At length I arriued at the valley of the people called Caracones, the 26. day of the moneth of May: and from Culiacan vntill I came thither, I could not helpe my selfe, saue onely with a great quantitie of bread of Maiz: for seeing the Maiz in the fieldes were not yet ripe, I was constrained to leaue them all behind me. In this valley of the Caracones wee found more store of people than in any other part of the Countrey which we had passed, and great store of tillage. But I vnderstood that there was store thereof in another valley called The Lords valley, which I woulde not disturbe with force, but sent thither Melchior Diaz with wares of exchange to procure some, and to giue the sayde Maiz to the Indians our friendes which wee brought with vs, and to some others that had lost their cattell in the way, and were not able to carry their victuals so farre which they brought from Culiacan. It pleased God that wee gate some small quantitie of Maiz with this traffique, whereby certaine Indians were relieued and some Spanyards.
And by that time that wee were come to this valley of the Caracones, some tenne or twelue of our horses were dead through wearinesse: for being ouercharged with great burdens, and hauing but little meate, they could not endure the trauaile. Likewise some of our Negros and some of our Indians dyed here; which was no small want vnto vs for the performance of our enterprise. They tolde me that this valley of the Caracones is fiue days iourney from the Westerne Sea. I sent for the Indians of the Sea coast to vnderstand their estate, and while I stayed for them the horses rested: and I stayed there foure days, in which space the Indians of the Sea coast came vnto mee: which told mee, that two dayes sayling from their coast of the Sea, there were seuen or eight Islands right ouer against them, well inhabited with people, but badly furnished with victuals, and were a rude people: And they told mee, that they had scene a Shippe passe by not farre from the shore: which I wote not what to thinke whither it were one of those that went to discouer the Countrey, or else a Ship of the Portugals. . . .
But after wee had passed these thirtie leagues, wee found fresh riuers, and grasse like that of Castile, and specially of that sort which we call Scaramoio, many Nutte trees and Mulberie trees, but the Nutte trees differ from those of Spayne in the leafe: and there was Flaxe, but chiefly neere the bankes of a certayne riuer which therefore wee called El Rio del Lino, that is say, the riuer of Flaxe: we found no Indians at all for a dayes trauaile, but afterward foure Indians came out vnto vs in peaceable maner, saying that they were sent euen to that desert place to signifie vnto vs that wee were welcome, and that the next day all the people would come out to meete vs on the way with victuals: and the master of the fielde gaue them a crosse, willing them to signifie to those of their citie that they should not feare, and they should rather let the people stay in their houses, because I came onely in the name of his Maiestie to defend and ayd them.
And this done, Fernando Aluardo returned to aduertise mee that certaine Indians were come vnto them in peaceable maner, and that two of them stayed for my comming with the master of the fielde. Whereupon I went vnto them and gaue them beades and certaine short slokes, willing them to returne vnto their citie, and bid them to stay quiet in their houses, and feare nothing. And this done I sent the master of the field to search whether there were any bad passage which the Indians might keepe against vs, and that hee should take and defend it vntill the next day that I shoulde come thither. So hee went, and found in the way a very bad passage, where wee might haue sustayned a very great harme: wherefore there hee seated himselfe 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 mee, they assaulted them like valiant men; although in the ende they retired and fledde away; for the master of the fielde was watchfull, and was in order with his company: the Indians in token of retreate sounded on a certaine small trumpet, and did no hurt among the Spanyards. The very same night the master of the fielde certified mee hereof. Whereupon the next day in the best order that I could I departed in so great want of victuall, that I thought that if wee should stay one day longer without foode, wee should all perish for hunger, especially the Indians, for among vs all we had not two bushels of corne: wherefore it behooved mee to prike forward without delay. The Indians here and their made fires, and were answered againe afarre off as orderly as wee for our lines could haue done, to giue their fellowes vnderstanding, how wee marched and where we arriued. . . .
As soone as I came within sight of this citie of Granada, I sent Dôn Garcias Lopez Campe-master, frier Daniel, and frier Luys, and Fernando Vermizzo somewhat before with certaine horsemen, to seeke the Indians and aduertise them that our comming was not to hurt them, but to defend them in the name of the Emperour our Lord, according as his maiestie had giuen vs in charge: which message was deliuered to the inhabitants of that countrey 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 difficultie; and they strooke frier Luys with an arrow on the gowne, which by the grace of God did him no harme.
