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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 739 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels.

[Footnote 142:  Culiacan, or Hueicolhuacan, on a river of the same name which discharges itself into the Vermilion Sea or Gulf of California, is in lat. 24 deg. 50’ N. long. 106 deg. 40’ W. in the province of Cinaloa.  Cabeza de Vaca and his companions had therefore followed an oblique course from the north-east in the south of Louisiana entirely across the continent, to the south-west, from about the latitude of 31 deg. to 25 deg. both north; a journey in all probability exceeding 1200 English miles in a straight line.  The beginning of their journey seems to have been to the west of the Missisippi, as that great river is not mentioned; neither indeed do we find any indications of the Rio Bravo del Norte, which they must necessarily have crossed.—­E.]

Melchior Diaz, who was captain and alcalde of the province, received them with singular humanity, giving praise to God for having delivered them out of their tedious and miserable captivity, and requested them to use their endeavours to appease the Indians of that part of the country, who were in arms against the Spaniards.  This they most readily undertook, and sent messages by some of the Indians to the neighbouring caciques, three of whom came to Culiacan attended by thirty Indians, bringing presents of feathers and emeralds.  In conversation with these Indians about their religious belief, they said they believed in a being named Aguar, the lord of all things, who resided in heaven and sent them rain when they prayed to him for it; such being the tradition they had learnt from their fathers.  Cabeza told them that Aguar was GOD the Creator of heaven and earth, who disposed all things according to his holy will, and who, after this life, rewarded the good and punished the wicked.  He exhorted them therefore to believe henceforwards in this only true God, to return to their houses and live in peace, to build a house for the worship of God after the manner of the Christians, and when any Spaniards came to visit them, that they should meet them with crosses in their hands, and not with bows and arrows; promising, if they did this, that the Spaniards would be their good friends and would teach them every thing they ought to know, that God might make them happy in the next life.  All this the Indians engaged to perform.  Cabeza de Vaca and his companions went on from Culiacan for San Miguel[143], attended by a few Indians, the natives by the way coming out to meet them in great numbers with presents, whom they exhorted to become Christians as they were now subjects to the king of Spain.  They all received these advices in the most friendly manner, requesting to have their children baptized.  While on the road they were overtaken by Alcaraz, by whom they were informed that all the deserted country through which they had lately travelled was again well peopled and in peace, and that the Indians were all occupied in sowing their lands.

[Footnote 143:  San Miguel is not to be found in the most recent map of New Spain by M. de Humboldt; that name may possibly have been given to the city of Mazatlan, in lat. 23 deg. 15’ N. on the coast of Cinaloa.—­E.]

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