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BOOK II

They noticed that the Indians began to tire of

their presence; for visitors who prolong their stay are never agreeable. They, therefore, collected their supplies, and pushed straight on westwards, following the coasts of the provinces called by the natives Corus and Matam, and stopping nowhere, save for wood and water. The barbarians along the coasts admired the great size of the floating hulks, and both men and women came from all directions with their children to look at them. From on board their vessels the Spaniards likewise beheld with astonishment the buildings, especially the temples resembling fortresses, which stood near the shore. They finally decided to anchor one hundred and ten leagues farther on in a province called Campeche, whose capital had as many as three thousand inhabitants. The meeting was cordial on both sides, the barbarians regarding with amazement the agility of the sailors, the size of the vessels, their sails, tackle, and all the rest. When they heard the thunder of the cannon and smelt the smoke and sulphurous odour, they thought a thunderbolt had fallen from heaven. The cacique was pleased to receive the Spaniards in his palace and to offer them magnificent hospitality. They sat down to a sumptuous repast, where they were served with peacocks, fat chickens, wild birds from the mountains, woods, and swamps; partridges, quails, doves, ducks, geese, and wild game

T HE Spaniards remained some days in that country. such as boar, deer, and hare; not to mention wolves, lions, tigers, and foxes." The natives conducted them with a royal escort to a large square just outside the village, where they showed them a square platform built of marble and approached by four steps. The floor was of hard bitumen in mosaic pattern; and upon this platform there stood the statue of a man surrounded by four quadrupeds of unknown species, resembling fierce dogs, in the attitude of tearing out the bowels of the marble man. Just near to the statue there was a serpent made of bitumen and small stones, forty-seven feet in length and as large round as an ox, which seemed to devour a lion made of marble. It was splashed with newly shed blood. In the immediate neighbourhood there were three beams set in the ground, and three others leaning obliquely upon stones. This is the place of punishment for criminals, as was proven by the Spaniards seeing marks of blood in many of the streets, broken arrows, and the bones of victims thrown into a neighbouring court. The houses of Campeche are built of lime and bitumen. The Spaniards gave the name of Lazarus to the cacique, because they landed there on the feast-day of that saint. Pursuing their course to the west, the Spaniards landed fifteen leagues farther on, in the province of Aguanil, whose capital is Moscobo and the cacique Chiapoton;” a word pronounced with the accent on the last syllable. This cacique was ill-disposed towards the Spaniards and sought to draw them into an ambuscade when they were taking in a supply of fresh water. The latter were told there was a spring on the other side of the hill, reached by narrow paths; but the natives had painted their faces and were armed with bows and arrows." The Spaniards circumvented their plot, and refused to go any farther; but when they were scattered, and off their guard a thousand barbarians attacked them and overcame them. They fled towards the coast, but the ground being swampy, they sank into the mud, and twenty-two of them were killed with arrows. Almost all the others were wounded and the commander of the expedition, Francisco Fernandez, is said to have received thirty-three wounds.” Hardly anybody escaped unhurt, and had they gone as far as the hill they would have perished to the last man. The discouraged survivors returned to the island of Fernandina whence they had sailed, where they were received by their companions with tears and sighs both for the lost and the wounded.

* The narration throughout may be profitably compared with that of Bernal Diaz in his Historia Verdadera. Mr. Maudslay's admirable English translation, published by the Hakluyt Society in 1910, renders this valuable old chronicle easily accessible.

* Champoton; the Indian names throughout the decades are mostly misspelled.

* In other words, the natives being armed and in their war-paint, the Spaniards became suspicious.

* Bernal Diaz states that the commander received twelve arrow wounds: fifty-seven men were killed.

BOOK III

Fernandina, Diego Velasquez, armed four cara

vels, manned by about three hundred men, and gave the command of this squadron to his nephew, Juan de Grijalva"; associated with him as lieutenants were Alfonso d'Avila, Francisco Montejo, and the commander Pedro de Alvarado. The pilot was the same Anton Alaminos, who had served the other fleet. The same route, but bending more toward the south, was taken. After sailing seventy leagues, a high tower was sighted from one of the ships, but no land; and taking that tower as an objective, they reached an island called Cozumel.” During three full leagues before landing, the land-breeze blowing from the island wafted perfumed airs to the ships. This island is forty-five leagues in circumference and is flat; its soil is fertile, and gold is found there but not in the natural state, for it is brought from elsewhere. There is plenty of honey, fruits, vegetables, birds, and quadrupeds; to sum up in a few words, these islanders have the same customs and laws as those of Yucatan; the same temples, streets,

U PON receiving this news, the governor of Cuba, or occupations, and clothing both for men and women. Their clothing is not made of wool, but of spun cotton, such as the Italians call bombasio and the Spaniards algodon. The houses are built of brick or stone, roofed with thatch when there are no stones, but with stone flags when there are quarries in the neighbourhood. In most of the houses the door-jambs are made of marble, just as with us. The Spaniards noticed some ancient towers and the ruins of some fallen towers, which seemed of great antiquity. They mounted to the top of one of these towers, resembling a famous temple, by a staircase composed of twentyfour steps." The natives admired the ships and the dexterity of the sailors. In the beginning they were reluctant to receive the Spaniards, but they soon did so with amiability. Conducted by one who was undoubtedly a priest, the Spaniards mounted a tower and unfurled a flag on its summit, taking possession in the name of the King of Castile. The name of Santa Cruz was given to the island, because they landed there the fifth day of the nones of May, on the Feast of the Holy Cross. Its true name is Cozumel, after the cacique Cozumel, who boasted that his ancestors were the first inhabitants of the island. Inside the tower were chambers filled with marble statues, mingled with images of bears made of terracotta. The natives venerate these objects, giving vent to loud cries, always on a single note. They offer them sacrifices and incense and sweet perfumes, and honour them as Penates. Mass was celebrated in these chambers. The natives are circumcised.

* The expedition of Grijalva is described in the Itinerario de l'Armata, compiled by the chaplain of the fleet, Juan Diaz. The original of this chronicle is lost, but an Italian translation was published in Venice in I552, and another in French was published by Ternaux-Compans, in the tenth volume of his Voyages, Rélations et Mémoires. The expedition sailed April 5, 1518.

* Sometimes written Acuzamil from Ah-Cuzamil, meaning “The Swallows.” See Cogolludo, Historia de Yucatan, lib. iv., cap. vii.

* For a correct understanding of the aboriginal architecture of Yucatan, Mexico, and Central America, the following authorities should be consulted: Stevens and Catherwood, Incidents of Travel in Central America; Chiapas and Yucatan; Brasseur de Bourbourg, Histoire des nations civilisées de l'Amérique Centrale; Charnay's Cités et ruines Américaines; Maudslay, Biologia Centrali Americana; Bandelier, An Archeological Tour; Tozer, A Comparative Story of the Mayas and Lacandones; and the reports of Teobert Maler published in the Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of Harvard.

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