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The De Soto Chronicles

The Expedition of Hernando de Soto to North America in 1539-1543

Lawrence Clayton

Publication Year: 1995

The De Soto expedition was the first major encounter of Europeans with North American Indians in the eastern half of the United States. De Soto and his army of over 600 men, including 200 cavalry, spent four years traveling through what is now Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North
and South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas. For anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians the surviving De Soto chronicles are valued for the unique ethnological information they contain. These documents, available here in a two volume set, are the only detailed eyewitness records of the most advanced native civilization in North America—the Mississippian culture—a culture that vanished in the wake of European contact.


 

Published by: The University of Alabama Press

Volume 1

Title Page

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pp. ii-

Contents

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pp. ix-xiii

Illustrations

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pp. xiv-

Board Advisors

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pp. xv-xvi

Contributors

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pp. xvii-xviii

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Foreword

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pp. xix-xx

The De Soto expedition forms an integral part of the great age of discovery and conquest in the Americas triggered by the Columbian voyages. In the wake of Columbus there came other explorers and conquistadors who pushed through the islands of the Caribbean and into the American mainlands during the first half...

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Preface

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pp. xxi-xxiii

We have gathered in these two volumes English translations of the basic documents relating to the expedition of Hernando de Soto to the presentday United States in the years 1539-43. In contrast to previous editions, where the items were published separately, at various times, and by various publishers, the four primary accounts of the expedition...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xxiii-xxvi

Thanks are due to the Alabama Museum of Natural History at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa-a town named after the great war chief Tascalu~a, who figures so prominently in the accounts of the De Soto expedition. The editors...

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Notes on Translations and Names

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pp. xxvii-xxx

Four full narratives that were produced in the years following the De Soto expedition have survived. One of these is known simply as the Elvas account because its author only identified himself as a Portuguese gentleman from Elvas. A second is that of Rodrigo Rangel, private secretary to De Soto. The third, "presented...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-18

We will probably never know when European seamen first laid eyes on peninsular Florida and lived to tell about it. The standard narrative accounts of early voyages, such as those of Peter Martyr, Gonzalo Fernandez Oviedo y Valdes, and Bartholome de Las Casas, and the manuscript correspondence, lawsuits, residencias...

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THE ACCOUNT BY A GENTLEMAN FROM ELVAS

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pp. 19-20

The True Relation of the Hardships Suffered by Governor Hernando de Soto, by a Gentleman of Elvas, was translated from the Portuguese by James Alexander Robertson for the Florida State Historical Society and was published in two volumes for them by the Yale University Press as the society's publication number eleven...

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FOREWORD to [Roberston volume one]

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pp. 21-xx

This facsimile reproduction of the narrative of the expedition by Hernando de Soto into Florida and regions to the north and west thereof was made from the copy of the original "Relacam" of 1557 owned by the New York Public Library. This work is so rare that but two other copies [those of the Bibliotheca de Ajuda, in Portugal...

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PREFACE to [Roberston Volume One]

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pp. 23-26

The excuse for a new edition of the "Relac;am Verdadeira" of the "Fidalgo" of Elvas is many fold: the rarity of the original; its intrinsic merit; its importance for the early history of lands now a part of the United States; the greater exactness of the translation. This narrative forms, indeed, one of the most valuable of the existing...

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PREFACE to Roberston Volume Two

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pp. 27-32

... Hernando de Soto seems to have been especially fortunate in most of the men who joined his expedition. They were recruited under his vigilant eye; and the enthusiasm with which they flocked to his standard is evidenced by the fact that many were left behind for lack of room in the vessels sailing to Cuba from San Lucar; or because...

CONTENTS

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pp. 33-42

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ANDRE DE BURGOS TO THE PRUDENT READER

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pp. 43-46

Aristotle says that all or the most of men are always prone and inclined to see and hear new things, especially when those things pertain to very distant and remote countries. Those things, he says, furnish diversion to delicate and subtile minds, and re-animate dull minds; and this gives them a natural desire to see and to hear, and,...

