, gave the whole an
English dress in his _Notable History, translated by R. H._, printed in
London in 1587,[991] and again in his _Principall Navigations_, vol.
iii., the text of which is also to be found in the later edition and in
French’s _Historical Collections of Louisiana and Florida_ (1869), i.

[Illustration: ROUTE OF DE SOTO (_after Delisle_),—WESTERLY PART.

[This map of Delisle, issued originally at Paris, is given in the
Amsterdam (1707) edition of Garcilasso de la Vega’s _Histoire des Incas
et de la conquête de la Floride_, vol. ii; cf. _Voyages au nord_,
vol. v., and Delisle’s _Atlas nouveau_. The map is also reproduced
in French’s _Historical Collections of Louisiana_, and Gravier’s _La
Salle_ (1870). Other maps of the route are given by Rye, McCulloch, and
Irving; by J. C. Brevoort in Smith’s _Narratives of Hernando de Soto_,
and in Paul Chaix’ _Bassin du Mississipi au seizième siècle_.

Besides the references already noted, the question of his route has
been discussed, to a greater or less extent, in Charlevoix’ _Nouvelle
France_; in Warden’s _Chronologie historique de l’Amérique_, where
the views of the geographer Homann are cited; in Albert Gallatin’s
“Synopsis of the Indian Tribes” in the _Archæologia Americana_, vol.
ii.; in Nuttall’s _Travels in Arkansas_ (1819 and 1821); in Williams’s
_Florida_ (New York, 1837); in McCulloch’s _Antiquarian Researches
in America_ (Baltimore, 1829); in Schoolcraft’s _Indian Tribes_,
vol. iii.; in Paul Chaix’ _Bassin du Mississipi au seizième siècle_;
in J. W. Monette’s _Valley of the Mississippi_ (1846); in Pickett’s
_Alabama_; in Gayarré’s _Louisiana_; in Martin’s _Louisiana_; in
_Historical Magazine_, v. 8; in _Knickerbocker Magazine_, lxiii. 457;
in _Sharpe’s Magazine_, xlii. 265; and in Lambert A. Wilmer’s _Life
of De Soto_ (1858). Although Dr. Belknap in his _American Biography_
(1794, vol. i. p. 189), had sought to establish a few points of De
Soto’s march, the earliest attempt to track his steps closely was
made by Alexander Meek, in a paper published at Tuscaloosa in 1839 in
_The Southron_, and reprinted as “The Pilgrimage of De Soto,” in his
_Romantic Passages in Southwestern History_ (Mobile, 1857), p. 213.
Irving, in the revised edition of his _Conquest of Florida_, depended
largely upon the assistance of Fairbanks and Smith, and agrees mainly
with Meek and Pickett. In his appendix he epitomizes the indications
of the route according to Garcilasso and the Portuguese gentleman.
Rye collates the statements of McCulloch and Monette regarding the
route beyond the Mississippi, and infers that the identifying of the
localities is almost impossible. Chaix (_Bassin du Mississipi_) also
traces this part.—ED.]]

[Illustration: ROUTE OF DE SOTO (_after Delisle_),—EASTERLY PART.]

Jacques Lemoyne de Morgues, an artist accompanying Laudonnière, wrote
some years later an account, and made maps and drawings, with notes
describing them. De Bry made a visit to London in 1587 to see Lemoyne,
who was then in Raleigh’s service; but Lemoyne resisted all persuasions
to part with his papers.[993] After Lemoyne’s death De Bry bought them
off his widow (1588), and published them in 1591, in the second part
of his _Grands voyages_, as _Brevis narratio_.[994]

One Nicolas le Challeux, or Challus, a carpenter, a man of sixty, who
was an eye-witness of the events at Fort Caroline, and who for the
experiences of Ribault’s party took the statements of Dieppe sailors
and of Christopher le Breton, published a simple narrative at Dieppe
in 1566 under the title of _Discours de l’histoire de la Floride_,
which was issued twice,—once with fifty-four, and a second time
with sixty-two, pages,[995] and the same year reprinted, with some
variations, at Lyons as _Histoire mémorable du dernier voyage fait par
le Capitaine Iean Ribaut en l’an MDLXV_ (pp. 56).[996]

It is thought that Thevet in his _Cosmographie universelle_ (1575) may
have had access to Laudonnière’s papers; and some details from Thevet
are embodied in what is mainly a translation of Le Challeux, the _De
Gallorum expeditione in Floridam anno MDLXV brevis historia_, which was
added (p. 427) by Urbain Chauveton, or Calveton, to the Latin edition
of Benzoni,—_Novæ novi orbis historiæ tres libri_, printed at Geneva in
1578 and 1581,[997] and reproduced under different titles in the French
versions, published likewise at Geneva in 1579, 1588, and 1589.[998]
There is a separate issue of it from the 1579 edition.[999]

It was not long before exaggerated statements were circulated, based
upon the representations made in _Une requête au roi_ (Charles IX.) of
the widows and orphans of the victims of Menendez, in which the number
of the slain is reported at the impossible figure of nine hundred.[1000]

Respecting the expedition of De Gourgues there are no Spanish
accounts whatever, Barcia[1001] merely taking in the main the French
narrative,—in which, says Parkman, “it must be admitted there is a
savor of romance.”[1002] That Gourgues was merely a slaver is evident
from this full French account. Garibay notes his attempt to capture at
least one Spanish vessel; and he certainly had on reaching Florida two
barks, which he must have captured on his way. Basanier and many who
follow him suppress entirely the slaver episode in this voyage. All the
De Gourgues narratives ignore entirely the existence of St. Augustine,
and make the three pretended forts on the St. John to have been of
stone; and Prévost, to heighten the picture, invents the story of the
flaying of Ribault, of which there is no trace in the earlier French

There are two French narratives. One of them, _La reprinse de la
Floride_, exists, according to Gaffarel,[1003] in five different
manuscript texts.[1004] The other French narrative is the last paper
in the compilation of Basanier, already mentioned. Brinton[1005] is
inclined to believe that it is not an epitome of the _Reprinse_, but
that it was written by Basanier himself from the floating accounts of
his day, or from some unknown relater. Charlevoix mentions a manuscript
in the possession of the De Gourgues family; but it is not clear which
of these papers it was.

The story of the Huguenot colony passed naturally into the historical
records of the seventeenth century;[1006] but it got more special
treatment in the next century, when Charlevoix issued his _Nouvelle
France_.[1007] The most considerable treatments of the present century
have been by Jared Sparks in his _Life of Ribault_,[1008] by Francis
Parkman in his _Pioneers of France in the New World_,[1009] and by Paul
Gaffarel in his _Histoire de la Floride Française_.[1010] The story has
also necessarily passed into local and general histories of this period
in America, and into the accounts of the Huguenots as a sect.[1011]





_Vice-President of the Massachusetts Historical Society._

WHEN the great apostle of the new faith, on his voyage from Asia to
Europe, was shipwrecked on a Mediterranean island, “the barbarous
people” showed him and his company “no little kindness.” On first
acquaintance with their chief visitor they hastily judged him to be
a murderer, whom, though he had escaped the sea, yet vengeance would
not suffer to live. But afterward “they changed their minds, and said
that he was a god.”[1012] The same extreme revulsion of feeling and
judgment was wrought in the minds of the natives of this New World when
the ocean-tossed voyagers from the old continent first landed on these
shores, bringing the parted representatives of humanity on this globe
into mutual acquaintance and intercourse. Only in this latter case the
change of feeling and judgment was inverted. The simple natives of the
fair western island regarded their mysterious visitors as superhuman
beings; further knowledge of them proved them to be “murderers,”
rapacious, cruel, and inhuman,—fit subjects for a dire vengeance.

In these softer times of ours the subject of the present chapter might
well be passed silently, denied a revival, and left in the pitiful
oblivion which covers so many of the distressing horrors of “man’s
inhumanity to man.” But, happily for the writer and for the reader,
the title of the chapter is a double one, and embraces two themes. The
painful narrative to be rehearsed is to be relieved by a tribute of
admiring and reverential homage to a saintly man of signal virtues and
heroic services, one of the grandest and most august characters in the
world’s history. Many of the obscure and a few of the dismal elements
and incidents of long-passed times, in the rehearsal of them on fresh
pages, are to a degree relieved by new light thrown upon them, by the
detection and exposure of errors, and by readjustments of truth. Gladly
would a writer on the subject before us avail himself of any such means
to reduce or to qualify its repulsiveness. But advancing time, with
the assertion of the higher instincts of humanity which have sharpened
regrets and reproaches for all the enormities of the past, has not
furnished any abatements for the faithful dealing with this subject
other than that just presented.

It is a fact worthy of a pause for thought, that in no single instance
since the discovery of our islands and continent by Europeans—to
say nothing about the times before it—has any new race of men come
to the knowledge of travellers, explorers, and visitors from the
realms of so-called civilization, when the conditions were so fair
and favorable in the first introduction and acquaintance between the
parties as in that between Columbus and the natives of the sea-girt
isle of Hispaniola. Not even in the sweetest idealizings of romance
is there a more fascinating picture than that which he draws of those
unsophisticated children of Nature, their gentleness, docility, and
friendliness. They were not hideous or repulsive, as barbarians;
they did not revolt the sight, like many of the African tribes, like
Bushmen, Feejeans, or Hottentots; they presented no caricaturings of
humanity, as giants or dwarfs, as Amazons or Esquimaux; their naked
bodies were not mutilated, gashed, or painted; they uttered no yells
or shrieks, with mad and threatening gestures. They were attractive in
person, well formed, winning and gentle, and trustful; they were lithe
and soft of skin, and their hospitality was spontaneous, generous, and
genial. Tribes of more warlike and less gracious nature proved to exist
on some of the islands, about the isthmus and the continental regions
of the early invasion; but the first introduction and intercourse of
the representatives of the parted continents set before the Europeans
a race of their fellow-creatures with whom they might have lived and
dealt in peace and love.

And what shall we say of the new-comers, the Spaniards,—the subjects of
the proudest of monarchies, the representatives of the age of chivalry;
gentlemen, nobles, disciples of the one Holy Catholic Church, and
soldiers of the Cross of Christ? What sort of men were they, what was
their errand, and what impress did they leave upon the scenes so fair
before their coming, and upon those children of Nature whom they found
so innocent and loving, and by whom they were at first gazed upon with
awe and reverence as gods?

In only one score of the threescore years embraced in our present
subject the Spaniards had sown desolation, havoc, and misery in and
around their track. They had depopulated some of the best-peopled
of the islands, and renewed them with victims deported from others.
They had inflicted upon hundreds of thousands of the natives all the
forms and agonies of fiendish cruelty, driving them to self-starvation
and suicide as a way of mercy and release from an utterly wretched
existence. They had come to be viewed by their victims as fiends of
hate, malignity, and all dark and cruel desperation and mercilessness
in passion. The hell which they denounced upon their victims was shorn
of its worst terror by the assurance that these tormentors were not to
be there.

Only what is needful for the truth of history is to be told here, while
shocking details are to be passed by. And as the rehearsal is made to
set forth in relief the nobleness, grandeur of soul, and heroism of a
man whose nearly a century of years was spent in holy rebuke, protest,
exposure, and attempted redress of this work of iniquity, a reader may
avert his gaze from the narration of the iniquity and fix it upon the
character and career of the “Apostle to the Indians.”

There was something phenomenal and monstrous, something so aimless,
reckless, wanton, unprovoked, utterly ruinous even for themselves,
in that course of riot and atrocity pursued by the Spaniards, which
leads us—while palliation and excuse are out of the question—to seek
some physical or moral explanation of it. This has generally been
found in referring to the training of Spanish nature in inhumanity,
cruelty, contempt of human life, and obduracy of feeling, through
many centuries of ruthless warfare. It was in the very year of the
discovery of America that the Spaniards, in the conquest of Granada,
had finished their eight centuries of continuous war for wresting their
proud country from the invading Moors. This war had made every Spaniard
a fighter, and every infidel an enemy exempted from all tolerance
and mercy. Treachery, defiance of pledges and treaties, brutalities,
and all wild and reckless stratagems, had educated the champions of
the Cross and faith in what were to them but the accomplishments of
the soldier and the fidelity of the believer. Even in the immunities
covenanted to the subject-Moors, of tolerance in their old home and
creed, the ingenuities of their implacable foes found the means of new
devices for oppression and outrage. The Holy Office of the Inquisition,
with all its cavernous secrets and fiendish processes, dates also from
the same period, and gave its fearful consecration to all the most
direful passions.

With that training in inhumanity and cruelty which the Spanish
adventurers brought to these shores, we must take into view that
towering, overmastering rapacity and greed which were to glut
themselves upon the spoils of mines, precious stones, and pearls.
The rich soil, with the lightest tillage, would have yielded its
splendid crops for man and beast. Flocks would have multiplied and
found their own sustenance for the whole year without any storage in
garner, barn, or granary. A rewarding commerce would have enriched
merchants on either side of well-traversed ocean pathways. But not
the slightest thought or recognition was given during the first
half-century of the invasion to any such enterprise as is suggested
by the terms colonization, the occupancy of soil for husbandry and
domestication. Spanish pride, indolence, thriftlessness regarded
every form of manual labor as a demeaning humiliation. There was no
peasantry among the new-comers. The humblest of them in birth, rank,
and means was a gentleman; his hands could not hold a spade or a rake,
or guide the plough. The horse and the hound were the only beasts on
his inventory of values. Sudden and vast enrichment by the treasures
of gold wrung from the natives, first in their fragmentary ornaments,
and then by compulsory toil from the mines which would yield it in
heaps, were the lure and passion of the invaders. The natives, before
they could reach any conception of the Divine Being of the Catholic
creed, soon came to the understanding of the real object of their
worship: as a cacique plainly set forth to a group of his trembling
subjects, when, holding up a piece of gold, he said, “This is the
Spaniards’ god.” A sordid passion, with its overmastery of all the
sentiments of humanity, would inflame the nerves and intensify all
the brutal propensities which are but masked in men of a low range of
development even under the restraints of social and civil life. We must
allow for the utter recklessness and frenzy of their full indulgence
under the fervors of hot climes, in the loosening of all domestic
and neighborly obligations, in the homelessness of exile and the mad
freedom of adventure. Under the fretting discomforts and restraints
of the ocean-passage hither, the imagination of these rapacious
treasure-seekers fed itself on visions of wild license of arbitrary
power over simple victims, and of heaps of treasure to be soon carried
back to Spain to make a long revel in self-indulgence for the rest of

“Cruelties” was the comprehensive term under which Las Casas gathered
all the enormities and barbarities, of which he was a witness for
half a century, as perpetrated on the successive scenes invaded by
his countrymen on the islands and the main of the New World. He had
seen thousands of the natives crowded together, naked and helpless,
for slaughter, like sheep in a park or meadow. He had seen them wasted
at the extremities by torturing fires, till, after hours of agony,
they turned their dying gaze, rather in amazed dread than in rage,
upon their tormentors. Mutilations of hands, feet, ears, and noses
surrounded him with ghastly spectacles of all the processes of death
without disease. One may well leave all details to the imagination; and
may do this all the more willingly that even the imagination will fail
to fill and fashion the reality of the horror.

       *       *       *       *       *

Previous to the successful ventures on the western ocean, the
Portuguese had been resolutely pursuing the work of discovery by
pushing their daring enterprise farther and farther down the coast of
Africa, till they at last turned the Cape.[1013] The deportation of the
natives and their sale as slaves at once became first an incidental
reward, and then the leading aim of craving adventurers. It was but
natural that the Spaniards should turn their success in other regions
to the same account. Heathen lands and heathen people belonged by
Papal donation to the soldiers of the Cross; they were the heritage of
the Church. The plea of conversion answered equally for conquest and
subjugation of the natives on their own soil, and for transporting them
to the scenes and sharers of a pure and saving faith.

A brief summary of the acts and incidents in the first enslavement of
the natives may here be set down. Columbus took with him to Spain, on
his first return, nine natives. While on his second voyage he sent to
Spain, in January, 1494, by a return vessel, a considerable number,
described as Caribs, “from the Cannibal Islands,” for “slaves.” They
were to be taught Castilian, to serve as interpreters for the work of
“conversion” when restored to their native shores. Columbus pleads that
it will benefit them by the saving of their souls, while the capture
and enslaving of them will give the Spaniards consequence as evidence
of power. Was this even a plausible excuse, and were the victims really
cannibals? The sovereigns seemed to approve the act, but intimated
that the “cannibals” might be converted at home, without the trouble
of transportation. But Columbus enlarged and generalized sweepingly
upon his scheme, afterward adding to it a secular advantage, suggesting
that as many as possible of these cannibals should be caught for the
sake of their souls, and then sold in Spain in payment for cargoes
of live stock, provisions, and goods, which were much needed in the
islands. The monarchs for a while suspended their decision of this
matter. But the abominable traffic was steadily catching new agents
and victims, and the slave-trade became a leading motive for advancing
the rage for further discoveries. The Portuguese were driving the work
eastward, while the Spaniards were keenly following it westward. In
February, 1495, Columbus sent back four ships, whose chief lading was
slaves. From that time began the horrors attending the crowding of
human cargoes with scant food and water, with filth and disease, and
the daily throwing over into the sea those who were privileged to die.
Yet more victims were taken by Columbus when he was again in Spain in
June, 1496, to circumvent his enemies. Being here again in 1498, he had
no positive prohibition against continuing the traffic. A distinction
was soon recognized, and allowed even by the humane and pious Isabella.
Captives taken in war against the Spaniards might be brought to Spain
and kept in slavery; but natives who had been seized for the purpose of
enslaving them, she indignantly ordered should be restored to freedom.
This wrong, as well as that of the _repartimiento_ system, in the
distribution of natives to Spanish masters as laborers, was slightly
held in check by this lovable lady during her life. She died while
Columbus was in Spain, Nov. 26, 1504. Columbus died at Valladolid, May
20, 1506. The ill that he had done lived after him, to qualify the
splendor of his nobleness, grandeur, and constancy.

And here we may bring upon the scene that one, the only Spaniard who
stands out luminously, in the heroism and glory of true sanctity, amid
these gory scenes, himself a true soldier of Christ.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bartholomew Las Casas was born at Seville in 1474. Llorente—a faithful
biographer, and able editor and expositor of his writings, of whom
farther on we are to say much more—asserts that the family was French
in its origin, the true name being Casuas; which appears, indeed, as an
alias on the titlepage of some of his writings published by the apostle
in his lifetime.[1014]

Antoine Las Casas, the father of Bartholomew, was a soldier in the
marine service of Spain. We find no reference to him as being either in
sympathy or otherwise with the absorbing aim which ennobled the career
of his son. He accompanied Columbus on his first western voyage in
1492, and returned with him to Spain in 1493.

During the absence of the father on this voyage the son, at the age of
eighteen, was completing his studies at Salamanca. In May, 1498,[1015]
at the age of about twenty-four, he went to the Indies with his father,
in employment under Columbus, and returned to Cadiz, Nov. 25, 1500.
In an address to the Emperor in 1542, Bartholomew reminded him that
Columbus had given liberty to each of several of his fellow-voyagers
to take to Spain a single native of the islands for personal service,
and that a youth among those so transported had been intrusted to
him. Perhaps under these favoring circumstances this was the occasion
of first engaging the sympathies of Las Casas for the race to whose
redemption he was to consecrate his life. Isabella, however, was highly
indignant at this outrage upon the natives, and under pain of death
to the culprits ordered the victims to be restored to their country.
It would seem that they were all carried back in 1500 under the
Commander Bobadilla, and among them the young Indian who had been in
the service of Bartholomew. One loves to imagine that in some of the
wide wanderings of the latter, amid the scenes of the New World, he may
again have met with this first specimen of a heathen race who had been
under intimate relations with himself, and who had undoubtedly been

We shall find farther on that the grievous charge was brought against
Las Casas, when he had drawn upon himself bitter animosities, that he
was the first to propose the transportation of negro slaves to the
islands, in 1517. It is enough to say here, in anticipation, that
Governor Ovando, in 1500, received permission to carry thither negro
slaves “who had been born under Christian Powers.” The first so carried
were born in Seville of parents brought from Africa, and obtained
through the Portuguese traffickers.

On May 9, 1502, Las Casas embarked for the second time with Columbus,
reaching San Domingo on June 29. In 1510 he was ordained priest by the
first Bishop of Hispaniola, and was the first ecclesiastic ordained in
the so-called Indies to say there his virgin Mass. This was regarded
as a great occasion, and was attended by crowds; though a story is
told, hardly credible, that there was then not a drop of wine to be
obtained in the colony. The first Dominican monks, under their Bishop,
Cordova, reached the islands in 1510. As we shall find, the Dominicans
were from the first, and always, firm friends, approvers, and helpers
of Las Casas in his hard conflict for asserting the rights of humanity
for the outraged natives. The fact presents us with one of the strange
anomalies in history,—that the founders and prime agents of the
Inquisition in Europe should be the champions of the heathen in the New

The monks in sympathy with the ardent zeal of Las Casas began to preach
vehemently against the atrocious wrongs which were inflicted upon the
wretched natives, and he was sent as curate to a village in Cuba. The
Franciscans, who had preceded the Dominicans, had since 1502 effected
nothing in opposition to these wrongs. Utterly futile were the orders
which came continually from the monarchs against overworking and
oppressing the natives, as their delicate constitutions, unused to
bodily toil, easily sank under its exactions. The injunctions against
enslaving them were positive. Exception was made only in the case
of the Caribs, as reputed cannibals, and the then increasing number
of imported negro slaves, who were supposed to be better capable of
hard endurance. Las Casas was a witness and a most keen and sensitive
observer of the inflictions—lashings and other torturing atrocities—by
which his fellow-countrymen, as if goaded by a demoniac spirit, treated
these simple and quailing children of Nature, as if they were organized
without sensitiveness of nerve, fibre, or understanding, requiring of
them tasks utterly beyond their strength, bending them to the earth
with crushing burdens, harnessing them to loads which they could not
drag, and with fiendish sport and malice hacking off their hands
and feet, and mutilating their bodies in ways which will not bear a
description. It was when he accompanied the expedition under Velasquez
for the occupation of Cuba, that he first drew the most jealous
and antagonistic opposition and animosity upon himself, as standing
between the natives and his own countrymen, who in their sordidness,
rapacity, and cruelty seemed to have extinguished in themselves every
instinct of humanity and every sentiment of religion. Here too was
first brought into marked observation his wonderful power over the
natives winning their confidence and attachment, as they were ever
after docile under his advice, and learned to look to him as their
true friend. We pause to contemplate this wonderful and most engaging
character, as, after filling his eye and thought with the shocking
scenes in which his countrymen—in name the disciples of Jesus and
loyal members of his Church—perpetrated such enormities against beings
in their own likeness, he began his incessant tracking of the ocean
pathways in his voyages to lay his remonstrances and appeals before
successive monarchs. Beginning this service in his earliest manhood, he
was to labor in it with unabated zeal till his death, with unimpaired
faculties, at the age of ninety-two. He calls himself “the Clerigo.”
He was soon to win and worthily to bear the title of “Universal
Protector of the Indians.” Truly was he a remarkable and conspicuous
personage,—unique, as rather the anomaly than the product of his age
and land, his race and fellowship. His character impresses us alike
by its loveliness and its ruggedness, its tenderness and its vigor,
its melting sympathy and its robust energies. His mental and moral
endowments were of the strongest and the richest, and his spiritual
insight and fervor well-nigh etherealized him. His gifts and abilities
gave him a rich versatility in capacity and resource. He was immensely
in advance of his age, so as to be actually in antagonism with it. He
was free alike from its prejudices, its limitations, and many of its
superstitions, as well as from its barbarities. He was single-hearted,
courageous, fervent, and persistent, bold and daring as a venturesome
voyager over new seas and mysterious depths of virgin wildernesses,
missionary, scholar, theologian, acute logician, historian, curious
observer of Nature, the peer of Saint Paul in wisdom and zeal. Charles
V. coming to the throne at the age of sixteen, when Las Casas was
about forty, was at once won to him by profound respect and strong
attachment, as had been the case with Charles’s grandfather Ferdinand,
whom Las Casas survived fifty years, while he outlived Columbus sixty

The Clerigo found his remonstrances and appeals to his own nominally
Christian fellow-countrymen wholly ineffectual in restraining or even
mitigating the oppressions and cruelties inflicted upon the wretched
natives. There was something phenomenal, as has been said, in the
license yielded to the ingenuity of Spanish barbarity. It combined
all the devices of inquisitorial torturing with the indulgence of
the bestial ferocities of the bullfight. At times it seemed as if
the heartless oppressors were seeking only for a brutal mirth in
inventing games in which their victims should writhe and yell as for
their amusement. Then, as opportunity suggested or served, a scheme
of the most cunning treachery and malice would turn an occasion of
revelry or feasting, to which the natives had been invited or been
beguiled by their tormentors, into a riot of fury and massacre. The
utter aimlessness and recklessness of most of these horrid enormities
impress the reader in these days as simply the indulgence of a wanton
spirit in giving free license in human passions to those mocking
employments of grinning devils in the old church paintings as they
inflict retributions on the damned spirits in hell. The forked weapons,
the raging flames, and the hideous demoniac delights exhibited in
paintings, with which the eyes of the Spaniards were so familiar, found
their all-too-faithful counterparts in the tropical zones and valleys
of our virgin islands. The only pretences offered, not for justifying
but for inflicting such wanton barbarities on the natives, were such
as these,—that they refused to make known or to guide their oppressors
to rich mines, or to work beyond their powers of endurance, or to bear
intolerable burdens, or to furnish food which they had not to give.
Touching and harrowing it is to read of many instances in which the
simple diplomacy of the natives prompted them to neglect the little
labor of husbandry required to supply their own wants, in order that
the invaders might with themselves be brought to starvation. Whenever
the Clerigo accompanied a body of Spaniards on the way to an Indian
village, he always made an effort to keep the two people apart by night
and by day, and he employed himself busily in baptizing infants and
little children. He could never be too quick in this service, as these
subjects of his zeal were the victims of the indiscriminate slaughter.
The only consolation which this tender-hearted yet heroic missionary
could find, as his share in the enterprise of his people, was in
keeping the reckoning on his tablets of the number of those born under
the common heathen doom whom he had snatched, by a holy drop, from the
jaws of hell.

Baffled in all his nearly solitary endeavors to check the direful havoc
and wreck of poor humanity on the scenes which were made so gory and
hateful, Las Casas returned again to Spain in 1515, buoyed by resolve
and hope that his dark revelations and bold remonstrances would draw
forth something more effective from the sovereign. He was privileged by
free and sympathizing interviews with Ferdinand at Placentia. But any
hope of success here was soon crushed by the monarch’s death. Las Casas
was intending to go at once to Flanders to plead with the new King,
Charles I., afterward Emperor, but was delayed by sympathetic friends
found in Cardinal Ximenes and Adrian, the Regents.

It may seem strange and unaccountable that Las Casas should have
encountered near the Court of a benignant sovereign a most malignant
opposition to all his endeavors from first to last in securing the
simply humane objects of his mission. But in fact he was withstood as
resolutely at home as abroad, and often by a more wily and calculating
policy. He found enemies and effective thwarters of his influence and
advice in the order of the Jeronymites. Of the grounds and methods
of their harmful activity, as well as of some of the more ostensible
and plausible of the motives and alleged reasons which made him
personal enemies both in Spain and in the Indies, we must speak with
some detail farther on. It may be well here to follow him summarily
in his frequent alternation between his missionary fields and his
homeward voyages, to ply his invigorated zeal with new and intenser
earnestness from his fuller experiences of the woes and outrages which
he sought to redress. With some, though insufficient, assurances
of regal authority in support of his cause, he re-embarked for the
Indies, Nov. 11, 1516, and reached Hispaniola in December, fortified
with the personal title of the “Universal Protector of the Indians.”
He sailed again for Spain, May 7, 1517. His plainness of speech had
in the interval increased the animosity and the efforts to thwart
him of the local authorities on the islands, and had even induced
coldness and lack of aid among his Dominican friends. He had many
public and private hearings in Spain, stirring up against himself
various plottings and new enemies. In each of these homeward visits Las
Casas of course brought with him revelations and specific details of
new accumulations of iniquity against the natives; and with a better
understanding of himself, and also of all the intrigues and interests
warring against him, his honest soul assured him that he must at last
win some triumph in his most righteous cause. So he heaped the charges
and multiplied the disclosures which gave such vehemence and eloquence
to his pleadings. Having during each of his home visits met some form
of misrepresentation or falsehood, he would re-embark, furnished as
he hoped with some new agency and authority against the evil-doers.
But his enemies were as ingenious and as active as himself. Perhaps
the same vessel or fleet which carried him to the islands, with orders
intended to advance his influence, would bear fellow-passengers with
documents or means to thwart all his reinforced mission. He left Spain
again in 1520, only to cast himself on a new sea of troubles soon
inducing him to return. His sixth voyage carried him this time to the
mainland in Mexico, in 1537. He was in Spain once more in 1539. While
waiting here for the return of the Emperor, he composed six of his many
essays upon his one unchanging theme, all glowing with his righteous
indignation, and proffering wise and plain advice to the monarch. Yet
again he crossed the now familiar ocean to America, in 1544, it being
his seventh western voyage, and returned for the seventh and last time
to Spain in 1547. Here were fourteen sea-voyages, with their perils,
privations, and lack of the common appliances and comforts shared in
these days by the rudest mariners. These voyages were interspersed by
countless trips and ventures amid the western islands and the main,
involving twofold, and a larger variety of harassments and risks, with
quakings, hurricanes, and reefs, exposures in open skiffs, and the
privilege of making one’s own charts. But one year short of fifty in
the count out of his lengthened life were spent by this man of noble
ardor, of dauntless soul, and of loving heart in a cause which never
brought to him the joy of an accomplished aim.

Las Casas shared, with a few other men of the most fervent and
self-sacrificing religious zeal, an experience of the deepest inward
conviction, following upon, not originally prompting to, the full
consecration of his life to his devoutest aim. Though he had been
ordained to the priesthood in 1510, he was afterward made to realize
that he had not then been the subject of that profound experience known
in the formulas of piety as true conversion. He dates this personal
experience, carrying him to a deeper devotional consciousness than he
had previously realized, to the influence over him of a faithful lay
friend, Pedro de la Renteria, with whom he became intimate in 1514. To
the devout conversation, advice, and example of this intimate companion
he ascribed his better-informed apprehension of the radical influences
which wrought out the whole system of wrong inflicted upon the natives.
Las Casas himself, like all the other Spaniards, had a company of
Indian servants, who were in effect slaves; and he put them to work,
the benefit of which accrued to himself. A form of servitude which
exceeded all the conditions of plantation slavery had been instituted
by Columbus under the system of so-called _repartimientos_. It was
founded on the assumption that the Spanish monarch had an absolute
proprietary right over the natives, and could make disposals and
allotments of their services to his Christian subjects, the numbers
being proportioned to the rank, standing, and means of individuals,
the meanest Spaniard being entitled to share in the distribution of
these servitors. This allowance made over to men of the lowest grade of
intelligence, character, and humanity, the absolute and irresponsible
power over the life and death of the natives intrusted to the disposal
of masters. Under it were perpetrated cruelties against which there
were no availing remonstrances, and for which there was no redress.
The domestic cattle of civilized men are to be envied above the human
beings who were held under the system of _repartimientos_,—tasked,
scourged, tormented, and hunted with bloodhounds, if they sank under
toils and inflictions beyond their delicate constitutions, or sought
refuge in flight.

The slavery which afterward existed in the British Colonies and in
these United States had scarce a feature in common with that which
originated with the Spanish invaders. Las Casas thinks that Ferdinand
lived and died without having had anything like a full apprehension
of the enormities of the system. This, however, was not because
efforts were lacking to inform him of these enormities, or to engage
his sovereign intervention to modify and restrain, if not positively
to prohibit, them. As we shall see, the system was so rooted in the
greed and rapacity of the first adventurers here, who were goaded by
passion for power and wealth, that foreign authority was thwarted in
every attempt to overrule it. The most favored advisers of Ferdinand
endeavored at first to keep him in ignorance of the system, and then,
as he obtained partial information about it, to lead him to believe
that it was vitally indispensable to conversion, to colonization, and
to remunerative trade. The Dominican missionaries had, as early as
1501, informed the monarch of the savage cruelties which the system
imposed. All that they effected was to induce Ferdinand to refer the
matter to a council of jurists and theologians. Some of these were even
alleged to have personal interests in the system of _repartimientos_;
but at any rate they were under the influence and sway of its most
selfish supporters. As the result of their conference, they persuaded
the monarch that the system was absolutely necessary,—as, first,
the Spaniards themselves were incapable of bodily labor under a
debilitating climate; and second, that the close and dependent relation
under which the natives were thus brought to their masters could alone
insure the possibility of their conversion to the true faith. Ferdinand
was so far won over to the allowance of the wrong as to issue an
ordinance in its favor; while he sought to limit, restrain, and qualify
it by injunctions which, of course, were futile in their dictation, for
operating at a distance, in islands where sordid personal interests
were all on the side of a defiance of them.

The Clerigo affirms that his own conscience was more startlingly
aroused to a full sense of the wrongs and iniquities of the system
of the _repartimientos_ by his religious friend Renteria. He had
previously, of course, so far as he was himself made the master or
guardian in this relation of any number of the natives, brought his
humanity and his ardor for justice into full exercise. But he was
quickened by his friend to the duty of private and also of bold public
protest against the system, and most plainly to offenders in proportion
to the number of the victims which they enthralled and to the cruelty
inflicted upon them. It was not his wont to allow any timidity or
personal regards or temporizing calculations to compel his silence or
to moderate his rebukes. His infirmity rather led him to excess in
impatience and passion in his remonstrances. His bold and denunciatory
preaching—though it appears that in this, and, as we shall note, on
other occasions of speech and writing, he restrained himself from using
the name of conspicuous offenders—caused an intense consternation and
excitement. His clerical character barely saved him from personal
violence. He found his hearers obdurate, and utterly beyond the sway
of his protests and appeals. Again, therefore, he turned his face
toward Spain, sustained by the fond assurance that he could so engage
the King’s intervention by his disclosures and rehearsals, that the
royal authority should at this time be effectually exerted against a
giant iniquity. This was his homeward errand in 1515. That even his
presence and speech had had some restraining influence in Cuba, is
signified by the fact that after his withdrawal and during his absence
all the wrongs and miseries of which the natives, wholly impotent to
resist, were the victims, ran into wilder license. The Spaniards kept
bloodhounds in training and in hunger, to scour the woods and thickets
and wilderness depths for the despairing fugitives. Whole families of
the natives took refuge in voluntary and preferred self-destruction.

Two Dominicans of like mind with Las Casas accompanied him on his
errand. Pedro de Cordova, prelate of the Dominicans, was his stanch
friend. The Clerigo reached Seville in the autumn of 1515, and at once
addressed himself to Ferdinand. He found the monarch old and ailing.
The most able and malignant opponent with whose support, enlisted
upon the side of the wrong and of the wrongdoers, Las Casas had to
contend, was the Bishop of Burgos, Fonseca, whose influence had sway
in the Council for the Indies.[1016] After the King’s death, Jan. 23,
1516, Las Casas enjoyed the countenance, and had hope of the effectual
aid, of the two Regents, previously mentioned, during the minority
of Charles, the heir to the throne. The earnestness and persistency
of the Clerigo so far availed as to obtain for him instructions to
be carried to those in authority in the islands for qualifying the
_repartimiento_ system, and with penalties for the oppressions under
it. Some Jeronymites were selected to accompany him on his return,
as if to reinforce the objects of his mission, and to insure the
efficacy of the title conferred upon him as the “Protector of the
Indians.” The Jeronymites, however, had been corrupted by the cunning
and intrigues of the wily and exasperated enemies of Las Casas, who
effected in secrecy what they could not or dared not attempt publicly
against the courageous Clerigo and his purposes backed by authority.
Already alienated during the voyage, they reached San Domingo in
December, 1516. Perhaps candor may induce the suggestion that while the
Jeronymites, from motives of prudence, temporized and qualified their
activity in their errand, Las Casas was heady and unforbearing in his
uncompromising demand for instant redress of wrong. At any rate he was
wholly foiled in the exercise of his delegated authority; and so, with
a fire in his blood which allowed no peace to his spirit, he was again
in Spain in July, 1517. Here he found Cardinal Ximenes, his friendly
patron, near to death. He was, however, encouraged with the hope
and promise of patronage from high quarters. For a season his cause
presented a favorable aspect. He had become sadly assured that upon the
Spaniards in the islands, whose hearts and consciences were smothered
by their greed and inhumanity, no influence, not even that of ghostly
terrorism, which was tried in the refusal of the sacraments, would be
of the least avail. His only resource was to engage what force there
might be in the piety and humanity of the Church at home, in the sense
of justice among high civil dignitaries, and in such sympathetic aid as
he might draw from his countrymen who had no interest in the mining or
the commerce sustained by the impositions upon the natives. The young
King had wise councillors, and they made with him some good plans for
means of relieving the natives from severities in their tasks of labor,
from cruel inflictions in working the mines, and from exorbitant taxes
exacting of them produce and commodities enormously exceeding their
possible resources, however willing they might be in yielding. It was
at this time and under its emergency, that Las Casas unfortunately
gave something more than his assent, even his countenance and advice,
to a proposition the effect of which was to root in pure and free
soil an enormity whose harvesting and increase were a sum of woes. He
certainly did advise that each Spaniard, resident in Hispaniola, should
be allowed to import a dozen negro slaves. He did this, as he afterward
affirmed and confessed, under the lure of a deep mist and delusion. So
painful was the remorse which he then experienced for his folly and
error, that he avows that he would part with all he had in the world
to redress it. He says that when he gave this advice he had not at all
been aware of the outrages perpetrated by the Portuguese dealers in
entrapping these wretched Africans. Besides this, he had been promised
by the colonists that if they might be allowed to have negroes, whose
constitutions were stronger for endurance, they would give up the
feeble natives. We may therefore acquit Las Casas in his confessed sin
of ignorance and willing compromise in an alternative of wrongs. But
he is wholly guiltless of a charge which has been brought against him,
founded upon this admitted error, of having been the first to propose
and to secure the introduction of African slavery into the New World.
As has already been said, the wrong had been perpetrated many years
before Las Casas had any agency in it by deed or word. While the young
King was still in Flanders negro slaves had been sent by his permission
to Hispaniola. The number was limited to a thousand for each of the
four principal islands. As there was a monopoly set up in the sale
of these doleful victims, the price of them was speedily and greatly

Las Casas devised and initiated a scheme for the emigration of laboring
men from Spain. Thwarted in this purpose, he formed a plan for a colony
where restrictions were to be enforced to guard against the worst
abuses. Fifty Spaniards, intended to be carefully selected with regard
to character and habits, and distinguished by a semi-clerical garb and
mode of life, were his next device for introducing some more tolerable
conditions of work and thrift in the islands. Ridicule was brought to
bear, with all sorts of intrigues and tricks, to baffle this scheme.
But the Clerigo persevered in meeting all the obstructions thrown in
his way, and sailed for San Domingo in July, 1520. He established his
little Utopian colony at Cumana; but misadventures befel it, and it
came to a melancholy end. It seemed for a season as if the tried and
patient Clerigo was at last driven to complete disheartenment. Wearied
and exhausted, he took refuge in a Dominican convent in San Domingo,
receiving the tonsure in 1522. Here he was in retirement for eight
years, occupying himself in studying and writing, of which we have many
results. During this interval the work of depopulation and devastation
was ruinously advancing under Cortés, Alvarado, and Pizarro, in Mexico,
Guatemala, and Peru. There is some uncertainty about an alleged
presence of Las Casas at the Court in Spain in 1530. But he was in
Mexico in 1531, in Nicaragua in 1534, and in Spain again in 1539, in
behalf of a promising work undertaken in Tuzulutlan, from which all lay
Spaniards were to be excluded. Having accomplished, as he hoped, the
object of his visit, he would have returned at once to the American
main; but was detained by the Council of the Indies as the person best
able and most trustworthy to give them certain information which they
desired. It was at this period that he wrote his remarkable work, _The
Destruction of the Indies_. This bold and daring product of his pen
and of the righteous indignation which had heretofore found expression
from his eloquent and fervid speech, will soon be examined in detail.
It may be said now that this work, afterward so widely circulated
and translated into all the languages of Europe,—perhaps with some
reductions from the original,—was not at first allowed to be published,
but was submitted to the Emperor and his ministers. As the shocking
revelations made in this book state in round numbers the victims of the
Spaniards in different places, it is at once observable that there are
over-statements and exaggerations. This, however, applies only to the
numbers, not at all to the acts of barbarity and iniquity.[1018] The
book was published twelve years after it was written, and was dedicated
to Philip, the heir to the throne.

