A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels - Volume 05 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 641 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels.
from the effects of their first surprise, they intrepidly opposed their new enemies on the banks of the Rio-claro.  Despising their force, and ignorant of their bravery, Almagro placed his Peruvian allies in the first line, now considerably increased by an additional number whom Paullu had drawn from the Peruvian garrisons in Chili.  But these troops were soon defeated by the Promaucians, and fell back in confusion on the line of Spaniards in the rear.  The Spaniards, instead of remaining spectators of the battle, were now compelled to sustain the vigorous attack of the enemy; and, advancing with their horse, a furious battle was fought with considerable loss on both sides, and continued till night separated the combatants without either party having gained the victory.

[Footnote 63:  Called Puramaucans by Garcilasso and Promocaes by Ovale, who names the Cauquenes and Peneos as their allies.—­E.]

Although the Promaucians had sustained a heavy loss in this battle, they courageously encamped within sight of the Spaniards, determined to renew the fight next morning.  Though the Spaniards had kept possession of the field, and considered themselves victorious according to the customs of Europe, they were very differently inclined from their valiant enemies.  Hitherto they had been accustomed to subdue extensive provinces with little or no resistance, and became disgusted with an enterprise which could not be accomplished without much fatigue and danger, and the loss of much blood, having to contend against a bold and independent nation, by whom they were not considered as immortal or as a superior order of beings.  It was therefore resolved by common consent to abandon the present expedition, yet they differed materially as to the conduct of their retreat; some being desirous to return into Peru entirely, while others wished to form a settlement in the northern provinces of Chili, where they had already received so much hospitality, and had acquired considerable riches.  The first opinion was supported by Almagro, now strongly impressed by the suggestions of his friends in Peru to take possession of Cuzco.  He represented to his soldiers the dangers to which a settlement would be exposed in so warlike a country, and persuaded them to follow him to Cuzco, where he expected to be able to establish his authority either by persuasion or force, pursuant to his royal patent.

Having determined to return into Peru, and having fatally experienced the dangers of the mountain road, Almagro resolved to march by the desert of Atacama in the maritime plain, by which he conducted his troops into Peru with very little loss in 1538.  He took possession of Cuzco by surprise; and, after ineffectual negociations, he fought a battle with the brother of Pizarro, by whom he was taken prisoner, and beheaded as a disturber of the public peace.  Such was the fate of the first expedition of the Spaniards against Chili, undertaken by the best body of European troops that had hitherto been collected in those distant regions.  The thirst of riches was the moving spring of this expedition, and the disappointment of their hopes the cause of its abandonment.

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