In the meane space I arriued with all the rest of the horsemen, and footemen, and found in the fieldes a great sort of the Indians which beganne to shoote at vs with their arrowes: and because I would obey your will and the commaund of the Marques, I woulde not let my people charge them, forbidding my company, which intreated mee that they might set vpon them, in any wise to prouoke them, saying that that which the enemies did was nothing, and that it was not meete to set vpon so fewe people. On the other side the Indians perceiuing that wee stirred not, tooke great stomacke and courage vnto them: insomuch that they came hard to our horses heeles to shoote at vs with their arrowes. Whereupon seeing that it was now time to stay no longer, and that the friers also were of the same opinion, I set vpon them without any danger: for suddenly they fled part to the citie which was neere and well fortified, and other into the field, which way they could shift: and some of the Indians were slaine, and more had beene if I would haue suffered them to haue bene pursued.
But considering that hereof we might reape but small profite, because the Indians that were without were fewe, 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 neede, I assembled my people, and deuided them as I thought best to assault the citie, and I compassed it about: and because the famine which wee sustained suffered no delay, my selfe with certaine of these gentlemen and souldiers put our selues on foote, and commaunded that the crosse-bowes and harquebusiers shoulde giue the assault, and shoulde beate the enemies from the walles, that they might not hurt vs, and I assaulted the walles on one side, where they tolde me there was a scaling ladder set vp, and that there was one gate: but the crossebowmen suddenly brake the strings of their bowes, and the harquebusiers did nothing at all: for they came thither so weake and feeble, that scarcely they coulde stand on their feete.
And by this meanes the people that were aloft on the wals to defend the towne were no way hindered from doing vs all the mischiefe they could: so that twise they stroke mee to the ground with infinite number of great stones, which they cast downe: and if I had not beene defended with an excellent good headpiece which I ware, I thinke it had gone hardly with me: neuerthelesse my companie tooke mee vp with two small wounds in the face, and an arrowe sticking in my foote, and many blowes with stones on my armes and legges, and thus I went out of the battell very weake. I thinke that if Don Garcias Lopez de Cardenas the second time that they strooke mee to the ground had not succoured mee with striding ouer mee like a good knight, I had beene in farre greater danger then I was. But it pleased God that the Indians yeelded themselues vnto vs, and that this citie was taken: and such store of Maiz was found therein, as our necessitie required. . . .
It remaineth now to certifie your Honour of the seuen cities, and of the kingdomes and prouinces whereof the Father prouinciall2 made report vnto your Lordship. And to bee briefe, I can assure your honour, he sayd the trueth in nothing that he reported, but all was quite contrary, sauing onely the names of the cities, and great houses of stone: for although they bee not wrought with Turqueses, nor with lyme, nor brickes, yet are they very excellent good houses of three or foure or fiue lofts high, wherein are good lodgings and faire chambers with lathers instead of staires, and certaine cellars vnder the ground very good and paued, which are made for winter, they are in maner like stooues: and the lathers which they haue for their houses are all in a maner mooueable and portable, which are taken away and set downe when they please, and they are made of two pieces of wood with their steppes, as ours be. The seuen cities are seuen small townes, all made with these kinde of houses that I speake of: and they stand all within foure leagues together, and they are all called the kingdome of Cibola, and euery one of them haue their particular name: and none of them is called Cibola, but altogether they are called Cibola.
And this towne which I call a citie, I haue named Granada, as well because it is somewhat like vnto it, as also in remembrance of your lordship. In this towne where I nowe remaine, there may be some two hundred houses, all compassed with walles, and I thinke that with the rest of the houses which are not so walled, they may be together fiue hundred. There is another towne neere this, which is one of the seuen, & it is somwhat bigger than this, and another of the same bignesse that this is of, and the other foure are somewhat lesse: and I send them all painted vnto your lordship with the voyage. And the parchment wherein the picture is, was found here with other parchments. The people of this towne seeme vnto me of a reasonable stature, and wittie, yet they seeme not to bee such as they should bee, of that judgement and wit to builde these houses in such sort as they are.
