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CORTES LANDS IN CALIFORNIA.
killed by the natives; the survivors succeeded in carrying the vessel over to the little harbor of Chiametla, in Xalisco, where she also was seized by Nuño de Guzman.
These attempts of Cortés to make discoveries in the north-west, had, in the mean time, excited Nuño de Guzman to efforts with the same object; and he had sent several parties of men in that direction, one of which appears to have traced the western shore of the continent as far as the mouth of the river. now called the Colorado, and to have first brought accounts of rich and populous countries and splendid cities in the interior. Guzman had also received large accessions to his forces from Mexico, and was making many settlements, one of which soon prospered, and became, in time, the city of Guadalaxara, the second in size in New Spain.
When Cortés became assured of the seizure of his vessels by Guzman, he addressed a complaint on the subject to the Audiencia; whose decision being, however, not so determinate in his favor as he wished, he assembled a large body of troops, and marched with them to Chiametla, where he also ordered three vessels to be sent from Tehuantepec. On the approach of these forces, Guzman advanced to meet them, but no action ensued; and Cortés, having been joined at Chiametla by his vessels, embarked in them, with a portion of his men, and set sail for the new country, found by Ximenes in the west, which was said to abound in the finest pearls. On the 3d of May, 1535, the day of the Invention of the Holy Cross, according to the Roman Catholic calendar, the squadron anchored in the bay, on the shore of which the murderers of Becerra had met their fate in the preceding year; and, in honor of the day, the name of Santa Cruz was bestowed on the place, of which possession was solemnly taken for the Spanish sovereign.
The country thus claimed by Cortés for Spain, was the south-east part of the great peninsula, which projects from the American continent on the Pacific side, in nearly the same direction, and between nearly the same parallels of latitude, as that of Florida on the Atlantic side. It soon after received the name of California, respecting the origin and meaning of which, many speculations — none of them satisfactory or even ingenious — have been offered. The bay called Santa Cruz by Cortés was probably the same now known as Port La Paz, about a hundred miles from the Pacific, near the 24th degree of latitude; though some accounts place it in the immediate vicinity of the southernmost point of the peninsula
On the shore of this bay, surrounded by bare mountains of rock, arid and forbidding in appearance, though not more so than the sandy waste about Vera Cruz, Cortés landed with a hundred and thirty men and forty horses, and then sent back two of his vessels to Chiametla, to bring over the remainder of the forces; hoping to find, in the interior of the new country, another Mexico, in the conquest of which he might employ his powerful energies. The vessels soon reappeared, with a portion of the troops, and were again despatched to the Mexican coast, from which only one of them returned, the other having been wrecked on her way. Cortés thereupon embarked, with seventy men, for Xalisco, from which he came back, after encountering the greatest dangers, just in time to prevent the total destruction by famine of those left at Santa Cruz.
In these operations, more than a year was consumed, without obtaining any promise of advantage. The new country, so far as it had been explored, was utterly barren, and, except that a few pearls were found on the coast, destitute of all attraction for the Spaniards. The officers of the expedition were discontented : of the men, a number had died from want and disease; the others were mutinous, and cursed “Cortés, his island, his bay, and his discovery."
Meanwhile his wife, becoming alarmed by the reports of the ill success of the expedition, which had reached Mexico, sent a vessel to Santa Cruz, with letters entreating his immediate return; and he, at the same time, learned that he had been superseded in the government of New Spain by Don Antonio de Mendoza, a nobleman of high rank and character, who had already made his entrance into the capital as viceroy.
The removal of Cortés from the government of the country which had, by his means, been added to the dominions of Spain, was a heavy blow; particularly as he was, at that moment, much embarrassed from want of funds, his private property having been seriously injured by the expenses of his recent expeditions, from which no advantage had been obtained. He was, in consequence, obliged to
, return to Mexico, where he arrived in the beginning of 1537, and, soon after, to recall from Santa Cruz his lieutenant, Francisco de Ulloa, with the forces which had been left there; and, not being able, at the time, to employ his vessels, he sent two of them, under Grijalva, to Peru, laden with arms, ammunition, and provisions, in
* Bernal Dias, chap. 199.
RAMBLES OF CABEZA-VACA.
aid of his friend Francisco Pizarro, who was then in great difficulties, from an extensive insurrection of the natives.*
Cortés, nevertheless, still claimed the right, in virtue of his capitulation with the sovereign, and as admiral of the South Sea, to make expeditions on that ocean for his own benefit; and he resolved to prosecute the discovery of California, by which he still expected to retrieve his fortunes, so soon as he could obtain the requisite funds. The advancement of this claim, however, brought him into collision with the new viceroy, who was an enlightened and determined man, and who had likewise become interested in the exploration of the regions north-west of Mexico, by the accounts of some persons recently arrived from that quarter; and a violent controversy ensued between the two chiefs, which lasted until the conqueror quitted Mexico.