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FIRST. WHICH DECLARES WHO DON HERNANDO DE SOTO WAS, AND HOW HE OBTAINED THE GOVERNMENT OF FLORIDA.2

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pp. 47-

Captain Soto was the son of an esquire of Jerez de Badajoz. He went to the Indies of Castile when Pedririas Davila3 was governor of the Indies of the Ocean Sea. There he found himself with nothing else his own except his sword and shield. Because of his good qualities and courage, Pedririas made him captain of a troop of horse, and...

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SECOND. HOW CABEZA DE VACA CAME TO COURT AND GAVE ACCOUNT OF THE LAND OF FLORIDA; AND OF THE MEN WHO WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AT SEVILLE TO GO WITH DON HERNANDO DE SOTO.

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pp. 48-172

After Don Hernando had obtained the government, a gentleman arrived at court from the Indies, Cabeza de Vaca by name, who had gone with Governor Narvaez,13 who had perished in Florida. He told how Narvaez had perished at sea with all his men; and how he and four others had escaped and reached New Spain....

NOTES TO THE ELVAS NARRATIVE

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pp. 173-220

RELATION OF THE ISLAND OF FLORIDA

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pp. 221-222

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Introduction: Biedma's Account of the Expedition

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pp. 223-224

Luys Hernandez de Biedma accompanied the De So to expedition as factor of the Crown, and while his role in the expedition appears to have been small, as judged by all of the documents, his brief relation is the only complete account for which the original document survives. It is located in the General Archive of the Indies in Seville...

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RELATION OF THE ISLAND OF FLORIDA ... 15392

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pp. 225-246

We arrived at the port of Baya Honda and disembarked six hundred and twenty men and two hundred and twenty-three horses. As soon as we disembarked, we found out from some Indians that were captured that there was a Christian there in the land who was one of those who had gone with Panfilo de Narvaez, and we went in search of him; a cacique who was about eight leagues from the port had...

ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN CONQUEST ANDDISCOVERY OF HERNANDO DE SOTO

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pp. 247-248

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Introduction: Rangel's Account of the Expedition

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pp. 249-250

Rodrigo Rangel,2 a native of Almendralejo, accompanied the De Soto expedition as the private secretary of Hernando de Soto. The account of this expedition attributed to him is included in the massive work Historia general y natural de las Indias by Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes. As related below in chapter 6 of the account, Rangel gave a relation before the Audiencia Real in Santo Domingo...

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ONE

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pp. 251-

The Emperor our lord made as his Governor and Captain General of the island and province of Florida and its annexes on the mainland, to the northern part that the adelantado Juan Ponce de Leon5 had di'scovered, Hernando de Soto, who was one of the soldiers of the Governor Pedrarias de Avila, and of whom, in the affairs of the mainland...

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TWO

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pp. 252-287

Sunday, the eighteenth of May of fifteen thirty-nine, Governor Hernando de Soto left from the town9 of Havana with a noble armada of nine ships, five with topsails, and two caravels and two brigantines. And on the twentyfifth of the same month, which was the day of Whitsuntide,10 land was sighted on the northern coast of the...

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THREE

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pp. 256-262

This Governor was very given to hunting and killing Indians, from the time that he served in the army of Governor Pedrarias Davila in the provinces of Castilla del Oro and Nicaragua, and he also found himself in Peru...

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FOUR

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pp. 263-270

On the eleventh of August of the same year, the Governor departed from Ocale with fifty on horseback and one hundred foot soldiers in search of Apalache, because it was rumored that it had many people, and Luis de Moscoso remained behind with the rest of the army to see what happened farther on; and that day they went...

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FIVE

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pp. 270-278

The departure from Iviahica, in search of Capachequi, began Wednesday, the third day of March of fifteen forty, and the Governor with his army spent the night at the river of Guacuca; and having departed from there, they...

