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Title: Spanish and Portuguese South America during the Colonial Period; Vol. 1 of 2
Author: Watson, Robert Grant
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Spanish and Portuguese South America during the Colonial Period; Vol. 1 of 2" ***

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                            SOUTH AMERICA.

         “Fall’n nations gaze on Spain; if freed, she frees
          More than her fell Pizarros once enchain’d;
          Strange retribution! now Columbia’s ease
          Repairs the wrongs that Quito’s sons sustain’d.”

                                   _Childe Harold._

                        SPANISH AND PORTUGUESE

                             SOUTH AMERICA


                         THE COLONIAL PERIOD.


                         ROBERT GRANT WATSON,


                           _IN TWO VOLUMES._

                                VOL. I.

                     TRÜBNER & CO., LUDGATE HILL.
                       [_All rights reserved._]

                           Ballantyne Press
                      BALLANTYNE, HANSON AND CO.
                         EDINBURGH AND LONDON


                      _SIR JAMES HUDSON, G.C.B.,
                            ETC. ETC. ETC._

                          OF QUEEN VICTORIA,

                     THE SLAVE TRADE WITH BRAZIL;

                             AND LIKEWISE

                         AND FREEDOM OF ITALY,

                             These Volumes



The following account of the Colonies from which sprang the States of
South America owes its origin to the want of such a work felt by myself
some years ago. In 1866 I received the appointment of second Secretary
to Her Majesty’s Legation in the _Argentine Republic_ and _Paraguay_. My
previous experience having been in quite another part of the world, I
had all to learn respecting the regions which I was about to visit. The
only book which had been recommended to me was Sir Woodbine Parish’s
work on _Buenos Ayres_. On reaching my destination, however, I found
that this work was already out of date; I also found that there was a
considerable amount of literature respecting South America. But this
literature being partly in English, French, German, Dutch, Latin, or
Italian, and partly in Spanish or Portuguese, was only accessible to
persons possessing a reading knowledge of the above-named languages.

Of two years in South America I passed one as Secretary at _Buenos
Ayres_, and the other in a similar capacity at _Rio de Janeiro_. During
the first year I was sent up the _Uruguay_ and to the Province of _Santa
Fè_; then to the Welsh colony on the _Chupat_ river in _Patagonia_; and,
lastly, to the then seat of war in _Paraguay_: in the second year I
went on a mission to the Province of _Minas Geraes_ in _Brazil_. I had
thus opportunities of seeing different parts of the continent, and of
becoming more impressed with the want of a work giving anything like a
complete account of them.

On my return to Europe I was employed in several countries for a number
of years in succession, and have only recently found the necessary
leisure to compose a work of the kind mentioned. The materials at my
disposal are voluminous; but my effort has been to make this Review as
concise as is consistent with clearness. In offering it to the Public I
by no means desire it to take the place of the more elaborate and
original works referred to in it, but rather to serve as an Index to the
contents of these various works.

The History of South America may contain much of general interest; it
possesses, moreover, a special interest for merchants, settlers,
sailors, and travellers, who may have passed, or may be likely to pass,
a portion of their lives on the continent in question; nor should some
knowledge of an important portion of the globe be excluded from the
sphere of inquiry of any educated person.

That the merest elementary acquaintance with South American geography
and politics may be conspicuously absent even in educated English
circles, may be gathered from the following circumstances within my own
experience:--On my return to England in 1868, I happened to be present
on the annual speech-day at Harrow. At luncheon there I sat next to a
gentleman whose remarks on the unusual heat of the weather led to his
learning that I had recently come from _Rio de Janeiro_. His interest
being excited, he asked me to tell him, one by one, the several stages
by which one arrived there from England, viz.--Southampton, Lisbon, _St.
Vincent_, _Pernambuco_, _Bahia_, and _Rio_. When I had named the last
point he repeated the inquiry, “and then?” to which I replied that
_then_ one was at one’s destination.--“But,” he asked, “I thought _Rio_
was up a river?” I suggested that he was perhaps misled by the name
“_Rio de Janeiro_,” the River of January, but said that the town was
situated on an arm of the sea, which the first European explorers had
mistaken for a stream, naming it after the month of the year on which it
was discovered. But this explanation did not satisfy him. He was
thinking of some other river: would I name one or two? I suggested “_The
Amazons_,” which he said was the stream he meant, until I informed him
that it lay about two thousand miles to the _north_ of _Rio de Janeiro_!
On this he remarked that there was surely another great stream in that
quarter, and that he must have mistaken the name. I suggested the river
_Plate_, to which he answered “Yes, yes, of course;” but his
speculations collapsed when I informed him that the river _Plate_ was
about a thousand and fifty miles to the _south_ of the Brazilian

About the same time I met at a dinner-party a well-known Member of
Parliament, who, on learning the quarter of the world from which I had
recently arrived, professed himself as being most anxious to hear
something about the _Paraguayan_ War, then much talked of, and the
progress of which he said he had followed with close attention. I began
with a statement of the contending parties--namely, _Paraguay_ on the
one hand, and _Brazil_, the _Argentine Republic_, and the Republic of
_Uruguay_ on the other. “But stop,” he said “You have omitted to
mention _Corrientes_.” I answered that to quote _Corrientes_ as being
one of the parties to the war would be the same as to mention Yorkshire
as having been one of the principals of the Crimean War--since
_Corrientes_ was merely a province of the _Argentine Republic_. This was
a new light to him; the name had so taken hold of his memory that he was
at first inclined to argue with me as to the correctness of my

Lest this gentleman should appear exceptionally uninformed, I may
mention that, as I had subsequent opportunities of ascertaining, even
some men holding high office in the Royal Geographical Society--who were
familiar with the latest discoveries near the North Pole and in the
interior of Africa, with Central Asia, and with Australia--had somehow
in their range of study overlooked South America.

In writing history, one man necessarily builds upon another man’s
foundation. It was my first intention to compose a wholly original work,
comprising the history of the several states of South America from the
discovery of that Continent to the present day; but reflection convinced
me that the execution of such a plan would require the labour of many
years, even were all circumstances favourable. Various writers have
formed schemes, the labour entailed by the magnitude of which has led to
their collapse. As one example amongst many may be mentioned the scholar
Muñoz, who employed nearly fifty years in amassing materials for a
history of Spanish discovery and conquest in America, but who had
scarcely finished the first volume when he died.

Even were one to attempt to produce an entirely original history of the
early Portuguese South America, it would necessarily prove defective in
comparison with Southey’s “History of _Brazil_.” In the preface to his
work, that author says of it, under date of 1810, “For the greater part
of the last century printed documents almost entirely fail. A collection
of manuscripts not less extensive than curious, and which is not to be
equalled in England, enables me to supply this chasm in history. The
collection was formed during a residence of more than thirty years in
Portugal, by a relative. Without the assistance which I have received
from him, it would have been hopeless to undertake, and impossible to
complete it.” With the above instances before me, I have felt it
necessary to content myself with writing a historical Review respecting
the several Spanish and Portuguese Colonies from which sprang the
various countries which collectively form political South America.

R. G. W.

_London, 1884._




DISCOVERY OF THE MAINLAND OF SOUTH AMERICA: 1498-1503                  1


DISCOVERY OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN: 1508-1514                             22




LAS CASAS; HIS COLONY ON THE PEARL COAST: 1515-1521                   65


DISCOVERY OF BRAZIL, LA PLATA, AND PARAGUAY: 1499-1557                86


DISCOVERY OF PERU: 1521-1528                                         105


CONQUEST OF PERU: 1529-1542                                          118


CONQUEST OF CHILI: 1535-1550                                         142


EXPLORATION OF BRAZIL: 1510-1570                                     155


PERU; REBELLION OF GONZALO PIZARRO: 1542-1545                        169


PERU; THE PRESIDENT GASCA: 1545-1550                                 189


THE ARAUCANIAN WAR: 1550-1556                                        209


THE ARAUCANIAN WAR (_continued_): 1557-1560                          223


THE ARAUCANIANS: 1560-1603                                           234


BRAZIL; GROWTH OF THE COLONY: 1570-1622                              250


PARAGUAY; ARRIVAL OF THE JESUITS: 1608-1648                          265


DRAKE, AND RALEIGH: 1564-1618                                        280

APPENDIX                                                             305


Book I.




[Sidenote: 1498.]

Until the approach of the sixteenth century the South American
continent, in so far as European knowledge was concerned, was without
form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep that
encompassed it. At that time the Spirit of God that moved upon the face
of the waters said, “Let there be light;” and there was light.

On the 30th of May 1498 Columbus set sail from _San Lucar de Barrameda_,
with a squadron of six vessels, on his third voyage of discovery, taking
a course much further to the south than that which he had hitherto
pursued. He stood to the south-west after leaving _San Lucar_; touching
at the islands of _Porto Santo_ and _Madeira_, where he remained a few
days, taking in supplies before continuing his course to the _Canary_
Islands. On the 19th of June he arrived at _Gomara_. Leaving _Gomara_
two days later, Columbus divided his squadron off the island of _Ferro_,
three of his ships being despatched to _Hispaniola_ with supplies for
the colony. With the three remaining vessels the admiral continued his
voyage towards the _Cape de Verde_ Islands, where he arrived on the 27th
of June.

Leaving the island of _Buena Vista_ on the 5th of July, Columbus stood
to the south-west. The volcanic summit of _Fuego_ was the last point
visible of the Old World. On the 13th of July he found himself in the
fifth degree of north latitude, in that region which extends for some
ten degrees on each side of the line, and is known among mariners as the
calm latitudes. There the trade winds from the south-east and
north-east, meeting near the equator, neutralize each other. The sea is
as a lake of oil, and vessels with their flapping sails appear as if
they were destined to remain stationary for ever. The calm lasted for
eight days, the air being like a furnace. The mariners lost all strength
and spirit beneath the oppressive heat. In addition to sharing the
sufferings of those around him, Columbus was at this time afflicted with
an attack of gout; but his energy of mind overcame his bodily distress.
To escape the heat he altered his course and steered to the south-west.

After making his way slowly for some time to the westward, through calms
and mists and heat, the admiral emerged into a region blessed by a
cooling breeze that filled his sails and dispelled the mists. The sky
became clear, and the sun no longer gave forth an intolerable heat. The
ships had been so dried by the parching weather that they leaked
excessively, and it was necessary to seek a harbour without delay. He
therefore kept on directly to the west; but as no land appeared, he
altered his course to the northward, in search of the _Caribbee_
Islands. By the 31st of July there was but one cask of water remaining
in each ship, when the man on the look-out gave the cry of “land.” Three
mountain tops were visible on the distant horizon; but as the vessels
neared them, these three were seen to be one. It was an emblem of the
Holy Trinity, after whom the pious Columbus in his distress had
determined to name the first land he should behold. There was thus a
peculiar appropriateness in giving to this island, which lies
immediately off the South American coast, the name of _La Trinidad_.

On the following day Columbus coasted westward in search of water and of
a convenient harbour. There was indeed no lack of water, for he beheld
groves of palm-trees and forests rising from the sea-shore amidst
running streams. He found the country cultivated in many parts, and
having villages and scattered habitations. It produced so pleasant an
impression on his mind that, in his letter describing it to Ferdinand
and Isabella, he compared its appearance to that of the Spanish province
of Valencia in the early spring. At a point to which he gave the name of
_La Playa_, he sent his boats on shore for water. The inhabitants had
taken to flight; his men found their footprints as they did the traces
of deer.

While coasting _Trinidad_, Columbus beheld land stretching twenty
leagues to the south. It was the low coast intersected by the mouths of
the _Orinoco_. It does not appear that either the admiral or any of his
men landed on this coast; and they sailed away from it, ignorant of the
fact that they were the first Europeans who had looked on the _terra
firma_ or mainland of South America. On the 2nd of August Columbus
continued his course to the south-west point of _Trinidad_, which he
called _Punta Arenal_, and where his crews were permitted to land and
refresh themselves. The anchorage at this place was, however, extremely
insecure, and in the night-time Columbus trembled for the safety of his
squadron, owing to a sudden rush of water caused by the swelling of one
of the rivers which flow into the Gulf of _Paria_, and which tore one of
his ships from her anchorage. He was, however, so fortunate as to escape
without injury, and on the following day he passed in safety the
formidable strait lying between the island and the mainland, and found
himself in a tranquil sea beyond. He was now on the inner side of
_Trinidad_, with the Gulf of _Paria_ on his left.

The admiral now shaped his course northwards, steering for a mountain at
the north-western point of _Trinidad_. On nearing it he beheld two
lofty capes opposite each other, the one on the island, the other on the
promontory of _Paria_, which stretches far out from the mainland.
Between these capes there was another strait, which appeared even more
dangerous than that he had left behind him, and to which, owing to its
formidable appearance, he gave the name of _Boca del Drago_, or the
Dragon’s Mouth. In order to avoid it he steered westward, under the
belief that the promontory of _Paria_ was an island. He found the
beautiful coast indented with fine harbours, and the country in some
places cultivated and in others covered with forest. He was greatly
surprised to find the water become fresher and fresher as he proceeded,
and likewise to find the sea as tranquil as if it were a vast harbour.

Up to this time he had held no communication with the people of the
mainland, although he had in vain endeavoured to enter into parley with
the inhabitants of _Trinidad_ at _Punta Arenal_. After sailing for
several leagues along the coast, he anchored on the 6th of August, and
sent his boats on shore. Although traces of men were found, not a soul
was to be seen. Columbus therefore proceeded further westward, and once
more anchored. Here a canoe came off to the nearest _caravel_, the
captain of which contrived to secure the three or four Indians which it
bore. They were brought to the admiral, from whom they received beads
and hawks’-bells, with which they returned delighted to the shore, and
which induced their countrymen to come to the ships in numbers, bringing
with them bread, maize, and other articles of food.

Taking with him several of these natives to serve as guides, Columbus
proceeded eight leagues still further to the westward, and anchored at a
lovely point, to which he gave the name of _Aguja_, or the Needle. The
country was highly populous, and was possessed of magnificent
vegetation. The natives were friendly, and invited the admiral, in the
name of their king, to come to land. Many of them wore collars of an
inferior kind of gold, which they called _guanin_. But what chiefly
attracted the attention of the Spaniards, was the sight of strings of
pearls which they wore round their arms, and which they said were
procured on the sea-coast to the north of _Paria_. In order to obtain
specimens of these treasures, Columbus sent his boats on shore; his
people being received with profound respect on the beach by the natives,
headed by their _cacique_, and being regaled to the best of their
ability. The Spaniards had no difficulty in obtaining the objects of
their desire, the Indians gladly parting with their necklaces and
bracelets in exchange for hawks’-bells or articles of brass. It is to
the credit of Columbus, in that age of violence towards inferior races,
that no act is recorded showing ingratitude for the favour with which he
and his men were received on this the first occasion when Europeans
mixed with inhabitants of the mainland of South America.

Still imagining the coast of _Paria_ to be an island, the admiral left
this lovely spot and again set sail, coasting to the westward in search
for an outlet to the north. He found the water, however, growing
shallower and fresher, so that he could not venture to proceed any
further with his own ship. He therefore came to anchor, and sent forward
a _caravel_ to ascertain whether there was an outlet to the ocean. On
the following day he learned, on its return, that there was an inner
gulf beyond, which contained the mouths of four great rivers, the waters
of which sweetened the neighbouring sea. As it was impossible to proceed
further westward, he had no alternative but to retrace his way and seek
an exit by “the mouth of the Dragon.” Although he would gladly have
remained to explore this opulent coast, he was compelled, as well by the
condition of his health as by the scarcity of sea-stores in his ships,
to hasten his departure for _Hispaniola_.

The admiral, therefore, on the 11th of August, set sail eastwards, and
was borne along swiftly by the currents. On the 13th, he anchored near
to the strait; and on the following day, towards noon, the ships
approached the _Boca del Drago_. The mouth of this formidable ocean-pass
is about five leagues wide; but there are two islands lying between its
extremities. The immense body of fresh water which flows through the
gulf in the rainy season, meeting the incoming waves, causes a terrific
commotion extremely dangerous to ships; and this was the first occasion
on which vessels were to go through it. The great navigator had neither
chart nor pilot to guide him; but fortunately no sunken rock obstructed
his way, and the current of fresh water prevailing over the incoming
waves carried him safely through.[A]

Columbus now shaped his course to the westward, along the outer coast of
_Paria_, which he still supposed to be an island; and he was borne still
further unconsciously on the same course (whilst he lay to at night in
order to avoid running on rocks and shoals) by the Gulf Stream which
sets across the Caribbean Sea. It took some time for him, with all his
experience, to realise the fact that this great body of fresh water,
brought by the rivers to the ocean, could not be the outcome of mere
islands, but must proceed from the _Terra Firma_ which was the object of
his search. On leaving the coast of _Paria_, the navigator saw to the
north-east, at some distance, in succession, the islands of _Tobago_ and
_Granada_, which form part of South America; but here we must for the
present take leave of the great sea-king;[B] for the limits of this work
merely include the continent of South America and the islands
immediately belonging to it. As the minute study of American geography
does not form part of the education of every one, it may be proper to
remark that the geographical limits of South America are perfectly
distinct from those of the various countries forming Central America, as
well as from the islands of the Spanish Main.

The next Spanish navigator who appeared in these seas was the celebrated
Alonzo de Ojeda, who had accompanied Columbus in his second voyage,
being then but twenty-one years of age. Through the influence of a
cousin of his own name, a Dominican friar, he had obtained from Bishop
Fonseca a commission, authorising him to fit out an armament, and to
proceed on a voyage of discovery, provided that he should not visit any
territories belonging to Portugal, nor any lands discovered for Spain
before 1495. It was stipulated that a certain proportion of his profits
should be reserved for the Crown.

With this license in his pocket, Ojeda had now to find the means of
turning it to account. He had a high reputation for courage and conduct;
but he was destitute of wealth. This element, however, was supplied by
some merchants of Seville, who had so much faith in him that they
believed he would soon find the means of enriching them as well as
himself. With their assistance he was soon enabled to equip a squadron
of four vessels, with which he set sail from St. Mary’s, near Cadiz. He
had on board several seamen who had accompanied Columbus to _Paria_, for
which coast Ojeda shaped his course. But the man on whom he chiefly
relied was Juan de la Cosa, who had sailed with Columbus on his second
voyage, and who was one of the ablest mariners of the day. Ojeda had
likewise with him Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine merchant, then
established at Seville, whose fame arose, not from any part which he
took in this expedition, but from his published narratives and from his
subsequent voyages to another part of the South American continent.

Ojeda and his companions, who sailed from St. Mary’s on the 20th of May
1499, were guided by the charts which the admiral had sent home.
Touching at the _Canaries_, they followed the route of Columbus, and at
the end of twenty-four days reached the New World, about two hundred
leagues further south than the point where the admiral had landed, being
somewhat near _Surinam_. Thence Ojeda coasted northwards, passing the
mouths of many rivers, more especially the _Orinoco_. The first natives
they beheld were at _Trinidad_, the people of which are described in the
letters of Vespucci.[C]

After touching at several points of _Trinidad_ and of the Gulf of
_Paria_, Ojeda passed through the _Boca del Drago_, and then steered his
course to the westward along the coast of _Paria_, until he arrived at
_Cumana_ or the Gulf of Pearls. Thence he stood for the opposite island
of _Margarita_, which had been discovered by Columbus. This island and
others adjacent were now explored; after which Ojeda returned to the
mainland. At _Maracapana_ he careened his vessels and built a small
brigantine. The natives were friendly, and brought him abundance of
provisions, in return for which they besought Ojeda to assist them in an
expedition against the inhabitants of an island, who were wont to carry
off their people to be eaten.

Such a request was greatly to the mind of the enterprising Castilian,
and after sailing for seven days, he arrived at what are supposed to be
the _Caribbee_ Islands, one of which was pointed out by his guides as
the abode of their foes. His landing was at first stoutly opposed; but
on hearing the sound of his guns, the savages fled in terror, whilst
Ojeda and his men pursued them to the shore. The Carib warriors,
however, rallied and courageously fought for a long time, but they were
at length driven to the woods, leaving many killed and wounded. The
fight was renewed on the succeeding day with the same result, after
which the Spaniards set out on their return to the mainland, where Ojeda
anchored for three weeks, to give his men time to recover from their

When his crew were again fit for the sea, Ojeda made sail and touched at
the island of _Curacoa_. Entering a vast gulf, he beheld on the eastern
side a village of strange construction. It consisted of a few large
houses, shaped like bells, and built on piles driven into the bottom of
the shallow lake. The houses were provided with drawbridges, and the
communication was carried on by means of canoes. In this slight
resemblance to the Queen of the Adriatic originated the name of
_Venezuela_, or Little Venice. The native name was _Coquibacoa_. At
sight of the ships the natives fled in terror, as did the rowers of a
squadron of canoes which entered the harbour from the sea. They soon
returned, however, bringing a peace-offering of sixteen young girls. The
peace was of short duration; at a signal from some old women the Indians
discharged a flight of arrows, and the girls plunged into the sea. But
Ojeda was in no way taken aback. Manning his boats, he dashed amongst
the canoes, sinking some of them, and killing and wounding a number of
Indians, whilst the remainder took to flight.

Leaving this inhospitable spot, Ojeda proceeded to explore the gulf and
reached the port of _Maracaibo_, where, in compliance with the
entreaties of the natives, he sent a party on shore to explore the
country. The Spaniards on this occasion were treated with the utmost
hospitality. Indeed the whole country poured forth its population to do
them homage, looking upon them and treating them as beings of a superior
race or world. The Spaniards were permitted to take away with them
several of the beautiful females of the country, one of whom accompanied
Ojeda in a subsequent voyage.

Ojeda, in his report of this voyage, stated that he met with English
voyagers near _Venezuela_, or _Coquibacoa_. Of the expedition here
alluded to, no other record has yet been brought to light. The
North-American continent had ere this time been visited in 1497, by John
Cabot, a Venetian, in the service of Henry VII., together with his son,
the celebrated Sebastian Cabot, of whom more will be said hereafter.
These navigators discovered the coast of _Newfoundland_ on the 24th of
June of the above-mentioned year, and coasted southwards as far as to
_Florida_. The Cabots were thus the first discoverers of the mainland of
America, having preceded Columbus by one year.

Ojeda continued his route along the western shores of the Gulf of
_Venezuela_, doubling Cape _Maracaibo_ and following the coast until he
reached the headland of Cape _de la Vela_, whence he stood across the
Caribbean Sea for _Hispaniola_. He reached Cadiz on his return in June

[Sidenote: 1499.]

Contemporary with this voyage of Ojeda was a similar one by Pedro Alonzo
Niño, undertaken, not with the object of discovery, but for gain. This
mariner sailed from Palos, and, following the chart of Columbus, reached
the coast of _Paria_, where he landed to cut dye-wood, and where he
established friendly relations with the natives. He, too, passed through
the _Boca del Drago_, and encountered the Carib pirates, by whom he was
boldly assailed, but who fled at the discharge of his artillery. Niño
and his companions then steered for the island of _Margarita_, where
they obtained a large quantity of pearls. They afterwards skirted the
coast of _Cumana_, and were invariably well treated by the natives; and
they inferred that this was a part of the mainland from the fact of
their meeting with deer and rabbits, these animals not having been seen
by them on any of the islands. Niño next proceeded to a country called
_Cauchieto_, where, however, the inhabitants, who had been visited by
Ojeda, prepared to resist his landing. Not wishing to provoke
hostilities, Niño returned to _Cumana_; whence, when he had amassed a
sufficient number of pearls, he set sail for Spain, where he arrived in

[Sidenote: 1500.]

The next Spanish navigator who furthered geographical discovery in this
quarter of South America was Rodrigo de Bastides of Seville, who set out
with two _caravels_ in October 1500, having with him the veteran pilot
Juan de la Cosa, who had sailed with Columbus. Bastides had likewise on
board Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, afterwards the celebrated discoverer of the
Southern Sea.[D] This expedition extended the acquaintance with the
coast of _Terra Firma_ from Cape _de la Vela_ to the spot afterwards
named _Nombre de Dios_. Bastides has left a name for himself, as
distinguished from the great mass of his countrymen who appeared in that
part of the world, for his kind treatment of the natives. His vessels
became, unfortunately, pierced by the worm which abounds in those
waters, and it was with great difficulty that he contrived to reach

Alonzo de Ojeda, in consideration of his past services, received a grant
of land in _Hispaniola_, and likewise the government of _Coquibacoa_,
which place he had discovered. He was authorized to fit out a number of
ships at his own expense and to prosecute discoveries on the coast of
_Terra Firma_. It is said that one of the chief reasons for granting
this government, and the privileges which accompanied it, to Ojeda, was
the fact of his having met with an English expedition near _Coquibacoa_.
The Spanish sovereigns were alarmed at the idea of foreign intrusion,
and they wished to confide the most advanced post in their dominions to
a governor of the resolute valour of which Ojeda had given such abundant
proof. He was instructed to set up the arms of Castile and Leon in every
place he should visit, as a hint to the intrusive English that these
places had already been taken possession of.

[Sidenote: 1502.]

With four vessels, Ojeda set sail for the _Canaries_, in 1502, and
thence proceeded to the Gulf of _Paria_, from which locality he found
his way to _Coquibacoa_. Not liking this poor country, he sailed on to
the Bay of _Honda_, where he determined to found his settlement, which
was, however, destined to be of short duration. Provisions very soon
became scarce; and one of his partners, who had been sent to procure
supplies from _Jamaica_, failed to return until Ojeda’s followers were
almost in a state of mutiny. The result was that the whole colony set
sail for _Hispaniola_, taking the governor with them in chains. All that
Ojeda gained by his expedition was that he at length came off the winner
in a lawsuit, the costs of which, however, left him a ruined man.

We have now once more, in following according to time the progress of
discovery towards the Isthmus, to return to the voyages of Columbus. He
was already sixty-six years of age when he embarked on his fourth and
last voyage. His squadron, consisting of four small _caravels_, set out
from Cadiz on the 9th of May 1502, and, after some delay on the coast of
Morocco, reached the _Caribbee_ Islands on the 15th of June. Having been
refused admission to enter the port of _San Domingo_, Columbus, after
riding out a fearful storm, sailed for some time along the coast of
_Honduras_, with the object, which was ever before him in this
expedition, of finding a supposed strait opening out into the Indian
Ocean. On the 17th of October he arrived off the coast of _Veragua_,
where he found the natives possessed of many ornaments of gold. The
Spaniards likewise found in this quarter the first signs of solid
architecture which they had discovered in the New World.

The great discoverer is honourably distinguished from others in that the
advancement of science, rather than the acquisition of the precious
metals, was the object of his quest. Although told by his interpreters,
when sailing along the coast of _Veragua_, that in five towns which he
passed he might obtain great quantities of gold, and although the
natives placed so little value on objects of this mineral that they were
always ready to exchange them for Spanish trifles, Columbus preferred to
continue his course in order the sooner to arrive at the supposed
strait. “I would not rob nor outrage the country,” says the admiral in
one of his letters, “since reason requires that it should be settled,
and then the gold may be procured without violence.” Columbus was an
Italian; but it is safe to affirm that the sentiment expressed in the
above sentence would not have been uttered by any one amongst the
Spanish adventurers of the period.

On the 2nd of November Columbus reached the spacious harbour of _Porto
Bello_, so named by its illustrious discoverer, and which was destined
afterwards to hold so important a position as being the spot where the
yearly fleet of _galleons_ discharged its cargoes of European
commodities for the supply of Spanish South America. The admiral found
the neighbouring country open and cultivated, the houses surrounded by
fruit-trees and groves of palms, and the fields producing maize,
vegetables, and pine-apples. After a week’s delay, Columbus proceeded
eastward to the point afterwards known as _Nombre de Dios_. His vessels,
however, now began to be pierced by the tropical worm. Landing,
therefore, in a small harbour, to which he gave the name of _El
Retrete_, he found himself in such inconveniently close vicinity to the
shore, that troubles soon arose between the natives and his unruly
seamen; and these were not quelled without some display of force. It was
at this point that the great navigator at length consented to relinquish
his long and painful search after the supposed strait. Indeed, though he
knew it not, the whole coast along the Isthmus had now been navigated by
expeditions starting from opposite directions. In compliance with the
wishes of his companions, the admiral now agreed to return to the coast
of _Veragua_.

With the above object in view, the expedition sailed from _El Retrete_
on the 5th of December, but it was only to encounter a continuance of
the most stormy weather, in which the _caravels_ were tossed about day
and night, and subjected to the most serious risk of being swamped. On
the 17th they entered a port resembling a canal, where they enjoyed some
days’ repose. On leaving this place of refuge they were again tossed
about until the day after Christmas, when they entered another port, in
which one of the vessels was repaired. On the day of Epiphany, to their
great joy, they anchored in a river close to that of _Veragua_, to which
Columbus, in honour of the day, gave the name of _Belen_ or Bethlehem.

The accounts which the Spaniards had received were now confirmed by what
they saw. In exchange for articles of the most trifling nature, they
procured ornaments of gold of considerable value; and _Don_ Bartholomew,
the admiral’s brother, set off in armed boats to ascend the _Veragua_,
as far as to the residence of the _Cacique_ Quibian. By him he was
hospitably entertained, receiving from him the golden ornaments which he
wore. But the ships and mariners were not long to rest in quietness,
even under the shelter of a river; for a sudden swelling of the waters
drove them from their anchors and tossed them helplessly against each
other; whilst they were prevented by a violent storm from seeking safety
at sea.

Early in February, _Don_ Bartholomew again proceeded with an armed party
to explore _Veragua_, and to seek for the mines. He was misled by the
_cacique_, who directed him into the territories of a neighbouring
chief, with whom he was at war. The _Adelantado_, however, on finding
his mistake, set out on a second excursion, during the course of which
he was continually met by proofs of abundance of gold, the natives
generally wearing plates of that metal suspended from their necks. He
was entertained in a friendly manner by the _caciques_ whom he visited,
and he found the country cultivated.

On hearing the report of his brother, Columbus resolved to set up a
colony on this promising coast, with the object of securing possession
of the country and of exploring the mines. The _Adelantado_ was to
remain with the greater part of the expedition, whilst the admiral
should return to Spain. On this resolve being taken, no time was allowed
to be lost. Eighty men were to be left behind, and these were forthwith
employed in building houses and a magazine. The chief portion of the
artillery and ammunition was stored on board of one of the _caravels_,
which was to be left for the use of the colony. Although the stores were
somewhat scarce, no apprehension was felt lest provisions should run
short; for the country produced fruits and grain in abundance, whilst
the rivers and sea-coast supplied large quantities of fish.

Such was the condition of affairs, and Columbus was on the point of
departing, when an unlooked-for obstacle occurred to delay him. He could
not of course anticipate the various changes of season in this strange
country. The river, which had but recently been a source of danger to
him from its becoming flooded, now suddenly became so dry that there was
but half a fathom of water on its bar; and over this it was impossible
even for the admiral’s small vessel to pass. He had no remedy,
therefore, but to have recourse to patience--that virtue of which he
stood so much in need throughout his memorable career--and to await the
return of the rainy season.

Meanwhile the _Cacique_ Quibian, as was but natural, looked with
jealousy upon the proceedings of the strangers who were making
themselves so much at home within his territories. Under pretext of
preparing for war upon a neighbouring chief, he summoned his fighting
men to assemble on the river _Veragua_. But suspicion was aroused in the
mind of the admiral’s notary, who obtained permission to reconnoitre the
Indian camp. On his return, he gave it as his opinion that a large party
of natives whom he had observed on the march had been on their way to
surprise the Spanish settlement. Columbus, being unwilling to accept
this view without further confirmation, gave permission to Mendez to
proceed on a second scouting expedition, the result of which was such as
to dispel his doubts; whilst any lingering disbelief was banished by
information conveyed to him by a native who had acted as interpreter,
and who revealed to the admiral the designs of his countrymen, which he
had overheard. It had been the intention of Quibian to surprise the
harbour at night; to burn the ships and houses; and to effect a general

In view of the above disclosures, Columbus set a double watch upon the
harbour: but his brother, the _Adelantado_, resolved upon more vigorous
measures. At the head of seventy-four men, together with the
interpreter, he set off in boats for the _Veragua_, and landed below the
house of Quibian, before the latter had notice of his movements. Then
taking with him only five men, he ascended the hill, ordering the others
to follow with great caution. On a given signal they were to surround
the dwelling. The _cacique_ was seized by _Don_ Bartholomew, and, after
a violent struggle, was bound hand and foot. His household, consisting
of about fifty persons, were likewise made prisoners; and so well were
the _Adelantado’s_ measures taken that no blood was shed on the

Committing his prize to the care of his pilot, with orders to take him
on board his boat, the _Adelantado_, with a portion of his men, set out
in pursuit of the Indians who had escaped. But the wily _cacique_ was
more than a match for the honest pilot. On his complaining piteously of
the pain caused by his bonds, the soft-hearted Sanchez was induced to
loosen the cord; upon which Quibian, watching his opportunity, plunged
into the water and disappeared. On the following morning the
_Adelantado_, being convinced of the futility of pursuit, returned to
the ships with the spoils of Quibian’s mansion, which amounted to the
insignificant value of three hundred ducats.

All was now apparently tranquil; and the rainy season having once more
set in, Columbus took leave of his brother, and got under weigh with
three of the _caravels_, leaving the fourth for the use of the
settlement. The ships, having been towed over the bar, anchored within a
league of the shore, to await a favourable wind. It was the intention of
the admiral to touch at _Hispaniola_, and thence to send his brother
supplies and reinforcements. As the adverse wind detained him for some
time, he sent a boat on shore to procure wood and water. It was well for
the colony that he did so. The _Cacique_ Quibian had not perished, as
was supposed, but had found his way ashore. When he saw the vessels
bearing his family to afar, he was driven to despair, and thought only
of vengeance. Assembling his warriors, he approached the settlement
secretly, and fell upon the Spaniards when they were completely off
their guard. After a severe struggle, the Indians were driven back, but
not before they had killed one Spaniard and wounded eight others.
Notwithstanding this warning, the boat’s crew sent by Columbus proceeded
up the river, and, being surprised by the Indians, were cut off, one
man alone escaping.

This misfortune filled the colony with dismay, more especially as the
Indians forthwith renewed hostilities. As it was considered no longer
safe to remain in the fortress, owing to its vicinity to the wood, the
_Adelantado_ erected a barricade in an open space by the sea. The
Indians were deterred by the firearms of the Spaniards from venturing
forth from the forest; but the latter looked forward with the utmost
dread to the hour when the ammunition should be exhausted, and when they
should be driven forth in search of food.

In the meanwhile Columbus was subjected to scarcely less anxiety. The
non-return of his boat foreboded disaster; and he did not venture to
risk his only remaining boat, on account of the heavy surf on the shore.
An occurrence had also taken place which added not a little to the gloom
on board of the squadron. It had been the intention of Columbus to carry
Quibian’s family to Spain, as hostages for the good behaviour of the
Indians during his absence. The captives, however, were determined to
secure their liberty, if possible. The hatchway above the forecastle
where they slept had not been fastened, as it was out of reach of the
prisoners, and as some of the crew slept upon it. This neglect being
observed by the captives, despair lent them ingenuity. Collecting
together a quantity of the ballast, they raised a heap beneath the
hatchway. Several Indians mounting on the stones, by a simultaneous
effort, then raised it, violently dislodging the sleeping seamen. The
Indians instantly sprang forth, and many, plunging into the sea, swam
ashore. Some, however, were caught and forced back into their place of
imprisonment. In the morning it was found that all the prisoners had
hanged themselves.

[Sidenote: 1503.]

In this state of perplexity, one brave man volunteered to bring relief
to the admiral’s mind. Pedro Ledesma of Seville offered, if the boat
should take him to the edge of the surf, to swim ashore through it, a
feat which he successfully accomplished. He returned to the ships, to
tell his commander that the _Adelantado’s_ party were in all but open
mutiny, and that they were sworn, if the admiral should refuse to take
them on board, to depart in the _caravel_ so soon as it might be
practicable. Columbus, as may be supposed, was in no slight alarm for
his brother, placed as he was between mutineers and savages. There
appeared nothing to do but to take the whole party on board, and to
return to the settlement at some future day; but the state of the
weather was such as to render the execution of this plan not a little
difficult. After nine boisterous days, however, the sea again became
calm, and great exertion was made to get the people off ere the bad
weather should return. In this emergency, the services of Diego Mendez
were especially useful. Having lashed two Indian canoes together, he
erected on them a raft, upon which the stores left on shore and on the
_caravel_ were towed out to the ships. In this manner, in the course of
two nights and days, everything of value was conveyed on board the
squadron, Mendez and five companions being the last to leave the shore.

The joy of the Spaniards was unbounded on finding themselves once more
afloat. The wind becoming favourable, Columbus, towards the end of April
1503, set sail for the last time from the disastrous coast from which
his descendant takes his title.[E] Instead, however, of making direct
for _Hispaniola_, he, to the surprise of his pilot and crews, stood
along the coast to the eastward.

This study of the currents had taught him that, in order to avoid being
carried beyond his destined port, he must first gain considerable way to
the east. At _Porto Bello_ he was obliged to leave one of his
_caravels_, it being so pierced by worms that it could no longer be
kept afloat. Even his two remaining vessels, into which were now crowded
the crews of the four, were in a very unseaworthy condition, and were
only kept afloat by incessant labour at the pumps. Continuing onwards,
they passed _Porto Retrete_ and approached the entrance of the Gulf of
_Darien_, when, yielding to the remonstrance of his captains and pilots,
the admiral bade final farewell to the mainland; and on the 1st of May
he stood northward in quest of _Hispaniola_. At this point of his career
we must take leave of the discoverer of America. To pursue further the
narrative of his last voyage would take us beyond the limits within
which this work must be confined, that is to say, beyond the limits of
South America.

     NOTE.--The problem of rendering in English the names of places in
     foreign countries is one of some difficulty, and rests rather on
     conventionality than on principle. It is solved by different
     writers in different fashions. Greek purists have for some time
     past lost no opportunity, in writing Greek words, of substituting
     the original Greek K for the Roman C; but they still respect the
     latter in names of such places, familiarized to our ears by
     Scripture, as Corinth and Crete. In like manner Oriental purists,
     such as Sir Frederic Goldsmid and Colonel Malleson, have done their
     best to introduce into English literature a system of orthography
     as to Oriental names which is, of course, in place in the
     schoolroom of a professor of Oriental languages, but which has not
     yet made itself fully accepted by the general English reader. Those
     of us whose acquaintance with Indian history began with the reading
     of Macaulay’s Essays on Clive and Hastings, are loth to accept
     _Pílasi_ for Plassey and _Lakhnao_ for the capital of the princely
     House of Oude.

     To look nearer home, it would be pedantic to use _El Kahira_ for
     Cairo, or _Dimishk_ for Damascus. It would be little less so,
     although strictly correct, to use _Venezia_ for Venice, _Roma_ for
     Rome, or _Livorno_ for Leghorn. We have added an _s_--why, I know
     not--to the French spelling of the word _Marseille_. That port is
     as familiar in our mouths as Liverpool or Glasgow, but we
     invariably write it and pronounce it Marseilles. In writing Spanish
     or Portuguese words applied to names of places in South America, I
     find a considerable divergence of custom amongst authors. To take
     the one name of _Assumption_, for instance. The capital of
     _Paraguay_ is so written by the Robertsons and other writers,
     whilst in Southey’s History of Brazil it is throughout written
     _Assumpcion_. In Washburn’s History of Paraguay it becomes
     _Asuncion_, the original Spanish name, which I see no reason to
     supersede. As a rule I have followed the native names of places in
     Portuguese or Spanish America, they being for the most part those
     by which they are known in England.




[Sidenote: 1508.]

On the return of Columbus to Europe after his fourth and last voyage,
King Ferdinand was roused by the accounts which he gave of _Veragua_
into an ardent longing to possess that wealthy territory. He resolved,
therefore, to found colonies upon that coast, and to place them under an
able governor. But before he had proceeded to carry his resolution into
practice, the great admiral was no more. In looking about for a capable
commander, it might have been supposed that the king would have selected
his brother, _Don_ Bartholomew, who had accompanied him in his last
voyage. Columbus had, however, left vast claims behind him, of which his
family were the heirs, and which the mean and jealous monarch was
unwilling to recognise. His choice of an officer, therefore, fell on the
gallant and enterprising Alonzo de Ojeda, who at this period was idling
his time in _Hispaniola_,--his purse being empty, but his spirit as high
as ever. His generous character and reckless bearing had endeared to him
the veteran pilot, Juan de la Cosa, who offered him the use of his
savings for the purpose of fitting out his expedition.

Ojeda, however, had a rival in the person of Diego de Nicuesa. Both were
accomplished cavaliers, well fitted by their spirit of enterprise to do
what men could do in fulfilment of the unforeseen and almost superhuman
tasks that lay before them. King Ferdinand, being unwilling to lose the
services of Nicuesa, appointed him, too, to a government; that is to
say, he granted to each permission to conquer and govern a portion of
the continent which lies along the Isthmus of _Darien_,--the boundary
line to pass through the Gulf of _Urabá_. The eastern portion, extending
to Cape _de la Vela_, was named New Andalusia, and was granted to Ojeda.
The country to the west, including _Veragua_, and reaching to Cape
_Gracias à Dios_, was assigned to Nicuesa. Both governors were to draw
supplies in common from the island of _Jamaica_, and each was to enjoy
for ten years the profits of the mines he might discover, with the usual
deduction for the Crown.

Ojeda, by the aid of Juan de la Cosa, fitted out a ship and two
brigantines, carrying between them about two hundred men. Nicuesa
furnished four large vessels, carrying a much larger force. Ojeda, being
somewhat jealous of the superior show of his rival, persuaded one of his
friends, a lawyer called the Bachelor Enciso, to invest his money--two
thousand _castillanos_--in his enterprise.

He was to remain behind in _Hispaniola_, to enlist recruits and provide
supplies. Before setting out, the two rival governors, as was perhaps to
be expected, fell into a dispute concerning the island of _Jamaica_,
which they were to hold in common; and Ojeda took the opportunity of
challenging Nicuesa to meet him in single combat. The feud, however, was
smothered by the judicious interference of Juan de la Cosa. Nicuesa’s
engaging manners brought so many volunteers to his standard that he had
to purchase another ship in order to convey them. He was not, however, a
man of business, and was so over-reached in making his arrangements that
he had considerable difficulty in escaping from his creditors and
setting out for the scene of his government.

[Sidenote: 1509.]

Never were a set of gallant adventurers exposed to more dire disaster
and more grievous suffering and disappointment than were those who
composed the armaments of Ojeda and Nicuesa, respectively. On the 10th
of November 1509, the former set sail from _San Domingo_, having added
to his squadron another ship and another hundred men. Amongst the
adventurers on board was one who was destined to fill a larger space in
history than was Ojeda himself,--namely, Francisco Pizarro, the future
conqueror of _Peru_. The expedition soon arrived in the harbour of
_Carthagena_; but the natives, who had been irritated by the proceedings
of previous European visitors, flew to arms at the first sight of the
strangers. They were a war-like race, of _Carib_ origin, and were given
to the use of poisoned arrows.

The pilot, Juan de la Cosa, who had previously visited this coast with
Bastides, was much alarmed at the aspect of affairs, and earnestly
besought Ojeda to quit this neighbourhood and to found his settlement on
the Gulf of _Urabá_ where the people were less savage, more especially
in respect to the use of poisoned arrows. Ojeda, however, whose daring
was excessive, had no objection to fighting, the rather as it would, he
hoped, give him an early opportunity of sending a ship full of slaves to
_San Domingo_, wherewith to pay his debts. Ojeda, who had escaped from
innumerable dangers, and imagined himself to be under the especial
protection of the Virgin, boldly charged the Indians, on their declining
to make peace. They were soon routed; a number being killed, and others
taken prisoners. The dashing leader had the temerity to pursue the enemy
far into the forest, where they were driven from their stronghold.
Seventy Indians were then made captives and were sent to the ships.

The infatuated Ojeda, not content with these successes, continued his
pursuit of the fugitives; but in the dusk of the evening, his men,
imagining that the Indians were dispersed and subdued, separated in
search of plunder amongst the houses of a deserted village. Of a sudden
the savages rushed forth from the surrounding forest. The Spaniards,
rallying in small parties, although they fought bravely, fell fast
beneath the clubs and poisoned arrows of the numbers that surrounded
them. Ojeda, throwing himself upon his knees, and sheltering himself
with his buckler, escaped the poisoned shower; but he was only saved by
the arrival of La Cosa with a few followers, for all those with him had
been slain. A like fate now befell the companions of the veteran pilot;
whilst La Cosa himself was wounded, and unable to follow his leader when
he sprang like a tiger on the enemy, dealing death to the right and
left. La Cosa took refuge in an Indian cabin until but one man with him
was left alive. With his dying breath he despatched this last companion
with a message to Ojeda. This Spaniard and his commander alone survived
of seventy men whom the head-strong Ojeda had led on this rash and
uncalled-for expedition.

Alarmed at the prolonged absence of their leader and his men, the
Spaniards on board the ships sent armed detachments in boats along the
shore, who sounded trumpets and fired signal-guns. They were answered
only by the defiant war-whoops of the Indians; but at length, in a
tangled thicket of mangroves, the figure of a human being was descried
in Spanish attire. It was Alonzo de Ojeda, so wasted with fatigue and
hunger that he was for some time incapable of speaking. When they had
given him food and wine, he was enabled to recount the wreck his
rashness had wrought. His shield bore the marks of three hundred arrows,
and he ascribed his safety to the protection of the Virgin alone.

While his friends were still on shore, they beheld some ships standing
towards the harbour. It was the squadron of Nicuesa, on whose arrival
Ojeda now looked with alarm. He had nothing, however, to dread from the
generous cavalier, whose first act was to put himself and his men under
the orders of Ojeda, with the object of avenging the deaths of his
comrades. This was soon effectually done. Proceeding to the spot where
the massacre had occurred, they found the Indian village buried in
sleep. It was forthwith wrapt in flames; and the inhabitants, who rushed
forth, were either slain by the Spaniards or driven back to perish in
the fire. No quarter was shown to sex or age. The spoil in the village
was great, for the share of Nicuesa and his men was valued at seven
thousands _castillanos_. Nicuesa now pursued his voyage to _Veragua_.

Ojeda, who had by this time had enough of _Carthagena_, embarking,
steered for the Gulf of _Urabá_. His people were much disheartened, and
the aspect of the coast along which they passed was not such as to
console them. They heard the roars of tigers and lions, and were
disconcerted when one of their horses, passing along the bank of a
river, was seized by an alligator and dragged under the water. Ojeda
fixed his settlement on a spot to which he gave the name of _San
Sebastian_, trusting that the martyr, who had himself been slain by
arrows, would protect his Spaniards from a like fate. Here he erected a
wooden fort and drew a stockade around the place. He further sent a ship
to _San Domingo_ bearing a letter to his associate Enciso, in which he
urged him to join him without delay.

Meanwhile Ojeda determined to make a progress through his territory, and
he set out with an armed band to visit a neighbouring _cacique_. On
entering the forest, however, he and his followers were assailed by a
shower of poisoned arrows from the covert, in consequence of which a
number of his men died raving with torments. The rest retreated in
confusion, and it was only when their provisions began to run short that
Ojeda could persuade them once more to take the field. They were so
beset, however, on all sides by the savages, and lost so many by their
poisoned wounds, that the Spaniards would no longer venture forth at
all, contenting themselves for food with such herbs and roots as they
could find. Their numbers became so thinned by disease that it was with
difficulty that sentinels could be procured to mount guard.

Through all this Ojeda continued to bear a charmed life; and the Indians
determined to test his invulnerability. When they next attacked the
fort, and Ojeda as usual sallied forth to repel them, four of their
picked marksmen were placed in ambush with orders to single him out.
Three of the arrows struck his shield, doing him no injury; the fourth
pierced his thigh. He was borne back to the settlement suffering great
torments. He had the hardihood to order his doctor to apply two plates
of iron, made red hot, to the orifices of his wound, an ordeal which he
endured without flinching. Whether or not it was owing to this terrible
treatment, his life was preserved, though at the cost of a fearful

Whilst the colony was enduring the straits above described, a strange
ship was seen making for _San Sebastian_. It did not, however, as was
expected, bring Enciso with the looked-for stores. It was a vessel that
had belonged to a Genoese, of which a certain Talavera, with some other
reckless debtors, had taken possession at _San Domingo_, and who, to the
number of seventy, now came to swell the ranks of Ojeda’s followers.
They sold their provisions to that governor, whose men were thus rescued
from starvation.

Still was the arrival of Enciso delayed, and at length Ojeda was forced
to come to a compromise with his desperate followers. It was agreed
between them that he himself should proceed in one of the vessels to
_San Domingo_, in quest of supplies and reinforcements, and that
they--that is to say, the bulk of the colonists--should remain for fifty
days at _San Sebastian_, at the end of which time, should he not have
returned, they were to be free to depart in the other brigantines to
_Hispaniola_. Meanwhile Francisco Pizarro was to command the colony in
his absence, or until the arrival of Enciso.

Ojeda embarked in the ship that had brought Talavera; but when he
attempted to take the command, he was resisted by that individual backed
by his entire crew. The result was that the fiery Ojeda was thrown into
irons, from which he was only released because no other person on board
was capable of managing the ship. As it was, the pirates had allowed the
vessel to be carried so far out of her course for _San Domingo_ that
Ojeda had no other resource but to run it ashore on the southern coast
of _Cuba_.

When on shore the truce was continued between Ojeda and his late
associates; for they felt that none of the party but he could guide them
in their forlorn plight. They were too disheartened to force their way
through the inhabited country, where they would have to fight the
irritated natives; and therefore Ojeda, who had only before him a choice
of evils, led them through the savannas and marshes, whence, with
incredible labour, they at length emerged on an Indian village. Their
sufferings had been intense and incessant, and out of the number of
seventy who had set out, but one-half survived. With these Ojeda
continued his march to Cape _de la Cruz_, whence, by means of a canoe,
he was able to communicate with the Spaniards on the island of
_Jamaica_. A _caravel_ was sent to bring the party to the latter island,
and from there, after a short delay, Ojeda set sail for _San Domingo_,
leaving Talavera and his friends behind him. These were, however, soon
afterwards arrested, and tried for their act of piracy, Talavera and
several of his accomplices being hanged. At _San Domingo_ nothing was
known respecting the Bachelor Enciso, who had long since set out to join
his chief, and who had not afterwards been heard of. Thus was the last
hope of Ojeda gone. He was reduced to beggary, and his gallant spirit
was at length so crushed by misfortune, that with his last breath he
asked that he might be buried at the gate of the monastery of _San
Francisco_, so that, in expiation of his former pride, every one who
should enter might tread upon his grave.

To return to Nicuesa:--On leaving _Carthagena_, he continued his voyage
to the coast assigned to him as a government. The squadron arrived in
due course at _Veragua_, but during a storm the vessel of Nicuesa became
separated from her companions. Being stranded in a river, and his ship
being in danger of falling to pieces, Nicuesa and his companions had to
save themselves by passing to the shore by means of a rope. No sooner
had they reached it than the _caravel_ broke up, their provisions and
clothing being carried off by the waters. Fortunately their boat was
cast ashore, and in it four seamen put to sea, keeping abreast of the
main body, which had to find its way along the shore, and ferrying them
across the rivers and bays in their way. The sufferings of Nicuesa and
his men were extreme, and their food consisted only of such herbs and
roots and shellfish as they could gather. They were, however, proceeding
in a wrong direction. The boat’s crew were convinced of this fact,
though they despaired of being able to convince Nicuesa; and so one
night they took the law into their own hands and departed in the boat,
leaving their commander and his party on an island. As they had
anticipated, they ere long fell in with the other vessels, who had taken
refuge in the river of _Belen_, and a boat was forthwith sent to rescue
the forlorn party.

Nicuesa and his famished companions now rejoined his people at _Belen_,
where, of the gallant band of seven hundred men who had sailed with him
from _San Domingo_, he now found but three hundred half-starved
survivors. His first care was to take measures for their relief; but, as
will be remembered from the experience of Columbus and his brother, the
Indians of this coast were by no means pleasant to deal with. Many of
the Spanish foragers were slain, and those who escaped this fate were
so enfeebled that it was with the utmost difficulty they could carry
their provisions home.

Disheartened by so many miseries, Nicuesa determined to abandon this
disastrous settlement. Amongst his followers was a Genoese sailor who
had been on this coast with Columbus, and who now described to his
commander the harbour with which the admiral had been so pleased as to
give it the name of _Porto Bello_. For this spot, under the guidance of
the Genoese, Nicuesa steered, and he found the traces of the admiral’s
visit as had been described to him. A part of the crew were sent on
shore for provisions, but they were assailed by the Indians, whom they
were too worn-out to resist. Disappointed in the hope of finding a
refuge in this place, Nicuesa continued his course for seven leagues
further, and reached the harbour to which Columbus had given the name of
_Puerto de Bastimientos_, or Port of Provisions. It was surrounded by a
fruitful country, and the weary Nicuesa exclaimed, “Here let us rest, in
the name of God!” His followers, interpreting his words as a favourable
omen, the harbour received the name of _Nombre de Dios_, which it
retains at the present day. The misfortunes of Nicuesa and his band
were, however, not yet at an end. On mustering his forces, he found but
one hundred emaciated beings left. He then despatched his _caravel_ to
_Hispaniola_ for provisions; but it never returned, and he was equally
unsuccessful in his search for supplies upon the spot.

[Sidenote: 1510.]

Meanwhile, as has been already said, long before Ojeda’s return to _San
Domingo_, his partner, the Bachelor Enciso, set out to rejoin his chief
at _Carthagena_. The Bachelor arrived at this fatal spot in ignorance of
the conflict in which Juan de la Cosa had met his death, and of that in
which he was avenged. He therefore, without hesitation, landed a number
of men to repair his boat. A multitude of Indians gathered around them.
Their experience of the force of the white men had been so recent as to
make it prudent for them to keep at a safe distance. On being convinced,
however, that these strangers came with no hostile intent, the natives
threw down their weapons, and treated the Spaniards with the utmost
friendship, supplying them with bread, fish, and other provisions.

At _Carthagena_ Enciso was not a little surprised by the arrival of a
brigantine. It was commanded by Francisco Pizarro, who, it will be
remembered, had been left in charge on Ojeda’s departure from _San
Sebastian_. The small brigantine contained all that was left of the
colony that had been founded with such high hopes. On the departure of
Ojeda, his followers had remained in the fortress during the term agreed
upon of fifty days. As soon afterwards as their numbers became so far
reduced by death as to be capable of being contained in the two
brigantines, they set sail from the fatal spot. Encountering rough
weather, one of the brigantines went down with all hands; the other, as
has been said, was steered for _Carthagena_, in order to procure

Nothing daunted by the experience of his predecessors, and taking with
him Pizarro and his crew, though sorely against the will of the latter,
Enciso set out for _San Sebastian_. From the very moment, however, of
his arrival there, ill-luck attended the unfortunate Bachelor. On
entering the harbour his vessel struck on a rock, and he and his crew
escaped with difficulty to the brigantine of Pizarro, their vessel going
down, together with the whole of the live-stock and supplies destined
for the colony. On landing, he found that the fortress and houses had
been burnt by the Indians. The Spaniards remained for a few days,
subsisting on such supplies as the colony afforded. But they had a
conflict with the Indians, which revived their fears of poisoned arrows
and thoroughly disgusted them with the locality,--a feeling shared by
Enciso. At this gloomy moment, one man stepped forward from the crowd,
who from this time till his premature death, stood in the foremost
ranks of his countrymen in the New World, and who occupies a place
amongst American discoverers second only to Columbus. This was the
gallant and famous Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, destined to be the first
European who should set eyes on the Pacific Ocean. Vasco Nuñez was a
native of Xeres, and was the scion of a noble family. Being a man of
prodigal habits, in order to evade his creditors, he had been conveyed
on board Enciso’s ship, concealed in a cask. He now informed his leader
that, several years previously, he had sailed along that coast with
Bastides and had explored the gulf of _Urabá_. He remembered an Indian
village on the banks of the river _Darien_, situated in a fertile
country, which was said to possess gold-mines. Above all, the natives
did not use poisoned arrows. Thither he now offered to conduct his

The offer of Nuñez being accepted, Enciso sailed for the spot. On
landing, he was opposed by the _cacique_, who, however, was soon put to
flight, leaving much plunder and food behind him. Here Enciso determined
to establish his colony, to which he gave the name of _Santa Maria de la
Antigua del Darien_. No sooner was his colony established, than Enciso,
somewhat prematurely, began to make his authority felt. His first edict
forbade all private dealings with the natives for gold, on pain of
death,--a proceeding little to the taste of the loose band which he had
gathered around him. The result was that some of his followers
determined to have recourse to the law on their own behalf. The boundary
line between the jurisdictions which had been assigned to Ojeda and
Nicuesa respectively was drawn through the centre of the Gulf of
_Urabá_. As the village of _Darien_ lay on the western side, it was
clearly within the government of Nicuesa, and therefore Enciso, the
lieutenant of Ojeda, possessed no jurisdiction there. In this manner the
unfortunate Bachelor found himself reduced to the ranks.

It is proverbially more easy to pull down a government than to set one
up, and such proved to be the case on this occasion. Vasco Nuñez and one
Zamudio were appointed _alcaldes_ by popular election; but it was deemed
better to appoint a governor, if they could only agree upon one. Whilst
the question was being disputed, the colony was surprised by the arrival
of a vessel under the command of Rodrigo de Colmenares, bringing
supplies for Nicuesa. This incident determined the colonists’ choice in
favour of the latter cavalier, if only he could be found. Colmenares
accordingly proceeded along the coast in search of him. Looking into
every bay and harbour, he at length discovered a brigantine which had
been sent out by Nicuesa in search of provisions. By this vessel he was
guided to _Nombre de Dios_, where Nicuesa was discovered, no longer
indeed the brilliant cavalier, but a squalid and cast-down wretch. Of
his once numerous band of followers but sixty feeble, emaciated men

The arrival of Colmenares with a supply of food had an immediate
reviving effect; and, in particular, Nicuesa, on hearing that he was
requested to come and rule over the settlement of _Darien_, became
changed as if struck by an enchanter’s wand. But Nicuesa, whose
misfortunes had failed to teach him prudence, now split upon the rock on
which the fortunes of Enciso had been wrecked. When he heard that large
quantities of gold had been retained by private individuals, he rashly
gave out that he would make them refund it. This word was sufficient for
the envoys who had been sent by the colonists to request him to come and
rule over them. The result was that when Nicuesa arrived at _Darien_--he
having delayed on the way on a slave-capturing expedition,--instead of
the welcome which he had every reason to anticipate, he was received
with the request that he would lose no time in retracing his way to
_Nombre de Dios_.

Nicuesa had to pass the night in his vessel, and when next day he was
permitted to land, the only friend he found on his side was Vasco Nuñez,
who, being himself a well-born cavalier, was touched by the misfortunes
of the other. The only terms, however, which Nicuesa could obtain were,
that he should be permitted to depart in an old brigantine, the worst in
the harbour. Seventeen persons followed the unfortunate gentleman on
board. Their vessel set sail on the 1st of March 1511, and was steered
for _Hispaniola_. Nothing more was ever heard of Nicuesa and his
companions, whose fate added another to the countless secrets of the

We have now to trace the daring adventures of one of the two men who
rose to deathless renown on the ruins of the disastrous expeditions
whose general fate has been recently narrated. Since the two rival
governors, Ojeda and Nicuesa, had started from _San Domingo_ in 1509,
full of hope, and exulting in power, nearly all their gallant followers
had perished by the poisoned arrows of the Indians, by shipwreck, or by
the slower process of disease or starvation. The two leaders, after
undergoing protracted trials and sufferings of every description, had
sunk into the grave, by land or by water, in misery; but two humble
followers survived, who were each destined to climb to the highest round
of the ladder of fame. These were Vasco Nuñez de Balboa and Francisco
Pizarro. We are concerned in the first instance with the doings of the

No sooner had Nicuesa quitted for ever the coast of _Darien_ than the
community fell back into its former condition of being in want of a
ruler. The Bachelor Enciso again advanced his claims, but he found in
Vasco Nuñez a powerful and popular rival, and one who had every quality
likely to give him influence over a fickle populace. Nuñez had likewise
the advantage of his position as _alcalde_. Proceeding according to the
forms of law, he summoned the Bachelor to stand his trial on the charge
of having usurped the powers of _alcalde mayor_ beyond the territories
under the jurisdiction of Ojeda. The charge being, in point of fact,
true, although without any direct evil intention on Enciso’s part, that
lawyer was found guilty and thrown into prison. He was, however, after a
time released, and he obtained permission to return to Spain. Foreseeing
that he would not be silent in respect to the treatment he had received,
Vasco Nuñez prevailed upon the other _alcalde_, Zamudio, to proceed to
Spain in the same vessel, so that he might be at hand to answer any
charge which Enciso might advance. He was likewise to put forward the
services which had been rendered to the colony by Vasco Nuñez. In the
same vessel sailed his friend the _Regidor_ Valdivia, who was to alight
at _Hispaniola_, and who was charged with a handsome present to the
royal treasurer Pasamonte, after delivering which he was to return with
provisions and recruits.

