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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 652 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 03.

SECTION XII.

Farther Discoveries on the Continent by Juan Grijalva, under the orders of Velasquez, by which a way is opened to Mexico or New Spain.

However unfortunate Cordova had been in his expedition, yet Velasquez considered the intelligence he had transmitted concerning his discoveries as of high importance, and he determined to pursue these discoveries on the first opportunity, chiefly because the people among whom Hernandez had been so roughly bandied seemed much more civilized than any Indians hitherto met with, and consequently were likely to prove proportionally richer.  These sentiments were no sooner made public, than several of the principal inhabitants of the island offered their assistance, so that he was soon in a condition to send out a small squadron of three ships and a brigantine, having 250 men on board.  These were commanded by the captains Alvaredo, Montejo, and de Avila, and under chief command of Juan Grijalva, who was ordered by Velasquez to make what discoveries he could, but to form no settlement.  They sailed from Cuba on the 8th of May 1518; and having visited the coast of Florida, they doubled Cape St Anthony, and discovered the island of Cozumel, to which Grijalva gave the name of Santa Cruz, because discovered on the day of the invention of the Holy Cross, yet it has always retained its Indian name of Cozumel, by which it is still known.  Grijalva landed with a competent number of soldiers, yet no person could be found; for the natives had fled on the first appearance of the ships.  While some went to look out for the inhabitants, Grijalva caused mass to be celebrated on the shore.  Two old men were found in a field of maize, who were brought to Grijalva; and as Julian and Melchior happened to understand their language, Grijalva made much of them, giving them some beads and looking-glasses, and sent them away to their chief and countrymen, in hopes of establishing an intercourse with the natives, but they never returned.  While waiting for them, there came a handsome young woman, who told them in the language of Jamaica, that the people had all fled into the woods for fear, but that she had come to them, being acquainted with ships and Spaniards.  Many of the people of the ships understood her language, and were astonished how she could have come to that island.  She said that she had gone out to fish from the island of Jamaica about two years before, in a canoe with ten men, and had been driven by a storm and the currents to that island, where the natives had sacrificed her husband and all the rest of her countrymen to their idols.  Grijalva, beleaving that this woman would be a faithful messenger, sent her to persuade the natives to come out of the woods, being afraid if he sent Julian and Melchior that they might not return.  The woman came back in two days, saying that she had done all she could to prevail on the natives, but altogether without effect.

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