It may be as well here to complete the summary of the career of Las
Casas. While detained by the Council he was engaged in the advice and
oversight of a new code of laws for the government of the colonies and
the colonists. Up to this time he had crossed the ocean to the islands
or the main twelve times, and had journeyed to Germany four times to
confer with the Emperor. He was offered the bishopric of Cusco, in
Toledo, but was not thus to be withdrawn from his foreign mission.
In order, however, to secure authority to enforce the new laws, he
accepted the foreign bishopric of Chiapa, was consecrated at Seville
in 1544, embarked on July 4, with forty-four monks, and arrived at
Hispaniola. He bore the aversion and hate which his presence everywhere
provoked, was faithful to the monastic habits, and though so abstemious
as to deny himself meat, he kept the vigor of his body. He resolutely
forbade absolution to be given to Spaniards holding slaves contrary to
the provisions of the new laws. Resigning his bishopric, he returned to
Spain for the last time in 1547,—engaging in his bold controversy with
Sepulveda, to be soon rehearsed. He resided chiefly in the Dominican
College at Valladolid. In 1564, in his ninetieth year, he wrote a work
on Peru. On a visit to Madrid in the service of the Indians, after a
short illness, he died in July, 1566, at the age of ninety-two, and was
buried in the convent of “Our Lady of Atocha.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The most resolute and effective opponents which Las Casas found at
the Spanish Court were Oviedo and Sepulveda, representatives of two
different classes of those who from different motives and by different
methods stood between him and the King. Oviedo had held high offices
under Government both in Spain and in various places in the New World.
He wrote a history of the Indies, which Las Casas said was as full of
lies almost as of pages. He also had large interests in the mines and
in the enslaving of the natives. Sepulveda[1019] was distinguished as
a scholar and an author. Las Casas charges that his pen and influence
were engaged in the interest of parties who had committed some of the
greatest ravages, and who had personal advantages at stake. Sepulveda
in his opposition to the Clerigo makes two points or “Conclusions,”—1.
That the Spaniards had a right to subjugate and require the submission
of the Indians, because of their superior wisdom and prudence; and
that, therefore, the Indians were bound to submit and acquiesce. 2.
That in case of their refusal to do so they might justly be constrained
by force of arms. It was the proceeding on these assumptions that,
as Las Casas pleaded, had led to the entire depopulation of vast
territories. With high professions of loyalty Sepulveda urged that his
motive in writing was simply to justify the absolute title of the King
of Spain to the Indies. In offering his book to the Royal Council he
importunately solicited its publication; and as this was repeatedly
refused, he engaged the urgency of his friends to bring it about. Las
Casas, well knowing what mischief it would work, strongly opposed the
publication. The Council, regarding the matter as purely theological,
referred Sepulveda’s treatise for a thorough examination to the
universities of Salamanca and Alcala. They pronounced it unsound in
doctrine and unfit to be printed. Sepulveda then secretly sent it to
Rome, and through his friend, the Bishop of Segovia, procured it to be
printed. The Emperor prohibited its circulation in Spain, and caused
the copies of it to be seized.

Las Casas resolved to refute this dangerous treatise, and Sepulveda was
personally cited to a dispute, which was continued through five days.
As a result, the King’s confessor, Dominic de Soto, an eminent divine,
was asked to give a summary of the case. This he did in substance as

 “The prime point is whether the Emperor may justly make war on the
 Indians before the Faith has been preached to them, and whether after
 being subdued by arms they will be in any condition to receive the
 light of the Gospel, more tractable, more docile to good impressions,
 and ready to give up their errors. The issue between the disputants
 was, that Sepulveda maintained that war was not only lawful and
 allowable, but necessary; while Las Casas insisted upon the direct
 contrary,—that war was wholly unjust, and offered invincible obstacles
 to conversion. Sepulveda presented four arguments on his side: 1. The
 enormous wickedness and criminality of the Indians, their idolatry,
 and their sins against nature. 2. Their ignorance and barbarity
 needed the mastery of the intelligent and polite Spaniards. 3. The
 work of conversion would be facilitated after subjugation. 4. That
 the Indians treat each other with great cruelty, and offer human
 sacrifices to false gods. Sepulveda fortifies these arguments by
 examples and authorities from Scripture, and by the views of doctors
 and canonists,—all proceeding upon the assumed exceeding wickedness of
 the Indians. In citing _Deuteronomy_ xx. 10-16, he interprets ‘far-off
 cities’ as those of a different religion. Las Casas replies that it
 was not simply as idolaters that the seven nations in Canaan were to
 be destroyed,—as the same fate, on that score, might have been visited
 upon all the inhabitants of the earth, except Israel,—but as intruders
 upon the Promised Land. The early Christian emperors, beginning with
 Constantine, did not make their wars as against idolaters, but for
 political reasons. He cites the Fathers as giving testimony to the
 effect of a good example and against violent measures. The Indians
 under the light of Nature are sincere, but are blinded in offering
 sacrifices. They are not like the worst kind of barbarians, to be
 hunted as beasts; they have princes, cities, laws, and arts. It is
 wholly unjust, impolitic, and futile to wage war against them as
 simply barbarians. The Moors of Africa had been Christians in the
 time of Augustine, and had been perverted, and so might rightfully be

The Royal Council, after listening to the dispute and the summary of
its points, asked Las Casas to draw up a paper on the question whether
they might lawfully enslave the Indians, or were bound to set free all
who were reduced to bondage. He replied that the law of God does not
justify war against any people for the sake of making them Christians;
so the whole course of treatment of the Indians had been wrong from
the start. The Indians were harmless; they had never had the knowledge
or the proffer of Christianity: so they had never fallen away, like
the Moors of Africa, Constantinople, and Jerusalem. No sovereign
prince had authorized the Spaniards to make war. The Spaniards cannot
pretend that their reason for making war was because of the cruelty of
the Indians to each other. The slaughter of them was indiscriminate
and universal. They were enslaved and branded with the King’s arms.
The monarch never authorized these execrable artifices and shocking
atrocities, a long catalogue of which is specified.

The Clerigo then warms into an earnest dissertation on natural and
Christian equity. He quotes some beautiful sentences from the will
of Isabella, enjoining her own humanity on her husband and daughter.
He makes a strong point of the fact that Isabella first, and then a
council of divines and lawyers at Burgos, and Charles himself in 1523,
had declared that all the inhabitants of the New World had been born
free. Only Las Casas’ earnestness, his pure and persistent purpose,
relieve of weariness his reiteration of the same truths and appeals to
the King. He insists over and over again that the delegating of any
portion of the King’s own personal authority to any Spaniard resident
in the New World, or even to the Council of the Indies, opens the door
to every form and degree of abuse, and that he must strictly reserve
all jurisdiction and control to himself.

In a second treatise, which Las Casas addressed to Charles V., he
states at length the practical measures needful for arresting the
wrongs and disasters consequent upon the enslaving of the Indians.
Of the twenty methods specified, the most important is that the King
should not part with the least portion of his sovereign prerogative. He
meets the objection artfully raised by Sepulveda, that if the King thus
retains all authority to himself he may lose the vast domain to his
crown, and that the Spaniards will be forced to return to Europe and
give up the work of Gospel conversion.

Las Casas wrote six memorials or argumentative treatises addressed to
the sovereigns on the one same theme. The sameness of the information
and appeals in them is varied only by the increasing boldness of the
writer in exposing iniquities, and by the warmer earnestness of his
demand for the royal interposition. His sixth treatise is a most bold
and searching exposition of the limits of the royal power over newly
discovered territory, and within the kingdoms and over the natural
rights of the natives. A copy of this paper was obtained by a German
ambassador in Spain, and published at Spire, in Latin, in 1571. It is
evident that for a considerable period after the composition—and, so
to speak, the publication—of these successive protests and appeals
of the Clerigo, only a very limited circulation was gained by them.
Artful efforts were made, first to suppress them, and then to confine
the knowledge of the facts contained in them to as narrow a range as
possible. His enemies availed themselves of their utmost ingenuity and
cunning to nullify his influence. Sometimes he was ridiculed as a crazy
enthusiast,—a visionary monomaniac upon an exaggerated delusion of his
own fancy. Again, he would be gravely and threateningly denounced as an
enemy to Church and State, because he imperilled the vast interests of
Spain in her colonies.

The principal and most important work from the pen of Las Casas,
on which his many subsequent writings are based and substantially
developed, bears (in English) the following title: _A Relation of
the First Voyages and Discoveries made by the Spaniards in America.
With an Account of their Unparalleled Cruelties on the Indians, in
the Destruction of above Forty Millions of People; together with the
Propositions offered to the King of Spain to prevent the further
Ruin of the West Indies. By Don Bartholomew de las Casas, Bishop of
Chiapa, who was an Eye-witness of their Cruelties._ It was composed in
Spanish, and finished at Valencia, Dec. 8, 1542, near the beginning
of the reign of Philip II., to whom it is dedicated. This was about
fifty years after the discovery of America; and during the greater
part of the period Las Casas had lived as an observer of the scenes
and events which he describes. He makes Hispaniola his starting-point,
as the navigators usually first touched there. The reader will at
once be struck by the exaggeration, the effect of a high-wrought and
inflamed imagination, so evident in the words of the title, which
set the number of the victims of Spanish cruelty at forty millions.
Of this weakness of Las Casas in over-estimate and exaggeration of
numbers, we shall have to take special notice by and by. It is enough
to say here that his license in this direction is confined to this one
point, and is by no means to be viewed as discrediting his integrity,
fidelity, and accuracy in other parts of his testimony. He certainly
had been deeply impressed with the density of the population in some
of the islands, for he says: “It seems as if Providence had amassed
together the greatest part of mankind in this region of the earth.”
He tells us that his motives for writing and publishing his exposure
of iniquities were,—the call made upon him by pious and Christian
people thus to enlist the sympathies and efforts of the good to
redress the wrong; and his sincere attachment to his King and Master,
lest God should avenge the wrong on his kingdom. For this purpose he
has followed the Court with his pleadings, and will not cease his
remonstrances and appeals. At the time of completing his work savage
cruelties were prevailing over all the parts of America which had been
opened, slightly restrained for the time in Mexico, through the stern
intervention of the King. An addition to his work in 1546 recognized
many new ordinances and decrees made by his Majesty at Barcelona since
1542, and signed at Madrid in 1543. But nevertheless a new field for
oppression and wickedness had been opened in Peru, with exasperations
from civil war and rebellion among the natives; while the Spaniards on
most frivolous pretexts defied the orders of the King, pretending to
wait for his answers to their pleas in self-justification. The period
was one in which the rapacity of the invaders was both inflamed and
gratified by abundance of spoil, which sharpened the avarice of the
earlier claimants, and drew to them fresh adventurers.

Las Casas gives a very winning description of the natives under his
observation and in his ever-kindly and sympathetic relations with
them. He says they are simple, humble, patient, guileless, submissive,
weak, and effeminate; incapable of toil or labor, short-lived,
succumbing to slight illnesses; as frugal and abstemious as hermits;
inquisitive about the Catholic religion, and docile disciples. They
were lambs who had encountered tigers, wolves, and lions. During the
lifetime of Las Casas Cuba had been rendered desolate and a desert;
then St. John and Jamaica; and in all thirty islands had come to the
same fate. A system of deportation from one island to another had been
devised to obtain new supplies of slaves. The Clerigo deliberately
charges that in forty years the number of victims counted to fifty
millions. Enslaving was but a protracted method of killing,—all in the
greed for gold and pearls. The sight of a fragment of the precious
metal in the hands of a native was the occasion for demanding more of
him, as if he had hidden treasure, or for his guiding the Spaniards
to some real or imagined mines. Las Casas follows his details and
examples of iniquity through the islands in succession, then through
the provinces of Nicaragua, New Spain, Guatemala, Pannco, Jalisco,
Yucatan, St. Martha, Carthagena, the Pearl Coast, Trinidad, the
River Yuya-pari, Venezuela, Florida, La Plata, and Peru,—being in
all seventeen localities,—repeating the similar facts, hardly with
variations. Against the Spaniards with their horses, lances, swords,
and bloodhounds, the natives could oppose only their light spears and
poisoned arrows. The victims would seek refuge in caves and mountain
fastnesses, and if approached would kill themselves, as the easiest
escape from wanton tortures. Las Casas says: “I one day saw four or
five persons, of the highest rank, in Hispaniola, burned by a slow
fire.” Occasionally, he tells us, a maddened Indian would kill a
Spaniard, and then his death would be avenged by the massacre of a
score or a hundred natives. Immediately upon the knowledge of the death
of Isabella, in 1504, as if her humanity had been some restraint, the
barbarous proceedings were greatly intensified. The Spaniards made
the most reckless waste of the food of the natives. Las Casas says:
“One Spaniard will consume in a day the food of three Indian families
of ten persons each for a month.” He avows that when he wrote there
were scarce two hundred natives left in St. John and Jamaica, where
there had once been six hundred thousand. For reasons of caution or
prudence—we can hardly say from fear, for never was there a more
courageous champion—Las Casas suppresses the names of the greatest
offenders. The following are specimens of his method: “Three merciless
tyrants have invaded Florida, one after another, since 1510.” “A
Spanish commander with a great number of soldiers entered Peru,”
etc. “In the year 1514 a merciless governor, destitute of the least
sentiment of pity or humanity, a cruel instrument of the wrath of
God, pierced into the continent.” “The fore-mentioned governor,” etc.
“The captain whose lot it was to travel into Guatemala did a world of
mischief there.” “The first bishop that was sent into America imitated
the conduct of the covetous governors in enslaving and spoiling.” “They
call the countries they have got by their unjust and cruel wars their
conquests.” “No tongue is capable of describing to the life all the
horrid villanies perpetrated by these bloody-minded men. They seemed
to be the declared enemies of mankind.” The more generous the presents
in treasures which were made by some timid cacique to his spoilers, the
more brutally was he dealt with, in the hope of extorting what he was
suspected of having concealed. Las Casas stakes his veracity on the
assertion: “I saw with my own eyes above six thousand children die in
three or four months.”

To reinforce his own statements the Clerigo quotes letters from high
authorities. One is a protest which the Bishop of St. Martha wrote in
1541 to the King of Spain, saying that “the Spaniards live there like
devils, rather than Christians, violating all the laws of God and man.”
Another is from Mark de Xlicia, a Franciscan friar, to the King, the
General of his Order, who came with the first Spaniards into Peru,
testifying from his eyesight to all enormities, in mutilations, cutting
off the noses, ears, and hands of the natives, burning and tortures,
and keeping famished dogs to chase them.

Las Casas follows up his direful catalogue of horrors into the “New
Kingdom of Grenada,” in 1536, which he says received its name from the
native place of “the captain that first set his foot in it.” Those
whom he took with him into Peru were “very profligate and extremely
cruel men, without scruple or remorse, long accustomed to all sorts of
wickedness.” The second “governor,” enraged that his predecessor had
got the first share of the plunder, though enough was left for spoil,
turned informer, and made an exposure of his atrocities in complaints
to the Council of the Indies, in documents which “are yet to be seen.”
The spoils were prodigious quantities of gold and precious stones,
especially emeralds. The “governor” seized and imprisoned the cacique,
or inca, Bogata, requiring him to send for and gather up all the gold
within his reach; and after heaps of it had been brought, put him to
horrid torture in order to extort more.

There were published at Madeira certain “Laws and Constitutions” made
by the King at Barcelona, in 1542, under the influence of Las Casas,
as the result of a council at Valladolid. Strict orders to put a stop
to the iniquitous proceedings were circumvented by agents sent in the
interest of the authors of the outrages. The Clerigo petitioned the
King to constitute all the natives his free subjects, with no delegated
lordship over them, and enjoined upon him “to take an oath on the
Holy Gospels, for himself and his successors, to this effect, and to
put it in his will, solemnly witnessed.” He insists that this is the
only course to prevent the absolute extermination of the natives. He
adds that the Spaniards in their covetousness combine to keep out
priests and monks, not the slightest attempt being made to convert the
natives, though the work would be easy, and they themselves crave it.
“The Spaniards have no more regard to their salvation than if their
souls and bodies died together, and were incapable of eternal rewards
or punishments.” Yet he admits that it would hardly be reasonable to
expect these efforts for conversion of the heathen from men who are
themselves heathen, and so ignorant and brutish that they “do not
know even the number of the commandments.” “As for your Majesty,” the
Clerigo says, with a keen thrust, “the Indians think you are the most
cruel and impious prince in the world, while they see the cruelty
and impiety your subjects so insolently commit, and they verily
believe your Majesty lives upon nothing but human flesh and blood.”
He positively denies the imputations alleged to justify cruelty,—that
the Indians indulged in abominable lusts against nature, and were
cannibals. As for their idolatry, that is a sin against God, for
Him, not for man, to punish. The monarchs, he insists, had been most
artfully imposed upon in allowing the deportation of natives from the
Lucay Islands to supply the havoc made in Hispaniola. The Clerigo goes
into the most minute details, with specifications and reiterations of
horrors, ascribing them to the delegated authority exercised by petty
officers, under the higher ones successively intrusted with power.
There is a holy fervor of eloquence in his remonstrances and appeals to
his Majesty to keep the sole power in his own hands, as he reminds him
that fearful retributive judgments from God may be visited upon his own
kingdom. The Council of the Indies, he says, had desired him to write
to the monarch about the exact nature of the right of the kings of
Spain to the Indies; and he intimates that the zeal which he had shown
in exposing iniquities under those whom the King had put in authority
in the New World had been maliciously turned into a charge that he had
questioned the royal title to those regions. As will appear, Las Casas,
under the leadings of that intelligent search for the fundamentals of
truth and righteousness which a quickened conscience had prompted,
found his way to the principles of equity on this subject.

He had, therefore, previously sent to the King thirty well-defined and
carefully stated “Propositions,” which he regards as so self-evident
that he makes no attempt to argue or prove them. His enemies have in
view to cover up their iniquities by misleading the King. Therefore,
for conscience’ sake, and under a sense of obligation to God, he sets
himself to a sacred task. Little foreseeing that his life and labor
were to be protracted till he had nearly doubled his years, he says
that, finding himself “growing old, being advanced to the fiftieth year
of his age,” and “from a full acquaintance with America,” his testimony
shall be true and clear.

His subtle enemies plead against him that the King has a right to
establish himself in America by force of arms, however ruthless the
process,—quoting the examples of Nimrod, Alexander, the old Romans,
and the Turks. They allege also that the Spaniards have more prudence
and wisdom than other peoples, and that their country is nearest to
the Indies. He therefore announces his purpose to put himself directly
before the King, and stand for his “Propositions,” which he sends in
advance in writing, suggesting that if it be his Majesty’s pleasure,
they be translated into Latin and published in that language, as well
as in Spanish.

The “Propositions” may be stated in substance as follows; they were
keenly studied and searched by those who were anxious to detect flaws
or heresies in them:—

  1. The Pope derives from Christ authority and power extending over
 all men, believers or infidels, in matters pertaining to salvation and
 eternal life. But these should be exercised differently over infidels
 and those who have had a chance to be believers.

 2. This prerogative of the Pope puts him under a solemn obligation to
 propagate the Gospel, and to offer it to all infidels who will not
 oppose it.

 3. The Pope is obliged to send capable ministers for this work.

 4. Christian princes are his most proper and able helpers in it.

 5. The Pope may exhort and even oblige Christian princes to this
 work, by authority and money, to remove obstructions and to send true

 6. The Pope and princes should act in accord and harmony.

 7. The Pope may distribute infidel provinces among Christian princes
 for this work.

 8. In this distribution should be had in view the instruction,
 conversion, and interests of the infidels themselves, not the increase
 of honors, titles, riches, and territories of the princes.

 9. Any incidental advantage which princes may thus gain is allowable;
 but temporal ends should be wholly subordinate, the paramount objects
 being the extending of the Church, the propagation of the Faith, and
 the service of God.

 10. The lawful native kings and rulers of infidel countries have a
 right to the obedience of their subjects, to make laws, etc., and
 ought not to be deprived, expelled, or violently dealt with.

 11. To transgress this rule involves injustice and every form of wrong.

 12. Neither these native rulers nor their subjects should be deprived
 of their lands for their idolatry, or any other sin.

 13. No tribunal or judge in the world has a right to molest these
 infidels for idolatry or any other sins, however enormous, while still
 infidels, and before they have voluntarily received baptism, unless
 they directly oppose, refuse, and resist the publication of the Gospel.

 14. Pope Alexander VI., under whom the discovery was made, was
 indispensably obliged to choose a Christian prince to whom to commit
 these solemn obligations of the Gospel.

 15. Ferdinand and Isabella had especial claims and advantages for this
 intrustment by the Pope above all other Catholic princes, because they
 had with noble efforts driven out the infidels and Mohammedans from
 the land of their ancestors, and because they sent at their own charge
 Columbus, the great discoverer, whom they named the chief admiral.

 16. As the Pope did right in this assignment, so he has power
 to revoke it, to transfer the country to some other prince, and
 to forbid, on pain of excommunication, any rival prince to send

 17. The kings of Castile and Leon have thus come lawfully to
 jurisdiction over the Indies.

 18. This obliges the native kings of the Indies to submit to the
 jurisdiction of the kings of Spain.

 19. Those native kings, having freely and voluntarily received the
 Faith and baptism, are bound (as they were not before) to acknowledge
 this sovereignty of the kings of Spain.

 20. The kings of Spain are bound by the law of God to choose and send
 fit missionaries to exhort, convert, and do everything for this cause.

 21. They have the same power and jurisdiction over these infidels
 before their conversion as the Pope has, and share his obligations to
 convert them.

 22. The means for establishing the Faith in the Indies should be
 the same as those by which Christ introduced his religion into the
 world,—mild, peaceable, and charitable; humility; good examples of a
 holy and regular way of living, especially over such docile and easy
 subjects; and presents bestowed to win them.

 23. Attempts by force of arms are impious, like those of Mahometans,
 Romans, Turks, and Moors: they are tyrannical, and unworthy of
 Christians, calling out blasphemies; and they have already made the
 Indians believe that our God is the most unmerciful and cruel of all

 24. The Indians will naturally oppose the invasion of their country by
 a title of conquest, and so will resist the work of conversion.

 25. The kings of Spain have from the first given and reiterated their
 orders against war and the ill-treatment of the Indians. If any
 officers have shown commissions and warrants for such practices, they
 have been forged or deceptive.

 26. So all wars and conquests which have been made have been unjust
 and tyrannical, and in effect null; as is proved by proceedings on
 record in the Council against such tyrants and other culprits, who are
 amenable to judgment.

 27. The kings of Spain are bound to reinforce and establish those
 Indian laws and customs which are good—and such are most of them—and
 to abolish the bad; thus upholding good manners and civil policy. The
 Gospel is the method for effecting this.

 28. The Devil could not have done more mischief than the Spaniards
 have done in distributing and spoiling the countries, in their
 rapacity and tyranny; subjecting the natives to cruel tasks, treating
 them like beasts, and persecuting those especially who apply to the
 monks for instruction.

 29. The distribution of the Indians among the Spaniards as slaves is
 wholly contrary to all the royal orders given by Isabella successively
 to Columbus, Bobadilla, and De Lares. Columbus gave three hundred
 Indians to Spaniards who had done the most service to the Crown, and
 took but one for his own use. The Queen ordered all except that one
 to be sent back. What would she have said to the present iniquities?
 The King is reminded that his frequent journeys and absences have
 prevented his fully informing himself of these facts.

 30. From all these considerations it follows that all conquests,
 acquisitions, usurpations, and appropriations by officers and private
 persons have no legality, as contrary to the orders of the Spanish

Here certainly is an admirable and cogent statement of the principles
of equity and righteousness, as based upon natural laws and certified
and fortified by the great verities and sanctions supposed to be
held in reverence by professed Christians. Las Casas, in taking for
his starting-point the Pope’s supreme and inclusive right over half
the globe, just brought to the knowledge of civilized men, seems to
make a monstrous assumption, only greater than that of the Spanish
kings’ holding under and deriving dominion from him. But we may well
pardon this assumption to so loyal a disciple of the Church, when we
consider how nobly he held this Papal right as conditioned and limited,
involving lofty duties, and balanced by an obligation to confer
inestimable blessings. He had ever before him the contrast between
fair scenes of luxurious Nature, ministering to the easy happiness of
a gentle race of delicate and short-lived beings akin to himself, and
the ruthless passions, lusts, and savagery of his own countrymen and
fellow-Christians. We can well account for the opposition and thwarting
of his efforts amid these scenes, but may need a further explanation of
the resistance and ill-success which he encountered when pleading his
cause before monarchs and great councillors at home, whose sympathies
seem to have been generally on his side. He often stood wholly alone
in scenes where these ravaging cruelties had full sweep,—alone in the
humane sensitiveness with which he regarded them; alone in freedom
from the mastering passions of greed and rapacity which excited them;
and alone in realizing the appalling contrast between the spirit of
blood and rapine which prompted them, and the spirit of that Gospel,
the assumed championship of which at these ends of the earth was the
blasphemous pretence of these murderers. Those ruthless tyrants, who
here treated hundreds and thousands of the natives subject to them
worse than even brutes from which useful service is expected, would
not, of course, have the front to offer on the spot the pretence set up
for them by their abetters at the Spanish Court,—that they were thus
drawing the natives to them for their conversion; they laughed at the
Clerigo when they did not openly thwart him.

Las Casas had many powerful and embittered opponents, and by the use of
various means and artifices they were able to put impediments in his
way, to qualify and avert what would seem to be the natural effects of
his ardent appeals and shocking disclosures, and to keep him through
his protracted life in what looked like a hopeless struggle against
giant iniquities. Nor is it necessary that we go deeper than the
obvious surface of the story to find the reasons for the opposition and
discomfiture which he encountered. It may be that all those who opposed
him or who would not co-operate with him were not personally interested
in the iniquities which he exposed and sought to redress. Something
may need to be said by and by concerning alleged faults of temper,
over-ardor of zeal and overstatement, and wild exaggeration attributed
to this bold apostle of righteousness. But that the substance of
all his charges, and the specifications of inhumanity, cruelty, and
atrocity which he set forth in detail, and with hardly enough diversity
to vary his narrative, is faithful to the soberest truth, cannot be
questioned. He spoke and wrote of what he had seen and known. He had
looked upon sights of shocking and enormous iniquity and barbarity,
over every scene which he had visited in his unresting travel. His
sleep by night had been broken by the piteous shrieks of the wretched
victims of slow tortures.

Much help may be derived by a reader towards a fuller appreciation of
the character and life-work of Las Casas from the biography of him and
the translation and editing of his principal writings by his ardent
admirer, Llorente.[1020] This writer refers to a previous abridged
translation of the works of Las Casas, published in Paris in 1642.
His own edition in French, in 1822, is more full, though somewhat
condensed and reconstructed. He remarks justly upon the prolixity of
Las Casas, his long periods, his repetitions, his pedantic quotations
from Scripture and the Latin authors, as the results of his peripatetic
training. His translator and editor credits to the magnanimity and
nobleness of nature of Las Casas the omission of the names of great
offenders in connection with the terrible wrongs done by them. This
reserve of Las Casas has been already referred to. But Llorente, in
seventeen critical notes, answering to the same number of divisions
in the _Relation_ of Las Casas, supplies the names of the leading
criminals; and he also gives in a necrology the shocking or tragic
elements and the dates of the death of these “men of blood.” He adds
to the “Remedies” which Las Casas had suggested to Charles V. the
whole additional series of measures proposed up to 1572. Llorente says
that, admitting that the starting-point in the Thirty Propositions
of Las Casas,—namely, the assumption of the Papal prerogative as to
new-discovered territory,—was in his day “incontestable,” it is now
recognized as a falsity. He furnishes an essay of his own upon the
right and wrong of the claim; and he adds to that of Las Casas a
treatise on the limits of the sovereign power of the King. Paw first,
and then Raynal and Robertson, had brought the charge against Las
Casas of having first introduced African slavery into the New World.
As we have seen, the charge was false. Gregoire, bishop of Blois, read
an _Apologie_ before the Institute of France in 1801, in vindication
of the Clerigo. This _Apologie_ is given at length by Llorente. He
adds, from manuscripts in the Royal Library of Paris, two inedited
treatises of Las Casas, written in 1555-1564,—one against a project
for perpetuating the _commanderies_ in the New World; the other on the
necessity of restoring the crown of Peru to the Inca Titus.[1021]

Llorente says it is not strange that the apostle Las Casas, like other
great and noble men, met with enemies and detractors. Some assailed him
through prejudice, others merely from levity, and without reflection.
Four principal reproaches have been brought against him:—

1. He is charged with gross exaggeration in his writings, as by the
Spanish writers Camporicanes, Nuix, and Muñoz, and of course by those
interested in excusing the work of conquest and devastation, who cannot
justify themselves without impeaching Las Casas as an impostor. His
sufficient vindication from this charge may be found in a mass of
legal documents in the Archives, in the Records of the Council for
the Indies, and in Government processes against wrongdoers. Herrera,
who had seen these documents, says: “Las Casas was worthy of all
confidence, and in no particular has failed to present the truth.”
Torquemada, having personally sought for evidence in America, says the
same. Las Casas, when challenged on this point, boldly affirmed: “There
were once more natives in Hispaniola than in all Spain,” and that Cuba,
Jamaica, and forty other islands, with parts of Terra Firma, had all
been wrecked and made desolate. He insists over and over again that his
estimates are within the truth.

2. Another charge was of imprudence in his ill-considered proceedings
with the Indians. Allowance is to be made on the score of his
zeal, his extreme ardor and vehemence,—an offset to the apathy and
hard-heartedness of those around him. He was in a position in which he
could do nothing for the Indians if he kept silence. He witnessed the
reckless and defiant disobedience of the positive instructions of the
King by his own high officers.

3. The third charge was of _inconsistency_ in condemning the enslaving
of Indians, and favoring that of negroes. This has already been
disposed of.

4. The final charge was that he was consumed by ambition. Only a single
writer had the effrontery to ascribe to Las Casas the desperate purpose
of seizing upon the sovereignty of a thousand leagues of territory. The
whole foundation of the charge was his attempt to plant a particular
colony in the province of Cumana, near St. Martha, on Terra Firma. So
far from claiming sovereignty for himself, he even denied the right of
the King to bestow such sovereignty.

He was, says Llorente, blameless; there is no stain upon his great
virtues. Indeed, not only Spain, but all nations, owe him a debt for
his opposition to despotism, and for his setting limits to royal power
in the age of Charles V. and the Inquisition.

Then follows Llorente’s translation into French of Las Casas’ Memoir
on the _Cruelties practised on the Indians_, with the Dedicatory
Letter addressed to Philip II., 1552. The Spaniards at Hispaniola
and elsewhere forgot that they were men, and treated the innocent
creatures around them for forty-two years as if they were famished
wolves, tigers, and lions. So that in Hispaniola, where once were three
millions, there remained not more than two hundred. Cuba, Porto Rico,
and Jamaica had been wholly depopulated. On more than sixty Lucayan
islands, on the smallest of which were once five hundred thousand
natives, Las Casas says, “my own eyes” have seen but eleven.

These appalling enumerations of the victims of Spanish cruelty during
half a century from the first coming of the invaders to the islands
and main of America, are set before the reader in the figures and
estimates of Las Casas. Of course the instant judgment of the reader
will be that there is obvious and gross exaggeration in them. It
remains to this day a debated and wholly undecided question among
archæologists, historians, and explorers best able to deal with it,
as to the number of natives on island and continent when America was
opened to knowledge. There are no facts within our use for any other
mode of dealing with the question than by estimates, conjectures,
and inferences. A reasonable view is that the southern islands were
far more thickly peopled than the main, vast regions of which, when
first penetrated by the whites, were found to be perfect solitudes.
The general tendency now with those who have pursued any thorough
investigations relating to the above question, is greatly to reduce
the number of the aborigines below the guesses and the once-accepted
estimates. Nor does it concern us much to attempt any argument as to
the obvious over-estimates made by Las Casas, or to decide whether they
came from his imagination or fervor of spirit, or whether, as showing
himself incredible in these rash and wild enumerations, he brings his
veracity and trustworthiness under grave doubts in other matters.

Las Casas says that near the Island of San Juan are thirty others
without a single Indian. More than two thousand leagues of territory
are wholly deserted. On the continent ten kingdoms, “each larger than
Spain,” with Aragon and Portugal, are an immense solitude, human life
being annihilated there. He estimates the number of men, women, and
children who have been slaughtered at more than fifteen millions.
Generally they were tormented, no effort having been made to convert
them. In vain did the natives, helpless with their feeble weapons,
hide their women and children in the mountains. When, maddened by
desperation, they killed a single Spaniard, vengeance was taken by
the score. The Clerigo, as if following the strictest process of
arithmetic, gives the number of victims in each of many places, only
with variations and aggravations. He asserts that in Cuba, in three or
four months, he had seen more than seven thousand children perish of
famine, their parents having been driven off to the mines. He adds
that the worst of the cruelties in Hispaniola did not take place till
after the death of Isabella, and that efforts were made to conceal from
her such as did occur, as she continued to demand right and mercy. She
had done her utmost to suppress the system of _repartimientos_, by
which the natives were distributed as slaves to masters.

An inference helpful to an approximate estimate of the numbers and
extent of the depopulation of the first series of islands seized on by
the Spaniards, might be drawn from the vast numbers of natives deported
from other groups of islands to replace the waste and to restore
laborers. Geographers have somewhat arbitrarily distinguished the West
Indies into three main groupings of islands,—the Lucayan, or Bahamas,
of fourteen large and a vast number of small islands, extending, from
opposite the coast of Florida, some seven hundred and fifty miles
oceanward; the Greater Antilles, embracing Cuba, San Domingo, Porto
Rico, Jamaica, etc., running, from opposite the Gulf of Mexico, from
farther westward than the other groups; and the Lesser Antilles, or
Carribean, or Windward Islands. The last-named, from their repute of
cannibalism, were from the first coming of the Spaniards regarded as
fair subjects for spoil, violence, and devastation. After ruin had
done its work in the Greater Antilles, recourse was had to the Lucayan
Islands. By the foulest and meanest stratagems for enticing away the
natives of these fair scenes, they were deported in vast numbers to
Cuba and elsewhere as slaves. It was estimated that in five years
Ovando had beguiled and carried off forty thousand natives of the
Lucayan Islands to Hispaniola.

The amiable and highly honored historian, Mr. Prescott, says in
general, of the numerical estimates of Las Casas, that “the good
Bishop’s arithmetic came more from his heart than his head.”[1022]

From the fullest examination which I have been able to make, by the
comparison of authorities and incidental facts, while I should most
frankly admit that Las Casas gave even a wild indulgence to his dismay
and his indignation in his figures, I should conclude that he had
positive knowledge, from actual eyesight and observation, of every
form and shape, as well as instance and aggregation, of the cruelties
and enormities which aroused his lifelong efforts. Besides the means
and methods used to discredit the statements and to thwart the appeals
of Las Casas at the Court, a very insidious attempt for vindicating,
palliating, and even justifying the acts of violence and cruelty which
he alleged against the Spaniards in the islands and on the main, was in
the charge that their victims were horribly addicted to cannibalism and
the offering of human sacrifices. The number estimated of the latter
as slaughtered, especially on great royal occasions, is appalling, and
the rites described are hideous. It seems impossible for us now, from
so many dubious and conflicting authorities, to reach any trustworthy
knowledge on this subject. For instance, in Anahuac, Mexico, the annual
number of human sacrifices, as stated by different writers, varies from
twenty to fifty thousand. Sepulveda in his contest with Las Casas was
bound to make the most of this dismal story, and said that no one of
the authorities estimated the number of the victims at less than twenty
thousand. Las Casas replied that this was the estimate of brigands, who
wished thus to win tolerance for their own slaughterings, and that the
actual number of annual victims did not exceed twenty.[1023] It was a
hard recourse for Christians to seek palliation for their cruelties in
noting or exaggerating the superstitious and hideous rites of heathens!

It is certain, however, that this plea of cannibalism was most
effectively used, from the first vague reports which Columbus took
back to Spain of its prevalence, at least in the Carribean Islands,
to overcome the earliest humane protests against the slaughter of
the natives and their deportation for slaves. In the all-too hideous
engravings presented in the volumes in all the tongues of Europe
exposing the cruelties of the Spanish invaders, are found revolting
delineations of the Indian shambles, where portions of human bodies,
subjected to a fiendish butchery, are exposed for sale. Las Casas
nowhere denies positively the existence of this shocking barbarism.
One might well infer, however, from his pages that he was at least
incredulous as to its prevalence; and to him it would only have
heightened his constraining sense of the solemn duty of professed
Christians to bring the power of the missionary, rather than the
maddened violence of destruction, to bear upon the poor victims of so
awful a sin. Nor does the evidence within our reach suffice to prove
the prevalence, to the astounding extent alleged by the opponents of
Las Casas, of monstrous and bestial crimes against nature practised
among the natives. Perhaps a parallel between the general morality
respectively existing in the license and vices of the invaders and
the children of Nature as presented to us by Columbus, as well as by
Las Casas, would not leave matter for boasting to the Europeans. Mr.
Prescott enters into an elaborate examination of a subject of frequent
discussion by American historians and archæologists,—who have adopted
different conclusions upon it,—as to whether venereal diseases had
prevalence among the peoples of the New World before it was opened to
the intercourse of foreigners. I have not noticed in anything written
by Las Casas that he brings any charge on this score against his
countrymen. Quite recent exhumations made by our archæologists have
seemingly set the question at rest, by revealing in the bones of our
prehistoric races the evidences of the prevalence of such diseases.

Sufficient means, in hints and incidental statements, have been
furnished in the preceding pages from which the reader may draw his own
estimate, as appreciative and judicious as he may be able to make it,
of the character of Las Casas as a man and as a missionary of Christ. A
labored analysis or an indiscriminating eulogium of that character is
wholly uncalled for, and would be a work of supererogation. His heart
and mind, his soul and body, his life, with all of opportunity which
it offered, were consecrated; his foibles and faults were of the most
trivial sort, never leading to injury for others, and scarcely working
any harm for himself.

It is a well-proved and a gladdening truth, that one who stands for
the championship of any single principle involving the rights of
humanity will be led by a kindled vision or a gleam of advanced wisdom
to commit himself to the assumption of some great, comprehensive,
illuminating verity covering a far wider field than that which he
personally occupies. Thus Las Casas’ assertion of the common rights of
humanity for the heathen natives expanded into a bold denial of the
fundamental claims of ecclesiasticism. It was the hope and aim of his
opponents and enemies to drive him to a committal of himself to some
position which might be charged with at least constructive heresy,
through some implication or inference from the basis of his pleadings
that he brought under question the authority of the Papacy. Fonseca
and Sepulveda were both bent upon forcing him into that perilous
attitude towards the supreme ecclesiastical power. To appreciate fully
how nearly Las Casas was thought to trespass on the verge of a heresy
which might even have cost him his life, but would certainly have
nullified his personal influence, we must recognize the full force of
the one overmastering assumption, under which the Pope and the Spanish
sovereigns claimed for themselves supreme dominion over territory
and people in the New World. As a new world, or a disclosure on the
earth’s surface of vast realms before unknown to dwellers on the old
continents, its discovery would carry with it the right of absolute
ownership and of rule over all its inhabitants. It was, of course, to
be “conquered” and held in subjection. The earth, created by God, had
been made the kingdom of Jesus Christ, who assigned it to the charge
and administration of his vicegerent, the Pope. All the continents
and islands of the earth which were not Christendom were heathendom.
It mattered not what state of civilization or barbarism, or what
form or substance of religion, might be found in any new-discovered
country. The Papal claim was to be asserted there, if with any need
of explanation, for courtesy’s sake, certainly without any apology or
vindication. Could Las Casas be inveigled into any denial or hesitating
allowance of this assumption? He was on his guard, but he stood
manfully for the condition, the supreme obligation, which alone could
give warrant to it. The papal and the royal claims were sound and good;
they were indeed absolute. But the tenure of possession and authority
in heathendom, if it were to be claimed through the Gospel and the
Church, looked quite beyond the control of territory and the lordship
over heathen natives, princes, and people,—it was simply to prompt
the work and to facilitate, while it positively enjoined the duty
of, conversion,—the bringing of heathen natives through baptism and
instruction into the fold of Christ. Fonseca and Sepulveda were baffled
by the Clerigo as he calmly and firmly told the monarchs that their
prerogative, though lawful in itself, was fettered by this obligation.
In asserting this just condition, Las Casas effectually disabled his

The following are the closing sentences of the Reply of Las Casas to

 “The damages and the loss which have befallen the Crown of Castile
 and Leon will be visited also upon the whole of Spain, because the
 tyranny wrought by these desolations, murders, and slaughters is so
 monstrous that the blind may see it, the deaf may hear it, the dumb
 may rehearse it, and the wise judge and condemn it after our very
 short life. I invoke all the hierarchies and choirs of angels, all the
 saints of the Celestial Court, all the inhabitants of the globe, and
 chiefly all those who may live after me, for witnesses that I free my
 conscience of all that has transpired; and that I have fully exposed
 to his Majesty all these woes; and that if he leaves to Spaniards the
 tyranny and government of the Indies, all of them will be destroyed
 and without inhabitants,—as we see that Hispaniola now is, and the
 other islands and parts of the continent for more than three thousand
 leagues, without occupants. For these reasons God will punish Spain
 and all her people with an inevitable severity. So may it be!”

It is grateful to be assured of the fact that during the years of his
last retirement in Spain, till the close of his life at so venerable
an age, Las Casas enjoyed a pension sufficient for his comfortable
subsistence. Allowing only a pittance of it for his own frugal support,
he devoted it mostly to works of charity. His pen and voice and time
were still given to asserting and defending the rights of the natives,
not only as human beings, but as free of all mastery by others. Though
his noble zeal had made him enemies, and he had appeared to have
failed in his heroic protests and appeals, he had the gratification of
knowing before his death that restraining measures, sterner edicts,
more faithful and humane officials, and in general a more wise and
righteous policy, had abated the rage of cruelty in the New World.
But still the sad reflection came to qualify even this satisfaction,
that the Spaniards were brought to realize the rights of humanity by
learning that their cruelty had wrought to their own serious loss in
depopulating the most fertile regions and fastening upon them the hate
of the remnants of the people. The reader of the most recent histories,
even of the years of the first quarter of this century, relating to
the Spanish missions in the pueblos of Mexico and California, will
note how some of the features of the old _repartimiento_ system, first
introduced among the Greater Antilles, survived in the farm-lands and
among the peons and converts of the missionaries.