Vasco Nuñez was now left in sole control at _Darien_, and he forthwith
set about the duties of his government with the remarkable energy
peculiar to his character. He despatched two brigantines to bring away
the followers of Nicuesa who had remained at _Nombre de Dios_, and who
were now overjoyed at being rescued from their miserable position. On
returning to the Isthmus, the brigantines met with two Spaniards who had
fled from Nicuesa’s vessel some time before, and had taken refuge with a
_cacique_ called Careta, who had treated them with remarkable kindness.
Being Spanish adventurers, their first proceeding on rejoining their
countrymen was, as a matter of course, to betray him. Vasco Nuñez,
taking with him a hundred and thirty men, set out for the residence of
the _cacique_, and was received and entertained with the usual Indian
hospitable welcome. On his demanding a supply of provisions for the
colony, however, the _cacique_, who naturally did not feel bound to
provide, _gratis_, for a whole band of hungry invaders, excused himself
on some plea which may not have been exactly true. The Spaniard
appeared to acquiesce, and departed with all his men as if for his
settlement. Returning, however, in the dead of night, he surrounded the
dwelling of Careta, and made prisoners of the _cacique_, his wives and
children. Having helped himself to his store of provisions, he then
returned in his brigantines to _Darien_.

The above infamous proceeding had a better ending than might have been
anticipated. The broken-hearted Careta, bewailing his hard lot to Nuñez,
actually so far succeeded in convincing him of the impolicy, if not the
infamy of his conduct, that he agreed to set him free, the latter
undertaking to be his ally, and leaving his daughter to be the wife of
Nuñez. The Spanish leader next repaired to _Coyba_, to assist Careta
against a neighbouring chief called Ponca, whom he obliged to take
refuge in the mountains. Whilst on a friendly visit to the _cacique_ of
_Comagre_, Nuñez heard from the son of that chieftain of a region beyond
the mountains, on the shores of a mighty sea, which might be discerned
from their summits, where gold was as plentiful as was iron with the
Spaniards. In reply to his anxious inquiries, Vasco Nuñez learned that
the task of penetrating to this sea, and to the golden region by its
shores, was difficult and dangerous. It would require, said the son of
Comagre, at least a thousand armed men. There was in the way a great
_cacique_ called Tubanamá, whose territories abounded in gold, but who
would oppose their passage with a mighty force. Such was the first
intimation received by Vasco Nuñez of the existence of the Pacific

On his return to _Darien_, the whole soul of the Spaniard became
absorbed in the idea of prosecuting the discovery of the sea beyond the
mountains. The brigantine which had returned with Valdivia from
_Hispaniola_, was again despatched to that colony, bearing a letter to
_Don_ Diego Columbus, in which Vasco Nuñez informed him of the
intelligence which he had received, and in which he entreated him to use
his influence with the king, in order that the necessary thousand men
might be obtained. Nuñez at the same time transmitted fifteen thousand
crowns in gold, to be remitted as the royal fifths of what he had

About this time the settlement of _Darien_ was threatened with
destruction, in consequence of a conspiracy on the part of certain
Indian _caciques_, and which was only frustrated owing to the devotion
to Vasco Nuñez of an Indian girl whom he had captured, and to whom her
brother had revealed the plot. Being forewarned of the hostile
intentions of the conspirators, Nuñez promptly took steps to defeat
them, getting possession of the persons of the Indian general and
several of his confederates. The general was shot, and the other leaders
were hanged; whilst, as a further precaution, a wooden fort was erected
at the settlement.

It was not merely with the natives that Nuñez had to contend; for the
colony of _Darien_, not being as yet under any authority properly
constituted by the crown, seems to have been more than usually
fractious. Evil tidings, too, reached Nuñez from Spain. His late
colleague, the _alcalde_ Zamudio, wrote that the Bachelor Enciso had
laid his complaints before the throne, and had succeeded in obtaining a
sentence, condemning Vasco Nuñez in costs and damages. Nuñez was
likewise to be summoned to Spain, to answer the charges against him on
account of his treatment of Nicuesa.

The captain-general of _Darien_--for to such rank had Nuñez been
advanced by a commission from the royal treasurer of _Hispaniola_--was
at first stunned by this communication; but, being a brave man, he did
not long remain cast down. His intelligent and energetic mind quickly
conceived the idea of anticipating his summons to Spain by some gallant
service which would convert his disgrace into triumph; and what service
could be so effective, with this object in view, as the discovery of
the Southern Sea and the gold-laden realms by its shores! He had not, it
is true, the thousand soldiers which the youthful _cacique_ had said
were needed for the enterprise; but, since time was pressing, and fame
and fortune were at stake, he must make the best use of those he had.

[Sidenote: 1513]

Inspecting the band of adventurers by whom he was surrounded, Nuñez
selected one hundred and ninety from the most resolute amongst their
number. In addition to these well-armed men, he was aided in his
enterprise by a detachment of Indian allies, as likewise by a number of
blood-hounds. With this strangely-composed force, Vasco Nuñez set out
from _Darien_ on the 1st of September 1513, in a brigantine and nine
canoes. Landing at _Coyba_, he was welcomed by Careta, and supplied by
him with guides. Leaving nearly half his men at _Coyba_ to guard his
brigantine and canoes, he set out upon his march, having previously
caused mass to be performed for the success of his expedition. His
march, as might be expected, was troublesome; for the Spaniards were
oppressed by the weight of their armour as well as by the tropical sun.
In climbing the rocky mountains, however, and in struggling through the
forests, they were relieved by the Indians from the burthen of their
provisions, and were guided by them in finding the paths. From time to
time they had to change their guides, sending back those who had
previously accompanied them. They had likewise to make frequent halts,
to recruit the health of some of their number after their fatigues.

Vasco Nuñez was possessed of an engaging manner which won the confidence
of every one with whom he was brought into contact, and which had a
peculiar fascination for the Indians. When Ponca, the enemy of Careta
(whom the latter had driven into the mountains), was induced to come
into his presence, he not only showed him no ill-will, but freely
imparted to him such information as he possessed regarding the countries
whither Nuñez was bound. Pointing to a lofty mountain in the distance,
he informed him that when he should have scaled its summit he should
behold the sea spread out below him. Animated by this cheering
intelligence, and furnished with fresh guides, Nuñez resumed his march;
having first sent back to _Coyba_, such of his men as he deemed too
feeble for the enterprise.

So toilsome did the journey now become that it took Nuñez and his party
four days to accomplish ten leagues--they suffering much, meanwhile,
from hunger. They had now arrived in the territory of a _cacique_ at war
with Ponca, and who set upon the Spaniards with a numerous body of
warriors, thinking, on account of their small number, that he was secure
of a victory. On the first discharge of their firearms, however, he had
reason to alter his opinion, his people being forced to hasty flight,
leaving the _cacique_ and six hundred men dead upon the field. The
_caciques_ brother and other chiefs who were taken prisoners, were clad
in white robes of cotton; which circumstance led to their being accused
of crimes so revolting to the Spaniards, that they gave them to be torn
to pieces by the blood-hounds. It is stated that amongst the prisoners
taken on this occasion were several negro slaves. If this were so, their
appearance in South America at this time has never been explained.

Vasco Nuñez, having distributed the spoil taken in the village of the
late _cacique_, selected fresh guides from amongst his prisoners. His
effective Spaniards now numbered only sixty-seven, and with these he
started at the dawn of day on the 26th of September, to climb the last
height that lay between him and the vision to which he looked forward.
About ten o’clock the party emerged from the forest and stood on the
open summit, which alone remained to be ascended. Vasco Nuñez,
commanding his followers to halt, set out for the mountain top, in
order that he might be the first European to gaze on the longed-for sea.
At sight of the glorious prospect his first impulse was to sink upon his
knees and pour out his heart to Heaven. He then made his people ascend,
in order that their eyes too might be gladdened, and that their hearts
should rejoice. It was a solemn moment in the lives of all; and with the
deep religious feeling with which these pioneers of discovery were
animated, they joined in one general prayer to God that He would guide
and aid them to conquer for their king the sea and lands before them,
which till now their Holy Faith had never reached. His men, for their
part, embracing Vasco Nuñez, promised to follow him till death. Amongst
them there happened to be a priest, who now led the chaunt _Te Deum
laudamus!_ Their last act before leaving the spot was to witness an
attestation that Nuñez took possession of the sea, its islands and
surrounding lands, in the name of the sovereigns of Castile, in token of
which a cross was erected and a pile of stones raised, the names of the
Castilian sovereigns being carved on trees.

Having performed this important duty, Vasco Nuñez now descended into the
regions that lay between the mountains and the Pacific. He was again
encountered by a warlike _cacique_, who forbade him to set foot upon his
territory. The result, however, of the first onset of the Spaniards was
the same as had been the case with their last enemy. The Indians having
taken to flight, Nuñez commanded his men to refrain from useless
slaughter. The _cacique_, having been brought before him, presented five
hundred pounds weight of gold as a peace-offering. A scouting party
having found the sea at a distance of two days’ journey, and Nuñez
having been rejoined by his men whom he had left behind him, he now
established the headquarters at the village of this _cacique_, while he
himself proceeded with a small party to explore the coast. After
traversing a region clothed down to the water’s edge by thick forests,
Nuñez arrived on a bay to which, on account of the date, he gave the
name of _St Michael’s_. When the receding tide had risen, he marched
into the water, and waving his banner, formally took possession of these
seas and coasts, and of all appertaining to them, in the name of the
Castilian sovereigns. He likewise cut crosses on three trees, in honour
of the Three Persons of the Trinity.

The Spaniards were now to encounter a new form of danger, of the nature
of which, notwithstanding all their previous experience, they had never
dreamt. Having been successful in obtaining a considerable quantity of
gold whilst at his headquarters of _Chiapes_, Nuñez determined to
explore the borders of a neighbouring gulf; nor was he deterred by the
warnings of his host against the danger of venturing to sea in the
stormy season then commencing. Vasco Nuñez, who looked upon himself as
being an apostle of the faith, had a firm belief in the especial
protection of God, and therefore despised the caution given. His Indian
host, whose experience of the stormy gulf by no means led him to
entertain a like confidence, was nevertheless too polite not to
accompany the daring stranger, whose party of sixty men embarked in nine
canoes on the 17th of October.

When the Spaniards were fairly launched, and when it would have seemed
pusillanimous to retreat, the wisdom of the _cacique’s_ advice began to
be perceived. The wind raised a heavy sea, which broke over the rocks
and reefs with which the gulf abounded. Even the Indians, accustomed as
they were to those seas, showed signs of alarm. They succeeded, however,
in lashing the canoes together, two and two, and thus prevented them
from upsetting, until, towards evening, they reached a small island.
Here landing, they fastened the canoes to the shore, and sought a dry
place where the party might repose. But they were soon awakened by the
rapid rising of the water, upon which they had not counted; and they at
length found themselves almost to their waists in water. The wind,
however, lulled, and the sea became calm, and after a time it began to
subside. They found their canoes seriously damaged; whilst their
clothing and food were washed away. There was nothing for it but to
repair the canoes as best they could; after which they set out on their
return to the shore. They had to labour all day long, enduring severe
hunger and thirst; but at night they had the satisfaction of reaching
the land.

Leaving a portion of his men with the canoes, Nuñez set out for the
neighbouring Indian village, from which the inhabitants were driven
before the firearms and dogs of the invaders. A quantity of provisions,
besides pearls and gold, rewarded the brigands; and on the following day
the _cacique_, who had been so violently driven into the woods, was
induced to return to his home, the object of his despoiler in inviting
him being a desire to ascertain the source whence he procured his
pearls. Fear opened the heart of the poor Indian, who, in his awe of the
superhuman strangers, as he thought them, gave Vasco Nuñez golden
ornaments weighing six hundred and fourteen crowns, and two hundred
pearls of great beauty; he further sent a number of his men to fish for
pearls for the Spaniards.

The _cacique_ informed Nuñez that the coast which he saw before him
continued onwards without end, and that far to the south there was a
country abounding in gold; its inhabitants, he said (alluding to the
_llama_), made use of quadrupeds to carry burdens. Inspired by this
intelligence, Nuñez determined to emerge from the gulf and to take
possession of the mainland beyond. The _cacique_ having furnished him
with a canoe of state, he departed in it on the 29th of October, and was
piloted by the Indians as far as to the point of the gulf, when he again
marched into the sea and took possession of it. He saw before him a line
of coast rising above the horizon, which the Indians said abounded in
pearls. To this island and the surrounding group he gave the name of the
Pearl Islands. On the 3rd of November he set out to visit other parts of
the coast. Entering a great river, which the party ascended with
difficulty, Nuñez next morning surprised a village on its banks, and
obtained from the _cacique_, as the price of his liberty, more gold and
pearls, and a supply of provisions.

From this point Vasco Nuñez determined to set out on his return to
_Darien_. After having been entertained during three days by the
_cacique_ whom he had robbed, he set out well furnished with provisions,
which were carried by the subjects of the Indian chief. His route now
lay over sterile mountains, and he and his men suffered much from the
absence of water; for the burning heat had dried up all the mountain
streams. The fevered Spaniards were, however, gently urged by the
Indians to proceed, and were at length rewarded by arriving in a deep
glen which contained a cool fountain. They were now in the territory of
a chief called Poncra, who had the reputation of possessing great
riches. At the approach of the Spanish bandits, Poncra and his people
fled from their village, in which Nuñez and his men appropriated to
themselves property to the value of three thousand crowns of gold.
Poncra having been caught, was brought before Nuñez, together with three
of his subjects; but neither threats nor torture could compel him to
betray the locality of his treasures. Under these circumstances, the
unfortunate wretch was accused by his enemies of certain practices of
which he may or may not have been guilty. In any case Nuñez had no sort
of authority to be his judge. He was enraged, however, at his obstinacy
in refusing to reveal his treasures, and Poncra and his three companions
were given to be torn, to pieces by the blood-hounds. We shall soon have
to ask the reader’s sympathy for the fate of Vasco Nuñez himself;
meanwhile, it may be well to bear in mind of what atrocious conduct he
could on occasion be guilty towards others.

The Spaniards halted during thirty days at the village of the ill-fated
Poncra, during which time they were rejoined by their companions who had
been left behind. And here it may be observed that it appears somewhat
strange that the energetic Vasco Nuñez, over whose head a grave
accusation at this time hung, and who had undertaken his expedition to
the Pacific in order to anticipate its evil results, should have
apparently wasted so much time at this spot, since it was everything to
him that not an hour should be lost in making his magnificent discovery
known in Spain.

On departing from the village of Poncra, the Spaniards were accompanied
by one of the _caciques_ of the mountain, who not only lodged and fed
them, but further presented them with the value of two thousand crowns.
The Spaniards, on leaving the district, bent their course for some time
along the river _Comagre_. When they abandoned it, owing to the
precipitous nature of its banks, they had to trust entirely to their
Indian guides. Had these deserted them, they would have been lost in the
thick forests and unseen morasses. In their journey they were the
victims of their own avarice; for they had loaded most of the Indians
with gold alone, and now found themselves destitute of provisions. Many
of their Indian bearers, oppressed by their burdens, sank down to perish
by the way.

The Spaniards had still to pass through the territories of the most
warlike _cacique_ of the mountains. His reputation was so considerable
that Nuñez dreaded to attack him with his worn-out followers; he
therefore had recourse to stratagem. Taking with him seventy of the
strongest of his party, he made a forced march to the neighbourhood of
the _cacique’s_ residence, which at midnight he suddenly assaulted,
capturing Tubanamá and all his family. The _cacique_, being threatened
with death, agreed to purchase his life with jewels of gold to the
value of three thousand crowns, and further to levy double that sum from
his subjects; which having done, he was set at liberty.

[Sidenote: 1514.]

Nuñez, returning to the village where he had left his men, now resumed
his march to _Darien_. He and his party being much affected by the
climate, could proceed but slowly; but they at length arrived on the sea
coast in the territories of their ally Comagre. That _cacique_ was now
dead, and had been succeeded by his son, the youth who had first given
information to Nuñez of the existence of the Southern Sea. Nuñez next
proceeded to _Ponca_, where he heard of the arrival of a ship and
_caravel_ from _Hispaniola_. Hastening onwards to _Coyba_, the residence
of his ally Careta, he embarked in the brigantine on January 28th, 1514,
and arrived at _Darien_ on the following day. He had been absent for
five months, and was met with the most joyful welcome on the part of the
entire colony.




Once more at _Darien_, Vasco Nuñez lost no time in drawing up for the
king a report of his expedition across the mountains to the Southern
Sea, in which report he states that during the expedition he had not
lost a single man in battle. But, by a singular mischance, the vessel
which bore his friend and messenger, Arbolanche, who had himself taken
part in the toils and dangers which he was to describe, did not sail
from _Darien_ until the beginning of March. This delay ruined the rising
fortunes of Vasco Nuñez.

The Bachelor Enciso, as has been already said, had carried his
complaints against Nuñez to the foot of the throne; and when, in May
1513, he was followed by Caÿzedo and Colmenares with their glowing
account of the province of _Zenu_, with its mountain streams that flowed
over golden sands, their news served but to hasten the appointment of a
governor over this favoured region. The royal choice fell, on the
recommendation of Fonseca the Bishop of Burgos, upon _Don_ Pedro Arias
Davila, commonly called Pedrarias, who, on July 27th of the same year,
was appointed ruler over _Darien_. The new governor was an elderly
gentleman of rank, who had been brought up in the royal household and
had afterwards distinguished himself as a soldier; but he has been well
called, as his subsequent actions proved him to be, “a suspicious,
fiery, arbitrary old man.”[F]

The envoys of Nuñez had asked King Ferdinand for a thousand men,
wherewith to enable their master to make the discovery of the Southern
Sea. Ferdinand fully appreciated the importance of the enterprise; and,
although he did not intend it for Nuñez, he assigned twelve hundred men
to Pedrarias for its accomplishment. It so happened that at this time
the Great Captain, the famous Gonsalvo de Córdova, was preparing to
return to Naples; and the chivalry of Spain were thronging to enlist
under his banner. His armament was, however, countermanded when on the
point of sailing; and thus a large number of young nobles and cavaliers,
who had set their hearts on winning their spurs, had their plans
suddenly thwarted. Pedrarias had a host of volunteers anxious to join
his expedition to the country which had already received the appellation
of _Castilla del Oro_, or Golden Castile. In order to enable him to
comply with the wishes of these applicants, he was permitted to increase
his force to the number of fifteen hundred men; but in the end some two
thousand embarked. Pedrarias was likewise accompanied by a bishop and
four principal officers, one of whom was the Bachelor Enciso, now
appointed _alguazil mayor_. He was also accompanied by his wife _Doña_
Isabella de Bobadilla. He received instructions not to admit any lawyers
into his colony,--an instruction subsequently more than once repeated in
respect to Spanish-American colonies.

[Sidenote: 1514.]

Scarcely had his fleet of fifteen vessels set sail from _San Lucar_, on
the 12th of April 1514, when Arbolanche arrived, bearing the news of the
glorious exploits of Nuñez. Had he come but a few days earlier, how
widely different would have been the future of that cavalier! King
Ferdinand gazed with delight on the pearls and gold which the messenger
of Nuñez laid before him, and his imagination was carried away by the
tale of the unknown seas and wonderful realms which were about to be
brought under his sway. The popularity of Nuñez suddenly became
unbounded, and the fame of his exploits resounded throughout Spain. The
ill impression which had been produced on the king’s mind by the reports
of Enciso was forthwith obliterated, and the Bishop of Burgos was
instructed to devise some means of rewarding his surpassing services.
But meanwhile the cavalier himself was afar off, and the waves of the
Atlantic were fast bearing to _Darien_ the jealous old man who was to
see in Nuñez only one who had robbed him of the glory which he had
proposed to himself of being the first discoverer of the Southern Sea
and the conqueror of the regions of gold and pearls on its shores.

Meanwhile Vasco Nuñez was governing the region subjected to his rule in
such a manner as to prove that the popular selection which had elevated
him to the position of chief was justified by his qualities as a
peaceful ruler no less than by his exploits as a warlike adventurer. The
settlement contained upwards of two hundred houses or huts, and the
constant effort of the captain-general was to bring the neighbourhood
into such a state of cultivation as to render _Darien_ independent of
Europe for supplies. Its population now amounted to about five hundred
Europeans and fifteen hundred Indians. The climate being depressing,
Nuñez, who was a born governor, took advantage of every means to keep
his people in good spirits, devoting the holidays as they came round to
national sports and games, including tilting matches. He was singularly
successful in securing the friendship, as well as in gaining the
respect, of the natives; so that the Spaniards could travel, even
singly, all over the district in perfect safety. It was certainly a
circumstance full of misfortune, as well for Spain as for the
inhabitants of the Isthmus, that when, after the experience of so many
unfortunate colonising expeditions and so many incapable leaders, one
was at length found admirably suited alike for the requirements of peace
and of war, he should have had so soon to give place to a man whose age
unfitted him to fulfil the duties of leader, and whose temper prevented
him from recognising the merits of those who acted under him.

[Sidenote: 1514.]

In June the fleet of Pedrarias arrived in the Gulf of _Urabá_. The new
governor, knowing the character and the renown of Nuñez, was somewhat
apprehensive lest he should decline to render up peaceful possession of
his government, and he accordingly thought it prudent to cast anchor
about a league and a half from the shore, and to send a messenger in
advance to announce his arrival. He need not, however, have felt any
misgiving; for Nuñez forthwith sent back his messenger with
congratulations on his safe arrival, and with the expression of his own
readiness and that of all the colony to obey his orders. It is true that
some fiery adherents of the popular leader expressed their desire to
repel the intruder; but these were at once discountenanced by their
chief. The new governor, disembarking on the last day of June, made his
entrance into _Darien_ at the head of two thousand armed men, he leading
his wife by the one hand and having Bishop Quevedo on the other; whilst
a train of youthful cavaliers formed his body-guard. Vasco Nuñez came
forth unarmed to meet him, attended by a detachment of his scarred and
veteran troops. He conducted his guests to his humble straw-thatched
abode, where he laid before them such a repast as this embryo city of
the forest might afford, the only beverage procurable being water. We
may well believe that the courtly cavaliers who formed the governor’s
train were somewhat taken aback by the simple nature of their first
entertainment in Golden Castile.

Pedrarias, on the day of his arrival, summoned Vasco Nuñez to his
presence and held with him a long private conference, at which the
historian Oviedo assisted. In accordance with the governor’s request,
Vasco Nuñez gave an account in writing, in the course of two days, of
his administration during the past three years. He likewise described
the rivers and mountains where he had found gold, the _caciques_ who
were his allies, and his journey to the Southern Sea and to the Isle of
Pearls. Having thus obtained the information which he required, and
which Nuñez alone could furnish, Pedrarias next proceeded to take the
_residencia_ of the late captain-general, that is to say, he instituted
an inquiry into his past conduct, the result being that for the injuries
done to Enciso and others, Nuñez was condemned to pay a large amount,
although he was acquitted of the criminal charges brought against him.
The governor was now his declared enemy, and would have sent him in
chains to Spain, to be tried for the death of Nicuesa, had he not been
warned by the Bishop Quevedo, who was Nuñez’ friend, that his arrival in
Spain would be the signal of his triumph, and that the result would in
all probability be his return to _Panamá_ with increased power and
position. Nuñez had likewise found an advocate in the wife of the
governor, who could not but admire his character and exploits. Under
these circumstances it was thought better to detain him at _Darien_
under a cloud. His property, which had been sequestrated, was, however,
restored to him.

Nuñez, in his letter to the king, had advised the creation of
settlements in the territories of Comagre, Ponca, and Pocorosa, with a
view to establishing a line of posts across the mountains between
_Darien_ and the Southern Sea; and it was now determined to carry out
this plan. Whilst preparations were being made with this view, the
Spaniards who had accompanied Pedrarias began to suffer greatly from the
effects of the climate, and were likewise sorely pressed by hunger. The
colony had not been in any way prepared for such an accession to its
numbers; nor were there any neighbouring friendly Indians on whom to
fall back for a supply of provisions. Men brought up in luxury, and who
were clad in fine raiment, were glad to procure herbs and roots, or were
actually perishing from starvation. One of the principal _hidalgos_
dropped down dead in the street, starved. Within a month’s time seven
hundred men had perished, whilst Pedrarias himself was taken seriously
ill. The provisions which had been brought out were now exhausted, and
the horrors of famine stared the whole colony in the face. In this
gloomy state of affairs Pedrarias was glad to give permission to a
ship-load of starving adventurers to depart for _Cuba_ and for Spain.

When the governor had recovered from his malady, he urged on the
expeditions which he had planned; but he was careful not to permit Vasco
Nuñez to acquire additional renown by taking part in them. That cavalier
was still allowed to remain under the cloud of a judicial inquiry
hanging over him. Notwithstanding the provision which had been made not
to admit lawyers into the colony, the legal profession was at this time
so flourishing at _Darien_ that it was estimated that there were about
forty lawsuits to each colonist.

Vasco Nuñez, oppressed by this inaction, determined to prosecute his
plans on his own account, without reference to the governor; and he
despatched one Garabito to _Cuba_ to enlist men for an expedition across
the mountains and to found a colony on the Southern Sea. Whilst Garabito
was absent, Nuñez was condemned to behold his schemes ruined, owing
alone to the incapacity and brutality of those entrusted by Pedrarias
with the mission of carrying them out. Amongst the leaders employed by
the governor was one Juan de Ayora, who was sent with four hundred men
to build forts in the countries ruled over by Comagre, Pocorosa, and
Tubanamá respectively. This officer proved himself an exceptional
ruffian even amongst the Spanish transatlantic adventurers of the day.
According to Oviedo, who was at this time notary of the colony, he not
only demanded of the chiefs and their subjects the authorised
requisitions to avert war, but, pouncing upon the _caciques_ and
principal men by night, he put them to the torture in quest of gold.
Some he then caused to be put to death; others were given to be devoured
by the dogs; whilst others again were reserved for new forms of torment.
Their wives and daughters were taken from them, and were made slaves and
concubines according to the good pleasure of this Ayora.

One of the first victims of this expedition was Comagre himself, the
same youthful _cacique_ who had given to Vasco Nuñez the earliest
information of the existence of the sea beyond the mountains, and who
had told him that a thousand men would be needed for its discovery.
Little did he imagine that he himself would be one of the victims of the
thousand men who had now been brought by his advice! The chiefs with
whom Vasco Nuñez had cemented a friendship came forth in turn to lay
their gold before Ayora. The valiant Tubanamá, being of a less
submissive turn of mind, took to arms, but to no avail. Another
_cacique_, having put his women and children in safety, laid wait in
ambuscade and attacked the Spaniards, wounding Ayora himself.

The proceedings of Ayora towards another _cacique_ are thus described by
a lawyer sent on a mission of inquiry to the West Indies a few years
later by Cardinal Ximenes. On the approach of the Spaniards, the
_cacique_ in question, under the belief that he was about to welcome his
old friend Nuñez, had prepared for him the best entertainment within his
means, including roast-meat, game, and wine. On his inquiring for the
chief, Ayora was pointed out to him, but he replied that this was not
Nuñez. He was, however, to become well acquainted with his present guest
during their brief intercourse. After having partaken of his
hospitality, Ayora sent for him and demanded gold. This not being
forthcoming in sufficient quantity, the _cacique_ was bound, upon which
his vassals were desired by him to bring all the gold in their
possession. The amount, however, did not satisfy the invader, who
ordered the _cacique_ to be burnt alive.[G]

Not being troubled as to the means he took to obtain it, it was but
natural that this scoundrel should gather together a considerable
quantity of gold; it is some satisfaction to the moral sense to know
that neither Ayora nor any one else was any the better for it. The idea
of delivering up his ill-gotten treasures was repugnant to the avarice
of this robber, who secretly made off with them to sea and was never
more heard of. The colony which he had founded at _Santa Cruz_ met with
no better fate. The garrison, having given much offence to the Indians,
were beset at night by Pocorosa and his people; a desperate struggle
ensued, but when morning broke, only five Spaniards were left alive to
carry the tale to _Darien_. It may here be mentioned that Hurtado, who
had been sent by Pedrarias to discover the causes in the delay of the
return of Ayora, brought back with him to _Darien_ a hundred peaceful
Indians, of whom he disposed as slaves. A number of these had been lent
to him as carriers by the _cacique_ Careta, the friend and ally of

[Sidenote: 1515.]

In a letter addressed to Vasco Nuñez, King Ferdinand expressed his high
sense of his merits and services, and constituted him _Adelantado_ of
the Southern Sea, and governor of the provinces of _Panamá_ and _Coybá_.
He was, however, to be subordinate to Pedrarias. A letter was likewise
written at the same time to the latter, informing him of this
arrangement, and requiring him to consult with Vasco Nuñez upon all
affairs of importance. This communication was a severe blow to the
vanity of the jealous old man; and upon its receipt, he summoned a
council to deliberate as to what action should be taken. It was finally
arranged that the above-mentioned titles and dignities should be
nominally conferred upon Nuñez, but that for the meantime he was not to
enter into possession of the territories assigned to him.

At this critical moment Carabito, the agent of Nuñez, happened to return
from _Cuba_ with a vessel freighted with arms and ammunition, and having
seventy men on board. He anchored at some distance from _Darien_, but
sent word of his arrival to Nuñez, all of which became speedily known to
Pedrarias. The suspicious mind of the latter taking the alarm, he at
once ordered Nuñez to be seized and confined; but he was prevailed upon
by the bishop to inquire into the matter calmly, the result being that,
as nothing treasonable was proved against him, Nuñez was set at liberty.

The bishop next endeavoured to persuade Pedrarias to employ Vasco Nuñez
on an expedition which he was about to despatch to the Southern Sea and
to the Isle of Pearls. As, however, there was much credit and probably
much wealth to be derived from it, Pedrarias preferred to give the
command to his own kinsman, Morales, with whom he associated Francisco
Pizarro, who had been in Nuñez’ expedition to the same region. Gaspar
Morales accordingly started with sixty men, and traversed the mountains
by a shorter route than that which had previously been taken. He arrived
at the territories of a _cacique_ named Tutibrá, where he left one-half
of his men under Peñalosa, whilst with the remainder he set out in
canoes for the Pearl Islands. On arriving at the _Isla Rica_, so named
by Nuñez, they experienced a warm reception from the _cacique_, who
sallied forth four times against them, but who was as often repulsed
with loss. His warriors were paralysed by the firearms and the
blood-hounds, and the _cacique_ was at length obliged to sue for peace.
He presented to his guests as a peace-offering a basket filled with
pearls, two of them being of remarkable size and beauty. Taking Morales
and Pizarro to the summit of a wooden tower, he pointed proudly to a
long vista of islands subject to his sway, and promised his new friends
as many pearls as they might desire so long as they should continue to
give him their friendship.

Turning towards the mainland, which stretched away mountain upon
mountain as far as the eye could reach, the communicative chief told
his guests of a country of inexhaustible riches that lay in that
direction. His words and suggestions were not lost upon one of the two
men who listened to him. The _cacique_ further agreed to become the
vassal of the king of Castile, and to pay him an annual tribute of one
hundred pounds weight of pearls. The party then returned to the mainland
at another point than that at which they had embarked, when Morales sent
a detachment of ten men to conduct Peñalosa and his party from the
village of _Tutibrá_.

During the absence of the Spanish leaders at the islands, a conspiracy
had been formed by a large number of the _caciques_ along the coast to
massacre the whole band of invaders. This measure was undoubtedly the
result of grossly tyrannical conduct on the part of the Spaniards. By
some writers the provocation is ascribed to Peñalosa; by others it is
given to Morales himself, who is stated on one occasion to have come
upon an Indian town or village in the midst of a festivity, when the men
and women were seated apart, and to have taken advantage of the
opportunity to capture the females. We shall not be far wrong if we
assign both to Peñalosa and to Morales a full share of the enormities
which brought about the conspiracy.

The party sent in quest of Peñalosa put up for the night in the village
of one of the conspirators; but in the dead of night the house was
wrapped in flames, and most of the strangers perished. There was at this
time with the Spaniards under Morales a _cacique_ named Chirucá, who, on
learning of the above-mentioned massacre, instantly fled during the
night. He was pursued and taken, and, on being put to the torture,
confessed the whole conspiracy. Morales and Pizarro were appalled by the
unsuspected danger into which they had fallen. They, however, compelled
Chirucá to send a message to each of the _caciques_ inviting him to a
conference. The _caciques_ fell into the snare, and eighteen of them
were put in chains. At the same time Peñalosa with his thirty men
arrived from _Tutibrá_. Being thus in strength, the Spaniards lost no
time in attacking the unsuspecting Indians, of whom seven hundred were
slain. The eighteen captive _caciques_, and likewise Chirucá, were given
to the blood-hounds.

After the above-mentioned occurrence, Morales attacked by night a
warlike _cacique_ named Biru, setting fire to his town. The chief, who
at first fled, soon turned upon his pursuers and fought for the entire
day, which ended not much to the advantage of the Spaniards. In his
retreat, Morales was harassed by the people of the twenty _caciques_
whom he had caused to be slaughtered. Being much pressed, he had
recourse to the expedient of stabbing his Indian captives at intervals
as he went along, hoping thus to occupy and delay his pursuers. In this
manner, says Oviedo, perished ninety or a hundred persons. Vasco Nuñez
could not be called an over-scrupulous commander; but though in
circumstances of difficulty he had to provide for the safety and wants
of his men as best he could, he was by nature neither cruel nor
treacherous. It would be an outrage to name him together with such men
as Ayora and Morales, of which latter’s proceeding, just mentioned, he
writes to the king that a more cruel deed had never been heard of.

For nine days the Spaniards were hunted about the woods and mountains,
at the end of which time they found themselves at the point from which
they had set out. It was all their commanders could do to prevent them
from yielding to despair. Entering a thick forest, they were again
assailed by Indians, with whom they now fought like wild beasts. They at
length owed their safety to the fact of their surprising some canoes, in
which they traversed the Gulf of _St. Michael_, landing at a less
hostile locality, from which they again set out to cross the mountains.
After incredible sufferings they returned to _Darien_, with the
satisfaction of having brought with them their precious pearls from
_Isla Rica_, one of which was afterwards presented to the Empress of
Charles V.

Another expedition sent out by Pedrarias was still more unfortunate than
that above referred to. It was commanded by Becerra, and consisted of
one hundred and eighty men. Of this force the sole survivor was an
Indian youth, who returned to _Darien_ almost famished with hunger. His
leader, he said, had entered by unknown ways the province of _Cenú_,
where the Indians were fully prepared to receive him. His men were
wounded by poisoned arrows; the paths were blocked by felled timber; and
finally, when Becerra’s men, under the guidance of Indians, were
crossing a great river, the latter contrived to destroy them all.

About this time the historian Oviedo became so disgusted with the
intolerable conduct of his countrymen in the Isthmus of _Darien_, that
he resolved to return to Spain for the purpose of giving information to
the king, and in order that he might live in a country more secure for
his conscience and his life. It is interesting to note that he was
charged with complaints to the king by the governor against the bishop
and by the bishop against the governor. Pedrarias too seems to have
begun to take this state of things to heart. He ordered the
melting-house to be closed, and, together with the bishop, caused public
prayers to be offered up that God would remove his anger from the
colony. Of evil deeds there was certainly enough to rouse the wrath of
the Almighty. With one expedition sent out by Pedrarias under the
_Alcalde Mayor_ Espinosa, there was a Franciscan monk named San Roman.
In writing to the head of the Dominicans, San Roman begs the latter, for
the love of God, to speak to the authorities at _San Domingo_ and urge
them to provide a remedy for the _Terra Firma_, which these tyrants were
destroying. This letter was given by Pedro de Cordova to Las Casas. On
his return to Spain, the same Franciscan, it is to be hoped with some
exaggeration, stated at Seville that in this expedition of Espinosa’s he
had seen killed by the sword or thrown to the dogs above forty thousand
souls. Espinosa returned with two thousand captives, all of whom are
said to have perished at _Darien_.

We have seen so far the results of the policy of Pedrarias and his
lieutenants as regards the inhabitants of the Isthmus. We have now to
turn to his treatment of the most capable and distinguished Spaniard
within the colony, namely, the _Adelantado_ Vasco Nuñez de Balboa. In
the midst of the general gloom in which the settlement of _Darien_ was
enveloped, Pedrarias was continually haunted by the fear that the able
_Adelantado_ would one day oust him from his office. Had the choice of a
leader depended on the people, he knew that Nuñez would have been
elected by acclamation; and he had but recently received proofs of the
high estimation in which his services were regarded by the king. He was
further aware of the gloomy tales of misrule and consequent misery which
were being constantly sent to Spain with reference to his own
government. Whilst Pedrarias was in this frame of mind, a new idea was
presented to him by Bishop Quevedo, the fast friend of Nuñez, who
suggested a matrimonial alliance between the _Adelantado_ and the
governor’s daughter. The suggestion seemed to be a happy one and was
readily accepted by both parties, a regular contract being entered into,
and the young lady being sent for from Spain.

[Sidenote: 1516.]

Vasco Nuñez was now the ally of the governor, whose jealousy was lost
sight of in his desire to further the interests of his daughter’s future
husband. Nuñez was authorised to build brigantines and to make the
necessary preparations for an expedition of discovery on the Southern
Sea. A town named _Acla_ was founded at a point to the west of _Darien_,
whence there was supposed to be the most convenient route across the
mountains. Here Nuñez commenced his operations, having two hundred men
placed under his command and being aided by an advance from the
treasury. He was also assisted with funds by a notary of _Darien_, named
Hernando de Arguello. Nuñez pursued his undertaking with his accustomed
energy, and had in a short time constructed the materials of four
brigantines. The timber was felled in the forest of _Acla_, and was
then, with the anchors and rigging, transported to the opposite shore of
the Isthmus. On this service were engaged Spaniards, negroes, and
Indians. As there were no other roads save Indian paths through the
primeval forests or up the rugged defiles, the work of transportation
was similar to that with which the journals of Mr. Stanley in Africa
have made us familiar in our own day. Many of the Indians perished over
the task; but at length the ponderous loads were conveyed to a river
which flowed into the Pacific.

Even then the labours of Nuñez and his men were far from being complete;
for, with all their trouble, the Spaniards found that the timber which
they had brought at such cost of labour and of life was useless, being
worm-eaten from having been cut near salt water. They were obliged,
therefore, to fell trees near the river and begin their work afresh. But
the perseverance and good management of Nuñez at length overcame every
difficulty. As food was scarce he divided his people into three bands,
assigning to one the task of foraging for provisions, to another that of
cutting and sawing the timber, and to the third that of bringing the
rigging and the ironwork from _Acla_.

The patience of the working party was still further to be tried; for
when the rainy season set in, the river rose so rapidly that the workmen
had barely time to save their lives by climbing the nearest trees. The
wood on which they had expended so much labour was either buried out of
sight or carried away by the torrent. The same cause prevented the
foraging party from returning with food; and the workmen were thus
reduced to feed on roots. In this extremity the Spaniards owed their
relief to the ingenuity of the Indians, who contrived to fasten a number
of logs together, thus making a floating bridge on which they were able
to cross to the opposite bank, where they procured provisions.

When the river had subsided, the workmen resumed their operations; and,
after immense toil, Vasco Nuñez had the satisfaction of seeing two of
the brigantines afloat on the river _Balsas_. As soon as they could be
fitted and manned for sea, he embarked in them with his companions on
the mighty ocean which he had been the first European to discover. His
first cruise was to the Pearl Islands, on one of which he disembarked
the greater part of his men, sending back his vessels for the remainder.
On their arrival, taking a hundred men with him, he set out on a
reconnoitering cruise to the eastward, in the direction to which the
natives pointed as being that of the land which abounded in gold. Nuñez
and his party sailed for about twenty leagues beyond the Gulf of _San
Miguel_, the seamen being alarmed at the number of whales which they met
with. On this account he anchored for the night, intending to continue
his cruise in the same direction next day. But when daylight came the
wind had changed, whereupon he steered for land. It was at the point
where a party of Spaniards under Morales had recently been massacred;
and as the Indians were disposed to fight, Nuñez took vengeance upon
them for the slaughter of his countrymen, after which he re-embarked and
returned to _Isla Rica_.

Nuñez resolved to build his remaining brigantines at this island, and
accordingly despatched men to _Acla_ to bring the necessary rigging. It
was at this time that a rumour reached him of the appointment of a new
governor to supersede Pedrarias. His relations with the latter were now
so good that he was not a little disturbed by the rumour in question,
since it was possible that the new governor might put a stop to the
exploring expedition which he contemplated, or might entrust the command
of it to some other person. Under these circumstances, he held a
consultation with some of his friends as to what had better be done, and
the fact that part of this conversation was overheard by a sentry who
had taken refuge from the rain in the verandah of Nuñez’ house, had an
important bearing upon the fate of that cavalier. It was agreed that a
trusty person should be sent to _Acla_, seemingly on business. Should he
find that there was no foundation for the rumour of the coming of a new
governor, he was to explain to Pedrarias the progress of their
operations, and to request further assistance. In the opposite event he
was to return forthwith to _Isla Rica_; for in that case it had been
determined that Nuñez and his party should put to sea at once on their
expedition of discovery.

The messenger chosen to go to _Acla_ was Garabito, the same who had been
sent by Nuñez to _Cuba_ for recruits. It is stated that this man was
possessed by a secret enmity to Nuñez, on account of having been
discovered and rebuked by the latter for his attentions to the daughter
of the _Cacique_ Careta, who all this time had lived with Nuñez, and to
whom he is said to have been much attached. It is even said that
Garabito in his jealousy went so far as to send an anonymous letter to
Pedrarias, stating that Nuñez had no intention of marrying his daughter,
and that he was merely playing a part to gain time. It is certain that
Garabito, on his arrival at _Acla_, basely betrayed his confiding

A new governor had indeed been sent out from Spain to supersede
Pedrarias; but he had died in the harbour of _Darien_. From Garabito
Pedrarias had no difficulty in extracting all the information which he
possessed, and, further, all that he conjectured respecting the plans
of Nuñez. In fact, the suspicions of the jealous old governor had been
thoroughly aroused afresh. The latter had made a lamentable mistake in
allowing so long an interval to elapse without sending to his chief a
report of the progress of his expedition, and there were not wanting at
_Darien_ jealous and mischief-making persons still further to irritate
the governor’s mind against him.

When Garabito was arrested, and when his papers were seized, there was a
great commotion at _Darien_, and the friends of Nuñez were anxious to
put him on his guard. Foremost amongst these was Arguello, who had
embarked most of his fortune in his enterprise, and who now wrote him a
letter urging him to put to sea without delay, and stating that he would
be protected by the Geronomite Fathers at _San Domingo_, who had been
sent out with full powers by Cardinal Ximenes, and who regarded with
much approval the exploration of the Southern Sea. It was Nuñez’ extreme
misfortune that this letter should fall into the hands of Pedrarias, and
that the latter should by this means become convinced of the existence
of a plot against his authority. Arguello was now arrested; but the
governor, being fully convinced of Nuñez’ treasonable intentions,
thought it necessary to have recourse to stratagem to get the latter
within his power. Should he openly summon him to _Darien_, he did not
doubt that he would lose no time in putting himself beyond his

The mind of Pedrarias being thus a prey to fear and suspicion, he wrote
an amicable letter to his _Adelantado_, requesting him to repair to
_Acla_, to consult with him respecting the expedition; he at the same
time ordered Pizarro to muster all the troops he could collect and to
arrest Vasco Nuñez. The summons to proceed to _Acla_ was instantly
obeyed; and, unattended by any armed force, Nuñez, unconscious of having
committed any crime, set out to meet his doom. On the road across the
Isthmus, his frank and genial manners so gained on the messengers of
Pedrarias, that the latter at length felt bound to warn him of his
danger. They could not see this gallant cavalier fall into the snare set
for him without speaking a warning word by which he might profit to
effect his escape. But Nuñez was so unconscious of evil thought towards
Pedrarias, that he declined to take advantage of the opportunity offered
to him. He was soon afterwards met and arrested by Pizarro.

Nuñez once in his power, the spiteful governor lost no time in urging
the _alcalde mayor_, Espinosa, to proceed against the _Adelantado_ with
the utmost rigour of the law. The charge against Nuñez was that of being
engaged in a treasonable conspiracy to throw off the king’s authority
and to assume an independent sway on the borders of the Pacific. The
witnesses against him were Garabito and the sentinel who had overheard
and misconstrued a portion of the conversation held between Nuñez and
his officers at _Isla Rica_ on the rainy night when it was resolved to
despatch Garabito to _Acla_. Of the charge of treason against the crown
Nuñez was entirely innocent. All that could be said against him was
that, in case they should learn that Pedrarias had been superseded, he
had agreed with his officers that they should sail on the expedition
which Pedrarias had sanctioned without waiting for fresh orders from the
new governor.

[Sidenote: 1517.]

But it was in vain for Nuñez to be innocent; it was in vain that he
indignantly repudiated the charge brought against him, pointing out that
had he for a moment entertained the views attributed to him he would
never have allowed himself to be entrapped into his present position.
The mind of Pedrarias was hopelessly prejudiced against him, and the
vindictive old man urged on the unwilling judge from day to day, heaping
charge upon charge, until at length a sentence of death was pronounced
against the accused. The judge recommended him to mercy on account of
his services, or begged that at least he might be allowed to appeal.
But these recommendations were lost on Pedrarias, and Nuñez was
condemned to die. In the same sentence were included several of his
officers as well as Arguello, who had written a letter to put him upon
his guard. The informer Garabito was pardoned. In the public square of
_Acla_, at the hands of the common headsman, the discoverer of the
Southern Sea, at the early age of forty-two, expiated the crime of
having aroused the jealousy of a narrow-minded official superior. The
blow which then fell affected not Nuñez alone, but the whole Peruvian
nation; for had he been permitted to carry out his proposed expedition,
he would certainly have anticipated the discoveries of Pizarro, and, in
view of the character of the two men respectively, who can doubt that
the conquest of Peru would have had a widely different result?




The history of the northern coast of South America, from the Gulf of
_Paria_ to the Isthmus of _Darien_, is intimately connected with the
history of slavery during the century which succeeded the date of the
discovery of the New World. Modern slavery in Europe (not including the
Ottoman dominions) seems to have dated from the war between the
Spaniards and the Moors, when such of the latter as were made prisoners
were, under Ferdinand, as a matter of course, sold as slaves. It was a
period when the Church was all in all as regards the European polity.
Whatever the head of the Church chose to say was right, and became
therefore right in the eyes of the sons of the Church. The will of the
Sovereign Pontiff became law, and was appealed to as an ultimate court
of reference throughout Christendom.

The state of public morality then existing amongst Christian nations, in
respect to people and races not within the pale of Christianity, was
more or less what it had been in the time of the Crusades. There was at
the best merely a truce existing at any one time between the Christian
and the Moslem powers. Their principles were antagonistic and
incompatible. The days had not yet arrived when the Turk was to be
called in as an ally by one Christian power fighting against another.

Such being the state of things when new islands and continents were
suddenly discovered, no one in Christendom dreamed of questioning the
absolute right of the Pope to dispose of them as he might see fit; and
in accordance with this view, the line was originally drawn by Pope
Alexander VI., fixing the limit of the Spanish and Portuguese
territories respectively, first at a hundred leagues to the west of the
_Azores_, and subsequently, by the Treaty of Tordesillas, at three
hundred and seventy leagues to the west of the Cape _de Verde_ Islands.
By the Bull of May 2nd, 1493 (the year after the discovery of America),
the Spanish sovereigns obtained the same rights, privileges, and
indulgences in respect to the newly-discovered regions, as had been
granted to the Portuguese with regard to their African discoveries,
subject to the same condition of planting and spreading the Catholic
faith. It was not for a moment considered in the matter that the natives
of the newly-discovered regions possessed any rights whatsoever, saving
such as might be granted to them by their Christian invaders, acting
under the orders of the Catholic kings whose claims were sanctioned by
the head of the Church.

It was but the fulfilment of the promise of Scripture that the heathen
should be given to God’s people for an inheritance, and the uttermost
parts of the earth for a possession;[H] and thus, according to the
opinion of the best ecclesiastical and legal authorities, it was fair
and right to enslave such natives of the new countries as might oppose
in arms the Christians who came to take possession of their lands, or
who, being addicted to cannibalism, were beyond the pale of humanity. It
is necessary to bear the above facts in mind in order to judge fairly
the conduct of some of the greatest men of the period, including Prince
Henry of Portugal and Columbus himself.

Prince Henry and Columbus were the two great originators of the
geographical discoveries of the age. Either of the two was profoundly
religious, and in the mind of each the ardour for propagating the true
faith existed equally with the ardour for discovery. It is a strange and
sad reflection that each one of those two great men--in some respects
the greatest men of their age--was the originator of a new form of
slavery. To Prince Henry is to be traced the origin of the enslavement
of African negroes; to Columbus that of the system of _encomiendas_ or
partitions of Indians amongst Spanish settlers. Either system was
productive of untold misery to large classes of the human race, and in
one case the evil is not even yet extinct, as witness _Brazil_ and
_Cuba_. And yet the motives of Prince Henry in originating and
sanctioning African slavery, were, without doubt, not only wholly
unselfish, but were dictated solely by a desire for the spiritual
enlightenment and civilization of the heathen. The motives of Columbus
were perhaps more open to question. It is true that he himself, when on
his last visit to _Hispaniola_ he had seen the miserable results of the
system which he had originated, declared to his sovereign that in
sending home Indian captives to be sold as slaves he had been actuated
solely by a desire for their spiritual welfare, and by the hope that
they would return to spread civilization amongst their countrymen; but
it is to be remembered that the motives of the great Genoese were not
wholly pure, and that he himself repeatedly requested permission to send
home Indians to be sold as slaves in order to diminish the expense to
the crown in connection with the colony. He was rightfully rebuked by
the pure-minded Isabella, who indignantly ordered such Indians to be
returned to their country, and instructed the admiral that their
conversion was to be brought about by the ordinary means, and not by
their being enslaved.

It is only fair to the early Spanish settlers in America, the account
of whose proceedings in respect to the Indians cannot fail to rouse
feelings of horror and disgust, that we should duly consider and weigh
the feelings of the age in which they lived on the part of Christendom
towards all who were beyond its pale. They were in fact the feelings of
the chosen people towards the surrounding heathen, who were only
deserving of being spared on condition of their becoming hewers of wood
and drawers of water. It is true that in the case of a number of Spanish
leaders, including Columbus himself and his brother _Don_ Bartholomew,
the Indians were to be spared and protected on the condition of their
accepting the yoke imposed upon them and fulfilling the tasks assigned
to them by their invaders; but upon the slightest resistance or evasion
of their duties, all their natural rights were at once abrogated, and
they became as so many beasts of burden, to be employed at the pleasure
of their drivers. Amongst rulers and governors Queen Isabella stands out
alone to protest against such a construction of the duties of one race
towards another, even although the one were Christian and the other

But yet, seeking to make every allowance that can be urged in excuse or
palliation, there is but one verdict that can possibly be given as to
the general conduct of the Spaniards towards the natives of America,
namely, that it surpassed in remorseless, and often stupid and
short-sighted, cruelty the conduct of any one conquering or so-called
“superior” race towards another conquered or “inferior” race of which
history contains any record. In this respect we cannot but think that
the Spaniards as a race have been too leniently judged by modern
writers--not Spanish, but foreign. Much, for instance, as Washington
Irving is to be admired for his clear judgment and his mastery of his
subject, we cannot help thinking that he is scarcely justified in
assigning the undoubted excesses committed by Spaniards in the New World
merely to a set of ruthless adventurers, the scum of their race, rather
than to Spaniards in general. It would of course be in the highest
degree unjust to make an entire people responsible for the wholesale
atrocities of two unlettered adventurers such as Pizarro and Almagro;
but the accusation of scandalous and intolerable rapacity and cruelty is
unfortunately not confined to the class to which such men belong; it
applies equally to all ranks and grades of the invaders, with here and
there a notable exception--generally, but not always, on the part of one
or more churchmen--most of all in Las Casas.

The conduct of Ovando towards the natives of _Hispaniola_, and more
particularly to those of _Xaragua_, is one of the many instances in
question of the inhuman treatment of Indians by a Spaniard of the
highest rank. It will be remembered that on one occasion some eighty
_caciques_ were treacherously seized, and upon mere unfounded suspicion,
bound to posts and committed to the flames. It was estimated that at the
time of the advent of the Spaniards the unfortunate island of _Hayti_
contained about a million or twelve hundred thousand inhabitants--some
writers place the population at a much larger amount,--yet in an
incredibly short period, under the government of Ovando, it was reduced
to twelve thousand, so reduced, indeed, that labourers had to be brought
from other islands. And yet Ovando had been specially selected for his
“prudence,” in order that he might redress the wrongs to which the
Indians were said to be subjected under the government of Columbus and
his brother, and the Indians were specially commended to his care by
Queen Isabella.

It may be said that the conduct of one tyrannical governor should not be
charged to the discredit of a people. This would be a fair argument had
Ovando been promptly recalled when the news of his atrocities at
_Xaragua_ reached Spain, as was in our own day Governor Eyre, when the
news of his high-handed proceedings in _Jamaica_ reached England.
Ovando’s proceedings were indeed so repugnant to the humane heart of
Isabella that with her dying breath she exacted a promise from Ferdinand
that he should be recalled from his government. He was, later on,
recalled, but only after the lapse of four years, and when _Don_ Diego
Columbus had been declared by the courts of justice to be entitled to
the government of _Hispaniola_. The long period which elapsed between
the fate of Anacoana and the recall of Ovando showed that neither his
king nor the public feeling of Spain in general was much shocked by the
proceedings which have left an indelible stain upon his name.

But it cannot be imagined that the wholesale depopulation of _Hayti_ is
chargeable merely to one or more governors. It is to be attributed
indiscriminately to the colonists in general, and amongst them were many
cavaliers who had gone to seek their fortune in the New World in the
train of Ovando. If we turn in other directions we see merely a
repetition of the same facts. Cortez and many of his compeers were men
of noble family; but in the history of their deeds we find at least
equal cruelty, as regards the natives, with that which attended the
proceedings of such low-born adventurers as Pizarro and Almagro. Whilst
excellent laws and regulations for the well-being and proper treatment
of the natives of America were constantly being enacted in Spain, we
nowhere read of wholesome examples being made of the wrong-doers who
treated these laws as a dead letter. Even the laws and regulations, good
and well meant as they were, were not the result of the reaction of
public opinion against the ill-treatment of the Indians, but were
brought about by a few humane ecclesiastics who had been helpless
eye-witnesses of the atrocities committed by their countrymen, and who
returned to Spain with the hope of rousing the conscience of the
sovereign and his advisers to a sense of the enormities which were being
daily committed in his name. This brings us to the historical part
played by Las Casas on the continent of South America; but before
describing it, it may be well to give a brief statement of what had
already been done by other ecclesiastics in the same cause.

The Dominican monks of _Hispaniola_, grieved at the barbarities
practised towards the natives of that unfortunate island, had entered an
indignant protest against the treatment which was meted out to the
vassals of Queen Isabella. These monks were about twelve or fifteen in
number, and they soon gathered for themselves an idea of the cruelties
which were being practised around them. As they determined that their
protest should be a collective one, they agreed that a discourse should
be preached before the inhabitants of _San Domingo_, to which they
should all attach their names. The preacher, taking for his text “I am
the voice of one crying in the wilderness,” declared to his audience
with piercing words that they were living; in mortal sin by reason of
their tyranny to the Indians, and he demanded what authority there was
for the imposition of this servitude, and what ground for these wars?
The sermon was heard to the end, but on reflection the principal persons
amongst the audience went to the monastery to make a fierce

They insisted on seeing the preacher, and required that he should make a
retractation on the following Sunday. Next Sunday came, and the place of
worship was crowded by a congregation brought together to hear the
expected apology. The same preacher again ascended the pulpit; but
Father Antonio only repeated his former statements and insisted upon
their conclusions. He moreover added that the Dominicans would not
confess any man who should have made incursions amongst the Indians. The
congregation again listened to the discourse; but they determined to
send a complaint to the king, and afterwards to despatch a Franciscan
monk to argue their case at court. Thus were two orders of the Church
arrayed against each other; the one urged on by motives of Christianity
and humanity, the other by religious rivalry.

The Dominicans likewise resolved to send their advocate, and amongst the
colonists some pious persons were found to defray the expenses of his
voyage. The advocate selected was Father Antonio. When the letters from
the authorities of _San Domingo_ had reached the king, his majesty had
sent for the head of their order in Spain, and had complained to him of
the scandal occasioned in the colony by this preaching. Soon after this
the envoys arrived, Father Alonso, the Franciscan, being well received
by the authorities, and having free access to the king, whilst the doors
of the presence-chamber were closed against the Dominican. Father
Antonio, however, watching his time, obtained the desired audience. King
Ferdinand was inexpressibly shocked at his statement, and gave orders
that the matter should be diligently looked into forthwith. He was true
to his word, and summoned a _junta_ to consider the matter. This board
was formed partly of the king’s council and partly of theologians.

According to Las Casas the _junta_ came to the decision--“That the
Indians were free men; that they ought to be instructed in the Christian
faith; that they might be ordered to work, but so that their working
should not hinder their conversion, and should be such as they could
endure; that they should have cottages and lands of their own, and time
to work for themselves; that they should be made to hold communication
with the Christians; and that they should receive wages, not paid in
money, but in clothes and furniture for their cottages.” Such was the
reply of the _junta_ to the king. Meanwhile Father Antonio, being much
grieved at not obtaining a sufficient hearing, determined upon the bold
course of convincing his opponent the Franciscan. He told him that
others were but using him as a tool; that he was perilling the reward
of a life of sanctity by doing the devil’s work without being paid even
in the devil’s wages, and appealed to his own experience as regarded the
inhumanity he had witnessed. Strange to say, the Franciscan was entirely
gained over, and put himself under the guidance of his rival.

On receiving the reply from the _junta_, the king’s ministers requested
that body to draw up a set of laws in conformity with the principles
which they had affirmed; but this they declined to do. Meanwhile the
king’s conscience seems to have become uneasy in the matter, and he was
willing that the question should be further considered. He asked an
opinion in writing from his two preachers; and as this coincided with
that of the _junta_, it was adopted by the king, and nothing remained
but to carry it into execution. A set of laws was accordingly drawn up
by certain members of the council, who took as their basis that the
system of _encomiendas_ was to be retained. The laws were to the
following effect:--“The Indians were first to be brought amongst the
Spaniards; all gentle means being used towards the _caciques_, to
persuade them to come willingly. Then, for every fifty Indians four
_bohios_ (large huts) should be made by their masters. The _bohios_ were
to be thirty feet in length by fifteen in breadth. Three thousand
_montones_ (the hillocks which were used to preserve the plants from too
much moisture) of _yuca_, of which they made the _cassava_ bread, two
thousand _montones_ of _yams_, with a certain space for growing
_pimento_, and a certain number of fowls, were to be assigned for the
living of these fifty Indians.”

Every Spaniard having an _encomienda_ of Indians, was to construct some
sort of chapel in which prayers were to be read morning and evening, and
a church was to be erected for the general neighbourhood. It was enacted
that the Indians were to work at the mines for five months at a time,
when they were to have forty days in which to till their own land, when
they were to return to the mines. Certain regulations were made
concerning their food, which Las Casas condemns in entirety. The
employment of the Indians in the mines was not only encouraged but
insisted upon. One _peso_ of gold was to be given to each Indian
annually, with which to provide his clothes.

Two visitors were to be appointed for each Spanish settlement; but as
these were permitted to have _encomiendas_, it was scarcely to be
expected that their proceedings should be impartial. The _caciques_ were
to have not more than six Indians set apart for their service, and the
_cacique_ and his attendants were to go to whatsoever Spaniard had the
greatest number of the same tribe allotted to him. They were to be
employed in light and easy services.

Such is a brief summary of the laws promulgated at Burgos, in December
1512, and which have ever since been called the Laws of Burgos.

When the king had spoken to the provincial of the Dominicans condemning
the sermons of Father Antonio, the provincial wrote to the head of the
order in _Hispaniola_, upon which Pedro de Cordova came over to Spain
and presented himself at court. When he had read the laws of Burgos and
had expressed his dissatisfaction with them, King Ferdinand said to him,
“Take upon yourself, then, Father, the charge of remedying them; you
will do me a great service therein; and I will order that what you
decide upon shall be adopted.” With inexplicable diffidence the vicar
replied, “I beseech your highness, do not command me.” And he thus lost
the golden opportunity of effecting the reforms to bring about which he
had come all the way from _Hispaniola_.

On receiving this culpable and deplorable reply, King Ferdinand summoned
another _junta_ to see if the laws could be ameliorated. Pedro de
Cordova assisted, but did not succeed in doing much, although what
little was done was in accordance with his views. The additions to the
laws were mainly with a view to the cultivation of decorum and of family
ties amongst the Indians.

