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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.
to preserve the chronological series of events throughout the numerous discoveries, colonizations and conquests of the Spaniards, in all the islands and continental provinces of Spanish America, by which he is forced into perpetual and abrupt transitions from subject to subject; instead of using a double arrangement, geographical as well as chronological, in which the narrative belonging to each territorial division might have been distinctly and separately arranged in chronological order.  Thus in regard to Florida, which constitutes the subject of our present chapter, we have had to travel through every one of the six volumes of Herrera, on purpose to reduce all the scattered notices respecting the early discovery of that country under one unbroken narrative.

Owing to the utter impossibility of ascertaining the various parts which were visited by the Spaniards, in these early peregrinations in Florida as related in this chapter, we have not given any map of the country on this occasion, which will be supplied in a future division of this work, when we come to particular and more recent travels in that province of North America.  Indeed the country originally named Florida by the Spaniards was vastly more extensive than the modern application of that name, and appears to have included all Louisiana, with Georgia the Carolinas and Virginia, and the entire countries on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.  In fact it was meant as a generic term, including all of the eastern parts of north America, not previously comprised under New Spain and its dependencies; just as Virginia was applied in the reign of Queen Elizabeth to all that part of North America claimed by the English, which was afterwards partitioned into many provinces, from Nova Scotia to Georgia both inclusive.  Besides, a map to serve the purposes of the present chapter is of almost impossible construction, as all the appellations of towns and territories, especially in the extensive peregrinations of Ferdinand de Soto, are merely the fugacious names of the caciques or sachems who happened at the time to rule over the various tribes of savages which were visited by Soto in his singularly erratic expedition.  One point only in the whole course of his wanderings can be ascertained with certainty, the Bay of Espirita Santo on the western coast of Florida, in about lat. 28 deg.  N. and long. 83 deg.  W. Mavila. may possibly be what has since been called Mobile, and the Rio Grande or great river was most probably the Mississippi.  All the other points are involved in impenetrable obscurity, or would require an extended discussion inadmissible on the present occasion.  In the course of the chapter some conjectures will be attempted respecting the geography of the wanderings of Soto, and his adventurous followers, whose sole object appears to have been to search for mines of the precious metals, in which they were altogether unsuccessful.

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