THE subject of this chapter is so nearly exclusively concerned with the
personal history, the agency, and the missionary work of Las Casas,
both in the New World and at the Court of Spain, that we are rather to
welcome than to regret the fact that he is almost our sole authority
for the statements and incidents with which we have had to deal.

[Illustration: LAS CASAS.]

Giving due allowance to what has already been sufficiently recognized
as his intensity of spirit, his wildness of imagination, and his
enormous overstatement in his enumeration of the victims of Spanish
cruelty, he must be regarded as the best authority we could have
for the use which he serves to us.[1024] Free as he was from all
selfish and sinister motives, even the daring assurance with which
he speaks out before the monarch and his councillors, and prints on
his titlepages the round numbers of these victims, prompts us to give
full credit to his testimony on other matters, even if we substitute
thousands in place of millions. As to the forms and aggravations of
the cruel methods in which the Spaniards dealt with the natives, the
recklessness and ingenuity of the work of depopulation,—which was as
naturally the consequence of the enslaving of the Indians as of their
indiscriminate slaughter,—Las Casas’ revelations seem to have passed
unchallenged by even his most virulent enemies.

Sepulveda may be received by us as the representative alike in spirit
and in argument of the opposition to Las Casas. He was an acute and
able disputant, and would readily have availed himself of any weak
points in the positions of the apostle. It is observable that, instead
of assailing even the vehement and exaggerated charges alleged by Las
Casas against the Spanish marauders for their cruelty, he rather spends
his force upon the maintenance of the abstract rights of Christian
champions over the heathen and their territory. The Papal and the Royal
prerogatives were, in his view, of such supreme and sweeping account
in the controversy, as to cover all the incidental consequences of
establishing them. He seemed to argue that heathens and heathenism
invited and justified conquest by any method, however ruthless; that
the rights of the Papacy and of Christian monarchs would be perilled by
allowing any regards of sentiment or humanity to stand in the way of
their assertion; and that even the sacred duty of conversion was to be
deferred till war and tyranny had obtained the absolute mastery over
the natives.

       *       *       *       *       *

The eight years spent by Las Casas in retirement in the Dominican
convent at San Domingo were used by him in study and meditation. His
writings prove, in their references and quotations from the classics,
as well as from Scripture, that his range was wide, and that his mind
was invigorated by this training.


In 1552-1553, at Seville, Las Casas printed a series of nine tracts,
which are the principal source of our information in relation to his
allegations against the Spanish oppressors of the Indians. It is only
necessary to refer the reader to the bibliographies[1025] for the full
titles of these tracts, of which we simply quote enough for their
identification, while we cite them in the order in which they seem to
have been composed, following in this the extensive Note which Field
has given in his _Indian Bibliography_:—

1. _Breuissima relacion de la destruycion de las Indias ... año 1552_;
50 unnumbered leaves.

The series of tracts is usually cited by this title, which is that of
the first tract,[1026] for there is no general printed designation of
the collection. Four folios appended to this, but always reckoned as a
distinct tract, are called,—

[Illustration: TITLE OF FIRST TRACT.]

2. _Lo que se sigue es vn pedaço de vna carta_, etc. It records the
observations of a Spanish traveller upon the enormities practised on
the natives.[1027]

3. _Entre los remedios ... para reformaciō de las Indias_; 1552; 53
unnumbered leaves. It gives the eighth of the proposed remedies,
assigning twenty reasons against the enslaving of the natives.[1028]

4. _Aqui se cōtienē vnos auisos y reglas para los confessores_, etc;
1552; 16 unnumbered leaves. It gives the rules for the confessors of
his bishopric of Chiapa to deny the offices of the Church to such as
held _repartimientos_.[1029]

5. _Aqui se contiene vna disputa ... entre el obispo ... y el
doctor Gines de Sepulveda_; 1552; 61 unnumbered leaves. This strong
enunciation of Las Casas’ convictions grew out of his controversy with
Sepulveda.[1030] It contains, first, a summary by Domingo de Soto of
the differences between the two disputants; second, the arguments of
Sepulveda; and third, the replies of Las Casas,—twelve in all.

6. _Este es vn tratado ... sobre la materia de los Yndios, que se han
hecho en ellas esclauos_; 1552; 36 unnumbered leaves. This contains
reasons and judicial authorities on the question of the restitution of
the natives to freedom.[1031]

7. _Aqui se cōtienē treynta proposiciones ..._; 1552; 10 leaves.
These are the Propositions, mentioned on a preceding page, as Las
Casas’ reply to those who objected to the rigor of his rules for his

8. _Principia quedā ex quibus procedendum_, etc; 1552; 10 leaves. This
gives the principles on which he conducts his defence of the rights of
the natives.[1033]

9. _Tratado cōprobatorio del imperio soberano_, etc.; 80 unnumbered
leaves. The title-date is 1552, but that in the colophon is 1553. The
purpose is “to prove the sovereign empire and universal dominion by
which the kings of Castile and Leon hold the West Indies.”[1034]

Complete sets of these tracts have become very rare, though it is not
uncommon to find, in current catalogues, single copies of some of those
less scarce.[1035]


[From the copy in Harvard College Library.—ED.]]

In 1571, five years after Las Casas’ death, what is sometimes called
a tenth part was printed at Frankfort, under the title of _Explicatio
questionis utrum Reges vel Principes jure aliquo.... Cives ac subditos
a regia corona alienare?_ This further showing of the arguments of
Las Casas is even rarer than its predecessors.[1036] Its authorship,
without much reason, has been sometimes denied.[1037] It is translated,
however, in Llorente’s edition, as is also a letter of Las Casas which
he wrote in 1555 to the Archbishop of Toledo, protesting against
the contemplated sale of _Encomiendas_ in perpetuity, which, being
communicated to the King, led to the prohibition of the plan.

In 1854 Henry Stevens printed, in a style corresponding to that of the
tracts of 1552, a series of six papers from original manuscripts in his
possession, interesting as contributions to the history of Las Casas
and his work;[1038] and there is also a letter of Las Casas in the
volume a few years since printed by the Spanish Government as _Cartas
de Indias_. There is an enumeration of thirteen other treatises, noted
as still in manuscript, which is to be found in Sabin’s _Dictionary_
or in his separate _Works of Las Casas_; but Mr. Field is inclined
for one reason or another to reduce the number to five, in addition
to the two which were published by Llorente.[1039] There are also two
manuscripts recorded in the _Carter-Brown Catalogue_.[1040]


[From a copy in the Harvard College Library.—ED.]]


[This is slightly reduced from the fac-simile given in vol. iii. of
the 1875 (Madrid) edition of the _Historia_.—ED.]]

The most labored of Las Casas’ books was his _Historia de las
Indias_,—the original manuscript of which is still preserved, according
to Helps, in the library of the Academy of History at Madrid.[1041] Las
Casas began this work while in his convent in 1527,[1042] and seems
to have worked upon it, without finishing it, up to 1561. It has all
the fervor and vigor of his nature; and so far as it is the result of
his own observation, its character is unimpeachable. It is in large
part, as Helps has remarked, autobiographic; but it does not bring the
story down later than 1520. Its style is characteristically rambling
and awkward, and more or less confused with extraneous learning, the
result of his convent studies, and interjected with his usual bursts of
a somewhat tiresome indignation. Outside of his own knowledge he had
large resources in documents, of which we have no present knowledge. He
seems to have had a prescience of the feelings in his countrymen which
would long keep the manuscript from the printing-office, for he left
instructions at his death that no one should use it for forty years.
The injunction did not prevent Herrera having access to it; and when
this latter historian published his book in 1601, the world got a large
part of Las Casas’ work,—much of it copied by Herrera _verbatim_,—but
extracted in such a way that Las Casas could have none of his proper
effect in ameliorating the condition of the Indians and exposing
the cruelty of their oppression. In this way Las Casas remained too
long eclipsed, as Irving says, by his copyist. Notwithstanding the
publication of the book was prohibited, various manuscript copies got
abroad, and every reputable historian of the Spanish rule has made
use of Las Casas’ labors.[1043] Finally, the Royal Academy of History
at Madrid undertook the revision of the manuscript; but that body was
deterred from putting their revision on the press by the sentiments,
which Spanish scholars had always felt, adverse to making public so
intense an arraignment of their countrymen.[1044] At last, however,
in 1875-1876, the Academy finally printed it in five volumes.[1045]
The _Historia_ was of course not included, nor were two of the tracts
of the issues of 1552 (nos. 4 and 8) embraced, in the edition of Las
Casas’ _Obras_ which Llorente issued in Paris in 1822 in the original
Spanish, and also in the same year in a French translation, _Œuvres
de Las Casas_.[1046] This work is dedicated “Au modèle des virtues
héréditaires, A. M. le Comte de las Casas.” Sufficient recognition has
been made in the preceding narrative of this work of Llorente. As a
Spaniard by birth, and a scholar well read in the historical literature
of his own country, as one trained and exercised in the priestly
office, though he had become more or less of a heretic, and as a most
ardent admirer of the virtues and the heroic services of the great
Apostle to the Indians, he had the attainments, qualifications, and
motives for discharging with ability and fidelity the biographical and
editorial task which he undertook. It is evident from his pages that he
devoted conscientious labor in investigation, and a purpose of strict
impartiality to its discharge. He is not an undiscriminating eulogist
of Las Casas, but he penetrates with a true sympathetic admiration to
the noble unselfishness and the sublime constancy of this sole champion
of righteousness against powerful forces of iniquity.

The number of versions of all or of part of the series of the 1552
tracts into other languages strikingly indicates the interest which
they created and the effect which they produced throughout Europe. None
of the nations showed more eagerness to make public these accusations
against the Spaniards by one of their own number, than the Flemings
and Dutch. The earliest of all the translations, and one of the rarest
of these publications, is the version of the first tract, with parts
of others, which appeared in the dialect of Brabant, in 1578,—the
precursor of a long series of such testimonies, used to incite the
Netherlanders against the Spanish rule.[1047] The French came next
with their _Tyrannies et cruautéz des Espagnols_, published at Antwerp
in 1579, in which the translator, Jacques de Miggrode, softened the
horrors of the story with a due regard for his Spanish neighbors.[1048]
A somewhat bolder venture was a new version, not from the originals,
but from the Dutch translation, and set out with all the horrors of De
Bry’s seventeen engravings, which was supplied to the French market
with an Amsterdam imprint in 1620. It is a distorted patchwork of parts
of the three of the 1552 tracts. In a brief preface, the translator
says that the part relating to the Indies is derived from the original,
printed at Seville by Sebastian Trugillo in 1552, the writer “being Las
Casas, who seems to be a holy man and a Catholic.” There were still
other French versions, printed both in France and in Holland. The
earliest English translation is a version signed by M. M. S., entitled
_The Spanish Colonie, or Briefe Chronicle of the Acts and Gestes of the
Spaniardes in the West Indies, called the Newe Worlde, for the Space
of XL. Yeeres_, issued in London in 1583.[1049] The best-known of the
English versions is _The Tears of the Indians_, “made English by J.
P.,” and printed in London in 1656.[1050] “J. P.” is John Phillips,
a nephew of John Milton. His little book, which contains a terse
translation of Las Casas’s “Cruelty,” etc., without his controversy
with Sepulveda, is dedicated to Oliver Cromwell. It is prefaced
by a glowing appeal “To all true Englishmen,” which rehearses the
proud position they hold in history for religion, liberty, and human
rights, and denounces the Spaniards as “a Proud, Deceitful, Cruel, and
Treacherous Nation, whose chiefest Aim hath been the Conquest of this
Land,” etc., closing with a call upon them to aid the Protector in the
threatened contest for the West Indies.

While Phillips places the number of the slaughtered Indians at twenty
millions, these are reckoned at forty millions by the editor of another
English version, based upon the French _Tyrannies et cruautéz_, which
was printed at London, in 1699, as _A Relation of the First Voyages
and Discoveries made by the Spaniards in America_.[1051] The earliest
German edition appeared, in 1597, as _Newe Welt: warhafftige Anzeigung
der Hispanier grewlichen ... Tyranney_.[1052] The Latin edition
appeared at Frankfort, in 1598, as _Narratio regionum Indicarvm per
Hispanos qvosdam deuastatarum verissima_.[1053] This Latin translation
has a brief introduction, mainly a quotation from Lipsius, commenting
on these atrocities. The version is spirited and faithful, covering
the narrative of Las Casas and his discussion with Sepulveda. The
engravings by De Bry are ghastly and revolting, and present all too
faithfully the shocking enormities related in the text. It is a
fearful parody of deception and truth which introduces a hooded friar
as holding a crucifix before the eyes of one under torment by fire or
mutilation. We can scarcely regret that the circumstances under which
the indiscriminate slaughter was waged but rarely allowed of this
desecration of a sacred symbol. The artist has overdrawn his subjects
in delineating heaps of richly wrought and chased vessels as brought by
the hounded victims to appease their tormentors.

To close this list of translations, it is only necessary to refer to
the sundry ways in which Las Casas was helped to create an influence in
Italy, the Italian text in these publications usually accompanying the



THE most important distinctive lives of Las Casas are those of
Llorente, prefixed to his edition of Las Casas’ _Œuvres_; that which
Quintana (born, 1772; died, 1857) gives in his _Vidas de Españoles
célebres_, vol. iii., published at Madrid in 1833, and reprinted, with
Quintana’s _Obras_, in the _Biblioteca de autores Españoles_ in 1852;
and the _Vida y escritos de Las Casas_ of A. M. Fabié, published at
Madrid in 1879, in two volumes, with a large number of unpublished
documents, making vols. 70 and 71 of the _Documentos inéditos_
(_España_). The life which was constructed mainly by the son of Arthur
Helps out of _The Spanish Conquest in America_ by the father, is the
most considerable account in English. The larger work was written in a
spirit readily appreciative of the character of Las Casas, and he is
made such a centre of interest in it as easily to favor the excision of
parts of it to form the lesser book. This was hardly possible with the
broader connections established between Las Casas and his times which
accompany the portrayal of his career in the works of Prescott and H.
H. Bancroft. The great friend of the Indian is mainly, however, to be
drawn from his own writings.

Las Casas was by no means alone in his advocacy of the rights of the
natives, as Harrisse (_Bibl. Am. Vet. Add._, p. 119) has pointed out;
naming Julian Garces, Francis of Vittoria, Diego de Avendaño, Alonzo
de Noreña, and even Queen Isabel herself, as evinced by her will
(in Dormer, _Discursos varios_, p. 381). The fame of Las Casas was
steadfastly upheld by Remesal in his _Historia de Chyapa_, etc., 1619
(cf. Bancroft, _Central America_, ii. 339); and the great apostle found
a successor in his labors in Juan de Palafox y Mendoça, whose appeal
to the King, printed about 1650, and called _Virtudes del Indio, é
naturaleza y costumbres de los Indios de Nueva España_, has become very
rare. (Cf. Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 691.) Brasseur de Bourbourg, in
the fourth volume of his _Nations civilisées du Mexique_, set forth in
all their enormity the barbarities of the Spanish conquerors; but he
seeks to avoid all imputations of exaggeration by shunning the evidence
drawn from Las Casas.

The opponents of Las Casas—who became in due time the best-hated man in
the Spanish colonies—were neither few nor powerless, as the thwarting
of Las Casas’ plans constantly showed. The Fray Toribio Motolinia took
issue with Las Casas, and Ramirez, in his Life of Motolinia contained
in Icazbalceta’s _Coleccion_, undertakes to show (p. lvii) the
difference between them. Cf. B. Smith’s _Coleccion_, p. 67.


The most conspicuous of his fellow-observers, who reached conclusions
constantly quite at variance with Las Casas, was Gonzalo Fernandez de
Oviedo y Valdes,—to give his full name, though Oviedo is the one by
which he is usually cited. Oviedo was but a few years younger than Las
Casas. He had seen Columbus’ triumph at Barcelona, and had come to
America with Pedrarias ten years after Las Casas, and spent thirty-four
of the next forty years in the New World, holding part of the time
the office of inspector of the gold-smeltings at Darien, and latterly
living at Hispaniola. He is thought to have begun his historical
studies as early as 1520, and he published his first book, usually
called the _Sumario_, in 1526, on his return from his second voyage.
It is a description of the West Indies and its natives. Returning to
Spain in 1530, he was after a while made the official chronicler of the
Indies, and in 1535 began the publication of his great _Historia de las
Indias_. On this chief labor Ticknor (_Spanish Literature_, ii. 33)
traces him at work certainly as late as 1548, and he may have added to
it down to 1555. He had the royal direction to demand of the various
governors whatever document and aid he might need as he went on.
Ticknor calls him the first authorized chronicler of the New World,—“an
office,” he adds, “which was at one time better paid than any other
similar office in the kingdom, and was held at different times by
Herrera, Tamayo, Solis, and other writers of distinction, and ceased
(he believed) with the creation of the Academy of History.” Oviedo was
a correspondent of Ramusio, and found the acquaintance helpful. He
knew Cortes, and exchanged letters with him. Ticknor, after speaking of
the scope of the _Historia_ as taxing the powers of Oviedo beyond their
strength, still accounts the work of great value as a vast repository
of facts, and not wholly without merit as a composition.

[Illustration: TITLE OF OVIEDO, 1526, REDUCED.]

In the estimates commonly made of Oviedo there is allowed him but scant
scholarship, little power of discrimination,—as shown in his giving at
times as much weight to hearsay evidence as to established testimony,—a
curious and shrewd insight, which sometimes, with his industry, leads
him to a better balance of authorities than might be expected from
his deficient judgment. His resources of material were uncommon; but
his use of them is generally tedious, with a tendency to wander from
his theme. Ternaux sees in him the prejudices of his times,—and these
were not certainly very friendly to the natives. Las Casas could no
more endure him than he could bear with the average _conquistador_.
The bishop charges the historian with constantly bearing false witness
against the Indians, and with lying on every page. Oviedo died at
Valladolid in 1557. (Cf. Prescott’s _Mexico_, ii. 283; Irving’s
_Columbus_, App. xxviii.; H. H. Bancroft, _Chroniclers_, p. 20, and
_Central America_, i. 309, 463-467.)

[Illustration: ARMS OF OVIEDO.

Reduced from the cut at the end of the edition of Oviedo, 1535.]

The bibliography of Oviedo deserves to be traced. His initial
publication, _De la natural hystoria de las Indias_, was printed
at Toledo in 1526,—not in 1525, as the Real Academia says in their
reprint, nor 1528, as Ticknor gives it. It is often cited as Oviedo’s
_Sumario_, since that is the first word of the secondary title.
(Cf. Sabin, _Dictionary_, vol. xiv. no. 57,987; Harrisse, _Notes on
Columbus_, p. 12; and _Bibl. Amer. Vet._, no. 139; Ternaux, no. 35;
Rich, 1832, no. 6, £12 12_s._; Carter-Brown, i. 89.) There are also
copies in the Library of Congress and Harvard College. The Spanish
text is included in Barcia’s _Historiadores primitivos_ and in Vedia’s
_Hist. prim. de Indias_, 1858, vol. i. It is in large part translated
into English in Eden’s _Decades of the New World_, 1555 (chap. 18), and
this version is condensed in Purchas’s _Pilgrimes_, iv. 5. There is an
Italian version in Ramusio’s _Viaggi_, iii. 44.

The publication of Oviedo’s great work, which is quite different from
the 1526 book, was begun at Seville, in 1535, under the title of
_Historia general de las Indias_. In this he gave the first nineteen
books, and ten chapters of book 20. At the end is a _carta missiva_, to
which the author usually attached his own signature, and that annexed
is taken (slightly reduced) from the copy in Harvard College Library.
(Cf. Sabin, vol. xiv. no. 57,988; Harrisse, _Bibl. Am. Vet._, no. 207;
Murphy, nos. 1886-87; Carter-Brown, i. 114, with fac-simile of title.)
Ramusio translated these nineteen books. In 1547, what purports to
be a summary, but is in fact a version, of Xeres by Jacques Gohory,
appeared in Paris as _L’histoire de la terre neuve du Péru en l’Inde
occidentale_. (Cf. _Bib. Am. Vet._, no. 264; Ternaux, no. 52; Sabin,
vol. xiv. no. 57,994.)

In 1547 a new edition of the Spanish, somewhat increased, appeared at
Salamanca as _Coronica de las Indias; la hystoria general de las Indias
agora nueuamente impressa, corregida, y emendada_. Sometimes it is
found in the same cover with the _Peru_ of Xeres, and then the title
varies a little. The book is rare and costly. Rich, in 1832 (no. 17),
priced it at £10 10_s._; it has been sold recently at the Sunderland
sale for £61, and in the library of an old admiral (1883, no. 340)
for £40; Quaritch has priced it at £63, and Maisonneuve (Leclerc, no.
432), at 1,000 francs. There is a copy in Harvard College Library. (Cf.
Sabin, vol. xiv. no. 57,989; Carter-Brown, i. 145; BIBL. AM. VET., no.
278; _Additions_, no. 163; and Murphy, no. 1885.)


A full French translation of ten books, made by Jean Poleur, appeared
in Paris under the title of _Histoire naturelle et généralle des
Indes_, without the translator’s name in 1555, and with it in 1556.
(Cf. Sabin, vol. xiv. no. 57,992-93; Ternaux, no. 47; Carter-Brown,
i. 214; Beckford, iii. 342; Murphy, no. 1884; Leclerc, no. 434, 130
francs, and no. 2,888, 350 francs; Quaritch, no. 12,313, £7 10_s._)
There is a copy in Harvard College Library.

The twentieth book, _Libro xx de la segunda parte de la general
historia de las Indias_ appeared for the first time and separately at
Valladolid in 1557; the death of the author while his book was in press
prevented the continuance of its publication. (Cf. Rich, 1832, no. 34,
£6 6_s._; Sabin, vol. xiv. no. 57,991; Carter-Brown, i. 219.)

The fate of the remaining parts of the manuscript was for a while
uncertain. Rich, in 1832, said that books xxi. to xxviii., which were
in the printer’s hands at Oviedo’s death, were not recovered, while
he knew of manuscript copies of books xxix. to xlviii. in several
collections. Irving says he found a copy of the unprinted parts in
the Colombina Library at Seville. Harrisse _(Notes on Columbus_ and
_Bibl. Am. Vet._, no. 207) says the manuscript was scattered, but was
brought together again after some vicissitudes. Another statement
places it in the Casa de la Contratacion after Oviedo’s death; whence
it was transferred to the Convent of Monserrat. Meanwhile sundry
manuscript copies were taken. (Cf. _Notes on Columbus_, p. 17.) In
1775 the publication of it was ordered by Government; but it was not
till 1851-1855 that the Real Academia de la Historia at Madrid issued
the fifty books, complete in four volumes folio, under the editing of
José Amador de los Rios, who added to the publication several maps, a
bibliography, and the best Life of Oviedo yet written. (Cf. Sabin, vol.
xiv. no. 57,990; the set is worth about $20. See further, Brunet, iv.
299; Ternaux, no. 46; Panzer, vii. 124; Stevens, _Nuggets_, ii. 2,067.)
Ternaux had already, in 1840, published in French, as a _Histoire de
Nicaragua_ (in his second series, vol. iii.) thirteen chapters of book

There was an Italian traveller in the Spanish provinces between 1541
and 1556 who, while he thought that Las Casas mistook his vocation in
attempting to administer a colony, bears evidence to the atrocities
which Las Casas so persistently magnified. This wanderer was a
Milanese, Girolamo Benzoni, who at the early age of twenty-two had
started on his American travels. He did not altogether succeed in
ingratiating himself with the Spaniards whom he encountered, and
perhaps his discontent colored somewhat his views. He was not much
of a scholar, yielded not a little to credulity, and picked up mere
gossip indeed, but of a kind which gives us much light as to the
conditions both of the Europeans and natives. (Cf. Field, _Indian
Bibliography_, no. 117; Bancroft, _Central America_, ii. 232; Admiral
Smith’s Introduction to the Hakluyt Society edition.) After his return
he prepared and published—prefixing his own likeness, as shown here
in fac-simile—the results of his observations in his _Historia del
Mondo Nuovo_, which was issued at Venice in 1565. It became a popular
book, and spread through Europe not only in the original Italian, but
in French and Latin versions. In Spanish it never became current; for
though it so greatly concerns that people, no one of them ventured to
give it the help of a translation into their vernacular; and as be had
not said much in praise of their American career, it is not altogether

The bibliography of the book merits explanation. It is treated at
length in Sabin’s _Dictionary_, vol. ii. no. 4,791, and in the _Studi
biog. e bibliog. della Società Geografica Italiana_, i. 293 (1882).
The original Italian edition, _La Historia del Mondo Nuovo, laqual
tratta dell’ Isole & Mari nuovamente ritrovati, & delle nuove Citta
da lui proprio vedute, per acqua & per terra in quattordeci anni_,
was published at Venice in 1565. There are copies in Harvard College,
Cornell University, and the Carter-Brown libraries. Cf. Rich (1832),
no. 43—£1 1_s._ 0_d._; Leclerc (1878), no. 59—120 francs; A. R. Smith
(1874), £2 2_s._ 0_d._; Brinley, no. 10; Carter-Brown, i. 253; Huth, i.
132; Field, _Indian Bibliography_, no. 117; Sparks, no. 240; Stevens
(1870), no. 171. A second Italian edition—_Nuovamente ristampata... con
la giunta d’alcune cose notabile dell’Isole di Canaria_—was issued at
Venice in 1572. Cf. Rich (1832), no. 49, £1 1_s._ 0_d._; Carter-Brown,
i. 289; Stevens, no. 172; Muller (1877), no. 285; Sunderland, no.
1,213; H. C. Murphy, no. 2,838; Huth, i. 132; J. J. Cooke, nos. 219,

The first Latin edition _Novæ Novi Orbis Historiæ_, translated by Urban
Chauveton (who added an account of the French expedition to Florida),
was published at Geneva in 1578; followed by a second in 1581; a
third in 1586, with Lery’s book on Brazil added; others in 1590 (no
place); 1598 and 1600 (Geneva); (Coloniæ Allobrogum), 1612, with three
other tracts; and at Hamburg in 1648. Besides these the Latin version
appeared in De Bry, parts iv., v., and vi., printed at Frankfort in
1592, 1593, 1594, 1595, and at Oppenheim in 1617. Cf. Carter-Brown, i.
318, 338, 365; ii. 123, 629; Stevens, _Nuggets_, 2,300; _Bibl. Hist._,
no. 173-174; Muller (1872), nos. 78, 79; (1877), 287; Sunderland, no.
1,214; Cooke, nos. 218, 222; Pinart, no. 97; Huth, i. 132; Field, p.
119. There are copies of the 1578 edition in the Boston Public and
Harvard College libraries.

The French editions were issued at Geneva in 1579 and 1589. The notes
are different from those of the Latin editions; and there are no notes
to book iii., as in the Latin. Cf. Carter-Brown, i. 326; Cooke, no.
221; Court, no. 32.

There are two German versions. The first was by Nicholas Höniger, and
was printed at Basle, in 1579, as _Der Newenn Weldt_. It was reissued,
with tracts of Peter Martyr and others, in 1582. The version of Abel
Scherdigers was issued at Helmstadt in 1590, 1591, again at Frankfort
in 1595, and at Wittenberg in 1606. There were in addition some
later imprints, besides those included in De Bry and in Saeghman’s
_Voyagien_. Cf. Rich, no. 61; Carter-Brown, i. 344, 388, ii. 44, 917;
Muller (1872), nos. 80, 1880, (1877), 286.

The first Dutch edition appeared at Haarlem in 1610; there was an
abridged issue at Amsterdam in 1663. Cf. Tiele, nos. 276, 277; Muller
(1872), nos. 81, 82; Carter-Brown, ii. 97.

Purchas gave an abstract in English; but there was no complete English
version till Admiral Smith’s was published by the Hakluyt Society in
1857. This has fac-similes of the cuts of the 1572 edition; and De Bry
also followed the early cuts.


In 1542 and 1543 Las Casas largely influenced the royal decrees
relating to the treatment of the Indians, which were signed by the
monarch, Nov. 20, 1542, and June 4, 1543, and printed at Alcala in
1543 as _Leyes y Ordenanças_. This book stands as the earliest printed
ordinances for the New World, and is rare. Rich in 1832 (no. 13)
priced it at £21. (Cf. _Bib. Am. Vet._, no. 247; Carter-Brown, vol. i.
no. 130; Sabin, vol. x. p. 320.) There were later editions at Madrid
in 1585,[1055] and at Valladolid in 1603. Henry Stevens, in 1878,
issued a fac-simile edition made by Harris after a vellum copy in the
Grenville Collection, accompanied by a translation, with an historical
and bibliographical introduction.

The earliest compilation of general laws for the Indies, entitled
_Provisiones, cedulas, instrucciones de su Magestad_, was printed
in Mexico in 1563. This is also very rare; Rich priced it in 1832
at £16 16_s._ It was the work of Vasco de Puga, and Helps calls it
“the earliest summary of Spanish colonial law.” The Carter-Brown copy
(_Catalogue_, i. 242) was sent to England for Mr. Helps’s use, there
being no copy in that country, so far as known.

The next collection was _Provisiones, cédulas_, etc., arranged by
Diego de Encinas, and was printed at Madrid in 1596. The work early
became scarce, and Rich priced it at £5 5_s._ in 1832 (no. 81). It is
in Harvard College and the Carter-Brown Library (_Catalogue_, vol. i.
no. 502). The bibliography of the general laws, particularly of later
collections, is sketched in Bancroft’s _Central America_, i. 285, and
_Mexico_, iii. 550; and in chap. xxvii. of this same volume the reader
will find an examination of the administration and judicial system
of the Spaniards in the New World;[1056] and he must go chiefly to
Bancroft (_Central America_, i. 255, 257, 261, 285; _Mexico_, ii. 130,
516, 563, etc.) and Helps (_Spanish Conquest and Life of Las Casas_)
for aid in tracing the sources of the subject of the legal protection
sought to be afforded to the natives, and the attempted regulation of
the slavery which they endured. Helps carefully defines the meaning and
working of the _encomienda_ system, which gave in effect a property
value to the subjection of the natives to the Conquerors. Cf. _Spanish
Conquest_ (Am. ed.), iii. 113, 128, 157, 212.




_The Editor._

GRIJALVA had returned in 1518 to Cuba from his Western
expedition,[1057] flushed with pride and expectant of reward. It was
his fate, however, to be pushed aside unceremoniously, while another
was sent to follow up his discoveries. Before Grijalva had returned,
the plan was formed; and Hernando Cortés distanced his competitors in
suing for the leadership of the new expedition. Cortés was at this time
the _alcalde_ of Santiago in Cuba, and about thirty-three years old,—a
man agile in mind, and of a frame well compacted for endurance; with a
temper to please, and also to be pleased, if you would but wait on his
wishes. He had some money, which Velasquez de Cuellar, the Governor,
needed; he knew how to decoy the intimates of the Governor, and bait
them with promises: and so the appointment of Cortés came, but not
altogether willingly, from Velasquez.

Cortés was born in Spain,[1058] of humble, respectable stock. Too
considerable animal spirits had made him an unprofitable student at
Salamanca, though he brought away a little Latin and a lean store of
other learning. A passion for the fairer sex and some military ardor,
dampened with scant income all the while, characterized the following
years; till finally, in 1504, he sailed on one of the fleets for the
New World. Here he soon showed his quality by participating in the
suppression of an Indian revolt. This got him a small official station,
and he varied the monotony of life with love intrigues and touches
of military bravado. In 1511, when Diego Columbus sent Velasquez on
an expedition to Cuba, Cortés joined it as the commander’s executive
officer. A certain adroitness turned a quarrel which he had with
Velasquez (out of which grew his marriage with a fair Catalina) to his
advantage with the Governor, who made him in the end the _alcalde_ of
Santiago,—a dignity which mining and stock-raising luckily enabled the
adventurer to support. He was in this condition when all schemes worked
happily, and Velasquez was induced to commission him commander-in-chief
of the new expedition.

[Illustration: VELASQUEZ.

Fac-simile of an engraving in Herrera, i. 298. It is lithographed in
Cabajal’s _México_, ii. 21.]

The Governor gave him instructions on the 23d of October, 1518.
Cortés understood, it turned out, that these were to be followed when
necessary and disregarded when desirable. There seemed, indeed, to
have been no purpose to confine the business of the expedition to
exploration, as the instructions set forth.[1059] Cortés put all his
substance into ships and outfits. He inveigled his friends into helping
him. Velasquez converted what Government resources he could to the
purpose of the expedition, while at the same time he seems to have
cunningly sold to Cortés his own merchandise at exorbitant prices.
Twenty thousand ducats apparently went into somebody’s pockets to get
the expedition well started.[1060] Three hundred men, including some
of position, joined him. The Governor’s jester, instigated, as is
supposed, by Velasquez’ relatives, threw out a hint that Cortés was
only preparing to proclaim his independence when he reached the new
domain. The thought worried the Governor, and seems in part to have
broken the spell of the admiration which he entertained for Cortés; yet
not so much so but he could turn a cold shoulder to Grijalva when he
arrived with his ships, as happened at this juncture.

Cortés could not afford to dally; and secret orders having been given
for all to be in readiness on the evening of the 17th of November,
on the next morning the fleet sailed.[1061] There were six vessels
composing it, and a seventh later joined them. At Trinidad (Cuba) his
force was largely augmented with recruits from Grijalva’s men. Here
messengers arrived from Velasquez, ordering the authorities to depose
Cortés and put another in command. Cortés had, however, too strongly
environed himself; and he simply took one of the messengers into his
service, and sent back the other with due protestations of respect.
Then he sailed to San Cristóbal (Havana), sending a force overland to
pick up horses. The flagship met a mishap on the way, but arrived at
last. Cortés landed and displayed his pomp. Letters from Velasquez
still followed him, but no one dared to arrest him. He again sailed.
His fleet had now increased to twelve vessels, the largest measuring
one hundred tons; his men were over six hundred, and among them only
thirteen bore firelocks; his artillery consisted of ten guns and four
falconets. Two hundred natives, men and women, were taken as slaves.
Sixteen horses were stowed away on or below deck.[1062] This was the
force that a few days later, at Guaguanico, Cortés passed in review,
while he regaled his men with a specious harangue, steeped in a
corsair’s piety. On the 18th of February they steered boldly away on
the mission which was to become famous.

Looking around upon his officers, Cortés could discover, later if not
then, that he had some stanch lieutenants. There was Pedro de Alvarado,
who had already shown his somewhat impetuous quality while serving
under Grijalva. There was Francisco de Montejo, a good administrator
as well as a brave soldier. Names not yet forgotten in the story of
the Conquest were those of Alonso de Avila, Cristóbal de Olid, and the
youngest of all, Gonzalo de Sandoval, who was inseparable from his
white stallion Motilla. Then there were Velasquez de Leon, Diego de
Ordaz, and others less known to fame.

The straggling vessels gathered again at Cozumel Island, near the point
of Yucatan. Cortés sent an expedition to discover and ransom some
Christians who were in the interior, as he heard. The mission failed;
but a single one of the wanderers, by some other course, found the
Spaniards, and was welcomed as an interpreter. This man reported that
he and another were the sole survivors of a ship’s company wrecked on
the coast eight years before.

[Illustration: CANNON OF CORTÉS’ TIME.

As represented in a cut by Israel van Mecken, which is here reduced
from a fac-simile in A. O. Essenwein’s _Kulturhistorischer Bilder
Atlas_, ii., _Mittelalter_ (Leipsic, 1883), pl. cxv. It will be
observed that the pieces have no trunnions, and are supported in a kind
of trough. They were breech-loaders by means of chambers, three of
which, with handles, are seen (in the cut) lying on the ground, and one
is in place, in the gun on the right. In the Naval Museum at Annapolis
there are guns captured in the Mexican war, that are supposed to be the
ones used by Cortés. A search of the records of the Ordnance Department
at Washington, instituted for me by Commodore Sicard, at the suggestion
of Prof. Charles E. Munroe of the Naval Academy, has not, however,
revealed any documentary evidence; but a paper in the _Army and Navy
Journal_, Nov. 22, 1884, p. 325, shows such guns to have been captured
by Lieutenant Wyse in the “Darien.” The guns at Annapolis are provided
with like chambers, as seen in photographs kindly sent to me. Similar
chambers are now, or were recently, used in firing salutes on the
Queen’s birthday in St. James’s Park. Cf. Stanley’s _De Gama’s Voyages_
(Hakluyt Society), p. 227.]

Early in March the fleet started to skirt the Yucatan shore, and
Cortés had his first fight with the natives at Tabasco,—a conflict
brought on for no reason but that the town would not supply provisions.
The stockade was forced, and the place formally occupied. A more signal
victory was required; and the Spaniards, getting on shore their horses
and artillery, encountered the savage hordes and dispersed them,—aided,
as the veracious story goes, by a spectral horseman who shone upon the
field. The native king only secured immunity from further assaults by
large presents. The Spaniards then re-embarked, and next cast anchor at
San Juan de Ulloa.


This is a reproduction of the map in Arthur Helps’s _Spanish Conquest_,
ii. 236.]

Meanwhile the rumors of the descent of the Spaniards on the coast
had certainly hurried to Montezuma at his capital; and his people
doubtless rehearsed some of the many portents which are said to have
been regarded.[1063] We read also of new temples erected, and immense
sacrifices of war-captives made, to propitiate the deities and avert
the dangers which these portents and forebodings for years past had
indicated to the believing.

[Illustration: CORTÉS AND HIS ARMS.

Copied from a cut in Gabriel Lasso de la Vega’s _Cortés valeroso_,—a
poem published at Madrid in 1588. There is a copy in Harvard College
Library; cf. Carter-Brown, i. 377. The same cut is also used in the
edition published in 1594, then called _Mexicana_.]

The men of Grijalva had already some months earlier been taken to be
similar woful visitants, and one of Montezuma’s officers had visited
Grijalva’s vessel, and made report of the wonders to the Mexican
monarch. Studied offices of propitiation had been ordered, when word
came back that the ship of the bearded men had vanished.


Fac-simile of the portrait in _Cortés valeroso_.]

The coming of Cortés was but a dreaded return. While his ship lay at
Juan de Ulloa, two canoes came from the main, and their occupants
climbed to his deck. No one could understand them. The rescued Spaniard
who had been counted on as an interpreter was at a loss. At last a
female slave, Marina by name, taken at Tabasco, solved the difficulty.
She could understand this same Spaniard, and knew also Aztec.[1064]
Through this double interpretation Cortés now learned that the mission
of his visitors was one of welcome and inquiry. After the usual
interchange of gifts, Cortés sent word to the cacique that he would
soon confer with him. He then landed a force, established a camp,
and began to barter with the natives. To a chief, who soon arrived,
Cortés announced his intention to seek the presence of Montezuma and
to deliver the gifts and messages with which he was charged as the
ambassador of his sovereign. Accordingly, bearing such presents as
Cortés cared to send forward, native messengers were sent to Montezuma
to tell tales of the sights they had seen,—the prancing horses and the
belching cannon. The Mexican king sought to appease the eagerness of
the new-comers by returning large stores of fabrics and gold, wishing
them to be satisfied and to depart. The gold was not a happy gift to
produce such an end.

Meanwhile Cortés, by his craft, quieted a rising faction of the party
of Velasquez which demanded to be led back to Cuba. He did this by
seeming to acquiesce in the demand of his followers in laying the
foundations of a town and constituting its people a municipality
competent to choose a representative of the royal authority. This done,
Cortés resigned his commission from Velasquez, and was at once invested
with supreme power by the new municipality. The scheme which Velasquez
had suspected was thus brought to fruition. Whoever resisted the new
captain was conquered by force, persuasion, tact, or magnetism; and
Cortés became as popular as he was irresistible.

At this point messengers presented themselves from tribes not far
off who were unwilling subjects of the Aztec power. The presence of
possible allies was a propitious circumstance, and Cortés proceeded to
cultivate the friendship of these tribes. He moved his camp day by day
along the shore, inuring his men to marches, while the fleet sailed in
company. They reached a large city, and were regaled. Each chief told
of the tyranny of Montezuma, and the eyes of Cortés glistened. The
Spaniards went on to another town, slaves being provided to bear their
burdens. Here they found tax-gatherers of Montezuma collecting tribute.
Emboldened by Cortés’ glance, his hosts seized the Aztec emissaries and
delivered them to the Spaniards. Cortés now played a double game. He
propitiated the servants of Montezuma by secretly releasing them, and
added to his allies by enjoining every tribe he could reach to resist
the Aztec collectors of tribute.

The wandering municipality, as represented in this piratical army, at
last stopped at a harbor where a town (La Villa Rica de Vera Cruz)
sprang up, and became the base of future operations.[1065]

Montezuma and his advisers, angered by the reports of the revolt of
his subjects, had organized a force to proceed against them, when the
tax-gatherers whom Cortés had released arrived and told the story of
Cortés’ gentleness and sympathy. It was enough; the rebellion needed
no such active encounter. The troops were not sent, and messengers
were despatched to Cortés, assuring the Spanish leader that Montezuma
forbore to chastise the entertainers of the white strangers. Cortés
now produced other of the tax-gatherers whom he had been holding, and
they and the new embassy went back to Montezuma more impressed than
before; while the neighboring people wondered at the deference paid
by Montezuma’s lieutenants to the Spaniards. It was no small gain for
Cortés to have instigated the equal wonder of two mutually inimical

[Illustration: CORTÉS.