Las Casas was a settler in the island of _Cuba_, and had assigned to him
a number of Indians in _repartimiento_. He himself states that he was as
much engaged as others in sending his Indians to the mines and in making
a profit out of their labour; but at the same time he treated them with
kindness and provided for their sustenance. He confesses, however, that
he paid no more regard than did other Spaniards to their religious
instruction. Reflection on the preaching of the Dominicans against the
sin of possessing Indians led his candid mind to the conclusion that the
system of _repartimientos_ was iniquitous, and that he too must preach
against it. The first practical point to be determined as a result of
the light which now guided him was what he ought to do with his Indians.
He evidently ought no longer to retain them; nor did he grudge the loss
that he should thereby sustain; but he felt that no one would be so
indulgent to them as the master they were about to lose, and that they
would be worked to death. Still it would be vain for him to preach
against _repartimientos_ whilst he retained Indians of his own.

Las Casas commenced his preaching against Indian slavery in _Cuba_; but
he soon resolved to proceed to Spain, in order to attack the evil at its
fountain-head. It was certainly time that some independent
representation should be made to the Spanish government as to the
condition of the Indians of _Cuba_, which was so miserable that they
were forced to seek refuge in flight; and when even this refuge was
denied them--for they were pursued by blood-hounds--they had recourse to
suicide. On his arrival in _Hispaniola_, Las Casas found that Pedro de
Cordova, the chief of the Dominicans, had set out on a voyage for the
purpose of founding monasteries on the Pearl Coast.

Two Dominicans, whose fate is instructive as showing the colonial
manners of the period, established themselves at a point about twenty
leagues from _Cumana_ called _Maracapána_, where they were hospitably
received by the Indians. Soon after the arrival of Francisco de Cordova
and Juan Garces, a Spanish vessel engaged in the pearl fisheries touched
at the same point. It may be remarked that the mainland had been
especially chosen as a field for missionary operations in order that the
efforts of the priests might not be thwarted by the evil example of the
secular colonists. As a rule the appearance of a Spanish vessel was a
signal for the natives to take to flight; but on this occasion, the
Dominican missionaries being looked upon as hostages, the _cacique_ of
the place, with his family and servants, numbering seventeen persons,
accepted an invitation on board the Spanish ship. When they were safely
on board, the vessel weighed anchor and set sail. As was to be expected,
the Indians on shore, who were witnesses of this treachery, resolved to
kill the two Dominicans, and were only dissuaded from doing so on the
assurance of the latter that the _cacique_ and his family would be
returned within four months.

By another Spanish vessel, which soon afterwards made its appearance on
the coast, the two missionaries were enabled to communicate their
circumstances to the chief of their order at _San Domingo_. On the
arrival at that place of the first vessel, it was declared that, as it
had not been furnished with a proper license, it must be condemned as a
prize; and therefore the _cacique_ and his family were divided as slaves
amongst the judges of appeal! Some days after this transaction came the
letters of the two missionaries, whereupon the man-stealing captain took
refuge in a monastery. The Dominicans lost no time in communicating the
circumstances of the _cacique’s_ capture; but the judges of appeal
declined to give up their slaves, and at the end of the stipulated four
months the two unfortunate missionaries were put to death!

[Sidenote: 1515.]

In September 1515 Las Casas, accompanied by two brethren, embarked for
Spain. On his arrival he was presented to the Archbishop of Seville,
who, in turn, furnished him with letters to the king, with whom he
obtained an interview. Las Casas was fortunate enough to gain the
sympathy of King Ferdinand’s confessor; but he found an enemy to his
cause in Fonseca, the bishop of Burgos, who was the minister entrusted
with Indian affairs, and who was himself a possessor of Indians. Soon
after this, in January 1516, the king died.

The hopes of Las Casas were now transferred to the Regent, Cardinal
Ximenes, with whom he was fortunate enough to find favour, and who
called together a _junta_ to listen to his statements and arguments. The
result was that the cardinal appointed Las Casas and two coadjutors to
draw up a plan to secure the liberty of the Indians, and to arrange
their government. In order to execute the laws agreed upon, Ximenes
determined to employ Jeronimite monks, as they were not mixed up with
the disputes which had arisen between the Franciscans and the Dominicans
respecting the fitness of the Indians for freedom. The three Jeronimite
Fathers chosen were instructed on their arrival at _San Domingo_ to call
the colonists together and to announce that the cause of their coming
was a report of the ill-treatment of the Indians, and to ask their
suggestions for a remedy for such a state of things. They were likewise
to go to the principal _caciques_, and to inform them that they had been
sent to find out the truth, to punish past wrong-doing, and to provide
security for the future. It was the will of the governors of Spain that
the Indians should be treated as Christians and free men.

The Jeronimite Fathers were to visit every island; to ascertain the
number of Indians; and to find out how they had been treated, taking
notes of the nature of the land for the purpose of forming settlements
near the mines. Such settlements were to consist of about three hundred
persons, with the requisite buildings, and lands were to be apportioned
to each settlement, every individual receiving a plot. One administrator
was to be appointed to each one or two settlements. Other regulations
applied to religion, education, hospitals, labour upon farms and at the
mines, and respecting pasturage and the division of gold. In order in
some measure to reimburse the Spaniards for the loss of Indian
slave-labour which they would incur, they were to be paid for the land
which would be required for the settlements, whilst they were to be
permitted to procure gold on easy terms for themselves. They were
likewise allowed four or five slaves each from amongst the _Caribs_,
these being cannibals. This latter clause was sure to lead to great
abuses, as it was only necessary for the slave-hunters to declare their
captives cannibals to justify their proceedings. This provision was
inserted contrary to the wishes of Las Casas. Finally, he himself was
appointed “Protector of the Indians.” With these regulations, and with
the cardinal’s benediction, Las Casas set out from Seville.

[Sidenote: 1516.]

In December 1516 the Jeronimite Fathers and the Protector of the Indians
arrived at _San Domingo_, having performed the voyage in different
vessels. No sooner had they arrived than they began to prove themselves
not exactly the instruments he would have chosen for the accomplishment
of his wishes. As a matter of course they were beset by the colonists,
who represented Las Casas as a mere visionary, and in their
conversations with him they soon began to make excuses for the
inhumanity of the colonists. Nor, although they deprived such persons as
were absent of their Indians, did they think it necessary to apply the
same rule to the judges and other men in office. After a short time, the
lawyer appointed by Ximenes to take a _residencia_ of--in other words,
to make an inquiry into the conduct of--all the judges in the Indies,
arrived at _Hispaniola_. Las Casas then took the bold step of impeaching
the judges, whom he accused of both bringing Indians from the _Lucayan_
islands and of causing the death of the two Dominicans in _Cumana_, a
measure which was distasteful to the Jeronimites, who preferred to
manage things quietly.

The Fathers had not the courage to adopt in their full extent the
measures which were within their power; but they nevertheless made
considerable efforts to improve the condition of the Indians, publishing
the orders in this respect and encouraging the natives to come to them
with their complaints. They likewise wrote to Pedrarias, the governor of
_Darien_, ordering him to make no more expeditions, and to send an
account of the gold and slaves which he had taken. He was likewise to
inquire into the justice of his Indians’ capture, and to restore such as
it should turn out had been unlawfully taken. The Fathers also formed
some of the Indians into settlements, which were, however, of no long
duration, owing partly to the ravages of the small-pox.

The proceedings of the Jeronimite Fathers were, however, too lukewarm in
their nature to suit the ardent soul of Las Casas, who now determined to
return to Spain in order to complain of them, in which measure he was
confirmed by the prior of the Dominicans and likewise by the special
judges. The Fathers were much disconcerted at the move, and sent one of
their own body to represent them at court. Las Casas reached Castile to
find his patron Ximenes at the point of death, but the intrepid
Protector of the Indians brought his case before the Grand Chancellor,
who spoke of him to the king and received his commands to consult with
him as to a remedy for the government of the Indies. One result of this
consultation was certainly a singular one. Whilst it was proposed to
send out Spanish labourers in considerable numbers, in the pay of the
government, to _Hispaniola_, Las Casas himself suggested that in
addition a certain number of negro slaves might be imported. The author
of this suggestion lived to acknowledge and to deplore its unjust

Before this period, negro slaves had been imported into the Spanish
possessions in America, and King Charles had only recently granted
licenses to certain persons to import Africans into _Hispaniola_. The
Jeronimite Fathers likewise looked upon the importation of Africans, who
could better bear severe labour, as a remedy for the trials of the
Indians, and the measure obtained the concurrence of the judge of
_residencia_. The suggestion, when made by Las Casas, was approved of.
The number of negroes which it was thought would suffice for the present
was four thousand; and accordingly De Dresa, a Fleming, obtained a
license from the king for this purpose--a grant which was accompanied by
the assurance of a monopoly for eight years. The result of the monopoly
was that the price of negroes greatly rose, the suggestion as to Spanish
colonists being sent to the Indies not having been acted upon.

The Chancellor at this time dying, the influence of Las Casas was once
more shaken. Fonseca, the bishop of Burgos, again returned to power,
and, as a consequence, the Jeronimite Fathers were recalled. Las Casas
was fortunate enough to obtain the interest on behalf of the Indians of
a gentleman immediately attached to the king; and his representations
were from time to time fortified by the accounts received of some fresh
atrocities committed by the Spaniards in America. The Dominican prior,
Pedro de Cordova, had much to tell his colleague of the slave-hunting
exploits of the Spaniards in _Trinidad_, and he suggested that one
hundred leagues on the coast of _Cumana_ should be set apart by the king
as a territory in which the Franciscans and the Dominicans might preach
the gospel undisturbed by the presence of laymen.

Las Casas, failing for the meantime to obtain such a grant, fell back
upon his scheme of Spanish emigration, and about two hundred men were
actually sent out from Seville, a measure which was not attended by any
beneficial result, since the emigrants were left on their arrival to
provide for themselves from their own resources. A new Grand Chancellor
was now appointed; and in his eyes Las Casas likewise found favour. To
Gattinara the Protector of the Indians submitted a new scheme of
colonization. The plan was that a sort of religious fraternity should be
created, consisting of fifty knights, and that by their aid Las Casas
should settle the country for a thousand leagues along the coast from
_Paria_, a distance which was subsequently reduced to two hundred and
sixty leagues. By the help of the king’s preachers, this idea of Las
Casas was actually put in the way of being realized.

[Sidenote: 1520.]

After the usual Spanish course of _juntas_ and much arguing, it was
resolved that the land which Las Casas sought for should be granted to
him, although at each step his proposition was opposed by the Bishop of
Burgos. Immediately before the departure of Charles from Coruña in May
1520, in order to be crowned Emperor of Germany, the king signed the
necessary deed of grant to Las Casas. The land which he thus acquired
extended from the province of _Paria_ in the east to that of _Santa
Martha_ in the west, and was to go through the continent to the Pacific.
Las Casas embarked at _San Lucar_ on the 11th of November 1520, taking
with him some humble labourers. After a favourable voyage, he arrived at
_Porto Rico_, where he was destined to meet with some startling news
that had considerable influence on the fate of the expedition which he
had undertaken.

It has been already stated how two Dominican missionaries met their
martyrdom at _Cumaná_; but their fate did not at all deter their
brethren from following in their footsteps. Accordingly, in the year
1518, several Franciscans and Dominicans founded two monasteries on the
Pearl Coast, where they were joined by other monks, and where they
lived in peaceful intercourse with the Indians. There was thus a fair
prospect of some settlements in the New World existing without forced
labour or other cruelty towards the natives. But this was not to be. In
the neighbouring island of _Cubagua_ there was a certain Ojeda, who
occupied himself with pearl-fishing, and who paid a visit to the
mainland with the object of picking up some slaves. Coming to the
settlement of _Maricapána_, he proceeded to buy some maize from one of
the tribes, and he, naturally enough, requested the service of fifty men
to assist in carrying it to his vessel. Once on the shore, the misguided
men were attacked by the Spaniards and a number of them carried on board
ship. It is some satisfaction to know that when Ojeda next landed he was
watched for and slain.

The natural result of the above transactions was that, a few days
afterwards, the Dominican monastery was attacked and its inmates put to
death. The Franciscan monastery at _Chiribichi_ was likewise attacked.
In all eighty Spaniards were killed, and the island of _Cubagua_ was
evacuated. These events had taken place at the close of the year 1519,
and the “Audience” at _San Domingo_ prepared an expedition to punish and
enslave the Indians of the Pearl Coast, which expedition, under Ocampo,
met Las Casas at _Porto Rico_. In vain he endeavoured, by showing his
“powers” to the commander, to divert him from his purpose. All that Las
Casas could do was to hasten to _San Domingo_, leaving his labourers at
_Porto Rico_.

The Protector of the Indians was now very generally detested by the
colonists, who seemed leagued together to defeat his plans. He caused a
proclamation to be made of the royal order of which he was the bearer,
that no one should injure any of the natives of the provinces granted to
him; and, in accordance with this order, he demanded the recall of the
fleet and the discontinuance of the war. The authorities could not
openly refuse compliance; but they required time for consideration, and
meanwhile Ocampo was doing his work. The vessel in which Las Casas
sailed was likewise declared unseaworthy and was condemned, thereby
causing its owner much loss and debarring him from the means of transit.

Las Casas was soon made aware of the success of Ocampo by the number of
slaves which were sent by him to _Hispaniola_ to be sold. The sight made
him so indignant that the “Audience” proposed to make terms with him,
offering to place Ocampo’s expedition under his command, and to share
with him the profits of the territory which he was to govern. It is to
be remarked that, in agreeing to this arrangement, Las Casas a second
time compromised himself on the subject of slavery, one of the means of
profit in the undertaking being slave-dealing. The Protector of the
Indians was to ascertain which of them were cannibals, or which should
decline to have any dealings with the Spaniards or the gospel. Such men
were to be attacked and enslaved; but, in agreeing to this arrangement,
Las Casas merely consented to accept a power which he had no intention
of exercising. Without this clause the agreement would not have been
accepted by the others who were parties to it.

[Sidenote: 1521.]

His vessels being ready and well stored with provisions, Las Casas set
sail in July 1521, and proceeded to _Porto Rico_, where a fresh
disappointment awaited him. The followers whom he had left there had all
dispersed, and he had to proceed to the _Terra Firma_, where he soon
found himself left with a few servants and labourers, since Ocampo and
his men availed themselves of the arrival of the vessels to return to
_San Domingo_. In this condition Las Casas had at least the comfort of
finding that the Franciscan monastery had been re-established. He joined
the community, and by means of the wife of a _cacique_, who was
acquainted with Spanish, he established friendly relations with the
Indians. There was, however, a stumbling-block in his way in the
vicinity of the island of _Cubagua_. As this island possessed no fresh
water, the Spaniards who were engaged in pearl-fishing on its coast
constantly visited the _Terra Firma_ to take in a supply.

All the preaching of the missionary colonist was once more of no avail
with the natives in the presence of the frequent visits of his
man-stealing countrymen; and at last Las Casas was persuaded against his
own inclination to return to _San Domingo_ to complain to the “Audience”
of the mischief done by the Spaniards from _Cubagua_. His deputy, in
disobedience to the written instructions he had left, sent away the only
two boats which the colony possessed to traffic for pearls and gold. In
their absence the monastery was attacked by the Indians, and, being in a
defenceless condition, was set on fire. The inmates, however, with the
exception of two or three, succeeded in making their escape in a canoe,
in which they were fortunate enough to reach a Spanish vessel. Thus
ended the attempt at forming a moral Spanish colony on the mainland,
which had cost Las Casas so many years of labour in the face of ridicule
and opposition. The unfortunate philanthropist now abandoned his scheme
as hopeless and took refuge in a Dominican monastery.

_Cumana_ was now no longer the scene of missionary efforts. The last
outrage of the Indians was of course avenged, and the slave marts of
_Cubagua_ and _San Domingo_ were once more filled. But as the Indians
found themselves safer in the interior, the whole coast was left
desolate, and the provinces which Columbus had found so beautiful and
populous, now merely afforded a forest for slave-hunting expeditions,
which set out from _Aricapana_. The last-named place became the
headquarters of a piratical Spanish band numbering several hundreds, who
lived entirely by predatory expeditions, the extent of which may be
judged from the fact that the Italian traveller Benzoni witnessed the
return of one with four thousand slaves--the survivors of a far greater
number--who were sent to _Cubagua_ for disposal.

     NOTE.--Chapters I. to IV. of vol. I. are, for the most part,
     founded upon the following works, namely:--

     _Navarrete_ (_Don_ M. F. de); _Viages y Descubrimientos de los
     Españoles desde fines del Siglo XV._, 5 vol. sm. 4to.

     Amerigo (Vespucci), _Viaggi_.

     Vesputius (A.) Navigationum Epit.--_Grynæi_; _Canovai_; _Ramusio_,
     i.; _Brosses_.

     Martyris (Petri ab Angleria);--_De Insulis nuper repertis_--_Grynæi
     Orbis_. Eight Decades of the Ocean.--Hakluyt, V.

     The Spanish Conquest in America; by Arthur Helps. John W. Parker &
     Son, 1855.

     Las Casas, Hist. Ind.

     Hist. del Almirante.

     Oviedo, Cronica de las Indias.

     Muñoz, Hist. Nuevo Mundo, lib. ii.

     Benzoni, History of the New World, translated: Hakluyt Society.

     The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus; together with the
     Voyages of his Companions. By Washington Irving. London: John
     Murray, 1849.




[Sidenote: 1500.]

In the year 1499, Vicente Yañez Pinzon, of Palos, one of the three
brothers who had sailed with Columbus in his first voyage seven years
previously, obtained from the king of Castile the necessary permission
to embark on an expedition of discovery on the Atlantic. Pinzon, who was
accompanied by two nephews, as well as by several sailors who had sailed
with Columbus, set out with four _caravels_ from the port of Palos,
putting to sea in the beginning of December. After passing the _Canary_
and the Cape _de Verde_ Islands, the expedition proceeded to the
south-west. Having sailed about seven hundred leagues, they crossed the
equator and lost sight of the north star. On crossing the equinoctial
line they encountered a terrible tempest; but the confused mariners
looked in vain for a guide whereby to steer. Pinzon pursued his course
resolutely to the west, and after sailing for about two hundred and
forty leagues further, being then in the eighth degree of southern
latitude, he beheld, on the 20th of January, a point of land, which he
called _Consolation_, but which is now known as Cape _St. Augustine_, in
the province of _Pernambuco_. The sea was discoloured, and on sounding,
they found sixteen fathoms of water. Pinzon, as in duty bound, landed
with a notary and took formal possession of the territory for the crown
of Castile. The natives whom he saw in the neighbourhood declined to
have any dealings whatsoever with the strangers; and not liking their
appearance, the commander made sail next day and stood to the north-west
until he came to the mouth of a river where he again encountered a
multitude of naked Indians with whom his men had a desperate encounter,
in which a number of Spaniards were wounded or slain. Discouraged by
this reception, the navigator now stood forty leagues to the north-west,
being once more near the equinoctial line. Here the water was so sweet
that he replenished his casks from it.

Astonished at this phenomenon, he stood in for land, and arrived among a
number of islands whose people he found hospitable and in no way afraid
of intercourse with the strangers. By degrees Pinzon realised the fact
that these islands lay at the mouth of an immense river, a river so
great that its dimensions can scarcely be realised by one accustomed
even to the largest of European streams, such as the Danube or the
Volga, far less by one whose ideas of an inland stream were formed by
the Guadalquiver. The mariner had in fact alighted at the mouth of the
mightiest of the mighty streams of the New World, a river which pours
into the ocean a greater volume of water than even the _Mississippi_ or
the _Plata_; he had reached the _Amazons_, a stream which, discovered at
its mouth by one Spaniard, was, a few years later, to be traced
throughout the greater part of its course down to the ocean by another
Spaniard, the ill-fated Orellana.

The _Amazons_ at its mouth has a breadth of no less than thirty leagues,
the volume of water proceeding through which penetrates for forty
leagues into the sea before losing its sweetness. Whilst lying at the
mouth of this river, Pinzon encountered a sudden swelling of the stream,
which, meeting the current of the ocean, caused a rise of more than five
fathoms, the mountain waves threatening his ships with destruction.
Having extricated his vessels with no small difficulty from this danger,
Pinzon, finding that there was no object to detain him in this region,
showed that he was not less civilised than other Spanish navigators at
the time in the matter of requiting hospitality, by carrying off
thirty-six natives as slaves.

Having the polar star once more to guide him, the mariner pursued his
course along the coast, passing the mouths of the _Orinoco_, and
entering the gulf of _Pária_, where he took in brazil-wood, and from
which he emerged by the celebrated _Boca del Drago_. He subsequently
reached Palos about the end of September of the same year, having lost
two of his vessels at the _Bahamas_. Vicente Pinzon has the glory of
having been the first European to cross the equinoctial line on the
Western Atlantic and of having discovered _Brazil_.

[Sidenote: 1500.]

Later in the same year in which Pinzon had discovered Cape _St.
Augustine_ and had taken possession of the neighbouring coast in the
name of the sovereigns of Castile, an event happened which illustrates
how sometimes in human affairs the effect of accident may almost
anticipate the calculations and discoveries of genius.[I] Scarcely eight
years had elapsed since Columbus had set out on that voyage which,
according to the motto beneath his armorial bearings, gave a new world
to Castile and to Léon, when another expedition was equipped by King
Emanuel of Portugal, the commander of which, without having the least
idea of discovering land to the westwards, accidentally lighted upon the
coast of South America.

But although Cabral has little or no merit in having been one of the
first two independent discoverers of _Brazil_, yet it would be unfair to
state that chance was wholly answerable for his discovery, and that
scientific inquiry had no share in the matter. Scientific inquiry in
this instance was, however, not due to Cabral, but to Prince Henry of
Portugal, the great patron of maritime exploration along the western
coast of Africa, and who, though he did not survive to know it, had
paved the way for the great achievement of Vasco de Gama. It was in
order to follow up the discoveries of the hero of the Lusiad that King
Emanuel had equipped the squadron which left Belem on the Tagus, with
befitting pomp and solemnity, in March A.D. 1500. The commander took
with him a banner blessed by the Bishop of Ceuta, and set out under a
royal salute from the fleet. It is remarkable that this expedition,
destined to add to the Portuguese position in the East, should lead to
the foundation of the Lusian Empire of the West.

Cabral steered for the Cape _de Verdes_ and then westwards to escape
“the Doldrums” or calms on the African coast; and so sailing, he, on the
25th of April, sighted land near the harbour which bears his name. He
himself now proceeded on his original destination eastward, but he sent
back one of his vessels to inform his king of his discovery in the West,
to follow up which an expedition was next year despatched.

[Sidenote: 1501.]

Amerigo Vespucci, now in the service of Portugal, landed on the coast of
Brazil south of the equator; but the cannibal savages whom he discovered
declined to have any dealings with the intruders whom their domains
could not but attract. The forests were like gardens of flowers, the
trees having blossoms of all colours, contrasted with the perfection of
effect only met with in nature. Parasites filled the intervening spaces
between trees and boughs, whilst orchids hung from them in the air, and
birds of tropical plumage warbled amidst groves of pomegranate and
orange trees. As Vespucci and his companions sailed southwards, new
heavens were revealed to his wondering eyes, the Southern Cross looking
down upon them in its glory. On reaching the eighth degree of southern
latitude they found the natives more tractable. They were welcomed
everywhere, and were thus enabled to explore the coast. They coasted
onwards till the thirty-second degree, when they put out to sea, going
twenty degrees further in the same direction. Here they met with stormy
weather, and the cold became intense, so that Vespucci deemed it
expedient to retrace his way to Lisbon, which place he reached in safety
after a voyage of sixteen months. It was from this voyage that Amerigo
Vespucci was considered the discoverer of the mainland of South America.
His name was at first applied to these southern regions, but was
afterwards extended to the whole continent. Vespucci was ignorant that
_Brazil_ had previously been discovered both by Pinzon and Cabral. His
account of his voyage, addressed to Lorenzo de Medici, was published at
Strasburg in 1505. It is said to have been printed in Venice in 1504.

[Sidenote: 1504.]

In the spring of the ensuing year (1503) Vespucci again sailed from
Lisbon with a squadron of six vessels, of which, however, he only
commanded one ship. After many disasters and the loss of one vessel of
the squadron, he reached _Brazil_, with his own ship alone, at the
celebrated bay of All Saints, _Bahia_. There he remained two months in
the hope of being joined by the rest of the fleet. He then sailed two
hundred and sixty leagues to the south, where he remained for five
months, building a fort and taking in a cargo of brazil-wood. In the
fort he left a garrison of twenty-four men and set sail for Lisbon,
where he arrived in June 1504. The other four vessels of the squadron
were never afterwards heard of.

Early in the following year Amerigo Vespucci was at Seville on his way
to the Spanish court in quest of employment, and was the bearer of a
letter from Columbus to his son Diego, in which the great navigator,
speaking of Vespucci, says, “Fortune has been adverse to him as to many
others. His labours have not profited him as they reasonably should have
done.... He goes with the determination to do all that is possible for
me.” It is pathetic to hear the great discoverer thus speaking of the
man whose name was to usurp the place of Columbus on the two continents
of the New World.

The cargo of brazil-wood which had been brought by Amerigo to Lisbon was
so much esteemed that a trade in it at once sprang up, and the result
was that the coast whence it was procured, and finally the whole
neighbouring country, came to be called _Brazil_. The Portuguese
Government determined to colonize the land, and accordingly despatched
thither, in the first instance, a portion of the criminal population of

[Sidenote: 1508.]

Amerigo Vespucci being once more in the service of the king of Castile,
in which he obtained the rank of chief pilot, which he held until his
death, it was determined to take advantage of his previous discoveries,
and in the year 1508 Pinzon and Solis proceeded on an expedition to Cape
_St. Augustine_ and thence southwards, taking possession of several
points at which they landed, in the name of the king of Spain. As before
this date the Pope Alexander VI. had assigned to the Castilian and
Lusitanian crowns, respectively, the line beyond which their respective
discoveries might in either case be taken possession of, the Portuguese
king now complained that the proceedings of this last Spanish expedition
on the coast of South America were an infringement of the grant which
had been made to him by the Sovereign Pontiff. Notwithstanding this, the
king of Castile in the year 1515 despatched Juan de Solis on another
expedition to the south, in the hope of finding the means of
communication with the ocean which more than a year before this time had
been reached overland by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa. This expedition resulted
in the discovery of a stream to which Solis gave the name of the Sweet
Sea; for the extent of its fresh waters forbade him to entertain the
idea of its being a river. The Sweet Sea was named by a subsequent
navigator the River of Silver, from the ornaments of that metal found
amongst the people on the banks of the _Paraguay_, which flows into the
_Paraná_, which with the _Uruguay_ forms the _Plata_, and is now known
to us as the _Plata_ or the River _Plate_. This discovery cost De Solis
his life; for, having landed incautiously on the island of _Martin
Garcia_, he was set upon by the natives and murdered.

[Sidenote: 1519.]

And here it is necessary to mention the great navigator who should rank
next to Columbus in South American discovery. Fernando Magalhaens (in
Spanish Magallanes), better known as Magellan, was born in Oporto late
in the fifteenth century. He entered the Portuguese navy at the usual
early age, and served in India under Albuquerque. Fancying that his
merits at _Malacca_ had been overlooked, he retired from the service of
Portugal, and made proposals for new discoveries to Cardinal Ximenes. He
shared the view of Columbus that there must exist somewhere a western
passage to the seas beyond America, which seas had been seen by Vasco
Nuñez de Balboa. Having held out the inducement of obtaining the
_Moluccas_ by sailing westward, inasmuch as by the compact between Spain
and Portugal all countries discovered 180° west of the _Azores_ were to
belong to the former country, he obtained a fleet of five vessels,
manned by two hundred and thirty-four persons, which sailed from Seville
under his command on August 10th, 1519.

They steered for _Brazil_, and in the middle of the following December
he entered the river _Plata_. Finding that it was not a strait, he
sought his way southward, and took refuge in a harbour on the coast of
_Patagonia_ in the 49th degree of S. latitude, to which he gave the name
of Port _San Julian_. During his stay here he had to repress a
conspiracy amongst the four commanders of his squadron, who were
Spaniards, and who resented his being placed over them. Of these, two
were hanged, a third was stabbed, and the fourth was put on shore.

[Sidenote: 1520.]

It was not until August 1520 that Magellan, who had previously taken
possession of Port _San Julian_ in the name of the king of Spain,
proceeded southward, and on October 21st he entered the strait which
separates _Patagonia_ from _Terra del Fuego_, and which bears his name.
On the 20th of November he cleared the strait with his squadron, which,
by the desertion of one ship and the loss of another, was now reduced to
three vessels. Emerging triumphantly on the vast expanse beyond,--having
been the first navigator to sail to it from the Atlantic, he had the
right to bestow upon it the name of the _Pacific_ Ocean.[J]

[Sidenote: 1526.]

The name which, next to that of De Solis, deserves to be remembered in
connection with the discovery of _La Plata_, is that of Sebastian Cabot,
the son of John Cabot, a Genoese navigator, who, being then in the
service of Henry VII., was the first European that set foot on
North-American soil. Sebastian Cabot is said to have been born in
England, Bristol being assigned as his birthplace. In 1497 he coasted
the shore from _Labrador_ to _Florida_. In 1526, Cabot, then chief pilot
to the king of Spain, accepted the command of a squadron of four vessels
fitted out by the merchants of Seville. In April of that year he set
sail with the view of reaching China and Japan--then called Cathay and
Cipango--by way of the straits discovered by Magellan in 1520; but, a
mutiny breaking out in his command, he renounced his more ambitious
enterprise and resolved to content himself with following up the
discovery that had been made by the ill-fated De Solis.

Having entered the “Sweet Sea,” Cabot proceeded until he reached an
island which he named after _Gabriel_. There leaving his vessels, he
explored from a boat the coast of the mainland. A safe anchorage was
afforded on the northern shore, where he found one of the Spaniards who
had landed with De Solis, and who had escaped the cannibals. Throwing up
a small earthwork to protect a portion of his men, he proceeded to
explore the upper portion of the river. When he had reached the junction
of the _Paraná_ and the _Uruguay_ he sent one of his officers with a
vessel up the latter stream, whilst he himself ascended the former until
he reached the _Carcaraña_ or _Tercero_, where he erected a small fort
called _San Espiritu_, leaving in it a garrison of seventy men. Still
pursuing his course, he duly reached, after having surmounted countless
difficulties, the junction of the _Paraná_ with the _Paraguay_, nearly
nine hundred miles from the sea. Having explored the _Paraná_ a hundred
and fifty miles further, he then returned to the junction and ascended
the latter stream, and whilst there he received unexpectedly a welcome
reinforcement from Spain. Cabot passed the following two years in
friendly relations with the _Guaranís_, in whose silver ornaments
originated the name of _La Plata_ and thence of the _Argentine_
Republic, the name having been applied by Cabot to the stream now called
the _Paraguay_. That able and sagacious man now sent to Spain two of his
most trusted followers with an account of _Paraguay_ and its resources,
and to seek the authority and reinforcements requisite for their
acquisition. Their request was favourably received, but so tardily acted
on that in despair the distinguished navigator quitted the region of
his discoveries after a delay of five years.

[Sidenote: 1534.]

The two earliest explorers of the _Plata_ had been professional
navigators; the commander of the third great expedition to that region
was a courtier and a wealthy knight. _Don_ Pedro de Mendoza, no doubt
attracted by the name of the Silver Stream, undertook to plant the
Spanish race on its shores on the following conditions, namely: That the
region extending from the _Plate_ to the Straits of _Magelhães_, a
barren territory, was to be under his government; that he should pursue
his way by peaceful or by warlike means across the continent until he
should reach the ocean; that he was to be entitled _Adelantado_, and to
receive a salary of four thousand ducats; that he was to be perpetual
_Alcalde_ of one of three forts which he was to establish; that to his
heirs should be reserved the post of first _Alguazil_ of the town where
he should fix his residence; and that, should he capture another
Montezuma or Atahualpa, he and his soldiers should receive two-thirds of
the royal ransom. As a commentary on these ambitious views, Mendoza
likewise took with him eight priests to teach and spread the unselfish
doctrines of Christianity. His force consisted of some two thousand men
with one hundred horses. Touching on his way at _Rio de Janeiro_, he
thence proceeded along the coast and up the river _Plata_ to the
distance of one hundred miles. The flat southern shore was then in the
possession of the _Quirandis_, a tribe which has long since disappeared
before civilization. The green plains, unclothed by woods and unbroken
by hills, displayed no natural feature from which the knight might
derive a name for his town; but as the climate seemed of the best, he
resolved to call it _Buenos Ayres_.

[Sidenote: 1534.]

For some time the tribesmen supplied the invaders with food; but, with
the fickleness of barbarians, they one day sent back their messengers
mauled and empty-handed. This was a _casus belli_. The brother of
Mendoza marched against the natives with three hundred foot-soldiers
and thirty horsemen. Heretofore Spanish cavalry had, in their encounters
with American aborigines, invariably been successful. The mailed
warriors of Cortez or Pizarro had turned the scale of victory on many a
day; but the cavaliers who charged with Diego Mendoza were met with a
weapon now used for the first time against the horse and his rider.
_Bolas_, or balls of stone, attached to each other, three together, by
strips of hide, were hurled at the advancing centaur, which, entangled
and stopped, came headlong to the earth. _Don_ Diego and some horsemen
were killed, and twenty footmen met their death in covering the retreat
of their mounted comrades. The discipline of the infantry, however,
enabled them to remain masters of the field.

After this encounter famine seemed to stare the followers of Mendoza in
the face, and an expedition sent up the river in search of food was
everywhere met with hostility. Mendoza now determined to proceed up the
stream, and on an island he found an interpreter in one of the followers
of Cabot. _Buenos Ayres_ was meanwhile partly relieved by the return of
an expedition that had been sent to procure provisions from the coast of
_Brazil_. This was the extent to which the bright visions of Mendoza
were destined to be realized. Tortured in body and broken in spirit, the
knight left the scene of his misfortunes. On his homeward voyage he was
still pursued by hunger, and his reason gave way before death came to
his relief.

Mendoza had resigned his powers to his lieutenant, Ayolas, who ascended
the _Paraná_ and reached the _Paraguay_, there losing one of his ships.
Those whom it had conveyed proceeded by land, and encountered a tribe in
some respects civilized. The _Carios_ possessed maize and the sweet
potato, and in their farms were found ostriches, sheep, and pigs. Their
capital was surrounded by stakes. The tribesmen offered the invaders
provisions on condition of their departing. This not being accepted, a
fight ensued, and the natives fled. Ayolas then founded a city, in
which he took to himself, as we are told, seven wives, permitting two to
each of his followers. The city was called _Asuncion_.

[Sidenote: 1537.]

After the delay of some months in his new settlement, Ayolas determined
to find his way in the direction of _Peru_; and taking with him a
sufficient party, he left one of his officers, Irala, with fifty
Spaniards, at _Candelaria_ on the _Paraguay_, as a supporting party in
case of his retreat. The succeeding months were occupied by him in
wanderings in the primeval forest, where he received from a tribe the
glad tidings of the presence of gold and silver in the adjacent regions.
Ayolas and his party were, however, compelled to find their way back,
when they were doomed to disappointment in not meeting Irala, who,
despairing of their return, after waiting six months, had returned to
_Asuncion_. Ayolas and his people were soon after murdered by the tribe
of _Payaguas_. Irala meanwhile, having repaired his vessels, returned to
_Candelaria_ and made fresh, but of course fruitless efforts to discover
Ayolas, whose death, when he had ascertained it, he cruelly avenged on
some _Payaguas_.

[Sidenote: 1537.]

Learning the tale of treasure to be found in the interior, Irala now
bent his attention to discover it. At _Buenos Ayres_ wealth could only
be the reward of industry, and therefore the settlement founded by
Mendoza was abandoned, and the whole Spanish colony flocked up the river
to _Asuncion_. They mustered six hundred souls, and _Asuncion_ thus
became the earliest founded permanent city in the region of _La Plata_.

[Sidenote: 1540.]

It being believed in Spain, before the fact was ascertained, that Ayolas
was dead, the post of _Adelantado_ of _La Plata_ was conferred upon
_Don_ Alvar Cabeza de Vaca, who had passed ten years as a prisoner
amongst the natives of _Florida_. Cabeza de Vaca sailed from Spain with
four hundred followers in the year 1540, and by the following March had
disembarked at _Santa Catalina_, an island on the coast of _Brazil_,
opposite _Paraguay_, where confirmation reached him of the death of
Ayolas. He thereupon boldly proceeded from a point of the shore near to
_Santa Catalina_, making direct by land for _Asuncion_. He took with him
two hundred and fifty men with twenty-six horses, sending the remainder
by water to _Buenos Ayres_. During nineteen days Cabeza marched through
woods ere reaching a settlement of _Guaranís_, from whom he was enabled
to obtain abundance of food for his men.

Whilst resting with these friendly people, the explorer had the good
fortune to fall in with a native on his way from _Asuncion_ to _Brazil_,
and who undertook to retrace his steps and guide him to his seat of
government. Leaving a region where a certain degree of civilisation
existed--where maize and mandioc were cultivated, and where men lived in
houses and reared fowls and ducks--the Spanish leader had once more to
trust himself and his men to the toils and risks of a march through the
primeval forest, through which, after having surmounted innumerable
difficulties, they at length approached their destination. In the course
of one day they had to construct as many as eighteen bridges for the
passage of their horses. This march had mainly lain along the course of
the river _Yguazû_, a tributary of the _Paraná_, which takes its rise
near the Atlantic Ocean. In order to avoid a tribe which was reported to
be hostile, Cabeza de Vaca embarked with part of his force on canoes,
intending to proceed thus to the _Paraná_, whilst the rest of his men
should march along the river’s bank to the point of junction of the two
streams. But there was an obstacle in his way which prevented the
execution of this scheme. The _Yguazû_, which stream is about one mile
in breadth, while it flows through the Brazilian forest, suddenly
becomes contracted, at a short distance above its junction with the
_Paraná_, to the breadth of rather less than a thousand yards. It then
breaks into several channels and rushes over a series of descents, the
highest of which is one hundred and seventy-two feet. Of this
cataract--which, though little visited, is perhaps the grandest in South
America--the vicinity is made known by the roar of waters and by the
rising of a mist which overspreads the falls to a height of more than
one hundred feet.

The Indians through whose settlements Cabeza had passed, though they had
appeared friendly, had permitted him to embark on the _Yguazû_ above the
falls, without giving him warning of the danger that lay before him. The
canoes that had been lent to the explorer were hurled with fearful
rapidity along the face of the stream, and the rate of their passage
became increased as they approached the scene of danger; but the distant
sound of the falling waters warned Cabeza to steer for the bank, along
which, for the distance of half a league, his followers carried their
canoes, re-embarking below the falls, and then proceeding, without
interruption, to the point of junction of the _Yguazû_ with the

Cabeza de Vaca was fortunate enough to disarm any hostile intentions
which may have been harboured against him by a body of _Guaranís_ that
lined the further bank of the great river. They even helped him to
effect his passage across the stream into what is now the territory of
_Paraguay_. Sending down to the care of a friendly Indian chief, and
with a guard of fifty soldiers, such of his men as would be unable to
bear the fatigue of the march to _Asuncion_, the Spanish leader
proceeded on his way by land; and, after further experience of the
difficulties of travelling over so densely wooded a district, he at
length, on the 11th of March, had the satisfaction of reaching the
settlement of his fellow-countrymen.

[Sidenote: 1542.]

After the departure from the _Paraná_ of Cabeza de Vaca, those of his
men from whom he had separated were doomed to experience the invariable
inconstancy of savages. The fear of chastisement and the hope of
receiving presents being alike removed, the _Guaranís_ attempted by
every means in their power to cut off the sick men and their guard; but
by the aid of the friendly Indian chief to whose care they had been
entrusted, they were enabled to continue their course in safety, and,
having descended the _Paraná_ to the _Tres Bocas_, or three mouths of
the _Paraguay_, they ascended the latter river, and reached _Asuncion_
one month after their leader.

At the time when this exploration by land of the region between the
Atlantic Ocean and the river _Paraguay_ was being so successfully
carried out under the leadership of Cabeza de Vaca, another expedition,
of still greater geographical importance, was being effected elsewhere
on the same Continent; but before describing the discovery of the
_Amazons_, it is necessary to go back to the circumstances of which it
was one of the results. In reconnoitering the course of exploration over
a vast continent, it is impossible to relate the events of each year in
the exact order in which they occurred. One must take the discovery of
one region after another, going back when necessary to recount other
explorations elsewhere which may have meanwhile occurred simultaneously
with those already described. It may therefore be desirable here to
follow the proceedings of Cabeza de Vaca in _Paraguay_. His first care
was to send down vessels to _Buenos Ayres_ to the relief of that portion
of his force which had been despatched by sea from _Santa Catalina_ to
the latter place. It was obviously of the first advantage to the public
interest that the settlement of _Buenos Ayres_ should be re-established.
Without some port near the sea the settlers in the interior would ever
be at a loss for the means of communication with Spain. The vessels from
_Santa Catalina_ had reached _Buenos Ayres_ long before the arrival of
those sent from _Asuncion_, and during the interval the Spaniards
brought by the former had nearly perished from hunger. The force from
_Paraguay_ arrived in time to enable them to resist a formidable attack
from the natives. They attempted to fulfil the governor’s orders to
rebuild the town; but they were at length discouraged by the incessant
rain, and abandoning the attempt, embarked for _Asuncion_.

Cabeza de Vaca had taken into his alliance the _Guaranís_, and with them
he proceeded to attack another tribe, the _Guaycurùs_, on the opposite
side of the river. These were, as might be expected, disconcerted at the
sight of his armed horses and riders, and readily consented to be his
allies. With their aid he prepared to follow the course of exploration
towards _Peru_; and whilst vessels were being constructed for river
navigation, he sent Irala forward with an expedition by land. Soon
following in person and passing a settlement on the _Paraguay_, called
_Puerto de los Reyes_, which had been founded by Irala, he penetrated
into the interior; but from the want of provisions he had to return to
_Paraguay_. There he and his people suffered to the full the hardships
incident to the life of explorers. Whilst they were reduced by hunger,
prostrated by fever, and tormented by mosquitoes, they were attacked by
formidable bands of natives, having defeated whom, the _Adelantado_ was
glad to turn his face again towards _Asuncion_. On his arrival, however,
fresh troubles awaited him. During his absence a conspiracy had been
hatched. His person was seized and his authority usurped, Irala being
proclaimed governor in his stead. After a captivity of eleven months
Cabeza de Vaca was sent a prisoner to Spain, in company with two
official persons who were to prefer groundless charges against him; yet,
notwithstanding his innocence and his services, he had, like Warren
Hastings at a later period, to await during eight years a sentence of

The downfall of Cabeza de Vaca did not inaugurate a reign of peace at
_Asuncion_. Irala had been called to power by popular election, but his
authority was curtailed by the pretensions of certain official persons
who were nominated to their positions from Castile. Disputes and
dissensions arose; but after a time these became silenced in the face of
a combination against the Spaniards by two native tribes, the task of
chastising whom was confided to Irala. The chosen leader of the
colonists showed himself equal to the occasion. He successfully defended
the colony, which he employed the following two years in consolidating.
But a long period devoted to peaceful pursuits was not to the taste of a
man cast in the mould of Vasco Nuñez or of Cortez. Setting out with
three hundred and fifty Spaniards and two thousand auxiliaries, he
ascended the _Paraguay_ as far as to _San Fernando_. There the main body
of the expedition left the course of the stream, their boats being
entrusted to the care of some Spaniards. Irala was well fitted to be the
leader of such an expedition of discovery. Active and experienced, he
was likewise cautious, and was never found unprepared on an emergency.
Having journeyed onwards for a month or more, his ears were at length
greeted by the sound of the Spanish language from Peruvian lips. Such
was the first communication which took place between the Spaniards
proceeding from _La Plata_ and those who proceeded from the Pacific

[Sidenote: 1547.]

Irala, in conformity with the orders of the President Gasca of _Peru_,
retraced his steps to _Asuncion_. There he distributed to his followers
_repartimientos_, or consignments of land and slaves--a measure which
greatly added to his popularity. He likewise founded a new settlement
named _Ciudad Real_, near the border line of the Spanish and Portuguese
territories. In the year 1547 _Asuncion_ became the seat of a bishop,
and about the same time an important intermediate station between
_Paraguay_ and _Peru_ was established at _Santa Cruz de la Sierra_,
whilst Spanish civilization also began to extend downwards from
_Paraguay_ in the direction of the sea.

The favourable reports which had reached Spain of the climate and
capabilities of _Paraguay_ were such as to divert thither many
emigrants who would otherwise have turned their faces towards _Mexico_
or _Peru_. It was the constant endeavour of Irala to level the
distinctions which separated the Spaniards from the natives and to
encourage inter-marriages between them. This policy, in the course of
time, led to a marked result,--namely, to that singular combination of
outward civilisation and of primitive simplicity which was to be found
in the modern Paraguayan race until it was annihilated under the younger
Lopez. “It was,” to quote Mr. Washburn, who lived eight years amongst
them, “an anomalous people, and the like had never been seen in any
other country of America. The reason of this may be found in the fact
that in no other colony did the early colonists in large numbers adopt
the native language and take the Indian women as wives.”

[Sidenote: 1557.]

Irala, in fact, created a nation. The colony under his administration
became numerous and wealthy. From his first arrival in the New World
until his death, his career was one of activity, toil, and adventure,
always in the conscientious discharge of his duty to his sovereign and
to those around him. He was the life and soul of the colony, and his
death, which occurred in 1557 at the village of _Ita_ near _Asuncion_,
when he had attained the age of seventy years, was lamented alike by
Spaniards and _Guaranís_. In the estimation of Mr. Washburn, he was the
first and last great man ever known to _La Plata_.

From this date Paraguayan history is for a long period destitute of all
marked events save one. It consists, indeed, mainly of the establishment
and progress of the Order of Jesus in that country. An account of the
origin and advance of this remarkable movement must be deferred to a
future chapter.




[Sidenote: 1521.]

Under the pressure of the immense excitement which resulted from the
discoveries of Columbus, the entire eastern coast of the American
continent, from _Labrador_ in the north to _Terra del Fuego_ in the
south, was explored within about thirty years from A.D. 1492. In the
year 1520, the Portuguese mariner Magelhães, or Magellan, sailing under
the Spanish flag, found, as has been said, a westerly way through the
Straits which bear his name. The first distinct notice of the existence
of _Peru_ was given, it will be remembered, to Vasco Nuñez de Balboa,
the discoverer of the Southern Sea, about the year 1511. The efforts of
that distinguished explorer to penetrate to the Peruvian Coast were
doomed to disappointment; but the idea of reaching the land of gold was
not lost sight of by his successors. _Darien_ being found unsuitable as
a spot from which to prosecute expeditions on the _Pacific_, the capital
of Central America was in the year 1518 transferred to _Panamá_, the
governor being still Pedrarias; but several years elapsed before serious
efforts of discovery were made in a southern direction, though meanwhile
communication had been established through Central America with

[Sidenote: 1522.]

It was not till 1522 that a regular expedition was despatched from
_Panamá_ to the South, and its leader penetrated no further than had

[Sidenote: 1524.]

But in 1524 three men were found in the colony whose respective
characters pointed them out as being conjointly fitted to undertake a
discovery and conquest no less dazzling and wonderful than that which
had been effected by Cortez. These were Francisco Pizarro, Diego
Almagro, and Hernan de Luque, the Vicar of _Panamá_, who was, however,
but the commissioner of the Licentiate Espinosa, who supplied the funds.

The celebrated Pizarro was a native of Truxillo in Estremadura, and at
the time of setting out for the discovery of _Peru_ was rather over
fifty years of age. In his youth he had not been taught either to read
or to write, but his fancy was captivated by the strange tales to which
he listened of the New World beyond the sea. Embarking with other
adventurers from Seville, he found his way to _Hispaniola_ and later to
_Darien_, from which place he accompanied Balboa in the march across the
mountains which resulted in the discovery of the Southern Ocean. He
later removed, with the seat of government, from _Darien_ to _Panamá_,
and was conspicuous in the conquest of the tribes to the north. Of
Pizarro’s confederates, Almagro was, like himself, an illiterate soldier
of fortune and of a similar time of life, whilst Luque supplied the
greater proportion of the brains and of the funds requisite for their
joint enterprise.

To Almagro’s lot it fell to make the preparations for the voyage. Two
small vessels were fitted out at _Panamá_, the first of which set sail
from that port with about a hundred men on board, under the command of
Pizarro, in November 1524: Almagro was to follow in the second. Pizarro,
after touching at the _Isle of Pearls_, steered his way across the Gulf
of _San Miguel_, and, doubling the port of _Pinas_, entered the river
_Biru_, of which word the modern name of that part of the world is
believed to be a corruption. Sailing up this stream for two leagues,
Pizarro caused his small force to disembark, and proceeded to explore
the country. It was the rainy season, and the ground was a vast swamp,
fringed with a tangled undergrowth of wood, behind which lay a hilly
country, rough and rocky. The heat was at times oppressive. Under these
discouraging circumstances, his men being famished and weary, Pizarro
returned to his vessel, which, having dropped down the river to the
ocean, proceeded on its southern course. At a few leagues’ distance he
again landed to take in wood and water, after which he once more
proceeded southwards. He now encountered a terrific tropical storm, and
for ten days it required all the efforts of the crew to prevent the ship
from foundering. They suffered likewise from an extreme dearth of food
and water, and were not sorry to retrace their course and regain the
port where they had last landed.

The same discouraging aspect of the country which had met them on the
_Biru_, they now encountered here. In their hungry and miserable
condition the beauties of the tangled thicket, with its network of
creepers and flowering vines, were thrown away upon their eyes; they
were alive to nothing but the incessant rain, the intolerable mud, and
the unbroken solitude.

The spirit of Pizarro, however, was unsubdued. At the demand of his
followers he consented to send back the vessel to the Isle of Pearls to
lay in a fresh stock of provisions, but with the condition that he
himself should meanwhile explore the adjacent country. No trace of a
human dwelling, however, rewarded his search, whilst the only source of
nourishment to his people was in the shell-fish they might pick up on
the shore, or such berries and herbs as might be found in the woods. He
was indefatigable in attending to the wants of his men, or endeavouring
to alleviate their sufferings; more than twenty of them, however, died
during the weary weeks succeeding the vessel’s departure.

In this miserable situation Pizarro was one day cheered by the
unexpected announcement of a light seen in the neighbouring wood. Taking
with him a party of his men, he forthwith followed its direction, and,
after extricating himself from a maze of bushes, he came upon a native
village, the inhabitants of which, scared at the unexpected apparition,
forthwith fled. They left the provisions in their huts to the Spaniards,
to whom the supply was a reprieve from death. The articles of food were
maize and cocoa-nuts.

[Sidenote: 1525.]

As no violence was offered to the natives, these soon returned and
entered into intercourse with the strangers, whose eyes were now made
glad by the golden ornaments which the Peruvians wore. Pizarro thus
received a confirmation of the old reports of the existence of a land of
gold to the south, and he now learned that over it a monarch ruled who
dwelt at a distance of ten days’ journey beyond the mountains.

After six weeks from its departure the vessel returned, bringing with it
an ample and welcome supply of provisions. It had been detained by
stormy weather and adverse winds.

Hope and nourishment now combined to bring back to the Spaniards their
eagerness for discovery; and Pizarro, re-embarking on board his vessel,
left a scene to which he had given the name of the _Port of Famine_, and
again sailed towards the south. Unguided by charts or pilots, he found
his way slowly along the unknown coast, landing at every convenient
point. In an open bay he disembarked some men, and at a short distance
inland fell in with a native village, whose inhabitants at the approach
of the strangers fled towards their hills. In their huts the Spaniards
found both a provision of food and some ornaments of gold. They were,
however, horrified by the discovery that they were in a country
inhabited by cannibals. Again embarking, Pizarro and his men still held
their way southwards till they reached a headland which he named _Punta
Quemada_, and where he gave orders to anchor, and landed with the
greater portion of his force.

Having proceeded about a league into the interior, he found, as he had
expected, a native town of some size, and which was capable of defence;
but the inhabitants as usual fled, leaving behind them their provisions
and ornaments. Pizarro now judged it necessary to send back his vessel
to be repaired at _Panamá_, and meanwhile he established his quarters in
this Indian settlement, despatching a party to reconnoitre the country.

Now occurred the first collision between the natives and the invaders.
The former saw their opportunity of attacking the reconnoitering party
whilst divided from the main body. The Spaniards, taken by surprise,
were at first thrown into disorder and lost three killed and several
wounded; but having rallied, they returned the discharge of arrows from
their cross-bows and then charged sword in hand, driving the natives
before them.

The Peruvians, being of course acquainted with the country, made their
way to Pizarro’s position, which they reached before his lieutenant
could return, and commenced an assault upon him. But the conditions of
combat were unfairly balanced. The naked and painted Peruvians, however
brave, could make but a slight impression on the wary Spaniards, clad in
armour and commanded by a practised soldier. Pizarro sallied forth with
his men, and the natives for a time fell back before him. Returning to
the charge, and singling out Pizarro, they inflicted on him seven
wounds, and compelled him to retreat. He was, however, rescued from
defeat by the opportune arrival of his lieutenant, who, attacking the
natives from the rear, threw them into confusion, and forced them to
abandon the ground to their opponents, who had lost two killed besides
having many wounded.

Under these circumstances it was necessary to reconsider the intention
of sending back the vessel, and on the whole it was deemed better that
all should return in it to _Panamá_, near which place Pizarro was set on
shore with the greater portion of his men, whilst his treasurer
proceeded to lay before the governor his report, together with the gold
which had been collected.

During this first expedition of Pizarro, his associate, Almagro, having
at length equipped their second vessel, had set out to follow his leader
with a body of some seventy adventurers. Tracing his way by the trees
which had been notched as landmarks, he in time arrived at _Quemada_,
where, like Pizarro, he met with hostility from the natives. Almagro,
landing, carried the place sword in hand, and, setting fire to the
dwellings, drove the natives into the forest. He then pursued his voyage
and touched at several points, where, though he was rewarded by finding
golden ornaments, he no longer discovered any traces of the presence of
Pizarro. In this uncertainty he too retraced his way to the Isthmus, and
soon rejoined his friend, by whom he was deputed to pass over to
_Panamá_ and make arrangements with the governor for the further
prosecution of their enterprise.

[Sidenote: 1526.]

By the influence of Luque a new compact was now entered into for the
conquest of _Peru_, the command of the expedition being vested jointly
in Pizarro and Almagro on equal terms, a condition which deeply
mortified the former and proved the seed of future trouble. The
confederates lost no time in setting about their enterprise. A contract
was entered into between them by which it was declared that, whereas the
parties had full authority to discover and subdue the countries and
provinces lying south of the Gulf, belonging to the Empire of _Peru_,
and as Fernando de Luque had advanced the funds for the enterprise in
bars of gold of the value of twenty thousand _pesos_, they mutually bind
themselves to divide equally among them the whole of the conquered
territory. The two captains solemnly engage to devote themselves
exclusively to the present undertaking until it is accomplished; and in
case of failure in their part of the covenant, they pledge themselves to
reimburse Luque for his advances, for which all the property they
possess shall be held responsible, and this declaration is to be a
sufficient warrant for the execution of judgment against them, in the
same manner as if it had proceeded from the decree of a court of
justice. The commanders, Pizarro and Almagro, made oath, in the name of
God and the Holy Evangelists, sacredly to keep this covenant, swearing
it on the missal, on which they traced with their own hands the sacred
emblem of the Cross.[K] It may be noted that this compact, which was
dated March 10, 1526, was signed by De Luque alone of the three
contracting parties, the other two being represented by witnesses, as
both were incapable of writing. This remarkable arrangement, by which a
Christian priest and two adventurers settled the conditions on which
they were to divide amongst themselves a vast empire with all its
wealth, would not have been in accordance with the tone of the age had
it not been invested with a religious character. It was drawn up in the
name of the Holy Trinity and of the Virgin, and its observance was sworn
to on the Cross, whilst on its conclusion the contracting parties
severally received the Sacrament of the Communion.

These preliminary arrangements having been completed, two vessels were
purchased and equipped; but there was some difficulty in procuring men.
About one hundred and sixty adventurers were, however, mustered, and a
few horses were purchased. Thus provided, Pizarro and Almagro again took
their departure from _Panamá_. No longer hugging the coast, they stood
out for the furthest point previously reached by Almagro, and arrived
without accident at the river of _San Juan_, the banks of which were
lined with native habitations. Pizarro here commenced his brigandage by
surprising a village and carrying off some natives and many gold
ornaments. After this first success, it was decided that Almagro should
return to the Isthmus, where the sight of the gold might tempt fresh
recruits; whilst the pilot, taking the other vessel, should reconnoitre
the coast to the south, Pizarro meanwhile remaining near the river.

The pilot Ruiz sailed southwards as far as to the bay now known by the
name of _St. Matthew_, when he was struck by the singular apparition of
a vessel of considerable size. As he drew near, it was found to be a
raft of a number of huge timbers of light wood tightly lashed together,
and with two masts sustaining a square sail of cotton, whilst it was
steered by means of a rudely-formed rudder. It may be mentioned, in
passing, that this simple form of craft is to be seen on the Peruvian
coast at the present day. The pilot found both men and women on board,
having on their persons articles of wrought silver and gold, their
dresses being made of woollen cloth of fine texture and embroidered with
coloured birds and flowers. From these unsuspecting natives he learned
that in their fields fed flocks of the animals which yielded their wool,
whilst gold and silver abounded in their country. Ruiz, not being less
unscrupulous than his fellows, detained some of the natives to repeat
and exemplify these wonders, and, by learning Spanish, to qualify
themselves as interpreters. The barque having been allowed to proceed on
its voyage, Ruiz advanced southwards, and was the first European who
crossed the line on the _Pacific_ Ocean. Having reached the _Punta de
Pasado_, he retraced his way and rejoined Pizarro.

[Sidenote: 1526.]

To return to that adventurer: On the departure of Ruiz and Almagro he
had proceeded into the interior, where he had encountered nothing but
difficulties. The forest was so dense as to be almost impenetrable, and
hill rose above hill in ridges in succession, being bounded far in the
distance by the barrier of the _Andes_. Under these difficulties many of
the Spaniards perished, whilst some were waylaid and cut off by the
natives. On the top of all this came famine, and they had to sustain
life on such roots or fruits as the forest afforded. It may be mentioned
that in the records of this expedition we find the earliest mention of a
vegetable which plays so important a part in our modern domestic
economy, the potato; which has thus been known to Europeans since the
year 1526, and the original European discoverers of which were Pizarro
and his band. From this wretched condition in the forest or on the
shore, the adventurers were relieved by the return of Ruiz, followed not
long after by that of Almagro with a store of provisions and a
reinforcement of recruits to the number of eighty.

Thus reinspirited, the adventurers again re-embarked; but it was only
after many dangers had been surmounted that they at length found refuge
on the island of _Gallo_, which had been visited by Ruiz. Here they
remained for a fortnight to repair their vessels, when they resumed
their voyage and gained the bay of _St. Matthew_. As they proceeded
along the coast they were struck by the evidences of civilization and by
the inviting appearance of the country. Spaces of cultivated land were
discovered bearing the maize and the potato.

At _Tacamez_ the Spaniards saw a town which might contain two thousand
houses, the men and women displaying on their persons the coveted
ornaments of gold. The natives, however, showed no disposition quietly
to yield up their possessions and treasures to the invaders; on the
contrary, they displayed evident signs of hostility. Pizarro landed with
some of his men, but, though peacefully disposed, could not prevent an
encounter. The Spaniards were hotly pressed, and it is said that they
owed their safe retreat to the consternation produced in the natives by
the fall of one of the horsemen from his steed. The Peruvians, having
never before seen the horse without his rider, were astonished at the
separation of the two portions of the centaur, each of which remained
alive in itself, and they retreated in dismay before the phenomenon.

In the face of the hostility which the Spaniards foresaw they would have
to encounter, it was now necessary to deliberate; and accordingly a
council of war was called, at which conflicting opinions were expressed,
Pizarro and Almagro taking opposite views, and being with some
difficulty prevented from drawing their swords upon each other. The
dispute, however, ended in an arrangement, according to which Almagro as
before was to proceed to _Panamá_ for assistance, whilst Pizarro with a
portion of his men should await his return on the island of _Gallo_,
near the coast. The followers of the latter, however, strongly protested
against this arrangement, and secretly communicated their discontent to
the authorities at _Panamá_.