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SIX

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pp. 279-292

Let the reader not marvel how this historian proceeds so precisely through the journeys and rivers and crossings that this adelantado and Governor Hernando de Soto and his army experienced in those northern provinces and places; it is because among those gentlemen who found themselves in all that, there was one, called Rodrigo Rangel, of whom...

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SEVEN

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pp. 293-298

On Sunday, the tenth of October, the Governor entered in the town of Tascaluca, which was called Athahachi, a new town; and the cacique was on a balcony that was made on a mound to one side of the plaza, about his head a certain headdress like an almaizar,51 worn...

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EIGHT

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pp. 299-305

On Tuesday, the twenty-sixth of April of the year already stated of fifteen forty-one, Governor Hernando de Soto departed from the savannah of Chicaca and spent the night at Limamu, and they were there looking for corn, because the Indians had concealed it, and they had to cross an uninhabited region. And on Thursday

NINE, TEN

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pp. 306-

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The Canete Fragment

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pp. 307-310

On Tuesday, August 14, 1565, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, one Rodrigo Ramirez, notary public, copied the Royal contract of Pedro Menendez de Aviles. Menendez, just named adelantado of Florida and on his journey to its conquest, had come to San Juan on his voyage from Spain and had some need for another copy of his contract...

PARALLEL ITINERARY OF THE EXPEDITION

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pp. 311-354

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SELECTED ITEMS FROM NARRATIVES OF THE CAREEROF HERNANDO DE SOTO IN THE CONQUESTOF FLORIDA

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pp. 355-381

Be it known to all who shall see this writing, that I, Dona Ysabel de Bobadilla, wife that was of Pedrarias de Avila, deceased,—be he in glory—Governor that was of Tierra Firme, my lord and husband, declare, that inasmuch as, by the assistance of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother, espousals of marriage are concerted...

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El Adelantado Don Hernando de Soto

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pp. 382-420

Dra. Roclo Sanchez Rubio is a native of Badajoz. She is currently at the University of Extremadura. Her research interest is the emigration of Extremadurans to the New World in the sixteenth century. The following biographical sketch of De Soto was...

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Hernando de Soto

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pp. 421-459

Like many prominent persons of his time, Hernando de Sota's date of birth is unknown. Estimates range from 1496 to 1501.1 But De Soto's own testimony in late Octaber 1535 was that he was thirty-five, and thus born in 1500.2 The idea that he was born in 1496 seems to have arisen from De Sota's testimony in 1536 that he was "about forty" and...

SOME NEW TRANSLATIONS OF DE SOTO DOCUMENTS FROM THE GENERAL ARCHIVE OF THE INDIES, SEVILLE

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pp. 461-

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Introduction

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pp. 463-498

The documents presented here reflect several stages of Hernando de Soto's long American trajectory." Appearing in chronological order as they were issued, the first of the collection relates his passage through Peru, where he had participated in the conquest under the command of Francisco Pizarro, also an Extremaduran. His....

INDIAN PROPER NAMES IN THE FOUR NARRATIVES

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pp. 499-502

Glossary

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pp. 503-505

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Introduction to Bibliography of de Soto Studies

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pp. 507-514

The search for the route of Hernando de Soto through the southeastern United States has become a consuming pursuit for many cartographers, historians, and archaeologists. Since the pioneering efforts of Guillaume Delisle in 1718, researchers have chased a variety of alternative routes. In 1939, when John Swanton put together...

Bibliography

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pp. 515-550

Index

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pp. 551-569

Volume II

Title Page

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pp. 610-611

Copyright

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p. 612-612

Contents

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pp. v-

Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

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pp. ix-

Of the four accounts of the De Soto expedition, La Florida, by Garcilaso de la Vega, is by far the longest and, with its commentary, occupies this entire volume. It is presented in a new translation, prepared originally by Charmion Shelby for the 1935 United States De Soto Expedition Commission but not published by...

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Garcilaso de La Vega, The Inca

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pp. 1-24

Garcilaso de la Vega, el Inca, was both a literary writer and a historical chronicler of the conquest of the Americas. It was his avowed primary goal to effectively represent the Inca cause before the Spanish Crown. This purpose is clearly stated in the prefaces and preambles of most of his works. As the presenter of the Indian cause, whether....