After a picture on panel in the Massachusetts Historical Society’s
gallery. It is described in the _Catalogue of the Cabinet_ of that
Society as “Restored by Henry Sargent about 1831, and again by George
Howorth about 1855.” Cf. _Proceedings_, i. 446, where it is said to
have been given by the family of the late Dr. Foster, of Brighton, who
received it by inheritance from a Huguenot family who brought it to New
England after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.]

The Spanish leader took occasion to increase his prestige by
despatching expeditions hither and thither. Then he learned of efforts
made by Velasquez to supplant him. To confirm his rule against the
Cuban Governor he needed the royal sanction; and the best way to get
that was to despatch a vessel with messages to the Emperor, and give
him earnest of what he might yet expect in piles of gold thrown at his
feet. So the flagship sailed for Spain; and in her in command and to
conduct his suit before the throne, Cortés sent faithful servitors,
such as had influence at court, to outwit the emissaries of Velasquez.
Sailing in July, touching at Cuba long enough to raise the anger of
Velasquez, but not long enough for him to catch them, these followers
of Cortés reached Spain in October, and found the agents of Velasquez
ready for them. Their vessel was seized, and the royal ear was held
by Bishop Fonseca and other friends of the Cuban Governor; yet not so
effectually but that the duplicate letters of Cortés’ messengers were
put into the Emperor’s hand, and the train of natives paraded before


A reproduction of the map in Ruge’s _Zeitalter der Entdeckungen_, p.
363. Similar maps are given by Prescott, Helps, and Bancroft. Cabajal
(_México_, ii. 200) gives a map of the route followed from the Gulf,
with a profile of the country traversed. Bancroft (_Mexico_, vol. ii.)
gives a map of New Spain as known to the Conquerors. Early maps of Nova
Hispania, or New Spain, are not infrequent. Cf. Blaeu’s _Atlas_, De
Bry, several issued by Vander Aa, of Amsterdam, the Brussels edition
(1704) of Solis, Lorenzana’s _Cortés_ (1770), and various others.]

Now came the famous resolve of Cortés. He would band his heterogeneous
folk together—adherents of Cortés and of Velasquez—in one common cause
and danger. So he adroitly led them to be partners in the deed which he
stealthily planned.[1066] Hulk after hulk of the apparently worm-eaten
vessels of the fleet sank in the harbor, until there was no flotilla
left upon which any could desert him. The march to Mexico was now
assured. The force with which to accomplish this consisted of about
four hundred and fifty Spaniards, six or seven light guns, fifteen
horses, and a swarm of Indian slaves and attendants. A body of the
Totonacs accompanied them.[1067] Two or three days brought them into
the higher plain and its enlivening vegetation. When they reached the
dependencies of Montezuma, they found orders had been given to extend
to them every courtesy. They soon reached the Anahuac plateau, which
reminded them not a little of Spain itself. They passed from cacique to
cacique, some of whom groaned under the yoke of the Aztec; but not one
dared do more than orders from Montezuma dictated. Then the invaders
approached the territory of an independent people, those of Tlascala,
who had walled their country against neighboring enemies. A fight took
place at the frontiers, in which the Spaniards lost two horses. They
forced passes against great odds, but again lost a horse or two,—which
was a perceptible diminution of their power to terrify. The accounts
speak of immense hordes of the Tlascalans, which historians now take
with allowances, great or small. Cortés spread what alarm he could
by burning villages and capturing the country people. His greatest
obstacle soon appeared in the compacted army of Tlascalans arrayed in
his front. The conflict which ensued was for a while doubtful. Every
horse was hurt, and sixty Spaniards were wounded; but the result was
the retreat of the Tlascalans. Divining that the Spanish power was
derived from the sun, the enemy planned a night attack; but Cortés
suspected it, and assaulted them in their own ambush.

Cortés now had an opportunity to display his double-facedness and his
wiles. He received embassies both from Montezuma and from the senate of
the Tlascalans. He cajoled each, and played off his friendship for the
one in cementing an alliance with the other. But to Tlascala and Mexico
he would go, so he told them.

[Illustration: CORTÉS.[1068]]

The Tlascalans were not averse, for they thought it boded no good to
the Aztecs if he could be bound to themselves. Montezuma dreaded the
contact, and tried to intimidate the strangers by tales of the horrible
difficulties of the journey.

[Illustration: MONTEZUMA.

This cut of the “Rex ultimus Mexicanorum” is a fac-simile from Montanus
and Ogilby, p. 253. The source of the likeness is not apparent, and
the picture seems questionable. Prescott, in his second volume, gives
a likeness, which belonged to the descendants of the Aztec king, the
Counts of Miravalle. It is claimed to have been painted by an artist,
Maldonado, who accompanied Cortés; but, on the other hand, some have
represented it as an ideal portrait painted after the Conquest.
Prescott (vol. ii. p. 72) makes up his description of Montezuma
from various early authorities,—Diaz, Zuazo (MS.), Ixtlilxochitl,
Gomara, Oviedo, Acosta, Sahagun, Toribio, etc., particularizing the
references. H. H. Bancroft (_Mexico_, i. 285) also depicts him from
the early sources. He is made of an age from forty to fifty-four
by different writers; but the younger period is thought by most to
be nearest. Bancroft refers to the prints in Th. Armin’s _Das alte
Mexico_ (Leipsic, 1865) as representing a coarse Aztec warrior,
and the native picture in Carbajal Espinosa’s _Historia de México_
(Mexico, 1862) as purely conventional. The same writer thinks the
colored portrait, “peint par ordre de Cortes,” in Linati’s _Costûmes
et mœurs de Mexique_ (Brussels) conforms to the descriptions; while
that in Clavigero’s _Storia antica del Messico_ (1780) is too small
to be satisfactory. The line of Montezuma’s descendants is traced in
Prescott, _Mexico_, ii. 339, iii. 446, and in Bancroft, _Mexico_, i.
459. Cf. also the portrait of Montezuma, “d’après Sandoval,” given in
Charton’s _Voyageurs_, iii. 393, and that in Cumplido’s Mexican edition
of Prescott’s _Mexico_ vol. iii.]

Presently the army took up its march for Tlascala, where they were
royally received, and wives in abundance were bestowed upon the
leaders. Next they passed to Cholula, which was subject to the Aztecs;
and here the Spaniards were received with as much welcome as could be
expected to be bestowed on strangers with the hostile Tlascalans in
their train. The scant welcome covered treachery, and Cortés met it
boldly. Murder and plunder impressed the Cholulans with his power, and
gave some sweet revenge to his allies. Through the wiles of Cortés a
seeming reconciliation at last was effected between these neighboring
enemies. But the massacre of Cholula was not a pastime, the treachery
of Montezuma not forgotten; and the march was again resumed, about six
thousand native allies of one tribe and another following the army. The
passage of a defile brought the broad Valley of Mexico into view; and
Montezuma, awed by the coming host, sent a courtier to personate him
and to prevail upon Cortés to avoid the city. The trick and the plea
were futile. On to one of the aquatic cities of the Mexican lakes the
Spaniards went, and were received in great state by a vassal lord of
Montezuma, who now invited the Spanish leader to the Aztec city. On
they went. Town after town received them; and finally, just without his
city, Montezuma, in all his finery and pomp, met the Spanish visitors,
bade them welcome, and committed them to an escort which he had
provided. It was the 8th of November, 1519. Later in his own palace,
in the quarters which had been assigned to Cortés, and on several
occasions, the two indulged in reciprocal courtesies and watched each
other. Cortés was not without fear, and his allies warned him of Aztec
treachery. His way to check foul designs was the bold one of seizing
Montezuma and holding him as a hostage; and he did so under pretence
of honoring him. A chieftain who had attacked a party of the Spaniards
by orders of Montezuma some time before, was executed in front of
the palace. Montezuma himself was subjected for a while to chains.
Expeditions were sent out with impunity to search for gold mines;
others explored the coast for harbors. A new governor was sent back
to Villa Rica, and he sent up shipwrights; so it was not long before
Cortés commanded a flotilla on the city lakes, and the captive king was
regaled with aquatic sports.

[Illustration: MONTEZUMA.[1069]]


This is reduced from the cut in Henry Stevens’s _American
Bibliographer_, p. 86, which in turn is reproduced from the edition
of Cortés’ letters published at Nuremberg in 1524. Bancroft in his
_Mexico_ (vol. i. p. 280) gives a greatly reduced sketch of the same
plan, and adds to it a description and references to the various
sources of our information regarding the Aztec town; and this may
be compared with the same author’s _Native Races_, ii. 560. Helps
describes the city in his _Spanish Conquest_ (New York ed., ii. 277,
423), where he thinks that the early chroniclers failed to make clear
the full number of the causeways connecting the town with the main,
and traversing the lake. Prescott describes it in his _Mexico_ (Kirk’s
ed., ii. 101), and discredits the plan given in Bullock’s _Mexico_ as
one prepared by Montezuma for Cortés. This last plan is also given
in Carbajal’s _Historia de México_ (1862), ii. 221. The nearly equal
distance on all sides at which the shores of the lake stand from the
town is characteristic of this earliest of the plans (1524); and in
this particular it is followed in various plans and bird’s-eye views
of the town of the sixteenth century, and in some of a later date.
The Aztec town had been founded in 1325, and had been more commonly
called Tenochtitlan, which the Spaniards turned into Temixtitan and
Tenustitan, the term Mexico being properly applied to one of the
principal wards of the city. The two names were first sometimes joined,
as Temixtitlan-Mexico (1555); but in the end the more pronounceable
part survived, and the rest was lost. Cf. Bancroft, _Mexico_, i. 12-14,
with references. The correspondence of sites in the present city
as compared with those of the Aztec time and of the conquerors, is
examined in Alaman’s _Discertaciones sobre la historia de la república
Méjicana_ (Mexico, 1844-1849), ii. 202, 246; Carbajal Espinosa’s
_Historia de México_, ii. 226, and by Ramirez in the Mexican edition
of Prescott. Cf. Ant. du Pinet’s _Descriptions de plusieurs villes et
forteresses_, Lyon, 1564.]

Then came symptoms of conspiracy among the native nobles, with the
object of overthrowing the insolent strangers; and Cacama, a nephew
of Montezuma and a chief among them, indulged the hope of seizing the
throne itself. Montezuma protested to his people that his durance
was directed by the gods, and counselled caution. When this did not
suffice, he gave orders, at the instigation of Cortés, to seize Cacama,
who was brought to Mexico and placed in irons. The will of Cortés
effected other displacements of the rural chiefs; and the allegiance of
Montezuma to the Spanish sovereign became very soon as sure and abject
as forms could make it.

Tribute was ordered, and trains bore into the city wealth from all the
provinces,—to be the cause of heart-burnings and quarrels in the hour
of distribution. The Aztec king and the priests were compelled to order
the removal of idols from their temples, and to see the cross and altar
erected in their places.

Meanwhile the difficulties of Cortés were increasing. The desecration
of the idols had strengthened the party of revolt, and Montezuma was
powerless to quiet them. He warned the Spaniards of their danger.
Cortés, to dispel apprehension, sent men to the coast with the
ostensible purpose of building ships for departure. It was but a trick,
however, to gain time; for he was now expecting a response to his
letters sent to Spain, and he hoped for supplies and a royal commission
which might enable him to draw reinforcements from Cuba.

The renegade leader, however, had little knowledge of what was planning
at this very moment in that island. Velasquez de Cuellar, acting
under a sufficient commission, had organized an expedition to pursue
Cortés, and had given the command of it to Panfilo de Narvaez. The
friends of Cortés and those who dreaded a fratricidal war joined in
representations to the _audiencia_, which sent Lucas Vasquez de Aillon
to prevent an outbreak. The fleet under Narvaez left Cuba, Aillon on
board, with instructions to reach a peaceable agreement with Cortés;
but this failing, they were to seek other regions. In April, 1520,
after some mishaps, the fleet, which had been the largest ever seen in
those waters, anchored at San Juan de Ulloa, where they got stories of
the great success of Cortés from some deserters of one of his exploring
parties. On the other hand, these same deserters, learning from Narvaez
the strength and purpose of the new-comers,—for the restraint of Aillon
proved ineffectual,—communicated with the neighboring caciques; and
the news was not slow in travelling to Montezuma, who heard it not
long after the mock submission of Cortés and the despatching of the
ship-builders to the coast.


Fac-simile of an engraving in Herrera, ii. 274. For appearance and
other portraits, see Bancroft, _Mexico_, i. 75. One of a sinister
aspect often engraved, but which Ramirez distrusts, is given in
Cabajal’s _México_, ii. 341; in the _Proceso de residencia contra Pedro
de Alvarado_ (Mexico, 1847); and in Cumplido’s Mexican edition of
Prescott’s _Mexico_, vol. iii.]

Narvaez next tried, in vain, to swerve Velasquez de Leon from his
fidelity to Cortés,—for this officer was exploring with a party in the
neighborhood of the coast. Sandoval, in command at Villa Rica, learned
Narvaez’ purposes from spies; and when messengers came to demand the
surrender of the town, an altercation ensued, and the chief messengers
were seized and sent to Cortés. The Conqueror received them kindly,
and, overcoming their aversion, he sent them back to Narvaez with
letters and gifts calculated to conciliate. While many under Narvaez
were affected, the new leader remained stubborn, seized Aillon, who was
endeavoring to mediate, and sent him on shipboard with orders to sail
for Cuba. Thus the arrogance of Narvaez was greatly helping Cortés in
his not very welcome environment.

Cortés now boldly divided his force; and leaving Alvarado behind with
perhaps one hundred and forty men,—for the accounts differ,[1070]—and
taking half that number with him, beside native guides and carriers,
marched to confront Narvaez. Velasquez de Leon with his force
joined him on the way, and a little later Sandoval brought further
reinforcements; so that Cortés had now a detachment of nearly three
hundred men. Cortés had prudently furnished them long native lances,
with which to meet Narvaez’ cavalry, for his own horsemen were very
few. Adroitness on the part of Cortés and a show of gold had their
effect upon messengers who, with one demand and another, were sent
to him by Narvaez. Velasquez was sent by Cortés to the enemy’s camp;
but the chief gain to Cortés from this manœuvre was a more intimate
knowledge of the army and purpose of Narvaez. He then resolved to
attack the intruder,—who, however, became aware of the intention of
Cortés, but, under the stress of a storm, unaccountably relaxed his
precautions. Cortés took advantage of this carelessness; and attacking
boldly by night, carried everything before him, and captured the rival
leader. The loss was but small to either side. The followers of the
invader now became adherents of Cortés, and were a powerful aid in his
future movements.[1071] The same good fortune had given him possession
of the invader’s fleet.


Copied from a fac-simile in Cabajal’s _México_, ii. 686.]

Meanwhile there were stirring times with Alvarado in Mexico. The Aztecs
prepared to celebrate a high religious festival. Alvarado learned, or
pretended to learn, that the disaffected native chiefs were planning to
rise upon the Spaniards at its close. So he anticipated their scheme by
attacking them while at their worship and unarmed. Six hundred or more
of the leading men were thus slain. The multitude without the temple
were infuriated, and the Spaniards regained their quarters, not without
difficulty, Alvarado himself being wounded. Behind their defences they
managed to resist attack till succor came.

Cortés, who had learned of the events, was advancing, attaching to
himself the peoples who were inimical to the Aztecs; but as he got
within the Aztec influence he found more sullenness than favor. When he
entered Mexico he was not resisted. The city seemed almost abandoned as
his force made their way to the Spanish fort and entered its gates.

As a means of getting supplies, Cortés ordered the release of a brother
of Montezuma, who at once used his liberty to plan an insurrection. An
attack on the Spanish quarters followed, which Cortés sought to repel
by sorties; but they gained little. The siege was so roughly pressed
that Cortés urged Montezuma to present himself on the parapet and check
the fierceness of the assault. The captive put on his robes of state
and addressed the multitude; but he only became the target of their
missiles, and was struck down by a stone.[1072] The condition of the
Spaniards soon became perilous in the extreme. A parley with the chief
of the Aztecs was of no avail; and Cortés resolved to cut his way along
the shortest causeway from the city, to the mainland bordering the
lake. In this he failed. Meanwhile a part of his force were endeavoring
to secure the summit of a neighboring pyramid, from which the Mexicans
had annoyed the garrison of the fort. Cortés joined in this attack, and
it was successful. The defenders of the temples on its summit were all
killed or hurled from the height, and Cortés was master of the spot.

Events followed quickly in this June of 1520. There was evidently a
strong will in command of the Mexicans. The brother of Montezuma was
a doughtier foe than the King had been. The temporary success on the
pyramid had not diminished the anxiety of Cortés. Montezuma was now
dying on his hands. The King had not recovered from the injuries which
his own people had inflicted, and sinking spirits completed the work
of the mob. On the 30th of June he died, at the age of forty-one,
having been on the throne since 1503.[1073] Cortés had hoped for some
turn of fortune from this event; but none came. He was more than ever
convinced of the necessity of evacuating the city. Another sortie had
failed as before; and the passage of the causeway was again planned
for the evening of that day.[1074] The order of march, as arranged,
included the whole Spanish force and about six thousand allies.
Pontoons of a rough description were contrived for bridging the chasms
in the causeway. As many jewels and gold as would not encumber them
were taken, together with such prisoners of distinction as remained to
them, besides the sick and wounded.

[Illustration: HELPS’S MAP.

This is the map given by Helps in his _Spanish Conquest_. One of the
differences in the variety of maps which have been offered of the
Valley of Mexico, to illustrate the conquest by Cortés, consists in the
number and direction of the causeways. The description and the remains
of the structures themselves have not sufficed to make investigators
of one mind respecting them. Prescott (Kirk’s ed., vol. ii.) does not
represent so many causeways as Helps does. The map in Bancroft (vol. i.
p. 583) is still different in this respect. There is also a plan of the
city and surrounding country in Cabajal’s _México_ (vol. ii. p. 538);
and two others have been elsewhere given in the present volume (pp.
364, 379).]

A drizzling rain favored their retreat; but the Mexicans were finally
aroused, and attacked their rear. A hundred or more Spaniards were
cut off, and retreated to the fort, where they surrendered a few
days later, and were sacrificed. The rest, after losses and much
tribulation, reached the mainland. Nothing but the failure of the
Mexicans to pursue the Spaniards, weakened as they were, saved Cortés
from annihilation. The Aztecs were too busy with their successes; for
forty Spaniards, not to speak of numerous allies, had been taken, and
were to be immolated; and rites were to be performed over their own

Cortés the next morning was marshalling the sorry crowd which was left
of his army, when a new attack was threatened. His twelve hundred and
fifty Spaniards and six thousand allies had been reduced respectively
to five hundred and two thousand;[1075] and he was glad to make a
temple, which was hard by, a place of refuge and defence. Here he had
an opportunity to count his losses. His cannon and prisoners were
all gone. Some of his bravest officers did not respond to his call.
He could count but twenty-four of his three or four score of horses.
After dark he resumed his march. His pursuers still worried him, and
hunger weakened his men. He lost several horses at one point, and
was himself badly wounded. Reaching a plain on the 7th of July, the
Spaniards confronted a large force drawn up against them. Cortés had
but seven muskets left, and no powder; so he trusted to pike and sabre.
With these he rushed upon them; but the swarm of the enemy was too
great. At last, however, making a dash with some horsemen at the native
commander, who was recognized by his state and banner, the Mexican was
hurled prostrate and killed, and the trophy captured. The spell was
broken, and the little band of Spaniards and their allies hounded the
craven enemy in every direction. This victory at Otumba (Otompan) was
complete and astounding.

[Illustration: TREE OF TRISTE NOCHE.

This cut is borrowed from _Harper’s Magazine_, January, 1874, p. 172,
and represents the remains of the tree under which Cortés and his
followers gathered after that eventful night. There is another view of
this tree in _Tour du monde_, 1862, p. 277.]

The march was resumed; and not till within the Tlascalan borders
was there any respite and rest. In the capital of his allies Cortés
breathed freer. He learned, however, of misfortunes to detached parties
of Spaniards which had been sent out from Villa Rica. He soon got some
small supplies of ammunition and men from that seaport. Amid all this,
Cortés himself succumbed to a fever from his wounds, and barely escaped

Meantime Cuitlahuatzin, the successful brother of Montezuma, had
been crowned in Mexico, where a military rule (improved by what the
Spaniards had taught them) was established. The new monarch sent
ambassadors to try to win the Tlascalans from their fidelity to Cortés;
but the scheme failed, and Cortés got renewed strength in the fast
purpose of his allies. His prompt and defiant ambition again overcame
the discontents among his own men, and induced him to take the field
once more against the Tepeacans, enemies of the Tlascalans, who lived
near by. It took about a month to subdue the whole province. Other
strongholds of Aztec influence fell one by one. The prestige of the
Spanish arms was rapidly re-established, and the Aztec forces went
down before them here and there in detachments. New arrivals on the
coast pronounced for Cortés, and two hundred men and twenty horses soon
joined his army. The small-pox, which the Spaniards had introduced,
speedily worked more disaster than the Spaniards, as it spread through
the country; and among the victims of it was the new monarch of the
Aztecs, leaving the throne open to the succession of Quauhtemotzin, a
nephew and son-in-law of Montezuma.

[Illustration: CHARLES V.

Fac-simile of a woodcut of Charles V. in _Pauli Jovii elogia virorum
bellica virtute illustrium_, Basle, 1575, p. 365, and 1596, p. 240.]

On the 30th of October, 1520, Cortés addressed his second letter to the
Emperor Charles V. He and his adherents craved confirmation for his
acts, and reinforcements. Other letters were despatched to Hispaniola
and Jamaica for recruits and supplies. Some misfortunes prevented the
prompt sailing of the vessel for Spain, and Cortés was enabled to join
a supplemental letter to the Emperor. The vessels also carried away
some of the disaffected, whom Cortés was not sorry to lose, now that
others had joined him.


Meanwhile Cortés had established among the Tepeacans a post of
observation named Segura; and from this centre Sandoval made a
successful incursion among the Aztec dependencies. Cortés himself was
again at Tlascala, settling the succession of its government; for
the small-pox had carried off Maxixcatzin, the firm friend of the
Spaniards. Here Cortés set carpenters to work constructing brigantines,
which he intended to carry to Tezcuco, on the Lake of Mexico, where it
was now his purpose to establish the base of future operations against
the Aztec capital. The opportune arrival of a ship at Villa Rica with
supplies and materials of war was very helpful to him.

Cortés first animated all by a review of his forces, and then went
forward with the advance toward Tezcuco. He encountered little
opposition, and entered the town to find the inhabitants divided in
their fears and sympathies. Many had fled toward Mexico, including the
ruler who had supplanted the one given them by Cortés and Montezuma.
Under the instigation of Cortés a new one was chosen whom he could

[Illustration: CHARLES V.

Fac-simile of an engraving in Herrera, iii. 84. Cf. the full-length
likeness given in Cumplido’s Mexican edition of Prescott’s _Mexico_,
vol. iii., and various other portraits of the Emperor.]

Cortés began his approach to Mexico by attacking and capturing, with
great loss to the inhabitants, one of the lake towns; but the enemy,
cutting a dike and flooding the place, forced the retirement of the
invaders, who fell back to Tezcuco. Enough had been accomplished
to cause many of the districts dependent on the Aztecs to send in
embassies of submission; and Cortés found that he was daily gaining
ground. Sandoval was sent back to Tlascala to convoy the now completed
brigantines, which were borne in pieces on the shoulders of eight
thousand carriers. Pending the launching of the fleet, Cortés conducted
a reconnoissance round the north end of the lakes to the scene of his
sorrowful night evacuation, hoping for an interview with an Aztec chief.


This is the map given in Wilson’s _New Conquest of Mexico_, p. 390, in
which he makes the present topography represent that of Cortés’ time,
in opposition to the usual view that at the period of the Conquest the
waters of the lake covered the parts here represented as marsh. The
waters of Tezcuco are at present seven or eight feet (Prescott says
four feet) below the level of the city, and Wilson contends that they
did not in Cortés’ time much exceed in extent their present limits;
and it is one of his arguments against Cortés’ representations of deep
water about the causeways that such a level of the lake would have put
the town of Tezcuco six or seven feet under water. Wilson gives his
views on this point at length in his _New Conquest_, pp. 452-460. The
map will be seen also to show the line of General Scott’s approach
to the city in 1847. (Cf. Prof. Henry Coppée on the “Coincidences of
the Conquests of Mexico, 1520-1847,” in the _Journal of the Military
Service Institution_, March, 1884.) The modern city of Mexico lies
remote by several miles from the banks of the lake which represents
to-day the water commonly held to have surrounded the town in the
days of the Conquest. The question of the shrinking of the lagunes is
examined in Orozco y Berra’s _Mémoire pour la carte hydrographique
de la Vallée de Mexico_, and by Jourdanet in his _Influence de la
pression de l’air sur la vie de l’homme_, p. 486. A colored map
prepared for this latter book was also introduced by Jourdanet in his
edition of _Sahagun_ (1880), where (p. xxviii) he again examines the
question. From that map the one here presented was taken, and the marsh
surrounding “Lac de Texcoco” marks the supposed limits of the lake in
Montezuma’s time. Jourdanet’s map is called, “Carte hydrographique de
la Vallée de Mexico d’après les travaux de la Commission de la Vallée
en 1862, avec addition des anciennes limites du Lac de Texcoco.”

Humboldt in his _Essai politique sur la Nouvelle Espagne_, while
studying this problem of the original bounds of the water, gives a
map defining them as traced in 1804-1807; and this is reproduced in
John Black’s translation of Humboldt’s _Personal Essay on the Kingdom
of New Spain_, third edition, London, 1822. Humboldt gives accounts
of earlier attempts to map the valley with something like accuracy,
as was the case with the Lopez map of 1785. Siguenza’s map of the
sixteenth century, though false, has successively supplied, through the
publication of it which Alzate made in 1786, the geographical data of
many more modern maps. Cf. the map in Cumplido’s edition of Prescott’s
_Mexico_ (1846), vol. iii., and the enumeration of maps of the valley
given in Orozco y Berra’s _Cartografia Mexicana_, pp. 315-316.

A map of Mexico and the lake also appeared in _Le petit atlas maritime_
(Paris, 1764); and this is given in fac-simile in the _Proceedings of
the American Philosophical Society_, xxi. 616, in connection with a
translation of the _Codex Ramirez_ by Henry Phillips, Jr.

There is reason to believe that the decrease in the waters had begun to
be perceptible in the time of Cortés; and Humboldt traces the present
subsidence to the destruction of neighboring forests. Bernal Diaz makes
record of the changes observable within his recollection, and he wrote
his account fifty years after the Conquest.

The geographers of the eighteenth century often made the waters of the
valley flow into the Pacific. The map in the 1704 edition of Solis
shows this; so do the maps of Bower and other English cartographers, as
well as the map from Herrera on a later page (p. 392).

The inundations to which the city has been subjected (the most serious
of which was in 1629), and the works planned for its protection
from such devastations are the subject of a rare book by Cepeda and
Carillo, _Relacion universal del sitio en que esta fundada la ciudad de
México_ (Mexico, 1637). Copies are found complete and incomplete. Cf.
Carter-Brown, ii. 441; Leclerc, no. 1,095, complete, 400 francs, and
no. 1,096, incomplete, 200 francs; Quaritch, incomplete, £10.]

In this, however, he failed, and returned to Tezcuco. Then followed
some successful fighting on the line of communication with the coast,
which enabled Cortés to bring up safely some important munitions,
besides two hundred soldiers, who had lately reached Villa Rica from
the islands whither he had sent for help the previous autumn.


The Spanish leader now conducted another reconnoissance into the
southern borders of the Mexican Valley,—a movement which overcame much
opposition,—and selected Coyohuacan as a base of operations on that
side against the Aztec city. After this he returned to Tezcuco, and was
put to the necessity of quelling an insurrection, in which his own
death had been planned.

At last the brigantines were launched. At the command of Cortés the
allies mustered. On the 28th of April, 1521, the Spanish general
counted his own countrymen, and found he had over nine hundred in all,
including eighty-seven horsemen. He had three heavy guns, and fifteen
smaller ones, which were mostly in the fleet. Cortés kept immediate
charge of the brigantines, and allotted the main divisions of the army
to Alvarado, Olid, and Sandoval. The land forces proceeded to occupy
the approaches which the reconnoissances had indicated,—Alvarado at
Tlacopan, Olid at Coyohuacan, on the westerly shores of the lake, and,
later, Sandoval at Iztapalapan, on the eastern side. Each of these
places commanded the entrance to causeways leading to the city. The
land forces were no sooner in position than Cortés appeared with his
fleet. The Aztecs attacked the brigantines with several hundred canoes;
but Cortés easily overcame all, and established his naval supremacy.
He then turned to assist Olid and Alvarado, who were advancing along
their respective causeways; and the stronghold, Xoloc, at the junction
of the causeway, was easily carried. Here the besiegers maintained
themselves with an occasional fight, while Sandoval was sent to occupy
Tepeyacac, which commanded the outer end of the northern causeway.
This completed the investment. A simultaneous attack was now made from
the three camps. The force from Xoloc alone succeeded in entering the
city; but the advantage gained was lost, and Cortés, who was with this
column, drew his forces back to camp. His success, however, was enough
to impress the surrounding people, who were watching the signs; and
various messengers came and offered the submission of their people
to the Spaniards. The attacks were renewed on subsequent days; and
little by little the torch was applied, and the habitable part of the
town grew less and less. The lake towns as they submitted furnished
flotillas, which aided the brigantines much in their incursions into
the canals of the town. For a while the Mexicans maintained night
communication across the lake for supplies; but the brigantines at last
stopped this precarious traffic.

Alvarado on his side had made little progress; but the market of
Tlatelulco was nearer him, and that was a point within the city which
it was desirable to reach and fortify. Sandoval was joined to Alvarado,
who increased the vigor of his assault, while Cortés again attacked
on the other side. The movement failed, and the Mexicans were greatly
encouraged. The Spaniards, from their camps, saw by the blaze of the
illuminations on the temple tops the sacrifice of their companions
who had been captured in the fight. The bonds that kept the native
allies in subjection were becoming, under these reverses, more sensibly
loosened day by day, and Cortés spared several detachments from his
weakened force to raid in various directions to preserve the prestige
of the Spanish power.

The attack was now resumed on a different plan. The fighting-men led
the way and kept the Mexicans at bay; while the native auxiliaries
razed every building as they went, leaving no cover for the Aztec
marauders. The demolition extended gradually to the line of Alvarado’s
approach, and communication was opened with him. This leader was now
approaching the great market-place, Tlatelulco. By renewed efforts he
gained it, only to lose it; but the next day he succeeded better, and
formed a junction with Cortés. Not more than an eighth part of the city
was now in the hands of its inhabitants; and here pestilence and famine
were the Spaniards’ prompt allies.


This is the engraving given in the _Nieuwe Weereld_ (1670) of Montanus,
which was repeated in Ogilby’s _America_, and is familiar from
reproductions elsewhere. It may be traced back as a sketch to the much
less elaborate one given by Bordone in his _Libro_ of 1528, later
called his _Isolario_, which was accompanied by one of the earliest
descriptions by a writer not a conqueror. Bancroft (_Mexico_, ii. 14)
gives a small outline engraving of a similar picture, and recapitulates
the authorities on the rebuilding of the city by Cortés. The Cathedral,
however, was not begun till 1573, and was over sixty years in building
(Ibid., iii. 173).

One of the most interesting of the early accounts, accompanied as it
was with a plan of the town and lake, made part of the narrative of the
“Anonymous Conqueror.” This picture has been reproduced by Icazbalceta
in his _Coleccion_ (i. 390) from the engraving in Ramusio, whence we
derive our only knowledge of this anonymous writer. The Ramusio plan is
also given on the next page.

The plate used in the 1572 edition of Porcacchi (p. 105) served for
many successive editions. Another plan of the same year showing an
oval lake surrounding the town, is found in Braun and Hogenberg’s
_Civitates orbis terrarum_ (Cologne, 1572), and of later dates, and the
French edition, _Théâtre des cités du monde_ (Brussels, 1574), i. 59. A
similar outline characterizes the small woodcut (6×6 inches) which is
found in Münster’s _Cosmographia_ (1598), p. dccccxiiii.

Later views and plans appeared in Gottfriedt’s _Newe Welt_ (1655); in
Solis’s _Conquista_ (1704), p. 261, reproduced in the English edition
of 1724; in La Croix’ _Algemeene Weereld Beschryving_ (1705); in
Herrera (edition of 1728), p. 399; in Clavigero (1780), giving the
lake and the town (copied in Verne’s _De’couverte de la Terre_, p.
248), and also a map of Anahuac, both reproduced in the London (1787)
and Philadelphia (1817) editions, as well as in the Spanish edition
published at Mexico in 1844; in Solis, edition of 1783 (Madrid), where
the lake is given an indefinite extension; in Keating’s edition of
Bernal Diaz, besides engraved plates by the Dutch publisher Vander Aa.

The account of Mexico in 1554 written by Francisco Cervantes Salazar,
and republished with annotations by Icazbalceta in 1875 (Carter-Brown,
i. 595) is helpful in this study of the ancient town. Cf. “Mexico et
ses environs en 1554,” by L. Massbieau, in the _Revue de géographie_,
October, 1878.

A descriptive book, _Sitio, naturaleza y propriedades de la ciudad de
México_, by Dr. Diego Cisneros, published at Mexico in 1618, is become
very rare. Rich in 1832 priced a copy at _£_6 6_s_.,—a great sum for
those days (Sabin, vol. iv. no. 13,146; Carter-Brown, ii. 199).]

Still the Aztec King, Quauhtemotzin, scorned to yield; and the
slaughter went on from day to day, till finally, on the 13th of August,
1521, the end came. The royal Aztec was captured, trying to escape in a
boat; and there was no one left to fight. Of the thousand Spaniards who
had done the work about a tenth had succumbed; and probably something
like the same proportion among the many thousand allies. The Mexican
loss must have been far greater, perhaps several times greater.[1076]
The Spaniards were no sooner in possession than quarrels began over the
booty. Far less was found than was hoped for, and torture was applied,
with no success, to discover the hiding-places. The captive prince was
not spared this indignity. Cortés was accused of appropriating an undue
share of what was found, and hot feelings for a while prevailed.

The conquest now had to be maintained by the occupation of the country;
and the question was debated whether to build the new capital on the
ruins of Mexico, or to establish it at Tezcuco or Coyohuacan. Cortés
preferred the prestige of the traditional site, and so the new Spanish
town rose on the ruins of the Aztec capital; the Spanish quarter
being formed about the square of Tenochtitlan (known in the early
books usually as Temixtitan), which was separated by a wide canal
from the Indian settlement clustered about Tlatelulco. Two additional
causeways were constructed, and the Aztec aqueduct was restored.
Inducements were offered to neighboring tribes to settle in the city,
and districts were assigned to them. Thus were hewers of wood and
drawers of water abundantly secured. But Mexico never regained with the
natives the dominance which the Aztecs had given it. Its population was
smaller, and a similar decadence marked the fate of the other chief
towns; Spanish rule and disease checked their growth. Even Tezcuco
and Tlascala soon learned what it was to be the dependents of the


Cortés speedily decided upon further conquests. The Aztec tribute-rolls
told him of the comparative wealth of the provinces, and the turbulent
spirits among his men were best controlled in campaigns. He needed
powder, so he sent some bold men to the crater of Popocatepetl to get
sulphur. They secured it, but did not repeat the experiment. Cortés
also needed cannon. The Aztecs had no iron, but sufficient copper;
and finding a tin mine, his craftsmen made a gun-metal, which soon
increased his artillery to a hundred pieces.

Expeditions were now despatched hither and thither, and province after
province succumbed. Other regions sent in their princes and chief men
with gifts and words of submission. The reports which came back of the
great southern sea opened new visions; and Cortés sent expeditions to
find ports and build vessels; and thus Zacalula grew up. Revolts here
and there followed the Spanish occupancy, but they were all promptly

While all this was going on, Cortés had to face a new enemy. Fonseca,
as patron of Velasquez, had taken occasion in the absence of the
Emperor, attending to the affairs of his German domain, to order
Cristóbal de Tapia from Hispaniola to take command in New Spain and to
investigate the doings of Cortés. He arrived in December, 1521, with a
single vessel at Villa Rica, and was guardedly received by Gonzalo de
Alvarado, there in command. Tapia now despatched a messenger to Cortés,
who replied with many blandishments, and sent Sandoval and others as a
council to confer with Tapia, taking care to have among its members a
majority of his most loyal adherents.

They met Dec. 12, 1521, and the conference lasted till Jan. 6, 1522.
It resulted in a determination to hold the orders borne by Tapia in
abeyance till the Emperor himself could be heard. Tapia protested in
vain, and was quickly hustled out of the country. He was not long
gone when new orders for him arrived,—this time under the sign-manual
of the Emperor himself. This increased the perplexity; but Cortés
won the messenger in his golden fashion. Shortly afterwards the same
messenger set off for Spain, carrying back the letters with him. These
occurrences did not escape notice throughout the country, and Cortés
was put to the necessity of extreme measures to restore his prestige;
while in his letter to the Emperor he threw the responsibility of his
action upon the council, who felt it necessary, he alleged, to take the
course they did to make good the gains which had already been effected
for the Emperor. In a spirit of conciliation, however, Cortés released
Narvaez, who had been confined at Villa Rica; and so in due time
another enemy found his way to Spain, and joined the cabal against the
Conqueror of Mexico.

[Illustration: CORTÉS.

Fac-simile of a woodcut in _Pauli Jovii elogia virorum bellica virtute
illustrium_ (Basle, 1575), p. 348, and 1596, p. 229, called a portrait
of Cortés.

The autograph follows one given by Prescott, revised ed., vol. iii.
Autographs of his proper name, and of his title, Marques del Valle,
are given in Cumplido’s edition of Prescott, vol. iii. An original
autograph was noted for sale in Stevens (_Bibliotheca geographica_, no.
760), which is given in fac-simile in some of the illustrated copies of
that catalogue. Prescott (vol. i. p. 447) mentions a banner, preserved
in Mexico, though in rags, which Cortés is said to have borne in the
Conquest. But compare Wilson’s _New Conquest_, p. 369.]

In the spring (1522) Cortés was cheered by a report from the
_Audiencia_ of Santo Domingo, confirming his acts and promising
intercession with the Emperor. To support this intercession, Cortés
despatched to Spain some friends with his third letter, dated at
Coyohuacan May 15, 1522. These agents carried also a large store of
propitiatory treasure. Two of the vessels, which held most of it, were
captured by French corsairs,[1077] and the Spanish gains enriched the
coffers of Francis I. rather than those of Charles V. The despatches
of Cortés, however, reached their destination, though Fonseca and the
friends of Velasquez had conspired to prevent their delivery, and
had even appropriated some part of the treasure which a third vessel
had securely landed. Thus there were charges and countercharges, and
Charles summoned a council to investigate. Cortés won. Velasquez,
Fonseca, and Narvaez were all humiliated in seeing their great rival
made, by royal command, governor and captain-general of New Spain.

Meanwhile Cortés, hearing of a proposed expedition under Garay to
take possession of the region north of Villa Rica, conducted a force
himself to seize, in advance, that province known as Pánuco, and to
subjugate the Huastecs who dwelt there. This was done. The plunder
proved small; but this disappointment was forgotten in the news which
now, for the first time, reached Cortés of his late success in Spain.
The whole country was jubilant over the recognition of his merit; and
opportunely came embassies from Guatemala bringing costlier tributes
than the Spaniards had ever seen before. This turned their attention to
the south. There was apprehension that the Spaniards who were already
at Panamá might sooner reach these rich regions, and might earlier find
the looked-for passage from the Gulf to the south sea. To anticipate
them, no time could be lost. So Alvarado, Olid, and Sandoval were
given commands to push explorations and conquests southward and on
either shore. Before the expeditions started, news came that Garay,
arriving from Jamaica, had landed with a force at Pánuco to seize that
region in the interests of the Velasquez faction. The mustered forces
were at once combined under Cortés’ own lead, and marched against
Garay,—Alvarado in advance. Before Cortés was ready to start, he
was relieved from the necessity of going in person by the receipt of
a royal order from Spain confirming him in the possession of Pánuco
and forbidding Garay to occupy any of Cortés’ possessions. This order
was hurriedly despatched to Alvarado; but it did not reach him till
he had made some captives of the intruders. Garay readily assented to
lead his forces farther north if restitution should be made to him
of the captives and munitions which Alvarado had taken. This was not
so easily done, for plunder in hand was doubly rich, and Garay’s own
men preferred to enlist with Cortés. To compose matters Garay went
to Mexico, where Cortés received him with ostentatious kindness, and
promised him assistance in his northern conquests. In the midst of
Cortés’ hospitality his guest sickened and died, and was buried with

While Garay was in Mexico, his men at Pánuco, resenting the control
of Garay’s son, who had been left in charge of them, committed such
ravages on the country that the natives rose on them, and were so
rapidly annihilating them that Alvarado, who had left, was sent back
to check the outbreak. He encountered much opposition; but conquered
as usual, and punished afterward the chief ringleaders with abundant
cruelty. Such of Garay’s men as would, joined the forces of Cortés,
while the rest were sent back to Jamaica.