The return of the adventurers to that place caused great dismay. The
governor not only sternly refused all further aid in the matter, but
forthwith sent two vessels to bring back Pizarro and his followers from
the island on which they were meanwhile experiencing the utmost misery.
But the vessels which relieved his followers from hunger brought Pizarro
letters from his two associates, imploring him not to give up the
enterprise for lost. Strengthened by this expression of hope, Pizarro,
the pilot Ruiz, and twelve others determined to abide where they were,
and to await whatever fate might have in store for them. They needed all
their fortitude. Having constructed a raft and removed to another
neighbouring island, called _Gorgona_, where they could more easily
defend themselves, they had to remain for seven weary months before the
arrival of a vessel to their rescue. Although it brought no fresh
recruits, its coming was nevertheless greeted with joy, and Pizarro and
his men were soon again afloat, under the guidance of the pilot Ruiz. A
tedious voyage of three weeks now awaited them before they arrived at
the Gulf of _Guayaquil_. The coast was here studded with towns and
villages, above which towered _Chimborazo_ and _Cotopaxi_. Guided by the
two natives whom they had taken from the _Bolsa_, they now steered for
the city of _Tumbez_, a place of considerable size. Communication was
opened with the inhabitants by means of the interpreters on board, who
were directed to assure their countrymen of the peaceful intentions of
the strangers. Provisions were thereupon supplied them from _balsas_
laden with bananas, Indian-corn, sweet potatoes, pine-apples, and
cocoa-nuts, to which were added game, fish, and _llamas_ or Peruvian
sheep. One of the _balsas_ likewise bore a Peruvian chief, who was
naturally curious to know what had brought Pizarro and his followers to
these shores. Pizarro, according to the Spanish historian, replied that
he was the servant of the greatest of princes, and that he had come to
this country to assert his master’s lawful supremacy over it, and to
impart to its inhabitants the light of the only true religion.

Here it may be well to remark, in passing, on the moral aspect of the
expedition of which Pizarro was the chief, which cannot be justified if
measured even in the scale of morality of the Greeks or of the Romans;
for they, though not unduly tender towards the natural rights of those
whom they styled barbarians, were at least careful to provide a _casus
belli_. No such excuse can be urged for the conquest of _Peru_. That
devoted country happened to lie within the boundaries assigned by Pope
Alexander VI. to Spain; but it would be somewhat hard to charge upon the
Church the guilt and infamy of the wholesale rapine and slaughter with
which the Spanish conquest was attended. The Church was laudably
desirous to extend the sphere of her influence; and if the end might be
held to justify the means, she might no doubt congratulate herself in
that vast regions where the name of Jesus had never been uttered were
now about to be brought within her pale. As a Catholic, Pizarro may be
excused for endeavouring to further schemes consecrated by the head of
the Church; whilst as a loyal subject, he at the same time sought to
extend the dominions of his sovereign. The responsibility for permitting
and countenancing expeditions such as that of which he was the chief
must rest with the Pope or Emperor, or with those who acted with their
authority. Yet Pizarro was there neither to proselytize nor simply to
conquer, far less was he fired, like Columbus, by zeal for the
furtherance of science. His object in the main was to acquire gold; and,
however we may admire his perseverance and energy, the magnificent scale
on which his spoliations were carried on should not make us regard him
in any other light than in that of a freebooter.

It was inevitable that in the course of time South America should be
explored as Africa is now being explored; but the world is to be
congratulated in that with the lapse of centuries the consideration of
civilized peoples towards weaker races becomes somewhat greater, though
there is still much room for improvement in this respect.

The Peruvian chief having been detained on board to dinner and having
been courteously dismissed, Pizarro on the following day sent two of his
men on shore with a present for the governor. They returned with so
marvellous a tale, that Pizarro, somewhat distrusting it, next day sent
on shore a person in whose statements he could have greater confidence,
but who on his return only confirmed what had been told by the others
respecting the marvels of _Tumbez_,--a city which, being the most
important place on the borders of _Peru_ proper, boasted a magnificent
temple, with an establishment of the Virgins of the Sun.

On the receipt of this intelligence, Pizarro’s feelings were of a
twofold nature--rapture on being at length actually within sight of the
golden spoils which he had gone through so much to obtain, and bitter
regret that at such a moment his followers were not at hand to enable
him to seize them. Having no other course before him, he reluctantly
quitted _Tumbez_,--a prey that must await a more convenient season.
Sailing still further southwards he touched at various points, and was
everywhere received with hospitality, until, having reached almost the
ninth degree of southern latitude, and having ascertained indubitable
proofs of the existence of a great empire, he yielded to the wishes of
his followers and retraced his way to _Panamá_. It may be mentioned
that, visiting _Tumbez_ on his return voyage, he there left some of his
companions as the guests of the natives, whilst he was permitted to
carry away with him two or three Peruvians, who were destined to be

[Sidenote: 1528.]

On his arrival at _Panamá_, where he had long since been given up for
lost, he was received with much joy, but even after the tale of his
discovery had been repeated, the governor obstinately declined to lend
any assistance towards the further prosecution of his enterprise. This
was a trying blow to Pizarro and his two associates. There was now no
help for it but to appeal directly to the crown. After some difficulty
the necessary funds were raised, and, in the spring of 1528, Pizarro and
one of his comrades, taking with them some natives of _Peru_ and some
products of that country, set out to tell their tale at the court of

     NOTE.--It may be noticed as an instance of history repeating itself
     that at one of the places at which Pizarro touched on his return to
     _Panamá_ he was entertained by a Peruvian lady of rank, to whom he
     stated his motives for visiting the country. He concluded by
     unfurling the flag of Castile, which he required his hostess and
     her attendants to raise in token of their allegiance to his
     sovereign, they being of course unaware of the nature of the act
     they were performing. Are we not reminded of the recent proceedings
     of M. de Brazza on the _Congo_?




Pizarro, on his return to Spain, found the Emperor Charles V. at Toledo,
and met with a gracious reception. The court listened with eagerness to
his adventures by sea and land, and examined with interest the products
of _Peru_ which he had brought with him. His tales of the wealth which
he had witnessed were the more readily believed in consequence of the
experiences of another Spaniard whom he now met at court, the famous
conqueror of _Mexico_. Yet affairs in Spain progressed with proverbial
slowness, and it was not until the expiry of a year from the date of his
arrival in the country, that the capitulation was signed defining the
powers of Pizarro.

[Sidenote: 1529.]

By this agreement he was granted the right of discovery and conquest in
_Peru_, or New Castile, with the titles of Captain-general of the
province and _Adelantado_, or lieutenant-governor. He was likewise to
enjoy a considerable salary, and to have the right to erect certain
fortresses under his government, and, in short, to exercise the
prerogatives of a viceroy. Almagro was merely appointed commander of the
fortress of _Tumbez_, with the rank of _Hidalgo_; whilst Father Luque
became bishop of the same place. Luque was likewise to be “protector of
the Indians,” with a yearly salary, which, like those of his associates,
was to be derived from the revenues of the country to be conquered.

Pizarro, on his part, was bound to raise within six months a force of
two hundred and fifty men; whilst the government on theirs engaged to
furnish some assistance in the purchase of artillery and stores. Ruiz
received the title of Grand Pilot of the Southern Ocean; Pedro de
Candia, who had accompanied Pizarro, was named chief of artillery; and
the other eleven companions who had remained with him on the desolate
island were created _Hidalgos_ or gentlemen. Liberal provisions were
inserted in the agreement, to encourage emigration to _Peru_, and
Pizarro was enjoined to observe the standing regulations for the good
government and protection of the natives of America. “It is but justice
to the Spanish Government,” says Prescott, “to admit that its provisions
were generally guided by a humane and considerate policy, which was as
regularly frustrated by the cupidity of the colonist and the capricious
cruelty of the conqueror.” But what, it may be asked, is the
justification of the Spanish government in undertaking or sanctioning
the conquest of _Peru_ at all; in attacking an inoffensive people, and
disposing of their country by anticipation? Had the Peruvians been let
alone, there would have been no occasion to provide for their
protection; and however desirable might be their conversion, to effect
this by the sword might be sanctioned by the Koran, but certainly not by
the New Testament.

It may be remarked that whilst Pizarro was required to carry out with
him a specified number of ecclesiastics, he was at the same time
strictly prohibited from permitting the presence of lawyers in the new
settlements. On the whole, the terms of this arrangement did not tend to
increased belief in the probity of Pizarro, who had strictly bound
himself, whilst acting as their envoy, to proceed with perfect fairness
in securing the interests of his associates; but it is absurd to look in
the records of a transaction, which was one of spoliation and knavery
from beginning to end, for anything in the shape of probity.

[Sidenote: 1530.]

This solemn engagement having been completed to the satisfaction of the
new knight of Santiago, he found time to pay a flying visit to his
native town, Truxillo, where he was awaited by four half-brothers, who
were to play a prominent part in _Peru_; of these four, three were
Pizarros, of whom one only, Hernando, who was his senior, was
legitimate. The fourth was the illegitimate son of Francisco Pizarro’s
mother. Three of them were, like himself, to meet a violent death in
_Peru_. He found no small difficulty in complying with the terms of the
agreement within the specified time. He, however, contrived to start
from Seville in January 1530, his brother Hernando following him to the
_rendezvous_ at _Gomera_ in the Canaries; and in due time he reached the
port of _Nombre de Dios_, where he was joined by Luque and Almagro. The
latter of these was to no slight extent disappointed at the position
which had been assigned to him. Pizarro excused himself as best he
might, declaring that he had done what he could; that the government
objected to divided authority; and that the country before them was
large enough for both.

[Sidenote: 1531.]

A new element had now entered into the confederation which had
undertaken the conquest of _Peru_. Hernando Pizarro had everything to
gain from the exclusive supremacy of his brother, and at the outset
almost caused a rupture between him and Almagro. The latter indeed had
gone so far as to enter into negotiations for the purchase of vessels,
in order to prosecute the expedition without the aid of the Pizarros;
but from this course he was dissuaded by the representations of Luque.
This temporary reconciliation having been effected, no time was lost in
preparing for the voyage. Three vessels were provided to replace those
left on the opposite side of the Isthmus; a force was mustered of about
one hundred and eighty men, with twenty-seven horses; and Pizarro, early
in January 1531, sailed the third and last time for the coast of _Peru_.
Previously to his departure, a sermon had been preached to the little
force by one of the Dominicans selected for the mission; mass was
performed, and the Holy Communion was administered to each of the
soldiers setting out on this crusade--a crusade inspired by zeal for
riches rather than religion, and directed not against aggressive
Saracens, but inoffensive Americans, whose only crime was to possess

Leaving his colleague Almagro to gather recruits, Pizarro steered for
_Tumbez_. Contrary winds, however, compelled him to anchor in the Bay of
_St. Matthew_, where he resolved to disembark his forces and advance
along the coast. The march was not easy, for the streams were full and
had to be crossed where they were widest. Pizarro’s buoyant spirit,
however, overcame every difficulty. At the first considerable hamlet the
natives were taken by surprise, and much plunder, including many
emeralds, fell into the hands of the Spaniards. The gold and silver
ornaments were deposited in a common heap; the royal fifth was deducted
for the crown, and the rest was distributed among the officers and
soldiers. This usage prevailed throughout the conquest, and any one
infringing it incurred the penalty of death. Pizarro now sent back to
_Panamá_ the vessels which had accompanied him so far along the coast,
and which took away a considerable quantity of gold, the sight of which
might allure recruits.

During the remainder of the march to the bay of _Guayaquil_ the
Spaniards suffered sorely, as well from a fatal epidemic as from the
intense heat of the sun. They had, however, no resistance to encounter
from the natives, who, alarmed at their proceedings, fled to the forest
on their approach. When he had reached the vicinity of _Tumbez_, Pizarro
determined to halt for a time on the small island of _Puná_, where an
arbitrary act of punishment on his part ere long involved him in a
fierce struggle with the islanders. Here as elsewhere Spanish discipline
prevailed against enormous odds; yet he was not sorry to be relieved
from his harassing situation by the arrival of two vessels bringing some
horses and a hundred recruits, with which, in addition to his former
force, he felt himself in sufficient strength to re-cross to the
continent and resume his aggressive operations.

The inhabitants of _Tumbez_ did not this time receive the Spaniards with
their previous cordiality. On the contrary, one of the _balsas_ bearing
them was seized, and three persons were borne into the adjacent woods
and massacred. Pizarro on entering the town was astonished to find it
not only deserted, but almost entirely demolished. A few substantial
buildings only--and these despoiled of their ornaments--remained to mark
the site of the government of Almagro and of the bishopric of Luque!
Pizarro, having despatched a small party in pursuit of the fugitives,
was so fortunate as to get possession of the governor of the place, from
whom he received the explanation that the dilapidated condition of the
town was the result of a fierce contest with the inhabitants of _Puná_.
He likewise learned that the two followers whom he had left on his
former visit had perished. One of these, however, had bequeathed him a
scroll, which Pizarro obtained from an unsuspecting native, and on which
were written the words: “Know, whoever you may be that may chance to set
foot in this country, that it contains more gold and silver than there
is iron in Biscay.” This intelligence, however, encouraging as it was,
was not sufficient to restore the spirits of the soldiers, who had fully
counted on the spoils of _Tumbez_.

[Sidenote: 1532.]

Pizarro felt the pressing necessity of giving active employment to his
soldiers, but at the same time he dreaded to advance further into the
interior without complete information. He took a middle course. Leaving
behind part of his men, he himself with the remainder reconnoitered the
interior. In May a detachment under his own command kept advancing on
the more level region, whilst a smaller body skirted the slopes of the
_Andes_ under Hernando de Soto, a cavalier afterwards renowned as the
discoverer of the Mississippi, and whose portrait is to be seen in the
Rotunda of the Capitol at Washington. The Spanish leader, being awakened
to the necessity of not unnecessarily provoking the hostility of the
natives, maintained strict discipline, and enjoined his men to abstain
from all acts of violence. By lenient conduct he soon effaced the
previous unfavourable impressions respecting him, and he was welcomed in
the villages beneath the _Cordilleras_. Proclaiming everywhere that he
came in the name of the Pope and of the king of Spain, the simple
natives involuntarily saw themselves become subjects of the latter, as a
preliminary to being members of the faith of which the former was the

After a month spent in exploration, Pizarro fixed on the valley of
_Tangarala_ as the site of his new settlement. This rich locality,
traversed by streams navigable from the sea, was distant thirty leagues
from _Tumbez_, and thither he ordered the men he had left there to
repair. No sooner had they arrived than preparations were made for
building the settlement. Timber and stone abounded, and ere long _San
Miguel_ could boast a church, a magazine, a hall of justice, and a fort.
A municipal government was organized; the neighbouring lands were
divided amongst the residents; and each colonist had a number of natives
assigned to him as labourers,--this last measure being held to tend to
their initiation in the true faith. Luque, “the protector of the
Indians,” had been left behind at _Panamá_.

This important operation having been effected, Pizarro caused the gold
and silver which he had robbed to be melted down. After a fifth had been
deducted for the crown, the soldiers were persuaded to relinquish their
share for the present, and it was sent back to _Panamá_ to pay the
shipowners and the outfitters of the expedition. The chief had meanwhile
gained important information respecting the empire of _Peru_. That
unhappy land had recently been the subject of contest between two
brothers, and the victor and his forces were now encamped at a distance
of ten days’ march from _San Miguel_. Pizarro judged that on the whole
it was better to lead his men on active service rather than to allow
their ardour to be damped whilst waiting for further reinforcements.
This force was indeed a small one with which to attempt the conquest of
a powerful empire. It consisted of about a hundred and seventy men,
after deducting fifty for the defence of his settlement. But no one can
accuse Pizarro of irresolution. He determined to strike directly at the
_Inca_, and in September quitted _San Miguel_ at the head of his
available men.

The Peruvian empire was now resting after an internal struggle between
the sons of Huayna Capac, the conqueror of _Quito_, and who had left the
two kingdoms of his empire to his sons Huascar and Atahualpa. Five years
later the brothers went to war with each other, and their two years’
contest had but recently been decided in favour of the latter, who had
now assumed the scarlet _borla_ or diadem of the _Incas_. On leaving
_San Miguel_, Pizarro and his band marched through primeval forests,
broken here and there by barren shoots of the _Andes_. The country was
as fertile as it was lovely, and was cultivated with no mean skill.
Wherever the Spaniards came to, they were received by the natives with
unsuspecting hospitality, which for their own sake they were careful not
to abuse. In every considerable place a royal _caravanserai_, or
resting-place for provisions, was found, in which the _Inca_ was wont to
lodge on his royal progresses. Halting on the fifth day, Pizarro found
that his band numbered one hundred and seventy-seven, of which
sixty-seven were horsemen. Of these, however, nine, being faint-hearted
or lukewarm, were permitted to return to _San Miguel_. The rest
volunteered to follow their captain whithersoever he might lead them.

Again resuming his march, Pizarro neared the _Andes_. De Soto was
despatched in advance to reconnoitre, but on the eighth day he returned,
accompanied by an envoy from the _Inca_. The Peruvian had brought with
him some valuable gifts for Pizarro, whom Atahualpa welcomed to his
country and invited to visit him at his camp. The march was now resumed,
and the Spanish leader sent forward one of his Indians to the royal camp
across the mountains with instructions to observe and report upon the
route, and more particularly if the passes were guarded. After three
days’ further march the base of the _Andes_ was reached, and Pizarro had
now the final choice before him of proceeding to the south along a broad
and level road to _Cuzco_, the southern capital, or of climbing the
steep and narrow way across the _Cordilleras_, to the camp of Atahualpa.
As was to be expected from his daring character, he chose the latter.

The difficulties of the Spaniards’ march over mountain paths which had
been constructed for the passage of no animal of greater burden than the
_llama_, may be easily imagined by those who may have travelled in
Northern Turkey, Asia Minor, or Persia. To miss one’s footing was in
many places to ensure being dashed to pieces over the precipices
beneath; and had their progress been opposed, Pizarro’s little band must
have been repulsed or annihilated, more especially as there were some
strong works of stone commanding angles of the road. As it was, however,
the Spaniards and their horses contrived to toil up the steep ascent and
at length reached the crest of the _Cordillera_, where the cold was so
great that the men were glad of the protection of tents and the warmth
of fires. Here Pizarro was rejoined by one of the messengers whom he had
sent forward, and who informed him that the road was unguarded, and that
an embassy from the _Inca_ was on its way to his camp. The Peruvian
envoy renewed the greetings of his master, who again invited Pizarro and
his companions to _Caxamalca_, which place he reached on the evening of
the 15th of November 1532.

[Sidenote: 1532.]

Notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, Pizarro forthwith despatched
his brother Hernando, together with De Soto and a party of horsemen, to
the _Inca’s_ camp. They were received with politeness, and Atahualpa
deigned to promise a visit to the Spaniards on the morrow, upon which De
Soto and his companions returned to give to their comrades such an
account of the state and military strength of the Peruvian monarch as
filled them with dismay. At this critical moment the master spirit of
Pizarro asserted its supremacy. Matters had now arrived at such a pass
that all must be staked on the hazard of the die. Going amongst his men,
he exhorted them not to be downcast, since from their marvellous
successes hitherto they were manifestly under the special protection of
the heavenly powers, and hence the numbers against them mattered
nothing. He then summoned a council of officers and unfolded to them for
the first time his project, which was nothing more or less than to seize
the _Inca_. What follows is so far beyond ordinary credulity that it
would not be ventured on by a writer of fiction unless he were to
suppose supernatural agency.

When the morning broke of Saturday the 16th of November, the Spaniards
were called to arms by the trumpet’s sound, and were acquainted by their
leader with his daring plan, which was to be executed on that very day.
They were then carefully stationed within the spacious buildings of
_Caxamalca_, so as to be hidden from view until the signal should sound
for their appearance. Everything, said Pizarro, depended on concert,
coolness, and celerity. Nothing was overlooked by the indefatigable
chief, even to the horses being furnished with bells, to add to the
confusion of the Peruvians. Mass was of course performed, and the God of
battles was impiously invoked in favour of the treacherous brigands. It
was not, however, till late in the day that any movement was visible in
the Peruvian camp; and when Atahualpa and his troops at length neared
_Caxamalca_, the _Inca_ sent a message to Pizarro that in consequence of
the lateness of the hour he would encamp on the open for the night and
pay his visit on the following morning.

His message, as we may well believe, disturbed the Spanish leader to no
slight extent; but he was a man of many resources, amongst which
treachery was by no means the least conspicuous. His men had been under
arms all day, and their powers might be tried too far. He therefore
returned a message to the effect that he had prepared an entertainment
for the _Inca_ for that evening, and he trusted he might not be
disappointed in his coming. Deceived by these smooth words, the
unsuspecting monarch at once gave orders for a change of plan, and
leaving his warriors on the plain, came on to _Caxamalca_ with an
unarmed guard, sending on in advance a messenger to Pizarro to excuse
the simplicity of his visit.

Shortly before sunset the van of the royal procession reached
_Caxamalca_, and as the leading files entered the great square, where
not a Spaniard was to be seen, the Dominican, Valverde, afterwards
bishop of _Cuzco_, came forward with a bible and a crucifix, and
attempted to explain to the astonished Peruvian the intricate doctrine
of the Trinity; ranging, as we are told, from the creation of man to the
representative of the Prince of the Apostles. To what must have sounded
to him, hearing it as he did for the first time under these strange
circumstances, as incomprehensible, the _Inca_ replied with disdain that
his god, pointing to the sinking sun, lived in the heavens above them,
upon which he threw the bible to the ground. This indignity to the
sacred volume scandalized Valverde, who, picking it up and hastening to
Pizarro, urged him no longer to delay in giving the appointed signal.
Thereupon the chief waved his scarf; the signal-gun was fired; and the
Spaniards, springing like tigers from their lair, rushed upon their
prey. Some thousands of unarmed Peruvians had entered with the _Inca_,
but they were utterly powerless against the butchers who assailed them.
The gates of the town had been closed on their entry; but by mere force
of numbers they burst through the frail walls, and thus many of them
escaped. A fierce struggle, however, raged round the golden litter of
the _Inca_, whose person it was Pizarro’s object to secure alive, and in
effecting which he himself received the only wound of which the
Spaniards could boast on that shameful day, the glory of which
undoubtedly rests with the Peruvians. Some thousands of them fell--all
or most unarmed--through their devotion to their monarch, whom as a
captive Pizarro was enabled to entertain at the feast to which he had
invited him.

Some thoughtless persons have instituted a parallel, founded on numbers
alone, between the attack on the Peruvians by Pizarro’s band and the
defence of Thermopylæ against the Persians by the immortal three
hundred. A more insulting comparison was never imagined. Leonidas and
his band devoted themselves to the defence of their country, of freedom
and civilization, and were sure to meet death from an overwhelming armed
force. The Spaniards, on the other hand, can claim no more sympathy or
respect than can a band of modern Greek brigands, who are alike entitled
with them to the praise belonging to enterprise, temperance, patient
endurance of severe hardship, and the most constant observance of
religious duties. As to personal danger, the Spaniards engaged in the
slaughter of the unarmed Peruvians attending the capture of the _Inca_
incurred no more risk than does the butcher amongst so many sheep.

It must be confessed, however, that, its moral aspect apart, the seizure
of Atahualpa was a master-stroke of policy. Such was the sacredness in
which his person was regarded, that with his capture the whole activity
of his government collapsed. Holding this hostage, the Spaniards were
omnipotent; for the slightest attempt at a rising or rescue would have
at once cost the _Inca_ his life. Whilst the prisoner of the Spaniards,
he held his court in captivity, and was treated by the highest lords and
officers of his realm with the ceremonious deference which formed part
of the innermost being of all who owned his theocratic sway. But
notwithstanding the respectful treatment which the _Inca_ was permitted
to enjoy, he could not but pine in his captivity, and his mind bent
itself to the means of obtaining his freedom. He was the more anxious in
this respect, as he feared his lately defeated elder brother Huascar
would turn his confinement to account by bribing his jailers to place
him at liberty and set him upon the Peruvian throne.

Under these circumstances, the captive _Inca_ one day offered to Pizarro
to purchase his liberation at the cost of filling the room in which he
stood to his own height--the apartment was seventeen feet by
twenty-two--in gold, and the adjoining smaller room twice full with
silver, which offer was accepted, two months being given for the
execution of the compact. The _Inca_ had not deceived himself in his
forebodings as to the conduct of Huascar, who indeed made overtures to
the Spaniard, offering a still larger bribe than had his brother. He
was, however, in the hands of the latter, who, on learning his
proceedings through his creatures, gave orders that he should be put to
death. Meanwhile the _Inca’s_ ransom was being collected, but ere it had
reached _Caxamalca_ the situation of affairs became materially changed
by the unexpected arrival of Almagro with a reinforcement of about a
hundred and seventy men. With these Pizarro now found himself in force
to proceed to the south and complete the subjugation of the country. But
the question presented itself, What was to be done with the _Inca_? To
set him at liberty would manifestly be to restore cohesion to a
government which had collapsed, and thus to undo what had already been
effected. If, on the other hand, they should detain him in captivity,
the force requisite to guard so precious a hostage would seriously
cripple the operations of the conquerors.

In this trying position the Spaniards were at no loss for an excuse for
a line of conduct which might justify the measure on which their chief
had resolved. In the face of their experience and of all probabilities,
a general Peruvian rising was invented; and notwithstanding that the
_Inca_ had paid a ransom estimated as equivalent to three million and a
half pounds sterling, he was put upon his trial on charges the most
absurd, and respecting which, as the circumstances stated had occurred
before their arrival, the Spaniards had in any case no pretence of
jurisdiction. These, however, had involved themselves so deeply that
they had scarcely a choice but to wade on through crime to crime. The
_Inca_ was condemned to death, and, to keep up the grim farce to the
end, his sentence was finally commuted from being burnt alive to
strangulation, on condition of his professing himself a Christian. The
Dominican Valverde, who had consented to his execution, has the credit
of this conversion.

The death of the _Inca_ proved, as was to be expected, the signal for
disorders throughout _Peru_. The late monarch had, indeed, by his own
proceedings at the time of his victory over his brother, paved the way
for such a result; for he had given orders to exterminate all members of
the Imperial house. The Peruvian empire, with its civilization, which it
had cost so much to build up, and which was perhaps equivalent to that
of Japan, was now at an end. The provinces remote from _Cuzco_ lost no
time in shaking off their allegiance. Early in September, Pizarro and
his followers, by this time amounting to about five hundred men, set out
for the Peruvian capital, taking with them a younger brother of
Atahualpa, whom they set up as the nominal _Inca_. Their march was a
severe one; and at _Xauxa_ they had to encounter the opposition of a
numerous but impotent force. From this moment their progress was
disputed; and it might have fared hardly with De Soto, who was sent on
in advance, had he not, while encompassed by the Peruvians after a
desperate engagement in the _Sierra_, received timely succour from
Almagro. At _Xauxa_ Pizarro left a small garrison of forty men, who were
to guard the treasure, which he did not think it prudent to take with
him on the march.

[Sidenote: 1533.]

An agreeable surprise now awaited Pizarro in the arrival of _Manco_, the
brother of Huascar, and who was the rightful heir to the Peruvian crown.
No event could have happened better suited to the Spanish interests. The
prince’s petition for protection was at once accorded, and he
accompanied the invaders to _Cuzco_, which city was entered on the 15th
of November. It had already been to a considerable extent denuded of its
treasures, which had gone to form part of the ransom of Atahualpa, but
it still formed a prize well worth the grasping, containing as it did,
together with its suburbs, some five-and-twenty thousand houses. _Cuzco_
was a populous, well-built and well-regulated city, with houses of
stone, wholly or in part, and with long, regular streets, crossing one
another at right angles, and meeting in the great square, which through
them communicated with the high-roads of the empire. Through the capital
ran a river of pure water, the banks of which for twenty leagues were
faced with stone, and which was crossed at intervals by bridges.

Here, as usual, almost the first care of the Spaniards, after their
arrival, was to collect the treasure, which was computed to amount to
about six hundred _pesos_ of gold and two hundred and fifteen marks of
silver. Pizarro’s next object was to set up a civil government, and with
this view the young _Inca_ was crowned, with the formalities which would
have been observed had he really been destined to power, whilst at the
same time Spanish _alcaldes_ and _regidores_ were appointed, two of the
latter being Pizarro’s brothers. But all was not tranquil in _Peru_, and
Almagro had soon to take the field to reduce one of the two generals of
the late _Inca_, who, when defeated by him on this occasion, retreated
to _Quito_, where he defied the Spaniards until he was assassinated by
his troops. Soon afterwards Pizarro had the good fortune to purchase
from the governor of _Guatemala_, for the consideration of a hundred
thousand gold pieces, a fleet of twelve vessels, great and small, with
forces, stores and ammunition.

_Peru_ was now, in all seeming, conquered, and the governor’s next
concern was to select a suitable situation for the future capital of
this vast colony. After much consideration, he decided on a spot about
six miles from the mouth of the river _Rimac_, almost in the latitude of
_Cuzco_, and on which, with wonderful rapidity, arose the beautiful city
of _Lima_. Pizarro was now somewhat advanced in years, and the
development of the new city in its delightful situation formed the
immediate interest of the remainder of his life, he throwing into this
object the same vigour by which he had been ever distinguished in
exploration or in war.

It will be remembered that Pizarro’s elder brother, Hernando, had been
despatched to Spain to announce the progress of his countrymen and the
capture of the _Inca_. He was graciously received by the emperor, who
manifested great interest as well in the fabrics and other products
which he had brought with him as in the gold and silver, for which he
had more immediate occasion. The adventurers who had returned with him
had likewise such a tale to tell that he was at no loss for volunteers
to return with him to _Peru_. He likewise brought back for his brother a
patent for the rank of marquis, with the permission to extend his
government seventy leagues to the south; and for Almagro the permission
to discover and occupy the country for two hundred leagues still
further, he himself having been named a knight of _St. Iago_. It so
happened that no one could tell at this time the exact latitude of
_Cuzco_, and consequently it was an open point whether it fell within
the dominions allotted to Pizarro or within the grant of Almagro, a
point which was not long in producing civil war amongst the conquerors.
This was, however, for a time deferred, and Almagro consented to set out
for the conquest of _Chili_.

[Sidenote: 1535.]

Notwithstanding occasional hostile encounters at different points, the
success of the Spaniards had been so uniform that almost the last
occurrence which they looked for was a general rising of the inhabitants
of _Peru_. They were, consequently, correspondingly astonished when, the
_Inca_ Manco having made his escape from _Cuzco_, his subjects rose at
his orders as one man to resist the Spanish yoke and, if possible, to
exterminate the invaders. In all directions the Spaniards were assailed,
and many of them, who, in full belief of their security, had settled
upon isolated properties throughout the country, were without difficulty
cut off by the natives. But their grand effort was directed to the
reduction of _Cuzco_, where the Spaniards under Hernando Pizarro were
besieged for months. Although the numbers of the latter did not exceed
two hundred besides a thousand native auxiliaries, they had, in the
course of the siege, to undergo the trials of famine; besides which they
were to be deemed fortunate in that they were not enveloped in the
flames to which the city was consigned by the stratagem of the
besiegers. They were reduced to terrible straits, and being cut off from
all communication from outside the walls, were alike without the hope of
succour and the knowledge of a place of refuge. Pizarro indeed had sent
no fewer than four expeditions to their assistance, but these had been
either repulsed or annihilated.

[Sidenote: 1535.]

From this desperate position they were at length relieved by the
necessities of the besiegers. It was now the month of August--six months
from the commencement of the siege,--and the _Inca_ Manco, whose
multitudinous host was already straitened for provisions, saw that if
his followers should not return to their fields at the sowing season, a
famine would be the result. He accordingly gave orders that the greater
part of his troops should return to their homes, to re-assemble when
their agricultural labours were over. This measure, which was perhaps
necessary for the Peruvians, was to the Spaniards a reprieve from death.
With energy sharpened by apprehension and hunger, their foraging parties
now scoured the neighbourhood for provisions, and, with the buoyancy
naturally following such depression and long inaction, Hernando Pizarro
was not slow in assuming the offensive. He even made a bold attempt, by
a vigorous attack in the dead of night, to secure the _Inca’s_ person.
This was defeated, and he was pursued by the Peruvians to before the
walls of _Cuzco_; but with the necessity which compelled him to order
his warriors to exchange their swords for the ploughshare, the _Inca_
lost the latest hope which remained to his countrymen of expelling the
Spanish invaders.

Almagro’s march, undertaken with the object of taking possession of his
future government of _Chili_, was of the most arduous that could be
conceived. The cold which he and his men encountered in the passes of
the _Andes_ was intense, whilst the straits to which both Spaniards and
their attendant Indians were reduced by hunger were so great that the
former were glad of the carcases of the horses which fell victims to the
climate, whilst the latter were forced to feed on the bodies of their
comrades who fell. The accounts, too, received from the exploring
expedition which had been sent on in advance, held out no immediate
prospect of plunder; so that under these circumstances it was not
difficult for his advisers to persuade Almagro to retrace his way to
_Cuzco_. With the remembrance of his recent passage through the mountain
defiles, he this time determined to follow the coast; but he had avoided
one set of difficulties to encounter another, perhaps as great, for his
route led across the great desert of _Atacama_. On reaching the town of
_Arequipa_, Almagro learned for the first time the revolt of the
Peruvians, and he was so fortunate, whilst on his way to _Cuzco_, as to
inflict on the _Inca_ a final defeat.

But before he could obtain possession of that city he had to encounter
yet another foe. It was too important a prize to be yielded up without a
struggle. Negotiations, it is true, took place between Almagro and the
brothers of Pizarro who were in command; but in the end recourse was had
to arms, with the result that the former remained master of the city of
the _Incas_, whilst Hernando Pizarro and his brother were his prisoners.

[Sidenote: 1537.]

These successes of Almagro did not fail to rouse the jealousy of
Pizarro, but in the end mediation between them was listened to, and
Hernando was liberated on a solemn agreement that there should be no
more strife between them. Scarcely, however, had Hernando reached his
brother’s camp than they at once set on foot a hostile expedition
against Almagro, of which Hernando Pizarro was to take command. Almagro
was too weak to place himself at the head of his own troops, the command
of whom he deputed to Orgoñez. A fierce engagement took place between
them and those of his rival within sight of _Cuzco_. Pizarro was
victorious, and after the battle, in which Orgoñez, after performing
prodigies of valour, fell, Almagro himself became a prisoner. He had
injured too deeply the pride of Hernando Pizarro to be forgiven; the
same farce of a mock trial which had been played in the case of
Atahualpa now took place upon Pizarro’s confederate. The trial was a
waste of time, as the sentence was a foregone conclusion, and the
veteran Almagro had to submit to the same traitor’s death which had been
inflicted on the _Inca_. But he was not to be unavenged. His position
had been too prominent to make it possible that the circumstances of
his fate should escape inquiry, and Hernando Pizarro, who took an abrupt
departure for Spain, where his riches might avail him, had to undergo an
imprisonment of twenty years.

[Sidenote: 1541.]

The civil war which had occurred in _Peru_ drew the attention of the
Spanish Government to that country, and a member of the Royal Audience
of Valladolid was sent out in the capacity of a royal judge, holding
certain co-ordinate powers with Pizarro, and with a warrant to assume
the government in the case of his death. He reached _Peru_ at the close
of 1541. The affairs of the colony urgently demanded his presence, for
the _Inca_ Manco meanwhile kept up a desultory war from the fastnesses
of the _Cordilleras_, from which the Spaniards found it impossible to
dislodge him, whilst the natives throughout the country, seeing the
Spaniards engaged in war amongst themselves, were more unsettled than
ever. The governor now attempted to remedy this state of things by
establishing provincial settlements. One of these sprang up at
_Guamanga_ and another in the mining district of _Charcas_, called the
_Villa de la Plata_, whilst the city of _Arequipa_ was founded by the
sea. Pizarro continued to display his wonted energy as a governor,
encouraging commerce with the colonies north of _Peru_, and facilitating
measures for internal intercourse. Husbandry was stimulated by the
importation of European grains, which he had the satisfaction to see
thrive in a country whose soil and climate were so productive and
varied. But the chief object of attention was the development of the
mines, the produce of which very soon attracted European immigrants in
numbers. Their arrival enabled Pizarro to send out two important
expeditions in opposite directions--the one to _Chili_ under Valdivia,
the other under his brother Gonzalo, from his government of _Quito_,
which region had been conquered by Benalcazar, towards the unknown
country to the east. The latter expedition was destined to lead to
results which those who sent it out were far from foreseeing.

[Sidenote: 1540.]

Gonzalo Pizarro proceeded on his mission with ardour, and in a short
time mustered three hundred and fifty Spaniards and four thousand
Indians, one hundred and fifty of the former being mounted. At the
commencement few difficulties presented themselves, but they had no
sooner become involved in the ranges of the _Andes_ than dearth, hunger,
intense cold, and hardships and incessant toil awaited them at every
stage. As they descended the eastern slopes the cold of the mountains
was exchanged for tropical heat and a deluge of tropical rains. Some
months of this depressing labour brought them at length to the land of
cinnamon-trees (_Canelas_), of which they were in search. The precious
bark lay before them covering forests of trees; but in the absence of
the means of transport it was useless. They were lured onwards by
fabulous accounts of a land of gold before them; but the rumours proved
illusive, and they found themselves at every step still further
entangled in primeval forests of stupendous growth, the exuberance of
the vegetation being such as to defy the imagination of any but those
who have witnessed it. Their condition was now pitiable in the extreme.
Their provisions and livestock were consumed, and they were reduced to
feed upon the carcases of the thousand dogs which they had brought with
them, many of them destined for hunting the natives. When this source of
food too was gone, they had to content themselves with such herbs and
roots as the forest afforded.

If anything can mitigate the horror with which we look on the cruelties
exercised by the Spanish conquerors of America, it is the fact that if
they never spared others, they were equally unsparing of themselves.
They shrank from no exposure, fatigue, or danger, and were as
enterprising as they were remorseless.

Gonzalo Pizarro, setting out once more from a valley where he had
halted, came to a deep river, the _Napo_, which it was necessary for him
to cross. Its narrowest breadth was twenty feet, and the banks were
precipitous, and some two hundred fathoms in height. His men succeeded
in laying a beam across, and in traversing this bridge of _Al Sirath_,
one soldier fell into the hell beneath. The others proceeded, through
marshes and by swamps and lakes, until their provisions were expended.
On the river’s banks they determined to construct a raft which might
support the sick and convey the whole party from the one bank to the
other as occasion might seem to render prudent. The bits and stirrups of
the horses’ harness supplied nails for the raft; the forest furnished
gum in place of pitch, and the garments of the soldiers were used
instead of oakum. The vessel thus constructed conveyed the sick and the
stores, while the main body of the expedition followed on foot the
course of the stream, through thickets, caves, plantations, and
inundated fields. Gonzalo Pizarro would have belied his name had he not
strewed his track with mementoes of his cruelty. Whether or not the
chiefs of the tribes by which he passed received him well, their
inevitable fate was to be carried along with him, although he observed a
distinction between such as had given him a friendly welcome and such as
had not, by placing only the latter in chains. But one day these
_caciques_--the chained as well as the unchained--took the opportunity
of leaping into the river, thinking the risk of death preferable to the
tender mercies of a Pizarro. By this time more than one thousand
Peruvians of the party had perished, and as by the native accounts they
were not more than eighty leagues from the junction between the stream
and a great river, Orellana was ordered to proceed in the vessel to the
point of meeting, taking with him fifty men. In the course of three days
Orellana reached the point where the _Coca_ joins the _Napo_, where,
finding no provisions, he urged upon his men the necessity of
proceeding down the river, leaving Pizarro to his fate. A youthful
knight of Badajoz, whose chivalrous ideas revolted against this act of
treachery, was left alone by the water’s side, to subsist as best he
might until the arrival of Pizarro.

[Sidenote: 1541.]

On the last day of the year 1541 this voyage was commenced, and to such
straits were the explorers reduced ere it ended, that they had recourse
to boiling their leathern girdles and their shoes, to eat with the herbs
upon which they had to subsist. At length the sound of a drum was heard,
and four canoes were seen, when Orellana, landing his men, attacked the
Indians with the impetuosity of wolves. The plunder of their property
supplied the explorers for the present with food, and a further stock
was obtained for the voyage. By means of an Indian language some verbal
intercourse took place between Orellana and his hosts, and from this
arose the name by which the river they were descending was destined to
be ever afterwards known. Further down the stream--so the Indians
said--there was a country inhabited by a tribe of female warriors. The
Spaniards made themselves another boat and descended the river, passing
by the mouths of numerous affluents and through the territories of many
_caciques_. They landed at several places, and formally took possession
of them for their monarch. They had at length to fight a battle, in
which, it was affirmed, ten or twelve females took part. These women, of
whom, according to the priest of the explorers, the Spaniards slew seven
or eight, were tall and well formed; they were of fair complexion; they
wore but a girdle; and they fought with desperation.

[Sidenote: 1542.]

This voyage extended until the 26th of August 1542, when the triumphant
Spaniards emerged at the mouth of the river, and courageously committed
their frail barques to the currents and waves of the sea. Steering
northwards, they desired to reach the island of _Cubagua_. The newly
discovered river was at first named after _Orellana_, but soon
afterwards took its enduring name from the real or imaginary female
warriors,--“The _Amazons_.”

[Sidenote: 1542.]

To return to Gonzalo Pizarro: After in vain awaiting during several
miserable weeks the return of Orellana, Gonzalo determined to set out on
the same journey by land; but two months were expended in toiling
through the forest ere they reached the spot of the junction of the
_Napo_ with the _Coca_, which distance had been accomplished by Orellana
by water in three days. There they found Vargas, who had been set on
shore, and from him they learned that they had been deserted by their
comrades. Their situation was now indeed deplorable, but they did not
give way to despair, and after a toilsome return march, which occupied
more than a year, a portion of the wayworn band arrived again at
_Quito_. Their absence had extended over two years and a half. Their
horses were no more; their clothing was replaced by the skins of wild
animals; and they themselves from civilized beings had become
transformed into wild men of the woods, with wasted frames, blackened
faces, and tangled locks. Of the four thousand Indians who had
accompanied them, one-half of the number alone returned, whilst the
three hundred and fifty Spaniards were now represented by eighty.

There is but one more event to be recorded in order to complete this
sketch of the origin of Spanish _Peru_. Among men of such hot blood and
of such lawless manners as were the conquerors, it was scarcely probable
that the followers of Almagro would await tamely whatever retribution
for his death might be exacted in Spain; and in order that Almagro’s
youthful son might be the more harmless, he was deprived by Pizarro in
great part of his property, and likewise of the government of _Chili_. A
conspiracy against the life of the marquis was the result, and the news
of an appointment of a colleague with Pizarro in the government gave
confidence to his enemies. The arrival of this officer being delayed by
severe weather, the conspirators resolved no longer to await for public
justice, but to take the law into their own hands. A band of eighteen
formed themselves into a committee for its execution. They attacked
Pizarro in his palace, and, after a desperate defence on his part and on
that of the friends who surrounded him, consigned him to the fate which
formed the appropriate close of his stormy career.




The authentic history of _Chili_, according to the _Abbé_ Molina, does
not go further back than to about the fifteenth century. The earliest
accounts of the Chilians are contained in the Peruvian annals. The
_Incas_ had extended their empire from the equator to the tropic of
Capricorn and thence to the desirable land of _Chili_, which extends for
twelve hundred and sixty miles along the Pacific Ocean. The chain of the
_Cordilleras_, which bounds it to the east, supplies it with an
abundance of streams, moderating its climate and fertilizing its soil.
At the time when the devastating presence of the Spaniards first
appeared upon the land, the population is supposed to have been
numerous. It had not been without severe fighting that the ascendancy of
the Peruvians over this region was obtained; and, in like manner, the
early Spaniards had to feel the force of the arm of the native tribes.
_Chili_, indeed, had become divided into two parts; the one free, the
other subject to Peruvian domination.

According to the author above quoted, the Chilians at the date of the
Spaniards’ arrival were by no means so rude in manners as is usually
supposed. They had long since passed from the state of the hunter, which
is that of the Patagonian of to-day, to the more advanced state of the
shepherd. This second stage in civilization, too, they had surmounted,
and were now a race of husbandmen; they had not attained to the more
advanced condition of merchants. In a country where game was not
abundant, and where domestic animals were likewise rare, the transition
to the condition of cultivators of the soil was probably of necessity
rapid. It will be remembered that when Hernando Pizarro proceeded to
Spain after the capture of the _Inca_ Atahualpa, the territory for two
hundred leagues to the south of his brother’s government had been
assigned to Almagro, who had undertaken the march across the _Andes_ to

When the difficulties of this terrible passage had been surmounted,
Almagro and his men found themselves in a country supplied with
abundance of provisions. The Chilians in fact, we are told, possessed
maize, pulse of various kinds, the potato, the pumpkin, the pepper
plant, the strawberry, and numerous other elements of vegetable food. Of
animals they possessed the rabbit and the Araucanian camel, and, as
tradition relates, the hog and the domestic fowl. The country may be
assumed to have been well peopled, from the fact that one language
prevailed throughout it, rather than the various dialects of several
separate tribes. It possessed, in many parts, skilfully constructed
aqueducts for watering the fields. Of these one remains in the vicinity
of the capital, remarkable alike for its extent and solidity. The
Chilians ate their grain cooked, either using earthen pots for the
purpose of cooking it, or roasting it in hot sand. They likewise made of
it two distinct kinds of meal,--the parched, which was used for gruel;
and the raw, from which bread and cakes were baked in small holes formed
like ovens. They made use of a kind of sieve, and they were so far
civilized as to employ leaven. They were also in possession of several
kinds of spirituous liquors derived from grain or berries.

The Chilians, having adopted a settled mode of life, collected
themselves into families in the districts best adapted for agriculture,
where they established themselves in large villages. These settlements
consisted of a number of huts irregularly distributed. In each village
there was a chief called _Ulmen_, subject to the supreme ruler of the
tribe. This dignity was hereditary, which argues a certain antiquity and
likewise a peaceful rather than a warlike mode of living, since in the
latter state military ascendancy is apt to overrule the hereditary
principle. The right of private property was fully recognized. Each man
was absolute proprietor of the field which he cultivated and of the
product of his industry, which he could transmit to his children. The
houses, which were quadrangular and roofed with rushes, were enclosed by
walls of wood plastered with clay, and sometimes with walls of bricks,
the art of making which they had acquired from _Peru_. From the wool of
the camel they manufactured cloth for garments, using the distaff and
spindle. They were familiar with the use of the needle, and were so far
advanced in taste as to admire embroidery.

The clay of the country lent itself to arts of another description,--to
the production of plates, cups, jars, &c., for varnishing which a
certain mineral earth was employed. The Chilians likewise possessed
vessels of hard wood and of marble. The earth yielded gold, silver,
copper, tin, and lead. From their bell-metal they constructed axes,
hatchets, and other edged tools; and they alone of all the races or
nations of America possessed a word for iron, although it is to be added
that no iron implements have as yet been discovered in _Chili_. The
natives likewise were familiar with the art of extracting salt. They
possessed dyes of all colours, not only from plants but likewise from
minerals; whilst in lieu of soap they employed the bark of the
_quillai_, and obtained oil from the seeds of the _madi_. From various
vegetables they manufactured baskets and mats, and from others thread
for ropes and fishing-nets. In fishing they employed baskets and hooks,
and on the sea-coast used floats of wood or of inflated seal-skins.

Hunting was to them, as to us, an amusement. In this pursuit they
employed the arrow, the sling, and the noose, together with snares of
several kinds. It is a singular fact that two races, living so far apart
as those inhabiting China and Chili, should have employed the same
artifice for entrapping wild-fowl on the water, namely, for a man to
glide amongst them, his head being concealed in a perforated gourd. They
were familiar with the use of numbers, their language possessing the
words signifying ten, a hundred, and a thousand respectively, and, like
that of the Romans, stopping at that number. Their transactions were
noted by skeins of thread of various colours, with a number of knots.
They had not attained to the art of writing, although their language
contains a word signifying to sketch or to paint. In the latter art,
however, they were exceedingly primitive. But their chief progress was
in the sciences of physic and astronomy. Such was the people who had
been handed over by Charles V. to the tender mercies of Almagro and his
followers, whose presence came on them and their promising civilization
as the frost on the blossoms of spring.

[Sidenote: 1535.]

The history of _Chili_, in so far as the connection of that country with
Europe is concerned, begins at the close of the year 1535, when Almagro
set out from _Peru_ with a force composed of five hundred and seventy
Spaniards and some fifteen thousand Peruvians, the latter being under
the command of the brother of the _Inca_ Manco. His march has been
already briefly described in the preceding chapter. His army, after many
conflicts with the natives, became entangled in the _Cordilleras_ at the
beginning of winter, being destitute of provisions and ill-supplied with
clothing. The few mountain paths were obliterated by the snow. With
their accustomed intrepidity, the Spaniards surmounted the perilous
heights; but a hundred and fifty of their number, and, it is said, some
ten thousand Peruvians, perished from the cold. It is, indeed, computed
that none would have escaped but for the energy of Almagro, who, pushing
on with a few horsemen, sent back to his followers a timely supply of
provisions, which he found in abundance at _Copiapo_. The survivors of
his army reached the plains of that fertile province, where they were
well received by the inhabitants.

The _Inca’s_ brother, Paullu, who seems to have had the Spaniards’
interests at heart as being identical with his own, was the first to
point out to them the importance of their conquest. He obliged the
peasants to deliver up to him all the gold in their possession, by which
means he collected a sum equivalent to 500,000 _ducats_, which he
presented to Almagro. The Spanish leader, imagining he had another
_Peru_ before him, made over this sum to his followers. He was naturally
of a generous disposition, and has been lauded for his action on this
occasion;[L] but if we reflect on the source from which his _largesse_
sprung, we are reminded of the old saying respecting generosity at the
expense of others. As, in addition to the plunder with which he was
already gorged, he had the prospect of ample riches before him, his
conduct may be compared to that of the chief of a foreign force which we
may imagine to be in possession of London, and who, having shared in the
spoil of the Bank of England, should liberally make over the treasure at
Messrs. Coutts’ to his followers, with the intention of emptying the
tills of Messrs. Drummond’s and other banks into their own coffers.

At _Copiapo_ Almagro imitated the conduct of Pizarro in _Peru_ in
assuming the office of umpire between contending native authorities. The
reigning _Ulmen_, it appears, had usurped the government of his nephew.
Shocked at this instance of high-handed conduct, the worthy Spanish
freebooter caused the guilty chief to be arrested; and the natives were
simple enough to impute the re-settlement of their hereditary ruler to
a sense of abstract justice on the part of the heaven-sent newcomer.
Almagro’s followers soon recovered from their fatigues amongst the
beautiful villages of _Copiapo_, and being strengthened by
reinforcements brought up by Orgoñez, were soon in a condition to resume
their march towards the south. Meanwhile an incident occurred which
showed the confiding people that there were two sides to the character
of the liberal and just Almagro.

Two soldiers having left the army had proceeded to _Goasco_, where they
were at first well received by the inhabitants, but where they
afterwards met their death, which they had in all probability provoked,
if they had not richly deserved it. Their fate, however, showed the
Chilians that the invaders were mortal, and therefore caused concern to
the latter’s chief. Almagro, on learning it, proceeded to _Coquimbo_,
where he summoned before him the _Ulmen_ of the district, as well as his
brother and twenty of the principal inhabitants, and the ex-usurping
_Ulmen_ of Copiapo. It was no doubt right and reasonable on his part to
institute an inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of his
two soldiers, and no one could blame him for exacting due punishment on
any persons who should be shown to have deserved it in the matter; but
it would be hopeless to look for any considerations of justice in one so
above all law as Almagro. The twenty-three innocent men, who had had
nothing whatsoever to do with the soldiers’ death, were one and all
committed to the flames. Such was the Chilians’ first experience of the
gratitude of their Christian invaders for the hospitable reception they
had met with. It is right to add that the greater part of his army
openly disapproved of this savage proceeding on the part of their chief
Almagro, who in his subsequent fate must be held to be beyond the pale
of sympathy.

[Sidenote: 1537.]

In 1537 Almagro received a further reinforcement under Juan de Rada, and
he was at the same time urged by letters from his friends in _Peru_ to
return to that country and to take possession of _Cuzco_. He, however,
pursued his march and passed the river _Cachapoal_, notwithstanding the
remonstrances of his Peruvian followers, who dreaded to enter the
country of the warlike _Promaucians_. As usually happened, the aspect of
the Spaniards, with their horses and firearms, struck terror into their
opponents. These, however, recovering from their surprise, regained at
the same time their wonted intrepidity. A battle took place on the
_Rio-Claro_. The Peruvians, who were in the front, were soon routed; and
although the Spaniards, after a furious struggle, which lasted until
nightfall, remained masters of the field, the enemy were in no degree
dismayed. They were prepared to renew the attack next morning; but the
Spaniards had had enough of fighting for the present, and resolved by
common consent to retreat rather than face a campaign before so warlike
a people. A portion of Almagro’s force would have formed a settlement in
northern _Chili_; but it was their leader’s object not to lessen his
strength, and he accordingly retreated with his whole band towards

[Sidenote: 1540.]

Three years after the above-mentioned occurrences, when the Pizarros, by
the death of Almagro, were undisputed lords of _Peru_, Francisco
determined to renew an attempt on _Chili_. The enterprise had been
confided by the court of Spain to two adventurers, named respectively
Hoz and Carmargo. The former was to undertake the conquest of the
country to the north of the river _Maule_; the latter was to reduce the
territory southward of that stream as far as to the archipelago of
_Chiloë_. But Pizarro, for some undivulged reason, declined to confirm
the royal nomination, and appointed in his own name to the expedition
Pedro de Valdivia, an able and well-tried officer, and one devoted to
his party. Valdivia, however, was directed to take Hoz with him, and to
satisfy him with a liberal distribution of land.

Valdivia determined to establish a permanent settlement in the country
to which he was to proceed, and made preparation accordingly, taking
with him not only two hundred Spanish fighting-men and a large body of
Peruvians, but likewise several women, some monks, and a great number of
European quadrupeds. Instructed by the experience of Almagro in the
_Cordilleras_, although he pursued the same route, he took care to
choose the summer for his passage. He thus incurred no loss on his way;
but he met with a very different reception from that which had been
accorded to his precursor. The inhabitants of northern _Chili_ were by
this time aware that the empire of the _Incas_ was no more, and they
accordingly no longer owed subjection to their Peruvian conquerors. They
attacked the invaders on all sides, but with more valour than method.
The Spaniards were accordingly enabled to overcome them in detail, and
traversed the provinces of _Copiapo_, _Coquimbo_, _Quillota_, and
_Melipilla_, and arrived with but little loss at that of _Mapocho_, now
named _Santiago_.

[Sidenote: 1541.]

In this fertile province, which lies upon the confines of the _Andes_,
Valdivia determined to make a settlement, and with this view he laid the
foundations of the fair city of _Santiago_ on the 24th of February 1541.
He laid out the city on the general Spanish colonial plan of dividing it
into squares of uniform size; and in order to protect the settlement
from attack, he constructed a fort upon a hill in the centre, which has
since received the name of _S. Lucia_. His proceedings were watched by
the natives with a jealous eye, and measures were concerted for getting
rid of the unwelcome intruders. Valdivia, however, discovered the plot
against him in time, and imprisoned the chief conspirators in his
fortress, whilst he repaired with sixty horsemen to the river
_Cachapoal_ in order to watch the _Promaucians_, whom he suspected of
being in league with the conspirators.

The natives of _Mapocho_, taking advantage of the absence of Valdivia,
fell upon the colony with inconceivable fury, burning the half-built
houses and assailing the citadel wherein the inhabitants had taken
refuge. Whilst these defended themselves bravely, a woman named Iñez
Suarez, taking an axe, beat out the brains of the captive chiefs, who
had attempted to escape. The battle, which began at daybreak, lasted
until night, fresh assailants constantly filling the places of those who
fell. Meanwhile a messenger had been despatched to inform Valdivia of
what had occurred. He lost no time in hastening back, when he found the
ditch filled with dead bodies, and the enemy preparing to renew the
attack. Joining the besieged, he at once advanced upon the main force of
the Chilians, who were posted upon the bank of the river _Mapocho_.
There the struggle was renewed with equal fury and valour on either
side, but with the advantage of skill and arms on that of the Spaniards.
The natives, having at length lost the flower of their youth, dispersed
over the plain.

Notwithstanding this defeat and others which followed, this brave people
never ceased during six years (by which time they were almost utterly
annihilated) to attack the Spaniards upon every occasion that presented
itself, cutting off their provisions and compelling them to subsist on
unwholesome food and on the small amount of grain which they could raise
under the fire from the walls of _Santiago_. The once fertile plains in
the neighbourhood were now a desert, such inhabitants as survived having
retired to the mountains.

This prolonged and profitless fighting naturally disgusted the Spanish
soldiery, and at length a conspiracy was organized amongst them against
the life of Valdivia. That officer, however, having obtained information
of what was passing, took his measures accordingly. Some of the
conspirators were punished with death, and the soldiers in general were
diverted by an expedition to the valley of _Quillota_, which was said to
abound in mines of gold. The result surpassed their most sanguine
expectations. Past sufferings and present dangers were forgotten, and
the longing to return to _Peru_ no longer existed. All were anxious to
remain in the new _El Dorado_, and the governor lost no time in
constructing a frigate at the mouth of the river _Chile_, which was to
bear to _Peru_ the news of his discovery, and to bring him the necessary
aid to enable him to prosecute it with success.

Meanwhile, however, the state of his affairs being urgent, Valdivia
likewise despatched to _Peru_ two of his officers by land, who should
take with them six companions, whose spurs, bits, and stirrups he
directed to be made of gold, which he knew would speak more eloquently
than any words with a view to gaining him recruits. These messengers,
although escorted by thirty horsemen, were attacked by the archers of
_Copiapo_, and of the whole band only two escaped with life. These were
the two officers Monroy and Miranda, who were brought before the
_Ulmen_, covered with wounds. That prince resolved to put them to death,
but was dissuaded from doing so by his wife, who pitied their deplorable
condition. Several of the horses had been taken alive, and the _Ulmena_
who had saved the Spaniards requested from them in return the slight
favour of teaching her son to ride. This naturally suggested the idea of
escape, which no one could blame the prisoners for attempting. But it
would not have been in harmony with all Spanish conduct towards natives
of the New World had they simply contented themselves with escaping. One
day whilst the young prince was riding, escorted by his archers, and
preceded by an officer armed with a lance, Monroy suddenly attacked him
with a poniard, inflicting mortal wounds, whilst Miranda at the same
time wrested the lance from the officer. The pair having thus rewarded
the kindness of the _Ulmena_, put spurs to their horses and made their
escape, in due time reaching _Cuzco_.

Vaca de Castro, who on the death of Pizarro was now governor of _Peru_,
on being informed of the critical situation of his countrymen in
_Chili_, at once despatched to their aid a considerable detachment of
troops under Monroy, who on his return had the good fortune to escape
the notice of the _Copiapins_. At the same time De Castro despatched by
sea a still greater reinforcement under Juan Pastene, a Genoese. Both
reinforcements reached Valdivia about the same time, thus enabling him
to carry his vast designs into execution. Taking advantage of Pastene’s
nautical acquirements, he ordered him to make a complete survey of the
sea-coast as far as to the Straits of _Magellan_. On his return from
this service Pastene was despatched to _Peru_ for further recruits,
which were more than ever wanted, for since the successful affair in
_Copiapo_ the natives had become even more aggressive than before.

[Sidenote: 1544.]

The inhabitants of the valley of _Quillota_ had, by means of a
stratagem, massacred all the Spanish soldiers employed at the mines. One
of the neighbouring natives had brought to the commander a vessel filled
with gold, telling him that he had found a large quantity of the
precious metal in a neighbouring district. On this, all were impatient
to proceed thither to secure their share of the treasure, and falling
into an ambuscade were all cut off, with the exception of the commander
and a negro, who owed their safety to their horses. At the same time the
frigate, which had now been completed, was destroyed. On receiving news
of this disaster, Valdivia hastened to _Quillota_ with his troops, and
there built a fort for the protection of the miners. Being reinforced
with three hundred men, he thought fit to establish a settlement in the
north of _Chili_ to serve as a depôt and a protection for convoys. For
this purpose he selected _Coquimbo_, which was founded by him in 1544.

[Sidenote: 1547.]

Two years later, Valdivia, having passed the _Maule_, proceeded to the
river _Itata_. Whilst there encamped at night, at a place called
_Quilacura_, he was attacked by the natives, who inflicted on him such a
loss that he thought it prudent to renounce his intended expedition and
to return to _Santiago_. Being disappointed by the non-arrival of the
succours which he expected from _Peru_, he now resolved to proceed
thither in person. As he was on the point of starting [1547], Pastene
returned, but alone, and bringing news of the civil war. This did not
deter Valdivia from his purpose, and the two set sail together for
_Peru_. The part which was played in the final struggle in that country
by the conqueror of _Chili_ is detailed elsewhere. As a reward, he was
confirmed by the President Gasca in the office of governor of _Chili_,
and was furnished with an abundance of military stores. The president
further put at his disposal two ships, in which he might take away with
him many of the turbulent spirits who could be well spared from _Peru_.

