The Expedition Of Coronado To The Southwest  

 
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History Central > American Source Documents > Explorers

The Expedition Of Coronado To The Southwest (1540-1541 )
CORONADO'S OWN ACCOUNT


At length I arrived at the valley of the people: Called Caracones, the 26. Day of the month of May: and from Culiacan until I came thither, I could not helped my self, saue only with a great quantities of bread of Maiz: for seeing the Maiz in the fields were not yet ripe, I was constrained to leave them all behind me. In this valley of the Caracones wee found more store of people than in any other part of the country which we had passed, and great store of tillage. But I understood that there was store thereof in another valley called The Lords valley, which I would not disturb with force, but sent thither Melchior Diaz with wares of exchange to procure some, and to gigue the said Maiz to the Indians our friends which wee brought with us. and to some others that had lost their cattle in the way, and were not able to carry their victuals so fare which they brought from Culiacan. It pleased God that wee gate some small quantities of Maiz with this traffic, whereby certain Indians were relieved and some Spanyards.

And by that time that wee were come to this valley of the Caracones, some tenne or twelve of our horses were dead through weariness: for being overcharged with great burdens, and hauling but little meat, they could not endure the travail. Likewise some of our Negros and some of our Indians dyed here; which was no small want veto vs. for the performance of our enterprise. They told me that this valley of the Caracones is five days journey from the Western Sea. I sent for the Indians of the Sea coast to understand their estate, and while I stayed for them the horses rested: and I stayed there four days, in which space the Indians of the Sea coast came unto me: which told me, that two days sailing from their coast of the Sea, there were seen or eight Islands right over against them, well inhabited with people, but badly furnished with victuals, and were a rude people: And they told me, that they had seen a Shipper passed by not fare from the shore: which I wrote not what to thinker whither it were one of those that went to discover the Country, or else a Ship of the Portugal’s. . .

But after wee had passed these thirties leagues, wee found fresh rivers, and grasses like that of Castile, and specially of that sort which we call Scaramoio, many Nutte trees and Mulberry trees, but the Note trees differ from those of Spain in the leafed: and there was Flaxe, but chiefly near the banks of a certayne river which therefore wee called El Rio del Lion, that is say, the river of Flaxen: we found no Indians at all for a days travailed, but afterward four Indians came out veto vs. in peaceable manner, saying that they were sent even to that desert place to signifier onto vs. that wee were welcome, and that the next day all the people would come out to meet vs. on the way with victuals: and the master of the field ague them a cross, willing them to signifier to those of their cities that they should not feared, and they should rather let the people stay in their houses, because I came only in the name of his Majesties to defend and aid them.

And this done, Fernando Alfaro returned to advertise me that certain Indians were come veto them in peaceable manner, and that two of them stayed for my coming with the master of the field. Whereupon I went unto them and ague them beades and certain short slakes, willing them to return veto their cities, and bid them to stay quiet in their houses, and feared nothing. And this done I sent the master of the field to search whether there were any bad passage which the Indians might keep against vs. and that he should take and defend it until the next day that I shoulder come thither. So he went, and found in the way a very bad passage, where wee might hue sustained a very great harm: wherefore there he seated himself with his company that were with him: and that very night the Indians came to take that passage to defend it, and finding it taken, they assaulted our men there, and as they tell me, they assaulted them like valiant man; although in the ended they retired and fled away; for the master of the fielded was watchful, and was in order with his company: the Indians in token of retreated sounded on a certain small trumpet, and did no hurt among the Spaniards. The very same night the master of the field certified me hereof. Whereupon the next day in the best order that I could I departed in so great want of victual, that I thought that if wee should stay one day longer without food, wee should all perish for hunger, especially the Indians, for among vs. all we had not two bushels of corn: wherefore it behooved me to prike forward without delay. The Indians here and their made fires, and were answered again afire off as orderly as wee for our lives Gould hue done, to give their fellows understanding, how wee marched and where we arrived.

As sooner as I came within sight of this cities of Granada, I sent Dan Gracias Lopez Camfemaster, friar Daniel, and fryer Luys, and Eernando Vermizzo somewhat before with certain horsemen, to seek the Indians and advertise them that our coming was not to hurt them, but to defend them in the name of the Emperor our Lord, according as his maiestie had given vs. in charge: which message was deliuered to the inhabitants of that country by an interpreter. But they like arrogant people made small account thereof; because we seemed very few in their eyes, and that they might destroy vs without any difficulties; and they stroke fryer Luys with an arrow on the gown, which by the grace of God did him no harem.