The thoughts of Cortés were now turned to his plan of southern
exploration, and early in December Alvarado was on his way to
Guatemala.[1078] Desperate fighting and the old success attended
Cortés’ lieutenant, and the Quiché army displayed their valor in
vain in battle after battle. It was the old story of cavalry and
arquebusiers. As Alvarado approached Utatlan, the Quiché capital, he
learned of a plot to entrap him in the city, which was to be burned
about his ears. By a counterplot he seized the Quiché nobles, and
burned them and their city. By the aid of the Cakchiquels he devastated
the surrounding country. Into the territory of this friendly people he
next marched, and was received royally by King Sinacam in his city of
Patinamit (Guatemala), and was soon engaged with him in an attack on
his neighbors, the Zutugils, who had lately abetted an insurrection
among Sinacam’s vassals. Alvarado beat them, of course, and established
a fortified post among them after they had submitted, as gracefully as
they could. With Quichés and Cakchiquels now in his train, Alvarado
still went on, burned towns and routed the country’s defenders, till,
the rainy season coming on, he withdrew his crusaders and took up his
quarters once more at Patinamit, late in July, 1524. From this place
he sent despatches to Cortés, who forwarded two hundred more Spanish
soldiers for further campaigns.

The Spanish extortions produced the usual results. The Cakchiquels
turned under the abuse, deserted their city, and prepared for a
campaign. The Spaniards found them abler foes than any yet encountered.
The Cakchiquels devastated the country on which Alvarado depended for
supplies, and the Spaniards found themselves reduced to great straits.
It was only after receiving reinforcements sent by Cortés that Alvarado
was enabled to push his conquests farther, and possess himself of the
redoubtable fortress of Mixco and successfully invade the Valley of

       *       *       *       *       *

The expedition to Honduras was intrusted to Cristóbal de Olid, and
started about a month after Alvarado’s to Guatemala. Olid was given a
fleet; and a part of his instructions was to search for a passage to
the great south sea. He sailed from the port now known as Vera Cruz
on the 11th of January, 1524, and directed his course for Havana,
where he was to find munitions and horses, for the purchase of which
agents had already been sent thither by Cortés. While in Cuba the
blandishments of Velasquez had worked upon Olid’s vanity, and when he
sailed for Honduras he was harboring thoughts of defection. Not long
after he landed he openly announced them, and gained the adherence
of most of his men. Cortés, who had been warned from Cuba of Olid’s
purpose, sent some vessels after him, which were wrecked. Thus Casas,
their commander, and his men fell into Olid’s hands. After an interval,
an opportunity offering, the captive leader conspired to kill Olid.
He wounded and secured him, brought him to a form of trial, and cut
off his head. Leaving a lieutenant to conduct further progress, Casas
started to go to Mexico and make report to Cortés.


Following the map given in Ruge’s, _Zeitalter der Entdeckungen_, p.
391. Cf. map in Fanshawe’s _Yucatan_.]

Meanwhile, with a prescience of the mischief brewing, and impelled
by his restless nature, Cortés had determined to march overland to
Honduras; and in the latter part of October, 1524, he set out. He
started with great state; but the difficulties of the way made his
train a sorry sight as they struggled through morass after morass,
stopped by river after river, which they were under the necessity
of fording or bridging. All the while their provisions grew less
and less. To add to the difficulties, some Mexican chieftains, who
had been taken along as hostages for the security of Mexico, had
conspired to kill Cortés, and then to march with their followers back
to Mexico as deliverers. The plot was discovered, and the leaders
were executed.[1079] Some of the towns passed by the army had been
deserted by their inhabitants, without leaving any provisions behind.
Guides which they secured ran away. On they went, however, hardly in
a condition to confront Olid, should he appear, and they were now
approaching his province. At last some Spaniards were met, who told
them of Casas’ success; and the hopes of Cortés rose. He found the
settlers at Nito, who had been decimated by malaria, now engaged in
constructing a vessel in which to depart. His coming cheered them; and
a ship opportunely appearing in the harbor with provisions, Cortés
purchased her and her lading. He then took steps to move the settlement
to a more salubrious spot. Using the newly acquired vessel, he explored
the neighboring waters, hoping to find the passage to the south sea;
and making some land expeditions, he captured several pueblos, and
learned, from a native of the Pacific coast whom he fell in with, that
Alvarado was conducting his campaign not far away. Finally, he passed
on to Trujillo, where he found the colony of Olid’s former adherents,
and confirmed the dispositions which Casas had made, while he sent
vessels to Cuba and Jamaica for supplies.

At this juncture Cortés got bad news from Mexico. Cabal and anti-cabal
among those left in charge of the government were having their effect.
When a report reached them of the death of Cortés and the loss of
his army, it was the signal for the bad spirits to rise, seize the
government, and apportion the estates of the absentees. The most
steadfast friend of Cortés—Zuazo—was sent off to Cuba, whence he got
the news to Cortés by letter. After some hesitation and much saying
of Masses, Cortés appointed a governor for the Honduras colony; and
sending Sandoval with his forces overland, he embarked himself to go
by sea. Various mishaps caused his ship to put back several times.
Discouraged at last, and believing there was a divine purpose in
keeping him in Honduras for further conquest, he determined to remain
a while, and sent messengers instead to Mexico. Runners were also sent
after Sandoval to bring him back.

Cortés now turned his attention to the neighboring provinces; and
one after another he brought them into subjection, or gained their
respect by interfering to protect them from other parties of marauding
Spaniards. He had already planned conquests farther south, and Sandoval
had received orders to march, when a messenger from Mexico brought the
exhortations of his friends for his return to that city. Taking a small
force with him, including Sandoval, he embarked in April, 1526. After
being tempest-tossed and driven to Cuba, he landed late in May near
Vera Cruz, and proceeded in triumph to his capital.

Cortés’ messenger from Honduras had arrived in good time, and
had animated his steadfast adherents, who succeeded very soon in
overthrowing the usurper Salazar and restoring the Cortés government.
Then followed the request for Cortés’ return, and in due time his
arrival. The natives vied with each other in the consideration which
they showed to Malinche, as Cortés was universally called by them.
Safe in their good wishes, Cortés moved by easy stages toward Mexico.
Everybody was astir with shout and banner as he entered the city
itself. He devoted himself at once to re-establishing the government
and correcting abuses.

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile the enemies of Cortés at Madrid had so impressed the Emperor
that he ordered a judge, Luis Ponce de Leon, to proceed to Mexico and
investigate the charges against the Governor, and to hold power during
the suspension of Cortés’ commission. Cortés received him loyally, and
the transfer of authority was duly made,—Cortés still retaining the
position of captain-general. Before any charges against Cortés could
be heard, Ponce sickened and died, July 20, 1526; and his authority
descended to Marcos de Aguilar, whom he had named as successor. He
too died in a short time; and Cortés had to resist the appeals of
his friends, who wished him to reassume the governorship and quiet
the commotions which these sudden changes were producing. Meanwhile
the enemies of Cortés were actively intriguing in Spain, and Estrada
received a royal decree to assume alone the government, which with two
others he had been exercising since the death of Aguilar. The patience
of Cortés and his adherents was again put to a test when the new ruler
directed the exile of Cortés from the city. Estrada soon saw his
mistake, and made advances for a reconciliation, which Cortés accepted.

But new developments were taking place on the coast. The Emperor had
taken Pánuco out of Cortés’ jurisdiction by appointing Nuño de Guzman
to govern it, with orders to support Ponce if Cortés should resist that
royal agent. Guzman did not arrive on the coast till May 20, 1527,
when he soon, by his acts, indicated his adherence to the Velasquez
party, and a disposition to encroach upon the bounds of New Spain. He
was forced to deal with Cortés as captain-general; and letters far
from conciliatory in character passed from Guzman to the authorities
in Mexico. Estrada had found it necessary to ask Cortés to conduct a
campaign against his ambitious neighbor; but Cortés felt that he could
do more for himself and New Spain in the Old, and so prepared to leave
the country and escape from the urgency of those of his partisans who
were constantly trying to embroil him with Estrada. A letter from the
new President of the Council of the Indies urging his coming, helped
much to the determination. He collected what he could of treasure,
fabric, and implement to show the richness of the country. A great
variety of animals, representatives of the various subjugated peoples,
and a showy train of dependents, among them such conspicuous characters
as Sandoval and Tapia, with native princes and chieftains, accompanied
him on board the vessels.

       *       *       *       *       *


After a fac-simile in Cabajal, _México_, ii. 686.]

Cortés, meanwhile, was ignorant of what further mischief his enemies
had done in Spain. The Emperor had appointed a commission (_audiencia_)
to examine the affairs of New Spain, and had placed Guzman at the
head. It had full power to assume the government and regulate the
administration. In December, 1528, and January, 1529, all the members
assembled at Mexico. The jealous and grasping quality of their rule
was soon apparent. The absence of Cortés in Spain threatened the
continuance of their power; for reports had reached Mexico of the
enthusiasm which attended his arrival in Spain. They accordingly
despatched messengers to the Spanish court renewing the charges against
Cortés, and setting forth the danger of his return to Mexico. Alvarado
and other friends of Cortés protested in vain, and had to look on and
see, under one pretext or another, all sorts of taxes and burdens laid
upon the estates of the absent hero. He was also indicted in legal form
for every vice and crime that any one might choose to charge him with;
and the indictments stood against him for many years.

Guzman was soon aware of the smouldering hatred which the rule of
himself and his associate had created; and he must have had suspicions
of the representations of his rapacity and cruelty which were reaching
Madrid from his opponents. To cover all iniquities with the splendor
of conquest, he gathered a formidable army and marched to invade the
province of Jalisco.

[Illustration: SANDOVAL.

Fac-simile of an engraving in Herrera, ii. 32. It is dressed up in
Cabajal’s _México_, ii. 254.]

Cortés, with his following, had landed at Palos late in 1528, and
was under the necessity, a few days later, of laying the body of
Sandoval—worn out with the Honduras campaign—in the vaults of La
Rabida. It was a sad duty for Cortés, burdened with the grief that
his young lieutenant could not share with him the honors now in store,
as he made his progress to Toledo, where the Court then was. He was
received with unaccustomed honor and royal condescensions,—only the
prelude to substantial grants of territory in New Spain, which he was
asked to particularize and describe. He was furthermore honored with
the station and title of Marqués del Valle de Oajaca. He was confirmed
as captain-general; but his reinstatement as governor was deferred till
the reports of the new commission in New Spain should be received.
He was, however, assured of liberty to make discoveries in the south
sea, and to act as governor of all islands and parts he might discover

[Illustration: CORTÉS.

Fac-simile of an engraving in Herrera, ii. 1. There is also a portrait
which hangs, or did hang, in the series of Viceroys in the Museo at
Mexico. This was engraved for Don Antonio Uguina, of Madrid; and
from his engraving the picture given second by Prescott is copied.
Engravings of a picture ascribed to Titian are given in Townsend’s
translation of Solis (London, 1724) and in the Madrid edition of Solis
(1783). Cf. H. H. Bancroft, _Mexico_, i. 39, _note_. The Spanish
translation of Clavigero, published in Mexico in 1844, has a portrait;
and one “after Velasquez” is given in Laborde’s _Voyage pittoresque_,
vol. iv., and in Jules Verne’s _Découverte de la Terre_.

A small copperplate representing Cortés in armor, with an uplifted
finger and a full beard (accompanied by a brief sketch of his career)
is given in _Select Lives collected out of A. Thevet, Englished
by I. S._ (Cambridge, 1676), which is a section of a volume,
_Prosopographia_ (Cambridge, 1676), an English translation of Thevet’s
Collection of Lives. The copper may be the same used in the French

The wife of Cortés, whom he had left in Cuba, had joined him in Mexico
after the conquest, and had been received with becoming state. Her
early decease, after a loftier alliance would have become helpful to
his ambition, had naturally raised a suspicion among Cortés’ traducers
that her death had been prematurely hastened.

[Illustration: CORTÉS’ ARMOR.

Copied from an engraving (in Ruge’s _Das Zeitalter der Entdeckungen_,
p. 405) of the original in the Museum at Madrid. Wilson refers to
some plate armor in the Museum at Mexico, which he, of course, thinks
apocryphal (_New Conquest_, p. 444).]

He had now honors sufficient for any match among the rank of grandees;
and a few days after he was ennobled he was married, as had been
earlier planned, to the daughter of the late Conde de Aguilar and niece
of the Duque de Béjar,—both houses of royal extraction.

Cortés now prepared to return to Mexico with his new titles. He learned
that the Emperor had appointed a new _audiencia_ to proceed thither,
and it promised him better justice than he had got from the other. The
Emperor was not, however, satisfied as yet that the presence of Cortés
in Mexico was advisable at the present juncture, and he ordered him to
stay; but the decree was too late, and Cortés, with a great retinue,
had already departed. He landed at Vera Cruz, in advance of the new
judge, July 15, 1530.

His reception was as joyous as it had been four years before; and
though an order had reached him forbidding his approach within ten
leagues of Mexico till the new _audiencia_ should arrive, the support
of his retinue compelled him to proceed to Tezcuco, where he awaited
its coming, while he was put in the interim to not a little hazard and
inconvenience by the efforts of the Guzman government to deprive him of
sustenance and limit his intercourse with the natives.

Near the end of the year the new Government arrived,—or all but its
president, Fuenleal, for he was the Bishop of Santo Domingo, whom the
others had been ordered to take on board their vessel on the way; but
stress of weather had prevented their doing this. The Bishop did not
join them till September. In Mexico they took possession of Cortés’
house, which they had been instructed to appropriate at an appraisement.

[Illustration: AUTOGRAPH OF FUENLEAL (_Episcopus Sancti Dominici_).]

The former Government was at once put on trial, and judgment was in
most cases rendered against them, so that their property did not
suffice to meet the fines imposed. Cortés got a due share of what they
were made to disgorge, in restitution of his own losses through them.
Innumerable reforms were instituted, and the natives received greater
protection than ever before.

Guzman, meanwhile, was on his expedition toward the Pacific coast,
conducting his rapacious and brutal conquest of Nueva Galicia. He
refused to obey the call of the new _audiencia_, while he despatched
messengers to Mexico to protect, if possible, his interests. By them
also he forwarded his own statement of his case to the Emperor. Cortés,
vexed at Guzman’s anticipation of his own intended discoveries toward
the Pacific, sent a lieutenant to confront him; but Guzman was wily
enough to circumvent the lieutenant, seized him, and packed him off to
Mexico with scorn and assurance.


Fac-simile of a map in Herrera, i. 408.]

It was his last hour of triumph. His force soon dwindled; his adherents
deserted him; his misdeeds had left him no friends; and he at last
deserted the remnant of his army, and starting for Pánuco, turned aside
to Mexico on the way. He found in the city a new _régime_. Antonio
de Mendoza had been sent out as viceroy, and to succeed Fuenleal at
the same time as president of the _audiencia_. He had arrived at Vera
Cruz in October, 1535. His rule was temperate and cautious. Negroes,
who had been imported into the country in large numbers as slaves,
plotted an insurrection: but the Viceroy suppressed it; and if there
was native complicity in the attempt, it was not proved. The Viceroy
had received from his predecessors a source of trial and confusion
in the disputed relations which existed between the civil rulers and
the Captain-General. There were endless disputes with the second
_audiencia_, and disagreements continued to exist with the Viceroy,
about the respective limits of the powers of the two as derived from
the Emperor.

Cortés had been at great expense in endeavoring to prosecute discovery
in the Pacific, and he had the vexation of seeing his efforts
continually embarrassed by the new powers. Previous to his departure
for Spain he had despatched vessels from Tehuantepec to the Moluccas
to open traffic with the Asiatic Indies; but the first _audiencia_
had prevented the despatch of a succoring expedition which Cortés had
planned. On his return to New Spain the Captain-General had begun
the construction of new vessels both at Tehuantepec and at Acapulco;
but the second _audiencia_ interfered with his employment of Indians
to carry his material to the coast. He however contrived to despatch
two vessels up the coast under Hurtado de Mendoza, which left in
May, 1532. They had reached the coast to the north, where Guzman was
marauding, who was glad of the opportunity of thwarting the purpose
of his rival. He refused the vessels the refuge of a harbor, and they
were subsequently lost. Cortés now resolved to give his personal
attention to these sea explorations, and proceeding to Tehuantepec,
he superintended the construction of two vessels, which finally left
port Oct. 29, 1533. They discovered Lower California. Afterward one
of the vessels was separated from the other, and fell in distress
into the hands of Guzman while making a harbor on the coast. The other
ship reached Tehuantepec. Cortés appealed to the _audiencia_, who
meted equal justice in ordering Guzman to surrender the vessel, and in
commanding Cortés to desist from further exploration. An appeal to the
Emperor effected little, for it seems probable that the _audiencia_
knew what support it had at court. Cortés next resolved to act on his
own responsibility and take command in person of a third expedition.

[Illustration: ACAPULCO.[1080]]

So, in the winter of 1534-1535, he sent some vessels up the coast, and
led a land force in the same direction. Guzman fled before him. Cortés
joined his fleet at the port where Guzman had seized his ship on the
earlier voyage, and embarked. Crossing to the California peninsula,
he began the settlement of a colony on its eastern shore. He left the
settlers there, and returned to Acapulco to send forward additional
supplies and recruits.

[Illustration: CORTÉS.

This follows a sketch of the picture, in the Hospital of Jesus at
Mexico, which is given in Charton’s _Voyageurs_, iii. 359. Prescott
gives an engraving after a copy then in his own possession. The picture
in the Hospital is also said to be a copy of one taken in Spain a few
years before the death of Cortés, during his last visit. The original
is not known to exist. The present descendants of the Conqueror, the
family of the Duke of Monteleone in Italy, have only a copy of the
one at Mexico. Another copy, made during General Scott’s occupation
of the city, is in the gallery of the Pennsylvania Historical Society
(_Catalogue_, no. 130). The upper part of the figure is reproduced in
Carbajal’s _Historia de México_, ii. 12; and it is also given entire in
Cumplido’s edition of Prescott’s _Mexico_, vol. iii.]

At this juncture the new Viceroy had reached Mexico; and it was
not long before he began to entertain schemes of despatching
fleets of discovery, and Cortés found a new rival in his plans.
The Captain-General got the start of his rival, and sent out a new
expedition from Acapulco under Francisco de Ulloa; but the Viceroy gave
orders to prevent other vessels following, and his officers seized
one already at sea, which chanced to put into one of the upper ports.
Cortés could endure such thraldom no longer, and early in 1540 he left
again for Spain to plead his interests with the Emperor. He never saw
the land of his conquest again.

We left Guzman for a while in Mexico, where Mendoza not unkindly
received him, as one who hated Cortés as much or more than he did.
Guzman was bent on escaping, and had ordered a vessel to be ready on
the coast. He was a little too late, however. The Emperor had sent
a judge to call him to account, and Guzman suddenly found this evil
genius was in Mexico. The judge put him under arrest and marched him
to prison. A trial was begun; but it dragged along, and Guzman sent
an appeal forward to the Council for the Indies, in which he charged
Cortés with promoting his persecution. He was in the end remanded to
Spain, where he lingered out a despised life for a few years, with
a gleam of satisfaction, perhaps, in finding, some time after, that
Cortés too had found a longer stay in New Spain unprofitable.

[Illustration: CORTÉS MEDAL.

This follows the engraving in Ruge’s _Das Zeitalter der Entdeckungen_
(p. 361) of a specimen in the Royal Cabinet at Berlin. The original is
of the same size.]

Cortés had reached Spain in the early part of 1540, and had been
received with honor by the Court; but when he began to press for a
judgment that might restore his losses and rehabilitate him in his
self-respect, he found nothing but refusal and procrastination. He
asked to return to Mexico, but found he could not. With a reckless aim
he joined an expedition against Algiers; but the ship on which he
embarked was wrecked, and he only saved himself by swimming, losing
the choicest of his Mexican jewels, which he carried on his person.
Then again he memorialized the Emperor for a hearing and award, but
was disregarded. Later he once more appealed, but was still unheard.
Again he asked permission to return to New Spain. This time it was
granted; but before he could make the final preparations, he sank under
his burdens, and at a village near Seville Cortés died on the 2d of
December, 1547, in his sixty-second year.[1081]


MR. H. H. BANCROFT, in speaking of the facilities which writers of
Spanish American history now have in excess of those enjoyed by the
historian of thirty years ago, claims that in documentary evidence
there are twenty papers for his use in print to-day for one then.[1082]
These are found in part in the great _Coleccion_ of Pacheco and others
mentioned in the Introduction. The Mexican writer Joaquin Garcia
Icazbalceta (born 1825) made a most important contribution in the two
volumes of a _Coleccion de documentos para la historia de México_
which passes by his name and which appeared respectively in 1858 and
1866.[1083] He found in Mexico few of the papers which he printed,
obtaining them chiefly from Spain.

[Illustration: Joaquin Garcia Icazbalceta]

Of great interest among those which he gives is the _Itinerario_
of Grijalva, both in the Italian and Spanish text.[1084] Of Cortés
himself there are in this publication various letters not earlier made
public. The quarrel between him and Velasquez is illustrated by other
papers. Here also we find what is mentioned elsewhere as “De rebus
gestis Cortesii” printed as a “Vida de Cortés,” and attributed to C.
Calvet de Estrella. The recital of the so-called “Anonymous Conqueror,”
held by some to be Francisco de Terrazas, is translated from Ramusio
(the original Spanish is not known), with a fac-simile of the plan of
Mexico.[1085] There is also the letter from the army of Cortés to the
Emperor; and in the second volume various other papers interesting
in connection with Cortés’ career, including the memorial of Luis de
Cárdenas, etc. Two other papers have been recognized as important. One
of these in the first volume is the _Historia de los Indios de Nueva
España_ of Fray Toribio Motolinia, accompanied by a Life of the Father
by Ramirez, with a gathering of bibliographical detail. Toribio de
Benavente—Motolinia was a name which he took from a description of him
by the natives—had come over with the Franciscans in 1523. He was a
devoted, self-sacrificing missionary; but he proved that his work did
not quiet all the passions, for he became a violent opponent of Las
Casas’ views and measures.[1086] His labors took him the length and
breadth of the land; his assiduity acquired for him a large knowledge
of the Aztec tongue and beliefs; and his work, besides describing
institutions of this people, tells of the success and methods secured
or adopted by himself and his companions in effecting their conversion
to the faith of the conquerors. Robertson used a manuscript copy of the
work, and Obadiah Rich procured a copy for Prescott, who ventured the
assertion, when he wrote, that it had so little of popular interest
that it would never probably be printed.[1087]

Bancroft[1088] calls the _Relacion_ of Andrés de Tápia one of the most
valuable documents of the early parts of the Conquest. It ends with the
capture of Narvaez; recounting the antecedent events, however, with
“uneven completeness.” It is written warmly in the interests of Cortés.
Icazbalceta got what seemed to be the original from the Library of the
Academy of History in Madrid, and printed it in his second volume (p.
554). It was not known to Prescott, who quotes it at second hand in

The next most important collection is that published in Mexico from
1852 to 1857,[1090] under the general title of _Documentos para la
historia de México_. This collection of four series, reckoned variously
in nineteen or twenty-one volumes, is chiefly derived from Mexican
sources, and is largely illustrative of the history of northwestern
Mexico, and in general concerns Mexican history of a period posterior
to the Conquest.

There have been two important series of documents published and in part
unearthed by José Fernando Ramirez, who became Minister of State under
Maximilian. The first of these is the testimony at the examination
of the charges which were brought against Pedro de Alvarado, and
some of those made in respect to Nuño de Guzman,—_Procesos de
residencia_,[1091] which was published in Mexico in 1847;[1092] the
other set of documents pertain to the trial of Cortés himself. Such of
these as were found in the Mexican Archives were edited by Ignacio L.
Rayon under the title of _Archivo Mexicano; Documentos para la historia
de México_, and published in the city of Mexico in 1852-1853, in two
volumes. At a later day (1867-1868) Ramirez discovered in the Spanish
Archives other considerable portions of the same trial, and these have
been printed in the _Coleccion de documentos inéditos de las Indias_,
vols. xxvi.-xxix.

The records of the municipality of Mexico date from March 8, 1524, and
chronicle for a long time the sessions as held in Cortés’ house; and
are particularly interesting, as Bancroft says,[1093] after 1524, when
we no longer have Cortés’ own letters to follow, down to 1529. Harrisse
has told us what he found in the repositories of Italy, particularly at
Venice, among the letters sent to the Senate during this period by the
Venetian ambassadors at Madrid.[1094] Three volumes have so far been
published of a _Coleccion de documentos para la historia de Costa-Rica_
at San José de Costa-Rica, under the editing of León Fernández,
which have been drawn from the Archives of the Indies and from the
repositories in Guatemala. A few letters of Alvarado and other letters
of the Conquest period are found in the _Coleccion de documentos
antiguous de Guatemala_ published at Guatemala in 1857.[1095]

No more voluminous contributor to the monographic and documentary
history of Mexico can be named than Carlos Maria de Bustamante.
There will be occasion in other connections to dwell upon particular
publications, and some others are of little interest to us at present,
referring to periods as late as the present century. Bustamante was
a Spaniard, but he threw himself with characteristic energy into a
heated advoracy of national Mexican feelings; and this warmly partisan
exhibition of himself did much toward rendering the gathering of his
scattered writings very difficult, in view of the enemies whom he made
and of their ability to suppress obnoxious publications when they
came into power. Most of these works date from 1812 to 1850, and
when collected make nearly or quite fifty volumes, though frequently
bound in fewer.[1096] The completest list, however, is probably that
included in the enumeration of authorities prefixed by Bancroft to his
_Central America_ and _Mexico_, which shows not only the printed works
of Bustamante, but also the autograph originals,—which, Bancroft says,
contain much not in the published works.[1097] Indeed, these lists
show an extremely full equipment of the manuscript documentary stores
relating to the whole period of Mexican history,[1098] including a copy
of the _Archivo general de México_, as well as much from the catalogues
of José Maria Andrade and José Fernando Ramirez, records of the early
Mexican councils, and much else of an ecclesiastical and missionary
character not yet put in print.[1099]

Of particular value for the documents which it includes is the
_Historia de la fundacion y discurso de la provincia de Santiago de
México, de la orden de predicadores, por las vidas de sus varones
insignes y casos notables de Nueva España_, published in Madrid in
1596.[1100] The author, Davilla Padilla, was born in Mexico in 1562
of good stock; he became a Dominican in 1579, and died in 1604. His
opportunities for gathering material were good, and he has amassed a
useful store of information regarding the contact of the Spanish and
the Indians, and the evidences of the national traits of the natives.
His book has another interest, in that we find in it the earliest
mention of the establishment of a press in Mexico.[1101]

One of the earliest of the modern collections of documents and early
monographs is the _Historiadores primitivos de las Indias occidentales_
of Andres Gonzales de Barcia Carballido y Zuniga (known usually
as Barcia), published at Madrid in 1749 in three volumes folio,
and enriched with the editor’s notes. The sections were published
separately; and it was not till after the editor’s death (1743) that
they were grouped and put out collectively with the above distinctive
title. In this form the collection is rare, and it has been stated
that not over one or two hundred copies were so gathered.[1102]

       *       *       *       *       *

First among all documents respecting the Conquest are the letters sent
by Cortés himself to the Emperor; and of these a somewhat detailed
bibliographical account is given in the Notes following this Essay,
as well as an examination of the corrective value of certain other
contemporaneous and later writers.



=A.= THE LETTERS OF CORTÉS.—I. _The Lost First Letter_, _July_ 10,
1519. The series of letters which Cortés sent to the Emperor is
supposed to have begun with one dated at Vera Cruz in July, 1519,
which is now lost, but which Barcia and Wilson suppose to have been
suppressed by the Council of the Indies at the request of Narvaez.
There are contemporaneous references to show that it once existed.
Cortés himself mentions it in his second letter, and Bernal Diaz
implies that it was not shown by Cortés to his companions. Gomara
mentions it, and is thought to give its purport in brief. Thinking
that Charles V. may have carried it to Germany, Robertson caused the
Vienna Archives to be searched, but without avail; though it has been
the belief that this letter existed there at one time, and another sent
with it is known to be in those Archives. Prescott caused thorough
examinations of the repositories of London, Paris, and Madrid to be
made,—equally without result.

Fortunately the same vessel took two other letters, one of which we
have. This was addressed by the _justicia y regimiento_ of La Villa
Rica de la Vera Cruz, and was dated July 10, 1519. It was discovered,
by Robertson’s agency, in the Imperial Library at Vienna. It rehearses
the discoveries of Córdoba and Grijalva, and sustains the views of
Cortés, who charged Velasquez with being incompetent and dishonest.
This letter is sometimes counted as the first of the series; for though
it was not written by Cortés, he is thought to have inspired it.[1103]

The other letter is known only through the use of it which contemporary
writers made. It was from some of the leading companions in arms of
Cortés, who, while they praised their commander, had something to say
of others not quite to the satisfaction of Cortés. The Conqueror, it
is intimated, intrigued to prevent its reaching the Emperor,—which may
account for its loss. Las Casas and Tapia both mention it.[1104]

Beside the account given in Gomara of Cortés’ early life and his doings
in the New World up to the time of his leaving Cuba in 1519, there
is a contemporary narrative, quite in Cortés’ interest, of unknown
authorship, which was found by Muñoz at Simancas.[1105] The Latin
version is called “De rebus gestis Ferdinandi Cortesii;” but it is
called “Vida de Hernan Cortés” in the Spanish rendering which is given
by Icazbalceta in his _Coleccion de documentos_, i. 309-357.[1106]

A publication of Peter Martyr at Basle in 1521 is often taken as a
substitute for the lost first epistle of Cortés. This is the _De nuper
sub D. Carolo repertis insulis ... Petri Martyris enchiridion_, which
gives a narrative of the expeditions of Grijalva and Cortés, as a sort
of supplement to what Peter Martyr had written on the affairs of the
Indies in his Three Decades. It was afterward included in his Basle
edition of 1533 and in the Paris _Extraict_ of 1532.[1107]


Harrisse[1108] points out an allusion to the expedition of Cortés and a
description of those of Córdoba and Grijalva, in _Ein Auszug ettlicher
Sendbrieff ... von wegen einer new gefunden Inseln_, published at
Nuremberg in March, 1520;[1109] and Harrisse supposes the information
is derived from Peter Martyr.[1110] Bancroft[1111] points out a mere
reference in a publication of 1522,—_Translationuss hispanischer
Sprach_, etc.

II. _The Second Letter, Oct. 30, 1520._ We possess four early editions
of this,—two Spanish (1, 2) and one Latin (3), and one Italian (4).

1. The earliest Spanish edition was published at Seville Nov. 8, 1522,
as _Carta de relaciō_, having twenty-eight leaves, in gothic type.[1112]

2. The second Spanish edition, _Carta de relacion_, was printed at
Saragossa in 1524. It is in gothic letter, twenty-eight leaves, and has
a cut of Cortés before Charles V. and his Court, of which a reduced
fac-simile is herewith given.[1113]

[Illustration: CORTÉS’ GULF OF MEXICO.

This fac-simile follows the reproduction given by Stevens in his
_American Bibliographer_, p. 86, and in his _Notes_, etc., pl. iv.
Dr. Kohl published in the _Zeitschrift für allgemeine Erdkunde_, neue
Folge, vol. xv., a paper on the “Aelteste Geschichte der Entdeckung
und Erforschung des Golfs von Mexico durch die Spanier von 1492 bis
1543.” Cf. also Oscar Peschel’s _Zeitalter der Entdeckungen_ (1858),
chap. vii., and Ruge’s _Geschichte des Zeitalters der Entdeckungen_,
p. 355.]

3. The first Latin edition was published in folio at Nuremberg, in
August, 1524, in roman type, with marginal notes in gothic, and was
entitled: _Præclara Ferdinādi Cortesii de noua maris Oceani Hypania
narratio_. It was the work of Pierre Savorgnanus.[1114]



[Illustration: CLEMENT VII.

Fac-simile of a cut in the Latin Cortés of 1524. It was this Pope who
was so delighted with the Indian jugglers sent to Rome by Cortés. The
Conqueror also made His Holiness other more substantial supplications
for his favor, which resulted in Cortés receiving plenary indulgence
for his and his companions’ sins (Prescott, iii. 299).]

4. The Italian edition, _La preclara narratione di Ferdinando Cortese
della Nuova Hispagna del Mare Oceano ... per Nicolo Liburnio con
fidelta... tradotta_, was printed at Venice in 1524. It follows the
Latin version of Savorgnanus, and includes also the third letter.

This edition has a new engraving of the map in the Nuremberg edition,
though Quaritch and others have doubted if such a map belongs to it.
Leclerc (no. 151) chronicles copies with and without the map.[1115] An
abstract of the second letter in Italian, _Noue de le Isole et Terra
Ferma nouamente trouate_, had already appeared two years earlier, in
1522, at Milan.[1116]

There were other contemporary abstracts of this letter. Sigmund Grimm,
of Augsburg, is said to be the author of one, published about 1522 or
1523, called _Ein schöne newe Zeytung, so kayserlich Mayestet auss
India yetz newlich zūckommen seind_. It is cited in Harrisse and the
_Bibliotheca Grenvilliana_; and Ternaux (no. 5) is thought to err in
assigning the date of 1520 to it, as if printed in Augsburg. Of about
the same date is another described by Sabin (vol. iv. no. 16,952) as
printed at Antwerp, and called _Tressacree Imperiale et Catholique
Mageste ... eust nouvelles des marches ysles et terre ferme occeanes_.
This seems to be based, according to Brunet, _Supplément_ (vol. i. col.
320), on the first and second letters, beginning with the departure, in
1519, from Vera Cruz, and ending with the death of Montezuma.[1117]

The second letter forms part of various collected editions, as follows:—

_In Spanish._ Bancroft (_Mexico_, i. 543) notes the second and third
letters as being published in the Spanish _Thesóro de virtudes_ in 1543.

Barcia’s _Historiadores primitivos_ (1749); also edited by Enrique de
Vedia, Madrid, 1852-1853.

_Historia de Nueva España, escrita por su esclarecido Conquistador
Hernan Cortés, aumentada con otros documentos y notas por Don Francisco
Antonio Lorenzana, arzobispo de México_, Mexico, 1770. This important
work, embracing the second, third, and fourth letters, has a large view
of the great temple of Mexico, a map of New Spain,[1118] and thirty-one
plates of a hieroglyphic register of the tributaries of Montezuma,—the
same later reproduced in better style by Kingsborough. Lorenzana was
born in 1722, and rising through the gradations of his Church, and
earning a good name as Bishop of Puebla, was made Archbishop of Toledo
shortly after he had published the book now under consideration.
Pius VI. made him a cardinal in 1789, and he died in Rome in 1804.
Icazbalceta was not able to ascertain whether the Bishop had before him
the original editions of the letters or Barcia’s reprint; but he added
to the value of his text by numerous annotations. In 1828 an imperfect
reprint of this book, “á la ortografía moderna,” was produced in New
York for the Mexican market, by Manuel del Mar, under the title of
_Historia de Méjico_,[1119] to which a life of Cortés, by R. C. Sands,
was added.[1120] Icazbalceta notes some of the imperfections of this
edition in his _Coleccion_, vol. i. p. xxxv.[1121]


_Cartas y relaciones al Emperador Carlos V., colegidas é ilustradas
por P. de Gayangos_, Paris, 1866. Besides the Cortés letters, this
distinguished scholar included in this book various other contemporary
documents relating to the Conquest, embracing letters sent to Cortés’
lieutenants; and he also added an important introduction. He included
the fifth letter for the first time in the series, and drew upon the
archives of Vienna and Simancas with advantage.[1122]

The letters were again included in the _Biblioteca histórica de la
Iberia_ published at Mexico in 1870.

       *       *       *       *       *

_In Latin._ The second and third letters, with the account of Peter
Martyr, were issued at Cologne in 1532, with the title _De insulis
nuper inventis_, etc., as shown in the annexed fac-simile of the title,
with its portrait of Charles V. and the escutcheons of Spanish towns
and provinces.[1123]



_In French._ Harrisse (_Bibl. Amer. Vet., Additions_, no. 73) notes a
French rendering of a text, seemingly made up of the first and second
letters, and probably following a Spanish original, now lost, which was
printed at Antwerp in 1523.[1124] This second letter is also epitomized
in the French _Extraict ou recueil des isles nouvellement trouvées_ of
Peter Martyr, printed at Paris in 1532, and in Bellegarde’s _Histoire
universelle des voyages_ (Amsterdam, 1708), vol. i.

The principal French translation is one based on Lorenzana, abridging
that edition somewhat, and numbering the letters erroneously first,
second, and third. It was published at Paris in 1778, 1779, etc., under
the title _Correspondance de Fernand Cortes avec l’Empereur Charles
Quint_, and was translated by the Vicomte de Flavigny.[1125] The text
of Flavigny’s second letter is included in Charton’s _Voyageurs_, iii.
368-420. There were also editions of Flavigny printed in Switzerland
and at Frankfort.

       *       *       *       *       *

_In German._ A translation of the second and third letters, made by
Andrew Diether and Birck, was published at Augsburg in 1550 as _Cortesi
von dem Newen Hispanien_. After the second letter, which constitutes
part i., the beginning of part ii. is borrowed from Peter Martyr, which
is followed by the third letter of Cortés; and this is succeeded in
turn, on folios 51-60, by letters from Venezuela about the settlements
there (1534-1540), and one from Oviedo written at San Domingo in 1543.
There are matters which are not contained in any of the Spanish or
Latin editions.[1126]

The second, third, and fourth letters—translated by J. J. Stapfer,
who supplied a meritorious introduction and an appendix—were
printed at Heidelberg in 1779 as _Eroberung von Mexico_, and again
at Berne in 1793.[1127] Another German version, by Karl Wilhelm
Koppe,—_Drei Berichte des General-Kapitäns Cortes an Karl V._,—with an
introduction and notes, was published at Berlin in 1834. It has the
tribute-registers and map of New Spain, as in Lorenzana’s edition.[1128]

       *       *       *       *       *

_In Dutch and Flemish._ Harrisse (_Bibl. Amer. Vet., Additions_, no.
72) notes a tract of thirty leaves, in gothic letter, called _De
Contreyen vanden Eylanden_, etc., which was printed in Antwerp in 1523
(with a French counterpart at the same time), and which seems to have
been based on the first and second letters, combined in a Spanish
original not now known. There is a copy in the National Library at
Paris. There was a Dutch version, or epitome, in the Dutch edition
of Grynæus, 1563, and a Flemish version appeared in Ablyn’s _Nieuwe
Weerelt_, at Antwerp, 1563. There was another Dutch rendering in
Gottfried and Vander Aa’s _Zee-en landreizen_ (1727)[1129] and in the
_Brieven van Ferdinand Cortes_, Amsterdam, 1780.[1130]

       *       *       *       *       *

_In Italian._ In the third volume of Ramusio.

       *       *       *       *       *

_In English._ Alsop translated from Flavigny the second letter,
in the _Portfolio_, Philadelphia, 1817. George Folsom, in 1843,
translated from Lorenzana’s text the second, third, and fourth letters,
which he published as _Despatches written during the Conquest_,
adding an introduction and notes, which in part are borrowed from
Lorenzana.[1131] Willes in his edition of Eden, as early as 1577, had
given an abridgment in his _History of Travayle_.[1132] (See Vol. III.
p. 204.)

       *       *       *       *       *

III. _The Third Letter, covering the internal, Oct. 30, 1520, to May
15, 1522._ It is called _Carta tercera de relaciō_, and was printed
(thirty leaves) at Seville in 1523.[1133]

The next year, 1524, a Latin edition (_Tertia narratio_) appeared
at Nuremberg in connection with the Latin of the second letter of
that date.[1134] This version was also made by Savorgnanus, and was
reprinted in the _Novus orbis_ of 1555.[1135]

This third letter appeared also in collective editions, as explained
under the head of the second letter. This letter was accompanied by
what is known as the “secret letter,” which was first printed in the
_Documentos inéditos_, i. 11, in Kingsborough, vol. viii., and in
Gayangos’ edition of the letters.

       *       *       *       *       *

IV. _The Fourth Letter, covering the interval, May, 1522, to October,
1524._ There were two Spanish editions (_a_, _b_).

_a. La quarta relacion_ (Toledo, 1525), in gothic letter, twenty-one

_b. La quarta relaciō_ (Valencia, 1526), in gothic type, twenty-six

This letter was accompanied by reports to Cortés from Alvarado and
Godoy, and these are also included in Barcia, Ramusio, etc.

A secret letter (dated October 15) of Cortés to the Emperor,—_Esta es
una carta que Hernando Cortés escrivio al Emperador_,—sent with this
fourth letter, is at Simancas. It was printed by Icazbalceta in 1855
(Mexico, sixty copies),[1138] who reprinted it in his _Coleccion_,
i. 470. Gayangos, in 1866, printed it in his edition (p. 325) from a
copy which Muñoz had made. Icazbalceta again printed it sumptuously,
“en caracteres góticos del siglo XVI.,” at Mexico in 1865 (seventy
copies).[1139] This letter also appears in collections mentioned under
the second letter. It was in this letter that Cortés explained to the
Emperor his purpose of finding the supposed strait which led from the
Atlantic to the south sea.