During the absence of Valdivia, affairs in the south were by no means at
a standstill. In the first place, Pedro de Hoz, who, it will be
remembered, had been designated by the court of Spain for the conquest
of _Chili_, was accused, rightly or wrongly, of endeavouring to supplant
Valdivia, and was accordingly beheaded by order of the acting governor.
In the next place, the inhabitants of _Copiapo_, eager to avenge the
treacherous murder of their prince’s son, cut off some forty Spaniards
who were proceeding from _Peru_ to _Chili_, whilst, at their
instigation, the people of _Coquimbo_ massacred the whole colony which
had been recently founded in their territory, razing the city to its
foundation. Aguirre was immediately sent thither, and after various
encounters rebuilt the settlement on a more advantageous situation.
Aguirre is considered by the inhabitants of _Coquimbo_ as the founder of
their city, and many of the patricians of the place claim him as their

[Sidenote: 1550.]

After a toilsome contest of nine years, Valdivia considered himself to
be so firmly established in that part of _Chili_ which had been under
the dominion of the Peruvians as to warrant his partitioning the land
amongst his soldiers. Having by these means satisfied the ambition of
his companions, he set out anew for the southern provinces with a
respectable army of Spaniards and of Promaucian allies. After a march of
eighty leagues he at length arrived at the bay of _Panco_--already
reached by Pastene--where, on the 5th of October 1550, he founded the
city of _Conception_. This place, the situation of which is so
advantageous for commerce on account of its excellent harbour, is
exposed to earthquakes, by which, and by the simultaneous inundations of
the sea, it has been twice destroyed.[M] Its occupation by the Spaniards
excited alarm amongst the neighbouring warlike Araucanians, who,
foreseeing that their turn would come next, resolved to succour the
tribes near _Conception_. Thus was produced a fresh war, the details of
which may be preceded in a future chapter by some account of the
remarkable people who have hitherto, even to the present day, by their
obstinate valour, alone amongst the native inhabitants of South America,
withstood the tide of Spanish invasion, and maintained themselves
independent in their mountain strongholds.




In following the progress of discovery in South America it is necessary
to turn to another direction. The main centres from which discoveries
were made may for general purposes be set down as three, namely:--(1.)
From the Isthmus of _Panama_ by the Spaniards; (2.) From the river
_Plata_ by the Spaniards; and (3.) From _Bahia_, on the coast of
_Brazil_, by the Portuguese. We have now to turn to the last-named

[Sidenote: 1510.]

The date at which the first Portuguese settler established himself in
_Bahia_ was about 1510. The name of this pioneer was Diogo Alvarez, the
sole survivor of a crew wrecked to the north of that beautiful bay. He
made himself useful to the natives, and being the fortunate possessor of
a musket and some gunpowder, he so impressed their imaginations that
they presently made him their chief. After a time, taking advantage of
the visit of a French vessel, he was enabled to return to Europe and to
initiate a trade between France and the region in which his lot was
cast. He likewise desired that his countrymen should colonize the
province; but the Portuguese Government were disposed rather to lend
assistance towards establishing a trade between their own and distant
countries than to encourage agricultural settlements abroad. For this
reason, _Brazil_, which, from the nature of its population, offered but
scanty inducements to traders, was neglected for many years after its
discovery. At length, however, it became of sufficient importance to
attract attention, and the system was adopted, which had succeeded in
other Portuguese settlements, of apportioning it out into captaincies,
extending, as a rule, each for fifty leagues along the coast.

[Sidenote: 1531]

The first person who took possession of one of these captaincies was
Martim Affonso de Sousa, afterwards governor of the Portuguese
possessions in India, and who had the distinction of carrying St.
Francis Xavier to the East. He has the honour of having discovered the
bay on which was to rise the future capital of _Brazil_, and which,
under the belief that it was the estuary of a river, he named _Rio de
Janeiro_, having discovered it on the first of January.

Having surveyed the coast southward to the _Plata_, he selected as a
spot for a settlement an island in the twenty-fourth degree of southern
latitude, and was fortunate enough to conciliate the good-will of the
neighbouring population through the medium of a ship-wrecked Portuguese
sailor whom he found amongst them. This colony soon removed to the
island of _S. Vicente_, from which the captaincy was named. Here Martim
Affonso introduced the sugar-cane, and reared the first cattle known to
that region.

Amongst the other captaincies founded about this period were those of
_S. Amaro_, which adjoined _S. Vicente_, and _Espirito Santo_ to the
north. Next came the captaincy of _Porto Seguro_, where Cabral had
landed on first taking possession of _Brazil_. Here sugar-works were
established with considerable success. Beyond came the captaincy of the
_Ilheos_ or Isles, so called from a river with three islands near its
bar. The town of old _S. Paulo_ was soon afterwards founded.

The coast from the _San Francisco_ river to the point of _Padram de
Bahia_ was granted to Francisco Coutinho, a distinguished _Fidalgo_, to
whom was likewise assigned that beautiful bay with its surrounding
creeks and hundred islands. It may be mentioned, as showing the mixture
of Portuguese and native blood which from the earliest settlement
existed in the Brazilian race, that two of Coutinho’s followers married
daughters of the first Portuguese settler, Diogo Alvarez, the mothers of
whom were native women. A son of one of the neighbouring chiefs having
been killed by the Portuguese, the savages attacked Coutinho, and after
seven years of hostilities compelled him to abandon his settlement and
retreat to the adjoining captaincy of the Isles. He was afterwards
treacherously slain.

One other captaincy was established about this time--that of
_Pernambuco_, the chief town of which, from its lovely situation,
received the suggestive name of _Olinda_. The tribe occupying the
vicinity were called _Cahetes_, and have handed down to this day the
remarkable wicker-work _catamarans_, which those who have landed at
_Pernambuco_ are not likely to forget. From this savage tribe, Coelho,
to whom the grant was assigned, had to conquer by inches what had been
granted to him by leagues; he was even attacked and besieged in his
town. By degrees, however, and by the aid of an alliance with another
tribe, he at length established himself in his captaincy.

The captaincy of _Maraham_ was assigned to John de Barros, the
historian, who, dividing his grant with two others, undertook a scheme
of conquest as well as of colonization, sending out from Portugal an
expedition of nine hundred men. Fortune, however, did not smile upon the
enterprise. The fleet was wrecked on some shoals, and the survivors
escaped to the island which bears the above-mentioned name.

It does not lie within the compass of this work to go into the condition
of the native tribes in any part of South America previously to the
arrival of the Spaniards and Portuguese. It will be sufficient to
indicate the materials, whether European, native, mixed, or African, of
which the several States of South America were composed at the period of
their declaring themselves independent of Spain and Portugal,
respectively. We therefore pass over much that is interesting, as told
by the early writers, of the condition of the tribes as they were found
by the settlers in _Brazil_, a _résumé_ of which may be found in the
pages of Southey. There is not much of an active nature to relate in the
history of the several captaincies at this period beyond a tale of
successive little wars, in which the Portuguese were for the most part
allied with some one native tribe against another.

[Sidenote: 1549.]

It was not until the lapse of half a century after the discovery of
_Brazil_ that the Portuguese possessions in that region came to be
looked upon as being of real importance to the mother country. It then
began to be perceived that the system of having so many captaincies or
separate governments, under no supreme authority nearer than Lisbon, was
one likely to be productive of considerable inconvenience and confusion.
The lives and property of the colonists were at the mercy of the several
governors, and serious complaints of this state of things reached the
king of Portugal. It was resolved, therefore, to revoke the powers of
the captains, whilst leaving them their grants, and to appoint over them
a governor-general. The person chosen for this high office was De Sousa,
who was instructed to establish himself at _Bahia_, which place he was
to put into a state of defence against all enemies. He took with him the
great Nobrega and some other Jesuit Fathers, the first of their order
who proceeded to South America. A new town was now built at _Bahia_. A
hundred houses arose within four months, and De Sousa’s fleet was
followed at no great distance of time by another, bearing a number of
maidens of noble family, who were to be given in marriage to the
officers and to receive dowries from the royal property. Young orphans
were likewise sent out year by year to be educated by the Jesuits, who
at once began the system of beneficence towards the natives from which
they never deviated; but they could not here, as they had done
elsewhere, engraft the principles of Christianity upon the existing
religion and manners of the country. It was impossible to come to any
compromise with cannibalism, and almost impossible to wean the natives
from this custom. The Jesuits, however, persevered in the face of all
difficulties; they built churches; they established schools for
children; they taught these to read and to write; and they made
themselves acquainted with the native tongues, into which they
translated the prayers of the Church. They had considerable
difficulties, however, to encounter in reconciling their teaching with
the practice of their fellow-countrymen; for it must be remembered that,
during the half century that elapsed between the discovery of _Brazil_
and the arrival of the Fathers, the colonists had been without religious
guides. In one respect the Jesuits’ work was easy. The youthful
Brazilians showed themselves passionately fond of music, and were in
this branch of education eager and apt pupils.

[Sidenote: 1552.]

The number of Jesuits soon increased, and in the year 1552 Nobrega
received the title of Vice-Provincial of _Brazil_. Two years later that
government became the seat of a bishop, to whose arrival Nobrega
anxiously looked forward for support against the easy-going priests,
who, far from being imbued with the zeal of the Jesuits, connived at
their countrymen enslaving the Brazilians and making their women their
concubines. A Jesuit College was established in the plains of
_Riatininga_, about thirteen leagues from _S. Vicente_, to which
thirteen of the company were sent, and which received the name of _S.
Paulo_, a name shared by the town which arose adjoining it. The chief of
this establishment, the celebrated Anchieta, devoted himself by day and
by night to the instruction of the numerous pupils who came to him from
the neighbouring settlements, whilst at the same time he did his best
to acquaint them with the arts of civilization.

[Sidenote: 1558.]

From the time of the discovery of _Brazil_ the French had occasionally
visited that coast, and about the year 1558 they attempted to establish
themselves at _Rio de Janeiro_ under Villegagnon, the same who had
conveyed Mary Queen of Scots from Scotland to Brittany, eluding the
vigilance of the English. He had obtained the permission of his
sovereign to undertake an expedition to America, having given his
assurances to Coligny that he would protect Protestants in the new
colony. He received two large vessels and a store-ship, together with
all that was necessary for the furtherance of his project. Being well
received by the natives at _Rio de Janeiro_, who were hostile to the
Portuguese, he took up his position on an island in the noble bay, not
far from the entrance. Here he erected a small fortification, to which
he gave the name of _Coligny_; in choosing a spot for a settlement,
however, he had overlooked one great disadvantage, the absence of water.
His expedition had been badly provided with stores; in consequence, his
men were immediately on their arrival made to subsist upon the food of
the country, and the result was a conspiracy against him. It was,
however, thwarted by the fidelity of three Scotchmen whom Villegagnon
reserved as his guard. Coligny was indefatigable in supplying the wants
of the colony, but he had been deceived by Villegagnon’s protestations
of zeal for the reformed religion, which had been feigned for the
purpose of gaining the admiral’s influence. In _Brazil_ he threw off the
mask, and those who had joined his settlement for the sake of liberty of
conscience found themselves even worse off than they had been in France.

The Portuguese permitted the French colony to remain for four years
unmolested, and had it not been for the treachery and double-dealing of
Villegagnon, _Rio de Janeiro_ might have remained a permanent French
settlement. Some ten thousand Huguenots were ready to emigrate, with
their arts, had they been sure of meeting with toleration; but the
governor’s arbitrary proceedings ruined the project. The court of Lisbon
was at length aroused by Nobrega to the dangerous rivalry of the French,
and orders were issued to destroy their fortifications at _Rio de
Janeiro_, two ships of war and a number of merchantmen being fitted out
for the purpose. Two days and nights were expended in battering the
fortresses. The Portuguese, after much waste of their resources, at
length succeeded in carrying the largest of the outworks, and likewise
the rock on which the magazine was situated. During the ensuing night
the French and their native allies fled, either to the ships or to the
mainland. The Portuguese, not being in sufficient strength to enable
them to retain the island, demolished the works, and sailed for
_Santos_, carrying off the artillery and stores. The credit of this
successful expedition is entirely due to the indefatigable Nobrega.

During this decisive affair Villegagnon was absent in France, where he
proposed to raise a fleet for the purpose of destroying the Portuguese
settlements in _Brazil_; but his previous treachery stood in the way of
his effecting his purpose.

The history of the early Portuguese in _Brazil_ is in some respects far
more satisfactory, if it be less exciting, than that of the Spaniards in
_Peru_. They were there for the legitimate purpose of colonizing and
cultivating a portion of a vast region where there was ample room at the
same time for them and for the tribes in their neighbourhood; and if the
colonists, on the one hand, were ever ready to enslave the natives, the
Churchmen who followed in their wake were, on the other hand, as ready
to denounce the practice, and to sow the seeds of real Christianity
amongst the savages. The foremost name in the records of this good work
is that of Nobrega, than whom a more sincere, self-denying, and
enlightened missionary was never sent forth by any branch of the
Christian Church.

The Jesuits in _Brazil_ began their efforts where all missionary efforts
that are to succeed must begin, with children. Their unprejudiced minds
were open to teaching, and they were at an age to acquire the Portuguese
language, and thus to become interpreters for the Fathers. The sick were
visited, and the death-bed was soothed. Nobrega and his companions
commenced their work with the tribes near _San Salvador_ or _Bahia_.
These they tried their best to persuade to live in peace and to be
reconciled to their enemies. It may seem to us somewhat strange that
while the Fathers are recorded to have succeeded in inducing their
converts to abstain from excessive drinking, and to take to one wife
alone, they should still have found it impossible to induce them to
abandon the supreme luxury of feeding on the flesh of their enemies. In
one instance a missionary is said to have succeeded where others failed,
by flagellating himself before the doors of the cannibals until he was
covered with blood, telling them that he thus punished himself to avert
the punishment of God upon them for their sins.

Being aided by a zealous governor in the person of Mem de Sa, the
Jesuits carried on their labours with considerable success, forming a
number of settlements of converted natives. But the character of their
progress was not unvaried. They had to contend with hostilities, which,
though originating in the proceedings of their countrymen, and in nowise
in their own conduct, still recoiled upon them. The small-pox, too,
which spread from island to coast, is said, though perhaps with some
exaggeration, to have carried off thirty thousand of the Indians who had
been their converts.

In the face of these disasters, Nobrega proclaimed aloud that the
Portuguese were but suffering the righteous judgment of Heaven. They had
broken treaties; they had enslaved prisoners; they had connived at
cannibalism on the part of their allies. He was no mere eloquent
declaimer. His words were followed by the most signal and heroic proof
that they came from his innermost soul. He himself, with his colleague
Anchieta, resolved to put themselves into the hands of the natives in
order to obtain peace; and it speaks volumes for the character of the
Fathers that, in the face of Portuguese treachery, the habit of their
order was a safe passport amongst the savages.

It is true that twelve native youths were sent to _S. Vicente_ as
hostages; but in face of the excitement and prejudice which prevailed,
it is probable that the two Fathers, who really deserved the name of
holy men, owed their safety, and what they valued infinitely more, the
success of their mission, rather to their own saintly and irreproachable
conduct than to the guarantee of hostages. They nobly refused to accept
peace on the condition of recommending their governor to give up three
native chiefs who had allied themselves with the Portuguese, and who had
accepted Christianity: their countrymen’s first duty, they said, was to
keep faith inviolate, and if they should betray their allies, how could
they now be trusted? The reply of the chief with whom they parleyed was,
that if the Portuguese should decline to give up these men whom,
according to their code of honour, it was incumbent they should receive,
there should be no peace. A reference to the governor was agreed upon on
both sides; but Nobrega, with a patriotic spirit which recalls that of
the Roman Regulus, warned him emphatically against concluding peace on
disgraceful terms under the apprehension of what might befall himself
and his colleague. For two months the missionaries remained in this
position. At the end of that time Nobrega was permitted to return, to
consult with the governor, whilst Anchieta remained as a hostage; but
after three months thus passed by the latter, he too for the time
failed to win the crown of martyrdom; and a reconciliation was effected,
chiefly through the efforts of Nobrega.

The small-pox about this period seems to have produced enormous havoc in
certain of the Portuguese settlements in _Brazil_, where some
three-fourths of the natives were carried away by it, or by the
pestilence which followed in its wake. Six of the settlements which had
been founded by the Jesuits had to be abandoned; and the Portuguese, we
are told, profiting by the misery of their neighbours, gave food in
exchange for slaves. Certain starving individuals sold their own
persons, whilst others parted with their children. But although the
lawfulness of these purchases was not questioned, the consciences of the
purchasers were somewhat ill-at-ease in the matter. They, it seems,
really thought it unfair and unchristian-like to claim men as their
slaves, over whom they had no other right save that acquired by giving
them food to save their lives. Yet they were unwilling to let them go
free, if for no other reason than that their souls would be no longer in
the way of salvation. In this dilemma a compromise was hit upon between
God and Mammon; the slaves were told they were no longer slaves; but
still, that they must continue to serve their possessors for life, to
receive yearly wages. Should they escape, they would be pursued and
punished; but the masters were not to sell or otherwise part with them.

[Sidenote: 1564.]

The Portuguese Government were not satisfied that the possession of
Villegagnon’s island at _Rio de Janeiro_ should not have been retained;
and a good opportunity of regaining it seemed to offer on the peace with
the _Tamoyos_, which had been procured by Nobrega and his companion.
Accordingly, the nephew of the Portuguese governor was sent to _Bahia_
with two vessels, and with orders for his uncle to supply him with the
force requisite for this purpose. Estacio de Sa reached his destination
in February 1564, and in accordance with the advice of his uncle, before
commencing operations, summoned Nobrega to his councils. They learned
from a Frenchman that the tribe of _Tamoyos_ had already broken the
recent peace, and were the allies of his countrymen. This unexpected
news completely upset the plans of the Portuguese commander, for the
French vessels were protected by the _Tamoyos_ at every point where an
attack was possible. They declined to put out to sea, and, for want of
small craft, he could not attack them at close quarters. Under these
circumstances, and having learned that _S. Vicente_ was beset by the
savages, he thought it prudent to proceed to the latter place; he was,
however, driven back by a storm to _Rio de Janeiro_.

It was now resolved by Estacio de Sa, in consultation with Nobrega, to
proceed to _Santos_, where they found to their relief that those natives
with whom the latter had been a hostage remained true to their
engagements; and his presence and influence materially contributed to
strengthen the force. These preparations, however, consumed the
remainder of the year, and it was not until the following January (1565)
that the expedition, consisting of six ships of war with a proportionate
number of smaller craft, was ready to put to sea. But so unfavourable
were the winds that, although they sailed from _Bertioga_ on the 20th of
January, it was the beginning of March when they reached _Rio de

The troops were landed at _Villa Velha_, beneath the “Sugar Loaf.”
Hardly had they intrenched themselves when they were attacked by the
_Tamoyos_, who, however, were routed. The war was carried on with
dilatoriness, a quality which has not unfrequently distinguished the
military operations of Portugal and of _Brazil_. More than a year was
wasted in petty skirmishes; at the end of this time the governor, Mem de
Sa, appeared in person on the scene, exactly two years after the
expedition had sailed from _S. Vicente_. On St. Sebastian’s day the
French stronghold was assaulted: not one of their native allies escaped;
two Frenchmen were killed, and five, who were made prisoners, were
hanged. The victors then proceeded to another fortress of the enemy on
_Cat_ Island. After a bombardment this too was carried, but in the
assault Estacio de Sa received a mortal wound. Most of the French
escaped, and having with their allies been totally defeated, sailed in
their four vessels to the province of _Pernambuco_, where they took
possession of _Recife_. They were, however, attacked by the Portuguese
governor of _Olinda_, and were compelled again to have recourse to their
ships. Thus was _Rio de Janeiro_ finally lost to the French. Those of
the sons of France who should have formed the enduring colony marked out
by Coligny were, through the treachery of Villegagnon, employed in
bearing arms against their countrymen in France.

According to his instructions, the governor’s first act was to lay the
foundations of a city, which, in honour of the Portuguese monarch and of
the saint on whose day the victory had been won, was called _S.
Sebastian_. The fortifications commanding the entrance to the harbour
were completed by the natives, under the eye of the Jesuits, without any
cost to the state; and it was but fair that the company should have
assigned to it the space within the city for a college, together with a
donation sufficient for the support of fifty brethren.

The French soon afterwards made an attempt to establish themselves at
_Paraïba_, where for some time they carried on a profitable trade, and
where they became allied with the natives; but they were not more
successful in maintaining themselves here than they had been at _Rio de
Janeiro_, and _Paraïba_ too became a Portuguese settlement.

[Sidenote: 1570.]

The Order of the Jesuits was at this time all-powerful in _Brazil_,
where they had indeed rendered great services to the crown as well as to
the Church; and a fresh accession to their strength was despatched with
the new governor, Luiz de Vasconcellos, who, in 1570, was appointed to
relieve Mem de Sa. The reinforcement which he brought with him was
headed by Azevedo, who was appointed Provincial. Nine and thirty
brethren embarked with Azevedo in the “St. Iago,” half of which vessel
was freighted for them, the other half bearing cargo for the island of
_Palma_ in the _Canaries_. The vessel had halted at _Madeira_, and as
the passage to _Palma_ was considered to be dangerous on account of
French pirates, Azevedo was entreated not to expose himself
unnecessarily. For himself he declined to take the advice given him, but
he permitted his comrades to exchange into another vessel. Only four
novices, whose places were quickly supplied by others, thought fit to do
so; for the rest, the near probability of the crown of martyrdom had an
irresistible charm. On the day after their departure five French ships
appeared. Vasconcellos at once put to sea; but the Frenchmen declined
action, and stood off towards the _Canaries_. The squadron was from _La
Rochelle_, and was commanded by a Huguenot. After seven days, Azevedo
reached the island of _Palma_, at three leagues’ distance from the town,
to which he was urged to proceed by land. The advice was disregarded,
with the result that, when he and his friends were off _Palma_, the
French appeared in sight. The Portuguese mariners made unavailing
resistance, and one alone of the Jesuits, being in lay costume, escaped
the death which for them had not only no terror, but seemed to be an
object of desire.

This catastrophe has been quoted with unlimited admiration, and the
martyrs have received all due posthumous honour; but if we look at the
circumstances from any point of view save that of a fanatic, our
admiration must be considerably qualified. Azevedo and his companions
were doubtless brave men; but they had been educated and sent out from
their country with the express purpose of converting the heathen; and it
was surely not their duty in any sense wantonly and recklessly to go out
of their way to seek premature death. If the crown of martyrdom was so
dear to them--if, in the language of certain writers, they were
swallowed up by other-worldliness--the prize might surely have been
gained more honourably amongst the savages of _Brazil_ than at the hands
of French corsairs. Of the eight-and-thirty foolhardy men whose blood so
uselessly stained the waters of _Palma_, one might have proved a second
Nobrega. To an unprejudiced person it seems that, so far from acting for
“_the greater glory of God_” by provoking wholesale massacre, they were
deliberately doing the contrary, since they were thus cutting themselves
off from a sphere of vast usefulness. Nor can we greatly blame the
commander of the French squadron for his conduct on the occasion. It was
but one scene in a fierce religious war, in which the priests, not the
Huguenots, were the aggressors.

Vasconcellos set sail with the remainder of his fleet. When, after a
long and miserable voyage, he sighted the coast of _Brazil_, his vessels
were driven far to the north and were dispersed. At length his followers
were so reduced in numbers that one vessel might contain them all; yet
not even this one vessel was destined to reach its destination in
safety. It was attacked by a French squadron, and, after a hopeless
resistance, the governor fell; whilst fourteen remaining Jesuits shared
the fate of the martyrs of _Palma_. Of sixty-nine Jesuit missionaries
who had set out with Azevedo, one alone reached _Brazil_.




[Sidenote: 1541.]

The conspirators who had assassinated Pizarro succeeded in securing
possession of _Lima_, and their next step was at once to send to the
different cities proclaiming the revolution and claiming the recognition
of the son of Almagro as governor of _Peru_. At _Truxillo_ and
_Arequipa_, where it was emphasized by the presence of a military force,
the summons was obeyed; but in other cities it was received with merely
nominal assent, whilst in some it was disregarded. At _Cuzco_, where the
Almagro faction prevailed, the dissenting magistrates were summarily
ejected from office; but they were soon after reinstated by means of a
neighbouring military force commanded by one of Pizarro’s captains. The
conspirators had most to dread from the Licentiate Vaca de Castro, whose
commission to assume the post of governor in case of the death of
Pizarro had now come into force. De Castro was still in the north, but
on being advised of Pizarro’s death he quickened his steps southwards.
He was in a difficult position, having a very imperfect acquaintance
with the political state of the country, and he was neither a soldier
himself nor supported by a military force. He was, however, a man of
courage, and had confidence in his own resources, besides relying on the
habitual loyalty of Spaniards to the crown.

Without delay, therefore, he pursued his march towards _Quito_, where he
was well received by the officer who had charge of that place during the
absence of Gonzalo Pizarro on the _Amazons_. At _Quito_ he displayed the
royal commission empowering him to assume the government, and thence he
sent emissaries to the principal places requiring obedience to himself
as the representative of the crown. But meanwhile the faction of the
young Almagro was gaining strength at _Lima_. His forces were commanded
by Rada, who obtained the necessary funds for preparing his soldiers for
service. Such of Pizarro’s followers as declined to be reconciled to the
ruling faction were permitted to depart from _Lima_, amongst these being
the Bishop Valverde, who, however, almost immediately afterwards fell
into the hands of the hostile natives of _Puná_, from whom he received
the violent death which was in harmony with the lawless scenes in which
he had taken part. As the young Almagro’s power was founded solely on
usurpation, it was of course a mere trial of strength between his rebel
bands and such loyal forces as might rally round the governor. His
policy was to defeat these in detail before they had time to effect a
junction under De Castro. He, however, sustained a severe loss in the
death from fever of his Lieutenant, Rada, which occasioned an ill-timed
jealousy between his next principal officers, and which thwarted his
well-conceived plans. The result was that the two chief bodies of the
opposite faction succeeded in effecting a junction, and he was compelled
to fall back on _Cuzco_, in which city he found no opposition.

At _Cuzco_, however, the rivalry of his two chief officers again broke
out, with the result that they were each in turn assassinated. Almagro
then lost no time in providing for his men against the inevitable
approaching campaign; in which effort he was aided by the _Inca_ Manco,
whose friendship was probably heightened by the circumstance that
Almagro’s mother was a Peruvian princess. The _Inca_ likewise promised
to support him with a detachment of native troops. Before the final
appeal to arms, however, each side was willing to try the effect of
negotiation, each being aware that the result of the struggle was
doubtful. The governor was prepared to grant Almagro pardon, in
consideration of his youth and inexperience, provided that he should
give up the leaders of the conspiracy who had taken part in the death of
Pizarro. To this proposition Almagro could not with honour assent, and
nothing was left but to await the ordeal of battle. Meanwhile De Castro
continued to advance southwards, and was well received at _S. Miguel_
and _Truxillo_. It was not till the early part of 1542 that he reached
the scene where the contest was to be decided, and where he showed
remarkable skill in asserting his own supreme authority, notwithstanding
the pretensions of the two ambitious officers who commanded the royal
troops, and each of whom aspired to the chief military authority. Having
entered _Lima_, he was received with demonstrations of joy, and obtained
the necessary funds for the prosecution of his enterprise.

The contest was decided on the plains of _Xauxa_, where the governor’s
forces amounted to no more than seven hundred men, being more or less
equally matched by those of the enemy. It was late in the afternoon of
the 16th September when the hostile forces met. The combat was terrible,
for quarter was neither asked for nor given. Night had fallen on the
combatants long before the struggle was decided; but the victory at
length declared itself in favour of the royalists. From three to five
hundred--an enormous proportion--are said to have fallen on either side,
and at least one-half of the survivors of Almagro’s party were made
prisoners. Their young commander, who had performed prodigies of valour,
escaped unhurt to _Cuzco_, where, however, he was at once arrested, and
where, having been tried by a council of war, he soon shared the fate
which had befallen his father, meeting his death with the utmost

The governor’s next care was called for by the proceedings of Gonzalo
Pizarro, who had arrived at _Lima_, where he loudly complained that the
government of the country had not been placed in his hands on his
brother’s death. It was reported that he now meditated seizing the
capital; but against this De Castro took the prudent precaution of
detaching a force in that direction, whilst at the same time he required
Pizarro’s presence at _Cuzco_. Such was his tact and conciliatory
demeanour that the aggrieved chief found no opportunity for quarrelling,
and he thought it prudent to comply with the governor’s advice that he
should retire to his possessions in _La Plata_, where he occupied
himself to some purpose in working its mines of silver.

The authority of the crown being thus fully re-established, there was no
lack of subjects to occupy the governor’s attention. As was natural,
many of the cavaliers who had assisted him in the struggle now demanded
their reward. He was happy to rid himself of their importunities by
sending them on distant expeditions, some being in the direction of the
_Rio de la Plata_. But his chief concern was to establish laws for the
better government of the colony. He did not neglect the Indian
population, and established schools for Christian education. He invited
the natives to reside within the Spanish communities, and required the
_caciques_ to provide supplies for the wayside houses for travellers,
thus facilitating intercourse and removing pretexts for plundering. He
braved considerable odium by reducing the proportions of the
_repartimientos_ of Indians amongst the conquerors; but as his measures
were manifestly dictated by motives of justice, he was supported by the
general opinion of the community. Indeed, Vaca de Castro stands out in
most pleasing contrast to the military adventurers by whom he had been
preceded in _Peru_. With the disadvantage of being a civilian, unused to
arms or to military command, and being, further, on his arrival without
funds or troops, with the country before him in a state of anarchy, he
yet never quailed or shrank from his duty. He displayed not only the
tact and conciliatory disposition which might have been expected from
the circumstances of his selection, but further, high moral and personal
courage; and whilst he spared no pains to secure the interests of his
government and of his countrymen beneath his rule, it was his especial
honour to make the professions of his superiors in favour of the natives
not merely a declaration in words, but a reality in deed.

The spoils of the Peruvian empire, which had been so easily won by a
mere handful of Spaniards, were as easily dissipated in riotous living.
The provident arrangements of the _Incas_ on behalf of their subjects
were suffered to fall into decay. The granaries were emptied; the flocks
of _llamas_ were wantonly slaughtered; whilst the lives of the Indians
themselves were held so cheap that they were not only systematically
worked beyond their strength until they died, but were even occasionally
hunted by blood-hounds for the mere amusement of their conquerors. It is
almost unnecessary to add that for the young women of the country, from
the Virgins of the Sun downwards, there was no protection whatsoever.
The poor natives, destitute of food, and no longer warmed by the produce
of the fleece of the _llama_, wandered naked over the plains.

Yet fortunately there were not wanting in the colonies men who from time
to time raised their voices against the abuses and enormities of which
their countrymen were guilty, and made themselves heard even at the foot
of the throne. Nor must it be supposed that the enormities which have
been alluded to were in any way sanctioned by the emperor. It must be
remembered that the Spanish possessions in the New World were at an
immense distance from home, and that in those days the means of
communication were slow and irregular. It would therefore no more be
fair to charge upon the Spanish crown the responsibility for encouraging
or approving the caprices or pastimes of a set probably of the greatest
ruffians in the emperor’s dominions, than it would have been, in the
days before communication by steam and telegraph, to hold Her Majesty’s
Government responsible for the deeds of certain of Her subjects who were
early settlers in South Africa or Australia. The Government of Spain was
ever desirous to obtain information respecting the state of their
transatlantic dominions, and for this end relied not only on the regular
colonial officers of the crown, but from time to time deputed special
commissioners for the purpose of making inquiries. Yet even when
impartial inquiries were made and full reports written, all was not
done; for the Spanish Government was essentially a personal one, and the
emperor was very frequently absent from that kingdom.

[Sidenote: 1542.]

Fortunately, however, for the credit of his reign and for the existence
of his transatlantic subjects, he visited his ancestral dominions in the
Peninsula in the year 1542, when the condition of the colonies was
strongly pressed upon his conscience. In the same year a council of
jurists and theologians was convened at Valladolid to devise a system of
laws for the American colonies. Las Casas, who had emerged from his
cell, appeared before it, when he powerfully pleaded the cause of the
oppressed. He showed that, putting aside natural rights, unless the
Government should interfere, the native races must be gradually
exterminated by the systematic oppression of the Spaniards, and he
maintained that it was against the will of God to inflict evil on the
plea that good might come of it. His arguments, as might be expected,
were met by much opposition, some even of those who sympathized with him
deeming that his views were Utopian and impracticable. His eloquence,
however, dictated by the best of motives and based upon the foundation
of facts, in the end prevailed, and the result was a code of ordinances
for all the American colonies, some provisions of which had immediate
reference to _Peru_.

The natives of _Peru_ were declared vassals of the crown, and their
freedom as such was recognised; yet those of the conquerors who might
have become lawfully possessed of slaves might still retain them, though
at the death of their present proprietors they were to revert to the
crown. All slaves, however, should be forfeited by those who had shown
themselves, by neglect or ill-usage, unworthy to hold them. Those
likewise were to be free who were held by public functionaries, present
or past, by ecclesiastics and religious corporations, and by all who had
taken a criminal part in the feuds of Almagro and Pizarro. It was
further ordered that the Indians should be moderately taxed; that they
should not be compelled to labour where they did not choose to, or that,
if this were necessary, they should receive fair compensation. The
_repartimientos_ of land which were excessive should be reduced; and
where proprietors had notoriously been guilty of abuse of their slaves,
their estates were to be forfeited.

Taking into consideration the past troubles in _Peru_, and the necessity
for the crown being adequately represented there, it was resolved to
send a Viceroy to rule over that province. He was to be accompanied by a
royal audience, consisting of four judges, who should constitute a
council to the Viceroy, whose residence was to be at _Lima_. But it was
not foreseen that this sweeping legislation, which struck at the very
foundations of colonial society and property, might not be quietly
acquiesced in by the colonists. It raised, in point of fact, one of
those sudden storms which we have in our own time seen more than once
break over our Indian Empire on the announcement of some legislative
measure affecting the relations between Anglo-Indians and Asiatics which
was not to the taste of the former, and its results were such as
fortunately we have been so far spared in our own experience. When the
tidings reached the New World men were astounded, and saw before them
only the prospect of uncertainty or ruin. In _Peru_ in particular
scarcely one single person could escape being involved in the provisions
of some clauses of the new laws, if for no other reason than that the
whole Spanish population had on the one side or on the other taken part
in the struggle for mastery between the factions of Pizarro and Almagro.
The whole country was thrown into confusion; and loud were the
denunciations against the Government which had thus deprived at one
stroke the freebooters of so much of their ill-gotten spoil.

Nor did they stop at reproaches. There was but one step to menace. The
colonists had won their possessions with their swords, and they now
declared that by the same means they knew how to retain them. The
governor, Vaca de Castro, who had so admirably acquitted himself of his
duties hitherto, was now indeed placed in a trying situation. He was at
_Cuzco_, in the midst of a mixed population, and separated from _Lima_
and from the sea. He was appealed to by the colonists to protect them
against the tyranny of the court; but he did his best to dissuade them
from violent measures, prudently suggesting that they should send
deputies to lay their pleas respectfully before the crown. In his
present trying position, as in his previous conduct, he proved himself
an able and judicious man; but it was beyond his power to allay the
storm that had been raised, even although he suggested that the Viceroy
on his arrival might take it upon himself to postpone the execution of
the ordinances until after the receipt of further advices from Castile.

Such being the state of things, the discontented Peruvian colonists not
unnaturally turned their attention to Gonzalo Pizarro, the
representative of the conqueror under whose banner the country had been
won. Gonzalo was at this time at _Charcas_, the modern _Chuquisaca_, and
was busily engaged in exploring the silver mines of _Potosí_. He was not
discontented at the turn which things had taken, but was sufficiently
prudent to provide the means of warfare before rushing into action; and
while he did not discourage the malcontents, he was careful not to
commit himself. In the latter course he was confirmed by letters from
Vaca de Castro, whose prudent measures served at least to lull for a
time the troubled waters.

The new Viceroy at length arrived. Blasco Nuñez Vela was a handsome
cavalier of the years of discretion; but unfortunately he proved wholly
unequal to cope with the difficult situation before him. It was not
owing to any disapproval of the measures or proceedings of Vaca de
Castro that that officer now found himself superseded; but intelligence
of events travelled so slowly that the full success of his policy was
not at once apparent, and the Government of Spain thought they were
acting for the best in sending out as Viceroy a person unconnected with
the events that had passed. The Emperor at the same time wrote an
autograph letter to the ex-governor, in which he thanked him for his
services, and directed him, after having given his successor the benefit
of his experience, to return homewards to sit in the royal council.

[Sidenote: 1544.]

In January 1544 the Viceroy reached the Isthmus. Finding at _Nombre de
Dios_ a vessel laden with silver from _Peru_, and which was about to
depart for Spain, he lost no time in putting his new edict into
execution by laying an embargo on the ship as containing the product of
slave labour. He then crossed to _Panamá_, where he caused some three
hundred Peruvians to be liberated and sent back to their own country.
This proceeding, dictated though it was by a desire to put the new laws
into execution without a moment’s delay, was obviously calculated to
unsettle the colonial society to the last degree; nor would the Viceroy
listen to remonstrances on the subject even from the most experienced
persons. All this augured badly for the prospect of peace, and the
Viceroy’s progress to the seat of his government only brought matters
from worse to worse. On the 4th of March he arrived at _Tumbez_, where
his authority was proclaimed, the inhabitants being overawed by the
magnificence of his surroundings. Still continuing to exhibit the policy
which he had been sent out to initiate, and which with Castilian pride
he disdained to veil, he here liberated a number of Peruvian slaves.
From _Tumbez_ he proceeded by land towards the south, causing his
baggage to be carried by mules when practicable, or, if the services of
Peruvians were necessary for this purpose, he took care that they should
be duly paid.

It is not surprising that the whole country should have been thrown into
a state of consternation by the proceedings of the Viceroy.
“Indignation” meetings were called in the cities; and it was even urged
that the gates of _Lima_ should be closed against him, a course of
proceeding which was obviated by the remonstrances of Vaca de Castro.
The colonists now more than ever turned towards Gonzalo Pizarro, who
was, as time passed, ever in a better position to assume a leading part.
That chief had indeed much to render him discontented. His brother, the
first governor, had been assassinated at his post, and two others of the
five brethren had met a violent death in _Peru_. The fourth brother,
Hernando, was now a prisoner in Spain; whilst the new ordinances
sacrificed Gonzalo’s own position, since he had taken a leading part
against Almagro. From the previous proceeding of the Viceroy, since the
moment of his arrival on American soil, it was evident that he was a man
who marched straight towards the end he had in view, and that he would
no more spare Pizarro than he would any other of the offending

The unfortunate Gonzalo, who had so much to lose, and who had so
relentless a judge, was thus almost forced into rebellion. With a small
number of cavaliers, and well provided with silver, he repaired to
_Cuzco_, where he was saluted as the spokesman of _Peru_. The title of
Procurator-General was confirmed to him by the municipality, and he was
invited to proceed at the head of a deputation to _Lima_ to lay the
colonial grievances before the Viceroy. Pizarro, however, aimed at
playing more than a subordinate part. He demanded permission to raise an
armed force, in order that he might thus be in a position to urge his
views with greater weight. The municipality of _Cuzco_ at first
hesitated, but at length consented, and Gonzalo had conferred upon him
the title of Captain-General.

The Viceroy, as was to be anticipated, met with but a cold reception at
_Lima_, as he had along the route thither from the coast. At the capital
his first act was again to proclaim his determination to carry out the
new royal ordinances. He had no warrant to suspend their execution, but
he would join the colonists in a memorial to the Emperor asking the
repeal of a code in the advisability of which he no longer believed. At
this juncture Blasco Nuñez, however high may have been his intentions
and however good his principles, showed himself to be a man unfitted for
holding the extremely responsible position in which he was placed. All
right-minded persons will agree with him in the abstract justice of the
ordinances which he had been commanded to enforce; and we may still
further allow him time to arrive at the conclusion that the state of
things being such as it was, it was not expedient to carry the new
ordinances forthwith into application. Under these circumstances, a
great man, placed in the position of Viceroy, would certainly have taken
it upon himself to suspend the execution of the ordinances pending a
reference to the imperial authority: to act as did the Viceroy was to
give the moral weight of his judgment to the colonists, and to withdraw
it from the crown, whose representative he was.

As might have been expected, there was much murmuring at _Lima_, and
much communication was held between the different towns. Yet the Viceroy
never dreamed of flinching from his course, and even when informed of
the preparations of Gonzalo Pizarro, calmly relying on his authority,
sent him orders to disband his forces. The latter, however, continued
busily engaged in gathering together his army. He spared no efforts to
procure men and materials, employing natives both for forced labour and
for tributary levies. He not only expended his own resources, but
acting, as he said, in the public interest, did not scruple to
appropriate the funds in the royal treasury of _Cuzco_. By these means
he found himself at the head of a well-equipped force; but he was at the
same time disheartened by the desertion of some cavaliers of _Cuzco_,
who at the eleventh hour seemed to realize that they were on the path of
rebellion. At the same time he received intelligence of the
assassination of the _Inca_ Manco, who, in the coming struggle, might
have played the part of umpire.

The Viceroy now at length began to realize the gravity of his situation.
One after another of the officers whom he had despatched to arrest
Pizarro’s progress augmented the forces of that leader. Being thus
betrayed, he is not perhaps to be very much blamed if he now suspected
every one around him; but he should have acted on better grounds than
mere suspicion before he gave orders for the arrest of his predecessor,
Vaca de Castro. He had now recourse to negotiation, and despatched the
bishop of _Lima_ to Gonzalo’s camp. This measure not meeting with
success, the Viceroy prepared for war. He put the capital in a state of
defence, and gave orders for a general enrolment of the citizens. In the
meantime the judges of Audience, who had been left behind, arrived at
_Lima_. They had not given their consent to his action in _Panamá_, and
on arriving at the capital they recorded their disapproval of his
subsequent proceedings in every particular,--going even to the length of
discharging many persons who had been placed in prison by his orders.
Thus was the government no less in disagreement with its own component
parts than it was with the country under its rule.

What brought things to a climax was the violence of the Viceroy himself.
He had summoned to his palace late at night a cavalier of _Lima_, named
Carbajal, whom he suspected of conniving at the treason of certain of
his relatives. This imputation the cavalier indignantly repelled, and
high words ensued; the Viceroy struck him with his dagger, and the
attendants rushed in and despatched him. It was an unpremeditated
outburst and was quickly repented of; but no repentance could ward off
the detestation which it drew down upon the Viceroy. It was clear enough
that the people needed some other protector than the head of the
government, for none knew who might be the next victim to his temper.
Some were for trusting for protection to the Audience; but most men were
inclined to place themselves under Gonzalo Pizarro, who was now slowly
advancing towards _Lima_. The Viceroy felt the bitter consequences of
the position to which his rashness had reduced him. He had placed the
town in a state of defence, but he could no longer rely on his troops to
defend it. In this dilemma it occurred to him to quit the capital and
withdraw to _Truxillo_, about eighty leagues distant, sending the women
and the effects of the citizens thither by water. But the Audience here
interposed. Both he and they appealed to force. The judges and their
followers took the initiative; the Viceroy’s palace was entered; his
person was taken and placed in strict confinement.

The first act of the judges on assuming power was to declare the
ordinances suspended until instructions should be received from Spain.
It was likewise determined that one of their own body should return
thither, in charge of the captive Viceroy. But a more formidable enemy
yet remained to be encountered in Gonzalo Pizarro. He halted at _Xauxa_,
about ninety miles from _Lima_, where he was joined by numbers of the
citizens. The judges sent him an envoy to announce the revolution that
had taken place and the suspension of the ordinances. They pointed out
that since the object of his mission had thus been effected and a new
government appointed, it was for him to show a good example by
submitting to it, by disbanding his troops, and by withdrawing to his
estates. The envoy, however, was sent back to the judges with the answer
that Gonzalo Pizarro had been called to the government by the people,
and that should the Audience hesitate to deliver it to him, _Lima_ would
be given up to pillage.

After a little delay the judges saw that they had no alternative but to
yield where resistance was unavailing, and thus in October 1544 Gonzalo
Pizarro entered _Lima_ at the head of twelve hundred Spaniards and
several thousand Indians; and amidst the discharge of cannon and the
peals of bells he was proclaimed Governor and Captain-General of _Peru_
until his Majesty’s pleasure should be known--the judges administering
the oaths of office. Gonzalo’s first act was to secure the persons of
those who had taken an active part against him. They were sent into
banishment, and their estates were confiscated. He filled the government
of _Lima_ with his partisans, and sent adherents to the principal towns.
He caused vessels to be built, and brought his forces into the best
condition. The Audience existed now only in name. One judge had departed
with the Viceroy; another had become a tool in the hands of Pizarro; a
third was confined to his house by illness; and the fourth Gonzalo
proposed to send back to Castile, to place before the Emperor a
statement of what had occurred; but this last measure was not carried
out, owing to the vessel in which it was proposed that he should leave
having been otherwise employed.

The ex-governor, Vaca de Castro, having no mind to fall into the hands
of Pizarro, had bribed or otherwise persuaded the captain of the vessel
on board of which he was confined to set sail for _Panamá_. Thence he in
due course found his way to Spain. He had been previously recognized by
the Government as having done his duty zealously and ably; but meanwhile
he had fallen under the evil eye of his suspicious and autocratic
successor, and complaints against his conduct had preceded him. These
were ultimately declared groundless and futile; but in the meantime,
whilst his conduct was being investigated, he was detained during twelve
years a state prisoner--a strange manner of encouraging future Spanish
governors to do their duty! After this lengthy period of probation or
purgatory, it is satisfactory to read that the honours originally
destined for Vaca de Castro were at length conferred upon him. He took
his seat in the royal council, and during the remainder of his days
enjoyed the public consideration to which he was so well entitled.

[Sidenote: 1544.]

A strange surprise was now in store for Gonzalo Pizarro. The vessel in
which the Viceroy, Blasco Nuñez, had sailed, had not long left the shore
when Alvarez, the judge who had charge of him, presenting himself before
him, announced that he was no longer a prisoner. He informed him at the
same time that the ship was at his disposal. Blasco Nuñez eagerly
availed himself of the circumstance; for his proud spirit revolted at
the idea of returning home in disgrace. In an evil moment for himself he
decided once more to try his fortune in _Peru_. He determined to direct
his steps to _Quito_, and accordingly disembarked at _Tumbez_, where he
issued a manifesto denouncing Pizarro and his followers as traitors, and
calling on all true subjects to rally to the royal authority. Volunteers
came in at his call; but before he was in a condition to fight, he
received news of the arrival of one of Pizarro’s officers on the coast
with a superior force. He then made such haste as he could to _Quito_,
where he received the assurance of the support of Benalcazar, the
governor of _Popayan_, upon which he made a counter-march to _San

At _San Miguel_, which was situated on the high-road along the Pacific,
the Viceroy erected his standard, and in a few weeks he found himself at
the head of a force of about five hundred men; but meanwhile Pizarro had
not been idle. Being convinced that his only chance of ultimate safety
lay in his present success, he did not tamely watch the Viceroy’s
movements. Having left a strong garrison at _Lima_, he sent forward six
hundred men to _Truxillo_, whither he himself repaired. Thence he
marched to _San Miguel_, at which place the Viceroy would gladly have
met him had he not been compelled to yield to the wishes of his
adherents, who clamoured to be led into the upper country, where they
might hope to be reinforced by the commander of _Popayan_. Pizarro
arrived at _San Miguel_ to find the enemy gone, and he lost not a moment
in pursuing him. He reached the skirts of a mountain chain into which
the Viceroy had entered only a few hours before. It was late in the
evening, but Pizarro sent forward his lieutenant Carbajal with some
light troops to overtake him. Carbajal overtook the slumbering enemy
enveloped amongst the mountains at midnight. But one of his men had
incautiously sounded a trumpet, and the Viceroy and his followers thus
aroused poured a volley into the ranks of their pursuers, who were
thrown into confusion and forced to retreat.

Pizarro, greatly disconcerted at this miscarriage, again sent Carbajal
forward in pursuit of the Viceroy to retrieve his mistake. But the
latter had profited by the delay, and it was many days before he was
again overtaken. His baggage, however, fell into the hands of his
pursuer. He and his men had to snatch such sleep as they could with
their arms at hand and their steeds saddled beside them. At length they
reached the desert of _Paltos_, a quagmire intersected by numerous
streams, and which offered the most difficult passage for the weary and
half-starved horses. Nor did Pizarro and his men suffer less than the
Viceroy whom they were pursuing. It was a repetition of his trials on
the expedition to the _Amazons_.

At length Blasco Nuñez entered _Quito_, which place, however, he quickly
left, taking the road for _Pastos_, which was within the jurisdiction of
Benalcazar, on whose support he mainly relied. Soon after his departure,
Pizarro entered _Quito_, where he halted only long enough to refresh his
men. His advance guard, tired and powerless, came up with the rear of
the Viceroy’s force at _Pastos_; but the latter could not bring his
soldiers to reverse the position they had so long been accustomed to, by
attacking their pursuers. On the contrary, they profited by the
exhaustion of the enemy to hasten their retreat. Pizarro, thus thwarted,
did not care to trust himself further within the territories of
Benalcazar, and made a counter-march on _Quito_, where his troops found
time to rest, and where he received valuable reinforcements. Some of
these were, however, soon despatched under Carbajal to suppress an
insurrection which had broken out in the south.

[Sidenote: 1546.]

The Viceroy had now reached _Popayan_, but with only one-fifth of the
followers with whom he had begun his march, which had extended over two
hundred leagues, and which had been marked by sufferings rarely equalled
even in Spanish America. Still, however, when joined by Benalcazar, he
could muster four hundred men. Pizarro, anxious to bring the struggle to
a conclusion, had recourse to stratagem to effect this end. He himself,
with the greater portion of his force, quitted _Quito_, under a pretence
of joining his lieutenant in the south, but leaving a garrison in the
above-named city. On these tidings reaching the Viceroy’s camp, Blasco
Nuñez, quitting _Popayan_, moved rapidly on _Quito_, where, however, he
found himself confronted by Pizarro’s entire force, entrenched in a
strong position. In his endeavour to surprise Pizarro in his rear by
means of a night-march, he put himself at a fatal disadvantage, having
been misled by guides as to the distance to be traversed, and his men
being exhausted, he entered _Quito_, the inhabitants of which city had
declared themselves in favour of Pizarro.

In this emergency the Viceroy was recommended by his chief officer to
try the effect of negotiation; but his haughty Castilian spirit rebelled
at the notion of parleying with traitors. Calling his troops together,
he addressed to them a few courageous words before he led them forth to
fight on behalf of his king. The battle which ensued, as might be
expected, when both sides had staked their all on the issue, was a
desperate one. The cavalry, which was equally matched on either side,
met in deadly shock, and when their lances were shivered the cavaliers
fought with axe and sword. But the Viceroy’s horses, worn out by the
march of the previous night, were unequal to the work, and the victory
was not long in suspense. Blasco Nuñez and his followers, however, did
all that brave men could do, until he was at length overwhelmed by
numbers. His companions having fallen one by one, and he being wounded,
the stroke of a battle-axe caused him to fall from his horse. He was
then pointed out to the brother of Carbajal, the cavalier whom in a fit
of passion he had so rashly struck with his poniard at _Lima_. In this
unhappy situation the proud Viceroy’s career terminated by a stroke from
the sabre of a negro slave. Thus ended the decisive day, and Gonzalo
Pizarro was for the time being master of _Peru_.

This victory on the part of the colonists over the crown was looked upon
as finally sealing the fate of the obnoxious ordinances, and was the
cause of great joy throughout the country. Pizarro, for a time, rested
in _Quito_, where he and his followers enjoyed the excesses which in
those times usually succeeded excessive military privations and
fatigues. But Gonzalo was no longer merely a victorious soldier. Upon
him now rested the cares of state, for which, unfortunately, he was
fitted neither by education nor by natural powers. He rewarded his
followers by grants of land, and made various provisions for the welfare
of the natives; but he does not seem to have entertained the idea of
establishing an independent authority, since he was careful to collect
the dues belonging to the crown. Indeed he urged upon the colonists so
to conduct themselves as by their behaviour to bring about a revocation
of the hated ordinances. In July 1546 he left _Quito_ for the south, and
was everywhere received with enthusiasm. At _Lima_ he was met in
triumph, the archbishop, with three other bishops of that place, riding
by his side; while to crown his good fortune, he at the same time
received the intelligence of the success of his arms in the south. From
_Quito_ to _Chili_ his authority was undisputed, while the mines of
_Potosí_ supplied him with a kingly revenue. Had he been a man of as
much force of character as a politician as he had proved himself to be
as a military leader, he was now in a position to have founded a dynasty
of Pizarros in _Peru_. Every Spanish soldier throughout the land obeyed
him; the colonists looked on him as their champion; whilst he was no
less the master of the fleet on the _Pacific_. No hostile force coming
from Spain could encounter him until it should have rounded the Straits
of _Magellan_ or forced a passage across the primeval forests of
_Brazil_. Yet the youngest Pizarro lacked the moral courage which till
this supreme moment of its fortunes had never failed his upstart house;
and the result was that, instead of anticipating the colonial revolution
by two centuries and a half, he who had gone too far to hope for any
safety save in defiance, determined to submit himself to Spain. The
result was that, without sending a fleet through the Straits of
_Magellan_ or an army through the forests of _Brazil_, Pizarro was
conquered by the address of one man, whose services the Emperor was
enabled to command in this dire emergency. That man was the President




The aged lieutenant of Gonzalo Pizarro, Carbajal, gave him perhaps the
wisest advice when he urged him to renounce his allegiance; pointing out
that in point of fact he had already done so, since he had encountered
the Viceroy in battle, slain him, and assumed his authority. He had no
favour or mercy to expect from the crown, and had but one course before
him, to proclaim himself king, supported as he was by the troops and the
people. He advised him likewise to unite himself in marriage to the
female representative of the _Incas_. But Gonzalo Pizarro, though he had
fought against the Viceroy for what he deemed his own rights and the
rights of others, was still at heart loyal to the crown. The course he
determined to adopt was the halting one of sending an embassy to Spain,
to vindicate his proceedings, and to ask a confirmation of his authority
in succession of his brother as Viceroy of Peru. Meanwhile news had
reached the mother country of the disorders proceeding in that land. The
Spanish Government heard with dismay of the effect produced by the
promulgation of the ordinances and of the unyielding conduct of the

In 1545 the prince afterwards known as Philip II., then regent of Spain
during the absence of his father, called together a special council to
deliberate on the measures to be pursued for the purpose of restoring
order in _Peru_. The difficulties to be encountered in the way of
suppressing the rebellion by force naturally presented themselves to the
conclave, and it was accordingly resolved to endeavour to bring about an
arrangement by conciliatory measures. A full pardon was to be granted to
all such colonists as should make their submission, and due steps were
to be taken to make them perceive that it was to their interest, as it
was their duty, to return to their allegiance; and fortunately a man was
found to carry out this policy whose single agency was of more avail
than that of a fleet or an army. Pedro de la Gasca was of the
ecclesiastical profession, but had nevertheless borne arms. He had
filled with distinction several civil offices in Spain, and his
discretion no less than his ability pointed him out for the position of
agent to the crown in _Peru_, one of the most responsible missions ever
confided to any individual. Gasca seems indeed, according to the
estimate of all writers of history, to have been a model of
character--courteous in demeanour but firm in his course, as beseemed a
man who was strong in his rectitude of purpose. The choice made by the
prince and his council was immediately ratified by the Emperor, who
wrote to Gasca an autograph letter confirming it.

Gasca at once accepted the mission proposed to him, merely stipulating
for powers sufficient to admit of its full success. The powers which he
demanded were indeed so great that the ministers had not the authority
to grant them; but on an appeal to the Emperor, who was by this time in
Flanders, they were at once conceded. Gasca, now armed with greater
authority than had ever hitherto been entrusted to a vassal of the
Spanish crown, set sail for _Peru_ early in 1546, under the title of
President of the Royal Audience.[N] So modest was his train that only
three thousand ducats were expended in equipping him. Under the above
title he was placed at the head of every department in the colony. He
indeed had the warrant to exercise the same powers as the Emperor
himself; since he might declare war, appoint to all offices, and pardon
all offences. He was, however, to proclaim at once the revocation of the
obnoxious ordinances, and he might banish from _Peru_ such ecclesiastics
and others as might not be reached by the temporal authority. He had
unlimited orders on the treasuries both of _Panamá_ and _Peru_, and was
furnished with letters to the chief authorities requiring their support.
The Emperor and his advisers were safe in confiding these unbounded
powers on a single-minded man, whose only worldly ambition was the
bishopric which was held out to him, and which he declined to accept
until he should have returned after fulfilling his mission.

In July of the above-mentioned year Gasca landed in the New World, where
he was met by the intelligence of the defeat and death of the Viceroy
and of the absolute supremacy of Gonzalo Pizarro. In this perplexing
situation he steered his course with undeviating prudence and consummate
skill. At _Nombre de Dios_ he presented himself before the trusted
partisan of Pizarro, to whose care that place had been committed, not
with the military surroundings befitting the all-powerful _alter ego_ of
the Emperor, but as a humble ecclesiastic to whose admittance there
could be no objection. Never probably in the course of history has the
subtle effect of the sentiment of loyalty been more remarkably
manifested. There was nothing in the appearance of Gasca or of his
humble retinue to attract especial attention; yet no sooner was his
mission known than Pizarro’s trusted officer was at his feet placing his
powers in his hand. Once within the stronghold of the enemy, Gasca’s
moral influence was forthwith felt. In contact with his singular
powers--not those of mere oratory, but based on the foundation of the
highest moral and secular authority,--the position of the officer who
merely held his office in virtue of an order from the rebel Pizarro was
at once untenable. Indeed Mexia does not seem to have made the slightest
effort at impeding the progress of the President, who had with him the
consolatory balm of pardon for all repentant rebels.

This first step gained was everything for the mission of Gasca. His
advent was announced not, as had been that of the late Viceroy, as a
despoiler of the colonists and a stern enforcer of obnoxious decrees. On
the contrary, he came as a messenger of peace and conciliation, bearing
an unheard-of admission on the part of the crown in justification of the
colonists,--since the ordinances were repealed,--and granting full
pardon for past offences to all such as should again declare themselves
loyal subjects. Indeed Mexia, like Gonzalo Pizarro himself, and like
most of his followers, had found himself a rebel owing to accidental
circumstances and certainly not by design; and he was only too glad to
avail himself of so unexpectedly favourable an opportunity of
extricating himself from the disagreeable position into which
circumstances had led him. Gonzalo, by rejecting the advice of his
lieutenant Carbajal, had failed to bind all his followers to himself by
the common tie of their being compromised rebels.

Having thus acquired so important an ally on land, the next step of the
sagacious President was to obtain the command of Pizarro’s fleet of
twenty-two vessels which lay in the harbour of _Panamá_. It was under
the command of Hinojosa, an officer high in the confidence of Pizarro,
and who was as loyal to him as was compatible with his supreme loyalty
to his sovereign. But Pizarro was now destined to find that the same
arts which had been employed to corrupt his own loyalty to the crown
might again be made use of to seduce others from their loyalty to him.
Mexia was employed by the President for this purpose. In the conflict
of duties which were claimed from him on either side, Hinojosa asked to
be allowed to see the powers of the President, and he likewise inquired
whether they gave him authority to confirm Pizarro in the post he held.
The President evaded the question; whereupon Hinojosa sent to Pizarro to
acquaint him with his arrival and with the object of his coming.

But from the moment when Gasca had received a favourable opportunity for
stating his mission, his success was practically assured, carrying with
him as he did such ample moral force and such intellectual capacity to
wield it. The same vessel which bore to Pizarro the news of his advent,
carried likewise a Dominican who had been entrusted by Gasca with
manifestoes proclaiming the glad tidings of the abolition of the
ordinances, and of a free pardon to all rebels who should return to
their obedience. The President likewise sent letters to the prelates and
to the civic corporations. In short, the whole discipline, civil and
ecclesiastic, in which the Spaniard of the day had been trained, was at
once called into the service of the man whose singular ability proved
him to be more than able to cope with the Dictator of _Peru_, who
directed its civil government and commanded its army and fleet.

Gasca meanwhile calmly awaited the results of the measures he had
adopted, and his courtesy and intelligence did not fail to have their
due effect upon those with whom he was thrown into contact. Several
cavaliers of _Panamá_, as well as officers of the squadron, offered him
their services, and with their assistance the President was enabled to
open communication with the Spanish authorities in _Guatemala_ and
_Mexico_, whom he required to abstain from holding any communication
with the insurgents in _Peru_. By these means he acquired powerful
allies for the Spanish Government. Lastly, he prevailed on the governor
of _Panamá_ to supply him with a ship, in which he despatched a letter
from the Emperor to Gonzalo Pizarro, and likewise one from himself. The
former was couched in the most conciliatory terms, making every
allowance for the difficult circumstances in which the rebel chief had
been placed, and throwing the blame on the Viceroy. In his own letter
the President significantly remarked that the circumstances which had
led Pizarro into his present position no longer existed, since all that
the colonists had required when they appealed to arms was now conceded;
it only remained, therefore, to show their loyalty by resuming their
dutiful obedience. Should the contest be further prolonged, it would be
open rebellion against the crown, without the pretext of an excuse; and
against bringing about such a struggle the President invoked Pizarro’s
sense of honour and duty. These important despatches, with others, were
entrusted by the President to an adherent on whom he could rely, and who
was likewise charged to distribute further manifestoes.

