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adorned with jewels; yet he was assured, by the people, that this was the smallest of the cities, and far inferior, in extent and magnificence, to one called Totonteac, situated more towards the northwest. The inhabitants of Cibola had, at first, been hostile to the Spaniards, and had killed the negro; but they had, in the end, manifested a disposition to embrace Christianity, and to submit to the authority of the king of Spain, in whose name Friar Marcos had taken possession of the whole country, by secretly erecting crosses in many places.
These, and other things of a similar kind, gravely related by a respectable priest, who professed to have witnessed what he described, were universally admitted to be true; and the viceroy Mendoza, having communicated them to his sovereign, began to prepare for the reduction of the new countries, and the conversion of their inhabitants to Christianity. Cortés, however, insisted on continuing his discoveries in the same direction, apparently giving little credit to the statements of Friar Marcos; while his old companion in arms, the redoubtable Pedro de Alvarado, claimed to undertake the conquest in virtue of a capitulation recently concluded between himself and the emperor. Hernando de Soto, likewise, who had just obtained a commission for the discovery of Florida, declared the seven cities to be within his jurisdiction ; and Nuño de Guzman protested that his own right was the best, and with some reason, in consequence of his labors in the subjugation and settlement of New Galicia, of which he maintained that the rich countries formed part.
After these disputes had lasted some months, a compromise was made between the viceroy and Alvarado, agreeably to which the latter was to command the expedition destined for the reduction of the rich territories in the north-west; and, about the same time, Cortés returned in disgust to Spain, where he passed the remaining seven years of his life in vain efforts to recover his authority in Mexico, or to obtain indemnification for his losses.
The viceroy Mendoza had, however, immediately on receiving the news of the discoveries from Friar Marcos, sent two bodies of armed forces, the one by land, the other by sea, to reconnoitre the rich countries, and prepare the way for their conquest.
The marine armament consisted of two ships, commanded by Fernando de Alarcon, who sailed from the port of Santiago on the 9th of May, 1540, and, proceeding along the coast towards the north-west, reached the extremity of the Gulf of California in August following. There he discovered a great river, which he
named Rio de Nuestra Señora de Buena Guia,* (or River of our Lady of Safe Conduct,) probably the same now called the Colorado. This stream Alarcon ascended, to the distance of more than eighty leagues, with a party of his men, in boats, making inquiries on the way about the seven cities; in reply to which, he received from the Indians a number of confused stories — of kingdoms rich in precious metals and jewels — of rivers filled with crocodiles and other monsters of droves of buffaloes of enchanters - and other wonderful or remarkable objects. Of Totonteac he could learn nothing; though, at the end of his voyage up the river, he obtained what he considered some definite information respecting Cibola, and was assured that he might reach that place by a march of ten days into the interior. He, however, suspected treachery on the part of those who gave the assurance; and, not conceiving it prudent to attempt to advance farther, he returned to his ships. In a second voyage up the river, he obtained no additional information; and, believing it needless to continue the search, he went back to Mexico, where he arrived before the end of the year.t
The land forces, despatched at the same time towards the northwest, were composed of cavalry and infantry, and were accompanied by priests, for the conversion of the natives to Christianity. They were commanded by Francisco Vazquez de Coronado, a man of resolute and serious character, and by no means disposed to exaggerate, who had been appointed governor of New Galicia, in place of Nuño de Guzman. His letter to the viceroy,I containing accounts of the first period of the expedition, though wanting in precision, is yet sufficiently exact to afford a general idea of the direction in which he marched, and even of the position of some of the principal places which he visited.
* In honor of the viceroy, who bore on his arms an image of Nuestra Señora de Buena Guia.
| Letter of Alarcon to the viceroy Mendoza, in Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 303, and in Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 505. See, also, Herrera, Decade vi. p. 208.
The Californian Gulf had thus been completely explored, as appears not only from the accounts of the voyages of Ulloa and Alarcon, but also from a chart of the coasts of California, and the west coast of Mexico, drawn, in 1541, by Domingo del Castillo, Alarcon's pilot, of which an engraved fac-simile may be found in the edition of the Letters of Cortés, published at Mexico, in 1770, by Archbishop Lorenzana. The shores of the gulf, and of the west side of California, to the 30th degree of latitude, are there delineated with a surprising approach to accuracy. The pilot doubtless derived his information chiefly from the journals of Ulloa, which were sent back in the Santa Agueda, and were seized, by order of the viceroy, immediately on the arrival of that vessel in Mexico.
Ramusio, vol. iii. p. 300. Hakluyt, vol. iii. p. 447.
Agreeably to this letter, the Spaniards left Culiacan on the 22d of April, 1540, and took their way towards the north, following, as well as they could, the course described by the friar : but, ere they had proceeded far, they had abundant evidences of the incorrectness of the accounts of that personage; for the route which he had represented as easy and practicable, proved to be almost impassable. They, however, made their way over mountains and deserts, and through rivers, and, at length, in July, they reached the country of the seven cities, for which Cibola appeared to be the general name; but, to their disappointment, it proved to be only a half-cultivated region, thinly inhabited by people not absolutely savage, though destitute of the wealth and refinement attributed to them by Friar Marcos. The seven great cities were seven small towns, some of them, indeed, containing large houses of stone, rudely built, and unornamented. Of fruits there were none, except such as grew wild; and the immense quantities of precious metals and stones were merely “a few turquoises, and some gold and silver, supposed to be good. In fine," says Vazquez de Coronado, in his letter to the viceroy, “ of the seven cities, and the kingdoms and provinces of which the reverend father provincial made a report to your excellency, he spoke the truth in nothing; for we have found all to be quite the contrary, except only as to the houses of stone.” The Spaniards, nevertheless, took possession of the country, in due form, for their sovereign; and, being pleased with its soil and climate, they entreated their commander to allow them to remain and settle there. To this inglorious proposition Vazquez refused to consent; and, having despatched his letter to Mendoza, from one of the cities of Cibola, named by him Granada, he took his departure, with his forces, for the north-west, in search of other new countries.