       *       *       *       *       *

V. _The fifth letter, dated Sept. 3, 1526._ It pertains to the famous
expedition to Honduras.[1140] It is called _Carta quinta de relacion_,
and was discovered through Robertson’s instrumentality, but not printed
at length till it appeared in the _Coleccion de documentos inéditos_
(_España_), iv. 8-167, with other “relaciones” on this expedition.
George Folsom reprinted it in New York in 1848 as “carta sexta ...
publicada ahora por primera vez” by mistake for “carta quinta.”[1141]
It was translated and annotated by Gayangos for the Hakluyt Society
in 1868.[1142] Gayangos had already included it in his edition of the
_Cartas_, 1866, and it had also been printed by Vedia in Ribadeneyras’
_Biblioteca de autores Españoles_ (1852), vol. xxii., and later in
the _Biblioteca histórica de la Iberia_ (1870). Extracts in English
are given in the appendix of Prescott’s _Mexico_, vol. iii. Mr. Kirk,
the editor of Prescott, doubts if the copy in the Imperial Library
at Vienna is the original, because it has no date. A copy at Madrid,
purporting to be made from the original by Alonzo Diaz, is dated Sept.
3, 1526,[1143] and is preferred by Gayangos, who collated its text with
that of the Vienna Library. Various other less important letters of
Cortés have been printed from time to time.[1144]

       *       *       *       *       *

In estimating the letters of Cortés as historical material, the
soldierly qualities of them impressed Prescott, and Helps is
struck with their directness so strongly that he is not willing to
believe in the prevarications or deceits of any part of them. H.
H. Bancroft,[1145] on the contrary, discovers in them “calculated
misstatements, both direct and negative.” It is well known that Bernal
Diaz and Pedro de Alvarado made complaints of their leader’s too great
willingness to ignore all others but himself.[1146]

SAHAGUN.—Fortunately we have various other narratives to qualify or
confirm the recitals of the leader.

In 1540, when he was thirty years old, Francisco Lopez Gomara became
the chaplain and secretary of Cortés. In undertaking an historical
record in which his patron played a leading part, he might be suspected
to write somewhat as an adulator; and so Las Casas, Diaz, and many
others have claimed that he did, and Muñoz asserts that Gomara
believed his authorities too easily.[1147] That the Spanish Government
made a show of suppressing his book soon after it was published,
and kept the edict in their records till 1729, is rather in favor
of his honest chronicling. Gomara had good claims for consideration
in a learned training, a literary taste, and in the possession of
facilities which his relations with Cortés threw in his way; and we
find him indispensable, if for no other reason, because he had access
to documentary evidence which has since disappeared. His questionable
reputation for bias has not prevented Herrera and other later
historians placing great dependence on him, and a native writer of
the beginning of the seventeenth century, Chimalpain, has translated
Gomara, adding some illustrations for the Indian records.[1148]

Gomara’s book is in effect two distinct ones, though called at first
two parts of a _Historia general de las Indias_. Of these the second
part—_La conquista de México_—appeared earliest, at Saragossa in
1552, and is given to the Conquest of Mexico, while the first part,
more particularly relating to the subjugation of Peru, appeared in
1553.[1149] What usually passes for a second edition appeared at
Medina del Campo, also in 1553;[1150] and it was again reprinted at
Saragossa in 1554, this time as two distinct works,—one, _Cronica
de la Nueva España con la conquista de México_; and the other, _La
historia general de las Indias y Nuevo Mundo_.[1151] The same year
(1554) saw several editions in Spanish at Antwerp, with different
publishers.[1152] An Italian edition followed in 1555-1556, for one
titlepage, _Historia del ... capitano Don Ferdinando Cortés_, is dated
1556, and a second, _Historia de México_, has 1555,—both at Rome.[1153]


Other editions, more or less complete, are noted as published in Venice
in 1560, 1564, 1565, 1566, 1570, 1573, 1576, and 1599.[1154] The
earliest French edition appeared at Paris in 1568 and 1569, for the two
dates and two imprints seem to belong to one issue; and its text—a not
very creditable translation by Fumée—was reproduced in the editions
of 1577, 1578, 1580, and with some additions in 1584, 1587, 1588, and
1597.[1155] The earliest edition in English omits much. It is called
_The Pleasant Historie of the Conquest of the Weast India, now called
New Spayne, atchieved by the worthy Prince Hernando Cortes, Marques of
the valley of Huaxacac, most delectable to reade, translated out of the
Spanishe tongue by T[homas] N[icholas]_, published by Henry Bynneman
in 1578.[1156] Gomara himself warned his readers against undertaking
a Latin version, as he had one in hand himself; but it was never

       *       *       *       *       *

Gomara had, no doubt, obscured the merits of the captains of Cortés
in telling the story of that leader’s career. Instigated largely by
this, and confirmed in his purpose, one of the partakers in the glories
and hardships of the Conquest was impelled to tell the story anew, in
the light of the observation which fell to a subordinate. He was not
perhaps so much jealous of the fame of Cortés as he was hurt at the
neglect by Gomara of those whose support had made the fame of Cortés


This was Bernal Diaz del Castillo, and his book is known as the
_Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Neuva España_, which was
not printed till 1632 at Madrid, nor had it been written till half a
century after the Conquest, during which interval the name of Cortés
had gathered its historic prestige. Diaz had begun the writing of it
in 1568 at Santiago in Guatemala, when, as he tells us, only five of
the original companions of Cortés remained alive.[1158] It is rudely,
or rather simply, written, as one might expect. The author has none of
the practised arts of condensation; and Prescott[1159] well defines
the story as long-winded and gossiping, but of great importance. It is
indeed inestimable, as the record of the actor in more than a hundred
of the fights which marked the progress of the Conquest. The untutored
air of the recital impressed Robertson and Southey with confidence
in its statements, and the reader does not fail to be conscious of a
minute rendering of the life which made up those eventful days. His
criticism of Cortés himself does not, by any means, prevent his giving
him great praise; and, as Prescott says,[1160] he censures his leader,
but he does not allow any one else to do the same. The lapse of time
before Diaz set about his literary task did not seem to abate his zeal
or check his memory; but it does not fail, however, to diminish our
own confidence a good deal. Prescott[1161] contends that the better
the acquaintance with Diaz’ narrative, the less is the trust which one
is inclined to put in it.[1162] The Spanish text which we possess is
taken, it is said, directly from the original manuscript, which had
slumbered in private hands till Father Alonso Rémon found it, or a copy
of it, in Spain, and obtained a decree to print it,[1163] about fifty
years after Diaz’ death, which occurred in 1593, or thereabouts.

       *       *       *       *       *

The nearest approach among contemporaries to a survey of the story
of the Conquest from the Aztec side is that given by the Franciscan,
Sahagun, in connection with his great work on the condition of the
Mexican peoples prior to the coming of the Spaniards. Sahagun came to
Mexico in 1529. He lived in the new land for over sixty years, and
acquired a proficiency in the native tongue hardly surpassed by any
other of the Spaniards. He brought to the new field something besides
the iconoclastic frenzy that led so many of his countrymen to destroy
what they could of the literature and arts of the Aztecs,—so necessary
in illustration of their pagan life and rites. This zealous and pious
monk turned aside from seeking the preferments of his class to study
the motives, lives, and thoughts of the Aztec peoples. He got from them
their hieroglyphics; these in turn were translated into the language
of their speech, but expressed in the Roman character; and the whole
subjected more than once to the revising of such of the natives as
had, in his day, been educated in the Spanish schools.[1164] Thirty
years were given to this kind of preparation; and when he had got his
work written out in Mexican, the General of his Order seized it, and
some years elapsed before a restitution of it was made. Sahagun had
got to be eighty years old when, with his manuscript restored to him,
he set about re-writing it, with the Mexican text in one column and
the Spanish in another. The two huge volumes of his script found their
way to Spain, and were lost sight of till Muñoz discovered them in the
convent of Tolosa in Navarre, not wholly unimpaired by the vicissitudes
to which they had been subjected. The Nahuatl text, which made part of
it, is still missing.[1165]


It was not long afterward (1829-1830) printed by Cárlos María
Bustamante in three volumes as _Historia general de las cosas de Nueva
España_,[1166] to which was added, as a fourth volume, also published
separately, _Historia de la conquista de México_, containing what is
usually cited as the twelfth book of Sahagun. In this, as in the other
parts, he used a copy which Muñoz had made, and which is the earlier
draft of the text as Sahagun formed it. It begins with a recital of
the omens which preceded the coming of Grijalva, and ends with the
fall of the city; and it is written, as he says, from the evidence,
in large part, of the eye-witnesses, particularly on the Aztec side,
though mixed, somewhat confusedly, with recollections from old Spanish
soldiers. Harrisse[1167] speaks of this edition as “castrated in such
a way as to require, for a perfect understanding of this dry but
important book, the reading of the parts published in vols. v. and
vi. of Kingsborough.” The text, as given in Kingsborough’s _Mexico_,
began to appear about a year later, that edition only giving, in the
first instance, book vi., which relates to the customs of the Aztecs
before the Conquest; but in a later volume he reproduced the whole of
the work without comment. Kingsborough had also used the Muñoz text,
and has made, according to Simeon, fewer errors in transcribing the
Nahuatl words than Bustamante, and has also given a purer Spanish
text. Bustamante again printed, in 1840, another text of this twelfth
book, after a manuscript belonging to the Conde de Cortina, appending
notes by Clavigero and others, with an additional chapter.[1168] The
Mexican editor claimed that this was the earlier text; but Prescott
denies it. Torquemada is thought to have used, but without due
acknowledgment, still another text, which is less modified than the
others in expressions regarding the Conquerors. The peculiar value of
Sahagun’s narrative hardly lies in its completeness, proportions, or
even trustworthiness as an historical record. “His accuracy as regards
any historical fact is not to be relied on,” says Helps.[1169] Brevoort
calls the work of interest mainly for its records of persons and places
not found elsewhere.[1170] Prescott thinks that this twelfth book is
the most honest record which the natives have left us, as Sahagun
embodies the stories and views prevalent among the descendants of the
victims of the Conquest. “This portion of the work,” he says, “was
rewritten by Sahagun at a later period of his life, and considerable
changes were made in it; yet it may be doubted if the reformed version
reflects the traditions of the country as faithfully as the original
draft.”[1171] This new draft was made by Sahagun in 1585, thirty years
after the original writing, for the purpose, as he says, of adding
some things which had been omitted, and leaving out others. Prescott
could not find, in comparing this later draft with the earlier, that
its author had mitigated any of the statements which, as he first wrote
them, bore so hard on his countrymen. The same historian thinks there
is but little difference in the intrinsic value of the two drafts.[1172]

The best annotated edition of Sahagun is a French translation,
published in Paris in 1880 as _Histoire générale des choses de la
Nouvelle Espagne_, seemingly from the Kingsborough text, which is more
friendly to the Spaniards than the first of Bustamante. The joint
editors are Denis Jourdanet and Remi Siméon, the latter, as a Nahuatl
scholar, taking charge of those portions of the text which fell within
his linguistic range, and each affording a valuable introduction in
their respective studies.[1173]

=C.= OTHER EARLY ACCOUNTS.—The _Voyages, Relations, et Mémoires_ of
Ternaux-Compans (Paris, 1837-1840) offer the readiest source of some
of the most significant of the documents and monographs pertaining to
early Mexican history. Two of the volumes[1174] gather some of the
minor documents. Another volume[1175] is given to Zurita’s “Rapport
sur les différentes classes des chefs de la Nouvelle Espagne.” Three
others[1176] contain an account of the cruelties practised by the
Spaniards at the Conquest, and the history of the ancient kings of
Tezcuco,—both the work of Ferdinando d’Alva Ixtlilxochitl.[1177] The
former work, not correctly printed, and called, somewhat arbitrarily,
_Horribles crueldades de los Conquistadores de México_, was first
published by Bustamante, in 1829, as a supplement to Sahagun. The
manuscript (which was no. 13 of a number of _Noticias_, or _Relaciones
históricas_, by this native writer) had been for a while after the
writer’s death (about 1648) preserved in the library of the Jesuit
College in Mexico, and had thence passed to the archive general of the
State. It bears the certificate of a notary, in 1608, that it had been
compared with the Aztec records and found to be correct. The original
work contained several _Relaciones_, but only the one (no. 13) relating
to the Conquest was published by Bustamante and Ternaux.[1178]

The other work of Ixtlilxochitl was first printed (after Veytia’s copy)
in Spanish by Kingsborough, in his ninth volume, before Ternaux, who
used another copy, included it in his collection under the title of
_Histoire des Chichimeque ou des anciens Rois de Tezcuco_. This is the
only work of Ixtlilxochitl which has been printed entire. According to
Clavigero, these treatises were written at the instance of the Spanish
viceroy; and as a descendant of the royal line of Tezcuco (the great
great-grandson, it is said, of the king of like name) their author had
great advantages, with perhaps great predispositions to laudation,
though he is credited with extreme carefulness in his statements;[1179]
and Prescott affirms that he has been followed with confidence by such
as have had access to his writings. Ixtlilxochitl informs us that he
has derived his material from such remains of his ancestral documents
as were left to him. He seems also to have used Gomara and other
accessible authorities. He lived in the early part of the seventeenth
century, and as interpreter of the viceroy maintained a respectable
social position when many of his royal line were in the humblest
service. His _Relaciones_ are hardly regular historical compositions,
since they lack independent and compact form; but his _Historia
Chichimeca_ is the best of them, and is more depended upon by Prescott
than the others are. There is a certain charm in his simplicity, his
picturesqueness, and honesty; and readers accept these qualities often
in full recompense for his credulity and want of discrimination,—and
perhaps for a certain servility to the Spanish masters, for whose
bounty he could press the claims of a line of vassals of his own

=D.= NATIVE WRITERS.—The pious vandalism of the bishops of Mexico and
Yucatan, which doomed to destruction so much of the native records
of days antecedent to the Conquest,[1181] fortunately was not so
ruthlessly exercised later, when native writers gathered up what they
could, and told the story of their people’s downfall, either in the
language of the country or in an acquired Spanish.[1182] Brasseur de
Bourbourg, in the introduction to his _Nations civilisées du Mexique_
(Paris, 1857-1859), enumerates the manuscript sources to which he
had access,[1183] largely pertaining to the period anterior to the
Spaniards, but also in part covering the history of the Conquest, which
in his fourth volume[1184] he narrates mainly from the native point of
view, while he illustrates the Indian life under its contact with the
Spanish rule.

Brasseur was fortunate in having access to the Aubin Collection of
manuscripts,[1185] which had originally been formed between 1736 and
1745 by the Chevalier Lorenzo Boturini Benaduci; and that collector
in 1746 gave a catalogue of them at the end of his _Idea de una nueva
historia general de la America septentrional_, published at Madrid in
that year.[1186] Unfortunately, the labors of this devoted archæologist
incurred the jealousy of the Spanish Government, and his library was
more or less scattered; but to him we owe a large part of what we find
in the collections of Bustamante, Kingsborough, and Ternaux. Mariano
Veytia[1187] was his executor, and had the advantages of Boturini’s
collections in his own _Historia Antigua de Mejico_.[1188] Boturini’s
catalogue, however, shows us that much has disappeared, which we may
regret. Such is the _Cronica_ of Tlaxcala, by Juan Ventura Zapata y
Mendoza, which brought the story down to 1689, which Brinton hopes may
yet be discovered in Spain.[1189] One important work is saved,—that of

Muñoz Camargo was born in Mexico just after the Conquest, and was
connected by marriage with leading native families, and attained high
official position in Tlaxcala, whose history he wrote, beginning its
composition in 1576, and finishing it in 1585. He had collected much
material. Ternaux[1190] printed a French translation of a mutilated
text; but it has never been printed in the condition, fragmentary
though it be, in which it was recovered by Boturini. Prescott says the
original manuscript was long preserved in a convent in Mexico, where
Torquemada used it. It was later taken to Spain, when it found its
way into the Muñoz Collection in the Academy of History at Madrid,
whence Prescott got his copy. This last historian speaks of the work as
supplying much curious and authentic information respecting the social
and religious condition of the Aztecs. Camargo tells fully the story
of the Conquest, but he deals out his applause and sympathy to the
conquerors and the conquered with equal readiness.[1191]

Other manuscripts have not yet been edited. Chimalpain’s _Cronica
Mexicana_, in the Nahuatl tongue, which covers the interval from A. D.
1068 to 1597, is one of these. Another Nahuatl manuscript in Boturini’s
list is an anonymous history of Culhuacan and Mexico. An imperfect
translation of this into Spanish, by Galicia, has been made in Mexico.
Brasseur copied it, and called it the _Codex Chimalpopoca_.[1192] In
1879 the Museo Nacional at Mexico began to print it in their _Anales_
(vol. ii.), adding a new version by Mendoza and Solis, under the title
of _Anales de Cuauhtitlan_.[1193]

Bancroft’s list, prefixed to his _Mexico_, makes mention of most
of these native Mexican sources. Of principal use among them may
be mentioned Fernando de Alvaro Tezozomoc’s _Cronica Mexicana_, or
_Histoire du Mexique_, written in 1598, and published in 1853, in
Paris, by Ternaux-Compans.[1194]

Brinton has published in the first volume of his library of _Aboriginal
American Literature_ (1882, p. 189) the chronicle of Chac-xulub-chen,
written in the Maya in 1562, which throws light on the methods of the
Spanish Conquest.

There was a native account, by Don Gabriel Castañeda, of the conquest
of the Chichimecs by the Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza in 1541; but
Brinton[1195] says all trace of it is lost since it was reported to be
in the Convent of Ildefonso in Mexico.

Perhaps the most important native contribution to the history of
Guatemala is Francisco Ernandez Arana Xahila’s _Memorial de Tecpan
Atitlan_, written in 1581 and later in the dialect of Cakchiquel, and
bringing the history of a distinguished branch of the Cakchiquels
down to 1562, from which point it is continued by Francisco Gebuta
Queh. Brasseur de Bourbourg loosely rendered it, and from this
paraphrase a Spanish version has been printed in Guatemala; but the
original has never been printed. Brinton (in his _Aboriginal American
Authors_, p. 32) says he has a copy; and another is in Europe. It is
of great importance as giving the native accounts of the conquest of
Guatemala.[1196] An ardent advocacy of the natives was also shown
in the _Historia de las Indias de Nueva España_ of the Padre Diego
Duran, which was edited by Ramirez, so far as the first volume goes,
in 1867, when it was published in Mexico with an atlas of plates
after the manuscript; but this publication is said not to present all
the drawings of the original manuscript. The overthrow of Maximilian
prevented the completion of the publication. The incoming Republican
government seized what had been printed, so that the fruit of Ramirez’s
labor is now scarce. Quaritch priced the editor’s own copy at £8
10_s._ The editor had polished the style of the original somewhat,
and made other changes, which excited some disgust in the purists;
and this action on his part may have had something to do with the
proceedings of the new Government. Ramirez claimed descent from the
Aztecs, and this may account for much of his stern judgment respecting
Cortés.[1197] The story in this first volume is only brought down
to the reign of Montezuma. The manuscript is preserved in the royal
library at Madrid.[1198] Duran was a half-breed, his mother being of
Tezcuco. He became a Dominican; but a slender constitution kept him
from the missionary field, and he passed a monastic life of literary
labors. He had finished in 1579 the later parts of his work treating of
the Mexican divinities, calendars, and festivals; and then, reverting
to the portions which came first in the manuscript, he tells the story
of Mexican history rather clumsily, but with a certain native force and
insight, down to the period of the Honduras expedition. The manuscript
of Duran passed, after his death in 1588, to Juan Tovar, and from him,
perhaps with the representations that Tovar (or Tobar) was its author,
to José de Acosta, who represents Tovar as the author, and who had then
prepared, while in Peru, his _De Natura Novi Orbis_.

=E.= THE EARLIER HISTORIANS.—José de Acosta was born about 1540 in
Spain; but at fourteen he joined the Jesuits. He grew learned, and
in 1571 he went to Peru, in which country he spent fifteen years,
becoming the provincial of his Order. He tarried two other years in
Mexico—where he saw Tovar—and in the islands. He then returned to Spain
laden with manuscripts and information, became a royal favorite, held
other offices, and died as rector of Salamanca in 1600,[1199] having
published in his books on the New World the most popular and perhaps
most satisfactory account of it up to that time; while his theological
works give evidence, as Markham says, of great learning.

Acosta’s first publication appeared at Salamanca in 1588 and 1589, and
was in effect two essays, though they are usually found under one cover
(they had separate titles, but were continuously paged), _De natura
Novi Orbis libri duo, et de promulgatione evangelii apud barbaros, ...
libri sex_. In the former he describes the physical features of the
country, and in the latter he told the story Of the conversion of the
Indians.[1200] Acosta now translated the two books of the _De natura_
into Spanish, and added five other books. The work was thus made to
form a general cosmographical treatise, with particular reference to
the New World; and included an account of the religion and government
of the Indians of Peru and Mexico. He also gave a brief recital of the
Conquest. In this extended form, and under the title of _Historia
natvral y moral de las Indias, en qve se tratan las cosas notables del
cielo, y elementos, metales, plantas, y animales dellas; y los ritos,
y ceremonias, leyes, y gouierno, y guerras de los Indios_, it was
published at Seville in 1590.[1201]

Two other accounts of this period deserve notice. One is by Joan Suarez
de Peralta, who was born in Mexico in 1536, and wrote a _Tratado del
descubrimiento de las Yndias y su conquista_, which is preserved in
manuscript in the library at Toledo in Spain. It is not full, however,
on the Conquest; but is more definite for the period from 1565 to 1589.
It was printed at Madrid in 1878, in the _Noticias históricas de la
Nueva España publicadas con la protection del ministerio de fomento por
Don Justo Zaragoza_. The other is Henrico Martinez’ _Repertorio de los
Tiempos y historia natural de la Nueva España_, published at Mexico in
1606. It covers the Mexican annals from 1520 to 1590.[1202]

One of the earliest to depend largely on the native chroniclers was
Juan de Torquemada, in his _Monarquía Indiana_. This author was born
in Spain, but came young to Mexico; and was a priest of the Franciscan
habit, who finally became (1614-1617) the provincial of that Order. He
had assiduously labored to collect all that he could find regarding
the history of the people among whom he was thrown; and his efforts
were increased when, in 1609, he received orders to prepare his
labors for publication. His book is esteemed for the help it affords
in understanding these people. Ternaux calls it the most complete
narrative which we possess of the ancient history of Mexico. He took
the history, as the native writers had instructed him, of the period
before the Conquest, and derived from them and his own observation much
respecting the kind of life which the conquerors found prevailing in
the country. In his account of the Conquest, which constitutes the
fourth book in vol. i., Torquemada seems to depend largely on Herrera,
though he does not neglect Sahagun and the native writers. Clavigero
tells us that Torquemada for fifty years had known the language of the
natives, and spent twenty years or more in arranging his history. He
also tells us of the use which Torquemada made of the manuscripts which
he found in the colleges of Mexico, of the writings of Ixtlilxochitl,
Camargo, and of the history of Cholula by another writer of native
origin, Juan Batista Pomar. Another book of considerable use to him was
the work of a warm eulogist of the natives, if not himself of their
blood; and this was the _Historia Eclesiástica Indiana_, a work written
by Gerónimo de Mendieta near the end of the sixteenth century. Mendieta
was in Mexico from 1554 to 1571,[1203] and his work, finished in 1596,
after having remained for two hundred years in manuscript, was printed
and annotated by Icazbalceta at Mexico, in 1870.[1204]

The _Monarquía Indiana_, in which these and other writers were so
freely employed as to be engrafted in parts almost bodily, was first
printed in three volumes at Madrid in 1615; but before this the
Inquisition had struck out from its pages some curious chapters,
particularly, says Rich, one comparing the migration of the Toltecs to
that of the Israelites. The colophon of this edition shows the date of
1614.[1205] It is said that most of it was lost in a shipwreck, and
this accounts, doubtless, for its rarity. The original manuscript,
however, being preserved, it served Barcia well in editing a reprint
in 1723, published at Madrid, which is now considered the standard
edition.[1206] Torquemada doubtless derived something of his skill in
the native tongue from his master, Fray Joan Baptista, who had the
reputation of being the most learned scholar of the Mexican language in
his time.[1207]

The _Teatro Mexicano_ of Augustin de Vetancurt, published at Mexico
in 1697-1698,[1208] is the next general chronicle after Torquemada.
Vetancourt, also, was a Franciscan, born in Mexico in 1620, and died
in 1700. He had the literary fecundity of his class; but the most
important of his works is the one already named; and in the third part
of the first volume we find his history of the Conquest. He seldom goes
behind his predecessor, and Torquemada must stand sponsor for much of
his recital.

=F.= MODERN HISTORIANS.—The well-known work of Solis (_Historia de
la Conquista de México_,[1209] published at Madrid in 1684) is the
conspicuous precursor of a long series of histories of the Conquest,
written without personal knowledge of the actors in this extraordinary
event. Solis ended his narrative with the fall of the city, the
author’s death preventing any further progress, though it is said he
had gathered further materials; but they are not known to exist. A work
by Ignacio Salazar y Olarte, continuing the narrative down to the death
of Cortés, is called a second part, and was published at Cordova in
1743, under the title of _Historia de la conquista de México, poblacion
y progressos de la América septentrional conocida por el nombre de
Nueva España_. This continuation was reprinted at Madrid in 1786, and
in the opinion of Bancroft[1210] abounds “in all the faults of the
superficial and florid composition of Solis.”

Solis, who was born at Alcala in 1610, was educated at Salamanca,
and had acquired a great reputation in letters, when he attracted
the attention of the Court, and was appointed historiographer of the
Indies. Some time afterward (1667) he entered the Church, at fifty-six;
but to earn his salary as official chronicler,—which was small enough
at best,—he turned, with a good deal of the poetic and artistic
instinct which his previous training had developed, to tell the story
of the Conquest, with a skill which no one before had employed upon the
theme. The result was a work which, “to an extraordinary degree,” as
Ticknor[1211] says, took on “the air of an historical epic, so exactly
are all its parts and episodes modelled into a harmonious whole, whose
catastrophe is the fall of the great Mexican Empire.” The book was a
striking contrast to the chronicling spirit of all preceding recitals.

[Illustration: SOLIS.

Fac-simile of engraving in his _Historia_, published at Venice in
1715. There are other likenesses in the Madrid (1783) edition, and in
Cumplido’s Mexican edition of Prescott’s _Mexico_, vol. iii.]

The world soon saw—though the sale of the book was not large at
once, and the author died very poor two years later (1686)—that the
strange story had been given its highest setting. Solis gives no
notes; and one needs to know the literature of the subject, to track
him to his authorities. If this is done, however, it appears that his
investigation was far from deep, and that with original material within
his reach he rarely or never used it, but took the record at second
hand. Robertson, who had to depend on him more or less, was aware of
this, and judged him less solicitous of discovering truth than of
glorifying the splendor of deeds. This panegyrical strain in the book
has lowered its reputation, particularly among foreign critics, who
fail to share the enthusiasm which Solis expresses for Cortés. We may
call his bitter denunciations of the natives bigotry or pious zeal; but
Ticknor accounts for it by saying that Solis “refused to see the fierce
and marvellous contest except from the steps of the altar where he had
been consecrated.” The religion and national pride of the Spaniards
have not made this quality detract in the least from the estimation
in which the book has long been held; but all that they say of the
charm and purity of its style, despite something of tiresomeness in
its even flow, is shared by the most conspicuous of foreign critics,
like Prescott and Ticknor. Rich, who had opportunities for knowing,
bears evidence to the estimation in Spain of those qualities which have
insured the fame of Solis.[1212]

The story was not told again with the dignity of a classic,—except
so far as Herrera composed it,—till Robertson, in his _History of
America_, recounted it. He used the printed sources with great
fidelity; but he was denied a chance to examine the rich manuscript
material which was open to Solis, and which Robertson would doubtless
have used more abundantly. In a Note (xcvii.) he enumerates his chief
authorities, and they are only the letters of Cortés and the story as
told by Gomara, Bernal Diaz, Peter Martyr, Solis, and Herrera.[1213] Of
Solis, Robertson says he knows no author in any language whose literary
fame has risen so far beyond his real merits. He calls him “destitute
of that patient industry in research which conducts to the knowledge
of truth, and a stranger to that impartiality which weighs evidence
with cool attention.... Though he sometimes quotes the despatches of
Cortés, he seems not to have consulted them; and though he sets out
with some censure on Gomara, he frequently prefers his authority—the
most doubtful of any—to that of the other contemporary historians.”
Robertson judged that Herrera furnished the fullest and most accurate
information, and that if his work had not in its chronological order
been so perplexed, disconnected, and obscure, Herrera might justly
have been ranked among the most eminent historians of his country.
William Smyth, in the twenty-first section of his _Lectures on Modern
History_, in an account which is there given of the main sources of
information respecting the Conquest, as they were accessible forty or
fifty years ago, awards high praise—certainly not undeserved for his
time—to Robertson. Southey accused Robertson of unduly depreciating the
character and civilization of the Mexicans; and others have held the
opinion that he had a tendency to palliate the crimes of the invaders.
Robertson, in his later editions, replied to such strictures, and held
that Clavigero and others had differed from him chiefly in confiding in
the improbable narratives and fanciful conjectures of Torquemada and

Francisco Saverio Clavigero was a Jesuit, who had long resided in
Mexico, being born at Vera Cruz in 1731; but when expelled with his
Order, he took up his abode in Italy in 1767. He had the facilities
and the occasion for going more into detail than Robertson. His
_Storia antica del Messico cavata da’ migliori storici spagnuoli,
e da’ manoscritti; e dalle pitture antiche degl’Indiani: divisa in
dieci libri, e corredata di carte geografiche, e di varie figure:
e dissertazioni sulla terra, sugli animali, e sugli abitatori del
Messico_,[1214] was published in four volumes at Cesena in 1780-1781.
He gives the names of thirty-nine Indian and Spanish writers who
had written upon the theme, and has something to say of the Mexican
historical paintings which he had examined. H. H. Bancroft esteems him
a leading authority,[1215] and says he rearranged the material in a
masterly manner, and invested it with a philosophic spirit, altogether
superior to anything presented till Prescott’s time.[1216] It is in his
third volume that Clavigero particularly treats of the Conquest, having
been employed on the earlier chronicles and the manners and customs of
the people in the first and second, while the fourth volume is made up
of particular dissertations. Clavigero was not without learning. He had
passed three years at the Jesuit College at Tepozotlan, and had taught
as a master in various branches. At Bologna, where he latterly lived,
he founded an academy; and here he died in 1787, leaving behind him a
_Storia della California_, published at Venice in 1789.[1217]

Fifteen years ago it was the opinion of Henry Stevens,[1218] that all
other books which have been elaborated since on the same subject,
instead of superseding Clavigero’s, have tended rather to magnify its

The most conspicuous treatment of the subject, in the minds of the
elders of the present generation, is doubtless that of Prescott, who
published his _Conquest of Mexico_ in 1843, dividing it into three
distinct parts,—the first showing a survey of the Aztec civilization;
the second depicting the Conquest; while the final period brought
down the life of Cortés to his death. Charton[1220] speaks of Solis
as a work “auquel le livre de Prescott a porté un dernier coup.”
Prescott was at great expense and care in amassing much manuscript
material never before used, chiefly in copies, which Rich and others
had procured for him, and he is somewhat minute in his citations from
them. They have since been in large part printed, and doubtless very
much more is at present accessible in type to the student than was in
Prescott’s day.[1221]

Prescott was of good New England stock, settled in Essex County,
Massachusetts, where (in Salem) he was born in 1796. His father
removed to Boston in 1808, and became a judge of one of the courts. A
mischance at Harvard, in a student’s frolic, deprived young Prescott
of the use of one eye; and the other became in time permanently
affected. Thus he subsequently labored at his historical studies under
great disadvantage,[1222] and only under favorable circumstances and
for short periods could he read for himself. In this way he became
dependent upon the assistance of secretaries, though he generally wrote
his early drafts by the aid of a noctograph.

[Illustration: WILLIAM H. PRESCOTT.

This cut follows an engraving in mezzotint in the _Eclectic Magazine_
(1858), and shows him using his noctograph. The likeness was thought
by his wife and sister (Mrs. Dexter) to be the best ever made, as Mr.
Arthur Dexter informs me. See other likenesses in Ticknor’s _Life of
Prescott_; _Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc._, iv. 167; and _N. E. Hist. and
Geneal. Reg._ (1868), p. 226.]

From 1826 to 1837 he was engaged on his _Ferdinand and Isabella_, and
this naturally led him to the study of his Mexican and Peruvian themes;
and Irving, who had embarked on them as a literary field, generously
abandoned his pursuit to the new and rising historian.[1223] The
_Conquest of Mexico_ appeared in 1843,[1224] and has long remained a
charming book, as fruitful in authority as the material then accessible
could make it.

In the Preface to his _Mexico_ Mr. Prescott tells of his success in
getting unpublished material, showing how a more courteous indulgence
was shown to him than Robertson had enjoyed. By favor of the Academy
of History in Madrid he got many copies of the manuscripts of Muñoz
and of Vargas y Ponçe, and he enjoyed the kind offices of Navarrete in
gathering this material. He mentions that, touching the kindred themes
of Mexico and Peru, he thus obtained the bulk of eight thousand folio
pages. From Mexico itself he gathered other appliances, and these
largely through the care of Alaman, the minister of foreign affairs,
and of Calderon de la Barca, the minister to Mexico from Spain. He also
acknowledges the courtesy of the descendants of Cortés in opening their
family archives; that of Sir Thomas Phillipps, whose manuscript stores
have become so famous, and the kindness of Ternaux-Compans.

To Mr. John Foster Kirk, who had been Prescott’s secretary, the
preparation of new editions of Prescott’s works was intrusted, and in
this series the _Mexico_ was republished in 1874. Kirk was enabled, as
Prescott himself had been in preparing for it, to make use of the notes
which Ramirez had added to the Spanish translation by Joaquin Navarro,
published in Mexico in 1844, and of those of Lúcas Alaman, attached to
another version, published also in Mexico.[1225]

Almost coincident with the death of Prescott, was published by a
chance Mr. Robert Anderson Wilson’s _New History of the Conquest of
Mexico_.[1226] Its views were not unexpected, and indeed Prescott had
been in correspondence[1227] with the author. His book was rather an
extravagant argument than a history, and was aimed to prove the utter
untrustworthiness of the ordinary chroniclers of the Conquest, charging
the conquerors with exaggerating and even creating the fabric of the
Aztec civilization, to enhance the effect which the overthrow of so
much splendor would have in Europe. To this end he pushes Cortés aside
as engrafting fable on truth for such a purpose, dismisses rather
wildly Bernal Diaz as a myth, and declares the picture-writings to be
Spanish fabrications. This view was not new, except in its excess of
zeal. Albert Gallatin had held a similar belief.[1228] Lewis Cass had
already seriously questioned, in the _North American Review_, October,
1840, the consistency of the Spanish historians. A previous work by
Mr. Wilson had already, indeed, announced his views, though less
emphatically. This book had appeared in three successive editions,—as
_Mexico and its Religion_ (New York, 1855); then as _Mexico, its
Peasants and its Priests_ (1856); and finally as _Mexico, Central
America, and California_.

It was easy to accuse Wilson of ignorance and want of candor,—for he
had laid himself open too clearly to this charge,—and Mr. Prescott’s
friend, Mr. George Ticknor, arraigned him in the _Mass. Hist. Soc.
Proc._, April, 1859.[1229] He reminded Wilson that he ought to have
known that Don Enrique de Vedia, who had published an edition of Bernal
Diaz in 1853, had cited Fuentes y Guzman, whose manuscript history of
Guatemala was before that editor, as referring in it to the manuscript
of Bernal Diaz (his great-grandfather), which was then in existence,—a
verity and no myth. Further than this, Brasseur de Bourbourg, who
chanced then to be in Boston, bore testimony that he had seen and used
the autograph manuscript of Bernal Diaz in the archives of Guatemala.

In regard to the credibility of the accounts which Prescott depends
upon, his editor,[1230] Mr. Kirk, has not neglected to cite the
language of Mr. E. B. Tylor, in his _Anahuac_,[1231] where he says,
respecting his own researches on the spot, that what he saw of Mexico
tended generally to confirm Prescott’s History, and but seldom to make
his statements appear improbable. The impeachment of the authorities,
which Wilson attacks, is to be successful, if at all, by other
processes than those he employs.

Meanwhile Arthur Helps,[1232] in tracing the rise of negro slavery
and the founding of colonial government in Spanish America, had
published his _Conquerors of the New World and their Bondsmen_ (London,
1848-1852),—a somewhat speculative essay, which, with enlargement of
purpose and more detail, resulted in 1855-1861 in the publication of
his _Spanish Conquest in America_, reprinted in New York in 1867. He
gives a glowing account of the Aztec civilization, and, excerpting the
chapters on the Conquest, he added some new details of the private
life of Cortés, and published it separately in 1871 as an account of
that leader, which is attractive as a biography, if not comprehensive
as a history of the Conquest. “Every page affords evidence of historic
lore,” says Field, “and almost every sentence glows with the warmth of
his philanthropy.”[1233] Helps has himself told the object and method
of his book, and it is a different sort of historical treatment from
all the others which we are passing in review. “To bring before the
reader, not conquest only, but the results of conquest; the mode of
colonial government which ultimately prevailed; the extirpation of
native races, the introduction of other races, the growth of slavery,
and the settlement of the _encomiendas_ on which all Indian society
depended,—has been the object of this history.”[1234]

Among the later works not in English we need not be detained long. The
two most noteworthy in French are the _Histoire des nations civilisées
du Mexique_ of Brasseur de Bourbourg, more especially mentioned on
another page, and Michel Chevalier’s _Mexique avant et pendant la
Conquête_, published at Paris in 1845.[1235] In German, Theodor
Arnim’s _Das Alte Mexico und die eroberung Neu Spaniens durch Cortes_,
Leipsic, 1865, is a reputable book.[1236] In Spanish, beside the _Vida
de Cortés_ given by Icazbalceta in his _Coleccion_, vol. i. p. 309,
there is the important work of Lúcas Alaman, the _Disertaciones sobre
la Historia de la República Mejicana_, published at Mexico in three
volumes in 1844-1849, which is a sort of introduction to his _Historia
de Méjico_, in five volumes, published in 1849-1852.[1237] He added
not a little in his appendixes from the archives of Simancas, and the
latter book is considered the best of the histories in Spanish. In 1862
Francisco Carbajal Espinosa’s _Historia de México_, bringing the story
down from the earliest times, was begun in Mexico. Bancroft calls it
pretentious, and mostly borrowed from Clavigero.[1238]

Returning to the English tongue, in which the story of Mexico has been
so signally told more than once from the time of Robertson, we find
still the amplest contribution in the _History of Mexico_, a part of
the extended series of the _History of the Pacific States_, published
under the superintendence of Hubert H. Bancroft. Of Bancroft and these
books mention is made in another place. The _Mexico_ partakes equally
of the merits and demerits attaching to his books and their method. It
places the student under more obligations than any of the histories of
the Conquest which have gone before, though one tires of the strained
and purely extraneous classical allusions,—which seem to have been
affected by his staff, or by some one on it, during the progress of
this particular book of the series.

=G.= YUCATAN.—With the subsequent subjugation of Yucatan Cortés had
nothing to do. Francisco de Montejo had been with Grijalva when he
landed at Cozumel on the Yucatan coast, and with Cortés when he touched
at the same island on his way to Mexico. After the fall of the Aztecs,
Montejo was the envoy whom Cortés sent to Spain, and while there the
Emperor commissioned him (Nov. 17, 1526) to conduct a force for the
settlement of the peninsula. Early in 1527 Montejo left Spain with
Alonso de Avila as second in command. For twenty years and more the
conquest went on, with varying success. At one time not a Spaniard
was left in the country. No revolts of the natives occurred after
1547, when the conquest may be considered as complete. The story
is told with sufficient fulness in Bancroft’s _Mexico_.[1239] The
main sources of our information are the narrative of Bernal Diaz,
embodying the reports of eye-witnesses, and the histories of Oviedo
and Herrera. Bancroft[1240] gives various incidental references. The
more special authorities, however, are the _Historia de Yucathan_ of
Diego Lopez Cogolludo, published at Madrid in 1688,[1241] who knew how
to use miracles for his reader’s sake, and who had the opportunity of
consulting most that had been written, and all that had been printed
up to his time. He closes his narrative in 1665.[1242] The Bishop of
Yucatan, Diego de Landa, in his _Relation des choses de Yucatan_, as
the French translation terms it, has left us the only contemporary
Spanish document of the period of the Conquest. The book is of more
interest in respect to the Maya civilization than as to the progress
of the Spanish domination. It was not printed till it was edited by
Brasseur de Bourbourg, with an introduction, and published in Paris in

Landa was born in 1524, and was one of the first of his Order to
come to Yucatan, where he finally became Bishop of Mérida in 1572,
and died in 1579. Among the books commonly referred to for the later
period is the first part (the second was never published) of Juan de
Villagutierre Sotomayor’s _Historia de la Conquista de la provincia de
el Itza_, etc., Madrid, 1701. It deals somewhat more with the spiritual
and the military conquests, but writers find it important.[1244]

The latest English history of the peninsula is that by Charles St.
J. Fancourt, _History of Yucatan_, London, 1854;[1245] but a more
extended, if less agreeable, book is Ancona’s _Historia de Yucatan
desde la época mas remota hasta nuestros dias_, published at Mérida
in four volumes in 1878-1880. It gives references which will be found

=H.= BIBLIOGRAPHY OF MEXICO.—The earliest special bibliography of
Mexico of any moment is that which, under the title of _Catalogo de sa
museo historico Indiano_, is appended to Boturini Benaduci’s _Idea de
una nueva historia general de la America septentrional_ (Madrid, 1746),
which was the result of eight years’ investigations into the history of
Mexico. He includes a list of books, maps, and manuscripts, of which
the last remnants in 1853 were in the Museo Nacional in Mexico.[1247]
Of the list of New Spain authors by Eguiara y Eguren, only a small part
was published in 1755 as _Bibliotheca Mexicana_.[1248] It was intended
to cover all authors born in New Spain; but though he lived to arrange
the work through the letter J, only A, B, and C were published. All
titles are translated into Latin. Its incompleteness renders the
bibliographical parts of Maneiro’s _De Vitis Mexicanorum_ (1791)
more necessary, and makes Beristain’s _Bibliotheca Hispano-Americano
Septentrional_,[1249] of three volumes, published at Mexico in 1816,
1819, and 1821, of more importance than it would otherwise be.
Beristain, also, only partly finished his work; but a nephew completed
the publication. It has become rare; and its merits are not great,
though its notices number 3,687.