For the most part they goe all naked, except their priuie partes which are couered; and they haue painted mantles like those which I send vnto your lordship. They haue no cotton wooll growing, because the countrey is colde, yet they weare mantels thereof as your honour may see by the shewe thereof: and true it is that there was found in their houses certaine yarne made of cotton wooll. They weare their haire on their heads like those of Mexico, and they are well nurtured and condicioned: And they haue Turqueses I thinke good quantitie, which with the rest of the goods which they had, except their corne, they had conueyed away before I came thither: for I found no women there, nor no youth vnder fifteene yeeres olde, nor no olde folkes aboue sixtie, sauing two or three olde folkes, who stayed behinde to gouerne all the rest of the youth and men of warre. There were found in a certaine paper two poynts of Emralds, and certaine small stones broken which are in colour somewhat like Granates very bad, and other stones of Christall, which I gaue one of my seruaunts to lay vp to send them to your lordship, and hee hath lost them as hee telleth me. We found heere Guinie cockes, but fewe. The Indians tell mee in all these seuen cities, that they eate them not, but that they keepe them onely for their feathers. I beleeue them not, for they are excellent good, and greater then those of Mexico. The season which is in this countrey, and the temperature of the ayre is like that of Mexico: for sometime it is hotte, and sometime it raineth: but hitherto I neuer sawe it raine, but once there fell a little showre with winde, as they are woont to fall in Spaine.
The snow and cold are woont to be great, for so say the inhabitants of the Countrey: and it is very likely so to bee, both in respect to the maner of the Countrey, and by the fashion of their houses, and their furres and other things which this people haue to defend them from colde. There is no kind of fruit nor trees of fruite. The Countrey is all plaine, 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 colde, and because the mountaines are not neere. Here is no great store of wood, because they haue wood for their fuell sufficient foure leagues off from a wood of small Cedars. There is most excellent grasse within a quarter of a league hence, for our horses as well to feede them in pasture, as to mowe and make hay, whereof wee stoode in great neede, because our horses came hither so weake and feeble. The victuals which the people of this countrey haue, is Maiz, whereof they haue great store, and also small white Pease: and Venison, which by all likelyhood they feede vpon, (though they say no) for wee found many skinnes of Deere, of Hares, and Conies. They eate the best cakes that euer I sawe, and euery body generally eateth of them. They haue the finest order and way to grinde 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 kernell, which they fetch from a certaine lake a dayes iourney from hence. . . .
The kingdome of Totonteac so much extolled by the Father prouinciall, which sayde that there were such wonderfull things there, and such great matters, and that they made cloth there, the Indians say is an hotte lake, about which are fiue or sixe houses; and that there were certaine other, but that they are ruinated by warre. The kingdome of Marata is not to be found, neither haue the Indians any knowledge thereof. The kingdome of Acus is one onely small citie, where they gather cotton which is called Acucu. This is a town whereinto the kingdom of Acus is conuerted. Beyond this towne they say there are other small townes which are neere to a riuer which I haue seene and haue had report of by the relation of the Indians. I would to God I had better newes to write vnto your lordship: neuerthelesse, I must say the trueth: And as I wrote to your lordship from Culiacan, I am nowe to aduertise your honour as wel of the good as of the bad. Yet this I would haue you bee assured, that if all the riches and the treasures of the world were heere, I could haue done no more in the seruice of his Maiestie and of your lordshippe, than I haue done in comming hither whither you haue sent mee, my selfe and my companions carrying our victuals vpon our shoulders and vpon our horses three hundred leagues; and many dayes going on foote trauailing ouer hilles and rough mountaines, with other troubles which I cease to mention, neither purpose I to depart vnto the death, if it please his Maiestie and your lordship that it shall be so.
Three dayes after this citie was taken, certaine Indians of these people came to offer mee peace, and brought mee certaine Turqueses, and badde mantles, and I receiued them in his Maiesties name with all the good speaches that I could deuise, certifying them of the purpose of my comming into this countrey, which is in the name of his Maiestie, and by the commaundement of your Lordship, that they and all the rest of the people of this prouince should become Christians, and should knowe the true God for their Lorde, and receiue his Maiestie for their King and earthly Soueraigne: And herewithall they returned to their houses, and suddenly the next day they set in order all their goods and substance, their women and children, and fled to the hilles, leauing their townes as it were abandoned, wherein remained very fewe of them. When I sawe this within eight or tennes dayes after being recouered of my woundes, I went to the citie, which I sayde to bee greater then this where I am, and found there some fewe of them, to whom I sayde that they should not be afrayd, and that they should call their gouernour vnto mee: Howbeit forasmuch as I can learne or gather, none of them hath any gouernour: for I sawe not there any chiefe house, whereby any preeminence of one ouer another might bee gathered.