LA FLORIDA

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pp. 25-30

CONTENTS

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pp. 31-

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TO THE MOST EXCELLENT SENOR DON THEODOSIO OF PORTUGAL

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pp. 51-52

Through having heard in my childhood, most serene Prince, from my father and from his relatives, of the heroic virtues and great exploits of the kings and princes of glorious memory, your Excellency's progenitors, and of the prowess in arms of the nobility of that famous kingdom of Portugal; and through having read of them here later in the course of my life-not only those they have performed in Spain...

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PREFACE TO THE READER

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pp. 53-58

Conversing many times and in various places with a gentleman, a great friend of mine, who was on this expedition, and hearing from him of the many and very great feats that Spaniards and Indians alike performed in the course of it, it seemed to me an unbecoming thing and a great pity that deeds as heroic as any that have...

FIRST BOOK OF THE HISTORY OF LA FLORIDA, BY THE INCA

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pp. 59-716

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FIRST PARTOF THE SECOND BOOK OF THE HISTORY OF LA FLORIDA, BY THE INCA

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pp. 59-96

Where it is told how the Governor arrived in La Florida, and found traces of Panphilo de Narvaez, and a Christian captive; the tortures and the cruel life the Indians gave him; the generosity of an...

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SECOND PARTOF THE SECOND BOOKOF THEHISTORY OF LA FLORIDA,BY THE INCA

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pp. 97-254

Where will be seen the many and severe combats that Indians and Spaniards had in difficult passes in the great Province of Apalache; the hardships through which they passed in discovering the Sea; the events and the incredible fatigues that the thirty horsemen who went back for Pedro Calderon experienced...

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THIRD BOOK OF THE HISTORY OF LA FLORIDA, BY THE INCA

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pp. 255-376

It tells of the departure of the Spaniards from Apalache; the good reception they gave them in four provinces; the hunger they suffered in some uninhabited regions; the infinite number of pearls and the other grandeur and riches that they found in a temple; the generosity of the Lady of Cofachiqui...

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FOURTH BOOK OF THE HISTORY OF LA FLORIDA, BY THE INCA

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pp. 377-426

It deals with the combat of the Fort of Alibamo; the death of many Spaniards for the lack of salt; how they come to Chisca and cross the Rio Grande; how Indians and Spaniards form a solemn procession to adore the cross, asking God for mercies; the cruel war and pillage between Capaha and Casquin...

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FIRST PART OF THE FIFTH BOOK OF THE HISTORY OF LA FLORIDA, BY THE INCA

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pp. 427-452

Where an account is given of a Spaniard who remained among the Indians; the efforts that were made to recover him; a long journey of the Castilians, in which they traversed eight provinces; the enmity and cruel war between Guachoyas and Anilcos; the lamentable death of Governor...

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SECOND PARTOF THE FIFTH BOOK OF THE HISTORY OF LA FLORIDA, BY THE INCA

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pp. 453-500

It tells how the Spaniards decided to abandon La Florida; a long journey that they made in order to get out of it; the insupportable hardships that they endured in going and returning on that journey, until they came back to the Rio Grande; seven brigantines they built in order to leave by way of it; the league of ten caciques against the Castilians; the secret notice that they had of it; the offers of General Anilco and...

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SIXTH BOOK OF THE HISTORY OF LA FLORIDA, BY THE INCA

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pp. 501-560

It contains the election of the Captains for the voyage; the multitude of canoes that opposed the Spaniards; the order and manner of their fighting, which lasted eleven days without ceasing; the death of forty-eight Castilians because of the rashness of one of them; the return of the...

Appendix

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pp. 561-562

GENEALOGY OF GARCI PEREZ DE VARGAS

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pp. 563-576

Index

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pp. 577-588


E-ISBN-13: 9780817384616
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817308247

Publication Year: 1995

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