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Bahia at present trace their descent from him. After the lapse of some years, he embarked on board a French vessel with his favourite Indian wife Paraguazu: his other wives were so disconsolate at the thoughts of losing him, that they attempted to swim after the vessel which carried him away from them; and one persisted in the mad effort until her strength was exhausted, and she sunk before his eyes. When Diogo arrived in France and related his singular adventures, he was received most favourably at court, but was not allowed to proceed to Portugal according to his intention. He found means, nevertheless, of conveying to his sovereign such information respecting the country which he had visited as might be serviceable in prompting or directing the establishment of a colony. The court of France, though desirous to have the exclusive benefit of his experience, did not oppose his returning to Brazil. He set sail for that country accordingly, taking with him, among other things, some artillery and a good stock of ammunition, so as to ensure his ascendancy among the native tribes. In return for the cargoes of the two vessels that he took with him, he undertook to freight them with the productions of the country.
Notwithstanding the presage of success afforded by the adventures of Diogo, the Portuguese government paid no attention to their possessions in America till 1531, when the first Brazilian colony was founded by Martim Alfonso de Sousa. He met with no opposition from the natives, who were conciliated towards him by the friendly offices of a Portuguese sailor who had been shipwrecked on that coast. Sousa built the town of Janeiro, so called from his arriving at that spot on the first of January; he likewise introduced the sugar-cane into his colony, the early success of which gave ample promise of its future importance..
The Spaniards, confined in their rage of adventure to 'the New World, manifested much greater zeal to colonise the territories of which they claimed the sovereignty. The cruel fate of Solis, indeed, appears to have dissipated for a time all thoughts of forming a settlement on the great river to which he gave his name ; and it was not till the year 1526 that the project was revived. In that year Diego Garcia was sent with a single ship to the river of Solis ; but as he lingered on his way at the Canary islands, he was anticipated in his discoveries by Sebastian Cabot. That celebrated navigator had sailed from Spain a few months later than Garcia, with four ships, and orders to proceed to the East Indies by the straits of Magellan. On touching at the mouth of the river in which Solis had lost his life, he found two Spaniards who had deserted from that commander, besides fifteen other stragglers from subsequent expeditions. All these men concurred in representing the country up the river as singularly rich in the precious metals; and easily persuaded Cabot to proceed in that direction. Leaving the large vessels at anchor in that part of the river where Buenos Ayres was afterwards built, Cabot proceeded to ascend the stream in small barks constructed for the purpose. He followed the course of the river Parana till he came to the rapids in latitude 27° 27' 20''; remained there a month with the Guarany Indians; and then returned, after an absence of a year. He had not descended above thirty leagues below the Paraguay when he met Garcia, who claimed an undivided authority in these regions, the expedition of Cabot having been unequivocally destined to the East Indies.
The rival commanders, however, at length agreed to continue their discoveries jointly. Cabot, in the mean time, contrived to send home to the emperor an account of his proceedings; and as he had found among the savages of the interior some ornaments of gold and silver, which he easily obtained in exchange for various trinkets, he took advantage of this slender circumstance to represent the country as abounding in those metals; and, in conformity with his description, he gave the river the name of La Plata,-a name which it still preserves, though it is now known that the country along its banks affords no trace whatever of the precious metals. The king of Spain was satisfied with the conduct of Cabot; commanded him to continue his conquest; and even promised him assistance. The wealth which had recently poured in from Mexico rendered the court cautious how it damped the ardour of adventurers. But as the royal treasures were at this time in an exhausted state, a commission to conquer and to rule the wealthy country of La Plata was readily granted to Pedro de Mendoza, a gentleman of fortune, who undertook to make the necessary preparations at his own expense, Sebastian Cabot accordingly returned to Spain in 1530.
