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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/26

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8 INTRODUCTION. accounts of the riches of the country, and little difficulty was experienced in enlisting a sufficient force for protection against the Indians. The armament consisted of four ships, command- ed respectively by Juan de Grijalva, (in chief,) Pedro de Al- varado, Francisco de Montejo, and Alonzo de Avila, all persons of note, and possessed of estates in the islands. Alaminos again acted as chief pilot, and about two hundred and forty volunteers joined the expedition, which sailed from St. Jago de Cuba, on the eighth of April, 1518. It is not our intention to attempt a description of this enterpriseĀ ; it is sufficient for our purpose to state that after discovering the island of Cozu- mel, (which he named Santa Cruz,) on the southern coast of Yucatan, Grijalva followed in the track of Cordova, landed at Potonchan, where he routed the Indians in a pitched battle, re- embarked and pursued his way along the coast, near enough to see and admire the villages, in which could be distinguished houses of stone, that appeared white and lofty in the distanceĀ ; recalling to the minds of the Spaniards their native land, to which they fancied the country bore a striking resemblance, and inducing them to name it New Spain. Touching at Tabasco, Guaxaca, and the island of S. Juan de Ulua, they proceeded along the coast as far as the river Panuco, where the present town of Tampico is situated. From S. Juan de Ulua, Grijal- va despatched Alvarado to Cuba, with an account of his im- portant discoveries, and all the treasure he had acquired. Soon after the rest of the expedition also returned, and arrived safely at St. Jago de Cuba, having been absent about six months. This, says a distinguished modern historian,* was the most successful voyage which the Spaniards had hitherto made in the New World. They had discovered that Yucatan was not

  • Robertson. Hist. Am. Bemal Diaz accompanied this expedition, and has

given an interesting account of it. The chaplain Juan Diaz, who afterwards attended Cortes, wrote a brief " Itinerary" of the voyage, published in 1522, which has been recently disinterred and inserted in the valuable collection of M. Ternaux. Gomara gives a curious list of the articles obtained from the In- dians, and of the merchandise exchanged for them. Amongst the former were idols, cups, saltcellars, ear-rings, necklaces, chains, &c., all of goldĀ ; forty hatchets of gold mixed with copper, razors of flint-gtone, used in sacrifice, chiefly obtained at Tabasco.