Some months passed away whilst Gasca and the governor of _Panamá_ still
awaited the decisive reply from _Peru_. Indeed Pizarro’s situation was
such as to make him hesitate. He was still comparatively a young man,
being forty-two years of age, and he found himself in the most dazzling
position which any Spaniard not born in the purple could hold, and to
which, moreover, he fancied he had a right as being the successor of his
brother. Were he to resign this he would not only lay down that
position, but he would put himself in the absolute power of another,
before whom he would doubtless be charged with crimes that might be held
to cancel the offers of pardon for past offences conveyed to him by the
Emperor and the President. He had learned with no small apprehension the
coming of the latter; but he was so simple as to be misled by the
unostentatious manner in which the President had made his appearance. He
ignored alike his personal qualities and the moral force which he
represented. Having before him two plain roads, either of which might
have led him into safety, if not into the ultimate realization of his
ambition--that is to say, being free to choose either to make his
submission to the President, or to appeal to arms against the crown,--he
took the half-way course of keeping the President at a distance whilst
he should meanwhile send an embassy to Spain to vindicate his past
proceedings and solicit a confirmation of his authority, a course which
could not but lead to his ruin.

Gasca was meanwhile put off by a letter, signed by seventy of the
principal citizens of _Lima_, expressing their regret that he had
arrived too late, and their opinion that, should he now continue his
journey, his presence would only be the signal for the renewal of
disturbance. But the result of Pizarro’s embassy to Spain was widely
different from that which he had anticipated. No sooner had his
ambassador, Aldana, been admitted into the presence of the President at
_Panamá_ than the embassy was at an end. The envoy now for the first
time learned the full powers of the President, and likewise the full
nature of the concessions made by the crown to the colonists. The
ambassador, though sincerely devoted to Pizarro, instantly showed the
example of submitting to the crown, whilst he wrote to his chief at
_Lima_ earnestly counselling him to do likewise. This example was
followed by Hinojosa, the governor of _Panamá_, by whose submission
Pizarro’s fleet was placed at the disposal of Gasca. On November 19th,
1546, Hinojosa and his officers, having delivered up their commissions,
received them back from Gasca on taking the oath of allegiance.

Possessed of _Panamá_ and the fleet, Gasca could now afford to take more
active steps. He raised men and collected supplies, taking care that the
soldiers were duly paid. He had no difficulty in obtaining loans on
credit, and he made use of his powers to summon assistance from
_Guatemala_ and _Mexico_. Much good-will was shown on all sides in
getting his expedition ready; but up to the latest moment the President
employed every means in his power to induce Pizarro, ere it should be
too late, to make his submission to the crown. With this object he sent
in advance Aldana, with four ships, to the coast of _Peru_, with
authenticated copies of his commission to be delivered to Pizarro. That
chief, who as yet but dimly discerned the effect which was being slowly
but surely produced by the proclamation of Gasca, called his councillors
to aid him in determining what reply should be sent, or what course
adopted, in reference to the letters of the Emperor and the President.
His two chief advisers were Carbajal, a warrior of fourscore years, and
Cepeda, a lawyer who had come out to the New World as one of the
Audience of the late Viceroy. The former, with the wisdom of years,
clearly discerned the nature of the situation and advised his master
accordingly; but the lawyer, knowing as he did that he had appeared in
arms against the Viceroy, whom he had been sent out to advise, trembled
at the situation in which he should find himself were Pizarro to yield,
and therefore used all his skill in persuading him to adopt a defiant
course. Unfortunately for all concerned, his counsel prevailed.

It was not long after the departure of the messenger of Gasca, by whom
Pizarro had sent back the rejection of his terms, that the latter
received news of the defection from his cause both of the governor of
_Panamá_ and of his ambassador to Spain; and these unwelcome tidings
were followed by certain indications that they were but the precursors
of similar defections from his cause in other quarters. In fact, he was
enveloped by a cloud of enemies in which quarter soever he might look.
Gonzalo Pizarro, however, though wounded by the desertion of his friends
on whom he had relied, yet, having thrown in his lot with the rebels who
should adhere to him, determined to trust to the hazard of the die. He
summoned his captains to his aid, reminding them of their obligations,
and that their interests were identical with his own. He enforced levies
in the capital, and soon saw himself at the head of a thousand men. He
was supported by the veteran warrior Carbajal, and literally no money
was spared in equipping his army. It was a desperate cause; and Pizarro
and his men were reckless. There was a prevailing impression that his
cause was a losing one, and consequently defections from his ranks were

The squadron under Aldana (Pizarro’s ambassador to Spain) was now off
_Callao_, the commander having been welcomed at all the ports of _Peru_
at which he had landed, receiving at the same time numerous promises of
assistance on the part of those who were nominally Pizarro’s officers.
Aldana, who had no rival ships to oppose him, caused copies of the
President’s manifestoes to be circulated amongst the citizens of _Lima_,
and they were not long in producing their effect, for indeed few persons
there had been aware of the full powers entrusted to Gasca. The only
general thought was for each one to secure his own safety. It was a case
of _sauve qui peut_. Some escaped to the forests; some took refuge with
the fleet; and others, essaying to escape, did not succeed in doing so,
but fell into the hands of the subordinates of Carbajal, from whom they
had little to hope. In this dilemma, Pizarro, seeing that whilst he
should remain at _Lima_ every day would add to the desertions from his
cause, resolved to occupy _Arequipa_, where, however, owing to the
frequent desertions, he found that his force did not muster more than
five hundred men.

[Sidenote: June 1547.]

Pizarro and his forces having quitted _Lima_, the gates of the city were
forthwith opened to Aldana, as the forerunner of the President. Gasca
himself, however, had sailed from _Panamá_ on April 10th, 1547. He
encountered a stormy voyage, during which he displayed his habitual
coolness and perseverance. In due time his storm-battered vessels
arrived at _Tumbez_, where he was received with open arms; indeed
thenceforth he was master of the situation, and had only to instruct his
officers to execute his orders. He made his way towards _Xauxa_, where
he was later joined by reinforcements from all quarters. On his arrival
there the war was, in point of fact, to all appearance terminated, for
he found advices to the effect that Gonzalo Pizarro was hemmed in on
every side. In reply to the offers of service which he received, he had
given a general rendezvous of _Caxamalca_, to which place he despatched
Hinojosa with the soldiers at his disposal, with orders to take command
of the levies and to join him at _Xauxa_. He then proceeded towards the
same place by way of _Truxillo_. The President now found himself in
sufficient strength to counter-order the force which he had summoned to
his assistance from _Guatemala_ and _Mexico_.

[Sidenote: 1547.]

Meanwhile Pizarro had come to the determination to evacuate _Peru_ and
fall back upon _Chili_, which territory was beyond the jurisdiction of
the President. But the passes lying on his route were held by Centeno
with a force greater than his own, and who had declared for the
President. Centeno had been his subordinate officer, and he tried, in
the first place, the effect of negotiation. This, however, leading to no
result, he marched against his force, which was encamped on Lake
_Titicaca_. On October 26th the hostile forces met. Pizarro’s troops
were about half as numerous as those of his opponent, his cavalry only
numbering one-third of the horsemen opposed to him; but this inequality
was compensated for in that of the opposing leaders. Whilst Centeno was
so ill as to be compelled to delegate the command of his troops to
others and to await the result off the field in a litter, his opponents
were under the skilled leadership of Pizarro and Carbajal. Pizarro
himself commanded the cavalry, placing himself at its head in a
gorgeously-decorated suit of mail, which made him the most conspicuous
object on the field.

Having arrived within firing distance of each other, the veteran
Carbajal, deeming his situation favourable, resolved to halt and to
receive the enemy’s attack. The experienced officers on either side saw
that their advantage lay in keeping back, but whereas the trained
musketeers on Pizarro’s side were under the immediate control of the
veteran by whom they had been drilled, the impetuous soldiers of Centeno
were not only without his restraining voice, but were further urged on
by a senseless friar, who, forgetting that he was not in the pulpit,
took upon himself to declare, in the words of ancient Scripture, that
the Lord had delivered the enemy into their hands. His exclamation was
premature, but it had the effect of urging Centeno’s soldiers forward
and of bringing them within the full force of the opposing fire.
Carbajal restrained his men until their antagonists were within a
hundred yards of them. The volley which was then fired decided the day.
Two hundred men are said to have fallen at the first discharge, which
was followed by a second. On the other part of the field, where the
cavalry contended, the result was different. Centeno’s horse being
vastly superior in number, rode down their opponents, and Pizarro
himself, though performing everything that skill and valour could
effect, was compelled to spur his charger out of the scene of struggle.
He was pursued, and had to defend himself in single combat until he was
rescued by some of the men of Carbajal. The victorious cavalry tried
again and again in vain to break the flank of Carbajal’s arquebusiers.
The victory remained with Pizarro, who, with his followers, sat down to
the feast which had been prepared in their opponents’ tents. It was
estimated that more than two-thirds of Centeno’s men were killed or
wounded; he himself escaped by flight. After this victory, Pizarro,
being now recruited by considerable numbers, resolved to make his way
to _Cuzco_, where he was received by the inhabitants in triumph, and
where he resolved for the present to establish his quarters.

As might be expected, the unlooked-for news of Pizarro’s victory at
_Huarina_ fell like a thunderbolt on the court of the hitherto
successful President. Gasca, however, was careful to put a good face on
his disappointment, whilst he lost no time in adopting such measures as
were best calculated to repair the disaster. Taking advantage of his own
superiority of force, he resolved to march without delay against his
opponent. He had before him a difficult and dreary march, but in its
course he was cheered not only by the assurance that Pizarro’s victory
had not had the effect of dispiriting the country, but also by the
arrival in his camp, from various quarters, of several distinguished
captains--of Benalcazar, the conqueror of _Quito_; of Valdivia, with
laurels fresh from the conquest of _Chili_; and of Centeno, who had
escaped through the forest and _sierra_, and who, restored to health,
was burning to retrieve his late mischance.

[Sidenote: 1548.]

It was the spring of the following year when Gasca mustered his forces
for the final march on _Cuzco_. He now had two thousand men, which, it
must be remembered, was a larger number than any European force that had
hitherto been assembled in arms in _Peru_. They were commanded by
Hinojosa. The first obstacle of importance which that officer had to
encounter was the passage of the river _Apurimac_, one of the most
considerable tributaries of the _Amazons_, and the bridges over which
had been destroyed by order of Pizarro. Gasca, however, being apprised
of this, had sent forward to select a suitable spot from which to throw
a bridge across the stream, which was found at _Cotopampa_, whilst
materials for a like purpose were laid down at two other points with a
view to misleading the enemy.

The officer sent on in advance to _Cotopampa_ had received positive
commands to delay the actual construction of the bridge until he should
be in sufficient strength to carry it through forthwith to completion;
but he was so zealous that he took it upon himself to disregard his
orders and to set about the operation at once. The bridge itself was to
be one of those structures common in the Northern _Andes_, formed of
cables of osier, thrown from side to side of the bank, and across which
planks are laid. As such a bridge is swayed to and fro or upwards and
downwards by the tramp of men, by burdens being borne across it, or by
the wind, it is apt to inspire a feeling of insecurity both on the part
of the traveller and on that of the onlooker from the shore, but it is
in reality quite as safe a means of transit as is many a more solid
structure. Gasca having heard with alarm that the work was going on,
hastened his march in order to support his officer; but ere he had
reached the river, information was brought to him that the enemy had cut
the cables on the opposite bank. Valdivia was accordingly sent forward
with two hundred men, whilst the main body hurried its pace. That
energetic officer, on reaching the stream, at once procured some native
boats, by means of which he passed his men over to the other side. He
being now in considerably greater force than Pizarro’s men, the latter
retreated with all speed to _Cuzco_, to report the affair to their

Pizarro meanwhile, like the typical soldier of fortune of that age, had
been enjoying the hour of sunshine, forgetful of the past, and not too
much troubled about the future. Although no one ever questioned his
leadership, he was not a leader to dispense with counsel; and his two
chief advisers were still Cepeda and Carbajal. The advice he had of late
received from each seems to have been the reverse of that which they had
respectively given him when it was a question of the terms in which he
should reply to the letters of the Emperor and of Gasca. Whilst Carbajal
on the one hand now advised him to abandon _Cuzco_ and retreat to the
mountains, leaving an impoverished city behind him, he was urged by
Cepeda on the other hand to make terms with the President. But Pizarro
rejected either advice. He was, in fact, determined to stand the hazard
of the die. The fortune which had stood his friend under the desperate
circumstances in which he had been deserted by Orellana on the
_Amazons_, and which had lately come to his rescue against enormous odds
in his late engagement, might still stand him in good stead.

But in fact his fortune in these later times was in the sagacious advice
and experience of Carbajal. It was the forethought and skill of that
veteran that had won the victory of _Huarina_, and had Pizarro now
listened to his voice he might still have continued lord of _Peru_. When
the tidings came that the enemy were across the stream, the veteran saw
that the moment had arrived which was to decide the struggle. He felt
that he was the man to profit by the opportunity, and he pleaded with
his commander to be allowed to go forward to the scene of action. In an
evil hour for himself Pizarro refused his request, saying that he could
not spare him so far away. Meanwhile the work of the bridge was rapidly
pushed forward, and long ere the young cavalier who had been put in the
place of Carbajal had reached his destination, the President’s force was
in a position to defy him.

There was now only a question of the choice of a spot on which the final
battle was to be fought. Pizarro determined to abandon _Cuzco_ and to
await his opponents in a valley five leagues distant. Even at this
moment the President, having crossed the _Andes_ and the river
_Apurimac_, and being in force greatly superior to that of his
antagonist, showed his utter absence of personal ill-feeling towards the
latter, and also perhaps his appreciation of the difficulties which had
brought him into his present position, by giving him one last chance of
safety. By an emissary of his own he renewed the assurance of pardon to
Pizarro in case he should lay down his arms and submit. Such at least
is the statement of two Spanish historians, and it is in accordance with
the character of the President. At length, on the morning of the 8th of
April, the two opposing forces came within sight of each other. The
numbers on either side were the reverse of large according to our ideas
of the present day; but numbers do not always denote the importance of a
battle, and we should remember that a similarly small European force at
_Plassey_ decided the fate of Hindostan. It may be remarked that the
native Peruvians, for the most part, espoused the cause of Pizarro.

The President wisely left the conduct of the battle to his military
officers, who were perfectly competent for the purpose, and he showed
his habitual good sense in withdrawing, with his priests and civilians,
out of the immediate range of action. The commanders on his side,
Hinojosa and Valdivia, were a match for the military skill of Carbajal;
and Pizarro himself had more in him of the daring, dauntless cavalier
than of the strategic leader. As he had faced the situation with all its
consequences plainly set before him, resolving fully to abide them, we
cannot bestow much sympathy upon him in his present plight, though we
must admire his unshaken courage and constancy. At the decisive moment
of his fate he had taken the advice of Cepeda in resisting, in
opposition to that of Carbajal; and it was the wretch Cepeda who now
betrayed him by galloping over to the enemy in the face of both armies.
But this act, although it was contagious, perhaps did Pizarro no
considerable harm, for his fate was already sealed.

The leaders on either side gave the word for the advance; but the humane
President, anxious to spare the shedding of blood, ordered his men to
halt, since the rebel host from its frequent desertions was evidently
falling to pieces. The Spaniards on Pizarro’s side deserted him in
various directions; some went to seek pardon from the President ere it
should be too late; others made for the mountains. Pizarro himself,
seeing that there was but one thing for him to do, gave up his sword to
the first officer of rank whom he encountered, and by him he was
conducted into the presence of the President. The latter, we are told,
inquired severely why he had thrown the country into such confusion? why
he had revolted? why he had slain the Viceroy? why he had usurped the
government? and finally, why he had refused the repeated offers of
grace? On his reply, in which he attempted to justify himself, he was
ordered into close confinement. Thus terminated the culminating
encounter between the royal forces and those of Pizarro, in which the
latter on the plain of _Xaquixaguana_, like those of the Assyrian of
old, though “unsmote by the sword,” yet “vanished like snow.”

Gasca, having sent an officer to _Cuzco_ to restrain the excesses which
were to be expected, had next to concern himself with the trial of
Pizarro and of Carbajal. It was of course a mere form, since they were
taken in the act of opposing the royal forces in arms; and there could
be no question of mercy, since they had both failed to avail themselves
of the offers of the royal clemency repeatedly made. They were
accordingly executed; Carbajal, who is said to have been eighty-four
years of age, receiving his fate with the utmost indifference, and
Pizarro meeting death with the dignified courage which he had ever
shown. The estates of both were confiscated. It is satisfactory to add
that the traitor Cepeda, though his head was not placed upon the block,
yet was not allowed to go free. The President was indeed urged to send
him to execution, since it had been by his advice that Pizarro had first
refused the offers of grace; but Gasca refrained from doing so on
account of the service which Cepeda had rendered the royal cause by his
opportune desertion. He was accordingly sent a prisoner to Spain, where
he was tried for high treason: during the progress of his trial he died
in prison. It may be of interest here to remark that the fate which
attended so many of the conquerors of _Peru_, spared neither Centeno,
Hinojosa, nor Valdivia, the three foremost leaders on the side of the
President, all of whom were soon afterwards cut off. The President
thought it sufficient, in the interests of justice and of example, to
execute Acosta and three or four other cavaliers who had surrendered
with Pizarro. He then broke up his camp and marched to _Cuzco_.

On his arrival at the late capital of the _Incas_, Gasca had before him
the task of winding up the affairs incident to the rebellion. Some dozen
cavaliers, having been tried and condemned, were executed, whilst others
were sentenced to minor punishments; but on the whole, considering the
dimensions of the rebellion and the obstinacy of the insurgents in
refusing grace, the President certainly does not seem to have acted with
undue severity: a stern example was needed. He had now to apportion the
rewards that were due to his followers, who, as usually happens in such
cases, were not bashful in claiming them. Retiring from _Cuzco_ to a
neighbouring valley, attended only by the Archbishop of _Lima_ and by
his secretary, Gasca now devoted three months to a patient examination
of the respective claims laid before him, and to elaborating a fair
scheme of compensation.

This heavy task completed, the President could now retire to _Lima_,
leaving his written decision with the archbishop, to be by him
communicated to the army. The effect produced by the document on those
respecting whose interests it was to decide, was of course one of
disappointment. Each man valued his own services at his own price, and
all were displeased at the fancied unfair preference given to others. It
required some trouble and even some examples on the part of the
commander at _Cuzco_ to repress the tumult of discontent thus
occasioned. Gasca was received by the inhabitants of _Lima_ not only
with the manifestations of loyalty which were his due as representing
the crown, but likewise with every demonstration of gratitude and
affection. His entry into the city was, however, strictly in the
character of a priest and civilian, and no way in that of a warrior.

At _Lima_, the capital, a fresh series of business awaited him, for he
had now to devise a new government to replace that of Pizarro; but being
himself _facile princeps_ in affairs, and being accompanied by able
judges, he was enabled soon satisfactorily to despatch an immense amount
of business. Nor were the natives neglected, the President devoting his
sedulous attention to bettering their condition. He did not omit to send
his own agents into different parts of the country, to inspect the
allotments and ascertain the manner in which the Peruvians were treated,
taking their statements from themselves. As the result of the
information thus obtained, Gasca and his council drew up a system of
taxation for the Peruvians, which might be a standard of appeal. He did
not see his way to relieving them, under present circumstances, from the
obligation of personal service, which proposed measure had indeed been
the cause of the recent rebellion; but he was careful to provide that
their service should be less burdensome than that which they had endured
under the sway of the _Incas_. Their condition, in short, though not in
all respects such as philanthropy might wish, was put on as good a
footing as colonial exigencies might admit of. Indeed all the firmness
of the government was needed to admit of the new regulations being
peacefully acquiesced in.

Gasca likewise introduced reforms into the municipal government of the
cities; and by financial and other arrangements placed the
administration of the colony on such a basis as might afford a fair
field for his successors to work on. He had been fifteen months in
_Lima_ and nearly three years in _Peru_; and his work being now
accomplished, he was able to turn his face toward Spain, with the
satisfaction of having been enabled to pay off the loan he had
contracted for the war, exceeding nine hundred thousand _pesos_. He had,
moreover, saved a million and a half _ducats_ for the Government. The
President Gasca had indeed proved himself fully deserving of the
confidence which had been reposed in him by the Emperor and his
advisers. He was a rare instance even amongst the best governors or
statesmen of any country or of any period--one who, like General Gordon
in our own time, was unconventional and utterly indifferent to the
allurements of wealth, or indeed to any other call but that of honour
and duty. Before his departure one more instance of his purity of
character--if one were needed--was afforded. The Indian _caciques_,
conscious of the benefits which he had rendered their people, and
conscious also of the value which all Spaniards hitherto had placed upon
the precious metals, offered him a large amount of gold plate in token
of their gratitude. On Gasca’s natural refusal to accept it, the poor
_caciques_ feared they had fallen under his displeasure. This is not the
instance referred to. A number of the colonists, no less grateful for
the same reasons, wished to show their esteem in a like manner, and made
up a purse for the President of fifty thousand _castellanos_. There
could be no harm, they said, in his accepting this on leaving, as it
could not be offered with a view to induce favour for the future. When
the President returned it, the colonists, without his knowledge,
concealed twenty thousand _castellanos_ on board his vessel, which sum,
on his arrival in Spain, not wishing to offend them by returning the
donative, he distributed amongst the most needy relatives of the donors
whom he could discover.

[Sidenote: 1550.]

In January 1550 the President embarked for _Panamá_, being followed to
the shore by crowds of persons of all ranks and ages, who were alike
anxious to render him this last mark of their esteem. In March he was
enabled to convey his treasure across the Isthmus, and arrived in safety
at _Nombre de Dios_. There he equipped a fleet of nineteen vessels to
transport himself and the royal treasure to Spain. Four years had
elapsed since his departure from Seville. So delighted was every one,
from the highest to the lowest, at the complete success of his mission,
that Gasca was summoned to attend the Emperor at Flanders, where, after
profuse acknowledgments of sincere imperial gratitude, he received the
only material worldly reward agreeable to him, in the shape of the
bishopric of Palencia, at which place he passed the remainder of his

     NOTE.--Chapters VI., VII., X., and XI. of vol. I. are founded on
     “The History of the Conquest of Peru;” by William H. Prescott.
     Bentley. 1850.

     On “The Spanish Conquest in America;” by Arthur Helps. John W.
     Parker & Son. 1855.

     On “History of America;” by William Robertson.

     On “_Histoire des Etablissemens des Européens dans les deux
     Indes_;” par Raynal (Abbé G. F.)

     On “Life of Pizarro;” by Sir Arthur Helps. 1869.

     On “_Historia general del Peru_;” Garcilasso de la Vega.

     On “_Relacion de los descabrimientos de F. Pizarro y D. de
     Almagro_;” Navarrete, vol. V.

     And on “_History of the New World_;” by Girolamo Benzoni.




The Araucanians inhabit the delightful region between the _Andes_ and
the sea, and between the rivers _Bío-bío_ and _Valdivia_. They derive
the appellation of Araucanians from the province of _Arauco_. They pride
themselves on being called by a native word which signifies “the free.”
As a race they are rather tall, muscular, and well proportioned. Their
complexions are of a reddish brown, but clearer than that of other
native Americans. Their round faces are animated by small eyes full of
expression. They have scarcely any beard, and the little hair which
grows on their faces is carefully removed. Their women are delicately
formed, and many of them are very handsome. Such are their good
constitutions, and so healthy is their mode of life, that they live to
advanced age, and seldom begin to feel its infirmities before sixty or
seventy. They are intrepid, animated, and patient in the endurance of
fatigue. Enthusiastic lovers of liberty, they are jealous of their
honour, courteous, hospitable, and faithful to their engagements; they
are likewise grateful for services, and generous and humane towards
their vanquished. These fine qualities are, however, shared by them with
others of an opposite nature, namely, ignorance, and a proneness towards

The Araucanians clothe themselves in short garments, as being best
suited for war. Their dress is made of wool, and consists of a shirt, a
vest, short trousers, and a cloak or _poncho_ similar to that worn
throughout South America. The prevailing colour of their garments is
turquoise blue. Their _ponchos_ are of fine texture, and ornamented with
coloured figures of flowers and animals wrought with much skill. They
wear on their heads bands of embroidered wool, and round their bodies a
girdle of the same material. The women are clad with much modesty and
simplicity, their dress being entirely of wool, and consisting of a
tunic, a girdle, and a short cloak. They live in scattered villages by
the banks of rivers or in easily-irrigated plains. They have strong
local attachments, each family preferring to live on the land inherited
from its ancestors, and of which they cultivate a portion sufficient for
their subsistence.

The political division of the Araucanian state is regulated with much
intelligence. It is divided from north to south into four governments,
called respectively the maritime country, the plain country, the foot of
the _Andes_, and the _Andes_. Each government is divided into five
provinces, and each province into nine counties. The state consists of
three orders of nobility, each being subordinate to the other, and all
having their respective vassals. They are the _Toquis_, the
_Apo-Ulmenes_, and the _Ulmenes_. The _Toquis_, or governors, are four
in number. They are independent of each other, but confederated for the
public welfare. The _Arch-Ulmenes_ govern the provinces under their
respective _Toquis_. The _Ulmenes_ govern the counties. The upper ranks,
generally, are likewise comprehended under the term _Ulmenes_. The badge
of the _Toqui_ is a battle-axe. The _Apo-Ulmenes_ and the _Ulmenes_
carry staves with silver heads, the former having a ring of the same
metal round the middle of the staff. These various dignities are
hereditary in the male line, and proceed by primogeniture.

The code of laws obtaining amongst the Araucanians is primitive, being
no more than unwritten usage. They have for their object the
preservation of liberty and of the established form of government. The
subjects are not liable to a levy or to any kind of personal service,
except in time of war; neither are they liable to be called upon to pay
contributions to their chiefs. The love of liberty is so ingrained in
the people that they cannot endure despotism, and they therefore oppose
any attempt to extend the power of their rulers. Whenever the grand
council determines to go to war they proceed to the election of a
commander, to which dignity the _Toquis_ have the first claim. The
general is for the time being dictator, the other authorities taking the
oath of obedience to him. On making war, messengers are despatched to
the confederate tribes to inform them of the steps taken. The _Toqui_,
or commander, directs the number of soldiers to be furnished by each
government, and as each Araucanian is a soldier by birth, an army of
five or six thousand men is raised without difficulty. The cavalry are
armed with swords and lances; the infantry with pikes or clubs. Strange
to say, this race of warriors had not acquired from their Spanish
neighbours the art of making gunpowder, at least up to the beginning of
the present century.

The Araucanians acknowledge a Supreme Being, the Universal Ruler; and
they are all agreed in the belief of the immortality of the soul. Their
year, which is solar, begins on the 22nd of December, corresponding to
the same day of June in northern latitudes. The year is divided into
twelve months, of thirty days each; and in order to complete the
tropical year, they intercalate five days. They have, as in Europe, four
seasons. The Araucanians cultivate successfully rhetoric, poetry, and
medicine. They are polygamists, celibacy being considered as
ignominious. Their principal food consists of grain and pulse. Indian
corn and potatoes are much esteemed by them. The latter vegetable has
been cultivated by their ancestors from time immemorial. They use but
little animal food or fish, although their rivers abound with the
latter. Their usual drink is beer or cider, and they are extremely fond
of wine. Their games are numerous and ingenious, and it is a fact worthy
of notice, that amongst them is the game of chess, which was known to
these warriors before the advent of the Spaniards. It is called
_comican_, whilst their game of _quechu_ has a great similarity to

[Sidenote: 1550.]

The Araucanians having resolved to send succours to the inhabitants of
_Panco_, gave orders to their _Toqui_ to set out forthwith to their
assistance with four thousand men. In the year 1550 their general passed
the _Bio-bio_, which river separates the Araucanian territory from that
of the _Pancones_, and offered battle to the invaders. After the first
discharge of musketry the Araucanians fell on the front and flanks of
the Spaniards, who, forming themselves into a square, received their
furious attacks with their accustomed valour, many falling on either
side. The battle lasted for several hours, Valdivia having his horse
killed under him. The Spaniards were thrown into disorder; but the
Araucanians at length withdrew from the field on their general Aillavalu
being slain. Valdivia, an experienced soldier, declared that he had
never been exposed to such imminent danger, and he showed his respect
for the valour and skill of his opponents by constructing a strong
fortification, in expectation of a further attack.

No sooner were the Araucanians informed of the death of their general
than they sent into the field a still more numerous army under the
command of Lincoyan. In the following year the new _Toqui_ marched
against the Spaniards, who took shelter under the guns of their
fortifications. Lincoyan, however, was a commander of the stamp of
Fabius, and, finding his first attack unsuccessful, ordered a
precipitate retreat--to the great surprise of Valdivia. So unexpected a
result was ascribed to St. Iago, who was seen during the fray mounted on
a white horse and armed with a flaming sword. But this miracle, adds
the candid ecclesiastical historian[O] from whom we quote, is not
entitled to the greater credit from its having been so frequently

[Sidenote: 1552.]

Valdivia being now freed from the terror of the Araucanians, applied
himself with great diligence to building the new city, where he intended
to establish his family. In the division of lands he reserved for
himself the peninsula lying between the mouths of the rivers _Bio-bio_
and _Andalien_. The city progressed rapidly, and he employed himself in
regulating its internal police. His statutes discover much prudence and
humanity respecting the treatment of the natives. Believing that the
Araucanians were now daunted, he resolved to take the initiative in
attacking them; and with this intention, in the year 1552, he passed the
_Bio-bio_ and proceeded to the river _Canten_. At the confluence of this
stream with the _Damas_ he founded another city, to which he gave the
name of _Imperial_.

Carried away by his unopposed successes, he now displayed the customary
liberality of the Spanish conqueror in disposing of the property which
did not belong to him. Supposing that he had vanquished the most valiant
nation of _Chili_, he assigned to his followers the surrounding
district. To Villagran, his lieutenant, he made over the province of
_Maquegua_, with thirty thousand inhabitants. Other officers obtained
from eight to twelve thousand natives, with lands in proportion; whilst
Alderete was despatched with sixty men to form a settlement on the shore
of Lake _Laquen_. To this was given the name of _Villarica_, from the
quantity of gold found near it. Valdivia himself, still undisturbed by
the Araucanians, continued his march towards the south, where he founded
his sixth city, which he called _Valdivia_, being the first Spanish
conqueror who thus sought to perpetuate his name. This settlement,
which, like _Imperial_, enjoyed but a brief existence, is now only
represented by its fortress.

Valdivia, satisfied with his acquisitions, retraced his steps, and on
his return march erected a fortress in each of the three provinces of
_Puren_, _Tucapel_, and _Arauco_. Without reflecting on the enormous
extent of country which he had to defend with so small a force, he on
his return to _St. Iago_ despatched Aguirre, with two hundred men, to
conquer the provinces of _Cujo_ and _Tucuman_ on the eastern side of the
_Andes_. In the province of _Encol_ Valdivia founded his seventh and
last city, to which he gave the name of the _City of the Frontiers_, an
appellation which, although he could not have foreseen it, is singularly
applicable to the position of its ruins to-day, situated as it is on the
frontier of _Chili_ and the _Argentine Republic_. On his return to
_Conception_ he sent Alderete to Spain with a large sum of money and an
account of his conquests. He was to solicit for him in return the
perpetual government of the conquered country, with the title of Marquis
of _Arauco_.

Whilst Valdivia was employed in maturing his extensive plans, which
included the opening up of a direct communication with Europe by way of
the Straits of _Magellan_, there was a leading mind at work on the side
of the Araucanians with a view to thwarting the schemes of the governor
of _Chili_. An aged _Ulmen_ of the province of _Arauco_, named Colocolo,
having quitted his retirement, traversed the Araucanian provinces,
inciting his countrymen to zeal towards the deliverance of their
country. As a practical step towards this end, he implored them to make
choice of a new general to replace the dilatory Lincoyan. The age and
experience of Colocolo gave him weight with his countrymen; and,
accordingly, the _Ulmenes_, who were already of his opinion, assembled
to deliberate concerning the election. There were many competitors for
the office of general; but all at length concurred in the selection of
Colocolo, which fell upon the _Ulmen_ Caupolican, an officer whose
subsequent career fully justified the choice.

The new general having assumed the axe which was the badge of his
authority, immediately appointed as officers to serve under him each one
of his competitors, and even his predecessor. The Araucanians had such
confidence in their new _Toqui_ that they clamoured to be led at once
against the Spaniards; but their chief repressed this ardour until they
should be in a suitable condition to meet them in the field. When they
were so, he commenced his operations by a stratagem which was suggested
by an accident. A party of eighty natives, allies of the Spaniards, were
conducting forage to the neighbouring post of _Arauco_. For these, who
fell into his hands, Caupolican substituted a similar number of his own
men, whom he directed to keep their arms concealed in the bundles of
grass, and to take possession of the gates of the fortress until he
should come to their assistance. The stratagem succeeded so far that the
guard was surprised and disarmed. The remainder of the garrison,
however, succeeded in driving out the Araucanians and raising the
drawbridge just as their countrymen approached. The fortress was then
attacked, but unsuccessfully, when Caupolican determined to reduce the
place by famine.

After several sallies, the Spaniards resolved to abandon the fort and to
retire to _Puren_. Caupolican having destroyed this fortress, led his
troops to attack that of _Tucapel_, the commander of which likewise
retreated to _Puren_. This fort was also destroyed. No sooner had
Valdivia, who was at that time in _Conception_, learned of the siege of
_Arauco_, than he marched upon that place with such forces as he could
muster. On approaching within a short distance of the enemy’s
encampment, he sent forward Diego del Oro to reconnoitre with ten
horsemen. This detachment falling in with a party of Araucanians, were
all slain and their heads were suspended to trees. The Spanish
soldiers, on arriving at the spot, were so filled with horror at the
unlooked-for spectacle, that they were anxious to return. Their
commander, too, felt some misgiving at having disregarded the advice of
some of his senior officers, who had dissuaded him from advancing; but
he nevertheless continued his march, and on the 3rd of December 1553
came in sight of the enemy’s camp.

[Sidenote: 1553]

The two armies continued for a long time to observe each other. At
length Mariantu, who commanded the right of the Araucanians, moved
against the left of the Spaniards, who marched to meet him. This
detachment was surrounded and cut in pieces, as was another which was
sent to its assistance. The action soon became general, both sides
displaying equal valour, and having an equally brave example in their
respective commanders. The Araucanians, notwithstanding the slaughter
made amongst them by the firearms of the enemy, continued to supply with
fresh troops the places of those who were slain. At length, after a
great loss, they were thrown into confusion and began to give way,
notwithstanding the heroic exhortations of their leaders.

It was at this crisis that a young hero appeared upon the scene in the
person of Lautaro, an Araucanian youth of sixteen years of age, whom
Valdivia had formerly taken prisoner and caused to be baptised and made
his page. Lautaro, quitting the Spaniards, loudly reproached his
retreating countrymen, and exhorted them to continue the combat, as
their opponents, spent with fatigue, were no longer able to resist them.
At the same time grasping a lance, he led the way to victory, which at
once declared itself for the Araucanians. Of the Spanish army only two
escaped. These were Promaucians, who concealed themselves in a
neighbouring wood.

Valdivia, seeing that all was lost, had retired with his chaplain to
prepare for death. He was, however, pursued and taken, and was brought
before Caupolican. He pleaded humbly for his life, promising solemnly to
quit _Chili_ with all his followers. Lautaro interceded for his life,
which the Araucanian general was disposed to grant; but whilst he was
deliberating on the subject, an aged _Ulmen_, who had taken the measure
of Spanish good faith towards natives, was so enraged to hear the talk
of mercy that he lost his self-control. Calling out that they must be
mad to trust the promises of an enemy who would laugh at his oaths so
soon as he was free, he despatched Valdivia with a blow from his club.
Caupolican was exasperated at this proceeding, but it was applauded by
the majority of his officers. Thus fell the conqueror of _Chili_, a man
endowed, unquestionably, with a great mind and with superior powers of
organization and of governing, as well as with excellent military
talents. The modern Chilians may look back with satisfaction upon the
founder of their State as on one whose name is unstained by the horrible
cruelties towards the natives which attach to the memories of the
conquerors of _Peru_. Even at the time of the outbreak after the
settlement at _St. Iago_, it is to Valdivia’s credit that he merely cast
the ringleaders into prison. Pizarro would have ruthlessly burned them.

This victory was celebrated, as may be supposed, with great rejoicings
on the part of the Araucanians. When these were over, Caupolican, now
arrayed in the armour of Valdivia, presented the young Lautaro to the
national assembly as his lieutenant, and who was in future to command a
separate force. Meanwhile Lincoyan fell in with a party of fourteen
Spaniards, coming from _Imperial_ to the assistance of Valdivia. Of
these seven alone escaped to carry, severely wounded as they were, the
news of the rout of Valdivia’s force to the fort of _Puren_. The
inhabitants of that place and of the _City of the Frontiers_ upon this
retired to _Imperial_. The people of _Villarica_, for their part,
retired to _Valdivia_, thus leaving only two places to be attacked by
the Araucanians. Caupolican determined to besiege them, and committed to
Lautaro the care of defending the northern frontier. The latter, with
this view, fortified himself on the mountain of _Mariguenu_, on the road
to _Arauco_, and which has on its summit a large plain dotted with

Meanwhile the two Promaucians, who alone had escaped from the Spanish
rout, had reached _Conception_, filling that city with consternation.
The command now devolved upon Villagran, who, after making the necessary
preparations, commenced his march for _Arauco_. He crossed the _Bio-bio_
without opposition, but soon after encountered, in a narrow pass, a body
of Araucanians, by whom he was stoutly opposed. After a three hours’
fight, however, they were defeated, and withdrew towards the summit,
where Lautaro’s camp was pitched. Three troops of Spanish horse were
ordered to clear the difficult passage, and after great labour arrived
within a short distance of the summit. They were, however, received with
an incessant shower of stones and arrows; whilst the Araucanians were at
the same time exposed to a hot fire from musketry and from six
field-pieces. The mountain was covered with smoke; but Lautaro, in the
midst of the noise and confusion, did not lose his presence of mind.
Perceiving that the advantage of the Spaniards lay in their
field-pieces, he directed Leucoton, one of his bravest officers, to take
possession of them, telling him not to show himself again until he
should have done so. That brave warrior, being supported by a
simultaneous attack by Lautaro, succeeded in capturing the whole of the
cannon. The Spaniards, being thrown into disorder, took to flight,
leaving, as is said, three thousand dead upon the field.

Villagran himself narrowly escaped being made prisoner; but it was owing
to his desperate exertions to clear the pass during the retreat that any
survived of his unfortunate army. The Araucanians lost on their side
about seven hundred men. They were too exhausted to pursue the Spaniards
far. On reaching _Conception_, Villagran, deeming it impossible to
defend the place, placed the old men, the women and children, on board
of two ships which were in the harbour, with orders to the captains to
take them to _Imperial_ or to _Valparaiso_. With the remaining
inhabitants he set out by land for _St. Iago_. Lautaro, having crossed
the _Bio-bio_, found _Conception_ deserted. It rewarded his army with a
great booty, the result of its commerce and mines, and which the
citizens had no time to remove. Having burned the houses and razed the
citadel, the youthful victor returned in triumph to _Arauco_.

The commanders of the cities of _Imperial_ and _Valdivia_, both of which
were closely besieged by Caupolican, demanded succours of Villagran,
who, notwithstanding his late losses, was still in a position to send
them a sufficient number of troops for their defence. Under these
circumstances, the Araucanian general, despairing of gaining possession
of these places, retired with his forces to join Lautaro. Villagran
taking advantage of the retreat of the enemy, ravaged the country in the
neighbourhood of _Imperial_, to which place he transported all the
provisions that remained. To these calamities of war was at this time
added pestilence. In the above-mentioned incursions made by Villagran,
some Spanish soldiers conveyed for the first time to the Araucanians the
terrible contagion of small-pox, which made enormous ravages amongst
them. It is said that in one district, containing twelve thousand
persons, not more than one hundred escaped with life.

[Sidenote: 1555.]

Whilst the duty of opposing the Araucanians demanded all the efforts and
attention of Villagran, that officer was on the point of being compelled
to turn his arms against his own countrymen. Valdivia had left behind
him written instructions, to be opened in the case of his death. By
these his succession devolved in turn on Alderete, Aguirre, and
Villagran. The first being absent in Europe, and the second in _Cujo_,
the command, as has been said, was assumed by Villagran. Aguirre,
however, on learning the death of Valdivia, quitted _Cujo_, and with
sixty men returned to _Chili_, determined to possess himself of the
government. Civil war was on the point of breaking out; but with more
self-control and self-denial than was usually to be found amongst
Spanish conquerors, both aspirants agreed to submit their respective
pretensions to the Royal Audience of _Lima_. This court, which had at
this time jurisdiction over the whole of South America, left at first
the question in abeyance, but on reflection confirmed Villagran in the
command, ordering him at the same time to rebuild _Conception_. This
measure was carried out by him in opposition to his own judgment.

The natives of the country, indignant at the renewed prospect of a
foreign yoke, had recourse to their protectors, the Araucanians, who
sent to their assistance two thousand men under the command of Lautaro.
The young general passed the _Bio-bio_ without delay, and was met by the
Spanish force in the plain. On the first encounter, the citizens, struck
with panic, returned to the fort with such precipitation that the
Spaniards entered with them, killing a great number. The remainder
dispersed either on board ship or into the woods, finding their way as
best they could to _St. Iago_. Lautaro again burned the city and
returned to his usual station.

The successful result of this enterprise induced Caupolican once more to
undertake the sieges of _Imperial_ and _Valdivia_; whilst Lautaro, on
his part, engaged to make a diversion by marching against _St. Iago_. In
order to carry this project into execution, he selected but six hundred
men out of all who pressed to join his standard. With these he traversed
the provinces lying between the _Bio-bio_ and the _Maúle_, carefully
respecting the property of the natives. When he had passed this latter
river, however, he devastated the lands of the Promaucians, who were
attached to the Spanish interest. He then fortified himself in an
advantageous post on the _Rio Claro_, with a view to gaining information
respecting the city he proposed to attack. This ill-timed delay gave
breathing space to the inhabitants of _St. Iago_, who could not at first
believe in the reality of Lautaro’s advance. Villagran, being at this
time on the sick list, delegated the command in the field to his son,
whilst he himself proceeded to fortify the city as well as circumstances
might permit. Pedro Villagran attacked the Araucanians in their
intrenchments, but was entirely routed, his cavalry alone being enabled
to save themselves. Undismayed, however, by this experience, he returned
three times with fresh troops to the attack, being each time repulsed
with loss. He then encamped his army in a meadow, which gave the
Araucanians the idea of inundating it at night by means of the branch of
a stream. This design, however, was betrayed to the Spaniards, who
retired to _St. Iago_ in time to prevent its execution.

[Sidenote: 1556.]

The elder Villagran was now in a condition to take the field, and was
earnestly besought to do so by the inhabitants of _St. Iago_, who every
moment saw Lautaro at their gates. He at length began his march with
about two hundred Spaniards and a thousand natives. Proceeding
stealthily by the sea-shore after having quitted the main road, he was
guided by a spy at break of day towards the Araucanian encampment.
Lautaro, taken by surprise, hastened to the intrenchments, but was
pierced to the heart by a weapon hurled by one of the native
auxiliaries. On this unexpected event the fortifications were attacked
on all sides, and the Araucanians, after an obstinate resistance, having
declined all terms of surrender, were cut to pieces to the last man.

This signal victory was celebrated by successive three days’ rejoicings
in _St. Iago_; but the Spaniards, when once relieved of their terror,
were sufficiently generous to render a just tribute to the merits of the
Araucanian hero, who, at the early age of nineteen, had made them
tremble for the safety of their Chilian Empire.

     NOTE.--It is to be noted that whilst Molina spells that country
     _Chili_, Ovalle, like him a Chilian, spells the name _Chile_. The
     etymology of the word, according to the latter writer, in so far as
     I understand him, is derived from the south wind; but this may
     refer to the name of the Southern Sea. He is not very clear in the
     passage in question.--OVALLE, Book i. chap. xiv.




On learning the death of Lautaro, Caupolican gave up the siege of
_Imperial_ and returned with his army to defend the frontiers of
_Araucania_ from the renewed invasion which he foresaw. When the news of
the death of Valdivia had reached Spain, the government of _Chili_ had
been confided to his agent Alderete, who had likewise placed under him
six hundred regular troops. On his passage outwards, a light, used by
his sister for the purpose of reading whilst in bed, was the means of
the ship taking fire, not far from _Porto Bello_. So complete was the
disaster that of the entire number Alderete, with three soldiers, alone
escaped. He died soon afterwards in the island of _Tobago_ in the Gulf
of _Panamá_.

[Sidenote: 1557.]

The Marquis of Canete, Viceroy of _Peru_, appointed to the vacant office
of governor of _Chili_ his son _Don_ Garcia de Mendoza, giving him at
the same time a sufficient body of troops for the purpose of bringing to
a termination the Araucanian war. A general recruitment took place
throughout _Peru_, where, the civil war having been for some time at an
end, there was a considerable desire for further military adventure.
Mendoza and his force of infantry embarked on board of ten ships, whilst
the cavalry pursued their way by land under the command of _Don_ Garcia
Ramon. The fleet arrived in the Bay of _Conception_ in April 1557, and
anchored near the island of _Quiriquina_, where the inhabitants were
unable successfully to oppose them. Some of these having been captured
in endeavouring to effect their retreat to the mainland, the new
governor sent two or three of them to the Araucanians with news of his
coming and with proposals for a lasting peace.

The _Ulmenes_ met in council to deliberate as to what steps should be
taken. On the advice of the aged Colocolo it was resolved to give the
Spanish governor a hearing, and a suitable person was chosen who should
proceed as envoy for this purpose. Millalauco was received by the
Spaniards in such a manner as to impress him with their power and
grandeur, but the proud chief contented himself with assuring _Don_
Garcia of the pleasure that he and his people would feel in the
establishment of an honourable peace, towards which he said he was
induced by motives of humanity. The envoy was entertained with all
possible consideration, and was afterwards conducted over the camp. He
observed everything with an outward appearance of utter indifference,
and on his return advised his countrymen to prepare for immediate war.

_Don_ Garcia, however, passed the winter in the island, awaiting the
arrival of his cavalry from _Peru_. At length, on the night of the 6th
of August (corresponding to our February), he landed one hundred and
thirty men on the plain of _Conception_, and took possession of Mount
_Pinto_, which commands the harbour. Here he constructed a fort, in
which he placed a large number of cannon. On learning what had taken
place, Caupolican hastily collected his troops and passed the _Bio-bio_
three days later. On the following morning, at daybreak,--the famous
_St. Quintin’s_ Day--he attacked the fortress upon three sides, having
previously filled up the ditch with trunks and branches of trees. The
attack was furious, but it was withstood by skilful hands directing
cannon and musketry. The Spaniards on the island, perceiving the danger
of the besieged, came over to their aid. Caupolican sent a part of his
troops against them; but, after a combat of several hours’ duration,
they were forced back to the mountain, thus leaving the Araucanians
between two fires. Exhausted with fatigue, they had now to withdraw to
the _Bio-bio_. It was the intention of Caupolican to renew his march
towards _Conception_, but meanwhile he learned that the Spanish cavalry
had arrived, and thus he had reluctantly to forego the hope of repeating
the feat which had been twice performed by Lautaro.

_Don_ Garcia was now in a position to assume the offensive. When his
army had rested, he crossed the _Bio-bio_ in boats, within sight of
Caupolican, who was unable to obstruct his passage. That general awaited
him in a position flanked by woods, which might be of advantage to him
in case of defeat. The first skirmish was favourable to the Araucanians;
but when the two armies met, they were not able to advance in the face
of the fire of the Spanish musketry, and after many ineffectual
attempts, they were forced to fall back in confusion and to take refuge
in the woods. The Spanish general adopted cruel measures towards his
prisoners, even permitting his native allies to mutilate them in his own
presence. Amongst those taken on this occasion was one named Galverino,
whose hands _Don_ Garcia ordered to be cut off. On his return to his
countrymen in this condition, they were so inflamed against the
Spaniards that they swore to put to death any one who should propose

The Spanish army now penetrated into the province of _Arauco_, but never
being left in peace by the enemy. The general put to torture several
natives in order to get information of Caupolican, but failed to obtain
knowledge of his place of retreat. He had not long, however, to wait
before seeing him, for he very soon afterwards appeared with his army in
three lines. When the Spanish cavalry charged the first, it was
received by Caupolican, who gave orders to his pikemen to meet with
levelled spears the attack of the horse, whilst the mace-bearers should
strike at their heads. Whilst the cavalry were thus thrown into
confusion, the Araucanian general broke into the centre of the infantry,
being ably supported by Tucapel at the head of another division. Victory
seemed to await the Araucanians, when _Don_ Garcia gave orders to his
reserve to attack the remaining division of the enemy, who were thus in
turn thrown into such confusion that Caupolican was forced to sound a

The Spanish general celebrated his victory by causing twelve _Ulmenes_,
who were amongst his prisoners, to be hanged, after which he proceeded
into the province of _Tucapel_, where, in the locality where Valdivia
had been defeated, he founded a city, which, after the titular
designation of his family, he called _Canete_. He then returned to
_Imperial_, where he was received in triumph. From _Imperial_ he sent to
_Canete_ a plentiful supply of provisions; but the convoy was routed by
a body of Araucanians in the pass of _Caucupil_. Many of the convoy,
however, escaped to _Canete_, which place was shortly afterwards
assaulted by Caupolican. After an attack of five hours, he had, however,
to desist from the enterprise, when he resolved to fall back upon

Selecting one of his officers named Pran, he persuaded him to introduce
himself into the garrison as a deserter, where he formed an acquaintance
with a Chilian in the service of the Spaniards. This individual, to whom
Pran prematurely divulged his design of introducing some Araucanian
soldiers into the place, betrayed his project to the Spanish commander,
who directed him to keep up the deception in order to take the enemy in
their own snare. The principal officers of the Araucanians, when
informed of the intention of their general, not only openly disapproved
of it, as bringing disgrace on the national character, but further
declined to have anything to do with carrying it into execution.
Caupolican, however, at the appointed time, set out for _Canete_ with
three thousand men, and duly fell into the trap prepared for him. When
half of his force had entered, the Spaniards suddenly closed the gate,
commencing at the same time a fire of grape-shot upon those without,
whilst the cavalry, who had issued from another gate, were prepared to
complete their destruction. Meanwhile those within the fortress were
butchered to a man. Caupolican escaped with a few attendants to the

[Sidenote: 1558.]

After this disastrous repulse, _Don_ Garcia had some right to come to
the conclusion that the Araucanian war was now practically over, and he
therefore ordered the city of _Conception_ to be rebuilt. He further
resolved to distinguish himself as a conquering explorer by marching
into the country of the _Cunches_, who had not been opposed to the
Spanish arms. The elders of this people deliberated in council as to the
manner in which they should receive the strangers, and were advised by
an Araucanian exile who was present to impress the Spaniards with an
idea of their poverty. “As vassals,” said this sagacious man, “you will
be despised and compelled to labour; as enemies you will be
exterminated. If you wish to free yourselves of these dangerous
visitors, make them believe that you are miserably poor.” Acting on this
advice, the _Cunches_ sent envoys, clad in miserable rags, to compliment
the Spanish general, and to present to him an offering consisting of a
basket containing some roasted lizards and some wild fruits.

The device succeeded so far as to convince the Spaniards of the poverty
of the _Cunches_; but _Don_ Garcia could not all at once give up his
plan of exploration. Seeking a guide from the envoys, he was given one
who had instructions to conduct his army along the coast by the most
desolate roads. So well did this individual fulfil his instructions that
the Spaniards, who were accustomed to the most fatiguing routes, were
forced to acknowledge that they had never encountered such difficulties
before. To add to their trouble, during the fourth day’s march they were
deserted by their guide, they being at the time in a desert beset by
precipices. They were, however, constantly encouraged by their
commander, and, overcoming all obstacles, they reached a high mountain,
from which they could discern the great archipelago of _Chiloë_.

This unexpected prospect filled them with delight. They had suffered
from hunger for days; but on hastening to the shore they were well
received by the natives, who approached them in their boats and offered
them an abundant supply of provisions. All were now provided gratis with
maize, fruit, and fish; and the Spaniards had an opportunity of coasting
the archipelago to the Bay of _Reloncavi_ and of visiting some of the
neighbouring islands. Amongst these explorers was the poet Ercilla, who
marked on the bark of a tree on the southern side of the gulf the date
of its discovery, February 28th, 1558.[P] Satisfied with his
explorations, _Don_ Garcia de Mendoza now set out on his return, taking
one of the islanders as his guide, who conducted him safely by another
less difficult route to _Imperial_. On his way he founded the city of
_Osorno_, which, owing to its manufactories of woollen and linen stuffs,
as well as to the fine gold procured in its neighbourhood, rose rapidly
into importance.

Whilst Mendoza was absent on this expedition, Alonzo Reynoso, the
commander of _Canete_, distinguished himself by an act of singular
infamy even amongst the Spanish proceedings of the age. He had spared
neither offers of reward nor the application of torture in order to
discover the hiding-place of Caupolican. Having at length found a native
who was amenable to one or other of these influences, he despatched
under his guidance a detachment of cavalry, who succeeded in surprising
the veteran general. It was not, however, until a gallant resistance
from ten of his devoted followers that he consented to surrender--much
to the indignation of his wife, who threw towards him his infant son,
calling him at the same time a coward for not preferring to die on the
spot. The distinguished prisoner was conducted before Reynoso, who
immediately ordered him to be impaled, and in this condition to be
despatched with arrows.

Caupolican, on hearing his sentence, quietly pointed out that his death
could answer no possible end save that of inflaming the inveterate
hatred of his countrymen against the Spaniards; that, should his life be
spared, he might be serviceable in the interest of the Spanish sovereign
and of religion, which the Spaniard declared was the sole object of this
destructive war; but that if it were determined he should die, it would
be better that he should be sent to Spain, where his end might not be
the means of causing fresh disturbances in his country. His arguments
were lost upon Reynoso, who, however, was considerate enough to furnish
him with the services of a priest. After his pretended conversion and
subsequent baptism he was conducted to a scaffold for execution. On
seeing the instrument of punishment, the nature of which he now for the
first time comprehended, and the negro who was to act as executioner, he
was enraged to such a degree that by a furious kick he hurled the latter
from the scaffold, exclaiming with dignity, “Is there no sword and some
less unworthy hand to put to death a man like myself? This is not
justice; it is base revenge.” He was, however, seized by numbers and
compelled to undergo the punishment which has consigned Reynoso’s name
to infamy alike amongst Spaniards and Araucanians.[Q]

The predictions of Caupolican were soon verified. Fired by unbounded
rage, the Araucanians at once proceeded to elect a new _Toqui_, who
should avenge their unfortunate general. The choice fell upon his son,
who, collecting an army, crossed the _Bio-bio_ with the intention of
attacking _Conception_. He was met by Reynoso with five hundred men,
when a fierce combat took place, in which the Spaniards were entirely
defeated. Reynoso, who was wounded by Tucapel, was able with a few
horsemen to repass the _Bio-bio_. A second attack made by him on the
Araucanian camp met with no better success. The Araucanians now learned
that _Don_ Garcia had quitted _Imperial_ with a large body of troops and
was laying waste the neighbouring provinces, upon which their young
general renounced the siege of _Conception_ and hastened to their
assistance. On his way he was unexpectedly attacked by two hundred
horsemen in ambush. He not only, however, escaped without loss, but cut
in pieces a great part of his assailants, pursuing the rest to
_Imperial_, to which place _Don_ Garcia had returned.

_Imperial_ was besieged with much vigour; and the young Caupolican,
unwarned by the experience of his father, endeavoured to seduce the
loyalty of the Spaniards’ auxiliaries. His two emissaries were, however,
discovered and impaled within sight of his army, whilst one hundred and
twenty of the auxiliaries were hung upon the ramparts. This, however,
did not discourage the Araucanian general, who made a violent assault in
which his life was exposed to great danger. He even effected an entrance
into the city by night, followed by Tucapel and others, but he was
repulsed by _Don_ Garcia, whose vigilance was present everywhere, and he
owed his safety to a bold leap from the bastion. He wanted patience for
the slow prosecution of the siege; and he therefore resolved to abandon
it, and employ his arms against Reynoso, in the hope of avenging the
death of his father. That officer, however, being joined by Mendoza, was
in a position to thwart his attempts. It may be remarked, as a feature
of this war, that Reynoso had before this agreed to submit the question
between himself and his opponent, Millalauco, to the issue of single
combat. The duel took place, but without either combatant obtaining the

The following campaign was marked by several encounters, some of them
favourable to the Araucanians, who, however, saw their numbers fast
decreasing before the firearms of their enemies, whilst the Spaniards,
on the other hand, were constantly recruited from _Peru_ and from
Europe. Caupolican therefore intrenched himself between _Canete_ and
_Conception_ at a place called _Quipeo_. _Don_ Garcia immediately
marched thither to dislodge him. Whilst he delayed his attack in the
hope of drawing the Araucanians from their strong position, several
skirmishes took place, in one of which Millalauco was made prisoner.
This fearless warrior, regardless of his situation, severely reproached
the Spanish commander with his cruelties, of which he was about to
furnish another conspicuous example, being ordered by Mendoza to be
impaled on the spot. At this time, Andrew, the native who at the siege
of _Imperial_ had betrayed Pran, the secret agent of the elder
Caupolican, was now sent by _Don_ Garcia to persuade the Araucanian
general, under threats of the direst punishment, to submit to his
authority. The threats were no doubt meant in all earnest; but the
messenger was ill-chosen, for it was with the utmost difficulty that the
Araucanian could restrain himself from executing personal vengeance upon
the betrayer of his father. Unlike Charles XII., however, in the case of
Patkul, he respected the character of an ambassador. He was not,
however, long to wait for his revenge. Andrew being a day or two
afterwards caught as a spy, was suspended by his feet from a tree and
suffocated with smoke.

Mendoza now ordered a furious attack upon the Araucanian encampment,
which was first hotly cannonaded. The Araucanians rushed forth,
committing great slaughter amongst the Spaniards. Their retreat was cut
off by a skilful movement of the latter, and they found themselves
surrounded. Caupolican and his intrepid band nevertheless maintained an
equal combat during six hours, at the end of which time he found that
his chief officers--amongst them Tucapel, Colocolo, and Lincoyan--were
slain. He then at length attempted to retreat with the small remnant of
his force; but on being overtaken by a detachment of Spanish cavalry, he
slew himself to avoid the fate of his father.

The battle of _Quipeo_--the Araucanians’ Flodden--seeming to Mendoza to
be decisive, he now devoted his whole attention to repairing the losses
of the war. He rebuilt the fortifications of _Arauco_ and of _Angol_,
and restored the town of _Villa Rica_, causing its abandoned mines to be
reopened anew. He likewise obtained the establishment of a bishopric of
_St. Iago_, the first incumbent being a Franciscan monk, Fernando
Barrionuevo. Of his veteran troops he disposed of a portion by sending
them, under the command of Pedro Castillo, to complete the conquest of
the trans-Andine province of _Cujo_. That able officer effected that
object, founding on the eastern _Andes_ two cities, named respectively
_San Juan_ and _Mendoza_, the latter being taken from the family name of
the governor of _Chili_. _Mendoza_, now the capital of a province of the
_Argentine Republic_, has been remarkable in our own day as being the
scene of one of the greatest tragedies to which earthquakes have given
rise. Whilst engaged in the prosecution of these objects, _Don_ Garcia
received notice of the arrival at _Buenos Ayres_ of his predecessor,
Francis Villagran, who, having gone to Europe after he had been deprived
of the government, had procured his reinstatement from the court of
Spain. In consequence of this information, _Don_ Garcia immediately
quitted the territories of _Chili_, the government of which he confided
to Quiroga until his successor should arrive. He himself, on his return
to _Peru_, was rewarded for his services by being appointed to the
viceroyalty of that country, which had till then been held by his

     NOTE.--“They are much deceived that so little esteeme the Indians,
     and iudge that (by the advantage the Spaniards have over them in
     their persons, horses, and armies, both offensive and deffensive)
     they might easily conquer any land or nation of the Indies. Chile
     stands yet, or, to say better, Arauco and Tucapel, which are two
     cities, where our Spaniards could not yet winne one foote of
     ground, although they have made warre there about five-and-twenty
     yeares, without sparing of any cost. For this barbarous nation,
     having once lost the apprehention of horse and shotte, and knowing
     that the Spaniards fall as well as other men with the blow of a
     stone or of a dart, they hazard themselves desperately, entring the
     pikes vppon any enterprise.”--_Father Joseph de Acosta. Translated
     by Edward Grimston, 1604; printed for the Hakluyt Society, 1880._




[Sidenote: 1560.]