From the descriptions of the position, climate, productions, and animals, of Cibola, given by Vazquez de Coronado, there is some reason for believing it to be the region near the great dividing chain of mountains, east of the northernmost part of the Gulf of California, about the head-waters of the Rivers Yaqui and Gila, which fall into that arm of the Pacific. This part of America, now called Sonora, (a corruption of Señora,) though long since settled by the Spaniards, is little known to the inhabitants of other countries. It is described, by those who have recently visited it, as a most delightful, productive, and salubrious region, containing innumerable mines of silver and gold, among which are some of the richest in the world. There are, moreover, in that territory, many collections of ruins of large stone buildings, which were found in their present state by the first Spanish settlers, and are called casas grandes de los Azteques, (great houses of the Aztecks,) from the supposition or tradition that they were built by that people before their invasion of Mexico.* Vazquez de Coronado, indeed, remarks that the inhabitants of Cibola, though not wanting in intelligence, did not appear to be capable of erecting the houses which he saw there.
Of the movements of the Spaniards, after they quitted Cibola, in August, 1540, the accounts are so vague and contradictory, that it is impossible to trace their route. It seems, however, that the greater part of the forces soon returned to Mexico; while the others, under their commander, wandered, for nearly two years longer, through the interior of the continent, in search of a country called Quivira, said, by the Indians, to be situated far in the north, and to be governed by “a king named Tatarrax, with a long beard, hoaryheaded, and rich, who worshipped a cross of gold, and the image of the Queen of Heaven.”+ This country they found near the 40th degree of latitude: but the people had no other wealth than skins; and their king, though hoary-headed, possessed no jewels, “ save one of copper, hanging about his neck.” Quivira is described as a level territory, covered with herds of buffaloes, which form the whole support of the inhabitants; and, if its latitude has been correctly reported, it is most probably the region about the head-waters of the Arkansas and Platte Rivers; though Gomara places it near the sea, and says that the Spaniards saw ships on the coast, laden with East India goods. Vazquez had, probably, before leaving Quivira, learned the true value of Indian accounts of rich countries; and, not deeming it advisable to pursue the search for them any longer, he returned to Mexico in 1543.
During the absence of Vazquez de Coronado, the great armament, destined for the exploration and conquest of the north-western territories, under Pedro de Alvarado, was prepared; but, just as the expedition was about to be commenced, a rebellion broke out among the Indians of Xalisco, and all the forces at the viceroy's disposal were required to quell it. In the campaign which ensued, in the summer of 1541, Alvarado was killed by a kick from a horse; and Mendoza's expectations of advantage from the north-west regions were, in the mean time, so much lowered, that he resolved to reduce the scale of his expeditions for discovery in that quarter.
• Hardy s Travels in Mexico, from 1825 to 1828.
+ Gomara, chap. 213
The disturbances being, at length, ended, in the spring of 1542, two vessels were placed under the command of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese of high reputation as a navigator, who was directed to examine the western side of California, as far northward as possible, seeking particularly for rich countries, and for passages leading towards the Atlantic; while Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, a relation of the viceroy, was sent, with the remainder of the disposable vessels and forces, across the Pacific, to endeavor to form establishments in India.
The two vessels under Cabrillo sailed together from Navidad, a small port in Xalisco, in June, 1542; and, having in a few days doubled Cape San Lucas, the survey of the west coast of California was begun from that point. It would be needless to endeavor to trace the progress of Cabrillo along this coast, or to enumerate the many capes and bays mentioned in the account of his voyage, nearly all of which places, so far as they can be identified, are now distinguished by names entirely different from those bestowed on them by him. By the middle of August, he had advanced beyond the limits of the supposed discoveries of Ulloa ; and, in November, after having examined the coast as far north as the 38th degree of latitude, he was driven back, and forced to take refuge in a harbor named by him Port Possession, situated in the Island of San Bernardo, one of the Santa Barbara group, near the main land, under the 34th parallel. There Cabrillo, who had been for some time sick, sank under the fatigues of the voyage, on the 3d of January, 1543, leaving the command to the pilot, Bartolomé Ferrelo.
The new commander, being no less zealous and determined than his predecessor, resolved, if possible, to accomplish the main objects of the expedition before returning to Mexico. He accordingly, soon after, sailed from Port Possession towards the north, and, on the 26th of February, reached a promontory situated under the 41st parallel, to which he gave the name of Cabo de Fortunas, (Cape of Perils, or Stormy Cape,) from the dangers encountered in its vicinity. On the 1st of March, the ships were in the latitude of 44 degrees, as determined by a solar observation; but, on the following day, they were again driven to the south; and, the men being, at this time, almost worn out, by long exposure to cold and fatigue, without sufficient food or clothing, Ferrelo determined to go back to Mexico. The ships, therefore, quitted the Isle of Cedars, discovered by Ulloa, in the beginning of April, and, on the 14th of that month, they arrived at Navidad.