I would haue sent your lordshippe with this dispatch many musters of things which are in this countrey: but the way is so long and rough, that it is hard for me to doe so; neuerthelesse I send you twelue small mantles, such as the people of the countrey are woont to weare, and a certaine garment also, which seemeth vnto me to bee well made: I kept the same, because it seemed to mee to bee excellent well wrought, because I beleeue that no man euer sawe any needle worke in these Indies, except it were since the Spaniards inhabited the same. I send your Lordshippe also two clothes painted with the beasts of this countrey, although as I haue sayde, the picture bee very rudely done, because the painter spent but one day in drawing of the same. I haue seene other pictures on the walles of the houses of this citie with farre better proportion, and better made.
I send your honour one Oxe-hide, certaine Turqueses, and two earerings of the same, and fifteene combes of the Indians, and certain tablets set with these Turqueses, and two small baskets made of wicker, whereof the Indians haue great store. I send your lordship also two rolles which the women in these parts are woont to weare on their heads when they fetch water from their welles, as wee vse to doe in Spaine. And one of these Indian women with one of these rolles on her head, will carie a pitcher of water without touching the same with her hand vp a lather. I send you also a muster of the weapons wherewith these people are woont to fight, a buckler, a mace, a bowe, and certaine arrowes, among which are two with points of bones, the like whereof, as these conquerours say, haue neuer beene seene.
1From Coronado's letter to Mendoza, dated August 3, 1540, Mendoza being Viceroy of Mexico, by whom Coronado had been sent out. Coronado's expedition was a great disappointment to all concerned in it, inasmuch as it resulted in failure to find the fabled "seven cities of Cibola." He had 800 Spaniards with him and 800 Indians. Instead of finding great towns, as promised by Marcos and others, he discovered only a poor village of 200 people, situated on a rocky eminence. The expedition, however, in spite of this failure, remains one of the most important exploring expeditions ever undertaken in America. Opinions differ as to how far north Coronado went, some maintaining that he reached a point north of the boundary line between Kansas and Nebraska. His letter was printed by Hakluyt in Volume III of his "Voyages," and may be found in the "Old South Leaflets." Mr. Thwaites says of the expedition:
"Disappointed, but still hoping to find the country of gold, Coronado's gallant little army, frequently thinned by death and desertion, for three years beat up and down the southwestern wilderness: now thirsting in the deserts, now penned up in gloomy cañons, now crawling over pathless Mountains, suffering the horrors of starvation and of despair, but following this 'will-o'-the-wisp' with a melancholy perseverance seldom seen in man save when searching for some mysterious treasure. Coronado apparently twice crossed the State of Kansas. 'Through mighty plains and sandy heaths,' says the chronicler of the expedition, 'smooth and wearisome and bare of wood. All that way the plains are as full of crookback oxen (buffaloes) as the mountain Serena in Spain is of sheep. They were a great succor for the hunger and want of bread which our people stood in. One day it rained in that plain a great shower of hail as big as oranges, which caused many tears, weaknesses, and vows.' The wanderer ventured as far as the Missouri, and would have gone still farther eastward but for his inability to cross the swollen river. Cooperating parties explored the upper valleys of the Rio Grande and Gila, ascended the Colorado for two hundred and forty miles above its mouth, and visited the Grand Cañon of the same river.. Coronado at last returned, satisfied that he had been victimized by the idle tales of travelers. He was rewarded with contumely and lost his place as governor of New Galicia; but his romantic march stands in history as one of the most remarkable exploring expeditions of modern times."
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado was born at Salamanca, in Spain, about 1500, and died in Mexico some time after 1542. He is believed to have gone to Mexico in 1535 with Mendoza, the viceroy, who, in 1639, made him governor of a province.
2Marcos is here referred to.