_Don_ Francisco Villagran returned to _Chili_ under the flattering
belief that the Araucanians would give him no more trouble; and he
accordingly turned his attention to the reacquisition of the province of
_Tucuman_, which, after having been subjected by him to _Chili_, had
been since attached to _Peru_. Thus was a fresh struggle set on foot
between the conquerors of the New World. The Chilian commander defeated
the chief of the Peruvian forces, and accordingly _Tucuman_ was for a
short period restored to the government of _Chili_.

But this matter sank into insignificance in the face of the attitude of
the Araucanians. The few _Ulmenes_ who had escaped from the late
defeats, having assembled after the rout of _Quipeo_, unanimously
elected as _Toqui_ an officer who had distinguished himself, named
Antiguenu. On accepting the command, he represented, that as almost all
the youth of the country had perished, he thought it expedient to retire
to some secure situation until such time as a sufficient army could be
collected. In accordance with this prudent policy, he sought shelter in
the marshes of _Lumaco_, where he erected scaffolds to protect his men
from the miasma of this gloomy retreat. The youth of the nation went
thither to be instructed in arms, and the Araucanians considered
themselves free since they could still boast a national commander.

As soon as Antiguenu saw himself in a position to quit his retreat, he
began to train his troops by making excursions into the Spanish
territory, the report of which caused much disquietude to Villagran. In
order, if possible, to stifle the flame at its commencement, he sent
forward his son Pedro with such levies as could be mustered, soon
following himself with a more considerable force. The first skirmishes
were unfavourable to the Araucanians,--the natural result of the youth
and inexperience of their soldiers. Their prudent commander was,
however, by no means discouraged, and he had at length the satisfaction
of showing that his countrymen had not degenerated, by defeating a body
of Spaniards on the hills of _Millepoa_.

Animated by this success, Antiguenu now erected his standard on the
mountain of _Mariguenu_, situated on the road which leads to the
province of _Arauco_, and where, on a previous occasion, Lautaro had so
signally defeated Villagran. That officer was prevented by ill-health
from now assuming the command, which was entrusted to one of his sons,
with the result that almost his entire army--the flower of the Spanish
troops,--together with a great number of auxiliaries, were cut in
pieces, their general being killed. After this victory Antiguenu marched
against _Canete_; but Villagran, anticipating the impossibility of
defending it, withdrew the inhabitants to _Imperial_ or to _Conception_.
The fortifications of _Canete_ were destroyed, and the town was entirely
consumed by fire. Villagran himself now fell a victim to the grief and
anxiety which aggravated the disorder from which he suffered. He was
deeply regretted by the colonists, who lost in him a wise and humane
commander, to whose prudent conduct they were indebted for the
preservation of their conquests. The special commission from the court
had appointed as his successor his eldest son Pedro.

On the death of the governor, Antiguenu divided his army of four
thousand men into two bodies; one of which, under the vice-_Toqui_
Antunecul, was to lay siege to _Conception_, whilst with the other he
himself was to march against the fort of _Arauco_. The former passed the
_Bio-bio_, and having twice repulsed the forces of the governor, he
closely invested the place for two months; but he was obliged eventually
to retire, as he could not prevent the town receiving succours and
provisions by sea. Meanwhile the defence of _Arauco_ was maintained with
the utmost vigour. As Antiguenu had observed that in his attack the
bravest officers were pointed out to the Spaniards by their native
troops, and thus became marks for their artillery, he resolved to take a
well-deserved vengeance upon these, and for this purpose contrived to
inform the Spanish general that his auxiliaries were intriguing to
deliver up the place to the Araucanians. The Spanish commander, Bernal,
gave such credit to this report, that he immediately ordered them to
quit the place. They were at once seized by the Araucanians and put to
death in sight of the Spaniards.

The Araucanian chief, impatient at the slow progress of the siege, now
sought to bring it to a conclusion, and, with this end in view,
challenged the Spanish general to single combat. Bernal, animated by an
equally chivalrous spirit, accepted the challenge, notwithstanding the
remonstrances of his soldiers. The combat lasted for two hours, at the
end of which time the two champions were separated by their respective
adherents. That which force had been unable to effect, now resulted from
famine. Boats laden with provisions had repeatedly made the attempt to
relieve the besieged, but they were invariably thwarted by the vigilance
of the enemy, and at length Bernal found himself compelled to abandon
the place. The Araucanian general permitted the garrison to retire
unmolested, and contented himself with burning the houses and
demolishing the walls of _Arauco_.

[Sidenote: 1564.]

The next object which Antiguenu proposed to himself was the capture of
_Angol_, which task he confided to one of his officers, who was,
however, defeated on the way to that place. On this, Antiguenu hastened
thither with two thousand men to repair the disaster; but whilst he was
encamped at the confluence of the _Bio-bio_ and the _Vergosa_, he was
attacked by the entire Spanish force under the command of Bernal. The
contest which ensued was one of the fiercest ever fought. The
Araucanians employed with much skill the muskets which they had taken at
the defeat of the Spaniards at _Mariguenu_, and sustained during three
hours the assault of the enemy. Four hundred of the auxiliaries and a
number of the Spaniards had fallen when the infantry of the latter began
to give way. Bernal, seeing no other means of sustaining the fight,
ordered his cavalry to cut down the fugitives. This severe measure had
the desired effect, and the enemy’s entrenchments were at length
carried. Antiguenu, forced along with a crowd of his soldiers, fell from
a high bank into the river and was drowned. His death decided the
battle, and a great slaughter of the Araucanians followed. Many also
perished in the river, into which they had thrown themselves to escape.
In this battle the victors themselves were almost all wounded.

Antiguenu was succeeded in the office of _Toqui_ by Paillataru, brother
or cousin of the celebrated Lautaro. This chief contented himself during
the first years of his command with leading his men from time to time to
ravage the enemy’s country. During this time Quiroga was appointed by
the Royal Audience of _Lima_ to be governor of _Chili_. Having received
a reinforcement of three hundred soldiers, he entered, in 1565, the
Araucanian territory and rebuilt the fort of _Arauco_ and the city of
_Canete_. He likewise constructed a new fortress at _Quipeo_. In the
following year he despatched Ruiz Camboa with a small force to reduce to
subjection the inhabitants of the archipelago of _Chiloë_, an
enterprise in executing which no opposition was encountered. In the
principal island he founded the city of _Castro_ and the port of
_Chacao_. The eighty islands of this archipelago, which owe their
existence to earthquakes, and denote by their basaltic columns the
action of fire, are inhabited by a race descended from the continental
Chilians, but are of a very different character from theirs, being
pacific and rather timid. Although the population is said to have been
about seventy thousand, they allowed themselves to be subjected by a
mere handful of Spaniards. These islanders, who are now greatly reduced
in number, are said to display considerable aptitude for the mechanical
arts, and are adepts in agriculture, raising beans, pease, and potatoes,
which are the largest and best in _Chili_. They are likewise, as might
be supposed, excellent sailors. After the conquest they readily embraced
the Christian religion, to which they have ever since continued

[Sidenote: 1567.]

The attention drawn to _Chili_ by the continuance of the Araucanian war
induced Philip II. to establish a court of Royal Audience in this part
of his transatlantic dominions, independent of that of _Peru_. To this
body was entrusted not only the political but likewise the military
administration. The members of this tribunal, which was composed of four
judges and a fiscal, entered _Conception_ in August 1567. Its first act
was to remove Quiroga, and to give the command of the army to Ruiz
Gamboa. This officer was so fortunate as to defeat Paillataru in three
obstinate contests. Being master of the country unopposed during one
year, the Spanish general repeatedly but unsuccessfully proposed to the
Araucanians to enter into negotiations for peace. Having failed to
obtain this object, the government of the Royal Audience lost credit,
and it was deemed more expedient to confide the chief authority to a new
officer called Governor and Captain-General, who was to be President of
the Audience and to command the army. _Don_ Melchor de Bravo was
invested with this character in 1568, and sought to signalize the
commencement of his authority by a striking military success.

[Sidenote: 1570.]

Paillataru having collected a new army and occupied the height of
_Mariguenu_, De Bravo marched against him at the head of three hundred
Spaniards and many auxiliaries. Equally fortunate with his predecessors
who had commanded on this famous spot, Paillataru entirely defeated the
Spanish army, and had almost made the President a prisoner. So
intimidated was the latter that he resigned the command of the army to
Gamboa, whom he ordered to evacuate the fortress of _Arauco_.
Paillataru, having taken the post of _Quipeo_, marched against _Canete_,
when he encountered in a fierce battle the troops of Gamboa. The
Spaniards remained masters of the field, but were soon afterwards
compelled to retreat from the Araucanian territory. For about four years
after this date there was a suspension of arms on either side. During
this period occurred a terrible earthquake, which did great damage to
the Spanish settlements, entirely destroying _Conception_. In 1570,
_Imperial_ became the seat of a bishopric, which included the vast
country lying between the _Maúle_ and the southern confines of _Chili_.

On the death of Paillataru, which occurred about this time, the office
of _Toqui_ was conferred upon Alonzo Diaz, or Paynenancu, one of the
mixed race of Spaniards and Chilians called _Mustees_, who had
multiplied greatly. By this appointment the Araucanians desired to
attach these to their cause, showing the confidence they reposed in
them. Paynenancu had for ten years fought in their armies,
distinguishing himself greatly. He was as rash as his predecessor had
been cautious, but he was not fortunate in the enterprises which he
undertook as a commander, being defeated on two occasions. On one of
these, amongst the prisoners taken were several women found in arms,
the greater number of whom destroyed themselves the same night.

[Sidenote: 1575.]

The licentiate Calderon, having arrived in _Chili_ with a commission
from the court of Spain as examiner, took the step of suppressing the
Court of Audience on the very proper principle of economy. The auditors
were sent back to _Peru_, and Quiroga was once more appointed governor.
Having received a force of two thousand men from Spain, he despatched
his father-in-law, Ruiz Gamboa, to found a colony at the foot of the
_Cordilleras_, between the cities of _St. Iago_ and _Conception_.
_Chillan_, so called from the river on which it stands, is now the
capital of the fertile province of the same name. Quiroga died in 1580,
leaving Gamboa as his successor. The three years of his government were
occupied in opposing the attempts of Paynenancu, and in repelling other
tribes of the Chilian _Andes_, who were instigated by the Araucanians to
molest the Spanish settlements.

When information reached Spain of the death of Quiroga, _Don_ Alonzo
Sotomayor was sent out as governor to _Chili_, together with six hundred
regular troops. Having landed at _Buenos Ayres_ in 1583, the new
governor proceeded thence by land to _St. Iago_, whence he immediately
sent his brother to succour _Villa Rica_ and _Valdivia_, which were
besieged by the Araucanians. _Don_ Louis succeeded in this object,
having twice defeated Paynenancu. The enterprising _Toqui_ was not,
however, discouraged by his invariable defeats, which were always
purchased dearly. To oppose him, the new governor, having driven off the
_Pehuenches_ from the neighbourhood of _Chillan_, entered the Araucanian
territory with seven hundred Spaniards and the usual auxiliaries.
Returning to the barbarous mode of warfare which had been adopted by
_Don_ Garcia de Mendoza, he laid waste the province of _Encol_. Such
prisoners as fell into his hands were either hanged or dismissed with
their hands cut off. Warned by the fate of _Encol_, the inhabitants of
_Puren Elicura_, and _Tucapel_, after firing their houses and crops,
secured themselves by flight. In the latter province but three captives
were taken, and these were impaled. Such barbarities had the natural
result of sending many recruits to the Araucanian army. Its unfortunate
general withstood, on the frontiers of _Arauco_, the whole Spanish
force, with only eight hundred men. His troops, however, fought with
such resolution that the Spaniards were unable to break them until after
an obstinate contest of several hours’ duration. Nearly all the
Araucanians were slain; their commander was taken prisoner and executed.
After this victory the fort of _Arauco_ was once more rebuilt.

But the Spirit of Freedom which sat with Thrasybulus upon Phylœ’s
brow had not yet deserted the Araucanians, whose valour revived on the
elevation of one of their own pure race, the _Ulmen_ Cayancaru, to the
dignity of _Toqui_. One hundred and fifty messengers, furnished with the
symbolical arrows, were despatched to various tribes in search of aid;
and in a short time a considerable army was collected. The first exploit
of Cayancaru was to attack by midnight the Spanish camp on the
_Carampangui_, he having by means of a spy informed himself of its exact
situation. The auxiliaries, who bore the first brunt of the assault,
were cut in pieces. The Spaniards themselves owed their safety to the
rising moon, which enabled them soon to direct an effective fire against
their assailants. Cayancaru, having allowed his troops to rest during
the remainder of the night, resumed the attack at daybreak, when an
obstinate and bloody battle ensued. The Spanish horse and artillery,
however, decided the day; but the victor, nevertheless, immediately
after the battle, thought it prudent to raise his camp and retire beyond
the Araucanian frontier. To protect this, he built the fort of
_Trinidad_ on the southern, and _Spirito Santo_ on the northern bank of
the _Bio-bio_. He likewise lost no time in raising a levy of two
thousand horse and a considerable number of infantry.

The Araucanian general resolved to take advantage of the retreat of the
governor to attack the fortress of _Arauco_; and, to facilitate this
enterprise, he endeavoured to divert the Spanish forces as much as
possible, incursions being made into the territories of _Villa Rica_,
_Angol_, and _Imperial_, whilst a guard was placed on the shores of the
_Bio-bio_. The garrison of _Arauco_, perceiving, from the preparations
of Cayancaru, that their means of escape would be cut off, and that they
would be eventually reduced by hunger, thought it better to perish with
arms in their hands. They therefore attacked the works of the enemy with
such vigour that they not only carried them, but put the Araucanians to
flight. Cayancaru, extremely mortified, now resigned the command of his
army to his son Nangoniel. The young commander, in no way discouraged by
what had taken place, collected some infantry, together with a hundred
and fifty horse, and having reinvested the same fortress, so distressed
the Spaniards by want of provisions that they were forced to evacuate
it. Nangoniel, having been soon afterwards drawn into an ambush and
slain, was succeeded by Cadeguala.

[Sidenote: 1587.]

It was about this time that an English squadron appeared in this part of
South America. On the 21st of July 1586, Sir Thomas Cavendish sailed
from Plymouth with three ships, and in the following year arrived on the
coast of _Chili_. Landing at _Quintero_, he endeavoured to enter into
negotiation with the natives, but he was attacked by the _Corregidor_ of
_St. Iago_, and after having suffered some loss, was compelled to quit
the coast. Cadeguala availed himself of this timely diversion to
surprise the city of _Angol_. Having, by means of secret agents,
persuaded those Chilians who were in the service of Spaniards to set
fire to their masters’ houses by night, he entered the city amidst the
confusion, causing a dreadful slaughter of the citizens, who, in flying
from the flames, fell into his hands. On that fatal night none would
have escaped but for the opportune arrival of the governor two hours
before the attack. With the greatest presence of mind he proceeded at
the head of his guard to the various quarters, and, collecting the
dispersed inhabitants, conducted them to the citadel. Having sallied
thence at daybreak, he forced the enemy to retire. It is to be remarked,
as showing how much the Araucanians had profited by the moral example
given them by the Spaniards, that they no longer scrupled to employ
treachery. On this occasion the _Toqui_ was not deserted by any of his
officers, as had been the fate of Caupolican when he employed the same
means at _Canete_.

The next and last enterprise of the gallant Cadeguala was against the
fortress of _Puren_, which he invested with four thousand men. The
governor, hastening to relieve it with a strong reinforcement, was met
by Cadeguala with a hundred and fifty lances and compelled to retreat.
Elated with this success, he determined to decide the fate of _Puren_ at
a single blow. For this purpose he appeared before the walls, mounted on
a splendid horse which he had taken from the governor, and defied the
commander of the place, Garcia Ramon, to single combat at the end of
three days. The challenge was accepted, and at the appointed time the
intrepid _Toqui_ appeared on the field with a limited number of
attendants. The Spanish commander likewise came out with forty men, who,
like the followers of the _Toqui_, remained at a distance. The two
champions encountered each other with such fury that the first shock was
decisive. Cadeguala fell, pierced through by the lance of his adversary.
Even then he would not acknowledge himself vanquished; but life failed
him in his attempt to remount his horse. His body, after a sharp
contest, was carried off by his followers. With this incident, recalling
similar ones between the Spaniards and their gallant opponents at the
siege of Granada, ended the investment of _Puren_.

The Araucanians, under their new _Toqui_, Guanoalca, being informed that
the garrison was ill-supplied with provisions and cut off from succour,
were not long in returning to the siege of _Puren_, the Spaniards in
which place, however, were permitted to retire unmolested to _Angol_.
The _Toqui_ then lost no time in marching against a new fort in the
vicinity of the mountain of _Mariguenu_; but on its being reinforced he
turned his arms against _Spirito Santo_ and _Trinidad_ on the _Bio-bio_,
both of which were evacuated in 1589. Guanoalca was seconded in his
military operations by the heroine Janequeo, the wife of Guepotan, who
had long defended _Leben_. On the loss of that place he had retired to
the _Andes_; but he had descended to the plains in order to regain his
wife; and, being surprised, he chose to die rather than be made
prisoner. He was well avenged. Janequeo placed herself at the head of a
force of _Puelches_, and in 1590 began to make inroads upon the Spanish
settlements, killing all who fell into her hands.

The governor of _Chili_ marched against her, but only to lose time and
men. Before his retreat he gave orders that all prisoners should be
hanged. Janequeo next proceeded against the fortress of _Puchanqui_,
near which she defeated its commander, Aranda, who was himself slain.
The fort having resisted her efforts, she retired to the mountains near
_Villarica_, the neighbourhood of which she rendered so unsafe that none
ventured to quit the town. Moved by the complaints of the citizens,
Sotomayor at length sent his brother _Don_ Louis to their aid. Janequeo
repelled the various assaults of the Spaniards, but was in the end
obliged to retreat before their artillery. Her brother being taken, he
obtained his life on the promise of keeping his sister quiet; but whilst
his proposal for a reconciliation with the Spaniards was being debated
in council, he was killed by a patriotic _Ulmen_, who would not hear of
such a proposition.

[Sidenote: 1591.]

In the year 1591 Quintuguenu succeeded to the office of _Toqui_ on the
death of Guanoalca. Having assaulted the fort of _Mariguenu_, he
encamped with two thousand men upon the top of that famous height,
whence the governor, putting himself at the head of a thousand Spaniards
and a number of auxiliaries, resolved to dislodge him. The latter began
at daybreak the difficult ascent of the mountain, leading the advanced
guard in person. Half-way in the ascent he was attacked with fury by
Quintuguenu; but, animating his men by his words and deeds, he sustained
for an hour the terrible encounter, and forced the enemy, step by step,
back into their entrenchments. The Araucanians defended themselves with
the utmost bravery until mid-day, when their camp was forced on the left
and right. Still Quintuguenu for a long time rendered the event
doubtful. Recalling to his men the glorious memories of Lautaro, he
exhorted them not to dishonour that holy spot by defeat. Rushing from
rank to rank he fell, pierced by three mortal wounds at the hands of the
governor, his dying word being “Liberty.” His death decided the day.

Sotomayor, the first Spanish conqueror on _Mariguenu_, conducted his
army to the sea-shore, where he was saluted by the Peruvian fleet, which
had witnessed his glorious victory. He next built a fort to replace that
of Arauco in a locality which would be more readily succoured. He then
set out for the province of _Tucapel_, marking his way by fire and
sword. The next _Toqui_ was Piallaeco, who soon lost his life in battle,
when his countrymen were so overwhelmed that their remaining warriors
had to take refuge in the marshes. These victories, however, on the part
of the Spaniards were ineffectual to decide the war. The governor, who
was an experienced soldier, seeing that a large force was needed for
this purpose, resolved to proceed in person to _Peru_ in order to obtain
it. On his arrival there he was met by _Don_ Martin Loyola (nephew of
St. Ignatius), who had been appointed his successor. This officer had
distinguished himself by capturing, in the fastnesses of the _Andes_,
Tupac Amaru, the last of the _Incas_ of _Peru_, a service which not only
obtained for him the government of _Chili_, but likewise the hand of the
Princess _Clara Beatrix Coya_, the daughter and heiress of the _Inca_
Sayri Tupac. Loyola reached _Valparaiso_, the port of St. Iago, in 1593.

[Sidenote: 1593.]

The Araucanians next chose for _Toqui_ an active veteran named
Paillamachu, whose career was destined to be of more lasting service to
his country than had been that of any of his distinguished predecessors,
unless indeed it be said that his career was but the result of their
example. Imitating the precedent of Antiguenu, he retreated to the
marshes of _Lumaco_, there to train an army. Loyola having proceeded to
_Conception_, was there met by an Araucanian officer who had been sent
to compliment him, and on whose mind he endeavoured to impress an idea
of the resources of his sovereign, and of the necessity of submission.
He was, however, assured in reply that the Araucanians would never
submit to foreign control whilst they had a drop of blood in their
veins. Loyola could not but admire the sentiments of the noble
Antipillan, whom he dismissed with every demonstration of esteem. He
nevertheless was far from relinquishing the policy of his predecessors.

[Sidenote: 1594.]

Passing the _Bio-bio_, he founded near it a new city, to which he gave
the name of _Coya_, in honour of his wife; and he established two
castles to protect it. This proceeding was the signal for attack on the
part of Paillamachu, whose lieutenant assaulted Fort _Jesus_ in 1595,
but failed to reduce it. In the following year the Araucanian general
felt himself in sufficient strength to make frequent incursions into the
Spanish districts; but he carefully avoided an encounter with their
troops. With the object of restraining him, Loyola erected two new
forts, one at _Puren_ and the other on the border of the marshes of
_Lumaco_. In 1597 he also founded a settlement in the province of
_Cujo_, to which he gave the name of _St. Louis de Loyola_.

[Sidenote: 1598.]

Paillamachu soon took by storm the fort of _Lumaco_, and the governor
prudently demolished that of _Puren_, to save it from a like fate.
Having next repaired the fortifications of _Imperial_, _Villarica_, and
_Valdivia_, he returned to the _Bio-bio_, retaining as an escort only
sixty half-pay officers, when he was attacked by the _Toqui_ in the
valley of _Caralava_ and put to death with all his retinue. In less than
forty-eight hours after this event the whole Araucanian provinces were
in arms, as were likewise the _Cunchese_ and the _Cuilliches_, and the
whole country as far as the archipelago of _Chiloë_. Every Spaniard
outside the garrisons was put to death; whilst _Osorno_, _Valdivia_,
_Villarica_, _Imperial_, _Canete_, _Angol_, _Coya_, and the fortress of
_Arauco_, were all at once invested with a close siege. Paillamachu
himself, crossing the _Bio-bio_, burned the cities of _Conception_ and
_Chillan_, laying waste the surrounding provinces.

[Sidenote: 1599.]

The receipt of this alarming news so terrified the inhabitants of _St.
Iago_ that they made up their minds to quit the country and retire to
_Peru_. They appointed, however, as temporary governor Pedro de Viscara,
a veteran of seventy years, who set out for the frontier with such
troops as he could raise. Crossing the _Bio-bio_ in the face of the
enemy, he withdrew the inhabitants of _Angol_ and _Coya_, sending them
to _Conception_ and _Chillan_. At the end of six months he was relieved
by _Don_ Francisco Quinones, sent by the Viceroy of _Peru_ to assume the
government. Several actions took place to the north of the _Bio-bio_;
the most important occurred on the plains of _Yumbel_. This battle,
fought between nearly equal numbers, continued with incredible fury for
nearly two hours, when night parted the combatants, and the _Toqui_
repassed the _Bio-bio_. The Spanish governor ordered his prisoners to be
hanged. After this engagement the fort of _Arauco_ and the city of
_Canete_ were evacuated.

[Sidenote: 1600.]

The active Paillamachu went from place to place. He stormed _Valdivia_,
putting to death a great number of the inhabitants, and forcing the
remainder to save themselves on board ships, which at once set sail. By
this exploit he secured all the cannon of the place, two millions of
dollars, and four hundred prisoners. To add to these misfortunes, five
Dutch men-of-war now appeared on the coast of _Chili_, plundering the
island of _Chiloë_ and putting the garrison to the sword. A party having
attacked the Araucanians on the island of _Talca_, or _Santa Maria_,
under the belief that they were Spaniards, were repulsed with the loss
of twenty-three men.

[Sidenote: 1602.]

Quinones was succeeded in the government by Garcia Raymon, an officer of
much experience in South America, and who in turn had shortly to give
place to Rivera, a soldier who had fought in the Low Countries, and who
was now sent out with a regiment of veterans. His coming encouraged his
countrymen to abandon their idea of quitting _Chili_; it did not,
however, retrieve the fortunes of the war. After a siege of three years,
_Villarica_ fell into the hands of the Araucanians: whilst a similar
fate awaited _Imperial_, which place owed its protracted defence to a
Spanish heroine, called Inez Agulera. When defence was no longer
possible, this lady, who during the siege had lost her husband and her
brothers, escaped by sea with a great part of the inhabitants. The city
of _Osorno_ was the next to give way to the besiegers, and thus was
freed from the presence of the Spaniards the extensive country between
the _Bio-bio_ and the archipelago of _Chiloë_, and the work of Valdivia
and his successors was undone.

The cities which fell into the enemy’s hands were destroyed, and their
prisoners, who had been reduced to terrible straits, were so numerous
that almost each Araucanian family had one to its share. As ransom was
permitted, many escaped from captivity. Others, induced by the love of
their mixed offspring, preferred to remain with their conquerors. The
valiant Paillamachu only survived till the following year, 1603. The
towns which he destroyed have never been rebuilt;[R] their scanty ruins
are his monument. Thus ended, as regarded its permanent results, the
Araucanian War of Independence, exemplifying, if ever a war did, the
sentiment contained in the lines:--

    “Freedom’s battle once begun,
     Bequeath’d by bleeding sire to son,
     Though baffled oft, is ever won.”

     NOTE.--Chapters VIII., XII., XIII., and XIV. of vol. I. are founded

     “History of _Chili_;” by the _Abbé Don_ J. Ignatius Molina.
     Longman. 1809.

     On “_Historia General y Natural de las Indias_;” by Oviedo.

     And on “Historical Relation of _Chili_;” by Ovalle.




[Sidenote: 1578.]

The growth of the colony of _Brazil_ had been so rapid during the
fourteen years’ able administration of Mem de Sa that it was now thought
advisable to divide its territory into two governments, _S. Sebastian_,
or _Rio de Janeiro_, being the capital of the second government, which
was to include all the settlements to the south of that place. This
subdivision, however, was not found convenient, and at the end of two
years the southern government was made subordinate to the northern. At
this precise period the succession to the crown of Portugal was in
dispute; and Philip II. of Spain, one of the claimants, offered the
entire Brazilian colonies, with the title of King, to the Duke of
Braganza, which offer, however, was not accepted.

It may be of interest here to give a brief account of this splendid
colonial empire, as it was represented, for the information of the
Portuguese Government, by one who had resided seventeen years in the
country. In the year 1581 the city of _S. Salvador_, now _Bahia_,
contained eight hundred inhabitants, and the whole _Reconcave_, or the
coast-line of the surrounding bay, about two thousand, exclusive of
negroes and native Indians. Five hundred horse and two thousand foot
could be brought into the field; whilst three _caravels_ and fourteen
hundred boats were available for the king’s service. The cathedral
church could boast five dignitaries, six canons, two minor canons, four
chaplains, and one _curé_ and his coadjutor. There were no less than
sixty-two churches in the city, together with three monasteries. In this
respect _S. Salvador_ had certainly no cause of complaint. The country
for two miles round was covered with plantations. In the _Reconcave_
there were fifty-seven sugar-works, the quantity annually exported
amounting to about two thousand four hundred hogsheads. Cattle and
horses, which had been imported from the _Cape de Verdes_, increased in
prodigious numbers. There were persons who possessed forty or fifty
brood mares, which might sell at _Pernambuco_ for thirty ducats a-piece;
sheep and goats likewise flourished, having been imported from Europe.

Oranges and lemons, which the settlers had introduced, had become
plentiful. The palm-tree was grown, and likewise the cocoa plant; the
melon, the pomegranate, and the vine were not cultivated with such
success, being unable to withstand the ravages of the ant. The tea plant
had been discovered at _Bahia_, where coffee likewise was grown. Ginger
throve so well that in one year four thousand _arrobas_ were preserved.
The sugar-cane is indigenous in _Brazil_, and was found in plenty near
_Rio de Janeiro_. The parasites which fill up the interstices of the
Brazilian forests were put to various uses; their juice was applied for
the purpose of tanning, and their branches were woven into wicker-work
or beaten into tow. These plants form a remarkable feature in Brazilian
scenery. They encircle the trees up which they climb only to regain the
ground; the same plant there takes root again, crossing from bough to
bough and from tree to tree, wherever they may be carried by such
breezes as may pierce the almost impermeable jungle.

In some portions of the _Reconcave_ saltpetre was to be found; but for
lime the colonists were dependent on oyster shells, which, however, were
at some points procurable in great abundance. Fish of various kinds
abounded, and oil was extracted from the liver of the shark. At one or
two places ambergris was found. The rumours of wealth in the precious
metals and stones which were then in circulation have since been amply

[Sidenote: 1582.]

In _Bahia_ there were then said to be more than a hundred persons
enjoying an income of five thousand _cruzados_, or two thousand five
hundred _ducats_; whilst some settlers possessed plate and gold to a
great value. They were supplied with wine from _Madeira_ and the
_Canaries_. The settlement of _Pernambuco_ was not less flourishing;
there were fifty sugar-works, the tenths of which were leased for
nineteen thousand _cruzados_, or half that number of _ducats_. _Olinda_
might contain seven hundred inhabitants, not including those who dwelt
in the villas and works in the gardens of its vicinity. Three thousand
men could be brought into the field; and it may be noted that as early
as 1582 between four and five thousand African slaves were employed in
the Captaincy. About five-and-forty ships came annually for sugar and

_S. Vicente_ likewise flourished. This Captaincy was situated
sufficiently far to the south to admit of the cultivation of wheat and
barley. It might also produce wine. _Espirito Santo_ and other portions
of _Brazil_ did not fare so well as those above mentioned. The early
settlers in the colony are said to have suffered much from the jiggers
and other insects of the country, and it was only with time that they
learned the remedies which the natives were accustomed to apply to the
attacks of these tormentors. The fleets which had formerly been sent out
each year with a reinforcement of young settlers now no longer arrived;
and, wholesome as the air of _Brazil_ for the most part is, it proved
hurtful to many Europeans. The admixture, too, of the three different
races, European, Brazilian, and Negro, was said to have generated
certain new diseases, or at least new constitutions, in which old
diseases took a new form. Complaints of the liver were prevalent, as
were those of the eye. But on the whole it was said that in no instance
have Europeans suffered so little by transplantation from their own
country into one of a very different climate as did the Portuguese in
_Brazil_. It may be remarked, however, that the term _Brazil_ is a very
wide word indeed, comprising as that empire does a space equal to about
two-thirds of Europe, and that there are probably far greater variations
of climate between its northern and its southern portions, as well as
between its highlands and lowlands, than exist between the climate of
Lisbon and that of its southern provinces. As to the moral quality of
the early settlers, seeing that they comprised a considerable portion of
the banished criminal population of the mother country, it is not
surprising that the average of crime should for some time have been
greater in the colony than in Portugal. The energy of the race, however,
at this its heroic period, found ample scope, and as years rolled on the
resources of the magnificent territory which had fallen under the
Portuguese sceptre were gradually unfolded.

It was long before the French could be persuaded to give up the hope of
establishing themselves somewhere in _Brazil_. They made the _Paraïba_
their favourite port of trade, where they allied themselves with some
savage neighbouring tribes, and caused such trouble to the Portuguese
that they themselves resolved to establish fortified settlements on the
above-named river. The governor of _San Salvador_ deputed this task to
Flores de Valdes, who had been sent by Philip II. of Spain, with a fleet
of twenty-three vessels, to secure the Straits of _Magellan_ when Drake
had alarmed him for the safety of his possessions on the Pacific. Valdes
had been foiled in his attempts to reach the Straits, and had been
driven back to _Bahia_ with only six ships. With these and two others he
sailed to _Pernambuco_. There were four French vessels in the
_Paraïba_. The French themselves, however, set fire to them, and then
joined the savages on shore. The Spanish and Portuguese troops landed
without opposition and constructed a fortress; but its commander could
not long maintain it against the _Pitagoares_, and made a hasty retreat
to _Itamaraca_. It was, however, again recovered by means of a fresh
reinforcement from _Pernambuco_.

The name of England is at this period for the first time brought into
prominent notice in connection with _Brazil_, which, being a colony of a
country now under the Spanish crown, was subject to the warlike
operations of the enemies of Spain. In 1582 an English expedition,
destined for the East, and commanded by Admiral Fenton, reached the
coast of _Brazil_ and anchored off _San Vicente_, where an English
vessel had previously come to trade. Indeed a trade had some time since
sprung up between Plymouth and Southern _Brazil_, the first merchant
navigator mentioned being the father of Sir John Hawkins, who made two
voyages, in 1530 and 1532, respectively. The expedition under Fenton
merely called for peaceful objects, and did not commit any act of
hostility; but the proceedings of Drake had already drawn down the
hatred of all Spaniards on his countrymen; and Flores, having been
informed of the presence of English vessels at _San Vicente_, made for
that place and prepared to attack them. The action began in the evening
and was fought by moonlight. One of the Spanish ships was sunk, and in
the course of the following day the English vessels put to sea. It is
recorded to the credit of their humane commander that he refrained from
sinking another of the Spanish vessels, not wishing to cause a needless
loss of life.

[Sidenote: 1586.]

Four years later another English expedition sailed for the South Sea,
but of a less pacific nature. Lord Cumberland was at its head, but
Withrington was in active command, and of two privateers which
accompanied it, one had been fitted out by Raleigh. From information
which they obtained from Portuguese vessels which they had captured,
they resolved to attack _San Salvador_, and accordingly made for
_Bahia_. The safety of that place is said to have been due to the
presence of converted Indians, who had been gathered together there, and
who constituted a formidable force of archers; but the English remained
six weeks in the bay, doing much damage to the neighbouring country.

The next English privateer of whom we read in connection with _Brazil_
is Cavendish, who sent two of his vessels to attack the town of
_Santos_. The inhabitants were surprised at mass, and the one man who
resisted was slain, the rest being detained prisoners in church. They
contrived to escape, however, at night, and took good care to make away
with all their portable property; so that when Cavendish arrived some
days later he found neither inhabitants nor provisions. The result was
that after remaining several weeks the fleet had to depart worse
provisioned than when it had arrived. The next exploit of Cavendish was
to burn _San Vicente_ on his way to the Straits, which, however, he
failed to pass. His ships being dispersed in a storm, he put back alone
to the coast of _Brazil_, and landed twenty-five men near _Santos_, with
instructions to seize provisions and return forthwith. But of this party
not a man returned. They were seized by the natives, and only two were
spared to be carried prisoners to _Santos_.

Cavendish was now joined by another vessel of his squadron, and made for
_Espirito Santo_. It not being deemed prudent for the ships to attempt
to cross the bar, a party of eighty men were sent over it in boats, the
orders of their commander, Captain Morgan, being to discover a good
landing-place near the town. Disobeying the positive commands of his
superior, he landed with a number of his men, with the result that he
was himself killed, together with a large proportion of his force, upon
which Cavendish left the coast of _Brazil_ in despair, and died, it is
said, of grief on his homeward voyage.

[Sidenote: 1594.]

The next English expedition to _Brazil_ was better designed. Three
ships, the largest of them being of about two hundred and forty tons,
were fitted out by certain citizens of London, and sailed under the
command of James Lancaster, who was well acquainted with the Portuguese,
having lived amongst them. _Pernambuco_ was his point of attack, and for
this purpose he secured two Frenchmen as interpreters in the language of
the neighbouring natives. One of his vessels, commanded by Barker, had
to put back to refit, but this officer rejoined him off Cape _Blanco_,
having already captured four-and-twenty Spanish and Portuguese sail.
They then made for _Pernambuco_, and on the way fell in with another
English squadron under Captain Venner, consisting of four vessels.
Venner readily agreed to assist Lancaster in securing a rich prize from
a ship from India which had been wrecked near _Olinda_, at the port of
which place her cargo was stowed. Venner was to receive a fourth of the
value of the prize.

They arrived off _Recife_ towards the end of March, 1595, where they
discovered three large Dutch ships lying at the entrance. Lancaster
manned five of his prizes, with orders to board the Dutch vessels should
they offer opposition. His men were embarked in boats, and he himself
took command of the galley, rowed by eighty of his ship’s company. This
happened at night, and when morning came they found that the boats had
drifted half a mile to the north. It was now ebb-tide, and they were
forced to remain off the port in full sight of the place; but they had
the satisfaction of seeing the Dutch vessels move away from the
entrance. About noon, Lancaster received a message from the governor,
requesting to know his object. The reply, given in curt seaman’s terms,
was that he wanted the Indian prize, and that he meant to have it. On
this declaration the Portuguese manned the small work at the mouth of
the harbour and collected their entire force of six hundred men. At two
o’clock the tide turned, when Lancaster led the way, running his boat on
shore immediately under the battery, the other boat’s crew following his
example. The place was then gallantly stormed; upon which Lancaster made
signal for his ships to enter the harbour. He left a garrison in the
fort and planted its guns against _Olinda_; after this he marched on
_Recife_, which place he found abandoned, and where he obtained the
sought-for prize.

The admiral now displayed much prudence. As his booty could not readily
be removed, he put the Isthmus of _Recife_ in a state of defence. This
done, he opened communication with the Dutch vessels, which he chartered
to take cargoes to England. He likewise obtained assistance from some
French vessels which soon afterwards arrived, and to which he parted
with valuable stores that were in excess of his own requirements. He
obstinately refused to enter into parley with the authorities of
_Olinda_, going on board ship when their envoys came to seek him.
Meanwhile the work of lading went on; and in repulsing an attack which
was made upon his force he was so fortunate as to secure some small
carts, which were invaluable for transporting his spoil. He likewise
captured a Portuguese ship with forty hands, whom he employed to relieve
his own men in the work of carrying.

The Portuguese, however, were not idle meanwhile. During three weeks
they made repeated attacks on the English, who were always compelled to
fight for their supply of water. They next set five small vessels on
fire, and let them float down the stream; but for this attempt Lancaster
was prepared, and the fire-ships were stopped by grappling-irons and
chains. A week later, at midnight, three blazing rafts came down the
stream, having long poles attached to their sides to prevent their
being grappled, and likewise having sparkling fireworks. The English,
however, laid wet cloths on their powder, flasks, and oars, and, seeing
the necessity of stopping them at all hazards, succeeded in doing so.
The attempts of the Portuguese to cut the cables of the enemy’s ships
were likewise baffled. Whilst they were preparing a third attempt to
fire the ships, Lancaster, having now got his booty on board, was ready
to depart. On the day of departure, however, in consequence of the state
of the tide, it was necessary to delay till the evening; and in the
attempt to destroy a battery which was being prepared by the Portuguese,
some three hundred French and English were led into an ambuscade, losing
thirty-five of their number, amongst them the vice-admiral, Barker. The
same evening eleven richly-laden vessels set sail, and all safely
reached their destination.

       *       *       *       *       *

So well had Nobrega’s system been followed by his successors that, in
the course of half a century, all the natives along the coast of
_Brazil_, where Portuguese settlements extended, were collected in
villages under their superintendence; whilst, on the other hand, so
successfully had the slave-hunters practised their arts in setting one
tribe of natives against another that the number of the latter was very
greatly reduced. It thus happened that both missionaries and
slave-hunters had now to penetrate much farther into the interior than
heretofore, in search either of converts or of captives; and in this way
fresh portions of the vast territory were from time to time discovered.
About the year 1594, Rifault, a French adventurer, who had previously
visited the coast of _Brazil_, returned to that country with three
vessels, one of which he lost near _Maranham_, on which island he took
refuge. Having returned to Europe, his people were now headed by the
_Sieur des_ Vaux, who persuaded the islanders to own the rule of the
French. With this concession he too returned to France, and submitted
to Henri IV. a project for taking possession of the considerable island
of _Maranham_. The king listened with satisfaction, and sent back Des
Vaux, accompanied by a commissioner of rank, by whose report he was to
be guided; but before the report could be made Henri had been

[Sidenote: 1612.]

Permission was, however, granted to form a company for the purpose of
colonizing _Maranham_, and certain gentlemen were appointed
lieutenants-general in the _West Indies_ and _Brazil_. The expedition
was fitted out in Brittany, and sailed in March 1612; and, after a
severe voyage, it reached the island of _Fernando Noronha_, whence it
proceeded to _Maranham_. The islanders put themselves, as had been
expected, under the protection of France, and their example was followed
by two tribes on the mainland. The Cross and the French flag were
planted side by side. Unfortunately, however, for the French, the
Brazilian Government had just at this time turned its attention in the
same direction; and before any tidings of the above proceedings had
reached Madrid, orders had been sent out to prosecute the discovery and
conquest of the river _Amazons_ and the adjoining regions. The governor
was ordered to fix his residence at _Olinda_ in order to push on the
expedition, to the command of which Geronymo de Albuquerque was
appointed. He was later joined by Compos Moreno. Their progress,
however, was slow, and in due time they came into collision with the
French, of whose presence in that region the Brazilian authorities now
for the first time became aware. It so happened that the officer who
made the discovery was prevented by contrary winds from returning from
_Maranham_ to _Pernambuco_. He was driven to the Spanish Main, whence he
set sail for Spain. On his arrival there he immediately despatched his
pilot to _Brazil_ to warn the authorities, whilst he himself proceeded
for the same purpose to Madrid. In this way the colonial government
heard of the French occupation of _Mararnham_ not from _Brazil_, but
from Europe.

Fresh instructions were now sent out to the governor, with stringent
orders to direct his whole attention towards the island of _Maranham_.
The preparations for that object were accordingly pushed forward with
renewed vigour; and in course of time the expedition reached the port of
_Peria_, in the vicinity of _Maranham_, to examine which a
reconnoitering party was now sent out. From a deserter the Portuguese
commander learned that the French meant to attack his vessels. He,
however, contented himself with drawing them up on shore, and the French
victory was confined to securing three of his six ships. The Portuguese,
meanwhile, endured such sufferings that a conspiracy was formed amongst
the soldiers to blow up the powder-magazine, and thus compel a retreat
to _Pernambuco_ by land. The question was, however, settled by the
arrival of the French commander Rivardiere, with seven ships and many
canoes, containing four hundred Frenchmen and four hundred natives. He
forthwith ordered half his force to take possession of a hill which
commanded the Portuguese encampment, whilst his native allies proceeded
to entrench themselves by means of fascines which they had carried with
them, and by means of which they kept themselves in communication with
the fleet. Albuquerque, seeing that he was thus cut off from the hope of
obtaining fresh water, had no alternative but to fight, although his
force both of Portuguese and of natives bore a very small proportion to
that opposed to him.

Of the two Portuguese chiefs, the one attacked the enemy on the beach;
the other undertook to dislodge him from the hill, each having a force
of seventy Portuguese and forty natives, whilst a small body was kept in
reserve. The Portuguese attack was so well planned that the French on
the hill, not perceiving their own danger, descended to the help of
their countrymen, and were unexpectedly charged on the flank. After a
short but severe struggle one of their commanders fell, and they retired
to their entrenchments on the hill; but the Portuguese, following them,
stormed these works likewise and put their defenders to the rout.
Rivardiere was so confident in his superiority of numbers that he did
not think it necessary to succour his men engaged until the moment had
passed for doing so. The tide having now fallen, his canoes were left
high and dry on the beach. He attempted to attack the fort, but the
muddy shore kept his launches at a distance, and the invalids kept up a
brisk fire upon him. One hundred and fifteen of his men were left dead
on the field, whilst nine were taken prisoners.

A correspondence now took place between the commanders on either side,
as a result of which the following terms were proposed namely, that
there should be a truce till the end of the following year, whilst
meanwhile two cavaliers, the one French, the other Portuguese, should
proceed to France, and likewise two to Spain, to lay the matter before
their sovereigns; and that when the determination of the two courts
should arrive, the party which should receive orders to remove should
evacuate the country, the prisoners meanwhile being released. Rivardiere
further bound himself to withdraw his ship and allow free ingress to the
supplies which the Portuguese expected. These articles were duly signed,
and accordingly two vessels were sent with commissioners to France and
Spain respectively.

But the terms of the convention were not long observed. After a while
Albuquerque began to receive reinforcements; and finding himself in
sufficient strength, he now informed Rivardiere that he had received
instructions stating that these countries belonged to the Portuguese
crown, and that he was therefore under the necessity of considering the
treaty between them as annulled. The French commander now agreed to
evacuate the island of _Maranham_ within five months, on condition that
the Portuguese should pay for the artillery to be left there, thus to
enable him to pay for transports for his people. As security for his
good faith he surrendered one of the forts, of which Albuquerque took
possession; but from the length of time for which he stipulated before
his withdrawal, it is probable that he calculated on something occurring
meanwhile which might render that operation unnecessary.

[Sidenote: 1615.]

Campos had meanwhile reached Lisbon, where he pressed upon the
Government the necessity of sending out reinforcements without loss of
time. He himself returned with adequate succours for that purpose to
_Pernambuco_, where he found the governor busily employed towards the
same end. Their united force amounted to nine hundred men, who were
embarked in seven ships. Compos had left _Maranham_ for Europe in
January 1615, and he returned to that island early in October of the
same year, the supreme command of the expedition being now given to De
Moura, the late captain of _Pernambuco_. In flagrant breach of the
second convention with Rivardiere, the French were now attacked in Fort
_St. Louis_, whither they had retired. The French commander submitted
unconditionally, and was allowed to sail for France with four hundred of
his countrymen. By his incapacity in treating with the Portuguese when
his superiority at sea put it within his power to cut off their
provisions, the island of _Maranham_ was lost to France.

The next enemy with whom the Portuguese had to contend were of a
different race. The Dutch had begun to trade on the north of the
_Amazons_, and had established factories on some of the numerous islands
at its mouth. They had given out to the natives that a fleet would soon
arrive to establish a colony, and when this intelligence reached
Caldeira (a Portuguese officer who had been sent north from _Maranham_
with two hundred men to establish a settlement on the _Amazons_), it was
confirmed by the arrival of a large Dutch vessel. The ship was attacked
by his orders, but the Dutchmen defended themselves so well that they
could not be conquered save by setting fire to the vessel. This new
Captaincy, which was called _Pará_, was disturbed with serious
dissensions, which led to Caldeira, the governor, being put in chains by
his mutinous garrison. The colony had likewise to encounter
long-continued hostility on the part of the natives. A new governor was
sent out from Lisbon, with orders to send home as prisoners both
Caldeira and the officer who had accepted the government in his place
from the mutineers. When this was done, the war against the natives was
prosecuted, and they were successfully hunted down by a ruffian called
Maciel, whose object seemed to be to exterminate them. If this were his
purpose, it was still further assisted by the fearful havoc caused at
this time amongst them by the small-pox.

[Sidenote: 1622.]

In the year 1622 a new governor-general brought with him some Jesuits;
but the appearance of these Fathers in _Maranham_ excited a tumult
against them; for, much to the credit of their order, it had set itself
in systematic opposition to the iniquitous conduct of the Portuguese
towards the natives. A compromise had to be arrived at, by which the
Jesuits agreed, under pain of banishment and the confiscation of their
property, not to interfere with the domesticated natives. As a wide belt
of desolation had been placed round the Portuguese settlements by
Maciel, it was somewhat difficult for the Fathers to find any other
natives to exercise their influence upon. About this time much was done
to explore the region of the Lower _Amazons_, in which service it is to
be admitted that Maciel, who was now captain of _Pará_, was as energetic
as he was ever savage in his bearing towards the Indians. At the river
_Curupá_ some of his people found Dutch, English, and French
adventurers, who had made trenches for their defence, and had enlisted
natives to assist them. From this post they were driven by Maciel, who
destroyed their factories both on the _Curupá_ and on the island of

Having effected this congenial work, he returned to _Belem_, now called
_Parâ_. His new conquests were considered at Madrid to be of such
consequence as to deserve to be erected into a separate government,
partly on account of the difficulty of communication between _Maranham_
and _Pernambuco_. But the days were at hand when the natives were to be
avenged by the arm of another European nation for the wrongs which they
had suffered from Maciel and his like.

     NOTE.--Chapters V., IX., XV. and XVI. of vol. I. are founded on
     “History of _Brazil_;” by Robert Southey. Longman. 1810.

     On “The History of _Paraguay_;” Charles A. Washburn. Lee and
     Shepard. New York. 1871.

     On “_Noticia Biografica De Fernando de Magallanes_;” by Navarrete.

     On “_Lettres Édifiautes et Curienses,;” écrites des Missions
     Étrangères. Nouv. edit._; _par_ Querbeuf.

     On “_La Plata_;” _Etude Historique_; _par_ Santiego Arcos. Paris.

     On “History of the Indies;” by J. de Acosta; Hakluyt Society. 1880.

     On works previously referred to.

     And on “_Voyage dans l’Amérigue Méridionale_;” _par Don_ F. de
     Azara. 4 vols. 8vo. 1809.




The town of _Buenos Ayres_, once permanently established, soon became a
considerable place; and that notwithstanding its incommodious and unsafe
harbour. Forty years after its foundation (1620) it was declared a
separate colony, which was to comprise all the regions in _La Plata_
below the confluence of the _Paraguay_ and the _Paraná_. It likewise
became the seat of a bishop, and in fifty years from its foundation
numbered as many inhabitants as _Asuncion_. The colony of _Tucuman_ had
been founded in 1564, but it did not, like _Paraguay_, have the
advantage of river communication with the ocean, nor did it benefit by
the direction of a master mind such as that of Irala. Notwithstanding
this, the jurisdiction of the governor of _Tucuman_ was in 1596 extended
over _Paraguay_. The governor deputed a very able substitute to
administer the latter province in the person of Hernando Saavedra, whose
capacity for administration is considered to have been only surpassed by
that of Irala.

[Sidenote: 1608.]

Saavedra, after much exploration in the territories inhabited by the
native tribes, deemed that it would be better to attach rather than to
weaken or exterminate them, and that for this purpose it would be
advisable to use every means for converting them to Christianity. For
this end he appealed to the court of Spain, and in 1608 Philip III. took
the memorable decision of issuing the royal letters-patent to the Order
of Jesus for the conversion of the Indians of the province of _Guayrá_,
which district comprised both banks of the upper _Paraná_ to the east of
_Asuncion_. In this region the towns of _Onteveros_, _Ciudad Real_, and
_Villa Rica_ had been founded as early as 1554 by _Don_ Ruy Diaz de

[Sidenote: 1610.]

Two Jesuit priests reached _Asuncion_ in 1610, the modest vanguard of a
formidable army. From the very date of their arrival they displayed the
usual zeal of their order, and the first _reduction_ was established on
the upper _Paraná_. It was called _Loreto_, and the neighbouring natives
were invited to resort thither, to receive instruction and to become
members of the community, which was entirely under Jesuit control. As
others of the order arrived, other _reductions_ were formed. On reaching
_Asuncion_ the earliest Jesuit Fathers found the colony distracted by
rivalries and controversies between the secular and the religious
authorities. The first bishop of _Paraguay_ was a Franciscan.

The policy which had been initiated and pursued by Irala of
incorporating the natives with the governing body had fallen into at
least partial disuse. Although the natives of _Paraguay_ had not to
complain of the same harsh treatment from their Spanish conquerors as
had the Peruvians, their condition still left much to desire. They were
not slaves in name, nor could they be purchased or sold, but they were
nevertheless compelled to labour in the interest of others who had no
responsibility for their care or support. The priests, as befitting
their character, were willing and anxious to better their condition; but
the colonists were loth to permit their interference in secular matters.
Still their presence was not without its result, if only in its leading
to its being considered more respectable to treat the natives as human
beings rather than as the lower animals. Such being the state of society
on the arrival of the Jesuits, whose professed object was the redemption
of the natives, their coming was by no means welcomed by the colonists.

_Asuncion_ was, however, for the meantime spared, for the scene of
action of the first Jesuit Fathers was at some three hundred miles’
distance in the three settlements above mentioned. Of these settlements,
and of the _reduction_ of _Loreto_, scarcely a vestige now remains. The
early settlers suffered so much from the natives and from the hostile
Portuguese, that the province was abandoned. Twice was the site of
_Villa Rica_ changed, and the present town of that name dates from 1678.
The Fathers then descending the river, established themselves in the
district of _Misiones_, on the left bank of the _Paraná_, a district
which is at the present day, and has long been, in dispute between
_Brazil_ and her neighbour. The early success of the Jesuits in
converting the natives was very remarkable; but it may be as well to
remember that it is the Jesuits themselves, and not independent writers,
who have chronicled the fact. The Paraguayans, they say, not only
embraced the faith, but voluntarily entered the _reductions_, and
accepted the rule of the spiritual teachers. Before their coming the
name of the foreigner had been terrible. The Spaniards, disappointed in
finding gold, had taken possession of the territory, forcing the
Paraguayans to a lot of unrequited drudgery. The Jesuits, however, had
come to live and to die amongst them, seeking nothing for themselves but
to be allowed to teach the arts of civilization and to show the way to
paradise. It is not surprising that the contrast between their ways and
those of their secular countrymen should have won the natives’
confidence. Indeed, as one of the conditions granted by the crown to the
founders of the _reductions_ was that these were to be free from all
colonial control, the Paraguayans would at first sight seem to be the
gainers by entering them. It was one of the principles of the order that
the natives should not be subjected to unrecompensed labour.

It is somewhat remarkable that whilst the system and labours of the
Jesuits in _Paraguay_ are spoken of by most Protestant writers with
almost unqualified praise, they are denounced in unmeasured terms by
their Catholic rivals the Franciscans. It is not to be questioned that
the early members of the order--the immediate disciples of Loyola--were
actuated in their mission by no other motive than the most
self-sacrificing and disinterested zeal; but these men were succeeded by
others of a different stamp, and as time wore on the Jesuit rulers of
_Paraguay_ might enjoy a life of indolence and luxury. During the first
twenty-five years of their mission they founded no less than ten towns;
but the historian Azara points out that these twenty-five years
precisely coincides with the time when the Portuguese furiously
persecuted the natives in order to sell them into slavery. The
frightened fugitives took refuge in the region between the _Uruguay_ and
the _Paraná_, and crowded into the Jesuit towns. During the following
hundred years or more only one other town was established. Thus it
appears that Portuguese rapacity had not a little to do with the
establishment of Jesuit rule at _Paraguay_.

The career of the Jesuits, however, was not destined to run on with
uniform smoothness. A governor of _Paraguay_ was appointed whose policy
and interest were not in unison with theirs. Cespedes was married to a
Portuguese lady, whose sympathies were rather with her man-stealing
countrymen than with the people ruled over by her husband. During his
visit at _Rio de Janeiro_ on his way to his government, Cespedes, it is
said, so far fell into the hands of the Brazilians as to make a bargain
with them by which he was to assist them in kidnapping those whom he had
been sent to govern and protect. He resolved to pass by land to
_Asuncion_. The first point he reached within Spanish territory was
_Loreto_, on the banks of a tributary of the _Paraná_. There the Jesuits
awaited his coming with joyful anticipation, which was soon to be
changed to dismay. The estates of the _Señora_ Cespedes in _Brazil_ were
in need of labourers, and the conscientious governor made a pact with
the slave-hunters to facilitate their operations on condition of
receiving six hundred of their captives. Under these circumstances it is
not surprising that the missionary establishments of _Guayrá_ should
have fallen an easy prey. The early neophytes were carried off by
thousands and sold into slavery. Having no protection to look for at
_Asuncion_, the remainder fled, to the number of twelve thousand. The
Fathers accompanied them until they were, as they thought, at a safe
distance in the region now known as _Misiones_. In their new
_reductions_ the Jesuits continued their work of proselytizing, and,
after the dismissal of Cespedes, tried various means of acquiring
influence at _Asuncion_. Nor were they unsuccessful. The natives not
unnaturally preferred their rule to that of the civil authorities, and
consequently the _reductions_ grew powerful. The result was that the
government became jealous, and that the Franciscans, headed by the
bishop, took means to rid themselves of their successful neighbours and

The Jesuits appealed to Spain and likewise to the Pope, with the result
that their representative obtained for them a royal grant, which
rendered the missions independent of the government of _Paraguay_. They
were likewise permitted to provide the natives with firearms, to be used
in self-defence. When the next raid was made by the slave-hunters, they
were so well received that, though they were a thousand in number, few
escaped to tell of their surprise and defeat. The missions were no more
troubled by men-stealers from _Brazil_.

[Sidenote: 1644.]

But the Jesuits had still to contend with the rival ecclesiastics of
_Asuncion_. The Bishop of _Paraguay_, Cardenas, was at this time a
prominent figure. He is said to have hated the Jesuits with a fervour
which is seldom more evoked than in religious animosities; but he by no
means confined his attention to them. It was an age when all men dreaded
the curse of Rome, and Cardenas was nothing loth to use this terrible
weapon. Amongst others who fell under his ban was Hinostrosa, the
governor of the colony, who had ventured to differ from him upon some
matter which does not appear. The people were scandalized at the
governor’s disgrace; and in fear of a tumult the bishop withdrew from
the capital. He was followed by the penitent governor, who sought and
obtained the removal of the anathema. The bishop having now the civil as
well as the spiritual power virtually in his hands, lost no time in
making it felt by the Jesuits. They were prohibited from preaching
within _Asuncion_, and their schools were closed. But if the governor
was subdued by the ecclesiastical authority, the Viceroy of _Charcas_
and his council were not. The governor of _Paraguay_ was severely
reprimanded for having submitted himself to an arrogant prelate, who was
in turn denounced, and was compelled to retire for some years from

[Sidenote: 1648.]

On his return to that city, the governor died; and as in this emergency
the choice of a successor lay with the people, the Bishop Cardenas was
now elected to rule in his stead. Once more he was in possession of full
power, and once more he lost no time in proclaiming his determination to
use it for the expulsion of the Jesuits. Having, under threats of
excommunication, collected a large crowd of people capable of bearing
arms, he demanded the surrender of the Jesuits’ College. In vain its
rector protested that his order exercised their rights under a royal
grant. The doors were forced open, and the priests and neophytes were
driven out. These having been brought to the river, were placed in boats
and cast adrift without sail or oar. The college was then sacked, and
the statues of Loyola and Xavier dragged from their pedestals. This
violence was the natural prelude of the bishop’s own fall. He was
summoned for trial before the Grand Council of _Peru_, and finally
deposed from all authority.

The deposition of Cardenas was the signal for the recall of the Jesuits,
and for some time to come they were masters of the situation. There
still existed, however, continual jealousy and discord between them and
the Franciscans; and the civil authorities were disposed to side with
the latter. The Jesuits nevertheless applied themselves with
undiminished earnestness to acquire power in _Asuncion_. By establishing
and controlling the schools, they obtained the direction of the rising
generation; and the missions were by this time rich and nourishing.
Outside the _reductions_ the natives preferred the Jesuit rule to that
of the civil authorities, as the former repudiated slavery; whilst
within the _reductions_ the servitude to which they were subjected was
disguised under another name. It was labour for the common benefit.

The systems of the Spanish governors and of the Jesuit Fathers,
respectively, were widely different, and require some explanation. From
the first advent of the former a mixed race gradually sprung up. The
Spaniards brought with them few if any women, and if a certain
proportion of Spanish ladies arrived later they were not in sufficient
numbers to affect the general rule, which was that the Spanish settlers
were allied to _Guaraní_ wives. Thus was formed the modern mixed
Paraguayan race. In a very short time, therefore, by means of the ties
of relationship, a strong sympathy grew up between the Spaniards and the
_Guaranís_ or those of _Guaraní_ blood, and a recognition of this fact
formed the basis of the plan of government founded by the great Irala.
The lot of the natives of _Paraguay_, as compared with the natives of
the other Spanish dominions in the New World, was far from being a hard
one. There were no mines to work. The Spaniards came there to settle,
rather than to amass fortunes with which to return to Europe. The
country was abundantly fertile, and such wealth as the Spaniards might
amass consisted in the produce of their fields or the increase of their
herds, which were amply sufficient to support them. Consequently all
they required of the natives, for the most part, was a moderate amount
of service as labourers or as herdsmen, whilst in return they were in a
position to impart to the Paraguayans many of the arts of civilization.