Mendoza embarked for his government with fourteen ships and a train of 2500 followers. Soon after his arrival in the La Plata, in 1535, he founded the city of Buenos Ayres. Juan de Ayolas was despatched, at the same time, to select a favourable position for a settlement higher up the river. He ascended the Paraguay above a thousand miles, till he reached nearly the twenty-first degree of latitude ; then, leaving Domingo Martinez de Yrala to command the vessels, with orders to wait six months for his return, he struck off to the west with about two hundred Spaniards, in the hopes of being able to penetrate to Peru. In this he succeeded : crossing the countries of the Chacas and Chiquitas, he arrived on the borders of Peru in 1537, and having received some supplies from the governor of the province, returned to the Paraguay; but the six months had already elapsed, and Yrala was gone. Ayolas, thus left to shift for himself, became embroiled with the Indian nations; and, being surprised .by the Mbayas, was massacred with all his companions. Twelve years later Yrala made a second attempt to accomplish the same arduous undertaking. Ascending the Paraguay to the seventeenth degree of latitude, he crossed the mountains to the river Guapay, and, after enduring incredible fatigues, succeeded in establishing a commu. nication between Peru and its dependency the govern, ment of La Plata.
A variety of circumstances concurred to direct the principal afflux of Spanish adventurers to the continent of South America. But few tried their fortune by pushing towards the north, and the sufferings of these deterred others from following in their footsteps. Narvaez, the officer sent by Velasquez to dispossess Cortez of his authority in New Spain, and who was taken prisoner by that bold leader as above related *, was desirous to efface by some signal exploit the memory of his defeat on that occasion. He had interest to obtain the title of adelantado, and a commission to conquer and to rule the extensive territories extending from Cape das Palmas to Cape Florida ; and having raised a force of about six hundred men, set sail from St. Lucar, in June, 1527. The treasurer to the armament was Alvaro Nunez, surnamed Cabeza de Vaca, whose singular personal adventures form the most interesting portion of the account which he afterwards wrote of the expedition. While waiting to take in supplies at Cuba, Narvaez and his companions experienced the fury of a hurricane such as is rarely felt in any other region of the globe. The houses were blown down; and when the affrighted inhabitants fled to the woods for shelter, their terror was increased at the sight of the largest trees torn up by the roots, and scattered in every direction by the violence of the winds. The fleet suffered so much from this storm, that it was found necessary to desist from any further operations during the winter.
In February, 1528, the armament put to sea, and, after encountering much rough weather, reached the coast of Florida. The country was taken possession of with the usual solemnities; but nothing was found here to gratify the cupidity of the Spaniards. When the natives were questioned respecting some golden ornaments seen with them, they all pointed to Apalachen, a country situated at a distance in the interior, as the quarter whence these and other commodities were derived. Narvaez, who had no positive knowledge of the country or the adjoining seas, was disposed to yield himself up to the guidance of hope and imagination; and being at a loss what
* See page 58.
course he ought in prudence to take, resolved to press forward into the interior and invade Apalachen. The intelligent Alvaro strongly urged the danger of commencing an arduous journey without guides or provisions, and before some secure haven had been found for the fleet. But the insinuation that he slunk from difficulties silenced his remonstrances, and made him declare his determination to follow his countrymen into every extremity.
On the 1st of May, 1528, the Spaniards commenced their march into the interior. They had little more than a single day's provision; when that slender stock was consumed, they were obliged to satisfy their hunger with roots and the fruit of the wild palm tree. For fif. teen days they travelled without meeting with a human habitation. At the end of that time they arrived at an Indian village, where they found guides to conduct them to Apalachen. The country which they had to traverse was wild and unequal ; sometimes mountainous, but more frequently overspread with deep marshes, rendered nearly impassable by the huge trees blown down and lying across them in every direction. At length, on the 26th of June, the wearied Spaniards arrived in sight of an Indian village, which they were told was Apalachen. They found no difficulty in rendering themselves masters of the place. But they had not remained here many days, when they perceived on what a chimerical foundation all their plans were reared. In Apalachen they found nothing. The exasperated Indians lurked in the woods, and watched all their movements : to advance was useless, if not impossible, from the difficulty of the country ; and retreat was exposed to the worst ills of Indian warfare. But retreat was now necessary; and the Spaniards, relinquishing the fancied wealth of Apalachen, directed their march towards the sea-coast in the country of Ante, at present called the bay of St. Mark. Unspeakable hardships awaited them. Nearly a third of their number perished by the arrows of the Indians; and of the remainder a large proportion laboured under disease, brought on by fatigue and privation.