The persons from whom the viceroy Mendoza received this information respecting the territories north-west of Mexico, were Alvaro Nuñez de Cabeza-Vaca, two other Spaniards, and a negro or Moor. They had landed, in 1527, near Tampa Bay, in the peninsula of Florida, among the adventurers who invaded that country under Panfilo Narvaez, in search of mines and plunder; and, after the destruction of their comrades by shipwreck, starvation, and the arrows of the Indians, they had wandered for nine years through forests and deserts, until they reached Culiacan, whence they were sent on to Mexico. Of their route, it is impossible to form any exact idea from the narrative published by Cabeza-Vaca: he had seen no signs of wealth or civilization in the regions which he had traversed; but he had, in many places, received from the natives accounts of rich and populous countries, inhabited by civilized people, situated farther north-west; and the viceroy, after hearing these accounts, thought proper to endeavor to ascertain the
A long account of the adventures of Cortés, in his Californian expedition, may be found in Herrera, Decade viii. book viii. chap. ix. and x. The descriptions of the localities given by Herrera, and other historians, are, however, so vague, that it is impossible to trace the movements of the Spaniards with exactness; and the events related are unimportant, being merely details of disasters, such as might have occurred to ordinary men, engaged in ordinary enterprises. Those who take interest in every thing connected with Cortés, - and the number of such must doubtless be greatly increased, since the publication of Mr. Prescott's History of the Conquest of Mexico, — may obtain explanations, as to the events of this expedition, from the Introduction to the Journal of Galiano and Valdes, and from the first volume of Burney's History of Voyages in the Pacific; but they should avoid the account given by Fleurieu, in his Introduction to the Journal of Marchand's Voyage, which only renders confusion worse confounded.
truth of them. For this purpose he collected a band of fifty horsemen, who were to be commanded by Dorantes, one of the companions of Cabeza-Vaca ; but, that plan being overthrown by some circumstance, he was induced, by the representations of his friend, the celebrated Bartolomé de las Casas, to depute two friars to make the exploration, with the view of preserving the inhabitants of the countries visited, from the violence to which military men would not fail to resort, if there should be occasion, for the gratification of their cupidity. The friars, Marcos de Niza, provincial of the Franciscan order in Mexico, and Honorato, accompanied by the negro or Moor, Estavanico, who had crossed the continent with Cabeza-Vaca, accordingly set out from Culiacan, on the 7th of March, 1539, in search of the rich countries reported to lie in the north-west.
Soon after the departure of the friars, the last expedition made by order of Cortés was begun.* It was commanded by Francisco de Ulloa, who sailed from Acapulco on the 8th of July, 1539, with three vessels, well manned and equipped, and took his course for California. One of the vessels was driven ashore in a storm near Culiacan: with the others Ulloa proceeded to the Bay of Santa Cruz, and thence in a few days departed to survey the coasts towards the north-east. In this occupation the ships were engaged until the 18th of October, when Ulloa returned to Santa Cruz, having in the mean time completely examined both shores of the great gulf which separates California from the main land on the east, and ascertained the fact of the junction of the two territories, near the 32d degree of latitude, though he failed to discover the Colorado River, which enters the gulf at its northern extremity. This gulf was named, by Ulloa, the Sea of Cortés; but it is generally distinguished, on Spanish maps, as the Vermilion Sea, (Mar Vermejo,) and, in those of other nations, as the Gulf of California.
On the 29th of October, Ulloa again sailed from Santa Cruz, in order to examine the coasts farther west, and having rounded the point now called Cape San Lucas, which forms the southern extremity of California, he pursued his voyage along the coast towards the north. In this direction the Spaniards proceeded slowly, often landing and fighting with the natives, and generally opposed by violent storms from the north-west, until the end of January, 1540, when they had reached an island near the coast, under the 28th parallel of latitude, which they named the Isle of
See Narrative of Francisco Preciado, one of the officers of the Santa Agueda, in Ramusio, vol. üi. p. 283, and in Hakluyt, vol. üi. p. 503.
JOURNEY OF FRIAR MARCOS DE NIZA.
Cedars. There they remained the greater part of the time, until the beginning of April, being prevented from advancing farther north by head winds; and then, as several of the crews of both vessels were disabled by sickness, and their provisions were insufficient to enable them to continue the voyage together much longer, Ulloa resolved to send one of his ships back to Mexico. The Santa Agueda, bearing the sick and the accounts of the discoveries, accordingly sailed from the Isle of Cedars on the 5th of April, and in the beginning of the following month she arrived at Santiago, in Xalisco, where she was seized by the officers of the viceroy, who was anxious to learn the particulars of her discoveries. Of the fate of Ulloa there are contradictory accounts. Herrera says that nothing was ever heard of him after his parting with the Santa Agueda ; others of his contemporaries, however, state that he continued his voyage along the west coast of California, as far as a point called Cape Engaño, near the 30th degree of latitude, and thence returned safely to Mexico.
Whatsoever may have been the importance of the geographical results of this voyage, they were scarcely satisfactory to Cortés; and they attracted little attention among the Spaniards in Mexico, who were then all engaged in plans and speculations concerning the rich and delightful countries, of the discovery of which, by Friar Marcos de Niza and his companions, accounts had recently arrived. From these accounts, as contained in the letter addressed to the viceroy by Friar Marcos,* and from other evidence, it is probable that the reverend explorer did really penetrate to a considerable distance into the interior of the continent, and did find there countries partially cultivated, and inhabited by people possessing some acquaintance with the arts of civilized life; though, as to the precise situation of those regions, or the routes pursued in reaching them, no definite idea can be derived from the narrative. The friar pretended to have discovered, north-west of Mexico, beyond the 35th degree of latitude, extensive territories, richly cultivated, and abounding in gold, silver, and precious stones, the population of which was much greater, and farther advanced in civilization, than those of Mexico or Peru. In these countries were many towns, and seven cities, of which the friar only saw one, called Cevola or Cibola, containing twenty thousand large stone houses, some of four stories, and
* The letter of Friar Marcos, relating his discoveries, may be found in Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 297, and in Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 438. See, also, Herrera, Decade vi. p. 204.