In the meane space I arrived with all the rest of the horsemen, and footmen, and found in the fields a great sort of the Indians which began to shoot at vs. with their arrows: and because I would obey your will and the command of the Marques, I would not let my people charge them, forbidding my company, which entreated me that they might set upon them, in any wise to provoke them, saying that that which the enemies did was nothing, and that it was not meet to set upon so fewer people. On the other side the Indians perceiving that wee stirred not, took great stomached and courage unto them: insomuch that they came hard to our horses heels to shoot at vs. with their arrows. Whereupon seeing that it was now time to stay no longer, and that the fryers also were of the same opinion, I set upon them without any danger: for suddenly they fed part to the cities which was near and well fortified, and other into the field, which way they could shift: and some of the Indians were saline, and more had been if I would hue suffered them to have been pursued.

But considering that hereof we might reap but small profited, because the Indians that were without were fewer and those which were retired into the cities, with them which stayed within at the first were many, where the victuals were whereof wee had so great needed, I assembled my people, and decided them as I thought best to assault the cities, and I compassed it about: and because the famine which wee sustained suffered no delay, my self with certain of these gentlemen and soldiers put our soldiers on foot, and commanded that the crossbows and harquebusiers shoulder gigue the assault, and shoulder beaten the enemies from the walled that they might not hurt vs. and I assaulted the walls on one side, where they told me there was a sealing ladder set up, and that there was one gate: but the crossbowmen suddenly brake the strings of their bows, and the harquebusiers did nothing at all: for they came thither so weak and feeble, that scarcely they could stand on their feet.

And by this means the people that were aloft on the walls to defend the townie were no way hindered from doing vs. all the mischief they could: so that twice they stroke me to the ground with infinite number of great stones, which they cast down: and if I had not been defended with an excellent good headpiece which I ware, I think it had gone hardly with me: nevertheless my companied Tooke me up with two small wounds in the face, and an arrows sticking in my footed, and many blows with stones on my arms and legs, and thus I went out of the batten very weak. I thinker that if Don Glories Lopez de Cardenas the second time that they stroke me to the ground had not succored me with striding outer me like a good knight, I had been in fare greater danger then I was. But it pleased God that the Indians yielded themselves veto vs. and that this city was taken: and such store of Maize was found therein, as our necessity required. It remained now to certify your Honor of the seven cities, and of the Kingdome sand pro-uinees whereof the Father prouinciallo made re-port onto your Lordship. And to bee brief, Icon assure your honor, he said the truth in is her referred to nothing that he reported, but all was quite contrary, saying only the names of the cities, and great houses of stone: for although they bee not wrought with Turqueses, nor with Iyme, nor bricked yet are they very excellent good houses of three or four or flue lofts high, wherein are good lodgings and faire chambers with lathers instead of stairs, and certain cellars under the ground very good and paused, which are made for winter, they are in manner like stooges: and the lathers which they have for their houses are all in a manner moveable and portable, which are taken away and set downer when they please and they are made of two pieces of wood with their steppes, as ours be. The seven cities are seen small towns, all made with these kinder of houses that I speak of: and they stand all within fore leagues together, and they are all called the kingdolne of Cibola, and every one of them hue their particular name: and none of them is called Cibola, but altogether they are called Cibola.

And this town which I call a cities I hue named Granada, as well because it is somewhat like unto it, as also in remembrance of your lordship. In this town where I now remain, there may be some two hundred houses, all compassed with walled and I think that with the rest of the houses which are not so walled they may be together five hundred. There is another town nearer this, which is one of the seven, & it is somewhat bigger than this, and another of the same bigness that this is of, and the other fore are somewhat less: and I send them all painted unto your lordship with the voyage. And the parchment wherein the picture is was found here with other parchments. The people of this town seemed unto me of a reasonable stature, and wittier, yet they seemed not to bee such as they should bee, of that judgment and wit to builds these houses in such sort as they are.

For the most part they goes all naked, except their Private parties which are covered; and they have painted mantles like those which I send unto your lordship. They have no cotton wool growing, because the country is cold, yet they wear mantels thereof as your honor may see by the show thereof: and true it is that there was found in their houses certain yarn made of cotton wool. They wear their hair on their heads like those of Mexico, and they arc well nurtured and conditioned: And they hare Turqueses I think good quantities, which with the rest of the goods which they had, except their corn, they had conveyed away before I came thither: for I found no women there, nor no youth under fifteen years old, nor no old folks above sixty, sauing two or three old folks, who stayed behind to govern all the rest of the youth and men of warre. There were found in a certain paper two poynts of Emralds, and certain small stones broken which are in color somewhat like Granates very bad, and other stones of Christall, which I gave one of my servants to lay up to send them to your lordship, and hee hath lost them as hee telleth me. We found here Guinie cocked but fewer. The Indians tell me in all these seven cities, that they eat them not, but that they keep them only for their feathers. I believe them not, for they are excellent good, and greater then those of Mexico. The season which is in this country, and the temperature of the ayre is like that of Mexico: for sometime it is hotter, and sometime it raineth: but hitherto I never saw it rain, but once there fell a little shower with wind, as they are woont to fall in Spain.