The Jesuits, on the other hand, admitted no other Europeans within the
bounds of their _reductions_, and having themselves no ties of kindred
by marriage or otherwise with those around them, remained a distinct
class apart. Their disciples were not even instructed in the Spanish or
any other European tongue, save so much, perhaps, as was implied by
their being taught to patter certain prayers by rote. As to their
temporal concerns, they laboured, as it was said, for the common weal,
but they were, in fact, reduced to a condition of the most utter
servitude imaginable. Not only had they, like their native brethren
beyond the limits of the _reductions_, to give their labour in the
fields and in tending the herds, but when this was done the whole of
their produce--beyond that necessary for their own sustenance--went into
the common Jesuits’ fund,--that is to say, went towards building and
adorning splendid churches, many of which, with their carved ornaments
of the finest wood, remain to this day when the race that produced them
is no more. Nor was this the only labour that fell upon such of the
natives as were enticed into life-long servitude for “the greater glory
of God.” It was necessary to seclude them from the temptations of the
outer world, and for this purpose each _reduction_ was converted into a
fortress, so contrived as at the same time to preclude the entrance of
strangers from without and the exit of disciples from within. The
Paraguayans who had submitted themselves to the Jesuits’ absolute sway
were thus cunningly made the artificers of the chains that bound them.
It is going considerably in advance of the period now in question to
advert to the reigns of Francia and the second Lopez, but it may be
permitted here to point out that, in thus inducing a system of utter
mental and moral imbecility, the Jesuit Fathers are undoubtedly
responsible for the untold misery which was brought about under these
tyrants, and which at length resulted in the extinction of the
Paraguayan race.

The Jesuits have been their own historians; therefore the following
details, written by themselves, must be read with the reflection that
there was no contemporary critic to bequeath another side of the
picture. Quitting the lower banks of the _Plata_, already covered with
innumerable cattle on boundless plains which showed a perpetual verdure,
the Jesuits, on their way to their destination, were shocked, on
touching at the island of _S. Gabriel_, by beholding a tribe of
idolaters who inspired terror in their neighbourhood and probably still
more at home, since we learn that they put their women to death on
attaining the age of thirty. After traversing about a thousand miles of
river they reached the _Guaraní_ missions, comprising thirty
settlements. On the western coast, and further to the north, were the
_Chiquito_ missions, with which the others maintained a correspondence,
which until the early part of the eighteenth century could only be
effected by way of _Peru_, along a route of eight hundred leagues,
intersected by streams only fordable at certain seasons. The shorter way
from the _Plata_ to the _Chiquito_ missions was jealously closed by the

The _Guaranís_ were of two classes--hunters and fishermen. The former
ignored the use of saddles, but passed their time for the most part on
the horses which had followed the Spaniards. The fishermen adored a
demon who manifested itself in the form of a large bird. It was at
length determined by the Jesuits to attempt to penetrate to the
_Chiquito_ settlements of their brethren by way of the _Uruguay_ river;
and two Fathers, accompanied by thirty Paraguayan disciples, set out
with this object from _Asuncion_. They had ascended about a hundred
leagues when they were met by a boat, carrying _Payaguas_, who, being
placed between two enemies, implored the aid of the Jesuits. To the west
were their sworn foes, the _Guaycurus_; to the east were the Brazilian
slave-hunters. This natural cry for help was interpreted as a prayer for
admission within the Church’s pale, and one of the Fathers remained with
his converts at the Lake of _Uberada_, while the other proceeded alone
towards _Peru_.

The sudden conversion of the natives, however, which had resulted from
terror, lasted only as long as the Jesuits and their party remained
sufficiently strong to overawe them. Left with one Father and fifteen
Paraguayans, they obtained leave to depart for the purpose of bringing
others to share the Father’s instruction. On their return in sufficient
numbers to overpower him, fourteen of his Paraguayans were put to death,
one being reserved as interpreter; one of the Spanish boatmen was
likewise spared to steer the _Payaguas_ to their former haunts. There
the interpreter was put to death in the defence of his master, who,
however, together with his brother Jesuit, was almost immediately
afterwards murdered by the _Guaycurus_.

About the same period there were in _Buenos Ayres_ some twenty thousand
Africans who could not speak Spanish. In order to be able to administer
spiritual food to these, Father Chomé studied the tongue of _Angola_, in
which in the course of three months he acquired such proficiency that he
was able to persuade himself that the Africans understood his attempts
to expound the doctrines of Christianity. His linguistic powers marked
him out for service in _Peru_, but his destination was changed to
_Paraguay_. He was conveyed thither in a covered cart, carrying with him
his own bedding and provisions. The neighbourhood of _Santa Fè_ was then
infested by the _Guaycurus_, who were even daring enough to attack that
town. They gave no quarter, and carried as trophies the scalps of their
victims. Their weapons were bows and arrows, lances and darts, which
rebounded by means of a string fastened to the projector’s thumb.
Issuing from their ambuscades, and giving utterance to wild cries, they
inspired still further terror by their aspect, being enclosed in a suit
composed of feathers. They had already attained perfection in
horsemanship, now falling flat on the animals’ necks, now swinging their
persons beneath their girths and holding on by their feet, or throwing
themselves from one side to the other as occasion might require. If it
seemed desirable to abandon their steeds and take to the river or
thicket, they were as fishes in the former, and could defy the thorns of
the latter.

Beset by these savages, Father Chomé was indebted to his escort for his
arriving without accident at _Santa Fè_, where he was still two hundred
and twenty leagues from the nearest of the _reductions_. The carts in
use were but little suited to a country intersected by streams, and
where bridges were unknown. On reaching a stream the waggon was unloaded
and attached to the tails of horses, who struggled as best they could to
the opposite shore. Such travellers as could not swim were committed to
small boats formed of a single ox-hide, with the almost unnecessary
injunction to sit still in them. In the _pelotas_, too, the loads were
transported. From _Santa Fè_ Father Chomé proceeded towards his
destination on horseback.

       *       *       *       *       *

After the greater part of the _Guaranís_ had embraced Christianity, a
section still refused to listen to the voice of the missionaries, and
sought an asylum in the adjoining mountains. Their grieved would-be
converters for a while consoled themselves with the reflection that the
sudden change from the burning _pampas_ plains to the snows of the
_Andes_ would suffice to exterminate the heathen; but when they were
disappointed in this pious wish, and when the tribesmen, who had, on the
contrary, increased in numbers, ventured to murder some Dominicans, the
vengeance of the authorities was roused, and their mountains were
invaded, with the result that many hundreds of them were made prisoners
or slain.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Jesuit missions, where were renewed the innocence and piety of the
early Christians, numbered towards the close of the seventeenth century
forty large establishments, the most considerable of which included from
fifteen to twenty thousand souls. The chief of each mission and the
judge were chosen year by year. The fruits of the land were placed in
public magazines, from which each family received its allotted share. So
remarkable was the innocence of the _Guaraní_ converts that the Fathers
own that their pupils’ confessions seldom or never revealed anything to
call for absolution. They denied to the Paraguayans any share of
inventive genius, but claimed for them on the other hand the greatest
powers of imitation. They could make tables, print or copy books,
imitate the finest writing, construct musical instruments and watches,
draw plans and engrave maps. It was not without labour that their
conversion was brought about; but once effected, it was sincere and
lasting, and there were no bounds to the attachment they evinced towards
their spiritual fathers.

The following extract, translated from _Azara_, may give some further
idea of the system pursued by the Jesuits. The historian’s knowledge is
derived from eye-witnesses, and his statements of fact, though not his
conclusions, agree with those of the Fathers:--

“The thirty-three Jesuit missions were ruled in the following manner:
Two Jesuits resided in each _pueblo_. The one called the _cura_ had
either been provincial or rector in their colleges, or was at least a
grave _padre_. He did not exercise any of the functions of a _cura_, and
frequently did not know the language of the Indians. He occupied himself
only with the temporal administration of all the property of the
_pueblo_, of which he was the absolute director. The spiritual
department was confided to another Jesuit, called _compañero_, or
_vice-cura_, subordinate to the first. The Jesuits of all the _pueblos_
were under the superintendence and vigilance of another, named the
_superior_ of the missions, who had, moreover, the power to confirm from
the Pope. To control these _pueblos_ they had no laws, either civil or
criminal; the only rule was the will of the Jesuits. Though in each
_pueblo_ there was an Indian called a _corregidor_, and others called
_alcaldes_ and _rejidores_ (mayor and aldermen), that formed a municipal
body like that which they have in Spanish colonies, no one of them
exercised the least jurisdiction, and they were only instruments that
served to execute the will of the _curas_, even in criminal cases. The
_curas_ who inflicted the punishments were never cited before the king
nor before any of the ordinary tribunals. They compelled the Indians of
both sexes and of every age to labour for the community, without
permitting any person to labour at all for himself. All must obey the
orders of the _cura_, who stored up the produce of the labour, and who
had the charge of supplying food and clothing to all. From this it is
seen that the Jesuits were absolutely masters of everything; that they
completely disposed of the surplus stock of the whole community; and
that all the Indians were equal, without distinction, and unable to
possess any private property. There could be no motive of emulation to
induce them to exercise their talents or their reason, since the most
able, the most virtuous, the most active, was not better fed or clothed
than the others, nor would he obtain any enjoyment that was not common
to all. The Jesuits have persuaded the world that this kind of
government was the only one suitable for the Indians, and had rendered
happy those who were like children, and incapable of taking care of
themselves. They add, that they direct them as a father governs his
family, and that they collect and keep in the storehouses the products
of the harvests, not for private use, but to make a proper distribution
to their children, who, incapable of provision, do not know how to
preserve anything for the sustenance of their families. This manner of
government had appeared in Europe worthy of such great encomiums, that
the lot of these Indians has almost come to be envied. But this is done
without reflecting that these same Indians in a savage state did know
how to support their families, and that individuals of the same Indians
that had been subjugated in _Paraguay_ lived an age before in a state of
liberty, without knowing of such community of goods, without the
necessity of being directed by any person, nor of being incited or
forced to labour, and without a public storehouse or distribution of the
harvest; and that, too, notwithstanding they had to support the charge
of the commanderies that took the sixth part of their annual labour. It
seems, then, they were not such children, nor were they so incapable as
the Fathers tried to make them appear. But were such incapacity certain,
from their not having sufficient time in a century and a half to correct
such defects, one of the two following causes appears reasonable,--either
the administration of the Jesuits was contrary to the civilization of
the Indians, or they were such a people as were incapable of emerging
from their primitive state of infancy.”

Previously to the foundation of the Jesuit _reductions_, posts had been
established in various parts by the Spaniards for purposes of trade and
local government. Several of these were in the neighbourhood of the
Jesuits’ settlements. But the order would not tolerate the presence of
Europeans near them. They complained in pathetic tones of the hardships
endured by the natives at the hands of the avaricious Spanish
superintendents, who not only exacted from them one-sixth part of their
produce, but showed them a pernicious example in the way of morality,
and thus interfered with the Jesuits’ religious teaching. These
complaints having been forwarded to the court of Spain, the
superintendents were withdrawn and their posts abolished, thus leaving
the Jesuits in sole control of the territory of _Misiones_. This
decision is the more remarkable, inasmuch as the Jesuits were not only
not under Spanish rule, but were not even for the most part of the
nation which had produced their founder. Nor did they pay tax or tribute
to the crown.

But the exercise of absolute power within their own territory did not
satisfy the ambitious order. They sought to make their influence felt
and visible everywhere, and in so seeking paved the way for their
downfall. Their first idea was to gain control over the rising
generation by giving gratuitous instruction to the youth of wealthy
families; and, warned by their previous experience, they prepared
themselves against future reverses by raising from amongst their
neophytes a very considerable standing army. They could at a very early
period of their reign bring into the field a force of some seven
thousand men.




We are all familiar with the names of certain English navigators with
reference to Spanish South America; but it is somewhat difficult to
introduce a notice of their deeds at the precise date when they
occurred, without interrupting the course of the general narrative.
Neither do their actions belong especially to any ocean or country. They
appeared sometimes on the Atlantic and at others on the Pacific;
sometimes on the Isthmus of _Darien_, at others on the coast of _Peru_.
They plundered the enemy wherever they found him vulnerable, and treated
the inhabitants of one side of the continent and of the other with
perfect impartiality. I have therefore thought it better to gather
together in one chapter some short records of the deeds of certain
amongst the most famous of these free-lances of the ocean.

Foremost amongst the English navigators to Spanish American waters comes
the redoubtable Hawkins. That he was an admirable seaman and a most
courageous man, no one will question. He was likewise as patriotic as it
was possible for man to be, and was most considerate and fair towards
those under his command, by whom he seems to have been respected and
beloved. But it may help to form a more correct opinion of the age in
which he lived, and may serve somewhat to modify our judgment
respecting the Spaniards and Portuguese of the sixteenth century in the
matter of slavery, if we remember that Sir John Hawkins, of whom most
Englishmen are to a certain extent proud, was, in plain terms, an
atrocious slave-dealer. This article was, in fact, the staple commodity
in which he trafficked, and he pursued his course to the coast of
Africa, there to capture his cargo of negroes, with not a whit more
concern for them or their rights than would have been displayed by Rob
Roy or by Roderick Dhu for the cattle which they carried off from the
Lowlands. It may be well also to bear in mind that his course of life
was well known to Queen Elizabeth and Her Ministers, and that Her
Majesty, in token of Her approval of his proceedings, placed at his
disposal one of Her vessels, the “Jesus” of Lubeck, of 700 tons.

As this work is not intended to throw light on the African slave-trade
further than in as far as it concerns South America, it is not necessary
to follow Sir John throughout all his nefarious proceedings on the coast
of Africa. But one of his voyages, in the course of which he proceeded
with his usual cargo, in the year 1564, to _Cape de la Vala_, has for us
unusual interest, inasmuch as in the course of its narrative we find the
first mention, among English writers, of the potato. It is well known
that Raleigh and certain of his companions, at a much later date,
brought home with them that root from _Virginia_. It is the case
likewise, that, some time before this voyage of Raleigh, Drake had
introduced the same plant to these islands; but that our first
acquaintance with the potato is due to Hawkins and his expedition of the
above-mentioned year will appear from the following extract:--

“Here perceiving no trafficke to be had with them, nor yet water for the
refreshing of our men, we were driven to depart the twentieth day, and
the 2 and twentieth we came to a place in the maine called _Cumana_,
whither the captaine going in his pinnisse, spake with certaine
Spaniards of whom he demanded trafficke, but they made him answere, they
were but souldiers newely come thither, and were not able to by on
negro; whereupon hee asked for a watring place, and they pointed him a
place two leagues off, called _Santa Fè_, where we found marvellous
goodly watring, and commodious for the taking in thereof; for that the
fresh water came into the sea, and so our shippes had aboord the shore
twentie fathome water. Neere about this place inhabited certaine
Indians, who the next day after we came thither came down to us,
presenting mill and cakes of breade, which they had made of a kinde of
corne called maiz, in bignesse of a pease, the eare whereof is much like
to a teasell, but a spanne in length having thereon a number of granes.
Also they brought down to us Hennes, Potatoes and Pines, which we bought
for beades, pewter whistles, glasses, knives and other trifles. These
potatoes be the most delicate rootes that may be eaten, and doe farre
exceed our passeneps or carets.”[S]

       *       *       *       *       *

Hawkins and his men kept on their course along the coast, and came on
the 3rd of April to a place called _Burboroata_, where the ships came to
anchor, and he himself went on shore to speak to the Spaniards, to whom
he declared his nationality, and that he came thither for lawful trade,
for which he required permission. They made answer that they were
forbidden by their king to traffic with any foreign nation, upon pain of
forfeiting their goods; they therefore desired him to depart, for they
were subjects, and might not go beyond the law. Hawkins, however, who
was an impersonation of the _Civis Romanus sum_, was above the law. He
replied that his necessity was such as he might not so do; for being in
one of the Queen’s _armadas_ of England, and having many soldiers in
them, he had need both of some refreshing for them, and of victuals, and
of money also, without which he could not depart. With much other talk
he persuaded them not to fear any dishonest part of his towards them;
for neither would he commit any such thing to the dishonour of his
prince, nor yet for dishonest reputation and estimation, unless he were
too rigorously dealt withal, which he hoped not to find at their hands.

The Spaniards made answer that it lay not in them to give any licence,
for that they had a governor to whom the government of these parts was
committed; but if Hawkins would stay ten days longer they would send to
their governor, who was three score leagues off, and would return answer
within the appointed time.

Meanwhile Hawkins was permitted to bring his ships into harbour and to
receive the victuals he required. On the fourth day he went in and
received according to promise all things requisite; whereupon the shrewd
captain thought to himself that to remain according to his promise for
the stipulated ten days, spending victuals and men’s wages, would be a
mere act of folly. He therefore requested permission to sell certain
lean and sick negroes which he had in his ships, like to die upon his
hands if he kept them ten days. He was forced to make this request,
because he had not otherwise wherewith to pay for victuals and for
necessaries. This request being put in writing and presented, the
officers and town-dwellers assembled together; and, finding his request
so reasonable, granted him licence for thirty negroes, which afterwards
they caused the officers to view, to the intent they should accede to
nothing but what was reasonable, for fear of afterwards being called to
answer therefor.

But the Spaniards were as much on their guard as was Hawkins, and he
found but little demand for his negro wares, since the authorities had
decided that none but the poor should be permitted to bid for them. It
was a question of bargaining, and Hawkins made pretence of being about
to depart, carrying his goods elsewhere. He answered that he not only
required permission to sell, but likewise his fair profit; and he
thought it due to his character to show by his papers what he had paid
for his negroes, and likewise what all the charges of the trade he was
engaged in had cost him. As they did not wish for his departure they
encouraged him to remain, by telling him that he would get a better
price there than anywhere else. He therefore consented to remain, in
order that he might dispose of his lean negroes. He disposed of a few
next day, but could do nothing more until the arrival of the governor a
fortnight later.

Hawkins addressed to the governor a petition asking to be allowed to
sell his negroes, which permission was granted him. But perceiving that
the Spaniards would neither consent to pay anything like the price he
demanded, nor consent to relinquish the king’s custom duty of thirty
_ducats_ on each slave, he determined to take more decisive measures.
Accordingly on the 16th of April he prepared one hundred men well armed,
with whom he marched against the town. On this demonstration, the
governor not unnaturally sent messengers to inquire what it meant, and
requiring him to halt until he should have received his answer. The
captain, declaring how unreasonable a thing the king’s custom was,
requested to have the same abated, offering to pay seven and a half per
cent. The governor replied that his demand should be granted. Hostages
being given, the invaders then departed to their ships, and carried on
their traffic for twelve days without disturbance, when Hawkins again
made a show of departing, in order to obtain higher prices.

On the 4th of May he actually departed, and on the 6th reached the
island of _Curaçao_, where the ships found great refreshment in beef,
mutton, and lambs, which were in such plenty that they were given
gratis. The cattle in this island is reported to have increased in such
prodigious ratio that of a dozen of each sort originally imported there
were to be found in twenty-five years a hundred thousand at least.
Fifteen hundred were yearly killed, for the sake only of their skins and

On the fifteenth of the month they left _Curaçao_, and on the
seventeenth anchored near _Cape de la Vela_, and next proceeded to the
_Rio de la Hacha_, where Hawkins had again recourse to threats before
being permitted to traffic. As they would not accede to his price,
however, he shot off a calverin to summon the town, and preparing one
hundred men in armour, went on shore, having in his great boat two
falcons of brass, the other boats being likewise armed. The townsmen
turned out to resist the invasion; but although they were superior in
numbers, they soon gave way and sent a flag of truce. A colloquy now
occurred between Hawkins and the treasurer, with the result that the
former obtained all his requests, receiving hostages for their
fulfilment. After some further passages of distrust, the English
departed in a friendly manner, their captain receiving at the
treasurer’s hands a testimonial of his good behaviour. Hawkins then
proceeded to _Jamaica_, and thence by _Cuba_ and _Florida_ for England.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first acquaintance of Drake with Spanish America was made in the
course of a voyage to the West Indies and the Caribbean Sea in the years
1565 and 1566. But the voyage which caused his name first to be placed
on record was that in which he accompanied Hawkins in the year 1567. The
expedition consisted of six ships, one of them being lent by Queen
Elizabeth in token of her approbation of the objects of the voyage. The
“Jesus” of Lubeck, a vessel of 700 tons, bore the flag of Hawkins. Two
other vessels were commanded respectively by Hampton and by Bolton;
whilst the “Judith” was commanded by Captain Francis Drake, he being
then a young man of about twenty-seven. There were in addition two very
small vessels, the “Angel” and the “Swallow.”

[Sidenote: 1567.]

Sailing from Plymouth on the 2nd of October 1567, they reached the _Cape
de Verde_ islands, after having encountered a terrible storm. Here the
admiral landed a hundred and fifty of his men, with the object of
procuring a supply of negroes; but in this quest these worthies were
disappointed, since they obtained but few, and these with much hurt and
damage, for they had to stand a flight of poisoned arrows. Their wounds
appeared in the beginning “but small hurts,[T] yet there hardly escaped
any that had blood drawn of them, but died in strange sort, with their
mouthes shutte some tenne dayes before they died, and after their wounds
were whole; when I myself,” says Hawkins, “had one of the greatest
wounds, yet, thanks be to God, escaped.” These men, it appears died of
lockjaw; and considering the cause in which they received their wounds,
few will be inclined to pity their fate.

At _St. Jorge da Mina_ a negro king came to ask the assistance of
Hawkins against a neighbouring king, promising him all the negroes that
should be taken. An offer so tempting was not to be rejected, and one
hundred and fifty men were selected and sent to assist this black
tyrant. They assaulted a town containing some eight thousand
inhabitants, strongly paled round, and fenced after their manner, and so
well defended that in the assault Hawkins’s people had six slain and
forty wounded. More help was called for; “whereupon,” says Hawkins,
“considering that the good success of this enterprise might highly
further the commodity of our voyage, I went myself; and with the help of
the king of our side, assaulted the town both by land and sea; and very
hardly with fire (their houses being covered with palm leaves) obtained
the town and put the inhabitants to flight; where we took two hundred
and fifty persons, men, women, and children; and by our friend the king
on our side, there were taken six hundred prisoners, whereof we hoped to
have our choice; but the negro (in which nation is never or seldom found
truth) meant nothing less; for that night he removed his camp and
prisoners, so that we were fain to content us with those few that we had
gotten ourselves.”[U]

On the coast of _Guinea_ they had succeeded in procuring about two
hundred more slaves, with which cargo they departed for the West Indies,
there to dispose of them to the Spaniards. On the 27th of March they
came into sight of _Dominica_, and coasted _Marguerita_ and _Cape de la
Vela_, carrying on meanwhile, without obstruction, “a tolerable good
trade,”--that is to say, parting with their negroes for good terms. At
_Rio de la Hacha_, all dealings with the inhabitants being prohibited,
the worthy and law-abiding Hawkins was affronted by what he considered
an infraction of the treaty between Henry VIII. and Charles V. He
determined to chastise the authors of this illegal proceeding, and
accordingly attacked the place. Having landed two hundred men, the town
was taken by storm, with the loss of only two, the Spaniards having fled
after the first volley. After this adventure, trade was connived at, if
not permitted. The Spaniards bought two hundred negroes; “and at all
other places where we traded the inhabitants were glad of us and traded

In proceeding towards _Cartagena_ they were caught in a terrible storm,
which so shattered the “Jesus,” that, her rudder being broken, she
sprang a leak, and being driven into the bay of _Mexico_, entered the
port of _San Juan d’Ulloa_. The disaster which befell Hawkins and his
consorts at this place need not here be recorded, since they do not
appertain to South American history.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: 1572.]

On the 24th of May, 1572, Captain Drake sailed from Plymouth in the
“Pascha,” of seventy tons, accompanied by his brother John Drake in the
“Swanne,” of twenty-five tons, having in all seventy-three men and boys,
of whom the oldest man was fifty, all the rest being under thirty. All
were volunteers, and the vessels were fitted out as men-of-war. Their
destination was _Nombre de Dios_. On the 2nd of July they sighted _Santa
Martha_, and landed at _Port Pheasant_, where they found a plate of
lead, on which John Garret, an English seaman who had been left here,
warned Drake to make haste away, as the place had been betrayed. Drake,
however, thought this a convenient spot on which to build his pinnaces,
which he had brought with him in frames from England, and which were now
completed in seven days.

On the following day he was joined by an English barque of the Isle of
Wight, which brought in a captured Spanish _caravel_. The English
captain, Rowse, understanding Drake’s purpose of attacking _Nombre de
Dios_, agreed to act in concert with him. Leaving the three ships and
the _caravel_ in charge of Rowse, Drake, taking with him fifty-three
men, proceeded in four pinnaces and a shallop to the Isles of _Pinos_,
which he reached on the 22nd of July, and where he made an alliance with
some runaway Indians who had fled from their Spanish masters and were
called _Symerons_. Proceeding silently by night, he came before _Nombre
de Dios_, where he landed without opposition. He and his men boldly
attacked the place, but in the course of a desperate struggle which
occurred on the town being alarmed, Drake was dangerously wounded, and
had to be conveyed on board ship.

It gives a very strange idea of the state of things then existing
between England and Spain when we read that immediately after this
unprovoked attack by Drake on _Nombre de Dios_, that captain was visited
by a _Hidalgo_, who protested that the object of his coming was to see
and admire one who had shown such courage. No doubt this gentleman had
other objects in view; but it is somewhat remarkable that he should have
trusted his person in a pirate’s den; for it must be remembered that, as
England was not then at war with Spain, Drake can only be described as a
buccaneer. This _Hidalgo_ was, however, very courteously received, and
departed protesting that he had never been honoured so much in his life.

The pinnaces now returned to the Isle of _Pinos_, where Drake parted
company with Captain Rowse. He next despatched his brother to examine
the river _Chagre_, and on his return he departed for _Cartagena_, where
he took two Spanish ships. His next enterprise was against a great ship
of Seville, which he obtained possession of by fighting. The town being
alarmed, Drake determined to burn one of his ships, in order that he
might have the means of manning his pinnaces. He then proceeded to the
Sound of _Darien_, where they cleared a space of ground to build houses.
Drake then went with his brother, with two pinnaces, to the _Rio
Grande_, passing out of sight of _Cartagena_, between which place and
_Tolon_ they took six frigates laden with provisions. Three days later
they arrived at _Pinos_. On the third of November Drake fell in with a
Spanish ship, which he captured.

But now Drake’s company were visited by heavy sickness, which was
attributed to the cold which the men suffered from whilst in the
pinnaces. On returning to the ships on the 27th of November, they
learned of the death of John Drake and of Richard Allen, who were slain
whilst attempting to board a frigate. On the 3rd of January six of the
company fell sick and died within two or three days, whilst as many as
thirty were stricken down with fever. Joseph Drake, another of the
captain’s brothers, died, and likewise the surgeon.

Drake now determined to proceed by land to _Panamá_, having by the 3rd
of February lost twenty-eight of his men. He took with him forty-eight,
eighteen being English and the rest _Symerons_, and in a few days
reached _Venta Cruz_. The chief of these people dwelt sixteen leagues
south-east of _Panamá_, and Drake now thought that he might with
advantage waylay a party carrying treasure across the isthmus. But,
owing to the awkwardness of one of his people, he and they were
discovered. He nevertheless attacked the party, and pursued them as far
as _Venta Cruz_.

On his journey thither Drake was informed of a certain tree, from the
top of which he might discern a branch of the Atlantic Ocean on the one
hand and of the Pacific on the other. One of the _Symerons_ desired him
to ascend “that goodlie and great high tree,” in the trunk of which
notches were cut in order to facilitate the ascent. From the top of this
tree, the English mariner, viewing the distant Pacific, solemnly
besought God to give him life and leave once to sail an English ship in
those seas.

Returning to _Venta Cruz_, which he took and rifled, he intercepted a
convoy of fifty mules, bearing a large quantity of silver, of which he
appropriated what he could carry. With some difficulty he rejoined his
pinnaces, when he resolved to return to _England_. He reached Plymouth
on Sunday the 9th of August 1573, whilst divine service was being
conducted. The church was forthwith deserted, all rushing out to welcome
the gallant captain, who had been absent one year and two months.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: 1575.]

In the course of the five years during which Drake reposed upon his
laurels, before undertaking his voyage round the world, John Oxenham,
who had been one of his companions in his late expedition, set out in a
vessel of one hundred and forty tons’ burden, with twenty seamen, for
the Isthmus of _Darien_. Having learnt at _Porto Bello_ that a convoy
of muleteers was expected from _Panamá_, he marched to meet them,
proceeding over the mountains to a small river which falls into the
Southern Sea. Building a pinnace, he then dropped down into the Bay of
_Panamá_ and proceeded to the _Pearl Islands_, where he took possession
of a small barque from the port of _Quito_ (probably _Guayaquil_), in
which he found sixty pounds’ weight of gold. Six days later he was still
further enriched by the plunder of a barque from _Lima_, bearing a
hundred pounds’ weight of silver in bars.

Unfortunately for the daring Oxenham, he was not contented with silver
and gold, but delayed on the island for fifteen days in search of
pearls. During this time, as he might have foreseen, intelligence of his
presence reached the Spaniards; and Captain Ortega was despatched with
four barques in search of him. The Spaniard learned that Oxenham had
gone up the river, and astutely traced his course by the quantity of
fowls’ feathers floating down the stream. After four days’ pursuit,
Oxenham’s pinnace was descried; but the Englishmen, all save six, had
left her, taking the treasure with them. The treasure, however, was soon
afterwards discovered, and with this Ortega was about to depart, when
Oxenham came down upon him with about two hundred _Symerons_. The
Spaniards, who were eighty in number, had the better of the fight,
killing eleven of the English, together with some Indians, with very
slight loss on their own side.

Oxenham now endeavoured to make the best of his way to his ship; but
information of its presence had been sent to _Nombre de Dios_, and his
vessel had been carried a prize to that port. Meanwhile a party of a
hundred and fifty men were scouring the mountains in search of the
English. On their being found, some were made prisoners and others fled;
but in the end all were conveyed to _Panamá_, where the fearless rover,
not being able to produce any power or commission from the Queen, was
sentenced, as were his companions, to suffer the death of a pirate. All
of the party were then executed, with the exception of Oxenham, his
master, his pilot, and five boys, who were sent to _Lima_. There the
boys were pardoned, but the three men suffered the fate to which they
had been condemned.

[Sidenote: 1577.]

To return to Drake: that famous captain set out from Plymouth in a
squadron, manned by one hundred and sixty-three seamen, on the 13th of
September 1577, and sailed to the coast of _Barbary_ for refreshments.
He commenced his depredations by seizing three Spanish fishing-boats; he
likewise captured three _caravels_. From _Cape Blanco_ he proceeded to
the _Cape de Verdes_, and thence stood for the Island of _St. Iago_,
where he captured a Portuguese ship. Near the equator his vessels were
becalmed for three weeks, and for fifty-five days Drake saw no land
before arriving on the coast of _Brazil_.

The expedition touched in the river _Plate_, but merely remained a short
time, when it proceeded to the southward, and anchored in a bay in
forty-seven degrees S. latitude. Two of his ships were now missing, but
one of them was here found by a vessel sent in search of them. In these
parts our countrymen first became acquainted with the race who derive
the name by which they are known to us from the height of _Pentagones_,
or five cubits, equal to seven and a half feet, with which Magellan
credited them. Mr. Fletcher, who accompanied Drake, states that these
people were of large stature, but he does not ascribe to them gigantic
proportions. At a later period, Commodore Byron described one of these
Patagonians as a frightful colossus of not less than seven feet. He was
no doubt an exception. They are in fact a tall race, but not more so
than well-grown Englishmen. Writing only the other day, Lady Florence
Dixie states that a tall Patagonian was of precisely the same height as
her husband, namely, six feet two inches, and there is no reason to
suppose that the race has physically degenerated since Magellan’s time.

[Sidenote: 1578.]

On the 20th of June Drake’s whole force anchored in _Fort St. Julian_,
where two of his men were shot by the natives. One of the objects which
attracted attention was a gibbet which had been set up by Magellan
seventy years before. At this place Mr. John Doughty was put on his
trial for conspiring to raise a mutiny in the fleet, and, being found
guilty by a jury, was condemned to be beheaded. The fleet was now
reduced to the “Pelican,” which name was soon changed to the “Golden
Hind,” the “Elizabeth,” and the “Marigold,” with which on the 20th of
August Drake arrived at the entrance of the _Straits of Magellan_. On
one side he observed an island “burning aloft in the air in a wonderful
sort without intermission.”

On the 6th of September, having passed the strait, Drake entered the
Pacific, which term must have seemed to him rather a misnomer, since he
found it rough and turbulent above measure, a tempest carrying his ships
a hundred leagues to the westward and separating them. It may be
observed that this was the second occasion on which the _Straits of
Magellan_ had been passed. Near the western outlet, Drake landed on an
island which he named after Queen Elizabeth.

It was now the mariner’s intention to proceed northwards into a warm
climate; but a terrific tempest carried the ships southward of _Cape
Horn_, thus giving to Drake the distinction of being the first European
to view the union of the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. _Cape Horn_
had, it is said, been sighted by the Spanish Commodore Lope de Loyaya in
1525, and was doubled by Le Maire and Schouten in 1646, the latter
bestowing upon it the name of _Hoorn_, his native place in Holland.[W]
On endeavouring to regain their way northwards, the “Marigold” was lost
with all hands, whilst the “Golden Hind” and the “Elizabeth” were
separated, the latter vessel, on re-entering the strait, giving up the
voyage “by Captain Winter’s compulsion, full sore against the mariners’

Drake’s ship being now left alone with the little pinnace, was again
driven back into the latitude of 55° south, in which the captain
anchored among some islands. After two days, however, they were driven
from their anchorage, when the pinnace lost sight of the ship. By good
fortune the former re-entered the _Straits of Magellan_, and her crew of
eight men proceeded to _Port St. Julian_, and thence to the _Plata_. Of
the eight men, four were captured by Indians, two wounded men died, and
the remaining two stayed on a small island for two months, subsisting on
crabs, eels, and fruit, but without water. They at length succeeded in
reaching the mainland, when one of the two survivors died from the
effects of drinking too much of the stream.[X]

Meanwhile Drake, in the “Golden Hind,” proceeded towards the north-west.
He fell in with two islands, where he laid in a supply of fowls, and
then continued his course to the island of _Macho_, inhabited by
Indians, by whom some of his men were attacked and slain. Drake himself
was hit in the face by an arrow, and he likewise received another wound
in the head. On the 13th of November he captured an Indian in a bay
called _St. Philip_, whom he treated with kindness, and dismissed to
rejoin his countrymen, who brought fowls, eggs, and a hog to the boat.
An Indian chief now joined Drake’s vessel, and conducted it to
_Valparaiso_, where he met with such stores as he needed, and parted
with his Indian pilot.

On the 19th of December the “Golden Hind” entered a bay near a town
called _Cyppo_, where three hundred Spaniards and Indians came down to
the shore, one of Drake’s men being slain. The navigator now proceeded
to the north, where a pinnace was set up in a convenient spot, in order
that search might be made in the creeks for intelligence of the missing

The next place landed at was _Tarapaca_, in about 20° S. latitude,
where a Spaniard was found asleep, with a bundle of thirteen silver bars
at his side, valued at four thousand _ducats_. The sleeper himself
remained uninjured otherwise than by his loss. In another place eight
_llamas_ were taken, laden with one hundred pounds’ weight of silver.
Still further on Drake reached a town where the Spaniards agreed to
traffic with him. On the 7th of February he arrived before _Arica_,
where he took some barques carrying much silver. On the 15th he reached
_Callao_, the port of _Lima_, which harbour he entered without
resistance, although thirty vessels were gathered within it. Of these he
plundered seventeen, which were laden. The vessels had no one on board,
as the visit of an enemy was the last event which was expected. In one
of these ships alone were found fifteen hundred bars of silver, whilst
another contained a large chest of coined money.

Drake took the precaution of cutting the cables of these vessels before
he set out in pursuit of a ship laden with gold and silver, which had on
the eve of his arrival departed for _Panamá_. As he was on his way he
fell in with a brigantine, from which he helped himself to eighty
pounds’ weight of gold, together with other treasures. At length he came
in sight of the “_Cacafuego_,” about one hundred and fifty leagues from
_Panamá_, when she was boarded and easily captured. From her Drake
obtained pearls and precious stones, together with eighty pounds’ weight
of gold and thirteen chests of silver. It was estimated that the “Golden
Hind” now carried a treasure of ninety thousand pounds. The
“_Cacafuego_” was permitted to go on her way, Drake’s object being
plunder and not wanton destruction.

He had good reason to avoid _Panamá_, so he stood to the westward, where
he fell in with another ship, the pilot of which he retained for his own
service. It is not within the plan of this work to follow the
adventurous navigator to _North America_ or on his further course over
the globe, on completing which he reached Plymouth on the 26th of
September 1580, having been absent two years, ten months, and some odd
days, during which time he had, in the expressive language of an old
writer, “ploughed up a furrow round the world.” It may be permitted,
however, to mention one or two points, as throwing light upon the very
singular history of the relations between Spain and England at that
period, and as therefore illustrating the position in which the Spanish
possessions in South America were placed.

The arrival of Drake at Plymouth was hailed, as on a former occasion,
with the most warm welcome, the mayor and corporation receiving him, and
the bells of St. Andrew’s Church ringing a continuous peal during the
day, whilst the gentlemen of the neighbourhood vied with the burghers to
do him honour. But all was not quite clear on Drake’s horizon. That he
had committed acts against Spain which could only be justified by his
country being at war with that power was abundantly clear. Drake was
therefore in one of two positions. Either he was an officer bearing
letters of marque, or other authority, from Queen Elizabeth, which
entitled him to commit the acts which he had committed, in which case
Elizabeth was at war with Spain; or he had committed these unquestioned
acts of piracy on his own account, in which case he was liable to
punishment, and the Spaniards whom he had plundered were entitled to
demand restitution of the losses they had sustained through his acts.

Queen Elizabeth and her Ministers took five months to decide this point,
in which they were so deeply interested and on which so much depended.
During this time Drake remained in semi-disgrace, since no ray of court
favour fell upon him. It may readily be imagined with what doubts the
Queen was at this time perplexed. That she heartily approved of the
deeds of Drake, and that she gloried in him as a gallant navigator, no
one would for a moment question; but, on the other hand, there was the
supposed colossal power of Spain, backed by the Church,--so soon to be
shivered against the force of England, but a contest with which was not
lightly to be entered upon.

Fortunately for the human race, Queen Elizabeth and her counsellors
determined to take upon themselves the responsibility of avowing the
acts of Drake, who, whilst the issues of the question concerning him
were being discussed, received the complimentary appellation of “the
master thiefe of the unknowne world,” which it must be admitted he fully
deserved. It may be interesting to state that the immediate pecuniary
results of this voyage to Drake himself, and to his partners and
fellow-adventurers, after all charges had been paid, was four thousand
seven hundred per cent. He was likewise knighted and promoted to the
rank of admiral, whilst in the “Golden Hind” he was visited by the

Drake’s next voyage to the westward, undertaken in 1585, and to which a
tinge of romance is given from the connection with it of Sir Philip
Sidney, has so little bearing on South America that it need not occupy
our time. Nor is this the place to state the part which the gallant
seaman played in the defeat of the Spanish _Armada_. But one more line
must be written to conclude the story of Hawkins and of Drake with
reference to the colonies of Spain.

[Sidenote: 1593.]

The power of England had been so clearly pointed out to be upon the
waves, that her rulers, anxious to pursue their advantage, determined to
employ her two most valiant and renowned sea-captains for working the
yet further detriment of Spain. Accordingly, in the year 1593, the Queen
gave notice that she intended to place a fleet under Sir Francis Drake,
to whom in the following year was associated his old patron, Hawkins.

Sir John Hawkins was now an admiral, between seventy-five and eighty
years of age; and as he was, moreover, wealthy, he showed more zeal
than discretion in venturing once more upon the climate of the West
Indies. Even ten years before this period the veteran had given proof
that he was no longer the man he had been. Together with Frobisher, he
had held command of ten of the Queen’s ships to scour the coasts of
Spain; but at the end of seven months they had returned without having
taken a single vessel and without having effected anything. The Queen
was naturally indignant at such waste of force and of time, and Hawkins
deemed it necessary to excuse himself. The old slave-dealer had been
always very pious, and on this occasion he deemed it fitting to remind
her Majesty that Paul planteth and Apollos watereth, but that God giveth
the increase. This quotation from Scripture was, under the
circumstances, a little out of place. Elizabeth’s comment upon it was,
“God’s death! This fool went out a soldier and is come home a divine.”

The squadron which the Queen had ordered to proceed to South America
under the joint command of the two admirals, sailed from Plymouth on the
28th of August 1595. But it was doomed to disaster throughout its
course. One vessel, the “Francis,” was taken by the Spaniards; and
whilst preparing to pass through the _Virgin Islands_, Hawkins became
extremely sick, and soon breathed his last. At _Puerto Rico_ a great
shot struck the mizen-mast of Drake’s ship, whilst another shot knocked
the stool on which he was seated from under him. Every preparation had
been made for the defence of the harbour and town; but, in spite of a
heavy fire, the English persisted in their desperate attempts, until
they had lost some forty or fifty killed and as many wounded. They were,
however, eventually compelled to retire, after having inflicted very
severe losses on the enemy.

Drake now proceeded to the _Caribbean_ shore and took the town of _La
Hacha_, the inhabitants of which ransomed themselves for thirty thousand
_ducats_. _Rancheria_ and _Rio de La Hacha_ were burnt down to the
ground, as was likewise _Santa Martha_, after which operations Drake
proceeded to _Nombre de Dios_, which was soon taken and destroyed,
together with all the frigates and barques in the harbour.

It was now decided that an attempt should be made on _Panamá_, and for
this purpose seven hundred and fifty soldiers were selected to march
over the isthmus. “The march was so sore,” says Hakluyt, “as never
Englishmen marched before;” and in the end it was deemed best, after the
loss of between eighty and ninety men, to make their way back to the

[Sidenote: 1596.]

On the 15th of January, Sir Francis Drake began to keep his cabin; and
on the 28th of that month, at four o’clock in the morning, he departed
this life. His body was conveyed to _Puerto Bello_, where it was
solemnly committed to the deep.

       *       *       *       *       *

The third of the three great men who may be said to have created between
them England’s position as Mistress of the Waves, and to have given the
English navy the character which it bears, is Sir Walter Raleigh.
Hawkins represents the old English unthinking, unreasoning, loyal,
slave-hunting, religious skipper. Drake, in turn, represented a much
higher phase of English sea-life. It is true that in his early days he
commanded a vessel in one of Hawkins’ slave-hunting expeditions; but, to
his great credit, he seems to have been so disgusted on this occasion,
that he never afterwards soiled his hands by dealing in this unholy and
abominable traffic. He was a corsair, but at the same time a
conscientious man. At _San Juan d’Ulloa_ and elsewhere he and his
companions had suffered grievous wrongs and treachery at the hands of
the Spanish authorities, wrongs for which he had in vain sought
reparation at Madrid. He therefore conceived himself--and in this belief
he was confirmed by a chaplain of his fleet--to be fully entitled to
exact on his own account the reparation which was refused him by the
Spanish Government; and it is to be noted that he sought simply
reparation, and that he is, throughout his career, entirely exempt from
charges of cruelty and of wanton depredation.

Hawkins and Drake were self-made men. They each rose to the rank of
admiral from the manly class which furnishes our seamen before the mast.
Raleigh, on the other hand, although not of aristocratic birth, and
although not, strictly speaking, a seaman by profession, yet did almost
everything towards the formation of the aristocratic element in our
navy. It was the gifted favourite of Elizabeth who induced many a youth
of the highest social circles to seek for distant ventures, and who thus
created the tradition by which the noblest families of England, from
that of the Queen downwards, devote one of their sons to the same toils,
perils, and honours which, in degree, befall all ranks of our navy.
Raleigh was ambitious for his country, for which, with prophetic vision,
he foresaw its place as Mistress of the Deep. With the famous patent
granted to him on March 25, 1584, to search out and take possession of
new lands in the western hemisphere, we have only to deal in so far as
it concerns _Guyana_.

[Sidenote: 1595.]

Raleigh had already led the way to the planting of the English race in
North America; he next directed his speculations towards the southern
hemisphere, and projected an expedition to _Guyana_. As a preliminary
measure he despatched a barque, under Captain Whiddon, to survey the
coast of that portion of South America. The object he had in view was to
explore and subdue _Guyana_, for the sake of the riches which it was
supposed to possess. With a fleet of five ships, and with a gallant
company of gentlemen, he sailed from Plymouth on the 6th of February
1595, and reached the Island of _Trinidad_, where he destroyed the new
city of _San Jose_. There leaving his ships, he proceeded with barges,
boats, and launches to explore the outlets of the _Orinoco_.

He toiled up the network of streams, through tropical thunder,
lightning, and rain. He beheld the great river swelling like a sea
between masses of luxuriant vegetation, profuse in tropical fruits and
flowers, and looked down upon from a huge height by the snow-clad
_Andes_ and by the _Condor_; but he saw no gold, nor did he discover any
mines. The setting-in of the rainy season put a period to his
explorations; and, leaving behind him a man and a boy to serve as
interpreters on his return, he set sail for England, taking with him a
young _Cacique_.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: 1616.]

Long years were to elapse before Sir Walter Raleigh again hoisted his
flag on the Atlantic. When he did so, a new order of things had arisen
in England, since thirteen years before he had been committed to the
Tower, from which he emerged on the 19th of March 1616. The destination
of the squadron which he now organized was again _Guyana_. A hundred
noblemen and gentlemen hastened to join the standard of the renowned
commander, whilst there was no lack of mariners eager to serve under an
admiral whose capacity has never been exceeded by any one in the long
list of our naval heroes.

On the 11th of November 1617, Raleigh, now sixty-five years of age,
reached _Guyana_, after a voyage which was in every way disastrous, and
which had left himself in impaired health and the force at his command
in diminished strength. His spirit, however, was still sanguine, as he
drifted towards the _Orinoco_ between the islands, in one of which is
laid the scene of “Robinson Crusoe.” On reaching the river, it was found
impossible for the larger vessels, including Raleigh’s own ship, the
“Destiny,” to cross the bar, and as he was in too enfeebled a condition
to lead the expedition inland in person, he had to relinquish the
command to another, whilst he himself remained cruising between the
_Orinoco_ and _Trinidad_, being so weak that he had to be carried about
in a chair.

Meanwhile, a considerable force ascended the river, under Captain Kemys
and Sir Walter’s son. _Guyana_ certainly belonged to England, if to any
foreign nation, since on the occasion of Raleigh’s former expedition the
_Caciques_, who had welcomed him as their deliverer from their Spanish
neighbours, had declared their allegiance to England. But during his
long absence Spanish settlements had been formed in the country.

Kemys proceeded up the _Orinoco_, his orders being to make for the mines
without offering molestation; but if he were attacked he was to repel
force by force. When encamped for the night half-way to the mines, he
was set upon by the Spaniards, who hoped to take him by surprise, but
who were repulsed, and who retreated, closely pursued by young Raleigh,
who fell in the pursuit. The existence of mines was, however, proved,
since four gold refineries were found in _San Pome_.

But Kemys had lost heart. The passes were in the hands of Spaniards, as
were the forests and the banks of the streams, so that his followers
were constantly shot down by unseen enemies. Returning, therefore, down
the river, he rejoined his chief, with what was literally a sentence of
death to the latter. Kemys could not bear his friend’s reproaches, and,
in utter despair, he took his own life.

Four months later Raleigh was again in England, and on the 28th of
October of the same year he expiated on Tower Hill his want of success;
the illustrious victim being offered up by the contemptible James as a
sacrifice to the implacable vengeance of Spain.

     NOTE.--Chapter XVII. is founded on

     “Life of Sir John Hawkins,” by Samuel Johnson, 2nd edition, 1787.

     “Hawkins, (Sir John). Two Voyages made to the West Indies,”
     Hakluyt, III.

     “Sir Francis Drake; The World Encompassed” (Hakluyt Society). 1854.

     “Voyages of Drake;” Hakluyt, II. IV.; Purchas, I. IV.

     “Life of Drake,” by Barrow.

     “Raleigh (Sir Walter); Discovery of Guiana” (Hakluyt Society).

     “Discovery of Guiana,” by Musham (Hakluyt, II.).

     “Life of Sir Walter Raleigh,” by James Augustus St. John. 1868.



It would naturally be expected that in a work of this kind there should
be some reference made to the long-pending discussion respecting the
letter addressed by Amerigo Vespucci to Lorenzo de Medici, by which it
would appear that Vespucci had visited the coast of _Pária_ in the year
1497--that is to say, in the year previous to that of the first visit of
Columbus to the South-American continent; and that therefore, supposing
this visit to be established, Amerigo Vespucci, and not Columbus, was
the first European discoverer of the South-American continent. This
question is one of the very first importance as regards history or
geography; since on its solution depends not only the question after
whom the great South-American continent should be called, but likewise
the fair fame of Vespucci’s name.

Since no new points have, to my knowledge, arisen of sufficient
importance to disturb what seems to me to be the necessarily final
judgment arrived at by Washington Irving, and which had previously been
concurred in by Robertson, and which is to be seen in the Appendix No.
X. to Irving’s work, entitled “The Voyages of the Companions of
Columbus,” I must confine myself to referring my readers to what seem to
me the irrefutable arguments therein brought forward. I may at the same
time refer them to the arguments, in a contrary direction, in the
“_Viaggi di Amerigo Vespuggi di Stanislao Canovai; Firenze_,” 1832.


The Italian traveller Benzoni, who has been referred to in the preceding
pages, has been quoted by Robertson, Irving, and Helps; but, considering
the unique position which he holds as being the first foreign critic of
the proceedings of the Spaniards in South America, I scarcely think that
his volume has received the full attention which it deserves at the
hands of modern writers on Spanish South America. I would therefore draw
attention to some extracts from his work, begging the reader to bear in
mind that they proceed by no means from a man of the mould of Las Casas,
but from one who, by his own confession, took part in a slave-hunting
expedition. The author in question was nevertheless, as he states, a
devout Christian, and he dedicates his history of the New World to Pope
Pius IV.

Benzoni started for America in the year 1541, and there spent fourteen
years of toil and travail. Landing at the Gulf of _Pária_, he proceeded
to _Cuba_ and other islands, returning thence to _Acla_, whence he
crossed to _Panamá_, from which place he visited the kingdom of _Peru_.
In this wandering course he passed fourteen years. Benzoni is the author
who is originally responsible for the well-known story of Columbus and
the egg. He states that whilst at _Amaracapana_ (Book I. p. 8) Captain
Calice arrived with upwards of four thousand slaves and had captured
many more. “When some of them could not walk, the Spaniards, to prevent
their remaining behind to make war, killed them by burying their swords
in their sides or their breasts. It was really a most distressing thing
to see the way in which these wretched creatures, naked, tired, and
lame, were treated; exhausted with hunger, sick, and despairing; the
unfortunate mothers, with two and three children on their shoulders or
clinging round their necks, overwhelmed with tears and grief, all tied
with cords or with iron chains round their necks, or their arms, or
their hands. Nor was there a girl but had been violated by the

At page 159, Benzoni observes that Spaniards have eulogised themselves
too much when they tell us that they are worthy of great praise for
having converted to Christianity the tribes and nations that they
subjugated; for there is a great difference between the name and the
being one in reality.

“The slaves are all marked in the face and on the arms by a hot iron
with the mark of C;[Y] then the governors and captains do as they like
with them; some are given to the soldiers, so that the Spaniards
afterwards sell them or gamble them away among each other. When ships
arrive from Spain, they barter these Indians for wine, flour, biscuit,
and other requisite things. And even when some of the Indian women are
pregnant by these same Spaniards, they sell them without any conscience.
Then the merchants carry them elsewhere and sell them again. Others are
sent to the island of _Spagnuola_ (_Hispaniola_), filling with them some
large vessels built like _caravels_. They carry them under the deck; and
being nearly all people captured inland, they suffer severely the sea
horrors; and not being allowed to move out of those sinks, what with
their sickness and their other wants, they have to stand in the filth
like animals; and the sea often being calm, water and other provisions
fail them, so that the poor wretches, oppressed by the heat, the stench,
the thirst, and the crowding, miserably expire there below. Now all that
country around the Gulf of _Pária_ and other places are no longer
inhabited by the Spaniards.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“Finally, out of the two millions of original inhabitants (of
Hispaniola), through the number of suicides and other deaths, occasioned
by the oppressive labour and cruelties imposed by the Spaniards, there
are not a hundred and fifty now to be found: and this has been their way
of making Christians of them. What befell these poor islanders has
happened also to all the others around: _Cuba_, _Jamaica_, _Porto Rico_,
and other places. And although an almost infinite number of the
inhabitants of the mainland have been brought to these islands as
slaves, they have nearly all since died.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“And there being among the Spaniards some who are not only cruel, but
very cruel. When a man occasionally wished to punish a slave, either for
some crime that he had committed, or for not having extracted the usual
quantity of silver or gold from the mine, when he came home at night,
instead of giving him supper, he made him undress, if he happened to
have a shirt on, and being thrown down on the ground, he had his hands
and feet tied to a piece of wood laid across, so permitted under the
rule called by the Spaniards the Law of Bajona, a law suggested, I
think, by some great demon; then with a thong or rope he was beaten
until his body streamed with blood; which done, they took a pound of
pitch or a pipkin of boiling oil, and threw it gradually all over the
unfortunate victim; then he was washed with some of the country pepper
mixed with salt and water. He was thus left on a plank covered over with
a cloth until his master thought he was again able to work. Others dug a
hole in the ground and put the man in upright, leaving only his head
out, and left him in it all night, the Spaniards saying that they have
recourse to this cure because the earth absorbs the blood and preserves
the flesh from forming any wound, so they get well sooner. And if any
die (which sometimes happens) through great pain, there is no heavier
punishment by law than that the master shall pay another (slave) to the
king. Thus, on account of these very great cruelties in the beginning,
some of them escaped from their masters, and wandered about the island
in a state of desperation.”

                         EDINBURGH AND LONDON.


 [A] The scene, well-deserving to be painted, might be described in the
 following lines:--

    “As rolls the river into ocean,
     In sable torrent wildly streaming;
     As the sea-tide’s opposing motion,
     In azure column proudly gleaming,
     Beats back the current many a rood
     In curling foam and mingling flood;
     Through sparkling spray, in thundering clash,
     The lightnings of the waters flash
     In awful whiteness o’er the shore,
     That shines and shakes beneath the roar.”
                   _The Giaour._


    “Valiant sea-captains! Great sea-kings!
     And thou, Columbus! my hero! greatest sea-king of all!”

 [C] _Viaggi de_ Amerigo Vespucci.

 [D] “Voyages of the Companions of Columbus;” by Washington Irving.

 [E] Duke of Veragua.

 [F] Helps.

 [G] Navarrete.

 [H] Psalm ii. 8.

 [I] _Vide_ Robertson.

 [J] NOTE.--“_Y esta fue la empresa de Fernando Magallanes, caballero
 portugues, cuya osodiía y constancia grande en inquirir este secreto,
 y no menos feliz suceso en hallarle, con eterna memoria puso nombre al
 estrecho que con razon por su inventor se llama de Magallanes._”

 “_Historia natural y moral de las Indias_,” by José de Acosta, Lib.
 III., cap. 10. The dangers attending the passage of the Strait of
 _Magellan_ caused the Isthmus of _Panamá_ to be long preferred as a
 route to _Chili_ and _Peru_. Its very existence came to be doubted.
 “_Las frequentes desgracias que padecieron las expediciones al
 estrecho de Magallanes y los crecidos gastos que causaban, hicieron
 preferible á canimo tan largo y peligroso el tránsita y conduccion
 de las mercaderiás por el ismo desde Nombre de Dios ó Portobelo
 hasta Panamá, fortificondo el primer punto para asegurarlo de los
 ataquos de los corsarios; y aunque despues de la expedicion de Juan
 Ladrillero, que salió del puerto de Valdivia en Noviembre de 1557,
 continuaron los vireyes del Perú y gobernadores de Chile empresas
 semejantes para reconocer el estrecho y facilitar su navigacion, ni
 aun memoria de ellas se ha conservado por haberse perdido algunos de
 los descubridores, y retrocedido otros sin conseguir el objeto que se
 propusieron. De aqui resultó el total abandono de aquella navigacion
 por mas de veinte años, llegando á olvidarse los anteriores viages
 al estrecho, hasta dudar de su existencia, cuniendo la opinion de
 haberse cerrado por algun terremoto ú otro accidente del mar y de las
 tempestades._”--NAVARRETE, _Tomo_ IV., _Prólogo_, p. xiii.

 Acosto writes previously to 1589: “_El estrecho, pues, que en la mar
 del sur halló Magallanes, creyeron algunos, ó que no lo habia, ó se
 habia ya cerrado, como D. Alonso de Arcila escribe en su Araucana; y
 hoy dia hay quien diga que no hay tal estrecho, sino que son islas
 entre la mar, porque lo que es tierra firma se acaba alli, y el resto
 es todo islas, y al cabo de ellas se junta el un mar con el otro
 amplísimamente, ó por mejor decirse es todo un mismo mar. Pero de
 cierto consta haber el estrecho y tierre larguísima á la una banda y
 á la otra, aunque la que está la otra parte del estrecho al sur no se
 sabe hasta dónde llegne._”

 The authority of Ercilla, cited by Acosta, is the most respectable,
 says Navarette, and the most trustworthy, that could be given, since
 he accompanied _Don_ Garcia de Mendoza in 1558 in his expedition along
 the coast of _Chili_ as far as _Chiloë_, and then passed with ten
 soldiers, after surmounting great difficulties, in a small boat, to
 the opposite coast, there writing his name on a tree.

 The following is the inscription commemorating this incident:--

      “_Acqui llegó donde otro no ha llegado
    Don Alonso de Ercilla, que el primero
    En un pequeño barco deslastrado,
    Con solos diez, pasó el desaguadero
    El año de cincuenta y ocho entrado
    Sobre mil y quinientos, par hebrero,
    A las dos de la tarde el postrer dia,
    Volviendo á la dejada compañía._”
                   “_Araucania_,” canto xxxvi., oct. 29.

       *       *       *       *       *

    “_Magallánes, Señor, fue el primer hombre
    Que abriendo este canimo le dió nombre._

      “_Por falta de pilotos, ó encubierta
    Causa quizá importante, y no sabida
    Esta secreta senda descubierta,
    Quedó para nosotros escondida
    Ora sea yerro de la altura cierta,
    Ora que alguna isleta removida
    Del tempestuosa mar y viento airado
    Encallando en la boca la ha cerrado._”
                   “_Araucania_,” canto i., octs. 8 y 9.

 The expedition of Magellan was on his death brought to a glorious
 termination by Juan Sebastian de Elcano, with reference to whom Oviedo
 writes as follows:--

 “_El cual, y los que con él vinieron me paresce á mí que son de mas
 eterna memoria dignos que aquellos argonáutas que con Jason navegaron
 á la isla de Colcos en demanda del vellocino de oro._”

    “_Hist. general de las Indias_,” part 2, lib. 20, cap. 1.

 [K] History of the Conquest of Peru; by William H. Prescott. Bentley.

 [L] See Ovalle.

 [M] On July 8th, 1730, and May 24th, 1751. On this account _New
 Conception_ was founded November 24th, 1764.

 [N] Fernandez, lib. II. c. 18.

 [O] The Abbé Ignatius Molina.

 [P] _Vide_ p. 94.

 [Q] Ovalle states that Caupolican, previously to his barbarous
 execution, desired with great concern to be baptised, and that he
 received the absolution.--_Relation of the Kingdom of Chile_, Book v.,
 chap. xxiii.

 [R] The present Valdivia is merely a garrison.

 [S] Hawkins, in Hakluyt.

 [T] Hakluyt.

 [U] Hakluyt. Dr. Johnson, in his Life of Drake, judiciously omits all
 mention of his hero’s share in this slave-hunt.

 [V] Hakluyt.

 [W] It had previously been passed by Brouwer in 1642. See page 39,
 vol. ii.

 [X] “Purchas,” from Curder’s narrative.

 [Y] The initial letter of the Emperor Charles V.

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

Uraguay=> Uruguay {pg ix}

at seven thousans=> at seven thousands {pg 26}

future of that cavelier=> future of that cavalier {pg 47}

the orders of the Catholics kings=> the orders of the Catholic kings {pg

should he set apart=> should be set apart {pg 80}

from a maize of bushes=> from a maze of bushes {pg 108}

place themselves under Gonzalo Pizzaro=> place themselves under Gonzalo
Pizarro {pg 181}

the support of Banalcazar=> the support of Benalcazar {pg 184}

Voyage dans l’Amerigne Méridionale=> Voyage dans l’Amérigue Méridionale
{pg 264}

A coloquy now occurred=> A colloquy now occurred {pg 285}

>Nombre de Dois=> >Nombre de Dios {pg 288}

were called _Simerons_=> were called _Symerons_ {pg 288}

Nombre de Dois=> Nombre de Dios {pg 288}

the two survivers=> the two survivors {pg 294}

thireen chests of silver=> thirteen chests of silver {pg 295}

the master thiefe of the unknowne word=> the master thiefe of the
unknowne world {pg 297}

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