Of more use to the student of the earlier history, however, is the
list which Clavigero gives in his _Storia del Messico_ published in
1780. A Jesuit, and a collector, having a book-lover’s keen scent, he
surpassed all writers on the theme who had preceded him, in amassing
the necessary stores for his special use. Since his day the field has
been surveyed more systematically both by the general and special
bibliographers. The student of early Spanish-Mexican history will of
course not forget the help which he can get from general bibliographers
like Brunet, from the _Dictionary_ of Sabin, the works of Ternaux and
Harrisse, the _Carter-Brown Catalogue_, not to speak of other important
library catalogues.

The sale catalogues are not without assistance. Principal among them
are the collections which had been formed by the Emperor Maximilian of
Mexico,—which was sold in Leipsic in 1869 as the collection of José
Maria Andrade,[1250]—and the _Bibliotheca Mexicana_ formed by José
Fernando Ramirez, which was sold in London in 1880.[1251]

All other special collections on Mexico have doubtless been surpassed
by that which has been formed in San Francisco by Mr. Hubert Howe
Bancroft, as a component part of his library pertaining to the
western slope of America. Lists of such titles have been prefixed to
his histories of _Central America_ and of _Mexico_, and are to be
supplemented by others as his extended work goes on. He has explained,
in his preface to his _Mexico_ (p. viii), the wealth of his manuscript
stores; and it is his custom, as it was Prescott’s, to append to his
chapters, and sometimes to passages of the text, considerable accounts,
with some bibliographical detail, of the authorities with which he
deals.[1252] Helps, though referring to his authorities, makes no such
extended references to them.[1253]





THE cartographical history of the Pacific coast of North America is
one of shadowy and unstable surmise long continued.[1254] The views of
Columbus and his companions, as best shown in the La Cosa and Ruysch
maps,[1255] precluded, for a considerable time after the coming of
Europeans, the possibility of the very existence of such a coast; since
their Asiatic theory of the new-found lands maintained with more or
less modification a fitful existence for a full century after Columbus.
In many of the earliest maps the question was avoided by cutting
off the westerly extension of the new continent by the edge of the
sheet;[1256] but the confession of that belief was still made sometimes
in other ways, as when, in the Portuguese _portolano_, which is placed
between 1516 and 1520, Mahometan flags are placed on the coasts of
Venezuela and Nicaragua.[1257]

In 1526 a rare book of the monk Franciscus, _De orbis situ ac
descriptione Francisci epistola_,[1258] contained a map which
represented South America as a huge island disjoined from the Asiatic
coast by a strait in the neighborhood of Tehuantepec, with the legend,
“Hoc orbis hemisphærium cedit regi Hispaniæ.”[1259] A few years later
we find two other maps showing this Asiatic connection,—one of which,
the Orontius Finæus globe, is well known, and is the earliest engraved
map showing a return to the ideas of Columbus. It appeared in the Paris
edition of the _Novus Orbis_ of Simon Grynæus, in 1532,[1260] and was
made the previous year. It is formed on a cordiform projection, and
is entitled “Nova et integra universi orbis descriptio.” It is more
easily understood by a reference to Mr. Brevoort’s reduction of it
to Mercator’s projection, as shown in another volume.[1261] The same
map, with a change in the inserted type dedication, appeared in the
Pomponius Mela of 1540,[1262] and it is said also to be found much
later in the _Geografia_ of Lafreri published at Rome, 1554-1572.

[Illustration: SLOANE MANUSCRIPTS, 1530.

This follows a drawing in Kohl’s Washington Collection.]

[Illustration: RUSCELLI, 1544.

This follows a sketch given by Dr. Kohl in his _Discovery of Maine_,
pl. xv., which is also copied in Bancroft’s _Central America_, vol. i.
p. 148. Cf. Lelewel, p. 170; Peschel, _Geschichte der Erdkunde_ (1865),
p. 371.]

The other of the two maps already referred to belongs to a manuscript,
_De Principiis Astronomiæ_, preserved in the British Museum among the
Sloane manuscripts.[1263] It closely resembles the Finæus map. The
authorities place it about 1530, or a little later. In 1533, in his
_Opusculum Geographicum_, Schöner maintained that the city of Mexico
was the Quinsay of Marco Polo; and about the same time Francis I., in
commissioning Cartier for his explorations, calls the St. Lawrence
valley a part of Asia.

What is known as the Nancy Globe preserved the same idea, as will be
seen by the sketch of it annexed, which follows an engraving published
in the _Compte Rendu_ of the Congrès des Américanistes.[1264]

[Illustration: THE NANCY GLOBE.]

The same view is maintained in a manuscript map of Ruscelli, the
Italian geographer, preserved in the British Museum. Perhaps the
earliest instance of a connection of America and Europe, such as
Ruscelli here imagines, is the map of “Schondia,” which Ziegler the
Bavarian published in his composite work at Strasburg in 1532,[1265]
in which it will be observed he makes “Bacallaos” a part of Greenland,
preserving the old notion prevailing before Columbus, as shown in the
maps of the latter part of the fifteenth century, that Greenland was in
fact a prolongation of northwestern Europe, as Ziegler indicates at the
top of his map, the western half of which only is here reproduced.

[Illustration: ZIEGLER’S SCHONDIA, 1532.

This is a fac-simile made from Mr. Charles Deane’s (formerly the
Murphy) copy. Cf. Dr. A. Breusing’s _Leitfaden durch das Wiegenalter
der Kartographie bis zum Jahre 1600_, Frankfurt a. M., 1883, p. 11.]

In this feature, as in others, there is a resemblance in these maps of
Ziegler and Ruscelli to two maps by Jacopo Gastaldi, “le coryphée des
géographes de péninsule italique,” as Lelewel[1266] calls him. These
maps appeared in the first Italian edition of Ptolemy, published at
Venice in 1548.[1267]

The first (no. 59), inscribed “Dell’universale nuova,” is an elliptical
projection of the globe, showing a union of America and Asia, somewhat
different in character of contour from that represented in the other
(no. 60), a “Carta Marina Universale,” of which an outline sketch is

[Illustration: CARTA MARINA, 1548.

The key is as follows:

  1. Norvegia.
  2. Laponia.
  3. Gronlandia.
  4. Tierra del Labrador.
  5. Tierra del Bacalaos.
  6. La Florida.
  7. Nueva Hispania.
  8. Mexico.
  9. India Superior.
  10. La China.
  11. Ganges.
  12. Samatra.
  13. Java.
  14. Panama.
  15. Mar del Sur.
  16. El Brasil.
  17. El Peru.
  18. Strecho de Fernande Magalhaes.
  19. Tierra del Fuego.

This map is also reproduced in Nordenskiöld’s _Bröderna Zenos_,
Stockholm, 1883.]

[Illustration: VOPELLIO, 1556.

(_Reduction of western half._)]

This same map was adopted (as no. 2) by Ruscelli in the edition of
Ptolemy which he published at Venice in 1561,[1268] though in the
“Orbis descriptio” (no. 1) of that edition Ruscelli hesitates to accept
the Asiatic theory and indicates a “littus incognitum,” as Gastaldi did
in the map which he made for Ramusio in 1550.


Wuttke[1269] has pointed out two maps preserved in the Palazzo Riccardi
at Florence, which belong to about the year 1550, and show a similar
Asiatic connection.[1270] The map of Gaspar Vopellius, or Vopellio
(1556), also extended the California coast to the Ganges. It appeared
in connection with Girava’s _Dos Libros de Cosmographia_, Milan,
1556,[1271] but when a new titlepage was given to the same sheets in
1570, it is doubtful if the map was retained, though Sabin says it
should have the map.[1272] The Italian cartographer, Paulo de Furlani,
made a map in 1560, which according to Kohl is preserved in the
British Museum. It depicts Chinamen and elephants in the region of the
Mississippi Valley.

[Illustration: PAULO DE FURLANI’S MAP, 1560.

The key is this:

  1. Oceano settentrionale.
  2. Canada.
  3. panaman.
  4. Mexico.
  5. s. tomas.
  6. Nova Ispania.
  7. Cipola.
  8. Le sete cita.
  9. Topira.
  10. tontontean.
  11. Zangar.
  12. Tebet.
  13. Quisai.
  14. Cimpaga.
  15. Golfo de Tonza.
  16. Ys. de las ladrones.
  17. mangi.
  18. mar de la china.]

From Kohl’s sketch, preserved in his manuscript in the library of the
American Antiquarian Society, the annexed outline is drawn. Furlani
is reported to have received it from a Spanish nobleman, Don Diego
Hermano, of Toledo.[1273] The connection with Asia is again adhered
to in Johannes Myritius’s _Opusculum geographicum_, where the map is
dated 1587, though the book was published at Ingolstadt in 1590.[1274]
Just at this time Livio Sanuto, in his _Geografia distinta_ (Venice,
1588), was disputing the Asiatic theory on the ground that the Mexicans
would not have shown surprise at horses in Cortés’ time, if they had
formerly been inhabitants of a continent like Asia, where horses are
common. Perhaps the latest use of the type of map shown in the “Carta
Marina” of 1548 was just a half century later, in 1598, in an edition
of Ortelius, _Il Theatro del mondo_, published at Brescia. The belief
still lingered for many years yet in some quarters; and Thomas Morton
in 1636 showed that in New England it was not yet decided whether
the continent of America did not border upon the country of the
Tartars.[1275] Indeed, the last trace of the assumption was not blown
away till Behring in 1728 passed from the Pacific to the Arctic seas.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such is in brief the history of the inception and decline of the belief
in the prolongation of Asia over against Spain, as Toscanelli had
supposed in 1474, and as had been suspected by geographers at intervals
since the time of Eratosthenes.[1276] The beginning of the decline of
such belief is traced to the movements of Cortés. Balboa in 1513 by his
discovery of the South Sea, later to be called the Pacific Ocean,[1277]
had established the continental form of South America, whose limits
southward were fixed by Magellan in 1520; but it was left for Cortés to
begin the exploration to the north which Behring consummated.

After the Congress of Badajos had resolved to effect a search for a
passage through the American barrier to the South Sea, the news of
such a determination was not long in reaching Cortés in Mexico, and
we know from his fourth letter, dated Oct. 15, 1524, that it had
already reached him, and that he had decided to take part in the
quest himself by despatching an expedition towards the Baccalaos on
the hither side; while he strove also to connect with the discoveries
of Magellan on the side of the South Sea.[1278] Cortés had already
been led in part by the reports of Balboa’s discovery, and in part by
the tidings which were constantly reaching him of a great sea in the
direction of Tehuantepec, to establish a foothold on its coast, as the
base for future maritime operations. So his explorers had found a fit
spot in Zacatula, and thither he had sent colonists and shipwrights to
establish a town and build a fleet,[1279] the Emperor meanwhile urging
him speedily to use the vessels in a search for the coveted strait,
which would open a shorter passage than Magellan had found to the
Spice Islands.[1280] But Cortés’ attention was soon distracted by his
Honduras expedition, and nothing was done till he returned from that
march, when he wrote to the Emperor, Sept. 3, 1526, offering to conduct
his newly built fleet to the Moluccas.

[Illustration: THE PACIFIC, 1513.

Kohl gives this old Portuguese chart of the Pacific in his Washington
Collection, after an original preserved in the military archives
at Munich, which was, as he thinks possible, made by some pilot
accompanying Antonio da Miranda de Azevedo, who conducted a Portuguese
fleet to the Moluccas in 1513 to join the earlier expedition (1511)
under D’Abreu and Serraō. A legend at Maluca marks these islands as
the place “where the cloves grow,” while the group south of them is
indicated as the place “where nutmegs grow.” The coast on the right
must stand for the notion then prevailing of the main of America, which
was barring the Spanish progress from the east.

Of the early maps of the Moluccas, there is one by Baptista Agnese in
his _portolano_ of 1536, preserved in the British Museum; one by Diego.
Homem in a similar atlas, dated 1558, likewise in the Museum; and one
of 1568, by J. Martines. Copies of these are all included in Kohl’s
Washington Collection.]

But two other fleets were already on the way thither,—one under Garcia
de Loaysa which left Spain in August, 1525, and the other under
Sebastian Cabot, who stopped on the way at La Plata, had left in April,
1526. So Cortés finally received orders to join with his fleet that of
Loaysa, who had indeed died on his voyage, and of his vessels only one
had reached the Moluccas. Another, however, had sought a harbor not far
from Zacatula, and had brought Cortés partial tidings at least of the
mishaps of Loaysa’s undertaking.[1281] What information the rescued
crew could give was made use of, and Cortés, bearing the whole expense,
for a reimbursement of which he long sued the home Government, sent out
his first expedition on the Pacific, under the command of his cousin
Alvaro de Saavedra Ceron, armed with letters for Cabot, whose delay
at La Plata was not suspected, and with missives for sundry native
potentates of the Spice Islands and that region.[1282]

After an experimental trip up the coast, in July, 1527,[1283] two
larger vessels and a brigantine set sail Oct. 31, 1527. But mishap was
in store. Saavedra alone reached the Moluccas, the two other vessels
disappearing forever. He found there a remnant of Loaysa’s party, and,
loading his ship with cloves, started to return, but died midway, when
the crew headed their ship again for the Moluccas, where they fell at
last into Portuguese prisons, only eight of them finally reaching Spain
in 1534.

It will be remembered that the Portuguese, following in the track of
Vasco da Gama, had pushed on beyond the great peninsula of India, and
had reached the Moluccas in 1511, where they satisfied themselves, if
their longitude was substantially correct, that there was a long space
intervening yet before they would confront the Spaniards, pursuing
their westerly route. It was not quite so certain, however, whether
the line of papal demarcation, which had finally been pushed into the
mid-ocean westerly from the Azores, would on this opposite side of
the globe give these islands to Spain or to themselves. The voyage of
Magellan, as we shall see, seemed to bring the solution near; and if
we may believe Scotto, the Genoese geographer, at about the same date
(1520) the Portuguese had crossed the Pacific easterly and struck our
northwest coast.[1284] The mishaps of Loaysa and Saavedra, as well as
a new understanding between the rival crowns of the Iberian peninsula,
closed the question rather abruptly through a sale in 1529—the treaty
of Saragossa—by Spain, for 350,000 ducats, to Portugal of all her
rights to the Moluccas under the bull of demarcation.[1285]

Cortés, on his return from Spain (1530), resolved to push his
discoveries farther up the coast. The Spaniards had now occupied
Tehuantepec, Acapulco, and Zacatula on the sea, and other Spaniards
were also to be found at Culiacan, just within the Gulf of California
on its eastern shore. The political revolutions in Cortés’ absence had
caused the suspension of work on a new fleet, and Cortés was obliged to
order the construction of another; and the keels of two were laid at
Tehuantepec, and two others at Acapulco. In the early part of 1532 they
were launched, and in May or June two ships started under Hurtado de
Mendoza, with instructions which are preserved to us. It is a matter
of doubt just how far he went,[1286] and both vessels were lost. Nuño
de Guzman, who held the region to the north,[1287] obstructed their
purpose by closing his harbors to them and refusing succor; and Cortés
was thus made to feel the deadliness of his rivalry. The conqueror
now himself repaired to Tehuantepec, and superintended in person,
working with his men, the construction of two other ships. These, the
“San Lazaro” and “Concepcion,” under Diego Becerra, left port on the
29th of October, 1533, and being blown to sea, they first saw land in
the latitude of 29° 30´ north on the 18th of December, when, coasting
south and east, they developed the lower parts of the Californian
peninsula. Mutiny, and attacks of the natives, during one of which the
chief pilot Ximenes was killed, were the hapless accompaniments of the
undertaking, and during stress of weather the vessels were separated.
The “San Lazaro” finally returned to Acapulco, but the “Concepcion”
struggled in a crippled condition into a port within Guzman’s province,
where the ship was seized. A quarrel ensued before the _Audiencia_,
Cortés seeking to recover his vessel; but he prospered little in his
suit, and was driven to undertake another expedition under his own
personal lead. Sending three armed vessels up the coast to Chiametla,
where Guzman had seized the “Concepcion,” Cortés went overland himself,
accompanied by a force which Guzman found it convenient to avoid. Here
he joined his vessels and sailed away with a part of his land forces to
the west; and on the 1st of May, 1535, he landed at the Bay of Santa
Cruz, where Ximenes had been killed. What parts of the lower portion
of the Californian peninsula Cortés now coasted we know from his map,
preserved in the Spanish Archives,[1288] which accompanied the account
of his taking possession of the new land of Santa Cruz, “discovered by
Cortés, May 3, 1535,” as the paper reads. The point of occupation seems
to have been the modern La Paz, called by him Santa Cruz. The notary’s
account of the act of possession goes on to say,[1289]—

 “On the third day of May, in the year of our Lord 1535, on the said
 day, it may be at the hour of noon, be the same less or more, the
 very illustrious Lord don Hernando Cortés, Marquis of the Valley of
 Guaxaca, Captain-general of New Spain and of the Southern Sea for his
 Majesty, etc., arrived in a port and bay of a country newly discovered
 in the same Southern Sea, with a ship and armament of the said Lord
 Marquis, at which said port his Lordship arrived with ships and men,
 and landed on the earth with his people and horses; and standing on
 the shore of the sea there, in presence of me Martin de Castro, notary
 of their Majesties and notary of the Administration of the said Lord
 Marquis, and in presence of the required witnesses, the said Lord
 Marquis spoke aloud and said that he, in the name of His Majesty, and
 in virtue of his royal provision, and in fulfilment of His Majesty’s
 instructions regarding discovery in the said Southern Sea, had
 discovered with his ship and armament the said land, and that he had
 come with his armament and people to take possession of it.”

Finding his men and horses insufficient for the purposes of the colony
which he intended to establish, Cortés despatched orders to the main
for assistance, and, pending its arrival, coursed up the easterly
side of the gulf, and opportunely fell in with one of his vessels,
much superior to his own brigantine. So he transferred his flag, and,
returning to Santa Cruz, brought relief to an already famishing colony.

News reaching him of the appointment of Mendoza as viceroy, Cortés
felt he had greater stake in Mexico, and hurriedly returned.[1290]
Not despairing of better success in another trial, and spurred on by
indications that the new viceroy would try to anticipate him, he got
other vessels, and, putting Francisco de Ulloa in charge, despatched
them (July 8, 1539) before Guzman’s plan for their detention could be
put into execution. Ulloa proceeded up the gulf nearly to its head, and
satisfied himself that no practicable water passage, at least, could
bring him to the ocean in that direction, as Cortés had supposed.[1291]
Ulloa now turned south, and following the easterly coast of the
peninsula rounded its extremity, and coursed it northerly to about 28°
north latitude, without finding any cut-off on that side. So he argued
for its connection with the main.[1292]


And here Cortés’ connection with discoveries on the Pacific ends; for
Mendoza, who had visions of his own, thwarted him in all subsequent
attempts, till finally Cortés himself went to Spain. The name which his
captains gave to the gulf, the Sea of Cortés, failed to abide. It grew
to be generally called the Red Sea, out of some fancied resemblance, as
Wytfliet says, to the Red Sea of the Old World. This appellation was
supplanted in turn by the name of California, which, it is contended,
was given to the peninsula by Cortés himself.[1293]

The oldest map which we were supposed to possess of these explorations
about the gulf,[1294] before Dr. Hale brought the one, already
mentioned, from Spain, was that of Castillo, of which a fac-simile is
herewith given as published by Lorenzana in 1770, at Mexico, in his
_Historia de Nueva España_. Castillo was the pilot of the expedition,
sent by Mendoza to co-operate by sea with the famous expedition of
Coronado,[1295] and which the viceroy put under the command of Hernando
d’Alarcon. The fleet, sailing in May, 1540, reached the head of the
gulf, and Alarcon ascended the Colorado in boats; but Marcou[1296]
thinks he could not have gone up to the great cañon, which however he
must have reached if his supposed latitude of 36° is correct. He failed
to open communication with Coronado, but buried some letters under a
cross, which one of that leader’s lieutenants subsequently found.[1297]

[Illustration: CASTILLO’S MAP, 1541.

This map is marked “Domingo del Castillo, piloto me fecit en Mexico,
año del nacimiento de N. S. Jesu Christo de M. D. XLI.” Bancroft,
_Central America_, vol. i. p. 153, gives a sketch of this map, and
again in _North Mexican States_, i. 81; but he carries the outer coast
of the peninsula too far to the west.]

In 1542 and 1543 an expedition which started under Juan Rodriguez
Cabrillo, a Portuguese in the Spanish service, explored the coast as
far as 44° north,[1298] reaching that point by coasting from 33°, where
he struck the land. He made a port which he calls San Miguel, which
Bancroft is inclined to believe is San Diego; but the accounts are
too confused to track him confidently,[1299] and it is probable that
Cabrillo’s own vessel did not get above 38°, for Cabrillo himself died
Jan. 3, 1543, his chief pilot, Ferrelo (or Ferrer), continuing the
explorations.[1300] Bancroft does not think that the pilot passed north
of Cape Mendocino in 40° 26´.

Thus from the time when Balboa discovered the South Sea, the Spanish
had taken thirty years to develop the coast northerly, to the latitude
of Oregon. In this distance they had found nothing of the Straits of
Anian, which, if Humboldt[1301] is correct, had begun to take form in
people’s minds ever since Cortereal, in 1500, had supposed Hudson’s
Straits to be the easterly entrance of a westerly passage.[1302]

[Illustration: HOMEM, ABOUT 1540.

This follows Kohl’s drawing, of which a portion is also given in his
_Discovery of Maine_, p. 298. It is evidently of a later date than
another of his in which the west coast is left indefinite, and which
is assigned to about 1530. In the present map he apparently embodied
Cabot’s discoveries in the La Plata, but had not heard of Orellana’s
exploration of the Amazon in 1542; though he had got news of it when
he made his map of 1558. A marked peculiarity of the map is the
prolongation of northwestern Europe as “Terra Nova,” which probably
means Greenland,—a view entertained before Columbus.]

There seems to have been a general agreement among cartographers
for some years yet to consider the newly discovered California as
a peninsula, growing out of the concurrent testimony of those who,
subsequent to Cortés’ own expedition, had tracked both the gulf and
the outer coast. The Portuguese map given by Kunstmann[1303] shows it
as such, though the map cannot be so early as that geographer places
its anterior limit (1530), since the development of the gulf could
not have been made earlier than 1535; unless by chance there were
explorations from the Moluccas, of which we have no record. The map
in this part bears a close resemblance to a manuscript chart in the
British Museum, placed about 1536, and it seems probable that this is
the approximate date of that in Kunstmann. The California peninsula is
shown in much the same way in a map which Major ascribes to Baptista
Agnese, and places under 1539.[1304] It belongs (pl. iv.) to what has
been sometimes spoken of as an atlas of Philip II. inscribed to Charles
V., but in fact it was given to Philip by Charles.[1305] Its essential
features were almost exactly reproduced in a draft of the New World
(preserved in the British Museum) assigned to about 1540, and held to
be the work of the Portuguese hydrographer Homem.

Apian[1306] and Münster[1307] in 1540, and Mercator in 1541,[1308]
while boldly delineating a coast which extends farther north than
Cabrillo had reached in 1542, wholly ignore this important feature. Not
so, however, Sebastian Cabot in his famous Mappemonde of 1544, as will
be seen by the annexed sketch. The idea of Münster, as embodied in his
edition of Ptolemy in 1540,[1309] already referred to, was continued
without essential change in the Basle edition of Ptolemy in 1545.[1310]
In 1548 the “carta marina” of Gastaldi as shown on a previous
page,[1311] clearly defined the peninsula, while merging the coast line
above into that of Asia. The peninsula was also definitely marked in
several of the maps preserved in the Riccardi palace at Florence, which
are supposed to be of about the middle of the sixteenth century.[1312]

[Illustration: CABOT, 1544.

Sketched from a photograph of the original mappemonde in the great
library at Paris.]

In the map of Juan Freire, 1546, we have a development of the coast
northward from the peninsula, for which it is not easy to account;
and the map is peculiar in other respects. The annexed sketch of it
follows Kohl’s drawing of an old _portolano_, which he took from the
original while it was in the possession of Santarem. Freire, who was
a Portuguese hydrographer, calls it a map of the Antipodes, a country
discovered by Columbus, the Genoese. It will be observed that about
the upper lake we have the name “Bimini regio,” applied to Florida
after the discovery of Ponce de Leon, because of the supposition that
the fountain of youth existed thereabout. The coasts on both sides of
the gulf are described as the discovery of Cortés. There seems to be
internal evidence that Freire was acquainted with the reports of Ulloa
and Alarcon, and the chart of Castillo; but it is not so clear whence
he got the material for his draft of the more westerly portions of the
coast, which, it will be observed, are given much too great a westerly
trend. The names upon it do not indicate any use of Cabrillo’s reports;
though from an inscription upon this upper coast Freire credits its
discovery to the Spaniards, under orders from the emperor, conducted by
one Villalobos. Kohl could not find any mention of such an explorer,
but conjectured he was perhaps the one who before Cabrillo, as Herrera
mentions, had named a river somewhere near 30° north latitude “Rio
de Nuestra Señora,” and which Cabrillo sought. Kohl also observes
that though the coast line is continuous, there are places upon it
marked “land not seen,” with notes of its being again seen west of
such places; and from this he argues that the expedition went up and
not down the coast. It not unlikely had some connection with the
fleet which Ruy Lopez de Villalobos conducted under Mendoza’s orders,
in November, 1542, across the Pacific to the islands on the Asiatic

[Illustration: FREIRE, 1546.

This is sketched from a drawing in the Kohl Collection at Washington.]

[Illustration: PTOLEMY, 1548.


  1. Basos.
  2. Ancoras.
  3. p^o. balenas.
  4. S. Tomas.
  5. C:+
  6. Mar Vermeio.
  7. b: canoas.
  8. p^o. secōdido.
  9. R. tontonteanc.
  10. p^o. tabursa.
  11. puercos.
  12. s. franc^o.
  13. b: de s.+
  14. Vandras.
  15. Ciguata.
  16. s. tiago.

In 1554 Agnese again depicts the gulf, but does not venture upon
drawing the coast above the peninsula, which in turn in the Vopellio
map of 1556,[1314] and in that in Ramusio the same year,[1315] is
made much broader, the gulf indenting more nearly at a right angle.
The Homem map of 1558, preserved in the British Museum, returns to
the more distinctive peninsula,[1316] though it is again somewhat
broadened in the Martines map of about the same date, which also is of
interest as establishing a type of map for the shores of the northern
Pacific, and for prefiguring Behring’s Straits, which we shall later
frequently meet. Mention has already been made of the Furlani map of
1560 for its Asiatic connections, while it still clearly defined the
California peninsula.[1317] The Ruscelli map in the Ptolemy of 1561
again preserves the peninsula, while marking the more northerly coasts
with a dotted line, in its general map of the New World; but the “Mar
Vermeio” in its map of “Nueva Hispania” is the type of the gulf given
in the 1548 edition. The Martines type again appears in the Zaltieri
map of 1566, which is thought to be the earliest engraved map to show
the Straits of Anian.[1318]

[Illustration: MARTINES, 155-(?).

This sketch follows a copy by Kohl (Washington Collection) of the
general map of the world, contained in a manuscript vellum atlas in
the British Museum (no. 9,814), from the collection of the Duke de
Cassano Serra. It is elaborately executed with miniatures and figures.
The language of the map is chiefly Italian, with some Spanish traces.
Kohl believes it to be the work of Joannes Martines, the same whose
atlas of 1578 is also in the Museum, and whose general map (1578)
agrees in latitudes and other particulars with this. The present one
lacks degrees of longitude, which the 1578 map has, as well as the name
“America,” wanting also in this. Kohl places it not long after the
middle of the sixteenth century. In the _Catalogue of Manuscript Maps_,
i. 29, the atlas of 1578 is mentioned as containing the following
numbers relating to America: 1. The world. 2. The two hemispheres. 3.
The world in gores. 10. West coast of America. 11. Coast of Mexico.
12-13. South America. 14. Gulf of Mexico. 15. Part of the east coast of
North America.

In the Museum manuscripts, no. 22,018, is a _portolano_ by Martines,
dated 1579; and another, of date 1582, is entered in the 1844 edition
of the _Catalogue of Manuscript Maps_, i. 31. Kohl’s Washington
Collection includes two Martines maps of 1578.]

The manuscript map of Diegus (Homem) of 1568, in the Royal Library
in Dresden, gives the peninsula, but turns the more northerly coast
abruptly to the east, connecting it with the archipelago, which stands
for the St. Lawrence in his map of 1558.[1319]

The great Mappemonde of Mercator, published at Duisburg in 1569, in
which he introduced his new projection,[1320] as will be seen by the
annexed sketch,[1321] keeps to the Martines type; and while it depicts
the Straits of Anian, it renders uncertain, by interposing a vignette,
the passage by the north from the Atlantic to the Pacific.[1322] The
next year Ortelius followed the same type in his _Theatrum orbis
terrarum_,—the prototype of the modern atlas.[1323]

A similar western coast[1324] is defined by Porcacchi, in his _L’ isole
piu famose del mondo_, issued at Venice in 1572.[1325]

The peninsula of California, but nothing north of it, is again
delineated in a Spanish mappemonde of 1573, shown in Lelewel.[1326] The
Mercator type is followed in the maps which are dated 1574, but which
appeared in the _Theatri orbis terrarum enchiridion_ of Philippus
Gallæus, published at Antwerp in 1585.[1327]

[Illustration: ZALTIERI, 1566.

It was published at Venice, and was in part followed by Ortelius in
1570. It is also sketched in Vol. IV. p. 93.]

In the same year the Italian cartographer Furlani, or Forlani, showed
how he had advanced from the views which he held in 1560, in a map of
the northern Pacific, which is annexed.[1328] It is the earliest map in
which Japan has been noted as having its greatest length east and west;
for Ortelius and others always give it an extension on the line of the

[Illustration: MERCATOR, 1569.]

Sir Humphrey Gilbert’s map in 1576 gives the straits, but he puts
“Anian” on the Asiatic side, and does not indicate the Gulf of
California, unless a forked bay in 35° stands for it.[1329] The map in
Best’s Frobisher makes the Straits of Anian connect with “Frobisher’s
straightes” to give a through passage from ocean to ocean, and depicts
a distorted California peninsula.[1330]

Mention has already been made on a previous page of a Martines map of
1578. It has a similar configuration to that already shown as probably
the earliest instance of its type.

[Illustration: PORCACCHI, 1572.]

Of the explorations of Francis Drake in 1579 we have no cartographical
record, except as it may be embodied in the globe of Molineaux,
preserved in the Middle Temple, London, which is dated 1592, and in the
map of the same cartographer, dated 1600.[1331] Molineaux seemingly
made use of the results of Cabrillo’s voyage, as indicated by the
Spanish names placed along the coast. It was one of the results of
Drake’s voyage that the coast line of upper California took a more
northerly trend. The map of Dr. Dee (1580) evidently embodied the views
of the Spanish hydrographers.[1332]

In 1582 Popellinière[1333] repeated the views of Mercator and Ortelius;
but in England Michael Lok in this same year began to indicate the
incoming of more erroneous views.[1334] The California gulf is carried
north to 45°, where a narrow strip separates it from a vague northern
sea, the western extension of the sea of Verrazano.

[Illustration: MAP OF PAULO DE FURLANI, 1574.

Furlani is said to have received this map from a Spaniard, Don Diego
Hermano de Toledo, in 1574. The sketch is made from the drawing in
Kohl’s manuscript in the American Antiquarian Society Library. The key
is as follows:

  1. Mare incognito.
  2. Stretto di Anian.
  3. Quivir.
  4. Golfo di Anian.
  5. Anian regnum.
  6. Quisau.
  7. Mangi Prov.
  8. Mare de Mangi.
  9. Isola di Giapan.
  10. Y. de Cedri.]

[Illustration: FROM MOLINEAUX’S GLOBE, 1592.

This is sketched from a draught in the Kohl Collection. Cf. Vol. III.
pp. 196, 212. The dotted line indicates the track of Drake. There has
been much controversy over the latitude of Drake’s extreme northing,
fixed, as it will be seen in this map, at about 48°, which is the
statement of the _World Encompassed_, and by the _Famous Voyage_, at
43°. The two sides were espoused warmly and respectively by Greenhow
in his _Oregon and California_, and by Travers Twiss in his _Oregon
Question_, during the dispute between the United States and Great
Britain about the Oregon boundary. Bancroft (_Northwest Coast_, vol. i.
p. 144), who presents the testimony, is inclined to the lower latitude.]

After the Spaniards had succeeded, in opposition to the Portuguese,
in establishing a regular commerce between Acapulco and Manilla
(Philippine Islands), the trade-winds conduced to bring upper
California into better knowledge. The easterly trades carried their
outward-bound vessels directly west; but they compelled them to make
a détour northward on their return, by which they also utilized the
same Japanese current which brought the Chinese to Fusang[1335]
many centuries before. An expedition which Don Luis de Velasco had
sent in 1564, by direction of Philip II., accompanied by Andres de
Urdaneta, who had been in those seas before with Loaysa in 1525, had
succeeded in making a permanent occupation of the Philippines for
Spain in 1564. It became now important to find a practicable return
route, and under Urdaneta’s counsel it was determined to try to find
it by the north. One of the galleons deserted, and bearing northerly
struck the California coast near Cape Mendocino, and arrived safe at
Acapulco three months before Urdaneta himself had proved the value of
his theory. The latter’s course was to skirt the coast of Japan till
under 38°, when he steered southerly; and after a hard voyage, in
which he saw no land and most of his crew died, he reached Acapulco in
October.[1336] Other voyages were made in succeeding years, but the
next of which we have particular account was that of Francisco Gali,
who, returning from Macao in 1584, struck the California coast in 37°
30´, and marked a track which other navigators later followed.[1337]

The map (1587) in Hakluyt’s Paris edition of Peter Martyr conformed
more nearly to the Mercator type;[1338] and Hakluyt, as well as Lok,
records Drake’s discovery, both of them putting it, however, in 1580.

With the year 1588 is associated a controversy over what purports to be
a memoir setting forth the passage of the ship of a Spanish navigator,
Lorenzo Ferrer de Maldonado, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, through
a strait a quarter of a league wide. The passage took him as high
as 75°; but he reached the Pacific under the sixtieth parallel. The
opening was identified by him with the long-sought Straits of Anian.
The belief in this story had at one time some strong advocates, but
later geographical discoveries have of course pushed it into the limbo
of forgotten things; for it seems hardly possible to identify, as was
done by Amoretti, the narrow passage of Maldonado, under 60°, with that
which Behring discovered, sixteen leagues wide, under 65°.[1339]

[Illustration: SPANISH GALLEON.

A fac-simile of the sketch given in Jurien de la Gravière’s _Les marins
du XV^e et du XVI^e siècle_.]

In 1592 we have the alleged voyage of De Fuca, of which he spoke in
1596, in Venice, to Michael Lok, who told Purchas; and he in turn
included it in his _Pilgrims_.[1340] He told Lok that he had been
captured and plundered on the California coast by Cavendish,[1341]—a
statement which some have thought confirmed by Cavendish’s own avowal
of his taking a pilot on that coast,—and that at the north he had
entered a strait a hundred miles wide, under 47° and 48°, which had a
pinnacle rock at the entrance; and that within the strait he had found
the coast trending northeast, bordering a sea upon which he had sailed
for twenty days. This story, despite its exaggerations, and though
discarded formerly, has gained some credence with later investigators;
and the application of his name to the passage which leads to Puget
Sound seems to have been the result of a vague and general concurrence,
in the belief of some at least, that this passage must be identified
with the strait which De Fuca claimed to have passed.[1342]

With the close of the sixteenth century, the maps became numerous, and
are mostly of the Mercator type. Such are those of Cornelius de Judæis
in 1589 and in 1593,[1343] the draughts of 1587 and 1589 included
in the Ortelius of 1592,[1344] the map of 1593 in the _Historiarum
indicarum libri XVI._ of Maffeius,[1345] and those of Plancius[1346]
and De Bry.[1347] The type is varied a little in the 1592 globe of
Molineaux, as already shown, and in the 1587 map of Myritius we have
the Asiatic connection of the upper coast as before mentioned; but
in the Ptolemy of 1597 the contour of Mercator is still essentially
followed.[1348] In this same year (1597) the earliest distinctively
American atlas was published in the _Descriptionis Ptolemaicæ
Augmentum_ of Cornelius Wytfliet, of which an account is given in
another place.[1349] Fac-similes of the maps of the Gulf of California
and of the New World are annexed, to indicate the full extent of
geographical knowledge then current with the best cartographers. The
Mercator type for the two Americas and the great Antarctic Continent
common to most maps of this period are the distinguishing features
of the new hemisphere. The same characteristics pertain also to the
mappemondes in the original Dutch edition of Linschoten’s _Itinerario_,
published in two editions at Amsterdam in 1596,[1350] in Münster’s
_Cosmographia_, 1598, and in the Brescia edition (1598) of Ortelius.

[Illustration: FROM WYTFLIET, 1597.

Bancroft (_North Mexican States_, vol. i. p. 152) sketches this map; it
is also in his _Northwest Coast_, vol. i. p. 82.]

In 1600 Metullus in his America _sive novus orbis_, published at
Cologne, simply followed Wytfliet.[1351] From the map of Molineaux,
likewise of 1600, a sketch of the California peninsula is given
elsewhere.[1352] A contour of the coast more like that of the Molineaux
globe figured on a preceding page belongs to the map given in the
Herrera of 1601, but it also introduces views which held to a much
wider separation of the shores of the north Pacific than had been
maintained by the school of Mercator.[1353].

[Illustration: WYTFLIET, 1597].

An important voyage in both furthering and confusing the knowledge
of the California coast was that of Sebastian Viscaino.[1354] This
navigator, it is sometimes said, had been in a Manilla galleon which
Cavendish had captured near Cape St. Lucas in 1587, when the English
freebooter burned the vessel and landed her crew.[1355] He is known to
have had much opportunity for acquiring familiarity with the coast; and
in 1597 he had conducted an expedition to the coast of the California
peninsula which had failed of success.[1356]

In 1602 (May 5) he was again despatched from Acapulco with three
vessels, for the same purpose of discovering some harbor up the coast
which returning vessels from the Philippines could enter for safety
or repairs, and of finding the mysterious strait which led to the
Atlantic. He was absent ten months.[1357] He himself went up to 42°,
but one of his vessels under Martin Aguilar proceeded to 43°, where
he reported that he found the entrance of a river or strait, not far
from Cape Blanco;[1358] and for a long period afterwards the entrance
and Aguilar’s name stood together on the maps.[1359] Buache, in his
_Considérations géographiques et physiques_, says that it was the
reports brought back from this expedition, describing an easterly trend
of the coast above the 43°, which gave rise to the notion that the
waters of the Gulf of California found a passage to the ocean in two
ways, making an island of the peninsula. The official recorder of the
expedition (Ascension) is known to have held this view. We shall see
how fixed this impression later became.

Meanwhile the peninsular shape was still maintained in the map in
Botero’s _Relaciones Universales del mundo_, published at Valladolid
in 1603; in the Spanish map of 1604, made at Florence by Mathieu
Neron Pecciolen (engraved for Buache in 1754); in that of Cespedes’
_Regimiento de Navigacion_ (1606), and in that published in connection
with Ferdinand de Quir’s narrative in the _Detectionis Freti_ (1613) of
Hudson’s voyage.[1360]

A map of Jodocus Hondius of about this time first gave indication
of the growing uncertainty which led finally to a prevailing
error regarding the head of the gulf. The map was inscribed “Vera
totius expeditionis nauticæ Descriptio D. Franc. Draci,” etc., and
illustrated Hondius’s edition of Drake and Cavendish’s voyages, and
has been reproduced in the Hakluyt Society’s edition of _The World
Encompassed_. The gulf is made to divide about an island at its
northern end, producing two arms whose prolongation is left undecided.
The circumpolar map of Hondius which appeared in Pontanus’s _Amsterdam_
in 1611, and is given in fac-simile in Asher’s _Henry Hudson_, shows
the Straits of Anian, but nothing more. Another Hondius map in the
Mercator of 1613 turns the coast easterly, where the Straits of Anian
separate it from Asia. The same atlas of 1613 contains also the America
of Michael Mercator, which is of the usual Gerard Mercator type, with
the enclosed northern sea contracted to narrow limits and called “Mare
dulce.” A similar western coast is drawn in the America of Johannes
Oliva of Marseilles, preserved in the British Museum.[1361]

In Kasper van Baerle’s edition of Herrera, published at Amsterdam
in 1622, we get—as far as has been observed—the earliest[1362]
insularizing of the California peninsula, and this only by a narrow
thread of water connecting a large gulf below and a smaller one above.
And even this attempt was neutralized by a second map in the same
book, in which these two gulfs were not made to mingle their waters.
A bolder and less equivocal severing of the peninsula followed in the
maps of two English geographers. The first of these is the map of
Master Briggs.[1363] In this the island stretches from 23° to 44°,
showing Cape Blanco, with Cape Mendocino and “Po. S^r. Francisco Draco”
south of it, the latter in about 38°. The map bears the following
legend: “California, sometymes supposed to be part of y^e Westerne
continent; but since by a Spanish charte taken by y^e Hollanders it
is found to be a goodly Ilande, the length of the west shoare beeing
about 500 leagues from Cape Mendocino to the south cape thereof called
Cape St. Lucas, as appeareth both by that Spanish Chart, and by the
relation of Francis Gaule [Gali], whereas in the ordinarie charts it
is sett downe to be 1700 leagues.”[1364] The other was that given in
John Speed’s _Prospect_, which contains one of the maps of Abraham
Goos of Amsterdam, “described and enlarged by I. S. Ano. 1626.” This
carries up the outer coast of the island beyond the “Po[rto] Sir
Francisco Dr[ake]” and Cape Mendocino. The coast of the main opposite
the northern end of the island ceases to be defined, and is continued
northerly with a dotted line, while the western shore of Hudson’s Bay
is also left undetermined.[1365] De Laet, however, in 1630 still kept
to the peninsula, placing “Nova Albion” above it.[1366] In 1636 W.
Saltonstall’s English translation of Hondius’s Mercator presents an
island, with the now somewhat common break in the main coast opposite
its northern end. This gap is closed up, however, in another map in the
same volume.[1367]

The map in Pierre D’Avity’s _Le Monde_[1368] makes California a
peninsula, with the river St. Lawrence rising close to it, and flowing
very near also to Hudson’s Bay in its easterly passage.