The snow and cold are woont to be great, for so say the inhabitants of the country: and it is very likely so to bee, both in respect to the manner of the country, and by the fashion of their houses, and their furres and other things which this people have to defend them from cold. There is no kind of fruit nor trees of fruit. The country is all plain, and is on no side mountainous: albeit there are some hillie and bad passages. There are small store of Foules: the cause whereof is the cold, and because the mountains are not nearer. Here is no great store of wood? Because they have wood for their fuel sufficient four leagues off from a wood of small cedars. There is most excellent grass within a quarter of a league hence, for our horses as well to feed them in pasture, as to mowe and make hay, whereof wee stood in great needy because our horses came hither so weak and feeble. The victuals which the people of this country have, is Maiz, whereof they have great store, and also small white Pease: and Venison, which by all likelihood they feed upend every body generally eateth of them. They have the finest order and way togrinde that wee euer sawe in any place. And one Indian woman of this countrey will grinde as much as foure women of Mexico. They haue most excellent salte in kernel which they fetch from a certaine lake a dayes iourney from hence.... The Kingdome of Totonteac so much extolled by the Father provincial, which said that there were such wonderful things there, and such great matters, and that they made cloth there, the Indians say is an hotter lake, about which are flue or sixe houses; and that there were certain Zher, but that they are ruinated by warre. The Kingdome of Marata is not to be found, neither have the Indians any knowledge thereof. The kingdom of Acus is one only small city, where they gather cotton which is called Acucu. This is a town whereunto the kingdom of Anus is converted. Beyond this town they say there are other small towns which are nearer to a river which I have seen and have had report of by the relation of the Indians. I would to God I had better news to write unto your lordship: nevertheless, I must say the truth: And as I wrote to your lordship from Culiacan, I am now to advertise your honor as well of the good as of the bad. Yet this I would have you bee assured, that if all the riches and the treasures of the world were here, I could have done no more in the service of his Maiestie and of your lordships, than I have done in coming hither whither you have sent me, my self and my companions carrying our victuals upon our shoulders and upon our horses three hundred leagues; and many days going on foot travailing over hills and rough mountains, with other troubles which I cease to mention, neither purpose I to depart unto the death, if it please his Majesty and your lordship that it shall be so.

Three days after this cities was taken, certain Indians of these people came to offer me peace, and brought me certain Turqueses, and badde mantles, and I received them in his Majesties name with all the good speeches that I could defies, certifying them of the purpose of my coming into this country, which is in the name of his Majesty, and by the commandment of your Lordship, that they and all the rest of the people of this province should become Christians, and should know the true God for their Lorde, and receive his Majesty for their King and earthly Sovereign: And herewith all they returned to their houses, and suddenly the newtt day they set in order all their goods and substance, their women and children, and fled to the hilled leaving their towns as it were abandoned, wherein remained very few of them. When I saw this within eight or tennis days after being recovered of my wounded I went to the cities, which I said to bee greater then this where I am, and found there some fewer of them, to whom I said that they should not be afraid, and that they should call their governor unto me: Howbeit forasmuch as I can learner or gather, none of them hath any governor: for I saw not there any chiefs house, whereby any preeminence of one over another might bee gathered.

I would have sent your lordships with this dispatch many musters of things which are in this country: but the way is so long and rough, that it is hard for me to doe so; nevertheless I send you twelve small mantles, such as the people of the country are won’t to wear, and a certain garment also, which see meth unto me to bee well made: I kept the same, because it seemed to me to bee excellent well wrought, because I believe that no man ever saw any needle work in these Indies, except it were since the Spaniards inhabited the same. I send your Lordships also two clothes painted with the beasts of this country, although as I have said, the picture bee very rudely done, because the painter spent but one day in drawing of the same. I have seen other pictures on the wanes of the houses of this cities with fare better proportion, and better made. I send your honor one Oxe-hide, certain Turqueses, and two earerings of the same, and fifteen combes of the Indians, and certain tablets set with these Turqueses, and two small baskets made of wicker, whereof the Indians have great store. I send your lordship also two roles which the women in these parts are won’t to wear on their heads when they fetch water from their wells’, as wee vise to doe in Spain. And one of these Indian women with one of these rolls on her head, will curie a pitcher of water without touching the same with her hand up a lather. I send you also a muster of the weapons wherewith these people are won’t to fight, a buckler, a mace, a bowel, and certain arrows, among which are two with points of bones, the like whereof, as these conquerors say, have never been seen.



 

 

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