A School History of the United States eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 507 pages of information about A School History of the United States.

6.  The attempts to find a southwest passage or a northwest passage through our continent led to the exploration of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

7.  The new world was called America, after the explorer Americus.

8.  The voyage of Magellan proved that the earth is round.



%11.  The Spaniards explore the Southwest.%—­Now it must be noticed that up to 1513 no European had explored the interior of either North or South America.  They had merely touched the shores.  In 1513 the work of exploration began.  Balboa then crossed the Isthmus of Panama.  In 1519 Cortes (cor’-tez) landed on the coast of Mexico with a body of men, and marched boldly into the heart of the country to the city where lived the great Indian chief or king, Montezuma.  Cortes took the city and made himself master of Mexico.  This was most important; for the conquest of Mexico turned the attention of the Spaniards from our country for many years, and finally led to the exploration of the Southwest.  But the first explorers of what is now the United States came from Cuba in 1528.

[Illustration:  Map of 1530, Sloane MS.[1]]

[Footnote 1:  Notice that the two continents begin to take shape, and that as the result of Magellan’s voyage is not generally known, North America is placed very near to Java.]

In that year Narvaez (nar-vah-eth), excited by Pineda’s accounts of the Mississippi Indians and their golden ornaments, set forth with 400 men to conquer the north coast of the Gulf of Mexico.  At Apalachee Bay he landed, and made a raid inland.  On returning to the shore, he missed his ships, and after traveling westward on foot for a month, built five rude vessels, and once more put to sea.  For six weeks the little fleet hugged the shore, till it came to the mouth of the Mississippi, where two of the boats were upset and Narvaez was drowned.  The rest reached the coast of Texas in safety.  But famine and the tomahawk soon reduced the number of the survivors to four.  These were captured by bands of wandering Indians, were carried over eastern Texas and western Louisiana, till, after many strange adventures and vicissitudes, they met beyond the Sabine River.[1] Protected by the fame they had won for sorcery, and led by one Cabeza de Vaca, they now wandered westward to the Rio Grande[2] (ree’-o grahn’-da) and on by Chihuahua (chee-wah’-wah) and Sonora to the Gulf of California, and by this to Culiacan, a town near the west coast of Mexico, which they reached in 1536.  They had crossed the continent.

[Footnote 1:  Now the western boundary of Louisiana.]

[Footnote 2:  Rio Grande del Norte—–­Great River of the North.]

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A School History of the United States from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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