The circumstantial story of Bartolemé de Fonte, whose exploits are
placed in 1640, at one time commanded a certain degree of confidence,
and made strange work with the cartographical ideas of the upper part
of the Pacific coast. It is now believed that the story was coined by
James Petiver, one of the contributors to the _Monthly Miscellany, or
Memoirs for the Curious_, published in London in April and June, 1708,
in which first appeared what purported to be a translation of a letter
of a certain Admiral De Fonte.[1369] In this a Spanish navigator—whose
name was possibly suggested by a veritable De Fonta who was exploring
Tierra del Fuego in 1649—was made to depart from Callao, April 3, 1640,
and proceed up the coast to 53°, above which he navigated a net-work of
interior waters, and encountered a ship from Boston which had entered
these regions from the Atlantic side.[1370] To this archipelago, as it
seemed, he gave the name of St. Lazarus; and to a river, leading from a
lake with an island in it, he applied that of Velasco; and these names,
curiously, appear in the fanciful maps which were made by Delisle and
Buache in elucidation of the voyage in which they expressed not a
little faith, though the Spanish antiquaries early declared that their
archives contained no record of the voyage.[1371]

The Dutch, under De Vries, in 1643 had pushed up from Japan, and
discovered, as they thought, an island, “Jesso,” separated from land on
the west by a water which they called the “Detroit de Vries,” and on
the American side by a channel which had an uncertain extension to the
north, and might after all be the long-sought Straits of Anian.[1372]
The idea of an interjacent land in the north Pacific between America
and Asia is also said to have grown out of the report of a Portuguese
navigator, Don João da Gama, who claimed to have seen such a land
in sailing from China to New Spain. It long maintained a fleeting
existence on the maps.[1373]

Two maps of Petrus Koerius, dated 1646, in Speed’s _Prospect_ (1668),
indicate what variable moods geographers could assume in the same
year. In one we have an island and a determinate coast line running
north to the straits; in the other we have a peninsula with two
different trends of the coast north of it in half-shading. We owe to
an expatriated Englishman a more precise nomenclature for the western
coast than we had had previous to the appearance of his maps in 1646;
and the original manuscript drawings preserved at Munich are said by
Dr. Hale to be richer still in names.[1374] This is the _Arcano del
mare_ of Robert Dudley. He was born in Surrey in 1573, and whether
the natural or legitimate son of the Earl of Leicester depends on the
proof of the secret marriage of that nobleman with Lady Sheffield. An
adventurous spirit kept him away from the enjoyment of Kenilworth,
which he inherited, and he was drawn nearer to the associations of the
sea by marrying a sister of Cavendish. He was among the many Englishmen
who tried their daring on the Spanish main. He married a second wife,
a daughter of Sir Thomas Leigh, whom he abandoned, partly to be rid of
a stepmother; and out of chagrin at his failure to secure the dukedom
of Northumberland, which had been in abeyance since the execution of
his grandfather, Lady Jane Grey’s adherent, he sold Kenilworth to young
Prince Henry, and left England in company with a daughter of Sir Robert
Southwell. He now gave himself up to practical seamanship and the study
of hydrography. The grand-duke of Tuscany gave him employment, and he
drained a morass to enable Leghorn to become a beautiful city.

[Illustration: DUDLEY, 1646.]

Under authority of Ferdinand II., he assumed the title of Duke of
Northumberland, which was recognized throughout the empire. He died in
1639.[1375] The _Arcano_ has thirty-three American maps; but the Munich
manuscript shows thirteen more. One of the Pacific coast, which records
Drake’s explorations, is annexed; but with Dudley’s text[1376] there is
another showing the coast from Cape Mendocino south, which puts under
thirty degrees north a “golfo profondo” of undefined inland limits,
with “I di Cedros” off its mouth. The bay with the anchor and soundings
just north of thirty degrees, called in the fac-simile “P^{to} di
Nouova Albion,” corresponding, it would seem, to San Francisco, is
still seen in this other chart, with a more explicit inscription,—“Po:
dell nuovo Albion scoperto dal Drago C^{no} Inglese.”

In 1649, in Texeira’s chart, there is laid down for the first time a
sketch of the coast near the Straits of Anian, which is marked as seen
by João da Gama, and extends easterly from Jesso, in the latitude of
50°. Gama’s land lived for some time in the charts.[1377]

We have another of Speed’s maps, five years later (1651), which appears
in the 1676 edition of his _Prospect_, in which that geographer is
somewhat confused. He makes California an island, with a break in
the coast line of the main opposite its northern extremity, and its
northwest point he calls “C. Mendocino,” while “Pt. Sir Francisco
Draco” is placed south of it; but rather confusedly another Cape
Mendocino projects from the main coast considerably further to the
north.[1378] A map of Visscher in 1652[1379] reverts, however, to the
anterior notions of Mercator; but when in 1655 Wright, an Englishman,
adopted Mercator’s projection, and first made it really serviceable for
navigation, in his _Certain Errors in Navigation_, he gave an insular
shape to California.

The French geographer Nicolas Sanson[1380] introduced a new notion in
1656. California was made an island with “P^{to} de Francisco Draco”
on the west side, somewhat south of the northern cape of it. On the
main the coast in the same latitude is made to form a projection to
the north called “Agubela de Cato,” without any extension of the shore
farther northward. The map in Petavius’s (Petau’s) _History of the
World_ (London, 1659) carries the coast up, but leaves a gap opposite
the northern end of the insular California. The atlas of Van Loon
(1661) converts the gap into the Straits of Anian, and puts a “terra
incognita” north of it. Danckerts of Amsterdam in the same year (1661),
and Du Val in various maps of about this time make it an island. The
map of 1663, which appeared in Heylin’s _Cosmographie_,[1381] gives the
insular California, and a dotted line for the main coast northward,
with three alternative directions. A map of the Sanson type is given in
Blome’s _Description of the World_, 1670. Ogilby’s map in 1671 makes it
an island,[1382] following Montanus’s _Nieuwe Weereld_.

Hennepin had in his 1683 map made California a peninsula, and in that
of 1697 he still preserved the gulf-like character of the waters east
of it; but the same plate in the 1698 edition is altered to make an
island, as it still is in the edition of 1704. The French geographer
Jaillot, in 1694, also conformed to the insular theory, as did Corolus
Allard in his well-known Dutch atlas. Campanius, copying Hennepin,
speaks of California as the largest island “which the Spaniards
possess in America. From California the land extends itself [he says]
to that part of Asia which is called Terra de Jesso, or Terra Esonis.
The passage is only through the Straits of Anian, which hitherto has
remained unknown, and therefore is not to be found in any map or
chart,”—all of which shows something of Campanius’s unacquaintance with
what had been surmised, at least, in cartography. All this while Blaeu
in his maps was illustrating the dissolving geographical opinions of
his time. In 1659 he had drawn California as an island; in 1662 as a
peninsula; and once more, in 1670, as an island. Coronelli in 1680, and
Franquelin in his great manuscript map of 1684 had both represented it
as an island.[1383]

In 1698 the English geographer Edward Wells, in his _New Sett of Maps_,
showed a little commendable doubt in marking the inlet just north of
the island as “the supposed Straits of Anian,”—a caution which Delisle
in 1700, with a hesitancy worthy of the careful hydrographer that he
was destined to become, still further exemplified. While restoring
California to its peninsular character, he indicated the possibility of
its being otherwise by the unfinished limitations of the surrounding
waters.[1384] Dampier in 1699, in chronicling the incidents of the
voyage with which he was connected, made it an island.[1385]

In 1701 one would have supposed the question of the insularity of
California would have been helped at least by the explorations overland
of Father Kino the Jesuit which were begun in 1698. His map, based
rather upon shrewd conjecture than upon geographical discovery,
and showing the peninsular form of the land, was published in the
_Lettres Edifiantes_, vol. v., in 1705.[1386] In 1705 the map in
Harris’s _Collection of Voyages_ preserves the insular character of
California.[1387] In 1715 Delisle[1388] expressed himself as undecided
between the two theories respecting California,[1389] but in 1717 he
gave the weight of his great name[1390] to an imagined but indefinite
great gulf north of the California peninsula, which held for a while
a place in the geography of his time as the “Mer de l’ouest.” Homann,
of Nuremberg, in 1719 marked the entrance of it, while he kept to the
insular character of the land to the south; as did Seutter in his
_Atlas Geographicus_ published at Augsburg in 1720. Daniel Coxe in his
_Carolana_ had a sufficient stock of credulity—if he was not a “liar,”
as Bancroft calls him[1391]—in working up some wondrous stories of
interior lakes emptying into the South Sea.[1392] In 1727 the English
cartographer Moll converted the same inlet into the inevitable Straits
of Anian. The maps in such popular books as Shelvocke’s _Voyages_
(1726)[1393] and Anson’s _Voyages_ (1748), as did sundry maps issued
by Vander Aa of Amsterdam, still told the mass of readers of the
island of California; as had Bruzen la Martinière in his _Introduction
à l’histoire_ (1735), and Salmon (using Moll’s map of 1736) in his
_History of America_.

Meanwhile, without knowing it because of the fogs, Behring, in 1728,
had pushed through the straits now known by his name into the Arctic
Seas, and had returned along the Asiatic shore in continued ignorance
of his accomplishment. It was not till 1732 that another Russian
expedition was driven over to the Alaskan shore; and in 1738 and 1741
Behring proved the close proximity of the two continents, and made
demonstration of their severance.

At this time also the English were making renewed efforts from the
side of Hudson’s Bay to reach the Pacific; and Arthur Dobbs, in his
_Countries adjoining to Hudson’s Bay_ (1744), gives a variety of
reasons for supposing a passage in that direction, showing possible
solutions of the problem in an accompanying map.[1394]

The Spaniards, who were before long to be spurred on to other efforts
by the reports of Russian expeditions, were reviving now, through the
1728 edition of Herrera, more confidence in the peninsular character of
California; though Mota Padilla in his _Nueva Galicia_, in 1742, still
thought it an island.

The French map-maker Bellin, in his cartographical illustrations for
Charlevoix in 1743, also fell into the new belief; as did Consag the
Jesuit, in a map which he made in 1746.[1395]

The leading English geographer Bowen in 1747 was advocating the same
view, and defining the more northerly parts as “undiscovered.” In 1748
Henry Ellis published his _Voyage to Hudson’s Bay_,—made in 1746-1747,
and mentions a story that a high or low tide made California an
island or a peninsula, and was inclined to believe in a practicable
northwest passage.[1396] In 1750 Robert de Vaugondy, while preserving
the peninsula, made a westerly entrance to the north of it, which he
marks as the discovery of Martin d’Aguilar. The lingering suspicion
of the northerly connection of the California Gulf with the ocean had
now nearly vanished; and the peninsula which had been an island under
Cortés, then for near a century connected with the main, and then again
for more than a century in many minds an island again, was at last
defined in its proper geographical relations.[1397]

The coast line long remained, however, shadowy in the higher latitudes.
Buriel, in his editorial notes to Venegas’s _California_, in 1757,
confessed that nothing was known. The French geographers, the younger
Delisle and Buache,[1398] published at this time various solutions of
the problem of straits and interior seas, associated with the claims
of Maldonado, De Fuca, and De Fonte; and others were found to adopt,
while others rejected, some of their very fanciful reconciling of
conflicting and visionary evidences, in which the “Mer de l’ouest”
holds a conspicuous position.[1399] The English map-maker Jefferys at
the same epoch (1753) was far less complex in his supposition, and
confined himself to a single “river which connects with Lake Winnepeg.”
A map of 1760, “par les S^{rs} Sanson, rectifiée par S^r Robert,” also
indicates a like westerly entrance; and Jefferys again in 1762, while
he grows a little more determinate in coast lines, more explicitly
fixes the passage as one that Juan de Fuca had entered in 1592.[1400]
The _Atlas Moderne_, which was published at Paris, also in 1762, in
more than one map, the work of Janvier, still clung to the varieties
presented by Delisle ten years before, and which Delisle himself
the next year (1763) again brought forward. In 1768 Jefferys made a
map[1401] to illustrate the De Fonte narrative; but after 1775 he made
several studies of the coast, and among other services reproduced the
map which the Russian Academy had published, and which was a somewhat
cautious draught of bits of the coast line here and there, indicating
different landfalls, with a dotted connection between them.[1402] One
of Jefferys’s own maps (1775) carries the coast north with indications
of entrances, but without attempting to connect them with any interior
water-sheds. Going north from New Albion we then find on his map the
passage of D’Aguilar in 1603; then that of De Fuca, “where in 1592 he
pretends he went through to the North Sea;” then the “Fousang” coast,
visited by the Spaniards in 1774; then Delisle’s landfall in 1741;
Behring’s the same year; while the coast stops at Mount St. Elias. In
his 1776 map Jefferys gives another scheme. “Alaschka” is now an island
athwart the water, dividing America from Asia, with Behring’s Straits
at its western end; while the American main is made up of what was seen
by Spangenberg in 1728, with a general northeasterly trend higher up,
laid down according to the Japanese reports. The Spaniards were also at
this time pushing up among the islands beyond the Oregon coast.[1403]
In 1774 Don Juan Perez went to Nootka Sound, as is supposed, and called
it San Lorenzo.[1404] In 1775 another Spanish expedition discovered
the Columbia River.[1405] Janvier in 1782 published a map[1406] still
perpetuating the great sea of the west, which Buache and others had
delineated thirty years before. The English in 1776 transferred their
endeavors from Hudson’s Bay to the Pacific coast, and Captain James
Cook was despatched to strike the coast in the latitude of Drake’s
New Albion, and proceed north in search of a passage eastward.[1407]
Carver the traveller had already, in 1766-1768, got certain notions
of the coast from Indian stories, as he heard them in the interior,
and embodied them with current beliefs in a map of his own, which made
a part of his _Travels through the interior parts of North America_,
published in 1778. In this he fixed the name of Oregon for the supposed
great river of the west, which remained in the end attached to the
region which it was believed to water.[1408] In 1786 the Frenchman La
Pérouse was on the coast.[1409] In 1789 the English and Spanish meeting
on the coast, the English commander was seized. This action led to a
diplomatic fence, the result of which was the surrender of Nootka to
the English.

Meanwhile a Boston ship, the “Columbia,” commanded by Captain Kendrick,
in company with the “Washington” (Captain Gray), was on a voyage,
which was the first American attempt to sail around the globe.[1410]
They entered and named the Columbia River; and meeting Vancouver,
the intelligence was communicated to him. When the English commander
occupied Nootka, the last vestige of uncertainty regarding the salient
features of the coast may be said to have disappeared under his
surveys. Before they were published, George Foster issued in 1791 his
map of the northwest coast, in which the Straits of Juan de Fuca were
placed below 40°, by which Captain Gray is supposed to have entered, on
his way to an open sea, coming out again in 55°, through what we now
know as the Dixon entrance, to the north of Queen Charlotte’s Island;
the American navigator having threaded, as was supposed, a great
northern archipelago. Vancouver’s own map finally cleared the remaining
confusion, and the migratory Straits of Juan de Fuca were at last
fixed as the channel south of Vancouver’s Island which led to Puget



MERCATOR’S PROJECTION.—It was no new thing to convert the spherical
representation of the earth into a plane on the cylindrical principle,
for it had been done in the fourteenth century; but no one had devised
any method by which it could be used for a sea-chart, since the
parallelizing of the meridians altered the direction of point from
point. Mercator seems to have reasoned out a plan in this wise: A B and
C D are two meridians drawing together as they approach the pole. If
they are made parallel, as in E F and G H, the point 2 is moved to 3,
which is in a different direction from 1, in the parallel of latitude,
I J. If the line of direction from 1 to 2 is prolonged till it strikes
the perpendicular meridian G H at 4, the original direction is
preserved, and the parallel K L can then be moved to become M N; thus
prolonging the distance from 1 to 5, and from 6 to 4, to counteract the
effect on direction by perpendicularizing the meridians. To do this
accurately involved a law which could be applicable to all parallels
and meridians; and that law Mercator seems only to have reached
approximately. But the idea once conveyed, it was seized by Edward
Wright in England in 1590, who evolved the law, and published it with
a map, the first engraved on the new system, in his _Certain Errors of
Navigation_, London, 1599. Mead, in his _Construction of Maps_ (1717),
examined all previous systems of projections; but contended that
Varenius in Latin, and his follower Newton in English, had not done the
subject justice. There have been some national controversies over the
claims of the German Mercator and the English Wright; but D’Avezac, in
his “Coup d’Œil historique sur la projection des cartes de géographie,”
printed in the _Bulletin de la Société de Géographie_, 1863 (also
separately), defends Mercator’s claims to be considered the originator
of the projection; and he (pp. 283-285) gives references to writers on
the subject, who are also noted in Van Raemdonck’s _Mercator_, p. 120.

The claim which Van Raemdonck had made in his _Gérard Mercator, sa
vie et ses œuvres_,—that the great geographer was a Fleming,—was
controverted by Dr. Breusing in his _Gerhard Kremer, gen. Mercator, der
Deutsche Geograph_, 1869, and in an article (supposed to be his) in
the _Mittheilungen aus Justus Perthes’ Geographischer Anstalt_, 1869,
vol. xi. p. 438, where the German birth of Mercator is contended for.
To this Van Raemdonck replied in his _Gérard de Cremer, ou Mercator,
Géographe Flamand_, published at St. Nicholas in 1870. The controversy
rose from the project, in 1869, to erect a monument to Mercator at
Duisburg. Cf. also Bertrand in the _Journal des Savants_, February,

ORTELIUS.—Ortelius was born in 1527, and died in 1598, aged seventy-one
years. He was a rich man, and had visited England in his researches.
Stevens says in his _Bibliotheca historica_ p. 133: “A thorough study
of Ortelius is of the last importance.... He was a bibliographer, a
cartographer, and an antiquary, as well as a good mathematician and
geographer; and what is of infinite importance to us now, he gave his
authorities.” Cf. also “La Généalogie du Géographe Abraham Ortelius,”
by Génard in the _Bulletin de la Société Géographique d’Anvers_, v.
315; and Felix Van Hulst’s _Life of Ortelius_, second edition, Liege,
1846, with a portrait, which can also be found in the 1580, 1584, and
perhaps other editions of his own _Theatrum_. There is also a brief
notice, by M. de Macedo, of his geographical works in _Annales des
Voyages_, vol. ii. pp. 184-192. Thomassy (_Les Papes géographes_, p.
65) has pointed out how Ortelius fell into some errors, from ignorance
of Ruscelli’s maps, in the 1561 edition of Ptolemy. The engraver of his
early editions was Francis Hagenberg, and of his later ones, Ferdinand
Orsenius and Ambroise Orsenius. He prefixed to his book a list of the
authorities, from whose labors he had constructed his own maps. It is
a most useful list for the students of the map-making of the sixteenth
century. It has not a single Spanish title, which indicates how closely
the Council for the Indies had kept their archives from the unofficial
cartographers. The titles given are wholly of the sixteenth century,
not many anterior to 1528, and mostly of the latter half of the
century, indeed after 1560; and they are about one hundred and fifty in
all. The list includes some maps which Ortelius had not seen; and some,
to which in his text he refers, are not included in the list. There
are some maps among them of which modern inquiry has found no trace.
Stevens, in unearthing Walter Lud, turned to the list and found him
there as Gualterus Ludovicus. (See _ante_, p. 162).

Ortelius supplied some titles which he had omitted,—including some
earlier than 1528,—as well as added others produced in the interval,
when, in 1592, he republished the list in its revised state. Lelewel
has arranged the names in a classified way in his _Géographie du moyen
âge_, vol. ii. pp. 185, 210, and on p. 217 has given us an account of
the work of Ortelius. Cf. also Lelewel, vol. v. p. 214; Sabin, vol.
xiv. p. 61.

The original edition of the _Theatrum_ was issued at Antwerp, in
Latin, and had fifty-three maps; it was again published the same year
with some changes. There are copies in Mr. Brevoort’s, Jules Marcou’s
collections, and in the Carter-Brown, Harvard College, and Astor
libraries. Stevens, in his illustrated _Bibliotheca geographica_, no.
2,077, gives a fac-simile of the title. Cf. also _Huth Catalogue_, vol.
iii. p. 1068; _Carter-Brown Catalogue_, vol. i. no. 278; and Muller,
_Books on America_ (1877), no. 2,380.

The third Latin edition appeared the next year (1571) at Antwerp, with
the same maps, as did the first edition with Dutch text, likewise with
the same maps. Stevens, _Bibliotheca historica_, no. 1,473, thinks the
Dutch is the original text.

To these several editions a supplement or additamentum, with eighteen
new maps (none, however, relating to America), was added in 1573.
Sabin’s _Dictionary_; Brockhaus, _Americana_ (1861), no. 28. Muller,
_Books on America_ (1877), no. 2,381.

The same year (1573, though the colophon reads “Antorff, 1572”) the
first German edition appeared, but in Roman type, and with a somewhat
rough linguistic flavor. It had sixty-nine maps, and included the
map of America. Koehler, of Leipsic, priced a copy in 1883 at 100
marks. The Latin (Antwerp) edition of this year (1573), “nova editio
aliquot iconibus aucta,” seems also to have the same peculiarity of
an earlier year (1572) in the colophon _Huth Catalogue_ (vol. iii.
p. 1068). Copies of all these editions seem to vary in the number of
the maps. (_Library of Congress Catalogue_; _Carter-Brown Catalogue_,
and the catalogues of Quaritch, Weigel, and others.) In 1574 some of
the Antwerp issues have a French text, with maps corresponding to the
German edition.

There are copies of the 1575 edition in the libraries of Congress,
Harvard College, and the Boston Athenæum; and the four maps of interest
in American cartography may be described from the Harvard College copy.
They are reproductions of the maps of the 1570 edition.

_a._ Mappemonde. North America has a perfected outline much as in the
Mercator map, with “Anian regnum” at the northwest. North America is
marked, as by Wytfliet, “America sive India nova;” but the geography
of the Arctic and northeastern parts is quite different from Wytfliet.
Groclant and Groenland have another relative position, and take a
general trend east and west; while in Wytfliet it is north and south.
Northern Labrador is called Estotilant; while Frisland and Drogeo,
islands to the south and east of it, are other reminders of the Zeni
chart. This same map was reissued in the 1584 edition; and again, new
cut, with a few changes, and dated 1587, it reappeared in the 1597

_b._ The two Americas. Anian and Quivira are on the northwest coast
of North America. Tolm and Tototeac are northeast of the Gulf of
California, and mark the region where the St. Lawrence rises, flowing,
without lakes, to the gulf, with Terra Corterealis on the north and
Norumbega on the south. Estotilant is apparently north of Hudson’s
Straits, and off its point is Icaria (another Zeni locality), with
Frislant south of it. Newfoundland is cut into two large islands, with
Baccalaos, a small island off its eastern coast. South America has the
false projection (from Mercator) on its southwestern coast in place
of Ruscelli’s uncertain limits at that point. This projecting coast
continued for some time to disfigure the outline of that continent in
the maps. This map also reappeared in the 1584 edition.

_c._ Scandia, or the Scandinavian regions, and the North Atlantic show
Greenland, Groclant, Island, Frisland, Drogeo, and Estotilant on a
large scale, but in much the same relation to one another as in the
map _a_. East of Greenland, and separated from it by a strait, is a
circumpolar land which has these words: “Pygmei hic habitant.” The
general disposition of the parts of this map resembles Mercator’s, and
it was several times repeated, as in the editions of Ortelius of 1584
and 1592; and it was re-engraved in Münster’s _Cosmographia_ of 1595,
and in the Cologne-Arnheim Ptolemy of 1597.

_d._ Indiæ orientalis. It shows Japan, an island midway in a sea
separating Mangi (Asia) on the west from “Americæ sive Indie
occidentalis pars” on the east. This map also reappeared in the 1584
edition, and may be compared with those of the Wytfliet series.

       *       *       *       *       *

In 1577 an epitome of Ortelius by Heyn, with a Dutch text and
seventy-two maps, appeared at Antwerp.

In 1580 the German text, entirely rewritten, appeared at Antorff, with
a portrait of Ortelius and twenty-four new maps (constituting the third
supplement), with a new general map of America. Among the new maps
was one of New Spain, dated 1579, containing, it is reckoned, about a
thousand names; another showing Florida, Northern Mexico, and the West
India Islands; and a third on one sheet showing Peru, Florida, and
Guastecan Regio.

The Latin edition of 1584, with a further increase of maps, is in
Harvard College Library. In 1587 there was a French text issued, the
mappemonde of which is reproduced in Vivien de St. Martin’s _Histoire
de la géographie_. This text in the 1588 edition is called “revue,
corrigé et augmentée pour la troisième fois.” This French text is
wholly independent of, and not a translation of, the Latin and German.
The maps are at this time usually ninety-four in number. In 1589 there
was Marchetti’s edition at Brescia and a Latin one at Antwerp. In 1591
there was a fresh supplement of twenty-one maps. In 1592 the Antwerp
edition was the last one superintended by Ortelius himself. The map of
the New World was re-engraved, and the maps number in full copies two
hundred and one, usually colored; there is a copy in Harvard College
Library. In 1593 there was an Italian text, and other Latin editions
in 1595 and 1596, a copy of the last being in Harvard College Library.
This completes the story of the popularity of Ortelius down to the
publication of Wytfliet, when American cartography obtained its special

A few later editions may mark the continued popularity of the work of
Ortelius, and of those who followed upon his path:—

_Il theatro del mondo_, Brescia (1598), one hundred maps, of which
three are American.

A French text at Antwerp (1598), with one hundred and nineteen maps,
including the same American maps as in the 1587 edition, except that of
the world and of America at large.

Peeter Heyn’s _Miroir du monde_, Amsterdam (1598), with eighty woodcut
maps,—an epitome of Ortelius.

After Ortelius’s death, the first Latin edition in 1601, at Antwerp
(111 maps), had his final corrections; other issues followed in 1603,
1609 (115 maps), 1612, 1624, with an epitome by Crignet in 1602 (123
maps); and an epitome in English in 1610. An Italian text by Pigafetta
appeared in 1612 and 1697.

Lelewel (_Géographie du moyen âge_; vol. ii. pp. 181, 185, and
_Epilogue_, p. 214) has somewhat carefully examined the intricate
subject of the make-up of editions of Ortelius; but the truth probably
is, that there was much independent grouping of particular copies which
obscures the bibliography.




_Archæological Institute of America._

AT the time of the Spanish conquest of Mexico there were living, some
fifteen hundred miles to the north of the city so named, in the upper
valley of the Rio del Norte, and upon some of the eastern affluents of
the Colorado of the West, certain native tribes, who had attained to
a degree of culture superior to that of any people in North America,
with the exception of the semi-civilized Aztec and Maya races. These
were the Sedentary or Pueblo Indians,—village communities dwelling
together in large buildings constructed of stone or adobe,—whose
home lay principally within the present limits of New Mexico and
Arizona, although extending somewhat into southwestern Colorado and
southeastern Utah. The first rumors of the existence of this people
which had reached the ears of the Spaniards grew out of a tale told to
Nuño de Guzman in 1530, when he was at the head of the Royal Audience
then governing New Spain.[1412] He had an Indian slave, called by the
Spaniards Tejos, who represented himself to be a son of a trader in
feathers, such as were used by the natives for head-dresses. Tejos said
that it was his father’s habit to travel about, exchanging his wares
for silver and gold, which were abundant in certain regions. Once or
twice he had accompanied his father on these journeys, and then he had
seen cities large enough to be compared with Mexico. They were seven in
number, and entire streets in them were occupied by jewellers. To reach
them it was necessary to travel northward forty days’ journey through
a desert region lying between the two seas.

Guzman placed confidence in this narrative; and collecting a force of
four hundred Spaniards and twenty thousand Indians, he set out from
Mexico in search of this country. It was believed to be only about
six hundred miles distant, and already the name of _The Land of the
Seven Cities_ had been given to it. There were also other strange
stories current, that had been told to Cortés a few years before,
about a region called Ciguatan, lying somewhere in the north, near to
which was an island inhabited solely by Amazons. In this, also, there
was said to be gold in abundance; and it was quite as much the hope
of finding the Island of the Amazons, with its gold, that inspired
Guzman’s expedition, as of gaining access to the treasures of The Seven
Cities. But on his march confirmatory reports about these cities kept
reaching him; and eventually the expedition succeeded in penetrating
to Ciguatan, and even as far within the province of Culiacan, the
extreme limit of Spanish discovery, as to Colombo. Nevertheless, they
did not find the Island of the Amazons, and The Seven Cities kept
receding farther toward the north.[1413] Meanwhile one of his captains
made a reconnoissance some seventy leagues in an easterly direction
without any satisfactory result. At last, the difficulties of an
advance through a wild country and amid pathless mountains brought the
expedition to a halt, which soon dampened the ardor of the soldiers,
who grew clamorous to return to Mexico. But in the mean time news
had reached Guzman that Cortés was once more there, clothed with new
titles and authority, and he did not dare to brave the anger which his
hostile proceedings during Cortés’ absence were sure to have provoked.
Accordingly he retraced his steps no farther than to Compostella and
Guadalaxara, where he remained, and established the colonies from
which was formed the province known afterwards as New Gallicia.[1414]
Not long after, he was deposed from his authority as governor of this
province by direct commands from Spain; and Antonio de Mendoza, who had
now been created Viceroy of New Spain, appointed Francisco Vasquez de
Coronado to the vacant post.

Meanwhile the Indian Tejos had died, and the mysterious Seven Cities
would have remained only a name, if the interest in them had not
been revived by a remarkable occurrence. This was the arrival in
the province of Culiacan, in 1536, of Antonio Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca,
with three companions. They were the sole survivors of the numerous
company who had followed Pamphilo de Narvaez, in 1527, to the shores of
Florida. During nine years of almost incredible perils and hardships,
after traversing in their wanderings all the great unknown region
lying north of the Gulf of Mexico, they had at last reached the shores
of the southern sea. They brought back accounts of having fallen in
with civilized peoples, dwelling in permanent habitations, where were
“populous towns with very large houses.”[1415] The story of their
strange adventures is told elsewhere in more detail,[1416] so that
here it suffices to put on record simply that they were the first
Europeans to tread the soil of New Mexico. As soon as they reached
Mexico, the intelligence of their discoveries was communicated to
the Viceroy Mendoza, by whom it was at once transmitted to Coronado,
the new governor of New Gallicia. He was a gentleman of good family,
from Salamanca, but long established in Mexico, where he had married
a daughter of Alonzo d’Estrada, former governor of that place, who
was generally believed to be a natural son of Ferdinand the Catholic.
Coronado at this time was occupied in travelling through New Spain;
but he repaired immediately to his province to investigate the
reports, taking with him one of Cabeza de Vaca’s companions, a negro
named Stephen, and also three Franciscan monks, missionaries to the
natives. After a brief interval a proposition was made to one of these
monks, Fray Marcos de Nizza (of Nice), to undertake a preliminary
exploration of the country. He was selected for this task on account
of his character and attainments, and because of the experience he had
acquired in Peru, under Alvarado. Elaborate instructions were sent
to him by the Viceroy, which seem inspired by a spirit of humanity
as well as intelligence.[1417] He was told that the expedition was
to be undertaken for the spread of the holy Catholic faith, and that
he must exhort the Spaniards to treat the natives with kindness, and
threaten them with the Viceroy’s displeasure if this command should be
disobeyed. The natives were to be informed of the Emperor’s indignation
at the cruelties that had been inflicted upon them, and to be assured
that they should no longer be enslaved or removed from their homes.
He was ordered to take the negro Stephen as his guide, and cautioned
against giving any ground of offence to the natives. He was to take
special note of their numbers and manner of life, and whether they were
at peace or war among themselves. He was also to observe particularly
the nature of the country, the fertility of the soil, and the character
of its products; to learn what wild animals were to be found there, and
whether there were any rivers, great or small. He was to search for
precious stones and metals, and if possible to bring back specimens
of them; and to make inquiry whether the natives had any knowledge of
a neighboring sea. If he should succeed in reaching the southern sea,
he was to leave an account of his discoveries buried at the foot of
some conspicuous tree marked with a cross, and to do the same thing at
the mouths of all rivers, so that any future maritime expedition might
be instructed to be on the lookout for such a sign. Especially was he
ordered to send back constant reports as to the route he had taken, and
how he was received; and if he should discover any great city, he was
to return immediately to give private information about it. Finally,
he was told to take possession of the new country in the name of the
Emperor, and to make the natives understand that they must submit
themselves to him.

In accordance with these instructions, Fray Marcos set out from S.
Miguel de Culiacan on the 7th of March, 1539, with Fray Honoratus
for a companion, and the negro Stephen for a guide. The monks were
not greatly pleased with this man, on account of his avaricious and
sensual nature; but they hoped to reap some benefit from his ability
to communicate with the natives, several of whom, who had been brought
away from their homes by Cabeza de Vaca, but who had been redeemed
and set free by the Viceroy, also accompanied the party. There was,
besides, a much larger company of natives from the neighboring regions,
who were induced to join the expedition on account of the favorable
representations made to them by those whom the Viceroy had freed.

Fray Marcos, upon his return, made a formal report of all his
doings;[1418] and to this we must look for the first definite
information in regard to the early exploration and history of the
region with which we are now concerned, since Cabeza de Vaca’s
narrative is too confused to furnish any sure indications of locality,
and he has even been charged by Castañeda with “representing things
very differently from what he had found them in reality.”[1419] The
monk relates how they reached Petatlan, after having met with great
kindness from the natives on their way; and while resting there for
three days Fray Honoratus fell ill, and was obliged to be left behind.
He himself continued his journey for some thirty leagues, still finding
the natives most friendly, and even willing to share with him their
supply of food, although it was but scanty, owing to no rain having
fallen for three years. On his way he was met by some inhabitants
of the island, which had previously been visited by Cortés, by whom
he was assured that it was indeed an island, and not a continent as
some had supposed. Still other people came to visit him from a larger
island, but more distant, who informed him that there were still thirty
islands more, but that they were only poorly supplied with food.[1420]
These Indians wore shells suspended from their necks, like those in
which pearls are found; and when a pearl was shown to them, they
said they had an abundance of them, although the friar admits that
he himself did not see any. After this his route lay for four days
through a desert, during which he was accompanied by the Indians from
the islands and the inhabitants of the villages through which he had
passed. Finally he came to a people who were astonished to see him,
as they had no intercourse with the people on the other side of the
desert, and had no knowledge whatsoever of Europeans. Nevertheless,
they received him kindly, and supplied him with food, and endeavored to
touch his garments, calling him “a man sent from heaven.” In return, he
endeavored, as best he might by means of interpreters, to teach them
about “God in heaven, and his Majesty upon earth.” Upon being asked if
they knew of any country more populous and civilized than their own,
they replied that four or five days’ journey into the interior, in a
great plain at the foot of the mountains, there were many large cities,
inhabited by a people who wore garments made of cotton. When specimens
of different metals were shown to them, they selected the gold, and
said that this people had their common dishes made of this material,
and wore balls of it suspended from their ears and noses, and even used
“thin plates of it to scrape off their sweat.” However, as this plain
was quite remote from the sea, and as it was his purpose never to be
far away from it during his journeyings, the monk decided to defer the
exploration of this country until his return.

Meanwhile Fray Marcos continued to travel for three days through the
territories of the same tribe, until he arrived at a town of moderate
size, called Vacapa, situated in a fertile region about forty leagues
from the sea.[1421] Here he rested for several days, while three
exploring parties were despatched to the coast with directions to
bring back some of the natives dwelling there as well as upon the
neighboring islands, in order that he might obtain more definite
information about those regions. The negro was ordered to advance in a
northerly direction fifty or sixty leagues, and to send back a report
of what he should discover. In four days’ time a messenger came from
him bringing news of “a country the finest in the world;” and with him
came an Indian, who professed to have visited it, and who reported
that it was a thirty days’ journey from the place where Stephen then
was to the first city of this province. The name of this province was
Cibola,[1422] and it contained seven great cities, all under the rule
of one lord. The houses were built of stone and lime; some of them were
three stories high, and had their doorways ornamented with turquoises,
of which there was an abundance in that country; beyond this, there
were still other provinces all greater than that of The Seven Cities.
This tale was all the more readily credited by the monk, as the man
appeared to be “of good understanding.” Nevertheless, he deferred his
departure until the exploring parties should return from the coast.
After a short time they came back, bringing with them some of the
dwellers upon the coast and on two of the islands, who reported that
there were thirty-four islands in all, near to one another; but that
all, as well as the main land, were deficient in food supplies. They
said that the islanders held intercourse with each other by means of
rafts, and that the coast stretched due north. On the same day there
came to Vacapa, to visit the monk, three Indians who had their faces,
hands, and breasts painted. They said that they dwelt in the eastern
country, in the neighborhood of Cibola, and they confirmed all the
reports in regard to it.

As fresh messengers had now come from Stephen, urging the monk to
hasten his departure, he sent the natives of the coast back to their
homes and resumed his journey, taking with him two of the islanders—who
begged to accompany him for several days—and the painted Indians. In
three days’ time he arrived among the people who had given the negro
his information about Cibola. They confirmed all that had been said
about it; and they also told about three other great kingdoms, called
Marata, Acus, and Totonteac. They said they were in the habit of going
to these countries to labor in the fields, and that they received in
payment turquoises and skins of cattle. All the people there wore
turquoises in their ears and noses, and were clad in long cotton robes
reaching to their feet, with a girdle of turquoises around the waist.
Over these cotton garments they wore mantles made of skins, which were
considered to be the clothing best suited to the country. They gave
the monk several of these skins, which were said to come from Cibola,
and which proved to be as well dressed and tanned as those prepared
by the most highly civilized people. The people here treated him with
very great kindness, and brought the sick to him to be healed, and
endeavored to touch his garments as he recited the Gospels over them.
The next day he continued his journey, still attended by the painted
Indians, and arrived at another village, where the same scenes were
repeated. He was told that Stephen had gone on four or five days’
journey, accompanied by many of the natives, and that he had left word
for Fray Marcos to hasten forward. As this appeared to be the finest
country he had found thus far, he proceeded to erect two crosses,
and to take formal possession of it in the name of the Emperor, in
accordance with his instructions. He then continued on his journey for
five days more, passing through one village after another, everywhere
treated with great kindness, and receiving presents of turquoises and
of skins, until at last he was told that he was on the point of coming
to a desert region. To cross this would be five days’ march; but he
was assured that provisions would be transported for him, and places
provided in which he could sleep. This all turned out as had been
promised, and he then reached a populous valley, where the people all
wore turquoises in greater profusion than ever, and talked about Cibola
as familiarly as did the Spaniards about Mexico or Quito. They said
that in it all the products of civilization could be procured, and they
explained the method by which the houses were constructed of several

Up to this point the coast had continued to run due north; but here,
in the latitude of 35°, Fray Marcos found, from personal examination,
that it began to trend westward. For five days he journeyed through
this fertile and well-watered valley, finding villages in it at every
half-league, when there met him a native of Cibola, who had fled hither
from the governor of that place. He was a man advanced in years, and
of good appearance and capacity; and from him were obtained even more
definite and detailed accounts of Cibola and the neighboring kingdoms,
their condition and mode of government; and he begged to be allowed
to return home in the friar’s company, in order to obtain pardon
through his intercession. The monk pursued his way for three days more
through this rich and populous valley, when he was informed that soon
another desert stretch, fifteen long days’ march in extent, would
begin. Accordingly, as he had now travelled one hundred and twelve
leagues from the place where he had first learned of this new country,
he determined to rest here a short time. He was told that Stephen had
taken along with him more than three hundred men as his escort, and to
carry provisions across the desert; and he was advised to do likewise,
as the natives all expected to return laden with riches. But Fray
Marcos declined; and selecting only thirty of the principal men, and
the necessary porters, he entered upon the desert in the month of May,
and travelled for twelve days, finding at all the halting-places the
cabins which had been occupied by Stephen and other travellers. Of a
sudden an Indian came in sight, covered with dust and sweat, with grief
and terror stamped upon his countenance. He had been one of Stephen’s
party, and was the son of one of the chiefs who were escorting the
friar. This was the tale he told: On the day before Stephen’s arrival
at Cibola, according to his custom, he sent forward messengers to
announce his approach. These carried his staff of office, made of a
gourd, to which was attached a string of bells and two feathers, one
white and one red, which signified that he had come with peaceful
intentions and to heal the